1. What are the actual phrases used by Plutarch, in regards to "sabbatismos / σαββατισμὸς" - in the different manuscripts of his writings, (if there is more than one reading in Greek).
  2. How / when did this discrepancy arise?
  3. If it is more correct, or even plausible, that Plutarch used the word "sabbatismos / σαββατισμὸς", does anything in his writings suggest what he meant?

Plutarch, De Superstitione 3, in Moralia 2. 166a From Tufts @ Perseus, (Website Link):

ὦ βάρβαρ᾽ ἐξευρόντες Ἕλληνες κακά τῇ δεισιδαιμονίᾳ, πηλώσεις καταβορβορώσεις βαπτισμούς, 2 ῥίψεις ἐπὶ πρόσωπον, αἰσχρὰς; προκαθίσεις, ἀλλοκότους προσκυνήσεις. δικαίῳ τῷ στόματι τοὺς κιθαρῳδοὺς ἐκέλευον ᾄδειν οἱ τὴν νόμιμον μουσικὴν

1 Nauck p. 698
2 βαπτισμούς Bentleius: σαββατισμούς

In the related question, What basis do we have for defining Sabbatismos in Hebrews 4:9?, an answer suggests that Hebrews 4:9, (Hebrew Interlinear) is indicating that Christians are required to keep the Sabbath Command as Moses instructed - if it is actually true that Plutarch demonstrated that this is how "sabbatismos / σαββατισμὸς" was understood at the time.

That premise of the argument is dependent on the premise that Plutarch actually used the term, and that his context illustrates how the word was used.

However, Tufts @ Perseus seems to point to a manuscript discrepancy, without clarification.

1 Answer 1


This is not about manuscript discrepancy. The manuscripts have σαββατισμούς. βαπτισμούς is a conjecture by the classicist Bentley (1662 – 1742). The sound approach is to follow the manuscript text unless it is manifestly wrong; only in latter case should one consider emending the text. I do not see any good reason to reject σαββατισμούς. The use of the same word in Hebrews supports the assumption that this term could have been known to Plutarch.

  • Thank you. Can you explain what Perseus has done? Are they amending a manuscript? Are there any other repositories for this Greek Tex that show the original text, then? May 25, 2018 at 23:57
  • 1
    The Perseus text is simply reprinted from the Teubner edition of 1888. The footnote makes it clear that βαπτισμούς is a conjecture by Bentley/Bentleius and that the MSS have σαββατισμούς.
    – fdb
    May 26, 2018 at 0:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.