Thursday, December 6, 2007

Maurice Robinson's Case for Byzantine Priority

It's that wonderful time of the semester - finals! Therefore, I don't have much time for blog posts, but I do have time to pass this link on. I read Robinson's case for Byzantine priority at the beginning of this year, and I've gotta be honest - I'm not sure I completely understand everything he writes (my fault, not his). I'm interested in Textual Criticism, but I'm less than a novice on the subject. However, I found his reasoning interesting and somewhat compelling - particularly how he accounts for the historical transmission of the text. At any rate, give it a read.


Jim said...

He has to support Byzantine superiority because it underpins his presupposition that the KJV is the only reliable english version. The KJV is based on Byzantine texts. Not the oldest or the best.

Josh McManaway said...

Actually, Dr. Robinson is not a KJV only proponent. The first line of his paper is:

From the beginning of the modern critical era in the nineteenth century the Byzantine Textform has had a questionable reputation. Associated as it was with the faulty Textus Receptus editions which stemmed from Erasmus' or Ximenes' uncritical selection of a small number of late manuscripts...

His second foot-note also shows that he is in no way trying to defend a KJV only proposition:

This includes all the various factions which hope to find authority and certainty in a single "providentially preserved" Greek text or English translation (usually the KJV). It need hardly be mentioned that such an approach has nothing to do with actual text-critical theory or praxis.

Needless to say, Dr. Robinson's argument doesn't come from an a priori commitment to the KJV (or any other translation) or to a certain text-type.

Mitchell Powell said...

It's a sad commentary on the low state of textual criticism today that when someone challanges the accepted modern-eclectic paradigm, they are immediately pigeon-holed as a KJV-Onlyist.

Jim's error certainly isn't unique, as I've seen plenty of people who condemn the Byzantine text for its association with the KJV.

It has been a great difficulty for Byzantine-priorist scholars, who have to repeatedly remind everyone that they don't support a KJV-Onlyist view.

In fact, the Greek New Testament edited by Robinson and Pierpont omits four verses found in the KJV because they are not supported by evidence (Luke 17:36, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, and Acts 24:7).

In addition, their Greek text contradicts the KJV frequently on small details, as in Matt 3:8, 3:11, 4:10, 4:18, 5:27, 5:39, etc. etc.

I think we would all move forward a bit if we would set aside red herrings and dogmatic accusations and instead focused on evidence, which is what Maurice Robinson's scholarship is all about.