Saturday, January 15, 2022

John 1:51 - "Hereafter, You Shall See"

             In John 1:51, there’s a small variant that doesn’t get much attention.  The NASB, NIV, NLT, CSB, NRSV, EHV, and NET don’t include it in their base-text, nor do they mention it in a footnote (though it is in the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Text, and thus it is also reflected in the text of the KJV, NKJV, WEB, MEV, and EOB-NT).  The little phrase ἀπ ἄρτι (usually rendered in English as henceforth or hereafter) is not in the early Alexandrian Text; it is not in P66, P75, B, À, L, or W (which has secondary pages in this part of John) and a few later manuscripts (Willker lists 0141, 397, 579, 821, 1819, and 2129). 

          We cannot discern what the reading was in John 1:51 in D or the Sinaitic Syriac or the Curetonian Syriac; they are not extant at this point in the text. 

          UBS4 offers no data at all about this variant, but Willker lists A, X, Δ, Θ, Ψ, f1, f13, 33, 565, 1071, 1241 and the Majority (i.e., Byzantine) Text as support for including ἀπ ἄρτι, in addition to the Old Latin copies e (VL 2, Palatinus – 400s), q (VL 13, Monacensis – 500s or 600s), and r1 (VL 14, Usserianus primus – c. 600 [BL 40107]), and the Peshitta.   Swanson adds K M L P U Y 2 69 700 1424 in support of ἀπ ἄρτι.  Versions (except the most literal and wooden) generally should not be leaned upon where redundant or superfluous words and phrases are involved, and “In the future you shall see” is somewhat redundant (for what other time could there be?).

          The words ἀπ ἄρτι are Johannine; they occur again in John 13:19 and 14:7 (and in Matthew at 23:39, 26:29, 26:64, but not in Mark or Luke). 

John 1:51 in Codex Macedonianus.

          Metzger asserts in the UBS Textual Commentary that “the gloss was apparently derived from Mt 26.64.”  However, in John 1:51, Jesus addresses Nathanael and promises that Nathanael (and at least one other person on the scene) will see Jesus as the embodiment of what was signified in Jacob’s vision (in Genesis 28), whereas in Matthew 26:64, Jesus addresses the high priest, and says that he would see the Son of Man “sitting at the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven” – which is hardly a parallel to what is said in John 1:51.

           Let’s compare the possibilities:  that (a) very early in the transmission of the Gospel of John in Egypt, a scribe excised ἀπ ἄρτι, regarding it as redundant, or (b) somewhere in the transmission-line shared by A, X, Δ, Θ, Ψ, f1, f13, 33, 565, 1071, 1241, the Peshitta, and three relatively early Old Latin copies (VL 2, 13, and 14), a scribe thought that John 1:51 just doesn’t say enough without ἀπ ἄρτι, and inserted it.  It seems to me that researchers have been over-impressed by the early date of P75, B, P66, and À.  A scribe influencing the same transmission-line that saw the excision of ἐν in John 1:4 (in P66), the excision of ὁ in John 1:15 (the initial reading of P66), the excision of ὁ in John 1:35 (in B and P75), the excision of ἐγὼ in John 1:27 (the initial reading in P66), and the excision of ὁ in John 1:47 (in B) would be capable of excising ἀπ ἄρτι in John 1:51.  Meanwhile, adequate consideration has not been given of the age required by an ancestor shared by A, P, D, f1, VL 2, 33, 700, the Peshitta, and the Harklean Syriac.  Ἀπ ἄρτι should be retained in John 1:51.


Demian said...

Tatian's Diatessaron (section 5) preserved the "hereafter". It precedes the Syriac Sinaitic and the Peshitta. But one could argue that the reconstruction of the Diatessaron was based on later Syriac manuscripts. Chrysostom's manuscript also retained the hereafter (homily 21 and homily 28 on the gospel of John).

James Snapp Jr said...

Nice to know that about Chrysostom.
Strange that you can cite him, but not Nestle-Aland.

Maurice A. Robinson said...

Omission of απαρτι also could have been triggered in an early archetype by phonetic homoioarcton, skipping from the similar-sounding phonemes απ- to οψ-.