Thursday, January 12, 2012

HMWN in Gal 1.3: the problem of arguments from Pauline style


So there is an interesting textual question in Galatians 1.3 about the position of HMWN. P46, as shown above has the HMWN following K[URIO]U. In ET: 'Grace and peace from God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ'. This reading is without doubt the best attested reading: P46, P51, B D F G H 075 1739 1881 Byz vg sy sa. It is also the reading which explains the other readings. But it is interesting that it is not the text of NA/UBS. As Metzger noted: they preferred the reading which accords with Pauline style. This proposed original text was then ‘altered by copyists who, apparently in the interest of Christian piety, transferred the possessive pronoun so it would be more closely associated with “Lord Jesus Christ”.’ TCGNT, p. 520.
Why pious scribes made this alteration to Galatians and left Rom, 1 & 2 Cor, Eph and Phil apparently untouched is not discussed. Nor is the tendency of scribes to harmonise towards a standard feature of Pauline style (as can in fact be seen in Col 1.2 [01 A C 075 Byz it etc. add supplement] and 1 Thess 1.1 [01 A (D) 33 Byz etc. add supplement).
A better solution is probably to follow the text of P46, the weight of the external evidence, and the Holmes/SBLGNT text (which I just checked).


  1. Well, my dissertation comes to the same conclusion, so let me canvass some arguments I've found against it.

    The strongest intrinsic argument in favor the NA/UBS reading I've been able to find is Bernhard Weiss, who asserted that Paul never uses the pronoun ἡμῶν with an anarthrous κύριος. Weiss's position is more significant than it appears, since he seems overly enamored with B, but not here.

    Externally, this raises the problem of P46-B agreements with the Western text-type. A lot of people, since Hort, are not impressed by those.

  2. Thanks Stephen,
    I agree with Weiss that that is Paul's normal style, but I think the anarthrous KURIOS is more a product of the internal style of the grace and peace formula than Paul's general practice (outside of these we don't find PATHR with pronoun without article).
    I tend to think (without actually having done all the work on this topic!) that P46-B agreements with DFG point not to some sort of Western interference on the P46-B text, but to readings that were shared before the DFG text went its own way. And here the DFG archetype text is behaving against its stylistic tendency (which may be more relevant than Weiss behaving against his own tendency).

    Well I am giving a lecture on the text of Galatians and one of my points is that there are very few discussions about the text of Galatians so be encouraged!

  3. where and when is the lecture?

  4. Sometime later this term in the B1B lectures on Galatians.

  5. Had the external evidence for the "harmonizing" reading in Gal 1:3 been reversed, Metzger then would have defended the stylistic solecism while blaming the alternative reading on deliberate scribal harmonization to Pauline style (this of course is what the Nestle/UBS editors themselves admittedly chose to do).

    Yet in reality, there is no real reason why a given writer at any point could not use a construction that otherwise differed from his "normal" style; else there would never be solecisms in the first place.

    In regard to Col 1:2 and 1Thess 1:1, where the Byzantines (among other witnesses) supposedly display a "tendency" to "harmonise toward a standard feature of Pauline style",
    one seriously has to wonder why in the case of Gal 1:3 those same Byzantine harmonists did not there "harmonise", but rather accepted the non-harmonizing reading as primary. Or perhaps the "tendency" is not really as great as is claimed?

  6. Actually some Byzantine MSS did harmonize Gal 1:3 to the usual Pauline order. Not a lot, but some.

  7. I think this example once again demonstrates why the rigid following of set rules and/or an inconsistent following of one's set rules can lead to questionable results. It's all in the probabilities :) I agree that Gal 1.3 should follow the P46-B reading here.

  8. From Holmes/SBL this was also read by Tregelles and RP (as we might expect from the earlier comment from R and the nature of the supporting evidence).