Mark 7:19

7:19 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ἀλλ̓ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται, καθαρίζον πάντα τὰ βρώματα.

καθαρίζον πάντα τὰ βρώματα. This is an interesting example of how the difference in grammatical gender can cause a different understanding and much confusion. In the Byzantine Text as seen in the Patriarchal Text above, καθαρίζον is present active participle nominative neuter singular of καθαρίζω, and due to it being neuter, we get the understanding of “purging/cleansing all foods” and is apart of what Jesus is explaining to the disciples. However, the non-Byzantine reading (I have seen it in the Alexandrian and Caesarian Text-types, which is not difficult to find) is καθαρίζων, being masculine rather than neuter, and thus referring back to Jesus in verse 18 (which begins, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς·) and leads to the understanding that the words are not a part of what Jesus is explaining, but rather a comment by St. Mark, namely that Jesus in explaining the parable is “cleansing all foods” (the participle is present tense); and this is the reading Origen, St. Gregory The Wonder-Worker, and St. John Chrysostom have, καθαρίζων.

The Patristic witness leads me to conclude two textual options: 1. The Byzantine text has the wrong reading here, and it should be the masculine, or 2. The Byzantine text has the original reading here, and the Text that Origen and St. Gregory used had been corrupted. A problem that comes to mind is that if St. Chrysostom used the Byzantine Text (as most people say), then why does his Byzantine Text read καθαρίζων and our current Byzantine Text(s) read καθαρίζον? I need to find time to look through von Soden’s manuscripts (K, Kx, Kr etc.) to see the texts for myself to go further here; at any rate, the UBS5 apparatus does inform us that the Byzantine Text is divided on this reading whereas Byz2005 doesn’t (my Byz2018 is in a box in another Province, so I cannot check it at the moment). But also we could think of the wording as constructio ad sensum, which is what David Bentley Hart (who translated from the Critical Text, thus καθαρίζων) appears to have done: “purging away everything that has been eaten?” (UBS5 has a Greek question mark at the end, as Hart translated.)

A few words about how we see this played out in Orthodox translations. First, we ignore The Orthodox Study Bible here because its New Testament is unfortunately translated from the Textus Receptus. Secondly, The Holy Apostles Convent Evangelistarion mistranslated this passage; they translated from the Patriarchal Text thus: this He said making all the foods clean. We read in the notes that the translator arrived at this translation probably under the influence of Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament or A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament and from misidentifying the neuter καθαρίζον for the masculine καθαρίζων. However, the translator does support their translation by appealing to St. John Chrysostom (as discussed above). And finally, the EOB New Testament has both readings, but the translator put the correct reading—καθαρίζον, according to the Greek of the Patriarchal Text—in the footnote, “thus purging all foods” and added a question mark in the main text, as found in the Critical Text(s).

Footnotes can be found here.

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