Friday, November 24, 2006

Kloha on the silence of the women

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One rather interesting paper at SBL was by Jeffrey Kloha of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. I can't remember whether Kloha has recently finished his PhD with Keith Elliott (Leeds), or whether he is nearing the end of it. Anyway, he presented an intriguing study entitled 'The Displacement of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in D F G and the Latin Tradition'.

The background to the discussion is, of course, the view, strongly articulated inter alios by Gordon Fee (The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 699-708) that these verses are inauthentic. Though they appear in all known Greek or versional manuscripts, the Greek-Latin bilingual manuscripts (D F G) and a number of Latin manuscripts place them after v. 40. They are rejected by Fee on 'transcriptional' and 'intrinsic' probability. One of the points in Fee's argument was that it is unlikely that the verses were 'displaced' from after v. 33 to after v. 40 since 'displacements of this kind do not occur elsewhere in the NT' (First Epistle, p. 700).

Enter Kloha.

Kloha claims to have been able to identify a series of displacements of exactly this sort in basically the same witnesses that have the verses after 1 Cor. 14:40.

The relevant examples are:

'and the church in their house' (Rom. 16:5 --> 16:3)
'and all the churches of Christ' (Rom. 16:16 --> 16:21)
'The grace of our Lord [Jesus Christ] be with you [all. Amen]' (Rom. 16:20 --> 16:24)
'With whom I am staying' (1 Cor. 16:19 from Acts 18:3)
'Be zealous for the better gifts' (Galatians 4:17 from 1 Cor. 12:31)
1 Cor. 14:34-35 --> after 1 Cor. 14:40

He observes certain features in common between some of these texts:
1) all the transpositions are triggered by 'key words'
2) church/churches (Rom. 16:3, 16; 1 Cor. 14:34)
3) interest in the role of Priscilla and her activity within the church (Rom. 16:3; 1 Cor. 16:19)

The possibility of a series of related transpositions is indeed intriguing and we will await eagerly the publication of Kloha's work. Two areas where clarification is needed are: 1) The overall explanation of how these are related. This is a point on which Larry Hurtado pressed Kloha; 2) The degree to which there are other transpositions that do not fit the pattern or explanation that Kloha has advanced.

22 comments


  1. One of the points in Fee's argument was that it is unlikely that the verses were 'displaced' from after v. 33 to after v. 40 since 'displacements of this kind do not occur elsewhere in the NT'.

    Romans 16:25-27 <<->> end of Romans 14?


    I'd be interested in Kloha's work on 1 Corinthians 14, even though I don't think Fee's arguments on this passage require strenuous efforts at refutation.

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  2. Kloha began his presentation by saying that yes, there are large wholesale displacements elsewhere in the NT akin to the Western displacement of the Silenced Women passage, and that, interestingly, they are found in the same mss which reflect the displacement of 1 Cor 14:34-35.

    This claim raised eyebrows, especially since Dr. Fee has cited the uniqueness of the passage's displacement as a reason for its inauthenticity.

    As it turns out, Kloha's examples of displaced texts were not of lengthy texts but of rather short phrases--perhaps too short to be truly comparable.

    Moreover, the issue as to whether these displacements were truly redactional was hardly discussed. I was left wondering whether displacement occured not so much as deliberate redactional activity, but as more mundane scribal accidence.

    As it turns out, when prompted by Dr. Parker, Kloha revealed that this sort of displacement (of minor texts) occurs all the time in these relevant witnesses. This struck me as negating the thesis that the five examples were redactional.

    Ultimately, Dr. Fee seemed to me too defferential, as he thanked Kloha for correcting his "obvious" overlooking of these examples.

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  3. I liked Kloha's paper, but I would like see the issue that Larry Hurtado brought up developed further when it is published.

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  4. Kloha argues that behind DFG is an early (second century) recension of the Pauline corpus. I think that it would be helpful to see all the evidence for this so that these editorial displacements could be placed in their broader context. Kloha has all the evidence in his PhD so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

    It will also be interesting to see how this compares with Trobisch's work on F and G working backwards.

    I thought it was a well presented paper - very clear and definitely worth publishing; contributing new information to a topical debate.

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  5. Jim, I don't think that Fee was too deferential. He was simply in the embarrassing situation of chairing a paper that was arguing against his own published work. The fact that he didn't abuse his position as chair to mount a counter-attack is just one of a number of things that made me think that he was a rather good chair.

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  6. A perusal of Fee's works will, I think, dsicover a general doctrinal position on the role of women in in the church that would make 1 Cor. 14.34-35 distasteful to him regardless of the MS evidence. I do not mean to question Dr. Fee's motives behind his interpretation of the textual data, but wonder if his views do not incline him strongly against the authenticity of the verses.

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  7. Josiah,
    Of course we all have commitments that influence our interpretation of the data. However, it is usually unhelpful to discuss personal motivation since to identify bias does not in anyway establish whether an argument is correct or not.

    However, it seems that Fee's view that 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is an interpolation is entirely consistent with his view of the transmission of the NT, which is less optimistic than mine about the state of the text within our extant witnesses.

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  8. (Yes, I think that presiding as chair of the session was an obvious factor in Dr. Fee's slight response to the paper.)

    I find it interesting, as a novice, to hear that Dr. Fee is reputed to lack a certain optimism about the text's transmission.

    I would have rather thought that Dr. Fee's conclusion that 1 Cor 14:34-35 was an interpolation is quite the exception for him, arising from the uniqueness of the textual data. For example, despite his long time association with Dr. Epp, I haven't seen any indication that he shares the kinds of reservations about the text reflected in Dr. Epp's more recent writings. Dr. Fee's tc comments in his God's Empowering Presence seem to betray some textual optimism. Am I missing something?

    By the way, Fee's argument against the authenticity of the silenced women passage has been buttressed by Dr. Epp in his book Junia.

    A further word about Kloha's paper.... Again, it was my understanding that he was arguing that DFG's displacement was redactionally motivated. Dr. Hurtado's question (cited above by Stephen Carlson), if my memory serves, was whether there was a discernible consistency in the redaction. That is to say, if DFG displaced these various texts for redactional purposes, they were done in such a way as to betray no obvious theological bent. In fact, if the purpose was to show that Priscilla was compliant with the silenced women passage, then some of the other displacements served to prove otherwise.

    Jim Leonard
    Southwest Pennsylvania USA

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  9. I'm not calling Fee a pessimist. Obviously the terms 'optimist' and 'pessimist' are relative, and I was only comparing his view with my own (of course he knows massively more than I do about the subject). However, this is based on an impression, not a quantitative analysis of discussion of variants in his 1 Cor. commentary. Epp is much more pessimistic and has spoken of his own increase in textual pessimism through his career.

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  10. Mr. Williams,

    I agree fully that "to identify bias does not in anyway establish whether an argument is correct or not," and that "we all have commitments that influence our interpretation of the data." But I think it is reasonable to be slightly suspicious of a somewhat unusual textual choice that supports or removes obstacles from a critic's personal views.

    I think that, since we do all have biases, we ought to help check the reasonableness of each others' choices. Not that I, a completely ignorant novice compared to Fee, have the right to judge whether Fee's choice is reasonable. I just wonder if it is really the choice which is best supported by the data.

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  11. Just to clarify a bit about whether Fee has any motives behind his interpolation argument: I've heard Fee say in a lecture on 1 Cor 14:34-35, that it was truly the textual evidence that he saw that lead him to argue that those verses were an interpolation. In fact he said he used to argue the opposite for a long time, until, when he was writing his 1 Corinthians commentary, he was 'forced to change his mind do to the overwhelming textual evidence'. I truly don't think his views on women in ministry have anything to do with him arguing those verses are an interpolation because as he puts it, those who say that it's original(those on both sides of the gender debate), then spend all their time trying to explain how Paul couldn't be saying what he seems to. There are plenty of explanations out there that have been given to deal with this verse and soften it or explain it away, that he could subscribe to to help him deal with those verses besides calling it an interpolation. That's one of the reasons why I don't really see him using the argument of interpolation to get around it, because there's so many other arguments he could have used instead. Anyway that's just my opinion.

    BTW I was wondering if PJ Williams or Peter Head or any of the other text critics on this blog could estimate how well received is Fee's argument for interpolation among text critics. I've seen how many NT scholars feel about his views but I'm more curious about how text critics, those who are actually familiar with and specialize in the issues of textual criticism, feel about his argument. Thanks

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  12. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, p. 184 n. 4, approves of Fee's argument. I think Epp also approves in his Junia of which I do not have a copy to hand.

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  13. But all of Kloha's examples of transpositions in D F G are in Rom 16, which was absent from the western text until it was inserted from elsewhere. Western ancestor manuscripts had a 14 chapter version of Romans. See Gamble, pages 15-33. So Kloha's argument is reversed. His examples show a tendency to make transpositions ONLY with text that was absent and was being imported from a second manuscript. Therefore 1 Cor 14:34-35 was also likely absent from the western ancestor until it was inserted. Hebrews is another example of a previously absent text that was added to a western manuscript in a probably novel location (it appears at the end of D06). So Fee's argument stands and is strengthened isn't it?

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    1. Hi Richard,

      There are plenty of other cases where "displacement" (or translocation) occurs within the MS. tradition (some of which are quite well known). Thus, Fee's original claim that: 'displacements of this kind do not occur elsewhere in the NT'– is clearly incorrect, for examples of every sort are available. Whether the portion of text be large or small; and whether the translocation is near (i.e. local) or far matters not. Even to the point where the displaced passage finds itself in an entirely different book of the NT. All of these phenomenon can be found within our extant Greek NT MSS.

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    2. Give some relevant examples.

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    3. Matthew M. Rose2/13/2021 8:38 pm

      All of these phenomena*...

      Yes, off course.

      See:

      • Matt. 16:2b-3—>>9 579

      • Matt. 23:13<<–>>14

      • Matt. 24:40 w/var.–>>Luke 17:36

      • Mark 10:24–>>25 D it a,b,d, ff2

      • Luke 6:5—>>6:10 in codex D. Here a Targum-like insertion is made at vs.5, after which "Codex Bezae transfers ver. 5 after ver. 10" –Metzger TCGNT
      (Swanson is where I was originally informed of this instance.)

      • Luke 23:17–>>19 D italic d, syr c,s.

      • Luke 22:43-44–>>Matt. 26:39 f13

      • John 7:53-8:11–>>John 7:36, 21:25, Luke 21:38, 24:53, etc.

      • John 8:6a—>>8:11 M (021)

      • John 18:13-27 has multiple oddities of this sort to address. See U.B.S. apparatus.

      • John 19:24 w/var.–>>Matt 27:35 Δ Θ 0250 f1 f13 etc.

      • (John 19:34) the gist of which found its way to Matt. 27:49 in some witnesses.

      • Rom. 16:24–>>27 P 33 104 256 Syr.P etc...

      • Rom. 16:25-27–>>end of ch. 14
      or vice versa (although P46 places the passage at 15:33). The placement of which (16:25-27<<—>>end of ch. 14) was probably caused by the fact that some MSS. of Romans were deprived of the final two chapters.

      • I Cor. 14:34-5–>>14:40


      This is the extent of my own personal list (which includes both contested and uncontested passages). Possible, and in some cases very probable explanations include: Scribal error (HT), harmonization, assimilation, liturgical influence, and redaction (i.e. Marcion). I've never particularly sought these out, but only logged down those which came to my attention; and for the primary purpose of combating some commonly made claims concerning the purportedly unheard of happenstance that a block of text can be displaced;— i.e. the so call floating (or orphan) pericope adultera. Burgon, J.M. Ross, Van Lopik and Snapp have all touched upon this to some degree.





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    4. Thanks for that very useful list, Matthew.

      Theory 1: When a manuscript that completely lacked a chunk of text was brought together with a manuscript that included the text, a copyist or editor could copy the text from the second manuscript and place it in a new location ( for example, so as not to disrupt the flow of the primary manuscript).

      Theory 2: Editors and/or copyists made transpositions of large chunks of text in one step without ever seeing a manuscript that lacked the text.

      Most of your examples support theory 1. In the following cases the text is absent from the earliest manuscripts:
      Matt 16:2b-3, 9
      Matt 23:12c, 14
      Luke 23:17, 19
      Luke 22:43-44; Matt 26:39.
      John 7:53-8:11; 7:36; 21:25; Luke 21:38; 24:53.

      Mark 10:25 was likely omitted by an eye skip because of the repetition of ω εις την βασιλειαν του θυ εισελθειν. D or a predecessor then reintroduced it before verse 24.

      Luke 6:5 could easily have been lost from the ancestor of D when the agraphon against Sabbath observance was added in its place.

      John 8:6a, 11 This text is absent from D, probably because of a scribal skip due to the repetition of ο δε. Such an absence would explain why 021 reintroduced the text elsewhere.

      Rom 16:24, 27
      Rom 16:25-27; 14:23. These transposition occurred because of the previous absence of Rom 15-16 from manuscripts.

      The following cases support neither theory because they are not transpositions, for there are no manuscripts that omit the text from its initial location:
      Matt 24:40 -> Luke 17:36
      John 19:24 -> Matt 27:35
      John 19:34 -> Matt 27:49

      The only remain case from your list is John 18:13-27. I have not spent much time with this passage, but it seems that it was rearranged to resolve a contradiction. Verses 15, 16, and especially 19-23 make it clear that Jesus had already been brought before the high priest, and this is contradicted by 18:24, which states "Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. This creates a contradiction for those who do not realize that Annas was also a high priest. So 18:24 was brought forward to before verse 19, and ultimately to before verse 14. While this passage provides evidence for transposition of large chunks of text in a single step, there are special reasons for it that do not apply to 1 Cor 14:34-35.

      So, out of your 14 examples, 10 support theory 1, 3 are neutral, and only 1 supports theory 2.

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    5. Hello Richard.

      Sorry I missed your reply. I have located another dozen or so of these in my notes recently, and thought you may like to see a couple of the more interesting examples.

      • Matt 25:30 —>> Luke 19:27

      • John 8:55 —>> 7:30


      In both cases, G(011) omits the portion (more or less) which is displaced. There's quite a bit going on in these locations,— but I think you'll enjoy working thru them. I'm not 100% sure if I understand exactly what you're seeking, and I have categorized these translocations & transpositions in a different manner than you have. Basically by distance and size, i.e. local translocation, large or small block of text, etc.. Many of these were also buried in other lists: whole vs. omissions, assimilation, harmonizations, etc.. Other than that, I generally affix probable/possible explanations and beyond that I haven't gone much further. So your input is valued, although I don't consider the omission of I Cor. 14:34-35 to be a viable option; if that's what you're trying to muster support for. Nor have I spent any effort on logging down smaller clauses which have suffered a similar fate (a la Kloha). Even so, I appreciate your interest. –MMR

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    6. Interesting. The words were likely accidentally omitted from John 8:55 because of the repetition of οιδα αυτον.

      It seems that when an absent text was added, under the influence of a second manuscript, it was often added in a novel location. Do we have examples of transpositions of large chunks of text that lack evidence of the text being absent from an ancestor? If not, then Fee's conclusion that 1 Cor 14:34-35 was absent from an ancestor of D F G is confirmed, isn't it? Or to put my question another way, do we have examples of transpositions that happened in one step, without the text ever being absent? When you write that you do not consider "the omission of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 to be a viable option", do you mean that these verses would not have dropped out of a text stream that originally included them, or do you mean that these verses were in Paul's autograph?

      Another multi-word transposition in 1 Corinthians is at 1:2. The words τη ουση εν Κορινθω were absent for a time and were inserted in a new location four words away.

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    7. "The words were likely accidentally omitted from John 8:55 because of the repetition of οιδα αυτον."

      Agreed, homoeoteleuton is very likely here.


      In regards to the who, what, when, where, why and how: I wouldn't try to draw such hard lines (personally), because nearly everything imaginable can (and for the most part has) happened at one time or another, in the Greek MS. tradition of the NT. I think the simplest explanation is that the verses were accidentally dropped, (perhaps: v.33 ΕΚΚΛΗCΙΑΙCTWNAΓΙWN & v.35 EΚΚΛΕCIAΛΑΛΕΙΝ caused the initial confusion?)—and then the scribe reinserted the omitted portion when the cadence and context was most suitable, i.e. after vs. 40,—so as to not interrupt the flow.

      "When you write that you do not consider "the omission of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 to be a viable option", do you mean that these verses would not have dropped out of a text stream that originally included them, or do you mean that these verses were in Paul's autograph?"

      Well, we have no evidence that the passage in question was ever absent from any witness, so I don't see the purpose of speculating upon these lines. And I see no reason to doubt that these verses were in Paul's original autograph to begin with. Every bit of evidence we have includes them after vs.33, save, a rather weak grouping that transposed them after vs. 40. This, I would consider, 'the exception that makes the rule.'

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  14. Thanks, Matthew. The entire word ΕΚΚΛΗCΙΑΙC is repeated exactly in D,F,G. Your suggestion that this caused an eye skip is much more appealing to me right now than Kloha's approach. However, it is a long leap to a single word. How can we estimate the probability of this occurring? What is the frequency of such leaps in the bilinguals (whether corrected by deletion or by making a transposition)? Perhaps we will need to examine images.
    I have a question for you that is a little off-topic. Can you contact me on my blog? http://paulandco-workers.blogspot.com

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    1. I think that homoiomeson (h.a./h.m.) is the most probable explanation, and obviously the length would be the primary check for being too dogmatic about this conclusion. Albeit, there are many examples of omissions of this length within the transmission history,—and homoioteleuton, homoioarcton, (and to a far lesser extent homoiomeson,) are oftentimes the most probable explanation.


      "However, it is a long leap to a single word."

      Yes, but it's also a long word, and I think that the, "entire word ΕΚΚΛΗCΙΑΙC"—being, "repeated exactly in D,F,G" is somewhat of a 'smoking gun.'


      "How can we estimate the probability of this occurring? What is the frequency of such leaps in the bilinguals (whether corrected by deletion or by making a transposition)?"


      I have a very extensive list of long omissions, and codex D is a primary offender to be sure. Let me take a look at what I have and I'll get back to you.

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