Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
What An Edit Job Is This? Part V
12/11/2004 - James WhiteI have already documented the problems with the first attempt Dave Hunt made to remove the testimony of Acts 13:48 in my open letter to him. Here's the specific section of that work. It should be noted I replied to each of the points Hunt offered in the original edition of WLIT? And though Hunt failed to even attempt to respond to the refutation of his materials, he surely dropped his "best" translation suggestion like a hot potato when he learned the Jehovah's Witnesses had beaten him to that "best" translation. This can be seen in his attempts to respond to Acts 13:48 in Debating Calvinism. Ironically, Hunt presents the same information in slightly different forms twice in the book, first on pages 103-104, then again on pages 369-370. He has dropped the "best translation" of the NWT (why? What made it not the best any longer? Hunt refuses to say). Likewise, no reference is made to the Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon, nor is any explanation ever offered by Hunt in response to these facts. They are simply passed over in silence. However, the same error of usage is repeated: "Yet none of the seven other usages of tasso in the New Testament connotates a divine decree from eternity past. Had that been what Luke meant, he would have used prooridzo (predestinated)" (p. 103). Despite being corrected here, Hunt doggedly perseveres in his error. Only one of the other seven usages is parallel in form at all to Acts 13:48 (Romans 13:1, where God establishes or ordains authorities), and even then it differs in one important aspect (present form of eimi vs. the imperfect, impacting the tense meaning of the periphrastic). Quite simply, noting that tasso has a semantic range of meaning, but only in Acts 13:48 is it used in such a fashion as to refer to the reality of God's eternal decree, is a linguistic and logical non sequitur. When John uses the imperfect of eimi to refer to Christ's timeless existence before the beginning in John 1:1, does that have to be the predominate usage of the imperfect of eimi for it to be true in that unique context? The application of Hunt's made up rules of interpretation based upon his self profession, "I do not read Greek. It might as well be Chinese" would turn the text of the New Testament to mush.
Secondly, how Hunt can opine, with a straight face, to know what Luke would have written in Greek had he meant God ordained men to eternal life is simply beyond the bounds of what can be taken seriously. Dave Hunt has no earthly idea what Luke's usage of the language would be, nor his reasons for choosing the terms he did. For someone who had already been shown to have adopted (we assume in ignorance) the translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses while missing the appearance of a definition in a Greek lexicon he was ostensibly citing (who then drops those claims without apology or retraction) while at the same time offering this kind of insight into what terms Luke would have used is quite simply insulting to the reader.
So, what does the new "expanded and updated" version of WLIT? do with Acts 13:48? Without looking anyone familiar with the preceding discussions will be able to predict that at some point it will be said that Acts 13:48 is not clear enough to contradict the "hundreds of other passages" that, though never exegeted, just happen to teach Dave Hunt's tradition of synergistic salvation. And that would be a correct prediction. But, we have three full pages now offered on Acts 13:48, and sadly, new heights are reached in offering the worst possible arguments, all in a very sad campaign to obscure the teaching of Holy Scripture. Yes, of course, the previously refuted information is gone. No more do we have the idea of the "best" translation being "disposed." Liddell and Scott has disappeared as well, and, of course, no notes are provided acknowledging the previous errors. But what is added, believe it or not, is even worse than what had appeared originally! Fallacious argumentation strongly reminiscent of the worst of Rome's attempts to create Aramaic originals just to get around the reading of the inspired text take the place of these previous faux pas! Hunt truly throws his integrity off a cliff with this extended effort to avoid what he calls the Calvinists' "best" passage (an assertion that itself is simply laughable).
It will take some space to fully document the melt-down of Hunt at this point, but one example will suffice for this portion of our response. Recalling Hunt's public proclamation that he does not know Greek, and his common allegation that those who study it, and dare to use that information in their teaching, are "elitists," Hunt once again wanders into the field, throwing about claims about the language without seemingly any recognition of the contradiction inherent in his actions. And in the process, glaring errors are inevitable. Mr. Hunt does not understand the syntax and usage of a periphrastic construction in the Greek language. And since he does not understand it, evidently, it is irrelevant as well. He continues to focus upon the meaning of ta,ssw (tasso) outside of its syntactical usage in Acts 13:48. The majority of his citations likewise ignore the same reality. It is sadly fascinating to watch the development of Hunt's excuses over the course of WLIT? #1, Debating Calvinism, and now WLIT? #2. The section in the original WLIT? was a page and a half: in this edition it is three pages. But in the original Hunt, the non-elitist who does not study Greek, simply asserted that Greek experts disagree, so who really knows? But by the time of his participation in Debating Calvinism his tone had changed, and there we are informed, "The Greek word translated 'ordained' is tetagmenoi, a nominative case, perfect tense, passive voice participle of tasso" (p. 103). Now, no one who can't read the language could ever tell the difference between a perfect passive participle and an active one or an aorist participle or probably anything else in the untranslated text. But evidently at the time Hunt did not realize he was causing a problem with the core of the argument offered by the small number of writers he was relying on: that the participle should be taken as a middle, not a passive (over against the common usage in periphrastics). So in the newest installment of Hunt's work on the passage, we have the citation of an anonymous commentary, filled with ellipses, in this form: "The verb…is middle…thus implies personal action…among those who had ranged themselves for eternal life." Now, aside from the problems in such an assertion to begin with (problems Hunt simply is not capable of understanding, due to his own choice to remain ignorant of the issues one would have to address), Hunt does not seem to realize he has once again contradicted himself. Those who wish to trust Hunt's research might take note:
|DC, p. 113||WLIT?#2, p. 264|
|passive voice participle of tasso||The verb…is middle|
Which is it? Now Hunt is wedded to the insistence that it is middle. Then again, given the outrageously silly assertion, which we will examine a bit later, that the first 15 chapters of Acts were written in Hebrew so that we really don't know what the "original" would be anyway, does the actual voice matter? In any case, it is just desperately sad to see a man who on such issues as the deity of Christ or the resurrection would never exhibit such desperate eisegesis and mangling of the text fall all over himself just to avoid the meaning when it steps upon the great idol of man, the concept of libertarian free will.