The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Text-Type: A Response to Selected Criticisms of the Byzantine-Priority Theory -- By: Maurice A. Robinson

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 11:1 (Fall 1993)
Article: The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Text-Type: A Response to Selected Criticisms of the Byzantine-Priority Theory
Author: Maurice A. Robinson


The Recensional Nature of the Alexandrian Text-Type:
A Response to Selected Criticisms
of the Byzantine-Priority Theory

Maurice A. Robinson

Professor of New Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27588

Many years have passed since the publication of the first edition of Wilbur Pickering’s The Identity of the New Testament Text.1 Over seventeen years have passed since the first publication of The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text, edited by Zane Hodges and Arthur Farstad.2 Over six years have passed since the publication of The New Testament in the Original Greek according to the Byzantine/Majority Textform, edited by the present writer and William Pierpont.3

During the intervening years, numerous critiques have been made of the Byzantine-priority (or “Majority Text”) theory as espoused by its varied partisans.4 A recent critique was presented by Daniel Wallace at the November 1993 ETS Annual Meeting.5 To the present writer’s knowledge, not one of these critiques have deterred pro-Byzantine (or “Majority Text”) adherents from their advocacy of what to most scholars must appear a wholly untenable position.

Why do pro-Byzantine scholars doggedly maintain their stance? Certainly not because of a saintly desire to suffer academic martyrdom or a masochistic mentality questing for persecution or deprecation; rather, the pro-Byzantine scholars persevere in their position because they are convinced that the case for the Byzantine-priority hypothesis is stronger and sounder than that proposed for the various eclectic alternatives as currently practiced. Utilizing the same data regarding the Greek manuscripts (MSS), Fathers, Lectionaries, and versions, pro-Byzantine scholars argue that the extant evidence directly suggests a hypothesis contrary to that currently practiced by modern eclectic critics. Significantly, virtually all current pro-Byzantine advocates were schooled first in current eclectic methodology and only slowly altered their stance after reflecting on the data as it had been interpreted to them. Few if any modern eclectics were first pro-Byzantine partisans who then altered their stance as a result of a fair evaluation of the extant data and hypotheses.

The present paper will demonstrate by example some of the reasoning which led the present writer to abandon the current hypotheses of modern eclecticism as well provide a response to some critic...

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