WCF 1.8 and CT

Does WCF 1.8 require use of the Received Text

  • Yes

    Votes: 24 42.9%
  • No

    Votes: 24 42.9%
  • Hmm...I don't know

    Votes: 8 14.3%

  • Total voters
    56
Status
Not open for further replies.

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Do you have any idea at all of what you are accusing the majority of Elders both here and in our denomination of doing?

Um, I'm not accusing anyone of doing anything. I'm making honest inquiry into the intent of the authors of the confession, and also whether our practice is in accord with that.

There was no TR before Erasmus put it together, and the WCF language interprets itself by saying the Word was kept pure in all ages. So in, say, 1450 to subscribe to WCF 1.8 one would have to say the TR was in existence, if one were to interpret the Confession the way you do.

And also, that's not at all what I have implied. When I say "the received text" I don't mean a document that Erasmus put together. I mean the text as it has been received. There were scores of Greek New Testaments in the Greek church before 1450 -- that was the text as it was received.

-----Added 12/5/2008 at 07:33:38 EST-----

And again, as I have stated multiple times right from the beginning of this thread, I am not asking what teaching people think is right regarding this: I'm asking about the intent of the confession.

You have every right to disagree with the conclusion; I didn't intend, however, for this thread to be about the validity of the TR.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I don't follow you here. I see that there is a slight difference between the LXX of Ps. 40:6 and the Greek of Hebrews 10:5, and I can certainly see that a correction of the LXX manuscripts would make that more conforming. In any event, even the slight difference as it stands does not really bother me - I think it does not cast doubt on authenticity.

My point was that the Hebrews citation is clearly different from the Hebrew. Can you clarify?

Given the differences between the so-called LXX and Heb. 10:5, and the scribal modification of the key terms, there is no evidence that Heb. 10:5 quotes from a pre-Christian Greek translation of Ps. 40:6.

We should accredit the Greek mss. with attempting to make a serious translation of the Hebrew, and allow NT writers to reference the Hebrew Scriptures without requiring modern standards of citation.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So in, say, 1450 to subscribe to WCF 1.8 one would have to say the TR was in existence, if one were to interpret the Confession the way you do.

The Confession is a constitutional document. To interpret it we must read it in the historical context in which it was framed. Whatever one thinks of the TR, the divines claimed to possess the authentic text. Their claim was either correct or incorrect. Let's deal with the document honestly on its own merits; if one disagrees with it, he should do so candidly rather than attempt to modify the document to suit a fluid tradition.

-----Added 12/5/2008 at 07:50:20 EST-----

Very interesting. Any books you can recommend Rev. Winzer?

On the LXX or the text-critical question? I've mentioned Owen and Beale/Carson on the quotation issue. On the text-critical question I highly recommend Dabney's article in vol. 1 of his Discussions, entitled the Doctrinal Various Readings of the NT Greek, followed by Burgon's Revision Revised, neither of whom were TR-only men but understood the importance of a fixed textual tradition. On the TFU, one of the brethren from the continental tradition churches may be able to shed light on the constiutional value of the scripture texts appended to the Belgic Confession.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
When I say "the received text" I don't mean a document that Erasmus put together. I mean the text as it has been received. There were scores of Greek New Testaments in the Greek church before 1450 -- that was the text as it was received.

You should mean that. TR is Latin for Received Text, and whether you are aware of it or not, that's what you are referring to. I know you haven't been looking into this for long, so I don't accuse you of trickiness, but what you are in effect doing is the same as the FV people who use the word election and mean those who have been baptised into a church. You are making up your own personal meaning and thereby confusing the issue.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Actually, textual criticism is something I've been doing for a long time. And if you will notice, in all my first posts, I never used the words Textus Receptus (though I realize I did in the title of the poll).

I'm also not making up any meanings for words. I'm sorry if there has been confusion.

-----Added 12/5/2008 at 08:32:26 EST-----

The fact that the TR is our received text was kind of beside my point. There was a received text of the church before Erasmus put together the Received Text. The New Testament was passed down in generation of generation of miniscules, being preserved as the received text of the church, and was formally pronounced the Received Text by our reformed church.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
The Confession is a constitutional document. To interpret it we must read it in the historical context in which it was framed.
True, and the operative phrase is kept pure in all ages.

Whatever one thinks of the TR, the divines claimed to possess the authentic text. Their claim was either correct or incorrect.

The other possibility is that you are missing what the Divines said. They didn't say a word about the TR, they said

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical

And that means before the TR, right? So the natural way of reading this is general; that God's has preserved His Word. The fact that some mms don't agree with each other means nothing, nor does it mean that somehow or another the TR was some sort of apex of Scriptural Revelation that the lack thereof meant those that didn't have the TR didn't have the Word.

If what you say is true, and the Divines meant that the TR is exclusively the Word of God, then the Church didn't have the Word for the first 15 centuries.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Text-Critical questions and 1.8.

The background of 1:8 is the reformed scholastic context and this is well assessed by Muller in PRRD 2. One might also reference "the Transmission of Scripture" in essay III of Warfield's Westminster Assembly and its Work. His comment is well worth attending to: "had their lot been cast in our day it is possible that many of them might have been of the school of Scrivener and Burgon, rather than of that of Westcott and Hort." (p. 239.)
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
There was a received text of the church before Erasmus put together the Received Text. The New Testament was passed down in generation of generation of miniscules, being preserved as the received text of the church, and was formally pronounced the Received Text by our reformed church.

Before I withdraw my assumption of you not being tricky, could you please point me to this lower case received text? And tell me (please) yes or no, is it the same as the upper case Received Text that the rest of us assumed you were talking about?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If what you say is true, and the Divines meant that the TR is exclusively the Word of God, then the Church didn't have the Word for the first 15 centuries.

First, you keep drawing consequences which are posed at the confession's claim, and you suggest the claim can't be their intention because then these consequences would be true. I deny the consequences; but even if they were accepted, one does not treat a fallible document as if all consequences drawn from it are proportionate and concordant with absolute truth. The Confession might speak truly in its context without necessarily addressing other contextual issues which might arise from their statements.

Secondly, who says "the church" did not have this text for the first fifteen centuries, and what is the definition of "the church?" It must be noted that WCF 1:8 only says that "the church" is finally to appeal to this authentic and preserved text; did the church of the first fifteen centuries possess such a text that it could appeal to? Of course it did; the mss. bear witness to this fact.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
There was a received text of the church before Erasmus put together the Received Text. The New Testament was passed down in generation of generation of miniscules, being preserved as the received text of the church, and was formally pronounced the Received Text by our reformed church.

Before I withdraw my assumption of you not being tricky, could you please point me to this lower case received text? And tell me (please) yes or no, is it the same as the upper case Received Text that the rest of us assumed you were talking about?

Tim, all I'm saying is that Erasmus didn't pull the TR out of thin air; it is called the TR because it literally is the text of scripture that the church has received, that has been handed down. It's not monolithic -- there are variants -- there is no one manuscript I can point you to: It just doesn't exist. But there are many, many similar manuscripts. The TR is a collation of these, bearing witness to the overall state of the text that the church has passed down, and admitting of the variants contained therein. This is not a crazy doctrine.

Keep in mind, I've always gladly and willingly used the Nestle-Aland text. I have no problems with the results of the critical text (Edit: though, indeed, I have begun questioning certain things of late) I do question the methodology of it. Keep in mind, TR people can be all in favor of textual criticism, and I think that they should be. The question is the starting point and method. Do we 1.) Trust God's providence in preserving scripture and upon that basis start with the text as it has been passed down; or, 2.) Do we rely upon our reason and thus reject the text as it has been passed down, even if the result will be the same, and instead attempt to reconstruct the text based upon our rational abilities.

There is, indeed, a vast difference between these methodologies which cannot be overlooked.

But, back to your original question, I'm certainly not being tricky, as I hope my first paragraph can convince you.

I do apologize, I had not intended to enter into this debate with you. You have certainly given more than a required answer to my opening question, and I thank you for taking the time to advocate your position.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Further on bibliographic references on WCF 1:8, it was remiss of me not to mention an article seminal to my own thinking, which is Theodore Letis' "Edward Freer Hills' Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesisatical Text," in Journal of Christian Reconstruction 12 (1989), 2:21ff. This article shows that for the reformed tradition the "authentical text" is in fact a canonical issue.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
The phrase "kept pure in all ages" in WCF 1.8 is in direct conflict with the principles of modern textual criticism.

I voted "Yes".

Well said, Mr. Seth.

:ditto:

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 09:10:23 EST-----

...I do think that those who believe the ESV is correct in its rendering of the Lord's Prayer should take exception at the Larger Catechism Q#196.

Nice!!!
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Secondly, who says "the church" did not have this text for the first fifteen centuries, and what is the definition of "the church?" It must be noted that WCF 1:8 only says that "the church" is finally to appeal to this authentic and preserved text; did the church of the first fifteen centuries possess such a text that it could appeal to? Of course it did; the mss. bear witness to this fact.

I believe strongly the Church did have this text. I am quite sure it was existent during Augustine's day, although not written down perfectly on one scroll, parchment or sheaf of paper. I feel certain that Augustine had 95% at least of what we now call the TR. I feel certain that Augustine had available something very close to what most of us use, whether based on the TR or W&H's text. He had parts that were missing, and could have been on manuscripts in Iberia. He had parts that were added, but weren't in some texts in Anatolia, and small differences in names that were correct in some texts in the Peloponnese.

Are we on the same page Rev. Winzer? Because I can't help but believe the Divines were learned enough not to confuse the TR with something vague and nebulous that they would have referred to as a lower case tr. Or to think the TR was available on one manuscript that anyone could touch before Erasmus. As tempting and convenient it would be to believe otherwise.

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 10:10:32 EST-----

Tim, all I'm saying is that Erasmus didn't pull the TR out of thin air; it is called the TR because it literally is the text of scripture that the church has received, that has been handed down. It's not monolithic -- there are variants -- there is no one manuscript I can point you to: It just doesn't exist. But there are many, many similar manuscripts. The TR is a collation of these, bearing witness to the overall state of the text that the church has passed down, and admitting of the variants contained therein. This is not a crazy doctrine.

1: Was the underlying text of the e.g. ESV pulled out of thin air?

2: Please think about the ramifications of a text containing what you believe the exact Word of God not being in existence before Erasmus, the great enemy of the Reformation. Think about this for a day or so, then go back and read WCF 1.8.

3: Is it crazy to believe that Erasmus wasn't directly inspired by God, and that others have the same right as Erasmus to collate varying mss? Or did Inspiration stop in 1516?

I see from your poll that a majority believe that the overwhelming number of Elders who are member of this board who belong to churches that require making exceptions to the WCF are in violation of their ordination vows.

From the high level of scholarship shown on this thread so far, I'm sure they are being driven to burlap and pulling out of hair.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Further on bibliographic references on WCF 1:8, it was remiss of me not to mention an article seminal to my own thinking, which is Theodore Letis' "Edward Freer Hills' Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesisatical Text," in Journal of Christian Reconstruction 12 (1989), 2:21ff. This article shows that for the reformed tradition the "authentical text" is in fact a canonical issue.

I found it for $9.10 here: https://www.chalcedonstore.com/xcart/product.php?productid=2189&cat=34&page=1

Does anyone know if it is online?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Tim, cut the sarcasm. All, respond to the substance of posts and ignore extraneous verbiage or this thread is headed for derailment.

From the high level of scholarship shown on this thread so far, I'm sure they are being driven to burlap and pulling out of hair.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Secondly, who says "the church" did not have this text for the first fifteen centuries, and what is the definition of "the church?" It must be noted that WCF 1:8 only says that "the church" is finally to appeal to this authentic and preserved text; did the church of the first fifteen centuries possess such a text that it could appeal to? Of course it did; the mss. bear witness to this fact.

I believe strongly the Church did have this text. I am quite sure it was existent during Augustine's day, although not written down perfectly on one scroll, parchment or sheaf of paper. I feel certain that Augustine had 95% at least of what we now call the TR. I feel certain that Augustine had available something very close to what most of us use, whether based on the TR or W&H's text. He had parts that were missing, and could have been on manuscripts in Iberia. He had parts that were added, but weren't in some texts in Anatolia, and small differences in names that were correct in some texts in the Peloponnese.

Are we on the same page Rev. Winzer? Because I can't help but believe the Divines were learned enough not to confuse the TR with something vague and nebulous that they would have referred to as a lower case tr. Or to think the TR was available on one manuscript that anyone could touch before Erasmus. As tempting and convenient it would be to believe otherwise.

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 10:10:32 EST-----

Tim, all I'm saying is that Erasmus didn't pull the TR out of thin air; it is called the TR because it literally is the text of scripture that the church has received, that has been handed down. It's not monolithic -- there are variants -- there is no one manuscript I can point you to: It just doesn't exist. But there are many, many similar manuscripts. The TR is a collation of these, bearing witness to the overall state of the text that the church has passed down, and admitting of the variants contained therein. This is not a crazy doctrine.

1: Was the underlying text of the e.g. ESV pulled out of thin air?

2: Please think about the ramifications of a text containing what you believe the exact Word of God not being in existence before Erasmus, the great enemy of the Reformation. Think about this for a day or so, then go back and read WCF 1.8.

3: Is it crazy to believe that Erasmus wasn't directly inspired by God, and that others have the same right as Erasmus to collate varying mss? Or did Inspiration stop in 1516?

I see from your poll that a majority believe that the overwhelming number of Elders who are member of this board who belong to churches that require making exceptions to the WCF are in violation of their ordination vows.

From the high level of scholarship shown on this thread so far, I'm sure they are being driven to burlap and pulling out of hair.

Tim, I'm sorry, but I'm going to withdraw from this thread. You have consistently taken what has been said and twisted it, and put things in my mouth that I have not said. I will give you quick answers to your questions first.

1.) In a sense, yes. Objectively speaking, there is a difference in the way the texts are formed. The one is based upon the way in which the text has been received; the other discards this as a viable, historical, rational method of knowing the original text, and seeks to reconstruct it by rational means. This is just different. Whether God is providentially controlling the assembling of the CT is another issue, and one that is outside the scope of the current discussion.

2.) Please stop referring to Erasmus as "the great enemy." Regardless of our thoughts about him, they are here irrelevant and only serve a rhetorical and uncharitable purpose to make the opposing argument look weaker. Tim, no one has said that there is one text that contains the exact word of God. Again, I don't know how many times I can say this in every post: there are variants in the TR, in the received text of the church. It has variants. There are variants. It is not uniform. It contains variants. There was indeed a text received by the church before the WCF. It is irrelevant to bring that up, however. What matters is that the drafters were attesting that this, the Textus Receptus (with its variants), was the text they received. The question that you're asking is roughly akin to "How can we believe in Sola Scriptura since there was not always scripture?" The fact that Erasmus, Beza, Stephanus, etc., did not exist yet in 1450 or in 800 does not mean the WCF states they did not have the word of God back then. That simply and absolutely does not follow.

3.) Again, no one said that. Erasmus was not inspired. I don't know why you felt a need to allude to the fact that anyone thinks that. Also, textual criticism is not out -- again, we acknowledge variants that are sifted through. As I have stated many times, the problem lies in methodology, not in ongoing work. New Greek manuscripts haven't been created or written since then -- the days of doing that passed centuries ago. So when the WCF testifies to the authority of the providentially preserved apographs, to what is it referring?

Again, I am not ignorant of ancient manuscripts of which the reformers were ignorant. I have been immersed in the world of uncials and miniscules, Syriacs and Old latins, lectionaries and fathers, etc. I have been torn over certain issues -- the benefits and the cons. I am not trying to push anything: I am making inquiry, and at the same time trying to recognize certain, historical facts of the confession.

Your statement about people believing others are in violation of their ordination vows is also troubling, as though that is unique to this topic. That arises any time there is any difference in thought over the meaning of the confession, whether it be with respect to Exclusive Psalmody, observation of feast days such as Christmas, even something as esoteric as Republication. I do not see the necessity of bringing up such a statement. I apologize also for the lack of scholarship.

Thank you again for your interaction on this; and at the same time, I will now respectfully withdraw from the conversation.

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 11:01:55 EST-----

Also, mods, I just reread Mr. Coldwell's post. Sorry if I responded too much to extraneous verbiage in my last response.

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 11:27:47 EST-----

Sorry, Tim, to throw one last comment on here that I forgot to mention before. You keep highlighting the phrase "kept pure in all ages." That is precisely the question I am driving at. Remember, kept pure does not mean free from all variants. To use the TR seems to attest to this -- God has kept it pure. The Critical Text seems to suggest the exact opposite: it has not been kept pure; therefore, we must reconstruct the original by using older copies from before the text lost its overall purity.

But...the question of the poll is not as to whether we support the mission of the Critical Text, but whether use of it in the pulpit (not for explanatory help, but as calling it the Word of God, the Authoritative Scripture) constitutes an abandonment of 1.8 This is the question of which I am unsure, and why I asked the poll question (and why I voted, "I'm not sure.")
 
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Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
This is also quite a sensative issue as logically if the TR is confessionally required anyone who prefers a variant from the AV could be thrown off this board.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Not at all. Discuss the issue freely (yet inoffensively). Let the PB management worry about what are and are not confessional requirements for staying on the board.
This is also quite a sensative issue as logically if the TR is confessionally required anyone who prefers a variant from the AV could be thrown off this board.
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
For you Westminster people out there:

If a pastor uses a modern translation in church based on the critical text, do you think this means he should/ought/must claim to take exception to WCF 1.8 and the doctrine of preservation.

In other words, can you confess the WCF without exception and claim that such is God's scripture. I'm curious to see how many come down on each side.

Edit
I'm not asking for personal opinions on whether we should use the received text or not; I'm asking whether you think it is confessional.

Hi Paul,

From my studies I found that the Westminster Confession of Faith's statements upon Scripture are definitive, derived from Protestant scholasticism that defended the doctrine of Sola Scriptura against the Tridentine counterattack against that great doctrine.

It is important to note, however, that 1.8 is not read in a vacuum of this history, which is presuppostionally laid in the prior statements which identify the canonical text, and disclaim the Apocraphyl texts as being non-canonical.

The Confession intends to fence in it's doctrinal standards upon the Protestant textual standard as the authentic and authoritative word.

Jack Rogers in "Scripture in the Westminster Confession" explained it this way:


"The text of Scripture is the Word of God, and God’s Word is not to be sought independently of the text of Scripture. Inspiration does not usually imply any particular theory about how the Scripture came to be the Word of God. Nor does inspiration eliminate the human contribution which the human authors made to the written Scripture. And most certainly, for the Westminster Divines, inspiration can not be used as an excuse for trying to find God’s word separate from the written text of Scripture.”

Richard Muller in "Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics" explains the way in which Protestants approached the text of Scripture:

“By “original and authentic” text, the Protestant orthodox do not mean the autographa which no one can possess but the apographa in the original tongue which are the source of all versions. The Jews throughout history and the church in the time of Christ regarded the Hebrew of the Old Testament as authentic and for nearly six centuries after Christ, the Greek of the New Testament was viewed as authentic without dispute. 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 autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic text” of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa. The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice and the separate arguments for a received text free from major (i.e., non-scribal) errors rests on examination of the apographa and does not seek the infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility.”​

The question, then, of the doctrine of Sola Scripture and the canon of Scripture in authentic Byzantine texts against Trent involves inspiration and all other divine attributes of the Scripture as well as textual, exegetical, and hermeneutical issues all synergistically coming together as an article of faith and confessionally defended by the Protestants in the Second Helvetic Confession which included a defense of the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points, followed by the Belgic Confession and others and finally in our own Westminster Confession in the early 17th century.

As stated previously, note that the canon of Scripture is first in our Confession prior to the doctrine of inspiration and authority and preservation - there is a reason for this. There is also a denial of the canonicity of the Apocrapha before you have a declaration of preservation. In terms of Authority you have a positive thesis (what is Scripture) and it is stated in terms of the canon, negative thesis (what is not Scripture), defense of thesis (providential preservation of authentic texts.)

For the Reformers it is important to understand that the canonicity of the text of Scripture is received in it’s final form, not in it’s initial form - it is received in the Apographa not in the Autographa and only the Greek Byzantine text type has continual successive canonical usage by the Christian Churches. In historical Reformed orthodoxy the discussion of autographa and apographa was designed to point toward a continuity of text-tradition between the original authors and the present day texts. Their approach functioned primarily as a hermeneutical lever designed to assert the priority of the Hebrew and Greek over the ancient versions, such as the Latin Vulgate, and to provide a methodological basis for the critical collation and comparison of texts in the original languages. 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 issues. The versions could never be anything more than versions, even if they were in Greek, such as the Vaticanus because it is, after all, a Greek translation of the Hebrew old testament with parts of the New Testament appended, and it could never represent the thoughts of the prophets quoad verba.

The difference between the Confessional position and the modern critical position really is a completely different orientation to the texts of Scripture. Hence, I do believe that if one rejects this standard they should take exception to the Westminster Confession of Faith statements upon it.

Cordially,

Thomas

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 02:46:26 EST-----

There was a received text of the church before Erasmus put together the Received Text. The New Testament was passed down in generation of generation of miniscules, being preserved as the received text of the church, and was formally pronounced the Received Text by our reformed church.

Before I withdraw my assumption of you not being tricky, could you please point me to this lower case received text? And tell me (please) yes or no, is it the same as the upper case Received Text that the rest of us assumed you were talking about?

Tim,

Leaving your disparaging attitude aside, certainly you do understand that Erasmus's work simply carried forth an existing hand written "manuscript" tradition into a printed edition. You would be correct to point out that the printing press didn't exist prior to it's invention, as to exactly how that undermines the Protestant textual tradition, I'll leave up to your imagination.

Everyone else understands that the movement from handwritten manuscripts to printed editions is the same textual tradition.

-----Added 12/6/2008 at 02:54:21 EST-----

Further on bibliographic references on WCF 1:8, it was remiss of me not to mention an article seminal to my own thinking, which is Theodore Letis' "Edward Freer Hills' Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesisatical Text," in Journal of Christian Reconstruction 12 (1989), 2:21ff. This article shows that for the reformed tradition the "authentical text" is in fact a canonical issue.

I found it for $9.10 here: https://www.chalcedonstore.com/xcart/product.php?productid=2189&cat=34&page=1

Does anyone know if it is online?

No, it is not available online and it is a tremendous work.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
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 autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic text” of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa. The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice and the separate arguments for a received text free from major (i.e., non-scribal) errors rests on examination of the apographa and does not seek the infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility.”

This is what I've been saying that the Divines meant in 1.8. Not the TR.

certainly you do understand that Erasmus's work simply carried forth an existing hand written "manuscript" tradition into a printed edition.

I know that Erasmus dedicated the TR to the Pope who excommunicated Luther. I know that in some cases where Erasmus didn't have part of the Greek text he back translated from the Latin Vulgate. I know that the reason the the first published TR was so sloppy and full of errors was that a Spaniard had already finished a better one, and Erasmus wanted to beat his publishing of the text for pride and money. I know that for a hundred after Erasmus there were still revisions of the TR.

The question that you're asking is roughly akin to "How can we believe in Sola Scriptura since there was not always scripture?"

I'm not asking any question about that subject. I stating that when 1.8 says in all ages they can't be referring to the TR. Which is why, to my knowledge, no Elder in the history of the Reformed church has been censured for betraying his vows for not exclusively teaching the flock from the TR. The question that I've been asking is whether those who think 90+ percent of the confessionally Reformed Elders are regularly breaking their ordination vows have thought about the subject. That those who think 1.8 means exclusively the TR have hit upon some novel way of promoting their vision of church history. That they truly understand the weight of the burden they seek to impose on the rest of us.
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
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 autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic text” of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa. The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice and the separate arguments for a received text free from major (i.e., non-scribal) errors rests on examination of the apographa and does not seek the infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility.”

This is what I've been saying that the Divines meant in 1.8. Not the TR.

The whole basis of the critical text argument is that the apographa is not reliable and trustworthy, hence, they invert the Protestant approach and champion the view of Richard Simon.


certainly you do understand that Erasmus's work simply carried forth an existing hand written "manuscript" tradition into a printed edition.

I know that Erasmus dedicated the TR to the Pope who excommunicated Luther. I know that in some cases where Erasmus didn't have part of the Greek text he back translated from the Latin Vulgate. I know that the reason the the first published TR was so sloppy and full of errors was that a Spaniard had already finished a better one, and Erasmus wanted to beat his publishing of the text for pride and money. I know that for a hundred after Erasmus there were still revisions of the TR.

I just finished a year long study on Erasmus and I don't find any of these things in the disparaging light you paint them in. What is your point, for example, in your statement that Erasmus dedicated the TR to the Pope, the same Pope that excommunicated Martin Luther? I've heard this statement for years, always coupled to this disparaging tone, but I don't understand what it's supposed to mean.

I read Erasmus's dedication to the Pope, to me it was a slap in his face. Luther was protected at the advice of Erasmus, which saved his life, who after publishing his Latin translation was in risk of being executed himself. Erasmus protects Luther and places his own neck on the chopping block instead - yet you make it sound like Erasmus is the "great enemy." I don't get it - certainly doctrinally Erasmus didn't join the Reformation, but he did sincerely want reform in the Church and he did till the soil for that seed to be planted and germinate in.

Rudolf Pfeiffer, in his History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 has an insightful comment, “few modern scholars have taken trouble to consider Erasmus’ actual intentions.” Now, that statement I found to speak volumes, as I learned that in Erasmus concept his greek testament was supportive work for his Latin translation, not the other way around - as the picture was always painted to me.

Very few criticism’s concerning Erasmus’ Greek text follow publication, what is attacked is his Latin translation and Annotations. In the main it his Latin translation and Annotations that he spends the next few years defending in his disputes with Stunica and others before publication of his second edition of 1519.

Today these disparaging criticisms are all hurled from the 19th and 20th century with the rise of the critical schools, but toward the Greek instead of the Latin, and within them I find continual internal inconsistencies that I cannot reconcile. Many of which I found to be just plain disparagement without any factual support whatsoever.



The question that you're asking is roughly akin to "How can we believe in Sola Scriptura since there was not always scripture?"

Nope, not asking that at all - there has always been Scripture.

I'm not asking any question about that subject. I stating that when 1.8 says in all ages they can't be referring to the TR.


They are referring to the text of the Greek speaking Churches, which we call the Byzantine textual base from which the printed Textus Receptus is the exemplar printed publication. In their view, which was consistent in the scholastic debate, other textual sources were inferior and not to be compared as part of the "authentic" tradition.


Which is why, to my knowledge, no Elder in the history of the Reformed church has been censured for betraying his vows for not exclusively teaching the flock from the TR. The question that I've been asking is whether those who think 90+ percent of the confessionally Reformed Elders are regularly breaking their ordination vows have thought about the subject. That those who think 1.8 means exclusively the TR have hit upon some novel way of promoting their vision of church history. That they truly understand the weight of the burden they seek to impose on the rest of us.

I've thought deeply about it and studied it intensively for years. It's not until the 20th century that this has become an issue and everything has been redefined. Even then, it's not until the seminaries are taken over by proponent of the critical schools that this really becomes an issue. This new and novel departure from the Protestant tradition, not someone that says we should maintain fidelity to it, is what is in question.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Morning Thomas

The whole basis of the critical text argument is that the apographa is not reliable and trustworthy, hence, they invert the Protestant approach and champion the view of Richard Simon.
Could you comment on book of life as opposed to tree of life, and explain why book of life is of Protestant rather then Roman Catholic origin? And whether the KJV or the ESV is a better translation of God's Word in Rev 22:19?

Next, what is meant by the term, "Received Text"? This name was first applied to a printed Greek text only as late as 1633, or almost 120 years after the first published Greek New Testament appeared in 1516. In 1633, the Elzevirs of Leyden published the second edition of their Greek text, and that text contained the publisher's "blurb": textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum, or, "therefore you have the text now received by all," from which the term textus receptus, or received text was taken, and applied collectively and retroactively to the series of published Greek New Testaments extending from 1516 to 1633 and beyond. Most notable among the many editors of Greek New Testaments in this period were Erasmus (5 editions: 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535), Robert Estienne a.k.a. Robertus Stephanus (4 editions: 1546, 1549, 1550, 1551), Theodore de Beza (9 editions between 1565 and 1604), and the Elzevirs (3 editions: 1624,1633, 1641). (3) These many Greek texts display a rather close general uniformity, a uniformity based on the fact that all these texts are more or less reprints of the text(s) edited by Erasmus, with only minor variations. These texts were not independently compiled by the many different editors on the basis of close personal examination of numerous Greek manuscripts, but are genealogically-related. (4) Proof of this is to be found in a number of "unique" readings in Erasmus' texts, that is, readings which are found in no known Greek manuscript but which are nevertheless found in the editions of Erasmus. One of these is the reading "book of life" in Revelation 22:19. All known Greek manuscripts here read "tree of life" instead of "book of life" as in the textus receptus. Where did the reading "book of life" come from? When Erasmus was compiling his text, he had access to only one manuscript of Revelation, and it lacked the last six verses, so he took the Latin Vulgate and back-translated from Latin to Greek. Unfortunately, the copy of the Vulgate he used read "book of life," unlike any Greek manuscript of the passage, and so Erasmus introduced a "unique" Greek reading into his text

Westcott & Hort vs. Textus Receptus: Which is Superior?

I've thought deeply about it and studied it intensively for years.
And are you still certain that the Septuagint is a giant hoax and that Christ never quoted from it?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Some info on Erasmus, his last six verses of Revelation, and also "the book of life". I post only the links so those who desire edification may find it, without being verbose here.

Concerning Erasmus: http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/what-authentic-new-testament-text-15134/#post196909

[I noticed the link in the above post to Dr. John Cereghin's online paper, In Defense of Erasmus, is broken, so here's an updated one: http://www.solascriptura-tt.org/PessoasNosSeculos/InDefenseOfErasmus-Cereghin.htm]

Thoughts on the Textus Receptus: http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/inspired-teachings-only-35364/#post439309

On Rev 22:19 (see also the following post, #31): http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/merits-v-16705/#post215350
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
All reasonable people who have looked into the matter know that Christ quoted both from the Hebrew and Septuagint. That settles the matter.

And are you still certain that the Septuagint is a giant hoax and that Christ never quoted from it?

Basically what you are asking is whether Thomas is 'reasonable' or 'unreasonable'. :lol:
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
1.) In a sense, yes. Objectively speaking, there is a difference in the way the texts are formed. The one is based upon the way in which the text has been received; the other discards this as a viable, historical, rational method of knowing the original text, and seeks to reconstruct it by rational means. This is just different. Whether God is providentially controlling the assembling of the CT is another issue, and one that is outside the scope of the current discussion.

This is probably a poor choice of threads for my first post, especially since the gentleman I'm replying to has already exited the discussion, but here goes anyway...

The specific difference being discussed on this thread between the critical method versus the work of TR-favoring scholars is not entirely qualitative, but quantitative.

1. Both sift through manuscripts (or in the case of the TR, I suppose you should prefer to say, printed works) containing textual variants, and make decisions about which readings to retain.

2. Both admit that a given reading has not been in use by 100% of the church through 100% of its history. (Comparing our Bibles to citations by the Fathers abundantly illustrates this.) Prufrock also admitted this above, when he said that variants exist in the TR. If this point I'm making were false, variants wouldn't exist, or at least never be used in the true church.


Now, it seems to me that TR-only proponents are in a catch-22 situation. If they argue that only one Bible has been used in all the true church over its history, then they must explain why variants exist even in Reformational versions. Reality check -- to my knowledge, nobody in the English or German speaking Reformed world either uses, or has used a Bible identical in readings to Erasmus' edition -- or any other TR edition. The fact is that versions like the KJV freely followed non-TR readings when the translators felt like it was most correct to do so.

And if they argue that the variants are minimal, and that small variations don't really count in the grand scheme of things... then I would submit that the CT differs in only minimally in the grand scheme of things, and shouldn't cause anybody undue heartburn with regard to God's preservation of his Word.

The analogy I like to use with God's preservation of scripture is to liken it to his preservation of his Church, or of Christians in general. Are we kept "pure"? Well........ yes and no. God surely does sanctify his people and lead them by his Spirit on a sure upward path to heaven, and if you compare them with unbelievers, then it's obvious he has a pure people. But are they pure in the sense of without any sin? No.

Similarly, the autographs were given perfectly pure, and we trust that God has preserved the purity of his Word sufficiently that we may trust it with our eternal souls... but do we claim to have letter for letter transcriptions of the autographs? I would hope we know better than that.

Turning the question on its head a bit, can we ask whether the Westminster Divines believed they had a transcription of the autographs letter for letter? Since they were learned men who knew something about Biblical manuscripts, we can easily reject this nonsensical idea. Therefore, their meaning in WCF 1.8 surely allows for variants in the text.

EDIT -- Whoops, forgot my signature. Hopefully will be there for the future...
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Now, it seems to me that TR-only proponents are in a catch-22 situation. If they argue that only one Bible has been used in all the true church over its history, then they must explain why variants exist even in Reformational versions. Reality check -- to my knowledge, nobody in the English or German speaking Reformed world either uses, or has used a Bible identical in readings to Erasmus' edition -- or any other TR edition. The fact is that versions like the KJV freely followed non-TR readings when the translators felt like it was most correct to do so.

Welcome to the board. This is a good reality check, but it really only checks those who unfairly ridicule the pro-TR position as if it deliberately ignored the fact of variants. It doesn't. Those who advocate the superiority of the traditional text are more than willing to give an account of the variety of mss. in existence, but they do so from a unique, biblically informed starting point which maintains that the church possesses God's word and is not in the awkward position of having to discover God's word. It is undoubtedly true that some mss. and fathers might appeal to a different textual tradition at times, but this does not negate the fact that the "TR" has been the accessible text of the Christian church throughout the ages.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Now, it seems to me that TR-only proponents are in a catch-22 situation. If they argue that only one Bible has been used in all the true church over its history, then they must explain why variants exist even in Reformational versions. Reality check -- to my knowledge, nobody in the English or German speaking Reformed world either uses, or has used a Bible identical in readings to Erasmus' edition -- or any other TR edition. The fact is that versions like the KJV freely followed non-TR readings when the translators felt like it was most correct to do so.

Welcome to the board. This is a good reality check, but it really only checks those who unfairly ridicule the pro-TR position as if it deliberately ignored the fact of variants. It doesn't. Those who advocate the superiority of the traditional text are more than willing to give an account of the variety of mss. in existence, but they do so from a unique, biblically informed starting point which maintains that the church possesses God's word and is not in the awkward position of having to discover God's word. It is undoubtedly true that some mss. and fathers might appeal to a different textual tradition at times, but this does not negate the fact that the "TR" has been the accessible text of the Christian church throughout the ages.

Thanks, armourbearer.

Right. The first choice in the catch-22 only applies to Gail Riplinger KJV-onlyist types.

The second choice, the paragraph you didn't quote, applies to those whom I'd describe as more thoughtful and informed TR advocates -- who must admit in the end a difference of degree with the critical method.

The Greek NTs used by TR advocating scholars today differ from the edition of Erasmus by little bits here and there. They are cool with that.

The Greek NTs used by CT advocating scholars today differ from the edition of Erasmus by (a whole lot of) little bits here and there.

Both confess they don't know precisely, letter for letter, what was in the autographs. Both practice textual criticism -- which is why TR advocates today do not use Erasmus' original Greek NT unmodified. They felt changes were necessary to better approximate what they believed to be the original text.

Again, a difference of degree. Therefore, both must hold to the WCF definition of "pure" as admitting some level of man-introduced impurity, while nonetheless asserting that our Hebrew and Greek scriptures are for all practical purposes pure. Again -- both CT and TR advocates may claim this in good conscience.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The second choice, the paragraph you didn't quote, applies to those whom I'd describe as more thoughtful and informed TR advocates -- who must admit in the end a difference of degree with the critical method.

This is the point which needs to be corrected. It is a difference of kind. That which passes for textual criticism today is bent on discovering the text of Scripture, and to date are only confident they have approximated to the NT text. The believing criticism of the TR advocates works from the principle that they possess the text of Scripture, the word of God as originally delivered to the NT church and preserved through all ages.
 
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