"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 5, Number 4, April 2002
"I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know. For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply. I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man." Job 32:17-21, NIV
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. Some may also be downloaded at http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly. Articles on the King James Bible controversy and recent issues may be accessed at www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
MORE REGARDING PATRICK OF IRELAND
In AISI 5:3, we gave a brief bibliography of sources of information about Patrick, the 5th century evangelizer of Ireland. Two readers wrote with additional sources of information, and though we have not yet seen either book suggested, we pass them along to the reader.
Ludwig Bieler, The Works of St. Patrick, in Ancient Christian Writers: the Works of the Fathers in Translation, ed. by J. Quasten and J. C. Plumpe (London: Westminster, 1953), vol. 17.
R.P.C. Hanson, The Life and Writings of the Historical Saint Patrick. New York: Seabury Press.
Of this latter work, our correspondent wrote: "In this book R.P.C. Hanson translates the two works left behind by St. Patrick (Letter of Coroticus and Confession) and gives commentary on the facing page. One thing for sure about St. Patrick that you learn from his writings is that he loved the Lord Jesus and sought to walk in obedience to God." Of last remark, we were never in doubt.
THE LATIN VULGATE BIBLE TRANSLATION IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Part I
"St. Jerome has personally done more and greater in translation than any one man will imitate."
(cited in Philip Schaff,
History of the Christian Church,
Vol. III, p. 973)
"That was a grand action of old Jerome, when he laid all his pressing engagements aside to achieve a purpose to which he felt a call from heaven . . . . Away he went with his manuscripts, and prayed, and laboured, and produced a work--the Latin Vulgate--which will last as long as the world stands; on the whole a most wonderful translation of Holy Scripture."
Charles H. Spurgeon,
Lectures to My Students,
First series, p. 51
In some recent correspondence, a long-time friend asserted matter-of-factly that the English King James Version of the Bible was the most important Bible translation in history. I think he was rather stunned when I promptly replied that the facts required rather that that accolade would have to be given instead to the Latin translation of the Bible called the Vulgate, which was made by Jerome about 1600 years ago. I shall herein present the reasons for my conclusion.
For the sake of clarity, let me first describe exactly what the Latin Vulgate is, and present its history briefly. In A.D. 383, Jerome, the most highly competent Biblical linguistic of his day, was requested by Bishop Damasus of Rome to revise and standardize the Old Latin (OL) versions of the NT then extant, in order to produce one uniform and standard Latin translation. There were at that time a multitude of versions of the NT in Latin translation circulating in the Latin-speaking regions of the western part of the Roman Empire, differing from one another in thousands of details and readings, creating a veritable chaos. Some standardization and uniformity was demanded. Using the oldest and best Greek manuscripts of the NT he could lay his hands on, Jerome revised the OL Gospels with some care, though generally altering the OL text as little as the evidence of the Greek manuscripts absolutely demanded. He also revised the rest of the NT, though more hurriedly (some claim that Jerome had no hand in revising the NT beyond the Gospels, but in more than one place he expressly claims the whole NT as the field of his revising labors).
Naturally, as always happens when a revised Bible version is prepared, Jerome's revision of the NT met with vicious opposition and strong denunciation, but its inherent superiority on the whole to the OL versions of the NT eventually won nearly universal acceptance for it.
Not long afterward revising the NT, Jerome began a revision of the OL version of the OT. He first made a cursory revision of the OL on the basis of the Septuagint (abbreviated LXX), the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT made in Alexandria, Egypt (the OL versions of the OT had originally been made from the LXX translation, rather than the Hebrew text). But recognizing that the LXX often did not express the meaning of the Hebrew original, he decided to make a new Latin translation of the OT based on the Hebrew text. For fifteen years he labored at the task, bringing it to a successful conclusion when in his 70s.
Jerome's version won acceptance by its superiority to the OL versions of the OT and NT, eventually superceding them in common use (at present something under a hundred OL Bible manuscripts are known; Vulgate manuscripts number between 8,000 and 10,000, perhaps even more). Eventually in 1563 at the Council of Trent--the Catholic Church's reactionary conference in the face of the Reformation--the Roman Catholic Church declared Jerome's Vulgate to be "authentical," meaning that it was officially sanctioned by the Church as inspired, infallible, and unalterable (a reaction to the claim of Protestants that authority resided in the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the OT and NT respectively). This claim wasn't new among Catholic writers, but it was officially adopted for the first time. To provide a tangible example of that supposed "infallible" translation, two popes in the 1590s issued printed editions of the Vulgate, which were both successively declared perfect and anyone who dared alter them was anathematized. Both of course abounded in printers' errors and false readings.
The excessive claims for the Vulgate of the Roman Catholic Church spawned an over-reaction among many Protestants, a reaction which lingers to this day; if the Catholics exalted the Vulgate too much, the Protestants generally valued it too little. (This is not unlike the response to excessive and grotesque Catholic claims regarding Mary--they call her "Mother of God," propound the fiction of her "perpetual virginity," and virtually deify her as a fourth member of the Trinity. In response, conservative Protestants almost never mention her at all. So, too, is the common reaction to the "papification" of Peter. Similarly, charismatic false teachings concerning the Holy Spirit have rendered many non-charismatics almost wholly silent regarding the Holy Spirit).
The importance of the Vulgate in the history of Western Christianity is almost beyond the possibility of exaggeration. After the fall of Rome to the barbarians in A.D. 411 and the division of the Roman Empire between the Greek-speaking East and the Latin-speaking West, the preservation of the knowledge of the true God in the West was wholly and squarely mediated to the people through the Latin Vulgate. As the modern Romance languages developed out of common Latin dialects, vernacular versions were necessary if the common people were to have access to the Word of God. All--and I do mean all--such medieval versions in Central and Western Europe were made from the Latin Vulgate version of Jerome: the Provencal translation of the Waldensians of southern France (claims that it was made from the OL are entirely bogus), vernacular versions in Spanish and Italian, and versions in the non-Romance languages of German, Bohemian Anglo-Saxon, and English (Wycliffe's version) were without exception translations of Jerome's Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate ruled supreme for a period of a thousand years, from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500, in round figures.
The pervasive influence of the Vulgate is evident in the vocabulary of theology in Western Europe in general, and English in particular--almost all of it is Latin-based: cross (mediated through French), crucify, justify, sanctify, glory and glorify, reconciliation, disciple, transgressor and transgression, circumcision, saint (through French), grace (through French), faith (also through French), carnal, charity, spiritual, consecration, resurrection, imputation, intercession, Spirit, impeccable, Gentile, baptize (from Greek through the Latin Vulgate), paradise (ditto), "only-begotten," a literal translation of the Vulgate's unigenitus (really a mistranslation by Jerome of the Greek monogenes; the OL's unicus, "unique," was in fact precisely correct); Calvary, angel, (from Greek through Vulgate), etc, world without end. To this can be added some of the strange spellings of OT names: Osee, Esias, Elias, etc., for Hosea, Isaiah, Elijah, etc.
Beyond the theological vocabulary in English, the influence of the Latin Vulgate on the vocabulary and grammatical structure of, for example, the KJV English Bible translation, is evident literally on every page of that translation, and repeatedly on each page. For example, the frequent disregard by the KJV translators for the Greek and Hebrew definite articles is a prime case (Latin has no definite or indefinite article). At Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23, the originals have "the virgin," not "a virgin"; Luke 2:10 in Greek has "all the people," that is, Israel, not the indefinite, "to all people"; Matthew 22:42 reads in Greek "what do you think of the Christ," a theological question, rather than a personal one as is implied in the imprecise KJV which omits the definite article in translation. Likely the KJV's failure to clearly indicate that "great God" and "saviour" are designations of just one person, not two, in Titus 2:13 is due to similar causes.
Even the text followed by the KJV bears the influence of the Vulgate. F. H. A. Scrivener, the greatest 19th century expert on the KJV in its various editions and revisions, points out that in not less than 90 places in the NT, the KJV translators abandoned all then-in-print Greek texts and followed precisely the reading of the Latin Vulgate. Numerous examples of conformity by the KJV to the Vulgate instead of the Hebrew Masoretic text of the OT have also been pointed out.
The great influence and importance of the Vulgate in general can be seen its sheer numbers of manuscripts. Something between at least 8,000 and 10,000 different manuscripts of the Vulgate currently exist, outnumbering Greek manuscripts of the NT almost 2 to 1, and perhaps outnumbering all Greek manuscripts plus those of other ancient versions--Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, etc.--combined.
When in the providence of God the Bible came to be printed, the first Bible printed was an edition of the Latin Vulgate, the famous Mazarin or Gutenberg Bible, not a Greek NT or a Hebrew OT, or any kind of English Bible version.
And it was a Latin Vulgate Bible that the lost and perishing monk Martin Luther discovered in the monastery library, and on which his soul feasted, and through which the light of the Gospel shown into his heart, kindling a fire that eventually raged through all of Western Europe.
When vernacular translations of the Bible were made into German, Dutch, French, English, Italian, Spanish, and other tongues of Western Europe in the 16th century, in every case the translators had at their right hand the Latin Vulgate as an aid and guide on how to translate the Greek and Hebrew originals (in the case of Coverdale's English version, those portions not take from Tyndale's earlier work, were entirely made from the Vulgate, in consultation with Luther's German, Coverdale lacking any personal competence in Hebrew and Greek). All the Reformation-era Protestant translators were much better-skilled and markedly more accomplished in Latin than Greek or Hebrew, and the influence of the Vulgate is evident in all their versions.
And it is notable that the Reformation took root and prospered only in places where the Latin Vulgate was known and used, not in those places--in the Greek Orthodox East--where the Greek Bible (LXX OT and Greek original NT) or the Old Church Slavonic version was the standard and familiar text.
It can well be said that the Latin Vulgate is THE Bible of the Reformation--it could be called the "critical mass" that detonated the Reformation, in part in the conversion of Luther, and was the useful handmaid to every vernacular translator of that era. (Some claim the KJV as "the Bible of the Reformation," but this can be true only in the sense that it was a consequence or outgrowth of the Reformation, not its cause, since the Reformation preceded it by almost a full century, and had ended years before the KJV was ever published). There were of course other factors contributing to the Reformation including the invention of printing and the re-discovery of classical Greek literature, but the Vulgate was key.
The first Protestant to specifically point out the historical importance of the Latin Vulgate was John Bois, one of the translators of the KJV.
In the centuries since the Reformation, as the discipline of textual criticism developed, progressively the value of the Vulgate in reconstructing the original text of the NT became more evident. That version predates in age the great majority of extant Greek manuscripts, and was a revision of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th century OL versions on the basis of old Greek manuscripts deemed of highest quality by Jerome. It is therefore a witness of great antiquity and should always be taken into account.
In its text, the Vulgate often more closely follows the Alexandrian text type than the Byzantine/majority text, though in not a few places it departs from both. In his providence, God allowed that the dominant--shall we say "majority"?--text form in use among professing Christians of Western Europe for a thousand years was not of the Byzantine type, but more akin to the Alexandrian text. This is of course well more than twice as long as the "Byzantine" text in its textus receptus form held sway in Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The first Bible in English--Wycliffe's version--was made from the Vulgate and therefore had a non-Byzantine text as its base in the NT.
Catholic priest and humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), when he compiled the text for his Greek NT, first published in 1516, frequently relied on the readings in the Latin Vulgate, sometimes inserting whole verses or clauses on the basis of the Vulgate entirely alone, or with the most meager of Greek manuscript support (e.g., Acts 8:37; 9:6; I John 5:7; et al.). The entire last 6 verses of Revelation were back-translated by him from Latin into Greek, since Erasmus' sole Greek manuscript of Revelation was defective in this place. The result: several readings--some list as many as 20--in his textus receptus are found in NO known Greek manuscripts.
Could I for a moment expose the error of KJVOnlyism by taking some standard arguments for an infallible KJV and applying them to the Vulgate (what Rush Limbaugh calls "illustrating absurdity by being absurd")?
First, it is claimed that the KJV is not copyrighted (a false claim, by the way). It is a fact that the Vulgate translation is not copyrighted (such legal niceties being unknown in Jerome's day). Here, the Vulgate is the equal of the KJV, or, in reality, its superior, since it truly is not now--and never has been--copyrighted, unlike the KJV (assuming that this argument has any value to begin with).
And dare we point out that claims that the Vulgate was inspired and infallible preceded by centuries similar claims for the KJV? The claim of an infallible KJV is only a weak imitation of the much older Catholic claim regarding the Vulgate (and both claims are younger than the very ancient--2nd century A.D.--claim of the infallibility of the LXX Greek OT).
We are told that the KJV is superior because it is based on "the majority text" (another false claim, strictly speaking, since the textus receptus behind the KJV differs from the majority text in something like 1,800 places, more or less). Counting all manuscripts, including those of ancient translations, whatever the reading of the Vulgate is, is de facto the "majority" reading since Vulgate manuscripts probably out-number all others combined.
We are told that the KJV is superior because it is a formal equivalence translation (as opposed to a "dynamic equivalence" version, or a paraphrase). From direct personal experience of comparing the Greek text and Latin version in much of the NT, I can affirm that the Vulgate is also a strongly "formal equivalence" translation, very frequently reproducing precisely the form of the original--participle for participle, finite verb for finite verb, infinitive for infinitive, preposition for preposition, etc. The Latin of the Vulgate can usually more closely conform to the Greek text than can any English version, since Latin is much more closely related to Greek than English is, and has many words that are cognate (i.e., genealogically-related to) to the original Greek words; often it simply borrows the words directly into Latin. And its verbal system is much more like that in Greek than is the English system.
We are told that the KJV is superior because of its long history and dominance. What?--less than 400 years in all? The Vulgate's domination in Western Europe was well more than twice that long, even ignoring its continuing importance during the last almost 5 centuries since the Greek text was first printed.
We are told that the KJV is superior because it has been used more by God than any other version. Is that so? The Vulgate single-handedly kept the light of the Gospel glowing in Western Europe during the long comparative night of the Middle Ages. It was the basis for all vernacular versions in the West in that period. It provided nearly all the vocabulary of theology in the West, was the instrument of Luther's conversion, and the assistant to every Reformation-era Protestant translator, including the KJV men themselves. Only in places where the Vulgate was known and used did the Reformation take root and prosper. It can truly be said: without the Vulgate, there would have been no Reformation, nor would there have been a KJV, certainly not in anything like its present form. For all of its accomplishments, the KJV cannot begin to match achievements with the Vulgate.
Therefore, on a head-to-head comparison with the KJV, and using the standard arguments of KJVO radicals, the Vulgate must be declared even more "inspired" and "infallible" than the KJV. Of course, I deny the inerrancy or infallibility of both, as I do of all translations, since there is no Bible doctrine of infallible translations. The standard by which all translations, ancient or modern, Latin or English, are to be tried, judged, and corrected is the original language texts in Hebrew and Greek.
In all seriousness, with the evidence taken as a whole, one conclusion is demanded by the facts: the most important translation of the Bible ever made was the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome. Whatever merits may be claimed for the KJV--and we readily acknowledge its true merits--it must take a back seat to the Vulgate. (By the way, the Vulgate can be found in English translation in the Rheims-Douay version, which predates the KJV, and was regularly consulted by them as they made their translation--they often follow its distinctive wording exactly--, though it was not included among the "approved" English versions found in King James' instructions to the translators).
With each passing day, I value more and more the rudimentary knowledge of Latin which I acquired not so long ago, and the access to the Vulgate which it affords. I think it a case of short-sightedness that Latin is not commonly offered as a course of study in conservative seminaries in America, and the Vulgate is not commonly studied and known.
[In our next issue, we will give numerous significant quotations regarding the history, importance and merits of the Vulgate, along with a brief bibliography of some of the more important works on the subject]
THE HISTORY WRITINGS OF WILLIAM MANCHESTER
One of the great disappointments for me of late in regard to books and authors is the much-feared-but-not-unexpected announcement that William Manchester had set aside permanently the hoped-for third volume of his biography of Winston Churchill. The first volume, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932, some 973 pages long, was published in 1983. Volume two, The Last Lion: Alone, 1932-1940, filling 756 pages, appeared in 1988. I read with great interest these superb treatments of a surpassingly great subject. A third volume, to be called The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 was proposed and undertaken, but as year after year passed by without its appearance, I began to fear that the work would remain incomplete, and indeed, those fears are now realized. Manchester has declared that the toll of the years (he is now in his 80th year) has rendered completion by him impossible. I have faint hope that some colleague, research assistant or graduate student of his may yet take what Manchester has accumulated and written, and bring the third volume to completion.
William Manchester has been for more than forty years professor of history at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. His pen has rarely been idle, and his writings have the double merit of being both well-researched and also highly readable, an all-too-rare combination. (By way of contrast, I have repeatedly tried and failed to read through anything written by late historian Barbara Tuchman).
I first encountered Manchester in the mid-1980s, when I picked up at a used bookstore a copy of his literary first-born, Disturber of the Peace: the Life of H. L. Mencken. Copyrighted in 1950 and 1951, it was long the best biography of Mencken, and in fact remained such until Fred Hobson published Mencken: A Life in 1994. On reading Manchester's book, I said, "Here is a man who knows how to write!" I began collecting and reading books by Manchester, have since amassed a shelf full of them, and have read many of them.
Twentieth century history, chiefly American and especially subjects in some way connected with the Second World War, have occupied Manchester's attention. His biography of Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar (1978) is, like his incomplete Churchill, of the first water. So, too, are his own memoirs of life as a U. S. Marine during World War II, Good-Bye, Darkness (1979, 1980). He suffered near-fatal combat wounds on Okinawa which required years of convalescence. That book is at present required reading in "The Basic School" for new second lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps. Manchester also traced the history of one of the largest and oldest German military weaponry manufacturers in The Arms of Krupp: 1587-1968.
The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972 in two volumes (1973, 1974), has some exceptionally interesting accounts of the popular culture and national events in the time period covered, particularly the description of the truly heroic industrialists of World War II (like Henry J. Kaiser) who simply out-produced the Axis powers in every kind of armament, weapon, and war materiel and thereby enabled American soldiers to win that war. So, too, the account of the Manhattan Project (to build the A-bomb) is superb. This work does suffer from myopia, especially with regard to events of the late 60s and early 70s--particularly campus riots, war protests, and the Vietnam War (Manchester was radically leftist-leaning in his account of these things).
Some of Manchester's less-than-book-length essays were collected in Controversy: and Other Essays in Journalism, 1950-1975 (published 1976), which, among other things, has a valuable supplement to his Mencken biography, carrying that account up to and just beyond Mencken's death in 1956.
Manchester wrote three books about John F. Kennedy, the most famous being, The Death of a President: November 20-November 25, 1963, an hour-by-hour and at times minute-by-minute account of the last days, assassination, and burial of Kennedy. Manchester had been specifically asked by the family to prepare an account of these events, though when it was readied for publication in 1966 (it came out in 1967), the Kennedy family fought hard and long to suppress or alter its contents (an account of this fiasco is the title essay of Controversy). Besides this, there are two shorter books, Portrait of a President: John F. Kennedy in Profile, and One Brief Shining Moment: Remembering Kennedy. Being an unrepentant despiser of everything Kennedy, I have not yet found time to read any of these three. Whether Manchester, like most Camelot insiders, knew of and willfully suppressed all accounts of Kennedy's reckless immorality and other highly irresponsible behavior while President, I do not know. He certainly was a strong admirer of JFK, though apparently not quite the gushing sycophant that Ted Sorenson and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. were and are.
Manchester's last book, as far as my knowledge extends, was the uncharacteristic A World Lit Only by Fire: the Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age (1993). Only recently did I obtain a copy (paperback, $2.10, slightly used).
Besides the tomes specifically mentioned above, Manchester wrote an account of the Rockefeller family, three books of fiction, and one or two other works, none of which I have seen, and none of which has "a reputation that precedes it," at least not in my experience.
Manchester, taken as a whole, is a thorough and quite readable historian but with a leftward bent and occasionally crude language and prurient pre-occupation. I have found time spent in his writings a valuable addition to my own knowledge of events and people.
THE ELEMENTS OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK by H. P. V. Nunn. Cambridge: at the University press, 1939. Seventh edition. 188 pp., hardback.
I have found that as an aid to preserving a good working knowledge of the Biblical Greek which I labored diligently to acquire in the first place during Bible college and seminary days in the 1970s, a periodic review of the elements of Greek is essential. Teaching a beginning course in Greek to students is one way to accomplish this. Another way, in the absence of opportunity to teach others, is to work through a beginning Greek grammar, a task which can easily be accomplished in a few weeks, a half hour here, a stray quarter hour there.
Since I have not had the opportunity to teach the elements of Greek for several years, I sensed the necessity of private review. Of the several basic New Testament Greek grammars in my library, I used two of them as a student, two I used as a teacher, and two others I have long owned but have only occasionally glanced at their contents. As a student, I first learned Greek from Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New Testament by William H. Davis. Davis was trained by the great A. T. Robertson and became his teaching colleague at Southern Baptist Seminary. His grammar was an adequate introductory treatment, though the exercises were rather sparse (those in the latter part of the book were, however, at least all drawn from Scripture). In seminary, the beginning grammar used there was New Testament for Beginners by J. Gresham Machen, the scholarly defender of the faith at Princeton Seminary in the first quarter of the 20th century, and I used this grammar a couple of times when teaching beginning Greek, once in a Christian high school, and once to a small group in a church. It was superior to Davis in many respects, including fuller exercises, though some of his made-up Greek sentences were nonsensical. I don't know if Davis is still in print (it is commonly met with used); Machen is still in print, though the publishers have raised the price to more than $60, which can be nothing short of price gouging, and self-defeating. No one should or would pay $60 for a beginning Greek grammar, even when it is a good one, since others are available at much less cost.
Either Davis or Machen would have served for review, though since I had already been through both of them at least once, I decided to look elsewhere.
When I have taught Greek grammar, my preference has always been Machen, though once I employed Essentials of New Testament Greek by Ray Summers of Baylor University. There were to be two classes of Greek in the Bible college in Cincinnati, Ohio were I was teaching, one taught by myself, and the other by another man; he insisted on the use of Summers. As it turned out, only one class in Greek was actually required by enrollment levels--mine--, and I was stuck with Summers, which is a decidedly inferior work, the worst of all I have personally used. It is filled with errors, inaccuracies and defects, not the least being his own misunderstanding of the force of the Greek verb tenses.
On another occasion, this time in Romania, I completed an introductory Greek course begun by another prof, using Basics of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce. I was greatly dissatisfied with this recent work (published 1993). It has numerous errors of detail, and tends toward verbosity. It focuses excessively on "historic" forms, that is, original but now defunct verb forms, rather than simply acquainting the student with the forms actually found in the NT. Mounce's procedure is guaranteed to cause confusion in the minds of beginning students.
Most chapters in Mounce begin with "exegetical insights" which are apparently supposed to spark the student's interest by showing the light Greek can cast on Bible interpretation. While some of the insights are good, some affirm as certain interpretations which are at best merely grammatically possible, and more than once that are simply false. Given the freedom to choose, I will never use Mounce again.
I have one other Greek grammar which professes to be a book for beginners, An Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek by J. H. Moulton. While we value Moulton's advanced grammar, and have used with profit several other works by him, this book fails miserably as an introductory grammar. It has no vocabulary lists, no graded exercises and little else that could effectively lead the student from a state of complete ignorance of Greek to a condition of a good basic foundation in that language. It might serve as a review text, but not as an introductory one. (In passing, let me say that the best basic grammar of classical Greek in my experience is An Introduction to Greek by Henry L. Crosby and John N. Schaeffer. Anyone who has successfully completed a first year of NT Greek could go on to a good basic acquaintance with classical Greek--the best way to gain broader perspective on the language of the NT--by working through this volume, which, incidentally, often makes reference to NT passages).
And that leads us back to Nunn's little work. I can find precious little out about H. P. V. Nunn personally, beyond the information provided in the introductions to his small handful of books. He taught Greek--both NT and classical--plus Latin at St. John's College, Cambridge, and apparently did so for a long time, since the earliest edition of any of his several grammars is 1912 and the latest 1951. These are A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek (1st ed., 1912; 5th, 1938); The Elements of New Testament Greek (1st ed., 1914; 7th, 1939); An Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin (1st ed., 1922; 3rd ed., 1951); and A Short Syntax of Attic Greek (1st ed., 1948). All of his grammars reveal a man who knows his subject thoroughly, and is able to present it intelligibly, especially explaining, comparing, and contrasting Greek (and Latin) grammar with English. Almost my only complaint about the beginning Greek grammar is that it presents the paradigms of the cases of the nouns, pronouns and adjectives in the order "nominative-vocative-accusative-genitive-dative" instead of the usual N-G-D-A-V
Whether any of these little tomes by Nunn are still in print, I cannot say; my most recent copy is dated 1952. However, they are not extraordinarily scarce, and should be acquired if found.
BIAS by Bernard Goldberg. Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2001. 232 pp., hardback. $27.95
I suspect that my frequent experience is typical of most readers of AISI: on a regular basis, while watching network evening news, the talking head (and it doesn't matter which network you have tuned in) makes comments so biased against conservatives and so blatantly and outrageously pro-liberal that you find yourself spontaneously shouting at the TV set, "What rotten lies!" My wife refuses to watch the news with me most of the time.
It has long been claimed by conservative radio talk-show hosts (and in radio-land, where competition is the most intense and free, the hosts--like the listeners--are overwhelmingly conservative, and don't pretend to be otherwise), that the major national news media--TV, newspapers, news magazines--are so strongly biased against conservative points of view on social, political, and religious subjects as to pass into willful distortion and outright dishonesty. Now what has long-been claimed, and what most news watchers have never doubted for a moment, is confirmed by a media insider: yes, the TV network news organizations are uniformly, strongly, blatantly, and undeniably biased toward liberalism in their reporting of the news.
Bernard Goldberg, a veteran of 28 years with CBS news, and himself a social liberal (personally favoring abortion rights and gun control, and opposing capital punishment) exposes the reporting bias which regularly and pervasively characterizes and governs the network news reporting. To the talking heads at CBS, ABC, and NBC, the "Big Three" (but not nearly so big as in decades past), Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton are viewed as "middle-of-the-road" while everyone to their right (and probably not excluding Stalin or Chairman Mao) is a dangerous right-wing extremist.
Goldberg reports example after example of astonishingly slanted reporting. He first got into trouble with "The Dan," that is, Dan Rather, whose arrogance quotient is way off the charts, by writing an opinion piece for that "extremist" paper, The Wall Street Journal, regarding a particularly egregious example run on the CBS evening news during the 1996 Presidential campaign. It was all downhill for his career from there. (His case is not unlike that of former ABC reporter Bob Zelnick who was fired by ABC for writing a less than flattering book about Al Gore, Jr.; the network news "stars" demand free speech for themselves but will allow no departure from the party line among their minions.) Only a very few notables in the news business openly came to Goldberg's defense, among them Bob Costas, Dick Wolf (producer of the "Law and Order" TV series), John Stossel, and Andy Rooney (a real surprise since he is as politically liberal as anyone in television).
Goldberg--yes, he is ethnically Jewish--is one of the few in the media who doesn't whitewash Islam by claiming that it is a religion of peace and saying that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Allah are guilty of perverting the Koran and Islam. In reality, the suicide bombers are the most faithful adherents to the tenets of Islam, and are following closely both the precepts and example of Muhammad. Islam is truly the focus of evil in the world today.
The coup de gras in the book is a comparison of "The Dan" with Richard Nixon at his worst (enemies list and all); the resemblances are uncanny. Surely this must have been absolutely galling to Rather, who utterly despised Nixon. (Don't miss the parody "letter to Ann Landers" on pp. 117-8, either).
Some crude and profane language, but a book worth reading. Naturally, anything that infuriates the media elites must be worthwhile, and unquestionably TRUE.
Some quotes from Bias--
"I can't say the precise moment it hit me, but I do know that it was on a Sunday night while I was watching the HBO series The Sopranos. That's when I started noticing that the wise guys in the mob and the news guys at the networks had the same kind of people skills. . . . And, let the record show, I mean no disrespect to the Mafia." (p. 9)
"Television news anchors enjoy using words like 'substance,' mostly because a half-hour newscast (about twenty-one minutes after commercials) has so little of it." (p. 16)
"A reporter can find an expert to say anything the reporter wants--anything!" (p. 20)
"CBS News has always liked to think of itself as a family. But from where I was standing--isolated, off the air, and under fire as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy--it was looking more like the Manson Family." (p. 30)
"The media elites were circling the wagons. I could have shot a Christian Fundamentalist at an anti-abortion rally in Times Square at high noon, and they would have been more sympathetic than they were now that I had written about bias in the media." (p. 36)
"Maybe I should have seen the humor in the whole thing. I was pointing fingers at the media elites, which only proved to them that I was the one who had a bias problem. Wasn't this what used to happen--on a much scarier and devastating scale, for sure [or maybe not!--editor]--in the old Soviet Union? A dissident says the elites are corrupt, so the elites throw him in the Gulag because his accusation proves beyond any doubt . . . that the dissident is insane." (p. 37)
"If arrogance were a crime, there wouldn't be enough jail cells in the entire United States to hold all the people in TV news." (p. 179)
"Certainly too much local news has been pure fluff for some time now, with their Ken and Barbie anchors who have nothing intelligent to say, but look great while they're saying it." (p. 196)
"The Dan Rathers of the world don't try to crush you if they think you're full of crap. They simply ignore you. It's when you taunt them with the truth that they get really frantic and try to inflict pain." (p. 212)