Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hubner's garbage on the PA (Part 8)

With Hubner's next blurt, its obvious that he either doesn't understand the point Hills has made, or else he doesn't care:

5.  Hills’ argument regarding the Montanists and the pericope is equally poor and deserves no weight (though it is creative!). Honestly, I have a hard time really following the argument and how it requires that the pericope as a Greek text has an early origin.

(- Hubner)

E.F. Hills' actual original argument runs as follows:
"Not only conservatives but also clear thinking radical scholars have perceived that the historical evidence favors the belief that the pericope de adultera was deleted from the text of the fourth Gospel rather than added to it. Hilgenfeld (1875) observed, "The bold presentation of the evangelist must at an early date, especially in the Orient have seemed very offensive." (43) Hence Hilgenfeld regarded Augustine's statement that the passage had been deleted by overscrupulous scribes "as altogether not improbable." And Steck (1893) suggested that the story of the adulteress was incorporated in the Gospel of John before it was first published.  Concluded Steck, "That it later was set aside out of moral prudery is easily understandable." (44)
Rendel Harris (1891) was convinced that the Montanists, an ascetic Christian sect which flourished during the 2nd century, were acquainted with the pericope de adultera.   He wrote, "The Montanist Churches either did not receive this addition to the text, or else they are responsible for its omission; but at the same time it can be shown that they knew of the passage perfectly well in the West; for the Latin glossator of the Acts has borrowed a few words from the section in Acts 5:18. (45) In Acts 5:18 we are told that the rulers laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. To this verse the Latin portion of D adds, and they went away each one to his house. As Harris observes, this addition is obviously taken from the description of the breaking up of the council meeting in John 7:53. If the Montanists were the ones who added these words to Acts 5:18, then the pericope de adultera must have been part of John's Gospel at a very early date.
Naturalistic scholars who insist that John 7:53-8:11 is an addition to the Gospel text can maintain their position only by ignoring the facts, by disregarding what the ancient writers say about this pericope de adultera and emphasizing the silence of other ancient writers who say nothing about it at all.
This is what Hort did in his Introduction (1881). Here the testimony of Ambrose and Augustine is barely mentioned, and the statement of Nikon concerning the Armenians is dismissed as mere abuse. (46) Contrary to the evidence Hort insisted that the pericope de adultera was not offensive to the early Church. "Few in ancient times, there is reason to think, would have found the section a stumbling block except Montanists and Novatians." (47) With the implications of this sweeping statement, however, Rendel Harris could not agree. "Evidently," he observed, "Dr. Hort did not think that the tampering of the Montanists with the text amounted to much; we, on the contrary, have reason to believe that it was a very far reaching influence." (48)

43. Einleitung, p.782.
44. T Z aus der Schweiz, vol. 4, p.98.
45. "Codex Bezae," Texts and Studies (Cambridge University Press), vol. 2 (1891), p.195.
46. N. T. In The Original Greek, vol. 2, Appendix, p.82.
47. Idem, p.86.
48. "Codex Bezae," Texts and Studies (Cambridge University Press), vol. 2 (1891), p.195.

In fact E.F. Hills himself has made no claim at all regarding the Montanists.

The original idea that the Montanists may have omitted the passage was from Augustine.  Since Augustine was actually there, and battled the Montanists and their successors for many years, its likely he knew more about them than we ever will.
What Hills does succeed in showing is that even Hort thought the Montanists had motive for removing the passage.   Hort downplays this, but he could hardly deny the the hostility of the Montanists, since the only reason we know anything about the Montanists at all is through Augustine's descriptions!

But E. F. Hills biggest score is the obvious fact that critics who reject the passage must also effectively reject the testimony of  all the 4th century Early Christian writers:

350 A.D. Ambrosiaster- a solid quotation
360 A.D. Didymus- quotes PA as scripture
370 A.D. Pacian- Supports Jerome
380 A.D. Jerome - on John 8:1-11
380-390 A.D. Ambrose- quotes Jn 8:1-11
350-400 A.D.Epiphanius  - Euseb. Canon has PA
380-400 A.D. Faustus - quoted by Augustine
390-400 A.D. AugustineSupports PA and TR

And this stance by modern textual critics is wholly unscientific and unhistorical.  Real historical investigation gives due weight to credible witnesses, who have been corroborated on other issues.

(to be continued...)

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