Jn.3:15,16 PISTEUW EN

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Mon Oct 15 15:43:09 EDT 2001

> Paul Dixon wrote
> >The change from EN to EIS may simply be stylistic or poetic license, as
> >they say.  Aren't there plenty of examples of where the two prepositions
> >are virtually synonymous?
> I agree with you, Paul, that it may be simply be a stylistic matter;  the
> trouble is, even being prepared to concede that it may be, it's not an
> explanation that quite satisfies me.  Not that language is mainly about
> statistics, but it's the statistics that gnaw at my easy acceptance of the
> explanation; on my hand count PISTEUW EIS is used 37 times,
> the once in John's gospel.  While I have more confidence in this than the
> alternative explanation (taking EN AUTWi with ECHi ZWHN AIWNION), the
> stylistic explanation is one I accept more with resignation than
> the feeling
> that it is a comprehensive answer.  Why the variation just this *once*?
> Alex Hopkins
> Melbourne, Australia

I agree with Alex about being uneasy with EN here. It seems to me that this
is primarily a textual issue.
If we look at the external ms evidence, EN is supported mainly by P75 and B.
A few mss have EP AUTWi. EIS is supported by P63, Sinaiticus and the
majority of mss. (A has EP AUTON). There has been a tendency in the past to
say that p75 and B were more reliable than many other mss. I am not up to
date with current TC scholarship, but my personal observation is that p75
and B are often not very reliable.
One may choose the "harder reading" because a difficult reading is more
likely to be "corrected". However, I prefer to put quite a bit of emphasis
on the question: What is the author most likely to have written from the
standpoint of his own style, preferences and what fits the context? Given
John's very marked preference for EIS with PISTEUW, it seems unlikely that
he would have written EN.
Of course, one needs to look at the possibility that EN AUTWi might be
constructed with the following words rather than PISTEUW. But this would
give an emphasis on the fronted EN AUTWI that is not supported by the
immediate context, and therefore not very likely. Therefore, I think that
the EN was a careless mistake introduced by either P75 or a parent of it.

Iver Larsen

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