Textual Criticism in Ephesians 5:22

I don’t have much time this week for analysis, but I will post the textual evidence for this verse taken from a variety of sources:


τοις ιδι. ανδρασιν sine additam cum B cdd ap Hier Clem592 (citat vv. 21–25). Sic autem Hier ad h. l. “Hoc quod in Latinis exemplaribus additum est: subditae sint, in Graecis codd. non habetur, siquidem ad superiora refertur et subauditur: subiecti invicem in timore Christi, ut απο κοινου resonet subiectae, et mulieres viris suis sicut domino. Sed hoc magis in Graeco intelligitur quam in Latino.” … ϛ (Gb) add υποτασσεσθε cum KL al plu syrutr Chr al, item post γυναικες DEFG d e g 19lectLn add υποτασσεσθωσαν cum אAP al fere10 (et. cattxt) f vg go cop arm aeth Clem308 (sed ibi tantum v. 22 affert) Baseth 309 (sed incipit locus a versus 22) Euthalcod Thdrt Damparall 406 et Damparis Orint 3,61 Victorin Ambrst al (2:693)

Metzger’s Textual Commentary:

5.22 γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ὡς {B}
On the one hand, several early witnesses (P46 B Clement1/2 Origen Greek mssacc. to Jerome Jerome Theodore) begin the new sentence without a main verb, thus requiring that the force of the preceding ὑποτασσόμενοι be carried over. On the other hand, the other witnesses read either ὑποτάσσεσθε or ὑποτασσέσθωσαν after either γυναῖκες or ἀνδράσιν. A majority of the Committee preferred the shorter reading, which accords with the succinct style of the author’s admonitions, and explained the other readings as expansions introduced for the sake of clarity, the main verb being required especially when the words Αἱ γυναῖκες stood at the beginning of a scripture lesson (541).

Comfort & Barrett’s Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts (P46):

φ]ο̣βω χ̅ρ̅υ̅ 22αι γυναικες τοις ϊδιοις ανδρασιν
ως] τω κ̅ω̅ 23οτι ανηρ εστιν κεφαλη της γυναι

NET Note:

The witnesses for the shorter reading (in which the verb “submit” is only implied) are minimal (P46 B Cl Hiermss), but significant and early. The rest of the witnesses add one of two verb forms as required by the sense of the passage (picking up the verb from v. 21). Several of these witnesses have ὑποτασσέσθωσαν (hupotassesthōsan), the third person imperative (so א A I P Ψ 0278 33 81 1175 1739 1881 al lat co), while other witnesses, especially the later Byzantine cursives, read ὑποτάσσεσθε (hupotassesthe), the second person imperative (D F G M sy). The text virtually begs for one of these two verb forms, but the often cryptic style of Paul’s letters argues for the shorter reading. The chronology of development seems to have been no verb – third person imperative – second person imperative. It is not insignificant that early lectionaries began a new day’s reading with v. 22; these most likely caused copyists to add the verb at this juncture.

Now there are a couple of issues to deal with first here. For one, I don’t really feel like typing out the NA27 evidence, nor is it terribly necessary. Our bases are relatively well covered here.

Secondly, there is some variation regarding how Origen is cited: this post and especially the comments, clear up that issue.

So here are my questions for my readers today:

#1. What do you think of the NET’s proposed chronology? Why?

->ὑποτασσέσθωσαν -> ὑποτάσσεσθε

#2. What do you think of the NET’s explanation for the textual development (i.e. the addition originated in the lectionaries)? Why?

8 thoughts on “Textual Criticism in Ephesians 5:22

Add yours

  1. Mike,

    This raises the question of why Romans 16:7 has Junia instead of Julia. How many of p46’s variants are given credence as more likely to be original?

  2. #1. I don’t quite agree with the NET chronology. I think that ὑποτασσέσθωσαν and ὑποτάσσεσθε are independent attempts to clarify the implied verb reading.

    #2. The influence of the lectionaries on the text is so poorly studied that any statement about it is speculative. It would really be nice for this to be studied.

    1. Stephen, I don’t know if I could make a decision between your view and the NET’s. Both are plausible to me (depending on how you reconstruct the history of the text).

      As for #2, agreed. My question on the lectionary claim would be: Would the scribes creating the lectionaries added the verb because 5:22 began a new reading or whether scribes would mark 5:22 as a new lectionary reading because an imperative verb was inserted here?

      1. It does depend on one’s history of the text. I tend to follow Günter Zuntz who holds that the “Western” text-type in Paul constitutes an independent stream back to the original, which means that ὑποτάσσεσθε in that text would not be a development of ὑποτασσέσθωσαν in some of the members of the Alexandrian text-type.

      2. Actually, looking at the manuscript support, I would almost wonder if both of you are correct. That is, its entirely possible that the Western developed independently AND ὑποτάσσεσθε arose from ὑποτασσέσθωσαν.

        I don’t think that the history of the text is a neat as anyone would like it to be.

  3. Whichever is correct seems to be a moot point. Nearly all have about the same intent. The varieties simply occupy those who have nothing better to do. Even if the verb is omitted, the sense is plain.

    1. Well, I think the point is moot as well, though for a different reason. Its moot because the original reading is rather obvious and has been for the past 150 years: the elided reading is the correct one.

      With that said, the meaning does change significantly when choosing one reading over another – and I would hold that scholars simply haven’t wanted the meaning to change.

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