Ecclesiastical Text — Response to James White

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by Robert Truelove, Jul 20, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    I believe it is "by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages..."
  2. Ken

    Ken Puritan Board Freshman

    The common enemy is the few Alexandrian texts that were never circulated until they were raised from the dead in the 19th century versus the "Ecclesiastical text" that was circulated in the Church throughout the centuries.

    After listening to Dr James White, I thought it would be a slam dunk for the eclectic text; though, the more one digs into the issue, the weaker the eclectic text position appears. Unfortunately, the issue is not one of Greek scholarship, it is more detective work involving Church history; of which, makes one wonder which Church Dr White supports, the persecuted Church that preserved the text with their blood or the persecuting Church that killed the ones preserving the Ecclesiastical Text?

    A little off topic, when someone makes a statement about all the killing by the "Church", the real question is who is killing who?

    If you are really interested in the facts, this is a good site: KJV Today

    God bless you and keep you,
  3. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    From the men and organization listed, I don't know of any substantial variances on this position. I am a member of TBS and have spoken for them on numerous occasions. The consensus is the Majority Text is the place to engage in textual criticism. To this point, the Received Text is the best codification from that larger family. I for one am not frightened with the thought of a slight update from the Majority Text Family. I will say there are varied positions within TBS, but not from the Reformed men I know. Any strident KJO position comes from the rank and file, not the leadership. So while there is no, ONE book on the ET, I think all mentioned above (including Letis, who I knew personally)would be in substantial agreement. And our common bond is not based on a "common enemy", it is bases on a common love for the AV. :)
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  5. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    Ironically, it may have been Letis, author of "The Ecclesiastical Text" himself who caused this identity, by aligning himself with fundamentalist KJVO camps in both video and radio for the purpose of attacking James White.

    I only listen to White occasionally. I find him a little too abrasive to listen to much, but I really do see where he's coming from here. And again, it really doesn't surprise me that a guy who listens to text-to-speech books in double-time while riding his bike in order to consume the vast amount of material he does, would take the time to watch an hour-long video detailing a position that in all honesty, 99% of even Reformed people have never heard of, let alone Christians in general. Would I have liked him to respond? Sure! I would like him to respond to Steve's (very) lengthy letter too, but I'm not surprised he hasn't.

    I think its hard for us to realize just how much of a target he is for people with all kinds of different positions, and how impossible it would be to understand them all in detail. I'm sure there are others just as miffed because he keeps caricaturing their particular KJVO variety.
  6. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

  7. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I was in no way implying you held to a KJVO position, if that's what you "facepalmed" over. How about "their particular muslim textual tradition", does that work better for you? Please read that entire paragraph for the context.

    Can we try to be irenic in our discussion, even if Dr White is not?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  8. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes. This whole thing gets lumped in as some KJVO thing and that is not correct.

    Regarding Letis, have you read his book The Ecclesiastical Text? Are you aware the longest chapter in the book is railing on Fundamental Independent Baptists and the KJVO movement?

    Letis is caricatured as a KJVO radical and this is just another problem with the campaign of misinformation over this subject. When ad hominem arguments are being employed and none of the key issues are being addressed, there is a problem with one's position (or at least one's ability to defend it).
  9. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I have read it and many other things by Letis. Including his scathing critique of those like Riplinger. And I have watched as many of his presentations and listened to as many of his recordings as I could readily find. And I never would classify him, you, or any of the others I listed earlier as KJVO.
  10. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    Very much appreciated. :)
  11. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This quote from Maurice Robinson is helpful
  12. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Thankyou to Pastor Lewis for pointing out what should be obvious. We are reformed. We stand in the reformed tradition. The reformed tradition has bequeathed a very faithful Bible translation and deposited it in our hands. I simply cannot understand the inclination to cast it to the ground and trample it under foot.

    Who believes the Holy Bible because it is found in old manuscripts? We believe it because it is the living and abiding Word of God. It is the instrument which brought us to faith in the first place. Without the presuppositions of faith there is no basis for saying one word in any manuscript is the Word of God.

    When everything is turned to confusion it is time to get back to basics. Let us examine why the Bible is so important to us in the first place, and proceed from there.
  13. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dr. White responded to me this evening on Facebook and to be fair to him, I think it right to share his response here...

    "Brother, I have your video in my list, and should be done with it by tomorrow. But, I was not referring to you on the DL yesterday (unless you wrote the comment I replied to---I did not assume that was you, and would be surprised if it was). I can see why you would assume I was, but I was only focusing upon the specific comment that had been provided to me from the Logos forums. Nothing more."

    "OK, Robert Truelove, listened to the large majority of the video while making my uber yummy tuna fish/pasta/peas---stuff. For most of your argumentation you are a Byzantine Priority advocate...while dipping your toes into ET a few times, only to pull them out before I chomp them off. smile emoticon I see some serious inconsistencies, and I think you missed my point a number of times regarding the apologetic issues, but in any case, on the one hand you admit the Comma must go (as Burgon understood); ok, ET guys would say you have missed the heart of ETism itself (just like the guy I responded to on the DL yesterday cited the Comma's use in the Scriptural proofs offered in the LBCF). But on the other hand you want to claim "providential preservation" of the Byzantine text "down through time." Well, that's quite problematic on many historical grounds. The Vulgate completely over-took the Greek in the West, so are you saying the "line" was preserved only in the Greek Orthodox churches around Byzantium? And once again, functionally speaking, there are major differences even in the Byzantine line---ever tried to create a "Byzantine" text for the book of Revelation? Isn't really possible, actually.

    In any case, you are not a Letistian ETist, as you said. There are some important differences in your position and the ET position."

    I appreciate the clarification and a gracious response and I think it is important for people to see that after this thread. I do think that when Dr. White gets going on this subject that he starts painting with too broad a brush.

    It's interesting regarding his view of Letis. Letis was not a proponent of 1 John 5:7 either. I think Dr. White may have too narrow a view on some of these terms (like "Ecclesiastical Text") OR I and others have too broad a view of them.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  14. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Nicely put. It reminds me of King James' quote from the Psalms in the documentary "KJB: The Bible that Changed the World," when he said: "how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
  15. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Dr. White uses the primacy of the Vulgate as arguing against the preservation position. While that may be a point some will make against the proponents of the Byzantine text type, one could argue for superiority of the Byzantine without bringing in preservation. Upholders of the eclectic position want to find the MOST accurate text. Is it impossible to believe that the Byzantine mss may be more accurate than the Alexandrian?

    Defenders of the "weight" vs. "counting" position routinely argue that the plethora of late mss does not prove their superiority. But, neither does the antiquity of corrupt mss prove their superiority.
  16. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Dennis,

    About Dr. White’s using “the primacy of the Vulgate . . . against the preservation position”, it would need to be a genuine church’s use, and Rome does not qualify. The Greek Orthodox would be a better, though not good, example of one. I had written the three paragraphs below with regard to Codex Vaticanus and Rome, but it has some relevance here:

    Vaticanus has been in the Vatican Library at least since 1481, when it was catalogued. Those with some historical knowledge will remember that these were the years of the Inquisition in Spain during the reign of Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484). In 1481 some 2,000 believers dissenting with Rome were burned alive, with multitudes of others tortured (M’Crie, History of the Reformation in Spain, p. 104). When Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492) sat in the royal “Throne of Peter,” he followed in the vein of his namesake Innocent III and commenced anew a persecution against the peaceful Waldensian Christians in the northern Italian Alps, commanding their destruction “like venomous snakes” if they would not repent and turn to Rome (Wylie, History of the Waldenses, pp. 27-29). Bloodbaths followed against these harmless mountain peoples, who had their own Scriptures from ancient times, and worshipped in Biblical simplicity and order.

    It perplexes many that the Lord of these many hundreds of thousands of Bible-believing saints who were tortured with unimaginable barbarity and slaughtered like dogs by the Roman Catholic “church” for centuries (it is no exaggeration to say for over a millennium) should have kept His choicest preserved manuscript in the safekeeping of the Library of the apostate murderers, designating it by their own ignominious name: Vaticanus.

    It is surely an anomaly to the Reformed mind when they consider that the so-called “Queen of the manuscripts” was in the treasures and under the care of the antichrist, and given to the world to – in effect – undermine the text and sola Scriptura doctrine of the Reformation, in the name of “modern textual criticism”. All this fancy footwork of argumentation, all this scorn and dismissal of the Authorized Version, well, you can have it. I will hold fast to the old paths.​


    Re your question, “Is it impossible to believe that the Byzantine mss may be more accurate than the Alexandrian?”, I post some of John William Burgon’s thoughts on the topic from his, The Traditional Text Of The Holy Gospels Vindicated And Established, and a brief partial critique of Burgon’s High Anglican view of the texts by E.F. Hills; in the meanwhile I’m working on a response (for this thread) on James’ remarks from the video Robert interacted with,

    “You have to have textual critical principles . . . [theories are] apologetically vacuous.”

    And, “[Rev 16:5, Luke 2:22], Eph 1:18, Eph 3:9, 2 Tim 2:19. These are places the TR reading is basically indefensible.” ​

    Here are Burgon’s thoughts, (please pardon the length—those not into scholarly info please skip) :

    Before our Lord ascended up to Heaven, He told His disciples that He would send them the Holy Ghost, Who should supply His place and abide with His Church for ever. He added a promise that it should be the office of that inspiring Spirit not only ‘to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever He had told them’ (John 16:26), but also to ‘guide’ His Church ‘into all the Truth,’ or, ‘the whole Truth (John 16:13). Accordingly, the earliest great achievement of those days was accomplished on giving to the Church the Scriptures of the New Testament, in which authorized teaching was enshrined in written form. And first, out of those many Gospels which incompetent persons had ‘taken in hand’ to write or to compile out of much floating matter of an oral or written nature, He guided them to discern that four were wholly unlike the rest—were the very Word of God.

    There exists no reason for supposing that the Divine Agent, who in the first instance thus gave to mankind the Scriptures of Truth, straightway abdicated His office; took no further care of His work; abandoned those precious writings to their fate. That a perpetual miracle was wrought for their preservation that copyists were protected against the risk of error, or evil men prevented from adulterating shamefully copies of the Deposit no one, it is presumed, is so weak as to suppose. But it is quite a different thing to claim that all down the ages the sacred writings must needs have been God’s peculiar care; that the Church under Him has watched over them with intelligence and skill; has recognized which copies exhibit a fabricated, which an honestly transcribed text; has generally sanctioned the one, and generally disallowed the other. I am utterly disinclined to believe—so grossly improbable does it seem—that at the end of 1800 years 995 copies out of every thousand, suppose, will prove untrustworthy; and that the one, two, three, four or five which remain, whose contents were till yesterday as good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the Holy Spirit originally inspired. I am utterly unable to believe, in short, that God's promise has so entirely failed, that at the end of 1800 years much of the text of the Gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a waste-paper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire text had to be remodelled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed to pieces, and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them. ​

    I have addressed what goes before to persons who sympathize with me in my belief. To others the argument would require to be put in a different way. Let it then be remembered, that a wealth of copies existed in early times; that the need of zealous care of the Holy Scriptures was always felt in the Church; that it is only from the Church that we have learnt which are the books of the Bible and which are not; that in the age in which the Canon was settled, and which is presumed by many critics to have introduced a corrupted text, most of the intellect of the Roman Empire was found within the Church, and was directed upon disputed questions; that in the succeeding ages the art of transcribing was brought to a high pitch of perfection; and that the verdict of all the several periods since the production of those two manuscripts has been given till a few years ago in favour of the Text which has been handed down: let it be further borne in mind that the testimony is not only that of all the ages, but of all the countries: and at the very least so strong a presumption will ensue on behalf of the Traditional Text, that a powerful case indeed must be constructed to upset it. It cannot be vanquished by theories grounded upon internal considerations often only another name for personal tastes, or for scholarly likes or dislikes, or upon fictitious recensions, or upon any arbitrary choice of favourite manuscripts, or upon a strained division of authorities into families or groups, or upon a warped application of the principle of genealogy. In the ascertainment of the facts of the Sacred Text, the laws of evidence must be strictly followed. In questions relating to the inspired Word, mere speculation and unreason have no place. In short, the Traditional Text, founded upon the vast majority of authorities and upon the Rock of Christ's Church, will, if I mistake not, be found upon examination to be out of all comparison superior to a text of the nineteenth century, whatever skill and ingenuity may have been expended upon the production or the defence of it. (pp 11-13)
    [Online source, various formats:]

    [End Burgon]


    And here’s the critique of Burgon’s High Anglican view [see item (b) below] by E.F Hills, in his, The King James Version Defended, chapter 8:

    from 1. Three Alternative Views Of The Textus Receptus (Received Text)

    One of the leading principles of the Protestant Reformation was the sole and absolute authority of the holy Scriptures. The New Testament text in which early Protestants placed such implicit reliance was the Textus Receptus (Received Text), which was first printed in 1516 under the editorship of Erasmus. Was this confidence of these early Protestants misplaced? There are three answers to this question which may be briefly summarized as follows:

    (a) The Naturalistic, Critical View of the Textus Receptus
    Naturalistic textual critics, of course, for years have not hesitated to say that the Protestant Reformers were badly mistaken in their reliance upon the Textus Receptus. According to these scholars, the Textus Receptus is the worst New Testament text that ever existed and must be wholly discarded. One of the first to take this stand openly was Richard Bentley, the celebrated English philologian. In an apology written in 1713 he developed the party line which naturalistic critics have used ever since to sell their views to conservative Christians. (1) New Testament textual criticism, he asserted, has nothing to do with Christian doctrine since the substance of doctrine is the same even in the worst manuscripts. Then he added that the New Testament text has suffered less injury by the hand of time than the text of any profane author. And finally, he concluded by saying that we cannot begin the study of the New Testament text with any definite belief concerning the nature of God's providential preservation of the Scriptures. Rather we must begin our study from a neutral standpoint and then allow the results of this neutral method to teach us what God's providential preservation of the New Testament text actually has been. In other words, we begin with agnosticism and work ourselves into faith gradually. Some seminaries still teach this party line.

    (b) The High Anglican View of the Textus Receptus
    This was the view of Dean J. W. Burgon, Prebendary F. H. A. Scrivener, and Prebendary Edward Miller. These conservative New Testament textual critics were not Protestants but high Anglicans. Being high Anglicans, they recognized only three ecclesiastical bodies as true Christian churches, namely, the Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Church, in which they themselves officiated. Only these three communions, they insisted, had the "apostolic succession." Only these three, they maintained, were governed by bishops who had been consecrated by earlier bishops and so on back in an unbroken chain to the first bishops, who had been consecrated by the Apostles through the laying on of hands. All other denominations these high Anglicans dismissed as mere "sects."

    It was Burgon's high Anglicanism which led him to place so much emphasis on the New Testament quotations of the Church Fathers, most of whom had been bishops. To him these quotations were vital because they proved that the Traditional New Testament Text found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts had been authorized from the very beginning by the bishops of the early Church, or at least by the majority of these bishops. This high Anglican principle, however, failed Burgon when he came to deal with the printed Greek New Testament text. For from Reformation times down to his own day the printed Greek New Testament text which had been favored by the bishops of the Anglican Church was the Textus Receptus, and the Textus Receptus had not been prepared by bishops but by Erasmus, who was an independent scholar. Still worse, from Burgon's standpoint, was the fact that the particular form of the Textus Receptus used in the Church of England was the third edition of Stephanus, who was a Calvinist. For these reasons, therefore, Burgon and Scrivener looked askance at the Textus Receptus and declined to defend it except in so far as it agreed with the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.

    This position, however, is illogical. If we believe in the providential preservation of the New Testament text, then we must defend the Textus Receptus as well as the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts. For the Textus Receptus is the only form in which this Traditional Text has circulated in print. To decline to defend the Textus Receptus is to give the impression that God's providential preservation of the New Testament text ceased with the invention of printing. It is to suppose that God, having preserved a pure New Testament text all during the manuscript period, unaccountably left this pure text hiding in the manuscripts and allowed an inferior text to issue from the printing press and circulate among His people for more than 450 years. Much, then, as we admire Burgon for his general orthodoxy and for his is defense of the Traditional New Testament Text, we cannot follow him in his high Anglican emphasis or in his disregard for the Textus Receptus.

    (c) The Orthodox Protestant View of the Textus Receptus
    The defense of the Textus Receptus, therefore, is a necessary part of the defense of Protestantism. It is entailed by the logic of faith, the basic steps of which are as follows: First, the Old Testament text was preserved by the Old Testament priesthood and the scribes and scholars that grouped themselves around that priesthood (Deut. 31:24-26). Second, the New Testament text has been preserved by the universal priesthood of believers by faithful Christians in every walk of life (1 Peter 2:9). Third, the Traditional Text, found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts, is the True Text because it represents the God-guided usage of this universal priesthood of believers. Fourth, The first printed text of the Greek New Testament was not a blunder or a set-back but a forward step in the providential preservation of the New Testament. Hence the few significant departures of that text from the Traditional Text are only God's providential corrections of the Traditional Text in those few places in which such corrections were needed. Fifth, through the usage of Bible-believing Protestants God placed the stamp of His approval on this first printed text, and it became the Textus Receptus (Received Text).

    Hence, as orthodox Protestant Christians, we believe that the formation of the Textus Receptus was guided by the special providence of God. There were three ways in which the editors of the Textus Receptus Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Elzevirs, were providentially guided. In the first place, they were guided by the manuscripts which God in His providence had made available to them. In the second place, they were guided by the providential circumstances in which they found themselves. Then in the third place, and most of all, they were guided by the common faith. Long before the Protestant Reformation, the God-guided usage of the Church had produced throughout Western Christendom a common faith concerning the New Testament text, namely, a general belief that the currently received New Testament text, primarily the Greek text and secondarily the Latin text, was the True New Testament Text which had been preserved by God's special providence. It was this common faith that guided Erasmus and the other early editors of the Textus Receptus.​

    [End Hills]

    I post Hills' critique due to the nuanced view of the Byz/Majority Text I have, as I concur, yet highly value Burgon. This is something from the piece to James I'm writing:

    The Textus Receptus is not at a far remove from the Byzantine / Majority textform—the “Traditional Text” of Burgon et al—which is pretty much the same. I have said this of the situation vis-à-vis the Byz/MT and the TR,

    Be it known that while I fully use what is of value in the Byz/MT labors, which are immense and of precious value, I go beyond what they allow. We of the TR and AV school stand on their shoulders—or to perfect the metaphor, we leap from their shoulders to a high rock, upon which we take our stand.

    It is this leap of faith (which is not without evidences) in God’s providence bringing certain readings back into the Biblical text that had been taken out of the Byzantine textform so the Reformation Bible could be made intact—it is in this leap that many Byz folks cannot follow us.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  17. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is just the kind of confusion which the material evidence creates when it is not properly supported through testimony. A court of law would require witnesses to substantiate the evidence. Regrettably empiricism commits itself to the fallacy that matter can speak for itself.
  18. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    James, you said: “What text did the church—the ecclesia—‘receive’ of Rev 16:5? There’s no question that up until 1598 we know what Rev 16:5 read in all the ‘good’ manuscripts”

    And, “You have to have textual critical principles . . . [theories are] apologetically vacuous.”

    And, “[Luke 2:22], Eph 1:18, Eph 3:9, 2 Tim 2:19. These are places the TR reading is basically indefensible. Is that the Ecclesiastical Text reading?”

    Before I address these things, a few points I want to make.

    The reason you can say what you’ve said and fully believe it is due to your presuppositions: that evidences and not presuppositions / theology (“theories” as you disparagingly call them) ultimately determine truths regarding the identity of the New Testament text. The TR is a stretch beyond credibility—and thus “indefensible”—to you.

    “Indefensible” from the vantage that trusts in the purported “textual science” and reason of man over the promise of God to preserve His words in the minutiae—this preservation not “theoretical” and abstract, but one manifested such that it may be held in hand. Which is not at all to say, James, you don’t trust God’s promises in this matter, you just have a different take on how He does it, and how it works out.

    As with all aspects of our walk with the living God, this is a supernatural business we are about, from beginning to end. Our regeneration was accomplished by the supernatural, sovereign power of God; likewise our justification, and sanctification; again, our faith is given us and sustained in us by the supernatural grace of our Saviour and Father, and His love is likewise conveyed to us through the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures were given us by “holy men of God [who] spake [and wrote] as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21); again, it is written, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim 3:16).

    Can it possibly be that once He had accomplished the delivering of His word to humankind, and having it recognized and compiled by His people (in the Old and New Testaments respectively), He then cut it loose from His ongoing minute care, leaving it up to the science and philosophy of men (many of whom in the Text Criticism and Production Industries unbelievers) to pick and choose what seemed best to them what words were His and what not? This most precious Deposit to humankind for their salvation and comfort no longer superintended by His mighty providential care and preservation—mostly via the Church—now but left to the ingenuity of men and their academies? The science of men and no longer the supernatural power and care of the Almighty?

    Consider this: In eternity past in God’s omniscience He knew you before ever He created you; fast forward through the creation, the fall in the garden, the long centuries of mayhem and destruction, the toxins introduced increasingly with the advent of the industrial and then the modern ages, the havoc wrought in the human gene pool—and yet through all this, He preserved those molecules and atoms, those strands of DNA, that would eventually comprise the person you now are. From His eternal vision of you to your creation and development in time, you are the very person He envisioned before the creation of the world. Talk about providential preservation—down to very molecules and genes! Is this not far more complex a feat than preserving a Book of writings intact through around three millennia? Okay, there was a concerted effort to destroy this Book by the prince of demons and his tools, so that made it more complex; but the thought still stands: if He could bring the exact you into being, could He not bring His Book?

    I assert He could, and did. And many Scriptures attest to this very preservation even in the minutiae.

    Now when John William Burgon speaks of Sacred Science and textual criticism, him I take to heart, as his view of the history of the New Testament text is sound and built on overwhelming evidences (as I quoted from him above).

    For purposes of clarity, when I use the terms here TR or Textus Receptus, I mean the edition of the Traditional (or Ecclesiastical or Majority) Text that underlies the King James Bible New Testament.

    I’m not familiar with your views of Burgon or Scrivener or Maurice Robinson, but you’re likely aware that these scholars marshal weighty evidence in support of their textual positions regarding the superiority of the Byzantine or Traditional Text over that of the “Alexandrian” based upon Codices B and א primarily. With respect to Burgon, though, his work has its limits, for, as a high Anglican, he disallowed contributions to the Textus Receptus that were not given by Bishops in the line of Apostolic Succession (i.e., found only in the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, or Anglican churches), hence Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza were out as far as he was concerned!

    The Textus Receptus is not at a far remove from the Byzantine / Majority textform—the “Traditional Text” of Burgon et al—which is pretty much the same. I have said this of the situation vis-à-vis the Byz/MT and the TR,

    Be it known that while I fully use what is of value in the Byz/MT labors, which are immense and of precious value, I go beyond what they allow. We of the TR and AV school stand on their shoulders—or to perfect the metaphor, we leap from their shoulders to a high rock, upon which we take our stand.

    It is this leap of faith (which is not without evidences) in God’s providence bringing certain readings back into the Biblical text that had been taken out of the Byzantine textform so the Reformation Bible could be made intact—it is in this leap that many Byz folks cannot follow us.​

    To the “indefensible”! Not in the little list, but you mentioned it, is Revelation 16:5. I’ll try to keep this brief (though, Logan, I’m afraid it will still be sort of long, for how else can I make a case? I’ll keep it pithy, and elaborate if requested).

    Clearly this is a minority reading, if it can be considered even that, as the sole appearance of it is in Beatus of Liebana, a Spanish theologian (circa 786 AD), in his compiling—in Latin—an earlier commentary on Revelation by Tyconius (circa 380 AD). Dr. Thomas Holland, in one of his lessons on manuscript evidence, says, “Dr. Edward Hills has correctly cited passage as a conjectural emendation” (cf. Hill’s KJVD, p 208). Very likely Beza, whose emendation it was, did not know of Beatus’ work, but had his own sound reasons for what he did.

    Holland then quotes Bruce Metzger as saying, “The classical method of textual criticism . . . If the only reading, or each of several variant readings, which the documents of a text supply is impossible or incomprehensible, the editor's only remaining resource is to conjecture what the original reading must have been. A typical emendation involves the removal of an anomaly.” (Metzger, The Text Of The New Testament, p 182.)

    There were only four manuscripts of Rev 16:5 before the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] century—and three of them are corrupt, differing from one another—P47, Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus. Along with other factors which Beza took into consideration, thinking (as he himself notes) a different rendering of the verse would be anomalous if not completing the declaration of God’s past, present and future aspects, as is done in Revelation 1:4, 1:8, 4:8, 11:17 (a variant in 11:17 also, but better attested). Further studies on this text here, and here.

    You had asked, James, “What text did the church—the ecclesia—‘receive’ of Rev 16:5? There’s no question that up until 1598 we know what Rev 16:5 read in all the ‘good’ manuscripts.” And, speaking of 1 John 5:7, but relevant here, you said,

    “If an entire vitally important theologically relevant text can completely disappear from the Greek manuscript tradition, then there’s no reason to believe we continue to have the original reading. . .” ​

    You may certainly think that, but one may responsibly and reasonably differ with you, seeing the violent assault, not only on the body of our Lord while He dwelt among us, but also on the body of His written word after He ascended. As I noted above, citing Nolan’s writings, there was violence done to the Greek mss in the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] century, and it is quite feasible—nay, certain!—the Lord used the Latin-speaking church in North Africa to preserve what had wickedly been removed from His words. Granted, Rev 16:5 is not a “vitally important theologically relevant text” as Acts 20:28, 1 Tim 3:16, and 1 John 5:7 are, but the principle applies.

    And every word of God is “vitally important”, as it is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4), and being assured that “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3), through the knowledge of Him that is alone found in His word by the revelation of His Holy Spirit. Would not our Lord supply us with that which we need to live, i.e., every word of God?

    And the “good manuscripts” you refer to, well, we differ with you as well on their goodness. Nor am I intimidated by your “chomping toes off” those who hold to the Ecclesiastical Text position—and my view of the ET is more stringent that Pastor Truelove’s. I do take you to be a good brother notwithstanding how we differ on a few things.

    Let me end this for now, as I prepare to pithily defend the allegedly “indefensible” Luke 2:22, Eph 1:18, Eph 3:9, and 2 Tim 2:19.
  19. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    It seems that way to me as well. I continue to think he has not drawn the proper line between the two views:
  20. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As Logan rightly points out, "the 'ecclesiastical text' position has . . . many variants" (post 18), so it may well be James is aiming at those who venture into TR territory, which not all do.
  21. God'sElectSaint

    God'sElectSaint Puritan Board Freshman

    I think because of James many dealings with radical KJV only types that that abrasiveness he uses with them seems to appear in this video as well. I also think as Rev. Winzer said earlier that James does seem to weigh most issues in terms of "is this an acceptable apologetic". Seeing he is an apologist that makes sense but that can't be the ultimate standard of weighing all views, can it?
  22. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    I confess myself very much not an expert in these matters, but just saying "the church was persecuted, just like Jesus!" to claim that the Johannnine Comma could have been lost for centuries and then appear later in the TR is a stretch to end all stretches, whether you are KJVO, ET, or WXYZ.
  23. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It didn't appear later in the TR. The reading had a steady transmission and witness throughout the centuries.

    What is preserved? The living and abiding Word of God. A Christian's faith is not in paper and ink, but in the Word.
  24. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello James S,

    But what if the persecution of the church involved the ferreting out on a massive scale of precious NT manuscripts and destroying them, along with the believers who had them? And what if there was a satanic assault on the integrity of the Scriptures through heretics of various sorts excising what they didn't like—rooting out what they thought heretical?

    Or during the 50-some years (from around 335-385 AD) when the Arians (ancient version of the JWs) ruled both the Eastern Empire and its Church? If they would torture a saint over 100 years of age to get him to recant on the deity of Christ, would they scruple to hesitate mutilating Scripture that affirmed the same, thinking it false doctrine? There were other threats to that passage involving the Sabellian heresy.

    There is tremendous evidence for 1 John 5:7’s authenticity, despite all the bluster to the contrary. Nor was it lost for centuries and then just—poof!—appears in the TR, for it remained in the Bible of the Waldensian churches from the Latin / Italick versions coming up from the Western portion of the Empire which had not suffered the ravages of the Eastern. A little more info on it here.

    When one thinks of wicked queen Athaliah killing all the seed royal, thinking all rightful heirs to the throne dead—and ruling triumphantly in Jerusalem 6 years—but then shocked to learn Joash the late king’s son lived (2 Kings 11:1-3 ff.), one can see how evil appears to prevail a while, but then is overturned. The LORD preserves His word (and His people) as He pleases, and reveals it in His good timing.

    I do not want to debate this here as I’m busy working on the matter of Luke 2:22—another hotly contested verse. I just wanted to protest your hasty remark.
  25. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Jerusalem Blade and Pastor Winzer for you comments. I am continuing to digest the material shared on these threads by ET proponents and I am trying to take care lest I be guilty of besmirching my elders, both in the sense of the book of Titus, and in the general sense amonth Christian brothers. I am still inundated in Dr. White's view on the Comma and thus skeptical, but I am not taking your views lightly or subjectively. I may keep this thread going for my edification if I need to, though...

    In Christ
  26. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Puritan Board Freshman

    Should "what if"s be used as evidence?
  27. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Joe,

    Of course you're right about that! The "what if"s are rhetorically speaking, as I assumed James—and others—had read (or would read) my posts #45 and 46, where I did give evidences. It is good to read prior posts in a thread (even long threads) if one's going to comment, so as to be on track.
  28. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Luke 2:22 KJV

    James White says it’s “indefensible”, and has stated, “the KJV's reading cannot be traced anywhere earlier than the 14th century, and most feel that this is actually a conjectural emendation made by Beza”.

    After reviewing scholarly discussions for a number of days, I was surprised to see the powerful defense of the phrase is question—“her purification” (AV) vs “their purification” (CT)—by Dr. Thomas Holland.

    Holland initiates anew a conversation between James and himself in a letter to him over this and other matters, where he says, contradicting James’ view of the text,

    When you [James] state, “KJV's reading cannot be traced anywhere earlier than the
14th century,” were you unaware of the Latin support? The Latin Vulgate
 (fourth century) and later the Latin Codex Brixianus read, “et postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis eius secundum legem mosi” (And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses). The Latin word *eius,* or more commonly *ejus,* stands in the feminine genitive singular, thus *of her.* If the Latin texts had used *eorum* (of them) the reading would have supported modern versions. However, this is not the case. In fact, almost all of the Old Latin Codices support the reading “of her”, with the exception of Codex Monacensis (seventh century). It is found in the Old Latin Codex Vercellensis of the fourth century, and Latin texts of the fifth century such as Codex Curiensis, Codex Veronensis, and Codex Corbeiensis II as well as later Latin manuscripts such as Codex Usserianus I (seventh century) and Codex Rhedigeranus (eighth century). Further, it is clear that the Latin speaking Catholic Church understood *ejus* to mean "of her" as the English translation of the Latin Vulgate reads, “And after the daies were fully ended of her purification according to the 
law of Moyses, they caried him into Hierusalem, to present him to our
Lord.” (Rheims, 1582).” ​

    Dr. Holland then says to Dr. White,

    Therefore, we see that this reading existed long before
the 14th century. If you knew this, why did you not in all fairness at least 
mention it? If you did not know this, will you retract your statement about the 
reading not existing before the 14th century?​

    James’ response was that he considers the Latin and other versions’ attestations “irrelevant”, and that only the Greek manuscripts count. Whereupon Holland replies (in the eighth letter between them),

    as for "secondary language(s)" not being "relevant," I am afraid that modern textual scholars would not agree with your statement. Kurt Aland wrote:


    “The transmission of the New Testament textual tradition is characterized by an extremely impressive degree of tenacity. Once a reading occurs it will persist with obstinacy. It is precisely the overwhelming mass of the New Testament textual tradition, assuming the hugainousa didaskalia of New Testament textual criticism (we trust the reader will not be offended by this application of 1 Tim. 1:10), which provides an assurance of certainty in establishing the original text. Even apart from the lectionaries (cf. p. 163), there is still the evidence of approximately 3,200 manuscripts of the New Testament text, not to mention the early versions and the patristic quotations--we can be certain that among these there is still a group of witnesses which preserves the original form of the text, despite the pervasive authority of ecclesiastical tradition and the prestige of the later text.” (The Text of the New Testament, p. 291-292) ​

    Please note that Aland believes the “tenacity” of a reading can be found not only in the evidence of the Greek manuscripts, but also among the “early versions and the patristic quotations.” He states that we can be CERTAIN that, “among these there is still a group of witness which preserves the original form of the text. . .” Therefore, early versions are to be used and considered evidence in the science of textual criticism.

    Dr. Alexander Souter noted:​

    "The second (source of the NT text) is translations made from this original Greek, especially if directly made from it, and not through the medium of another language, which is itself a direct translation from the original Greek. If such a translation was carefully made, and has survived in the precise form and text in which the translator himself issued it, what we possess in it is tantamount to the Greek copy in front of the translators when he made his translation." (The Text And Canon Of The New Testament, p.10.)


    Since the Old Latin manuscripts are almost unanimous in their reading "of her" and since the Latin Vulgate likewise possesses the reading "ejus" (of her), it is highly likely that there was an early Greek text with this reading which we no longer possess, at least according to the logic of textual criticism as just expressed by Souter. I do not believe that there is any reason to continue with additional citations which agree with this point. However the same may be found in the writings of Metzger, Geisler and Nix, Jack Finegan, and others.​

    In the first and later letters Holland questions White as to why he made the allegation that in Luke 2:22 Beza made a “conjectural emendation” as Beza knew of the early Latin readings, and this would show it was rather a well-informed textual decision.

    To my thinking the arguments of Dr. Holland were overpowering. Here are the 9+ letters (quite a remarkable collection) :


    Here are some citations from Augustine:

    Harmony of the Gospels - Book 2, Chapter XI

    An Examination of the Question as to How It Was Possible for Them to Go Up, According to Luke's Statement, with Him to Jerusalem to the Temple, When the Days of the Purification of the Mother of Christ Were Accomplished, in Order to Perform the Usual Rites, If It is Correctly Recorded by Matthew, that Herod Had Already Learned from the Wise Men that the Child Was Born in Whose Stead, When He Sought for Him, He Slew So Many Children.

    and agitated by the intelligence received from the wise men concerning the birth of the King of the Jews, for them, when the days of the purification of His mother were accomplished, to go up in any safety with Him to the temple . . . [emphasis added]​
    Harmony of the Gospels Book 2, Chapter V

    A Statement of the Manner in Which Luke’s Procedure is Proved to Be in Harmony with Matthew’s in Those Matters Concerning the Conception and the Infancy or Boyhood of Christ, Which are Omitted by the One and Recorded by the Other . . .

    Then, after this account of their return, the narrative goes on thus: When the days of her (His mother’s) purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord. . . [emphasis added]

    And from Jerome, who knew both Latin and Greek well (and considered the Greek the true source of NT Scripture), says this in his Latin work, The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary, Against Helvidius,

    At all events Scripture thus speaks of the Saviour, “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. . .” [emphasis added]​


    In sum: It is not known why or how the error crept into the Greek manuscripts so early, resulting in such an extreme paucity of Greek attestation for AUTHS (her purification) and the prevalence of AUTWN (their purification). On the face of it autwn (their) is in error, as the law of Moses explicitly states in Leviticus 12:1-4 that she—the woman only—will be unclean “until the [forty] days of her purifying be fulfilled”, with no requirement for purification of the husband or child. “Their” is also grammatically difficult. The reading of “their” brings a contradiction into Scripture. Many have tried to find a way to make either Jesus or Joseph unclean and needing purification, or else have the “their” refer to “the Jews’ laws concerning purification”, but these violate both common sense and context.

    “her purification” is the right reading in God’s word, and Beza made a sound textual decision, in the providence of God. The reading is quite defensible, to say the least.
  29. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Puritan Board Freshman

    Steve, I had read every line in every post in this thread. Thank you for the comments.
  30. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for all the work, Steve.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page