Modern Textual Criticism And The Majority Text: A Surrejoinder -- 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 Surrejoinder
Author: Zane C. Hodges

Modern Textual Criticism And The Majority
Text: A Surrejoinder

Zane C. Hodges

The editor of JETS has very kindly allowed this final word of response to Gordon Fee’s rejoinder to my paper. The rejoinder is rather disappointing because in the main Fee seems to be merely reasserting positions that are seriously questionable.

For example, his rejoinder claims knowledge of the technical studies on the texts of Chrysostom and Photius but does not seem to be aware that they seriously undermine his previous assertions. Fee had claimed that “it is almost inevitable that the text form Chrysostom used first at Antioch and then later carried to Constantinople should become the predominant text of the Greek Church.”1 But with regard to the text of Chrysostom in Mark, Geerlings and New concluded that its variants from the TR were about the same as from Westcott-Hort and that “it is no more a typical representative of the late text (von Soden’s K) than it is of the Neutral text.”2 Obviously, Fee cannot claim Chrysostom’s influence as an “almost inevitable” factor in the spread of the so-called Byzantine text without calling the work of Geerlings and New into question. Does he really wish to do this?

In the same way, Birdsall’s studies in the text of Photius point clearly to the conclusion that no official, ecclesiastical text existed in the eastern empire even by the ninth century. Thus the supposition that the Byzantine text prevailed due to somebody’s influence is further undermined. Neither Chrysostom nor Photius is a good candidate for explaining the rise and dominance of the majority text. Is there some other candidate? If so, who?

This leads back to the major point under discussion. There seems to be no viable explanation for the existence of the majority text (even in the east!) other than the one proposed in our paper—namely, that the majority text is the result of a perfectly normal transmissional history from the times of the autographs. The point of quoting Hort in this connection was to show that even this great opponent of the majority form had to admit that “a majority of extant documents is more likely to represent [italics ours] a majority of ancestral documents at each stage of transmission than vice versa.”3 We are maintaining, therefore, the position that Hort acknowledges as presumptively “more likely.” The evidence that Hort felt led to another conclusion has all

been called into question—most notably, his theory of a Syrian recen-sion. Fee has ...

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