Monday, August 26, 2013

Letis on the "Majority Text" as restorationist rather than preservationist

Here’s another interesting excerpt from T. P. Letis’ The Ecclesiastical Text (pp. 81-82, n. 16) in which he addresses the proponents of the “Majority Text” position (once prominent among the faculty of Dallas Seminary which were instrumental in producing the NKJV).  Letis argues that this approach is, in the end, still restorationist as opposed to preservationist:

Theoretically there is absolutely no difference between Warfield’s project and that of the so-called “Majority Text Society.”  Both were/are still in a quest to restore a text that has been lost; both work(ed) from a primitive, restorationist principle, rather than a catholic preservationist principle; and neither has, or had, an ecclesiology that can (or could) account for the role the Church has played in configuring as well as canonizing and transmitting the text of Scripture.  The Dallas fundamentalists rallying around the Byzantine text do so because it is the “majority” text without ever engaging the reason why it is such, i.e., because it was actually the text used in catholic ecclesiastical practice.  Hence, one can only make sense of its majority status by acknowledging its Ecclesiastical status, which explains why it is in the majority.


Phil Brown said...

I just read a post from Voddie Bauchum (Who I listen to often) promoting a post from Mark Driscoll on Textual Criticism. The link is as follows:

I would like to know your thoughts on this. Even though I disagree with Driscoll's choice text, I thought this was a fair analysis except for when he quoted Dan Wallace.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


Thanks for this link! It provided fodder for today's WM (8.27.13). You can listen there for my review.


Phil Brown said...

Thanks for your answer on the broadcast. I found it to be very helpful.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Thanks for giving me the idea. Regarding Driscoll, have you seen this open letter to him on the pyromaniacs blog?:

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

How would you describe Letis' position in a nutshell?

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...


I'm assuming you want TL's position on text. On this I think his view was that the TR was the best option. He saw the evangelical acceptance of the modern critical text as compromise. He was also critical of the modern evangelical construal of 'inerrancy' (as promoted by Warfield) as misguided and preferred the confessional term 'infallible.' To understand TL better I'd suggest listening to his review of the ESV on and reading his collection of essays under the title "The Majority Text."

Hope this helps!