Grantley McDonald - whines about the superb Georgios Babionitis grammatical explanation!

Steven Avery


The problem is the way in which you presented the question to Babiniotis. You wanted to find out if the comma was an original part of the text. However, the way you framed the question was this: "If we assume that the comma is part of the original text, do the grammatical features of the passage as it has come down to us in the Majority Text (i.e. without the comma) suggest that something is missing?" If you frame the question like that, the answer is of course going to be "Yes, it looks like something is missing." The problem is that you have assumed the truth of the thing you are trying to prove. This is the logical fallacy of petitio principii (otherwise known as begging the question). I have tried to explain this to you several times. If you had presented the question as follows, his answer may have been quite different: "There is an unusual grammatical feature here. What could have caused it?" In fact, Babiniotis hinted at this when he told you that the author was clearly making stylistic choices here. To quote from his message to you: "Conclusion. The issue we refer to has more to do with the linguistic style of the passage; it is the result of a stylistic selection which is far beyond the usage of a grammatical/syntactic rule that would lead to neuter gender and which furthermore would eliminate verse 5.7." In other words, the text as we have it (without the comma) is not the result of conformity or non-conformity to grammatical rules, but has more to do with the author's stylistic choices, which may or may not conform strictly to the ordinary rules of grammar. That is a sensible conclusion, and one that I would agree with entirely. But in any case, was Babiniotis really the right person to ask about this issue? There is no doubt that he is an eminent expert, but as he emphasised in his message to you, he is not an expert in biblical textual criticism, nor about the theological implications of textual variants in the bible. His judgment in this matter is thus not necessarily that of an expert. Just imagine that my horse is sick. I trot down to Monash Medical Centre and ask the head of endocrinology what's wrong with my horse. She might be a world class expert in her field and know lots and lots about biology and illness, but it she really the right person to diagnose my sick horse?
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