Thursday, January 19, 2012

PERI/UPER in Gal 1.4

Another interesting variant at Gal 1.4a: τοῦ δόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ...
As noted in NA27 P46 and Sinaiticus (among other important witnesses: A DFG PSI 1739 1881 Maj) read PERI. See the following pictures:

Sinaiticus is corrected from PERI to UPER, showing the spatial similarity of the words (ca corrector acc Sin Proj. Website; not first corrector as NA27 represents).

This is a common variation (not only in NT manuscripts, cf. DBAG), and there doesn't seem much of a differential in meaning in this sort of context. The parallel in 1 Cor 15.3 (Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ...) is obviously relevant in terms of appeal to Pauline style. But I don't have a strong feeling either way on this one. Any thoughts?


  1. I guess 1Cor 15.3 could also be appealed to the other way around. Parallel passages can lead to harmonisation, albeit this seems to be much more predominant in the Gospels. I may be wrong on this one, but even with regard to the external evidence, the battery of witnesses in support of ΠΕΡΙ seems stronger and more diverse. I heard several people claim that B is not as firm a witness in Pauline corpus as has been claim. If this were somehow demonstrated, then the appeal to B would have weaker grounds, too.

  2. I certainly would NOT agree with FF Bruce: ‘ὑπέρ is better attested here than the variantπερί’ (p. 75)

  3. Could περί be related to the common περὶ τῆς ἁμαρτίας (e.g. Lev 5:13) and its variant form without the article (Is 53:10 δῶτε περὶ ἁμαρτίας)? I am not sure whether Paul had the sin offering or purification offering in mind (Rom 8:3 is a clearer example of this), but maybe the scribe has harmonized the prepositions. I am not near Hatch and Redpath so I am not sure if there are any examples of this phrase, which use the plural.

  4. It's a very difficult call. Here's how B. Weiss handled it:

    Völlig anders aber liegt die Frage Gal. 1, 4 wo das δοντος εαυτον υπερ (B 17 Min. u. Väter) wohl Anstoss erregen konnte, eben weil αμαρτιων folgt, und so die Aenderung nach Analogie von Röm. 8, 3 hervorrufen. Und doch zeigt 1. Kor. 15, 3, dass der Ausdruck gut paulinisch ist, indem was geschieht, um die Sünden zu sühnen, als zu ihrem Besten geschehen betrachtet wird.

  5. Does he elaborate on why it could be offensive?

  6. I suppose that with the usual sense of "on behalf of" for ὑπέρ, Gal 1:4 might appear to mean that Christ died on behalf of--i.e., for the benefit of--our sins.

  7. A search using the CNTTS apparatus reveals an interesting twist :)

    ὑπέρ vs. περί is found in the following textual locations:

    Mark 1:44; 14:24
    Acts 8:24; 26:1
    Rom 15:14
    1 Cor 1:4, 13
    2 Cor 1:8; 12:5
    Gal 1:4
    Eph 5:2
    Col 1:3, 9; 2:1; 4:12
    1 Thess 3:9; 5:10, 25
    2 Thess 1:5; 3:1
    James 5:16
    1 Peter 2:21; 3:18; 5:7
    1 Joh 3:16

    That's all. Very much a Pauline thing. Is is possible there is some kind of scribal thinking associated with these passages? Several of these passages are theologically important statements by their authors. Did the scribes meddle with them just because ὑπέρ and περί overlap as to their meaning, yet provide different interpretative outcomes for the reader (as Stephen notes)?