This KJVO article has ruined the ESV for me :-(

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Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Etienne,

You've missed my point entirely. I'm not debating which modern edition of the GNT is best. I'm just saying that believing Christians have been engaged in the text-critical task for a long time and that they didn't see any need to draw their criteria directly from the Bible. Augustine argues his point on the basis of empirically verifiable evidence and known scribal tendencies.

Certainly there is room to criticize the choice and application of certain criteria, but that is entirely different from Chris' statement that empirical criteria "are automatically discredited because they were not derived from scripture, but from autonomous human reasoning."

Just to clarify I'm not against all textual criticism, actually no matter which side of the fence you stand you will have to rely on some sort of textual criticism, the editor of the TR were critical of some manuscripts that they considered badly corrupted (funny that those same MSS are now almost idolized by the "modern" textual critics). I was only pointing that when you said that the 3 criteria used by Augustine were the same used by modern textual critics, it seemed pretty much ironic to me since they pretty much ignore the "majoirty" of MSS.

In short what we disagree on is not Textual Criticism itself but the "philosophy" of modern textual criticism.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Chris, the canons of textual of modern textual criticism are not so different from pre-modern canons of textual criticism. Augustine acknowledged the necessity of textual criticism; in fact, scribal error was so common in the ancient world that the first step in exegesis of any important text was establishing, as best as one could, the accurate rendering. Consider this passage from De consens. Evang. 3.7.29

"Now, if any one finds a difficulty in the circumstance that this passage is not found in the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, and thinks that damage is thus done to the veracity of the evangelist, let him first take notice of the fact that this ascription of the passage to Jeremiah is not contained in all the codices of the Gospels, and that some of them state simply that it was spoken “by the prophet.” It is possible, therefore, to affirm that those codices deserve rather to be followed which do not contain the name of Jeremiah. For these words were certainly spoken by a prophet, only that prophet was Zechariah. In this way the supposition is, that those codices are faulty which contain the name of Jeremiah, because they ought either to have given the name of Zechariah or to have mentioned no name at all, as is the case with a certain copy, merely stating that it was spoken “by the prophet, saying,” which prophet would assuredly be understood to be Zechariah. However, let others adopt this method of defence, if they are so minded. For my part, I am not satisfied with it; and the reason is, that a majority of codices contain the name of Jeremiah, and that those critics who have studied the Gospel with more than usual care in the Greek copies, report that they have found it stand so in the more ancient Greek exemplars. I look also to this further consideration, namely, that there was no reason why this name should have been added [subsequently to the true text], and a corruption thus created; whereas there was certainly an intelligible reason for erasing the name from so many of the codices. For venturesome inexperience might readily have done that, when perplexed with the problem presented by the fact that this passage could not be found in Jeremiah."

Notice Augustine makes his argument on three criteria:

1) the majority of manuscripts
2) the antiquity of the manuscripts, which he associates with their reliability
3) the difficulty of the correct reading, that is, the lack of scribal motivation

That sounds pretty similar to modern textual criticism and shows that these practices are not some Enlightenment plot to overthrow the Bible. Augustine, of course, is hardly one to put his faith in "autonomous" human reasoning, but he apparently feels no need to defend the principles of his textual criticism with explicit scriptural warrant.

What I don't see in your quote from Augustine are the modern canons of textual criticism. What you have given is very similar to the Reformed view of how to practice textual criticism. And they did provide Biblical foundations to their view of how to practice textual criticism. Augustine had no need to provide scriptural warrant since he was not dealing with the corrupt philosophy of modern textual criticism. The Reformers were dealing with this philosophy in their disputes with the papists.

Using the passage from Augustine, application of the canons of modern textual criticism will be made.

In the modern version we have two fundamental canons (The Text of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger/Bart Ehrman 4th Ed.):

1. The External Canon: manuscripts are to be weighed, not counted
2. The Internal Canon: that reading is best which explains the others

The External Canon is contrary to Augustine's view that the majority determine the reading. (The view that the majority determine the reading was rejected because it supported the Byzantine reading.)

Depending on how one weighs the manuscripts, not counts, would determine whether or not Jeremiah should be left in. The determination of the "weight" of a manuscript is of course arbitrary and subjective.

Since the shorter reading is to be preferred (Internal Canon), Jeremiah must not have been original to the text and was later added. Therefore his 3rd point is wrong.

Under the External Canon his 2nd point is questionable. Since under the External Canon manuscripts must be weighed, and since the Internal Canon requires the removal of Jeremiah via the shorter reading is to be preferred, those ancient manuscripts which do not have Jeremiah "weigh" more than those that do contain Jeremiah.

Therefore, Jeremiah is not original to the text in question.

Again.

How one weighs manuscripts determines the inclusion or exclusion of Jeremiah.

Since the shorter reading is to be preferred, but the manuscripts containing Jeremiah are now considered more weighty than those that don't, their weight overturns the shorter reading.

Jeremiah is now included.

In both cases, the final authority is man's subjective and arbitrary opinion. Therefore one is "free" to believe or not believe that Jeremiah was in the long gone original. One may do the same for any doctrine he may or may not disagree with.

As I stated earlier, the difference between modern textual criticism and the textual criticism of the Reformers (and Augustine) is the difference between autonomy and theonomy. In asking where scripture teaches, the shorter is to be preferred, I was pointing out the purely arbitrary and autonomous nature of the modern canons of textual criticism. One is just as justified in saying, the longer reading is to be preferred. For any canon of modern textual criticism to be useful it must be secure from skepticism. This is only possible if the canon is absolute and objective; in other words it must have some Biblical basis. Since the canons of modern textual criticism are arbitrary and subjective, they are subject to skepticism and reduce to absurdity. If we are going to appeal to subjective and arbitrary canons to determine the "true text" of scripture, then we will never know the true text of scripture and our faith must of necessity be vain for it is placed in some unknown and unknowable text. Subjective and arbitrary principles can never lead to known truth. Otherwise the vain philosophies of men throughout the centuries would have led to the same conclusions found in Scripture. History has shown autonomous philosophy leads only to confusion and the desire to go play backgammon. (Descartes)

The Reformers held a different view. They didn't go searching for this elusive text, they believed they already had it in that family of manuscripts which came to be known as the Textus Receptus, variants and all. The foundation for the critical text, Aleph & B, and the underlying philosophy which has brought us the critical text, were rejected by the Reformers. If scripture is to be our authority, then it must be our authority in all things. Semper reformanda. The underlying philosophy which spawned the CT, that the Bible is and may be treated just like any other book from the ancient world, must be rejected. Corrupt trees only produce corrupt fruit. The arbitrary canons of modern textual criticism must be rejected as applying in any way to scripture. We do not apply subjective and arbitrary standards to the word of God. That is autonomy and therefore sin.

I don't know why you imply I think it some Enlightenment plot. I don't think it's a plot at all. I consider it to be equal to the abandonment of the Biblical view of Genesis for some form of the Evolutionism view of Genesis and the 19th century quest for the historical Jesus. Both assumed a non-supernatural view of scripture and both are wrong. Just as any practice based in a non-supernatural view of scripture is wrong and sinful. Psychology is a good example as is America's current jurisprudence. Any field which has as its starting point the view that scripture is just like any other book of the ancient world and can be treated as such will always end in foolishness. We're not just discussing modern textual criticism, but instead we are discussing every field and the futility of autonomous reasoning. Geology uninformed of scripture leads to the foolishness of sedimentary deposits over billions of years, instead of sedimentary deposits caused by a global flood. The philosophy which underlies modern textual criticism leads to the foolishness of the Big Bang theory, the Steady-State theory, and the idea of an infinite universe. The same philosophy when applied to language leads to deconstructionism. When applied to biology it leads to the quest for the hopeful monster of punctuated equilibrium and when applied to anthropology leads to the foolish belief that we evolved from apes a direct denial of the Doctrine of Original Sin and an attack on the integrity of Christ. When applied to morality, the French Revolution and the third Reich.

The futile attempt at neutrality in modern textual criticism must be abandoned for what it is, sin against God. When we approach scripture for textual criticism we must, as the Reformers did, presuppose the veracity and authority of scripture alone to determine the text of scripture and not rely upon an ungodly philosophy which will continue to do and has done nothing but shipwreck the faith of many. Until then we have exchanged the riches of Christ for the dross of unbelief.
 

NB3K

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm willing to bet that the RCC wrote some convincing arguments against the Wycliffe New Testament.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
If scripture is to be our authority, then it must be our authority in all things. Semper reformanda.

No one's disputing this. This is why the task of Biblical criticism must be ongoing. I ask and ask again what the criteria for evaluating texts ought to be from Scripture. You are very clear that you do not consider the consideration of other textual traditions to be Scriptural, but you have failed to show a) how it is not b) what criteria from Scripture you are using. Right now this is looking like an argument from tradition.
 

Jeff Burns

Puritan Board Freshman
The futile attempt at neutrality in modern textual criticism must be abandoned for what it is, sin against God. When we approach scripture for textual criticism we must, as the Reformers did, presuppose the veracity and authority of scripture alone to determine the text of scripture and not rely upon an ungodly philosophy which will continue to do and has done nothing but shipwreck the faith of many. Until then we have exchanged the riches of Christ for the dross of unbelief.

I think what we'd all like to see is how does one use scripture to determine the text of scripture. You have stated several times this is the necessary requisite for true textual criticism but have yet to show what this actually looks like.
 

Believer1993

Puritan Board Freshman
propronents of the critical text need to provide a satisfying explanation for why the church at some point completely abandoned the Alexandrian text type in favor of the Byzantine text type.

In the 7th century Muslim forces conquered Egypt. This effectively halted manuscript production in the region. The Byzantines were producing texts until the 15th century. The church didn't abandon the Alexandrian text type, the texts simply stopped being produced due to Islam.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
propronents of the critical text need to provide a satisfying explanation for why the church at some point completely abandoned the Alexandrian text type in favor of the Byzantine text type.

In the 7th century Muslim forces conquered Egypt. This effectively halted manuscript production in the region. The Byzantines were producing texts until the 15th century. The church didn't abandon the Alexandrian text type, the texts simply stopped being produced due to Islam.

Here is what Dr. Robinson said in response to the question of what is the biggest problem with the CT.

"The primary issue remains a regionally localized minority texttype, only sporadically transmitted through scribal history in contrast to the vast majority of Greek MSS consistently perpetuated over the centuries in the primary Greek-speaking region of the Eastern Mediterranean world (modern southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey). From that region versional texts necessarily are absent and patristic quotations really are lacking prior to the fourth century; yet as soon as writing theologians appear in that region, they are using what appears to be a well-established Byzantine text. An additional problem affecting modern critical editions is a form of eclecticism that even in short passages of text (single NT verses or less) introduces a sequence of words that can be demonstrated as having no actual existence in any ancient MS, version, or patristic quotation prior to their modern (19th or 20th century) creation; this point is documented in my recent article, “Rule 9, Isolated Variants, and the `Test-Tube’ Nature of the NA27/UBS4 Text: A Byzantine-Priority Perspective,” in Stanley Porter and Mark Boda, eds., Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009, 27-61).
 

reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
As an aside in this discussion -- for the TR folks, what do you mean when you say that the ESV has left verses out?

I have the following versions of the ESV: 2000/2001 (Reformation Study Bible), 2005 (Compact/Pocket Size), 2007 (Literary Study Bible, ESV Study Bible), and the 2011 (New Classic Reference edition). The "omitted" verses are all footnoted. I will grant that I'd prefer them to be bracketed like Foundation's NASB does. But they're not missing...

I don't mean to sound obtuse (and I am all-too-familiar with the contours of the CT/TR debate). I'm just assuming that I've misunderstood something in the reasoning on this particular thread.

Thanks.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
propronents of the critical text need to provide a satisfying explanation for why the church at some point completely abandoned the Alexandrian text type in favor of the Byzantine text type.

In the 7th century Muslim forces conquered Egypt. This effectively halted manuscript production in the region. The Byzantines were producing texts until the 15th century. The church didn't abandon the Alexandrian text type, the texts simply stopped being produced due to Islam.

Here is what Dr. Robinson said in response to the question of what is the biggest problem with the CT.

"The primary issue remains a regionally localized minority texttype, only sporadically transmitted through scribal history in contrast to the vast majority of Greek MSS consistently perpetuated over the centuries in the primary Greek-speaking region of the Eastern Mediterranean world (modern southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey). From that region versional texts necessarily are absent and patristic quotations really are lacking prior to the fourth century; yet as soon as writing theologians appear in that region, they are using what appears to be a well-established Byzantine text. An additional problem affecting modern critical editions is a form of eclecticism that even in short passages of text (single NT verses or less) introduces a sequence of words that can be demonstrated as having no actual existence in any ancient MS, version, or patristic quotation prior to their modern (19th or 20th century) creation; this point is documented in my recent article, “Rule 9, Isolated Variants, and the `Test-Tube’ Nature of the NA27/UBS4 Text: A Byzantine-Priority Perspective,” in Stanley Porter and Mark Boda, eds., Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009, 27-61).


Hi:

Thanks, Bill, for providing this quote. Dr. Robinson's statement should be received with its full scholarly weight. It was Kurt Aland (of the Nestle-Aland critical text) who wrote here:

"It is increasingly important to keep the basic facts in clear focus as we proceed. If it seems too complicated at first, remember that only the Alexandrian text, the Koine text, and the D text are incontestably verified," The Text of the New Testament, 67.
There is no doubt that all scholars, TR, Majority, or Critical divide the manuscript evidences into geographical locations. That the majority of the "oldest" texts come from Alexandria does not necessarily mean that these texts were accepted throughout all of Christiandom. Origin, for that matter, was a known corrupter of both the Old and the New Testament - making "corrections" to the text according to his philosophy. That Aleph (aka "Sinaiticus") clearly states that it is a copy out of Origin's library given by Origin to his chief student Pamphilius does not recommend it as a very accurate copy. The notation for this is found at the end of the Book of Esther in Aleph. The oldest manuscripts, found only in the region of Egypt attest only to the use of the text in Egypt, and not that of the rest of the Christian world at that time.

The geographical argument shows a greater understanding of Biblical history. Consider where the Autographs would have been found in the 1st Century: Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Phillipi, Jerusalem, Antioch, Patmos, Thessalonica, "the churches in Asia Minor," (1 Peter 1:1), etc... All of these cities are in the geographical location known today as Byzantine. The scribes in Alexandria would, at best, possess second generation copies of the Autographs, and, given the amount of time it took to travel back then, probably had copies of copies of copies of which accidental corruptions would already have been introduced. One would have to ask oneself - who would be more familiar with the form of the Autographs? Those churches who actually possessed the Originals? Or, those who possessed already corrupted manuscripts which have been copied over several times?

Thus, to the scholars of the TR the naive assumption that the "older texts are better" which is argued by the Critical Text scholars does not convince. It also seems to be a bit self-serving.

Blessings,

Rob
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
They explained miracles by making everything (and therefore nothing) miraculous.
I think Dr. Warfield addressed this. Maybe I am wrong. I don't remember stuff I read years ago. But it seems he did. What is miraculous? How does this relate to this discussion? I think I know. I might not. Maybe I should relate to Machen and Virgin Birth.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Charlie (in post #59), Augustine (354-430) was there commenting on the apparent contradiction in Matthew 27:9 (there are good answers to this difficult problem), and one should keep in mind that both the majority and the antiquity of manuscripts then were an entirely different story from what they are now. An excellent overview of the history of the NT text – from Dr. Wilbur Pickering’s, The Identity of the New Testament Text – chapter 5 is here. I’d scroll down to the section, “Who Was Best Qualified?” – this will give a good sense of the mss situation in the early days of the church.

I think the modern critical take of "difficulty" is not such as you think Augustine had but rather, “The reading is less likely to be original that shows a disposition to smooth away difficulties”, as if the Holy Spirit could not speak clearly and elegantly by means of His chosen men! The “canons of textual criticism” per Metzger – and his openly apostate protégé, Bart Ehrman (who now wears Metzger’s mantle in the text-critical field) – Westcott & Hort, and the German rationalists, Greisbach, Bengel, Semler etc and before them the Roman Catholics, these unbelieving critics came up with a number of rules, such as the shorter reading is best, the harder likewise, etc and are to be contested as merely subjectively contrived. John William Burgon in his The Revision Revised (here in a number of downloadable formats from Project Gutenberg) does a nice job examining these so-called canons. As far as text critics, Burgon stands as a master among novices – read him and see!

We make much of the Regulative Principle of Worship here. Is there to be no corollary with regard to the care and reproduction of our Scripture? The ancient Jews were very careful in this area. Can you imagine the ancient Jewish priesthood bringing in — or in anywise allowing — wise men from Egypt or Babylon to superintend, copy, and preserve the scrolls of the Tenach?

The care of the “scrolls of the New Covenant” are likewise given into the hands of the priesthood of believers – not their enemies, and those who inject the demonic poison of evil unbelief into their doings. Is this not simply self-evident? It is not to some because we have become used to – inured! – to the scandalous situation of our sacred writings being given over to the secular academy with its wicked anti-God and anti-Christ presuppositions.

We – we have given away the store. Why no RPBR (Regulative Principle of Bible Reproduction)? What Scripture says is not as important here as in the area of worship? One last thing: That we in the Reformed camp do not have a Regulative Principle concerning the Care and Reproduction of our Scripture may well turn out to be our Achilles' Heel. The Standard is weakened, with no end in sight. Even the defense of it has become schismatic. An enemy hath done this.

Why is it not a scandal among us that Bart Ehrman has become the new Dean of Textual Criticism, taking Metzger’s place in working on the new editions of the critical Greek text, and writing scholarly works about the transmission of same? The man is an open enemy not only of the Scriptures but of the very Faith itself!

One of the posters above said he has added in the “omitted” (marginalized) verses in his ESV, and I can dig that. I think that’s a great idea. (Mark, in Matthew 1:7 and 10 don’t forget to change Asaph and Amos – in Christ’s genealogy – to the correct Asa and Amon, which the CT and ESV have utterly corrupted.)
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
the fact that it was the Bible that saints came to know the Lord through for 400 years gives it merit
Really? Perhaps in Britain, Australia, English Canada, and the States... but the world of Bibles is bigger than English. Also, how given the size of populations, I'm pretty sure one can make the case that more people have been converted under the Studium Biblicum Version in China (given population size) than in the Anglophone community between 1700 and 1980 (I use 1980 as the end of the dominance of the KJV).
Point taken. I guess I tend to look at life/things from my own particular place in space and time. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to broaden my perspective.
Not to mention over much of the early portion of that time many in the English Speaking world were using the Geneva Bible... Like Shakespeare and the Puritans in the New World.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Origin, for that matter, was a known corrupter of both the Old and the New Testament - making "corrections" to the text according to his philosophy. That Aleph (aka "Sinaiticus") clearly states that it is a copy out of Origin's library given by Origin to his chief student Pamphilius does not recommend it as a very accurate copy. The notation for this is found at the end of the Book of Esther in Aleph.

What evidence do you have that Origen intentionally corrupted texts? His Hexapla is one of the earliest attempts at a rigorous textual criticism of the Old Testament. His contemporaries were highly impressed at his accomplishment, and the fragments that remain today attest to his care. I have never seen any indication that he was purposely introducing changes into the text, but I will listen to you if you can give me concrete examples.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Origin, for that matter, was a known corrupter of both the Old and the New Testament - making "corrections" to the text according to his philosophy. That Aleph (aka "Sinaiticus") clearly states that it is a copy out of Origin's library given by Origin to his chief student Pamphilius does not recommend it as a very accurate copy. The notation for this is found at the end of the Book of Esther in Aleph.

What evidence do you have that Origen intentionally corrupted texts? His Hexapla is one of the earliest attempts at a rigorous textual criticism of the Old Testament. His contemporaries were highly impressed at his accomplishment, and the fragments that remain today attest to his care. I have never seen any indication that he was purposely introducing changes into the text, but I will listen to you if you can give me concrete examples.

Hi:

To answer the question one must first come to a consensus as to what standard one is to use for the Old Testament. The KJV used the Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text (1524). The current Old Testament text used by modern scholars is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia which is not very much different from theBen Chayyim edition. Consequently, both Received Text scholars and Critical text scholars would agree that the Masoretic text is the standard by which translations are to be compared and contrasted. The accuracy of this manuscript has recently been proven by Hebrew copies found in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Masoretic text.

Though I do not have the time to go through all of the evidence - I will in a later post. The differences between Origen's work and the Masoretic text will show a theological difference between the two. Origen's theology was not at all Christian in nature, and was more closely associated with that of Philo. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia has noted in its apparatus many of the changes that Origen proposes.

Blessings,

Rob
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
One of the posters above said he has added in the “omitted” (marginalized) verses in his ESV, and I can dig that. I think that’s a great idea. (Mark, in Matthew 1:7 and 10 don’t forget to change Asaph and Amos – in Christ’s genealogy – to the correct Asa and Amon, which the CT and ESV have utterly corrupted.)

Steve: I had not caught that one, off to investigate. Thanks!

The "ommitted" versus are footnoted in little microtype (at least in the ESVSB), I just wrote 'em "back" into the text block to make it obvious as I read along.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Charlie, as Rob is busy, I will answer on this one. You said (post #77),

“What evidence do you have that Origen intentionally corrupted texts? His Hexapla is one of the earliest attempts at a rigorous textual criticism of the Old Testament. His contemporaries were highly impressed at his accomplishment, and the fragments that remain today attest to his care. I have never seen any indication that he was purposely introducing changes into the text, but I will listen to you if you can give me concrete examples.”​

I’m afraid you’ve been given poor information. I’ll give you two sources; E.F. Hills, from his The King James Version Defended; and Frederick Nolan’s An Inquiry Into The Integrity Of The Greek Vulgate, or Received Text Of The New Testament. Don’t let the title of Hill’s book deceive you – he got his doctorate in textual criticism from Harvard. The book can be read online here, though the “download” link there is defunct. Downloads in different formats can be gotten here.

This edition has the great benefit of a preface by Dr. Ted Letis. I’ll quote from chapter six in a moment with regard to Origen. In this section, where Hills is surveying John William Burgon’s investigations of various contested readings, the first discussion is on Matthew 19:16-17, where the traditional reading is, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God”, but the critical text of Westcott and Hort (and thus most every modern version) reads “Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good?” Hills remarks,

Thus when the Traditional Text stands trial in a test passage such as Matt. 19 17, it not only clears itself of the charge of being spurious but even secures the conviction of its Western and Alexandrian rivals. The reading found in these latter two texts, Why askest thou Me concerning the good, is seen to possess all the earmarks of a "Gnostic depravation." The R.V., A.S.V., R.S.V., N.E.B. and other modern versions, therefore, are to be censured for serving up to their readers this stale crumb of Greek philosophy in place of the bread of life.

In his comment on this passage Origen gives us a specimen of the New Testament textual criticism which was carried on at Alexandria about 225 A.D. Origen reasons that Jesus could not have concluded his list of God's commandments with the comprehensive requirement, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. For the reply of the young man was, All these things have I kept from my youth up, and Jesus evidently accepted this statement as true. But if the young man had loved his neighbor as himself, he would have been perfect, for Paul says that the whole law is summed up in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But Jesus answered, If thou wilt be perfect, etc., implying that the young man was not yet perfect. Therefore, Origen argued, the commandment, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, could not have been spoken by Jesus on this occasion and was not part of the original text of Matthew. This clause, he believed, was added by some tasteless scribe. (fn 12: Berlin, Origenes Werke, vol. 10, pp. 385-388.)

Thus it is clear that this renowned Father was not content to abide by the text which he had received but freely engaged in the boldest sort of conjectural emendation. And there were other critics at Alexandria even less restrained than he who deleted many readings of the original New Testament text and thus produced the abbreviated text found in the papyri and in the manuscripts Aleph and B.​

This quote of Hills may be found in chapter six of TKJVD, pp. 144-145, and here in the online version (scroll down a bit to the section on the rich young man).

Frederick Nolan goes into more depth examining this proclivity of Origen to emend the text, and how this altered both the criticism of the NT of that day (and beyond), and gave courage to editors to actually change the wording of Scripture, due to their reverence of “the great Origen”.

To some period subsequent to the era of Origen, we must consequently fix the first change which took place in the received text of Scripture. And of such a change we have an explicit account, in the statement which is transmitted of the editions published by Hesychius and Lucianus, against which a charge has been preferred by St. Jerome, that they were interpolated, at least in the Gospels.

Whatever may have been the alterations which Lucianus and Hesychius introduced into the sacred writings, they must be clearly attributed to the influence of Origen's writings. Previously to his times, the inspired text had undergone no alteration, and they revised it not many years subsequent to the publication of his Hexapla. As he had labored to supercede the authorized version of the Old Testament, he contributed to weaken the authority of the received text of the New. In the course of his Commentaries he cited the versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion on the former part of the Canon, he appealed to the authority of Valentinus and Heracleon on the latter.

While he thus raised the credit of those revisals, which had been made by the heretics, he detracted from the authority of that text which had been received by the orthodox. Some difficulties which he found himself unable to solve in the Evangelists, he undertook to remove by expressing his doubts of the integrity of the text. In some instances he ventured to impeach the reading of the New Testament on the testimony of the Old, and to convict the copies of one Gospel on the evidence of another, thus giving loose to his fancy and indulging in many wild conjectures, he considerably impaired the credit of the vulgar or common edition, as well in the New as in the Old Testament. (pp. 432-434)​

Nolan, further in this chapter, shows how the emendations of Origen can be traced through the copies produced from the Origen collection at the Library at Caesarea by Eusebius, with notations made on certain manuscripts:

In a word, there exists not a peculiarity in the tenets of those heretics, or in the texts which they followed, which has not left some deep mark impressed on the editions of the sacred text which were published in Egypt and Palestine. To form antitheses between the Law and the Gospel had been a leading object with Marcion, in order to illustrate the beneficent character of the first principle and the severe character of the second, in his religious system. Many of the corrections of the Egyptian and Palestine texts have consequently originated in attempts to destroy the force of those antitheses in the sacred text which had been pointed by Marcion. Some have arisen in endeavors to amend his gross perversions, or his foul aspersions of the Law, and some in attempts to correct his false notions relative to the nature and attributes of God, the person of Christ, and the character of the legal dispensation. In this manner it is not uncommon to find the peculiar phrases of Marcion’s text, and the very order of his language, retained in the Egyptian and Palestine texts, though the passages adopted from his Gospel and Apostolicum are given a totally different application from that which they possess in his writings. Through various channels those readings might have crept into the edition of Eusebius. The scripture text of Tatian, which most probably conformed in many respects to the Gospel and Apostolicum of Marcion; the text of Hesychius, which was compiled from various apocryphal works; and the Commentaries of Origen, which abounded in quotations drawn from heretical revisals of Scripture, opened a prolific source from which they directly passed into the Palestine edition. The facilities of correcting this text from Origen's writings, and the blind reverence in which that ancient father was held in the school of Caesarea, seem to have rendered the corruption of this text unavoidable. Short annotations or scholia had been inserted by Origen in the margin of his copies of Scripture, and the number of these had been considerably augmented by Eusebius, most probably by extracts taken from Origen's Commentaries. A comparison between the text and comment constantly pointed out variations in the reading, and Origen's authority having been definitive on subjects of sacred criticism, the inspired text was amended by the comment. Had we no other proof of this assertion, than the feasibility of the matter, and the internal evidence of the Greek manuscripts, we might thence assume the truth of the fact, without much danger of erring. But this point is placed beyond conjecture by the most unquestionable documents. In some manuscripts containing the Palestine text it is recorded that they were transcribed from copies, the originals of which had been “corrected by Eusebius.” In the celebrated Codex Marchalianus the whole process observed in correcting the text is openly avowed. The reviser there candidly states, that, “having procured the explanatory Tomes of Origen, he accurately investigated the sense in which he explained every word as far as was possible, and corrected every thing ambiguous according to his notion.” After this explicit acknowledgment, it seems unnecessary any further to prolong this discussion. A text which bears internal marks of having passed through this process, which has been convicted on the clearest evidence of having been corrected from Origen, cannot be entitled to the smallest attention. And as it has been thus corrupted from the same source with the Egyptian text, the joint testimony of such witnesses cannot be entitled to the smallest respect when opposed in consent to the Byzantine edition. (pp. 500-509)​

This passage may be found online in chapter (or section – in the original) six, “On the Corruption of the Palestinian and Egyptian Texts, p. 427” – see here – and using your browser’s search feature to find a phrase.

Regarding the entire volume, the MountainRetreat.org version may be found here: An Inquiry Into The Integrity Of The Greek Vulgate, or Received Text Of The New Testament,

while a multi-format selection of this important text-critical work may be found here. The value of the online reading or pdf etc formats is that the extensive footnotes are available for viewing and copying (not so in the Mountain Retreat version). For instance, in a footnote on page 446 there is this interesting note:

“. . . it was a canon of Origen’s criticism, by which Hesychius was guided in revising the text, that the Gospels of the different Evangelists might be corrected by each other . . . It was equally a canon of the same criticism, that the Evangelists had abridged the quotations of the Old Testament, in admitting them into the New… : the shorter quotation was of course preferred, as supposed to contain the genuine reading. [emphases in original]​

I hope this little excursion into the distant past via the investigative labors of Presbyter Nolan has been of interest. It does, I believe, vindicate the assertion that Origen deliberately corrupted the text according to his “higher sensibility” of what it is the Scripture should have said.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Getting back to the topic of the OP, what should have ruined the ESV for you is not the article you mentioned, but something written in small print on the bottom of the opposite side of the title page. "The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. All Rights Reserved." Sorry, but someone had to say it :2cents:
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
If scripture is to be our authority, then it must be our authority in all things. Semper reformanda.

No one's disputing this. This is why the task of Biblical criticism must be ongoing. I ask and ask again what the criteria for evaluating texts ought to be from Scripture. You are very clear that you do not consider the consideration of other textual traditions to be Scriptural, but you have failed to show a) how it is not b) what criteria from Scripture you are using. Right now this is looking like an argument from tradition.

2 Problems with your reply. 1) I've pointed out that the way the Reformers practiced textual criticism - starting with a view that scripture is of supernatural origin vs that it is like any other book of the ancient world; Reformed view of preservation vs modern view of preservation, view that the authority is in the authentic text which is composed of the apographs underlying those manuscripts called Textus Receptus vs some long lost autographs and a newly created text never known to Christendom until the late 19th century, the Reformed view that Christendom has had the full and complete text in continual use throughout its history vs the modern view that we do not have as yet the actual true text of scripture but may at some unknown future date which leaves EVERY doctrine up for grabs, that textual criticism must be done within the churches by men who hold to the truth of scripture vs ungodly scholars who deny the truth of scripture (Ehrman, Metzger, etc.). If you wish to see their method, read their works on how they viewed scripture and how the variants of scripture should be viewed.

As to how modern textual criticism is not valid, I have pointed out time and again its anti-supernatural, anti-biblical view of scripture. I have pointed out time and again it's arbitrary and subjective nature that allows the text to be determined by the whims of autonomous human reasoning.

However, you have the issue twisted around. Since modern textual criticism and its ungodly underlying philosophy is a new view within Christendom, it must provide Biblical justification for the overturn of that family of manuscripts called the Textus Receptus. It must provide Biblical justification for applying arbitrary and subjective "principles" to the text of Scripture. In other words, the burden of proof lies in the CT camp. Their is no reason to abandon the older Reformed view of scripture and the practice of textual criticism, their is only vain opinion found in the writings of modern textual criticism.

So please provide us with the following:

The Biblical justification for the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for the arbitrary and subjective canons of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for allowing ungodly men (Metzger, Ehrman, et al) to alter the text of scripture under modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for abandoning the Reformed view of scripture for the anti-supernatural view inherent in modern textual criticism

Until supporters of modern textual criticism can provide these, it has no place within Christendom.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Until supporters of modern textual criticism can provide these, it has no place within Christendom.

Chris,

Your argument seems then to be this:

1) The reformers used the TR and held that the TR was, in fact accurate
2) Therefore it is and we should do likewise

This is an argument, in essence, from tradition.

So please provide us with the following:

The Biblical justification for the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for the arbitrary and subjective canons of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for allowing ungodly men (Metzger, Ehrman, et al) to alter the text of scripture under modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for abandoning the Reformed view of scripture for the anti-supernatural view inherent in modern textual criticism

As for these:

1) I'm not arguing against supernaturalism, obviously. Asking us to justify anti-supernaturalism (and not all modern textual critics are such) is absurd.
2) I am of the belief that Scripture is capable of being subjected to scrutiny to find the best text. It's God's Word and I have faith that if the gates of hell can't prevail against it, then neither will modern methods.
3) Just because someone is an unbeliever does not make their arguments with regard to whether certain verses were in the original text invalid. This is yet another case of the genetic fallacy.

I am of the opinion that CT is credible precisely because I believe in the inspiration and supernatural origin of Scripture.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I am of the opinion that CT is credible precisely because I believe in the inspiration and supernatural origin of Scripture.

In the Reverend D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life In God, Studies in 1 John, (page 70 & 71) in reference to the Johannine Comma, and textual criticism, he said, "Textual criticism means just this: it is the endeavor of scholars to find out as far as is possible, the text that approximates the most closely to the original document. So it is something in which we should all believe and something that we should encourage.

And as you look at these various Greek, Latin, Syrian, Coptic, and Abyssinian texts and so on you will find a slight variation here and there. But and this is the point, the variations affect not a single doctrine. They are quite irrelevant. They make no difference to Christian truth; they are more a matter of detail-merely technical.

Take, for instance, this particular verse that is verse 7 in the Authorised Version. It makes no difference whatsoever to Christian doctrine if that verse is omitted. The variations are not only slight- they are quite unimportant; and we are entitled to go further and say the text, so called , of Westcott and Hort we can undoubtedly take with confidence as being the original manuscripts and documents."

I am not well schooled in textual or higher criticism but I must take what the Doctor says as having great merit. He was a man used mightily by God and knew something about the Holy Scriptures.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am of the opinion that CT is credible precisely because I believe in the inspiration and supernatural origin of Scripture.

In the Reverend D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life In God, Studies in 1 John, (page 70 & 71) in reference to the Johannine Comma, and textual criticism, he said, "Textual criticism means just this: it is the endeavor of scholars to find out as far as is possible, the text that approximates the most closely to the original document. So it is something in which we should all believe and something that we should encourage.

And as you look at these various Greek, Latin, Syrian, Coptic, and Abyssinian texts and so on you will find a slight variation here and there. But and this is the point, the variations affect not a single doctrine. They are quite irrelevant. They make no difference to Christian truth; they are more a matter of detail-merely technical.

Take, for instance, this particular verse that is verse 7 in the Authorised Version. It makes no difference whatsoever to Christian doctrine if that verse is omitted. The variations are not only slight- they are quite unimportant; and we are entitled to go further and say the text, so called , of Westcott and Hort we can undoubtedly take with confidence as being the original manuscripts and documents."

I am not well schooled in textual or higher criticism but I must take what the Doctor says as having great merit. He was a man used mightily by God and knew something about the Holy Scriptures.

True, but apparently he favored the TR or something close to it as he supported the work of the Trinitarian Bible Society, an organization whose position on the textual issue I can't imagine he would have been unaware of. I remember reading a letter of his to that effect (he pointed the person to the work of TBS) in an issue of the Banner of Truth magazine a few years ago that was dedicated to his life and ministry.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would like to strike a conciliatory note here. Below I have quoted from a response I wrote some three years ago to a challenge from James White to AVers (to see it, click on the Textual Posts link in my signature), concerned that we both might do damage to the faith our brethren have in their Bibles during our contending.


An important point: I am all-too-aware that our exchanges have the potential to be grievously damaging to the faith our brothers and sisters have in their Bibles. You tear down the TR and Byz mss and I the Alexandrian / CT / Eclectic Text (ET), and we wreak havoc everywhere, in all quarters! So I would like to say some things I hope may offset this possibility, at least as far as my causing such damage is concerned. There are folks who use the AV / TR who imply or openly state that CT / ET Bibles are not legitimate Bibles, disparagingly calling them “per-versions”. I neither think nor will speak like this, for it is not true. I realize I will anger and alienate a multitude in my camp with this saying, but I do not care to please men as long as I please the Lord who is overseeing this exchange between you and me.

The woman through whose witness I was converted in 1968 used the Lamsa Syriac Peshitta Bible, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit was powerful through her, illumining and saving a wretch caught in the strong delusion of New Age and various Eastern influences. The men God used to minister to me up through the years used a variety of Bible versions; Jerry Bridges in The Pursuit of Holiness was used by the Lord to direct my life in a time of crisis, the NIV he used was quickened by the Holy Spirit to edify and give me divine life and guidance. Al Martin, in one of his sermons, using a Bible I do not believe was the AV, caused – through the Holy Spirit – the heavens to be opened and a new walk of faith made available to me. R.C. Sproul likewise on numerous occasions. Tim Keller used the NIV and sometimes the ESV (as well as his own Greek translations) during the five plus years he was my pastor, to my eternal benefit as the depths and wonder of the Gospel of Christ was opened for my wife and myself. Not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power these men (and that woman) were vessels of the anointing of the Lord Himself, and they could not have been such if the Bibles they used were not legitimate Bibles, and they not godly souls who walked intimately with Him. I repudiate the slurs put upon their Bibles and their souls, as I have personally seen the Lord in their ministries. The issue is, not the Bibles, but the variants and occasionally the translations. The variants may indeed not be legitimate, and there is no harm done in pointing this out, while generally affirming their Bibles. You AVers having fits over this view, consider, are you willing to tear down the faith of those for whom the Lord shed His blood so that your view may – in your own eyes – prevail? For many precious souls hold to the NIV / ESV / NASB etc, and would you take away that which they cling to, if they do not have faith that your view of the Scripture is right? The same applies to those disagreeing with the TR / KJV camp. There is a meanness and inconsiderateness over the welfare of other believers who differ in these debates, that the Lord will deal with, for you “correct ones” seek to take away that which they need to live – that being His Word, because it is not in the version you hold to be the best, and disagreeing with the variants or some translations in their versions you trash their Bibles in their entirety. Where does that leave them? Have you no mercy or love for erring brothers and sisters?​


So this is where I stand – I may and will contest the removal or changing of precious verses in the Bible, but it is the individual variants I will take issue with and not the Bibles themselves. Our Bibles – whatever editions they may be – are precious to us, seeing as they give us the life and love of our God and Savior, and are our comfort and guard in a world that has no love for us. These Bibles may differ in a few readings – and while these differences may upset us – yet in the main they are all sufficient – adequately preserved – to sustain us in our lives with the Lord.

My view is that a certain edition of the Scriptures has been preserved in the minutiae, but this does not invalidate – as noted to Dr. White – those I deem to have been but adequately preserved. From this latter category have come those who were God’s instruments through which He gave me spiritual birth, then nurture, and finally maturity in the faith of Christ. Please, let us keep this big picture in mind while we seek to pursue truth in these matters.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Steve,

A good word, brother.

There is a bookstore operated by a KJVO ministry near me (a Calvinistic ministry at that) that discounts books that use versions other than the KJV. I've picked up a good many bargains there! (I've picked up some bargains on some KJV bibles there as well.)
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Until supporters of modern textual criticism can provide these, it has no place within Christendom.

Chris,

Your argument seems then to be this:

1) The reformers used the TR and held that the TR was, in fact accurate
2) Therefore it is and we should do likewise

This is an argument, in essence, from tradition.

So please provide us with the following:

The Biblical justification for the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for the arbitrary and subjective canons of modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for allowing ungodly men (Metzger, Ehrman, et al) to alter the text of scripture under modern textual criticism
The Biblical justification for abandoning the Reformed view of scripture for the anti-supernatural view inherent in modern textual criticism

As for these:

1) I'm not arguing against supernaturalism, obviously. Asking us to justify anti-supernaturalism (and not all modern textual critics are such) is absurd.
2) I am of the belief that Scripture is capable of being subjected to scrutiny to find the best text. It's God's Word and I have faith that if the gates of hell can't prevail against it, then neither will modern methods.
3) Just because someone is an unbeliever does not make their arguments with regard to whether certain verses were in the original text invalid. This is yet another case of the genetic fallacy.

I am of the opinion that CT is credible precisely because I believe in the inspiration and supernatural origin of Scripture.

No, my argument is that we have no legitimate reason for replacing the TR with the CT since the CT is derived from arbitrary and subjective methods that rely upon the opinions of autonomous human reasoning to determine the current text of scripture and that it is based in the philosophy of an atheistic view of scripture. Since the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism is an anti-supernatural view of scripture, and since the canons of it are arbitrary and subjective, and since the CT was cobbled together out of autonomous human reasoning, the CT and the practice of modern textual criticism have no place in Christendom.

An unbeliever has no right to engage in textual criticism upon the scripture. Their unbelief disqualifies them from the work. Precisely because scripture is not like any other book. Last time I checked the unbeliever cannot understand the things of God. You are treating the textual criticism of scripture like the textual criticism of any other book in your 3rd point. That is anti-biblical.

It's very simple. Show from scripture that the canons and practice of modern textual criticism are not arbitrary, subjective, and subject to autonomous reasoning. And then show from scripture that the unregenerate can sit in judgment of what is and what is not to be included in God's word.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
No, my argument is that we have no legitimate reason for replacing the TR with the CT

Why is the TR the default here? Why not the peshitta (preserved since the Early Church)?

Since the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism is an anti-supernatural view of scripture

Assertion. Not all textual critics would agree with you here.

since the canons of it are arbitrary and subjective

Asserted again. I find them to be fairly reasonable applications of Occam's Razor.

and since the CT was cobbled together out of autonomous human reasoning

This has more to do with attitudes than methodology.

An unbeliever has no right to engage in textual criticism upon the scripture. Their unbelief disqualifies them from the work. Precisely because scripture is not like any other book. Last time I checked the unbeliever cannot understand the things of God. You are treating the textual criticism of scripture like the textual criticism of any other book in your 3rd point. That is anti-biblical.

No it isn't: if Scripture is God's Word, then it is capable of standing up even to the scrutiny of unbelievers. Why should we be afraid here?

And then show from scripture that the unregenerate can sit in judgment of what is and what is not to be included in God's word.

They don't: the Church decides this---it decided this a long time ago. The question now is about the texts that were acknowledged to be inspired.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
No, my argument is that we have no legitimate reason for replacing the TR with the CT

1. Why is the TR the default here? Why not the peshitta (preserved since the Early Church)?

Since the underlying philosophy of modern textual criticism is an anti-supernatural view of scripture

2. Assertion. Not all textual critics would agree with you here.

since the canons of it are arbitrary and subjective

3. Asserted again. I find them to be fairly reasonable applications of Occam's Razor.

and since the CT was cobbled together out of autonomous human reasoning

4. This has more to do with attitudes than methodology.

An unbeliever has no right to engage in textual criticism upon the scripture. Their unbelief disqualifies them from the work. Precisely because scripture is not like any other book. Last time I checked the unbeliever cannot understand the things of God. You are treating the textual criticism of scripture like the textual criticism of any other book in your 3rd point. That is anti-biblical.

5. No it isn't: if Scripture is God's Word, then it is capable of standing up even to the scrutiny of unbelievers. Why should we be afraid here?

And then show from scripture that the unregenerate can sit in judgment of what is and what is not to be included in God's word.

6. They don't: the Church decides this---it decided this a long time ago. The question now is about the texts that were acknowledged to be inspired.

1. As I stated before, I'm arguing that the Reformers' view of what constitutes the authentic text of scripture and how it should be treated is what we must adopt to be faithful to God and his word. The view and practice of modern textual criticism is contrary to their view.

2. It is immaterial whether or not all, most, half, some, or no textual critics agree with me. Truth isn't determined by consensus. Following your reasoning here we could then argue for the absurd notion that the any-view-x is correct because the majority believe it so. Such reasoning makes the God of scripture dependent upon the majority of mankind believing he exists. If you start with Richard Simon, John Mill and move forward to the German rationalists and analyze their view of scripture as expressed in their writings, it is anti-supernatural. This is further exhibited in the writings of Westcott & Hort, as well as Aland, Metzger, & Ehrman. That is the philosophy underlying the modern variant of textual criticism.

3. As I stated before, if you wish to escape the charge of arbitrariness and subjectiveness for the canons of modern textual criticism, then you must demonstrate them from SCRIPTURE. Your opinion of them is immaterial. And an appeal to Occam's Razor is also arbitrary as the opposite of each of the canons could be justified from Occam's Razor as well. This reduces any appeal other than to scripture for the canons of modern textual criticism to absurdity. As oftentimes in the literature one group of modern textual critics use one canon to justify an inclusion/exclusion to scripture, whilst another group uses the opposite of said canon to justify an inclusion/exclusion to scripture.

4. And? You are still left with the CT cobbled together out of autonomous human reasoning which leaves the CT in a constant state of flux. As autonomous human reasoning changes, so does the text of scripture. So much for surety in doctrine. ALL doctrines are then subject to inclusion/exclusion based on the autonomy of man. You've reduced our conceptions about God & Creation to mere opinion and salvation becomes a vanity.

5. Neither being "afraid" nor scrutiny by unbelievers is the issue. Practicing textual criticism is a far cry from scrutinizing the scriptures. If you think the two are equivalent then I urge to read on the modern practice of textual criticism starting with the 2 works of Richard Simon and then Metzger & Ehrman's book and then the writings of Ehrman himself. Scrutinizing scripture is not logically equivalent to textual criticism. Inadvertent or not, your statement supports the treating of scripture like any other book. Such a view is anti-biblical. I'll assume your usage of the conditional does not express your view of scripture.

6. Patently false. Men like Bengel, Semler, Westcott, Hort, the Unitarian heretic George Smith, Bruce Metzger, Kurt Aland, Carlo Martini, Bart Ehrman, and other such men have been deciding for over a century what goes in and what gets cut from scripture. This is why various editions of the CT have had verses removed and then in later editions, because autonomous human reasoning changed its mind, added back into the CT the same verses it had previously decided were not scripture. This is the same reason you have textual critics today disagreeing over what is in and what is out of scripture. The whole field is awash in the stink of autonomy.

As to the Church, she had already decided. And the underlying texts of the CT were discarded by the Church for 1500+ years.

You and other CT supporters have yet to provide any SCRIPTURAL support for the underlying philosophy, the canons, and the overall practice of modern textual criticism. Please begin providing it and stop appealing to consensus, autonomous reasoning, arbitrariness, inconsistencies, etc. as if these somehow bolster the CT & modern textual criticism. They do not. But instead show the field for what it is, an abandonment of the riches of Christ for vain philosophy and trust in the opinions of men who believe we don't as yet have the true text of scripture.

As to your constant claiming of the genetic fallacy on my part,
1) if my appeal for using the text of the Reformers was based on tradition, which it wasn't, it would be an appeal to authority
2) it would only be appropriate if scripture should be treated just like any other book when one engages in the practice of textual criticism. It should not be. At all points we are to treat scripture as something totally different from all other writings.

The origin of the practice is relevant to the nature of its canons (arbitrary, subjective) and to the practice of those canons (arbitrary, subjective). Or to put another way, it is legitimate to doubt all of evolutionary psychology because it is a form of psychology based on evolution. And it is just as reasonable to doubt all psychology because it is based on a flawed understanding of man. In order to determine if the field of psychology has anything to offer, everything within the field must be brought to scripture. In order to determine if the canons of modern textual criticism offer anything of value, they must be brought to scripture.

Only scripture can inform us as to how to deal with scripture when it comes to the practice of textual criticism. No textual critic can inform us. Not Bruce Metzger, not Kurt Aland, not Bart Ehrman, no one.

The reason for not using the ESV, besides logical contradictions in the text, that the CT has at its foundation the two most corrupt Greek manuscripts Aleph & B, buying it supports the NCC, and that it is a rehashing of the RSV, is that it is based on an ever-changing Greek text guided by the whims of autonomy. And that is the root of the issue. Do we choose the CT and autonomy or theonomy and those manuscripts chosen by the Reformers called the TR. They knew of the main texts underlying the CT, but they discounted them as being the authentic scriptures.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
First, I would like to say that I am new to the methodology and concepts used in Textual Criticism. I was converted through the preaching of God's Word from the NIV so I fully agree with Steve's charitable and gracious view towards those who use the CT, those who use the MT, and those who use the TR. I love his pastoral concern for those who are discouraged by "not knowing" whether their Bible is truly God's Word translated into their native tongue. There are many who have had their faith shaken by this discussion. Some have apostasized over this very issue (Erhman).

That said, unbelievers have no business telling us the contents of God's Word. Full stop. I have no patience for their exegesis of scripture - does anyone here want to have them tell you what Leviticus really means? I care even less about them telling me what should be considered Holy Scripture. These same people will tell us that Scripture was naturally produced, not as Peter says "by men moved by the Holy Spirit".

Instead, unbelievers will tell us that there are no prophecies in the Scripture, that they were added back into the text by later scribes after events that have occured. That, is the methodology of the unbeliever - and would be a perfectly valid use of Occam's Razor according to their presuppositions. In my usage of Occam's Razor the simplest explanation in the matter is Peter's explanation for how Scripture is produced! That's because I presuppose God.

I fully recognize that not everyone involved in Textual Criticism and in the production of the Critical Text is an unregenerate or apostate. And I'll listen to their arguments for the Critical Text. I merely want to point out that unbelievers have no right to tell the Church what God's Word is. Non-negotiable.

Even within the Church, we must be discerning - as Peter warns us:


2 Peter 1:19-2:3

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.


The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Pe 1:19–2:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
1. As I stated before, I'm arguing that the Reformers' view of what constitutes the authentic text of scripture and how it should be treated is what we must adopt to be faithful to God and his word. The view and practice of modern textual criticism is contrary to their view.

So you say. I'm still not clear on why the practices of MTC are necessarily unChristian and anti-supernatural.

It is immaterial whether or not all, most, half, some, or no textual critics agree with me. Truth isn't determined by consensus.

Which is beside my point entirely. My point is that not all textual critics are anti-supernatural and anti-Christian. It has been repeatedly pointed out that many in this camp are our brothers in the faith.

As oftentimes in the literature one group of modern textual critics use one canon to justify an inclusion/exclusion to scripture, whilst another group uses the opposite of said canon to justify an inclusion/exclusion to scripture.

All right, so what Scripture would you use to resolve the question (chapter/verse please)?

And? You are still left with the CT cobbled together out of autonomous human reasoning which leaves the CT in a constant state of flux. As autonomous human reasoning changes, so does the text of scripture. So much for surety in doctrine. ALL doctrines are then subject to inclusion/exclusion based on the autonomy of man. You've reduced our conceptions about God & Creation to mere opinion and salvation becomes a vanity.

So you say. I would argue that TR methodology is just as subjective because it relies on tradition to tell us what Scripture is.

Scrutinizing scripture is not logically equivalent to textual criticism. Inadvertent or not, your statement supports the treating of scripture like any other book. Such a view is anti-biblical. I'll assume your usage of the conditional does not express your view of scripture.

Sure it is. Scripture was written by men and can be analyzed as such---Jesus was also a man and his life can be analyzed as such. The fact that Scripture is Divinely inspired just as Christ was God made flesh does not change this. We must never forget that Romans is both truly inspired by God and truly penned by Paul. Paul was truly the author of Romans even as God is truly the author of Romans.

Patently false.

Of course not: the canon was decided a long time ago---the question now is what the original canonical texts looked like.

Yes, unbelievers have worked on CT---and so have believers who hold to its inspiration.

You and other CT supporters have yet to provide any SCRIPTURAL support for the underlying philosophy

The fact that Scripture is inspired and therefore can stand up to such criticism is, I think, warrant enough for this kind of scrutiny by believers. I don't particularly care how unbelievers have misused certain methods---the church can appropriate them. As I recall, Van Til appropriated the methods of Nietszche, and Bahnsen those of Derrida. We have new evidence and better methods---why not use them for God's glory? This is exactly what the Reformers did with regard to the apocrypha.

At all points we are to treat scripture as something totally different from all other writings.

Here's your central premise, so let me challenge it for a second: no. Scripture is different from all other writings in the sense that it is Divinely inspired, is infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts, and carries Divine authority that we must listen to. At the same time, treating it like any other ancient book when it comes to trying to get as close to the originals as possible does nothing to undermine this.

The origin of the practice is relevant to the nature of its canons (arbitrary, subjective) and to the practice of those canons (arbitrary, subjective). Or to put another way, it is legitimate to doubt all of evolutionary psychology because it is a form of psychology based on evolution. And it is just as reasonable to doubt all psychology because it is based on a flawed understanding of man. In order to determine if the field of psychology has anything to offer, everything within the field must be brought to scripture.

You've conflated two things here:

1) logical origin
2) historical and motivational origin

Just because the founders of MCT were autonomously motivated (which is all that autonomy is, after all: a set of attitudes) does not make the methods invalid. Valid methods may be misused. Again, see my earlier reference to Van Til, Kant, Bahnsen, and Nietzsche.

Only scripture can inform us as to how to deal with scripture when it comes to the practice of textual criticism.

Then please point me to the relevant Scriptural texts that explain how to deal with variations. All you've given me so far is an argument from tradition.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Of course not: the canon was decided a long time ago---the question now is what the original canonical texts looked like.

Yes, unbelievers have worked on CT---and so have believers who hold to its inspiration.

The evolutionary view of the text scripture that you have put forth was not only foreign to the Reformers, but condemned by them in their writings. Canon cannot be settled without the text being settled since the canon is made up of the text. To say we have a settled canon but an unsettled text is a contradiction.

Your laissez-faire attitude to unbelievers working on the CT is a dangerous attitude to have about scripture. And it is unbiblical. Following your view, gnostic corruptions to the text of scripture are ok if Christians worked on those same texts whether they removed the gnostic corruptions or not.

And as stated earlier, since modern textual criticism is a rejection of the Reformed view of Bibliology, it must provide a biblical foundation for itself to be considered valid. Without such a foundation, it has no place in Christendom.

As to Bahnsen and Van Til, Derrida and Nietzsche? Really? Your confused as to where presuppositional apologetics came from and are confusing Van Til with Barth. Presuppositional Apologetics originated in scripture, not in the vain philosophies of autonomous reasoning. As to Kant's transcendental argument, it differs greatly from the transcendental argument put forth by Van Til. At most you could say that Van Til took the transcendental argument and brought it to scripture, but this would not be accurate. The definitions for "transcendental argument" are completely different between Van Til and Kant. Just as the philosophy, methods, and practice of textual criticism differ between the Reformers and the modern version of textual criticism.

Provide the biblical justification for the canons and the practice of modern textual criticism. Without this, your replies fall within the informal fallacy known as the red herring.

(For those wanting an example of the presuppositional apologetic for the TR family of manuscripts I recommend the following: http://www.therulingelder.com/2011/11/reformation-oc-conference-audio-of-rev.html)
 
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