Original Hebrew Reading Found in Hebrew Manuscript of Mark!
James Scott Trimm
Several weeks ago I told you I had received a thumb drive (from Dr. Albert Garza) containing some 4,000 pages of Hebrew manuscripts of “New Testament” books. As time has allowed, i have been slowly wading thru these manuscripts. I am pleased to announce that I have discovered in one of these many mss., what is clearly the original Hebrew reading of a passage in Mark, which is mistranslated in all known ancient manuscript versions of Mark in Aramaic, Greek, Latin etc.
Just about two years ago, I wrote a blog titled Did Yeshua Say Everyone is Salted with Fire? In which I reconstructed the original Hebrew reading of Mark 9:49/ Om that blog I wrote:
The original Hebrew of the original phrase in Mark 9:49 must have been כי כל באש ימלח
The Aramaic translator must have read this כִּי כֹּל בָּאֵשׁ יִמְלַח “for everyone with fire, shall be salted” which is rendered in the Old Syriac with the words כול אנש גיר בנורא נתמלח “for every man with fire will be salted” and in the Greek with Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται “for everyone with fire will be salted”. The references to “fire” in the previous verses of Mark 9 probably contributed to the translator taking באש to mean “with fire”.
However the original Hebrew of Mark 9:49 is correctly understood to read as כִּי כֹּל בָּאַשׁ יִמְלַח “For everything decaying is salted”. The original Hebrew word was בָּאַשׁ (Strong’s 887) “decaying, spoiling” (1).
This leads us into the next phrase in Mark 9:50 = Luke 14:34 “salt is good”. This fits perfectly because the word בָּאַשׁ can also mean to become evil, and באש can actually mean “bad” or “evil” so that that which decays contrasts with salt which is “good”.
All of this leads into the parallel to Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth” meaning that without the influence of those identified with the “salt of the earth” the earth, or the “world” in the parallel in Matthew 5:14 “you are the light of the world”, the world decays and becomes evil.
[End quote from my previous blog]
Recently, while working on an English translation from various Hebrew mss. of Mark, I discovered exactly this predicted original reading in a Hebrew ms. of Mark, which is actually part of a Hebrew manuscript of the entire “New Testament”, found in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris France (Hebrew Ms. No. 131).
This manuscript of Mark includes written vowels, but to my pleasant surprise the vowels for באש were not בָּאֵשׁ (with fire) but בָּאַשׁ (decaying)! This Hebrew manuscript of Mark contained the lost original Hebrew reading of this passage!
In the reading in question, the scribe seems to have written a patach under the aleph, creating the reading “spoiling”, before later “correcting” it to agree with the traditional reading “with fire” by adding a dot to the right of the patach (the reading “with fire” would have a tzere under the aleph, which is written with two dots. ) The Hebrew word for “fire” can actually be seen on the line above (around the middle) with a tzere (two dots) under the alef.
The dot written to the right appear to be an attempt at a scribal “correction” though the original reading is actually the correct one.
How the scribe came to write the original reading us unclear. The original Hebrew of Mark would have been written without vowels (which contributed to the mistranslation in our received versions of Mark). The manuscript itself (Biblioteque Nationale Paris 131) appears to be a Hebrew translation of the Latin Vulgate New Testament, or at least is has a very strong tendency to follow the readings of the Latin Vulgate (with the present example being a clear exception). The scribe may have been familiar with a manuscript tradition that contained the original reading, and then “corrected” his copy when he realized that what he had initially written was not the reading in the manuscript from which he was actually copying. He may also have been creating a translation of the Latin Vulgate, working from a Hebrew copy of Mark that descended from the original Hebrew of Mark (possibly not realizing this) and revising it to agree with the Vulgate as he went. However this original reading ended up in this Hebrew manuscript of Mark, it did end up there, and it is quite obviously the original reading.
Here we now have actual manuscript evidence for the reading בָּאַשׁ
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