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De vier variaties van Johannes 1;18

De eerste variatie dateert uit de vroegst mogelijke manuscripten. De vers kan in de manuscript p75 als volgt vertaald worden; “An only one God of God, only begotten”. Naast het feit dat Papyrus 75 op verschillende manieren vertaald kan worden is er ook een andere variatie; “The only begotton son”.

“There are two possible ways to translate the Greek phrase μονογενὴς Θεὸς:

adjective + substantive = only begotten God

substantive + substantive = only begotten , who is God or God only begotten” (1)


In Vincent Word Studies staat het volgende;

 “The only begotten son (ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς)

“Several of the principal manuscripts and a great mass of ancient evidence support the reading μονογενὴς Θεὸς, “God only begotten.”

In Coffman’s Commentaries of the Bible staat het volgende;

“The only begotten Son … The oldest and most reliable manuscripts of this Gospel read “only begotten God” in this passage, and it should be so translated.John 1:18.”>[31] Tenney declared that “The evidence for ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD is so strong as to be practically conclusive … ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD makes an unequivocal affirmation of the deity of Christ.”[32] Archaeological evidence continues to strengthen the preference for ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD in this place. Frank Pack, in a critical study of Papyrus Bodmer II, P66, writing in 1960, stated”.

In the Cambridge Greek Testament staat het volgende;

μονογενὴς θεός. The question of reading here is of much interest. Most MSS. and versions read ὁ μονογενὴς υἱος or μον. υἱός. But the three oldest and best MSS. and two others of great value read μονογενὴς θεός. The test of the value of a MS., or group of MSS., on any disputed point, is the extent to which it admits false readings on other points not disputed. Judged by this test, the group of MSS. reading μονογενὴς θεός is very strong, while the far larger group of MSS. reading υἱός for θεός is comparatively weak, for the same group-might be quoted in favour of a multitude of readings which no one would think of defending. Again, the revised Syriac, which is among the minority of versions supporting θεός, is here of special weight, because it agrees with MSS. from which it usually differs. The inference is that the very unusual expression μονογενὴς θεός is the original one, which has been changed into the usual ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός (John 3:16; John 3:18; 1 John 4:9); a change easily made, as ΘΣ (= ΘΕΟΣ) is very like ΥΣ (= ΥΙΟΣ). Both readings can be traced back to the second century. (2)

Voor Johannes 1;18 zijn er dus meerdere varianten mogelijk, deze kunnen als volgt opgesomd worden;

  1. ho monogenês (The Only-begotten One)


  1. ho monogenês huios (the only-begotten Son)


  1. monogenês theos (only begotten, God)


  1. ho monogenês theos (the only begotten God) (3)


In de Codex Sinaiticus en Codex Vaticanus staat er volgens Westcott en Hort dat wordt aangehaald in het werk van professor Streeter, ‘the four gospels’ het volgende; “only begotten God”. De variaties zijn gangbaar in de manuscripten, alhoewel de variaties duidelijk inhoudelijke verschillen hebben. Het verschil wordt duidelijk als je ‘only begotten God’ vergelijkt met ‘the only begotten Son’.