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.

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
And if it can be proven that the NT authors did quote from both, then it is also proved that the Divines did not have in view the TR when they wrote 1:8? Am I on the right track?

If NT authors did quote from both, and by all reasonable criteria they did, the burden of proof would be on the contrarian; i.e. that the contrarians would have to prove conclusively that the Divines did not have this view.

Because if the Divines held to what the Church has always taught, they couldn't have meant that God's Word, kept pure in all ages, was written down specifically and exclusively in one text.

Since some people here are spending so much time interpreting every jot and tittle of WCF 1.8, perhaps I can ask at this time if they expect all Elder candidates of the PCA, OPC etc.. to declare exceptions if they believe parts of the OT e.g. Daniel were written in Aramaic and not Hebrew.

“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; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.”
For any of the 23 people who voted yes in the poll, may I ask if any of you think Elders who believe Daniel was written and inspired in Aramaic are in violation of their vows?

-----Added 12/15/2008 at 11:45:09 EST-----

In other words, Turretin can claim that the apostles did, on occasion, quote from the LXX, but this does not mean that they allowed it to be an authentic version or translation of scripture en masse. They used it when it reflected the true and authentic scripture.
I am open to being shown some place where the NT penmen "quoted" from a Greek "text." As you make your case to depend on it, you bear the burden of showing it.
Does that count? What more will you be satisfied with than to show that than 99% of orthodox scholars agree with what you just "largely agree"d with?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
In other words, Turretin can claim that the apostles did, on occasion, quote from the LXX, but this does not mean that they allowed it to be an authentic version or translation of scripture en masse. They used it when it reflected the true and authentic scripture.
I am open to being shown some place where the NT penmen "quoted" from a Greek "text." As you make your case to depend on it, you bear the burden of showing it.
Does that count? What more will you be satisfied with than to show that than 99% of orthodox scholars agree with what you just "largely agree"d with?

No, it doesn't count, as Turretin is speaking within a certain context which has to do with the authenticity of the fountains, and the language he uses is loosely adapted for the purpose. Your case depends on a certain line of argument which you need to establish by evidence. So it's time for you to bring forth the evidence that the NT penmen "quoted" from a Greek "text;" you only need to demonstrate "one" instance of it.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Since some people here are spending so much time interpreting every jot and tittle of WCF 1.8, perhaps I can ask at this time if they expect all Elder candidates of the PCA, OPC etc.. to declare exceptions if they believe parts of the OT e.g. Daniel were written in Aramaic and not Hebrew.

“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; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.”
For any of the 23 people who voted yes in the poll, may I ask if any of you think Elders who believe Daniel was written and inspired in Aramaic are in violation of their vows?


The above point is well made -- I think it's obvious the WCF framers expected their readers to use common sense, both with respect to the above, and to the "kept pure" idea, which we all agree allows for correction as our knowledge of Biblical manuscripts improves (we disagree as to the extent of the allowed correction).


The longest Aramaic portions I'm aware of:

Daniel 2:4 through 7:28 is in Aramaic.
Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:12-26 are in Aramaic.
 
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TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
So it's time for you to bring forth the evidence that the NT penmen "quoted" from a Greek "text;" you only need to demonstrate "one" instance of it.
I've been doing that for days, and for purposes of emphasis using mainly sources contrarians have used to make their case. The last was Keil and Delitzsch
and it is in accordance with this sense that it is paraphrased in Mar_4:12, whereas in the three other passages in which the words are quoted in the New Testament (viz., Matthew, John, and Acts) the Septuagint rendering is adopted
but I can't convince you of that anymore than I can convince certain people that Arab hijackers brought down the two towers by flying planes into them because you make the burden of proof impossible.

In other words, Turretin can claim that the apostles did, on occasion, quote from the LXX, but this does not mean that they allowed it to be an authentic version or translation of scripture en masse. They used it when it reflected the true and authentic scripture.

All we have to do is to show that during the time of Christ there was

a) a parallel situation with our own, where there was more than one textual tradition
b)and that both of these varying texts were quoted by NT authors

to prove that the Word of God has been kept pure through all ages, but not in one, single, volume that somebody could specifically point to.

I do admit that the above still doesn't prove what was actually going on in the minds of the Divines. But the way 1.8 has been interpreted is in line with the above. And that is why no major Reformed church has required an exception to 1.8 by Elder candidates for not holding to the tiny minority AVer position. And it is not going to change anytime soon.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hi:

I ask these of TimV:

If the New Testament can quote from the pagan Greek poet Aratus, Acts 17:28, then why can it not quote from a Greek paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures? What is more: are the writers of the NT allowed to give the "sense" (Hebrew Raz) of a passage in the OT? Or, do they have to adhere to a strict literal translation? (Hebrew Peshat). If so, then how do you get a literal translation from the Hebrew to the Greek?

If we were to allow your assertion that there are quotations from the LXX in the New Testament, then what would be your point? Some claim that the NT quotes from the Apocrypha. Should we then include the Apocrypha in the Canon as well?

I am still awaiting the copy of Hoskier.

Blessings,

Rob
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
I ask these of TimV:

If the New Testament can quote from the pagan Greek poet Aratus, Acts 17:28, then why can it not quote from a Greek paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures?
Hi Rob
The analogy would be if Aratus was quoted one way in the Hebrew text, and in a slightly different way in the Greek text, and the NT author preferred the Greek text.

If we were to allow your assertion that there are quotations from the LXX in the New Testament
First, let's be clear that it's not a small time contractor from California with a degree in agriculture that's making this claim. This claim is made by 99% of people who've studied the issue.

then what would be your point? Some claim that the NT quotes from the Apocrypha. Should we then include the Apocrypha in the Canon as well?
I'm using this admittedly complex tack to show why no large denomination holding to the WCF requires or expects officer candidates to make an exemption to 1.8 based on the AVer interpretation of history.

I am still awaiting the copy of Hoskier.
Thanks, and in the mean time, I would still be very interested in finding out whether any of those 23 people who voted yes would also require officer candidates to make exception to 1.8 based on a man's belief that some parts of the OT contained Aramaic writings that are Authentic.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Thanks, and in the mean time, I would still be very interested in finding out whether any of those 23 people who voted yes would also require officer candidates to make exception to 1.8 based on a man's belief that some parts of the OT contained Aramaic writings that are Authentic.

Interesting question, but not quite the same. The question concerns the apographs, and they had the same Hebrew text that we have today. There's no ambiguity: we know what they meant. The fact that there is Aramaic intermixed in some portions does not undermine that anymore than the few Aramaic words in Mark's gospel undermine the fact that the New Testament is written in Greek.

Or do you disagree?

-----Added 12/16/2008 at 01:39:22 EST-----

Also, I think there is some confusion and speaking past one another between you (Tim) and some others: they are simply saying (I believe) that using LXX wording (or wording similar thereunto) to represent the Hebrew is not the same as "quoting" a Greek "text." It is using familiar wording to "quote" a Hebrew "text."

Whether or not you agree with that statement is another matter; it seems very clear that this is how the Reformers and Westminster Divines thought.

Do you agree that they thought this (whether or not you think they were right or wrong to do so)?
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Going back to my post #154, TimV is right that it at least appears I am claiming Keil and Delitzsch supported my view re the LXX, whereas that is not so. My claim in fact was they concurred with other commentators that in Psalm 14:1–3 the LXX’s reading came from Romans via Christian scribes, and not the other way around, i.e., from the LXX into Romans. And that the only extant copies of the LXX are what we have from these "Christian scribes". We do not have whatever existed in the days of Christ. And my remarks pertained to one case study. My fault in not being more precise.

And TimV's insistence on precision of words used – and their definitions – is really right on. As is his demand for the integrity of evidences presented. I appreciate being held accountable to high standards like that.

He has a good point re Edersheim's use of the word "dialect"; however, that other commentators use it in much the same sense ought to give one pause in going after him as "sloppy". Yet, after interacting with Tim, I would prefer to see it written, "Aramaic a dialect of the Hebrews", or "Aramaic a dialect of the Semitic languages".

Re Edersheim's views of the LXX, they do not concur with mine, but his views of what language Christ spoke to the Pharisees, priests, and scribes do. It is very rare we find those who agree with us in all things! For instance, Edersheim was persuaded by Westcott (his commentary on John) that the Pericope De Adultera was not genuine, but, after reading Burgon's defense of the last twelve verses of Mark, that that portion of Scripture was genuine. A mixed bag.

Incidentally, Hermonta, I do believe that the New Testament does not quote the Greek O.T. where it differs from the original Hebrew. There are other explanations for the apparent similarities, which is one of the reasons I posted the Psalm 14:3 thing.

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Rob,

I think you set a bad example and precedent on this already volatile forum by calling James White names: "lackey", "intellectually dishonest". To publicly demean an elder and pastor in the church of Christ, charging him with wrongdoing because he does not concur with your understanding of textual issues, and because he does not return your (and others') emails to concede a point (valid though it be), is to violate many Biblical commands, the first and foremost that we are to deal with one another in love. R.C. Sproul, in his Developing Christian Character audio series, teaches on the concept of Judgment of Charity, whereby we seek to put the best "spin" on an opponent's perceived shortcomings rather than the worst, unless irrefutable evidence demands otherwise. I am as aware of Dr. White's views and writings re the KJV, the TR, and the CT as you, and yet I could go have a meal with him and enjoy fellowship. What's the difference between you and me in this? Though he and I disagree strongly on the textual issue (and baptism!), he is my brother, and a godly man. I will not put a bad spin on his motives or reasons re his approach to evidences in the textual debate, as there is something more important than such issues the Lord said we had to observe, and that is to love one another as He loves us. Is that just syrupy religious talk, or a demand of the Holy One?

There is a way of disagreeing – and of protesting error – without violating the commandment: "Speak not evil one of another" (James 4:11). To tear down another's reputation, especially a pastor's, and that in public for all the world to see (as this is an open forum) is a form of spiritual murder (1 John 3:15). There is a concealed (though not very well) hostility – hatred is not too strong a word for it – toward the person verbally abused.

Which brings me to the matter of marginalizing brethren due to their differing beliefs. I have in mind here the "KJV onlies" to whom, so it has been said, it is appropriate – "natural" – to be "sarcastic, dismissive and even contemptuous". To relegate someone to marginal status is to place them at the outer edge or lowest level of the social order. Ethnic groups have been marginalized by racist bigots, women by misogynists, the poor by the rich, and in the church of the Holy One those of differing views of the Bible by their opponents. That Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger do this to those who do not hold to the KJV is a disgrace and a sin. That some in the Presbyterian and Reformed churches do this to the KJV folks is worse, because of the greater spiritual light (which the doctrines of grace bring) and understanding of the Gospel of Grace we have.

To marginalize brothers and sisters whose Protector and Elder Brother is the One who poured out His life's blood on the cross for them is, beyond wickedness, foolishness, as such folly cries out for chastening.

There is a command, the second greatest of all the Law of God, and which the King emphasized when He said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Jesus spoke on this again, through the mouth of His apostle,

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (1 John 3:14).​

Knowledge means nothing if one is devoid of genuine affection for his brothers. It is more like the devil waxing wise with a gloat of superiority, sarcastic, dismissive and contemptuous to the Savior's little brothers.

Contempt: lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. The feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless.

To marginalize people is to say they have no worth, and no standing among those who are "in".

The Lord says that we may have great knowledge (and brilliant intelligence), but if it is without love, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:2). Like a devil. Full of knowledge – and death.

Love edifies, and if a man loves God (more than himself), the same is known of him: for he who loves God loves his brother also. And if a man say, "I love God" and hates his brother, he is a liar (1 Cor 8:1, 3; 1 John 4:21, 20).

The world looks and sees the meanness and go-for-the-jugular spirit over the issue of what is the best Scripture of the God of love and holiness and no doubt says, "What a house of clever devils – see how they hate one another!"

We all have our gross failings, immaturities, and sins, the Presbyterians and Reformed, as well as the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, the Critical / Eclectic Text advocates, and the King James advocates – we all are wretched at heart in one way or another, and we all need undeserved favor, all camps of the Lord's people, one no less than all the others.

All this to say, I am grieved when I am supposed to be having a conversation about things holy, and yet the spirit of the conversation is unholy, "descended not from above, but earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15).
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Yet, after interacting with Tim, I would prefer to see it written, "Aramaic a dialect of the Hebrews", or "Aramaic a dialect of the Semitic languages".
I appreciate your gracious language as always, but there are no living scholars that specialise in the subject that agree with you. Whether Edersheim et. al. were sloppy or not specialists or whether language has changed from their days, no living person of note calls Aramaic a dialect of Hebrew. Whether it was 600 years before Christ
2Ki 18:26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.
During the time of Christ or today, they are not, in 21st century English dialects of each other. Even softening it to "Aramaic a dialect of the Hebrews" is incorrect. Rather, as all the three scholars currently in the field that I've quoted on this thread have said, "Palestinian Aramaic, a dialect of Aramaic spoken by several ethnic groups in New Testament times in Palestine, mutually unintelligible with any form of Hebrew ever spoken".
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Yet, after interacting with Tim, I would prefer to see it written, "Aramaic a dialect of the Hebrews", or "Aramaic a dialect of the Semitic languages".
I appreciate your gracious language as always, but there are no living scholars that specialise in the subject that agree with you.

I think this is too harsh, Tim. Unless I'm missing something, Steve is not claiming that Aramaic is a dialect of the Hebrew language.

As to whether we can call it a "dialect of the Hebrews", I guess all you would need are some Israelites who speak it to call it that, at least informally. I think we can safely assert this much.

As to calling Aramaic and Hebrew co-dialects of a wider Semitic language family, I think we already agreed that was a valid current use of the word. (EDIT -- with the clear understanding that that use of "dialects" denotes entirely separate languages.)
 
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Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
I appreciate that, but my point has to do with how a person evaluates evidence. If virtually all of orthodox scholarship is unanimous, including sources Steve himself quotes from to make his case, I'm under no obligation to treat revisionist literature as having the same value as the overwhelming bulk of orthodox evidence. K&D would have been shocked to have learned that their names were brought up to support a position the opposite of which they believed.

Tim,

The "revisionist" position is the critical schools which the majority of scholarship holds to.

The Protestant scholastic defense of the New Testament doesn't arise until after Calvin and Beza's work (theological and textual) had solidified the "Received Text" as not just a publishers advertisement by the Elezevirs in 1623 but as an objective reality upon which Tyndales translation is based, the Great Bible of King Henry the VIII, the Geneva Bible of the Puritans, the Bishops Bible and the Authorized Version.

Tregelles notes:

"Beza's text was during his life in very general use among Protestants; they seemed to feel that enough had been done to establish it, and they relied on it as giving them a firm basis....After the appearance of the texts of Stephanus and Beza, many Protestants ceased from all inquiry into the authorities on which the text of the New Testament in their hands was based." Samuel Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament with Remarks on its Revision upon Critical Principles, 1854, p 33 - 35​

As soon as publishing had distributed this work far and wide it became the Protestant standard and continued for three centuries, not based upon ignorance, but because the other view being championed came directly from the Tridentine attack upon the Reformation. What were initially textual matters, when coupled to the polemic against Romanism, became highly charged doctrinal matters. In the historical Reformed position on the texts and their orientation to them, the texts behind the modern critical school of thought don't pose a problem, they enhance and support it.

The historical Romanist position on the texts, today, has become the majority position held to and taught by the schools. This is simply a historical fact, not to imply that one that holds to the critical text also holds to popish doctrines. Rather that the textual position originates there and it is counter-reformational in it's scope and intent. It was specifically developed to attack the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and deny it as a valid doctrinal position asserting the Magisterium as Authoritative. While the modern schools don't champion the Magisterium today, they do champion scholars and scholarship, or man's wisdom, as being Authoritative - hence, it poses the same threat.

We are given a revisionist representation of Protestant history from modern critical schools that our Protestant father's, such as John Calvin and Theodore Beza, had no other option but to use the Received Text. That they didn’t have the evidence we do today, and on and on, when in fact they did - they just didn’t have the quantity of evidence, the quantity of which has only amplified with greater numerical preponderance the text type deliberately chosen by Eramus, Stephanus and Beza. The modern claims simply aren’t true but are fanciful misrepresentations, and their continual work since the pillars of Wescott and Hort fell, have proved the Protestant text.

Once Rome began appealing to Greek manuscripts that supported their traditions and novel teachings, which was in contradiction to the Reformers claim of Ad Fonte, as was exhibited to them by the Council of Trent with Vaticanus and Codex D then, and I’m quoting Theodore Letis: “Protestants would have to realize that not just any Greek document would serve their purpose, not even a very old one! Now they would have to be even more careful in basing their editions on the most objectively compelling evidence. It was the majority of documents concurring with each other that offered such security. And documents that exhibited features of eccentricity would now be all the more suspect. Since Calvin returned to Erasmus and Stephanus coupled with Beza’s adverse sentiments on Coline’s edition, a consensus has probably been reached to avoid an edition that had an unhealthy independence.”

I was trying to use a less inflammatory word then conspiracy theorists, so I picked revisionist, which isn't really good either. I want a word to describe what the overwhelming number of Bible scholars hold to, and a word which describes what a very small minority hold to.

The word you're looking for in reference to the majority is Enlightenment Criticism, the minority hold to Sacred Criticism, the two have a completely different orientation to the issues.

Instead of continually accusing people or using disparaging language and presentations to make assertions, that seem in the main to be based upon a lack of knowledge, maybe you could consider trying to understand that the two different camps hold to two different presuppositions and orientations to the issues involved.

Repeatedly stating that our position is wrong because we don't hold to your presupposition doesn't prove anything - we have and will continually try to explain that we don't hold to your presupposition because we believe it is a wrong presupposition.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Thomas,

That they didn’t have the evidence we do today, and on and on, when in fact they did - they just didn’t have the quantity of evidence, the quantity of which has only amplified with greater numerical preponderance the text type deliberately chosen by Eramus, Stephanus and Beza.

Either you are arguing for a majority text approach to textual criticism, e.g. the work of Hodges/Farstad, Robinson/Pierpont, or I'm not sure what you are saying above. To put it another way, the above does not seem to be compatible with the TR priority view. Could you clarify where you're coming from here?

The modern claims simply aren’t true but are fanciful misrepresentations, and their continual work since the pillars of Wescott and Hort fell, have proved the Protestant text.

I believe the pillars are quite intact. While nobody uses W&H's Greek NT anymore for translating, their core principles of textual criticism have been extremely widely adopted in the field. A huge number of Christians today use a translation of scripture based on the tradition of textual criticism they pioneered.

If widespread use in the Church -- no, let's narrow it even further, and say widespread use in the Reformed churches -- indicates God's special favor on a translation or a composite critical NT text, then the NIV, ESV, and NASB are surely favored by God by being put to work in the trenches of ministry all over the world. Not to mention the work of Bible translators such as those trained by and affiliated with Tyndale, where you also find wide use of the UBS Greek NT.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
What a great post Thomas!! Mega-Dittos!

-----Added 12/16/2008 at 05:08:24 EST-----

I believe the pillars are quite intact. While nobody uses W&H's Greek NT anymore for translating, their core principles of textual criticism have been extremely widely adopted in the field. A huge number of Christians today use a translation of scripture based on the tradition of textual criticism they pioneered.

That's the issue that I have. The textual criticism methods they used. The supposed 'neutrality' position.

And how it relates to WCF 1.8 is giving me pause to seriously consider it, in ways I haven't before.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Hello:

Mr. Rafalsky wrote:

Rob,

I think you set a bad example and precedent on this already volatile forum by calling James White names: "lackey", "intellectually dishonest". To publicly demean an elder and pastor in the church of Christ, charging him with wrongdoing because he does not concur with your understanding of textual issues, and because he does not return your (and others') emails to concede a point (valid though it be), is to violate many Biblical commands, the first and foremost that we are to deal with one another in love. R.C. Sproul, in his Developing Christian Character audio series, teaches on the concept of Judgment of Charity, whereby we seek to put the best "spin" on an opponent's perceived shortcomings rather than the worst, unless irrefutable evidence demands otherwise. I am as aware of Dr. White's views and writings re the KJV, the TR, and the CT as you, and yet I could go have a meal with him and enjoy fellowship. What's the difference between you and me in this? Though he and I disagree strongly on the textual issue (and baptism!), he is my brother, and a godly man. I will not put a bad spin on his motives or reasons re his approach to evidences in the textual debate, as there is something more important than such issues the Lord said we had to observe, and that is to love one another as He loves us. Is that just syrupy religious talk, or a demand of the Holy One?

There is a way of disagreeing – and of protesting error – without violating the commandment: "Speak not evil one of another" (James 4:11). To tear down another's reputation, especially a pastor's, and that in public for all the world to see (as this is an open forum) is a form of spiritual murder (1 John 3:15). There is a concealed (though not very well) hostility – hatred is not too strong a word for it – toward the person verbally abused.
Thank you, Steve, for that exhortation. The command for brotherly love is not one that is irrelevant or syrupy. However, we should not make the command "syrupy." I have not listened to RC Sproul's series, but I do know that love can seem harsh, and use harsh language as a means of Reformation. Jesus does so with Peter, "Get behind me Satan," and also with the Syro-Phonecian woman - calling her a "dog."

As far as James White is concerned - he is a public figure who has made public (and erroneous) statments. As I have mentioned earlier I have sought to deal with this privately. However, dealing with public statements publically is not wrong. Apparently, you think it appropriate to chastise me in this public forum? Are you violating your own standards?

James 4:11 is not exactly saying what you are intending it to say - since you have made this "public" I will also deal with it publically. The whole passage reads:

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Have I judged James White to eternal damnation? If I came across as such, then I will repent in dust and ashes, and fast for 2 days. The key here is "speak evil of his brother." If I have born false witness against my brother, than again, I will repent in dust and ashes. As I have mentioned before - it is not uncharitable if it is true.

Christ publically denounced the Scribes and Pharisees. Paul publically denounced Peter, as well as the Sinner in Corinth. Matthew Henry:

The Christians to whom James wrote were apt to speak very hard things of one another, because of their differences about indifferent things. "Now," says the apostle, "he who censures and condemns his brother for not agreeing with him in those things which the law of God has left indifferrent thereby censures and condemns the law, as if it had done ill in leaving them indifferent. He who quarrels with his brother, and condemns him for the sake of any thing not determined in the word of God, does thereby reflect on that word of God, as if it were not a perfect rule. Let us take heed of judging the law, for the law of the Lord is perfect; if men break the law, leave that to judge them; if they do not break it, let us not judge them."
I am glad that you have fellowship with Dr. White, that you sat down and ate a meal with him, and that you may have an influence over him for good. I also ate with him, listened to him preach in a church in person, and I even drove him to one of his lectures when I was living on Long Island.

However, he is a man whose teaching ministry reaches thousands, and, on this subject, he is, consciously or unconsciously, turning many people astray on a matter that is vital to True Religion - the Text of the Scriptures. To blow the trumpet in Zion, to sound the horn that false teachings are being promoted in the Church does not fall under the auspices of "good manners." Psalm 139:21.

If you are at all implying that James White is my elder, and that I must submit to him, then I think you need to read up on ecclesialogy. James White is not my elder, and, if he applied for eldership in my church I would vote against him, because I do not believe he is qualified.

I respect Dr. White for his work on Mormons, Roman Catholics, and Muslims. In these areas he has done marvelous work, and has promoted the gospel of Jesus Christ among them on a level I may never reach. Textual Criticism is the bath water of his theology.

It is a grief to me whenever I hear him speak on such a matter.

After saying, "Judge not lest ye be Judged" Jesus tells us to "Give not what is Holy to the dogs - nor cast your pearls before swine," which requires us to make a judgment about people.

Maybe you can help me with a matter: How does Christ, Paul, and Peter use "harsh" sounding language - yet fail to violate James 4:11?

You have thrown more aspersions at me, and have "judged" me more than anything I have done to James White - why all the hostility?

Grace and Peace,

Rob
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Gentlemen, may I suggest we redirect the thread back to the applicability of textual criticism to the "kept pure in all ages" teaching of the Confession?

Anybody have another observation related to that?

Here's one:

The letter of that principle in the WCF is directed at the original language scriptures. However, the spirit of the principle is the recognition that God preserves his scriptures for the use of his church in all ages. If we believe that, and we recognize that the CT (Critical Text) is coming into widespread use by millions and millions of Christians, including many Reformed believers, doesn't it become easier for us to grant the legitimacy of the CT?

I keep harping on this, because I have interacted with Reformed brothers of the TR tradition who seem to argue for the TR's primacy because it was in such wide use during the Reformation, even if they can't provide a text-critical justification for every reading. But if God grants similar widespread use to the Critical Text, shouldn't it make us all take pause, and ask the question about whether the Spirit of God is favoring the text by putting it to work? (I know I'm repeating myself now, sorry.)
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
I think you may be too far divorcing the meaning from the literal statement: besides, since the very foundation of the CT is that the text has not been kept pure in all ages and must be rediscovered, I think your proposal would be a hard argument to make.

The problem lies in that what is being so widely used now is not any text which was kept pure or received by the church; it was constructed (and that by the academy, and not the church, I might add).

(I used to hold a [roughly] similar position to what you're advocating)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
All we have to do is to show that during the time of Christ there was

a) a parallel situation with our own, where there was more than one textual tradition
b)and that both of these varying texts were quoted by NT authors

to prove that the Word of God has been kept pure through all ages, but not in one, single, volume that somebody could specifically point to.

Then why don't you meet your own burden of proof? Surely it can't be that difficult to show just one place where the NT penmen "quoted" a "Greek text," especially considering how dogmatically certain you seem about the whole thing. Quoting from some authority won't do; please demonstrate it from the text of the NT itself.
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
I think you may be too far divorcing the meaning from the literal statement: besides, since the very foundation of the CT is that the text has not been kept pure in all ages and must be rediscovered, I think your proposal would be a hard argument to make.

The problem lies in that what is being so widely used now is not any text which was kept pure or received by the church; it was constructed (and that by the academy, and not the church, I might add).

(I used to hold a [roughly] similar position to what you're advocating)

How many of the readings from the CT are from manuscripts the church hasn't had wide access to for much of its history?

In many cases, the CT simply deletes what are regarded as later interpolations; certain readings which, in the opinion of the editors, are merely scribal glosses improperly elevated to text status. Thus in many, many places, the CT is wholly contained within the TR. So the problem isn't quite as stark as it might sound at first blush.

Is that a fair observation?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As noted earlier, even if it could be proved that the NT "quotes" from a "Greek text" (which is still far from being established), the fact would still remain that the NT expressly adopts Hebrew MT readings over and against the so-called LXX. E.g., Matt 11:29 adopts the saying of Jer 6:16 in the Hebrew, "rest," not the Septuagint, which reads "purification." That being the case, if the NT gives credence to a translation by quoting a Greek text, by the same force of evidence it removes the possibility of appealing to this other textual tradition as primary, only affording it a secondary place behind the authentic Hebrew text.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Isaiah 29 13-14 Septuagint
And the Lord has said, [e] This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.
Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: and [f] I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent.

Same passage Hebrew ESV

Isa 29:13 And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
Isa 29:14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden."

From Mark 7 ESV
Mar 7:6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Mar 7:7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Mar 7:8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."

If the what Christ said in the above verse, and remember He said He was quoting Isaiah, did He only draw on the Hebrew text?

To those who have been patiently following, please look at this through the prism of God "kept pure His Word in all ages" but not necessarily in one single manuscript. Christ quoted Isaiah. What Isaiah really said, and and the words He used are not all found in the Hebrew. Some are recorded in the Greek translation as well. So the words are all there, but one has to use more than one text to find them.

Now look at it through the prism of the AVer theory, that one single manuscript tradition contained the Word of God in "all ages" including the time of Christ.

Which makes more sense?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If the what Christ said in the above verse, and remember He said He was quoting Isaiah, did He only draw on the Hebrew text?

To those who have been patiently following, please look at this through the prism of God "kept pure His Word in all ages" but not necessarily in one single manuscript. Christ quoted Isaiah. What Isaiah really said, and and the words He used are not all found in the Hebrew. Some are recorded in the Greek translation as well. So the words are all there, but one has to use more than one text to find them.

Now look at it through the prism of the AVer theory, that one single manuscript tradition contained the Word of God in "all ages" including the time of Christ.

First, there is no proof that a Greek text is quoted; it may have been a Greek Targum tradition.

Secondly, you assume the words of Christ are not found in the Hebrew of Isaiah. There is no reason why the original Hebrew might not be understood as including the nuance which is included in the Greek rendering of the Gospel; it is afterall an eastern language being translated into a western language, and therefore allows great scope as to how to convey the meaning of the original.

Thirdly, even supposing that the the Gospel "quotes" a "Greek text," this adds nothing to our knowledge of variant textual traditions, because the Greek attempts to translate the Hebrew. It therefore falls under the category of "versions," not of mss., so far as text-critical theory is concerned. And with regards to the TR, there is undoubted support amongst the versions for its textual tradition. Hence, just as the Greek text often supports the Hebrew text, so also versions might be used as support for the TR.
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Tim, I thought some thoughts from older Reformed divines regarding the LXX might be useful, since you find this quite important to the topic.


Paul,

What has not been pointed out in this thread is that the Protestant position on the Greek New Testament is derived from the Protestant position on the Hebrew as the Providentially Preserved fountain of the Old Testament. Hence, the Protestant position on the New Testament was a necessary emphasis and consequence derived from the former.

Louis Cappel raised both the issue of the late origin of the vowel points and the related methodological premise of the correction of the Masoretic Text on the basis of ancient versions such as the Vaticanus. This resulted in explosive debates because it impugned the doctrinal implications on the Protestant insistence on the authority of the text in its original tongue and the way in which the text itself provided certainty in theological knowledge.

The opponents of the Protestant text understand this very well, it is modern Protestant themselves that are ignorant of the issues and debates that existed during the Reformation and scholastic defense that resulted and what that means to the standing of the Received Text and its Confessional Defense.

The historic Protestant defense against the Romanist textual arguments of variants not altering any essential doctrine, has been turned on it's head in direct contradiction to the necessity of a controversy of religion. It's really a quite ingenious attack upon the Protestants and has worked very well to undermine them. Muller notes this problem:

"Examination of the documents of the seventeenth century leads us ineluctably to the conclusion that normative Protestantism itself, because of its theological rootedness in the text of Scripture, was as much responsible for the rise of the critical method as it was for the eventual dogmatic opposition to that method. Indeed, the seventeenth century witnessed an "orthodox" development of critical tools and, accordingly, an increasing worry on the part of those same orthodox over the connection between text and doctrine - whereas only in the eighteenth century, with the increasing dominance of rationalism and deism, do we find a crystallization of orthodox opposition to the results of textual and what eventually became historical criticism." PRRD, Vol 2, p 127​

Contrary to Tim's insistence, the historical Protestant position as we have inherited it, has been opposition to the results of textual and historical criticism. A crystallization of that opposition is stated in positive terms in the Westminster Confession of Faith and can only be understood connected to the refined development of Protestantism.

In 1684 Humphrey Hody, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford University, proved that the Letter of Aristreas, from which the legend of the Septuagint is derived, is fraudulent:

"The Letter's [of Aristreas] reputation was finally destroyed, thoroughly and effectively, by Humphrey Hody.....[he] is clear from the title page onward: the very first word of his title is "Contra," and the title goes on to say "in which it is demonstrated that [the Letter] was forged by some Jew in order to give authority to the Greek version." Wasserstein, Legend of the Septuagint, p. 254, Dec 13, 2005​

These things have all been hashed out in numerous other threads and are long settled issues in Protestant history, no one has ever overturned Humphrey's work - the arguments have only resurfaced being "repackaged" as "scientific" text critical issues.

Simply, I don't believe in the legend of the Septuagint, while I do recognize and believe a Greek Old Testament was translated, I don't know where it came from, when, or who did it - nor do I have any source of information concerning its textual transmission and necessary variants. By dogmatically asserting that Christ and the Apostles quoted from this document, then the fundamental principle of the issue of the textual variants and the Protestant opposition to it are swept under the rug. The reason is self evident, by assuming that Christ and the Apostle's quoted from the Septuagint they then validate via "Scripture" their presuppositional approach to the text. Hence, this translation is not merely authoritative "quoad res" but "quoad verba" - undermining the Protestant position on Providential Preservation. This is "argument of silence" because it is assumed the Greek Old Testament is devoid of any textual variants and is the foundational buttress of the critical presupposition that the New Testament was altered by Christians in favor of orthodoxy.

The Protestant position was that someone did engage in post-Apostolic alteration of the Greek Old Testament possibily in order to provide doctrinal continuity with the New Testament, but not the other way around. After all, the Greek Old Testament is merely a translation and is subjective to the Hebrew, the language of Providential Preservation of the Old Testament.

Since modern Reformed Christians that hold to modern critical views don't carry them out doctrinally, they defend themselves by applying the Protestant defense against the historical Protestant position, apparently not fully realizing that ultimately the doctrines cannot maintain their prior position.

The main issue was and is today, that the authority of Scripture stands prior to that of tradition and church; this authority rests on the work of God whose Word and Spirit both ground the authority of the text and presently witness through the text rendering it autopistos. Modern Protestants accept the enlightenment premise of segretation of theology from text critical issues (reason), hence they can affirm - theologically - that the critical text is autopistos. However, principally reason is set free from Scripture as the cognitive foundation of theology. The result is the inversion of the epistemological pattern of Reformed orthodoxy.

It should be self-evident that the doctrine of Scripture, based upon the full meaning of Providential Preservation which includes the textual issues, cannot be separated from exposition and interpretation of Scripture.

Ultimately, the intent of the Westminster Confession of Faith's doctrine of Scripture is to maintain the high orthodox view of Authority of Scripture as being prior to the doctrine of God. It is, moreover, the negation of this premise championed today by the critical schools that carries forth the segregation of theology from knowledge and asserts to place the doctrine of God within the bounds of philosophy. As a result Sola Scriptura no longer holds its prior position and has become Solo Scriptura - the continual decline of Protestant orthodoxy is assured. Scripture becomes increasingly relativized.

The only hope that I can see for the return of Protestant orthodoxy is for Protestants to return to the historic principle of Scripture being prior to the doctrine of God, this necessitates abandoning the philosophy of the critical schools. If the historic Protestant principles of authority and certainty of Scripture as the foundation of knowledge are to be maintained, reason must be reduced to the instrument of argumentation, not the foundation of knowledge.

Cordially,

Thomas
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Thomas,

Thank you for your detailed and courteous thoughts on the matter.

Let me ask you this: do you regard the embracing of the CT as dangerous to our orthodoxy because:

1. It involves (in your opinion) denying the principle of "pure preservation", and thus is a matter of principle, even if not of pragmatism.

2. The doctrine that can be gleaned from the CT is corrupted doctrine, not "pure" due to the corruptions of the text.

3. Both #1 and #2.

If you choose either #2 or #3, then could you given an example of a sound doctrine that has been corrupted in the CT -- i.e. it cannot be proved from the CT, though it is taught in the TR which was allegedly uniquely kept pure.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If you choose either #2 or #3, then could you given an example of a sound doctrine that has been corrupted in the CT -- i.e. it cannot be proved from the CT, though it is taught in the TR which was allegedly uniquely kept pure.

Given the season of the year, let's consider Luke 2:14. Should we really suppose that the peace of the gospel only comes to men of good-will?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
If you choose either #2 or #3, then could you given an example of a sound doctrine that has been corrupted in the CT -- i.e. it cannot be proved from the CT, though it is taught in the TR which was allegedly uniquely kept pure.

Given the season of the year, let's consider Luke 2:14. Should we really suppose that the peace of the gospel only comes to men of good-will?


Might we not rather say, along with every major CT-based translation, that the good will is God's, not men's?

ESV Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

NAU Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Not the easiest translation, but I would presume that we would not think that the peace of the gospel comes to all men either, now would we?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Might we not rather say, along with every major CT-based translation, that the good will is God's, not men's?

ESV Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

NAU Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Not the easiest translation, but I would presume that we would not think that the peace of the gospel comes to all men either, now would we?

As someone once commented, if you can get that translation out of those words then a man can make the Greek say anything.

The Vulgate, which represents this textual tradition, has good-will in the genitive. There is no escaping this basic meaning.

The sense of the original (preserved) reading is well noted by Calvin: "This passage is not correctly understood as referring to the acceptance of grace. The angels rather speak of it as the source of peace, and thus inform us that peace is a free gift, and flows from the pure mercy of God."
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
As someone once commented, if you can get that translation out of those words then a man can make the Greek say anything.

The Vulgate, which represents this textual tradition, has good-will in the genitive. There is no escaping this basic meaning.

The sense of the original (preserved) reading is well noted by Calvin: "This passage is not correctly understood as referring to the acceptance of grace. The angels rather speak of it as the source of peace, and thus inform us that peace is a free gift, and flows from the pure mercy of God."

After you posted that, I remembered and had to go look up a nice little "Exegetical Insight" by Verlyn Verbrugge in Mounce's intro Greek book that spoke to this very issue. It's on page 43 of the Basics of Biblical Greek. In Dr. Verbrugge's opinion, the text arguably moves in the direction of orthodoxy, by restricting the "peace" to those on whom [God's] favor rests, instead of goodwill to [all] men. In other words, the opposite of your opinion vis-a-vis the TR reading and monergistic orthodoxy.

So, let's suppose just for the sake of argument that the translators of the NIV, ESV, NASB, etc. are competent in the Greek and know what they are doing.

Do you have another text?
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
After you posted that, I remembered and had to go look up a nice little "Exegetical Insight" by Verlyn Verbrugge in Mounce's intro Greek book that spoke to this very issue. It's on page 43 of the Basics of Biblical Greek. In Dr. Verbrugge's opinion, the text arguably moves in the direction of orthodoxy, by restricting the "peace" to those on whom [God's] favor rests, instead of goodwill to [all] men. In other words, the opposite of your opinion vis-a-vis the TR reading and monergistic orthodoxy.

One must reconstruct Greek grammar to make it fit that translation. As Godet comments, "this use of the genitive is singularly rude, and almost barbarous; the men of goodwill, meaning those on whom goodwill rests..., is a mode of expression without any example."
 

TsonMariytho

Puritan Board Freshman
[friendly sarcasm]
Fortunately, the authors of the New Testament never use any Greek that is regarded in the wider world of Classical Greek as "rude" or "ill-formed".
[/friendly sarcasm]

I recall a passage of C. S. Lewis where he remarked that he hadn't really spent a lot of effort on trying to read the Bible in Greek. Don't recall where it was, but the tenor of his remarks was that the NT authors' use of the language is very different from the classical form he was accustomed to.

Beyond that, the individual authors of the NT vary from one another in their style and facility with the language -- just as every author differs somewhat.

This specific reading in the CT wasn't chosen due to its elegance of expression, it was chosen because that's how the selected manuscripts read. That all the modern translations we've cited follow a theologically acceptable reading refutes the idea that this reading is corrupting us somehow.

If you are still in doubt, here's the leading edge of liberal scholarship:

14‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’* (NRSV)​

(Note that the NRSV footnote above references the TR reading, not the unorthodox alternate translation you suggested.)

Next example, please? :^)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If that is the leading edge of liberal scholarship it well explains why I am no liberal; it is daft.

I think Luke 2:14 is a good example of the nonsense of choosing the most difficult reading as an internal criterion. Sometimes it can lead to absurd readings, which no one can make sense of. Excepting of course the Douay-Rheims, which translates literally.
 
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