b-greek-digest V1 #32

b-greek-digest           Wednesday, 6 December 1995     Volume 01 : Number 032

In this issue:

        Re: "biblical" vs. "modern" textual criticism 
        Re: errors
        Re: Textual Problems in Mark 7:24, 28 
        LS&J on Computer Media ?


From: John Calvin Hall <johnhall@gulf.net>
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 1995 21:57:48 -0400
Subject: Re: "biblical" vs. "modern" textual criticism 

At 09:04 PM 12/5/95 CST, you wrote:
>You may wish to read the article by Dan Wallace ("The Majority Text Theory: 
>History, Methods, and Critique," in Ehrman and Holmes, _The Text of the New 
>Testament in Contemporary Research_ [Eerdmans, 1995] 297-320).  Your 
>implication that BTC somehow avoids the use of reason and human intellect 
>in its effort to "identify" the original text is unsupportable, to put it 

Never claimed that Biblical Textual Criticism [BTC] avoids the use of reason
- - instead human intellect is subserviant to the Word of God.  I had the
opportunity to dialogue with an aquaintance here on B-Greek quite a few
months ago on the issue of the superiority of the Received Text over the
Critical Text.  He could not understand how I could hold to such a text,
because he had the misconceptions that my foundation was the same as his.  

It wasn't.

The Modern Textual Critic's [MTC] desire, whether sincere or not, is to
recover the closest reading to the original text.  BTC claims that since God
has promised to preserve His Word, we must therefore have it.  With this
axiom as a base, it is then the Bible-scholar's responsability to identify
which is the correct text.  To be quite honest, it's not as hard as the task
of the MTC's.

>in its effort to "identify" the original text is unsupportable, to put it

Unsupportable?? By who's standard of authority?? Yours or mine??  My
authority is the Bible.  Pray tell - what is yours??  Please, don't get me
wrong.  I'm just clarifying my point as to the nature of Authorities.

My foundation is Scripture.  I can go to the Word of God and prove what I
believe from the Bible.  The MTC cannot, because their authority is not
Scripture, but human intellect.  During the early years of our great nation,
many of our intellects and scholars got wrapped up in the Enlightenment.
The misconception that man can exist and flourish without the aid of God
carried over into German Higher Criticism and Liberalism.  Today, its
results is that anyone that can show to have some factor of intellect is
considered to be a "scholar."  This is nothing more than (if I may borrow a
coloquial term) "hog-wash."  It is _vital_ to have excellent reasoning
skills, but biblical-scholasticism ought not be based on the level of a
person's intellect alone, but must rest mainly on the subserviance of their
intellect to the Word of God.  There are many people today who are
considered to be Bible-scholars, but are not.  So what if he sits on the
Council of Five, and has written X number of books on Textual Criticism; if
that man rejects the inerrency of Scripture, he's nothing more than a
foolish man.

John Calvin Hall
Pensacola, Florida


From: "Edgar M. Krentz" <emkrentz@mcs.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 22:35:33 -0500
Subject: Re: errors

I have been reading the submissions on Mark's Greek with some interest. The
judgment about his stylistic and linguistic level is not a judgment about
the content of his gospel, but about his own linguistic background and,
perhaps, about that of his original readers. Hence this submission.

Rodney Decker wrote:

>I think it is an overstatement to view Mark's style as "so bad" (comparing
>it with substandard English) as to contain "ignorance or careless lapses."
>There is certainly a wide range of style in the NT. Hebrews is prob. on the
>"upper end" and Mark and John on the "lower end." Yet all the NT writers
>communicate in relatively clear, idiomatic Greek--not at all like some of
>the papyri. The Greek of the NT has been described as conversational Greek
>(in contrast to literary and vernacular Greek).

This is a generally helpful evaluation. I agree with Rod Decker that one
should compare Mark to writers of Greek in the early Roman empire, not to
English style. But that is the very reason for commenting that Mark is, as
Rod says, not literary in style.

>I doubt very many on this
>list are qualified to judge much beyond that. What may appear to be poor
>Greek may as often as not be the judge's problem! (I note that my students
>find all sorts of "problems" with what they read--but those problems seem
>to disappear as their proficiency increases.)

Here I differ with Rod. Carl Conrad has read a good bit of Greek
literature, as have Fred Danker and I [sometimes in the same graduate
seminar]. And that includes reading ancient grammarians, literary critics,
and teachers of rhetoric.  That makes it poossible to pass some more
informed judgments on Mark's styhle, without it being "the judge's
problem"! Mark writes a simple, generally correct Greek, but with stylistic
features that would not pass muster in a class in Greek prose composition
today or the criteria of Greek literary critics and teachers of grammar in
his own time--to say nothing of those who wrote literary Greek in the Roman

What are those marks? 1. paratactic, rather than hypotactic, style. The use
of a limited range of particles and conjunctions, hence his ubiquitous KAI
and EUQUS.
2. Redundancy in expression: let me give an example from Mark 9:21. The
little phrase EK PAIDIOQEN is redundant. The suffix *-QEN already indicates
motion away from, hence source. Either the EK is redundant, the *-QEN
unnecessary, or Mark simply is unaware of the significance of the suffix.
3. His vocabulary is limited and at times reflects popular speech, not
literary language. E.g., Mark 2:4 uses the term KRABBATON, "pallet," for
which Matthew and Luke use the term KLINH. Phrynichos, in his lexicon of
words unsuitable for litrary composition, athetizes the former, recommends
the latter.

In comparison to the non-literary papyri Mark stands out as one who [at
least in the text we have] spells correctly [little evidence of itacism].
He does not write a Greek as complicated syntactically as that of official
documents, e.g. the letter of Claudius to the Alexandrians [Hunt-Edgar,
II.212]. His Greek is much simpler than that of Strabo, who does *not*
write a high literary style. Mark does not write a literary Greek close to
that of Lukian and Plutarch. His word order is closer to that of Epiktetos.
In short, as Rod Decker says, conversational Greek, usually correct, but
not always, with folk idioms.

IMHO, one ought not pass judgment on Mark's literary ability unless one has
read extensively in later Greek literature, Greek inscriptions, and papyri.
If one does, one will never think Mark wrote a literary Greek. He does
communicate well to his intended audience. And that utilitarian criterion
is finally, perhaps, the most applicable.

Now, if you want to read a NT Greek author who does, as Dionysios of
Alexandria said in the third century, write Greek full of "barbarisms and
solecisms," read the Apocalypse of John. Try to account for the Greek of
Rev. 1:4-6, where APO governs the nominative, where HN becomes a noun, etc.
Powerful Greek, but not always "correct."

It's the very variety of the Greek in the NT that is a part of its
linguistic fascination.

And that is -30-

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105


From: Timster132@aol.com
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 00:02:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Textual Problems in Mark 7:24, 28 

In a message dated 95-12-04 14:47:57 EST, kenneth@sybase.com (Kenneth Litwak)

>  Isn't it circular to argue that since Mark doesn't use nai, Mark didn't
>use nai?

  Actually, the argument is that NAI is not found among the Marcan
vocabulary, so it adds to the suspicion about the variant reading.

Tim Staker


From: "Keith A. Clay" <keithc@ramlink.net>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 00:31:16 -0500
Subject: B-greek-theology 

Esteemed Discussion Group,

Rather do I post to this discussion group.  I find that my little knowledge
is greatly superseded by those who are more competent than myself.  Just by
listening (reading) I have learned quite a bit and have enjoyed this group.
This post concerns one little area.  It seems that this issue of women as
apostles or in authority positions has been beaten quite enough.  It was
obvious previously what the text had to say.  Now, it has devolved to name
calling and trying to prove why one person's theological take is better than
anothers.  I would ask that there be a group b-greek-theology created so
that these discussion of a theological and not linguistic nature can be
carried on there.  I have seen this entire issue taking great deals of
bandwidth and not a whole lot being resolved.  Apparently there are those
who are adamant about their positions, and that is fine.  But this is not
the place for "debates" of theological perspectives and name calling (see B.
Mounce post concerning chauvinist).

Thank you for your time and patience as I recede and become a wall flower. 

Play Ball!

keith a. clay

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From: "Wes C. Williams" <71414.3647@compuserve.com>
Date: 06 Dec 95 01:00:13 EST
Subject: LS&J on Computer Media ?

Does anyone know of the availability of LS&J in electronic form?

How about Robertson's Grammar ?  Moultons ? 

Wes Williams


End of b-greek-digest V1 #32


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