Re: John 5:4
> The overwhelming majority of early Greek mss omit John 5:4. Do theAs you already have answers about the Syriac versions, I will pass
>versions (particularly the Syriac and Arabic) contain this verse?
directly to the Arabic versions.
I don't have copies of the Gospel of John in all the Sinai Arabic
manuscripts for the moment: these copies are expensive for the moment and
I'm gathering progressively. So my answer will be fragmentary. here are
the datas I can give you concerning Arabic:
(1) Sinai Arabic 71 (Xth cent.), as you already know from my previous
posts, lacks this Gospel. The apparented lectionary Sin. Arb. 133 (1102
A.D.) has both the second part of v.3 and v.4.
As I mentioned, this lectionary, compared with Sin. Arb. 71, is probably
revised from the Peshitto. As these verses are present also in the
peshitto, we can't know whether they were already present in Sin. Arb. 71
or were imported from the peshitto. We can presume though, as the text is
present in codex Koridethi, that most chances are that Sin. Arb. 71 had
(2) The Alexandrian vulgate of the XIIIth century, as edited by Paul de
lagarde from a Vienna manuscript, has this text. But it has critical
notices, the one at the beginning of v.3 saying that "this is not in the
coptic, neither in the greek", the second one before v.4, saying that it
is not in the coptic.
(3) Sin. Arb. 112 (dated 1259) which follows syp in the beginning of Mt,
greek texts in other parts (and I've not explored it enough to say
something about John) has also the whole verses 3 and 4.
(4) Sin. Arb. 69, the oldest (in Sinai) representative of the official
melkite version of the XIth century, mixing syriac and greek elements,
has also the whole text.
That's all I can say for the moment concerning Arabic! Specially, I
couldn't verify the text in the earliest version, that of Sin. Arb. 74
and 72, for the reasons I already mentioned.
Turning to the Georgian versions, we find that (1) both the version of
the Adysh codex (according to some probably translated from an old, lost
Armenian version) and the versions of codices ABDE (from a Cesarean Greek
text) have the whole verse 3, but not verse 4, and (2) the later georgian
vulgate (revision of ABDE following byzantine texts) has both verses 3
The armenian version as edited by Zohrab has the whole text of v. 3 and 4.
All three mss of the syropalestinian lectionary have also the whole text
of v.3 and 4.
Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique
e-mail: jgvalentin@... /// netmail: 2:291/780.103
"Ce qui est trop simple est faux, ce qui est trop complexe est
"What's too simple is wrong, what's too complex is unusable"
- The overwhelming majority of early Greek mss omit John 5:4. Do the
versions (particularly the Syriac and Arabic) contain this verse?
There seems no good reason for including it. Yet it is, after all, possible
that it was accidentally dropped fairly early.
Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology
Managing Editor, The Journal of Biblical Studies
- On Mon, 16 Jun 1997, Jim West wrote:
> The overwhelming majority of early Greek mss omit John 5:4. Do theAccording to N27, sy-p and sy-h(**) as well as part of the Bohairic
> versions (particularly the Syriac and Arabic) contain this verse?
version contains this verse and also the closing portion of 5:3.
Note that the "overwhelming majority" of all Greek MSS _except_ the early
minority of predominantly Alexandrian and Western witnesses _include_ the
verse, along with verse 3b, which is similarly omitted by many of the
early witnesses, though with less reason. Note that, even among the
witnesses that include vv.3b-4 there is some minor internal variation.
> There seems no good reason for including it. Yet it is, after all, possibleIf it were not originally part of the autograph (as modern eclectic theory
> that it was accidentally dropped fairly early.
supposes), how does one make sense out of verse 7, where, after Jesus asks
the man, "Do you want to become whole?" he responds "I have no man, that
he should cast me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I
am [trying to] come, another goes down [into the pool] before me."
Certainly my position regarding this variant is already known, even if I
have not spoken on it in this forum (as expected, I will support the
Byzantine/Majority reading as original). But granting for the sake of
argument that, since the Egyptian and Western traditions omit the phrase
3b-4, the shorter form was in fact the original form of the text, there
still is a major interpretative problem in v.7 which is extremely
perplexing without _some_ explanation having been previously stated in the
My concern in this regard is _what_ type of exegetical/hermeneutical
explanation can one make regarding the intent of the autograph of John
reading as it does in verse 7, if neither vv3b-4 nor any other explanatory
phrase ever was present originally.
My own viewpoint is that the omission of vv.3b-4 reflects deliberate
recensional activity, performed primarily by the orthodox (thank you,
Bart!) in order to remove a passage which superstitiously might have
encouraged a false worship of angels, exaggerated claims regarding
"healing spas" or the like in the early centuries, particularly in Egypt
and the Western regions of the Empire.
Accidental omission hardly seems likely in regard to such a variant,
especially when some witnesses only omit verse 4 while others omit 3b and
4, and still others include 3b and omit 4. Such "mixed" recensional
activity was faulty, however, in that it none of it addressed (for
whatever reason) the problem of the wording of verse 7; yet that easily
could have been recensionally altered by a similar curtailing and
replacement of the text into something like "Do you want to become whole?"
"Sir, I have no man, in order that he should assist me"). Yet recensional
activity, even when clearly evidenced, is not always wholly rational, so
this fact occasions me no major difficulty, even when charging recensional
activity in those early witnesses in regard to vv.3b-4.
Maurice A. Robinson, Ph.D. Professor of Greek and New Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, North Carolina
- Syr-c omits it; Syr-s is defective at this point. Burkitt, Ev. da-Meph.
Vol. II, p. 195 says that the size (# of lines on the folio) of Syr-s
indicates that it too lacked the angel troubling the waters. The date of
the "interpolation" (if that is what it is) must be very early, for Ephrem
(died 373) apparently knows and quotes the passage in his *Commentary on the
Diatessaron* (I have not time to check this now, but the references are as
above, in Burkitt. Ephrem, in his Commentary, writes: "If they believe
that the Angel by the water of Shiloah was healing the sick, how much rather
should they believe that the Lord of the Angels purifies by baptism from all
stain?" Burkitt notes that it is only in the interpolation that an "angel"
is mentioned; hence, Ephrem knows the interpolation, and Burkitt assumes it
was part of the Diatessraon--hence, in the text c. 172 [Baumstark, however,
pointed out that Ephrem's Diatessaron had already been interpolated and
revised; it sometimes disagrees with the Arabic Diatessaron, etc., which
appear to have a more ancient reading than Ephrem's Diatessaron; see E.
Beck's studies or mine in *Studia Patristics* 20.4 (1989), pp. 197ff.])
--Petersen, Penn State Univ.
At 01:58 PM 6/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
> The overwhelming majority of early Greek mss omit John 5:4. Do the
>versions (particularly the Syriac and Arabic) contain this verse?
>There seems no good reason for including it. Yet it is, after all, possible
>that it was accidentally dropped fairly early.
>Jim West, ThD
>Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology
>Managing Editor, The Journal of Biblical Studies