Re: I Cor. 14:18

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Tue Jun 23 1998 - 00:18:59 EDT

At 09:38 PM 6/22/98 -0500, you wrote:
>N-A 27 gives the following variants:
>assume there is a I subscript in the variant - dative/instrumental] LALW
>[LALWN (TR/Majority Text) / LALEIN].
>The MOU and GLWSSAIS/GLWSSHi variant don't concern me. The other
>variants would be these renderings, I guess:
>a) I give thanks to God, more than all of you in/with tongues I speak =
>I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than
>all of you. This is the N-A choice.
>b) I give thanks to God, more than all of you speaking in tongues = I
>give thanks to God by speaking in tongues more than all
>of you, i.e.:
>b.1.) I thank God in tongues more than all of you. This might be
>supported by the preceding verses (14:16-17) which have to do with
>giving thanks in tongues
>b.2.) I give thanks to God, speaking in tongues more than all of you
>(similar to a) above).
>c) I give thanks to God, more than all of you to speak in tongues = I
>give thanks to God [that I = reason] speak in tongues
>more than all of you (I guess that would be it - I'm not sure how to
>translate the infinitive variant LALEIN]
>I'm divided between a) and b.1.). The context, including 14:19, seems to
>allow for either of these options - so I guess it comes down to the
>textual variant, i.e., LALW or LALWN. Would he be saying that he is
>thankful that he speaks in tongues more than all the Corinthians, or
>that he thanks God in tongues more than all the Corinthians? Or
>something else?
>What reasons might be given for favoring these options - or any other
>options you know about?

        The textual evidence for LALW rather than LALWN or LALEIN is fairly
strong. Although LALWN is supported by the majority, and LALEIN by the
only papyrus witness, LALW has strong support from several of the best
witnesses. Both Aleph and B from the uncials along with 33 and 1739 from
among the miniscules as well as Old Latin witnesses support the N-A text
reading. P46's LALEIN could represent an effort toward more elegant
language (maybe we could get a comment from someone who is an accomplished
Greek stylist on that), but it is difficult to see how the Majority's LALWN
could have arisen from an original LALW unless it came from a mis-hearing
in oral dictation. Both words do have a circuflex on the ultima.

        Manuscript A's omission of LALW is intriguing. If this represented the
original, the variants might be accounted for by different efforts to
complete the thought. And with the omitted word it would mean, "I thank
God in toungues more than any of you which, as Eric has pointed out, would
fit with the preceding context. But it is difficult to believe that
scribes would have felt a need to supply some form of LALW to what stands
by itself as a meaningful sentence. This consideration and the strong MS
evidence mentioned above point to the N-A text's choice here and so would
support the translation Eric has put in the second part of a).

        In another vein, and to suggest a new thread, if it interests anyone else,
the similarity of the expression with MALLON here and with MALISTA in 1Tim.
4:10 makes me wonder if the genitives before MALISTA should not be taken as
dependent on MALISTA rather than on SWTHR. The genitives before MALLON in
1Cor. 14:18 are taken with the comparative and so express the lesser group
of a comparison. Understanding 1Tim. 4:10 this way, one would translate,
"This is why we labor and wrestle, because we have set our hope upon the
living God who, in preference to all humanity, is the Savior of those who

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
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