Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Three new verses in Romans 14

In a recent conversation with Bruce Morill on the indexing of a Romans manuscript (GA 1506), he pointed out that I had indexed a particular page as Rom 14:23-15:8, though the correct indexing is Rom 14:23; 16:25-27; Rom15:1-8. Of course he was right, but it made me think about how just this way of numbering verses is.

It is a well known textual issue that most manuscripts have the verses that are numbered 16:25-27 in our modern editions at the end of Romans 14. And just by numbering them as part of chapter 16 we are making a judgement call.

The solution is obvious. We need Romans 14:24-26. Not just so because it is easier to index all those manuscripts that have text at this place, but also because this reflects the Bibles that were used for hundreds of years. And if I wanted to sound a little more contemporary, I could say things such as that we need these verse numbers as a matter of respect to the actual artefacts we are working with. Or, Why impose our theories on these documents?

On checking this phenomenon in some editions, I found, not unsurprisingly, that there is at least one edition out that contains Romans 14:24-26, the Byzantine Textform edition by our own Maurice Robinson (congratulations, you beat me to it). And for a moment I thought we had something similar in von Soden as well. Look at this page, where we have a note on a verse 24:

But alas, this is a wandering note that got lost here and perhaps should have been placed at Romans 8:26.

Still, we need Romans 14:24-26, regardless whether we believe that the words found also in 16:25-27 should be there. Time to end this colonial nonsense and give a home back to the dispossed.


  1. I agree with Dirk. Using Rom. 16:25-27 is a value judgement on the text. How do we know for sure that the initial text did not have it at both locations? It is possible it did.

  2. Why do almost all the versions have the verses at the end of ch. 16?

    Versiones non mentiuntur.

  3. Dirk,
    A good point, well said; and the SBLGNT apparatus presents the verses in question as 14:24-26.

    Mike Holmes

  4. I'll advocate for the opposition, because this is a matter of moving the old landmarks. Stephanus gave us the form of the Textus Receptus that is still used for collation, and with it came the versification system without which collation would be incredibly difficult.

    It's bad enough now not knowing which Matthew 23:13 is being deleted in a text, or arguing over how many verses are in 2 John.

    First establish Maurice Robinson's text as the standard of collation, and only then it would be an easy matter to follow his versification as well.

  5. I prefer to retain the Oxford 1873 TR as the standard of collation, but this has nothing to do with the artificial versification within a printed edition.

    If the Romans doxology appears at the end of chapter 14 (as it does in most MSS), it would seem that it could be referenced in collations either as 14:24-26 or as a pseudo-transposed 16:25-27 at that point, although given its prevalence among the MSS, I would prefer the former.

  6. I would also note that not only RP2005 and H-F have the Romans doxology at the end of chapter 14, but also the Antoniades Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Edition.

  7. First things first: Many thanks to Dr. Jongkind for inputing manuscript indexing info.!

    I think there are two practical things. For editions (such as the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine GNT), it would be odd for the versification to go from 14:23 to 16:25 _in the text_! But for indexing, it's important to have some standard of versification and to stick with it. I understand the historical and numerical arguments, but we've already been using these verses for 463 years (and thank God for them!) and now to alter them here and there could create confusion.

    Jonathan C. Borland

  8. Sorry to ask this question here, but I have a question for inputing Syriac in Unicode.

    Is there any way to input (1) the so-called linea occultans (a line above or below a letter) and (2) the so-called syāmē (two dots placed above plural nouns and adjectives)? If so, how? If not, why not?


  9. Might a solution be found in the LXX where there is a need to match up LXX with Hebrew chapter and verse numbering? Some editions will have one verse number, followed by (in brackets) a different verse number.

    However, this solution might only create a dispute as to what is outside and what is inside the brackets.

    Matthew Hamilton

  10. Hi,

    Maurice Robinson
    "If the Romans doxology appears at the end of chapter 14 (as it does in most MSS)"

    Most Greek mss.

    Stephanus, who is being discussed, also looked at the ancient Latin manuscripts and editions and Theodore Beza was, in addition, familiar with the Syriac edition. And these strongly join the minority of Greek mss and a number of uncials in the traditional location. Plus other versionals.

    (Noting that the Latin tradition has its own issues with minority mss contra the last two chapters or in a different location.)

    Plus we have the comment about most manuscripts from Jerome, combined with his traditional placement as in the TR.

    And we have complex ECW considerations from Origen and Clement and others (though these tend to support more the existence of the doxology than the placement.)

    Greek ms. single-focus should not be assumed in any such discussion, and you might take out long time traditional texts like Acts 8:37 and the heavenly witnesses and 1 John 2:23b :) .. if you are overemphasizing the majority of Greek ms.(judgment calls).

    Granted, Maurice Robinson was not advocating moving the verses around in collation materials.

    And Dirk Jongkind was writing with irony mixed into analysis, looking for a home for the dispossessed.

    As an apparatus location, the request for new verses is sensible, up to a point, also difficult, and likely to have a net negative effect.

    You also have mss with the verses in two locations, or not at all, or the ending of verse 15. Overall, our current Received ext location is fine, and variants can be noted.

    Granted the situation is not elegant when discussing a Greek ms with the section in ch. 14. Which brings us back to the OP circle.

    Yours in Jesus,
    Steven Avery
    Bayside, NY

  11. I think that P46 alone preserves the proper location of the doxology. It doesn't fit well after chapter 14 or after Tertius's postscript, but it fits perfectly after chapter 15.

    In Chapter 15 Paul states that all scripture was written aforetime for our instruction; in the doxology Paul states that the mystery is made known through the prophetic writings. In chapter 15 Paul states that he wants to preach the gospel where it has not been heard before; in the doxology Paul states that the mystery was kept secret for long ages. In Chapter 15 Paul states that the Gentiles should "glorify God for his mercy," "rejoice," and "praise the Lord;" in the doxology Paul states that the Gentiles should come to the obedience of faith.

    Moreover, Paul never has long doxologies at the end of his letters, and inserting the doxology between chapter 14 and chapter 15 seriously disrupts the flow of Paul's argument.

    Hence, due to internal evidence, I think that the doxology almost certainly belongs at the end of chapter 15. Its inclusion at the end of chapter 14 in some manuscripts can be ascribed to the editorial activity of Marcion, who omitted all of chapter 15 and 16 and closed with the doxology. Its inclusion at the end of chapter 16 in some manuscripts can be ascribed to scribes who did not think that Tertius' postscript was not a suitable conclusion for Paul's magnum opus.