Skip to content

Proof of what is unseen

After a while a C feels like a B

Mark Ward

I saw this book on a bibliography for a TEDS course in TC and it looked worthwhile, so I asked BJU’s Mack Library to order it.

Textual Optimism: A Critique of the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament
Kent Clarke

I let a teacher of mine know that the book was coming, and he replied:

Yes, I came across Clarke’s name recently and noticed this title. Thanks for requesting it. I think part of his work, at least, is a study in how the certainty ratings in UBS seem to have risen nearly across the board between the 3rd and 4th editions.

I have seen complaints in KJVO literature about ratings changing without MS evidence changing. I suspect that these rating increases probably reflect the comfort we all gain with new ideas over time. That is, a certain reading may seem unsure enough to be given a C rating, but after thirty years as part of the commonly accepted text and with few or no challenges, it just feels like a B.

Join the Conversation

Just installed Google Analytics

Mark Ward

I’m watching you now.

If you have a WordPress blog and you’d like to track your hits, you can try an easy-to-use Google Analytics plug-in. Or else you can use a simpler stats plug-in WordPress has developed.

Somebody got to this blog by searching for “Bob Jones University.” Someone else, “Education as a predictor of longevity.” Well.

Join the Conversation

Where does this come from?

Mark Ward


I have been mulling over a question for some years now, and this little excerpt from a self-published book makes me ask it again: what sin lies at the heart of being just flat wrong about some aspect of theology?

What is the origin of the spirit that finds immoral conspiracies in the Chronicles of Narnia and writes a liberally underlined!!! and (inevitably) “exhaustively researched” screed about it?

What sin lies at the heart of a King James Only crusader who feels he has to turn Westcott and Hort into demons and the King James translators into super-apostles?

What sin leads an educated man to make preposterous claims? Here’s the boast Peshitta translator George Lamsa made for himself (taken from an article by Edwin Yamauchi in BibSac, 131):

Moreover, the author was educated under the care of learned priests of the Church of the East who knew no other language but Aramaic, and highly educated Englishmen, graduates of Oxford, Cambridge and other famous English schools. The author, through God’s grace, is the only one with the knowledge of Aramaic, the Bible customs and idioms, and the knowledge of the English language who has ever translated the Holy Bible from the original Aramaic texts into English and written commentaries on it, and his translation is now in pleasingly wide use.

As Yamauchi comments, Lamsa is basically claiming a lock on the truth!

There’s a similarity running through all of the examples I’ve cited, a recognizable voice in their writings. But what is it?

I have long posited anti-intellectualism as the culprit, but somehow I don’t feel that’s enough–especially considering that some people get a lot of education and still come out with pseudoscientific views. A respected teacher of mine said in an e-mail that the culprit was the “urge to cling to the known at all costs.”

What do you think?

Join the Conversation

Education is the best predictor of longevity

Mark Ward

I just heard on NPR that for every year spent in school, life expectancy goes up 18 months. So my B.A. was worth 6 years of life (for a net gain of 2). My graduate studies have so far gained me a little over 10 years (for a net gain of 3).

Thank you, Bob Jones University, for 5 years of life.

Join the Conversation

Why Macs are better

Mark Ward

A theme on this blog is going to have to be computers and how they affect the academic study of the Bible–because that’s a theme with me.

But we’ve got to be irenic. No sarcastically cute videos. Just the humble facts for those who really want to know.

So here’s a list:



iLife integration: iCal with Address with Mail

Built-in camera and mic

Similar menus for all Apple programs

Stronger core architecture; far fewer restarts than my old Dell

Installing programs is so much easier and cleaner

Apps installed in one spot means easier upgrades

Hot corners, Dashboard, Expose, Spaces

Keyboard shortcuts easily manageable and adjustable

Quicksilver (!)

Good looks inside and out

Drag and drop on springloaded everything

Switch keyboard layouts quickly for Greek and Hebrew typing

iWeb and iPhoto make you look good with little work

Tons of well-designed freeware apps

Easily put any folder in Finder sidebar

OS comes with screenshot shortcuts–very handy


Well-engineered keyboard

Join the Conversation

Trenchant comment by Guthrie

Mark Ward

You may have read Guthrie’s New Testament Introduction in seminary, or even perhaps in your undergraduate training.

When I read such works I live for lines like this, part of Guthrie’s argument that we can trust early tradition’s judgment on the authorship of Luke-Acts:

It will not be denied that an initial conjecture [namely, that Luke wrote Luke-Acts] may be repeated by successive witnesses until it becomes mistaken for fact, as the history of modern criticism abundantly illustrates, but Cadbury’s suggestion involves a remarkable and highly improbable process (Guthrie, 114).

On the other hand, I have had far too many occasions to marvel at comments like this in evangelical scholarly literature:

From the Gospel records it is clear that Jesus showed no interest in the demonic apart from his battle against the Devil and his minions…. In dealing with the demons, historical investigation shows that Jesus’ technique involved a number of features. First, there was an initial dramatic confrontation between Jesus and the demon(iac). For example, in Mark 1:23 the man screams out when he meets Jesus in the Capernaum synagogue so that it is suddenly obvious that he is a demoniac (cf. Mk 5:6–7; 7:25; 9:20). The historical reliability of this feature in the story is all but assured by the existence of this feature in other literature (Philostratus Vit. Ap. 4.20) and the Gospel writers show no consistent use of it.

That’s from G. H. Twelftree in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.

Here’s a similar comment from the same article:

It is difficult to be certain of the origin of Jesus’ warning to Herod in which exorcism is mentioned: “Go tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course …’ ” (Lk 13:32). But it is likely to be authentic, for it is difficult to see why such a situation and saying should be constructed.

Join the Conversation