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First Edition printed 1865, Second 1866, Third 1869, Fourth 1874, Fifth 1876, Sixth 1880, Seventh 1881, Eighth 1884, Ninth 1887, Tenth 1890, Reprinted 1892, 1896,
1900, 1901, 1905, 191o
THE RIGHT REV. E. W. BENSON, D.D.,
LORD BISHOP OF TRURO,
IN AFFECTIONATE AND GRATEFUL RECOGNITION
A LONG, CLOSE, AND UNBROKEN FRIENDSHIP.
Preface to the First Edition.
edition of St Paul's Epistles which, if my plan is ever carried out, will be prefaced by a general introduction and arranged in chronological order. To such an arrangement the half-title of the present work refers, assigning this epistle to the second chronological group and placing it third in this group in accordance with the view maintained in the introduction. Meanwhile, should this design be delayed or abandoned, the present commentary will form a whole in itself.
The general plan and execution of the work will commend or condemn themselves: but a few words may be added on one or two points which require explanation.
It is no longer necessary, I trust, to offer any apology for laying aside the received text. When so much conscientious labour has been expended on textual criticism, it would be unpardonable in an editor to acquiesce in readings which for the most part are recommended neither by intrinsic fitness nor by the sanction of antiquity. But the attempt to construct an independent text in preference to adopting the recension of some well-known editor needs more justification. If I had pursued the latter course, I should certainly have selected either Bentley or Lachmann. These two critics were thorough masters of their craft, bringing to their task extensive knowledge and keen insight. But Bentley's text' was constructed
1 His text of this epistle is given in Bentleii Critica Sacra, p. 94 sq., edited by the Rev. A. A. Ellis.
out of very imperfect materials, and Lachmann only professed to give results which were approximate and tentative. Of the services of Tischendorf in collecting and publishing materials it is impossible to speak too highly, but his actual text is the least important and least satisfactory part of his work. Dr Tregelles, to whom we owe the best recension of the Gospels, has not yet reached the Epistles of St Paul'. But apart from the difficulty of choosing a fit guide, there is always some awkwardness in writing notes to another's text, and the sacrifice of independent judgment is in itself an evil; nor will it be considered unseemly presumption in a far inferior workman, if with better tools he hopes in some respects to improve upon
his model. Moreover I was encouraged by the promise of assistance from my friends the Rev. B. F. Westcott and the Rev. F. J. A. Hort, who are engaged in a joint recension of the Greek Testament and have revised the text of this epistle for my use. Though I have ventured to differ from them in some passages and hold myself finally responsible in all, I am greatly indebted to them for their aid.
The authorities for the various readings are not given except in a few passages, where the variations are important enough to form the subject of a detached note. They may be obtained from Tischendorf or any of the well-known critical editions. Here and there, where the text may be considered fairly doubtful, I have either offered an alternative reading below or enclosed a word possibly interpolated in brackets; but these are for the most part unimportant and do not materially affect the sense.
In the explanatory notes such interpretations only are discussed as seemed at all events possibly right, or are generally received, or possess some historical interest. By confining myself to these, I wished to secure more space for matters of greater importance. For the same reason, in cases of disputed interpretations the authorities ranged on either side are not given, except where, as in the case of the fathers, some interest
1 The part containing the Epistle to the Galatians has since appeared (1869).