In my two previous posts I discussed a textual variant that could be explained either as a scribal accident or as an intentional change. I thought it might be interesting to point out a few other variants that also could go either way. These are all intriguing problems in and of themselves, and by talking about them I can illustrate a bit further the kinds of quandaries textual critics find themselves in when trying to decide what an author wrote when we have different versions of his words in different manuscripts. My plan right now is to look at three variants in three different mini-threads (all of them subsumed under the larger thread of why I wrote The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture). Today is one of my favorites, a particularly thorny issue found in 1 Thessalonians 2:7.
I can’t get to a discussion of that issue without providing some important background; just the very basics of the background will take me two posts, before I can even start to explain the textual problem.
First Thessalonians was, more or less obviously, the first letter Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. We don’t know how many other letters he wrote to the church there. In the New Testament we also have 2 Thessalonians, but scholars have had long and protracted debates for well over a century over whether that book was originally written by Paul or was written by someone *claiming* to be Paul who wanted you to *think* he was Paul. The latter is my rather strongly held personal view. I talk about it a bit in my book Forged, and at substantial length, in case anyone is interested, in my book Forgery and Counterforgery.
But that’s of no moment here. My point right now is…
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