Monday, January 11, 2010

Robert Dick Wilson

In view of the previous post I made on Gen 4:7, you may enjoy reading the particular quote ascribed to Robert Dick Wilson. What he says below strikes true with me in this respect: True Scholarship will search out a matter to the sources and discover where an error has been made in the continuous propagation of the mis-opinion of an earlier authority.


“You will have observed that the critics of the Bible who go to it in order to find fault have a most singular way of claiming to themselves all knowledge and all virtue and all love of truth. One of their favorite phrases is, ‘All scholars agree.’ When a man writes a book and seeks to gain a point by saying ‘All scholars agree,’ I wish to know who the scholars are and why they agree. Where do they get their evidence from to start with?"

“I remember that some years ago I was investigating the word ‘Baca,’ which you have in the English Bible — ‘Passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well.’ I found in the Hebrew dictionary that there was a traveler named Burkhart, who said that ‘Baca’ meant mulberry trees. That was not very enlightening. I could not see how mulberries had anything to do with water. I looked up all the authority of the scholars in Germany and England since Burkhart’s time and found they had all quoted Burkhart. Just one scholar at the back of it! When I was traveling in the Orient, I found that we had delicious water here and there. The water sprang up apparently out of the ground in the midst of the desert. I asked my brother who was a missionary where this water came from. He said, ‘They bring this water from the mountains. It is an underground aqueduct. They cover it over to prevent it from evaporating.’ Now the name of that underground aqueduct was Baca."

“My point is that you ought to be able to trace back this agreement among scholars to the original scholar who propounded the statement, and then find out whether what that scholar said is true. What was the foundation of his statement?"

See also in this recent blog post, where the same problem described by Wilson is illustrated in a book review written Con Campbell on Daniel Wallace's book: Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance.

Read Better, Preach Better (blog name)
by Con Cambell

Click here for full post
"Third, the historical survey is very useful, as it answers one question that I’ve held for some time: if Granville Sharp’s rule is both correct and important, why has it been so neglected in Greek grammars and NT commentaries? Wallace convincingly argues that it is basically Georg Winer’s fault. As the preeminent Greek scholar of the nineteenth century, his almost off-hand (and theologically prejudiced) comments on Titus 2:13 set a pattern of neglect of Sharp’s rule through to the present day."

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