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

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The Question of Punctuation in John 1.3-4: Arguments from Ancient Colometry. / Nässelqvist, Dan.

I: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 137, Nr. 1, 01.01.2018, s. 175-191.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The Question of Punctuation in John 1.3-4: Arguments from Ancient Colometry

AU - Nässelqvist, Dan

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Gospel of John

KW - New Testament Studies

KW - Colometry

KW - Textual Criticism

KW - Punctuation

U2 - 10.15699/jbl.1371.2018.283331

DO - 10.15699/jbl.1371.2018.283331

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85045848747

VL - 137

SP - 175

EP - 191

JO - Journal of Biblical Literature

JF - Journal of Biblical Literature

SN - 1934-3876

IS - 1

ER -