Modern Textual Criticism And The Majority Text: A Response -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 21:2 (Jun 1978)
Article: Modern Textual Criticism And The Majority Text: A Response
Author: Zane C. Hodges

Modern Textual Criticism And The Majority Text:
A Response

Zane C. Hodges*

Permit me to begin with an announcement that should be of general interest to NT scholars. A new critically-revised edition of the Greek NT with critical apparatus is now well advanced in preparation and is projected for publication possibly in 1978, more probably in 1979. The project is under the editorship of Arthur Farstad of Dallas and myself and is being sponsored by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The new text will be entitled The New Testament According to the Majority Text and will seek to present as accurately as possible—within the limits of our present knowledge—that form of Greek text that predominates in the surviving Greek MSS. As all specialists in this area will know, such a text will by no means be identical with the so-called Textus Receptus (TR) but will vary from it in a substantial number of places. For example, the famous Comma Johanneum, the introduction of which into the TR by Erasmus is a standard piece of lore in text-critical handbooks, will be eliminated from our text. So will Acts 8:37 and many other readings that lack adequate MS attestation. For that reason the new text should not be regarded as an edition of the TR but rather as a new revision of the Greek text based on principles quite diverse from those that underlie currently popular editions such as Nestle-Aland and UBSGNT. Two levels of apparatus will accompany the new text that will be designed to exhibit variations within the majority text itself as well as all the significant differences between our text and the third edition of UBSGNT, which equals the 26th edition of Nestle-Aland.

Not everyone, however, will greet this announcement with applause. In fact, in an article entitled “Modern Textual Criticism and the Revival of the Textus Receptus,” published in JETS 21/1 (March, 1978) 19-33, Gordon Fee took me to task for my position in this field. I am indebted to Fee’s personal courtesy for allowing me to have a prepublication copy of that paper and to study it. I trust that he will feel that my response to him here is marked by the courtesy that is appropriate when two Christians, equally committed to the authority and integrity of God’s Word, have a sincere difference of opinion.

Having said that, I nevertheless feel constrained to confess my dismay that Fee has so inadequately represented the position that I actually hold. Perhaps, however, he should not be faulted for this since my own writings are not numerous and he was constrained to fill in the gaps in my thought with the views of others. Hopefully, therefore, this paper

*Zane Hodges is professor of New Testament literature and exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminar...

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