I promised to continue responding to Sean McDonald (who called the DL) and the article he posted on the Puritanboard. He asked,
3. Is it just defense of the Johannine Comma which earns your stern rebuke, or do you include Byzantine priority and (general) defense of the TR in said rebuke?
I think I’ve been very clear that this entire discussion began because I “draw the line” at the Comma Johanneum as far as serious scholarship is concerned. I simply do not see how a person can have a full grasp of the current state of the question and continue to defend the Comma outside of a pre-commitment to a particular theological tradition that has nothing to do with the history of the text. I think we have seen this in the responses offered by supporters of the Comma on the board and surely in the kind of rhetoric that I have found in Stauffer’s writings.
Further, I think it is important to differentiate between those who attempt to support the Textus Receptus as an established textual platform and those who support Byzantine priority (such as Dr. Robinson). Dr. Robinson is dealing with the modern textual situation; those defending the TR (however they decide to define it, if they are even aware of the issues involved) often do so by using “majority text” arguments, but if they truly knew the history of their own text, they would realize they cannot do so. Hence, the only real defense of the TR is a theological/historical one, one that I believe is fraught with special pleading and circular arguments.
4. On what basis did the (non-KJV) Continental Reformers argue for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma (since it was not adherence to the KJV that was driving their argumentation, as could possibly be said for post-Westminster British Calvinists)?
I would have to ask for specifics here, as I do not know what Mr. McDonald is referring to and I would not like to attempt to hazard a guess. But once again, as I explained on the Dividing Line, none of these men are overly relevant witnesses today for the simple reason that any argument they would have made was not based upon any meaningful textual foundation in comparison to what is available to us today. Further, I have to wonder: is there something wrong in noting that textual criticism is a specialized field and that those who have never prepared to discuss it might not be in a real good position to offer weighty opinions on it? I mean, did the Westminster Assembly go out and do Jay Leno style “Jay Walking” segments to get a nice “broad, catholic” view of such issues as the procession of the Holy Spirit or the nature of justification just to avoid any inkling that maybe specialized study goes into doing good theology? If we recognize that it would be better to be John Owen than Dave Hunt on theology, why is it that everybody’s opinion on textual critical matters, even if they are not particularly trained in that area, are “equal”? Isn’t this the reverse of giving particular theological weight to a theological statement made by a textual critic?
Continue Reading →