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Please Note : This is a question about the TR, not about the Westcott and Hort text or the Nestle Aland text.


Stephens, Beza, Elzevir and Scrivener all include των αμαρτιων 'of the sins' in the text of Colossians 2:11 :

εν ω και περιετμηθητε περιτομη αχειροποιητω εν τη απεκδυσει του σωματος των αμαρτιων της σαρκος εν τη περιτομη του χριστου

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [KJV 1769]

Tyndale does not (quite) include the phrase :

... circumcision made without hands, by putting off the sinful body of flesh

The Vulgate clearly does not contain the phrase :

... circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh

[Douay-Rheims and, also, The Wycliffe]

So I therefore assume that the Old Latin excludes it.

Unusually, J N Darby departs from the Textus Receptus on this point :

... circumcision not done by hand, in putting off of the body of the flesh

===============================================================

The concept 'the body of the sins of the flesh' is not an illogical one. We speak of a 'body' of water, that is to say a shape of water which is the result of the containment in which it resides.

So also I can see that the same might be said of sins. All the sins committed by a particular individual may be viewed as a 'body of sins' which is associated with the individual flesh of that particular person.

I am interested, therefore, in what Textual evidence there is, for and against its inclusion or exclusion from the Received Text.

That authorities such as Jerome, Tyndale and J N Darby omit the phrase is not, of itself, sufficient evidence for me to come to a conclusion. I would be looking for stronger evidence.

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This is tricky! Here is a list of Greek NT that exclude the phrase "of sins" in Col 2:11.

  • UBS4, UBS5 and NA27, NA28. (Any divergence in the MSS is NOT footnoted in UBS4 and UBS5 but IS footnoted in NA27.)
  • Society of Biblical Languages (SBL) terxt edited by M W Holmes
  • Wescott and Hort Text
  • NIV Greek text edited by Goodrich and Lukaszewski
  • Greek New Testament (2017) edited by Dirk Jongkind (Tyndale House)
  • The Vulgate of Jerome (400 AD) and the Clementine vulgate also exclude this phrase

Here are some Greek texts that include the phrase "of sins" in Col 2:11.

  • The Majority Text by Farstad, Hodges et al
  • The Byzantine Text edited by Robinson and Pierpont
  • Greek Text according to Family 35 edited by W N Pickering
  • The Orthodox Greek Text or Patriarchal text of 1904, 2012 edition.
  • The Textus Receptus

According to NA27, the variation "of sins" occurs in the following MSS:

  • 01 Codex Sinaiticus as corrected by the second (later) hand
  • D (04) as corrected by the first later hand
  • 044 (9th/10th Cent)
  • 075 (10th Cent)
  • others in the majority/Byzantine text-type MSS

The following MSS do NOT have the phrase "of sins":P46, A, B, C, D(orig), F, G, P, 6, 33, 81, 365, 1175, 1241, etc.

It appears that the MSS before about the 6th century do not have this variation and sometime during the 7th or 8th cent the variation was introduced - about the time the Byzantine tradition (ie eastern) was being established. If an early (before 6th cent) MSS had this variation, it has not survived.

Why might such a variation be introduced? We do not know but here is my SPECULATION. There developed at about this time a difference between the Latin (west) and Greek (east) tradition in attitudes to the body or "flesh" as whether it was fundamentally sinful/dirty or not. The Latin tradition often said the body was evil and had to suppressed. Therefore, to say, "putting off the body of flesh" automatically meant putting off the sinful life (especially the body) to the Latins in the west. However, someone may have thought that an extra explanatory phrase, "of sins" was required in the eastern Byzantine churches and added it.

We do not know but that is my guess.

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  • Thank you for this. Can you link to your sources ? – Nigel J Nov 29 '18 at 1:47
  • Sorry, the sources - all (old fashioned paper) are listed above in the answer. UBS4, UBS5, NA27, and the Greek new Testaments etc are all in paper. – user25930 Nov 29 '18 at 2:26

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