tc-list John 1:18 and UBS3,4
- Dr. Cate wrote (in part):
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
Mr. Dykes replies:
The "textual evidence" for John 1:18 varies, but basically the focus is
between the words "Son" or "God" as being original (and one may want to
recall one of Origen's, and a Vulgate witness', famous omission of either
word following "uniquely-generated"). In determining which reading is the
original, the critic should be aware that certain personal philosophies
(theologies) may impinge upon one's decision.
One fact which is clear about the UBS editions, is that they do usually give
preference to the earliest witnesses, which is why each of them (editions
1 - 4) gives the nod to "God", as does all editions of the NA handbooks.
Along with the fact that this reading appears to be the more difficult, I am
sure the UBS committee felt safe with its "B" rating here, though A. Wikgren
wisely suggested a "D" rating here.
The NAB referred to by J. Crea is surely a conflation, combining the
alternatives into one reading which fits current/ancient Catholic (a.k.a.
"western") liturgy quite well (a coincidence?). This conflation is also seen
in the Sahidic version. Tasker, in my opinion, points to the correct text
and hits upon the original (without the later "Son" or "God"), I quote
Tasker in the appendix of THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, Oxford, by R.V.G. Tasker:
page 424f: [note Tasker put "Son" in his text.]
...It was thought possible that the second alternative reading [the
uniquely-generated Son] quoted, o monogenenhs, though it is represented only
in a single MS. of the Latin Vulgate, might have given rise to the other
Tasker is "responding" to one of Hort's dissertations on this passage (which
I have not before me). Hort also suggests that there was no "controversy"
(in the famous "Notes on Select Readings" W&H) surrounding either reading.
To this I object. Bart Ehrman in his ORTHODOX CORRUPTION OF SCRIPTURE, also
brings good scholarship to bear upon the issue here, and suggests that the
oldest witnesses did add "God" to an original "uniquely-generated". The
original text to me, ...the uniquely-generated" (without "Son" or "God") was
altered by theological opinions on this hot topic in early Christianity.
Alexandrian versus Syrian versus Western.
So Dr. Cate, there are times when the "textual evidence" can be misleading
to those who are bound by the scientific canons of textual criticism. I know
not Dr. Metzger's personal theology, but I know the methodology of the
German critics - they usually follow the scientific method oblivious to any
theological perspectives (in most cases). I also suggest that you rely upon
your own theology for assistance in determining which variant is valid in
CERTAIN passages. At times the majority may not be correct, I am usually
suspect when everyone follows or is part of the "herd", obey the warning
at your service,
Mr. Gary S. Dykes
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