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New Readings in NA28: James, I Peter, II Peter

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  • Vox Verax
    Stan Helton, who is studying at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is also working as a research assistant at the Center for New Testament
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 24, 2012
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      Stan Helton, who is studying at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is also working as a research assistant at the Center for New Testament Textual Studies, is posting about the textual changes in NA28, at his blog at http://stansscholia.wordpress.com/ . Here's a summary of what he noticed in James, First Peter, and Second Peter, with some comments from me.

      James (5 changes)

      1:20 – from OUK ERGAZETAI to OU KATERGAZETAI. (A minor change, from "does not produce" to "does not produce forth."

      2:3 – from EKEI H KAQOU to H KAQOU EKEI. (yielding "you stand, or sit there")

      2:4 – from OU DIEKRIQHTE to KAI OU DIEKRIQHTE. (*And* do you not judge)

      2:15 – from LEIPOMENOI to LEIPOMENOI WSIN. (yielding "and *is* destitute of daily food", returning to the reading of Byz and Stephanus 1550.)

      4:10 – from KURIOU to TOU KURIOU. (A return to the reading of Byz and Stephanus 1550.)

      First Peter (8 changes)

      1:6 – from LUPHQENTES to LUPHQENTAS. This one-letter shift can yield a subtle change of meaning, from "it was necessary for you to be given cause to grieve," to "it was necessary for you to grieve."

      1:16 – the words OTI and EIMI, previously bracketed, are now gone.

      2:5 – the word TW, previously bracketed, is now gone.

      2: - from ALLA to ALL'

      4:16 – from ONOMATI to MEREI. (yielding "behalf" or "cause" instead of "name.") The Byz reading is adopted. This is a fairly popular verse, so this change is sure to be noticed.

      5:1 – from OUN to TOUS. (yielding "the" instead of "therefore.") Again the Byz reading is adopted.

      5:9 – the word TW, previously bracketed, is now gone.

      5:10 – the word IHSOU, previously bracketed, is now gone. (yielding "in Christ" instead of "in Christ Jesus.") The text of NA28 here now relies on Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (which has EN TW CRISTW), a smattering of minuscules and one Sahidic MS. There can be no doubt that this will be noticed by those who want to adopt the reading of Codex Sinaiticus in Second Peter 1:2. Clearly Royse wasted his time as far as the NA28 editors are concerned (and Holmes, whose SBLGNT also omits IHSOU here). Looks like "Prefe th shorte readin" is still kickin', when the shorter reading is supported by Aleph and B.

      Second Peter (10 changes)

      2:6 – from ASEBE[S]IN to ASEBEIN. (See Metzger for a description of the effect on translation.) P72 gets rejected again, this time in favor of the Byz reading.

      2:11 – From PARA KURIOU to PARA KURIW (yielding "in the Lord's presence" instead of "from the Lord.") Again P72's reading is rejected in favor of the Byz reading. Considering the inconsistency of Greek texts regarding this variant-unit, the text should be classified as unstable here.

      2:15 from KATALEIPONTES to KATALIPONTES.

      2:18 from OLIGWS to ONTWS. (yielding "those who indeed escaped" instead of "those who barely escaped.") Remarkable! In UBS4, OLIGWS was ranked as an A-level reading, indicating that the editors considered the text certain. And now the editors of NA28 present us with a reversal of that. Again the Byz reading has been adopted, which means that the testimony of P72 and B and the Vulgate, combined, has been overruled.

      Sloppy handwriting accounts for ONTWS: write OLIGWS in uncials, with the final leg of the L sliding into the following I. Then write the G so as to begin the horizontal bar slightly to the left of the vertical stroke. Voila; you thus produce ONTWS. But it is much less likely that anyone writing ONTWS would separate the strokes of N so as to form L and I.

      2:20 – The word HMWN, previously bracketed, is now gone.

      3:6 – from DI WN to DI ON. Considering the scarceness of Greek support for DI ON, this is /almost/ a conjectural emendation. That would be really shocking, to have a conjectural emendation despite having the most external evidence available that any textual critics have ever had. Of course with the current embarrassment of riches at our disposal, conjectural emendation is never . . . waitaminute here . . . .

      3:10 – from EUREQHSETAI to OUC EUREQHSETAI. The well-supported reading that was in NA27, and which may reflect a Hebrew idiom (congruent to the way one might say "exposed" today; cf. Ezekiel 16:37, 23:29b), has been replaced with a reading that is not found in any Greek manuscript. Readers here in the USA should prepare to hear/read advocates of the Comma Johanneum pounce on this, saying, "Sure, in terms of Greek support, the CJ has only a smattering of MSS in its favor, but so what? That's more than what your compiled-by-experts NA28 has in Second Peter 3:10. The whopper-jogged grammar, which was noticed by Gregory Nazianzus, demands that the CJ be included."

      3:16 – from EPISTOLAIS to TAIS EPISTOLAIS. Byz is adopted; P72 is rejected.

      3:16 – from STREBLOUSIN to STREBLWSOUSIN. P72 finally wins one. The introduction of a syllable makes the twisting/misinterpreting a foreseen possibility, rather than an observed certainty.

      3:18 – The word AMHN, previously in brackets, is now gone. Considering how ancient and widespread the evidence is for inclusion, this decision, like the one in 3:10, should be regarded as an outstanding example of the results of thoroughgoing (or "radical") eclecticism. Helton likes the NA28 decision here, stating that although "Amen" is a natural conclusion in liturgy, it would have been odd in the epistle. But this seems to overlook that the epistle was addressed to churches, and was initially read in church-gatherings, so the author, being aware that letters from church-leaders were read in the church-gatherings, would be very likely to perceive that a concluding "Amen" would be practically necessary, so as not to leave the listeners hanging. And one should ask, if the tendency to add a final "Amen" was as widespread as its presence at the end of Second Peter implies, on the premise that this "Amen" is not original, why wasn't "Amen" naturally added likewise in Byz at the end of James?

      +++++++

      That's only 23 variant-units examined, from James and I & II Peter. It's not really enough to redefine the character of a Greek New Testament. But so far, most of the translation-affecting changes in NA28 look artistic more than they look scientific.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
    • Jonathan C. Borland
      Dear James, I appreciate your post and comments on the changes in NA28. ... Regarding the OLIGWS vs. ONTWS variation in 2 Pet 2:18, I still don t see why
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 25, 2012
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        Dear James,

        I appreciate your post and comments on the changes in NA28.

        2:18 from OLIGWS to ONTWS. (yielding "those who indeed escaped" instead of "those who barely escaped.") Remarkable! In UBS4, OLIGWS was ranked as an A-level reading, indicating that the editors considered the text certain. And now the editors of NA28 present us with a reversal of that. Again the Byz reading has been adopted, which means that the testimony of P72 and B and the Vulgate, combined, has been overruled.

        Sloppy handwriting accounts for ONTWS: write OLIGWS in uncials, with the final leg of the L sliding into the following I. Then write the G so as to begin the horizontal bar slightly to the left of the vertical stroke. Voila; you thus produce ONTWS. But it is much less likely that anyone writing ONTWS would separate the strokes of N so as to form L and I.


        Regarding the OLIGWS vs. ONTWS variation in 2 Pet 2:18, I still don't see why scribal alteration due to similarity of lettering could not have gone in both directions. If the majuscule lettering of ONTWS is similar to OLIGWS, then the lettering of OLIGWS is similar to ONTWS. Thus if either one was written sloppily or the ink beginning to fade, it could have been confused for the other.

        Sincerely,

        Jonathan C. Borland
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