Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Text and Translation Note: Jude 1:4
The issue here is whether or not the accusative noun “God” (theon) should appear in the final phrase of the text of v. 4. The traditional text includes it and the modern critical text omits it.
The traditional text (emphasis added): kai ton monon depoten theon, kai kurion hemon Iesoun Christon arnoumenoi: “and denying the only Sovereign God, and our Lord Jesus Christ [my translation].” This reading is supported by K, L, P, Psi, and the vast majority of manuscripts. It is also supported by some manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate and by the Syriac.
The modern critical text: kai ton monon depoten kai kurion hemon Iesoun Christon arnoumenoi: “and denying the only Sovereign, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” This reading is supported by p72 and the heavyweights Sinaiticus and B.
Metzger suggests that theon was added by the orthodox for Christological reasons “to avoid the ambiguity” as to whether despoten refers to Christ or God (Textual Commentary, p. 723). The question, however, is whether or not it might have been intentionally omitted for Christological reasons to avoid a direct affirmation of Jesus as God.
What do the various English translations do with this phrase? Here is a brief comparison (with emphasis added):
Following traditional text:
Geneva: “and deny God the only Lord, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
AV: “and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
NKJV: “and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Following the modern critical text:
NIV: “and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
NASB: “and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
RSV/NRSV/ESV: “and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”