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Christ and the Atonement,
BY JOSEPH P. THOMPSON, d.d., new YORK.
AN EXAMINATION OF THE VARIOUS READINGS OF 1 TIMOTHY III. 16.
BY REV. WILLIAM H. WARD, UTICA, N. Y.
Καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήφθη ἐν δόξῃ.
INSTEAD of deos in this passage many editors read ős, and some writers have defended %. The latter reading may at once be dismissed as untenable, not being supported by any such authority as either of the others, and being plainly a grammatical variation, introduced for the purpose of reliev ing an apparent impropriety in the gender of os. The ques tion then rests between ős and Deós. Having endeavored carefully to investigate all the authorities for either reading, as far as they are accessible to us, we propose to give the result of this labor in such a form that the reader can easily decide for himself between the two readings.
While cós in this passage supports the divinity of Christ, this is not a doctrine which rests on any single text. If the result of criticism could be proved adverse to this reading, it would not affect our general faith. God does not leave such an important doctrine as the Trinity to depend on so few and feeble arguments that a single proof-text more or less makes any appreciable difference in our belief."
VOL. XXII. No. 85.-JAN. 1865.
We have perfect confidence in the principles of our faith, and look with no feelings of concern upon investigations of the purity of the scripture text. Even with the reading os, some of the early Fathers, as will be seen, deduced from this passage the divinity of Christ, and Dr. S. Clarke truly says of this passsge, that "the same is evident; that that person was manifest in the flesh, whom John in the beginning of his gospel styles Deós, God." 1
The authority of this source of evidence in identifying the original text is paramount to all others. Although they are not, of course, accessible in this country, yet accurate copies of all the older MSS. have been published, and in the case of doubtful readings they have been carefully and repeatedly examined by the most competent critics. A collection of their researches will be as satisfactory as any personal examination, especially as we have in the case of the older MSS. ( and D excepted) the advantage of good facsimiles, or even photographs, of this passage.
The Codex Sinaiticus, distinguished as x, and belonging to the fourth century, clearly reads ös a prima manu. Tischendorf says: "A prima ős épavepon. Another corrector, the latest of all who have altered this MS., of nearly the twelfth century, has substituted Deós, but so carefully has he done it, that he has left the more ancient writing untouched." 2 This seems to leave the reading of this most ancient MS. in no kind of doubt. Would that we could say as much for some of the others.
The Alexandrian MS., which is marked as Codex A, and belongs probably to the fifth century, has been referred to as authority by the advocates of either reading. The form OC, as it now appears, is the ordinary contraction for deós, but it has evidently been altered or retouched at quite a
Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, by Samuel Clarke, D.D. (3d ed., 1732),
* Not. Codicis Sinaitici, p. 20.
late period. The heavy black line above the letters and the point within the O are palpably modern, and at present there is no trace visible of either line as drawn by the original scribe, if such were the case. It is true that the superior line is so heavy that it would conceal any earlier one, but the mark within the O consists of a simple dot within the circle, instead of a diametral line extending across the ; and it might be supposed that if a transverse line were originally present, some faint remains of it might yet be discovered on either side of the central point; but such is not the case. It is said, however, that this line, if originally present, might now be completely worn away, although faintly seen a century or two ago. Indeed, the passage has been so repeatedly examined that this page has become somewhat defaced. It has accordingly been the practice of the defenders of the reading eós to refer the whole question to the authority of the earlier critics who have examined our text. But even they speak of the old line as being exceedingly faint, although most of them assert that traces of it were visible. It is to be noted, however, that neither Patricius Junius nor Mr. Huish who collated this MS. for Walton's Polyglot makes any definite assertion in reference to this passage. In fact Huish, whose negative authority has been much relied on, in no case notices the reading of the original scribe where it differs from that of the corrector.
The earliest distinct notice which we find of the reading of A is by Mill, who says, in his critical edition, published A.D. 1707, "This transverse line of which I speak is so faint and evanescent, that at first sight I did not doubt that it was written ős, which I therefore had placed among the
1 Perhaps by Patricius Junius, curator of the royal library in the time of Charles I. See Wetstein's Nov. Test., Vol. I., Proleg. pp. 20, 21, also Wotton's Clement, Cap. 6, pp. 26, 27.
"Griesb. Symbol. Crit., Vol. I. p. x. Others say that the passage itself has not been defaced, only that part of the page being affected where the hand has rested while holding the microscope. The facsimile given by Porter seems to confirm the statement.