Kloha / Montgomery Debate Video

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Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin and Dr. Jeffrey John Kloha, Provost and Professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, conducted a debate about the philosophies of Biblical textual criticism on Saturday, October 15th, 2016 at Concordia University-Chicago in River Forest, Illinois.

The title of the debate is: “Textual and Literary Judgments on the Biblical Text – What Happens to the Lutheran Commitment to Scriptural Inerrancy?

 

After a few attempts of trying to get an edited version of this video prepared; I’ve decided to simply upload the original for now. Having it available on Youtube rather than having to go to Livestream to get it makes it available to more of our readers.

The presentation starts about 33 minutes into the recording; you can skip forward to that to start at the introductions. The actual presentations (after opening remarks by the various sponsoring agencies) is found at the 52 minute mark.

 

 

As time permits I’ll continue working on attempting to get an edited version available.

 

We have now received a DVD from Concordia University’s media production department; it’s available here:

It should be the same as the above video with the exception that the stutter that happened in the livestream after 2 hours in should be corrected.

Dr. Kloha’s presentation starts about 20 minutes into this second video.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Kloha / Montgomery Debate Video — 11 Comments

  1. There is a gap in the video at 3:44:54 where Dr Kloha is talking about apologetics. Is there any record or transcript for what was missed at that point?

    Thanks.

  2. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    For those who watch the video, I highly recommend that you also read the papers of the presenters.

    Dr. Montgomery’s paper is here at BJS at this post: http://steadfastlutherans.org/2016/10/montgomery-kloha-debate-information-dr-montgomery
    and downloadable here: http://steadfastlutherans.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/JWM-TEXTUAL-AND-LITERARY-JUDGMENTS-16-pt.pdf

    Dr. Kloha’s paper is at the CSL website here: http://concordiatheology.org/2016/10/the-text-of-the-new-testament-october-15-presentation
    and downloadable here: http://concordiatheology.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Kloha_LCA_10-16.pdf

    In my opinion, Dr. Montgomery solves the challenges posed by “thoroughgoing eclecticism” with the following section of his rebuttal, from his paper, bottom of page 27 and top of page 28 (be forewarned that this is technical language used by text critics and Bible scholars):

    Here I should perhaps clarify my criticism of the use of internal factors in choosing text readings. I made clear in footnote 8 that I was not opposing all use of internal considerations—only those offering unrestrained discretion to the critic according to his literary views.

    Here are several additional items from Epp’s list of internal criteria (cf. my presentation, note 7):

    –A variant’s status as the shorter or shortest reading
    –A variant’s status as the harder ot hardest reading
    –A variant’s fitness to account for the origin, development, or presence of all other readings
    –A variant’s conformity to Koiné (rather than Attic) Greek
    –A variant’s conformity to Semitic forms of expression

    There is, in principle, nothing the matter with employing these more objective rules of the internal criteria—which differ markedly from choosing readings on the basis of a supposed consistency of the author’s vocabulary and style, or conformity with what the critic supposes to be the author’s theology or ideology.

    Worth noting also are the potential conflicts in the choice of the internal criteria to be employed in any given instance. For example, non-Semitic-style readings would presumably be the “harder” readings. Do we, then, disregard the “Semitic” rule and choose a “harder,” non-Semitic reading? A hierarchy of criteria has to be employed, but such a hierarchy is invariably implicit; it will perforce be chosen and applied ad hoc by way of the subjective judgments of the critic. This problem becomes especially acute when we recall that, for the
    thoroughgoing eclectic, internal considerations always trump external MS evidence.

    The dangers are particularly great in the two areas we cited in our initial presentation: “A variant’s conformity to the author’s style, vocabulary, and rhetoric” and “A variant’s conformity to the author’s theology or ideology.” But these are the very criteria Kloha employs to argue for Elizabeth and not Mary as author of the Magnificat.

    These statements of Dr. Montgomery are, in my opinion, irrefutable. Notice that he has divided the internal criteria into two classes, which is very helpful. Whatever you want to call the method that Dr. Montgomery has just outlined here, it is the only one that could be considered the most objective approach to the problem of textual variants.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  3. I have been reading up on the change in Jude 5. It seems that all the same methodology that Dr Kloha has used to argue for Elizabeth in Luke 1 has put Jesus into Jude 5. The internal theological reasoning in relation to the Cristological controversies are given as the origin of the variant reading. It was always assumed that the reading Jesus was “too hard” based on the weight of external evidence, But in light of the Theological Internal Evidence the NA28 and our ESV now says Jesus. I’ve seen people cheer for this reading because it gives more weight to argue for a “High Christology” Is that not a Theological or Ideological response?

    What criteria would a critic use to determine if a reading is “harder or hardest” wouldn’t this determination invariably need to take into consideration style, vocabulary, rhetoric, ideology, and theology. They certainly do in the discussion of Jude 5.

    Did Jesus Save the People out of Egypt? A Re-Examination of a Textual Problem in Jude 5
    Philipp F. Bartholomä
    Novum Testamentum
    Vol. 50, Fasc. 2 (2008), pp. 143-158

    Found at – https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjPtJjz9OvPAhUDOyYKHU62CREQFggeMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jstor.org%2Fstable%2F25442595&usg=AFQjCNHolOdvfzwdF26S5ZU_gug7yT9IDA&sig2=g3e_FPgf5EadqFEVJ7waNw

  4. It is a mischaracterization of Dr Kloha’s work to simply claim that “these are the very criteria Kloha employs to argue for Elizabeth and not Mary as author of the Magnificat” The first half of the paper “Elisabeth’s Magnificat” (found in “Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott”, pp200-219) is examining the text based on external evidence and internal evidence classified as “A variant’s status as the harder or hardest reading” and “A variant’s fitness to account for the origin, development, or presence of all other readings” Theses are a few quotes from the first half of the paper.

    However It is clear that in the earliest period some readers of Luke were quite interested in Mary and elevating her status even at the expense of the Lukan narrative. There is no evidence on the other hand of an interest in Elizabeth or raising her status.

    p.202

    These Historical and theological developments must be taken into account in order to assess what “scribes” or “editors” would have done to the text of Luke in the first four centuries. For most commentators, the best argument in favor of reading “Elizabeth at Luke 1:16 is the presumption that it is the “more difficult” reading, in that the prominence of Mary in the post-NT period would have led to users of the manuscript to add [Mary] to the manuscripts at Luke 1:46… No viable setting for an elevation of Elizabeth’s status in early Christianity has been identified.

    pp.206-207

    After addressing the external manuscript evidence and he comes to this concussion, “Both readings are found in the mid-to late-second and early third centuries, the earliest and most volatile period of transmission. The evidence for Elizabeth as the singer of the Magnificat is not as weak as it is, at times portrayed.”

    p.206

    It is not as if he is disregarding the external evidence, he is coming to a different concussion based on the external evidence. Also note that in the introduction to the section “Stylistic and Structural Considerations” he notes that this discussion is drifting away from the discipline of textual criticism and into exegesis.

    Harnack’s arguments of Elizabeth are perhaps surprisingly brief. The main focus of his essay was to explicate the Magnificat within its Lukan context; his decision regarding the textual variant was a consequence of his interpretation of the Magnificat’s purpose in Like 1-2, not a distinct text-critical decision made prior to the exegetical task.

    p.207

    He is acknowledging that he is no longer looking at the problem as a textual critic but as an exegete. This is in line with his view of how the early church dealt with textual issues that are indefinite.

    This may seem odd to us; we more often operate with notions of one reading being “right”—which necessarily makes the other reading “wrong.” At times the early fathers did the same, to be sure. They were fully capable of rendering a judgment on which of two readings came from the apostles. But they were also able, in many cases, to allow both readings to stand, and to offer interpretations of both. For example, Origen’s commentary on Romans discusses the significant differences in the manuscripts at Romans 5:14. Most manuscripts read: “However, death reigned from Adam up to Moses, even upon those who did not (μή) sin after the likeness of the transgression of Adam.” Some manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, omit the “not,” thereby completely changing the meaning of that clause. Origen first offers lengthy commentary on the shorter text, without the “not.” Then he notes also that “If, on the other hand, as it reads in some manuscripts…” and then offers a second exposition of the text based on the reading “not.”

    (Manuscripts and Misquoting, Inspiration and Apologetics, Kloha 2015 p.8)

    If we understand the second part of the paper “Elizabeth’s Magnificat” in this way, Dr Kloha is simply offering an interpretation of the text if it is true that Elizabeth is the singer. This would also explain why he does not feel compelled to teach Elizabeth in every situation, Because in the same way the Origin does not know for certain what the original text said In Romans 5:14, he does not know for certain the original text at Luke 1:46. He is able to offer an interpretation in the event the either one is true.

    this is further shown by his statement at the debate

    I see my role as contributing to the larger project of textual criticism and that my judgments by themselves are not decisive

    (3:29:31)

  5. in the quote from page 206

    “After addressing the external manuscript evidence he comes to this concussion,” are my words

    “Both readings are found in the mid-to late-second and early third centuries, the earliest and most volatile period of transmission. The evidence for Elizabeth as the singer of the Magnificat is not as weak as it is, at times portrayed.”
    Is the quote from page 206

  6. The problem that Kloha’s analysis demonstrates is that it doesn’t take the external evidence seriously enough. First of all, the fact that only Origen and Irenaeus give minor attribution to Elizabeth as the singer of the Magnificat means that they were not conclusively holding to that position. Also, being the evangelist who depended on eyewitness testimony, Luke had to have gathered and checked his data from those who could have answered to it, which Luke 1:1-4 attests. Writing perhaps somewhere between 50-66, give or take a few years, AD, it’s almost certain that Luke consulted Mary, the blessed mother of our Lord. Elizabeth would have been either too old or dead by then, given her age when giving birth to John the Baptist. It would stand to reason that, if Elizabeth sang the Magnificat, Mary or one of the other eyewitnesses would have said so and Luke–being the careful physician/historian that he was, would have told us as such. But, he doesn’t. Luke records what everyone taught and which the apostles preached from the time of Pentecost circa 30 AD and following through the writing of the Gospel accounts.

  7. @David Rosenkoetter #8

    The problem that Kloha’s analysis demonstrates is that it doesn’t take the external evidence seriously enough.

    Just becaues someone looks at the evidence and draws a different conclusion does not mean that he is not taking the evidence seriously. he said at the debate;

    What I value of Thoroughgoing Eclecticism is I’m not beholden to somebody else’s judgment; I have to do all the work myself. And then compare it to somebody else’s judgment. That is all external evidence is—the compilation off lots of individual judgments. It is simply what Westcott and Hort laid out in the 1880s, it’s on page 14—it is how the discipline has worked from the beginning. It is just where you start in the circle. (3:51:22)

    He does not trust other peoples judgments and wants to make his own determination of the “value” of the individual process of external evidence. I’m not sure that is a bad approach.

    First of all, the fact that only Origen and Irenaeus give minor attribution to Elizabeth as the singer of the Magnificat means that they were not conclusively holding to that position.

    Could you not say that Dr Kloha is putting himself in the same position as Origen and Irenaeus? If he says Elizabeth sometimes and Mary at others, he must not conclusively hold the position either.

    You are also using the same kind of internal literary speculations that Dr Kloha is accused of using but to argue the opposite. You assume that Luke’s writing will be consistent with his stated approach (Luke 1:1-4). “being the careful physician/historian that he was, would have told us as such” is a subjective argument based on what you think Luke would have written. That is exactly what Dr Montgomery does not want us to do.

    By assuming that the information Luke used must have come from Mary you are also making source speculation witch is in the area of Higher Criticism.

  8. Dr. Kloha stated that he assumed that most Missouri Synod pastors had read Chemnitz and would have known what he was talking about (but apparently didn’t). I can agree with that. There are probably more laymen than pastors who have ever read Chemnitz. Likewise with Robert Preus’ books.

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