Polemics & Exchanges

On Textual Errors

Aaron D. Wolf’s defense of the Byzantine or Majority Text of the New Testament, which he calls the Ecclesiastical Text (“A Trip to Smart-Mouth College,” Views, February), was thoughtful and well written. There are errors in the Alexandrian tradition and unique true readings in the Majority Text. For in- stance, the two standard critical editions, UBS and Nestle-Aland, put brackets around Matthew 12:47 because it is omitted by both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, although it is necessary for the sense. Classicist Gunther Zuntz called for a methodical comparison of the two traditions in “The Byzantine Text in New Testament Criticism,” Journal of Theological Studies 43 (1942), pp. 25- 30; and Opuscula Selecta (1972), pp. 278-283. There are now editions of the Greek New Testament with the Majority Text: Hodges and Farstad (1982; second edition, 1985) and Robinson and Pierpont (1991). They differ in many places from the Textus Receptus, which is basically because of Erasmus. A response to Zuntz’s challenge is long overdue.

I am puzzled, however, by Mr. Wolf’s statements about the Comma Johanneum, I John 5:7. He writes, “the King James Version translated that passage, from the Ecclesiastical Text.” The passage is discussed by Bruce Metzger in A Textual Commentary on the...

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