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In the Byzantine text πορνείᾳ is present, and other later manuscripts do not show it . The King James translators of Rom 1:29 include the term, defined as "fornication". Most other modern translations do not (but they do not add the usual footnotes like 'some earlier manuscripts include...') In their NT lexicons, neither Friberg, Gingrich nor Danker include Rom 1:29 in their lists for quoting the use of πορνείᾳ .

Is there some obvious evidence for corruption of the BYZ text in this instance? (margin notes accidentally included, or something like that). Thanks for any help.

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Rom 1:29 has several sets of variations among the MSS, mostly involving the order of the three words, πονηρίᾳ πλεονεξίᾳ κακίᾳ. However, the OP asks specifically about the Byzantine texts which includes an extra word, πορνείᾳ, in this list whose position also varies.

  • Of the edited GNT's that omit πορνείᾳ include: NA28/UBS5, SBL, W&H, Tischendorf, THGNT, NIVGNT.
  • Of the edited GNT's, the include πορνείᾳ include: R-P Byzantine text (2005), F35, TR, Orthodox Patriarchal text, Majority Text.

Amongst the original MSS, those that omit πορνείᾳ include (century dates in brackets) from UBS5:

  • 01(IV), 03(IV), 02(V), 04(V), 0172(V), 018(IX), 33(IX), 1739(X), 424(XI, as corrected)), 81(XI), 6(XIII), 1881(XIV), 1506(XIV), plus lectionaries and church fathers.

Amongst the original MSS, those that include πορνείᾳ include (century dates in brackets) from UBS5:

  • 05(as amended later), 019(VIII), 011(IX), 44(IX), 2464(IX), 1175(X), 1912(X), 104(XI), 459(XI), 256(XI), 424(XI, original), 436(XI), 1962(XI), 365(XII), 1241(XII), 1319(XII), 2127(XII), 1573(XII), 1582(XIII), 263(XIII), 2200(XIV), plus lectionaries and church fathers.

It is immediately clear that the earliest MSS omit πορνείᾳ and the majority of later MSS include it. Hence the distinction in the edited GNT's above.

Bruce Metzger in his Textual Commentary on the GNT opines as follows: enter image description here

The simple reason that NT lexicons, such as Friberg, Gingrich nor Danker do not list πορνείᾳ in Rom 1:29 is that they are based on NA28/UBS5 which omits the word in Rom 1:29. However, my 3rd edition of BDAG lists it as a variant reading.

  • Thanks for this comprehensive answer. It was helpful and addressed my inquiry succinctly. – RevRunD Jul 29 at 12:52
  • Upon further reflection, the Greek words for "wickedness" (PONHRIA) and "fornication" (PORNEIA) are spelled almost alike. It is possible that this caused copyists in older manuscripts to accidently omit "fornication" through a mistake of the eye. It is also possible that "wickedness" was misread as "fornication" and then other copyists combined the two readings into one. As is implied by Metzger. The mystery is WHEN the corruption occurred. 'Older' in not necessarily 'better'. – RevRunD Jul 31 at 11:53
  • The final comment by Metzger is a weak argument. It is speculative in it's interpretation of the intent of Paul's argument (in vv24-25). Paul might easily have included 'PORNEIA' as a sin that results from God releasing idolaters into their degraded thinking and dishonourable passions. – RevRunD Jul 31 at 11:54
  • All correct. That is presumably why the text variant chosen is marked {C} = "the committee had trouble deciding which variant to place in the text" – user25930 Jul 31 at 20:58

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