November 7, 2003

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

"According to the Majority Text..."

A new post, by popular demand! Ok, so actually it was just my neighbor Melody ( check here)...

Anyway, I got my Greek New Testament in the mail the other day. I wouldn't say I can exactly read it. "Decipher" would be a better word. Roughly fifteen minutes per verse, with a dictionary. Still pretty impressive for half way through my first semester of classical Greek, I think. The insane Greek curriculum here has students reading Plato in the third semester, Homer in the fourth.

Ok, back to the New Testament. I actually wasn't planning on buying it. I just was curious and wanted to waste some time so I went to look and see how much the text I wanted would cost me. Now, I happen to favor the Majority (Byzantine) Text (check over here), and virtually all modern scholars favor the Alexandrian Text (aka the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society text, from which essentially every modern translation is derived), and the Greek Orthodox Church uses the Textus Receptus (from which the King James Version was translated). Because of this situation, it turned out that the Majority Text had been out of print since the year I was born! Fortunately, its publisher, Thomas Nelson, still had it in stock. Since I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find it again, I went ahead and ordered it.

So why go to all the trouble of finding this particular text, rather than just using the Alexandrian Text like everyone else? Well, first of all, it must be understood that in reading the Bible in English translation principles are FAR more important than choice of text (which is why I study with the New American Standard Bible, even though it's New Testament is based on Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece, an Alexandrian Text, and it's Old Testament is based on Kittel's Biblia Hebraica and the Dead Sea Scrolls when there is no real rational reason to use anything other than the Masoretic Text). According to the preface to the New King James Version of the Bible (which is an excellent basic introduction to textual criticism) "fully eighty-five percent of the New Testament text is the same in the Textus Receptus, the Alexandrian Text, and the Majority Text" and most of the disagreements do not actually effect translation, being differences in spelling or word order (the latter is much less significant in Greek than in English).

That said, there are a few significant differences, such as 1 Timothy 3:16, where the ommission of a theta-omicron and the addition of a rough breathing mark in the Alexandrian Text changes the phrase "God was manifested in the flesh" to "Who was manifested in the flesh". With regard to differences even this small, I think it ridiculous that translators rely on a small number of manuscripts (hundreds) found only in a small geographical area (Egypt) rather than an enormous number of manuscripts (thousands) found all over the Roman world.

So, that's my random babbling for today. I hope it meets with your approval, Melody.

Posted by Kenny at November 7, 2003 12:55 PM
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Oh it does.

Posted by: Melody at November 16, 2003 6:42 PM

Finally got a minute to look up your website. Sounds like life in Phillie is good.

Posted by: UNCLE MIKE at December 13, 2003 10:33 PM

The Defense of Circumcision Act (DOCA)

I would like to suggest new legislation for the purpose of protecting and preserving the sanctity of circumcision.

Traditionally, circumcision has been a sacred institution honoring the covenant between God and the Children of Abraham set forth in Genesis 17.

Only recently, gentiles began emulating the motions and mechanics of circumcision, but violating its sanctity by conducting it without religious ritual, on non-Jews, in secular, medical contexts.

The act of circumcision was defined thousands of years ago as a sacred rite performed upon a Jewish child, for the purpose of sanctifying a man before God. This is older even than the tradition of limiting “traditional Judeo-Christian Marriage” to one man and one woman.

To reduce circumcision to a mere clinical procedure, requiring only a scalpel and some Betadine, is a mockery of Judaism and of God Himself.

Furthermore, The Bible and millennia of tradition explicitly forbid duplicating the act of circumcision, without ritual, upon non-believers:

"Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more" (Deut. 10:16).

"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My wrath go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds" (Jer. 4:4).

And not just in The Bible, but in The New Testament as well:

"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God" (Rom 2:28-29).

I remind you, this tradition is even older than the tradition of marriage between one man and one woman. It is not only older than marriage, but in Jewish law it is a prerequisite to marriage. Without the sacred ritual of circumcision to sanctify a man before God, marriage itself is not sacred.

And above all, we must preserve the sanctity of marriage.

Therefore, I ask that the state recognize this millennia old definition of circumcision. We must amend our constitution to officially define circumcision as a privilege reserved solely for Jews to sanctify themselves before God. We must forbid non-Jews from changing and corrupting the definition of circumcision, and by extension, the institution of marriage upon which our civilization depends.

We need to lobby our legislators to put this amendment before the citizens for a vote as quickly as possible.


Rev. Ian Brumberger
The National Association for Stupid Acceptance (The NASA)

Posted by: Rev. Ian Brumberger at April 22, 2004 12:33 PM

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