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The Question of Punctuation in John 1.3-4: Arguments from Ancient Colometry

Nässelqvist, Dan LU (2018) In Journal of Biblical Literature 137(1). p.175-191
Abstract

The question of how to punctuate John 1:3-4 has confounded both ancient and modern readers. Various textual and linguistic arguments have been used to support one of at least four suggestions about how to punctuate the passage. The present state of research, which supports both Reading A (belongs to the sentence in 1:4) and Reading B (belongs to the sentence in 1:3), is based primarily on textual evidence, whereas linguistic arguments have proven inconclusive and are used to confirm diametrically opposed readings. In this article, I apply recent developments in the study of ancient colometry and thus provide a firmer foundation for linguistic arguments based on the rhythm and length of lines. I conclude that balanced cola, approximate... (More)

The question of how to punctuate John 1:3-4 has confounded both ancient and modern readers. Various textual and linguistic arguments have been used to support one of at least four suggestions about how to punctuate the passage. The present state of research, which supports both Reading A (belongs to the sentence in 1:4) and Reading B (belongs to the sentence in 1:3), is based primarily on textual evidence, whereas linguistic arguments have proven inconclusive and are used to confirm diametrically opposed readings. In this article, I apply recent developments in the study of ancient colometry and thus provide a firmer foundation for linguistic arguments based on the rhythm and length of lines. I conclude that balanced cola, approximate rhythm, and a successful beginning of the gradatio in 1:4-5 can be achieved only if the passage is punctuated according to Reading A. The case for understanding as part of 1:4 (Reading A) is more conclusively confirmed by both linguistic and textual evidence than by relying primarily on manuscript evidence. The fact that Reading A also provides the lectio difficilior and can explain the origin of Reading B makes it probable that it constitutes the original reading of John 1:3-4.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Gospel of John, New Testament Studies, Colometry, Textual Criticism, Punctuation
in
Journal of Biblical Literature
volume
137
issue
1
pages
175 - 191
publisher
SBL (Society of Biblical Literature)
external identifiers
  • scopus:85045848747
ISSN
0021-9231
DOI
10.15699/jbl.1371.2018.283331
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7ba29cbb-90f2-4942-b791-088e8dc6c3e6
date added to LUP
2018-05-04 12:26:01
date last changed
2020-10-07 05:52:04
@article{7ba29cbb-90f2-4942-b791-088e8dc6c3e6,
  abstract     = {<p>The question of how to punctuate John 1:3-4 has confounded both ancient and modern readers. Various textual and linguistic arguments have been used to support one of at least four suggestions about how to punctuate the passage. The present state of research, which supports both Reading A (belongs to the sentence in 1:4) and Reading B (belongs to the sentence in 1:3), is based primarily on textual evidence, whereas linguistic arguments have proven inconclusive and are used to confirm diametrically opposed readings. In this article, I apply recent developments in the study of ancient colometry and thus provide a firmer foundation for linguistic arguments based on the rhythm and length of lines. I conclude that balanced cola, approximate rhythm, and a successful beginning of the gradatio in 1:4-5 can be achieved only if the passage is punctuated according to Reading A. The case for understanding as part of 1:4 (Reading A) is more conclusively confirmed by both linguistic and textual evidence than by relying primarily on manuscript evidence. The fact that Reading A also provides the lectio difficilior and can explain the origin of Reading B makes it probable that it constitutes the original reading of John 1:3-4.</p>},
  author       = {Nässelqvist, Dan},
  issn         = {0021-9231},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {175--191},
  publisher    = {SBL (Society of Biblical Literature)},
  series       = {Journal of Biblical Literature},
  title        = {The Question of Punctuation in John 1.3-4: Arguments from Ancient Colometry},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.15699/jbl.1371.2018.283331},
  doi          = {10.15699/jbl.1371.2018.283331},
  volume       = {137},
  year         = {2018},
}