“Queen Anne…” And All That: A Response -- By: Wilbur N. Pickering

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 21:2 (Jun 1978)
Article: “Queen Anne…” And All That: A Response
Author: Wilbur N. Pickering

“Queen Anne…” And All That: A Response

Wilbur N. Pickering*

On pages 377-381 of JETS 20/4 (December, 1977) Richard A. Taylor offers a review of my recent book, The Identity of the New Testament Text. At the bottom of p. 380 he raises the possibility that I fear misrepresentation. Indeed, on p. 143 of my book I do imply such a fear, and it seems to me that Taylor’s review furnishes ample justification for my apprehension. I find it difficult to understand how he could read my book with attention and still express himself as he does. In the interest of truth and fair play I should like to comment on the more salient infelicities in the review.

Most seriously misleading is the representation that I am calling for a return to the Textus Receptus (TR). In the first paragraph of the review we read:

True progress can be made, Pickering feels, only when scholarship returns to the “majority” Greek text as (usually) represented by the printed TR. Other recent writers have also called for a return to the TR; one thinks immediately of Edward F. Hills, Zane C. Hodges (who wrote the foreword to Pickering’s book), T. H. Brown, D. A. Waite, J. J. Ray and David Otis Fuller.

While men like Brown, Fuller and Hills do call for a return to the TR as such, Hodges and I do not. We are advocating what Kurt Aland has called the majority text.1 The whole of chap. 7 (in my book) is given to a presentation of how I propose to determine the identity of the text, and on p. 177 I plainly state that the TR will probably require correction in over a thousand places.

In the second paragraph the reviewer welcomes my criticism of the Westcott-Hort (W-H) textual theory, observes that I add little that is new (which is true), lists some inadequacies of the W-H theory, and ends by saying, “Surely Pickering does not think that a relisting of these problems argues ipso facto for a return to the TR.” Taylor is quite right—I certainly do not think that a mere relisting would argue any such thing, and my book neither says nor implies that I do. Although the weaknesses of the W-H theory have been pointed out by many over the years, I believe my fourth chapter is the most organized and compact (yet reasonably thorough) presentation of them that has appeared. Although scholars like Aland, Colwell and Zuntz have criticized the W-H theory at various points, to my mind they have not accepted the logical consequences of their work. As I point out on p. 166 n. 9, the major

*Wilbur Pickering is currently in charge of public relations for Wycliffe Bible Translators/Summer Institute of Linguistics in Brasilia, Brazil.

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