A Note From Our Editor: Kloha Revised? -- By: John Warwick Montgomery

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 13:1 (Apr 2016)
Article: A Note From Our Editor: Kloha Revised?
Author: John Warwick Montgomery


A Note From Our Editor: Kloha Revised?

John Warwick Montgomery

Readers of the “Stop Press” in the previous issue of the Global Journal will be interested to know that Dr. Kloha has provided his critics with a “revision” of the “Plastic Text” essay that has produced such negative reaction in and beyond the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Here follows our reaction.

A new version of the Kloha plastic-text essay has just been published as a chapter titled, “Theological and Hermeneutical Reflections on the Ongoing Revisions of the Novum Testamentum Graece,” in a composite volume, Listening to the Word of God: Exegetical Approaches, ed. Jorg Christian Salzmann et al. (Göttingen [Germany]: Editions Ruprecht, 2016), pp. 171-206—with a “Response” by Dr. Vilson Scholz, translation consultant and professor at the Concordia Seminary, São Leopoldo, Brazil (pp. 207-210).

I am informed that at the January, 2015, Lutheran Concerns Association Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Dr. Kloha publicly stated that he did not wish to retract anything in his “plastic text” essay as originally delivered in Oberursel, Germany, but that he regretted using the term “plastic” throughout the essay. It should therefore come as no surprise that Dr. Kloha’s revision of his essay offers nothing new: he has removed plastic-text language—though Scholz, in his essentially positive “Response” that properly corrects Kloha’s treatment of Francis Pieper, still uses it (e.g., “what Kloha calls a ‘plastic’ text”)—showing that Scholz is responding to the original essay, and thus that the first and second versions are not significantly different. The substance of Dr. Kloha’s position remains precisely the same in the Ruprecht version as in the Oberursel original:

  • Owing to the great number of manuscript texts of the NT and to the continuing possibility of finding more, there is no solid, standard text of the NT. Kloha: “We now have a text of the New Testament that makes no claim to being fixed and stable, for it is subject to continuous improvement and change” (p. 180).
  • This being the case, one must rely on the church, led by the Holy Spirit, to provide—through the labors of its specialists in lower/textual criticism, the text that at the moment constitutes revelatory Scripture.
  • Accepting, as he does, his doctoral mentor J. Keith Elliott’s philosophy of textual criticism, known as “thoroughgoing eclecticism,” that encourages the theologian to “select freely” amongst the available readings (including those poorly attested by the Greek manuscript tradition) those readings that best fit the literary context and style, the resultant Scripture becomes the product of the critic’s literary perspective.

The revision of the plastic...

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