Codex Ephraemi Syri

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Manuscript Variances

Simon the Cananean

See Simon the Cananean

Simon is not, as the King James Version has him, a Canaanite. However the Greek manuscripts of Matthew were indeed divided on the issue at an early time. The almost equally ancient codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus have Canaanite and Cananaean respectively, and they each have roughly equal support from manuscripts which are nearly as old. However in Mark 3:18 where this same list occurs, all of the ancient codices have Simon as a Cananaean, except the Codex Alexandrinus which has Canaanite (and which is wanting most of Matthew's gospel). Let it be said that in both Matthew and in Mark, the Codex Ephraemi Syri, which usually agrees with the Alexandrinus, has Simon as a Cananaean, and so even the Alexandrian tradition is split on this matter. One thing is clear, however, and that is that the manuscripts which the King James Version has followed are quite close to the Alexandrian tradition, which the passage in Mark demonstrates. Something else which is quite certain is that the corruption of texts upon which the New Testament is based was attempted at the earliest time, whether purposely or not. Here the preponderance of the evidence, considering both Matthew and Mark, is that Simon was a Cananaean.

Luke calls Simon “the zealot”, which many errant commentators take that as a meaning of the word “Canaanite”, however this is highly unlikely. The Hebrew word, according to Strong, comes from a verb meaning to humiliate. It is much more plausible that Simon was from the city Cana, where Yahshua attended the wedding described in the opening chapters of John's gospel, and was therefore a Cananaean, and that “zealot” was just a nickname.