Granville Sharp on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog

Steven Avery

Richard Porson's Famous Handwriting

Hi Alexander and ETC friends,

Granville Sharp's intention was that eight verses would be changed from the Authorized Version (there was a ninth but it was oddball.) The verses would change from the very common New Testament mode of dual addressing (dozens of verses) to an identity singularity, declaring Jesus is God. This was to be accomplished not directly, but by a grammatical subtlety.

(And new translation would be missing the actual interpretative nuance of the text, Ephesians 5:5 being a good example, noting John Calvin's commentary)

In the Daniel Wallace iteration, and in the NETBible , most all of those eight have been discarded, due to a variety of reasons, including textual variants, and certain sophistries and special pleadings within the context of Granville Sharp Rule analysis. It does make for a humorous study. A pile of exceptions a mile high!

Note that there is also a plagiarism concern as to the actual Granville Sharp studies, noted by John Pye Smith in 1821, noting the French work of Herman Royaards. (To be fair, this is a complicated discussion.)

So now there are only two of eight verses "standing", Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, and those two very shakily since the arguments against the identity translation are very strong. Thus it is incorrect to call the Daniel Wallace material "The Granville Sharp Rule", unless you add "Radically Reduced" at the end.

One of the most fascinating areas of New Testament translational study.


Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY, USA
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Steven Avery

Thanks, Andrew!

One important point. Anybody who discusses the Granville Sharp Rule in terms of "how many persons" has already placed a doctrinal tinge over the question. Since they are usually starting with the presumption that ontological beings and entities (including the Holy Spirit) are "persons". That may be popular doctrine, but it is not impelled by the Bible and is easily disputed.

And I like the explanation given by Granville Penn (1761–1844.)
Discussing the fundamental issues in

2 Peter 1:1 (AV)
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

"Had the apostle intended here to say, as Macknight and Bloomfield maintain, ‘our God and Saviour J. C.,’ he would surely have said,
που Θεός και Σωτήρας ημών Ιησούς Χριστός "

Annotations to the Book of the New Covenant: With an Expository Preface (1837)
Granville Penn

This is the fundamental issue. While the singular and dual addressing translations are both grammatically feasible, it simply makes no sense at all that Paul, seeking to give an incredibly important doctrinal Christological statement, would hide this in a super-subtle grammatical nuance! Based on a "Rule" that is unknown in normative, historic Greek grammar.

Matthew above asked me for my translation. Misses the point. Two widely divergent English translations are grammatically feasible. That is why you have to seek the bigger contextual picture. And my conclusion is that New Testament Greek scholarship has been played.


Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY, USA