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Rebuttals to Article Against Majority Text

In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>Hi Gary

I find your site definitely enlightening, especially your writings on the different Bible versions. Recently, I've bought a NKJV Bible to replace my NIV Bible after my pastor taught on Matthew 4:4, "But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."'"< 

Interesting that verse should have had such an impact on you as it is one that I quote in this context in my upcoming book on Bible versions. 

> I was convicted to use a literal translation instead of a dynamic one in order to feed on every word of God where possible. After reading some articles from your site and other sites, I decided to use a translation based on the Majority Text, the closest being the NKJV with footnotes reflecting the Majority Text. 

Shortly, I came across an article by Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D., entitled Some Second Thoughts on the Majority Text. For the complete article, you can visit the site www.bible.org/docs/soapbox 

This is the summary of the article: 

"Three major points were made in this article: (1) The Majority Text differs from the Textus Receptus in almost 2,000 places, suggesting that the Byzantine text-type has been seen only through a glass darkly in the printed editions of the Textus Receptus.<

The number of differences is correct, but I'm not sure how Wallace draws such a conclusion.  There are some 3,000 differences in the Gospels alone between Aleph and Beta, "the two most reliable manuscripts" according to CT advocates. And in general, there are far more differences between Alexandrian-type manuscripts than are between Byzantine mss.

> (2) The Majority Text, differing from the critical text in over 6,500 places, has over 650 readings shorter than the critical text; such readings call out for an exhaustive evaluation.< 

The number of differences sounds somewhat high. I think it's closer to 4,000. But whatever the case, again, I don't see Wallace's point. One of the CT "rules" is that the shorter reading is to be preferred. So I would think that based on their own principles, this would be a plus for the MT. Moreover, such readings have been evaluated, it's just that MT scholars came to different conclusions than CT scholars did for reasons discussed on my site. 

> (3) In "Hodges versus Hodges" five points were noted: (a) The statistical demonstration of majority rule for the New Testament transmissional history, though ingenious, seemed to be irrelevant for it did not deal with the phenomenon of a literary document.<

I'm not sure what he means here.

For the rest of the points, it should be noted that Hodge's and Farstad's is only one of two MTs. the other is by Robinson and Pierpont, and they do not use the standards of H&F that Wallace is objecting to. See the following article on my site for a discussion of these two MTs: Meaning of Majority Text.

> (b) Hodges's second principle of stemmatics, as applied in the pericope adulterae [i.e. John 7:53-8:11] and in Revelation, overturned, in large measure, his principle of "majority rule" (thus rendering The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text something of a misnomer).<

Robinson did extended research on the pericope adulterae, so his text would be more reliable than H&F for this passage. I discuss this on my site. In fact, as I say in the above article, I agree with R&P more than H&F, hence why used the former for my translation.

> (c) Hodges's reconstructed family tree also contradicts the "normal rate of copying" canon for it seems to imply abnormal (i.e., heavy) copying in particular places and at particular times. <

See above.

>(d) The "majority rule" principle does not take into account the majority of Greek manuscripts in the first eight centuries,<

I'm not sure why he says this. The MT looks at all available manuscripts. True most are from later centuries, but for reason cited on my site, older is not necessarily less reliable.

> nor the versions,<

True, but a translation is not very reliable for doing textual criticism. It must always be asked how literal the translation is, which cannot always be determined. Moreover, the versions are rather mixed in what appears to be their textual base, but they do tend to favor the MT.

> nor any future cache of manuscripts.<

Neither do CT scholars. How could anyone be expected to?????????

> (e) The genealogical method (Hodges's final vindication of "majority rule") ultimately depends on internal criteria and as such vitiates any statements about an objective method."<

Again, see above article.

>What are your comments on this?


Most of these I have dealt with in the above article or elsewhere on my site. See the times listed at Greek Text Types.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

Bible Versions Controversy: Greek Text Types
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