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Thread: James Snapp paper on Acts 8:37 - (2014)

  1. Default James Snapp general observations and John 9:38-39a

    Some general observations:

    ● The inclusion of Acts 8:37 is supported by early (Roman-Empire-era) patristic writers in a wide variety of locales.

    ● The inclusion of Acts 8:37 is supported by three patristic writers (Irenaeus and Cyprian and Pontius) whose manuscripts of Acts 8 were older than any manuscript of Acts 8 currently extant in any language.

    ● Acts 8:37 is well-supported not only by “Western” witnesses but also by family-1739. Besides being included in 1739, Acts 8:37 has support from group-members 322, 323, 429, 453, 522, 630, 945, 1704, 1891 and 2200.

    ● Acts 8:37 was the dominant reading in Old Latin versions of Acts, both African and European.

    ● The support of copG67 makes it difficult to sustain the theory that Acts 8:37 originated as a Latin interpolation which infiltrated non-Latin texts.

    ● The combination of Aleph B A 81 Byz Sah Pesh against the inclusion of Acts 8:37 is very strong.

    ● If B¨ is contemporary with B, this would increase the already impressive range of early support for the inclusion of Acts 8:37.

    Something Else to Consider: John 9:38-39a

    John 9:38-39a is as follows: “38Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39And Jesus said to him –”. This passage is in the text of all major modern translations. However, it is absent from seven early witnesses: Papyrus 75, *, W, an early Coptic (Lycopolitan dialect) manuscript of John produced in the 300’s, a Fayyumic manuscript (P. Mich. Inv. 3521), a Sahidic manuscript (P. Palau Ribes Inv. 183), and Old Latin b (Codex Veronensis).

    Although some textual critics, such as Philip Wesley Comfort, have proposed that the non-inclusion of John 9:38-39a is original, this solution implies that John left the scene in chapter 9 somewhat unfinished: although the blind man has been asked if he believes in the Son of Man (or, Son of God, in
    the Byzantine Text), without 9:38-39a, we never hear his answer; instead, Jesus’ words go seamlessly from His affirmation that He is the Son of Man, in verse 37, to the declaration of judgment in v. 39. The notion that John would write such an incomplete story is simply implausible.

    But how, then, does one account for the removal of John 9:38-39? I suspect that a very early Greek manuscript of the Gospel of John – early enough that its descendants influenced several Egyptian versions – was the property of a lector, and as such, this copy contained some marks alongside certain passages of liturgical significance. This passage in John 9:38-39 was one such passage. The lector’s marks, which had been intended to draw attention to the passage, were misinterpreted by a copyist as if to mean that the marked passages were to be excised, and so he excised the passage.
    The same phenomenon which caused the loss of John 9:38-39 in a significant branch of the early Alexandrian transmission-stream may have recurred – in a text-line with even greater influence – in Acts 8, where we encounter another passage which lent itself readily for liturgical use in the early church’s baptismal services.

    (I note in passing that this factor – the influence of a copyist’s misinterpretation of marks in a lector’s copy – marks alongside certain passages that received special treatment in church-services and in the administration of sacred ordinances such as baptism – is capable of accounting for several shorter readings in the Alexandrian Text of the Gospels and Acts.)

  2. Default footnotes to be placed

    All placed. Footnote 48 for 2412 was a dup, and lacked a number.

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