The King James Only Debate (part 6)

(Read part 1part 2part 3part 4, part 5). Part 6 will cover chapter 3, “Attacks on Doctrine.” This is one of only three chapters that has the same title as that listed in the table of contents. Like chapter 2, this chapters deals with omissions in modern versions. The difference here is that chapter 3 covers the major omissions that involve doctrine. Covered are Mark 16:9-20 (the resurrection and ascension), Acts 8:37 (salvation by faith alone), 1 John 5:7 (the Trinity), Colossians 1:14 (the blood of Christ), and 1 Timothy 3:16 (the deity of Christ). Hollner is certainly correct in bringing up the serious nature of these omissions. However, they are treated in his usual bombastic and error-ridden style.

The list of allusions to Mark 16:9-20 from ancient Christian writers (pgs. 89-90) is taken without attribution from the website of the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS). The quote attributed to Burgon (p. 91) not only has words omitted, it is not even from Burgon. It is from F. H. A. Scrivener’s A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament (p. xv). Hollner here repeats the error of the TBS, but at least the TBS gave a book title and page number, even if they were wrong. Hollner questions the antiquity of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, but then says that Codex A and Codex C are “fifty years later” (p. 91). Although it is true of Sinaiticus that the leaf containing the end of Mark and the beginning of Luke is a cancel sheet, it has never been established that it was rewritten to exclude the ending of Mark (p. 92). Clearly, Hollner has never read Milne and Skeat’s Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus (British Museum, 1938). But perhaps Hollner can be forgiven for this statement, since he just copied it and many other sentences in this chapter from the TBS, again, without attribution. Hollner is quite the plagiarist.

On Acts 8:37, the fact that the verse “is found in the Greek texts of Stephanus 1550, Beza, and Elzevir” should not be included as “evidence in favor of including this verse” (p. 97). Hollner refers to the work of David Daniels on Sinaiticus, but never mentions the title, and adds an apostrophe to the end of Daniels last name (p. 100). The statement that Codex Vaticanus “is missing many complete books of the Bible” (p. 100) is misleading. The books are not missing because scribes thought they were spurious. They are simply missing. Hollner’s attempt at humor (p. 100) falls flat, like the book itself. It is incorrect that “many modern versions are even now fraudulently including the Apocryphal writings within their texts” (p. 100). No wonder Hollner never mentioned any. And he never explains how he knows that the King James translators only “reluctantly” included the Apocrypha (p. 101).

On 1 John 5:7, Hollner chastises Bruce Metzger for omitting mention of Codex 629 in his textual commentary (p. 105-106). True, it is not mentioned in his second edition (1994), but it is mentioned in the first edition (1971) and in his book The Text of the New Testament. Hollner actually gives the source of a quotation (p. 105), although he omits the author’s name (Roland Bainton) and botches the publisher’s name (Charles Scribner’s Sons, not “& Son”). But it turns out that the quotation from Erasmus is not a quotation at all, just Hollner’s rough approximation of what Erasmus said. His reference to Rummel (p. 110) contains no book title or page number. In the course of two sentences, Hollner refers to Stephanus as Robert Estienne, Stephanus, and Stephens, without an explanation as to the difference in names (p. 110). I seriously doubt that Hollner could “author a 1000-page book on I John 5:7 alone” (p. 111). Hollner’s reasoning is flawed when he states that there are only “13 Greek witnesses prior to the 10th Century that leave the verse out” (p. 113) but never tells his readers that there are none that contain it. There are not “hundreds of Church father witnesses” to 1 John 5:7 (p. 116). Hollner’s remarks on Erasmus and 1 John 5:7 should be corrected by the information I have in my forthcoming chapter 5 of The Text of the King James Bible. It would be nice if Hollner knew how to capitalize book titles (pgs. 117, 123). And speaking of titles, the “N.A.S.” (p. 119) should be the “NASB.” Hollner’s classification of seven languages to match Psalm 12:6-7 is artificial (p. 120). Charles Forster’s “A new plea for the three heavenly witnesses” (p. 123) is actually titled A New Plea for the Authenticity of the Text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses. Hollner’s quote from this work contains an addition that he mentions, but also one that he does not (p. 123). And regarding the quote, he misspells “Wordsworth” as “Wordsworts.”

There is not much to say about Hollner’s treatment of Colossians 1:14 and 1 Timothy 3:16. All his images of Greek manuscripts will mean nothing to the average reader, of which I hope there are few. In closing, I would like to say one more thing that applies to the whole chapter: I wish Hollner knew how to use a comma. Stay tuned for the seventh installment.