Evaluating the Reading Choris Theou in Hebrews 2:9 in Light of Patristic Evidence

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Daniel B. Wallace


This thesis proposes that although often cited in support of Χωρἰς θεον̃ in Hebrews 2:9, the patristic evidence reinforces the manuscript evidence indicating that Χἀριτι θεον̃ is the earliest and most widespread reading. Historically, Χἀριτι θεον̃ is the reading preferred by most New Testament scholars. However, a growing number of scholars prefer Χωρἰς θεον̃. Notable among these scholars is Bart D. Ehrman who bases a large part of his argument on the patristic evidence. In addressing this topic, the body of the thesis is divided into three parts: summary of past text-critical discussion, presentation of the arguments of relevant church fathers, and reflection of the significance of the research.

The history of the text-critical discussion on Hebrews 2:9 is complex. Each commentator comes to their conclusion through a variety of textual, syntactical, historical and contextual arguments. Despite the many details, the arguments offered for and against each reading provide a helpful backdrop for the text of the patristic authors. In this thesis, the citations of twenty patristic authors on Hebrews 2:9 are reviewed and examined. Their individual contributions to the discussion are presented chronologically in order to set their writings within the theological landscape of their time. Together, the patristic citations provide a better picture of the textual situation in Hebrews 2:9. While the origin of both readings cannot be determined by our analysis, a clearer understanding of the history is provided.

While both readings possess the testimony of a number of signification patristic citations, the proposal that Χωρἰς θεον̃ is the earliest and most widespread reading stands firm due to its unparalleled prevalence within the manuscript tradition and the patristic evidence.


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