Friday, February 8, 2013

John / Ιωάννης 1:18:

The textual alteration
“ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς”
not made for theological reasons? /

Η κειμενική τροποποίηση
“ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς”
δεν έγινε για θεολογικούς λόγους;

Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε·

μονογενὴς θεὸς [28NA] / ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς [ByzT/ΒυζΚ]

ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς
ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.

— John / Ιωάννης 1:18

In summary, the early date of P66 has narrowed the relevant window for a theological corruption into a time period during which scholarship has limited resources, especially in the arena of Alexandrian Christianity where the variant first emerges. In addition, even the sources that are extant do not conclusively demonstrate that Joh 1,18 comprised an isolated support for a high Christology. The Gnostics certainly utilized Joh 1,18 to support a high Christology, but never in isolation from the rest of the Prologue, and Joh 1,1 in particular, which at least raises the question of whether altering the reading of Joh 1,18 would have been necessary to buttress a belief in a high Christology. What precisely was to be gained that was not readily available elsewhere in the Gospel of John? In addition, the manner in which Clement’s Valentinians saw Jesus as some kind of lesser manifestation indicates that Joh 1,18 was probably not even read in reference to Jesus. Furthermore, the exegetical trajectory of Clement of Alexandria and Origen demonstrate that Joh 1,18 was used in a completely different fashion among the proponents of a high Christology than what Ehrman suggests. Basically, it was employed to substantiate their notion that God was transcendent and the one in his bosom made the knowledge of God possible. When μονογενὴς θεὸς does become a litmus test for orthodoxy, it occurs at such a late date that it cannot aid in determining how the reading came into existence. As a result, the extant evidence from early Alexandria does not provide any conclusive evidence that the variant in Joh 1,18 would have arisen from theological motives. While this does not mean that such an emendation is impossible, the evidence suggests that a theological corruption is an unlikely explanation for the extant readings of Joh 1,18.

* Benjamin J. Burkholder,
Considering the Possibility of a Theological Corruption in Joh 1,18
in Light of its Early Reception

Εξετάζοντας την Περίπτωση Θεολογικής Παραφθοράς του Ιωα 1:18
στο Φως της Πρώιμης Πρόσληψής του

Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche.
Volume 103, Issue 1, February 2012,
pp./σσ. 82, 83 [64–83],
ISSN (Online) 1613-009X, ISSN (Print) 0044-2615,
DOI: 10.1515/znw-2012-0004.

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