Kloha Versus Montgomery: A Tale Of Two Different Bibles -- By: Jack Cascione
Kloha Versus Montgomery: A Tale Of Two Different Bibles
Lutheran Pastor and Art Professor (retired)
Currently artist, author, and biblical researcher
The debate was titled “Textual and Literary Judgments on the Biblical Text—What Happens to the Lutheran Commitment to Scriptural Inerrancy?” In this title the word “Lutheran” was a bit parochial. The debate was really directed at all Christians, but Lutherans rarely see themselves as spokesmen for the broader Christian community. It should have been titled: “Is Manuscript Evidence Disproving Inerrancy of the Bible?”
It is difficult to summarize what actually took place. Within a period of little more than three hours both presenters spoke from detailed 20-page-plus papers, gave 15 minute rebuttals, and then addressed written questions from the audience. They were analyzing and responding to hundreds of pages of prior information, including Kloha’s 719-page dissertation (which this writer read).
Those who watch the full debate online, without reading the controverted material, may have difficulty following the issues the speakers were addressing and the nuances of their arguments. Doctor Kloha’s attempt to avoid addressing the topic of inerrancy makes it even more difficult.
The question and answer session gave some clarity to what was really taking place. It was Dr. Jeffery Kloha, the exegete/technician, versus Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, the systematician/logician/philosopher. Kloha was the fox, and Montgomery was the hound.
In the final analysis Kloha does not understand or at least comprehend the implications of what he is saying. He repeatedly accused Montgomery of not understanding him, to which Montgomery replied, “No, it is you who does not understand me.”
I asked a 34-year-old layman with a Ph.D. in engineering, who was sitting near me, what he thought he just heard. He said Kloha showed us fragments from obscure manuscripts and talked about how involved the process is when attempting to piece together the New Testament. Montgomery, on the other hand, told us how reliable the text is based on excellent manuscripts, which are historic evidence for what we believe about the Bible.
For myself, someone who has studied variant readings in 9 different Greek texts for the past 30-plus years, I was fascinated to hear and watch Kloha’s presentation. He is picking around the hidden edges of manuscript research. His obscure comment about Semitism in Revelation was absolutely correct, and of far more significance than he realizes. However, his methodology, thoroughgoing eclecticism, which values all ancient manuscripts of the New Testament as equals, is a disaster. For example, this methodology taken to its extreme, as Kloha ...
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