In Mark 7:3, what is the function of πυγμή?:
WH Mark 7:3 οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων,
The translations vary greatly:
I notice that in the Matthew parallel the disciples skipped washing altogether:
Mat 15:2 "Why do your disciples disregard the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands when they eat."
πυγμή, ῆς, ἡ ① fist (so Eur., Hippocr. et al.; PPetr III, 22 (e) 2 [III B.C.]; LXX) in a difficult pass. ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας lit. unless they wash their hands with (the) fist Mk 7:3 (where the v.l. πυκνά [s. πυκνός] is substituted for π. [Vulgate crebro], thus alleviating the difficulty by focusing on the vigor of the action. Itala codex d has ‘primo’ [on this and other Itala readings s. AJülicher, Itala II ’40, p. 59]). The procedure is variously described and interpreted as a washing: ‘in which one clenched fist is turned about in the hollow of the other hand’, or ‘up to the elbow’ or ‘the wrist’, or ‘with a handful’ of water. FSchulthess, ZNW 21, 1922, 232f thinks of it simply as a rubbing w. the dry hand. Whatever the actual motion may have been, the emphasis is on the cultic devotion of those who engage in the lustral act.—Palladius, Hist. Laus. 55 νίψασθαι τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας πυγμῇ ὕδατι ψυχροτάτῳ. CTorrey, ZAW 65, ’53, 233f.—For lit. s. βαπτίζω 1.—Field, Notes 30f; Goodsp., Probs. 59f; MBlack, Aramaic Approach2, ’53, 8f; PWeis, NTS 3, ’56/57, 233–36 (Aramaic); SReynolds, JBL 85, ’66, 87f (with cupped hands; against him MHengel, ZNW 60, ’69, 182–98; reply by Reynolds ibid. 62, ’71, 295f). ② fist-fight, boxing (Hom. et al.; ins; Tat. 4, 1; 26, 3) more generally (Jos., Ant. 14, 210) ἐν μέσῳ τῆς πυγμῆς in the midst of the fight B 12:2.—DELG s.v. πύξ I. M-M. TW. Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 896). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Was it the "lack of cultic devotion" to the act or the failure to wash at all that the Pharisees objected to?
In Matthew 15 and Mark 7:18-19 Jesus seems to be saying that washing one's hands is pointless.
I guess what I'm asking is whether πυγμή make any difference to the actual point being made or not.