Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Talking About Greek Language Instruction

Yesterday Carl Sanders and I spoke with a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His name is David Miller and he's researching Greek language pedagogy and specifically how differentiated instruction can make Greek courses better! Obviously we were tuned in. By the way, David is studying under David Alan Black, who was also my major advisor at Southeastern. I'm glad to see that more students are engaged in the Doctor of Education program and working with faculty like Dave Black, who is without a doubt one of the best teachers I ever had. I learned more in his classes and from serving as his research assistant than I did from reading any set of books in seminary.

Congratulations, David. Work hard and the research you're preparing is going to have huge ramifications on getting people better prepared for the ministries God is calling them to.

Walking Out Of The Office Yesterday

We had a pretty wild storm up here in the capital yesterday. I could feel the rumbles from the thunder all the way in my office. When I packed up to go home and walked out the door to go to my car, I couldn't miss the rainbow up in the sky. It was absolutely beautiful! I hadn't forgot that God promised to never destroy the world again by way of flood, but I sure appreciate the reminder.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Interview With Henry Neufeld

I was interviewed by Henry Neufeld (Energion Publications) this evening. We had two topics we discussed: the Complutensian Polyglot Bible and training up leaders in the church. Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Teaching Biblical Hermeneutics In Uganda

Today marks the beginning of our BTC563 Biblical Hermeneutics course. I taught the same class last year to our first ever Ugandan cohort. I'm looking forward to getting to know these guys and gals over the next seven weeks. One of the hallmarks of the course is the students will be building their own "How to Study the Bible" course that they can use in their local churches or in a Bible institute. They can focus on a particular genre, corpus, or focus on Scripture in general. One of the things I really appreciated about the students from last year is how hard they worked on the discussions. Even though they had to engage the class in the discussion by Thursday, almost the entire class was engaged on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, all the way to the end of the week. The discussions were exceptional.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Responding To Author Queries

As you know, I've translated one of Antonio Piñero's books into English. The title is The Hidden Life of Jesus. That book should be available sometime in the next three or four months, I'm guessing. This weekend I went through some of the author queries sent by the publisher. It never fails in writing something–you always miss something. The nice thing is when you have someone who can put a fresh set of eyes on something you've looked at a million times. I sent the responses off yesterday evening, only a few hours after receiving the questions. Per the copy editor, the manuscript was pretty clean, meaning there wasn't a whole, whole lot that needed to be fixed. Still, though, when I see the things that would have made it in print were it not for the copy editor, I just thank God for what they do for authors. They have a hidden ministry, the type for which everyone is all the better, but only the authors/translators can truly appreciate. Antonio and I are very thankful for Mary over at Wipf and Stock for going through his manuscript and catching some typos.

Downtown At Night

Lesly and I took an early nap on Friday, which meant it was nearly impossible for me to go to sleep later. Lesly would have had no trouble at all, but I tend to suffer from insomnia if I take a long nap during the day. A little siesta is one thing. You might call it a power nap. But I was exhausted on Friday and somehow went into a sort of hibernation during the afternoon. When I awoke, I immediately realized what I had done and knew that I would be up for the long haul. So around 11 pm I asked Lesly if she wanted to go for a walk downtown. It's one of the hallmarks of living in the environs of the nation's capital. She didn't hesitate a second. "Yes! That's going to be fun. Let's go." And off we went. I snapped the picture below of Lesly in front of the executive offices. We left there, grabbed a little bite to eat, and then walked over to the Lincoln Memorial and just sat down against the steps and watched. There's just something about being downtown at night. Walking around the capital at night is one of the things my dad and I love to do when he's up visiting. Why at night? Well, things are calm, the city looks beautiful lit up, parking is free, there's no traffic, etc.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day was Sunday. I was out of town and unable to post anything. Here's a couple of my favorite pics ever. One of Lesly with her dad, and one with me and my dad. Enjoy. Love you, Dad.

Back From Philly

Lesly and I had an awesome time up in Philadelphia. We had some free nights saved up for a hotel room and decided to use them in the city of brotherly love. Father's Day weekend worked out really nice. There was a concert up there and, since we failed to see the graves at Christ Church cemetery last time we were up there, this was the perfect opportunity to do so. And who doesn't love a Philly cheesesteak? Awesome time. Awesome trip. My favorite part? Leaving the concert early and just grabbing some dinner on a quiet street with my girl. I love her so much!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Don't You Just Hate Autocorrect?

Ahhhhh. I have a love-hate relationship with autocorrect. There's no telling how many times it has helped me. But when it autocorrects the other way, what a pain! I just looked at the blog and saw Metzler where it should have read Metzger. Why can't my computer just know what I'm thinking? Anyways, it's fixed now.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Promise Erasmus Probably Never Made

Have you ever heard of the promise that Erasmus made about including 1 John 5:7? It goes like this: Erasmus did not include what is known as the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7) in his first two editions of the Greek New Testament. The verse reads: "For there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." He was challenged for not including it. Apparently, if countless publications are correct, is Erasmus made some sort of promise that he would include it if even a single manuscript could be produced that contained it. It's probably the most important promise in text-critical studies ever. But did Erasmus ever make such a promise? Well, let's just take a look at how the account appears in a few publications by some more than reputable names.
A. T. Robertson: "The third edition of 1522 introduced the passage in 1 John v: 7 because of a foolish promise made to Stunica (editor of the Complutensian. Ximenes died in 1517) that he would insert it if he found it in any Greek MS. When MS. 61 of the sixteenth century was produced, Erasmus rightly inferred that it had been translated from the Latin, but he put it in because of his rash promise and thus it got into the Textus Receptus" (An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament [Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014; reprint of 2nd ed. of 1928], 19).
J. K. Elliott: "Erasmus indicated that he would have included these words only if a Greek witness including them were produced. The discovery of the inclusion of the Comma in ms. 61 (sixteenth century) persuaded Erasmus to include the words in his third edition in order to silence his critics over what he regarded as a minor point. However, Erasmus rightly suspected that ms. 61 was recent (de Jonge 1980)" (J. Keith Elliott, "The Text of the New Testament," in A History of Biblical Interpretation, vol. 2 [Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2009], 251).
And Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman: "Among the criticisms leveled at Erasmus, the most serious appeared to be the charge of Stunica, one of the editors of Ximenes' Complutensian Polyglot, that his text lacked part of the final chapter of 1 John, namely the Trinitarian statement concerning 'the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth' (1 John 5.7–8, King James Version). Erasmus replied that he had not found any Greek manuscript that contained these words, though he had in the meanwhile examined several others besides those on which he relied when first preparing his text. In an unguarded moment, Erasmus may have promised that he would insert the Comma Johnanneum, as it is called, in future editions if a single Greek manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length, such a copy was found–or was made to order! As it now appears, the Greek manuscript had probably been written in Oxford about 1520 by a Franciscan friar named Froy (or Roy), who took the disputed words from the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus inserted the passage in his third edition (1522), but in a lengthy footnote that was included in his volume of annotations, he intimated his suspicion that the manuscript had been prepared expressly in order to confute him" (Metzger and Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament, 4th ed. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005], 146–147).
Very similar statements are found in introduction after introduction and commentary after commentary. Notice in the latter the authors say "may have promised." There is obviously some reason to question whether any such promise was made. So again, did Erasmus ever make such a promise?

Earlier this evening, one of my colleagues up in Pennsylvania sent me an article by H. J. de Jonge regarding this very issue. The title is "Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum" (Ephemerides theologicae Lovanienses 56:4 [Dec. 1980]: 381-389). This is the same author referenced by Elliott above.

So what does de Jong say about this issue? In short, no promise was ever made. He first demonstrates just how many people have included the story of the promise in their publications. Basically it's all the big names, and since 1960, when de Jong's study was published, the number has just continued to increase. De Jong writes: "How often must those who lecture in the New Testament or textual criticism at universities the world over have passed on the story of the good faith with which a deceived Erasmus kept his word, to the students in their lecture halls! The writer of these lines cannot plead innocence in this respect" (382). Nor can I. In fact, the reason my friend Jerry sent me the article was I had included the story of the promise in my dissertation. He saved me.

So what are the problems? De Jong mentions the following issues regarding the historicity of this promise:
1. There is no record of this promise in texts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
2. The accounts of the promise story are different. Some say he made the promise in response to Zúñiga, some in response to Lee, some to both, and some without context. De Jonge says it would have been impossible for him to have made the promise to Zúñiga since he did not first respond to him–in print I should add–until 1521. It was in his Apologia respondents ad ea quake in Nouo Testamento taxaureat Iacobus Lopis Stunica that he mentioned the codex from England, actually a transcript of that manuscript, that was shown to include it. And de Jonge points out that no record of correspondence between Edward Lee and Erasmus contains a record of such promise. 
3.  No one includes a reference to any sentence in Erasmus citing such a promise. Why? There is no promise in his extant writings. 
If we just stop there, the evidence is pretty strong. In fact, it is really strong. If you want to read more about why de Jonge doesn't think it is likely Erasmus made any promise about 1 John 5:7, check out his essay. It's well worth the read, I promise. Who knows? Maybe we'll stop spreading the rumor of a promise that someone never made.