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1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Context
The Way of Love

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 13:2 And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 13:3 If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, 1  but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

1 tc The reading καυχήσωμαι (kauchswmai, “I might boast”) is well supported by Ì46 א A B 048 33 1739* pc co Hiermss. The competing reading, καυθήσομαι (kauqhsomai, “I will burn”), is found in C D F G L 81 1175 1881* al latt and a host of patristic writers. From this reading other variants were obviously derived: καυθήσωμαι (kauqhswmai), a future subjunctive (“I might burn”) read by the Byzantine text and a few others (Ψ 1739c 1881c Ï); and καυθῇ (kauqh, “it might be burned”) read by 1505 pc. On an external level, the Alexandrian reading is obviously superior, though the Western and Byzantine readings need to be accounted for. (The following discussion is derived largely from TCGNT 497-98). Internally, καυχήσωμαι is superior for the following reasons: (1) Once the Church started suffering persecution and martyrdom by fire, the v.l. naturally arose. Once there, it is difficult to see why any scribe would intentionally change it to καυχήσωμαι. (2) Involving as it does the change of just two letters (χ to θ [c to q], ω to ο [w to o]), this reading could be accomplished without much fanfare. Yet, it appears cumbersome in the context, both because of the passive voice and especially the retention of the first person (“If I give up my body that I may be burned”). A more logical word would have been the third person passive, καυθῇ, as read in 1505 (“If I give up my body that it may be burned”). (3) Although the connection between giving up one’s body and boasting is ambiguous, this very ambiguity has all the earmarks of being from Paul. It may have the force of giving up one’s body into slavery. In any event, it looks to be the harder reading. Incidentally, the Byzantine reading is impossible because the future subjunctive did not occur in Koine Greek. As the reading of the majority of Byzantine minuscules, its roots are clearly post-Koine and as such is a “grammatical monstrosity that cannot be attributed to Paul” (TCGNT 498). Cf. also the notes in BDF §28; MHT 2:219.



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