Slightly Imperfect Bibles?

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Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I find Turretin’s comments about the uniformity of the Greek in the disputed passages odd, given that the variants were not only known and debated in his day, but had been for over a hundred years.

Regardless, note that when Turretin mentions the infallible “originals”, he means the apographs possessed by the church, not the nonexistent autographs. This was the Reformed view for 300+ years. Muller notes that the modern position of “inerrancy” in the autographa only (Warfield) is a shift from the historic view.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Regardless, note that when Turretin mentions the infallible “originals”, he means the apographs possessed by the church, not the nonexistent autographs. This was the Reformed view for 300+ years. Muller notes that the modern position of “inerrancy” in the autographa only (Warfield) is a shift from the historic view.

Mmm, I don't think this is quite correct. Turretin spends a good bit of time talking about the derived authenticity the apographs have. The church only possesses apographs, therefore her authority must come from them. But they possess that authority because they accurately represent, or speak for, the autographs. There is a derivative authority he develops that certainly predates Warfield.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As I said, Logan, "I don’t go by everything Turretin asserts (and of course one is free to disagree with him)", as there are too many ifs and variables in his presentation, or so it can be made to seem.

That's why I prefer not to go to so-called experts to prove my points, though I can reference them to show how other reliable commentators may agree with me, or when they do provide and prove valuable information. You brought Turretin up – one I would not.

You say he was mistaken re the 3 passages, but we do not know which mss he referred to, and whether they did exist and were forgotten or disappeared. He was not a slouch in judgment, I would say. It was refreshing going through his material again – and for that I thank you! Even though I think he supports my view, you don't – so there we are.
 
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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I just want to say that I have really profited from this thread. I am especially edified by how peaceful and brotherly it has been, whereas in the past these discussions have sometimes gotten quite heated. Thank you especially to @Jerusalem Blade, @Logan, and @greenbaggins.

I just thought that was worth mentioning.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Slightly Imperfect Bibles?

I recently received a catalogue from a book distributor that included a discount section titled “slightly imperfect” and, yes, there were several Bibles listed.

Obviously, the phrase “slightly imperfect” was intended a reference to cosmetic defects, but it got me thinking about more substantive imperfections that no publishers dare acknowledge while advertising their Bibles.

Would you purchase a Bible that was missing an entire page? Not many would, I suppose, but when compared to the Bibles published in Reformation times, most modern versions are actually missing about that much content.

Twelve verses from the end Mark’s Gospel are missing. An additional twelve verses from John’s Gospel are missing. Sixteen other verses are usually found missing and several more words and verses have either been deleted or noted as questionable.

Many seek to minimize these discrepancies by speaking only in terms of the percentage of material missing. The forty verses referenced above constitute less than one-quarter percent of the whole. However, if you compare the amount of missing material to the length of some books in Scripture, the discrepancy appears as more significant.

The forty missing verses contain eight hundred and fifty-four words. That’s more than the prophecy of Obadiah. That’s more than the Epistle of Jude. That’s more than Paul’s Epistle to Philemon. That’s more than the second and third Epistles of John combined. Would you buy a Bible that was advertised with this disclaimer: Slightly imperfect, missing only one or two epistles?

Modern scholars will undoubtedly take some umbrage with such argumentation, but that is only because they believe the missing verses never belonged there in the first place. It is their position that the otherwise pious scribes in ancient times intentionally corrupted the Bible by adding words to it.

This view, however, is out of accord with what the Reformed have confessed for centuries; namely that God not only inspired the scriptures, but also kept them pure in all ages by his singular care and providence (Westminster Confession of Faith, I.8).

These are two very different views of the transmission of Holy Scripture. One assumes early corruption and the other presupposes providential preservation. Slightly imperfect Bibles seem to betray a slightly imperfect confidence in the promise of Christ, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Christian McShaffrey is a Minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Pastor of Five Solas Church (Reedsburg, WI). He also serves as the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Midwest (OPC), and executive director of the Kept Pure in All Ages conference.
It would be helpful to know if we've come any further in the thread to alleviating the OP @Romans922 concerns? I'm aware that just about every major English Bible publisher has indeed published Bibles with errors from what they intended to publish (yes, even to missing a page or pages). Most often these are recalled by the publisher, but not always, sometimes simply sold at a discount or no discount at all (waiting for a new printing cycle or newer edition - the popular translations usually hit that within 2-4 years at the outside). I've sometimes said were I in dire straits with access to nothing else, even a Jehovah's Witness New World Translation could find usefulness. And as serious an issue as the reliability of Scripture is, one can still find Geneva, KJV, ESV and other English translations containing some Apocrypha, some without qualifying explanation of distinction. In that sense the WCF might sometimes be thought by some an enemy to the use of these Bibles, even of a Reformed tradition, though I in no wise view it so.

I'm glad to see the attention here given to, "the authority of Holy Scripture... dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof..." (WCF 1.4); that, "we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word..."; and a good measure of agreement on what the Confession intends by, "kept pure in all ages, and therefore authentical..".
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
For alleviating concerns, it seems to me that an opinion on the matter will depend greatly on the point of view one already has. I think that clarity on a number of matters has been achieved. If one's opinion leans towards the TR, I doubt that the concerns have been alleviated. If one leans towards the CT or a blend of methodologies, then concerns would probably be alleviated to a great extent. I think the discussions about the nature of God's providence in regard to preserving His Word are important here, as well as the meaning of the phrase "kept pure in all ages."
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, thereto, one hopes there's agreement that no Church, nor any of us determines what is the Word of God, but God alone. We only are accountable for our recognition of the Word, and that through the Holy Spirit. And I'm encouraged to think that the OP and most if not all of us here agree on essential and substantial recognition, as the great green one hath indicated.
 
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Grant Van Leuven

Puritan Board Freshman
For anyone who may have interest, we recently put up a 3-part series on why we use the KJV (with important disclaimers addressing what we deem as misnomers on "both sides"). The first lecture (with a pdf to cover the two other subsequent classes, with a map at the end we found pretty helpful for the discussion) is liked here: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=10721356275095. It was supplemental to our study of the WCF, chapter 1, especially with section 8 in view. These are not sermons but lectures during our Wednesday night study (which is much less formal and sometimes a bit comical).
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
For anyone who may have interest, we recently put up a 3-part series on why we use the KJV (with important disclaimers addressing what we deem as misnomers on "both sides"). The first lecture (with a pdf to cover the two other subsequent classes, with a map at the end we found pretty helpful for the discussion) is liked here: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=10721356275095. It was supplemental to our study of the WCF, chapter 1, especially with section 8 in view. These are not sermons but lectures during our Wednesday night study (which is much less formal and sometimes a bit comical).
I look forward to listening!
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Focusing not so much on Turretin's accuracy as to facts, but his methodology and foundation.

Turretin pg 71
"The question is not as to the particular corruption of some manuscripts or as to the errors which have crept into the books of particular editions through the negligence of copyists or printers. All acknowledge the existence of many such small corruptions. The question is whether there are universal corruptions and errors so diffused through all the copies (both manuscript and edited) as that they cannot be restored by any collation of various copies, or of Scripture itself and of parallel passages."

pg 72
"The principal arguments for the integrity of the Scriptures and the purity of the sources are four. (1) The chief of these is the providence of God (who as he wished to provide for our faith by inspiring the sacred writers as to what they should write, and by preserving the Scriptures against the attempts of enemies who have left nothing untried that they might destroy them), so he should keep them pure and uncorrupted in order that our faith might always have a firm foundation."

pg 72
"Although we give to the Scriptures absolute integrity, we do not therefore think that the copyists and printers were inspired (theopneustous), but only that the providence of God watched over the copying of the sacred books, so that although many errors might have crept in, it has not so happened (or they have not so crept into the manuscripts) but that they can be easily corrected by a collation of others (or with the Scriptures themselves). Therefore the foundation of the purity and integrity of the sources is not to be placed in the freedom from fault (anamartesia) of men, but in the providence of God which (however men employed in transcribing the sacred books might possibly mingle various errors) always diligently took care to correct them, or that they might be corrected easily either from a comparison with Scripture itself or from more approved manuscripts. It was not necessary therefore to render all the scribes infallible, but only so to direct them that the true reading may always be found out. This book far surpasses all others in purity."

pg 106
"The question is not Are the sources so pure that no fault has crept into the many sacred manuscripts, either through the waste of time, the carelessness of copyists or the malice of the Jews or of heretics? For this is acknowledged on both sides and the various readings which Beza and Robert Stephanus have carefully observed in the Greek (and the Jews in the Hebrew) clearly prove it. Rather the question is have the original texts (or the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) been so corrupted either by copyists through carelessness (or by the Jews and heretics through malice) that they can no longer be regarded as the judge of controversies and the rule to which all the versions must be applied? The papists affirm, we deny it."

pg 108
"Although various corruptions might have crept into the Hebrew manuscripts through the carelessness of transcribers and the waste of time, they do not cease to be a canon of faith and practice. For besides being in things of small importance and not pertaining to faith and practice (as Bellarmine himself confesses and which, moreover, he holds do not affect the integrity of the Scriptures), they are not universal in all the manuscripts; or they are not such as cannot easily be corrected from a collation of the Scriptures and the various manuscripts."

pg 111
"A corruption differs from a variant reading. We acknowledge that many variant readings occur both in the Old and New Testaments arising from a comparison of different manuscripts, but we deny corruption (at least corruption that is universal)."

pg 113
"An authentic writing is one in which all things are abundantly sufficient to inspire confidence; one to which the fullest credit is due in its own kind; one of which we can be entirely sure that it has proceeded from the author whose name it bears; one in which everything is written just as he himself wished. However, a writing can be authentic in two ways: either primarily and originally or secondarily and derivatively. That writing is primarily authentic which is autopiston ("of self-inspiring confidence") and to which credit is and ought to be given on its own account. In this manner the originals of royal edicts, magistrates' decrees, wills, contracts, and the autographs of authors are authentic. The secondarily authentic writings are all the copies accurately and faithfully taken from the originals by suitable men; such as the scriveners appointed for that purpose by public authority (for the edicts of kings and other public documents) and any honest and careful scribes and copiers (for books and other writings). The autographs of Moses, the prophets and apostles are alone authentic in the first sense. In the latter sense, the faithful and accurate copies of them are also authentic."

pg 113
"Again, the authority of an authentic writing is twofold: the one is founded upon the things themselves of which it treats and has relation to the men to whom the writing is directed; the other is occupied with the treatise itself and the writing and refers to the copies and translations made from it...But the latter consists in this, that the autographs and also the accurate and faithful copies may be the standard of all other copies of the same writing and of its translations. If anything is found in them different from the authentic writings, either autographs or apographs, it is unworthy of the name authentic and should be discarded as spurious and adulterated, the discordance itself being a sufficient reason for its rejection."

@Eyedoc84 I would say those last two sound pretty Warfieldian in their distinction between the autographs and the apographs. Of course we derive our authority from the apographs now, but it's because we believe they represent (through collation and comparison) the autographs, which are alone authentic or authoritative in the primary sense.
 
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Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
@Logan , I was not claiming the distinction was Warfieldian, but how that distinction was understood and used. When I get time, I will try to gather Muller’s argument.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I noted this passage from Turretin above, but I think it's worth highlighting specifically with regards to the "purity" issue. Turretin's view of "kept pure in all ages" is not the same as those of the TR advocates in this thread. Turretin is consistent with Perkins and with all the Puritans Warfield quoted from: it has been kept pure in the many copies, that should be collated and corrected by comparison. How far Turretin would be willing to go with that, we cannot say, but we can say that his view was not that he was merely receiving a completely pure text, but he believed that a pure text was possible and work needed to be done.

pg 72
"Although we give to the Scriptures absolute integrity, we do not therefore think that the copyists and printers were inspired (theopneustous), but only that the providence of God watched over the copying of the sacred books, so that although many errors might have crept in, it has not so happened (or they have not so crept into the manuscripts) but that they can be easily corrected by a collation of others (or with the Scriptures themselves). Therefore the foundation of the purity and integrity of the sources is not to be placed in the freedom from fault (anamartesia) of men, but in the providence of God which (however men employed in transcribing the sacred books might possibly mingle various errors) always diligently took care to correct them, or that they might be corrected easily either from a comparison with Scripture itself or from more approved manuscripts. It was not necessary therefore to render all the scribes infallible, but only so to direct them that the true reading may always be found out. This book far surpasses all others in purity."
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
I noted this passage from Turretin above, but I think it's worth highlighting specifically with regards to the "purity" issue. Turretin's view of "kept pure in all ages" is not the same as those of the TR advocates in this thread. Turretin is consistent with Perkins and with all the Puritans Warfield quoted from: it has been kept pure in the many copies, that should be collated and corrected by comparison. How far Turretin would be willing to go with that, we cannot say, but we can say that his view was not that he was merely receiving a completely pure text, but he believed that a pure text was possible and work needed to be done.

pg 72
"Although we give to the Scriptures absolute integrity, we do not therefore think that the copyists and printers were inspired (theopneustous), but only that the providence of God watched over the copying of the sacred books, so that although many errors might have crept in, it has not so happened (or they have not so crept into the manuscripts) but that they can be easily corrected by a collation of others (or with the Scriptures themselves). Therefore the foundation of the purity and integrity of the sources is not to be placed in the freedom from fault (anamartesia) of men, but in the providence of God which (however men employed in transcribing the sacred books might possibly mingle various errors) always diligently took care to correct them, or that they might be corrected easily either from a comparison with Scripture itself or from more approved manuscripts. It was not necessary therefore to render all the scribes infallible, but only so to direct them that the true reading may always be found out. This book far surpasses all others in purity."
I'm reluctant to jump back in as I don't intend to say much more, but what are the differences you see between this quote from Turretin and the TR position on the purity of scripture? Looks to me like he's saying the same thing as what most TR advocates would, and not quite the same thing as Perkins.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hi Logan,

From your studies in this area, I think you know that Warfield was a Westcott & Hort man, believing their revised Greek text after (primarily) Codices B and Aleph were the answer to the rationalist detractors of the doctrine of preservation; he believed that their claim to have a neutral text would enable the church to withstand those who attacked the infallibility of God's word.

We now know he was wrong, as the "superior" neutral text but exploded all confidence in ever finding the original text among the textual scholars. His heart was in the right place, but he erred, believing false promises.

It is hard for me to comprehend how Turretin's view can be spun to have him become the eclectic textual critic you seem to have him being. His reservoir of acceptable mss for comparing and selecting the original readings was certainly not so broad as you seem to conceive – it would surely reside in those that the TR editors themselves used (with a few others, perhaps), but certainly not those held by Rome, as Rome was attacking the Sola Scriptura of the Reformers with a vengeance, using its own mss.

And when Turretin writes about God's providence in preserving the Scripture as the main factor in their purity, even down to retaining "the very words" (the other translation of him says, "the same words") this precludes his use of such "originals" that omit the last 12 verses of Mark, John 7:53-8:11, and 1 John 5:7 (despite your allegation he was ignorant in this area, and we are wiser due to more mss being available – as he was going by providential preservation focused on that rare moment of Reformation whereas you are going on evidentiary materials, which two views of preservation differ radically).

He makes clear that what was preserved were the very words of the autographs retained in the faithful apographs. I'll re-post (with emphases added) what I wrote earlier in post #115 :

ON SCRIPTURE

QUESTION 5: Are there in Scripture true contradictions, or any irreconcilable passages, which cannot be resolved or harmonized in any way? We deny.

VII. (2) Unless unimpaired integrity is attributed to Scripture, it cannot be regarded as the sole rule of faith and practice, and a wide door is opened to atheists, libertines, enthusiasts, and others of that sort of profane people to undermine its authority and overthrow the foundation of salvation. Since error cannot be part of the faith, how can a Scripture which is weakened by contradictions and corruptions be regarded as authentic and divine? Nor should it be said that these corruptions are only in matters of little significance, which do not affect the fundamentals of the faith. For as soon as the authenticity of Scripture has been found wanting, even if it be a single corruption [of the text] that cannot be corrected, how can our faith any longer be sustained? If corruption is conceded in matters of little importance, why not also in others of more significance? Who will be able to give me faith that there has been no forgetfulness or deceit in the fundamental passages? What answer can be given the subtle 'atheist or heretic who persistently claims that this or that text, unfavorable to him, rests on falsehood? The reply should not be that divine providence has willed the [Scripture] be preserved from serious corruptions, but not from minor ones. For not only is this an arbitrary assumption, but it also cannot be made without grave insult [to Scripture], implying that it lacks something necessary for its full self-authentication, nor can it easily be believed that God, who spoke and inspired every single word to God-inspired men, would not have provided for the preservation of all. If human beings preserve their words with the greatest care so that they will not be changed or corrupted, especially when--as is the case, for instance, with wills and contracts--they are of some importance, how much more should God be thought to have taken care for his Word, which he willed to have the status of testament and public notice of his covenant with us, so that nothing could corrupt it, especially when he could have easily foreseen and prevented such corruptions, to uphold the faith of his church? (p 71 in the hardcopy)

QUESTION 10: Has the original text of the Old and New Testaments come to us pure and uncorrupted? Affirmative, against the Roman Catholics.

I. This question is forced upon us by the Roman Catholics, who raise doubts concerning the purity of the sources in order more readily to establish the authority of their Vulgate and lead us to the tribunal of the church.

II. By "original texts" we do not mean the very autographs from the hands of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, which are known to be nonexistent. We mean copies (apographa), which have come in their name, because they record for us that word of God in the same words into which the sacred writers committed it under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit. [emphases added]​

This is a very far cry from "Warfieldian", and almost identical to the TR people who say that the WCF at 1.8 means they record for us that word of God in the same words the NT writers wrote.

Why should it be thought it impossible God could and did do this? He saw you in His mind – in eternity past – and decreed that you would be written in the Lamb's Book of Life; He saw you then, as you exist today, and despite all the damage done to the gene pool and the vicissitudes of harm your ancestors bore, you have turned out exactly as He envisioned you way back before time. His providential care provided for this. Even so with His word, in the apographs. Now whether the AV is a faithful translation of that, that is a battle being fought, and to continue being fought – in the trenches, as it were, of the validity of the particular readings.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Steve,

Without going line by line, I feel like the majority of this post is speaking to something other than my own views or what I have said. I specifically said no one could say whether Turretin would have gone as far as the CT position, but that his methodology was NOT one of merely receiving some established text, but continued textual criticism. He didn't point to an Erasmus or a Stephanus but to all the manuscripts extant.

You cannot make the assumption that he rejected some manuscripts such as Rome may have used. He never said he rejected some. No one can possibly know which manuscripts he saw himself and what information he heard that he was merely repeating, so the only thing we can go off of is what he himself said, and that is to compare the copies in the Greek, with no distinction or limitation on text type or origin. Any assumption you make on limitation of TR text type and not being broad is strictly an assumption and not warranted by anything Turretin himself said.

When he says that 1 John 5:7 was contained in all the Greek manuscripts, I'm sorry you believe this is an allegation on my part but he could not possibly be right. Out of some 600 manuscripts on 1 John that we have, only five contain it and those all are dated at least post-14th century, perhaps all but one are even post-Erasmus. Thus in order for Turretin to be correct, even if he only said that the "vast majority" (rather than "all") contained it, we would have to have had thousands of manuscripts containing it during his day and all just happened to be lost within 200 years, despite everyone looking for them. That stretches credulity far beyond the limits and flies in the face of the very providential preservation we believe in. Besides that, there is no possible way in Turretin's day that he could have examined any significant number of manuscripts, let alone hundreds. Stephanus himself, who made a career of it, only compared something like twenty for the entire New Testament if I recollect correctly, and certainly not that many of 1 John. Add to this that Turretin made this assumption based on reading someone else's statement, he gives his source: the Roman Catholic Sixtus Senensis and you tell me whether a Roman Catholic would have examined all the manuscript evidence himself or whether he had an incentive to make that claim without examining the evidence. Given the RCC's stance on this verse and the Vulgate and the pressure they put on Erasmus to include it, I don't find this a reliable source at all.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Logan,

You say in post # 120, “No one can say what Turretin would accept were he presented with the same evidence we are.” This is anachronistic, imposing on Turretin a textual methodology alien to him. Although he did indeed compare reliable copies available in his day, he did this within the paradigm of God’s providence preserving what He wanted preserved in his day, and not in the future. More on this in a moment.

And in post # 130 – at the end – you said, “I would say those last two sound pretty Warfieldian in their distinction between the autographs and the apographs. Of course we derive our authority from the apographs now, but it's because we believe they represent (through collation and comparison) the autographs, which are alone authentic or authoritative in the primary sense.”

Perhaps @Eyedoc84, speaking of Richard Muller vis-à-vis Warfield, had this in mind (and I am quoting from pastor Jeff Riddle’s discussion of this very point) :

What does Muller say in this work about the question of how Turretin and other post-reformation dogmatic theologians approached the text of Scripture?

Here are a few excerpts from Muller [Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2, Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology (Baker, 1993)] p. 433:

By “original and authentic” text, the Protestant orthodox do not mean the autographa which no person can possess but the apographa in the original tongue which are the source of all versions…. It is important to note that the Reformed orthodox insistence on the identification of the Hebrew and Greek texts as alone authentic does not demand direct reference to the autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic text” of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa.​

Footnote 165 for the statement above on p. 433:

Cf. Turretin, Inst. theol., II.xi.3-4, with Mastricht, Theoretico-practica theol., I.ii.10. A rather sharp contrast must be drawn, therefore, between the Protestant orthodox statements concerning the autographa and the views of Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield. This issue must be raised because of the tendency to confuse these two views…. The point made by Hodge and Warfield is a logical trap, a rhetorical flourish, a conundrum designed to confound the critics—who can only prove their case for genuine errancy by recourse to a text they do not (and surely cannot) have….​

Muller continues on p. 434:

The orthodox discussion of autographa and apographa was designed, therefore, to point toward continuity of text-tradition between the original authors and the present day texts…. For them the autographa were not a concrete point of regress for the future critical examination of the text but rather a touchstone employed in gaining a proper perspective on current textual problems…. The orthodox tended to address issues of infallibility of Scripture in matters of faith and practice from an entirely different vantage point.​

And on p. 435:

Even so Turretin and other high and later orthodox writers argued that the authenticity and infallibility of Scripture must be identified in and of the apographa, not in and of lost autographa…. The orthodox do, of course, assume that the text is free of substantive error and, typically, view textual problems as of scribal origin, but they mount their argument for authenticity and infallibility without recourse to a logical device like that employed by Hodge and Warfield.​

Muller’s conclusion is clear: The Protestant orthodox view of the text of Scripture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was NOT equivalent to the modern reconstructionist (restorationist) view of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as popularized among evangelicals by Hodges and Warfield. This distinction was not due to differences in the amount of data each had but to a fundamental difference in intellectual (theological) outlook. TF is, then, in error when he states that (the real) Turretin embraced the same modern textual methodology as JW [James White]. According to Muller, this would be an example of “the tendency to confuse these two views” (p. 433, n. 165).

The small but growing number of those who embrace the traditional text (the MT of the Hebrew OT and the TR of the Greek NT), driven by confessional considerations, are simply saying that they prefer the approach of Calvin, Owen, the 1689 framers, and Turretin to that of Metzger, Piper, and White.​

This is what I meant, Logan, by anachronistically imposing a paradigm on Turretin alien to him and his time.

And about Turretin’s view of 1 John 5:7 and the copies he was aware of that contained it, I found this of interest in Muller’s book where he discusses that passage of Scripture:

Many of the Bibles printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whether in the original languages, in Latin, or in a vernacular translation, gave the following reading as the text of 1 John 5:5-8: [and he gives the reading as it is in the A.V., and then discusses the great conflict that arose as to its authenticity -SMR] pp 443, 444​

Then, on p 445, Muller says,

Turretin noted that Erasmus had located the passage in a “most ancient British codex” and that “the most praiseworthy editions, the Complutensian, the Antwerp, Arias Montanus, R. Stephanus, and Walton, which have all utilized the best codices, have the phrase.” (Elect. Inst. III.xxv.9)​

Not to use Turretin as part of my own defense of the comma, but to show that he had warrant to hold such, despite our later awareness – if it be sound – of a scarcity of Greek witnesses.

What I wish to point out is that an anachronistic critique of Turretin, and a wrongfully co-opting him into your camp, will not fly. He did not think like you do.
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
You say in post # 120, “No one can say what Turretin would accept were he presented with the same evidence we are.”

What I wish to point out is that an anachronistic critique of Turretin, and a wrongfully co-opting him into your camp, will not fly. He did not think like you do.

Respectfully Steve, I am baffled by your statements. It abundantly clear that I never said Turretin thought like I did nor did I co-opt him into "my camp" (whatever camp that is). And what precisely is my "anachronistic critique" of him? Do you think I'm trying to say that Turretin would have agreed with Warfield? I explicitly denied I or anyone else can know that or anything like that, multiple times. What am I missing?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Logan,

I have learned from this discussion with you how that Turretin – without any guile at all on your part – can be made “equivalent to the modern reconstructionist (restorationist) view of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as popularized among evangelicals by Hodges and Warfield”, to quote (in post #136) Jeff Riddle discussing Richard Muller’s view of Turretin, where Muller says, “A rather sharp contrast must be drawn, therefore, between the Protestant orthodox statements concerning the autographa and the views of Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield. This issue must be raised because of the tendency to confuse these two views”.

In my post #134, I show Turretin declaring for the “preservation…of every single word” in the faithful copies / apographa – which he had in hand at that time – and not in the far off collations and comparisons of the text criticism of a later age. The real question is what apographa (plural) did he have in hand where “every single word” could be discerned by the Reformed scholars of that day? Not in the days of centuries down the line, but that day?

I don’t think discussing Turretin in the context of our modern textual situation and paradigms is profitable, besides doing Turretin a grave disservice. His viewpoint was based primarily on the presupposition that God had preserved His word for them then; the modern presupposition is that text experts would find the golden needle of that word in the haystacks of mss. in later times. That’s the anachronism I referred to.

Thank you for your patience and graciousness in this discussion! I'm a bit preoccupied getting all the requirements met for our flight out of NY, not least of which are those peculiar to the time of Omicron.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
the modern presupposition is that text experts would find the golden needle of that word in the haystacks of mss. in later times.
This is most emphatically NOT the presupposition of Reformed eclectic text critics. Much like Vos's view of the completeness of revelation for each era for each time period of biblical revelation, the view of Reformed eclectic text critics is that all ages of the church have had access to God's word with progressive refining going on, yes, but not in such a way as to deny previous ages the access mentioned. However we might quibble over the exact meaning of "kept pure in all ages," at the very least, those who hold to the WCF must hold to this. Pretty sure Logan would agree with me here. The problem is that you are judging our position on the basis of your presuppositions, not on the basis of ours. This has resulted in distortion.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hi Lane – I'm talking about resolving the discrepancies the significant variants pose re having a settled text. And do not the producers of the critical text editions emphasize that the state of the text is provisional, depending on new information and discoveries? If you want to say there is a school of "Reformed eclectic text critics" who stand against the consensus, well, that may be a different story. How may I discern who these text critics are?

Are things any different now – since I wrote on this – the skepticism and doubts of the textual critics? You may just be an anomaly, with your stronger faith.
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
the view of Reformed eclectic text critics is that all ages of the church have had access to God's word with progressive refining going on, yes, but not in such a way as to deny previous ages the access mentioned. However we might quibble over the exact meaning of "kept pure in all ages," at the very least, those who hold to the WCF must hold to this.

I agree this is the crux of the matter with respect to confessing God's providential care over the text.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It seems to me that the functional equivalent of “kept pure in all ages” is that even the CT editions with their variants have been preserved in the main, so that the LORD easily uses those editions of His word to save His elect and nurture His church unto holiness and dependence on His strong name. It is a further refinement of “kept pure in all ages” that some hold certain editions of His word have been preserved in the minutiae as well.

This in no way implies that those who hold to this latter are superior to others in any respect, neither in holiness nor in wisdom and understanding – just simply having this peculiar faith in His promises in this matter. It is nonetheless an important witness they hold forth to all – that God has been faithful in the providential preservation of His word, according to their understanding of His promises, that those who need a sure and – to the uttermost – intact Bible have one.

Those who hold to the “in the main” view also have their own confidence in the Bibles they love, and are able to defend it against detractors, as one can see with your efforts and knowledge, Lane and Logan. Yours are truly sufficient Bibles, even if we want something more as regards sufficiency. Can we not live in peace, we two camps?
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
@Jerusalem Blade thanks for doing some of my work for me! Yes those are largely the quotes from Muller I had in mind. I will add this further one from his Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms:

”The Protestant scholastics do not press the point made by their nineteenth-century followers that the infallibility of Scripture and the freedom of Scripture from error reside absolutely in the autographa and only in a derivative sense in the apographa; rather, the scholastics argue positively that the apographa preserve intact, with minimal scribal corruptions, the true words of the prophets and the apostles and that the God-breathed character of Scripture is manifest in the apographa, as well as in the autographa. The issue primarily addressed by the seventeenth-century orthodox in their discussion of the autographa is the continuity of the extant copies in Hebrew and in Greek with the originals, both quoad res, with respect to the thing or subject of the text, and quoad verb, with respect to the words of the text. As to the continuity between the original language autographa and any, even the best translations, only continuity quoad res was recognized…the surviving texts in Hebrew and Greek, namely, the apographa, could be viewed in continuity both quoad verba and quoad res.”

Muller notes that the issues at hand were different: the reformed and scholastics were arguing about the authority of the languages whereas the 19th and 20th century battles were over “inerrancy”, which may have certainly led to different approaches and distinctions. But note for the earlier reformed, there was an emphasis on continuity and for the moderns the emphasis was on discontinuity. I personally would argue this difference in approach to the texts leads to drastically different conclusions when carried over into textual criticism.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Lane – I'm talking about resolving the discrepancies the significant variants pose re having a settled text. And do not the producers of the critical text editions emphasize that the state of the text is provisional, depending on new information and discoveries? If you want to say there is a school of "Reformed eclectic text critics" who stand against the consensus, well, that may be a different story. How may I discern who these text critics are?

Are things any different now – since I wrote on this – the skepticism and doubts of the textual critics? You may just be an anomaly, with your stronger faith.
Steve, I'm sure you can appreciate the tendency of myself and others of similar persuasion to wish to avoid being lumped in with unbelieving text critics who do not hold to the phrase "kept pure in all ages." Care has not always been taken by those of a TR persuasion to make such distinctions, with the result that Reformed text critics get tarred with Metzger's (among others) brush. Our position has always been that "kept pure in all ages" is the bar over which any progress in understanding/discovery of manuscripts has to operate. Any "provisionality" the status of textual criticism might have has to operate above the bar of "kept pure in all ages," not below it. As to who they are, there are a number of them right here on the PB, and you can find them simply by the confessional handle. I'm not sure you can say there is a consensus on much of anything in textual criticism these days. At any rate, you seemed to be including Logan and myself in your description of the "modern presupposition."

On a related topic, your seeming need to have a settled text betrays the position you hold, since there was no "settled" text before Erasmus published his first edition. There were only manuscripts, which all differed from each other, no one of them having absolute authority. Furthermore, there was no "settled" text after Erasmus, either, since Erasmus' text differed slightly from the publications that followed. So, if we have to have a "settled" text in order for "kept pure in all ages" to be operative, then the church didn't have a text "kept pure in all ages" before Erasmus.

Those who hold to the “in the main” view also have their own confidence in the Bibles they love, and are able to defend it against detractors, as one can see with your efforts and knowledge, Lane and Logan. Yours are truly sufficient Bibles, even if we want something more as regards sufficiency. Can we not live in peace, we two camps?
I appreciate this, and I hope you were not interpreting my previous comment as not living in peace with you. Clarity and accuracy were my motivations. :cheers2:
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you, Lane, for the clarification. I do appreciate that you and Logan both hold to an understanding of "kept pure in all ages", it's just that we differ somewhat as to what it consists of. And, yes, it is a point of good clarification that that maxim (kept pure...) is a bar over which "provisionality" must rise in your view. That's helpful in this discussion! This is a very nuanced topic with fine distinctions.

My position is not "betrayed" by my need for a settled text, but rather it is heralded. I have this need because God said that I must live by every word that proceeds from His mouth, and I'm hungry for that. At any rate, this is how I see the matter of a settled text before Erasmus: which brings us back to the matter of preservation in the main – a sufficient, an adequate preservation – such that the LORD was in no way hindered from raising up His elect and maturing His bride – throughout the church age. One might say that the Byzantine region's text was more excellent, albeit not settled, than the Alexandrian/Egyptian's region (they had received no apostolic mss.), yet even what they had was preserved in the main.

The paradigm I hold and promote is that in the fulness of His timing the LORD's providence brought to maturity – to utter intactness – the word He had spoken and had recorded in the prophets and the apostles – in the autographs. So that the framers of the Westminster Confession were able to assert the apographic Scriptures had been “kept pure in all ages...by his singular care and providence" (1:8). What exactly did they mean by this?

it’s an interesting question. In a nutshell my view is the LORD kept the true readings of the autographic Hebrew and Greek extant in all ages. Not entire perfect manuscripts, but the readings were kept intact and in the Lord’s timing put into a particular edition of the Hebrew and the Greek apographs. When I say "the true readings" I mean the significant variants were gotten rid of. The text was settled.

We may differ in this somewhat academic matter – albeit one fraught with profound significance – for we nonetheless stand together in that we have in common, in the great main, the word of our God, and our differences are not worth fighting over. We can discuss them, but not war over them. For our enemies circle us, aiming to destroy us, and our King mandates we be at peace, and abide in His love, so we may stand strong in His grace in these days of the dragon.

If those are two glasses of port wine they're clinking, I'll toast to the peace between us!
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
My position is not "betrayed" by my need for a settled text, but rather it is heralded. I have this need because God said that I must live by every word that proceeds from His mouth, and I'm hungry for that. At any rate, this is how I see the matter of a settled text before Erasmus: which brings us back to the matter of preservation in the main – a sufficient, an adequate preservation – such that the LORD was in no way hindered from raising up His elect and maturing His bride – throughout the church age. One might say that the Byzantine region's text was more excellent, albeit not settled, than the Alexandrian/Egyptian's region (they had received no apostolic mss.), yet even what they had was preserved in the main.
I am curious as to what you mean by "they had received no apostolic mss" in relation to Alexandria. On what do you base such a claim, and on what would you base your implied claim that Byzantium did receive such mss? How in the world could one know where the apostolic mss went and where they did not? Presumably the letters went to their recipients, but beyond that, we have very little evidence of which I am aware as to their secondary destinations and copying centers (though Alexandria being a famous center for manuscript production, it would seem odd indeed if none of the autographs ever made their way there).

The paradigm I hold and promote is that in the fulness of His timing the LORD's providence brought to maturity – to utter intactness – the word He had spoken and had recorded in the prophets and the apostles – in the autographs. So that the framers of the Westminster Confession were able to assert the apographic Scriptures had been “kept pure in all ages...by his singular care and providence" (1:8). What exactly did they mean by this?

it’s an interesting question. In a nutshell my view is the LORD kept the true readings of the autographic Hebrew and Greek extant in all ages. Not entire perfect manuscripts, but the readings were kept intact and in the Lord’s timing put into a particular edition of the Hebrew and the Greek apographs. When I say "the true readings" I mean the significant variants were gotten rid of. The text was settled.
This is interesting, as the main argument parallels what Warfield and Reformed CT guys would say. We, too, would agree that the autographs are the location of utterly intact revelation. We would also agree that the readings of the autographs are in the apographs. Where we seem to disagree is the location of the true readings in the apographs. I would argue that all the existent manuscripts, put together, reveal the apographic mirror of the autographs. You believe that the Byzantine tradition has the most accurate apographic readings, while the Alexandrian tradition is somewhat inaccurate, but still "preserved in the main." Functionally, this would seem to imply that the Alexandrian texts should not be used at all, despite their great age. Is there any place at all where you believe the Alexandrian tradition can offer any correction to the Byzantine?

From where I stand, there seems to be a certain circularity in play in the TR position at this point. How do you know that the Alexandrian tradition is not as accurate as the Byzantine? Or the Western text, for that matter? Simply because it differs from the Byzantine? That would be begging the question, assuming the Byzantine as the standard, and then finding that everything else comes up short. Do you have an alternative form of argumentation for this point?

I am unclear what you mean by "significant variants were gotten rid of." To which variants do you refer? And what is the timeline of the settling of the text? When would you consider it settled, and when not? You seem to imply by your last two sentences that the settlement of the text took place after the significant variants were gotten rid of, though that may not be what you mean. I press you on this firstly in order to gain an accurate picture of your position, and second, because I am not sure our positions are as far apart as they sometimes appear.

I offer these points in friendly debate, not in any kind of fighting spirit, as I agree that this difference does not disfellowship us.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
About Egypt / Alexandria, I think this summation by Wilbur Pickering from chapter 5 on the history of the text in his, The Identity of the New Testament Text II, gives a good answer (including Metzger’s and Aland’s thoughts on Egypt in the section “The strength of the Church”).

Lane, you said, “I would argue that all the existent manuscripts, put together, reveal the apographic mirror of the autographs.” But this is exactly what I meant when I said in post #138, “the modern presupposition is that text experts would find the golden needle of that word in the haystacks of mss.” – if they find it at all. The text critics will endeavor to hunt down – according to their own subjective criteria, even here on PB – the most feasible idea of the NT text in their views.

I would agree our positions are not that far apart, as regards the vast corpus of the NT text is concerned. It is the pesky variants that aggravate the difference! The variants I refer to can be plainly seen in comparing the texts – in the English (representing the Greek) ESV and KJV or NKJV or Geneva. The variants were “gotten rid of” by God’s providence in their not being included in the TR editions.

Can we – you and I – live with this difference between us? Or must we endlessly wrangle over it? I’m going to have to bow out of this discussion very soon, as I have to finish packing and getting various things in order so as to get on my plane to Cyprus. Perhaps I should let you have the last word, as that is one sure way to end the “wrangling”! I’ve pretty much had my say.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
In my post #134, I show Turretin declaring for the “preservation…of every single word” in the faithful copies / apographa – which he had in hand at that time – and not in the far off collations and comparisons of the text criticism of a later age. The real question is what apographa (plural) did he have in hand where “every single word” could be discerned by the Reformed scholars of that day? Not in the days of centuries down the line, but that day?

I have been trying to leave you alone Steve, but I did want to note that I disagree with this assessment. No Reformed scholar (Turretin included) ever took the position that "only the manuscripts I have in hand are allowed and anything after date x is considered out of bounds." They recognized their limitations and believed by faith that it was preserved in the entirety at large, and in the main at hand.

Are you aware that I consider myself partial to Maurice Robinson's Byzantine Priority position?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would love to participate in this discussion, but I must stay on top of the requirements (uploading of PCR test results, vax status, and various forms) for international travel in these days of plague, or I would be overwhelmed, and risk my flight, not even to mention packing (according to TSA specs). I hope to be back when we are set up in Cyprus.
 
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