Tuesday, July 09, 2013
On Finding a Copy of "The Majority Text"
Image: My copies of The Majority Text and The Ecclesiastical Text
Image: The front inside cover of The Majority Text signed by the editor. Note that the "t" is missing in the "Sola Scriptura" inscription. Errare est humanum.
I much prefer getting a good used book to buying a new one. A few years ago my friend Sherman Isbell pointed me in the direction of Abebooks.com, and I’ve been a faithful patron ever since. Every once in a while I’ll do some searching for an out of print book there that I’d like to have. One I’ve kept an eye out for to acquire for my personal library ever since I read a copy I got from the Union Seminary Library in Richmond is The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate (Institute for Biblical and Textual Studies, 1987), edited by Theodore P. Letis. Since the book is out of print, copies are scarce and the prices usually run pretty high (e.g., a new copy is listed now on Abebooks for over $300). This work, along with Letis’ The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority, and the Popular Mind (1997), had a huge impact on my thinking regarding text and translation issues.
Anyhow, last week I found someone vending a copy of The Majority Text on Abebooks for a very reasonable price (my guess is the seller did not realize its value), ordered it, and got it on Monday. The copy is in good shape, clean, and unmarked. To my satisfaction, I found that it is also signed in the inside cover by the editor. In the providence of God, Letis died suddenly in 2005 at age 53 (here’s his obituary which appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). To hear a recording of him, check out his insightful critique of the ESV translation hosted by Still Waters Revival on sermonaudio.com. I am glad to add this book to my shelf dedicated to text and translation study.