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Anachronistic Assumptions and the Documentary Hypothesis

David M. Carr opens his book, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature, as follows:

In her book Oral World and Written Word, Susan Niditch vividly illustrates the problems with contemporary assumptions about ancient textuality, as she outlines the picture many biblical scholars often assume in their discussions of biblical formation. Critiquing the traditional documentary hypothesis (J, E, D, P), she says:

At the heart of the documentary hypothesis [sic] . . . is the cut-and-paste image of an individual pictured like Emperor Claudius of the PBS series, having his various written sources laid out before him as he chooses this verse or that, includes this take not that, edits, elaborates, all in a library setting. . . . If the texts are leather, they may be heavy and need to be unrolled. . . . If texts are papyrus, they are read held in the arm, one hand clasping or “supporting” the “bulk” of the scroll, while the other unrolls. Did the redactor need three colleagues to hold J, E, and P for him? Did each read the text out loud, and did he ask them to pause until he jotted down his selections, working like a secretary with three tapes dictated by the boss?

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John 7:53–8:11 Should Be in a Footnote, Not in the Text

Have you noticed the double brackets in the ESV that surround John 7:53–8:11? Those double brackets mean that the ESV’s translation committee does not consider this passage to be original to John’s Gospel. You also find double brackets around Mark 16:9–20.

Do you know what it means that these passages are marked off–correctly–as not coming from the authors of these respective Gospels? If John did not write what is enumerated as 7:53–8:11, that means it doesn’t belong between John 7:52 and 8:12 because it does not come from the author who was “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” If John did not write this passage, it isn’t Scripture because it was not “breathed out by God.” If it isn’t Scripture, it shouldn’t be in the text, and pastors shouldn’t preach it.

That’s what those double brackets mean about these passages. I submit that if a translation committee has come to the conclusion that they should put double brackets around these texts, they would serve pastors and Bible teachers better by putting these texts in a footnote rather than in the text. Those double brackets are too easy not to notice. The ESV puts John 5:4 in a footnote because the editors do not think John wrote that verse. The same should be done with Mark 16:9–20 and John 7:53–8:11.

What is the evidence for such a conclusion? In what follows I will only present the evidence for John 7:53–8:11, evidence that comes from the New Testament manuscripts (external evidence) and from the flow of thought in John’s Gospel (internal evidence). [If you’re interested in the Mark 16 issue, I discussed that passage also from the pulpit].

The Manuscripts

We are dealing with books written long before the printing press and long copied by hand. John 7:53–8:11 is not in any of the earliest manuscripts, and Bruce Metzger notes that “No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it.” That means that at some point a scribe copied this passage into a manuscript of John’s Gospel, and then that got perpetuated. The fact that we have enough evidence to determine this to be the case should increase our confidence in the text of the New Testament. That there is a consensus on this point should make us more confident in the Scriptures not less.

John 7:53–8:11 is not in any of the best texts: P66, P75, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, etc. As the note above the passage in the ESV states, the earliest manuscripts do not include it. As the footnote in the ESV text states, some manuscripts contain this passage, but not following John 7:52. Some have it after John 7:36 or 21:25 or even Luke 21:38. Again, the fact that we have enough manuscript evidence to arrive at this conclusion shows that we can be practically certain about the original contents of the text of the New Testament.

The Flow of Thought in John’s Gospel

In addition to the manuscript evidence indicating that John the author of the Gospel did not put this passage here, we can also observe that the passage interrupts the flow of thought in this section of the Gospel. The opponents of Jesus are ready to kill him (John 5:18; 7:19–20, 25). They seek to arrest him (7:30, 32), and they are frustrated when the officers don’t bring him in (7:45–47). Their minds are made up. They have just rejected Nicodemus’s counsel that they investigate Jesus (7:51). They are past the point of testing Jesus or seeking charges to bring against him, as the interpolated passage has them doing in 8:6. They do not need charges against Jesus. He has called “God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18), so they can bring him up on charges of blasphemy.

There are accounts in other Gospels similar to this one about the woman caught in adultery, but there are no accounts like this one in John. The passages most similar to this interpolated passage are the ones that depict the scribes and Pharisees disputing directly with Jesus over someone who is in need. Interestingly, the two accounts closest to this one involve the healing of the paralytic and the man with the withered hand. Mark places both of those incidents (Mark 2:1–12; 3:1–5) prior to the Pharisees’ fateful decision to seek to kill Jesus (Mark 3:6).

John Doesn’t Talk This Way

Have you noticed that John always refers to the opponents of Jesus as “the Jews”? Did you notice that John never refers to the scribes? The only instance of the word “scribes” in John’s Gospel is in the interpolated passage at 8:3. In fact there are 14 words in John 7:53–8:11 passage that occur nowhere else in John’s Gospel.

Continuity Between John 7 and 8

If we pass over 7:53–8:11, we find that the setting and situation in the rest of John 8 matches the setting and situation of John 7. As we move to John 8:12, John continues to present Jesus speaking at the temple (7:28; 8:20) on the last and greatest day of the feast (7:37).

Not only is the setting of John 8 the same as that of John 7, the points under discussion are the same. Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the water pouring ceremony of the Feast of Tabernacles in 7:37–39. That water pouring ceremony likely commemorated the water from the rock in the wilderness (Exod 17:1–7; Num 20:2–13). In addition to the water pouring ceremony there was a ceremonial lighting of candles, likely commemorating the way the Lord lit Israel’s way through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and flame. In John 8:12, Jesus will assert that he is the light of the world. Other points of contact between John 7 and 8 include the following:

  • Testimony, 7:18, 28; 8:13
  • Where Jesus comes from and where he goes, 7:25–30, 31–36; 8:14, 21–22 (cf. esp. 7:34–35 and 8:21–22)
  • Righteous judgment, 7:24; 8:15
  • The Jews don’t know God, 7:28; 8:19, 55
  • The seeking of glory, 7:18; 8:50, 54

A Plea to Translation Committees

Bible translation committees responsible for the ESV, CSB, NIV, NAS, and any other translation preached from pulpits should do pastors a favor and put these texts in footnotes. Mark 16:9–20 was not written by Mark, and John 7:53–8:11 was not written by John. Those passages do not belong in the text and should not be preached from pulpits. The snake-handlers are woefully mistaken. They should not think there is any warrant in the New Testament for such a practice. Similarly, those who cry that no one should throw stones anytime sinners are called to repentance have misunderstood this interpolated passage (Jesus does tell the woman to stop sinning in 8:11), but still the passage has no business in the text. It was not written by John, and it should not be there interrupting the flow of though between 7:52 and 8:12. Put it in a footnote.

[it was my privilege to preach John 7:53–8:29 at Kenwood Baptist Church today, and for any who may be interested in the way I addressed this issue from the pulpit, the sermon audio is online].

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Was There an Old Testament Before the New Testament? A Guest Post from Jason Parry

There is an ongoing debate about when the books of the Old Testament were recognized as Scripture and when, or whether, there was a closed circle of books that were recognized to be inspired by the Holy Spirit prior to the time of Jesus. Related questions include where the additional material found in the Greek translations of books such as Daniel and Esther came from, why it was added, and what this material might indicate about the status of these books.

Jason Parry is doing his dissertation here at SBTS under Peter Gentry on “The Character of the Greek Version of Daniel Attributed to Theodotion.” As we corresponded on his prospectus, I asked his thoughts on the deuterocanonical material in Daniel. His reply was so good I asked him if he would reformat it for a blog post, which he graciously did.

Here’s Jason Parry’s take on the evidence:

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The arguments for textual pluralism and literary development of biblical texts in Hellenistic Judaism, and for standardization of the text and formation of the Hebrew canon in the second century AD, often seem impressive because much evidence can be cited to demonstrate that the Jews were developing various versions of biblical texts in the period prior to the second century AD.

The Old Greek version of Daniel, for example, not only departs significantly from the MT in several chapters, but even inserts an apocryphal side-story right into the middle of the plot in chapter 3. The Greek version of Daniel attributed to Theodotion is much closer to the MT than the Old Greek version, but nevertheless retains this apocryphal story found in the Old Greek.

The fact that the translators felt free to deviate from the Hebrew-Aramaic text and to insert apocryphal material could be considered evidence that textual pluralism was in the air and that no canonical boundaries were known to these translators.

However, this same evidence could be interpreted differently.  It is possible that the translators were well aware of a standard, authoritative version of the text and of canonical boundaries, but felt free to deviate from that canonical text on account of its official preservation at the Temple. The goal of the Temple scribes was to preserve the authoritative textual tradition of the canonical text in its original language, while the scribes and translators outside of Temple circles were free to develop popular alternative versions of the texts which potentially deviated from the original in language, narrative style, and even in some content, with the goal of appealing to the Jewish and Gentile masses. The distinction between the standard canonical text and the popular deviating versions was not subject to confusion in the period prior to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, since the standard text was in all probability stored at the Temple.

The latter explanation of the textual plurality of the Hellenistic period is more probable than the claim of a late date for the standardization and canonization of the text, because it accounts not only for the evidence of multiple versions of texts, but also for the evidence of a canonical consciousness prior to the second century AD.

Thus the fact of textual plurality does not necessarily imply a philosophy of textual pluralism among Hellenistic Jews, since they could simultaneously preserve a canonical textual tradition at the Temple while producing accessible and appealing popular texts for the masses. After the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, however, the Jews had to become more intentional about articulating their canonical boundaries and guarding their textual tradition in order to avoid confusion between the two types of texts.

My understanding of the period, then, could be summarized as follows:

2nd/1st century BC – Diverse Jewish groups, some of whom (like OG-Dan) are interested in popularizing the stories and texts and creating new literature which was loosely connected to the canonical material.  Perhaps this reflects a “seeker-friendly” approach to promoting Judaism. Other Jews are more interested in preserving the textual tradition and sticking close to the proto-MT. The official canonical texts are guarded in the Temple so there’s no confusion as to what’s what in any case.

Late 1st century BC and early 1st century AD – At least some Jews are editing their Greek texts towards the proto-MT, the prime example of which is the oft-cited Greek Minor Prophet Scroll from Nahal Hever which Barthélemy published and analyzed in Les Devanciers d’Aquila. The scroll can be dated to the 50 BC to AD 50 range.  However, there’s probably still a willingness to retain apocryphal (or deuterocanonical) material during this period, which has become popular in the preceding two centuries, and there’s still no confusion as to the official text since the Temple is standing. Theodotion, or at least the Greek version attributed to him, probably belongs to this period.

Late 1st century AD and 2nd century AD – Jews as a whole become more intentional about declaring their canonical boundaries and textual tradition since the Temple is lost and the Christians are gaining ground using Jewish writings and Scripture. The Jews discuss their canonical boundaries by asking themselves which books have always been in their canon; these discussions were previously unnecessary because the canonical text had been stored at the Temple.  The Temple text presumably is preserved from destruction in AD 70 and is handed down to become what we now call the MT.

It is thus possible to account for diversity and even literary development in biblical texts of Hellenistic Judaism without abandoning the long-held belief that our MT for the most part preserves a reliable tradition from before the Hellenistic period.

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John Meade Reviews T. Michael Law

John Meade is doing a multi-part review of T. Michael Law’s book, When God Spoke Greek. At one level neither Law’s claims nor Meade’s response is new. At another level, these questions are constantly being re-examined, and the re-hashing of the debate can bring things into sharper focus. Like Martin Hengel and Lee Martin McDonald, T. Michael Law claims there was no OT canon prior to the second century AD. Like Robert Hanhart and Roger Beckwith, Meade responds that the evidence can be read another way. Here are some excerpts from Meade, with whom I agree:

“As stated in the first post, Michael Law set out to write a narrative history of the Septuagint, a worthwhile endeavor to say the least. So much goes into writing a history but the first obstacle one must face is that the facts are not self-interpreting. To be sure Law no where claims that they are, but it should be stated in a critique which is going to offer an alternative way of analyzing the data.”

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“Law portrays the forming and perhaps closing of the Hebrew Bible as occurring in the 2nd CE. This is not a new view and can be found in many manuals on the Old Testament. As one attempting to read Law’s book carefully, the question is does Law deny even a canonical consciousness or a developing canon in the period before the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE? In the book he does not admit of a canonical consciousness in the the preceding period, but I am open to correction on this point. In his recent blog post on the question he does treat some of the relevant evidence but he still does not speak of a canonical consciousness or developing canon. Here is the problem with Law’s view: during the time of Jesus and long before Jesus the Jews refer to a collection or corpus of books, which means they had at the very least some consciousness of their collection and what that final collection might be; an idea of which books would eventually be in and which books would eventually be out. The assumption is that the authors and readers shared a mutual understanding of what these titles denoted. The alternative assumption is that the author wrote nonsense when using these titles and therefore the titles do not refer to a set collection or corpus of books and therefore they do not communicate to the readers. The following are only the so-called tripartite titles (there are many single and bipartite titles which refer to the same reality as well)”

Meade here discusses evidence from Ben Sira, 4QMMT, the NT Gospels, and Philo, mentioning also Josephus, drawing two conclusions:

“(1) What does this evidence mean? On page 71 Law comments on Sirach, “‘The other ancestral books,’ according to this assumption [complete Hebrew Bible by 132 BCE], would be the Writings (Ketuvim). Most scholars, however, do not accept this hypothesis since the ‘other ancestral books’ could refer to anything, including the books that never became canonical. At best it seems that the Torah and Prophets might have been a known collection by this time, but we should not read this statement in the Prologue as a confirmation of the later canon of the Hebrew Bible” (WGSG, 71). At the opening of chapter 3 (cited at the top of this post), Law claimed that prior to the second century CE there was no way of knowing which books would be included in the collection. Here his skepticism recedes, however slightly, and he now holds out the possibility that Torah and Prophets (and on page 42, the Psalms) were already a collection and perhaps canonical by the end of the first century. If Hanhart’s reading of the Prologue is correct, as I am inclined to think, then there was already a categorization of books into canonical and non-canonical, Sirach already being one of the excluded books–a work of edification and reflection on the Law, Prophets, and other books. This would mean that by 132 BCE there is at least a developing canon or a canonical consciousness, not simply in retrospect but in prospect. Prospectively, then, the Jews had a view as to which books they considered canonical.

(2) Two ways to view the evidence? As in all matters historical, there are different ways to view the evidence. The titles for the Old Testament corpus of books indicate to me that there was at the very least a canonical consciousness, a recognized corpus of books by 132 BCE and more probably a closed canon by that time complete with a categorization of the canonical and non-canonical. There are more reasons such as the numbering of the books and the ordering of the books which corroborate this point. Part of the historian’s difficulty is that there are not allot of sources to examine from this period. There is no list of books from this early period. This fact does not mean there was no canon. In the period of the temple there would have been no need for a list of books since those books were all laid up in the temple following ancient precedent (cf. Deuteronomy 31:26; cp. 2 Maccabees 2:13-14). If a Jew during this early period wanted to know her holy books, she would need to go and inquire at the temple. Therefore there is a good reason why no such list was composed at this time–it was not needed. It is interesting that the first lists appear after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE (Bab. Talmud Baba Bathra 14b).”

The whole.

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Review of Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus

Dirk Jongkind, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus, Texts and Studies III.5. Piscataway: Gorgias, 2005. 323. ISBN: 9718-1-59333-422-2. $102.00. Printed Casebound.

Published in Bulletin for Biblical Research 22 (2012): 260–62.

Constantin von Tischendorf first visited St. Catherine’s monastery on Mt. Sinai in 1844. This eventually led to the 1862 publication of a typeset semi-facsimile of Codex Sinaiticus. Helen and Kirsopp Lake published a photographic facsimile of the known text of the manuscript in 1911 and 1922. Milne and Skeat published Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus in 1938, and in the years since new parts of the codex have come to light, high resolution digital images have been made available online at codexsinaiticus.org, and the British Library and Hendrickson Publishers have now made available a full color, life-size facsimile of the codex. David Parker has given us an authorized history of the manuscript in his book, Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World’s Oldest Bible [my review here], and both BibleWorks and Accordance Bible Software have made images of the facsimile available within their software, with tagged transcriptions of the Codex that are fully searchable.

Dirk Jongkind completed the dissertation under review here at Cambridge under Peter Head in 2005, prior to the appearance of the full color facsimile from Hendrickson in 2010. Jongkind relates that in most of his work he made use of the Lake facsimile, though he was privileged to use the manuscript itself, even working for the British Library as curator in the project to digitize the manuscript.

Jongkind begins with an admirable summary of the history of research on the Codex and states his intention to carry forward the work of Milne and Skeat. As the title of his book indicates, he is looking mainly at Scribal Habits. The volume’s second chapter examines the distribution of the scribal tasks, the third looks at scribal practices such as the use of nomina sacra, ligatures, spelling, the Eusebian apparatus, and division of paragraphs. Chapter 4 is a close look at the work of two of the scribes who worked on the manuscript, Scribes D and A. In the fifth chapter Jongkind reflects on his findings and engages the issues of where the manuscript was produced and whether the dictation theory can account for the production of the manuscript.

Jongkind finds that “no single, fixed procedure was followed in the production of Sinaiticus. The way in which the writing of the main text was divided up between the three scribes seems to betray a number of ad hoc decisions and attempts to cover up previous mistakes” (57). When he examines the use of nomina sacra, ligatures, itacisms, and text divisions, he finds that each scribe had his own tendencies. There was no consistent application of the use of nomina sacra. The scribes appear to have operated on their own preferences, but it is not clear whether they did entirely what they wanted or simply followed their exemplars  (83). One of the ways scribal hands can be distinguished is by the angle of the downward arm used in the kai-ligature (88). Scribe D was the best speller. It is again difficult to know whether the scribes were introducing new paragraphs or following their exemplars. The Eusebian apparatus was not fully incorporated into the Codex, and if the canon tables were ever present they have not survived. Jongkind concludes that whereas Scribe A does not appear to have interpreted the text by his use of nomina sacra and paragraphing, Scribe D’s sensitive use of these techniques does seem to reflect his understanding of the text (127–28). This kind of evidence indicates that the scribes had some freedom in the execution of their tasks.

Chapter 4 contains a detailed comparison of the work of Scribes D and A in 1 Chronicles, Psalms, Paul, and Luke. For each section Jongkind discusses orthography, nonsense word forms, leaps from same to same, additions and ommissions, harmonizations, editorial readings, substitutions, transpositions, and more. The close attention to detail in this section is remarkable. Many tables aid the reader with helpful summary presentations.

Jongkind has definitely moved our knowledge forward on the shoulders of Milne and Skeat. His particular contribution is in the “detailed profile of each scribe” (249). He points out an important reality to factor into text critical decisions: “there is not homogeneity in the quality of copying; different scribes produce a demonstrably different quality of text. . . the identity of the scribe is important” (249). He observes that from what we can see of the scribes alternating responsibilities, the dictation theory is not the best explanation for how the Codex was copied. There are also indications that the scribes corrected their work as they copied, which would not fit with the dictation theory. Jongkind raises significant considerations against the view that Sinaiticus was produced in Caesarea.

We owe gratitude and congratulations to Dirk Jongkind for producing this most significant study of Codex Sinaiticus to appear since Milne and Skeat’s 1938 Scribes and Correctors.

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Grudem’s Essay, “Are Only Some Words of Scripture Breathed Out By God?”

Crossway has generously granted me permission to post a free copy of an important essay by Wayne Grudem:

Are Only Some Words of Scripture Breathed Out by God? Why Plenary Inspiration Favors ‘Essentially Literal’ Bible Translation

This essay was published in Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005) 19–56.

Grudem’s thesis is in the sub-title of the essay: Why Plenary Inspiration Favors ‘Essentially Literal’ Bible Translation.

Grudem writes:

‘I will argue in this chapter (1) that the Bible repeatedly claims that every one of its words (in the original languages) is a word spoken to us by God, and is therefore of utmost importance; and (2) that this fact provides a strong argument in favor of “essentially literal” (or “word-for-word”) translation as opposed to “dynamic equivalent” (or “thought-for-thought”) translation.’

One of the frustrating things about this debate is the way it seems people on different sides seem to be talking past (or perhaps not listening to) each other. (In the end, however, it may come down to a simple disagreement. If that’s the case, register me on the ‘essentially literal’ side of the spectrum.)

Grudem avoids the talking past/not listening to problem by giving patient, fair, careful definitions of what he means by both “essentially literal” (this is more nuanced, as the Leithart quote also shows, than the caricature often painted by opponents) and “dynamic equivalence.” Grudem’s final section before the essay’s conclusion is an insightful discussion of how Eugene Nida arrived at his positions. Here Grudem expresses appreciation for Nida, but weighs the method and finds it wanting.

If you’ve only read the other side of this discussion, you might be surprised to know that Grudem discusses the spectrum along which Bible translations fall. The surprise would be natural, since sometimes advocates of dynamic equivalence use things like definitions of “essentially literal” or “dynamic equivalence” or the reality that there’s a spectrum of possibilities like “gotcha” cards. Reading that side of the discussion might give you the impression that only an idiot would favor the “essentially literal” translation philosophy. That kind of argumentation scores rhetorical points, until someone compares those arguments (which are little more than subtle ad homimen attacks) with something like this essay by Grudem.

Preliminaries in place, Grudem dives into the biblical evidence. Here’s the full outline of the essay:

I. Introduction

A. Essentially Literal
B. Dynamic Equivalence
C. Translations Fall Along a Spectrum

II. The Argument from the Bible’s Teaching About Its Own Words

III. If All the Words Are From God, Then Translations Should Translate No Less Than the Original

IV. Dynamic Equivalence Translations Often Leave Out the Meanings of Some Words That Are in the Original Text

1. The Missing Sword
2. Removing the Wrath of God
3. The Missing Hands
4. The Lost Soul
5. The Lost Spirit
6. The Disappearing Rod of Discipline
7. The Lost Faces
8. The Lost Kiss
9. The Missing Heart and the Absent Holy Spirit

V. Dynamic Equivalence Translations Often Add Meaning That Is Not in the Original Text

1. Restrictions to What God Provides
2. Added Elders
3. Teachers Who Can Never Get Anything Right
4. Boasting About Being Wise as the Worst Kind of Lie

VI. The Result: Can We Trust Dynamic Equivalence Translations?

VII. The Theory of Dynamic Equivalence Is the Culprit Behind These Missing and Added Words

VIII. Conclusion

Thanks again to Crossway for the fact that you can download this important essay and read the whole thing:

Are Only Some Words of Scripture Breathed Out by God? Why Plenary Inspiration Favors ‘Essentially Literal’ Bible Translation.”

I think Dynamic Equivalence is a translation philosophy that should be rejected by those who hold to verbal plenary inspiration. Or perhaps it would be better to distinguish more clearly between translating and explaining. When translating, dynamic equivalence is inappropriate. When explaining, dynamic equivalant to your heart’s content.

Related:

Dynamic Equivalence: The Method Is the Problem

The Heresy of Explanation

Can Dostoevsky’s Translator Weigh in on Bible Translation?

Was Gender Usage in the English Language Shaped by the Old Testament in Hebrew?

The Word of God Is Living and Active (unless your translation philosophy emasculates it)

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The Word of God Is Living and Active (unless your translation philosophy emasculates it)

In Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture, Peter Leithart writes (3–6),

“It is easy for Christians to blame secularists for ‘letting the Bible go,’ but the church is at least as culpable. As [Clive] James points out, translation is a key symptom of our willingness to emasculate our own Scriptures.
[here Leithart presents two renderings of Psalm 23, first the KJV then the Message, then discusses a few differences between the translations]
The most crucial difference, though, is a difference in authority: which language, which idiom, determines the rendering of the Hebrew into English? For the KJV, the Hebrew text forces itself on the English. ‘Valley of the shadow of death,’ now an English cliche, was introduced by Bible translators, as was ‘my cup runneth over.’ Older translations refreshed the target language (English) by bringing in the Hebrew as much as possible. The KJV enlarged not only the language but also the conceptual apparatus of English speakers, as more or less common words and concepts like table and cup and staff took on the religious aura of the psalm. For The Message, by contrast, contemporary English dictates what the Bible may and may not say.
Leithart continues:
“This example from The Message is far from the most egregious example that could be found. But it does go some way toward justifying Dwight Macdonald’s complaint that modern Bible translators turn down Scripture’s ‘voltage, so it won’t blow any fuses.’
My point is not merely aesthetic, and it is not at all nostalgic. I am not pining to hear the echoing, arching rhythms of the KJV ring from pulpits everywhere. My point is theological, and one of the main themes of this book. For The Message, the crucial thing about the Bible is the substance of what it teaches us, and many readers and interpreters come to the Bible with the same interests. For translators, commentators, preachers, and theologians, the idioms and cadences, the rhetoric and the tropes, the syntax and the vocabulary of the original have been reduced to mere vehicles for communicating that message. If the vehicle fails to reach its destination, we change vehicles. We substitute, add, or subtract words to make the Bible sound normal. We change idioms to be more familiar. We turn God’s names into generic terms of divinity. We fiddle with the Bible’s rhetoric so that it fits our rhetoric, rather than letting the Bible’s rhetoric shape ours. Once we think we have found the spirit of the text, we feel free to mold the letter as we will.
As the comparison of the two translations indicates, students of the Bible have not always treated the Bible this way. Older translators recognized that no translation can completely capture all the features of the original text. But the goal of Reformation and post-Reformation Bible translators was always to carry over as much of the original text as possible into the target text. When Tyndale found no word for a Hebrew concept, he invented one–atonement–which is having a remarkably fruitful career in the English language, not to mention English theology, psychology, anthropology, and political theory. When the KJV translators found the Hebrew redundant, they made the English redundant: ‘dying, you shall die.’ When they found a vulgarity, they (sometimes) kept it in English: a vulgar man is one who ‘pisseth against the wall.’ For most earlier translators, and for commentators, preachers, and Bible scholars, the original Bible set the agenda, while the target language and the target culture were expected to make room for it. They did not believe that the Bible needed to adjust to our prior concepts and institutions.
Scripture once transformed the world precisely because Bible students clung to the letter. Once the letter is reduced to a malleable vehicle, Scripture loses its potency. It no longer shapes our imaginations, our poetry, or our politics, because it is not allowed to say anything we do not already know.
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Believe in the Bible or Believe in the Christ?

In his crisp book, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God, Timothy Ward points out that the suggestion that “Christians are not those who believe in the Bible, but those who believe in Christ” (so saith John Barton) forces “a false dichotomy on us. We do not have to choose between ‘believing in the Bible and ‘believing in Christ. As Christians we are called on to do both” (Ward, Words of Life, 11).

Ward seeks “to articulate, explain and defend what we are really saying when we proclaim, as we must, that the Bible is God’s Word.” He is “attempting to describe the nature of the relationship between God and Scripture” (11), and explains that:

“the kind of doctrine of Scripture this book will outline is one that aims to demonstrate that its every aspect is shaped from the bottom up by the character and actions of God, and is integrally related to God’s being and action, yet without the inert book coming to eclipse the living Saviour” (17).

I had a great time getting to know Tim Ward in the Grand Canyon, and I’m really enjoying hearing his voice in my head as I read his book. I wish I had read it earlier so I could have put it on my hermeneutics syllabus for this fall. I commend it to you.

 

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Dynamic Equivalence: The Method is the Problem

When I was studying at DTS, my Hebrew prof, who is fairly well known, was really excited about dynamic equivalence translation. I heard his lectures and saw his work. It made me uncomfortable, though I wasn’t in position to show why. I suspected that the logical outcomes of the method he was teaching would be bad. I also suspected that if I was uncomfortable about what the teacher was doing, it would probably be worse when applied by the students to whom he was teaching this method, students with less expertise and experience.

Let me be clear: the particular practitioner of the method of dynamic equivalence is not the problem. My beef here is not with my prof. I only mention him and my experience in his class to say that I have been taught by a real live proponent of the method. I have heard his arguments. I am not reacting against “those anonymous people out there” with whom I have no real acquaintance. I disagree with him, but it’s nothing personal. I once gave him tickets to a Rangers versus Yankees game at The Ballpark at Arlington.

Moreover, my concern about this issue does not primarily arise from the treatment of gender language. This post is not me ranting against the NIV 2011. This post is me stating that I reject dynamic equivalence translation theory because of the logical outcomes of the method. The method is the problem.

The method bothers me because God inspired the biblical authors to write certain words, and translations can only be identified as the word of God insofar as “they faithfully represent the original” (Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Article X). No translation is perfect. No theory is perfect. But let me give you an example of the logical outcomes of dynamic equivalence.

I preface this example with the simple observation that the gospel of John makes heavy use of the words “truth” and “glory.” In How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler teaches that we must come to terms with the author we’re reading. What this means is that we want to understand how the author uses his words. Truth and glory are both major themes in the Gospel of John, and in order to understand how John uses those words, we will want to pay careful attention to where they occur and recur. In order to come to terms with him as an author, we must be able to see his distinctive use of significant language. That is, the commonplace uses of significant words are going to provoke less thought than the out of the ordinary uses of significant language.

Thus, it is interesting that when the Jews are going after the man born blind after Jesus has healed him, they say to him in John 9:24,

“Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”

This is an interesting assertion, is it not? John presents the Jews assuming that God is on their side, that Jesus is clearly not from God, and that God will receive glory when the man supposedly born blind states what, in their view, accords with reality: that Jesus is a sinner.

We learn a lot from John about the Jews in that phrase “give glory to God.” They clearly think they are honoring God, which in turn implies that they think Jesus is not honoring God.

Now how would someone who has embraced dynamic equivalence translation philosophy render that phrase? We don’t have to guess. Here is John 9:24 in the NET Bible:

“Promise before God to tell the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.”

The problem here is not that the translator failed his vocab quizzes. It’s not that he has confused the meaning of doxa (glory) with aletheia (truth). The problem is that the translator has decided to render what (he thinks) the text means rather than translate the words of the author. In doing this, the translator has eliminated one of John’s key words, removing this occurrence of glory, and created a non-existent instance of another one of John’s key words by putting truth in the text when John did not have it there.

The NET Bible is heavily footnoted, and in their footnotes they tell you what they’ve done. They put John’s actual words in the footnote. Why not put John’s actual words in the text and what they think it means in the footnote? In this case, the inspired words are in the footnote, and the translator has put the fallible interpretation in the text. Backwards, no?

People may have to give some thought to the phrase “give glory to God.” Human beings are made in the image of God. They have enormous capacity. Give them a literal, wooden translation, and they might be forced to slow down and think as they read. They might ponder. They might begin to recognize certain Johannine styles of phrasing things–if translators would give them John’s actual words.

“Promise before God to tell the truth” sounds like something we would say. It doesn’t sound like John. That is the problem.

Another example? R. G. Bratcher thinks that some references to Jesus being glorified in John are pointing to the resurrection of Jesus. On the basis of this interpretation, Bratcher suggests that rather than translating John’s words so that the reader can interpret them, the translator should embed his own interpretation in the translation. Thus, Bratcher argues that instead of rendering ἐδοξάσθη as “glorified” in John 7:39 (“Jesus was not yet glorified”) and 12:16 (“when Jesus was glorified”), the translator should communicate that “Jesus’ resurrection shows his divine status” (R. G. Bratcher, “What Does ‘Glory’ Mean in Relation to Jesus?: Translating doxa and doxazo in John,” Bible Translator 42 [1991]: 407).

Contra Bratcher, since the reference to Jesus’ glorification is not explained in these texts, readers of John’s gospel should have the opportunity to determine what “glorification” means in John 7:39 and 12:16 by “coming to terms with John,” that is, by analyzing for themselves what “glorification” means in the rest of the Gospel. This will be a matter of dispute, but it could be that these references to Jesus’ glorification point to the cross rather than the resurrection. If Jesus’ glorification in John 12:23, 28; 13:31–32; 17:1, 5 is the cross, his glorification in 7:39 and 12:16 may also be the cross rather than the resurrection.

These two examples come not from novices but from supposed experts. These experts have decided that rather than rendering what John wrote in his gospel, it is their place to render what they think John meant. Note, too, that this is not a case of these words or concepts being overly technical. These are not recondite vocables that most people have never before read. The terms “truth,” “glory,” and “glorification” are all over the place in the Bible and in every-day speech.

If I am going to read the Bible in an English translation, I want to read the words of the biblical author.

And I know the kinds of examples that are going to be thrown at me about necessary adjustments going from language to language. But changing something like the very literal “a name to him John” in John 1:6 to “his name was John” is not the kind of thing anyone is rejecting. Nor is that kind of thing represented in the examples above. I am rejecting the change of one understandable phrase, “give glory to God,” to another, “promise before God to tell the truth.” I am rejecting the change from “Jesus was not yet glorified” to “Jesus was not yet resurrected.”

One final example. A stock expression in the Psalms is an idiom that, rendered literally, would be something like “to tread the bow” or “to walk the bow” (e.g., Ps 7:12; 11:2; etc.). Even the most literal translations render this along the lines of “bend the bow.” But stop and think about the expression “tread the bow.” What does that mean? Doesn’t it give a visual image? Can you see the warrior placing one end of the bow on the ground, holding the other end in his hand, and stepping on the bow in the middle to string the bow? Can you see the warrior tread the bow?

Now what does poetry do? Doesn’t poetry enable us to see the world as it really is by describing it to us in fresh ways? The removal of the visual image of the warrior treading the bow removes color and life from David’s poetry.

Learn the Biblical languages if you can. If you can’t, stick with the literal translations, and be suspicious of the experts who tell you that words like “literal” really aren’t that helpful.

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Are Your Doubts Consistent?

My friend Greg Sykes sent me this quote from Tim Keller in response to some of the comments on “Why I Believe the Bible“:

“The only way to doubt Christianity rightly and fairly is to discern the alternate belief under each of your doubts and then to ask yourself what reason you have for believing it. It would be inconsistent to require more justification for Christian belief than you do your own.”

Amen.

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Why I Believe the Bible

A friend of mine–I’m not sure he shares my views–asked me why I believe that the Bible is God’s revelation. Having typed up my answer, I decided to post it here as well:

I grew up with believing parents, and we went to believing churches. Unfortunately, the Bible was held up as authoritative more than taught or studied. In AP English my senior year of High School I was confronted with people who lived what they believed perhaps more radically than anyone I had ever met: the existentialists. Many of them were so certain that we are bubbles of nothingness on a sea of emptiness that they took their own lives. I had professed faith and been baptized when I was 7 or 8, but for the first time, I think, I was face to face with people who weren’t just hypocrites; they weren’t just flirting around with sin, either, they were rejecting the big story of the Bible and living out the implications of their rejection.

I didn’t know what to think or believe for about 2 weeks. The Lord brought me through, and I distinctly remember the day behind the high school when I prayed something like this: “God, if you don’t exist, there is no reason to live; life is just pain, and it might as well end. I can’t live without you. I need you. I want to trust you, to believe in you, to know you.” The Lord answered my prayer. I know he did: I felt a joy I could not explain, a joy whose only source could have been the Lord. And it was like a heavy cloud lifted, the sun broke through, and I felt joy and peace fuller than I’d known before.

I implicitly trusted the Bible. I had read it cover to cover my junior year of high school, and when the prophets said “Thus saith the Lord,” I believed them. The Bible formed in me, without me realizing it, the view of the Bible I still hold today. For instance, when Moses reads what he has so far to the people in Exod 24:7, the people recognize that though Moses has read this to them, it’s the Lord who spoke, and it’s authoritative: “. . . he . . . read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient'” (Exod 24:7). Gobs of texts like this one convinced me that when I read the Bible, I was reading God’s word.

I think the same thing that happened to the Israelites listening to Moses happened to me. They recognized that God had spoken, and the Spirit of God confirmed that recognition. They recognized that God was to be obeyed. I saw the same things they saw, even if I couldn’t have explained it at the time.

So going into college, the Bible had taught me what I was to think about it. I didn’t have the words or theological categories to explain it this way then, but I know I believed the Bible was God’s word. And I know that it wasn’t a result of indoctrination. It was from my reading of the Bible.

These things were confirmed as I studied and memorized the Bible in college. I remember standing in the office of one of my English profs who was incredulous that I actually believed the Bible. He said to me, “All of modern science is against you.” I responded in the language of the Bible: “If God is for me, who can be against me.” Reflecting on that since, I think the biblical authors are far more trustworthy than the modern scientists with all their scandals and sleights of hand.

At DTS we were exposed to unbelieving scholarship, but we were also exposed to believing scholarship. I get the impression that at many liberal schools, you only hear the liberal (unbelieving) side of things, and no one even bothers with the conservative (believing) scholars.

I think that my belief that the Bible is the word of God was probably most strongly challenged during the PhD program. It wasn’t challenged, though, by arguments so much as by the “peer pressure” of the academic guild. That is, the initiates in the guild weren’t producing evidence, logic, and an overwhelming case against the Bible. It was more like an unspoken entrance requirement: if you want to join the ranks of the real scholars, you can’t believe that the Bible is inerrant, and you can’t hold that the attributions of authorship are accurate. Those ideas aren’t allowed here. I actually had an editor of a semi-evangelical journal tell me that I needed to become a real scholar and stop betraying so many evangelical assumptions about the Bible in my writing.

Never, mind you, was any of this actually argued. The strongest pull seems to come from things so deeply entrenched that they don’t need to be argued.

I was disgusted by the “peer pressure” from the esteemed guild to reject the Bible. I was also enormously helped by Tom Schreiner, whose candor about these things, confidence in the Bible, and willingness to bear the reproach of the cross that attaches to believing the Bible made him a rock through the storm.

Helped through the storm by the Schreiner-rock, I began to look more closely at what I thought were the hardest cases. I was not at all impressed with the actual argument against the historical accuracy and reliability of the Bible. In fact, I think you would have to know far more than any human being could ever know to be in position to declare definitively that the Bible is in error. Would it be harsh to summarize the argument against the Bible as the whining of rebels?

So I think that too often the rejection of inerrancy is both un-historical and un-critical. It’s un-historical because it imposes on the primary sources foreign assumptions that prevent those sources from being properly understood, and it’s un-critical because the argument is so insulated by the unbelieving claque that the merits of the case aren’t ever really heard. So you have a one-sided, un-critical, un-historical, bad argument against the Bible, and this bad argument often winds up evaluating the morality of the Bible by some foreign ethic. Where did this foreign ethic get its authority? Or if it’s not ethical, it’s some “law of history”–where did that law of history get its authority?–those who reject the Bible have their own Sinai experience, it seems. And if it’s not ethics or history, it’s archeology, in which I have very little confidence. But somehow the tenuous conclusions of the archeologists with their fragmentary remains become so definitively authoritative that the Bible can be condemned as in error. I’m not buying it.

One final thought: I remember Dr. Danny Akin telling a story about how he was once asked why he believes what he believes about the Bible. I resonate with the answer Dr. Akin gave. He said that he had trusted in Jesus as his Lord and Savior and sought to be a disciple of Jesus, so it made sense to him to believe about the Bible what Jesus believed about the Bible. Jesus said God’s word is truth. He said not a jot or tittle would pass away, and that heaven and earth will pass away but his own words won’t.

The word of the Lord will stand forever.

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The Most Important App Available

Fighter Verses for your mobile device.

Hide it in your heart. Talk of them when you rise up and lie down, when you sit in your house and walk by the way.

Don’t waste your life. And don’t waste the childhood of your little ones.

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A New Fragment of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter

David Brakke has published a signifcant essay with a fresh translation of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter:

“A New Fragment of Athanasius’s 39th Festal Letter: Heresy, Apocrypha, and the Canon.”  Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010): 47-66.

He points to some of the implications of a “new fragment of the Coptic text” of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter:

“When I read the letter in the mid 1990s, I argued that Athanasius’s promotion of a biblical canon supported a parish-based, episcopally-centered spirituality in opposition to other forms of Christian authority, namely, the teacher and the martyr. I still think that is the case, but the new fragment does suggest that I underestimated the specifically anti-heretical intent of the letter and of Athanasius’s canon. That is, Athanasius promoted a biblical canon not only—as I argued earlier—to support one form of Christian piety, social formation, and authority in opposition to others, but also to refute the specific teachings of persons and groups that he deemed ‘impious’ and ‘heretics.’”[1]

As for what’s new in the new fragment:

“ . . . . These other passages do not, however, include brief descriptions of each heresy’s distinct false teaching as the new fragment does.”[2]

“While the beginning and end of the fragment merely extend or supplement what we already knew of Athanasius’s argument, the brief catalogue of heresies with the biblical passages that refute them in its central section is genuinely new . . .”[3]

Brakke makes an observation that supports the notion that the early church rejected pseudepigraphy/pseudonymity, writing of Athanasius:

“. . . he devotes considerable attention to two particular themes. . . . The second theme is that no ‘apocryphal’ books really come from Isaiah, Moses, Enoch, or any other authoritative figure. They all published their teaching openly, and any ‘apocryphal’ books attributed to them must be recent inventions of heretics.”[4]

This comment adds to a lot of other evidence that when early figures in the church wrongly cited extra-canonical books as Scripture, they did so thinking that the attribution to some ancient inspired prophet was genuine. In other words, had they known the document was pseudepigraphical or pseudonymous, they would have rejected it. To my thinking this adds to the evidence that there were clear notions of authorship in the ancient world, that Jesus accepted the traditional claims about who wrote the books of the OT (e.g., Moses wrote the Pentateuch, Isaiah wrote Isaiah, Daniel wrote Daniel, etc.), and that the early church followed Jesus on this point.

Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter is not saying something new about the canon. Rather, Athanasius sees himself re-stating ancient tradition. Brakke writes:

“As Athanasius and others like him present the matter, when legitimate officeholders of the church (bishops) teach, they are faithfully passing on what Christ told the disciples, who subsequently informed their Episcopal successors, and so they are not really teaching at all. Athanasius claims this about himself in our letter: ‘I have not written these things as if I were teaching, for I have not attained such a rank. . . . I thus have informed you of everything that I heard from my father,’ that is, Bishop Alexander of Alexandria.”[5]

Athanasius was a shepherd seeking to protect the flock from wolves:

“Although most scholars remain focused on the lists of books, the greater importance of the letter is that it reveals the role of canon formation in supporting one form of Christian piety and authority and undermining others. . . . The new fragment . . . makes clear that in establishing a defined canon Athanasius sought to undermine not only a general spirituality of free intellectual inquiry and its academic mode of authority, but also the specific false doctrines to which he believed such a spirituality gave rise.”[6]

A fresh translation of the entire letter, with a revised version of the new Coptic Fragment, follows on pages 57–66.


[1] David Brakke, “A New Fragment of Athanasius‘s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter: Heresy, Apocrypha, and the Canon,” Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010): 48.

[2] Ibid., 50.

[3] Ibid., 51.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 53.

[6] Ibid., 56.

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Are There Errors in the Bible?

I don’t think there are errors in the Bible, and I think that valid explanations can be given for difficulties that do exist. I started a new sermon series on Ezra – Nehemiah this morning at Kenwood, and I had planned to comment on some numerical discrepancies in the text. Because of time, I decided to cut this whole section from the sermon, so here’s the portion of my manuscript that got passed right over:

The material in Ezra 2 is repeated almost exactly in Nehemiah 7, but there are some differences between the two chapters. One of those differences is that in Nehemiah 7:7 there are 12 names. Many scholars think this indicates that there were probably 12 names in Ezra 2:2, and one of the names was not copied by mistake.[1] If this is correct, the fact that there were 12 leaders of the returnees represents an intentional reconstitution of the 12 tribes of Israel. Even if this wasn’t originally the case with Ezra 2:2, it is the case with Nehemiah 7:7.

Let me be very clear about what I’m saying here. I am not saying that the author of the book of Ezra made an error. I am saying that it appears that those who copied the book of Ezra made an error. This kind of thing is why evangelicals say that the Bible is inerrant in the autographs. An autograph is the hand-writing of some famous person. The autographa or autographs of the biblical manuscripts are the hand-written copies made by the authors themselves. We believe that the authors of the books of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit kept the authors from making errors. God is true and trustworthy, and what he communicated in the Scriptures through the biblical authors is true and trustworthy. So when we say that the Bible is inerrant in the autographs, we are simply saying that God did not inspire every scribe who copied the Bible so as to preserve them from error.

This portion of Ezra, with the numbers at the end of chapter 1 and the names in chapter 2, seems to have been a challenge for the scribes. The reason for this is that when numbers were written in ancient Hebrew, they used a system of symbols that might not have been clear to later copyists. Derek Kidner refers to “many other indications in the Old Testament that numbers were the bane of copyists.”[2] In the same way, the similarity of many Hebrew names could have caused scribes difficulty as they copied the text. We see difficulty with numbers in two ways in this section of Ezra:

First, if we add up the numbers of vessels in Ezra 1:9–10, they total 2,499, less than half the total of 5,400 given in Ezra 1:11. This could be because of scribal error,[3] or it could be that though the total number is complete, the itemization is only an excerpt.[4]

Second, if we add up the numbers in Ezra 2, we get a total of 29,818. The numbers in Nehemiah 7 total 31,089. The number in the Greek translation, 1 Esdras, totals 30,143. But all three lists state that the total number is 42,360 (Ezra 2:64; Neh 7:66; 1 Esdras 5:41). Kidner writes, “There is general agreement that the divergences are copying errors, arising from the special difficulty of understanding or reproducing numerical lists.”[5]

How should we respond to this kind of information? One way to respond is the way Bart Ehrman does: “What good is it to say that the autographs (i.e., the originals) were inspired? We don’t have the originals! We have only error-ridden copies . . .”[6] If you are looking for excuses to rebel against the Bible, you can go Ehrman’s way.

Another way to respond to this kind of information is to look at what we have and ask if what we have is enough to enable us to get at the message of Ezra? So the numbers of the temple vessels don’t add up, a name appears to have fallen out, and the numbers in Ezra 2 don’t match the total given at the end of the list. There may be valid explanations for each. The lists may be excerpts while the totals are complete. The copyists may have bungled the job. Can we understand the text in spite of these difficulties? I think we can. In fact, I think that going Ehrman’s way would be as silly as receiving a reliable written message from someone you trust, warning you about a nuclear attack, and rejecting the message because the word nuclear is misspelled. Would you risk being nuked because of a spelling error? Would you risk going to hell because there are difficulties (difficulties that have plausible explanations) in these lists in the Bible?

These difficulties do not keep us from understanding the message of the text. We can see, in spite of the question about the numbers of the vessels, that God kept his promise (Jer 27:21-22) and restored those temple vessels. We can see, in spite of the question of the numbers of the returnees, that the people of Israel are restored to their land.


[1] So Mark A. Throntveit, Ezra-Nehemiah, Interpretation (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1992), 18; Kidner, Ezra and Nehemiah, 37; H. G. M. Williamson, Ezra, Nehemiah, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco: Word, 1985), 24.

[2] Kidner, Ezra and Nehemiah, 38.

[3] So Charles Fensham, The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 46–47.

[4] See Kidner, Ezra and Nehemiah, 35 n. 1.

[5] Ibid., 43. Cf. also Fensham, Ezra and Nehemiah, 57.

[6] Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 7.

For further reading, see my essay on inerrancy: “Still Sola Scriptura: An Evangelical Perspective on Scripture.”

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Now Available: The Sacred Text

Newly released from Gorgias Press:

Michael F. Bird and Michael W. Pahl, eds. The Sacred Text: Excavating the Texts, Exploring the Interpretations, and Engaging the Theologies of the Christian Scriptures. Gorgias Précis Portfolios 7. Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias, 2010.

Contents

Introduction: From Manuscript to MP3 – Michael F. Bird

The History of the Texts

The Septuagint as Scripture in the Early Church – Karen H. Jobes

Scripture in the Second Century – Tomas Bokedal

Scripture and Tradition: Seeking a Middle Path – Michael W. Pahl

Scripture and Canon – John C. Poirier

The Interpretation of the Texts

Scripture and Biblical Criticism – Jamie A. Grant

Scripture and Theological Exegesis – Thorsten Moritz

Scripture and Postmodern Epistemology – Robert Shillaker

Scripture and New Interpretive Approaches: Feminist & Post-Colonial – Jennifer G. Bird

The Theological Status of the Texts as Scripture

Catholic Doctrine on Scripture: Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Interpretation – Brant Pitre

Scripture in Eastern Orthodoxy: Canon, Tradition, and Interpretation -George Kalantzis

Still Sola Scriptura: An Evangelical Perspective on Scripture – James M. Hamilton Jr.

The Word as Event: Barth and Bultmann on Scripture – David Congdon

Can be ordered here.

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