Re: tc-list 1 Jn 4:1-3 translations
- On Mon, 2 Nov 1998, Bart Ehrman wrote:
> I've dealt with the textual problem at length in my _OrthodoxDear Bart,
> Corruption of Scripture_ pp. 125-35, if you want to see the evidence,
> arguments, and counterarguments. (I push strongly for _me homologei_
> against _luei_).
I have read your treatment now, and I agree with you on some points, while
disagree on others.
We agree that the opponents in 1Jn 4:1-3 are docetists. But your treatment
of this passage focuses primarily on _me homologei_ against _luei_
problem. For all I can see you're right on this, but this does not really
seem relevant to the issues I'm dealing with at this time.
There are many interpretative problems with 1Jn. I've just read Anchor BD
(1992) article on the Johannine epistles by Robert Kysar, and he admits
that plenty is disputed as to authorship, context, and dating. According
"The dates of the documents can be fixed only approximately."
He, himself, gives ca. 100, but other opinions are possible.
Now, the question as to whether the opponents in 1Jn 4:1-3 are Marcionites
is not directly relevant to my larger thesis, and depends on the dating. I
think it is possible to date the epistles to mid-second century, and I
prefer such later dating.
My larger thesis is that there are two distinct sets of opponents
discernable in 1Jn, and this has been argued by a number of commentators.
You mention Smalley yourself. According to such a view, some opponents are
Ebionites, and have low Christology. These are the opponents in 1Jn
2:18-23. Others, in 1Jn 4:1-3, and in 2Jn, are docetists with high
You don't like this sort of an interpretation, but I disagree on this. I'm
just taking the most literal reading of these passages, and this is what
the texts seem to say to me. I have a more detailed treatment of these
matters that I posted to Synoptic-l in the last few days.
Johannine correspondence is only a part of my larger argument in these two
long articles that deal mostly with Papias and Irenaeus.
I see no real need to conflate the opponents in 1Jn 2:18-23, and in 1Jn
4:1-3 like you tend to. But this question is very complex, since it
involves the exact understanding of various Christologies. In spite of
many apparent similarities between the two, I think there was a pretty
clear distinction between the much earlier group of
Ebionites/Adoptionists, and the rather later docetists, although this
distinction is often neglected by scholars.
On this, see M. Goulder, ST. PAUL VERSUS ST. PETER: A TALE OF TWO
MISSIONS, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995, p. 117. (Goulder uses the
term Possessionist to describe Adoptionists.) He points out that, while in
mainstream academic literature "Adoptionists" are often conflated with
"Docetists", according to him this is confusing, and he advocates defining
these terms more precisely.
It was the Adoptionists/Possessionists who resisted identifying Jesus with
Christ, just like the opponents in 1Jn 2:22.
Now, the question that I posted to tc-list originally only focused on the
reading of 4:3a, which, in itself, is a rather narrow problem that does
not need to involve larger issues, since the interpretation of 4:2 is
already pretty clear.
According to Kevin, the longer reading comes mostly from the Byzantine
mss. Whether or not XRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUQOTA was added later, or was
edited out later, still seems not too clear to me. In any case, the phrase
just seems to fit the meaning of the passage rather well.
Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto