Monday, August 09, 2010

Interview with Maurice Robinson

Bob Hayton of the KJV Only Debate Blog tells me there is a three part interview with Maurice Robinson being posted this week.

Here is the link to the first part of the interview.

Here is the link that by Wednesday will show all three parts of the interview.

Bob also told me that it was in the comments on this blog that he and Maurice met up and from that planned this interview – everything we blog makes circles on the water.


  1. Thanks for helping us spread the word about the interview.

    Dr. Robinson was very gracious in his taking the time to answer our questions. In the final post we provide a few links for further consideration of his textual views as well as a link to the review PJ did here of the Robinson/Pierpont Greek NT.

    In Christ,

    Bob Hayton

  2. Links on Bob Hayton's web page lead to quite the series of interactions on the then-novel idea of a Majority Text back in the late 1970's. Gordon Fee's article is especially instructive, as it gives a more thoughtful response, though he still interacts, as was typical then, as if the Majority Text position was a subset of the King James Only position.
    Fee makes an interesting claim, which should be revisited now that another 30 years have passed. He writes,

    "I have found one invariable: a good critical edition of a father's text, or the discovery of early MSS, always moves the father's text of the NT away from the TR and closer to the text of our modern critical editions. This is especially true of a father such as Chrysostom . . ."

    The way he structured the argument, it would be refuted by a single example to the contrary. Has such been found, or is "good critical edition" circularly defined as one that always favours texts found in the Egyptian desert?

  3. My ongoing problem with Fee's statement ever since 1978 is that he asserted this claim without providing one iota of evidence.

    What I would really like to see (dissertation topic anyone?) is an extensive tabulation of the citations of a father from various NT books in a clearly uncritical edition (e.g., Migne), compared against the same quotations as found in a contemporary critical edition (e.g., The NT in the Greek Fathers series); this particularly in regard to precisely what proportion of such quotations "always moves the father's text away from the TR and closer to the text of our modern critical editions."

    My off-the-cuff speculation, based on certain passages I have examined over the years, is that the proportion of such change will be found remarkably small, and not worth the bombastic claim Fee seems to place upon the matter.

  4. I agree with Maurice that this claim is pretty important but not documented. (I think it would be a pretty boring PhD though.)

  5. Well, John Burgon did half the work already, compiling an index of all the patristic scripture citations from the uncritical editions. Perhaps this magnum opus is not as worthless, then, as it is often claimed to be.

  6. Dr Robinson's interview was well received. Several mentioned they hadn't heard of him or his Greek text before, but really enjoyed the interview. Our site aims to correct KJV Only claims and help those harmed by that teaching. The contributors are all former KJV-onlyists, but are not all firmly established as to our own textual theories. So, some of us are considering the Majority Text position.

    As a result of this interview, I was approached about the possibility of my interviewing Dr. Wilbur Pickering, another Majority Text advocate. I had read his The Identity of the New Testament Text as well as D.A. Carosn's critique of that work in the book The King James Only Debate: A Plea for Realism, but I didn't know what Dr. Pickering was focusing on these days. My contact informed me:

    He is quite busy collating family f35/Kr Byzantine manscripts for a new Greek text he will be coming out with. It would be the first of that type of Byzantine text printed ever even though it comprised near 80% of the written manuscripts from 1200-1450AD. You can get a peek at his work at:

    So later this year we should be posting an interview about Dr. Pickering and his work.

    We also hope to interview other evangelical textual critical scholars who have a high regard for Scripture but do not necessarily embrace Byzantine priority.

  7. Burgon's color-coded, cut-and-paste, and reference-only handmade 16 volumes have been declared basically useless by those who have examined them.

    It would take far more time to go through these volumes and decipher or correlate the material against the referenced sources (which are not directly quoted) than merely to begin anew.

  8. Fee's audacious but unsupported claim seems to have been soon forgotten, when later in the discussion he writes,

    "But Hodge’s . . . attempt to dissociate [Chrysostom] from the Byzantine text seems to underline the point I had made: “These fathers (Chrysostom et al) had a NT only about ninety per cent along the way to a full Byzantine text of the Middle Ages.” But Chrysostom’s text is still closer to the ‘majority text’ than it is to any text of the second or third century."

    I would think that he'd want to wait until the text Chrysostom used had completed its process of evolution to the texts of the second and third century before making such a statement.

    --White Man (Google sign in not working today)

  9. I'm sorry, I should have written, "completed its evolution 'to the text of our modern critical editions'." It's rather amusing that he wrote this as NA26 was being released, which moved the text of the modern critical editions closer to the text of the second and third centuries in hundreds of places, most of which moves, rather than being away from the TR, were rather closer to it (italics as in the original).

    Fee had nothing but praise for NA26 (Greek) and the NIV (English), naturally--but failed to disclose his presence on the translation team that produced the NIV, which failed to follow NA26's move closer to the text of the third century in 2 Peter 2:4.

  10. How can we expect Fee to base anything pertaining to Scientific Textual Criticism on evidence? His master Hort is guilty of the same method! Birds of a feather...
    Now for those who think Burgons index of quotations are useless,I must say I would not entertain any evaluation made by such a scoffer. The Critical Text camp has always cried for "Critical Editions" of the fathers. This is because they are found to be set in array against them. This is no different from Hort crying "Recension""Recension" when he becomes aware that the ancient Syriac (and Greek for that matter) are the nail in his hypothesis' coffin!

    Let us strain at the KJVonly gnats(some are horseflies actually), but not to swallow the Critical Text camel.

  11. Dear Dr. Maurice Robinson,
    I just hope to get this message to you, I want to thank you for your work throughout all of your life that you have done for the sake of increasing the knowledge and contributing all you did to help undo the fog of ignorance and confusion. Thank you so very much for your enormous and valuable work for Him, may you indeed be blessed by our Sovereign, Yahweh Yahuwshua.