Re: Dan Wallace
- --- In email@example.com, "Maggie"
>Just a notch about the phony "Ph.D." White. Do have a read of Maurice
> Have we discussed the merits of Dan Wallace?
Robinson's excellent critique of Wallace found here:
Wallace utterly misrepresented me, which I tended to in the preface
to the new edition of my book, "The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews
in the Continuing Debate" which I reproduce below:
This book made its first appearance during the heady days of a modern
revival of the textual views of John William Burgon (1813-1888).
During the years 1976-1991, for the first time since Burgon's era,
there was a small community of N.T. scholars raising the banner of a
renewed advocacy of what that Victorian high churchman had termed the
Traditional text. Their publications, in chronological order, were as
follows: Jakob van Bruggen, The Ancient Text of the New Testament
(Winnipeg, 1976); Wilbur Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament
Text (Nashville, 1977); a debate that appeared within the pages of
the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (vol. xxi, 1978);
The New King James Version New Testament (Nashville, 1979); Zane C.
Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, eds., The Greek New Testament According
to the Majority Text (Nashville, 1982); Harry A. Sturz, The Byzantine
Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism (Nashville, 1984); M.A.
Robinson and W.G. Pierpont, The New Testament in the Original Greek
According to the Byzantine/Majority Textform (Atlanta, 1991).
While I was at the time greatly reinforced in my own convictions
about the value of the Ecclesiastical text (i.e. Burgon's Traditional
text) through the works of these new advocates of what they called
the Majority text (again, Burgon's Traditional text), it became
evident to me that nearly all of them were actually working from
outside the discipline of text criticism itself. Hence, I sensed
there were some major gaps in their data as well as in their
argumentation. Not the least of these shortcomings was their
reluctance to explain just why the so-called Majority text had become
the Majority text. The one scholar who did have credentials as a text
critic, and who also offered just such an explanation, and who also
happened to be the genuine father of this revival which began with
his 1956 publication, The King James Version Defended: a Christian
View of the New Testament Manuscripts was Edward F. Hills. He was,
unfortunately, ignored in this current phase of the debate. It was,
nevertheless, his work that was the inspiration for this book, The
Hills discussed in great detail how and why the Byzantine/Traditional
text became the "Majority" text, specifically because it was the
Ecclesiastical text. That is, of all the textual choices made by the
early Church it was the Byzantine text that became the established
ecclesiastical text. This assured that it was the dominant,
numerically preponderant text type found within the surviving Greek
manuscripts, because it was actually copied and used as Scripture
within the worshipping community itself. Today, to the man, all
advocates of the modern critical text believe that this process was
in fact an act of corruption on the part of the Church and thus on
that basis the Majority, or Ecclesiastical text, is rejected by
nearly all within the discipline today. The discipline has chosen
instead to favor a theoretical reconstructed text of their own
making. (So have the so-called Jesus Seminar; they, too, have a
theoretical, reconstructed text. ) This theoretical text has,
however, remained in flux for the past one hundred years, to the
dismay and confusion of the Church.
Hence, the introduction to this current work is a fairly broad
critique of the failings of the so-called Majority text advocates.
This critique is gleaned from the genuine textual critics and New
Testament scholars working from within the discipline itself as found
in the periodical literature. The body of the text, however, is a
critique, from an history of interpretation perspective, of the
dominant critical theories coming from the discipline proper.
The reception of this work on its first appearance was, not
surprisingly, mixed: it was praised in the Journal of the
Evangelical Theological Society; it was completely misunderstood in
a muddled review appearing in the journal Bibliotheca Sacra; but
the standard handbook from within the discipline could say nothing
more damaging than that it was "one-sided." And so it was.
Finally, this work, so far as I can ascertain, was the first to take
seriously the canonical approach of Brevard Childs in addressing the
problems posed by text criticism. This I developed further in my
book The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority and
the Popular Mind 2nd ed. (2000). Others are now suggesting, in a
qualified way, from within the discipline itself, that perhaps
Childs's approach should be considered in conjunction with
Because of the many calls for the reappearance of this collection and
in spite of the fact that it may well be dated in places, by popular
demand it now makes its return to the still on-going debate.
1 The last work is the only one produced by someone trained in the
discipline of text criticism proper, Professor Maurice A. Robinson,
whose introduction to his work remains important though he informs me
that his next edition of his introduction will have some substantive
2 The one serious exception to this assessment would be the work of
Professor Van Bruggen, whose treatise was the most learned of all the
offerings and alone interacted with a body of European literature.
3 For a treatment of the significance of his work within the history
of the discipline see, Theodore P. Letis, Edward Freer Hills's
Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text, unpublished
M.T.S. Thesis, Emory University, 1987, pending publication.
4 Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover and the Jesus Seminar, The Five
Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (New York,
1993); Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus: The
Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus (New York, 1998). See also
Robert W. Funk, Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium (New
York, 1996). While the Jesus Seminar works along very different lines
from the discipline of New Testament text criticism, it is my long-
standing contention that the quest for the historical text (text
criticism) always invites the quest for the historical Jesus (the
Jesus Seminar). The Seminar itself makes this clear: "The search for
the real Jesus begins with a modern critical edition of the Greek New
Testament," (The Five Gospels, p. 8ff.).
5 In summary, the Majority Text advocates, in the words of Luther
stated about Erasmus, know well how to confute evil but not how to
state truth. That is, they have all offered, to one extent or
another, compelling criticisms of both the old Westcott and Hort
paradigm as well as of the current method of eclecticism, but cannot
agree as to what to put in their place. There are at least three
Majority Text schools that have resulted in two different and
competing editions of the "Majority Text"the Dallas school edition,
and the Robinson edition. Harry Sturz represents a middle ground
position expressed in the old views of Von Soden. See my review of
his work as it appears in The Ecclesiastical Text, pp. 205-207.
6 Contrary to the ill-informed assessment of this book in its first
edition by fundamentalist, Daniel B. Wallace, "The Majority Text
Theory: History, Methods and Critique," in Bart Ehrman and Michael W.
Holmes, eds., The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary
Research:: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (Grand Rapids: William B.
Eerdmans, 1995). For a full refutation of this see my "The
Ecclesiastical Text Redivivus?" in The Ecclesiastical Text, pp. 140-
7 Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society vol. 32, no. 3,
(September 1989): 387-388.
8 Daniel Wallace wrote a very confused and misapprehending review
with little interest at attending to the actual argumentation and
perspective of the work, Bibliotheca Sacra vol. 145, no. 580 (October-
December 1988): 469-470. It has been my experience that
fundamentalists work with very limited categories and so tend to
paint with rather broad brushes when addressing this issue. As I said
of his contributions to this discussion in another work, The
Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority and the
Popular Mind 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, 2000), p. 145, "In short,
Wallace's own unacknowledged predisposition as an American
fundamentalist leave him less than capable of accurately assessing
the various schools advocating the Ecclesiastical text. What is
required is someone trained more in the scientific study of religion
and with a genuine pedigree as a text critic and less oriented by
one's own unacknowledged sense of advocacy."
9 Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission,
Corruption, and Restoration 3rd ed. (New York, 1992), p. 291, n. 1.
10 See pp. 185-190.
11 See chapters 3, 4, 5 and 7.
12 Eldon J. Epp, "Textual Criticism in the Exegesis of the New
Testament with an Excursus on Canon," in Handbook to Exegesis of the
New Testament ed. by Stanley E. Porter (New York, 1997), pp.84-
91; "The Multivalence of the Term `Original Text' in New Testament
Textual Criticism," Harvard Theological Review vol. 92, no. 3,
Theodore P. Letis