posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 07:30 PM
Hey Strange & Crafty:
I assume that you would know by the title of this Thread that you would have to try and bear with some arguments which will not allign very well with
your Christian doctrinal upbringing !
First off, no, p66 is clearly early 3rd century AD and cannot be dated before 200 AD, despite the lame attempts by some "christian scholars"
(whatever that means) to date any surviving fragments of copies of the 4 "canonical" gospels as EARLY as possible, and date any surviving fragments
or copies of "non canonical gospels" (e.g. Thomas) as LATE as possible.
FYI it is also known as the Bodmer II Papyrus and contains 108 sheets representing a part of the Gospel of "John" is clearly cognate with other
Bodmer papyri such as Bodmers VII, XIV and XV (all of which date around 260 AD) currently held in the Swiss Library in Geneva.
I am aware of your edition, as I have consulted the Aland version back in the 1970s. The version I consulted was far from "standard" even back then,
but it sure was better than some of the "reconstructions" of p66 I had to work with !
I did notice back then that the Aland for some reason did not identify a great deal of the fragments from p66 (e.g. John 14:21; 15:1; 16:23, 29;
17:6-7, 12-13; 19:16, 20-21, 24; 20:24, 27; 21:12, 17. ) perhaps it was rushed to print, and I am assuming your 3rd edition of his "text"
reconstruction makes up for these publication oversights.
However the added "marginalium" ["even of God"] would probably have been incorporated into the body of the text of John :L41 prior to the p66
copy being made (which was sometime between 210 and 250 AD to go by current dating consensus of the latest scholarship research on the actual fibres
of the papyrus itself).
In general, such "marginalium issues" in the transmission of biblical texts is highly technical and a little out of scope in a chat room.
The whole subject of Scriptural "text tampering" (i.e. the very common practice of adding and subtracting to sacred texts by scribal personnel over
the centuries in the process of transmission) also makes the Church (and Synagogues, in the case of the OT) very very uncomfortable, and as I've
mentioned before, the Christian Chuch goes to great lengths NOT talking about this subject.
The Church would rather their little flock believe in a single authoritative inspired text" and they DO NOT LIKE the uncomfortable truth of the
matter viz. that there is NO ONE TEXT of their precious Scriptures that are in any way Authoritative, just hundreds of contradictory manuscripts found
scattered in places literally all over the world)---which is why I think it is important that we are talking about it now.
There are however several dozen examples of these marginalia in the 4th Gospel and at least 50 of these scribal impertinences perceptible in the
Apocalypse of Yohanon the Elder (=Book of Revelation)
If you would like me to give you some of these hypothetical "added marginalia" examples, I would be more than happy to accomodate you when I have
time to list some.
But, ultimately, since we are lacking original copies of what later became "canonical" gospel texts from which to reconsturct a definitive URTEXT,
the source-critical scholar cannot line up all the copies of any gospel in a row and point to the first "handled" copy which contains a certain
scribal "marginalium addition" and say, SEE THE LATER MARIGNALIUM BEGAN IN AD 213 with MS number x copied in Antioch !
It would be easier to show you if we did; but we SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS AT OUR DISPOSAL (and by the way, neither do you), so
unfortunately we have to apply other methods, which would be considered more "circumstantial" in nature. Indirect evidence rather than direct
empirical evidence, which from the tone of your answer, is what you would like to see.
But, alas, as I said, all we have are sloppy copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies, and thus we are forced to take any
marginalium example on its own "merits" and weigh up the "circumstantial" evidence that a certain word or phrase had been added.
And it is the same thing with the converse (i.e. weighing up circumstantial evidence) for certain words or phrases deliberately LEFT OUT of a text.
Sometimes this happened for definite theological reasons, such as with the Lord's prayer in Matthew's rendition:e.g. 'for thine is the kingdom"
omits the previous phrase "blessed art Thou YHWH the god of Israel" for obvious reasons in its echo from I Chronicles 29:10-14, the socalled Prayer
of Solomon: scholars knew something was wrong with the version in Matthew because one cannot start a sentence with "for" --yet there are no early
MSS copies of Matthew to say, LOOK, HERE IS BLESSED ART THOU O YHWH GOD OF ISRAEL etc. even though we know GRAMATTICALLY it must have been part of the
original prayer, by circumstantial evidence, i.e. comparing the prayer with I Chronicles 29:10-14 which provides the missing portion etc..
As I said, sadly for the present discussion we do not possess any original copies of the gospels, nor do we possess anything like full or "complete
texts" of these same canonical Gospels in the NT until the late third/early 4th century AD: so we are forced to look at "plausible" reconstructions
based on obvious interruptions to the flow of the Greek, to see if there was a reason why a marginalium was added etc.
This may seem to be a little indirect of an approach for Christian literalists who like black and white answers and who fight any critical study of
their precious texts tooth and nail, but it is the best we can do in the complete absence of original source material.
What makes examining the hard evidence of the texts even more difficult of course is the fact that all the handy "Quotations" from the so-called
"Church Fathers" show that the texts of the "gospels" were quite fluid and these "quotations" seemed to have been rather loosely tossed off,
rather than literally or even particularly reverently copied letter for letter in correspondence before c. AD 250 etc. so we have to be wary about
claiming any original authoritative Gospel text was known to take any particular "final" shape before that time.
I wish I had more time to add other aspects that need to be discussed, but this will have to hold you until next time...keep studying those texts VERY
CLOSELY, no matter how hard the church tries to get you to stop !