Four Greek-Latin bilingual manuscripts of the Pauline Letters attest to a fascinating reading at Phil 3:12 known as the justification clause. Scholars have labeled the reading “intriguing,” “very interesting,” “striking,” and “astounding” since it has Paul declaring he has not already been justified (or made/found righteous). Most scholars have rejected the reading as part of the earliest text of Philippians due to its absence from an overwhelming majority of witnesses and (alleged) departure from Paul’s understanding of justification. However, numerous scholars have recognized unconscious alteration due to homoioteleuton or homoioarcton as at least possible here, and no scholar has issued a direct argument against it. A close analysis of the Greek readings in the four Greek-Latin bilingual codices demonstrates how such an alteration could have easily taken place. This article provides that analysis, revealing that all four codices exhibit an abundance of shared orthographic and lexical data in this portion of the verse when the clause is present, and all four attest to a different form of the reading. The variety of forms are best explained as unintentional alterations, thus lending credibility to the explanation that the clause was omitted early in the tradition. When considered alongside the clause’s remarkably early attestation in P46 and Irenaeus, and its internal coherence with other Pauline references to final justification at the last judgment, the argument should provide some caution against hastily dismissing this intriguing reading.

You do not currently have access to this content.