* "Kendall K. Down" <smqjr1$sn4$1...@dont-email.me
Wrote on Sun, 14 Nov 2021 09:10:57 +0000:
> The odd thing is that the KJV says "of their ways", which makes a good
> deal more sense, yet all the modern translations I checked say "her
> ways", apart from the GNB which gets round the problem by saying
> "repent of the wicket things they did with her"!
> So I checked the Textus Receptus, which is quite clear: "ton ergon
> auton" (all the 'o' are omega, not omikron) - the works theirs. If it
> was "her works" it would (I think) be "ton ergon autes".
> So I looked up my trusty (not to say, rusty) old Bible Society Greek
> NT (which is basically Westcott and Hort) and sure enough, it has
> "autes", but the foot notes put the "blame" on a variety of
> manuscripts, and leading the charge is good old Sinaiticus (signified
> by the Hebrew letter alpha).
> Now there are two principles involved here. The first is that the
> older manuscript is always to be preferred, the second that the more
> difficult reading is to be preferred (on the basis that subsequent
> scribes might alter the text to smooth out the difficulty).
> These are reasonable principles, but are they necessarily correct in
> every instance? Are older MSS free from errors which later manuscripts
> have avoided (because they are based on still older MSS which are now
> lost to us)? Do scribes never inadvertently introduce a difficulty
> which is escaped by later MSS (on the same basis)?
FWIW Wilbur Pickering (who has laboured on those questions and has
published his "best text" ) has this in note in his translation for this
2:22 _So_, I am throwing her into a /sick/bed and those adulterating
with her into great affliction, unless they repent of _her_ works. [m]
[m] Two thirds of the Greek manuscripts, including the most dependable
group, have "her" works, not `their' works. In verse 20 the Lord
emphasized that they were His slaves. If the original reading is "her"
works, as I believe, then what is involved here is spiritual
adultery-she was not literally sleeping with a variety of men in the
church. No matter how much love, faith and service there may be in a
church, the Lord will not tolerate idolatry, which is spiritual
> It is, of course, impossible to answer those questions until and
> unless an even older manuscript turns up. Nevertheless, I think that
> "auton" is correct. John may have lived in difficult circumstances out
> on Patmos (though tradition indicates that he in fact lived quite
> comfortably there) but I doubt the stress was sufficient to make him
> write nonsense. Sinners should repent of their own sins, not someone
> else's sins.
[I didn't follow the bit about `auton' but I didn't have a problem when
I read this text -- by "joining" with "her", "her" sins become "their"
sins and that presented no problems to my thinking]