Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Papyrus B129: A Variant Text of 1 Corinthians 12:11-26

As you’ll recall, back in 2007, a small number of papyrus fragments were found preserved in an old pot of marmalade located on a shelf at the back of a Palestinian larder. The fragments have now been deciphered, and the most important of these – B129 – contains what seems to be a variant text of 1 Corinthians 12:11-26. I am pleased to reproduce the official transcript here for those who have yet to access it through the usual channels.

All these are activated by [. . .] Spirit, who allots to each one [. . .] All these are empowered by [. . .], who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many [members], and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For [. . .] baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink [. . .] For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be [. . .] hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be [. . .] smell? But as it is, God arranged [the members] in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

This is what the Lord says; not I, Paul. What I, Paul, say (not the Lord) [is this]: It is pleasing to the Lord for the one body to have [many members]. But because the one body is spread over all the earth, there is no need for you, my brothers in Corinth, to [. . .] other in this way. The Spirit has made the body of Christ in Corinth an ear, the body in Ephesus an eye, the body in Rome a hand, and the body in Colossae [a kneecap]. Therefore, my brothers, as an ear, you do not need to worry about being an eye or a hand or [a kneecap]; you are an ear, and no more. The body of Christ [remains] universally diverse, but locally uniform. And I, not the Lord, encourage you to identify those brothers among you who are not auricular so that you may urge them to [maintain] the [uniformity/unity] of Christ’s body in Corinth. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” but you, the ear, do not need to worry about being the eye or the hand because those [members of] Christ are in Ephesus and Rome.

Now let me explain in depth exactly what I mean by “justification”.

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