A Discourse Analysis of First CorinthiansRalph Bruce Terry
Previous SectionNext SectionHome | Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

1.3 The Textual Basis for the Study

The Greek text used for the study of I Corinthians is the third edition of the United Bible Societies' The Greek New Testament (Aland et al. 1975; corrected ed. 1983). This is the same text as the twenty-sixth edition of Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (Nestle et al. 1979). This text is also found in the Fribergs' Analytical Greek New Testament with grammatical identification of each word form (Friberg and Friberg 1981). This Greek text has become a standard for twentieth century work in the New Testament. Several tools, both printed and in computer form, have been created to help study it. Several translations are based upon it, including the Today's English Version and the New Revised Standard Version. There is a companion volume to the Greek text written by Metzger (1971) that explains the committee's reasoning on readings that are questionable.

The punctuation for this text exists in two different forms. The original punctuation in the 1975 edition (followed by the Fribergs) is based on linguistic principles similar to those used in English. The corrected edition of 1983 changes the punctuation to follow that of the twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland text. The punctuation in that work is based on conventions of Greek usage (Nestle et al. 1979, 44*). For linguistic analysis the punctuation in the 1975 edition is superior (Terry 1992). In only two places has alternative punctuation been used. I Corinthians 2:8bc is a conditional sentence; the 1983 punctuation makes it a separate colon, while the 1975 punctuation has a comma following 2:8a, thus subordinating the condition to the preceding relative clause. The revised punctuation, producing a better linguistic form, has been followed to reflect the independent status of the conditional sentence. Secondly, all the editions punctuate 2:13 as a separate colon in spite of the fact that it is a relative clause modifying 2:12. It seems linguistically better to depart from the standard punctuation and take it as a part of the previous colon.

This dissertation is not a study in textual criticism nor will it seek to establish the text chosen for the study. That text has been chosen largely because it has become a standard in modern biblical studies. No doubt there are places where future work in textual criticism will result in minor changes to the text, but it seems to be very close to the original text. Table 1 lists the 37 variants in the text of I Corinthians which the UBS textual committee has given a C ("a considerable degree of doubt") or D ("a very high degree of doubt") rating.

Most of these variants make slight differences in the meaning of a verse; however, few of them make any significant difference in the overall grammar at the discourse level. For example, the difference between μυστήριον 'mystery' and μαρτύριον 'testimony' in 2:1 makes a difference in the meaning of the sentence; however, it does not affect the grammatical structure of either the sentence or the discourse in which it occurs. Those which do affect the grammar do so in only a minor way. Of the significant variants which affect clause length, none makes any clause longer or shorter by more than two words. If the variants listed in Table 1 were accepted into the text, only fourteen words would be omitted from the text at most, and only sixteen words would be added at most. This would have very little impact on the statistics given later on clause and colon length.

TABLE 1

DOUBTFUL TEXTUAL VARIANTS IN I CORINTHIANS

VerseRatingUBS Text ReadingVariant Reading
1:8C [Χριστου̑] 'of Christ'omit
1:14D [τω̨̑ θεω̨̑] 'to God'omit
1:28Comitκαὶ 'even'
2:1Cμυστήριον 'mystery'μαρτύριον 'testimony'
2:4Domitἀνθρωπίνης 'human'
2:10Cδέ 'but' or 'now'γάρ 'for'
2:14Cτου̑ θεου̑ 'of God'omit
2:15Dτά 'the'μέν 'on the one hand'
3:3Comitδιχοστασίαι 'divisions'
3:10Cτου̑ θεου̑ 'of God'omit
3:17Cφθερει̑ 'will destroy'φθείρει 'destroys'
4:17Comit αὐτό 'itself'
5:4D[ἡμω̑ν] 'our' either omit or add Χριστου̑ 'Christ'
5:5Comit variously add ’Ιησου̑ 'Jesus' and Χριστου̑ 'Christ' and ἡμω̑ν 'our'
5:13Cκρινει̑ 'will judge'κρίνει 'judges'
6:11CΧριστου̑ 'Christ'omit or add ἡμω̑ν 'our'
7:13Dεἴ τις 'if any'ἥτις 'whoever'
7:15Cὑμα̑ς 'you' pluralἡμα̑ς 'us'
7:34Dperiod after 2nd wordno period at beginning
8:3Cὑπ’ αὐτου̑ 'by Him'omit
9:15Cοὐδείς 'no one' ἵνα τις 'that anyone'
10:2Cἐβαπτίσθησαν passive 'were baptized'ἐβαπτίσαντο middle 'had themselves baptized'
10:9CΧριστόν 'Christ'κύριον 'Lord'
10:10Cγογγύζετε 'murmur' 2nd person imperativeγογγύζωμεν 'let us murmur' 1st p. subj.
10:11Comitπάντα 'all'
10:20Cword order: OI&-IVword order: OIV&-I
11:29Comitἀναξίως 'unworthily'
11:29Comitτου̑ κυρίου 'the Lord'
13:3Cκαυχήσωμαι 'boast'καυθήσωμαι 'be burned'
14:37Cἐστὶν ἐντολή singular 'is a command'εἰσὶν ἐντολαί plural 'are commands'
14:39Dsplit infinitiveregular infinitive
15:10C[ἡ] 'the' omit
15:14Cὑμω̑ν 'of you' pluralἡμω̑ν 'of us'
15:31C[ἀδελφοί] 'brothers'omit
15:49Cφορέσομεν indicative 'we shall bear'φορέσωμεν subjunctive 'let us bear'
15:54Cword order: -V,sVword order: V,-sV
16:24Comit ἀμήν 'amen'
UBS Rating for Degree of Doubt: C—considerable; D—very high

In the same way, only four significant variants (7:34; 10:20; 14:39; 15:54) have to do with word order or sentence division. Two of these variants have no impact at all on the analysis of subject-verb-object word order. Five of the variants (1:28; 2:10, 15; 7:13; and 9:15) do affect conjunctions that introduce clauses, but no conjunction is affected more than once. Only two of the variants (3:17; 5:13) affect tense, only two (10:10; 15:49) affect mood, and only two (10:2; 13:3) affect voice. These small numbers of changes would have no significant influence on the statistical analysis of these variables. Other variants show one case only affecting person (10:10), number (14:37), the specification of an actor (8:3), the inclusion of an article (15:10), and the use of the vocative (15:31). These likewise would have little impact on a statistical analysis if the variant readings were accepted as genuine.

There are two variants, one with a UBS textual committee rating of A ("text is virtually certain") and one with a rating of B ("some degree of doubt"), which need to be considered also, not because they are very likely to be the original readings, but because they change the discourse structure of the text in minor ways. The A rating variant is found in 9:20. The participial clause "not being myself under law" is missing from some manuscripts. The clause is found in early manuscripts from all three major text families: the Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine. But aside from the question of its originality, the discourse analyst is interested in the fact that omission of this clause destroys the balance in a grammatical chiasm in 9:19-22. The clause is needed to balance "not being without the law of God but within the law of Christ" in 9:21.

The second variant of interest occurs in 14:34-35. Some manuscripts of the Western family move these two verses to a place following verse 40. Once again, the problem from a discourse analyst's view is that this shift destroys a chiastic structure. These verses form the BCC'B' elements of a chiasm. The A and A' elements are found in verses 33b and 36, respectively.

Both of the chiasms in 9:19-22 and 14:33b-36 will be discussed in more detail in chapter IV of this study.

Back to top | Next: Chapter 1.4, Methodology


Bruce Terry's Home Page
Bruce Terry Home Page
http://bible.ovc.edu/terry/dissertation/u-1_3-textbas.htm
Last Updated July 16, 2002
Page developed by Ben Cheek and maintained by .

Copyright © 1993 Ralph Bruce Terry. All rights reserved.