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Re: tc-list UBS4 & NRSV on Jn 1:18

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  • Bruce Prior
    The discussion of this matter is the same in the first and second editions of Metzger s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. The B rating for the
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 2, 1999
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      The discussion of this matter is the same in the first and second editions
      of Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. The B rating
      for the chosen text in the 3rd Corrected Edition was retained in the 4th
      Revised Edition. The dissenting voice belongs to Allen Wikgren, who was no
      longer on the Greek New Testament committee for the 4th revised edition.

      Metzger makes clear in his memoir that the GNT committee was entirely
      recruited by him, whereas Metzger worked on the committee which produced the
      NRSV as a relatively junior scholar for a number of years before he acquired
      the gavel once wielded by Luther A. Weigle. The GNT committee, in short,
      was more closely knit and more firmly in Metzger's control than was the NRSV
      committee.

      I realize that this is not a satisfactory answer to your query. John 1:8
      merely highlights some of the give-and-take which characterized the
      decisions of the two committees. The committees were very different. They
      simply had in common one strong force: Bruce M. Metzger.

      J. Bruce Prior in Blaine, WA


      >From: Jeff Cate <jeffcate@...>
      >Reply-To: tc-list@...
      >To: tc-list@...
      >Subject: tc-list UBS4 & NRSV on Jn 1:18
      >Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:02:23 -0800
      >
      >Does anyone know why the NRSV committee chose to include "son" in Jn 1:18
      >instead of going with the UBS4 decision (rated B) to omit "son"?
      >
      >The preface to the NRSV does state, "Only in very rare instances have we
      >[i.e., the NRSV committee] replaced the text or the punctuation of the
      >Bible Societies' edition by an alternative that seemed to us to be
      >superior."
      >
      >It seems somewhat odd to me that the NRSV would make a change to a
      >B-rated reading in UBS4. Yes, I am familiar with the difficulties of
      >translating 1:18 without "son" but that doesn't justify overturning
      >textual evidence.
      >
      >Jeff Cate, Ph.D.
      >Associate Professor of Christian Studies
      >California Baptist University
      >Riverside, California 92504
      >
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    • Joseph Crea
      Hello Jeff! ... CREA Actually, the NRSV is pretty much in conformity with the majority of recent translations which claim to base themselves on UBS^3 and UBS^4
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 2, 1999
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        Hello Jeff!

        At 04:02 PM 11/2/99 -0800, you wrote:
        >Does anyone know why the NRSV committee chose to include "son" in Jn 1:18
        >instead of going with the UBS4 decision (rated B) to omit "son"?
        >
        >The preface to the NRSV does state, "Only in very rare instances have we
        >[i.e., the NRSV committee] replaced the text or the punctuation of the
        >Bible Societies' edition by an alternative that seemed to us to be
        >superior."
        >
        >It seems somewhat odd to me that the NRSV would make a change to a
        >B-rated reading in UBS4. Yes, I am familiar with the difficulties of
        >translating 1:18 without "son" but that doesn't justify overturning
        >textual evidence.


        CREA
        Actually, the NRSV is pretty much in conformity with the majority of
        recent translations which claim to base themselves on UBS^3 and UBS^4 --
        NAB, REB, NIV, TEV, CEV as well as the "God's Word" translation (just to
        name versions in my own library) all include some sort of "son" language at
        John 1:18. The note found in my copy of the NAB (with study helps)
        explains their choice of language as follows (italics shown by inclosure in
        angled brackets < >):


        "<The only Son, God>: while the vast majority of later textual
        witnesses have another reading, "the Son, the only one", or "the
        only Son", the translation above follows the best and earliest
        manuscripts, <monogEnes theos>, but takes the first term to mean
        not just "Only One", but to include a filial relationship with
        the Father, as at Luke 9:38 ("only child") or Heb. 11:17 ("only
        son") and as translated at John 1:14. The Logos is thus "only
        Son" and God, but not Father/God."


        CREA
        Hope that this helps.


        With Mettaa,

        Joseph Crea
        <Joseph.Crea@...>
      • Maurice A. Robinson
        On Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:02:23 -0800 ... [snip] The real problem with the NRSV (or NAB as Dykes noted) is that their rendering God the only Son is a
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 3, 1999
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          On Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:02:23 -0800
          <tc-list-owner@...> writes:

          >Does anyone know why the NRSV committee chose to include "son" in Jn
          >1:18
          [snip]


          The real problem with the NRSV (or NAB as Dykes noted) is that their
          rendering "God the only Son" is a deliberately-conflated reading which
          has no Greek MS support. Perhaps this was a compromise to satisfy
          conflicting views on the NRSV committee or was considered to be an
          interpretative necessity?

          The NAB note quoted by Crea, ("the translation above follows the best and
          earliest manuscripts, <monogEnes theos>, but takes the first term to
          mean not just "Only One", but to include a filial relationship with the
          Father"), is, I suspect, an inadequate attempt to justify the otherwise
          unsupported conflation and to have the best of both worlds. I would note
          that the claim of the NAB editors in this note runs contrary to that
          stated by Frederick C. Grant, "'Only-Begotten' -- A Footnote to the R .S.
          V.", _Bible Translator_ 17 (1966) 11-14, where on p. 12 Grant
          specifically states that "in ordinary use _monogenes_ did not carry any
          more weight than _monos_, 'only'", referencing Moulton-Milligan, p. 416f.
          The matter of "Son" or any filial relation would still need to be stated
          following such a descriptive, as Grant demonstrates from NT, LXX, and
          extra-biblical usage.

          >Yes, I am familiar with the difficulties of translating 1:18 without
          "son" but that >doesn't justify overturning textual evidence.

          Preference for the reading "Son" is not exactly "overturning textual
          evidence," but merely making a different choice based on application of
          different principles to the same evidence. As I recall, Ehrman argues
          specifically for the originality of the Byzantine reading "Son" in this
          location, on the supposition that the Alexandrian reading of "God" was an
          "orthodox corruption" (this differs from Dykes' claim, so please correct
          me if I am wrong -- I don't have Bart's book close at hand, but I thought
          he argued for the originality of UIOS as opposed to the bare MONOGENHS as
          the original reading).


          ==============================================
          Maurice A. Robinson
          Professor of NT and Greek
          Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
          Wake Forest, North Carolina

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        • Bill Combs
          ... I have not followed this thread closely, but I wonder if God the only Son is simply the way the NRSV translators felt that MONOGENHS QEOS should be
          Message 4 of 5 , Nov 3, 1999
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            > From: "Maurice A. Robinson" <seventh.guardian@...>
            > Reply-To: tc-list@...
            > Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 12:52:01 EST
            > To: tc-list@...
            > Subject: Re: tc-list UBS4 & NRSV on Jn 1:18
            >
            > The real problem with the NRSV (or NAB as Dykes noted) is that their
            > rendering "God the only Son" is a deliberately-conflated reading which
            > has no Greek MS support. Perhaps this was a compromise to satisfy
            > conflicting views on the NRSV committee or was considered to be an
            > interpretative necessity?

            I have not followed this thread closely, but I wonder if "God the only Son"
            is simply the way the NRSV translators felt that MONOGENHS QEOS should be
            translated and thus this is not a textual issue at all. There is an article
            by Fennema, "John 1:18: 'God the Only Son'"(NTS 31 [January 1985]: 124­35),
            where this translation is argued as being the correct one.
            --
            Bill Combs
            Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
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