Monday, May 20, 2024

First John 4:3 - What Did John Write?

 Leaving the Gospels briefly, let's focus today on an interesting textual variant in First John 4:3. The Byzantine text reads  ησουν χριστον ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα, and the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation reads τον  ησουν.  In favor of the non-Byzantine we have A B 322 323 945 1241 (which can be viewed here) and 22989 and, regarding versions, the Vulgate, the Coptic (Bohairic), and where patristic evidence is concerned, Clement Origen Socrates' MSS (as explained in the UBS apparatus), Cyril (4 out of 5 citations), Tertullian (1 out of 2 citations), Lucifer (the Sardician bishop, not the devil), Tyconius (2 out of 3), Ambrose, Augustine, and Fulgentius (1 out of 2).

Neither the Alexandrian text nor the Byzantine text is not uniform at this point. Sinaiticus reads  ν κν ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα (see the picture) and 1175 reads Ἰησουν κὺριον ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα.  1243 and 1292 and 1844 share another variant (but let's stick to the main readings in the interest of brevity).

As the late professor Bruce Manning Metzger observed, the shorter reading is supported by "good representatives of both Alexandrian and Western types of text."  I agree with Metzger's assessment that later copyists expanded the verse by borrowing language from the previous verse.  This is a benign expansion in the Byzantine text - but an expansion nonetheless.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Breaking News: Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell Teaches Falsely About Mark 16:9-20

My book Authentic:  The Case for Mark 16:9-20 is now in its fourth edition.  That book, along with my book New Testament Textual Analysis, which has two full chapters on the ending of the Gospel of Mark, are available on Amazon.   The 2016 edition of my book focusing on Mark 16:9-20 remains available for 99 cents.   I encapsulated the data about the overwhelming evidence for these twelve verses of sacred Scripture in a recent article at the Text & Canon Institute (in June of 2022).

I am thus at a loss to account for the continued spread of false claims about those twelve verses - but it is plain that Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell has not been paying attention, for he is perpetuating the time-honored tradition of spouting nonsense about the ending of the Gospel of Mark.

In an article posted at Crossway's website, Dr. O'Donnell wrote, "We can state with confidence that verse 8 is the original ending of the Gospel of Mark as Mark 16:9–20 is not found in our most reliable Greek manuscripts of the NT. It is evident that a copyist likely a century or more after the Four Gospels were written thought it necessary to add an ending that features Mary Magdalene seeing Jesus himself."

This claim is of course preposterous.  "A century of more after 
the Four Gospels were written" - positing A.D. 90 as the composition-date for the Gospel of John, the last canonical Gospel to be written - takes us up to the year 190.

Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell

Before the year 190, we have five patristic witnesses - the author of The Preaching of Peter (as J. D. Adkins has shown), the author of Epistula Apostolorum (as granted by Dr. Robert Stein), Justin Martyr (as I show here), Tatian (in his Diatessaron, as I have demonstrated here, contra Dr. Peter Head) and Irenaeus (in Book 3 of Against Heresiesas I have shown here) - all testify to the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 in their manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.  Even if some scholars insist on employing an arbitrary hermeneutic of suspicion, and jettison the testimony of the author of The Preaching of Peter and that of Justin Martyr (although I consider Justin's testimony sufficiently clear), the other second-century witnesses' testimony is as plain as day:  within the century that passed from the day John finished his gospel, their manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark INCLUDED VERSES 9-20.

I call upon Crossway and upon Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell to retract his false claim immediately, or be found guilty of spreading false information.  They have been notified.  They have one week to respond.  

The clock is ticking.

UPDATE:  the deadline has been extended to June 3.