I. The issue:
Monday, August 15, 2011
Text Note: Romans 10:15
I ran across this textual issue while preparing to preach a sermon yesterday How shall they hear? on Romans 10:14-15
I. The issue:
I. The issue:
How should the text of the quotation of Isaiah 52:7 read? The modern critical text has a shorter reading and the traditional text a longer reading. The difference is made clear by comparing translations based on each text:
Translations based on modern critical text (NIV, NASB):
NIV Romans 10:15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
NASB Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!"
Translations based on the traditional text (KJV, NKJV; emphasis added):
KJV Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
NKJ Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"
The contested phrase:
The contested phrase, omitted in the modern text, is “who preach the gospel of peace [ton euangelizomenon eirenen].”
II. External Evidence:
The traditional reading is supported by the following codices: second corrector of Sinaiticus, D, F, G, Psi, 33, and the vast majority. It is also supported by the Latin and Syriac versions. It is also found in the church fathers Irenaeus and Eusebius. Clearly it is a very ancient reading.
The modern critical reading is supported by the following: p46 and the heavyweights, original hand of Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus. It is also found in the church father Clement.
III. Internal Evidence:
If the traditional reading is original, how might it have dropped out? This is a case where parablepsis (the eye skipping inadvertently from one similar word to another) is an obvious possibility, given that there are two appearances of the participle euangelizomenon (underline added in this literal translation of the traditional text): “How beautiful are the feet of those who evangelize peace, who evangelize the good things” [hos horaioi hoi podes ton euangelizomenon eirenen, ton euangelizomenon ta agatha].
It is much more difficult to explain why the phrase would have been added if the modern critical text is authentic. One explanation is that this was done to make the reading better reflect the LXX reading of Isaiah 52:7.
In his Commentary, Metzger admits that “it is possible that the shorter reading arose because the eye of the scribe passed from ton euangelizomenon to ton euangelizomenon,” but, in the end, he notes that the UBS Committee believed it more likely the longer reading was “inserted to make the citation correspond more fully to the Septuagint (Isa 52.7; Na 1.15 [=LXX 2.1])" (p. 525).
Rather than seeing the traditional reading’s closer correspondence to the LXX as a liability for its integrity it might just as well be seen as positive. Clearly the traditional reading dates from the second century (see church fathers). Scribal parablepsis is also a clear possibility to explain the shorter reading, adapted by the modern critical text. There is no compelling reason to abandon the traditional reading.