6. Why do they say, Emmaus-Nicopolis was mistakenly identified as Emmaus of Luke by Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea and St. Jerome following him in his error?
In the minuscule manuscript № 194 of the Gospel of Luke, which has
the version of 60 stadia, makes the following note on the page border opposite
verse 13 of the 24th chapter, in Greek: "One should read 'one hundred and
sixty', because this is what is in the exact texts, and in the confirmation of
the truth by Origen". (The minuscule manuscript № 34 has the same note,
but without the name of Origen). Because of this note, some authors (M.-J. Lagrange, "Commentaire de l'Evangile
de Luc", Paris, 1921, p. 617; Meistermann , "Guide de la Terre
Sainte", 1923, p.14) have attributed this correction of Luke 24:13 (the
addition of the word “hekaton” (“One hundred”) to Origen, who lived in
the Holy Land during the early 3rd century A.D. They suggest that he did so because of a local tradition that considered Nicopolis to be the New Testament Emmaus. This hypothesis, however, does not explain the origin of this tradition, nor the perseverance with which the Christians of the Holy Land had followed it since ancient times (already since early 3d century AD!). On the other hand, Origen’s commentary on the Gospel of Luke, which could have resolved the issue, is lost, and an anonymous note on the page border of manuscript № 194 is not sufficient enough reason to attribute to Origen the introduction of a correction to the Gospel text. It should be noted also that this hypothesis was put forward at the time when all the manuscripts containing 160 stadia were considered to be of Palestinian origin, while the 60 stadia version was considered to be "Western". Today, there is another approach to the classification of manuscripts (see A. Merk, "Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine", 1942), and it is obvious that the manuscripts bearing the version of 160 stadia come from different geographic areas.
Even assuming that the original version of the
Gospel has the distance of 60 stadia, and that the version of 160 is a later
correction, there is no reason to believe that a village called Emmaus really
existed 60 stadia away from Jerusalem
in the 1st c. AD. Luke could be mistaken. For example, in Luke 17:11 it is said
that while going to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through
Samaria and Galilee (one should say: through
Galilee and Samaria), and Luke 5:19 mentions a
tiled roof, even though there were no such roofs in Jewish houses of Palestine. Compare, for
example, the fact that all known manuscripts of the 2nd Book of Maccabees
erroneously indicate the distance of 240 stadia (about 30 miles) between Jerusalem and the port of Jamnia
(Yavne), while in reality it equals approximately 340 stadia (42 miles).