Who Is “Full of Grace and Truth” in the W Text of John 1:14? -- By: J. Bruce Prior

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 11:2 (NA 2001)
Article: Who Is “Full of Grace and Truth” in the W Text of John 1:14?
Author: J. Bruce Prior


Who Is “Full of Grace and Truth” in
the Ws Text of John 1:14?

J. Bruce Prior

Kairos Research
Blaine, Washington

Authorities disagree in their readings of “full” in the Codex Washingtonianus text of John 1:14. The Alands, Swanson, and I opt for πληρη, whereas Sanders and Goodspeed read πληρις .If the former reading is correct, then the referent for the accusative masculine-singular adjective πληρη is still the Word, or Jesus Christ. If πληρις is the correct reading, however, then the crucial question is whether πληρις is merely an itacism for πλήρης or whether it is the same word as the plural adjective πλήρεις. If πληρις is plural, then the substitute scribe of Ws as well as the scribe of Codex Seidelianus and others understood that it is we rather than the Word who are “full of grace and truth.”

Key Words: Freer Gospels, Codex Washingtonianus, supplemental quire, John 1:14, full of grace and truth, itacisms of πλήρης and πλήρεις

The Freer Gospels

The manuscript of the Freer Gospels (Codex Washingtonianus or W or 032) includes the four canonical Gospels in the order Matthew, John, Luke, Mark. The first quire of the Gospel of John was apparently lost in antiquity and was replaced by a later quire, which dates perhaps to the seventh or eighth century. This substitute quire is variously designated Ws, Wsup, or Wsupp in the literature, and its eight leaves or sixteen pages cover from John 1:1 to John 5:11a.

The ink on the first and last pages of the first quire of the Gospel of John is considerably lighter than on the inside pages. These outer pages of the quire appear to have been exposed to some bleaching environment such as direct sunlight before they were bound with the remainder of the Freer Gospels manuscript. These two pages are

therefore especially difficult to read. Fig. 1, reproduced from the 1912 Sanders facsimile,1 shows the first page of the Gospel of John, which is ...

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