Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Granville "Sharp's Rule," the "Sharper Rule," and the "Sharpest Rule"

If you are familiar with New Testament (NT) studies involving translations of certain texts which may or may not call Jesus of Nazareth "G-god," then you have probably heard of "Sharp's rule." However, unless you have taken a great deal of time to sort through the history of issues related to the discussion and to the application of this "rule" to various NT (and other) texts, you may not realize its many limitations or how to best determine whether "Sharp's rule" is even applicable.

The history and the controversies surrounding Sharp's rule have given rise to what Dallas Theological Seminary Professor Daniel B. Wallace in his 1995 doctoral dissertation presents as the '"Sharper rule."  But do Wallace's revisions to Sharp's rule, and his explanations for its exceptions, give us the "Sharpest rule" according to the best available evidence? I do not believe it does.

As I have studied this issue for some time, as have Wallace and others, it is again time for me to present some of the best reasons for my position, and then let each person decide whether to use "Sharp's rule," the "Sharper rule," or to use what I consider the "Sharpest rule." Based on my review and presentation of good reasons (see links below), I conclude Wallace and others who agree with him here (Trinitarian writers and scholars, mostly) have failed to adequately treat and respond to numerous critical issues related both to Sharp's rule and to Wallace's "Sharper rule."

While I have previously addressed Wallace's 1995 doctoral thesis in a 44 page "Excursus" in the Second Edition of my Jehovah's Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics (Elihu Books, 2000), a copy of which can be read online here, the issues involved in this discussion are such that I did not think it practical to include my "Excursus" on Sharp's rule in my Third Edition (Elihu Books, 2009) as I indicated in the Introduction, page xv. Further, last year Wallace published a revised version of his dissertation on Sharp's rule through Peter Lang, as part of Lang's "Studies in Biblical Greek" (volume 14) series: Daniel B. Wallace, Sharp's Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance, D.A. Carson, ed. (New York: Peter Lang, 2009).

In his 2009 book on Sharp's Canon and Its Kin, Wallace cites my 2000 publication (page 254, note 59) and its Excursus on Sharp's rule, but Wallace fails to address my entire range of arguments, choosing instead to refer to an online response by J. Ed Komoszewski written in 1999, a year before my 2000 Excursus was published. It is not possible, therefore, for Komoszewski's 1999 article to have been a response to my 2000 Excursus, though Wallace cites Komoszewski's 1999 article as if that is what it is! Wallace also nowhere references or cites my online response to Komoszewski's 1999 article, which I wrote over ten years ago and which has been online ever since.

There are other concerns relating to Sharp's rule, to Wallace's "Sharper rule," and where it concerns the responses given (or not given) by Wallace, by Komoszewski, and by other Trinitarians to my arguments and to what others have written concerning Sharp's rule over the years. Some of these concerns regarding the history, discussion, and application of Sharp's rule are presented and considered further in my online paper, "Another Exception to Sharp's Canon and Its Kin," July 26, 2010, to be listed as number "2" in the coming Elihu Online Papers page [January 30, 2012 *AUTHOR UPDATE*: The latest revised version of this paper is now listed on the Elihu Online Papers page as, "Another Exception to Granville Sharp's Canon and Its Kin: A Further Response to Dan Wallace (With an Appendix)."]. This page which will replace the current use of IN MEDIO for its part in the presentation of information related to the activities and beliefs of Christian Witnesses of Jah throughout the world.

My new online paper is only the beginning of my further response to Wallace and to others regarding these issues. More will follow in my, The "Sharpest Rule": A Review and Restatement of Greek's Most Tragic Rule.