Thursday, December 08, 2016

Metzger, Longenecker and Acts 15:17-18


Bruce Metzger notes:


Since the quotation from Am 9:12 ends with TAUTA, the concluding words are James's comments. The reading GNWSTA AP’ AIWNOS, however, is so elliptical an expression that copyists made various attempts to recast the phrase, rounding it out as an independent sentence" (Metzger commenting on Acts 15:17-18).

Richard Longenecker comments: "The interpretation of v. 18 is notoriously difficult. Aleph, B, and C, together with the Coptic and Armenian versions, read 'that have been known for ages' (GNWSTA AP’ AIWNOS). . . But A and D, together with Bodmer P74 and the major Latin and Syriac versions, read 'known to the Lord from eternity is his work' (GNWSTON AP’ AIWNOS ESTIN TW KURIOW TO ERGON QUTOU); and E and P, together with the Byzantine text, read 'known from eternity to God are all his works'(GNWSTA AP’ AIWNOS ESTI TW QEW PANTA TA ERGA AUTOU)." See Expositor's Bible Commentary, Acts, page 243.

None of the readings that Longenecker mentions in his work seem to have a direct bearing how one understands the prepositional phrase APO (PRO) KATABOLHS KOSMOU. Therefore, I don't think this verse is an effective prooftext for divine foreordination, since James could simply mean that God enacts things that he knows from antiquity (not from eternity). The NWT renders the difficult Greek in this way:

"says Jehovah, who is doing these things, known from of old" (1984)

The same reading appears in NWT 2013.

KJV reads: "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."

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