I recently started a thread in search of a Pauline Christology
as a precursor for this current investigation. To get right to the point, I have found myself more and more persuaded of late that Romans 1.1b-5a constitutes an interpolation. Neil Godfrey recently offered a link to a page of what appear to be his own notes on the topic
, which lacks any mention of codex Boernerianus (since the case is being made for 1.2-6 in their entirety, not exactly the part of the text omitted by Boernerianus). But Neil makes this up in another blog post of his elsewhere
Boernerianus, known as G amongst the Pauline manuscripts, has strange gaps in various places, and one of these gaps falls right at the beginning of the epistle to the Romans, at the spot where we ought to find Romans 1.1b-5a, but that text is missing. Gaps like this in other manuscripts are often explained as indications that the scribe was working with an exemplar which lacked the text in question, but knew that something belonged there, and thus left room for it. However this may be, G offers some evidence of a text that proceeds directly and smoothly from 1.1a to 1.5b: the syntax is intact, and one would never know that anything was missing were it not for other manuscripts.
Besides lacking 1.1b-5a, Boernerianus also lacks the address to Rome both in 1.7 and in 1.15. Harry Gamble discusses this extensively in The Textual History of the Letter to the Romans
The red text
below represents what is missing from Boernerianus; the green text
represents what has been altered; and the underlined text
bears a different word order:
Romans 1.1-7 (NASB, modified to match G): 1 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born from the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of Holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for the sake of His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; 7 to all who are in Rome in the love of God [NA27: beloved of God], called as saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 1.1-7 (G: codex Boernerianus): 1 Παῦλος δοῦλος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, 2 ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις 3 περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, 4 τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, 5 δι᾽ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ, 6 ἐν οἷς ἐσταὶ καὶ ὑμῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, 7 πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἐν ἀγαπη θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ ἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Romans 1.1-7 (NA27): 1 Παῦλος δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, 2 ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις 3 περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, 4 τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, 5 δι᾽ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ, 6 ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, 7 πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
My posting of the thread about Pauline Christology was an attempt to lay out all of the evidence for and/or against the following point made by Neil:
The opening verses introduce the adoptionist doctrine that Jesus was only declared to be the Son of God at the resurrection. This also contradicts Romans 8:3... where the author accepts that it was “his Son” that God sent to earth, ostensibly “as” His Son, prior to any death and resurrection.
Galatians 4.4-5 also appears relevant in this regard. Philippians 2.5-11 certainly has something important happen at the exaltation (which I presume lines up with the resurrection), but that something does not involve being called the Son of God, a title absent from the so-called Christ Hymn.
I see some potential wriggle room in the exact phrasing of Romans 1.4 inasmuch as Christ is said to have been declared the Son of God with power
at his resurrection, but having wriggle room is not the same thing as it being a good idea to take advantage of it.
What do you think? What is the status of Romans 1.1b-5a? Is it integral to the text of Romans, or is it an interpolation? If the former, why does Boernerianus lack it, and how does the Christology here line up with the Christology elsewhere in Paul? If the latter, why is Boernerianus the only manuscript (to my knowledge) that seems to lack it? In either case, what do you think of the rest of the arguments adduced by Neil? Also refer to the list of scholars that Peter Kirby offers for regarding (at least parts of) this passage as an interpolation: http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1839&p=40594#p40587
(scroll down to the line in the notes section: "Peter Kirby remarks concerning Romans 1.1b-5a").
Here is an image of the page in question from codex Boernerianus