W. (William) Sanday.

A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans online

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Romans was known and used in Rome and perhaps elsewhere.
During the first quarter of the second century we find it forming
part of a collection of Pauline Epistles used by the principal Church
writers of that dme in Antioch, in Rome, in Smyrna, probably also
in Corinth. By the middle of that century it had been included in
an abbreviated form in Marcion's Aposiolicon; by the end it appears
to be definitely accepted as canonical.

§ 9. Integrity of the Epistle.

The survey which has been given of the literary history of the Epistle to
the Romans makes it perfectly clear that the external evidence in favour of its
early date is not only relatively but absolutely very strong. Setting aside
doubtful quotations, almost every Christian writer of the early part of the
second century makes use of it; it was contained in Marcion's canon; and
when Christian literature becomes extensive, the quotations are almost
numerous enough to enable us to reconstruct the whole Epistle. So strong
is this evidence and so clear are the internal marks of authenticity that tlie
Epistle (with the exception of the last two chapters of which we shall speak
presently) has been almost universally admitted to be a genuine work of
St. Paul. It was accepted as such by Baur, and in consequence by all members
of the Tubingen school; it is accepted at the present day by criiics of every
variety of opinion, by Hilgenfehi, Holtzmann, VVeizsackcr, Lipsius, Harnack,
as definitely as by those who are usually classed as conservative.

' On this subject see Zahn, Geschichte, &c., ii. p. 344.


To this general acceptance there have been few exceptions. The earliest writei
who denied the genuineness of the Epistle appears to have been tlie English-
man Evanson (1792). The arguments on which he relied are mainly historical.
The Epistle implies the existence of a Church in Rome, but we know from the
Acts that no such Church existed. Equally impossible is it that St. Paul
should have known such a number of persons in Rome, or that Aquila
and Priscilla should have been there at this time. He interprets xvi. 13
literally, and asks why the aged mother of the Apostle should have wandered
to Rome. He thinks that xi. 12, 15, 21, 22 must have been written after the
fall of Jerusalem'. The same thesis was maintained by Bruno Bauer', and
has been revived at the present day by certain Dutch and Swiss theologians,
notably Loman and Steck.

Loman (1882) denied the historical reality of Christ, and considered that all
the Pauline Epistles dated from the second century. Christianity itself was 'ho
embodiment of certain Jewish ideas. St. Paul was a real person who lived at
the time usually ascribed to him, but he did not write the Epistles which bear
his name. That he should have done so at such an early period in the history
of Christianity would demand a miracle to account for its history ; a statement
which we need not trouble ourselves to refute. Loman's arguments appear to
be the silence of the Acts, and in the case of the Romans the inconsistency of
the various sections with one another ; the differences of opinion which had arisen
with regard to the composition of the Roman Church prove (he argues 1 that
there is no clear historical situation implied '. Steck (1888) has devoted himself
primarily to the Epistle to the Galatians which he condemns as inconsistent
with the Acts of the Apostles, and as dependent upon the other leading Epistles,
but he incidentally examines these also. All alike he puts in the second
century, arranging them in the following order : — Romans, 1 Corinthians,
3 Corinthians, Galatians. All alike are he says built up under the influence of
Jewish and Heathen writeis, and he finds passages in the Romans borrowed
from Philo, Seneca, and Jewish Apocryphal works to which he assigns a late
date — such as the Assutnptio Mosis and 4 Ezra*. Akin to these theories
which deny completely the genuineness of the Epistle, are similar ones also
having their origin for the most part in Holland, which find large interpolations
in our present text and profess to distmguish different recensions. Earliest of
these was Weisse (1867), who in addition to certain more reasonable theories
with regard to tlie concluding chapters, professed to be able to distinguish by
the evidence of style the genuine from the interpolated portions of the Epistle *.
His example has been followed with greater indiscrectness by Pierson and
Naber(i886), Michelsen (1886), Voelter (1869, 90), Van Manen (1891).

Pierson and Naber* basing their theory on some slight allusions in Josephus,
consider that there existed about the beginning of the Christian era a school
of elevated Jewish thinkers, who produced a large number of apparently
fragmentary works distinguished by their lofty religious tone. These were
made use of by a certain Paulas Episcopus, a Christian who incorporated them

• Evanson (Edward), The Dissonance of the four generally received Evan-
gelists examined, Ed. I, 1792, pp. 257-261; Ed. 2, 1805, pp. 306-312.

' Bruno Bauer, Kritik dtr paul. Brief e, 1852. Christus und die Cdsaren,

P- 373-

■ Loman (A. D.)» Quatstiones Paultnae, Theologisch Tijdschrift, i88a, 1883,

• Steck (Rudolf), Dtr Galate> brief nach seiner Echtheit untersucht. Berlin,

• Weisse (C. H.\ Beitrdge zur Kritik der PaitUnischen Brief e an di*
Cmlater, R'dmer, Fhilipper und KoJosser. Leipzig. 1867.

• Verisimilia, Laceram conditionem Novi Testamenti exhibentia. A. Pierson,
CtS. A. Naber, Amstelodami, 1886.

§ 0.] INTEGRITY Ixxxvii

in letters which he wrote in order to make up lor his own poverty of religioui
and philosophical ideas. An examination of their treatment of a single chapter
may be appended. The basis of ch. vi is a Jewish fragment \admodum
metnorabile) which extends from ver. 3 to ver. 11. This fragment Paulus
Episcopus treated in his usual manner. He begins with the foolish question
of ver. 2 which shows that he does not understand the argument that follows.
He added interpolations in ver. 4. Itidem odoramur matium eius ver. 5,
If we omit ra 6fj.oiujfiaTi in ver. 6 the difficulty in it vanishes. Ver 8 again is
feeble and therefore was the work of Paulus Episcopus: non enim credimut
nos esse victuros, sed twvimus nos vivere (^ver. 11). vv. 11-23 with the ex-
ception apparently of ver. 14, 15 which have been misplaced, are the work
of this interpolator who spoiled the Jewish fragment, and in these verses
adapts what has preceded to the uses of the Church'. It will probably not
be thought necessary to pursue this subject further.

Michelsen^ basing his theory to a certain extent on the phenomena of the
last two chapters considered that towards the end of the second century
three recensions of the Epistle were in existence. The Eastern containing
ch. i-xvi. 34; the Western ch. i-xiv and xvi. 25-27; the Marcionite ch.
i-xiv. The redactor who put together these recensions was however also
responsible for a considerable number of interpolations which Michelsen
nndertakes to distinguish. Volter's theory is more elaborate. The original
Epistle according to him contained the following portions of the Epistle.
i. la, 7;5, 6; 8-17; v. and vi. (except v. 13, 14, 20; vi. 14, 15); xii, xiii ;
XV. i4-.^2 ; xvi. 21-23. This bears all the marks of originality ; its Christology
is primitive, free from any theory of pre-existence or of two natures. To the
first interpolator we owe i. 18; iii. 20 (except ii. 14, 15); viii. i, 3-39;
i. lb-4. Here the Christology is different ; Christ is the pre-existent Son of
God. To the second interpolator we owe iii. 21 — iv. 25; v. 13, 14, 20; vi.
14, 15 ; vii. 1-6 ; ix. x ; xiv. i — xv. 6. This writer who worked about the year
70 was a determined Antinomian, who could not see anything but evil in the
Law. A third interpolator is resi)onsible for vii. 7-25 ; viii. 2 ; a fourth for
xi; ii. 14, 15; XV. 7-13; a fifth for xvi. 1-20; a sixth for xvi. 24; a seventh
for xvi. 25-27.

Van Manen * is distingxiished for his vigorous attacks on his predecessors ; and
for basing his own theory of interpolations on a reconstruction of the Marcionite
text which he holds to be original.

It has been somewhat tedious work enumerating these theories, which will
seem probably to most readers hardly worth while repeating; so subjective
and arbitrary is the whole criticism. The only conclusion that we can arrive
at is that if early Christian documents have been systematically tampered with
in a manner which would justify any one of these theories, then the study of
Christian history would be futile. There is no criterion of style or of language
which enables us to distinguish a document from the interpolations, and we
should be compelled to make use of a number of writings which we could not
either trust or criticize. If the documents are not trustworthy, neither is our

But such a feeling of distrust is not necessary, and it may be worth while to
conclude this subject by pointing out certain reasons which enable us to feel
confident in most at any rate of tne documents of early Christianity.

» Op. cit., pp. 139-143-

« Michelsen (J. H. A.), Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1886, pp. 37a ft, 473 ff- ;
1887, p. 163 ff.

^ Voelter (Daniel\ Theologisch Tijdschrift, 18S9, p. 265(7.; kdA Die Com-
posiiioti der paul. Hatiptbricfe, I. Der Romer- und Gahterbrief, 1890.

* Van Manen (W. C), Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1S87. Alarcions Brief van
Paulus aan de Galaties, pp. .^62-404, 451-533; and Paulus I J, Dt irief
man de Rtmeinen, JLeiden, iSj^i.


It has been pointed out that interpolation theories are not as absurd as they
mi.cht prima facie be held to be, for we have instances of the process actually
taking place. The obvious examples are the Ignatian letters. But these are
not solitary, almost the whole of the Apocryphal literature has undergone the
same process ; so have the Acts of the Saints ; so has the Didache for example
when included in the Apostolic Constitutions. Nor are we without evidence of
interpolations in the N. T. ; the phenomenon of the Western text present!
exactly the same characteiistics. May we not then expect the same to hare
happened in other cases where we have little or no information? Now in
dealing with a document which has come down to us in a single MS. or
version, or on any slight traditional evidence this possibility must always be
considered, and it is necessary to be cautious in arguing from a single passage
in a text which may have been interjiolated. Those who doubted the genuineness
of the Armei ian fragment of Aristides for example, on the grounds that it
contained the word Theotokos, have been proved to be wrong, for that word as
was suspected by many has now been shown to have been interpolated
But in the case of the N. T. we have so many authorities going back in-
dependently to such an early period, that it is most improbable that any
important variation in the text could escape our knowledge. The different
lines of text in St. Paul's Epistles must have separated as early as the
beginning of the second century ; and we shall see shortly that one displacement
in the text, which must have been early, and may have been very early, has
influenced almost all subsequent documents The number, the variety, and
the early character of the texts preserved to us in MSS., Versions, and Fathers,
is a guarantee that a text formed on critical methods represents within very
narrow limits the work as it left its author's hands.

A second line of argument which is used in favour of interpolation theories
is the difficulty and obscurity of some passages. No doubt there are passages
which are difficult ; but it is surely very gratuitous to imagine that everything
which is genuine is easy. The whole tendency of textual criticism is to prove
that it is the custom of ' redactors' or 'correctors' or ' interpolators' to produce
a text which is always superficially at any rate more easy than the genuine
text. But on the other side, although the style of St. Paul is certainly not
always perfectly smooth ; although he certainly is liable to be carried away by
a side issue, to change the order of his thoughts, to leap over intermediate
steps in his argument, yet no serious commentators of whatever school would
doubt that there is a strong sustained argument running through the whole
Epistle. The possibility of the commentaries which have been written proves
conclusively the improbability of theories implying a wide element of in-
terpolation. But in the case of St. Paul we may go further. Even where there
is a break in the argument, there is almost always a verbal connexion. When
St. Paul passes for a time to a side issue there is a subtle connexion in thought
as in words which would certainly escape an interpolator's observation. This
has been pointed out in the notes on xi. lo; xv. 20. where the question of
interpolation has lieen carefully examined ; and if any one will take the
trouble to go carefully through tiie end of ch. v and the begiiining of ch. vi,
he will see how each sentence leads on to the next. For instance, the first
part of V. 20, which is omitted by some of these critics, leads on immediately
to the second (TrAeocda^; , . . i-aXf^ovaaiv), that suggests v-nipanpiaatvtjtv, then
comes ■nKiovaa'^ in vi. i ; but the connexion of sin and death cl arly suggests
the words of ver. 2 and the argument that follows. The same process may
be worked out through the whole Fpistle. For the most part there is a clear
and definite argument, and even where the logical continuity is broken there
is always a connexion either in thought or words. The Epistles of St. Paul
present for the most part a definite and compact literary unit.

If lo these arguments we add the external evidence which is given in detail
above, we may feel reasonably confident that th^ historical conditions ondei



which the Epistle has come down to ns malce the theories of this new school
of critics untenable '.

We have laid great stress on the complete absence of any textual justifica-
tions for any of the theories which have been so far noticed. 'I'liis absence
is made all the more striking by the existence of certain variations in the text
and certain facts reported on tradition with regard to the last two chapters of
the Epistle. These facts are somewhat complex and to a certain extent con-
flicting, and a careful examination of them and of the theories suggested to
explain them is necessary *.

It will be convenient first of all to enumerate these facts:

(i) The words fv 'Pii^ti; in i. 7 and 15 are omitted by the bilingual MS. G
both in the Greek and Latin text (F is here defective). Moreo\er the cursive
47 adds in the margin of ver. 7 rd 1;' 'Pd»/<77, ovre kv rri i^ijyrinet ovrt iv to5
prjrw nvTjfiovfvei. Bp. Lightfoot attempted to find corroborative evidence for
this reading in Origen, in the writer cited as Ambrosiaster, and in the reading
of D ec dydiTig for d'yaiTjjTois. That he is wrong in doing so seems to be shown
by Dr. Hort ; but it may be doubtful if the latter is correct in his attempt to
explain away the variation. The evidence is slight, but it is hardly likely that
it arose simply through transcriptional error. If it occurred only in one place
this might be sufficient ; if it occurred only in one MS. we might ascribe it to
the delinquencies of a single scribe; as it is, we must accept it as an existing
variation snjiported by slight evidence, but evidence sufficiently good to
demand an explanation.

(2) There is considerable variation in existing MSS. concerning the place of
the final doxology (xvi. 25-27).

a. In N B C D E minusc. pauc. codd. ap. Orig.-lat., d e f Vulg. Pesh. Boh.
Aeth., Orig.-lat. Ambrstr. Pelagius it occurs at the end of chap. xvi. and there

b. In L minusc. plus qttam 200, codd. ap. Orig.-lat., Hard., Chrys. Theodrt.
Jo.-Damasc. it occurs at the end of chap, xiv and there only.

c. In A P 5. 17 Arm. codd. it is inserted in both places.

d. In Fe'. G codd. ap. Hieron. [in E| h. iii. 5), g, Marcion {vide iiifrd) it is
entirely omitted. It may be noted that G leaves a blank space at the end of
chap, xiv, and that f is taken direct from the Vulgate, a space being left in F
in the Greek correspondmg to these verses. Indirectly D and Sedulius also
attest the omission by placing the Benediction after ver. 24, a transposition
which would be made (see below) owing to that verse being in these copies
at the end of the Epistle.

In reviewing this evidence it becomes clear (i) that the weight of good
authority is in favour of placing tliis doxology at the end of the Epistle, and
there only, (ii) That the variation in position — a variation whicli must be
explained — is early, probably earlier than the time of Origen, although we
can never have complete confidence in Rufinus' translatio 1. (iii) That the
evidence for complete omission goes back to Marcion, and that very probably
his excision of the words may have influenced the omission in Western

' The English reader will find a very full account of this Dutch school of
critics in Knowling, The Witness of the Epistles, pp. 133-243. A very
careful compilation of the results arrived at is given by Dr. Carl Clemen, Die
Einhcitlichkeit der Paulinisciien Briefe. To both these works we must
express our obligations, and to them we must refer any who wish for further

' The leading discussion on the last two chapters of the Romans is con-
tained in three papers, two by B]i. Eighlfoot, and one by Dr. Hort first
published in the Journal of Philology, vols, ii, iii, and since reprinted in
Lightfoot, Biblical Essay s^ pp. 387-374.


(3") There is very considerable evidence that Marcion omitted the whole of
the last two chapters.

a. Origen (int. Ruf.) x. 43, vol. vii, p. 453, ed. Lomm. writes: Caput hoc
Marcion, a quo Scriptural Evangelicae atque Apostolicae interpolatae sunt, de
hac epistola penilus abstulit ; et non solum hoc, sed et ab to loco, ubi scriptum
est: omne autem quod non est ex fide, peccatum est : usque ad finem cuncta
dissecuit. In a/iis vero exemplaribus . id est. in his quae non sunt a Marciont
temerata, hoc ipsum caput diverse positu>?i invenimus, in nonnullis etenim
codicibus post eum locum, quern supia diximus hoc est: omne autem quod non
est ex lide, peccatum est: statim coherens habeiur: ei autem, qui potens est
vos confiimaie. Alii vero codices in fine id, ut nunc est positum, continent.
This extract is quite precise, nor is the attempt made by Hort to emend it at
all successful. He reads in for ab, having for this the support of a Paris MS.,
and then emends hoc into hie ; reading et non solum hie sed et in to loco. Sec,
and translating ' and not only here but also,' at xiv. 23 ' he cut out everything
quite to the end.' He applies the words to the Doxology alone. The changes
in the text are slight and might be justified, but with this change the words
that follow become quite meaningless: usqt4e ad finem cuncta dissecuit can
only apply to the whole of the two chapters. If Origen meant the doxology
alone they would be quite pointless.

b. But we have other evidence for Marcion's text. TertuUian, Adv. Marc. ▼.
14, quoting the words tribunal Christi (xiv. 10), states that they occur in
clausula of the Epistle. The argument is not conclusive but the words
probably imply that in Marcion's copy of the Epistle, if not in all those known
to TertuUian, the last two chapters were omitted.

These two witnesses make it almost certain that Marcion omitted not only
the doxology but the whole of the last two chapters.

(4) .Some further evidence has been brought forward suggesting that an
edition of the Epistle was in ri'culation which omitted the last two chapters.

a. It is pointed out that TertuUian, Marcion, Irenaeus, and probably Cyprian
never quote from these last two chapters. The argument however is of little
value, because the same may be said of i Cor. xvi. The chapters were not
quoted because there was little or nothing in them to quote.

b. An argument of greater weight is found in certain systems of capitula-
tions in MSS. of the Vulgate. In Codex Amiatinus the table of contents gives
filty-one sections, and the fiftieth section is described thus: De periculo con-
tris/ante fratrem suum esca sua, et quod non sit regnum Dei esca et potus sed
iiistitia et pax et gaiidium in Spiritu Sancto ; this is followed by the fifty-first
and last section, which is descritjed as De mysterio Domini ante passionetn in
silentio habi to, post passionem vero ipsius revelato. The obvious deduction is
that lliis system was drawn up for a copy which omitted the greater part at any
rate of chajs. xv and xvi. This system appears to have prevailed very widely.
In the Codex Fuldcnsis there are given in the table of contents fifty-one
sections: of these the first twenty-three include the whole Epistle up to the
end of chap, xiv, the last sentence being headed Quod fid eles Dei non debeant
inviccm iudicare cum unusqiiisqtie secundum regulas mandatorum ipse se
dcbeat divino iudicio praeparare ut ante tribunal Dei sine confusione possit
operum suorum praestare rationem. Then follow the last twenty-eight sections
of the Amiatine system, beginning with the twenty-fourth at ix. i. Hence
chaps, ix- xiv are described twice. The scribe seems to have had before him
an otherwise unrecorded system which only embraced fourteen chapters, and
then added the remainder from where he could get them in order to make up
what he felt to be the right number of fifty-one.

Both these systems seem to exclude the last two chapters, whatever reasoa
we may give for the phenomenon.

(5) Lastly, some critics have discovered a certain amount of significance
in two other points.



a. The prayer at the end of chap, xv is supposed to represent, either with
or without the d/jiriv (which is omitted in some MSS., probably incorrectly), a
conclusion of the Epistle. As a matter of fact the formula does not represent
any known form of ending, and may be paralleled from places in the body oi
the Epistle.

b. The two conclusions xvi. 20 and 24 of the T R are supposed to represent
endings to two different recensions of the Epi^tle. But as will be seen by
referring to the note on the passage, this is based upon a misreading. The
reading of the T R is a late conflation of the two older forms of the text. The
benediction stood originally at ver. 20 and only there, the verses that followed
being a sort of postscript. Certain MSS. which were without the doxology (see
above) moved it to their end of the Epistle after ver. 23, while certain others
placed it after ver. 27. The double benediction of the TR arose by the
ordinary process of conflation. The significance of this in corroborating the
existence of an early text which omitted the doxology has been pointed out ;
otherwise these verses will not support the deductions made from them by
Renan, Gifford, and others.

The above, stated as shortly as possible, are the diplomatic facts which
demand explanation. Already in the seventeenth century some at any rale had
attracted notice, and Semler (1769), Griesbach (1777) and others developed
elaborate theories to account for them. To attempt to enumerate all the
different views would be beside our purpose : it will be more convenient to
confine ourselves to certain typical illustrations.

I. An hypothesis which would account for most (although not all) of the
facts stated would be to suppose that the last two chapters were not genuine.
This opinion was held by iJaur 1, although, as was usual with him, on purely
a priori grounds, and with an only incidental reference to the MS. evidence
which might have been the strongest support of his theory. The main motive
which induced him to excise them was the expression in xv. 8 that Christ was
made 'a minister of circumcision,' which is inconsistent with his view of
St. Paul's doctrine ; and he supported his contention by a vigorous examina-
tion of the style and contents of these two chapters. His arguments have been
noticed i,so far as seemed necessary) in the commentary. IJut the consensus of
a large number of critics in condemning the result may excuse our pursuing
them in further detail. Doctrinally his views were only consistent with a one-
sided theory of the Pauline position and teaching, and if that theory is given
tip then his arguments become untenable. As regards his literary criticism the

Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 11 of 71)