Dr. Mantey's Discussion
between Dr. Martin and Dr. Mantey
Dr. Julius R. Mantey was a
first rate scholar who studied Greek for more than 65 years. He was well known
for "A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, which he co-authored with Dr.
H.E. Dana. The following is a discussion that took place between Dr. Martin and
Dr. Mantey on the Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation.
Christian Research Institute founder, Dr. Martin. begins by saying:
DR. MARTIN: In John 1:1, the New World Translation (NWT) says that "the Word was
a God," referring to Jesus Christ. How would you respond to that?
DR. MANTEY: The Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) have forgotten entirely what the order
of the sentence indicates - that the "Logos" has the same substance, nature, or
essence as the Father. To indicate that Jesus was just "a god," the JWs would
have to use a completely different construction in the Greek.
DR. MARTIN: You once had a little difference of opinion with the Watchtower
about this and wrote them a letter. What was their response to your letter?
DR. MANTEY: Well, as a backdrop, I was disturbed because they had misquoted me
in support of their translation. I called their attention to the fact that the
whole body of the New Testament was against their view. Throughout the New
Testament, Jesus is glorified and magnified - yet here they were denigrating Him
and making Him into a little god of a pagan concept.
DR. MARTIN: What was their response to what you said?
DR. MANTEY: They said I could have my opinion and they would retain theirs. What
I wrote didn't phase them a bit.
DR. MARTIN: I don't know whether you're aware of it, but there is not a single
Greek scholar in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. I did everything I
could to find out the names of the translating committee of the NWT, and the
Watchtower wouldn't tell me a thing. Finally, an ex-JW who knew the committee
members personally told me who they were, and the men on that committee could
not read New Testament Greek; nor could they read Hebrew; nor did they have any
knowledge of systematic theology - except what they had learned from the
Watchtower. Only one of them had been to college, and he had dropped out after a
year. He briefly studied the biblical languages while there.
DR. MANTEY: He was born in Greece, wasn't he?
DR. MARTIN: Yes, he read modern Greek, and I met him when I visited the
Watchtower. I asked him to read John 1:1 in the Greek and then said, "How would
you translate it?" He said: "Well, 'the word was a god."' I said: "What is the
subject of the sentence?" He just looked at me. So I repeated, "What is the
subject of the sentence?" He didn't know. This was the only person in the
Watchtower to read Greek and he didn't know, the subject of the sentence in John
1:1. And these were the people who wrote back to you and said their opinion was
as good as yours.
DR. MANTEY: That's right.
DR. MARTIN: Often we find JW publications quoting scholars. Do they quote these
people in context?
DR. MANTEY: No. They use this device to fool people into thinking that scholars
agree with the JWs. Out of all the Greek professors, grammarians, and
commentators they have quoted, only one (a Unitarian) agreed that "the word was
DR. MARTIN: You have been quoted as saying that the translators of the NWT are
DR. MANTEY: Yes. The translation is deceptive, and I believe it's a terrible
thing for a person to be deceived and go into eternity lost, forever lost
because somebody deliberately misled him by distorting the Scripture!
DR. MARTIN: What would you say to a JW who was looking for the truth?
DR. MANTEY: I would advise him to get a translation other than the NWT, because
ninety-nine percent of the scholars of the world who know Greek and who have
helped translate the Bible are in disagreement with the JWs. People who are
looking for the truth ought to know what the majority of the scholars really
believe. They should not allow themselves to be misled by the JWs and end up in
Christian Research Institute