Tricky Variant in Gal. 4:7... Need Help

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Greektim, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    So the NA & UBS text read:
    ωστε ουκετι ει δουλος αλλα υιος ει δε υιος και κληρονομος δια θεου
    "so that you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then also an heir through God."

    The variant I am struggling with is "... an heir of God through Christ" κληρονομος θεου δια χριστου
    The variant makes good theological sense. The dia with the genitive implies the intermediate agent. And we are told that believers are heirs of God and co heirs with Christ in other places in Paul. So this construction seems strained. But then that makes it the less difficult reading. The more difficult reading would be to make God the intermediate agent with the dia rather than the ultimate agent. So internal evidence, as always, is self conflicting.

    The external evidence is tricky. The NA/UBS reading has P46 א A B C 33 1739 lat bo CL. Mostly Alexandrian with a bit of western in there as well.

    The variant (which I prefer theologically) has Aleph2 Family330manuscripts C3 D 0278 Byz ar sy. So this has testimony from all 3 text types, though the Alexandrian is quite weak.

    In addition there are other variants that seem to correct the "through God" reading to "because of God" (changing "God" from genitive to accusative). There are other minor variants that correspond with the variant above like "heirs of God through Jesus Christ" or "heirs through Christ". These have decent Alexandrian support along with the Western and Byzantine.

    If you want to see a more detailed MSS list, use wwww.laparola.net/greco/

    Here is my major struggle. I want to say that the Byzantine variant is the better reading, largely because of geographical diversity (yay Sturz). However, I am having a hard time explaining how the Alexandrian "heirs through God" arose.
    How do you go from the Byz reading to the Alexandrian one?
    ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΟΣΘΥΔΙΑΙΥ to ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΟΣΔΙΘΥ?
    (Forgive the incorrect uncial font, since there is no uncial font here).
     
  2. Van

    Van
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    Here is the NET footnote:

    12tc The unusual expression διὰ θεοῦ (dia qeou, “through God”) certainly prompted scribes to alter it to more customary or theologically acceptable ones such as διὰ θεόν (dia qeon, “because of God”; F G 1881 pc), διὰ Χριστοῦ (dia Cristou, “through Christ”; 81 630 pc sa), διὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (dia Ihsou Cristou, “through Jesus Christ”; 1739c), θεοῦ διὰ Χριστοῦ (“[an heir] of God through Christ”; א2 C3 D [P] 0278 [6 326 1505] Ï ar sy), or κληρονόμος μὲν θεοῦ, συγκληρονόμος δὲ Χριστοῦ (klhronomo" men qeou, sugklhronomo" de Cristou, “an heir of God, and fellow-heir with Christ”; Ψ pc [cf. Rom 8:17]). Although it is unusual for Paul to speak of God as an intermediate agent, it is not unprecedented (cf. Gal 1:1; 1 Cor 1:9). Nevertheless, Gal 4:7 is the most direct statement to this effect. Further testimony on behalf of διὰ θεοῦ is to be found in external evidence: The witnesses with this phrase are among the most important in the NT (Ì46 א* A B C* 33 1739*vid lat bo Cl).

    The NASB, LEB and NET all go with "through God." Our first question is Paul referring to the Father or the Son? It appears the act of the Father to send forth the Spirit of His Son is in view.
     
  3. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Most place the emphasis on internal proof of the more difficult reading. I get that. I can see why a scribe might opt to change it to fit more customary theological consistent renderings.

    I think "God' left as it is typically refers to the Father in Paul's writings.
     
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  4. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Wow... come on people.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The Alexandrian reading is the result of simple carelessness. As I know from translating the NT, it is very easy to leave off a few letters and change a word, think one thing and write another, etc. Adding letters or words is much less likely, and usually due to deliberation.

    In this specific case, simple inattention could cause the scribe to move θεοῦ to the place of χριστοῦ.
     
    #5 John of Japan, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  6. banana

    banana
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    I think the whole "more difficult reading" thing is dumb. What variants should be used, should be based on how the old the reading is, how many manucscripts have it, etc.

    Not "shorter reading is preferred" or "more difficult".

    In this case "through God" does have better manuscript support though.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Welcome to the BB, and this forum in particular.
    You're giving mixed signals here. I agree with you about the "more difficult reading" and "shorter reading is preferred" canons, but both of those are in play here for the UBS editors to give the nod to the Alexandrian reading.

    As for "through God" having better mss support, this is only if you lean Alexandrian. There is a ton of Byzantine support for "through Christ." Even Jerome attested to this reading according to the UBS3 apparatus.
     
  8. HankD

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    John Burgon's 7 Tests of Truth

    John Burgon, The Traditional Text, pp. 28-29

    http://www.deanburgonsociety.org/DeanBurgon/dbs2771.htm

    HankD
     
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  9. Van

    Van
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    The likelihood scribes "fixed" the text by altering it to the "easier" reading seems sound to me.
     
  10. HankD

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    Yes on the one hand Van, but on the other hand one can say that was the way it was (the "easier" reading) in the first place.

    The more complex being conflations or copying blunders

    The recently (relatively speaking) discovery of papyri which have earlier source dates than the Alexandrian favorites have many variants which agree with the Traditional Text(s).

    HankD
     
  11. Greektim

    Greektim
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    This is why I find internal arguments unhelpful and subjective.

    External data is far more objective, and I am conflicted on that.

    But I think it helps to be explain how one reading brought about the others. And it seems that the "through God" reading can easily and best explain the others. I'm having a hard time with the "of God through Jesus" reading explaining anything. The reason I didn't like John of Japan's answer is that the word order had to be switched to make it work. If "of God through Jesus" went to "through God", then "God" and "through" were switched. That seems unlikely for me. I was hoping for a visual error.
     
    #11 Greektim, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  12. Van

    Van
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    When dealing with two (or more) variants and the possibility one was altered, the idea that the easier reading was altered to the hard reading is less likely, which would be the case if the easier reading was the one changed.

    All this to say, this is one factor possibly pointing to "through God" rather than "through Christ." But this is not the only factor. :)
     
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  13. HankD

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    I fully agree.

    I just wanted to mention that there is the possibility of scribal conflation and/or when going from one text to the other a scribal adding of words by mistake.

    However I do agree that in many/most cases you are correct in your assumption.

    HankD
     
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  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Actually, my point was not that "God" and "through" had switched places, but that "Christ" had dropped out, and "God" moved over to replace it. I've not looked, but I'm pretty sure many such unintentional errors can be found in the mss.
     
  15. Greektim

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    To be honest, that explanation is simply not academically satisfying. I find it to be far weaker, although I favor the external support.
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "academically satisfying, but it is practically satisfying. Scribal error is way under-considered and under-reported in textual criticism, as Colwell and Robinson have proved.
     
  17. Van

    Van
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    Consider the facts:
    1) Through God
    2) Because of God
    3) Through Christ
    4) Through Jesus Christ
    5) [an heir] of God through Christ
    6) an heir of God and fellow-heir with Christ

    To look at that and conclude it started out as "through Christ" and all these others were accidents is absurd.
     
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  18. Greektim

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    The option I like is #5 "of God through Christ" (though why you added "[an heir]" in brackets to 5 and then normal in 6 but not 1-4 is a bit strange).

    I have a hard time seeing this getting reduced intentionally or accidentally to "through God". "Christ" would have to be omitted and "God" transposed after the preposition "through". I can't see how a scribe could do this accidentally. That is what I meant by not be academically satisfying.

    #2 clearly arose from #1 intentionally.

    #6 is taken from Romans

    #5 has good MSS support and explain readings #3 and #4 (though #3 could be an intentional change from #1 as well).

    So the real issue is between #1 and #5.
    I can make sense how you can go from #1 to #5. But the external support is more localized for #1.
    I can't make good sense how you can go from #5 to #1. But the external support is more geographically spread out for #5.
     
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  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Here is another scenario, provided by my favorite textual critic. First of all, note the readings in parallel.

    Byz ωστε ουκετι ει δουλος αλλα υιος ει δε υιος καικληρονομος θεου δια χριστου
    Alex ωστε ουκετι ει δουλος αλλα υιος ει δε υιος καικληρονομος δια θεου

    Note the underlined parts. This could be a scribal error in which the scribe's attention jumped from upsilon to upsilon, assuming what is called a nomina sacra abbreviation (sacred name), θυδιαχυ.

    As my friend wrote me, "This would result in κληρονομος θυ, which would make sense as is, but if the scribe also in his mind remembered something about δια ... well, then, the needed 'correction' would be obvious."
     
  20. Van

    Van
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    "Further testimony on behalf of διὰ θεοῦ is to be found in external evidence: The witnesses with this phrase are among the most important in the NT (Ì46 א* A B C* 33 1739*vid lat bo Cl)." The external evidence supports "through God."
     

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