Thursday, March 07, 2019

Another Shorter Reading Preserved in the Byzantine Text

Here’s another interesting shorter reading preserved for us in the Byzantine text, this one from 1 Cor 9.20:
τοῖς ὑπὸ νόμον ὡς ὑπὸ νόμον, μὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον, ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον κερδήσω
To those under the law I became as one under the law (not that I was myself under the law) in order that I might gain those under the law.
Byz along with D2 (L) Ψ 1881 and the Peshitta (per NA27) don’t have the phrase μὴ ὢν αὐτὸς ὑπὸ νόμον. It’s a case of parablepsis and so another place where the Byzantine text unexpectedly preserves a shorter, secondary reading.


  1. "It’s a case of parablepsis and so another place where the Byzantine text unexpectedly preserves a shorter, secondary reading."

    Just a suggestion: You might want to turn this into at least two sentences, as two rather different propositions are embedded: (1) The Byzantine text is, contrary to general expectation, shorter (than NA27) here; (2) the Byzantine text is (in accordance with general expectation) secondary here (specifically owing to parablepsis).

    1. Sorry if my comment caused annoyance; that wasn't my goal. Just trying to clarify the discussion: While a short Byzantine reading would surprise some, most would not be surprised to think that the Byzantine text is secondary, given the scholarly consensus on that matter.

  2. Peter, I do not think you should say that this IS a case of parablepsis. It is possible that the words are omitted for this reason, but given that it is a parenthetical remark it is possible that the words were an addition. As this is in a letter a possible scenario could be that the author (we assume Paul) added the remark in a copy after he originally dictated it, or possibly that he made the remark to other people and someone in the audience added it. Unless we have the exemplar parablepsis should not be an automatic assumption.

    1. I think that your opinion is too much subjective David.

  3. Two facts are noted here:
    - The reading found in the majority of manuscripts--most of them from the second millennium, and most of them characterized as belonging to the Byzantine family--lacks the parenthetical phrase.
    - This is a counterexample to the scholarly contention that the Byzantine manuscripts are characterized by expansion and explanation, as opposed to those from Egyptian sources which are not.
    And, two assumptions are aired:
    - Rather than having been added to the text as a parenthetical comment, this section was deleted.
    - The reason it was deleted was not due to scribal tampering, but scribal error.