The following was sent to me via William Hawthorne in response to Dr. Hector Avalos’ comments on a debate he had with Dr. Craig, seen here.
I'm happy to clarify for Dr. Avalos what I meant by "printer's errors;" the rest of his remarks hardly merit comment.Dr. William Lane Craig
Since I don't type, I've written all my books and articles longhand, including the book in question. The hand-written manuscript was delivered to a typist, who produced the typescript using an IBM Selectric typewriter with "golf balls" for different fonts. Later this typescript was re-done on a computer. Edwin Mellen Press used the camera-ready copy which I supplied to print the book. Somewhere in the transmission of the text letter-substitutions crept in, resulting in several misspellings. As I said in the debate, I take full responsibility for these spelling mistakes, since it was up to me to proof-read the text. These misspellings have, of course, no impact on the argument of the book. But then Dr. Avalos is less interested in the argument than in impugning the integrity of his opponent.
Such extraordinary ad hominem attacks by Dr. Avalos are unseemly and highly unprofessional and serve, I'm afraid, only to sully his own reputation.
Dr. Avalos' handling of my argument concerning the expression "the first day of the week" (Mark 16.2) well illustrates his modus operandi of half-truth and distortion. As I explained in the debate, the use of the cardinal number rather than the ordinal number violates the conventions of Hellenistic Greek, but not of Aramaic. I even supplied a reference to an Aramaic targum where the very phrase "the first day of the week" is found (Targum Esth. II 3.7) as an illustration. Now the half-truth mentioned by Dr. Avalos is that this targum comes from the period of late Aramaic (A.D. 200-700+). In the scant literature in middle Aramaic (200 B.C. - A.D. 200) we don't have any surviving texts that happen to mention the first day of the week. But we do have texts illustrating in middle Aramaic the convention of substituting the cardinal number for the ordinal number, as in, e.g., "the first month." The fact that no text survives having the very words in Mark 16.2 is thus inconsequential, an accident of historical preservation. That Mark's phrase is a Semitism is widely acknowledged and often remarked on by commentators.