Acquaintance With Logic

An excerpt from Gordon H. Clark’s Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism (this is NOT a blanket-endorsement of Clark: http://www.outsidethecamp.org/evilclark.htm):

“Although the present writer is not a textual critic, he will be bold enough to make some small claim to acquaintance with logic. He taught the stuff for a good fifty years in college. If someone argues, ‘All insects are quadrupeds, and all quadrupeds are edible, therefore all edibles are insects,’the writer can with some degree of assurance declare the syllogism invalid, even though he may not know whether or not a bumblebee is an insect. Or, if someone says, ‘All the heroes of Homer’s Iliad died young; Alexander was a hero of Homer’s Iliad; therefore Alexander died young,’he knows that the syllogism is valid, even if he thinks that the Iliad was written by Virgil. Similarly, if a textual critic asserts that manuscript B has the correct reading for Luke 5:33, and that therefore B has the correct reading for Jude 22, we must suggest a course in logic for the critic, even though we might think that B was discovered in 1624 and represents the Byzantine text.

These, of course, are ludicrous examples; but the aim here is to show that much of textual criticism is not noticeably better. If Aland or Metzger says that B gives a certain reading, I shall not question it. I have never seen manuscript B. But the methodology of textual criticism cannot claim immunity from logical analysis” (Gordon H. Clark).

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