Mark 1:5

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And there went out unto him all the country of Judaea, and all they of Jerusalem; And they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. (ASV)



Transmission Error = "river" is not original

Summary of Error

"river" is the reading in all bibles but Textual Criticism indicates that it is likely not original.

Detailed Argument

"river" is the reading in all bibles

A review of English Bibles at:

Bible Gateway

shows that all popular bibles have "river".

Textual Criticism

Is "river" original?


ποταμῷ] Byz ς WH
omit] D W Θ 28 565 799 ita Eusebius
4215 [e]	potamō	ποταμῷ	river,	N-DMS

You say potamo, I say we have a minimum amount of quality witness here against "river" as original. Sticking it to the son of man with the External, early witness:

Matthew 3:5

Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about the Jordan;  

First invocation of "Jordan" and no "river".

Luke 3:3

And he came into all the region round about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance  
unto remission of sins; (ASV) 

Again, first invocation of "Jordan" and no "river". Luukeee, ya got sum splainin ta do!

Now the (Internal) leg, huh:

Does "Mark" (author) in general have unorthodox presentation of geographical locations:

Kartagraphy Markoff. Did "Mark" Get Any Geography Right?

Does a Bar take a Peshitta to read in the woods?

The Jewish Bible and Josephus as Possible Sources

As to possible sources for GMark here it has been demonstrated Ad Nazorean in this unholy Forum that "Mark's" baptism story parallels reMarkably well with the Elijah/Elisha baptism story:

2 Kings 2:6

And Elijah said unto him, Tarry here, I pray thee; for Jehovah hath sent me to the Jordan.  
And he said, As Jehovah liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two 
went on. 

No "river". Of course this is a part of a much larger work which would have previously identified the Jordan as a river. No such previous identification in GMark. Another excellent candidate for a Markan source:

Antiquities 18.5.2 116-119

Here Josephus indicates that John was baptizing but does not give any location.

So, more than enough minimum External and Internal evidence to consider "river" a candidate for being unoriginal. Now, The Difficult Reading Principle. Which is more likely, that copyists added or deleted "river"? Without "river", how would an illiterate living outside of Israel (most of "Mark's" audience) know where/what "Jordan" was, especially considering GMark is a Greek writing for an Aramaic setting with a Hebrew origin?

As my famous ancestor Joseph supposedly said, "What more evidence do we need?".

Transmission Error

Textual Criticism indicates that the likely original verse here lacked "river". Likely sources for "Mark" here had "Jordan" without "river. Audiences of "Mark" would have been uncertain as to what exactly "Jordan" referred to. Adding "river" would give "Jordan" a better location indicator. Thus it is likely that "river" is not original.


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