The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jun 5, 2014

Festschrift for textual scholar. Dr Maurice Robinson

I am pleased to announce the publication of a Festschrift in honor of Dr. Maurice Robinson; the book is Digging for the Truth: Collected Essays Regarding the Byzantine Text of the Greek New Testament—A Festschrfit in Honor of Maurice A. Robinson (ed. Mark Billington and Peter Streitenberger; Norden, Germany: FYM, 2014). 
 (from left to right: Pastor Abidan Shah, Dr. Maurice Robinson, Paul Himes)
 Dr. Maurice Robinson is professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He will soon be transitioning to a new role as research professor where he will have the privilege of producing a textual commentary on the Byzantine text of the New Testament. I had the privilege of grading for Dr. Robinson for many years during my doctoral studies, and I was pleased, along with pastor and doctoral student Abidan Shah, to present the Festschrift personally to Dr. Robinson in his office (a public presentation will be made during chapel sometime in the Fall semester).

The book (published in Germany) will soon be available from the US Amazon site at this link: (click here).  A brief description of the various essays is as follows:

First off, we have Dr. Timothy Friberg’s “A Modest Explanation for the Layman of Ideas Related to Determining the Text of the Greek New Testament.” This is probably the most accessible of the essays, and provides a basic overview both of the basics of textual criticism and manuscript transmission and the arguments for a Byzantine priority position (dealing with common objections to that position, as well).

Secondly, we have Andrew Wilson’s “Scribal Habits and the New Testament.” This is a somewhat more technical essay that deals with Wilson’s area of specialty, namely the nature of scribal habits and whether or not scribes really were more likely to omit rather than add (as is commonly argued, almost a “sacred cow” of textual criticism). By the way, Andrew Wilson has an article dealing with this same issue in Filologia Neotestamentaria volume 24 (2011).

Next, we have my father John R. Himes’ “A Translator Takes a Linguistic Look at Mark’s Gospel.” John Himes provides a basic introduction to the concept of “discourse analysis” and then delves into a study of Mark’s use of euquV/euqewV and its relation to the textual criticism of Mark’s Gospel.

Next, we have T. David Anderson, “Early Textual Recension in Alexandria: An Evaluation of Fee’s Arguments.” This article represents Anderson’s interaction with Gordon Fee over the relative merits of Codex Vaticanus, (B), especially regarding whether or not B was the result of textual recension.

Fifthly, Edward D. Gravely writes on “The Relationship of the Vaticanus Umlauts to Family 1” (drawing on his dissertational work under Robinson). Codex Vaticanus contains certain “umlauts” which mark textual variants between this text and other texts. This is a very detailed essay with a wealth of data (including a number of tables laying out the data in a helpful format). Gravely suggests that although “it seems possible that the scribe of Vaticanus making the umlauts was not marking every place of variation . . . but rather was marking places of interest,” yet nevertheless “there is a clearly demonstrable connection between the umlauts in the Vaticanus Gospels and the manuscripts in the Family 1 tradition” (page 72).

In what is probably the most technical essay, Timothy J. Finney discusses “Varieties of New Testament Text” using statistical analysis and various charts to demonstrate “clusters” of texts, their relation to provenance (e.g., “population centers” [see pp. 89-90]), etc. (see especially his charts on pages 79, 81, 82-86). Note that Finney provides the kind of statistical analysis that can only be done on computers; as such this is a major contribution to the discussion (though it’s a bit over my head).

Next, we have Abidan Paul Shah’s “The Alexandrian Presumption of Authenticity Regarding the Matthew 27:49 Addition.” Shah closely examines the situation of Matthew 27:49, where eclectic scholars prefer to argue that a particular phrase (“another one, having taken the spear, pierced his side, and water and blood came out”) should be omitted despite the fact that it has major Alexandrian support. Shah demonstrates that eclectic scholars are not consistently following their own methodology (both external and internal criteria) by too quickly abandoning this phrase.

The eighth essay in the book, Thomas R. Edgar’s “Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: A New Concept” is an extended critique of Bart Ehrman’s The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. Edgar deals with both specific passages and the overall concept of theological “corruption” in favor of a particular doctrine.

The ninth essay is James A. Borland’s “The Textual Criticism of Luke 24:53 and Its Implications.” Borland closely examines the issue of whether or not Luke 24:53 should read “praising and blessing” or just one of those actions (this text is an important one for textual discussions since it is one of the examples Westcott and Hort had originally given in favor of their  “neutral” text-type; see Borland, page 116).

Next, we have another essay by Andrew Wilson, this one entitled “The Adulteress and Her Accusers: An Examination of the Internal Arguments Relating to the Pericope Adulterae.” Wilson focuses on two things: 1. answering the objections raised against the Pericope Adulterae’s belonging in John, and 2. focusing on the themes of the John 7-10 and how the PA fits with those themes (e.g., “The Brilliance of Christ’s Words and Teachings,” “Judgment,” etc.).

The eleventh essay in this book is by Paul A. Himes (yours truly), entitled “‘Burned Up’ or ‘Discovered’? The Peculiar Textual Problem of 2 Peter 3:10d.” I’ll probably go into more detail in a future blog post, but suffice it to say I defend the Byzantine reading here on the basis of internal evidence (ironically!). I argue that despite attempts to make “the earth and all her works will be discovered” mean something along the lines of “judged” (or “revealed in judgment”), this still would not make sense because “the earth and her works”/”the works of the earth” is a Jewish-Greek idiom meaning “agricultural produce or vegetation.” Furthermore, the argument that the more difficult reading is to be preferred has not been appropriately applied to this verse, for it is difficult to see how (among other things) the writer would chose a more difficult word (the relatively rare “katakahsetai”) to add rather than something simpler.

Next we have a second essay by T. David Anderson, “Arguments for and against the Byzantine and Alexandrian Text Types.” This is probably the longest essay in the book, but it is nevertheless a very thorough examination of textual criticism and the Byzantine text, including such issues as text-types, patristic evidence, the dates of manuscripts, the habits of copyists, and the method of transmitting a text.

Finally, at the very end of the book, we have an immensely helpful “Byzantine Bibliography” by Mike Arcieri. This includes articles (including foreign language articles), book reviews, paper presentations, books, dissertations, and even relevant websites.