The Eusebian Form 
of the Text of 
Matthew 28:19

As found in:
Zeitschrift fur Neutestamentlich Wissenschaft
1901, pages 275-288

Fred. C. Conybeare, Oxford

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The Eusebian Form  1901

Tishendorf in his eighth edition of the Greek N.T. prints Mt 28, 19. 20 thus:


His apparatus criticus suggest that verse 19 stands in all patristic quotations in the form given above.  In all MSS and versions the passage is so read, though it may be remarked that in the oldest Syriac MS the folio which contained the end of Matthew has disappeared.  Others besides Tischendorf have assumed that the patristic citations of Mt 28,19 endorse, with no exception, the received text.  Thus Dr. A. Plummer in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible (Art. on Baptism, p. 252) writes:  "The baptismal formula in Mat. 28, 19 is in all authorites without exception."  And Renan in his work Les Evangiles ch. X writes of this text as follows:  La formule du baptême s'est élargie et comprend sous une forme assez syncrétique les trois mots sacramentels de la théologie du temps, Père, le Fils, le Saint-Esprit.  Le germe do dogme de la Trinité est ainsi déposé dans un coin de la page sacrée, et deviendra fécond."

The following testimonia from works of Eusebius imply another form of text:  

Please note:  Many of the following passages are given in Greek, with a few comments in English.  I will provide here the English only.  These quotes can be found in English under The Writings of Eusebius.  I might mention that they are in a slightly different order there.   RDH

1.  Comment. in Psal. Ed. Migne Vol. 23, col. 569:
2.  Ibid.  col. 416
3.  In Ps 65, 6, col. 653:
4.  In Ps 67, 31-36, col. 720:
5.  Ibid.  Ps 76, 20, col. 900:
6.  In Ps 94, 3, col. 1222:
7.  Commet. in Isaiam, 18; P. G. tom. 24, col. 213:
8.  Demonstr. Evang.  I, 3, p. 5:
9.  Demonstr. Evang.  I, 4, p. 8:
10.  Ibidem III, 6, col. 233, p. 131 D:  
The above recurs in the Syriac Theophany, see Nr. 14.
11.  Ibidem col. 240, p. 136:
12.  Ibidem col. 244, p. 138  (After dwelling on the ecumenical spread of Christianity Eusebius desires us):
The above occurs in the Syriac Theophania v, 49, without any difference.
13.  Dem. Ev. IX, col. 693, p. 445:
14.  (= 10).  Mt 28, 19. 20 is cited three times in the fifth book of the Theophania of Eusebius, published and translated by Dr. Samuel Lee in 1842 and 1843.  Lee took his text from the Ntirian Codex of the British museum written in A.D. 411.  The first citation is made in V, 17, as follows  (cp. Lee Theoph. in English p. 298):  "He (the Saviour) in one sigle word and in one oracle, said to his disciples, Go ye and make disciples of all peoples in my name, and teach them every thing which I have commanded you.   And the deed he made to follow the word.  And forthwith (lit. ad instar eius) were made disciples in a brief time all the races of the Greeks together and of the barbarians.  But the law was not in a book of the Saviour, but unwritten was by his command sown among all peoples." 
15.  (=11).  Theophania V, 46:  "But he who used nothing human or mortal, see how in truth he again conceded the oracle of God, in the word which he spake to his disciples, the weak ones, saying, "Go ye and make disciples of all the peoples.....  These things then (scil. How can we do this?  How preach to the Romans etc.)  his disciples of our Saviour would either have said or thought, so by a single addition of a word, he resolved the sum of those things of which they doubted, the sum of them he committed to them in that he ordered them simply and without discriminating, to go and make disciples  of all peoples, but with this important addition, that he said, In my name [lit. in nomine meo proprio].
16.  (=12).  Theophania V, 49, p. 336:  "I am again compelled to recur to the question of cause, and confess that they (the Disciples) could not otherwise have undertaken this enterprise than by a divine power which exceeds that of man, and by the assistance of Him who said to them:  "Go and make disciples of all nations in my name."  And when he had said this to them, He attached to it the promise, by which they should be so encouraged as readily to give themselves up to the things commanded.  For he said to them Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

We now give those passages of the earlier books of the Theophania in which Mat 28,19-20 is cited.  The first of these is in III, 4, in Lee's version p. 159: 

17.  "Who, of those that ever existed, is the mortal man, ... who bore all this preeminence... and could effect so much, that he should be preached throughout the whole earth?  and, that  his  name  should fill the hearing and tongues of every people  upon the face of the whole earth?  But this no man has done except our Saviuor alone, who said to his disciples by word and fulfilled it by deed:  "Go and teach all peoples."  [The Greek is given below in Nr. 20.  It adds  έν  τω  όνόματί  μου  which must here have stood in the original.  Here we catch the Syriac translator in the act of garbling his text.]
18.  The passage is in IV, 8, Lee p. 223:  "That at the outset he said that he would make them fishers of men, and in the end openly after his example they should make disciples of all peoples, together with his peculiar aid (or power).  From the Gospel of Matthew:--

"After his resurrection from the dead, all of them together,  as was commanded them, went to Galilee, as he told them.  But when they saw him some of them worshipt him, but others doubted.  But he drew near, gazed on them and said, All power in heaven and on earth is given to me of my father.  Go ye and make disciples of all peoples, and baptise them in the name of Father and Son and Holy Ghost.  And teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And, behold, I am with you always even to the end of the world."  

And after a little p. 225 he continues thus:--

And on this account, he commanded his disciples, not from the first, but now, that they should go around and make disciples of all nations.  But of necessity be added the mystery of cleansing.  For it was right, that those who should be converted from among the heathen, should be cleansed by his power from all pollution and uncleanness; because they ahd been defiled by the error of demons, and had been holden by worship of idols, and by uncleanness of all sorts but had now first been changed from that life of abomination and lawless practises.  These very persons then, did he admonish to teach, -- after this cleansing which is by the mystery of his doctrine, -- not, that they should observe the precepts of the Jews, nor yet the law of Moses, but all those things which he commanded them to observe...  He necessarily therefore stirred them up, and made them readily to confide, -- to undertake the circuit of all peoples and to make disciples of all races  of men, through the promise by which he counselled them, saying:  Behold, I myself am with you.
19.  Historia Ecclesiastica III, 5, 2:
20.  (=17).  Oratio de Laudibus Constantini  16, 8 (p. 294 sq H)
21. 22.  In the Greek controversial works of Eusebius Mat 28,19 is cited fully twice, viz. in the Contra Marcellum Ancyranum, p. 3, C:  and De Ecclesiastica Theologia 5, p. 174, a.  In both passages we have the textus receptus, and the context also implies it.
23.  In a third passage,  De Eccles. Theol.  3, p. 159 d, it is cited, but only as far as the word έθνη .  The author of these treaties which were written sometime after 336, and before 340, had the textus receptus before him, at least in the two passages.
24.  The only evidence which remains is that of the letter, addressed by Eusebius after the council of Nicea, to his church of Caesarea.  In this at the end of his baptismal creed, after the words πιcτεύομεν καί είc έν πνεύμα άγιον  , is introduced a citation of Mt 28,19 in its usual form.  This letter has only come down to us through the medium of Socrates the historian (I, 8, 38, p.23), who perhaps took it from the work of Sabinus.  There is hardly reason to suspect an interpolation.

23.  The evidence of these later writings of Eusebius emphasises by contrast the form of text preserved in the rest of his works.  He seems to have found in the codices of Caesarea the following form of text:

πορενθέντες μαθητύσατε πάντα τά έθνη έν τώ όνόματί μον, διδάcκοντεc αύτούc τηρεϊν πάντα όcα ένετειλάμην ύμϊν.

Go disciple ye all the nations in my name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

In passages 8 and 9,  έν τώ όνόματί μον  has perhaps been removed after έθνη  by a scribe who resented so unusual a reading.  [There is a footnote here that appears to be in both Latin and Greek]  Both passages occur at the very beginning of the treaties, and so caught the eye of the casual reader.  Few can ever have methodically perused so long and learned a work, and therefore the work of correction went no further.  It is worthy to note that in the Greek fragment of the Theophany given in Migne P. G. vol. 24, col. 629 the context involves that verse 19 as well as 18 should have been cited.  Verse 18 however stands alone.  Verse 19 must have been left out by a copyist.

The passage from the Theophania take rank as independent evidence of the text used by Eusebius, although they repeat passages of his Demonstatio Evangelica and De Laudibus; for where a writer deliberately incorporates entire sections of an earlier work in a later, he must be held to endorse the character of the scripture citations which the earlier contains.

24.  Nr. 18 of the above testimonies breaks the harmony of the other citations.  The Syriac translator, obliged to render so long a consecutive passage from the Gospels, has merely availed himself of his Syriac Vulgate; and copied out from it the entire five verses.  Those familiar with Armenia or Syriac versions know how common was this device of saving labour.  At first sight the comment upon this citation when it speaks of the "mystery of cleansing," seems to involve the presence of  βαππίζοντεc  in the original Greek; but the definition which immediately follows of this cleansing, as being written as being "by the mystery of his doctrine," precludes the idea that the writer had in view the cleansing by the water of baptism, and rather suggest the exorcism at use of the name which preceded baptism, and were specially a "cleansing by his power" from the pollution of demons.

25.  Thus we have some 17 attestations of the reading   , to the exclusion of the words    


36.  The following questions therefore need to be discussed.

    1.   Is the Eusebian and Justin's reading of Mt 28:19 original?
     2.  If so, was not the textus receptus created about 130-140?
     3.  Was it not due to a reaction on the text of Matthew of liturgical, and, specially, of baptismal usage?  
     4.  Did it not arise, like the text of the three witnesses, in the African old Latin texts first of all, thence creep in to the Greek text at Rome, and finally established itself in the East during the Nicene epoch, in time to  figure in all surviving Greek codices?   

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