Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Verse 12

This verse has been enigma for me for a long time. “But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stopping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.” This verse in Luke 24 is missing from the Western textual tradition but is found in the best and oldest manuscripts of other text types. Plummer stated that “The whole of this verse is of unknown and doubtful authority.”

Initially it was not a problem since verse 12 was not included in the RSV, the translation of choice. Now the NRSV has included verse 12 and apparently the reason it has been included is the discovery of P-75. Since the existence of manuscripts such as P-75 has never been questioned, it does seem strange to me that the discovery of another Bodmer papyrus should have any effect on textual theory.

Why would someone add verse 12? Bart Ehrman in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 212-217, demonstrated that the addition of this verse was a response to the Docetic Christology dispute that asserted that Christ only appeared to be human and to suffer. The addition of verse 12 proved that all of the gospels recorded a physical resurrection.

The strongest reason that verse 12 is a late insertion is the effect of its inclusion on a clear literary structure created by the author. Luke has created a complex chiastic structure where a simple chiasmus, Luke 24:8-11, is used to introduce the more famous Emmaus pericope, long recognized as a chiasmus. Verse 12 destroys this literary device.

Copyrighted 2006


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can [barely] see chiasmus in 8-11:
women recall words, believe them
report news to others
women identified
tell apostles
women's words not believed

But Emmaus? do you start with 13 [go to Emmaus away from Jerusalem]

the X point is 31, "then their eyes were opened

and the close is away from Bethany, return to Jerusalem. But the intervening points ... I don't see 'em [Roomed at Westtown with a Wallingford resident]

11:56 PM


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