“The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text”: A Review Article -- By: Daniel B. Wallace
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“The Greek New Testament
According to the Majority Text”:
A Review Article
The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, edited by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Pp. xlvi + 810. $13.95.
A. T. Robertson, that superb grammarian of a generation now past, once wrote that “The Greek New Testament is still the Torchbearer of Light and Progress for the world” (The Minister and His Greek New Testament [Nashville: Broadman, 1924] 116). If this be true, then any light we can gain on the text of the Greek NT will certainly help us to gain light from it. The conservative student of Scripture should be especially eager to get his hands on anything which helps to recover the very words of the autographs.
With this perspective in mind, Zane Hodges, professor of NT Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, and Arthur Farstad, executive New Testament editor of the New KJV, have edited a Greek NT which is based on the majority of extant MSS. According to the jacket of the book, “Their carefully edited text marks the first time in this century that the Greek New Testament has been produced using the vast bulk of extant manuscripts rather than the small body of Egyptian manuscripts that form the basis of the currently popular 3rd edition of the United Bible Societies text and the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland text.” Regardless of which text-critical theory one holds to, it is difficult not to be impressed by this volume. If it is gratuitous to claim that the reading of the autographs will always be found in the Byzantine minuscules (a claim which the editors never explicitly make), at least, the printing of the Majority Text will certainly make dialogue with the Hodges-Farstad view easier. The most casual reader will be struck immediately with the fact that this is not another reprint of the Textus Receptus (disarming to some extent those who have charged Hodges with this view. As recently as 1978 Hodges’ view has been misunderstood by no less a scholar than Gordon Fee who asked, “If they [i.e., Hodges et al] really mean majority rule, are they ready to give up the TR at such non-superficial variants as Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7–8 (where a weak minority of Greek MSS supports the TR)?” (“Modern Textual Criticism and the Revival of the
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Textus Receptus,” JETS 21  23). A glance at the Majority Text will reveal that these TR readings are indeed rejected because they are not found in the majority of MSS).
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