I chose to do some reading from Hebrews this morning, but instead of using my NA27 or my UBSIV text, I went to Bible Gateway and read from the SBL text. There I encountered (again) the reading chwris rather than chariti. (I checked out NA28 online and I see it still reads chariti.
I tend to lean just a bit toward internal evidence over external in textual issues. The reason for this is that I suspect that most variations in the text likely occurred early in the transmission history, where we by nature will have the least evidence for them. In this case, however, I would have to say that one can argue the internal evidence either way. Which text is more difficult? It depends on how you read it. Using chariti seems almost superfluous to the conversation. Some of the explanations for chwris as a marginal gloss seem pretty reasonable. Either reading could cause someone to go for the other. Either can be explained as fitting the text.
At this point, I think the Nestle-Aland text has it right. The overwhelming external evidence would need to be countered by much stronger internal arguments to convince me that chwris was original.
I took a quick glance through a few translations that are here within arm’s reach, and found none that accept chwris as their primary text. The NRSV and the REB both mention chwris as an alternative in a footnote.
What do you think?