We have all of us been annoyed at times by the young preacher who says in a sermon 'the Greek really means...', especially those of us who know that the Greek means nothing of the sort in context. A good rule is that if no English Bible has that translation, there's a reason for it, so keep that 'nugget of wisdom' to yourself. Gail Riplinger, however, goes further. This reliance on the Greek, she thinks, is the result of an Occult plot, and she has published a book to share this with the world.
This is a great brick of a book that purports to expose the dark secrets lurking in Greek and Hebrew study, a study that the authoress believes is equivalent to showing pornography to Bible college students. It is full of innuendo, logical fallacies, and wide-eyed conspiratorial ravings. The only use a sane person might have for it is to read excerpts to a dinner party to gales of laughter. In sharing the contents of this book with good conservative Christian friends, I have universally been greeted with loud laughter and incredulity that anyone could believe this stuff. She lambasts all Greek and Hebrew learning as springing from Catholic and Occultic sources, and asks why anyione would want to learn Greek when we have a Holy Bible. She manages the amazing feat of brining in the Titanic, the Knights Templar, the Freemasons, the Rothschilds, Jack the Ripper, and Alice in Wonderland (after I had told a friend that it included the first five he asked "does it bring in Alice in Wonderland too?" The affirmative answer prompted loud laughter). In all the long and honoured history of nonsense, I doubt there has ever been a book this bad.
She spends literally hundreds of pages detailing facts about the lexicons most commonly used today. Quotations from lexicographers and Greek scholars are given in which they state that most modern lexicons are inadequate. Yet from this Riplinger does not conclude, with the lexicographers themselves, that new, better lexicons are needed, but that Lexicons obscure the tecahings of the Bible, and we ought to do away with them as polluted by the study of Classical Greek and secular Greek. Since God is not the author of confusion, she says, He must be the authour of the one inspired English Bible today - the King James Bible. Time and again Gail Riplinger commits the logical fallacy of Non sequitur. The conclusion just does not follow from the argument. The conclusion is that we need more Greek study, not less.
For those interested, Riplinger does not even attempt to direct her readers to any Greek and Hebrew lexicons, past or present, that do not contain the problems she identifies. These problems are: use of classical Greek literature and post-Classical Greek documents to understand Biblical Greek, and the use of cognate languages to shed light on the Hebrew. In fact all Greek study since the Rformation has used non-Biblical literature in the teaching of Greek and the interpretation of Biblical languages, and William Bedwell, an AV translator, actually argued that you had to know Arabic to understand Hebrew texts, a position concerning the cohnate languages far more extreme than any held by modern scholars! She cannot tell us where God has preserved the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, even quoting favourably a writer who arges that God has not done so at all. Where does that differ from this slightly doctored quotation: "[The King James Bible] is truer than the [common] Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other [English] translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places, where they disagree"? Yet this is taken from the preface to the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible! The original reads: "It [the Latin Vulgate] is truer than the vulgar Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places, where they disagree."
And she does not simply point out the inadequacies in the lexicons and modern Bible versions. As she did in New Age Bible Versions, she argues that the moral and spiritual failings of the men involved with a work affects the character of the work itself. Moreover, the moral character of those associated with those associated with a work is also important. And thus we are hurled into rambling rabbit-trails of speculation that are finally to very little point. There is really no necessary connection between Cecil Rhodes using the Liddell-Scott Greek lexicon and his imperialist ambitions. The ad hominem fallacy looms large in this book. Rather than arguing against the materials themselves, she spends most of her time attacking the men involved. One suspects this to be because she simply lacks the ability in the original languages to argue any other way.
In fact we have to admit that a Bible translator's moral character must, at least to some extent, be less important than his or her scholarly credentials. Why is this? Simply because otherwise the King James Version itself would have to be rejected. Several men on the King James committee were actively involved in the persecution of Puritans, for example Bishop Overall of Norwich and Thomas Ravis. Hadrian a Savaria, another King James translator, was forced to flee Holland after engaging in political intrigue, and Richard Thompson was a drunken Arminian. These are only four men, and others could have been referred to. Taking Riplinger's separatistic Baptist position, we would further have to condemn the AV for being traslated entirely by paedobaptist Anglican clergymen, seven of whom became Bishops, three of whom actively attacked non-episcopalian government, and most of whom were Calvinists. The engineer is hoist with her own petard. But God who could speak by Balaam and by Caiaphas can also make use of wicked scribes and translators to merely convey His Word.
The point is urged through the use of very dirty arguments, for example B.F. Westcott is made the target of some of the vilest innuendo I have ever read in any book, Christian or otherwise, and all without a sliver of evidence. C.D. Ginsburg is made the subject of an offhand accusation of murder, again without evidence, and Riplinger repeats the worn-out suggestion that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) was Jack the Ripper, an accusation that is not taken seriously by the online source that she cites. Even when a man has true moral failings, she has to over-egg the pudding and pull in arguments that have no relation to the real world, as evidenced in her bringing in the Knights Templar in relation to C.J. Vaughan, passing from truth (Vaughan allegedly had homosexual relationships with sixth-formers when headmaster at Harrow School) to the realms of pure fantasy. There is very little discrimination here, and everywhere the marks of an obsession with the infiltration of the occult, for she sees the occult everywhere, esepcially where it is not.
Riplinger's research is an odd mix of the accurate and the inaccurate, using modern sources and outdated sources. She is also unable to discriminate between reliable and unreliable sources, and as a result presents 'facts' to her readers that are nothing of the sort, as I have already shown in the posts preliminary to this review.
The book is meant to defend the King James Bible. In fact what it defends is the Fundamentalist deviation that proclaims the AV to have been inspired of God, and that in a bizzarre scheme which I have christened IVOr, the theory of Inspired Vernacular Originals, given by God in Acts 2. Since none of the New Testament had been written at that date, to give vernacular New Testaments then would have been a source of endless confusion ("Look, Peter, here's two letters you're going to write! And who's this Paul fellow?"). This interpretation of the Gift of Tongues is unknown until the modern age, as is the idea that the AV is God's final word in English. The teaching that the originals of the New Testament books might not all have been in Greek (for example she suggests that Romans was originally in Latin) is not a development that any historic Bible-believing Christian would welcome, and the suggestion that the English and Latin can trump the Greek at times is truly disturbing.
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. If you need something to cheer up a party, buy one and read out selected passages to entertain your friends. If you actually want to obtain factual information, don't bother. There is fact in this book, but so mixed with myth and misrepresentation that you will be disappointed.
Gail Riplinger's English style is affected, and her use of rhyming couplets in prose has already been commented on. This is hardly surprising in one who lambasts the reading of imaginitive literature, and views Shakespeare as Satan's pawn to distract people from the King James Bible. I kid you not. Finally the book has no index, an extremely irritating feature in a work this size.
In conclusion, to those who wish to defend the exclusive use of the King James Bible (please note the word exclusive), I would say: get yourselves a better champion. The woman is quite unreliable as a source of factual information. I have discovered that she has a devoted following who will jump down your throat if you dare to say anything against her, but will in no wise object to her making the foulest of accusations against others. This ought not to be so, my friends. Despite her own claims, Gail Riplinger is not an inspired prophet of God, she is a fallible human being, and a very dirty writer. I do not believe in burning books, but if I did, I should burn this one first.
[Note: It has recently come to my attention that Riplinger is probably wrong to say that Liddell-Scott is the first Greek-English lexicon. Postings here indicate the prior existence of at least four Greek-English lexicons before Liddell-Scott. One poster indicates that Pickering, one of these old lexicons, can be traced back to Stephanus' lexicon, which would have been used by the AV translators. Also of interest is the fact that the AV translators actually used lexicons that referenced the classical Greek literature and in Hebrew other Semitic languages - features Riplinger attacks modern lexicons for. Thus once again we are faced with the problem that Riplinger's methods end up falling on the AV!]