RAIDING CHRISTENDOM'S PANTRY
From whom do Jehovah's Witnesses get their
Who really is the faithful and discreet slave who his master appointed
over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Matthew
IN RECENT years The Watchtower has not published books with the frequency
of past decades. But in 1988 The Watchtower served up the most substantial
"feast" Jehovah's Witnesses have ever enjoyed, Insight on the
Scriptures. In 2 volumes totalling 2554 pages, Insight is a substantial
meal indeed, and seems to make Jehovah's Witnesses proud of their organization's
resources and research capabilities.
But where do Watchtower chefs get the ingredients for their culinary
concoctions? Watchtower writers, hidden behind anonymity, display impressive
knowledge of history, archeaology, and Bible languages. For example the
Insight volumes impress
with their exact erudition regarding the Greek and Hebrew languages. Indeed,
such expertise is essential when one claims to be the ONLY approved
interpreter of God's Word. But since The Watchtower has NO recognized Greek
or Hebrew scholars, historians, archaelogists, etc., who is stocking its
pantry? Who are ultimately responsible for Jehovah's Witnesses Bible knowledge?
Make no mistake, The Watchtower does acknowledge many of its
sources. Search the Insight volumes and you will find frequent references
to authorities described only as "scholar", "Greek scholar",
"Hebrew scholar", "historian", "archaelogist",
"commentator", "lexicographer", "Bible scholar"
and other impressive titles. Since The Watchtower seems to lean heavily
on these men's credentials, Jehovah's Witnesses should know to whom they
owe much of their Bible knowledge. Here are a few of the most frequently
cited sources, with significant Insight reference pages:
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) This "Bible scholar" (vol.2,
p.1164) was a Presbyterian preacher and pastor of Philadelphia's first
Presbyterian Church from 1830 to 1867. An anti-slavery activist, he wrote
Notes on the Old and New Testament, frequently cited in Watchtower publications.
Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) Ordained by both the Presbyterian church
and the Church of England, "Dr" Edersheim (vol.2 pp.130,386)
was converted from Judaism. This great Hebrew scholar wrote The Temple;
Bible History (7 volumes) and the monumental Life and Times of Jesus the
Messiah I. Eusebius (ca.263-ca.339) The "Father of Church history"
was Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine. He became an advisor of Constantine
and a framer of the Nicene formula (the first explicitly Trinitarian creed).
The Watchtower depends much upon him for its history of the early church
(for the facts of which he is often the ONLY source).
Johann Karl Friedrich Keil (1807-1888) and Franz J. Delitzsch (1813-1890)
These "Professors" (vol.2, pp.581,897) were Lutheran Hebrew Old
Testament scholars, staunch defenders of conservative orthodoxy against
the liberal tide of the 19th century. Their great Old Testament Commentary
is still reprinted (contrast the works of C.T.
Russell, their younger contemporary).
Johann Peter Lange (1802-1884) German Reformed theologian, "one
of the most original and fertile authors of the 19th century" (Moyer).
Editor of and contributor to the 25-volume commentary called by his name
and later edited (in English) by Philip Schaff. It too is still in print.
John McClintock (1814-1870) and James Strong (1822-1894) Methodist
scholars and educators, both university or seminary presidents. Jointly
edited the Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature
(12 volumes), from which The Watchtower has always borrowed liberally.
Strong also produced the Exhaustive Concordance, a work still in demand.
James Orr (1844-1913) The great Scottish Free Church theologian,
pastor and apologist edited the conservative International Standard Bible
Encyclopedia in 5 volumes, used by The Watchtower for the last 80 years.
He fought hard in defense of the Bible's authority in such works as The
Problem of the Old Testament; The Bible Under Trial; The Virgin Birth and
The Resurrection of Jesus. A contributor to The Fundamentals.
A.T. Robertson (1863-1934) The Watchtower owes a heavy debt to this
American Baptist preacher, cited as a "Greek scholar" (vol.2,
p.1127). His work A Grammar of the Greek New Testament (1454 pages, 26
years in preparation) is still the most comprehensive work of its kind.
His Word Pictures in the New Testament is also much referred to in Watchtower
Joseph H. Thayer (1828-1901) This Greek Lexicographer was a Congregational
minister and a Civil War chaplain. An outstanding NT textual critic, Thayer
was instrumental in the preparation of the American Standard Version (1901),
the JW favourite (before the New World Translation) because of its use
of "Jehovah" (also later published by The Watchtower).
Richard C. Trench (1807-1866) "Scholar" (vol.2, p.155)
and "lexicographer" (vol.2,p.422), this Church of Ireland priest
became Archbishop of Dublin. A devout conservative High Churchman, his
Synonyms of the New Testament is a Watchtower favourite. Also famous for
Notes on the Parables and Miracles of Our Lord and contributions to the
Revised Version (1881).
William E. Vine (1873-1949) One of the world's foremost Greek scholars,
his Expository Dictionary is still the most popular work of its kind. Active
in the Brethren movement, he also published several Bible commentaries.
Brooke F. Westcott (1825-1901) and Fenton J.A. Hort (1828-1892)
The Watchtower doesn't hide its debt to these great Cambridge scholars.
The Foreword to the New World Translation acknowledges their Greek text
is the basis of its New Testament. What JW's DON'T know, however, is that
Westcott and Hort were Church of England clergymen, Westcott becoming Bishop
of Durham, where he busied himself in the community work as well as foreign
missions. Hort took the greater part of the load in producing their momumental
Greek New Testament, which became the basis of the 1881 Revised Version.
As Elgin Moyer sadly records, Hort died "worn out by intense mental
* * *
These are but a handful of the dozens of Christian scholars used by The
Watchtower to buttress its Biblical authority. We applaud The Watchtower
for mentioning their names and acknowledging their scholarly authority.
But why doesn't The Watchtower tell Jehovah's Witnesses what MOTIVATED
such men to devote themselves to Bible study, even while, in many cases,
carrying heavy pastoral responsibilities? ("Reverend" is one
title The Watchtower never places before their names). What would Jehovah's
Witnesses think if they knew these scholars are Christendom's cooks? Can
Witnesses eat from TWO tables?
... you cannot be partaking of "the table of Jehovah" and
the table of demons.
1 Corinthians 10:21, NWT
APOLOGIA: Home Mission To New Religions Inc.