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Is 1 Thessalonians 2.13-16 an Interpolation?

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The Authenticity of 1 Thess 2.13-16

Preface: Conjectural Emendation and an Evangelical Bibliology

1. Definition of Conjectural Emendation

Conjectural emendation normally refers to an addition to the text that has no manuscript (or versional or patristic) support. Such an emendation comes from the mind of an exegete who feels compelled to alter the text since it makes little sense as it stands. However, conjectural emendation can also refer to other kinds of textual alteration besides addition. Substitution, transposition, and omission are also conjectural emendations.

2. Definition of the Doctrine of Preservation

The doctrine of preservation states that the text of the Bible has been preserved in one or more of the external witnesses. In its most extreme form, this doctrine states that the majority of Greek MSS have preserved the text of the original.

a. But is it a true doctrine?

In my article, “Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism,”1 I argued that (1) the doctrine of preservation is recent (first articulated in anything resembling a semi-official ecclesiastical document in the Westminster Confession of 1646);2 (2) the major texts used to support cannot really be used to argue for it; (3) the view is bibliologically schizophrenic in that it does not work for the Old Testament (since OT scholars have to employ conjectural emendation in a few places). In short, this doctrine fails at the historical, exegetical, and empirical levels.

b. If not true, what can we say about the preservation of the text?

I prefer to speak about God’s providential care of the text without elevating such to the level of a doctrinal commitment that lacks biblical basis. It is obvious, on the basis of the empirical evidence, that God has cared for the text of the Bible, for the Bible has more copies and earlier copies than any other ancient piece of literature.3

3. What is at Stake?

Whether a particular passage needs conjectural emendation of any sort cannot, in principle, be argued against on theological grounds. Otherwise, we would have to argue against all such conjectures in the OT when there is a definite need for such in a few places. If we argue against conjecture in the NT, then, on theological grounds, we are in danger of adopting a Marcionite view of the text!

What is at stake is not theology. Rather, what is at stake is method. It has often been remarked that, with reference to theological positions, “The Germans create it, the British correct it, and the Americans corrupt it.” In other words, Germans are good at coming up with new ideas—usually borne out of philosophy, British are good at tempering those ideas on the basis of historical evidence, and Americans—because of their strong individualism which sometimes elevates idiosyncrasies to a hero-worship status—are good at taking a German idea beyond all logical comprehension. At bottom, what is at stake is reason vs. evidence. How resolving an issue of this sort speaks volumes about our exegetical method. Although reason has a very important place in the exegetical process, so does evidence. And when solid, concrete, and unanimous evidence for the words of the text stands on one side, and reasonable explanations for their omission stands on the other, the evidence should probably be considered more important. Listen to the Alands on this matter:

[F]or purposes of textual criticism the gospel [of John] comprises twenty-one chapters in their present sequence of 1 through 21. It is only in this form, with the final chapter appended and in the present order of chapters, that the book is found throughout the manuscript tradition. Any editing, rearrangement, revision, and so forth it may have undergone must have occurred earlier, if at all (with the exception of the Pericope Adulterae, which is lacking in a considerable part of the tradition).4

One of the great values of textual criticism is that it has a sobering influence on New Testament scholarship. In short, fanciful theories of composition and the like are constantly falling shipwreck on the rocks of textual criticism.5

All of this reminds me of the aphorism that Professor William Lane kept prominently displayed on his desk: “An ounce of evidence is worth a pound of presumption.”

Applied to our present text, it should simply be noted that 1 Thess 2.13-16 is not omitted in any MSS, versions,6 or fathers, as far as modern scholarship is aware. And since these verses are found in early and widespread witnesses such as A B D F G H I P Y 0208 0278 33 1739 Itala Syriac Coptic Origen Athanasius Jerome Augustine Chrysostom et plu, all of the evidence is on the side of inclusion. Unless there is no rational explanation for the inclusion of the verses, then we should let the text stand as is and interpret it as best we can.

4. Implications for other Disputed NT Passages

a. 1 Cor 14.34-35

If 1 Thess 2.13-16 should be excised on the basis of conjectural emendation, then 1 Cor 14.34-35 have an even greater claim to inauthenticity. Gordon Fee and Philip Payne both argue that these verses should be excised from our NTs; but there are no Greek MSS that omit them. Payne argues, unsuccessfully I believe, that Codex Vaticanus indicates with a marginal siglum (something that Payne calls a “bar-umlaut” based on its appearance) that this scribe knew of MSS that omitted these verses.7 If Payne is right, then we certainly need to consider the prospect that vv 34-35 were added by a later scribe. But if he’s wrong, then even though the Western witnesses place the verses at the end of the chapter, they most likely are a part of what Paul originally wrote to the Corinthians.8

b. Mark 16.9-20

In his paper, “Mark 16:9–20 and the Doctrine of Inspiration,”9 Wilbur Pickering argues that if any portion of the NT is lost, then inspiration is not only irrelevant—it also is not true:

Among those who wish to believe or claim that Mark’s Gospel was inspired by the Holy Spirit, that it is God’s Word, I am not aware of any who are prepared to believe that it could have been God’s intention to terminate the book with εφοβουντο γαρ.

Are we to say that God was unable to protect the text of Mark or that He just couldn’t be bothered? I see no other alternative—either He didn’t care or He was helpless. And either option is fatal to the claim that Mark’s Gospel is “God-breathed.” . . . if God was powerless to protect His Word then He wouldn’t really be God and it wouldn’t make all that much difference what He said. . . . If God permitted the original ending of Mark to be lost then in fact we do not have an inspired text.10

Anyone who denies the authenticity of Mark 16:9–20 cannot consistently affirm the Divine Inspiration of Mark 1:1–16:8. I now submit the question to the reader: have I not demonstrated that to reject Mark 16:9–20 is to relinquish the doctrine of Divine Inspiration—for Mark, certainly, but by extension for the rest of the Bible?11

In response, it should be noted that, among other things,12 although Pickering is unaware of any evangelical who thinks Mark ended his Gospel at verse 8, there does indeed seem to be an increasing number of scholars who believe this, evangelicals included among them.13 Ernest Best states, for example, that “It is in keeping with other parts of his Gospel that Mark should not give an explicit account of a conclusion where this is already well known to his readers.”14 Further, he argues that “it is not a story which has been rounded off but an open story intended to draw us on further.”15 At one point he makes a rather intriguing suggestion:

Finally it is from the point of view of drama that we can appreciate most easily the conclusion to the Gospel. By its very nature the conclusion forces us to think out for ourselves the Gospel’s challenge. It would have been easy to finish with Jesus’ victorious appearances to comfort the disciples: they all lived happily ever after. Instead the end is difficult… The readers or hearers of Mark know the disciples did see Jesus… Listen to the story as a believer and work it out for yourself. It is like one of Jesus’ own parables: the hearer is forced to go on thinking.16

Although one would not say that Ernest Best is an arch-conservative, his overall interpretation of the reason for the shorter ending should cause no offense to evangelicals, as is evident by the fact that a number of evangelicals do believe that the Gospel was intended to end at verse 8.17

c. Jas 2.18

The logic of this verse has often been noted as being the opposite of what the author intended. Rather than spend much time on the matter, however, suffice it to say that some NT scholars have suggested that the order of the objection needs to be reversed: instead of “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works’ ” (NASB), James’ argument is: “But someone may well say, ‘You have works, and I have faith’.” This then is followed by James’ rebuttal (which is preserved for us in v 18): “Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works’.” Pfleiderer and others offered this conjecture, which is also found in itff. Admittedly, this is one of the thorniest exegetical problems in the NT, for James’ overall argument seems to be that works are necessary, while v 18, as it presently stands, has the interlocutor arguing that James’ view is that faith is necessary. The logic of the whole passage seems confused. This may well be one place in which a conjecture should be urged. In its favor are the following points: (1) unlike the omission of 1 Thess 2.13-16 and 1 Cor 14.34-35, there is some textual support for this view (one Itala MS);18 (2) the Greek witnesses for the catholic letters are not nearly as strong as the witnesses for the Gospels or Paul; hence, the likelihood of the necessity for conjecture increases with the catholic letters; and (3) the logic of the conjecture is compelling, while the wording of the text is quite problematic, creating exegetical gymnastics by many a scholar who is trying to defend the author’s coherence.

At the same time, the conjecture is such an obviously correct interpretation of the matter that one wonders why, if it represents the original wording, scribes did not correct their exemplars early on? Surely some early scribes would have double-checked the wording of their MSS against their exemplar once the seeming illogic of the wording became apparent. If so, their very hesitancy to alter the text in the direction of “you have works, and I have faith” seems to show that this wording was not in their exemplar. At this stage, we should probably affirm with the bulk of NT scholars that the point of v 18, regardless of the wording, is fundamentally the same: the author is arguing that faith and works cannot be divorced from one another.

5. Conclusions

Although we are convinced of no theological arguments against conjectural emendation in 1 Thess 2.13-16, without corroborative textual evidence, we need to regard the interpolation theory as a last resort. We now turn to exegetical arguments in its behalf, recognizing that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of those who wish to athetize the text.

Arguments for Interpolation

Among those who advocate an interpolation of part or all of vv 13-16 are F. C. Baur, P. W. Schmiedel, Albrecht Ritschl, Spitta, Pfleiderer, Teichmann, James Moffatt, Schmithals, J. Bailey, Holtzmann, Knopf, Goguel Rodrigues [who omits vv 15-16; mentioned in NA27 apparatus], John Knox, S. G. F. Brandon, and especially Hendrikus Boers, Daryl Schmidt, Helmut Koester, and Birger Pearson.19

There are five or six basic arguments used in support of seeing these four verses (or parts of them) as an interpolation. We will offer these in canonical order, since they neatly fall out that way, followed in each case by a brief critique. Birger Pearson has stimulated the discussion the most by being the first to articulate at some length that all four verses were inauthentic. We will focus on his arguments.

1. Thanksgiving in 2.13, Dislocation of the Whole

Structurally, v 13 does not follow naturally on the heels of v 12; rather, vv 13-16 seem to disrupt the narrative sequence. Note how smoothly vv 11-12 flow into v 17:

(11) As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, (12) urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

(17) As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. (NRSV)

Pearson notes that, in agreement with Robert Funk, vv 11-12 introduce an ‘apostolic parousia,’ but the parousia does not begin until v 17. In this reconstruction, one thing that Pearson fails to recognize is that in v 11 Paul and Silas are regarded as fathers, while in v 17 they are regarded as orphans. Thus, although it could be argued that they belong together in some sense (as we have argued when discussing the textual problem of v 7), to insist on the juxtaposition as Pearson does adds yet a second mixed metaphor in close proximity to the ‘metaphor in distress’ in vv 7-8. In other words, Pearson’s solution compounds the metaphor problem that is already found a few verses earlier. Although Paul is not altogether consistent with his metaphors, nowhere does he mix them as rapidly as the interpolation theory would necessitate (assuming that nhpioi in v 7 is authentic).

In addition, Wanamaker (32) points out that “Pearson’s final claim that the letter is better structured without 2:13-16 is a matter of individual opinion. With Marshall (9) and Jewett (Thessalonian Correspondence, 38), I would argue that 2:13-16 is a necessary component of the letter, though rhetorically it may be termed a digression… it explains why Paul was so anxious to revisit the Thessalonians, as he recounts in 2:17-20. Without 2:13-16 it would not be at all clear why Paul was so concerned about his converts.”

2. Judean Christians Set Up as Examples to Follow (v 14)

Pearson ( 87) notes that “Not only is it improbable that Paul would cite the Judaean Christians as examples for his Gentile congregations; the mimesis usage in this verse does not cohere with Paul’s usage elsewhere.”

But is this really what is going on? “Pearson’s discussion of the mimesis terminology in v. 14 is misdirected. Paul does not instruct the Thessalonians to become imitators of the Judean Christians, as Pearson implies. Instead he tells the Thessalonians that they have already become imitators of the Judean Christians by virtue of having suffered oppression from their fellow citizens. In the light of this it is not surprising that the term for imitation is used in a different fashion than is customary in Paul.”20

3. Persecution of Christians in Judea (v 14)

“With reference to the alleged persecutions in Judaea, 1 Thessalonians 2:14 would be the only New Testament text—were it a genuine expression of Paul—to indicate that the churches in Judaea suffered persecution at the hands of the Jews between 44 AD [sic] and the outbreak of the war against Rome.”21

Okeke22 (129) notes that “For these scholars [Baur, Brandon, and Pearson] the proper picture of the Judean Christian church is therefore that of a community living in absolute peace with the rest of the Jews.”

He then argues that “It seems reasonable that the Galilean followers of Jesus who returned to Jerusalem in the expectation of the immediate parousia of Jesus Christ would initially lead a quiet life. Yet it is equally reasonable to consider that Paul’s persecution of the Church prior to his conversion is not an isolated case of an eccentric Jew who oppressed the Church while the rest of the Jews welcomed Christianity as a popular sect within Judaism.”23

4. “Jews killed Jesus” (v 15)

The statement in v 15 that the Jews “killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets” is nowhere else explicitly found in Paul’s writings; in short, “he never attributes the death of Jesus to the Jews.”24

But apart from the questionable exegesis of 1 Cor 2.8—a passage which may well indicate that Paul thought of certain Jews as responsible, at least partially, for Jesus’ death—the notion that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death “is paralleled in the later traditions of Acts and Matthew. At an historical level it can hardly be denied that the Jerusalem ruling elite were guilty of complicity in Jesus’ death. … From his and his contemporaries’ viewpoint, the persecution of the Christians in Judea represented a continuation of the phenomenon going back to the prophets of the OT period and recently manifested in the experiences of Jesus and Paul himself (cf. 2 Cor. 11:24).”25

5. Vicious Tone in v 15

In conjunction with 15a, in which Paul allegedly claims that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, the rest of the verse notes that these same Jews “displease God and are hostile to everyone.” For this reason, Pearson says, “I find it also virtually impossible to ascribe to Paul the ad hominem fragment of Gentile anti-Judaism in v. 15.”26

Again, Wanamaker notes (31): “That Paul was incapable of the scurrilous ad hominem attack against the Jewish people in v. 15, as Pearson believes, is questionable (cf. Phil. 3:2).” One might add that, in the historical context painted in Acts 17, one could well imagine the apostle feeling pretty beat up by fellow Jews, causing him to reflect on what other Jews in Judea had done to the Lord Jesus. In short, the statement here fits well with Paul’s temperament and the historical situation assumed in Acts.

6. ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπ ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος (v 16)

Schmiedel et alii regard this line as a vaticinium ex eventu—i.e., history written as though it were prophecy. The event in view is the destruction of Jerusalem, an event that took place twenty years after Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians.

Crucial to the argument is that ἔφθασεν cannot be a proleptic aorist. The basis for this is that εἰς τέλος demands that the time of the verb is referring to an event already past. After a lengthy discussion on the options, Pearson states:

All of these suggestions fail to do justice to the text as it stands. The aorist ἔφθασεν must be taken as referring to an event that is now past, and the phrase εἰς τέλος underscores the finality of the “wrath” that has occurred. It need only be inquired further what event in the first century was of such magnitude as to lend itself to such apocalyptic theologizing. The interpretation suggested by Baur and others is still valid: 1 Thessalonians 2:16c refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. [sic].27

We will not answer this argument in great detail here. However, here we do wish to note Wanamaker’s two excellent points on the matter:

(1) “[T]he historical setting in the period after AD 70 suggested by Pearson is unnecessary. The first Jewish-Roman War, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem, was undoubtedly the greatest catastrophe to overtake the Jewish people in the first century, but it certainly was not the only one of major proportions. The death of the Jewish King Agrippa in AD 44, the revolt of Theudas in 44-46, the famine in Judea in 46-47, and the expulsion of the Jews from Rome in 49 were all major crises for the Jewish people. If 1 Thessalonians was written around 50, a date most scholars are agreed on, the riot in Jerusalem during the passover of 49 may well be in mind, as Jewett (“Agitators,” 205 n. 5) has suggested. Josephus (Ant. 20.112 and War 2.225) claims that twenty to thirty thousand people were killed in the riot. Even if his figures are considerably inflated, as seems likely, this would have appeared to contemporary Jewish people to have been a major disaster, one that Paul might have interpreted as divine punishment for the oppression of Christians in Palestine, as Jewett points out.”28

Wanamaker later adds that “In both 1 Thessalonians itself and also Romans ‘wrath’ has present and future references. Thus the passage does not exclude the possibility that God may finally be gracious to the Jewish people. Εἰς τέλος does not imply the finality of the wrath that has come upon the Jewish people but that wrath has come upon them ‘until the end.’”29

Arguments for Authenticity

Among those who argue for authenticity are Werner Georg Kümmel, Paul Schubert, John Lee White, F. F. Bruce, N. Hyldahl, C. A. Wanamaker, and especially G. E. Okeke.30

Okeke notes that “it is mainly the theology of this pericope that makes it suspect as a later interpolation” (127); he then proceeds to argue that the theology conforms to Paul.

1. Structure of 2.13 (εὐχαριστοῦμεν)

See Wanamaker’s discussion above, in response to the first point.

2. Apocalyptic Theology and the Olivet Discourse

Both the apocalyptic theology of Paul and Matthew 24/Mark 13 seem to share some oral tradition. Only if one is predisposed to reject the Olivet Discourse as a later invention,31 or that Paul could not have learned of the Lord’s teaching on the matter before it was inscripturated in the Gospels, would there be a reason to see 1 Thess 2.13-16 as verbally dependent on the Olivet Discourse. But not only are the parallels at certain points conceptual rather than verbal,32 but if Paul took Jesus’ prophecy seriously, then he may well have mimicked it here. We will discuss the intricacies of this point in our exegesis of the text.

3. Acts 17 as a Valid Historical Basis

The pathos of Paul, as we pointed out earlier, is completely understandable in this pericope, given the troubles he had in Thessalonica. But if one is predisposed to reject the historicity of Acts, then he will regard Acts 17 as somewhat irrelevant to the discussion at hand. In addition, Pearson plays his hand by arguing that “Probably all of the N.T. writings, with the exception of the genuine letters of Paul, were written after 70 A.D. [sic].”33

4. Text-Critical Factors

These were noted earlier. Although no papyri yet attest to this portion of the letter,34 1 Thess-alonians nevertheless has early and widespread witnesses, none of which omit these four verses.


Although the arguments for the interpolation view are impressive, they are not decisive. In the end, there is nothing in these verses that Paul could not have written, and the external evidence is unanimous in favor of them being authentic. In such an instance, we must acknowledge their authenticity and interpret them as well as we are able.

1 “Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism,” in Grace Theological Journal 12 (1992) 21-51 (reprint of article in New Testament Essays in Honor of Homer A. Kent, Jr. (ed. Gary T. Meadors; Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1991): 69-102.

2 The lack of ancient support for this doctrine is not in itself telling; however, this coupled with the fact that the biblical texts used to support it are so used only at the expense of solid exegesis, and that the OT text requires in a few places emendation, is a strong argument against it.

3 It should be noted as well that the Westminster Confession was framed by Protestants who were embroiled in debate with Roman Catholic scholars. The Catholics were speaking of the Protestant Bible—principally the Textus Receptus that stood behind all translations—as a “paper Pope.” More than one scholar has pointed out that the Westminster divines were defending the TR, arguing implicitly that its readings preserved the original.

4 Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, 297.

5 This is not to say that these views are necessarily wrong, but that they lack sufficient evidence to be compelling. The Alands preface their remarks by noting that “the competence of New Testament textual criticism is restricted to the state of the New Testament text from the moment it began its literary history through transcription for distribution. All events prior to this are beyond its scope” (297). Thus, such compositional theories (and we may include Raymond Brown’s five-stage composition of John in this) need to be qualified as belonging to the realm of the pre-literary stages. (For a discussion of this point passim, see D. B. Wallace, “John 5,2 and the Date of the Fourth Gospel,” Biblica 71 [1990] 177-205.) Further, if evidence is forthcoming, it needs to be reckoned with. Thus, Philip Comfort has recently argued that John 21 shows evidence in some of the early papyri as having been added to the Gospel. Whether his argument proves convincing or not, this is certainly the kind of corroborative backing that is needed to make out a convincing case.

6 However, a lone Vulgate MS omits the last sentence of v 16 (ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπ ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος).

7 For a thorough examination of Payne’s evidence, and a denial of the validity of his argument at this text, see Jeff Miller’s 2000 DTS master’s thesis. This has now been published, in modified form, in JSNT: “Some Observations on the Text-Critical Function of the Umlauts in Vaticanus, with Special Attention to 1 Corinthians 14.34-35,” J. Edward Miller, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 26 (2003): 217-36.

8 The text-critical note for these verses in the NET Bible sums up the issue well:

Some scholars have argued that vv. 34-35 should be excised from the text (principally Straatman, Fee, Payne). This is because the Western witnesses have these verses after v. 40, while the rest of the tradition retains them here. There are no mss that omit the verses. Why, then, would some scholars wish to excise the verses? Because they believe that this best explains how they could end up in two different locations, that is to say, that the verses got into the text by way of a very early gloss added in the margin. Most scribes put the gloss after v. 33; others, not knowing where they should go, put them at the end of the chapter. G. D. Fee points out that “Those who wish to maintain the authenticity of these verses must at least offer an adequate answer as to how this arrangement came into existence if Paul wrote them originally as our vv. 34-35” (First Corinthians [NICNT], 700). In a footnote he adds, “The point is that if it were already in the text after v. 33, there is no reason for a copyist to make such a radical transposition.” Although it is not our intention to interact with proponents of the shorter text in any detail here, a couple of points ought to be made. (1) Since these verses occur in all witnesses to 1 Corinthians, to argue that they are not original means that they must have crept into the text at the earliest stage of transmission. How early? Earlier than when the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) made its way into the text (late 2nd, early 3rd century?), earlier than the longer ending of Mark (16:9-20) was produced (early 2nd century?), and earlier than even “in Ephesus” was added to Eph 1:1 (upon reception of the letter by the first church to which it came, the church at Ephesus [c. ad 60])—because in these other, similar places, the earliest witnesses do not add the words. This text thus stands as remarkable, unique. Indeed, since all the witnesses have the words, the evidence points to them as having been inserted into the original document. Who would have done such a thing? And, further, why would scribes have regarded it as original since it was obviously added in the margin? This leads to our second point. (2) Following a suggestion made by E. Earle Ellis (“The Silenced Wives of Corinth (I Cor. 14:34-5),” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 213-20 [the suggestion comes at the end of the article, almost as an afterthought]), it is likely that Paul himself added the words in the margin. Since it was so much material to add, Paul could have squelched any suspicions by indicating that the words were his (e.g., by adding his name or some other means [cf. 2 Thess 3:17]). This way no scribe would think that the material was inauthentic. (Incidentally, this is unlike the textual problem at Rom 5:1, for there only one letter was at stake; hence, scribes would easily have thought that the “text” reading was original. And Paul would hardly be expected to add his signature for one letter!) (3) What then is to account for the uniform Western tradition of having the verses at the end of the chapter? Our conjecture (and that is all it is) is that the scribe of the Western Vorlage could no longer read where the verses were to be added (any marginal arrows or other directional device could have been smudged), but, recognizing that this was part of the original text, felt compelled to put it somewhere. The least offensive place would have been at the end of the material on church conduct (end of chapter 14), before the instructions about the resurrection began. Although there were no chapter divisions in the earliest period of copying, scribes could still detect thought breaks (note the usage in the earliest papyri). (4) The very location of the verses in the Western tradition argues strongly that Paul both authored vv. 34-35 and that they were originally part of the margin of the text. Otherwise, one has a difficulty explaining why no scribe seemed to have hinted that these verses might be inauthentic (the scribal sigla of codex B, as noticed by Payne, can be interpreted otherwise than as an indication of inauthenticity). There are apparently no mss that have an asterisk or obelisk in the margin. Yet in other places in the NT where scribes doubted the authenticity of the clauses before them, they often noted their protest with an asterisk or obelisk. We are thus compelled to regard the words as original, and as belonging where they are in the text above.

9 A paper circulated to members of the Majority Text Society, September, 1988.

10 Ibid., 1.

11 Ibid., 4.

12 For a lengthier response, see my “Inspiration, Preservation” article.

13 So much so that W. R. Telford could argue, “While a number of scholars would still adhere to the view that the Gospel originally extended beyond 16:8, more and more are coming to the opinion that it was intended to end at 16:8, and that it does so indeed, in literary terms, with dramatic appositeness” (“Introduction: The Gospel of Mark,” in The Interpretation of Mark, ed. W. R. Telford [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985] 26). Cf. also C. S. Mann, Mark: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Vol. 27 in the Anchor Bible (Garden City: Doubleday, 1986) 659 (“Mark did indeed finish his gospel at v. 8, and . . . he had a specific and well-defined purpose in doing so”); R. P. Meye, “Mark 16:8—The Ending of Mark’s Gospel,” BibRes 14 (1969) 33–43; H. Anderson, The Gospel of Mark, in the New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976) 351–54; H. Paulsen, “Mark xvi. 1–8,” NovT 22 (1980) 138–70; N. R. Petersen, “When Is the End Not the End? Literary Reflections on the Ending of Mark’s Narrative,” Interp 34 (1980) 151–66; T. E. Boomershine and G. L. Bartholomew, “The Narrative Technique of Mark 16:8,” JBL 100 (1981) 213–23. Among those who are evangelicals (in the strictest sense of the word—i.e., inerrantists), a number of authors antedating Pickering’s essay held to this view: cf., e.g., N. B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1944) 86–118; W. L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) 582–92; J. D. Grassmick also seems to lean toward this view (Mark in the Bible Knowledge Commentary [Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983] 193–94). See now the bibliographic data in Clayton Croy, The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel, where the author demonstrates that the intentional ending at v. 8 view emerged as the predominant view of this Gospel in the 20th century.

14 E. Best, Mark: The Gospel as Story (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1983) 73.

15 Ibid., 74.

16 Ibid., 132.

17 See n. 13. Besides literary criticism, another argument could be used to support the view that the gospel ended here: only if Mark’s Gospel were originally published in codex form (in which case the last leaf could have possibly fallen off) could one argue that the ending of Mark was lost. But if, as extrabiblical parallels are increasingly showing to be more likely, the Gospel was originally written on a scroll, then the last portion of the book, being at the center of the scroll, would be the least likely portion of the book to be lost.

18 I have not yet checked B. Aland, K. Aland, G. Mink, and K. Wachtel, eds., Der Jakobusbrief, Section IV, Part I of Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997), which has a complete collation of all extant witnesses on this verse. Perhaps other witnesses will also turn up from an examination of the Editio Critica Maior.

19 See in particular Birger A. Pearson, “1 Thessalonians 2:13-16: A Deutero-Pauline Interpolation,” HTR 64 (1971) 79-94. Many of these advocates are also listed in Okeke’s article, passim, as well as Wanamaker, 29-33.

20 Wanamaker, 32.

21 Pearson, 86.

22 G. E. Okeke, “1 Thessalonians 2.13-16: The Fate of the Unbelieving Jews,” NTS 27 (1981) 127-36.

23 Okeke, 129.

24 Pearson, 85.

25 Wanamaker, 31.

26 Ibid.

27 Pearson, 82-83. Pearson moves from this point to the excision of the rest of the four verses in question (83): “Nevertheless, it is not sufficient merely to excise this one sentence as a post-70 gloss, for formally it constitutes the conclusion to the material represented in the participial clauses of vv. 15 and 16 modifying τῶν  ᾿Ιουδαίων in v. 14.”

28 Wanamaker, 30-31.

29 ibid., 31.

30 See in particular Okeke’s article, as well as Wanamaker, 29-33..

31 As Pearson does. After conceding that Jesus “may even have prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem” he quickly adds (92-93), “But it is the author of the gospel of Matthew that must be credited (or debited!) with putting these motifs together in the way in which they now stand in the passage quoted. His work reflects a historical situation that did not pertain prior to the destruction of Jerusalem: the final break between the church and the synagogue has taken place.”

32 Pearson has a nice discussion of the parallels (92-93), though he underscores only on the verbal parallels.

33 Pearson, 93, n. 71.

34 Although an excellent case has been made by Michael Svigel that P46 originally had this pericope in it. The MS lacks most of 1 Thessalonians, but Svigel has reconstructed the text by noting the number of lines per page and letters per line that the papyrus consistently had. He argues that P46 should be given a vid at this juncture.

Related Topics: Grammar, Textual Criticism

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