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James 3:8-10

Context
3:8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless 1  evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9 With it we bless the Lord 2  and Father, and with it we curse people 3  made in God’s image. 3:10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. 4 

1 tc Most mss (C Ψ 1739c Ï as well as a few versions and fathers) read “uncontrollable” (ἀκατασχετόν, akatasceton), while the most important witnesses (א A B K P 1739* latt) have “restless” (ἀκατάστατον, akatastaton). Externally, the latter reading should be preferred. Internally, however, things get a bit more complex. The notion of being uncontrollable is well suited to the context, especially as a counterbalance to v. 8a, though for this very reason scribes may have been tempted to replace ἀκατάστατον with ἀκατασχετόν. However, in a semantically parallel early Christian text, ἀκατάστατος (akatastato") was considered strong enough of a term to denounce slander as “a restless demon” (Herm. 27:3). On the other hand, ἀκατάστατον may have been substituted for ἀκατασχετόν by way of assimilation to 1:8 (especially since both words were relatively rare, scribes may have replaced the less familiar with one that was already used in this letter). On internal evidence, it is difficult to decide, though ἀκατασχετόν is slightly preferred. However, in light of the strong support for ἀκατάστατον, and the less-than-decisive internal evidence, ἀκατάστατον is preferred instead.

2 tc Most later mss (Ï), along with several versional witnesses, have θεόν (qeon, “God”) here instead of κύριον (kurion, “Lord”). Such is a predictable variant since nowhere else in the NT is God described as “Lord and Father,” but he is called “God and Father” on several occasions. Further, the reading κύριον is well supported by early and diversified witnesses (Ì20 א A B C P Ψ 33 81 945 1241 1739), rendering it as the overwhelmingly preferred reading.

3 tn Grk “men”; but here ἀνθρώπους (anqrwpous) has generic force, referring to both men and women.

4 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:2.



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