Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hubner's garbage on the PA (Part 3)

 Hubner on Metzger

Before delving into Hubner's critique of E.F. Hills, we need to look at Hubner's handling of Metzger.   As noted previously, Metzger himself is a fraud, an ecumenicalist and liberal scholar who spearheaded the re-writing of the entire Old Testament (the RSV/NRSV), re-interpreting it from the Jewish perspective, and obscuring or destroying every major prophecy concerning Jesus.  This has been documented here:

Metzger & the NRSV   - - Click here.

We have analyzed Metzger's propaganda on the PA elsewhere in detail:

Metzger and the PA   - - Click here.

(1)  Hubner presents Metzger as 'gospel'.  What concerns us here is first of all the obvious double standard Hubner applies.  He presents Metzger without any critique or analysis at all, introducing as:  "These are the facts:" (!), while he submits E. F. Hills' counterpoint to a minutely detailed critique, thirteen long paragraphs.

This is effectively the same (politically correct) double standard that is applied to the court testimony of women today:

His version of the story:  "Thats just his version."
Her version of the story:  "Thats the gospel truth."

(2)  Hubner botches the Metzger quote,  leaving out not only his footnotes, but he fails to properly cite the manuscript evidence, dropping out identifiers and superscripts.  This is important, for it misleads the reader further in several places.  There is no excuse, because even if he can't cut and paste superscripts, the information can easily be provided other ways.  Here are the missing footnotes:

1. According to a note in Zohrab's edition of the Armenian version,

"Only five of the thirty manuscripts we used preserve here the addition [i. e. the pericope of the adulteress] found in Latin manuscripts. The remainder usually agree with our exemplar in placing it as a separate section at the end of the Gospel, as we have done. But in six of the older manuscripts the passage is completely omitted in both places"
(translated by Erroll E Rhodes, who comments as follows in a note to the present writer: "When the pericope is found in manuscripts after 7.52, it is frequently accompanied with an asterisk or other symbol").

2. The pericope is lacking in the Adysh ms. (a.d. 897), the Opiza ms. (a.d. 913), and the Tbet' ms. (a.d. 995).

3. Occasionally an attempt is made to support the Johannine authorship of the pericope by appealing to linguistic and literary considerations (e. g. J. P. Heil in Biblica, lxxii [1992], pp. 182-191); for a convincing rebuttal of such arguments, see D. B. Wallace in New Testament Studies, xxxix (1993), pp. 290-296.
For patristic evidence of other forms and interpretations of the pericope, see B. D. Ehrman, New Testament Studies, xxxiv (1988), pp. 24-44.

4. So Eberhard Nestle, who, however, identifies no specific manuscripts (Einfuhrung in das Griechische Neue Testament, 3te Aufl. [Gottingen, 1909], p. 157). According to information kindly provided by Dr. J. N. Birdsall, the pericope follows 7.44 in Sinai ms. georg. 16.
In the editio princeps of the Georgian Bible (Moscow, 1743), as well as the editions of the New Testament of 1816, 1818, 1878 (Gospels), and 1879, the pericope stands in its traditional place after 7.52.
 Footnote #3 is particularly telling, as it was added by Ehrman (the apostate editor), who reveals that there are recent and substantial scholarly counterarguments regarding the supposedly "overwhelming" Internal Evidence, such as those by J. P. Heil (1992).  To counter that, Ehrman also references Wallace's response, but Ehrman fails to cite J. P. Heil's immediately published counter-response to Wallace.  Both pieces by Heil along with a critique of Wallace are available here:

J. P. Heil on the PA (1992,1994) - - Click Here.

 In Heil's second piece, Wallace is effectively refuted.

On Hubner's carelessness re: textual witnesses:

"syrc" = Syriac-c and Syriac-s, "syr" = Syriac-p (some Palestinian MSS).
"ita, *, " = Italic-a, Italic -l* (original hand), and Italic-q. (three MSS).
"arm" = Armenian-MSS (i.e., some manuscripts only).

Such mistakes make tracing the witnesses impossible, and perpetuate new errors regarding the evidence.

(3)  Hubner actually trims Metzger down, snipping off a disturbing section which might not enhance either Metzger's or his own position.  Here is the missing final section of Metzger:
"Sometimes it is stated that the pericope was deliberately expunged from the Fourth Gospel because it was liable to be understood in a sense too indulgent to adultery. 13
But, apart from the absence of any instance elsewhere of scribal excision of an extensive passage because of moral prudence, this theory fails...

" explain why the three preliminary verses (vii 53; viii 1-2), so important as apparently descriptive of the time and place at which all the discourses of chapter viii were spoken, should have been omitted with the rest"
(Hort, "Notes on Select Readings," pp. 86 f.). 14

Although the committee [that is, the editorial committee of the United Bible Societies' (UBS) Greek New Testament, (1966, 2nd ed. 1968)] was unanimous that the pericope was originally no part of the Fourth Gospel, in deference to the evident antiquity of the passage a majority decided to print it, enclosed within double square brackets, at its traditional place following John 7.52.
Inasmuch as the passage is absent from the earlier and better manuscripts that normally serve to identify types of text, it is not always easy to make a decision among alternative readings. In any case it will be understood that the level of certainty ({A}) is within the framework of the initial decision relating to the passage as a whole. "
Here are our own footnotes to this section of Metzger:

13. When Metzger says "sometimes it is stated", he is deliberately leaving out WHO actually did the stating.  In fact, such statements are traceable to the 4th and 5th centuries, when St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and St. Jerome spoke about the verses, and their absence in some manuscripts.
These statements are not just nebulous 'theories' by unknown opponents of Metzger's view.  These are eyewitness accounts and opinions of ancient fathers and scholars who were actually there to record the state of the MSS evidence, and give their understanding of what had happened.

14. Metzger now presents Hort's argument against Augustine's explanation for the omission of the verses. What Metzger fails to give notice of, is that Hort was commenting in 1886. A lot has been written on this subject in the 100 years since.

Nowadays, many textual critics are less ideological about such problem passages, and have less trouble admitting the many ideological, cultural, and psychological factors that may have contributed to textual variants. Specifically, the problem of misogyny and patriarchical attitudes that go back to Jesus' time are now more fully recognized than in Hort's day. Not only does Augustine's explanation appear more plausible now, at least as a partial solution, but critics are willing to consider multiple factors in explaining textual history.
It may be true that Augustine's explanation cannot fully account for the extent of the omission, but it may well explain the opportunism which would arise out of an initial removal of the verses in some copies.
Today it looks quite plausible that the passage was removed in early times for expediency or to avoid charges by Jewish opponents. The choice of the size and place of the 'cut' may have been determined by liturgical factors. Then, once omitted, this would play into the hands of those who were ideologically motivated, like a Tertullian or some factions within the church at later periods.
It may be that the only acceptable final explanation for the omission of these verses will necessarily involve multiple historical events, motives, and parties. There is no shame in allowing a complex solution to a complex problem.

(to be continued...)


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