One would not expect a scribal error in the confusion between UIOUTONANOU
and UIOUTONQU in John 9:35, but rather a theologically motivated change under
the influence of KURIE in the following verses. This is what Bruce Terry has to
say in favor of UIOUTONANOU:
"It does not seem likely that copyists would change "Son of God" to "Son of
man." The reading "Son of man" is found in early manuscripts of both the
Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text."
However, Wieland Willker points out in his commentary two other places in
John where these very two variant readings exist: John 5:25 and John 6:27.
NA27 indicates UIOUTONQU in the former and UIOUTONANOU in the latter.
Furthermore, the reading "Son of God" is found in both the Byzantine and Western
texts: in fact, itd is the ONLY ms of the Western text that reads "Son of
Man." And both the syrian and coptic evidence is split, with syrian leaning
toward "God" and coptic toward "Man." As far as Alexandrian testimony for
"God" is concerned, we have L, the least Byzantine of the late uncials, with
Theta thrown in as testimony from the Caesarian text-type.
I would say something about the Latin evidence at this point, being
virtually unanimous for "Son of God." Given the unanimity of the Old Latin
evidence, it's highly unlikely that Jerome would have risked the offense of
"taking God out of the Bible" even if the majority Gk text of his day had "Son
of Man." So we can't read too much into the Vulgate evidence, although the
unanimity of the Old Latin evidence behind it is significant.
Getting back to theological motivation, we can as easily see it in the
other two examples cited.
John 5:25-6 reads, "...the dead shall hear the voice of the ___, and the
ones hearing shall live. For as the Father has live in himself, so also to the
Son he gave life . . .
John 6:27 reads, "...which the ___ shall give you; for him has the Father
sealed . . ."
We can see that "the Father" in the immediate context of these verses
should motivate scribes to change "of Man" to "of God," but in the first
case NA27 actually preferred "Son of God," and that against of the
combined Alexandrian and Byzantine testimony of K, S, Pi, Om, 28, 2178, al80, SyrHmg, Syrpal,
and boms. And yet there is no mention of "the
Father" within twenty verses of 9:35, thus demolishing Bruce
Terry's argument (that is, Metzger's, as Wieland pointed
That being said, it is quite possible that an early scribe changed the
reading from one variant to the other. But which way did the change go? "Son of
God" is certainly Johannine language, appearing in 1:34,49; 3:18; 5:25; 9:35;
10:26; 11:27; 19:7; and 20:31, as well as numerous times in other Johannine
literature. "Son of Man" is only slightly more prevalent in John, but in the
Synoptics, "Son of Man" heavily predominates. So on that point of internal
evidence, "Son of God" has a good claim of originality.
As far as theological considerations go, we already know that these work
both ways. If "Son of God" were original, a scribe may have changed it because
it seemed to audacious of a claim for Jesus to have made. However, Jesus did
make a reference to that very claim in the next chapter--John 10:36--so a scribe
may have been motivated from that context to change "Son of Man" in order to
provide a source for Jesus' later quote.
As Wieland states, this is a difficult variant. But given the proven
propensity of scribes to change from one reading to another with no overriding
motivation discernible, I see no reason to overturn a reading with overwhelming
Byzantine and Western support, and versional evidence, even from the Alexandrian
side of the matter, that at its very worst leaves the door open
to either reading.
Western texts, in my experience, preserve the more
primitive, Aramaisms and I think bar nasha (OUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU) was
original. Later scribes believed this was an Aramaism that merely meant
"an ordinary feller" and changed it to OUIS TOU QEOU. If I may elaborate
at some length (I believe background is important):
The evolution from the historical Yeshua bar Yahosef (Yes, there was one)
the "Christ of Faith" was a century in the making. In the corpus of
sayings preserved in the Gospels, there is not one claim to be the
Messiah. The hope and expectation for this prophesied
"Knight on a white
stallion" was intense among the beleaguered am ha-aretz
who saw this mythic
savior in numerous "fire and brimstone" preachers who
countryside. Jesus refers to himself repeatedly (over 30
times by my count)
as the Bar Nasha...the "Son of Man." There were two
uses for this term in
the 1st century. One was an Aramaic idiom, "a
son of man" that refers to a
person or a human. The context of Jesus'
sayings, however, refer to the
Danielic-Enochian "Son of Man."
Forgive me for the length of this and also, as the "follow the Aramaic"
for use of "Yeshua" instead of "Jesus." I tend to separate the
Jesus by his Aramaic name from the higher
There is a ton of literature on Yeshua's use of his
self-description as the
bar nasha (Son of Man) and disagreements on what that
meant. If the Dead
Sea Scroll corpus is a good barometer, the late 2nd
temple period saw an
emergence of Daniel-Enochian fervor. In both
Daniel and the Enochian
literature, the "son of man" plays a central
Yeshua himself, NOT ONCE, refers to himself with certainty as the
but instead refers to himself as the bar nasha/ben adam of Daniel
Enoch..."coming on the clouds, etc." It was Paul of
Tarsus...hostile to the
Nazarenes, who conferred the name of XRISTOS on
Yeshua in his reconstruction
of Yeshua as the Pauline "Christ
The cradle from which both Jewish and Christian "mysticism"
Enochian apocalypticism, the same cradle from which
Merkavah (which would eventually develop into
Kabbala) and the Hekhalot
literature arose which deals with "mystical"
ascents into heaven.
If you are pursuing the ancient Jewish sources from
which the "Christ--cult"
arose, I would tell you to read the considerable
Enochian literary corpus
now available thanks to the Qumran texts. The
Books of Enoch and their
related texts, Jubilees, Giants, Weeks, Parables,
Watchers, Testimonies of
the 12 Patriarchs, Dreams, etc. Enochian
apocalypticism is a reflection of
a Mesopotamian alternative to Mosaic"
Judaism with its focus on Enmeduranki,
the 7th antediluvian king of Sippar in
the Sumerian Chronicles and a
counterpart (or model) for Enoch.
was a considerable influence by Zoroastrianism on Judaism as a result
Babylonian Captivity after which they brought the Enochian traditions
Jerusalem upon the return. The Jerusalem priests at that time hated
Enochian Jews (and it has always been my position that Jesus was an
Jew) who supported the Maccabees thereby gaining favor with the
These Enochian Jews became, IMO, the Essenes who developed
with the Hasmonean priest-kings. This is why the Dead
Sea Scrolls are
The Jewish Nazarenes ("branchers")
were heirs, IMO, to the Enochian traditions
but Gentile Christianity imported a constellation of influences
Graeco-Roman sources. That Enochian Judaism was alternative to
nomian Judaeism can explain why Paul appears anti-nomian and why Enoch
not included in the Rabbinical canon.
Quoted in the Book of
"And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To
judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all
of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly
of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken
Other references to the SON OF MAN in
"And there I saw One who had a head of days, And His head
was white like
wool, And with Him was another being whose countenance had the
a man, And his face was full of graciousness, like one of the
holy angels. 2
And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all the
concerning that 3 Son of Man, who he was, and whence he was,
(and) why he
went with the Ancient of Days? And he answered and said unto me:
is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, With whom dwelleth
And who revealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden,
Lord of Hosts hath chosen him, And whose lot hath the
the Lord of Hosts in uprightness for ever." (Part 8
1 And in that place I saw the fountain of righteousness
inexhaustible: And around it were many fountains of wisdom: And all
thirsty drank of them, And were filled with wisdom, And their dwellings
with the righteous and holy and elect. 2 And at that hour that Son of
was named In the presence of the Lord of Hosts, And his name before
Ancient of Days. 3 Yea, before the sun and the signs were created,
the stars of the heaven were made, His name
was named before the
Lord of Hosts. 4 He shall be a staff to the righteous
stay themselves and not fall, And he shall be the light of the
the hope of those who are troubled of heart. 5 All who dwell
on earth shall
fall down and worship before him, And will praise and bless
with song the Lord of Hosts. 6 And for this reason hath he
been chosen and
hidden before Him, Before the creation of the world and for
evermore. 7 And
the wisdom of the Lord of Hosts hath revealed him to the
holy and righteous;
For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, Because
they have hated and
despised this world of unrighteousness, And have hated
all its works and ways
in the name of the Lord of Hosts: For in his name
they are saved, And
according to his good pleasure hath it been in regard to
their life. (Part 8
The Book of Daniel, like Enoch, was written originally in
contains the most famous reference to the SON OF
Daniel 7:13-14 (WEB)
13 חזה הוית בחזוי ליליא וארו
עם־ענני שׁמיא כבר אנשׁ אתה הוה ועד־עתיק יומיא
מטה וקדמוהי הקרבוהי׃ 14 ולה
יהיב שׁלטן ויקר ומלכו וכל עממיא אמיא ולשׁניא לה
יפלחון שׁלטנה שׁלטן עלם די־לא
יעדה ומלכותה פ
13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came
with the clouds of
the sky one like a son of man (כבר אנש [kibar 'anash]),
and he came even to
the ancient of days, and they brought him near before
him. 14 There was
given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the
and languages should serve him: his dominion is an
which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which
shall not be
Yeshua spoke of himself, just as above in
Daniel, at Matthew 24:30 And
then shall appear the sign of the
Son of man in heaven: and then shall all
the tribes of the earth mourn, and
they shall see the Son of man coming in
the clouds of heaven with power and
.....and at Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou
nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man
on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of
As you can see, Yeshua refers to himself as the SON OF MAN
nasha) of Daniel and Enoch and not, IMO, as simply the bar
nash/a idiom for
"just a guy."
Now let's see how many times Yeshua
calls himself the bar nasha (son of
man)...he never referred to himself
with certainty or non-cryptically as
Matthew 8:20 And
Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds
of the air [have]
nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his]
9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to
sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy
go unto thine house.
Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this
city, flee ye into
another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone
over the cities
of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold
gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But
is justified of her children.
Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord
even of the sabbath day.
Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word
against the Son of man, it shall
be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not
be forgiven him, neither in this world,
neither in the [world] to come.
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days
and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days
and three nights in the heart
of the earth.
Matthew 13:37 He answered
and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed
is the Son of
Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea
Philippi, he asked
his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of
his Father with
his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing
shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in
Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man
be risen again from
Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That
Elias is come already, and they knew
him not, but have done unto him
whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also
the Son of man suffer of
Matthew 17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto
them, The Son
of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye
have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in
throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging
twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 20:18 Behold, we go up to
Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be
betrayed unto the chief priests and
unto the scribes, and they shall condemn
him to death,
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 24:27 For as the
lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even
unto the west; so shall
also the coming of the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall
appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all the tribes of
the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son
of man coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory. (this is
right out of Enoch
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the
the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:39 And knew not until
the flood came, and took them all away; so
shall also the coming of the Son
of man be.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an
hour as ye think
not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:13 Watch
therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour
wherein the Son of man
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory,
and all the holy
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his
Matthew 26:2 Ye know that after two days is [the feast of]
and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto
man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man
had not been born.
Matthew 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples,
and saith unto them, Sleep
on now, and take [your] rest: behold, the hour is
at hand, and the Son of
Man is betrayed into the hands of
Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said:
nevertheless I say unto
you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on
the right hand of
power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
reported by Matthew alone to have claimed to have been the SON OF
nasha) of Daniel and Enoch THIRTY TIMES....so why don't we
him? Why do we believe Paul of Tarsus instead?
Enochian Jew, in the late second temple period, is one who believed in
Enochian apocalyptic such as the Essenes.
Jesus/Yeshua was indeed, IMO, an apocalyptic herald of the imminent
d'alaha (Kingdom of God) in the Enochian tradition and, as such,
"normative" Mosaic Judaism. I think there are other
indicators that this
"Son of Man" from the ancient of days could be "Lord of
the Sabbath" as well
as the Mosaic laws (seen in the formula "It is written"
or "You have
heard"...ABC "but *I* tell you"...XYZ).
So yes, he was
apocalyptic but, in his mind, just not a "sage" but THE bar
nasha that was
expected by Yohanan/John (Matthew 11:3), the apocalyptic
redeemer of Daniel
Some scholars believe that Jesus himself uniquely conflated the
image of the
Bar Nasha with that of the Messiah but I do not think so.
The concept of
his being the Messiah was, IMO, layered on top of his
some of his own followers who came from the Pharisaic
influenced am ha-aretz
and that reputation as an annointed "king" may have
contributed to his
execution by the Romans.
The next step was his
image as the bar d'alaha," the "Son of God." This was
not an unusual
title for a righteous person and the earliest followers
became a Son of God on the occasion of his mikveh/baptism by
ha-Matbil. Over the century following his death Paul claimed he
THE Son of God on the occasion of his death, Paul's XRISTON
ESTAURWMENON, "Christ Crucified." In the last two decades of the
century, it was the author of Matthew, followed by Luke, who moved the
sonship to his birth and necessitated the virginal birth and trinitarian
formulae, perhaps misinterpreted from Yeshua's own "born again" formula for
entrance to the malkutha d'alaha.
The Book of John consists of several layers and the most primitive layer
IMO, a very early Aramaic narrative that contained the sayings of Jesus
his references as the Bar Nasha. A Greek translation of this
was used as the framework around which the larger Greek gospel was
fleshed and that Gospel suffered the highest amount of redaction,
chapter shuffling, glosses and editing than any New Testament work.
the variant OUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU (and its various nomina sacra) exists,
particularly in Western texts, it represents, IMO, the original