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DOI 10.

1515/znw-2014-0005

ZNW 2014; 105(1):80101

Stephen C. Carlson

For Sinai is a Mountain in Arabia


A Note on the Text of Galatians 4,25
Abstract: Seit Richard Bentley haben sich Textkritiker und Exegeten erstaunt ber
die Notiz in Gal 4,25a gezeigt, dass der Sinai ein Berg in Arabien ist. Frhe und
wichtige Textzeugen bieten verschiedene Lesarten, und der Satz ist in seinen vier
Hauptvarianten nicht nur grammatikalisch mit Problemen behaftet, sondern
auch im Blick auf seine Stellung in Paulus Argumentationsduktus. Der Beitrag
greift die textkritische Problematik auf und gelangt zu den folgenden Ergebnissen:
uere Bezeugung, transkriptionale Wahrscheinlichkeitserwgungen wie innere
Textkritik legen nahe, dass in V. 25a zu lesen
ist, so dass diese Lesart im kritischen Text geboten werden sollte. Darber hinaus fhren andere Hinweise zu der Annahme, dass V. 25a ursprnglich eine
Randnotiz war. Kritische Editionen sollten anzeigen, dass der Satz nicht zum ursprnglichen Haupttext des Briefes gehrt.

Stephen C. Carlson: Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, Box 511, 751 20 Uppsala;
stephen.c.carlson@gmail.com

Three hundred years ago, Richard Bentley wrote to John Mill a letter full of philological observations in which he expressed his support for Mills project to base
an edition of the New Testament on ancient manuscripts instead of the Textus
Receptus. Recognizing that the project had been opposed as either useless or
dangerous for the church, Bentley suggested that a single passage simple on
its face but posing great difficulties beneath the surface should suffice to demonstrate the necessity for textual criticism of the New Testament. That passage is

1 R. Bentley, Epistola ad Joannem Millium, Toronto 1962, photographic reprint of A. Dyce, ed.,
The Works of Richard Bentley 2, London 1836, esp. 361365, here 362.
2 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 363: operam aut inutilem esse existimant, aut Ecclesiae periculosam. Bentley has just characterized these people as inexperienced and endowed with no use
of good letters (imperiti quidam homines et nullo usu bonarum literarum praediti).
3 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 363: uno exemplo quo perspicuum erit minuta qudam et
prima utique specie levissima posse magnas difficultates expedire.

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Pauls allegory of Sarah and Hagar in Gal 4,2226, which Bentley knew from the
Textus Receptus in the following form:
22 , ,
. 23 , ,
. 24
, , . 25
, , . 26
, .
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one from the slave girl, and one from the
free woman. 23 But the one from the slave girl was born according to the flesh, while the
one from the free woman [was born] through the promise. 24 These things are allegorized:
for these are two covenants. On the one hand, one from Mount Sinai, giving birth into slavery, who is Hagar. 25 For this Hagar is the Sinai mountain in Arabia, but it corresponds
to the present Jerusalem, and she is enslaved with her children. 26 On the other hand, the
Jerusalem above is the free woman, who is the mother of all of us.

Bentley thought it did not make sense for Paul to call the same mountain both
Sinai and Hagar (a name attested nowhere else for a mountain) nor for Hagar
to correspond to both the mountain and the law promulgated from it. To deal
with these problems, Bentley proposed that the part of the sentence
was not from Paul at all but a marginal note that crept into the
body of the text. Objecting to the neuter article in front of the feminine ,
Bentley further surmised that the syntax of what Paul originally wrote must have
been distorted when the note was incorporated into the main text. Accordingly,
Bentley conjectured that Pauls text in Gal 4,25 had actually read:

4 The 27th edition Nestle-Aland critical text (hence NA27) does not include this article on the
strength of P46 01 A C 33 81 104 1241s and a few others; the 25th edition, however, included the
article with B D F G 1739 Byz and Origen. The text of the most recent 28th edition is the same in
Galatians, though the apparatus has been revised.
5 NA27 reads instead of , and some important witnesses do not include the following .
6 NA27 does not add based on the very strong external evidence of P46 01* B C* D F G
33 1241s 1505 1739, Marcion according to Tertullian, and Origen.
7 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 363: neque enim eundem montem et Agarem vocatum esse et
Sinam, neque vero ullum usquam gentium eo nomine notatum esse, neque porro Agarem servam (si de serva malit quispiam, quam de monte accipere) in eadem allegoria et monte respondere posse, et legi qu ex monte promulgata est.
8 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 364: ea autem verba non multo post, ut saepe usu venit, de libri margine in orationem ipsam irrepsisse: nam Apostoli quidem ea non esse, sed ,
9 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 365: aut quamobrem genere neutro posuit; quasi vero
materialiter ac pro voce, non pro ancilla, hic usurpetur?

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82

Stephen C. Carlson

, (But to Hagar
corresponds the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children).
Now Bentleys conjecture has been abandoned by subsequent scholars (including himself apparently) and misrepresented in the NA27 apparatus, but
the exegetical problems with Gal 4,25a remain. Hans Dieter Betz called it a real
crux interpretum, and commentators routinely note that the geographic note is
difficult to understand in its context. Modern-day exegetes are not the only ones
who found the text difficult. Ancient scribes too were perplexed. In particular
they had trouble deciding whether the conjunction was or , and whether
to include or omit . To take Bentleys text-critical challenge seriously, text
critics must consider five forms of the Greek text within the textual history of
Gal 4,25a. In particular, the textual critic should construe the major textual
variants in Gal 4,25a within the context of the entire passage, and, based on this

10 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 365.


11 Inferred from the fact that Bentley later did not mention his conjecture in either the text or
the apparatus of his edition of Galatians (R. Bentley, Epistola beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas, in:
A.A. Ellis, Bentleii Critica Sacra: Notes on the Greek and Latin Text of the New Testament, Extracted from the Bentley Mss. in Trinity College Library, Cambridge 1862, 93117, esp. 108109).
See also J.B. Lightfoot, St. Pauls Epistle to the Galatians, Peabody 1995, 193.
12 The NA27 apparatus mistakenly indicates that Bentleys conjecture is the omission of the
entire clause, . The actual originator of this conjecture
is H.A. Schott, Epistolae Pauli ad Thessalonicenses et Galatas (Commentarii in Epistolas Novi
Testamenti 1), Leipzig 1834, 533. Thanks to J. Krans (pers. comm.) for alerting me to this reference.
13 H.D. Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Pauls Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia),
Philadelphia 1979, 244.
14 In addition to Betz, so also M.C. de Boer, Pauls Quotation of Isaiah 54.1 in Galatians 4.27, NTS
50 (2004) 370389, esp. 375 n.19: this half-verse has proved notoriously difficult to understand;
J.L. Martyn, Galatians (AncB 33A), New York 1997, 437: the line of Pauls thought in this verse is
difficult to grasp; U. Borse, Der Brief an die Galater (RNT), Regensburg 1984, 169170: Der Satz
ber den Berg Sinai und Arabien bereitet der Auslegung besondere Schwierigkeiten; B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, Peabody, Mass.
1998, App. 121: perplexing and hard to interpret.
15 The five Greek forms of Gal 4,25a are set forth in K. Aland et al. (eds.), Text und Textwert der
griechischen Handschriften des neuen Testaments: II. Die paulinischen Briefe. Band 3: Galaterbrief bis Philipperbrief (ANTF 18), Berlin 1991, 159161. See also R.J. Swanson, New Testament
Greek Manuscripts: Galatians, Wheaton, Ill. 1999, 59. Some manuscripts, however, omit the crucial words due to parablepsis. For example, 1573 skips from the in v. 24 to the in v. 25,
omitting the words . As another example,
999 and 1963 skip from in v. 24 to the in v. 25, omitting the words
. Still another seven witnesses, 61* 90 465* 1243 1352 1874* 2344, skip from
to , omitting the words . Franz Muner, Der Galaterbrief (HThK 9), Freiburg etc.
1974, 322, lists some additional versional and patristic forms that are unlikely to go back to Paul.

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For Sinai is a Mountain in Arabia

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exegesis, balance both the external evidence for the variants and the internal evidence in terms of their transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities to ascertain the
oldest recoverable form of the text.

1The Texts of Galatians 4,25a


I. (Now this Hagar is the Sinai
mountain in Arabia). This is the reading of the NA27 critical text, and it has
been accepted by most recent commentators. It enjoys the support of the fourthcentury Codex Vaticanus (B), the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus (A), and the
sixth-century Codex Claromontanus (D), along with scattered minuscules.
This reading presents a number of delicate exegetical decisions. One of them
is that there are three nominative nouns in a linking clause that normally takes
two: , , and . At least one of them must be an attributive noun (i.e.,
used adjectivally) or a noun in apposition. James D. G. Dunn, for example, has
argued that Hagar should be considered adjectival, thereby construing
as the Hagar-Sinai, in reference to Pauls identification of Hagar and
the Sinai covenant in v. 24. The difficulty with this proposal, however, is that the

16 For an overview of the modern praxis of textual criticism, see B.M. Metzger, The Text of the
New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, New York/Oxford 31992, 207246;
K. Aland / B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions
and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, Grand Rapids, Mich. 21989, 280297;
and M.W. Holmes, Reasoned Eclecticism in New Testament Textual Criticism, in: B.D. Ehrman /
M.W. Holmes (eds.), The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the
Status Quaestionis (SD 46), Grand Rapids, Mich. 1995, 336360.
17 B.M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Stuttgart 21994, 527.
18 Including Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 432.437438; J.D.G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians
(BNTC), London 1993, 242.250252; F.J. Matera, Galatians (Sacra Pagina 9), Collegeville, Minn.
1992, 167170; F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC),
Grand Rapids, Mich. 1982, 219; Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 244245; and Muner, Galaterbrief (see
n. 15), 316.320324.
19 According to B. Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Stuttgart 41994, 648, they are: 256 365
436 1175 1319 1962 2127 2464. This edition will be referred to as UBS4.
20 It is faintly possible that could be in the genitive case, though it would have been
clearer to include the article like this: .
21 Dunn, Galatians (see n. 18), 251, endorsed later by S.M. Elliott, Choose Your Mother, Choose
Your Master: Galatians 4:215:1 in the Shadow of the Anatolian Mother of the Gods, JBL 118 (1999)
661683, esp. 668. Dunn confusingly characterizes his proposal as tak[ing] Hagar and Sinai
in apposition (Hagar as adjectival) (251).

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Stephen C. Carlson

rest of the clause, needs a subject that can be equated


to a mountain in Arabia. Similarly, Andrew C. Perriman takes both Hagar and
Sinai to be adjectival so that the clause means the Hagar-Sinai mountain is in
Arabia, but this requires an unusual nominal construction with three nouns
in a row.
The least problematic of the options, though, is to take Sinai as attributive, so should mean the Sinai mountain (or Mount Sinai), and the
whole clause means Hagar is the Sinai mountain in Arabia. The hyperbaton
of placing before the verb and the prepositional phrase
afterwards suggests that the point of the clause is to identify Hagar with the Sinai
mountain. The main problem with this analysis, however, is that the word order
for Mount Sinai is rather unusual. The word order of the LXX is consistently , and, in fact, Paul had just used the usual order in the preceding
verse ( ).

22 S. Di Mattei, Pauls Allegory of the Two Covenants (Gal 4.2131) in Light of First-Century Hellenistic Rhetoric and Jewish Hermeneutics, NTS 52 (2006) 102122, further rejects the HagarSinai amalgam as just not an acceptable rendering of the Greek (111) and suspicious on the
grounds that it seems guided by underlying typological presuppositions (111 n.34).
23 A.C. Perriman, The Rhetorical Strategy of Galatians 4:215:1, EvQ 61 (1993) 2742, esp. 3738,
calling Hagar-Sinai a composite reference to the conceptual fusion of the allegory.
24 Indeed, Perriman concedes that no example of a comparable nominal expression is forthcoming (Rhetorical Strategy [see n. 23], 38 n.26). Another possibility for construing the three
nominatives would be to understand in apposition to ; hence, would be
translated as Sinai, a mountain. Thus, would be the subject and
(is Sinai, a mountain in Arabia) would be the predicate. An objection to this reading is
that occurs between and and interrupts the appositional noun phrase.
25 E.g., Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 432.437; Matera, Galatians (see n. 18), 167.169; R.N. Longenecker, Galatians (WBC 41), Dallas 1990, 198; Borse, Galater (see n. 14), 168170; Bruce, Galatians
(see n. 18), 219; Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 244; A. Oepke, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater
(ThHK 9), Berlin 21957, 109; and E.d.W. Burton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (ICC), Edinburgh 1921, 258.
26 The separation of a noun phrase by the verb lends more emphasis to one of the parts; see
generally H. Smith, Greek Grammar, Cambridge, Mass. 1920, 679 3028 (as hyperbaton) and
S.H. Levinsohn, Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information
Structure of New Testament Greek, Dallas 22000, 5760 (as discontinuous constituent).
27 Exod 19,11.16.18.20.23; 24,46; 31,18; 34,2.2.32; Lev 7,38; 25,1; 26,46; 27,34; Num 3,1; 28,6; 2Esdr
19,13; cf. Acts 7,30.38. Note however that Josephus prefers the form , with a declinable form of the mountains name.
28 S. Lgasse, Lptre de Paul aux Galates (LeDiv.Comm. 9), Paris 2000, 355; Elliott, Choose (see
n. 21), 668; Dunn, Galatians (see n. 18), 250; and G.I. Davies, Hagar, El-Hera and the Location of
Mount Sinai, VT 22 (1972) 152163, esp. 159 n.4.

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For Sinai is a Mountain in Arabia

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Another exegetical task is to determine why the feminine takes the neuter article . Although unusual, most exegetes have been able to account for
this lack of grammatical concord in gender by appealing to a quotative usage of
the neuter article, or supposing that it refers here to the name (i.e., )
Hagar, rather than to the woman. As a result, the phrase ought to be
translated as something like the [name] Hagar or this Hagar, and the clause
as a whole can be rendered this Hagar is Sinai mountain in Arabia.
As for the conjunction , it does not coordinate with the in the preceding verse, , , , because the resulting construction entails that the clause refers to the
other covenant, which Gal 4,25a does not. In fact, it is only much later at v. 26
that Paul gets to expounding the other covenant:
, , and even here it does not present a precisely parallel construction to the clause. Similarly, the conjunction is not used
adversatively, because the information given in v. 25a does not contrast with that
in v. 24; rather, v. 25a gives more information, so the conjunction is best considered connective.
The exegetical decisions are not restricted to deciding the meaning inside
the clause but also involve figuring out the clauses relationship to the context.
In v. 24, Paul had just equated the covenant from Mount Sinai with Hagar, so it
is startling to find Hagar being re-identified with Sinai itself. Whatever the reasons for this shift in the identification of Hagar, it seems to have something to do

29 E.g., Perriman, Rhetorical Strategy (see n. 23), 37: puzzling and requires explanation. Also
Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 365.
30 F. Blass / A. Debrunner / R.W. Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other
Early Christian Literature, Chicago 1961, 140 at 267(1). So also Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14),
437 n.132; G. Sellin, Hagar und Sara. Religionsgeschichtliche Hintergrnde der Schriftallegorese
Gal 4,2131, in: Das Urchristentum in seiner literarischen Geschichte. FS Jrgen Becker (BZNW
100), Berlin 1999, 5984, esp. 74; and D.-A. Koch, Die Schrift als Zeuge des Evangeliums: Untersuchungen zur Verwendung und zum Verstndnis der Schrift bei Paulus (BHTh 69), Tbingen
1986, 206 n.18.
31 E.g., Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 354 n.5; and Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 244 n.65.
32 Muner, Galaterbrief (see n. 15), 320, argues that the structure of Pauls argument is as if he
wrote: , ,
.
33 So H. Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia (NIC), Grand Rapids, Mich.
1953, 178 n.9. Also Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 356 n.1; Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 438; Longenecker, Galatians (see n. 25), 198 n.d; and Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 244.
34 Perriman, Rhetorical Strategy (see n. 23), 37; Dunn, Galatians (see n. 18), 250.

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with the fresh information of being located in Arabia, and theories abound
as to the reason why. Perhaps it is because Hagar is the mother of the Arabs
(cf. Gen 25,1218 and the Hagarites in Ps 83,6). Other critics connect Hagar with
an Arabian town of a similar name or with Hegra in the Targums. Another
possibility is that Hagar sounds like adjar, the Arabic word for rock. The
common difficulty with all these theories is that they explain the obscure by the
more obscure. There is no actual evidence that Paul knew any of these Arabic
meanings for Hagar, much less the Arabic language, nor is there any hint that it
would have been comprehensible for Pauls Galatian audience.
II. (For this Hagar is the Sinai
mountain in Arabia). This is the reading of the Byzantine text and the Textus

35 So D. Snger, Sara, die Freie unsere Mutter: Namenallegorese als Interpretament christlicher Identittsbildung in Gal 4,2131, in: Neues Testament und hellenistisch-jdische Alltagskultur (WUNT 274), ed. R. Deines / J. Herzer / K.-W. Niebuhr, Tbingen 2011, 213239, esp. 222.
Elliott, Choose (see n. 21), argues that the connection between Hagar and Sinai is to facilitate a
comparison to a Mountain Mother familiar to the Galatians, but her proposal can only account
for the mention of in Arabia as an incidental detail (678 n.59).
36 Dunn, Galatians (see n. 18), 251252, outlines various possibilities before conceding that the
exact meaning remains obscure (quoting H. Schlier).
37 Snger, Sara (see n. 35), 222; Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 438 n.136; Matera, Galatians (see
n. 18), 170; Koch, Schrift (see n. 30), 207 n.22; E. Lohse, Art. , TDNT 7 (1971) 282287, esp.
286; H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (KEK 7), Gttingen 101949, 156; M.-J. Lagrange, Saint Paul:
ptre aux Galates (EtB), Paris 21925, 125.
38 A.M. Schwemer, Himmlische Stadt und himmlisches Brgerrecht bei Paulus (Gal 4,26
und Phil 3,20), in: La Cit de Dieu / Die Stadt Gottes (WUNT 129), hg. v. M. Hengel / S. Mittmann
/ A.M. Schwemer, Tbingen 2000, 195243, here 200; M. McNamara, to de (Hagar) Sina oros
estin en t Arabia (Gal. 4:25a): Paul and Petra, Milltown Studies 2 (1978) 2441; and H. Gese,
(Gal 4 25), in: Das ferne und nahe Wort. FS Leonhard Rost
(BZAW 105), Berlin 1967, 8194. For an opposing view see Davies, Hagar (see n. 28).
39 M.G. Steinhauser, Gal 4,25a: Evidence of Targumic Tradition in Gal 4,2131?, Bib. 70 (1989)
234240.
40 E.g., Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 245 (notwithstanding the difference in the initial consonant).
Still others have proposed a Hebrew wordplay between Hagar and the Hebrew for the mountain, ha har (e.g. A.F. Puukko, Paulus und das Judentum, StOr 2 [1928] 181, esp. 7 and 75). The
difficulty with this explanation, however, is that there is nothing in the Hebrew to account for the
inclusion of the notice in Arabia.
41 J. Rohde, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater (ThHK 9), Berlin 1988, 199: Aber Paulus konnte
nicht erwarten, da er seinen galatischen Lesern durch diese Beweisfhrung den Zusammenhang des Alten Bundes mit Hagar htte beweisen knnen, weil sie ihnen in dieser Kurzform
unverstndlich bleiben mute.

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For Sinai is a Mountain in Arabia

87

Receptus. It has the support of the majority of manuscripts, including (a ninthcentury manuscript on Mount Athos) and the Queen of the Minuscules, 33; in
addition, this variant is read by Chrysostom. The difference between this variant and the preceding one is the use of the conjunction instead of . As such,
the conjunction is more specific about the function of Gal 4,25a. It gives the
reason why the covenant from Mount Sinai is Hagar.
III. (This Hagar is the Sinai mountain in Arabia). According to Text und Textwert, only two manuscripts, 228 and
2004, support this reading. This reading differs from the preceding two in its
use of asyndeton instead of a conjunctive particle to join this clause to Pauls
argument. Though asyndeton is an unmarked connective, its use in preference
to another connective particle tends to signal either a larger discontinuity such
as a change in topic for the argument or a very close connection to the previous
statement. It is the latter interpretation that would be more appropriate here.
IV. (For Sinai is a mountain in
Arabia). Prior to the mid-20th century, this was the reading favored by many
critics not dependent on the Textus Receptus, including Westcott, Tischendorf,
Lightfoot, Lachmann, and Bentley after he abandoned his conjecture. Even
today, it enjoys support among some exegetes. In the manuscript tradition, this

42 Not surprisingly, this Byzantine variant is adopted by H. von Soden, Die Schriften des Neuen
Testaments, Gttingen 1913, 756. The only recent scholar I could find to adopt this variant is Di
Mattei, Pauls Allegory (see n. 22), 111 n.35. P. Bonnard, Lptre de Saint Paul aux Galates (CNT 9),
Neuchtel 21972, 97, though claiming to adopt the reading of the Nestle critical text, interprets
the text as if the conjunction has the same explicative meaning as .
43 UBS4, 648.
44 Steinhauser, Gal 4,25a (see n. 39), 234.
45 Aland, Text und Textwert (see n. 15), 160. The only exegete I have been able to find to discuss
this reading is Sellin, Hagar und Sara (see n. 30), 7374, who duly cites Text und Textwert.
46 Levinsohn, Discourse Features (see n. 26), 118119. See also S.E. Runge, A Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching & Exegesis (Lexham Bible
Reference Series), Bellingham, Wash. 2010, 36. On Pauls use of asyndeton, especially in Romans
and both Corinthian letters, see generally E.W. Gtig / D.L. Mealand, Asyndeton in Paul: A TextCritical and Statistical Enquiry into Pauline Style (SBEC 39), Lewiston, N.Y. 1998.
47 Westcott, Introduction (see n. 14), App. 121, disagreeing with Hort; C. Tischendorf, Novum
Testamentum Graece 2, Leipzig 81869, 648; Lightfoot, Galatians (see n. 11), 181; K. Lachmann,
Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine 2, Berlin 1850, 449; Bentley, Galatas (see n. 11), 108. The
reason why Bentley abandoned his earlier conjecture is not hard to fathom. By adopting the
reading of C and the Vulgate without the word Hagar (Sinaiticus had not yet been discovered),
Bentley was able to obviate his original objections to the wording of the Textus Receptus.
48 E.g., Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 354.356; N.T. Wright, Paul, Arabia, and Elijah (Galatians
1:17), JBL 115 (1996) 683692, esp. 686; and Borse, Galater (see n. 14), 168170.

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Stephen C. Carlson

reading is supported by the fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus (), the fifth-century


Codex Ephraemi rescriptus (C), the ninth-century Old Latin bilingual codices F
and G, and the important minuscules 1241 and 1739. It is also found in most of the
Old Latin manuscripts, the Vulgate, and various Western Fathers.
The syntax within the clause offers two possibilities. First, the collocation
could be the subject and the clause as a whole would mean For the
Sinai mountain is in Arabia. The main difficulty with this possibility is that the
word order to mean Mount Sinai is unusual, as explained above. The other
possibility is that the noun functions as a predicate to in hyperbaton
with its attributive preposition phrase positioned after the copula.
Thus, the neuter article construes directly with the neuter proper noun
to form the subject of the clause, and the predicate is .
As such, the whole clause can be rendered: For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia.
Outside the clause, however, the reading is more difficult to understand because it seems to have little to do with the context. C. K. Barrett, for example,
called it a bare piece of geographic information of little interest to the readers
or relevance to the context. The causal conjunction may indicate that the
Arabian location of Mount Sinai has something to do with the identification of
the covenant promulgated from that mountain with Hagar, but the connection
is not explicit. Perhaps, the placement of the notice immediately after the name
Hagar is to imply that Hagar somehow relates to the geographical reason in the
clause. If so, then the exegete is left with the same quandary as in the longer reading with the explicit Hagar the connection between Hagar and Sinai in Arabia
could be due to Hagar being the ancestor of the Arabs through Ishmael, or that
Hagar sounds like some Arabic word related to Mount Sinai.
Another possibility is to construe the geographic notation, not with the immediately preceding Hagar, but with the statement about the Sinai covenants engendering slavery, . The purpose, then, of specifying that

49 UBS4 lists ar, b, f, g, o, r, and Victorinus of Rome, Jerome, Pelagius, and Augustine.
50 Pace Borse, Galater (see n. 14), 168.
51 E.g., Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 356; Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 437; and Longenecker,
Galatians (see n. 25), 198 n.e.
52 C.K. Barrett, The Allegory of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar in the Argument of Galatians, in:
Rechtfertigung. FS Ernst Ksemann, Tbingen 1976, 116, esp. 12. Also Lohse, Art. (see n. 37),
285: But in the context of the whole passage this kind of note hardly yields a satisfying sense;
Oepke, Galater (see n. 25), 112: Als rein geographische Notiz ist das Stzchen vollends unertrglich; and Schlier, Galater (see n. 37), 156: Eine blo geographische Zwischenbemerkung
wre an dieser Stelle sinnlos.
53 Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 356.

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Sinai is a mountain in Arabia is to underscore that it is outside the territory of the


Promised Land. This possible interpretation founders, however, because Paul
goes on to explain in v. 25bc that the Hagar covenant corresponds to present-day
Jerusalem for she is enslaved with her children, ,
. By this reasoning, earthly geography is irrelevant to bondage, and hence the geographical notice can hardly contribute to
his argument.
V. (Now Sinai is a mountain in Arabia).
This is actually the oldest attested reading, found in the turn-of-the-third-century
Chester Beatty Papyrus of Pauls letters (P46), but it is otherwise poorly attested,
being limited to a few versional and patristic witnesses. Despite its meager attestation, this reading has found the support of two modern scholars.
This reading differs from the preceding one in its use of the conjunction
instead of . Although the content of the clause is nearly the same, pointing out
that Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, the different conjunction causes the clause to
interact with the context in a different way. Rather than giving a reason for the
identification of Hagar and the Sinai covenant in v. 24 as the causal conjunction
would indicate, the content of v. 25 with the conjunction interacts with
the remainder of the verse that sets up the allegorical correspondence with the
present-day Jerusalem. Under this interpretation, v. 25 as a whole would mean:
while Sinai geographically is in Arabia, it allegorically corresponds to the present
Jerusalem . As a result, the conjunction in v. 25a is not meant to explain
why Hagar is to be identified with the Sinai covenant but to carry the allegory

54 Lgasse, Galates (see n. 28), 357, who further claims that this interpretation is sufficient to
obviate the objection that Gal 4,25a is a pure geographic notation (356 n.7). This interpretation is
fairly old, for in 1834 Schott, Epistolae Pauli (see n. 12), 532, had already attributed this view to
J.S. Semler and G.T. Zachariae.
55 Ridderbos, Galatia (see n. 33), 177178 n.9: Jerusalem, in the heart of the promised land,
could not grant freedom either.
56 UBS4 lists P46, some manuscripts of the Vulgate, the Sahidic, a Latin translation of Hesychius, and Ambrosiaster.
57 A. Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage and Jewish Identity in Hellenistic and Early Roman Egypt,
in: Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, ed. D. Frankfurter, Leiden, 1998, 99225,
esp. 180187, here 182186; and F. Muner, Hagar, Sinai, Jerusalem, ThQ 135 (1955) 5660. See
also, Muner, Galaterbrief (see n. 15), 324.
58 Muner, Galaterbrief (see n. 15), 324; and Muner, Hagar (see n. 57), 5960: Gewi liegt das
Sinaigebirge, geographisch gesehen, in der Arabia; in Wirklichkeit aber, fr mein allegorisches
Verstndnis, entspricht es dem heutigen Jerusalem (emphasis and footnotes removed).

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forward to the next point of comparison. A problem with such an interpretation,


however, lies in the third clause of v. 25: .
This clause needs to take up Hagar, not Sinai, as its animate subject.

2External Evidence
One of the reasons why the textual criticism of Gal 4,25a is so challenging is that
the external evidence does not line up neatly with the variant readings, as can be
seen in the following chart:

Alexandrian61

Reading

I.
II.

III.

Primary

Secondary

A
33

Western

Byzantine

pc

(d)

62

M
228 2004

IV.

C 1241 1739 F G ar b vg

V.

P46

sa

In terms of external evidence, one of the readings can be set aside immediately.
The asyndetonic reading III ( ) is attested in only two, fairly late man-

59 As explained above with respect to reading A ( ), the is neither adversative nor picks up the to create a construction.
60 E.g., Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 438: But how would a conclusion involving slavery be
drawn if there was not a preceding reference to the slave Hagar? In short, Paul connects Jerusalem with slavery by saying that this Jerusalem stands in the same oppositional column with the
slave Hagar, thus being connected via Hagar with the enslaving covenant of Sinai.
61Primary and secondary Alexandrian correspond to Metzgers proto-Alexandrian and lesser
Alexandrians, respectively. Metzger, Text (see n. 16), 216. Gnter Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles:
A Disquisition upon the Corpus Paulinum, London 1953, 158159, has a similar theory of the text
in Paul, except that he promotes 1739 to the primary, proto-Alexandrian status and demotes
to his Lesser Alexandrian category. Based on the pattern of attestation in this case, the difference between Metzgers and Zuntzs classification does not materially affect the analysis.
62Old Latin manuscript d omits / Sina.
63 As did Sellin, Hagar und Sara (see n. 30), 74 n.37: Lesart (5) [scil. ] ist so schwach
bezeugt, da sie unbercksichtigt bleibt.

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uscripts housed in the Escorial library in Spain: 228 and 2004. They are so late
and removed from the archetype that their readings here can be true only by an
accidental coincidence.
As for the rest of the readings, the manuscript evidence is spread among them.
In terms of age and weight, the weakest reading among the remaining four is, in
fact, the reading that is the most prevalent through the Byzantine manuscripts:
reading II ( ): it does not enjoy any support from the Primary
Alexandrians and has limited attestation among the Secondary Alexandrians
and Western witnesses. Conversely, if the most numerous reading happens to be
the youngest, the earliest reading, V ( ), just so happens to be the most
poorly attested among Greek manuscripts it is limited to P46 (c. 200).
The other two readings have stronger attestation among the manuscripts, but
the weight is almost evenly balanced between them. On the one hand, reading
I ( ) is supported by the Primary Alexandrian B, the Secondary
Alexandrian A, and the Western D plus a few Byzantine manuscripts. On the
other hand, reading IV ( ) can count on the Primary Alexandrian , the
Secondary Alexandrian C 1241s 1739, and the Western F G ar b vg. In other words,
all the major, non-Byzantine text-types are split among readings I (
) and IV ( ). If anything, the support for reading IV ( ) is
slightly stronger among the Secondary Alexandrian and Western groups, because
multiple members of those text-types support the reading, while reading I (
) benefits only from a single witness in each, A and D respectively,
suggesting that their agreement on this reading may be due to accidental coincidence rather than through inheritance.
In fact, there is evidence that the reading in D is secondary within its own
tradition and therefore not a witness to the earliest reading. H. J. Vogels has called
attention to the fact that, though D is usually arranged with a sense unit per line,
the present text departs from the arrangement by breaking 4,25a in an unusual location: / . The words at the end
of the line are not paralleled in the corresponding Latin column of d. Moreover,

64 Aland, Text und Textwert (see n. 15), 160. According to K. Aland, Kurzgefate Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (ANTT 1), Berlin 21994, 60 and 161, respectively.
Gregory-Aland 228 (von Soden 458; shelf mark . IV. 12) is a fourteenth-century paper manuscript, and Gregory-Aland 2004 (von Soden 56; shelf mark . III. 17) is a twelve-century parchment manuscript.
65 H.J. Vogels, Der Codex Claromontanus der paulinischen Briefe, in: Amicitiae Corolla. FS
James Rendel Harris, ed. H.G. Wood, London 1933, 274299, esp. 294. So also K.T. Schfer, Der
griechisch-lateinische Text des Galaterbriefes in der Handschriftengruppe D E F G, in: Scientia
Sacra, ed. C. Feckes, Kln 1935, 4170, esp. 6263.

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the Latin on the following sense-line also reads enim, which corresponds to the
Greek . This evidence suggests that the at the end of the line had been
added there in Ds exemplar, and the word had been deleted. Vogels concludes that Ds exemplar originally agreed with F and Gs reading IV ( ).
Thus, the weight of D as evidence for reading I ( ) ought to be discounted.
Given the split of witnesses for reading I ( ) and reading IV (
), it is tempting to use P46 to cast the tie-breaking vote. A complicating
factor is that P46s own reading V ( ) is an intermediary between the two
best supported readings: on the one hand, it supports the conjunction as in
reading I ( ), but, on the other hand, it bears witness to the lack of
Hagar as in reading IV ( ). If P46 is used to decide both sub-variation
units separately, then the result of this procedure would be P46s own reading,
because the result would include both the conjunction and the shorter reading
without Hagar. Furthermore, if P46 is used to decide the priority of either reading A or reading C based on just one of the sub-variation units, then the choice
of variation unit will dictate the result. For example, Bruce Metzgers analysis
of this variant in his Textual Commentary focuses on the conjunction to decide
between readings I and IV; since P46 has the conjunction , then reading I, also
with the conjunction , is awarded priority. Yet it is unclear why the preference
should be given to the sub-variation unit concerning the conjunction. Surely, the
inclusion or omission of the name Hagar is exegetically more significant and
more pertinent to why a scribe would modify the text. Moreover, P46s inclusion
of instead of means that Metzgers reasoning that was accidentally
omitted by homoioteleuton in the sequence cannot account for P46s
own lack of . Indeed, as Ian Moir put it, P46 had no and still got rid of
Hagar! If the sub-variation unit concerning Hagar is used for the tie-breaking
vote, then P46s witness would favor reading IV ( ) instead.

66 Incidentally, the Byzantine reading II ( ) is also mid-way between the two


readings, giving rise to the similar methodological problems if the Byzantine text is to be used
for a tie-breaking vote.
67 This is basically the procedure that led Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 185, to
decide in favor of P46s reading as the original form of v. 25a.
68 Metzger, Textual Commentary (see n. 17), 527: As between and , the Committee preferred the former on the strength of superior attestation (P A B Dgr syrhmg, pal copsa, bo). After
had replaced in some witnesses, the juxtaposition of led to the accidental omission
sometimes of and sometimes of .
69 I. Moir, Review of A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament by Bruce M. Metzger
(1971), BiTr 24 (1973) 329333, here 332. Moirs comment was quoted with approval by J.C.ONeill,

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At any rate, the external evidence for Gal 4,25a is hardly conclusive. The external evidence has weighty witnesses for both reading I ( ) and reading IV ( ). Although reading IV without Hagar appears to be weightier
than reading I with Hagar, it still can be overturned by the internal evidence as to
its transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities.

3Transcriptional Probabilities
Transcriptional probabilities can readily explain some of the variant readings for
Gal 4,25. For example, the Byzantine reading II ( ) can be viewed
as a development of the Later Alexandrian reading I ( ) because
a scribe would have expected a clause beginning with Hagar and mentioning
Sinai to explain why Hagar was identified with the law promulgated from Sinai
in v. 24. The causal conjunction better integrates the explanation of v. 25a to
its context. The Byzantine reading II ( ) is also easier than the
reading IV ( ) because it makes the implied connection to Hagar more
explicit. In fact, the Byzantine reading II can even be considered a conflation of
readings I and IV. For these transcriptional reasons, it comes to little surprise the
Byzantine reading has proven to be stable once it was introduced in the transmission of the text. If either sub-variation unit seems less stable than the other,
it would appear to be the conjunction since there are some Byzantine witnesses
that read .
Now, the change from reading I to reading II (from to ) or from reading
IV to reading II (addition of ) is fairly simple to account for because either
change requires a single modification, either the substitution of the conjunction
or the addition of an implicit topic, respectively. Going between the two strongest readings, I ( ) and IV ( ), however, is more difficult.
Readings I and IV only differ by the inclusion or omission of the letters in
the context, [ ] , yet there is no apparent reason why a scribe
should add or omit these three letters accidentally. As a result, textual critics
offer a two-step transcriptional scenario to account for the change between these
two readings.

For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia (Galatians 4.25), in: The Old Testament in the New
Testament. FS J.L. North (JSNT.S 189), ed. S. Moyise, Sheffield 2000, 210219, esp. 214 n.8.
B. Wei, Textkritik der paulinische Briefe (TU 14.3), Leipzig 1896, 68, makes an argument similar
to Metzgers, but this was before the discovery and publication of P46.
70 Westcott and Hort, Introduction (see n. 14), App. 121.

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For example, Bruce Metzger, after adopting reading I ( ) on


external grounds, argues for the following transcriptional scenario: After
had replaced in some witnesses, the juxtaposition of led to the accidental omission sometimes of and sometimes of . A problem with
this scenario, however, is that Metzgers proposed intermediary form, reading II
( ), is both too late and too stable for it to give rise to reading IV
( ) in some of the earliest witnesses and then vanish without a trace
until much later.
As another example, Hans Dieter Betz has argued that the obscurity of
Hagar in reading I ( ) makes it the harder reading, tempting
scribes to improve it by deleting the name. This argument, however, misapplies
lectio difficilior. This criterion is for readings that are more difficult to the scribe,
not to the modern exegete. In fact, Betz later conceded that scribes would have
found the lack of Hagar difficult: The name Hagar itself can easily be interpreted as a later insertion, trying to help the argument by connecting more visibly
Sinai with Jerusalem. Indeed, if scribes had a problem with the inclusion of
Hagar, the Byzantine text-type would have seen more fluctuation in that subvariation unit than over the conjunction.
If there were any early attestation of reading III ( ), it would make
a good candidate for explaining the other readings on transcriptional grounds.
Like reading II ( ), it is a middle term between readings I (
) and IV ( ), in which the harshness of the asyndeton in
(III) would have induced scribes to introduce a connective particle, either by introducing to create (I), introducing to make
(II), or even by dropping the initial letter of to form
(IV). Only reading V ( ) would be difficult to account for as a direct modification of reading III. Because of its very late and very poor attestation,
however, reading III ( ) is best understood transcriptionally as result-

71 Metzger, Textual Commentary (see n. 17), 527. Also Sellin, Hagar und Sara (see n. 30), 7374
n.37; and much earlier, Wei, Textkritik (see n. 69), 68. Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 438, argues
the would have been replaced for being colorless.
72 Wei, Textkritik (see n. 69), 68, tries to avoid this problem by asserting that reading IV (
) is actually evidence for the early existence of reading II ( ): Wie alt
aber diese verfehlte Emendation ist, die nur noch vollstndig in KLP erhalten (doch vgl. schon
d e), erhellt daraus, dass in Folge derselben das nach p. hom. schon in CFG ausgefallen ist.
73 Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 244245. The conjunction was presumably changed to clarify the
resulting text.
74 Betz, Galatians (see n. 13), 245.

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ing from the accidental deletion of the connective particle, probably the of
reading II ( ).
As for reading IV ( ), it does appear to be the earlier form of the text
from a transcriptional perspective. Unlike reading I ( ), reading
IVs lack of Hagar obscures the connection of the note in this context, so scribes
would have been inclined to make explicit the implied use of Hagar, based on
its placement immediately after in v. 24 and the presence of the
conjunction , which has three letters in common with .
A few critics have endorsed the reading V ( ) of P46 as the earliest reading. As with reading IV ( ), it is a more difficult reading for
scribes than readings I and II, both with an explicit , because the connection
to Hagar is only implicit. With respect to reading IV ( ), it might seem
initially plausible that the more colorless conjunction ought to be preferred
as transcriptionally prior, but the proposed originality of reading V ( )
would have to create a scribal coincidence out of the presence of the letters
in readings I ( ) and IV ( ). In order for reading V without the letters to be origin of readings I and IV, one must still account for
the origin of the letters in readings I and IV. It is more economical, on the
other hand, to suppose that the letters in readings I and IV shared a common
textual basis rather than originating from independent and coincidental scribal
innovations.
Like the external evidence, the transcriptional probabilities are also difficult
to decide, but on balance they appear to support, albeit slightly, the shorter reading IV ( ). We now turn to the final consideration: intrinsic probabilities.

4Intrinsic Probabilities
Intrinsic probabilities concern what the author would have most likely written,
paying particular attention to the context and to the authors style and thought.
In this case, the attested readings hardly have anything to commend themselves
as fitting the context of Pauls allegorical argument. For example, the longer reading with Hagar is redundant at best and contradictory at worst. In v. 24, Paul

75 Wright, Paul (see n. 48), 686 n.12; Lightfoot, Galatians (see n. 11), 193.
76 Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 182186; Muner, Hagar (see n. 57).
77 Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 182183.
78 Metzger, Text (see n. 16), 210211.

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had already identified Hagar with the Sinai covenant, but the longer reading of
v. 25a redefines Hagar with Mount Sinai itself. Moreover, the new geographic information of Mount Sinai being in Arabia is superfluous if Pauls intention was
to re-identify Hagar in his allegory. The shorter reading, without Hagar, on the
other hand, does convey the new information about the Arabian location without
disturbing the allegory by any redefinition of Hagars role in it.
Yet the shorter reading, locating Mount Sinai in Arabia, also has its problems.
One difficulty with the Hagar-less reading is the third clause of v. 25:
. This clause needs to pick up Hagar, not Sinai, as its subject, and so the back-reference to Hagar would have to skip over v. 25a all the way
to the end of v. 24: . Critics have also charged that the short reading is not original on intrinsic grounds, because it is merely a bald geographic
statement that does hardly anything to advance Pauls argument.
The note about Arabia is not merely semantically superfluous but structurally superfluous as well. As the following chart shows, both parts of Pauls explication of the allegory have the following parallel structure:
,


,

, .

,

In particular, elements A are syntactically related in a construction and


both present two female subjects in the nominative. Elements then predicate
the female subjects with a description relating to slavery ( ) or freedom (), both predications ending with a verb. Element uses the same
syntax to explain who the female subject is, Hagar and our mother
Sarah, respectively. Finally, element explicates certain qualities about these

79 See Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 184.


80 This consideration was decisive for Martyn, Galatians (see n. 14), 438, who concluded that
the presence of Hagar was necessary.
81 Especially Barrett, Allegory (see n. 52), 12. So also Schwemer, Himmlische Stadt (see n. 58),
200.

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females ending with a note about children (). In this tight structure, the
note about Arabia sticks out like a sore thumb. It has no corresponding element
on Sarahs side of the allegory.
These considerations raise the possibility that at least some or all of the v. 25a
parenthesis is a marginal note that was interpolated into the text of Galatians, as
some nineteenth-century textual critics have contended. As mentioned above,
Bentley found the mention of Hagar in the received text too difficult for the context
because it set up the anomalous, double identification of Mount Sinai with Hagar,
so he proposed to strike the sentence fragment from
the text with some adjustment in the syntax of the resulting sentence. To be
sure, Bentley later abandoned his conjecture, presumably because the variant
reading without Hagar avoided this particular problem. Even so, the shorter
reading that Bentley later adopted confirmed his earlier view that there was an
interpolation in the received text of v. 25a (
), but he changed his mind about what that interpolation included the
name Hagar.
Nevertheless, the shorter text, without Hagar, still did not stop scholars
from proposing interpolations in Gal 4,25a. For example, in 1834 Heinrich Schott
conjectured that the entire clause []
must have been a geographic gloss that crept into the text, because it impeded
and retarded Pauls argument. In favor of Schotts proposal, the resulting text,
without the clause, does indeed read smoothly without detriment to Pauls allegorical argument. Yet the great classical textual critic Paul Maas warns us that

82 I am thankful for the help of Jonas Holmstrand, who critiqued an earlier analysis of this
structure.
83 E.g., Schott, Galatas (see n. 12), 533; C. Holsten, Das Evangelium des Paulus 1, Berlin 1880,
171172; and S. A. Naber, , Mnemosyne NS 6 (1878) 85104, esp. 102.
84 Bentley, Epistola (see n. 1), 364365; see also nn. 910 above and accompanying text.
85 See nn. 11 and 47 above and accompanying text.
86 Schott, Galatas (see n. 12), 533: satis commode tamen abest, impediens quodammodo et
retardans argumentationem Paulinam. Indeed, Schott, not Bentley, should have deserved
the credit in the apparatus of the Nestle-Aland 27th edition for the conjecture, though Bentley
deserves recognition for identifying the passage as difficult. At any rate, the most recent 28th
edition of the Nestle-Aland text removed references to conjectures from its apparatus, so the
question of proper credit of this edition is now moot as far as the future incarnations of the
Nestle-Aland apparatus is concerned.
87 As another example, ONeill, Hagar (see n. 69), 216, adopted P46s singular reading of 4,25a
without Hagar to avoid the identification with Mount Sinai, but he then found himself exegetically compelled to add an explicit reference to Hagar in the subsequent clauses of v. 25 by adopting a singular reading from D* for the second clause and conjecturally emending the follow-

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interpolations are often very difficult to prove. In particular an interpolation


should not be suspected merely for being superfluous, since there is undoubtedly superfluous (or at least not demonstrably indispensable) matter in every
original. In the case of Gal 4,25 the parenthetical comment about Sinai being
a mountain in Arabia is undoubtedly superfluous: it does not contribute to the
allegorical argument and in fact complicates it. The Arabian note also spoils the
tight structure that Paul has constructed.
These are internal arguments, but there is also external evidence that v. 25a
once stood outside the main text. Allen Kerkeslager has called attention to the
overlooked textual variant following Gal 4,25a. Although Alexandrian and
Byzantine witnesses read after the geographic note, the Western witnesses read the feminine nominative participle instead. The closest feminine nominative antecedent for this particle is not in v. 25a at all, but at
the end of v. 24 the feminine Hagar. The longer reading of v. 25a with Hagar
would not supply the proper antecedent, because that instance of Hagar is actually neuter, taking the neuter article . On transcriptional grounds, it is difficult to see why a scribe would modify the in v. 25b to the participle
, when the entirety of the clause v. 25a stands between the particle
and its antecedent. Yet if v. 25a stood not in the main text but in the margin, the
connection between v. 24 and the Western variant in v. 25b is very smooth indeed:
, ,

ing to in the third clause of v. 25. As a result, ONeills text of v. 25 read as follows:
.
(219). Unfortunately for ONeills rather complicated and implausible proposal,
the resulting asyndeton between v. 25a and v. 25b is fairly harsh, and yet his text still does not
account for the presence of Arabia in v. 25a.
The proposal by G. Bouwman, Die Hagarund Sara-Perikope (Gal 4,2131): Exemplarische Interpretation zum Schriftbeweis bei Paulus, ANRW II 25.4 (1987) 31353155, esp. 3142, that the word
should be emended to read (the desert south of the Dead Sea) can be thought of
as an interpolation theory. In this case, the interpolation is a single iota. The only anomaly that
Bouwman pointed to in support of his emendation is the difference between 1,17 and 4,25 in the
use of the article before . Conversely, L. Baeck, The Faith of Paul, JJS 3 (1952) 93110, here
95 n.1 and D.S.A. Fries, Was meint Paulus mit in Gal 1,17?, ZNW 2 (1901), 150151, would
emend the in 1,17 to .
88 P. Maas, Textual Criticism, Oxford 1958, 14.
89 Maas, Textual Criticism (see n. 88), 1415.
90 Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 184185.
91 Since all the Western witnesses have some version of v. 25a, it is better to conclude that it
stood somewhere in their common ancestor, rather than they acquired the note independently
by contamination. A marginal note is the best place for this text to stand.

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. The attestation of the geographic note of v. 25a within all the


witnesses of Galatians means that this marginal note most likely had been present in the archetype of the textual transmission of Galatians, which was perhaps
the original edition of Pauls letter collection.
If v. 25a was a marginal note, intrinsic probabilities can still be used but the
question must be different: which form of the note would its author have likely
written? The function of the note, in all its forms, is to convey that Sinai was a
mountain in Arabia. Presumably, then, the author of the note believed that Mount
Sinai was in Arabia and wanted to use that information to explain the identification of Hagar with the Sinai covenant in v. 24 ( []
). This suggests that the note was to be connected to its context
either by a causal or by asyndeton. On this ground, the intrinsic probabilities
favor readings II ( ), III ( ), or IV (
). As for the presence of the word Hagar, the word order
among these readings is least problematic if was the subject of the clause
and belonged to predicate, so it is likely the note did not contain the confusing triple nominative . Furthermore, the main objection to the
Hagar-less reading that the third clause of v. 25,
, needs to pick up Hagar, not Sinai, as its subject does not apply to a marginal note, because there is no Sinai in the main text to interfere with
the reference to Hagar at the end of v. 24.
In other words, the marginal note probably did not have Hagar and so read
, with an indication that it should fall between the clauses of v. 24c and
of v. 25b. Some scribes added the note as-is, even in the Western manuscripts that
had changed to read as , but others may have misread
or modified the as and supplied a conjunction when incorporating
the note into the text.
If Gal 4,25a is a marginal note as the evidence suggests, was it written by Paul
or a later glossator? The previous arguments against the presence of the note in
the main text do not controvert the view that this could be Pauls own marginal
note. After all, its semantic and structural superfluousness is to be expected, even
for an authorial note. Despite the intriguing possibility that the archetypal letter
collection might have managed to preserve Pauls own notes on his epistles, there

92 Kerkeslager, Jewish Pilgrimage (see n. 57), 184185, considers the Western reading of the
participle to be original, which is plausible, but its smoothness suggests transcriptionally that it
was a scribal improvement. Kerkeslagers intrinsic argument for a falls short because,
even with his reading, Paul must have abandoned the construction.

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Stephen C. Carlson

are two countervailing considerations. First, Michael W. Holmes has proposed


that some variant readings in P46 and other early witnesses are evidence of an
early commentary of Pauls letters in the form of marginal notes in an early second-century edition of the Pauline corpus. That Gal 4,24a appears to be another
marginal comment giving additional information about a step in the allegory fits
well with this proposed later context.
Second, although some scholars have called attention to Pauls only other
mention of Arabia in Gal 1,17, no one seems to have noticed that how Paul
thinks of Arabia in Gal 1 conflicts with its use in Gal 4. In Gal 1,1516, Paul told
the Galatians in defense of his apostolic ministry that God was pleased to reveal
his son in him so he would proclaim Christ among the Gentiles. As a result of this
experience, Paul did not visit Jerusalem to confer with the apostles before him,
but he immediately went to Arabia (v. 17). Thus, in Pauls mind, Arabia is coded
as Gentile territory. Yet in the allegory of Sarah and Hagar, Arabia does not function as Gentile territory. Quite the contrary according to the geographic note,
Arabia functions as the location of Mount Sinai where the law was promulgated.
Furthermore, in 1,17 Arabia is distinct from the present-day Jerusalem, while in
4,25 it is said to correspond (via the location of Mount Sinai) to the present-day
Jerusalem.
To be sure, Paul was not always the most consistent thinker. He mixed his
metaphors. Chapters 1 and 4 may well be so far removed from each other that it
is unreasonable to expect Pauls notion of Arabia in chapter 1 to continue to be
in force in chapter 4. But textual criticism is not about certainty but balancing
the probabilities. Without corroborating evidence of other marginalia that owe
their origin to Paul, it is reasonable to presume that marginal notes come from
later scribes, and so the supposition that this particular note is Pauline needs
a stronger rebuttal of this presumption than the observation that Paul was not
always consistent.
Therefore, the textual evidence indicates that the earliest form of the marginal note on the text of Gal 4,25 reads .

93 M.W. Holmes, The Text of P46: Evidence of the Earliest Commentary on Romans?, in: New
Testament Manuscripts: Their Text and Their World, ed. T. Nicklas, Leiden 2006, 189206.
94 E.g., U. Borse, Art. , EDNT 1, Grand Rapids, Mich. 1990, 149; M. Hengel / A.M. Schwemer, Paulus zwischen Damaskus und Antiochien: Die unbekannten Jahre des Apostels (WUNT
108), Tbingen, 1998, 191192; and Wright, Paul (see n. 48), 686.
95 Schwemer, Himmlische Stadt (see n. 58), 200, suggests that it was Pauls stay in Arabia that
provided the occasion for him to learn a local tradition about the Nabataean Hegra being the
location of Mount Sinai, though this does not attempt to address the conflict in Pauls conception of Arabia.

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For Sinai is a Mountain in Arabia

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Critical editions should reflect that wording. If Paul wrote the marginal note,
critical editions ought to show that fact, by putting the note in the margin where
its author intended it. If, however, Paul did not write the note, as the balance of
probabilities suggest, then it ought to be relegated to the apparatus with the notation Schott cj ex Bentley, giving proper credit both to the scholar who identified
the emendation and to the one who saw the difficulty. In either case, the note on
the text does not belong in the main text of a critical edition.

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Download Date | 2/20/14 11:46 AM