I Am Thoroughly Sturzian

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greenbaggins

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For a long time, I thought I was the only one with my particular opinions on the textual criticism of the New Testament. I viewed with equal frustration the extremes of the WH position and of the TR position. Of course, from the way many talk, those are the only two options. But then someone told me about Harry Sturz's book (The Byzantine Text-Type & New Testament Textual Criticism). For a long time, I didn't have the time to read the book. However, I now have, and was absolutely delighted with it. Against WH, Sturz argues that the Byzantine readings often predate the Alexandrian readings. We know this from the Chester Beatty papyrii. It often shows the agreement of Byzantine readings with Western readings over against Alexandrian readings. The geographical realities being what they were, the Byzantine readings are then shown by Sturz to be independent from the Western and the Alexandrian (contrary to WH's claim that they were completely dependent).

Over against the TR position, I found that my thoughts on their view of providence are exactly the same as Sturz. According to many TR advocates, the Alexandrian manuscripts were fewer in number because their readings were rejected. They were hidden because they were inferior manuscripts. This is highly unlikely. It is far more likely that Islam explains the paucity of Alexandrian manuscripts over against Byzantine manuscripts. It could also easily explain why manuscripts were hidden. They were therefore hidden not because they were inferior, but because they were valuable, and the Alexandrian scholars didn't want the Muslims destroying them. Now, this last bit is a theory. But it is just as plausible (I would argue far more plausible) than the typical TR theory. At any rate, to dismiss the Alexandrian manuscripts because of the completely speculative quasi-providential arguments most TR advocates use is untenable.

Sturz believes that the Byzantine texts are neither primary nor secondary, but independent. This is exactly what I believe. Sturz also has a very high respect for geographical dispersion of a reading being a huge argument in favor of originality, a canon I also share. Even more, Sturz carefully undermines the "shorter reading is preferred" and qualifies the "more difficult reading is preferred" canons in highly appropriate ways. I cannot commend this book highly enough. I only wish more would read it, and that a published NT could be published along Sturzian lines. I would especially encourage the TR advocates to read this book, and thus be convinced to stop treating the text-critical world as though there are only two possible options.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you so much for this, Pastor Lane. I’m looking into buying it now.
 

greenbaggins

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Unfortunately, it is difficult to find one for a reasonable price. I think I paid around $44 for it, which is definitely on the inexpensive end for what I've seen.
 

greenbaggins

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Sturz does not hold to Byzantine priority. The Byzantine tradition is an independent witness that should be valued alongside the Western and Alexandrian.
 

greenbaggins

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I have not read Pickering, but I understand he is a straightforward defender of the Majority Text. Sturz would not be. Sturz believes that the Western, Byzantine, and Alexandrian are more or less equal in weight to each other, and should be weighed accordingly. Basically, if two out of three of those traditions agree against the third, then you go with the two.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I have not read Pickering, but I understand he is a straightforward defender of the Majority Text. Sturz would not be. Sturz believes that the Western, Byzantine, and Alexandrian are more or less equal in weight to each other, and should be weighed accordingly. Basically, if two out of three of those traditions agree against the third, then you go with the two.
That’s the summary I was looking for!
 

greenbaggins

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John, I would still go with one of the five I mentioned in my article on the subject: ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, or CSB. Any one of those would be acceptable.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have not read Pickering, but I understand he is a straightforward defender of the Majority Text. Sturz would not be. Sturz believes that the Western, Byzantine, and Alexandrian are more or less equal in weight to each other, and should be weighed accordingly. Basically, if two out of three of those traditions agree against the third, then you go with the two.
Pickering is a providential preservationist and thinks the pure line of mss is in one particular Byzantine family (f35 I think). Pretty idiosyncratic conclusions, but has developed a commendable theory of textual transmission.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
John, I would still go with one of the five I mentioned in my article on the subject: ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, or CSB. Any one of those would be acceptable.
Have you been looking at the (new) Legacy Standard Bible? I’ve been reading it. I think it is a worthy replacement for the NASB. Personally I think it and the CSB are my two favorite English versions.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Have you been looking at the (new) Legacy Standard Bible? I’ve been reading it. I think it is a worthy replacement for the NASB. Personally I think it and the CSB are my two favorite English versions.
I’ve been off and on the LSB train. At first, I was thrilled with it. Then, after I started noticing some weirdness, I began to fear it was a rushed project. Now, it appears the committee is listening to suggestions, and they’ve made good edits. I like it, but it does not read near as smooth as the CSB.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
What's interesting about the LSB is that, even though it's perceived as being John MacArthur's project, he does not hold the copyright on it. My copy (I picked one up at his church's bookstore) reads: "Copyright 2021 by The Lockman Foundation." So, he may have influenced it, but he doesn't control it. Isn't that the translation where "doulos" is always translated as "slave" no matter what the context might be?
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Have you been looking at the (new) Legacy Standard Bible? I’ve been reading it. I think it is a worthy replacement for the NASB. Personally I think it and the CSB are my two favorite English versions.
Ben, I have not looked at the LSB at all yet. I dare say it would be an acceptable version, though I am wondering at the reasoning for tweaking the NASB. There have already been several tweaks now to the NASB. And is this tweak really enough for it to be called by a new name?
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Ben, I have not looked at the LSB at all yet. I dare say it would be an acceptable version, though I am wondering at the reasoning for tweaking the NASB. There have already been several tweaks now to the NASB. And is this tweak really enough for it to be called by a new name?
Even though I’ve not been looking at it casually for a couple weeks… yes, the wording is sufficiently changed that it doesn’t “feel” like the NASB and as such seems like another thing. So I believe a new name was justified.
 

Jemand

Puritan Board Freshman
I find Sturz’s book to be fair, honest, and objective. One of my favorite quotes from his book is found on page 37 in Chapter IV,

The chief weakness in the Burgeon-Hills theory seems to be the foundation upon which the entire structure is built. To present preservation as a necessary corollary of inspiration, then to imply that preservation of the Scripture must be as faithful and precise as inspiration of the Scriptures, appears to be taking a position that is both unscriptural and impossible to demonstrate.
 
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