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Dr. Julius R. Mantey Q & A

On the NWT and John 1:1

(an excerpt from The Scholarly Dishonesty of the Watchtower 1976 by Michael Van Buskirk)


Question:  Are you accurately quoted and in context on what you were giving grammar rules and examples on?

Answer:  No.  I am not accurately quoted, and in the context I am quoted only in part.  Where they quote me, I was writing about the subject of the sentence which happens to be "the Word."  I was bringing out the fact that if there are two nouns in a copulative sentence - a copulative sentence is one what is joined together by the verb "to be" in some form or other.  I was writing on the use of the article to showing which noun was the subject of the sentence and since there was an article in from of "Word," it naturally, according to grammatical rules, was the subject.  "The Word was deity."  One reason I put "deity" instead of "God" was due to the fact that Jesus was also God in the sense that He was one of the Trinity and especially in view of the fact that quality or nature is expressed by the absence of the article, providing the predicate noun precedes the verb of the sentence (and it does in this case) because Theos in that sentence is before the word en (was).  They took the sentence that I had given and the example that I had given of how the article indicated which the subject was of a sentence from Xenophon and they jumped on the predicate.  I wasn't writing about the predicate.  They quoted the predicate "the placed was a market."  The article went before "the place," and there was no article before "market."  It could be, in that case, "a market" instead of "the market."  So I translated it that way.  But to bring out the fact that the idea of nature or essence was implied in this sentence, I translated it "deity."  "The Word was deity."  That was a development beyond what some grammarians had arrived at at the time.  They didn't seem to be very clear on how an anarthrous noun, or noun without the article in front of it, could be used to express the idea of nature or essence, characteristics, etc.  I was aware of it and of the teachings of Robertson, by the way; so I interpreted it that way, and, I think, that is one reason they quoted me.  I wasn't saying that God and Jesus were one and the same person; I was saying that they were both of the divine family, namely God.

Question:  Please give any and all recommendations as both a Greek scholar and theologian on the two translations under consideration [NWT Hebrew Scriptures and NWT Christian Greek Scriptures]:

Answer: Well, there are many things that are good in their translations.  I would say that since there is such a big field and the Scriptures cover so many things, that they have no objection to, they accept those passages of Scripture.  When Scripture runs counter to their particular beliefs, they try to change the Scripture so they will appear to have divine authority for their viewpoint.  This is the most disturbing thing about it all.

Signed by Julius R. Mantey, dated and notarized August 2, 1974