Thursday, September 17, 2009

NWT - Martin: NWT "Misquoting" and "Obvious Misuse" of Mantey's Work

Martin: NWT "Misquoting" and "Obvious Misuse" of Mantey's Work

Before we see Martin's attack upon the honesty of the NWT appendix writers, we will see both what that appendix actually said and the context of Mantey's quote which was used in that appendix.

Pages 773, 774 in the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, 1951 ed.: After a listing of trinitarian Bibles that translated Jn 1:1c as "The Word was divine," we read,

"Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas an anarthrous construction points to a quality [like `divine'] about someone. That is what A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Dana and Mantey remarks on p. 140, paragraph vii [also see p. 149].

"Accordingly, on p. 148, paragraph (3), this same publication [by D&M] says about the subject of a copulative sentence:

" 'The article sometimes distinguishes the subject from the predicate in a copulative sentence. In Xenophon's Anabasis, 1:4:6, emporion d hn to cwrion [emporion d' en to chorion], and the place was a market, [my emphasis - remember this is Dana and Mantey's own translation of the Greek example they just provided - see below], we have a parallel case to what we have in John 1:1 [that is, the anarthrous predicate noun emporion (`market') comes before the verb, and the articular subject to chorion (`the place') comes after the verb exactly as in John 1:1], kai qeoV hn o logoV [kai theos en ho logos], and the word was deity. The article points out the subject in these examples. Neither was the place the only market, nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with qeoV [theos].'

"Instead of translating John 1:1 and the word was deity [as Mantey did in the accurate quote above], this Grammar could have translated it, and the word was a god, to run more parallel with [Dana and Mantey's own translation of] Xenophon's statement, and the place was a market." - - [Emphasis and bracketed material added and Greek characters changed to English equivalents by me.

Now, before we see Martin's wrathful indignation concerning the great "dishonesty" of the above NWT statement, let's see the actual quotes from my own copy of D&M's A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 140, 148, 149.

"vi. The use of the articular and anarthrous constructions of qeoV [theos] is highly instructive. .... without the article qeoV signifies divine essence [?], while with the article divine personality is chiefly in view." - pp. 139-140.

"vii. The articular construction [a simple noun with the definite article] emphasizes identity; the anarthrous construction [a simple noun with no article] emphasizes character [a quality]." - p. 140.

"An object of thought may be conceived of from two points of view: as to identity or quality. To convey the first point of view the Greek uses the article; for the second the anarthrous [without the article] construction is used." - p. 149.

"(3) With the Subject in a Copulative Sentence. The article sometimes distinguishes the subject from the predicate in a copulative sentence. In Xenophon's Anabasis, 1:4:6, emporion d hn to cwrion [emporion d' en to chorion], and the place was a market, we have a parallel case to what we have in John 1:1, kai qeoV hn o logoV [kai theos en ho logos], and the word was deity. The article points out the subject in these examples. Neither was the place the only market, nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with qeoV [theos]. As it stands, the other persons of the Trinity may be implied in qeoV.

"martuV gar mou estin o qeoVGod is my witness. Rom. 1:9.
See also: Mk. 6:35; 1 Jn. 4:8.

"In a convertible proposition, where the subject and predicate are regarded as interchangeable, both have the article". - pp. 148-149.

Now we are prepared to check the honesty of Dr. Walter Martin's attack upon the honesty of this appendix note in the NWT. Here is what he says on p. 87 of his The Kingdom of the Cults, 1985 ed.:

"It is nonsense to say that a simple noun can be rendered `divine' and that one without the article conveys merely the idea of a quality (pp. 773, 774, appendix to the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures). The authors of this note themselves later render the same noun theos as `a god' not as `a quality.' This is a self-contradiction in the context ...." - p. 87.


"One need only note the obvious misuse in their quotation from Dana and Mantey (the New World Translation of the Greek Scriptures, pp. 774, 775 .) Mantey clearly means that the `Word was Deity' in accord with the overwhelming testimony of Scripture, but the writers have dragged in the interpretation `a god' to suit their own purpose ... The late Dr. Mantey publicly stated that he was quoted out of context and he personally wrote the Watchtower, declaring `there is no statement in our grammar that was ever meant to imply that `a god' was a permissible translation in John 1:1'." - p. 87.

First, it is obvious that the writer of the NWT appendix was merely pointing out why certain trinitarian Bible translators had translated the simple anarthrous noun theos as a quality ("divine") at John 1:1 ! Those trinitarian translators obviously agreed with Dana and Mantey that an anarthrous (without an article) noun may denote character or quality [but not identity]. - see pp. 140 and 149 quoted from D&M above. Whether any of the translators of the NWT believe such a thing is not stated and is beside the point.

That the idea that a noun without the article (anarthrous) can mean a "quality" is "non-sense" as Martin insists is his own opinion (although I happen to agree with this). But the NWT appendix writer has shown that many trinitarian scholars (including Dana and Mantey themselves!) have resorted to such an understanding because the NT Greek doesn't properly allow for the traditional trinitarian understanding at John 1:1 - an understood article making theos into ho theos ("God")!

Second, the fact that many trinitarian scholars have decided that John 1:1c cannot be understood as having an understood definite article and have, in desperation, seized on a "qualitative" approach doesn't make the "qualitative" interpretation true. It merely shows that even trinitarian scholars disagree as to the proper rendering because of the absence of the article in John 1:1.

If we examine all the scriptures in the writings of John that are truly grammatically parallel to John 1:1, we find that invariably all trinitarian Bibles translate them with an indefinite predicate noun (e.g. "he was a prophet" - John 4:19) just as the NWT translates John 1:1 ("the Word was a god")! So, rather than the NWT being inconsistent here (or having "a self-contradiction in the context"), it is all the trinitarian translations (whether "Definitarians" like Martin usually is or "Qualitarians" like Mantey is) which are inconsistent in their translations of John's NT Greek at John 1:1c with their translations of all parallel constructions found in John's writings.

Third, Martin's implication that the NWT appendix obviously misused Mantey's words because he "clearly means that the `Word was Deity'" is ridiculous at best. Mantey is clearly a trinitarian and obviously would not prefer the translation "the Word was a god."

Furthermore, the NWT appendix itself honestly states that Mantey translates it as "and the word was deity"! Mantey (and Martin) are pretending to be upset at the NWT appendix writer for misquoting, etc. when they should be upset with Mantey for his own proper translation of a Greek construction which he admits is parallel to John 1:1c ("and the place was a market")!! The NWT appendix writer showed the context for his quote of Mantey's work and even quoted Mantey's translation of John 1:1c (which was really unnecessary). The fact that Mantey had unintentionally presented some factual information that was detrimental to his own personal interpretation of John 1:1 doesn't mean that information shouldn't be used by others.

In spite of what trinitarian scholars would like John 1:1c to say (and many of them admit that "a god" is grammatically correct, but prefer "God" because of their interpretation of other "trinity proofs" in scripture), we can see that when it comes to translating passages which are parallel to John 1:1c, they render them in the same manner as the NWT renders John 1:1c ("a god.").

This whole business by Martin and Mantey is devious and hypocritical in the extreme. If you carefully review Martin's charges and the relevant quotes above, you will discover exactly who is misusing quotes and using dishonest methods, etc. (See the MARTIN study paper for more on this subject.)

In his public lectures Martin has made a point of repeating a quote from C. F. D. Moule's An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, 2nd ed., 1960, p. 116.

This quote (which trinitarian Moule himself actually attributes to Dr. Westcott) is, "It [theos at Jn 1:1c] is necessarily without the article." Martin sometimes likes to imply that Moule (actually Westcott) is thereby supporting Martin's version of Colwell's Rule wherein theos in the grammatical construction found at Jn 1:1c must have the definite article understood. (Of course Colwell's Rule doesn't really say that, but Martin tells us it does - p. 85, KOTC - see MARTIN study paper.)

For more concerning John 1:1, see:
John 1:1

However, an honest use of this quote cannot be used to support Colwell's Rule! In context it actually condemns the Martin-supported Colwell's Rule. Here is the rest of Moule's quote of respected trinitarian scholar Dr. Westcott:

"It is necessarily without the article (qeoV not ho qeoV) inasmuch as it describes the nature of the Word and does not identify His Person. It would be pure Sabellianism [a heretical teaching] to say `the Word was ho qeoV [as Colwell's Rule would have it understood].'"

Yes, Dr. Westcott (and Dr. Moule) was a "Qualitative" trinitarian (see the QUAL study paper) and, therefore, believed the "Definite" trinitarians (see the DEF study paper) are teaching heresy by trying to supply an understood definite article at Jn 1:1c. Martin, usually a "Definite" trinitarian himself, knows this of course, and, when it profits him, at times, he even uses the opposing "Qualitative" approach himself!

NT Greek expert A. T. Robertson makes a similar statement to that quoted by Moule. On p. 768 of his A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research Prof. Robertson writes:
"The absence of the article here [with theos at Jn 1:1c] is on purpose and essential to the true idea." He continues, "[W. F. Moulton] finds that when the article is used in the predicate the article is due to a previous mention of the noun (as well known or prominent) or to the fact that subject and predicate are identical. The words that are identical are convertible as in the older idiom. If he [Moulton] had added what is in Winer-Schmiedel, that the article also occurs when it is the only one of its kind [as the only true God], he would have said all that is to be said on the subject."

Yes, Prof. Robertson was also a "Qualitative" trinitarian. He also noted that Colwell's Rule when applied to John 1:1c amounted to heresy:

"It is true also that oJ qeoV [ho theos] hn oJ logoV (convertible terms) would have been sabellianism." - pp. 767-768.

So Walter Martin has taken part of a quote from Moule's book which said that the article must not be with (or, obviously, not even be understood to be with) theos or it would be heresy! Martin has taken part of this quote and implied that Westcott (or less accurately, Moule) has stated that Jn 1:1c is necessarily without the article so that Colwell's Rule, which supplies an understood definite article with theos at Jn 1:1c, can be used! This is not an inadvertent admission of error by Westcott (or Moule) which Martin has found and used against them - - - - This is an outright, dishonest misuse of a partial quote. This well illustrates the difference in honestly quoting an "opponent" and dishonestly doing so.


"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money... holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. .... And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them." - 2 Tim. 3:1,6,12-14 NASB. Also 2 Cor. 4:2-4 and Matt. 15:13-14.

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