Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Text Note: Romans 14:9

The issue:

One can easily see the difference between the traditional and modern texts of Romans 14:9 by comparing translations of the verse based on each respective text:

Translations from Traditional text:

KJV Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

NKJV Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Translations from Modern text:

NIV Romans 14:9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

NASB Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

In the traditional text Christ is said to have done three things: died, rose, and revived [kai apethane kai aneste kai anezesen]; in the modern critical text, only two: died and returned to life [apethanen kai ezesen]. The traditional text links these three verbs with a threefold use of the conjunction kai. The modern text has only one kai linking the two verbs. There are other minor variations, like whether the final verb should be from anazao (traditional) or simply zao (modern).

External evidence:

Support for the traditional text includes Psi, 0209, and 33, in addition to the vast majority of extant manuscripts. It is also attested in the Latin of Irenaeus.

Support for the modern text includes the original hand of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus.

Internal evidence:

Metzger assumes that the traditional reading came about through assimilation to 1 Thessalonians 4:14 which reads, “Jesus died and rose again” (Textual Commentary, p. 531). This is, of course, a speculation and rests on no hard evidence. If the three-fold kai is original in the verse, one might just as well speculate that the kai aneste could have dropped out due to parablepsis. One might also add that the traditional text provides a more difficult reading since it offers a unique description of Christ’s accomplishments (died, rose, revived [lived again]), without parallel in the NT. If it was not original, why would it have been inserted to expand the verse?


I see no compelling reason to abandon the traditional reading, affirmed by the vast majority of manuscripts and gaining the widest use among churches in the history of the Christian movement.

1 comment:

Mad Jack said...

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but from what I understand the original text lists three activities for Christ:
He died
He rose from the state of death
He revived (returned to life)

In the modern version only two activities are listed:
He died
He revived (returned to life)

The significance being that whatever happened to Christ during that period when he rose isn't addressed at all in the modern version - not even that it happened at all.

Anyone might be dead and revived; it isn't all that uncommon. My own Godfather has been killed numerous times and he's always returned to life. He won't tell me what he sees on the other said - he says he doesn't remember. That being the case not everyone, in fact not anyone so far as we know, dies, rises and revives. That part in the middle is significant.

Nice job, padre.