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Old 05-09-2001, 11:17 PM   #1
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Post Interpolations in Scripture

I have noticed that some discussion is taking place on the question of "interpolations" within certain passages, and especially in the Bible and the works of some ancient historians. I thought it might be useful to create a separate post, and explain briefly (with some examples) of what is meant when scholars say that a passage may or may not be an interpolation.

First, a definition (from Webster's.com

Main Entry: in·ter·po·late
Function: verb

1 a : to alter or corrupt (as a text) by inserting new or foreign matter b : to insert (words) into a text or into a conversation
2 : to insert between other things or parts


Now, within this rather broad definition, there is a very wide range of possible interpolations or insertions, and this can cause a great deal of confusion. For example, the inserted portion may constitute a word, or a phrase, or an entire passage or story. It becomes the job of what we call the Textual Critic to use the science of textual criticism to determine, as best as we are able if, and how much, of an interpolation or insertion has taken place in a specific work.

Rather than going through a long winded discussion on textual criticism, I would like to offer a few examples of well known, and accepted interpolations, and explain how textual critics have decided that they are most likely not a part of the original text.

Perhaps the most famous example of an interpolation within the Bible is the ending of the Gospel of Mark, namely verses 9-16. The oldest manuscripts of Mark available to us do not contain these passages, and even a casual reading of them tells us that they were almost certainly later additions (generally drawn from the other Gospels). Here is a brief summary of what is believed to have been the sources for Mark 16:9-20.

MARK 16
v. 9 from Luke 8:2
v. 10-11 from Luke 24:11
v. 12-13 from Luke 24:13-35
v. 14 from Luke 24:38-39
v. 15 from Matthew 28:19
v. 16 from John 3:16
v. 17 from Luke 9:1 and Acts 2:4
v. 18 from Luke 10:19
v. 19 from Acts 28:8
v. 20 from miracle stories found in Acts


The Roman Catholic Church declared this section to be Canonical (and therefore authoritative) at the Council of Trent in the 16th Century, but that has not prevented scholars (including Catholic ones like J.P. Meier and Raymond Brown) to acknowledge it to be a later insertion that was almost certainly not included in the original Gospel of Mark.

A much shorter example of another possible interpolation found in the Gospel of Mark is found in Mark 1:1. The phrase "the Son of God" is not found in the earliest manuscripts. For a discussion on this passage take a look at Daniel Wallace's article Does Mark 1:1 Call Jesus ‘God’s Son’?. Since Mark definitely calls Jesus the Son of God in Mark 3:11, and there can be little doubt that Mark considered Jesus to be the Messiah (and by extension the Son of God), I do not see this as a critical issue.

Other examples of commonly accepted interpolations include the story of the adulterous found in John 7:53-8:11, as well as the almost certain mistranslation of 1 John 5:7-8 found in the King James Bible and the Vulgate known as the Comma Johanneum. The discussion on this latter example can be found here.

It should be noted here that not all translations are considered to be interpolations per se. For example, if the translation is meant to give a clearer meaning to the word or phrase, without adding to or expanding the definition of the word, then it is generally not considered to be an interpolation, especially if the original Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic is left intact in the notes.

Now, I would like to address the question of the possible interpolation of 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16. First, the translation:

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

It should be noted that when the books of the Bible were first written, they obviously did not contain chapters and verses. These were later introductions to help students reference certain passages. Therefore, it is always possible to look at a given passage (or even a single verse or phrase), and see a partial interpolation, and yet leave the remainder of the passage intact.

The arguments for interpolation of this passage typically presented are (here I am drawing from arguments presented by Raymond Brown in Introduction to the New Testament, [Doubleday: New York, 1996], pg. 463):

1) It contains as second thanksgiving (the first is found in 1 Thess. 1:2-3).
2) The Jews are said to have "killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets" and that "[T]hey displease God and are hostile to all men". This is far more hostile towards the Jews than is found in other undisputed Pauline letters.
3) The sentences "In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last" contradicts Romans 11:25-26 where Paul tells us that all of Israel will be saved, and also suggests that the Jews have already been punished in some fashion that would not have been apparent in Paul's own time before the Jewish War 66-73AD.

The arguments in favour of Paul's authorship of these passages are:

1) All MSS of 1 Thess. includes it,
2) Paul shows himself to be hostile to the "Jews" in 2 Corinthians 11:24, and often makes use of hyperbole in his other letters
3) In Romans 2:5, 3:5-6, 4:15, 11:25) Paul speaks of God's wrath against the Jews.

In my view, the case for interpolation of all of verses 13-16 is hardly very convincing. The second thanksgiving found in verse 13 is unusual (Paul never gives two thanksgivings in any of his other letters), but not inexplicable. Unlike most of his other epistles, 1 Thess. is not concerned with theology, and instead dwells on Paul's emotions, especially his love for the people of this church, and how pleased (and worried) he is with them. Repeating himself here does not strike me as being unexpected. Nor does his anger against the Jews strike me as being out of character given the other references to this same anger found in 2 Corinthians and Romans. On this basis, and reinforced by the fact that we have no MS textual evidence of these verses ever NOT being in 1 Thessalonians, I think it is entirely reasonable to say that they were a part of the original text.

Daniel Wallace gives one further reason to accept these passages as original (from 1 Thessalonians: Introduction, Outline, and Argument:

6 Note the themes in both sections: (1) thanksgiving to God (1:2/2:13) that (2) the Thessalonians received the word as from God (1:5/2:13); (3) this word is powerful (1:5/2:13); (4) the Thessalonians became imitators (1:6/2:14); (5) the believers suffered while they were imitating their role models (1:6/2:14); (6) the Gentiles are getting saved because of the Thessalonians’ testimony (1:7-9), not from Paul’s ministry which has been hindered (2:15-16); (7) the Gentile believers will be saved from the coming wrath (1:9-10), while the Jewish unbelievers have not been able to escape the wrath (2:16). These parallels are quite remarkable, especially in that once they depart fromthe same motif (points 6 and 7), their exact opposites are picked up—e.g., Gentile salvation vs. Jewish unbelief, etc.

On this basis I would argue the case for interpolation of 1 Thess. 2:13-16 is very weak.

There are other examples of possible interpolations to be found in Scripture, of course, and if anyone wishes to bring some up (especially those thought to exist in the NT), then I would be happy to discuss them.

Peace,

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 12:44 AM   #2
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Very interesting, but "science of textual criticism" ?? This is more like literary criticism, or inspired guess work. I don't see much hard science here at all.
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Old 05-10-2001, 07:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Very interesting, but "science of textual criticism" ?? This is more like literary criticism, or inspired guess work. I don't see much hard science here at all.</font>
How about the "art" of textual criticism?

 
Old 05-10-2001, 08:47 AM   #4
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Like most sciences, it is not surprising that the methods, uses and limitations of Textual Criticism is little understood by those outside of the field. Is it a hard science like biology, or physics, or chemistry? No. Such sciences can only exist in areas where we study nature, and the human element is essentially irrelevant. But it is a true science, and perhaps the one that is most analagous to it would be paleontology. Like the paleontologist, the textual critic often does not have complete records (fossils in the former case, texts in the latter) to work from, yet by comparing the evidence of what we do have from various sources, it is possible to achieve a very high level of confidence in the results of either investigation. Debate continues, of course, and as new evidence surfaces, then revisions are made. As has been noted previously, for example, the idea that the Gospel of John was Hellenistic and gnostic in origins, and dated to the late 2nd Century (as was commonly believed by many textual critics in the late 1800's and early 1900's) was completely debunked by the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the papyrus P52 (containing a portion of John's Gospel) and has been reliably dated to the first half of the 2nd Century. It is now seen as a very Jewish document, and most likely dates to the late 1st Century, and possibly even earlier.

Like most sciences, textual criticism is not easily reduced to a few simple rules and techniques, allowing anyone to do it with any kind of expertise or skill. But at the same time, it is not incomprehensibe to the layman either, and the basics can be picked up and appreciated by those inclined to read up on it. I would recommend a number of books on the topic, any of which can help the layman understand this remarkable and developing field of study:

The "Text of the New Testament : Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration" by Bruce M. Metger

Text of the New Testament an Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism" by Kurt Aland, Barbara Aland

Websites:

Textual Criticism by Dr. Mark Goodacre

Prof's Soapbox by Dr. Daniel Wallace (this is a personal favorite for me, and goes into considerable detail on many of the translational difficulties, and questions of interpolation in the New Testament. Each book of the NT Canon (except Revelation) is given its own article as well, covering off issues related to each specific text).

Resource Pages for Bible Studies

It is worth noting that anyone that discusses translations of the Bible, and interpretation of the original text, is engaged in textual criticism. Thus, I believe that it is essential to know how much training any given individual has in this field, especially if they are claiming to speak authoritatively on the subject, and to weigh their findings and conclusions accordingly. Can the amateur gain insights by doing his or her own work? Of course. Should he or she rely upon their own resources alone, and ignore the conclusions drawn by experts in the field? I do not think that this is prudent. And when scientists of equal calibre disagree how do we decide who is most likely correct? In my opinion, we must examine the evidence and arguments presented by each side, and draw our own conclusions. No one involved in this field is going to claim 100% accuracy (and if they did, then they should probably be discarded), but that does not mean that we should then just throw up our hands and declare our ability to know anything about ancient texts to be impossible.

Some final points:

1) Textual criticism is not confined solely to the study of the Bible. This science is used on all ancient documents and writings.
2) Like most sciences, we should not rely upon this one field of study alone. The sciences of papyrology, paleography, archeology and history must also be used as much as is possible, always keeping in mind that when we study human beings (especially those so far removed from our present time and culture), we will often be left with educated guesses and partial or tentative conclusions. We must always be open to new evidence, and be prepared to revise our past beliefs.

This is a fascinating field of study for me (and hopefully for others as well). I hope that we do not become hyper sceptical merely because the conclusions offered by textual critics are not 100% certain. Like most areas of human understanding, we must rely on what is most plausible and probable, and draw conclusions that seem to best fit the available evidence. Finally, we must be ready to modify our conclusions as new evidence is brought forward.

So, after all of that, I think max is onto something. Textual criticism is part science, but also part art. But like the arts of psychology, sociology, anthropology and even archeology, we can learn a great deal from it. My hope is that this is what we are here to do, and I will do my part contribute to that investigation as best as I am able.

Peace,

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 09:16 AM   #5
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Great post, Nomad!

Michael
 
Old 05-10-2001, 01:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the links, Nomad. However, when I follow all of your references I am not convinced that 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 has no interpolation.

Underlying the argument in favor of interpolation is that any reference to “the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus” is an embarrassment to the post-Holocaust, modern, tolerant, ecumenical church. In addition, the phrase “the wrath of God has come upon them at last” doesn’t make sense in the assumed date of 50 C.E. for this epistle, but would make sense after the Jewish War of 66-73. Since we know that early Christian copyists did add phrases such as this, it is rational to assume that this passage was edited and “improved” in copying.

Your argument against the existence of the interpolation, in favor of Paul’s authorship, is
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
1) All MSS of 1 Thess. includes it,
2) Paul shows himself to be hostile to the "Jews" in 2 Corinthians 11:24, and often makes use of hyperbole in his other letters
3) In Romans 2:5, 3:5-6, 4:15, 11:25) Paul speaks of God's wrath against the Jews.</font>
This argument is based, as far as I can tell, on a presumption in favor of inerrancy. Daniel Wallace’s site is intelligently written and I can see why you like it, but he lays out his philosophy of text criticism at http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/inerr.htm where he says:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
But this raises another question that I’ve had to deal with: How should our doctrinal beliefs affect our inquiry for the truth? That is, what is the relationship of presupposition to method? I take it as axiomatic that God has given us not only hearts to believe with but minds to think with. And he doesn’t want us to dispense with one as we employ the other. The general approach I take toward scripture is to put my presuppositions on the shelf for the moment, and use my method vigorously, taking it as far as I can. When I’m finished with the investigation, there are often uncertainties, but there are also often strong convictions that grow out of my study. Then, I reintroduce my presuppositions into the equation and see what impact they have on the results as well as what impact the results have on my presuppositions. (emphasis added)
</font>
When I look at your 3 points in favor of Paul’s authorship, none of them are at all persuasive, and some appear to be completely invalid.

1) All MS of 1 Thessalonians may include it, but none are originals.
2) 2 Corinthians 11:24 says only “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. ” There is no libel of the Jews as a group, and in 11:24 Paul refers to being “in danger from the Gentiles.” It is part of a litany of Paul’s woes, and no group is spared.
3) When I look at all of your other cites, I only see God’s wrath against unbelievers, combined with statements that Paul is a Jew and hopes that the Jews will come around:

Romans 2:5, 3:5-6: no direct mention of Jews.

Romans 4 directly undercuts the idea that Paul would speak of God’s wrath against the Jews who killed Christ:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.(emphasis added)</font>
Romans 11:25 also undercuts your argument.

In Romans 11:1 Paul identifies himself as an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Then he says:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. </font>
Then:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.</font>
I looked at Wallace’s arguments, and his argument is only that the passage fits together as far as literary style (making it perhaps a clever interpolation). But then he adds “Further, even if this were an interpolation, this would not deny authenticity for the rest of the epistle” which sounds to me as if he is not committed to the idea that the words are Paul's.

So in short, I find little evidence of “science” in your textual criticism, and a lot of politics. You reject an argument in favor of interpolation that has some basis to it, and favor an argument that has little visible means of support.

If Paleontologists considered alternate theories, and ended up endorsing one because it favored a liberal humanist interpretation of evolution, we would discount their conclusions as politically motivated.

But thanks very much for laying bare the basis of your beliefs.
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Old 05-10-2001, 02:00 PM   #7
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Interesting stuff, Nomad. Thanks for the primer.

Bookman
 
Old 05-10-2001, 02:25 PM   #8
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Toto,

Thoughtful remarks, but you are overlooking an important historical event and have not taken into account the passage's stylistic and linguistic similarities to the Q tradition.

First.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> [T]he phrase “the wrath of God has come upon them at last” doesn’t make sense in the assumed date of 50 C.E. for this epistle, but would make sense after the Jewish War of 66-73. </font>
This is simply untrue. The passage does make a lot of sense if it was written in 50 CE. In fact, I believe this is a strong argument for the passages validity.

It is by no means necessary, or even probable, that the "wrath has overtaken them at last" passage refers to the destruction of the Temple or the Jewish Revolt. Sometimes we get tunnel vision when examinig First Century Palestine. Everything revolves around the Destruction of the Temple. That is simply naive. There were plenty of important events, including hardships, which involved the Jewish people prior to the Jewish Revolt.

In fact, there had been events in Judea from just before Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians that he would have seen as God's wrath falling on the Jews in Judea. Perhaps most importantly, Josephus records that in 49 CE under Roman Governor Cumanus, several serious "attrocities" took place in Judea. They were initiated by Roman soldiers who publicly insulted the Temple by an indecent act. This lead to a massacre of protestors and further actions against Jewish law.

Even modern historians view these events as pivotal acts which were taken so seriously by the Jewish population that they helped lead to the Jewish revolt against Rome.

Moreover, given the timing of the event, roughly a year before Paul wrote. This event was fresh in the minds of the Jews and the Christians when Paul wrote. So, Paul's reference fits in perfectly with Josephus' timeline.

Second.

There are indications that Paul is passing on a preexisting older tradition.

1 Thess. 2:15-16 shows linguistic and thematic similarities to certain "Q" verses found in Matthew 23:29-38 & Luke 11:47-51.

Although most scholars believe that Matthew and Luke were written after 1 Thessalonians, they also believe that the "Q" source relied on by both of them is much older. These "Q" verses contain the part of Jesus' "woes" on the scribes and Pharisees where he speaks about the persecution of the prophets. Matthew 23:32, 34-36 & Luke 11:48, 49-51.

Matthew's version:

23:32

"Fill up then, the measure of your ancestors."

23:34

"Therefore, I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town."

23:35, 36

"So that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed of earth ... Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation."

Let's look at the similarities:

1. A. Paul has been speaking of Jewish opposition to Christianity in Judea.

B. Jesus in the "Q" tradition was addressing Jewish leaders in Judea.

2. A. Paul says that they 'killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets' and 'pursued us.'

B. Jesus in the "Q" tradition speaks of them killing and pursuing "prophets, sages, scribes, and apostles."

3. A. Paul, after further describing their opposition to the gospel, comments that 'thus
they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins."

B. Jesus according to the Matthean Q says: "Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors."

3. A. Paul goes on to say that "wrath has overtaken them at last."

B. Jesus speaks of the blood of the prophets being avenged on "this generation."

Accordingly, there were plenty of references in the Christian community about God's judgment of the Jews and Jewish actions against prophets and believers which existed prior to the destruction of the Temple. This adds to the weight of the evidence that this passage is not an interpolation.


[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 03:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Thanks for all the links, Nomad. However, when I follow all of your references I am not convinced that 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 has no interpolation.</font>
Please be more careful in your reading of my posts, and what you believe are my views Toto. I did not say that there was no interpolation of 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16. In fact, I stated very clearly:

It should be noted that when the books of the Bible were first written, they obviously did not contain chapters and verses. These were later introductions to help students reference certain passages. Therefore, it is always possible to look at a given passage (or even a single verse or phrase), and see a partial interpolation, and yet leave the remainder of the passage intact. (emphasis added)

There may be a partial interpolation contained within these verses, but I do not find the arguments very compelling. Let's go through them again.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Underlying the argument in favor of interpolation is that any reference to “the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus” is an embarrassment to the post-Holocaust, modern, tolerant, ecumenical church.</font>
Since this has absolutely no bearing on the text itself (after all, we can hardly expect Paul to be writing with 20th and 21st Century political sensativities in mind), we cannot use such an argument to say that Paul never wrote this. Remember, every manuscript we have with 1 Thessalonians has this text in it, so that means any additions date back at least to the early part of the 3rd Century.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> In addition, the phrase “the wrath of God has come upon them at last” doesn’t make sense in the assumed date of 50 C.E. for this epistle, but would make sense after the Jewish War of 66-73.</font>
This is the strongest argument in favour of a later addition, and in my view may well be an addition. This would not, however, automatically make the entire passage of verses 13-16 an addition, and if this is the only piece added, would not significantly change the nature of the document here.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Since we know that early Christian copyists did add phrases such as this, it is rational to assume that this passage was edited and “improved” in copying.</font>
This argument is a very weak one. It could just as easily be used to claim that ANY part of the Bible is a later interpolation. Textual critics require some evidence of such tampering before they will consider the question concerning any specific passage. The first thing they look for is whether or not there are any variances in the text accross multiple MSS, and in this case there are none. Since we have plenty of copies, and some dating at least to 200AD, then the likelyhood of interpolation of this specific passage is greatly reduced.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Your argument against the existence of the interpolation, in favor of Paul’s authorship, is

1) All MSS of 1 Thess. includes it,
2) Paul shows himself to be hostile to the "Jews" in 2 Corinthians 11:24, and often makes use of hyperbole in his other letters
3) In Romans 2:5, 3:5-6, 4:15, 11:25) Paul speaks of God's wrath against the Jews.


This argument is based, as far as I can tell, on a presumption in favor of inerrancy.</font>
Neither I, nor any of the textual critics I have quoted have made the assumption of inerrancy Toto. I have no idea how you even formed such an opinion. Argument (1) by itself is usually fatal to any claims of interpolation in a given passage, since the absense of variations argues powerfully for it to have been in the earliest copies, and also the original. Arguments (2) and (3) make no mention of inerrancy either, so how did you decide that was the basis for the argument?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Daniel Wallace’s site is intelligently written and I can see why you like it, but he lays out his philosophy of text criticism at http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/inerr.htm where he says:

But this raises another question that I’ve had to deal with: How should our doctrinal beliefs affect our inquiry for the truth? That is, what is the relationship of presupposition to method? I take it as axiomatic that God has given us not only hearts to believe with but minds to think with. And he doesn’t want us to dispense with one as we employ the other. The general approach I take toward scripture is to put my presuppositions on the shelf for the moment, and use my method vigorously, taking it as far as I can. When I’m finished with the investigation, there are often uncertainties, but there are also often strong convictions that grow out of my study. Then, I reintroduce my presuppositions into the equation and see what impact they have on the results as well as what impact the results have on my presuppositions.</font>
Reread the quotation again Toto. I think you missed the key point in his statement. Wallace is admitting that he has biases, but that he does the best he can to set them aside when doing his work. He even checks to see if the results impact on his pre-existing presuppositions.

It is possible to be a believer and a textual critic Toto. It is also possible to be a non-believer and a textual critic. Try not to read bias into their work when there is none however, and also do not try to make it look larger than it is.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">When I look at your 3 points in favor of Paul’s authorship, none of them are at all persuasive, and some appear to be completely invalid.

1) All MS of 1 Thessalonians may include it, but none are originals.</font>
So? We don't have the originals of hardly any ancient documents. This does not make figuring out what was in the originals impossible, merely difficult. Since we have plenty of MSS with clear variations in the text, the fact that NONE of the ones that 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 show ANY variations should make us very confident that they belong in the original.

Out of curiousity, if every single MSS that we had, had no variations at all, would you consider them to be more, or less reliable than you do right now? (Yes, we do have such a document, but I would like to know your answer to this question first please).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2) 2 Corinthians 11:24 says only “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. ” There is no libel of the Jews as a group,</font>
Who said anything about libel? Paul is angry with the Jews, and that was the point. Proponents of interpolation have tried to argue that Paul does not use such strong language against the Jews anywhere else in his letters, and clearly he does do this.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> and in 11:24 Paul refers to being “in danger from the Gentiles.” It is part of a litany of Paul’s woes, and no group is spared.</font>
I assume you meant verse 26.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3) When I look at all of your other cites, I only see God’s wrath against unbelievers, combined with statements that Paul is a Jew and hopes that the Jews will come around:

Romans 2:5, 3:5-6: no direct mention of Jews.</font>
You need to read these passages in full context.

Romans 2:5-9 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

Paul tells us consistently that the Jew is held to a higher standard than is the Gentile or the Greek, just as they are given greater rewards because they are of the Chosen People, holders of the first covenant with God. Thus, when Paul tells us in verse 5 (and also in 3:5) about God's wrath, there is no question that he believes that this wrath will be greatest against the Jews, eventhough it will also fall on the Gentiles who sin and fail to repent as well.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Romans 4 directly undercuts the idea that Paul would speak of God’s wrath against the Jews who killed Christ:
13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.(emphasis added)</font>
Again, remember that when Paul speaks of "the law", he is talking about Jewish law, the Torah. So when he says the law brings wrath, he is speaking directly to, and about, the Jews.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Romans 11:25 also undercuts your argument.</font>
I already said that there is an apparent contradiction between the passages, but also noted that he was prone (like other authors in the Bible) to using hyperbole.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In Romans 11:1 Paul identifies himself as an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Then he says:

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

Then:

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.</font>
Agreed. Paul is teaching that all of Israel will be saved, yet he is also warning these same Jews that many of them could be cut off from this salvation by their own stubborness and hard heartedness.

Romans 3:20-24 For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,

Paul tells us that all are meant to be saved. "There is no distinction" with regards to salvation. But our salvation can be lost if we remain rebellious.

I hope you see the point that Paul is being consistant in telling the Jews that they cannot count on their status as Jews alone to save them, nor can they save themselves merely by trying to keep the law. All of us are saved by grace, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At the same time, this is getting farther away from the question of interpolation within 1 Thessalonians, and I think the evidence is good that Paul is warning the Jews here, just as he does in Romans and elsewhere that they must not depend on anything except Jesus to save them, not even the law, and their being born as descendents of Abraham.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I looked at Wallace’s arguments, and his argument is only that the passage fits together as far as literary style (making it perhaps a clever interpolation). But then he adds “Further, even if this were an interpolation, this would not deny authenticity for the rest of the epistle” which sounds to me as if he is not committed to the idea that the words are Paul's.</font>
Right. Wallace is arguing in a wider context in his article than merely whether or not 2:13-16 is an interpolation. Even those that consider it to be a later addition accept the legitimacy of the Epistle as a whole as having been penned by Paul. If you read the entire article you will see that he is more focused on the authenticity of the letter, not just this passage. At the same time, he does tell us that he considers the argument for interpolation of this passage to be very weak. I agree with him.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So in short, I find little evidence of “science” in your textual criticism, and a lot of politics. You reject an argument in favor of interpolation that has some basis to it, and favor an argument that has little visible means of support.</font>
To be honest Toto, I do not think that you have understood the arguments being made at all. For me, argument (1) remains decisive. With no evidence of this text never having been a part of 1 Thessalonians, it is the job of the sceptic to show why this must be so. At best, the most that can be argued is that the last sentence in verse 16 ("The wrath of God has come upon them at last") may be an addition, but this hardly changes the character of the passage as a whole, and it certainly does not make a good case that all three verses are later additions.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Old 05-10-2001, 03:21 PM   #10
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Toto & Nomad,

Why would anyone's views on inerrancy have any relevance to this discussion?

Since almost all (KJV types excluded) advocates of the doctrine of inerrancy define it as being error free in the original manuscripts, classifying this or that scripture as an interpolation creates no problem whatsoever to the advocates of inerrancy. Most advocates of inerrancy that I have read admit to the commonly accepted interpolations, such as the late added ending of Mark.

The doctrine does not presuppose the absence of interpolations. Far from it, it is specifically defined as an admission that there may have been interpolations.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
 

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