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P46 as the Earliest Witness of 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16

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Editor’s note: The following was a term paper that Mike Svigel did for a Th.M. course on 1-2 Thessalonians which I teach at Dallas Seminary. It is a creative, well-researched paper, that attempts to argue that, even though P46 is not extant in 1 Thess 2, judging by the number of lines per page and number of characters per line where it is extant, is most likely that this papyrus contained these four verses. Whether he has made his case is up for the reader to decide.

Daniel B. Wallace
August 24, 2004

Problem

Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians is dated by nearly all NT scholars at around A.D. 50. However, the four verses from 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 have been regarded by several scholars as a post-A.D. 70 interpolation for historical, theological, or form-critical reasons,1 contrary to all extant Greek MS evidence.2 Even Pearson, who believes one should turn to theories of interpolation only as a final option, suggests that “the historical and theological difficulties in 1 Thessalonians 2 are such that one must begin again to entertain such a hypothesis.”3

On the face of it, such a hypothesis would seem possible, yet improbable. Given the sizable number of MSS available to the textual critic, it would be reasonable to expect some trace of an original and easier reading to survive among the Greek MS traditions, though it is of course a possibility that such a reading (without 2:13–16) could be entirely lost to a more difficult, problematic reading twenty years older. Yet taking into account the presumed reluctance of most copyists to tamper with their Vorlage and considering the possibility that even variants that developed in first generation copies of MSS may be preserved in separate textual traditions,4 it would seem the interpolation theory should be advanced with caution and adopted with reluctance.

Nevertheless, the doubts concerning 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 persist. With this article I will contribute to the discussion by demonstrating that P46—the earliest papyrus MS of 1 Thessalonians—included the passage. This MS, dated c. A.D. 200 and included in a codex of Pauline writings, suggests that at the time of its copying the text of 2:13–16 already enjoyed a stable position in the Pauline corpus. Although this does not prove that the text of 2:13–16 is original to Paul, it pushes back external evidence for the existence of the verses into the late second century while currently the earliest extant MSS that read for those disputed verses, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, are from the fourth century.

Method

The first problem with P46 is that the only extant verses of 1 Thessalonians are on two non-sequential page fragments, the first containing the end of Colossians and 1 Thessalonians 1:1 on its front and traces of 1:9—2:3 on its back (fol. 94).5 The second fragment has 1 Thessalonians 5:5–9 on the front and 5:23–28 on the reverse (fol. 97).6 Since the two leaves that originally contained chapters 3 and 4 are lost, at first glance it appears impossible to determine if 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 was present in P46. However, due to the length of the debated passage and the condition of the fragments, a careful analysis reveals whether or not the verses were contained in one of the missing leaves. The method of this reconstruction and analysis is presented below.

First I selected a standard Greek text from which to reconstruct the missing text of P46. The only viable options were the Textus Receptus and the critical text of Nestle-Aland27. For the purpose of this study minor variants between these texts are of little consequence, since a difference of even a whole line of additions or omissions would not affect the final determination of whether the whole of 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 was present in the original P46. I have therefore decided to use the more commonly accepted NA27 as the standard, making the reasonable assumption that the original text of 1 Thessalonians in P46 was fairly similar to that edition.7

Second, I determined the average number of characters per line in this part of P46.8 By filling in gaps with NA27, I reconstructed the text of the missing portions of the first fragment (fol. 94r and 94v), modifying the text of NA27 to include nomina sacra regularly used in P46 as well as known spelling variations in the MS.9 I then counted the number of characters reconstructed between two letters that appear on opposite sides of the actual fragment.10 The letter ε in the partial word υμειν (1 Thess 1:1) at the bottom left corner of 94r is matched on the opposite side by the υ of the abbreviated θυ (1 Thess 2:2).11 Between these two letters in the reconstructed text there are 1,063 characters.12 Kenyon has pointed out that in P46 “the number of lines on a page varies between 25 and 32, but tends to increase as the MS. progresses.”13 My personal examination revealed that toward the end of the MS the average is actually between 29 and 32. Since I was working with close estimates anyway and since this study could accept a margin of error as great as a whole line of text, I safely estimated that fol. 94 had 30 lines of text per page. This renders an average of 35.4 characters per line of text.

Third, I estimated how many lines the text of 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 would have occupied had it been present in the missing leaves of P46. Using NA27 as the base text and contracting all nomina sacra regularly used by the scribe of P46, the debated text would have consisted of approximately 522 characters. Dividing 522 by the average number of characters per line (35.4), I concluded that 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 would have taken up 14.75 lines of text, virtually half a page in P46.

Fourth, I examined a full-sized facsimile of the actual fragments of P46 to ascertain where both 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 5:5 are positioned on the leaves. Due to the nature of the extant fragments, this is relatively easy to determine. By projecting the text of Colossians from the penultimate leaf to the final fragmentary leaf where that epistle ends and 1 Thessalonians begins, I determined within a one line margin of error upon which of the thirty lines of the leaf 1 Thessalonians began. The reconstruction of fol. 94 below demonstrates this:14

[top of fol. 93v]

[1]

ωνιναοθσανοιχηημινθυραντουλογουλα

2

λησαιτομυστηριοντουξρυδιοκαιδεδεμαι

3

ιναφανερωσωαυτοωσδειμελαλησαι

4

ενσοφιαπεριπατειτεπροστουσεχωτον

5

καιρονεχαγοραζομενοιολογοσυμων

6

παντοτεενξαριτιαλατιηρτυμενοσειδε

7

ναιπωσδειυμασενιεκαστωαποκρινεσ

8

θαιτακατεμεπανταγνωρισειυμιντυ

9

χικοσοαγαπητοσαδελφοσκαιπιστοσδιακονοσ

10

καισυνδουλοσενκωονεπεμψαπροσυμασ

11

εισαυτοτουτοιναγνωτεταπεριημωνκαιπα

12

ρακαλεσητασκαρδιασυμωνσυνονησιμω

13

τωπιστωκαιαγαπητωαδελφωοσεστιν

14

εχυμωνπανταυμινγνωρισουσινταωδε

15

ασπαζεταιυμασαπισταρξοσοσυναιξμαλω

16

τοσμουκαιμαρκοσοανεψιοσβαρναβαπε

17

ριουελαβετεεντολασεανελθηπροσυμασδε

18

ξασθεαυτονκαιιησουσολεγομενοσιουστο

19

σοιοντεσεκπεριτομησαυτοιμονοισυν

20

εργοιεισγηνβασιλειαντουθυοιτινεσεγε

21

νηθησανμοιπαρηγοριαασπαζεταιυμασ

22

επαφρασοεχυμωνδουλοσξρυιηυπαντοτε

23

αγωνιζομενοσυπερυμωνενταισπροσευξαισ

24

ινασταθητετελειοικαιπεπληροφορημενοιεν

[25]

παντιθεληματιτουθυμαρτυρωγαραυτωο

[26]

τιεξειπολυνπονονυπερυμωνκαιτωνενλ

[27]

αοδικειακαιτωνενιεραπολειασπαζετα

[28]

ιυμασλουκασοιατροσοαγαπητοσκαιδημ

[29]

ασασπασασθετουσενλαοδικειααδελφου

[30]

σκαινυμφανκαιτηνκατοικοναυτησεκκλ

[bottom of fol. 93v]

[top of fol. 94r]

1

ησιανκαιοταναναγνωσθηπαρυμινηεπισ

2

τοληποιησατεινακαιεντηλαοδικεωνεκ

3

κλησιααναγνωσθηκαιτηνεκλαοδικειασ

4

ινακαιυμεισαναγνωτεκαιειπατεαρξιπ

5

πωβλεπετηνδιακονιανηνπαρελαβεσενκ

6

υριωινααυτηνπληροισοασπασμοστηεμη

7

ξειριπαυλουμνημονευετεμουτωνδεσμω

8

νηξαρισμεθυυμων

915

 

10

 

11

 

12

 

13

παυλοσκαισιλουανοσκαιτιμοθεοστηεκκλησιαθε

14

σσαλονικεωνενθωπρικαικωιηυξρυξαρισυμ

15

εινκαιειρηνηευξαριστουμεντωθωπαντοτ

16

επεριπαντωνυμωνμνειανποιουμενοιεπιτ

17

ωνπροσευξωνημωναδιαλειπτωσμνημονευο

18

ντεσυμωντουεργουτησπιστεωσκαιτουκοπ

19

ουτησαγαπησκαιτησυπομονηστησελπιδοσ

20

τουκυημωνιηυξρυεμπροσθεντουθυκαιπρσ

21

ημωνειδοτεσαδελφοιηγαπημενοιυποτουθ

22

υτηνεκλογηνυμωνοτιτοευαγγελιονημωνο

23

υκεγενηθηεισυμασενλογωμονοναλλακαιε

24

νδυναμεικαιενπνευματιαγιωκαιενπληρ

25

οφοριαπολληκαθωσοιδατεοιοιεγενηθημε

26

νυμινδιυμασκαιυμεισμιμηταιημωνεγενη

27

θητεκαιτουκυδεχαμενοιτονλογονενθλιψ

28

ειπολλημεταξαρασπνσαγιουωστεγενεσθα

29

ιυμαστυπονπασιντοισπιστευουσινεντημ

30

ακεδονιακαιεντηαξαιααφυμωνγαρεχηξητ

[bottom of fol. 94r]

According to this reconstruction, 1 Thessalonians begins on or about the thirteenth line of the page (fol. 94r).

Finally, I established upon which line of the page the words of the next extant fragment lie (fol. 97). A close examination of the fragment made this positioning certain, as one can easily discern that the first visible character in the fragment is at the top corner of the page.16 Therefore, 1 Thessalonians 1:1 begins on the thirteenth line of the recto side of leaf 94 and the beginning of 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (παν[τες]) falls on the first line of the recto side of leaf 97.

Having established this, I could then approximate the missing pages of P46 by projecting the standard NA27 outwards from the thirteenth line of the first page, dividing up the letters into lines consisting of 35.4 characters and onto pages of 30 lines each.17 The hypothetical reconstruction in the Appendix includes 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16. If the verses were actually included in the original missing leaves of P46, then 5:5 in the reconstruction would fall near the first line of the front of the leaf. If the verses were missing from the original pages of P46, then the addition of these lines in the reconstruction would cause a shift forward by approximately 14.75 lines, placing 5:5 not at the top of the leaf, but in the middle of the page.

The result of the reconstruction was revealing. In the hypothetical text of the missing leaves of P46, the first word of 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (παν) fell in the center of line 27 of fol. 96v, three and a half lines earlier than it does in the actual extant fragment (line 1 of fol. 96r). Therefore, it can be demonstrated that 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 was almost certainly part of the original P46, even though the leaf on which that text was originally written is lost today.

Implications And Conclusion

Establishing that 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 was included in the original complete P46 places the external evidence for the reading at least as early A.D. 200, the date of that MS. Although the text type in that papyrus has been characterized as “free,”18 and the scribe regarded as a “blunderer,”19 one can discern no pattern of variants in the text that would suggest the scribe of P46 was interested in anything other than preserving the MS tradition of the exemplar.20 Nor does it appear that the tradition of his exemplar would be characterized as grossly unreliable. Therefore, while I can comfortably declare with relative certainty that 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 was among the MS tradition in A.D. 200, it seems reasonable to push this tradition back at least into the late second century, or even earlier.

Although this early testimony of P46does not prove the passage in question to be originally Pauline, Vaganay notes as a general principle: “It would be right to be wary of a variant which does not emerge until the fifteenth or sixteenth century, for example, and to pay more attention to a variant in a papyrus from around AD 200.”21 This principle of textual criticism speaks even louder against variants that have no Greek textual evidence, either early or late.

As it stands, the abiding theory of interpolation at 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 depends strictly on intrinsic evidence, “the most subjective element in the methodology of textual criticism.”22 The subjectivism of the evaluation of intrinsic evidence is highlighted when one encounters the variety of opinions regarding which of the verses in 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 are authentic and which are interpolations.23 Of course, disagreement among scholars does not prove any or all of the hypotheses false, but the critic ought to tread even more cautiously when he realizes that the “most subjective” among the elements of evidence in a problem like 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 is the element upon which the entire argument depends.24 In spite of the bold but tenuous assertions to the contrary,25 the burden of proof still lies with the proponent of an interpolation hypothesis in 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16.

Nevertheless, the jury is admittedly still out. By this article I have briefly reopened the case to admit additional evidence from the testimony of P46—a witness heretofore silent. I remind interpolation advocates of the precariousness of a hypothesis that rests strictly on internal evidences against all other considerations. However, while the arguments from external evidence have been strengthened by this study, a final verdict on the authenticity of 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 patiently awaits the discovery of another even earlier MS of 1 Thessalonians, and hopefully one made out of stronger stuff than that crumbly P46!

Appendix:
A Reconstruction Of The Lost Leaves Of P46

This reconstruction of the lost leaves of P46 highlights the characters from the extant fragments of 1 Thessalonians in bold bracketed characters, beginning the reconstruction with line 13 of fol. 94r. Since I was only interested in the approximate amount of space the characters would have taken and not in the content itself, I did not re-organized the reconstruction to conform to the extant text as it appears in the fragments. Also, in order to maintain a consistent average of characters per line, I have had to divide words unnaturally.

The number on the left is the line number (1–30 lines per page). The number on the right indicates the number of characters in that particular line, averaging 35.4 characters per line. The first two lines (13 and 14) of fol. 94r are reconstructed as they would have appeared in the original MS and the hypothetical reproduction itself begins on line 15.

[middle of fol. 94r]

13

πα[υλοςκαισ]ιλουανοςκαιτιμοθεοςτηεκκλησια

 

14

θε[σσαλονεικε]ωνενθωπρικαικωιηυχρωχαρις

 

15

υ[μεινκαιειρ]ηνηευχαριστουμεντωθωπαντ

35

16

οτεπεριπαντωνυμωνμνειανποιουμενοιεπ

35

17

ιτωνπροσευχωνημωναδιαλειπτωςμνημονε

35

18

υοντεςυμωντουεργουτηςπιστεωςκαιτουκ

35

19

οπουτηςαγαπηςκαιτηςυπομονηςτηςελπιδος

37

20

τουκυημωνιηυχρυεμπροσθεντουθυκαιπρς

35

21

ημωνειδοτεςαδελφοιηγαπημενοιυποτουθ

35

22

υτηνεκλογηνυμωνοτιτοευαγγελιονημωνο

35

23

υκεγενηθηειςυμαςενλογωμονοναλλακαιε

35

24

νδυναμεικαιενπνιαγιωκαιενπληροφοριαπο

37

25

λληκαθωςοιδατεοιοιεγενηθημενενυμειν

35

26

διυμαςκαιυμειςμιμηταιημωνεγενηθητεκ

35

27

αιτουκυδεξαμενοιτονλογονενθλιψειπολ

35

28

λημεταχαραςπνςαγιουωστεγενεσθαιυμας

35

29

τυπονπασιντοιςπιστευουσινεντημακεδονι

37

30

ακαιεντηαχαιααφυμωνγαρεξηχηταιολογο

35

[bottom of fol. 94r]

[top of fol. 94v]

1

ςτουκυουμονονεντημακεδονιακαιεντηαχ

35

2

αιααλλενπαντιτοπωηπιστιςυμωνηπροςτο

35

3

νθνεξεληλυθενωστεμηχρειανεχεινημαςλ

35

4

αλειντιαυτοιγαρπεριημωναπαγγελλουσινο

37

5

ποιανεισοδονεσχομενπροςυμαςκαιπωςεπ

35

6

εστρεψατεπροςτονθναποτωνειδωλωνδουλ

35

7

ευεινθωζωντικαιαληθινωκαιαναμενειντ

35

8

ονυιναυτουεκτωνουρανωνονηγειρενεκτω

35

9

ννεκρωνιηντονρυομενονημαςεκτηςοργηςτη

37

10

ςερχομενηςαυτοιγαροιδατεαδελφοιτηνε

35

11

ισοδονημωντηνπροςυμαςοτιουκενηγεγον

35

12

εναλλαπροπαθοντεςκαιυβρισθεντεςκαθω

35

13

ςοιδατεενφιλιπποιςεπαρρησιασαμεθαεν

35

14

τωθωημωνλαλησαιπροςυμαςτοευαγγελιοντο

37

15

υθυενπολλωαγωνιηγαρπαρακλησιςημωνου

35

16

κεκπλανηςουδεεξακαθαρσιαςουδεενδολω

35

17

αλλακαθωςδεδοκιμασμεθαυποτουθυπιστε

35

18

υθηναιτοευαγγελιονουτωςλαλουμενουχω

35

19

ςανοιςαρεσκοντεςαλλαθωτωδοκιμαζοντιτα

37

20

ςκαρδιαςημωνουτεγαρποτεενλογωκολακε

35

21

ιαςεγενηθημενκαθωςοιδατεουτεενπροφα

35

22

σειπλεονεξιαςθςμαρτυςουτεζητουντεςε

35

23

ξανωνδοξανουτεαφυμωνουτεαπαλλωννυνα

35

24

μενοιενβαρειειναιωςχρυαποστολοιαλλαεγ

37

25

ενηθημεννηπιοιενμεσωυμωνωςεαντροφος

35

26

θαλπηταεαυτηςτεκναουτωςομειρομενοιυ

35

27

μωνευδοκουμενμεταδουναιυμεινουμονον

35

28

τοευαγγελιοντουθυαλλακαιταςεαυτωνψυ

35

29

χαςδιοτιαγαπητοιημινεγενηθητεμνημονευ

37

30

ετεγαραδελφοιτονκοπονημωνκαιτονμοχθ

35

[bottom of fol. 94v]

[top of fol. 95r]

1

οννυκτοςκαιημεραςεργαζομενοιπροςτομ

35

2

ηεπιβαρησαιτιναυμωνεκηρυξαμενειςυμα

35

3

ςτοευαγγελιοντουθυυμειςμαρτυρεςκαιο

35

4

θςωςοσιωςκαιδικαιωςκαιαμεμπτωςυμειντο

37

5

ιςπιστευουσινεγενηθημενκαθαπεροιδατ

35

6

εωςεναεκαστονυμωνωςπατηρτεκναεαυτου

35

7

παρακαλουντεςυμαςκαιπαραμυθουμενοικ

35

8

αιμαρτυρομενοιειςτοπεριπατεινυμαςαξ

35

9

ιωςτουθυτουκαλουντοςυμαςειςτηνεαυτουβ

37

10

ασιλειανκαιδοξανκαιδιατουτοκαιημεις

35

11

ευχαριστουμεντωθωαδιαλειπτωςοτιπαρα

35

12

λαβοντεςλογονακοηςπαρημωντουθυεδεξα

35

13

σθεουλογονανωναλλακαθωςεστιναληθωςλ

35

14

ογονθυοςκαιενεργειταιενυμειντοιςπιστε

37

15

υουσινυμειςγαρμιμηταιεγενηθητεαδελφ

35

16

οιτωνεκκλησιωντουθυτωνουσωνεντηιουδ

35

17

αιαενχρωιηυοτιτααυταεπαθετεκαιυμεις

35

18

υποτωνιδιωνσυμφυλετωνκαθωςκαιαυτοιυ

35

19

ποτωνιουδαιωντωνκαιτονκναποκτειναντων

37

20

ιηνκαιτουςπροφηταςκαιημαςεκδιωξαντω

35

21

νκαιθωμηαρεσκοντωνκαιπασινανοιςεναν

35

22

τιωνκωλυοντωνημαςτοιςεθνεσινλαλησαι

35

23

ινασωθωσινειςτοαναπληρωσαιαυτωνταςα

35

24

μαρτιαςπαντοτεεφθασενδεεπαυτουςηοργηε

37

25

ιςτελοςημειςδεαδελφοιαπορφανισθεντε

35

26

ςαφυμωνπροςκαιρονωραςπροσωπωουκαρδι

35

27

απερισσοτερωςεσπουδασαμεντοπροσωπον

35

28

υμωνιδεινενπολληεπιθυμιαδιοτιηθελησ

35

29

αμενελθεινπροςυμαςεγωμενπαυλοςκαιαπαξ

37

30

καιδιςκαιενεκοψενημαςοσαταναςτιςγαρ

35

[bottom of fol. 95r]

[top of fol. 95v]

1

ημωνελπιςηχαραηστεφανοςκαυχησεωςηου

35

2

χικαιυμειςεμπροσθεντουκυημωνιηυεντη

35

3

αυτουπαρουσιαυμειςγαρεστεηδοξαημωνκ

35

4

αιηχαραδιομηκετιστεγοντεςευδοκησαμενκ

37

5

αταλειφθηναιεναθηναιςμονοικαιεπεμψα

35

6

μεντιμοθεοντοναδελφονημωνκαισυνεργο

35

7

ντουθυεντωευαγγελιωτουχρυειςτοστηρι

35

8

ξαιυμαςκαιπαρακαλεσαιυπερτηςπιστεως

35

9

υμωντομηδενασαινεσθαιενταιςθλιψεσιντα

37

10

υταιςαυτοιγαροιδατεοτιειςτουτοκειμε

35

11

θακαιγαροτεπροςυμαςημενπροελεγομενυ

35

12

μινοτιμελλομενθλιβεσθαικαθωςκαιεγεν

35

13

ετοκαιοιδατεδιατουτοκαγωμηκετιστεγω

35

14

νεπεμψαειςτογνωναιτηνπιστινυμωνμηπωςε

37

15

πειρασενυμαςοπειραζωνκαιειςκενονγεν

35

16

ηταιοκοποςημωναρτιδεελθοντοςτιμοθεο

35

17

υπροςημαςαφυμωνκαιευαγγελισαμενουημ

35

18

ιντηνπιστινκαιτηναγαπηνυμωνκαιοτιεχ

35

19

ετεμνειανημωναγαθηνπαντοτεεπιποθουντε

37

20

ςημαςιδεινκαθαπερκαιημειςυμαςδιατου

35

21

τοπαρεκληθημεναδελφοιεφυμινεπιπασητ

35

22

ηαναγκηκαιθλιψειημωνδιατηςυμωνπιστε

35

23

ωςοτινυνζωμενεανυμειςστηκετεενκωτιν

35

24

αγαρευχαριστιανδυναμεθατωθωανταποδουν

37

25

αιπεριυμωνεπιπασητηχαραηχαιρομενδιυ

35

26

μαςεμπροσθεντουθυημωννυκτοςκαιημερα

35

27

ςυπερεκπερισσουδεομενοιειςτοιδεινυμ

35

28

ωντοπροσωπονκαικαταρτισαιταυστερημα

35

29

τατηςπιστεωςυμωναυτοςδεοθςκαιπρημωνκα

37

30

ιοκςημωνιηςκατευθυναιτηνοδονημωνπρο

35

[bottom of fol. 95v]

[top of fol. 96r]

1

ςυμαςυμαςδεοκςπλεονασαικαιπερισσευσ

35

2

αιτηαγαπηειςαλληλουςκαιειςπανταςκαθ

35

3

απερκαιημειςειςυμαςειςτοστηριξαιυμω

35

4

νταςκαρδιαςαμεμπτουςεναγιωσυνηεμπροσθ

37

5

εντουθυκαιπρςημωνεντηπαρουσιατουκυη

35

6

μωνιηυμεταπαντωντωναγιωναυτουαμηνλο

35

7

ιπονουναδελφοιερωτωμενυμαςκαιπαρακα

35

8

λουμενενκωιηυινακαθωςπαρελαβετεπαρη

35

9

μωντοπωςδειυμαςπεριπατεινκαιαρεσκεινθ

37

10

ωκαθωςκαιπεριπατειτειναπερισσευητεμ

35

11

αλλονοιδατεγαρτιναςπαραγγελιαςεδωκα

35

12

μενυμινδιατουκυιηυτουτογαρεστινθελη

35

13

ματουθυοαγιασμοςυμωναπεχεσθαιυμαςαπ

35

14

οτηςπορνειαςειδεναιεκαστονυμωντοεαυτο

37

15

υσκευοςκτασθαιεναγιασμωκαιτιμημηενπ

35

16

αθειεπιθυμιαςκαθαπερκαιταεθνηταμηει

35

17

δοτατονθντομηυπερβαινεινκαιπλεονεκτ

35

18

εινεντωπραγματιτοναδελφοναυτουδιοτι

35

19

εκδικοςκςπεριπαντωντουτωνκαθωςκαιπροε

37

20

ιπαμενυμινκαιδιεμαρτυραμεθαουγαρεκα

35

21

λεσενημαςοθςεπιακαθαρσιααλλεναγιασμ

35

22

ωτοιγαρουνοαθετωνουκανοναθετειαλλατ

35

23

ονθντονκαιδιδοντατοπνααυτουτοαγιονε

35

24

ιςυμαςπεριδετηςφιλαδελφιαςουχρειανεχε

37

25

τεγραφεινυμιναυτοιγαρυμειςθεοδιδακτ

35

26

οιεστεειςτοαγαπαναλληλουςκαιγαρποιε

35

27

ιτεαυτοειςπανταςτουςαδελφουςτουςενο

35

28

λητημακεδονιαπαρακαλουμενδευμαςαδελ

35

29

φοιπερισσευεινμαλλονκαιφιλοτιμεισθαιη

37

30

συχαζεινκαιπρασσεινταιδιακαιεργαζεσ

35

[bottom of fol. 96r]

[top of fol. 96v]

1

θαιταιςιδιαιςχερσινυμωνκαθωςυμινπαρ

35

2

ηγγειλαμενιναπεριπατητεευσχημονωςπρ

35

3

οςτουςεξωκαιμηδενοςχρειανεχητεουθελ

35

4

ομενδευμαςαγνοειναδελφοιπεριτωνκοιμωμ

37

5

ενωνιναμηλυπησθεκαθωςκαιοιλοιποιοιμ

35

6

ηεχοντεςελπιδαειγαρπιστευομενοτιιης

35

7

απεθανενκαιανεστηουτωςκαιοθςτουςκοι

35

8

μηθενταςδιατουιηυαξεισυναυτωτουτογα

35

9

ρυμινλεγομενενλογωκυοτιημειςοιζωντεςο

37

10

ιπεριλειπομενοιειςτηνπαρουσιαντουκυ

35

11

ουμηφθασωμεντουςκοιμηθενταςοτιαυτος

35

12

οκςενκελευσματιενφωνηαρχαγγελουκαιε

35

13

νσαλπιγγιθυκαταβησεταιαπουρανουκαιο

35

14

ινεκροιενχρωαναστησονταιπρωτονεπειταη

37

15

μειςοιζωντεςοιπεριλειπομενοιαμασυνα

35

16

υτοιςαρπαγησομεθαεννεφελαιςειςαπαντ

35

17

ησιντουκυειςαερακαιουτωςπαντοτεσυνκ

35

18

ωεσομεθαωστεπαρακαλειτεαλληλουςεντο

35

19

ιςλογοιςτουτοιςπεριδετωνχρονωνκαιτωνκ

37

20

αιρωναδελφοιουχρειανεχετευμινγραφεσ

35

21

θαιαυτοιγαρακριβωςοιδατεοτιημερακυω

35

22

ςκλεπτηςεννυκτιουτωςερχεταιοτανλεγω

35

23

σινειρηνηκαιασφαλειατοτεαιφνιδιοςαυ

35

24

τοιςεφισταταιολεθροςωσπερηωδιντηενγασ

37

25

τριεχουσηκαιουμηεκφυγωσινυμειςδεαδε

35

26

λφοιουκεστεενσκοτειιναηημεραυμαςωςκ

35

27

Λεπτηςκαταλαβη[παν]τεςγαρυμειςυιοιφωτ

35

28

οςεστεκαιυιοιημερας[ουκεσμεν]νυκτοςου

35

29

δεσκοτουςαραουνμηκαθευ[δωμενω]ςοιλοιποι

37

30

αλλαγρηγορωμενκαινη[φωμενο]ιγαρκαθευδ

35

[bottom of fol. 96v]


1For some early scholars, the interpolation is limited to 1 Thessalonians 2:16c (James Moffatt, An Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament [New York: Charles Scribner, 1911], 74; Albrecht Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, 2d ed., 3 vols. [Bonn: Adolph Marcus, 1882], 2:142–144). Some thought the interpolation included 2:15–16 (Paul W. Schmiedel, Die Briefe an die Thessalonicher und an die Korinther, HKNT 2 [Freiburg: Mohr, 1891], 17). Others believed the addition extended from 2:14–16 (S. G. F. Brandon, The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church: A Study of the Effects of the Jewish Overthrow of A.D. 70 on Christianity [London: SPCK, 1957], 92–93; Heinrich Holtzmann, Praktische Erklärung des I. Thessalonicherbriefes [Tübingen: Mohr, 1911], 74–79; Burton L. Mack, Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth [San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995], 113). Still others extend the interpolation to include the whole of 2:13–16 (Helmut Koester, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 2, History and Literature of Early Christianity, 2d ed. [New York: De Gruyter, 2000], 119; Birger A. Pearson, “1 Thessalonians 2:13–16: A Deutero-Pauline Interpolation,” HTR 64 [1971]: 70-94; Daryl Schmidt, “1 Thess. 2:13–16: Linguistic Evidence for an Interpolation,” JBL 102 [1983]: 269–79). Also see Hendrikus Boers, “The Form-Critical Study of Paul’s Letters: I Thessalonians as a Case Study,” NTS 22 (1976): 140–58. One writer even regards all of 1 Thessalonians 2 as a post-Pauline addition (Alfred F. Loisy, Remarques sur la litérature épistolaire du Nouveau Testament [Paris: Nourry, 1935], 85–87).

2 The most problematic phrase in 2:16c (ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος) is found in all extant Greek MSS and missing only in a few individual Latin MSS (see n. in NA27). Yet even these latter Latin omissions may have themselves been critical emendations attempting to solve a problem in a text believed by copyists to have been written prior to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, just as critical scholars today have deemed the phrase an interpolation for similar reasons.

3 Pearson, “1 Thessalonians 2:13–16,” 81.

4 Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2d ed.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), 452. Metzger suggests the variant at Romans 5:1 could have actually originated at the pen of Tertius when he confused the like-sounding ἔχωμεν for ἔχομεν. This error would have been corrected by Paul or Tertius, but future copyists of the MS would not have known which version was original. The result would be a difficult variant in which the external evidence is strong for both. If this reconstruction seems possible, how much more ought we expect a hypothetical original version of 1 Thessalonians without 2:13–16 to survive in the MS tradition, notwithstanding the scribal tendency to prefer the fuller text.

5 This article will use standard abbreviations for citing pages and fragments of P46. The abbreviation fol. (folio, “leaf”) indicates the single leaf of a manuscript. Each leaf (front and back) is numbered, and folio numbers are assigned even to missing pages. Each leaf has a front, right-hand side (recto, abbreviated r) and a back, left-hand side (verso, abbreviated v). Thus, the citation “fol. 94v” refers to the back of folio 94.

6 Although I have thoroughly examined photograph reproductions of P46 throughout the course of this study, the reader is referred to Barbara Aland and Kurt Aland, The Text of the New Testament, 2d ed., trans. E. F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 99, for a general description of the MS and its contents.

7 Although the Textus Receptus may be helpful as a collating standard, it is more likely that P46, with its Alexandrian affinities, would have had a profile closer to NA27 than the Byzantine text represented in the TR (see J. H. Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, rev. ed. [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995], 118; Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3d enl. ed. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1992], 38).

8 It cannot, of course, be assumed that the scribe used the same size characters consistently in every part of the MS. In fact, an examination of P46 reveals the opposite). Kenyon noted, “The length of the line . . . tends to become greater in the latter part of the MS” (Frederic G. Kenyon, ed., The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible; Fascicules III Supplement, Pauline Epistles: Text [London: Walker, 1936], ix). Therefore, an average number of characters per line obtained from 1 Thessalonians itself or the end of Colossians will be more accurate than an average from an earlier part of the MS.

9 Nomina sacra in P46 relevant to our examination of 1 Thessalonians include the standard abbreviations for θεός, κύριος, ᾿Ιησοῦ'ς, Χριστός, υἱός, πατήρ, and πνεῦμα (Kenyon, Chester Beatty Papyri, xiii–xiv; cf. Metzger, Text of the New Testament, 13–14).

10 Kenyon noted, “In general the odd-numbered pages (the lines of which run towards the inner margin) have shorter lines than the even-numbered pages, so as to keep clear of the binding center” (Kenyon, Chester Beatty Papyri, ix). This consideration need not be factored into our calculation of the average characters per line since our sampling consists of roughly half a page from the recto and half from the verso sides of the leaf fragment, thus automatically rendering an approximate average.

11 My method in determining this was rather crude, but effective. I copied and pasted together the two sides of the MS from Kenyon’s plates then simply pushed a pin through the first whole letter on the bottom of the fragment to see through which letter on the opposite side the pin passed. (I would strongly discourage you from repeating this method on the real P46 or even a quality facsimile.)

12 This is naturally an estimate since there is no way to estimate how many variants existed in the missing text of fol. 94. However, this seems to be the most objective standard for generating the closest possible numbers with which to work.

13 Kenyon, Chester Beatty Papyri, ix.

14 The bracketed line numbers indicate that the text is either partially or entirely corrupted in the actual MS.

15 There is a space of approximately 1.25 inches between the end of Colossians and the first line of 1 Thessalonians (not counting the title, which is not included here). This equals a space of four lines.

16 Ironically, had there been one more fraction of an inch missing from the top of this fragment, it would have been impossible to determine that the text began at the top of the leaf.

17 To achieve an average of 35.4 characters per line in the reconstruction, and to keep the reconstruction as precise as possible, I broke the characters into sets of four lines of 35 characters followed by one line of 37 characters. Since words are broken at unnatural places to achieve this average, I removed all spaces between words in the lines of text to avoid confusion.

18 Aland and Aland, Text of the New Testament, 99.

19 See Günther Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles: A Disquisition upon the Corpus Paulinum (London: British Academy, 1953), 212–13.

20 The MS is not characterized by wild or creative variants and singular readings. Although it has a relatively high number of omissions, most of these are accidental (James R. Royse, “Scribal Tendencies in the Transmission of the Text of the New Testament,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, ed. Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, SD 46 [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995], 246).

21 Léon B. Vaganay, An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, 2d ed., trans. Jenny Read-Heimerdinger, rev. by Christian-Bernard Amphoux (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 63.

22 Gordon D. Fee, “Textual Criticism in the New Testament,” in Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, ed. I. A. Sparks, SD 45 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 14.

23 See n. 1, above.

24 All other internal evidence considered, perhaps the most obvious problem which seems to be unconvincing to interpolation theorists is this: if 1 Thessalonians 2:13–16 is a post-70 interpolation, the interpolator made an incredible blunder at 16c which neither he nor subsequent copyists challenged or corrected. In making the judgment of the Jews an event of the past (ἔφθασεν δὲ ἐπ ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἡ ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος), the alleged editor revealed to both his contemporary and prospective readers that the passage was not, in fact, Pauline. It seems reasonable that editors who would like their readers to believe their new passages to be authentic would take the care needed to make such passages believable. To do this, the supposed editor of 1 Thessalonians 2 could have used a future form instead of an aorist, making it appear that the judgment on the Jews in 2:16 was prophecy from Paul’s perspective, not history.

25 See William O. Walker, Jr., “The Burden of Proof in Identifying Interpolations in the Pauline Letters,” NTS 33 (1987): 610–618.

Related Topics: Textual Criticism