Greek-English Interlinear

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To the Bluedorns

I am interested in purchasing the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by Jay P. Green, and went to read what Amazon had to say about it. I wanted to share this review with you, and see what your opinion is. Thank you for your time. S. K.

This interlinear has a nice format that proves helpful in study, but there are two big problems that stop me from giving it a positive review:

1. It does not use any known or accepted Greek text as the basis. Instead, it uses a marginal scholar’s attempt to reconstruct the Textus Receptus based on the King James Bible. In other words, it takes the English translation and works backwards. (It differs from the actual Stephanus TR in more than 250 places, to boot, so fans of the KJV will find no solace here.)

2. It reproduces that same scholar’s vitrolic and immensely wrong attack on Westcott and Hort in the introduction. It asserts – without any shred of evidence, historical or theological – that God used the Greek Orthodox Church to safeguard the scriptures in their pure form, and that future discoveries will prove the Alexandrian Text to be a perversion. What a laugh! Numerous discoveries of fragments and Uncial manuscripts since the time this was written have shown that the Alexandrian Text, especially Codex B, IS the very words of the New Testament, with a continuous scribal tradition from the earliest days of the church. The bitterness and spite F.A. Scrivner shovels out in his introduction should be enough to steer anyone away from this tome, except perhaps those that want it for historical reference of the Alexandrain vs. Majority Text debates.

This interlinear is only good for people who want to study what the KJV would read like in Greek. It does not give you a pure, historical, and doctrinally-superior text to work from. This perpetuates the worst of the KJV’s blunders, such as omitting the deity of our Lord in numerous passages – John 1:18, Col. 1:19, Jude 4, etc., and teaching salvation by works in Rev. 22:14.

I recommend an interlinear that uses the NA text, which underlies superior translations like the NASB-95 and NIV.

Dear S. K.,

You will find my comments placed within the Amazon review.

Harvey

This interlinear has a nice format that proves helpful in study, but there are two big problems that stop me from giving it a positive review:

1. It does not use any known or accepted Greek text as the basis. Instead, it uses a marginal scholar’s attempt to reconstruct the Textus Receptus based on the King James Bible.

F.H.A. Scrivener was considered one of the foremost Biblical textual scholars of his day. He was a very fair minded man and well balanced in his presentation of matters. Nobody doubted his credentials, and he was very highly respected in the academic community. Among his many scholarly accomplishments, he was commissioned by Cambridge University to reconstruct the Greek text underlying both the new Revised Version (1881) and the old Authorized (King James) Version (1611). (There was no published Greek text from which either translation was made. The Revised Version translators did leave some textual notes, but the Greek text underlying the Authorized (King James) Version had to be reconstructed from scratch, based upon what manuscripts it was thought were available to the translators.) Mr. Scrivener was instructed to first reconstruct the 1611 Greek text, then to show in the margin where the reconstructed 1881 Greek text differed. The reason for reconstructing the Greek texts behind both versions was to display the Greek textual differences underlying the differences between the two translations. Mr. Scrivener was one of the foremost textual scholars of his day, and no one — regardless of his persuasion — would have called him a “marginal scholar.” Even James R. White — who is no friend of the traditional texts or translation methods — in his book “The King James Only Controversy,” on page 91, names F.H.A. Scrivener among “true scholars of the first rank.”

In other words, it takes the English translation and works backwards.

The Greek text used in Green’s Interlinear was from the Trinitarian Bible Societies 1976 edition of Scrivener’s original 1881 edition of the text underlying the KJV 1611 and the RV 1881. Scrivener’s original edition of 1881 had copious textual notes. (I own a copy.) The Trinitarian Bible Society stripped these notes out. Mr. Scrivener simply set out upon the scholarly task of attempting to reconstruct — from among the texts which apparently were available to the 1611 translators — what textual readings they must have followed. He even added an appendix which listed where he believed the King James translators actually followed the Latin text over the Greek. He was not trying to create a new critical text based on the KJV. He was simply trying to create a base for comparing the 1611 version with the 1881 version.

(It differs from the actual Stephanus TR in more than 250 places, to boot, so fans of the KJV will find no solace here.)

When Mr. Green constructed his interlinear, he had to use a Greek computer text available to him which had accents and breathers and punctuation and other diacritical marks. The only such text available at the time which was of the majority text tradition was the one produced by the Trinitarian Bible Society. To date, there is still no other such computer text available.

2. It reproduces that same scholar’s vitrolic and immensely wrong attack on Westcott and Hort in the introduction.

Mr. Green wrote the preface, and he can certainly express himself in an animated fashion. Mr. Scrivener was not so animated — at least not in anything which I have read by him. But Mr. Green’s criticism of Westcott and Hort is not “immensely wrong.” Many of Westcott and Hort’s errors are frankly admitted by textual scholars of all persuasions. But the final evaluation of Westcott and Hort must, I believe, be made on the basis of actual evidence and clear reasoning from Biblical principles. On this consideration, I believe Mr. Green comes down mostly on the right side of things, despite his animated rhetoric which tends to detract from his argument. But the animated rhetoric of this reviewer seems to detract from his argument as well. What do you think?

It asserts – without any shred of evidence, historical or theological – that God used the Greek Orthodox Church to safeguard the scriptures in their pure form, and that future discoveries will prove the Alexandrian Text to be a perversion. What a laugh! Numerous discoveries of fragments and Uncial manuscripts since the time this was written have shown that the Alexandrian Text, especially Codex B, IS the very words of the New Testament, with a continuous scribal tradition from the earliest days of the church.

No modern textual scholar of which I am aware, of whatever persuasion, makes such assertions as this reviewer. I don’t have the time to rehearse the whole textual controversy — many volumes have been written on the matter, and the subject can become bogged down in many minute details. Suffice it to say that this reviewer reveals his general ignorance of the subject. It is like the man who roots for his own team in an exaggerated way, and tears down the other team with caricatures, but he actually knows little about either team. This reviewer displays a general ignorance of both sides of the textual controversy. He’s just rooting for one side.

The bitterness and spite F.A. Scrivner shovels out in his introduction should be enough to steer anyone away from this tome, except perhaps those that want it for historical reference of the Alexandrain vs. Majority Text debates.

Mr. Green wrote the introduction, not F.H.A. Scrivener. From this reviewer’s choice of words, I think we can safely judge that he was not in a very good mood when he wrote this. Perhaps it is a carnal reaction to Mr. Green’s brief but animated introduction. We all, at times, get excited and carried away by what we think. Our excitement sometimes generates an excited reaction in those of an opposing persuasion. At any rate, I don’t think anyone’s opinion of Mr. Green’s very brief introduction should steer them away from what is a very useful book.

This interlinear is only good for people who want to study what the KJV would read like in Greek. It does not give you a pure, historical, and doctrinally-superior text to work from. This perpetuates the worst of the KJV’s blunders, such as omitting the deity of our Lord in numerous passages – John 1:18, Col. 1:19, Jude 4, etc., and teaching salvation by works in Rev. 22:14.

It is plain that textual issues are foremost in this person’s mind. I do believe the textual issue is important. I do happen to believe that the Greek Textus Receptus comes from among the textual tradition which has the most credible witnesses according to Biblical standards for witnesses. But I would not defend it in every detail, as some have done. (There are some who almost worship the KJV or the Greek Textus Receptus, and they have defended these texts like enthusiastic cheerleaders.) I would apply Biblical standards in correcting it. I have read many persons of an opposite persuasion who have an understanding of the issues and who can argue their case intelligently. This reviewer is not among them.

I recommend an interlinear that uses the NA text, which underlies superior translations like the NASB-95 and NIV.

Here, the reviewer raises a separate issue — translations. And he calls the NASB and the NIV superior. How he can classify them both together, I cannot reason. If one is superior, then the other cannot be. In my opinion, the NASB is a fairly literal translation, but is based upon a poor Greek text. If we ignored the textual issue, the NASB would be a more literal translation — not the most literal, but more literal. But the NIV is a very different sort of animal. While the NASB tries to tell you what is said in the Greek, the NIV “translators” try to determine for themselves what they think the Biblical author meant by what he said in the Greek, then they try to tell you what they think you need to hear in the way they think you need to hear it.

A literal translation moves from
1) what it says in the Greek text, to
2) saying the same thing in English — as close as possible or reasonable.
Sure, there’s some interpretation. Sure, there’s some thought as to how to say it so the reader will understand. But the focus is upon conveying what the Greek text actually says.

The Scriptures are a legal document, not a fiction novel. In translating a novel, you would take liberties to convey your own understanding and feelings in a way which moves the reader as if it were written in English. In a legal document, you must focus on what is actually said. Interpretation is the work of the reader with the help of your footnotes.

A dynamic equivalence translation (like the NIV) moves from
1) what it says in the Greek text, to
2) what the translator thinks the author of the Greek text meant by what it says, to
3) what the translator thinks you need to know about what he thinks the author of the Greek text meant by what it says, to
4) how the translator thinks you need to hear what the translator thinks you need to know about what he thinks the author of the Greek text meant by what it says.

I have represented this much more simply than it actually is. Certain elements of transformational grammar introduced into the English grammar of the NIV are very subtle, yet very powerful — and very dangerous, in my opinion.

In some places, the NIV takes enormous liberties in interpreting the Greek text. There are places where I can read the Greek text which the reviewer favors — the NA (= Nestle-Aland, which is the same as the UBS = United Bible Societies text), then read the corresponding translation in the NIV, and I can find little correspondence between the two. I am not at all talking about Greek textual issues here, but only about issues of translation.

The reason we recommend this interlinear is because, from among all of the interlinears available, we judge this one to be of the highest quality in printing, most durable binding, and most usable format. There is nothing else like it. We might wish for something even better, but until that happens to come along, we’re quite satisfied with this one.

Harvey