Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

2 Peter 3:9 Per Antonio's blog

A Good Post.

... on a verse that got a lot discussion here on my blog over the last few weeks. It seems to make sense. I don't think this view is asking for any great leaps in logic or interpretation. What do you think?

Here is just a quote from it: "The mercy is real because the opportunity is real."


  • From the link: The word us here is not a reference to Peter and his readers (i.e., “us Christians”) but to “us” in the sense of humanity, since Peter is talking here about a worldwide calamity.

    Actually the pronoun that is rendered as "us" in Hodges translation is not a first person plural, but a second person plural. If we translate the word as "us" we do so not according to the rules of Greek grammar, but rather to make the text more inclusive than it is. In English we sometimes do this stylistically - that is, I might say "If you fail, you should try and try again" but practically speaking, I am not excluding myself, I am in essence saying the same as, "If any of us fails, we should try, and try again" - it is only common English usage that allows such grammarical slurring to be understood.

    But we err when we presume that our lazy English grammarical slurring translates back into 2000 year old Greek manuscripts.

    The text says "you" and it is a plural ("all of you") - the fact that it is a second person pronoun identifies "who" is being mentioned.

    That is the way pronouns work.

    Personal pronouns are used as "placeholders" for a person or people who are being mentioned in a sentence. Each sentence is presumed to have a "speaker" and any refernce to the speaker or speaker is always in the first person (I, Me, We, us). If the pronoun is being used to describe the person or people being "spoken to" it is in the 2nd person (You, you all), and if in the third person it is taking the place of some person or people outside the conversation (he, she, him, her, it, they, them, etc.)

    If I say "The think I like about you is that you are willing to ask the tough questions" I am in no way referring to the world in general when I say "you" - I am in fact referring to the person I am addressing. That is the way a second person pronoun works. If I make it a plural it still holds true, "The thing I like about all of you free gracers, is that you all are genuine." - clearly I am not suggesting that everyone in the world is genuine.

    So it is in 2 Peter 3:9. The pronoun is a second person plural - "you all" meaning "all of you whom I am communicating with" - a group that was previously identified as "the beloved"

    Had Peter wanted to say "us" he could have done so easily.

    I know Antonio means well, and I admire his zeal, but the trouble with a house of cards is that if the foundation isn't terribly strong, whatever you build on it will suffer for it. In this case, Antonio's questionable presumptions flavor his conclusions, and whatever case he builds for the word "us" is a case built on vapors because, as I have said, the word "us" is a misleading translation (at best).

    I admit however, I didn't give Antonio's work much of a read when I saw where it was going, and upon what it was standing.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 5/09/2007 12:14 PM  

  • Dear Daniel,

    you write:
    I admit however, I didn't give Antonio's work much of a read when I saw where it was going, and upon what it was standing.
    This is sad. The post was very short and you didn't even give it a chance. This has been my experience with Calvinists. Their theology they consider as gospel law, so they purposely choose to be so narrowly read.

    The passage in 2 Peter discusses the "Day of the Lord". I am not sure, but I would bet my bottom dollar that you are not premillennial. The text we are considering is certainly eschatological and correlates to premillennial theology. Maybe this is a reason, too, you wish not to read its contents.

    Furthermore, if you would have read it a little more critically (if you would have read the whole at all!), you may not have had to be given the following schooling I feel compelled to now give you.

    It may be necessary to go back and to do your homework, Daniel. You see, if you would have read Hodges' translation carefully, you would have seen that it was described at the end with

    "---Majority Text, Zane Hodges’ Translation"

    Zane Hodges taught New Testament Greek at Dallas Theological Seminary for 27 years, my friend. Never was he known for any form paraphrase, dynamic equivalence, or assuming idiom in the place of literal equivalence.

    Also, you may not be aware, Zane Hodges holds to a position of unconditional election (although in a form that many Calvinists would not agree with). He does not have an agenda in deceiving the masses by translating a second person plural by a first person plural.

    Zane Hodges, in the mid-eighties, along with the late Art Farstad, edited an edition of the Greek New Testament called "The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text".

    The Majority Text is a text that employs the available evidence of the whole range of surviving manuscripts rather than relying chiefly on the evidence of a few. It is unscientific to practically ignore eighty to ninety percent of the evidence in any discipline, which the heirs of the Westcott and Hort tradition do in their so-called "critical" versions.

    If you like, we can argue the finer points of textual criticism, where a very few older manuscripts are deemed "the best", which come from Alexandria, Egypt (which makes them basically Egyptian, for its existence in early times outside of Egypt is unproved; (remember also, Origen and Clement were from Egypt (purveyors of allegory of the sort that has been described as "fantasy unlimited") as also the so-called Alexandrian school of the Christian/Greek Philosophical hybrid). But if one was to view the majority of existant manuscripts which herald from points all over the ancient world, one finds that they agree 80-90 percent of the time (can the same be said of the Alexandrian uncials? apparently not!). The oldest surviving manuscripts differ from each other in substantial amounts!

    The very number of manuscripts that come from this majority text type, all agreeing with each other in a high percentage, and the multitude of varying points in the ancient world where they stem from, suggests that they represent a long and widespread chain of manuscript tradition. It is necessary to postulate that the surviving documents are decended from non-extant ancestral documents of the highest antiquity. These must have been in their own time as old or older than the surviving witnesses from Egypt (where Egypt alone offers climatic conditions highly favorable to the preservation of very ancient manuscripts).

    The surviving majority of manuscripts around the world, Daniel, overwhelmingly favors the reading:

    "eis hemas" translated "toward us"

    This is a reading that I take, not for a theological reason, but for empirical and scientific reasons.

    The better, more attested reading


    "toward US"

    Let your "vapors" and "misleadings" please stop here!


    By Blogger Antonio, at 5/09/2007 2:23 PM  

  • Rose,

    my manners.

    Hi and thanks for the link!


    By Blogger Antonio, at 5/09/2007 2:32 PM  

  • "Had Peter wanted to say "us" he could have done so easily."

    He did so.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 5/09/2007 2:33 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I hope you will suffer me this one vanity patiently - to regard the opinion of the vast academic majority as being more likely correct than the opinion of the fringe minority. I am of course referring to Zane and Arts textual choices in the matter of compiling a Greek rendition of 2 Peter 3:9.

    It may be that almost every other scholar on the planet is jaundiced, naive, or simply stupid, who can say? But even if I knew nothing of textual criticism, I would be inclined to regard Hodges and his ilk with some caution given that so few scholars regard his textual choices as valid.

    I had to laugh, and it was a welcome thing I must say, for I am having something of a rough day today - and I am sure you can appreciate the humor in this - I had to laugh at my own folly in this regard: I am guilty as charged with not paying attention to the textual variants with regards to this verse, but not without qualification...

    The truth is I very recently compared the byzantine texts against the older, Alexandrian texts, in a matter related to women pastors, in particular referencing 1 Timothy 2:12 - the word in question was "auqentein" - and you will note that there are no significant differences between the texts on this particular word. In my mind I asked myself before I wrote my opinions which were admittedly critical of you own, I paused to ask myself - perhaps this is just the result of some textual variant? But I reassured myself that I had indeed checked and found no difference of significance. The fact that I was remembering a different check is amusing to me, but it does demonstrate, I think, some laziness on my part, for which I presume upon your patience, and hope we can share a laugh together over my folly rather than merely give you opportunity to ridicule another.

    Never-the-less, the only difference noticing the variant would have made in my post would have been to recognize it beforehand with a preface something like this:

    I preface what I am about to say by noting that Antonio's logic, to his own credit, no doubt agrees with the choices in manuscripts that Hodges made in his own compilation of the Greek text.

    My criticisms would have been the same I expect - the text that everyone else uses has the pronoun in the second person plural - and most of the world in general, and the academic world in particular agree that the text I was quoting from is more likely original than the text you were quoting from.

    I don't want to confuse anyone who isn't savvy with regards to manuscript variants, so for anyone who is confused about the differences between the texts, here is some fodder.

    Here is worthy quote from the second article linked ..."For many advocates of the majority text view, a peculiar form of the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture undergirds the entire approach. Their premise is that the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture requires that the early manuscripts cannot point to the original text better than the later manuscripts can, because these early manuscripts are in the minority." - Daniel Wallace

    Unless I am mistaken, the oldest Greek texts (by hundreds of years) have Peter writing "you all". Later renditions that have Peter writing "us" don't show up until much later. I find that significant.

    Also significant to me, is that Jeromes Latin Vulgate for 2 Peter 3:9 reads, "Non tardat Dominus promissionem suam, sicut quidam existimant: sed patienter agit propter vos, nolens aliquos perire, sed omnes ad pœnitentiam reverti."

    You may note the personal pronoun "vos" is in the second person plural as well, and not the first person plural.

    To allow the significance of that to sink in, it means that before anyone ever mispelled humas as hemas - that is, before this textual variant entered into the stream, - Jerome penned a translation of this passage using the second person plural pronoun.

    Which is to say that while I have been admittedly sloppy in one regard I do not equate my laziness in the matter into credibility on your part.

    Anyway, thanks for the exchange.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 5/09/2007 4:50 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 5/09/2007 9:02 PM  

  • Daniel,

    Maybe you feel personally confident in defending the Westcott-Hort tradition that relies heavily on the witness of a small number of 4th century witnesses. I would be very happy in discussing this topic with you, for I believe in open discussion in the arena of ideas, and the Majority Text position has many appealing arguments in its favor.

    As a side, you may be interested to note that the Vulgate's earliest surviving manuscript of the Vulgate is only from the 9th century, and surviving fragmentary evidence is from the 6th century.

    The following is from an article about the Vulgate:

    "Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Vulgate had succumbed to the inevitable changes wrought by human error in the countless copyings of the text in monasteries across Europe. From its earliest days, readings from the Vetus Latina were introduced. Marginal notes were erroneously interpolated into the text. No one copy was the same as the other as scribes added, removed, misspelled, or mis-corrected verses in the Latin Bible.

    About 550, Cassiodorus made an attempt at restoring the Vulgate to its original purity. Alcuin of York oversaw efforts to make a corrected Vulgate, which he presented to Charlemagne in 801. Similar attempts were made by Theodulphus, Bishop of Orleans (787?-821); Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury (1070-1089); Stephen Harding, Abbot of Cîteaux (1109-1134); and Deacon Nicolaus Maniacoria (about the beginning of the 13th century). The University of Paris assembled lists of "correctoria" - approved readings where variants had been noted. Unfortunately, many of the readings recommended are now known to be interpolations."

    We know that Jerome was commissioned to revise the old Latin text of the four gospels. But what is not known is how much work he did on the rest of the New Testament, in regards to its revision. And to postulate that it was Jerome himself would be mere hypothesis based upon not a shred of evidence.

    Needless to say, the Vulgate should be something of a far peripheral evidence in determining the original reading.

    You said that you find something significant. I'll tell you what I find significant.

    The Alexandrian texts that the critical editions of the New Testament rely upon, has no evidence of any circulation outside of Egypt during those early years. And the main texts, Aleph and B differ from one another in substantial amounts.

    The Majority Text is found throughout the ancient world in many vast points divided by geographical distances, and agree with each other 80-90% of the time. And by far, the greatest number of existant manuscripts come from this line. Whereas the Alexandrian tradition has a very small witness confined to a small area.

    Any reading overwhelmingly attested by the manuscript tradition is more likely to be original than its rivals. This observation arises from the very nature of manuscript transmission. The individual reading which has the earliest beginning is the one most likely to survive in a majority of documents, which the Majority Text amply exemplifies.

    I hardly find it convincing that since a few documents are older that they are better. In transmission, papyri aged and became fragile and therefore was transmitted to produce new copies to replace the aging ones, which satisfactorily explains the lack of any very old copies of a majority text. In Egypt, the climate is of such a nature as to preserve manuscripts.

    Any text-form with exceedingly large numbers, covering wide geographical areas, of extant representatives is very likely to be the result of a long transmissional chain. And such is the case with the Majority Text.

    As with any study, Daniel, ultimately truth in reality does not come by how many people in an area sign on. If this were true, then the theory of evolution would be the defacto law of evolution.

    Truth comes by way of evidence, my friend. The fact of the matter is that of all the manuscripts that are in existence today, the Majority Text is the text that has an overwhelming testimony, whereas the Alexandrian does not.

    You state unequivocally that Jerome penned the seond person plural. This cannot be established by you. And even if it could, the argument could be turned around and stated that copyists in Alexandria (who by the way were absorbed in mysticism, allegorical approaches to the scriptures, and Greek philosophy) mistranslated "hemas" as "humas".


    By Blogger Antonio, at 5/09/2007 9:04 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You say, "I hardly find it convincing that since a few documents are older that they are better. "

    I know. ;-)

    I think the quote from Daniel Wallace bears repeating, since I think that sums up your position rather well (I have emboldened the relevant text):

    "For many advocates of the majority text view, a peculiar form of the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture undergirds the entire approach. Their premise is that the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture requires that the early manuscripts cannot point to the original text better than the later manuscripts can, because these early manuscripts are in the minority." - Daniel Wallace

    That is pretty much what your argument boils down to I suppose, at least text wise. You reject the majority opinion noting in doing so that you are in no way persuaded by the vast majority - yet in a turn of magnificent irony, you embrace the majority text primarily because the majority of texts are byzantine! You do see how inconsistent that looks?

    Speaking of irony, the dismissive argument you quoted is the same argument most would use to dismiss the texts that Hodges and Farstad exalted to primary status. That made me smile

    notwithstanding, I am contend in the knowledge that you hold to your own, novel position and that you like it. Good for you!

    I am inclined, along with most everyone else, to reject your exegesis on the grounds that (in part) it relies heavily on what pretty much everyone considers to be a secondary textual authority - and even were that not so, your exegesis squeezes far more out of that questionable variant than I would be willing to hang my hat on.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 5/10/2007 11:35 AM  

  • That should read:

    Notwithstanding, I am content in the knowledge ...

    No one gets to heaven by being a good typist. ;-)

    Hi Rose! Sorry I have been distracted lately, I ought to have said hi sooner.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 5/10/2007 11:38 AM  

  • Daniel,
    We hear ya! The "older manuscripts" say "you." This is another debate all in and of itself. My husband also holds to the majority text, as Antonio does. The inconsistency that you find in Antonio's holding to the majority text and not the majority view is a bit overstated, I think. Come on brother, a text and a view are not the same. Besides, the majority view is the majority of views that you are aware of! This all just smoke and mirrors anyways. :~)

    My desire was for you (or anoyone else commenting here) to read the post that I linked to and see if perhaps this verse isn't even talking of "perishing" in an eternal sense. That is the point here. Why not read through it - it is a very easy read - (even I could get through it, graphic artist, non-theologian that I am) - with ease of understanding. Take a look and tell us why it makes no sense. Or ... maybe it will make sense to you. Peter is speaking of the end of the age and answering those who say that it won't come. Then he speaks of the patience of God and His unwillingness for "us" or "you" (take your pick) to perish. (Actually Daniel, think about it - if it is "you" and limited to the believers, then the idea of eternal perishing being on the table makes even less sense!) Do you see what I mean, brother? Or is there nothing reasonable about that train of thought to you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/10/2007 12:15 PM  

  • ... saying that Antonio's position is "novel" is not very helpful. It is sort of a condescending put-down, Daniel. You wouldn't want to be condescending, would you? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/10/2007 12:19 PM  

  • YOur husband holds to the Majority Text, Rose?

    Does he not read the NASB like you mostly then?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 5/10/2007 2:57 PM  

  • I read the NASBU, NIV, ESV, NKJV, Nestle-Aland, I'm rather eclectic on textual criticism. I think the majority text has some good points to make, but last time I looked at this in detail, I came down on the "critical text" approach, which is a bit more eclectic, and would take into account the family of texts that make up the "majority text" as well. Of course one of my Greek profs, who is good friends with Wallace, Dr. Dale Wheeler, is in favor of the Majority text. I think it is an hasty generalization to say that the majority of scholars hold to the critical text approach.

    Hello Rose :).

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 5/11/2007 2:54 PM  

  • Hey! what happened to Daniel?

    I think you could safely say that John and I do not think it is of a supreme importance. I have liked the NASB for a while, but I also like the NKJV.

    Hello! I appreciate your comment. Some things Antonio told me about this isssue caused me to discuss it with my husband this week, so .... overall ... I have become more informed! This is a great thing about blogging for me!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/11/2007 3:25 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I hold to Majority Text like John does too :) I'm particularly fond of the KJV for its literary aesthetic quality...I'm not in the "KJV only" camp so please don't charge me with Ruckmanism, lol. Leland Ryken's, "The Word of God in English" addresses these translation issues well, I believe...

    By Blogger Scribe, at 5/11/2007 6:35 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose.

    Scribe, that is cool.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 5/12/2007 5:15 AM  

  • Happy Mother's Day, Rose!

    By Blogger Bluecollar, at 5/13/2007 9:22 AM  

  • Rose, our Mother's Day is in March, so I cannot say that. Sorry.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 5/13/2007 5:08 PM  

  • Hey DF,
    I should have answered your question better. John reads the KJV mostly. He is not KJV only, though. In fact, I would say he is a contrast to that idea.

    Hi Scribe,
    LOL. You are not of P. Ruckman. That's good. Thanks for the comment! Tell us about your avatar, will you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 5/14/2007 1:34 PM  

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