Saturday, June 24, 2006

What's happened to the Majority Text Society?

I wonder if anyone out there can tell me anything about current activities of the Majority Text Society. I put a link to them on the sidebar of the blog because I thought that in some circles they represent a significant strand of evangelical thought on textual criticism. However, their webpage shows no sign of activity since 2003. I am wondering whether they have published newsletters more recently than 2003, whether they still have active membership (do people really subscribe to something without receiving at least a newsletter) and, if so, what size their membership is. Is there is anyone active within them or did the departure of James Davis to Jordan mean that it is no longer active? Also, is the Hodges-Farstad NT available electronically? What signs are there of Majority Text theology still around (connecting providential preservation to number of mss)? Or would it be fair to say that many who would formerly have affiliated with the Majority Text position would now prefer to support Maurice Robinson's Byzantine Priority position, which has a different theology of providence and text-critical method, even if the resultant text is not very different?

6 Comments:

Eric Rowe said...

Dr. Davis has served as a professor in Jordan for several different temporary stints over the past 3 years. However, his full-time job is as a NT professor at Capital Bible Seminary in Maryland. I'm pretty sure that he hasn't maintained an active leadership role in the Majority Text Society at all since his first trip to Jordan 3 years ago, which is the one that was announced on their website. I don't know what their current status is. But I was wondering the same thing. Pickering's revision of Identity of the NT Text was published by Wipf & Stock in 2003, although I think it was online already before that (and still is--see the EvTC links). That's the last thing I have seen about TC from someone in that group AFAIK.

maurice a. robinson said...

Although I never joined the MTS, I have continued to receive their newsletters as a courtesy. Sometime last Fall, October or early November, I believe, was their latest newsletter. Zane Hodges once again is serving as their president. What their membership size might be, I have no idea, but I would suspect somewhere around 100 or so.

>Also, is the Hodges-Farstad NT available electronically?

Shortest possible answer: no. Apparently Nelson Co. has chosen not to license it for electronic purposes, which seems to fit with their allowing the published edition to go out of print (except in the NKJV Interlinear).

>What signs are there of Majority Text theology still around (connecting providential preservation to number of mss)?

I would not label all so-called “majority text” supporters with the “theological argument”: there likely is no actual “majority text theology” per se, even if its practitioners happen to have made various theological statements regarding God’s providential sovereignty within the manuscript transmission process. The primary difference between the H-F type of majority text theory and my own position remains methodological (which explains certain of our differences in reading) and not essentially theological.

>would it be fair to say that many who would formerly have affiliated with the Majority Text position would now prefer to support Maurice Robinson's Byzantine Priority position . . .

Not necessarily the case. Wilbur Pickering, for example, has gone off on his own tangent, differing from both H-F and myself. Pickering now advocates what he terms “Original Text Theory”, which primarily emphasizes Von Soden’s smaller, recensional “Kr” subset of the Byzantine Textform. Pickering terms this group his “family 35” or “family 18,” and considers this “late” and “recensional” text (so everyone aside from Pickering, it seems) as “early” and “original”. The last MTS newsletter, in fact, contained an article by Pickering which attempted to defend this peculiar claim.

Daniel Buck said...

Thank you, Dr. Robinson, for identifying f18 as Kr. I've been mystified for some time as to its identity, other than that it was associated somehow with the Complutesian Polyglot (the base of which was the earliest edition of the TR).

Anonymous said...

the h-f text is avaliable electronically here

http://www.logos.com/products/details/%7B524239E4-44C7-4967-9300-EBFB0CC4B9F1%7D

maurice a robinson said...

I obviously stand corrected regarding the availability of the H-F text in electronic format.

This came as news to me, since I had not seen any previous announcement regarding its availability.

Anonymous said...

">would it be fair to say that many who would formerly have affiliated with the Majority Text position would now prefer to support Maurice Robinson's Byzantine Priority position . . ."

I'm guessing most non-specialists who lean toward a Majority/Byzantine text will adopt Robinson and Pierpont's edition (as I have), chiefly because
1) it is still in print, and
2) it is free for all purposes.