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The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism Paperback – March 1, 1978

3.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The King James Version Debate is the first book-length refutation of this point of view written for both pastors and laymen. The author concisely explains the science of textual criticism since the main premise advanced by KJV proponents is the superiority of the Greek text on which it is based.

About the Author

D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or editor of more than forty books and is one of the leaders of The Gospel Coalition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Book House Company; Third Printing edition (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801024277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801024276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has been at Trinity since 1978. Carson came to Trinity from the faculty of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he also served for two years as academic dean. He has served as assistant pastor and pastor and has done itinerant ministry in Canada and the United Kingdom. Carson received the Bachelor of Science in chemistry from McGill University, the Master of Divinity from Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto, and the Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament from the University of Cambridge. Carson is an active guest lecturer in academic and church settings around the world. He has written or edited about sixty books. He is a founding member and currently president of The Gospel Coalition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
D. A. Carson's primary purpose in writing The King James Debate: A Plea for Realism is to refute those who advocate the superiority of the Greek textual tradition behind the King James Version of the Bible. As a consequence, his effort has produced a wonderful primer on textual criticism. The book is divided into two parts: Textual Question and Nontextual Questions. Carson makes every effort to treat the position of his opponents with respect although it is quite evident their position frustrates and even angers him.
The first six chapters are dedicated to surveying the different text-types and their historical traditions. He gives his readers a succinct overview of very complex issues regarding the rise of the four major textual traditions (Byzantine, Western, Alexandrian and Caesarean) and briefly discusses their strengths and weaknesses. Carson also navigates the thorny issue of how variations between these text-types developed.
Carson briefly discusses the origins of the Textus Receptus (TR) and makes the case that the TR is based upon the inferior and late Byzantine text-type. He traces the history of the TR through Erasmus's Greek Testament. He affirms that the KJV translators used the best manuscripts available to them at the time, but subsequent discoveries cast doubt upon the accuracy of the Byzantine text-type vis-à-vis the other traditions. In Chapter 7, Carson methodically summarizes the reasons why the TR is an inferior textual tradition.
Part Two deals with what Carson calls "Nontextual Issues." In actuality, this major division addresses Carson's thoughts on translating scripture. He deals with seven popular arguments some uses to support the superiority of the KJV translation over other modern English translations.
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10 Comments 138 of 150 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
A response to a previous review:
"Mr. Carson does a good job of defending the modern versions."
Very true.
"Unfortunately, in order to do so, he must misrepresent the KJB only side and make it seem like Mr. Ruckman and Ms. Riplinger are actually representative of the KJB only position, which they are not."
Ruckman and Riplinger are NEVER mentioned in the book, nor are their writings.
"He ignores the scholarship of men like D. A. Waite, D. O. Fuller, Edward F. Hills, etc. to focus on two weirdos, Ruckman and Riplinger."
Carson didn't mention Waite, but he did deal with the theories of Fuller, Hills, Hodges, Ray and Pickering. Carson cannot honestly be accused of employing a straw-man argument. Thomas is either lying in saying he read the book, or lying about the book's contents.
"Of course, since Biblical preservation dictates the KJB only position, since the Textus Receptus is the vast majority text, it is necessary to distort the KJB only position to attack it."
Biblical preservation says nothing about the King James Version. The TR is not the Majority Text. It is never necessary to use a straw-man argument, on this topic or any other, and Carson does not do so. Rather, he deals with the best arguments available in favor of the proposition that the KJV is the best (or only!) Bible translation on earth, and he refutes them calmly and reasonably.
"However, if you want to defend the modern versions, this is as good as you'll get."
Unfortunately, if you are looking for honesty and sanity in KJV-Onlies, Thomas R.
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My position on textual criticism has evolved over the years. I grew up reading all the modern versions, but shortly after my conversion I became persuaded of the KJV-Only position, reading Ruckman and Riplinger before settling into a more reasonable position posited by Hills. I read White, and felt that while he refuted Ruckman and Riplinger, and raised some important questions, I still was unconvinced of the methodology of modern textual criticism. Recently, I decided to look at the issue again, reading this book by Carson and Pickering's The Identity of the New Testament Text back to back. The process has refined my thinking even more.

Carson's book is brief, irenic, logical, scholarly, historically informed, and thoroughly thought out, in other words, classic Carson. He starts by orienting the reader to basic textual criticism - the texts that we have, what they're like, the kinds of errors that are found in them, and how scholars try to sort it all out. He then gives a brief explanation of the Textus Receptus, and the modern defense of the Byzantine text-type. The bulk of the book is his middle chapter: "Fourteen Theses."

"1.
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