What is the authentic New Testament text?

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This is a continuation from the thread, “Why do KJ Only types believe the Westcott and Hort manuscripts are bad?”, which got rather long, and so we are getting a fresh start.

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Matt G. (in a post below) suggested I introduce by way of a brief synopsis the contents of this thread at the beginning of it, and I think that is a good idea.

1. Initially we look at Wilbur Pickering’s view in his classic Majority Text defense, The Identity of the New Testament Text, at charts he uses to illustrate his points, and his data concerning what is called the Critical Text vis-à-vis the MT.

2. I make it clear that Pickering is not a King James or Textus Receptus (1894 Trinitarian Bible Society edition, which Scrivener constructed from the various Greek MSS to show the Greek text that underlies the KJV) advocate.

3. I quote from Jack Moorman’s, Forever Settled: A Survey of the Documents And History of the Bible , to give light on the matter of “family trees” in the textual transmission.

4. I express my displeasure at what I perceive is the desire of some to get me to interact with James White on these issues before I am ready, as I have stated I want to get more of his material so as to study and interact with that first (such as concerning 1 John 5:7, and his book on the KJO Controversy). I then apologize for assuming motives in this, which was wrong of me.

5. I talk of presuppositional views compared with an evidential approach to determining the text, of a theological approach compared with a supposedly “neutral scientific” one.

6. I bring in Maurice Robinson and Wm. Pierpont’s views from their Introduction in THE NEW TESTAMENT IN THE ORIGINAL GREEK?ACCORDING TO THE BYZANTINE / MAJORITY TEXTFORM. I supply links to this and others works where they are available, urging people to download them, as both links and books disappear (as some links have indeed gone since I posted them).

7. I interact with James A. Price’s online article, “The King James Only View of Edward F. Hills”, countering in-depth and detail his critique of E.F. Hills’ views.

8. Some thoughts and Scripture are brought to bear on the matter of providential preservation of God’s word, with an in-depth look at the translation of Psalm 12:6, 7, which is poorly handled in many versions.

9. An in-depth look at Erasmus, his character, beliefs, and part in the transmission of the NT text.

10. While continuing with Price, I begin to bring in the work of Dr. Theodore Letis and the book he edited and contributed to, The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate. Especially pertinent is the issue, which both Price and Daniel Wallace (mentioned below) bring up, of presuppositions vs. evidences. We see Letis treat in-depth “our intention to raise the old issue of presuppositions and to underscore the fact that this debate is not one between experts with data and non-experts with dogma, but rather one between experts with the same data, but different dogma—the dogma of neutrality versus the dogma of providence…”

11. After being told by my discussion partner in these matters, that text critic Dr. Daniel Wallace refuted one of the essayists I quoted from in Letis’ book, I give a link to Wallace’s essay and critique that.

12. After that I begin to look at Ted Letis’ works in detail and depth, first his aforementioned book, and then his later The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority and the Popular Mind, discussing various of his essays.

I have just finished this latter work of Letis (Sept. 26, 2006), and have a few remaining comments on it, and then shall refocus on the view of the JKV/TR this thread is primarily about. I have recently received James White’s newer book on the Bible, Scripture Alone: Exploring The Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, And Authenticity, which I shall review, as well as his earlier book, The King James Only Controversy. It will no doubt take me a little time to read these carefully, so the thread may (as far as I know) be inactive a while. After which I hope to sum up what I consider a cogent defense of the KJV/TR, the Lord granting me to live that long and keep my wits about me.


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Chris Mangum had asked, “Can anyone provide a timeline showing when the manuscripts were found/developed? This would help the many who are new to this debate.”

As I have discovered how to insert an image into a post, I will present a sort of “family tree” of Text types, so as to give an idea of how the various MSS lend support to them, as well as their approximate respective dates. I got this from E.F. Hills’, Believing Bible Study, 1977 edition (available at Bible For Today, I believe), and I saw it also in Jack Moorman’s, Forever Settled: A Survey of the Documents And History of the Bible (NJ, Dean Burgon Society 1999). This online version is excellent, missing only the illustrations and diagrams. For those interested in an overview of the textual materials, it is worth downloading the entire contents and keeping them in a file!

[for some reason the links for the book just above and the one just below are not showing, but clicking on the titles will take you to the online versions; likewise in the following post for “chap. 5” – this is the case further down also; titles, sections and chapters are often linked, but not visible]

In the following posts, I will excerpt some remarks from Wilbur N. Pickering’s, The Identity of the New Testament Text II (TIOTNTT), and then attach a graph of his, “Stream of transmission”, first from the 1980 revised edition, and in the following post some updated comments and a slightly modified graph from the newest edition, Jan. 1, 2003. They compliment — add to — each other. The first of these graphs vividly portrays the quantitative aspect of the various manuscripts, dramatically illuminating the unseen realities you may be unaware by just looking at the family tree “Text types” diagram attached below. The second of Pickering’s charts adds some nuances missing in the first, with some updated stats in the written comments accompanying it.


[Edited on 10-16-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Climaxing a detailed discussion of the history of the text (in the chapter of that name, chap. 5), Pickering says,

Now then, what sort of a picture may we expect to find in the surviving witnesses on the assumption that the history of the transmission of the New Testament Text was normal? We may expect a broad spectrum of copies, showing minor differences due to copying mistakes but all reflecting one common tradition. The simultaneous existence of abnormal transmission in the earliest centuries would result in a sprinkling of copies, helter-skelter, outside of that main stream. The picture would look something like Figure C.​
The chart you see attached, "Stream of transmission", is Figure C. Check it out. More in the next post.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just seeing the above graph Figure C you have gotten an idea of the sheer quantity of the Majority Text manuscripts. In the modified Figure C below, taken from the latest edition of TIOTNTT, he shows not the quantity but the types, and you can see the cut in the "cone" where the ravages of Diocletian's attempt to systematically destroy all copies of the Bible impacted the number of MSS extant then. In the next post I will include his remarks after the diagram as (in this edition) they represent the most recent statistics.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Pickering’s remarks (all emphases in his text):

The MSS within the cone represent the "normal" transmission. To the left I have plotted some possible representatives of what we might style the "irresponsible" transmission of the text—the copyists produced poor copies through incompetence or carelessness but did not make deliberate changes. To the right I have plotted some possible representatives of what we might style the "fabricated" transmission of the text—the scribes made deliberate changes in the text (for whatever reasons), producing fabricated copies, not true copies. I am well aware that the MSS plotted on the figure above contain both careless and deliberate errors, in different proportions (7Q5,4,8 and P52 are too fragmentary to permit the classification of their errors as deliberate rather than careless), so that any classification such as I attempt here must be relative and gives a distorted picture. Still, I venture to insist that ignorance, carelessness, officiousness and malice all left their mark upon the transmission of the New Testament text, and we must take account of them in any attempt to reconstruct the history of that transmission.

As the figure suggests, I argue that Diocletian's campaign had a purifying effect upon the stream of transmission. In order to withstand torture rather than give up your MS(S), you would have to be a truly committed believer, the sort of person who would want good copies of the Scriptures. Thus it was probably the more contaminated MSS that were destroyed, in the main, leaving the purer MSS to replenish the earth (please see the section, "Imperial repression of the N.T." in Chapter six).

Another consideration suggests itself—if, as reported, the Diocletian campaign was most fierce and effective in the Byzantine area, the numerical advantage of the "Byzantine" text-type over the "Western" and "Alexandrian" would have been reduced, giving the latter a chance to forge ahead. But it did not happen. The Church, in the main, refused to propagate those forms of the Greek text.

What we find upon consulting the witnesses is just such a picture. We have the Majority Text (Aland), or the Traditional Text (Burgon), dominating the stream of transmission with a few individual witnesses going their idiosyncratic ways. We have already seen that the notion of "text-types" and recensions, as defined and used by Hort and his followers, is gratuitous. Epp's notion of "streams" fares no better. There is just one stream, with a number of small eddies along the edges.[39] When I say the Majority Text dominates the stream, I mean it is represented in about 95% of the MSS.[40]

Actually, such a statement is not altogether satisfactory because it does not allow for the mixture or shifting affinities encountered within individual MSS. A better, though more cumbersome, way to describe the situation would be something like this: 100% of the MSS agree as to, say, 50% of the Text; 99% agree as to another 40%; over 95% agree as to another 4%; over 90% agree as to another 2%; over 80% agree as to another 2%; only for 2% or so of the Text do less than 80% of the MSS agree, and most of those cases occur in Revelation.[41] And the membership of the dissenting group varies from reading to reading. (I will of course be reminded that witnesses are to be weighed, not counted; I will come to that presently, so please bear with me.) Still, with the above reservation, one may reasonably speak of up to 95% of the extant MSS belonging to the Majority text-type.

I see no way of accounting for a 95% (or 90%) domination unless that text goes back to the Autographs. Hort saw the problem and invented a revision. Sturz seems not to have seen the problem. He demonstrates that the "Byzantine text-type" is early and independent of the "Western" and "Alexandrian text-types," and like von Soden, wishes to treat them as three equal witnesses.[42] But if the three "text-types" were equal, how ever could the so-called "Byzantine" gain a 90-95% preponderance?

The argument from statistical probability enters here with a vengeance. Not only do the extant MSS present us with one text form enjoying a 95% majority, but the remaining 5% do not represent a single competing text form. The minority MSS disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority. For any two of them to agree so closely as do P75 and B is an oddity. We are not judging, therefore, between two text forms, one representing 95% of the MSS and the other 5%. Rather, we have to judge between 95% and a fraction of 1% (comparing the Majority Text with the P75,B text form for example). Or to take a specific case, in 1 Tim. 3:16 some 600 Greek MSS (besides the Lectionaries) read "God" while only seven read something else. Of those seven, three have private readings and four agree in reading "who."[43] So we have to judge between 99% and 0.6%, "God" versus "who." It is hard to imagine any possible set of circumstances in the transmissional history sufficient to produce the cataclysmic overthrow in statistical probability required by the claim that "who" is the original reading.

It really does seem that those scholars who reject the Majority Text are faced with a serious problem. How is it to be explained if it does not reflect the Original? Hort's notion of a Lucianic revision has been abandoned by most scholars because of the total lack of historical evidence. The eclecticists are not even trying. The "process" view has not been articulated in sufficient detail to permit refutation, but on the face of it that view is flatly contradicted by the argument from statistical probability.[44] How could any amount of "process" bridge the gap between B or Aleph and the TR?

But there is a more basic problem with the process view. Hort saw clearly, and correctly, that the Majority Text must have a common archetype. Recall that Hort's genealogical method was based on community of error. On the hypothesis that the Majority Text is a late and inferior text form, the large mass of common readings which distinguish it from the so-called "Western" or "Alexandrian text-types" must be errors (which was precisely Hort's contention) and such an agreement in error would have to have a common source. The process view fails completely to account for such an agreement in error (on that hypothesis).

Hort saw the need for a common source and posited a Lucianic revision. Scholars now generally recognize that the "Byzantine text-type" must date back at least into the second century. But what chance would the original "Byzantine" document, the archetype, have of gaining currency when appeal to the Autographs was still possible?

Candidly, there is only one reasonable explanation for the Majority Text that has so far been advanced—it is the result of an essentially normal process of transmission and the common source for its consensus is the Autographs. Down through the centuries of copying, the original text has always been reflected with a high degree of accuracy in the manuscript tradition as a whole. The history of the text presented in this chapter not only accounts nicely for the Majority Text, it also accounts for the inconsistent minority of MSS. They are remnants of the abnormal transmission of the text, reflecting ancient aberrant forms. It is a dependence upon such aberrant forms that distinguishes contemporary critical/eclectic editions of the Greek New Testament, and the modern translations based upon them.

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Footnotes:

[39]One might speak of a P45,W eddy or a P75,B eddy, for example.
[40]Although I have used, of necessity, the term "text-type" throughout the book, I view the Majority Text as being much broader. It is a textual tradition which might be said to include a number of related "text-types," such as von Soden's Ka, Ki, and Kl. I wish to emphasize again that it is only agreement in error that determines genealogical relationships. It follows that the concepts of "genealogy" and "text-type" are irrelevant with reference to original readings—they are only useful (when employed properly) for identifying spurious readings. Well, if there is a family that very nearly reflects the original its "profile" or mosaic of readings will distinguish it from other families, but most of those readings will not be errors (the competing variants distinctive of other families will be errors).
[41]I am not prepared to defend the precise figures used, they are guesses, but I believe they represent a reasonable approximation to reality. I heartily agree with Colwell when he insists that we must "rigorously eliminate the singular reading" ("External Evidence," p. 8) on the altogether reasonable assumption (it seems to me) that a solitary witness against the world cannot possibly be right.
[42]Sturz, Op. Cit. A text produced by taking two "text-types" against one would move the UBS text about 80% of the distance toward the Majority text.
[43]The readings, with their supporting MSS, are as follows:
o - D
w - 061
oV QeoV - one cursive (and one Lectionary)
oV - ...,33,442,2127 (three Lectionaries)
QeoV - A,Cvid,F/Gvid,K,L,P,... some 600 cursives (besides Lectionaries) (including four cursives that read o QeoV and one
Lectionary that reads Qeou).
It will be observed that my statement differs from that of the UBS text, for example. I offer the following explanation.
Young, Huish, Pearson, Fell, and Mill in the seventeenth century, Creyk, Bentley, Wotton, Wetstein, Bengel, Berriman, and Woide in the eighteenth, and Scrivener as late as 1881 all affirmed, upon careful inspection, that Codex A reads "God." For a thorough discussion please see Burgon, who says concerning Woide, "The learned and conscientious editor of the Codex declares that so late as 1765 he had seen traces of the Q which twenty years later (viz. in 1785) were visible to him no longer" (The Revision Revised, p. 434. Cf. pp. 431-36). It was only after 1765 that scholars started to question the reading of A (through fading and wear the middle line of the theta is no longer discernible).
Hoskier devotes Appendix J of A Full Account (the appendix being a reprint of part of an article that appeared in the Clergyman's Magazine for February 1887) to a careful discussion of the reading of Codex C. He spent three hours examining the passage in question in this MS (the MS itself) and adduces evidence that shows clearly, I believe, that the original reading of C is "God." He examined the surrounding context and observes, "The contracting-bar has often vanished completely (I believe, from a cursory examination, more often than not), but at other times it is plain and imposed in the same way as at 1 Tim. iii.16" (Appendix J, p. 2). See also Burgon, Ibid., pp. 437-38.
Codices F/G read OC wherein the contracting-bar is a slanting stroke. It has been argued that the stroke represents the aspirate of oV, but Burgon demonstrates that the stroke in question never represents breathing but is invariably the sign of contraction and affirms that "oV is nowhere else written OC in either codex" (Ibid., p. 442. Cf. pp. 438-42). Presumably the cross-line in the common parent had become too faint to see. As for cursive 365, Burgon conducted an exhaustive search for it. He not only failed to find it but could find no evidence that it had ever existed (Ibid., pp. 444-45).
(I took up the case of 1 Tim. 3:16, in the first edition of this book, solely to illustrate the argument from probability, not as an example of "how to do textual criticism" [cf. Fee, "A Critique," p. 423]. Since the question has been raised, I will add a few words on that subject.)
The three significant variants involved are represented in the ancient uncial MSS as follows: O, OC, and QC, meaning "which," "who," and "God" respectively. In writing "God" a scribe's omitting of the two lines (through haste or momentary distraction) would result in "who." Codices A, C, F, and G have numerous instances where either the cross-line or the contracting-bar is no longer discernible (either the original line has faded to the point of being invisible or the scribe may have failed to write it in the first place). For both lines to fade away, as in Codex A here, is presumably an infrequent event. For a scribe to inadvertently omit both lines would presumably also be an infrequent event, but it must have happened at least once, probably early in the second century and in circumstances that produced a wide ranging effect.
The collocation "the mystery . . . who" is even more pathologic in Greek than it is in English. It was thus inevitable, once such a reading came into existence and became known, that remedial action would be attempted. Accordingly, the first reading above, "the mystery . . . which," is generally regarded as an attempt to make the difficult reading intelligible. But it must have been an early development, for it completely dominates the Latin tradition, both version and Fathers, as well as being the probable reading of the Syrp and Coptic versions. It is found in only one Greek MS, Codex D, and in no Greek Father before the fifth century.
Most modern scholars regard "God" as a separate therapeutic response to the difficult reading. Although it dominates the Greek MSS (over 98 percent), it is certainly attested by only two versions, the Georgian and Slavonic (both late). But it also dominates the Greek Fathers. Around A.D. 100 there are possible allusions in Barnabas, "IhsouV . . . o uioV tou Qeou tupw kai en sarki fanerwqeiV" (Cap. xii), and in Ignatius, "Qeou anqrwpinwV faneroumenou" (Ad Ephes. c. 19) and "en sarki genomenoV QeoV" (Ibid., c. 7). In the third century there seem to be clear references in Hippolytus, "QeoV en swmati efanerwqh" (Contra Haeresim Noeti, c. xvii), Dionysius, "Qeoj gar efanerwqh en sarki" (Concilia, i. 853a) and Gregory Thaumaturgus, "kai estin QeoV alhqinoV o asarkoV en sarki fanerwqeiV" (quoted by Photius). In the 4th century there are clear quotes or references in Gregory of Nyssa (22 times), Gregory of Nazianzus, Didymus of Alexandria, Diodorus, the Apostolic Constitutions, and Chrysostom, followed by Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, and Euthalius in the fifth century, and so on (Burgon, Ibid, pp. 456-76, 486-90).
As for the grammatically aberrant reading, "who," aside from the MSS already cited, the earliest version that clearly supports it is the gothic (fourth century). To get a clear Greek Patristic witness to this reading pretty well requires the sequence musthrion oj efanerwqh since after any reference to Christ, Savior, Son of God, etc. in the prior context the use of a relative clause is predictable. Burgon affirmed that he was aware of no such testimony (and his knowledge of the subject has probably never been equaled) (Ibid., p. 483).
It thus appears that the "Western" and "Byzantine" readings have earlier attestation than does the "Alexandrian." Yet if "which" was caused by "who", then the latter must be older. The reading "who" is admittedly the most difficult, so much so that to apply the "harder reading" canon in the face of an easy transcriptional explanation [the accidental omission of the two lines] for the difficult reading seems unreasonable. As Burgon so well put it:
I trust we are at least agreed that the maxim "proclivi lectioni praestat ardua," does not enunciate so foolish a proposition as that in choosing between two or more conflicting readings, we are to prefer that one which has the feeblest external attestation,—provided it be but in itself almost unintelligible? (Ibid., p. 497).​
[44]For further discussion see the final pages of Appendix C.​

One can check all these things out in the online version of the book, which I gave to link to above.

[Edited on 10-16-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just a few comments on the foregoing. It should be clear that the charts and evidences (such as they are) presented above support the Majority Text tradition, and not directly the King James/1894 Textus Receptus. My position is that, to use a figure of sorts, as the revelation of Christ grew organically out of the Old Testament revelation of Moses and the prophets, I conceive of the King James/1894 TR organically arising from the Majority Text view. I well realize there are difficulties in this view which must be overcome. (Please don't anyone think that I claim the same divine unity of OT & NT for the MT/KJV by the use of my figure; I do not. It is but a simile.)

And I realize that I have formidable opponents to my position, including those MT advocates within the scholastic community. I can't say, "I stand on their shoulders," as one might of academic predecessors, as they would deny me. Don't think me silly if I say I will float above their shoulders, for although I will hardly ignore the evidences, I will not be fettered by them.

For example, some years ago a book came out, I think it was called, The Bible Unearthed, with all sorts "proofs" that the stories of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the conquest of Caanan, the Davidic dynasty, etc. were but myths (apologists easily debunked it after a while). It nonetheless shook some people up, but do we live by "evidences" (which come and go, arise and are superceded) or by faith? The same dilemma no doubt hit the Christian community when Darwin's Origin of Species came out. I do not mean to have an "ostrich-head-in-the-sand" attitude, for, as I said, I will interact with evidences, yet faith will always be a component of my views.

This will be the focus of my endeavors henceforth, notwithstanding possible digressions/diversions. It is a notable lack (among others) in my paper, To Break A Sword, that I do not address the MT/TR issues.

Steve
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In John Bunyan's classic, Pilgrim's Progress, Mr. Great-heart is questioning newly-met Mr. Valiant-for-truth concerning his adventures, and asks why he did not cry out for help when overwhelmed. Valiant answers, “So I did to my King, who I knew could hear, and afford invisible help, and that was sufficient for me.” Then said Great-heart to Mr. Valiant-for-truth, “Thou hast worthily behaved thyself; let me see thy Sword;” so he shewed it him.

When he had taken it in his hand, and looked thereon a while, he said, “Ha! It is a right Jerusalem blade.” And Valiant, “It is so. Let a man have one of these blades, with a hand to wield it, and skill to use it, and he may venture upon an Angel with it. He need not fear its holding, if he can but tell how to lay on. Its edges will never blunt. It will cut flesh, and bones, and soul, and spirit and all.”


[Edited on 10-16-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks Steve for the pics they are quite useful. For clarity I'd like to ask a question.

Why is often said "...the best and most authoratative manuscripts - Sinicatus, Vaticanus, etc..." like we find in the Prefaces of modern versions and in oh so many scholarly books defending them?

Considering they are from such a small body of manuscripts, why are they considered the best and most authoratative?
 

Tallen

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by mangum
Thanks Steve for the pics they are quite useful. For clarity I'd like to ask a question.

Why is often said "...the best and most authoratative manuscripts - Sinicatus, Vaticanus, etc..." like we find in the Prefaces of modern versions and in oh so many scholarly books defending them?

Considering they are from such a small body of manuscripts, why are they considered the best and most authoratative?

Ya, ditto. There is much to consider here.

[Edited on 8-11-2006 by Tallen]
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris and Ted,

I’ll post here something from the Which is the best uncial poll thread to try and clarify this:

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Vaticanus (B) is the codex that was in the Vatican Library since at least the late 1400s; it was unused by Rome at the time as the Latin Vulgate was the “true Bible” as far as their teaching went in those days. Odd that this presently preferred text made its appearance during Rome’s Inquisition, where multitudes of Bible-believing Christians were slaughtered. It is one of the oldest complete Bible MSS; it is written on vellum (expensive animal skin). The 1881 revisors of the Greek text, Westcott and Hort and their committee, preferred this MS over all others, despite (what others have discovered to be) serious flaws in its contents.

Sinaiticus ( a ), also known as Aleph, is the “sister” MS to B, and the 1881 Revision Committee, under Hort’s direction, decided that whenever <font size=2>a</font> agreed with B the two of them would overturn all other MSS, even if it were 2 against 5,000! This is exactly why Mark 16:9-20 is missing or noted to be “spurious” in almost all modern Bible versions based upon the 1881 critical text. Upon internal examination its flaws are far greater than its sister, notwithstanding the two of them are often termed (in Bible margin notes), “the oldest and most reliable manuscripts”. Such disparity of reports demands close scrutiny, as the quality of the Bibles we use is at stake. This MS was found at a Greek Orthodox monastery, St. Catharine’s, on Mt. Sinai. Despite the claim this and B are the best, they disagree between themselves in 3,036 places in the Gospels alone. These two MSS are considered part of the Alexandrian textual tradition, and are considered to have been written in the 4th century.

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These two are what are called “the oldest and most reliable” manuscripts, and they are the main basis, along with a fragment called Papyrus 75, of the Alexandrian Texttype. In the above writings a lot is said about this type, of which they are the primary exemplars.

I excerpt a brief passage from what Pickering said above to illustrate the gross inferiority of these so called “oldest and best”.

I see no way of accounting for a 95% (or 90%) domination unless that text [the Byzantine or Majority –SMR] goes back to the Autographs. Hort saw the problem and invented a revision. Sturz seems not to have seen the problem. He demonstrates that the "Byzantine text-type" is early and independent of the "Western" and "Alexandrian text-types," [these latter being Vaticanus & Sinaiticus –SMR] and like von Soden, wishes to treat them as three equal witnesses.[42] But if the three "text-types" were equal, how ever could the so-called "Byzantine" gain a 90-95% preponderance?

The argument from statistical probability enters here with a vengeance. Not only do the extant MSS present us with one text form enjoying a 95% majority, but the remaining 5% do not represent a single competing text form. The minority MSS disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority. For any two of them to agree so closely as do P75 and B is an oddity. We are not judging, therefore, between two text forms, one representing 95% of the MSS and the other 5%. Rather, we have to judge between 95% and a fraction of 1% (comparing the Majority Text with the P75,B text form for example). Or to take a specific case, in 1 Tim. 3:16 some 600 Greek MSS (besides the Lectionaries) read "God" while only seven read something else. Of those seven, three have private readings and four agree in reading "who."[43] So we have to judge between 99% and 0.6%, "God" versus "who." It is hard to imagine any possible set of circumstances in the transmissional history sufficient to produce the cataclysmic overthrow in statistical probability required by the claim that "who" is the original reading. [bold emphasis mine –SMR]​

In brief, there was an effort by unbelieving textual critics to overthrow the dominance of the Traditional Text, both in the Greek and the English versions, and supplant them with the results of a secular methodology. This was not all that benign an activity, but there it is. That the Evangelical community bought into it — the “superiority of these ‘oldest and best manuscripts’” — is a study in itself. The Majority Text advocates I have been lauding in this thread have mounted a very strong and cogent objection to the alleged “Alexandrian” superiority, and have shown — as an increasing number of Evangelical scholars are now realizing — that the Majority Texttype is far closer to the original autographs (the apostles’ actual manuscripts).

In sum, it is being increasingly shown that Vaticanus & Sinaiticus, contrary to the “marginal blurbs” vaunting their value, are indeed poor specimens of the true NT text.

Steve
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A qualification as to my use of the term, “family trees”, as regards text types. I use it very loosely, and not according the technical sense which indicates genealogical descent. This is a very important point, for the concept of Textual Genealogy played a very large part in Hort’s theory.

In Maurice Robinson’s Introduction to his and Wm. Pierpont’s, The New Testament In The Original Greek According To The Byzantine / Majority Textform, he states (regarding the first of five “pillars” of Hort’s theory),

The argument from genealogy. This hypothesis claims that all manuscripts of a texttype — no matter how numerous — have descended from a single archetype (parental anscestor) of that texttype. One therefore need only consider the archetype form, which becomes but a single witness in competition with the remaining archetypal “single-witnesses” of other texttypes. This argument — established from a hypothetical stemmatic diagram — effectively eliminated, in Hort’s view, the “problem” of the Byzantine Textform’s overwhelming numerical superiority…[p. xxi]

The genealogical argument was never actually applied to the New Testament text by Hort, and in fact has never been so applied by anyone. As Colwell noted, Hort utilized this principle solely to “depose the Textus Receptus,” and not to establish a line of descent. His “stemmatic diagram” was itself a pure fabrication. [p. xxiii]​

In other words, a strict line of descent of texts, traceable to specific ancestors, is not acknowledged as a reality by text critics.

In Pickering’s, The Identity of the New Testament Text, chapter 4, “An Evaluation of the W-H Theory”, he thoroughly examines the issue of genealogy and the texts. As stated above, this is a crucial matter, for it is the foundation of modern text criticism’s attempt to overthrow the Byzantine Texttype.

In Jack Moorman’s, Forever Settled (link to entire book given above), in Part Two, “The Issues We Face Regarding The New Testament Text,” Section XVI, ARE THERE REALLY THREE (OR MORE) FAMILIES OF MANUSCRIPTS?, he writes,

Though there is truth in the above commonly presented position and we have quoted Dr. Hills at length, yet the basic idea of textual types or families has its source in the naturalistic viewpoint and we do not believe that it represents the facts concerning the distribution of MSS in the early centuries. With some 85% or more of the 5000 extant MSS falling into the category of the Received Text, there is in fact only one textual family the Received. All that remains is so contradictory, so confused, so mixed, that not by the furthest stretch of imagination can they be considered several families of MSS.

Rather than face squarely this preponderance of support for the TR, naturalistic scholars with their ingrained bias against that text have found it convenient to talk of three or four families, as if all were basically equals. This was one of the main pillars in the Westcott and Hort theory which enabled them to Construct a new Greek Testament on the fewest possible MSS.

Yet as the following quotations from "The Identity of the New Testament Text" by Wilbur Pickering show, most present day textual scholars (mainly naturalistic) are prepared to abandon the entire idea.

"We have reconstructed text types and families and subfamilies and in so doing have created things that never before existed on earth or in heaven." (Parvis).

"The major mistake is made in thinking of the old text-types as frozen blocks." (Colwell).

"It is still customary to divide MSS into four well-known families ...this classical division can no longer be maintained." (Klijn).

"Was there a fundamental flaw in the previous investigation which tolerated so erroneous a grouping ... Those few men who have done extensive collating of MSS, or paid attention to those done by others, as a rule have not accepted such erroneous groupings." (Metzger).

"I defy anyone, after having carefully perused the foregoing lists ... to go back to the teaching of Dr. Hort (regarding text-types) with any degree of confidence." (Hoskier).​

1. IS THERE A UNIFIED WESTERN TEXT?

Codex "D" Bezae is claimed to be the primary representative of this textual family, but - "What we have called the D-text type, indeed, is not so much a text as a congeries of various readings, not descending from any one archetype ... No one MS can be taken as even approximately representing the D-text." (Kenyon) .

Colwell observes that the Nestle text (25th edition) denies the existence of the Western text as an identifiable group, saying it is "a denial with which I agree." Speaking of von Soden's classification of the Western text, Metzger says, "so diverse are the textual phenomena that von Soden was compelled to posit seventeen subgroups." And Klijn, speaking of a pure or original western text affirms that "such a text did not exist."

2. IS THERE A UNIFIED ALEXANDRIAN TEXT?

Codex "B" Vaticanus and Codex "Aleph" Sinaiticus are the two famous representatives of the Alexandrian "family" of manuscripts. But the evidence shows that those family members don’t get along very well.

Colwell offers the result of an interesting experiment.

After a careful study of all alleged B text-type witnesses in the first chapter of Mark, six Greek MSS emerged as primary witnesses - Aleph, B, L, 33, 892 and 2427. Therefore the weaker B type MSS C, Sangallenses, 157, 517, 579, 1241 and 1342 were set aside. Then on the basis of the six primary witnesses (Note how few, why not more?), an average or mean text was reconstructed including all the readings supported by the majority of the primary witnesses. Even on this restricted basis the amount of variation was dismaying. In this first chapter of Mark, each of the six witnesses differed from the average B text as follows:

L..........19 times,
Aleph....26 times,
2427....32 times,
33........33 times,
B..........39 times,
892......41 times.

These results show convincingly that any attempt to reconstruct the text on the basis of B-type MSS is doomed to failure. The text ... is an artificial entity that never existed.

Hoskier, after filling 450 pages with a detailed and careful discussion of the errors in Codex B and another 400 on the idiosyncrasies of Codex Aleph, affirms that in the Gospels along these two MSS differ well over 3,000 times, which number does not include minor errors such as spelling, nor variants between certain synonyms which might be due to "provincial exchange."

In Hills' chart showing the family tree of manuscripts, Papyrus 66 and Papyrus 75 are listed with the other Alexandrian MSS.

Quoting again from "The Identity of the New Testament Text"

Both P66 and P75 have been generally affirmed to belong to the "Alexandrian text-type." Klijn offers the results of a comparison of Aleph, B, P45, 1166 and P75 in the passages where they are all extant (John 10:7-25, 10:32 - 11:10, 11:19 - 33 and 11:43-56). He considered only those places where Aleph and B disagree and where at least one of the papyri joins either Aleph or B. He found eight such places plus 43 where all three of the papyri line up with Aleph or B. He stated the result for the 43 places as follows (to which I have added figures for the Textus Receptus, British and Foreign Bible Society 1946):

P45 agrees with Aleph 19 times, with B 24 times, with TR 32 times.
P66 agrees with Aleph 14 times, with B 29 times, with TR 33 times.
P75 agrees with Aleph 9 times, with B 33 times, with TR 29 times.
P45, 66, 75 agree with Aleph 4 times, with B 18 times, with TR 20 times.
P45, 66 agree with Aleph 7 times, with B 3 times, with TR 8 times.
P45, 75 agree with Aleph I time, with B 2 times, with TR 2 times.
P66, 75 agree with Aleph 0 times, with 11 8 times, with TR 5 times.

As for the eight other places,

P45 agrees with Aleph 2 times, with B 1 time, with TR I time.
P66 agrees with Aleph 2 times, with B 3 times, with TR 5 times.
P75 agrees with Aleph 2 times, with B 3 times, with TR 4 times.
60 (Each of the three papyri his other readings as well.)

Is the summary assignment of P66 and P75 to the "Alexandrian text-type" altogether reasonable?

If the above confuses you a little, you may be excused. But it demonstrates the knot that naturalistic critics have tied themselves into when refusing to face the fact of the Received Text. Several other examples of the futility of trying to group MSS into families (particularly the Alexandrian) are given on pages 48 - 58 of "The Identity of the New Testament Text" (Hereafter abbreviated "INTT").

3. IS THERE A UNIFIED RECEIVED TEXT

If the 15% minority of extant MSS is hopeless confusion what about the 85% majority? What about the text referred to as Majority, Traditional, Byzantine, Syrian, Antiochan or Received?

In sharp contrast to the above two textual "families", the MSS which fall under the category of "Received", though differing in minor details, show a very definite unity. They are family members that get along quite well.

The textual critics have attempted to offset this fact through two arguments (1) genealogy and close copying (2) conflation and standardization.

(1) THE RECEIVED TEXT UNITY IS NOT THE RESULT CLOSE COPYING

The textual critic has sought to show that the large number of TR MSS are merely copies one of the other. This brings us to another basic "pillar" in the Westcott and Hort theory known as "Genealogy".
Colwell says of Hort's use of this method:

As the justification of their rejection of the majority, Westcott and Hort found the possibilities of genealogical method invaluable. Suppose that there are only ten copies of a document and that nine are all copies from one: then the majority can be safely rejected. Or suppose that the nine are copied from a lost manuscript and this lost manuscript and the other one were both copied from the original then the vote of the majority would not outweigh that of the minority. These are the arguments with which W. and H. opened their discussion of genealogical method ... They show clearly that a minority of manuscripts is not necessarily to be preferred correct. It is this prior possibility which Westcott and Hort used to demolish the argument based on the numerical superiority of the adherents of the Textus Receptus.

It is clear that the notion of genealogy is crucial to Hort's theory and purpose. He felt that the genealogical method enabled him to reduce the mass of manuscript testimony to four voice - "Neutral", "Alexandrian", "Western", and "Syrian". (INTT)

Textual research, however, has shown that the great mass of TR MSS are not merely copies one of another, but most are independent offspring of different lines of transmission which go deeply into the past.​

I hope I have not worn some of you out by bringing all these details to light. We do not have to be experts in the Greek language and the MSS to understand the principles involved, and the history of the manuscripts and their transmission. In other words, one does not have to be a mechanic to thoroughly comprehend the production history and end quality of a Mercedes Benz. Or, on the other hand, of a car made poorly and not reliable.

If one wants to have a grasp of the issues, they are within reach of non-experts in Greek language and text criticism.

It will be easily seen that I have been promoting the Byzantine or Majority Texttype, and not the King James and its 1894 Greek Textus Receptus. That is because this is the foundation. The KJV/TR is one form of the Byz/MT texttype, and I believe the purest.

What I will hear is that I go against the Burgonian critical methodology (which informs all of Maurice Robinson’s judgment and work) by admitting readings apart from the Majority MSS, minority readings.

Shortly I will post Robinson and Pierpont’s disclaimer regarding those who use the Byz/MT to support the KJV/TR position (as I do), in the interest of full disclosure. What I do, I do in the face of my opponents.
 
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CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jerusalem Blade
Chris and Ted,

I´ll post here something from the Which is the best uncial poll thread to try and clarify this:

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Vaticanus (B) is the codex that was in the Vatican Library since at least the late 1400s; it was unused by Rome at the time as the Latin Vulgate was the "œtrue Bible" as far as their teaching went in those days. Odd that this presently preferred text made its appearance during Rome´s Inquisition, where multitudes of Bible-believing Christians were slaughtered. It is one of the oldest complete Bible MSS; it is written on vellum (expensive animal skin). The 1881 revisors of the Greek text, Westcott and Hort and their committee, preferred this MS over all others, despite (what others have discovered to be) serious flaws in its contents.

Sinaiticus (a), also known as Aleph, is the "œsister" MS to B, and the 1881 Revision Committee, under Hort´s direction, decided that whenever <font size=2>a</font> agreed with B the two of them would overturn all other MSS, even if it were 2 against 5,000! This is exactly why Mark 16:9-20 is missing or noted to be "œspurious" in almost all modern Bible versions based upon the 1881 critical text. Upon internal examination its flaws are far greater than its sister, notwithstanding the two of them are often termed (in Bible margin notes), "œthe oldest and most reliable manuscripts". Such disparity of reports demands close scrutiny, as the quality of the Bibles we use is at stake. This MS was found at a Greek Orthodox monastery, St. Catharine´s, on Mt. Sinai. Despite the claim this and B are the best, they disagree between themselves in 3,036 places in the Gospels alone. These two MSS are considered part of the Alexandrian textual tradition, and are considered to have been written in the 4th century.

--------------

These two are what are called "œthe oldest and most reliable" manuscripts, and they are the main basis, along with a fragment called Papyrus 75, of the Alexandrian Texttype. In the above writings a lot is said about this type, of which they are the primary exemplars.

I excerpt a brief passage from what Pickering said above to illustrate the gross inferiority of these so called "œoldest and best".

<blockquote>I see no way of accounting for a 95% (or 90%) domination unless that text [the Byzantine or Majority "“SMR] goes back to the Autographs. Hort saw the problem and invented a revision. Sturz seems not to have seen the problem. He demonstrates that the "Byzantine text-type" is early and independent of the "Western" and "Alexandrian text-types," [these latter being Vaticanus & Sinaiticus "“SMR] and like von Soden, wishes to treat them as three equal witnesses.[42] But if the three "text-types" were equal, how ever could the so-called "Byzantine" gain a 90-95% preponderance?

The argument from statistical probability enters here with a vengeance. Not only do the extant MSS present us with one text form enjoying a 95% majority, but the remaining 5% do not represent a single competing text form. The minority MSS disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority. For any two of them to agree so closely as do P75 and B is an oddity. We are not judging, therefore, between two text forms, one representing 95% of the MSS and the other 5%. Rather, we have to judge between 95% and a fraction of 1% (comparing the Majority Text with the P75,B text form for example). Or to take a specific case, in 1 Tim. 3:16 some 600 Greek MSS (besides the Lectionaries) read "God" while only seven read something else. Of those seven, three have private readings and four agree in reading "who."[43] So we have to judge between 99% and 0.6%, "God" versus "who." It is hard to imagine any possible set of circumstances in the transmissional history sufficient to produce the cataclysmic overthrow in statistical probability required by the claim that "who" is the original reading. [bold emphasis mine "“SMR]</blockquote>

In brief, there was an effort by unbelieving textual critics to overthrow the dominance of the Traditional Text, both in the Greek and the English versions, and supplant them with the results of a secular methodology. This was not all that benign an activity, but there it is. That the Evangelical community bought into it "” the "œsuperiority of these "˜oldest and best manuscripts´" "” is a study in itself. The Majority Text advocates I have been lauding in this thread have mounted a very strong and cogent objection to the alleged "œAlexandrian" superiority, and have shown "” as an increasing number of Evangelical scholars are now realizing "” that the Majority Texttype is far closer to the original autographs (the apostles´ actual manuscripts).

In sum, it is being increasingly shown that Vaticanus & Sinaiticus, contrary to the "œmarginal blurbs" vaunting their value, are indeed poor specimens of the true NT text.

What I will post below goes more into this.

Steve

Beautiful. Thank you, brother. You are a God-send.

BTW, we really need to get Dr.Oakley (James White) in here to engage your (and others) material. :pray2: I'm sure Dr. White is familiar with these arguments. His participation, like yours, in this thread would be a treasure.
 

Tallen

Puritan Board Freshman
BTW, we really need to get Dr.Oakley (James White) in here to engage your (and others) material. :pray2: I'm sure Dr. White is familiar with these arguments. His participation, like yours, in this thread would be a treasure.

I agree.

BTW, is it possible to down load this entire thread in one fell swoop? :pray2:
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Well, Chris,

I don't think James White would have an argument with the MT position I have been taking, in the endeavor to cast light on the Critical Text (CT), and its English-language children. Where he would strongly object, I gather, is to a KJO/TR position. It is this that I haven't elucidated yet in its final form, as I want to do so in light of an objection Bill has made me aware of, that being the essay, "The King James Only View of Edward F. Hills", By James A. Price; another objection is a remark by Robinson,

n many instances Burgon is now known to have been wrong due to subsequent discoveries. Example: Burgon thought Origen responsible for creating the Alexandrian text; P75 alone squashes that nonsense. But the KJV-Only crowd (especially Ruckman, Riplinger, and Waite) continues to quote Burgon on that point as if he has "never been answered"). Rubbish. Burgon is not infallible, and never was.


I want to look at an article by text critic Gordon Fee on Papyrus 75 and Origen to get further information on this matter, which article will be gotten to me shortly. And yet a third objection is something from White's book on the KJO Controversy pertaining to remarks he made re 1 John 5:7, which info should come in the same package as the Fee article (thanks to Bill's generosity in supplying me with this [for me] hard to get material). I want to see exactly what White said (he had referred to it in a post here, or his words were posted here), and research and ponder the matter.

So before you try to get me into a debate with the man, please let me do my homework, and also let me first deal with my indigeneous discussion partner, Maestroh Bill.

And Chris, it wouldn't hurt to study the matter further on your own. Ample material is available online (links posted in this thread, and also the recent one you started), or books referred to here. And it shouldn't depend on what White or I might say, but how you understand the Scripture and whose teaching is in line with that. You probably already know what Dr. White would say, perhaps from his published book (which is quite different from my view); what is your assessment of our differing positions?

While I should be ready to stand up to anybody (when my view is fully developed), I would not like to put on a show.

Steve
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you, Jason.

-----

A few thoughts on the Scriptures.

These words of the Lord — I include the OT as well as the New — are not merely directions on how to live a moral life, or guidelines for godliness, but are the realities of existence in the Kingdom of God. We who walk in the Spirit of Christ, how do we know what is real? Are our feelings reliable indicators of reality? Our reasonings? For example, when we go before Him to commune and worship, confident He has both a heart and an ear for us, on what basis have we this confidence, this deep assurance in our beings of His heart toward us? On His word, of course. In Proverbs 15:8b His words says, “…the prayer of the upright is His delight”, and 15:29b, “…He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Hebrews 13:5c says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” John 6:37b says, “…him that cometh to Me to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Yes, we know that our “uprightness” and “righteousness” is not of ourselves, but that of Christ imputed to us.) These are some of the realities of the realm we have our primary existence in, though it is not apparent to physical sight.

These words of Scripture are not only the very essence of our lives in the Kingdom, but they have varied application. They are the “sword of the Spirit”, Paul tells us (Eph 6:17), by which we may penetrate the darkness holding men and women in fierce bondage, and we may by them cut through and dispel the “spell of satanic atmosphere” in a room where strongholds and thoughts which exalt things “against the knowledge of God” hold sway (2 Cor 10:3-5).

They are also words which bring hope, assurance, courage, cleansing, according to the particular sayings of our Lord, either in His own word, or His word through the authors He used to write His Scripture.

He did say things that indicate His words were of such crucial import, He would preserve the very individual words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” How precisely are we to take His statement?

Do not these words give rise to a theological issue which has bearing on textual issues? Will He not see to it we have that which we need in order to live?

In Matthew 24:35 our King says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Is this to be taken literally? Is there another way to take it? Is not implicit in this saying that He shall preserve His word in this world and in the next? Do the teachings of the Lord Jesus have bearing on our view of the New Testament text?

Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.” Is this saying applicable only in eternity, and not here in this life?

Is it not evident that in some significant areas theology precedes textual issues and may even determine them? The theology exemplified above is that God will preserve that which He has given us to live by, i.e., His word.

Will I be faulted because I put faith before my view of the Bible text (a faith which is derived from the text) — superceding even critical issues — and have said of me I have “abandoned scholarship”? These above texts are not disputed, whatever the texttype, and so have sure standing with all parties.

I will not leave it here, however, but deal with particular contested passages, and seek to adhere to Maurice Robinson and Wm. Pierpont’s thought (from their Introduction in THE NEW TESTAMENT IN THE ORIGINAL GREEK ACCORDING TO THE BYZANTINE / MAJORITY TEXTFORM),

A sound rational approach which accounts for all the phenomena and offers a reconstruction of the history of textual transmission is all that is demanded for any text-critical hypothesis.​

Obviously I am not in their league — nor White’s, either — but I will do what I can, God helping me.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am responding to James A. Price’s online article, “The King James Only View of Edward F. Hills”, which Maestroh Bill referred me to, and which seems to provide not a little fodder for his sometimes accurate cannon.

Dr. Price says in his fourth paragraph (¶), regarding a comment of Hills on zeal in the preceding paragraph,


In fact, zeal has been kindled by the thought Hills expressed. But zeal, when not grounded in and controlled by truth, only produces conflict and confusion. From such a position the questions of textual debate are cast in terms of black and white, of God against Satan, of good against evil. Since Hills and those who follow him see themselves as the providential agents of God, there is no room for discussion and no room for the possibility that they might be wrong.​

Ultimately, it will be the case that error is from Satan and truth from God, though, seeing that we apprehend truth from — or within — the vantage of being “earthen vessels”, it behooves us to walk humbly, for our apprehensions may be flawed.

I think discussion of the issues — even if we think ourselves “the providential agents of God” (though I have not thought of myself in those terms) — is both warranted and valuable, as “providential” does equal “infallible”. This is evident to me as, despite my certainty of my basic view, Bill has challenged me and shown me to be wrong in particulars of my view, which I have had to take into account and change.

In ¶ 5, Price says,

Hills proclaimed concerning the KJV that “in it the true text of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament has been restored” (Hills, ibid., p. 82). This left little room to doubt what the final authority in textual matters was to Hills. It was the text of the KJV.​

More accurately, it was the Hebrew and Greek texts underlying the KJV.

Where Hills said (see ¶ 8), “it is only among the readers of the KJV that due love and reverence for God’s word may be found”, I balk at that statement. Price has a good point here. Jerry Bridge’s book, The Pursuit Of Holiness, uses the NIV and the Lord used that book — and the Scriptures therein — powerfully during a crisis in my life in 1991. My pastor (and most of the church) in NYC used the NIV (with the ESV gaining favor nowadays), and I have no doubt of his “love and reverence” for the word of our God. And my wife is another example of one who loves and reveres Jesus Christ’s word — in the NIV. I will not concur with the assessment of those who call the users of versions other than the KJV “apostates”, though Dr. Hills never did say this.

With respect to ¶ 9, I myself cannot defend any other Bible than the KJV, for I am aware of the flaws in their underlying manuscripts. Yet I admit that they contain the true word of God, and as Maurice Robinson says,

Christians who use a translation based upon the Alexandrian (or even the Western) texttype are only somewhat disadvantaged from a Byzantine-priority perspective, specifically in the study of details. The best-selling NIV, the NASV, and most other modern translations are themselves based upon a generally-Alexandrian text, and Christians seem to suffer no devastating effects from their use (one must remember that, regardless of texttype, over 85% of the text found in all manuscripts is identical). (Introduction, The New Testament In The Original Greek…etc, p.xlii)​

In Price’s section, “The Logic of Faith”, he zeros in on what he sees as a major flaw in Hills’ reasoning, and reveals what some of the disparity between the two of them consists of.

In ¶s 10-12 Price talks about Hills’ view of two differing “doctrinal systems” being taught in seminaries, the one rationalistic and the other grounded in faith. I add to Price’s quote from Hills’ Belieiving Bible Study (BBS), page 218:

Two entirely different doctrinal systems were taught side by side, namely, a dogmatic system in which Christianity was regarded as true and an apologetic system in which Christianity was regarded as merely probable. When you studied systemic theology or practiced your preaching, you were guided by faith, but when you attended your classes in apologetics or biblical introduction or New Testament textual criticism, you shifted your gears and were guided by reason. There are still some seminaries like this today, but most of them have eliminated the inconsistency by going over completely to modernism.​

Price then comments,

Hills’ reference to an apologetic system that regards Christianity as only probably true relates to a controversy over whether apologetics should be conducted on an evidential or presuppositional basis. Hills seemed to feel that the acceptance of the modern textual approach has been the result of seminaries having earlier accepted an evidential approach to apologetics.​

There seems to be some truth in this. A few sentences earlier Hills had said,

The explanation of this rationalistic tendency is to be found in the sad decline of Protestantism which set in as early as the latter part of the 17th century. Losing the ardor of their first love, Protestants left their Reformation principles and drifted back into Roman Catholic and rationalistic thought-ways….And then in the 18th century, under the guidance of Bishop Butler and Archdeacon Paley, they began to look upon Christianity as a hypothesis and to defend it as a probability on the basis of neutral facts. (ibid.)​

Apparently Price does not like Hills’ worldview approach; in ¶ 13 he says,

Hills’ view was that textual studies should be conducted on a presuppositional basis. Lewis defined presupposition as “a specific, unprovable assertion postulated to make experience meaningful” (Gordon R. Lewis, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims: Approaches to Christian Apologetics, Chicago: Moody Press, 1976; p. 345). Hills believed that it was only by proceeding on this presuppositional basis, which he called the logic of faith, that certainty could be attained.​

A more sympathetic mind might say of presuppositionalism, also termed Reformed apologetics, this approach to epistemology “emphasizes the presentation of Christianity as revealed—as based on the authoritative revelation of God in Scripture and in Jesus Christ.” (Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach To Defending Christianity, by Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr.; NavPress 2001, p. 249).

But then Price gets specific; I quote his ¶s 14-16:

Hills wrote that it was the logic of faith that “the Bible text current among believers is the true text.” He wrote that the logic of faith leads one “to a belief in the Bible text current among believers as the providentially preserved original text” (Hills, B.B.S., p. 187). But the text current among which believers? The text current among believers in different parts of the world has and does vary. While the Majority Text was in use in the Greek speaking world of the early church, the Latin Vulgate was in use in the Western church. Which current text was the original text? They do differ at times and neither is identical with the Textus Receptus or the KJV.

Is it the text current among believers of our day or the text current among believers of the fourteenth century? How can the text current among believers be the test of the true original text? The text current among believers has not remained static throughout church history. It has not been universal during the same time period in all geographical localities.

By Hills’ logic of faith, the text current among believers is the true text. Thus, whatever text is current among believers in our day ought to be the true text. But by this standard the true Greek text ought to be the Critical text. It is certainly the Greek text current among believers today. This writer had to go to great length to find a copy of the Textus Receptus to use in comparing the various texts, whereas the Critical text is available in almost any Christian bookstore. Hills’ position was not the logic of faith. It was a presupposition, which was neither logic nor faith.​

First, I would not call this view of Hills a “presupposition”, but a proposition based upon a presupposition. The presupposition is, “…the Bible is God’s infallibly inspired Word which has been preserved by God’s special providence down through the ages.” (Hills, ibid, p. 87) The proposition is, “…the Bible text current among believers is the true text”.

Let me see if I can bring the nuance Hills maintained into focus, and show what he really believed and taught on this issue:

Do we believing Bible Students "worship" the King James Version? Do we regard it as inspired, just as the ancient Jewish philosopher Philo (d. 42 A.D.) and many early Christians regarded the Septuagint as inspired? Or do we claim the same supremacy for the King James Version that Roman Catholics claim for the Latin Vulgate? Do we magnify its authority above that of the Hebrew and Greek Old and New Testament Scriptures? We have often been accused of such excessive veneration for the King James Version, but these accusations are false. In regard to Bible versions we follow the example of Christ's Apostles. We adopt the same attitude toward the King James Version that they maintained toward the Septuagint.
In their Old Testament quotations the Apostles never made any distinction between the Septuagint and the Hebrew Scriptures. They never said, "The Septuagint translates this verse thus and so, but in the original Hebrew it is this way." Why not? Why did they pass up all these opportunities to display their learning? Evidently because of their great respect for the Septuagint and the position which it occupied in the providence of God. In other words, the Apostles recognized the Septuagint as the providentially approved translation of the Old Testament into Greek. They understood that this was the version that God desired the gentile Church of their day to use as its Old Testament Scripture.

During the 4th century the Roman Empire was divided into two parts, a Greek-speaking Eastern half and a Latin-speaking Western half. In the West the knowledge of Greek died out, and only the Latin language remained. Hence for the Western Christians the Greek Bible became useless. For more than 1,000 years the Latin Vulgate was their only Bible. It was the Latin Vulgate that John Wyclif translated into English, and it was through the study of the Vulgate also that Martin Luther gained his knowledge of those Gospel truths by which he ushered in the Protestant Reformation. Hence, in spite of its errors, it is not too much to say that the Latin Vulgate was the providentially appointed Bible version for Christians of Western Europe during the medieval period.

But if the Septuagint was the providentially appointed Old Testament version during the days of the early Church and if the Latin Vulgate was the providentially appointed Bible version for Christians of medieval Europe, much more is the King James Version the providentially appointed Bible for English-speaking Christians today. In it the true text of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament has been restored, and the errors of the Septuagint and of the Latin vulgate have been corrected. (BBS, pp. 81, 82)​

I think this gives us a different picture of what Dr. Hills understood to be the truth. The superiority of the providentially appointed English Bible arrived when the English language was at its height, when the translators were the best and most learned, and in time for the greatest missionary outreaches — using the restored Hebrew and Greek texts — to translate the Bible into the various languages of the nations. There was a process over time during which God guided “all things together for good” to bring the true readings of Scripture — which He had kept in their purity — together into one definitive text. Hills put it this way,

The Traditional Text, found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts, is the True Text because it represents the God-guided usage of [the] universal priesthood of believers.

…The first printed text of the Greek New Testament represents a forward step in the providential preservation of the New Testament. In it the few errors of any consequence occurring in the Traditional Greek Text were corrected by the providence of God operating through the usage of the Latin-speaking Church of Western Europe. In other words, the editors and printers who produced this first printed Greek New Testament text were providentially guided by the usage of the Latin-speaking Church to follow the Latin Vulgate in those few places in which the Latin Church usage rather than the Greek Church usage had preserved the genuine reading. [Emphasis mine –SMR]

…Through the usage of Bible-believing Protestants God placed the stamp of His approval on this first printed text, and it became the Textus Receptus (Received Text). It is the printed form of the Traditional Text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. (The King James Version Defended, pp. 111, 112)​

It seems that if one is looking to find fault, find it they will, even if it means missing the thread of cohesion that holds their opponent’s arguments together. Sin has affected our ability to reason and perceive. No doubt I suffer from this also. Please, Lord, preserve me from that here!

So the phrase, “the text current among believers”, is not to be taken as an absolute, valid everywhere and for all time, but in the context of the historical steps of preservation, as Hills meant it to be taken. The crown of this process, being in English (for I have seen excellent translations from the TR in Arabic and in Dinka Padang New Testaments) the King James Bible, cannot be supplanted by inferior translations based upon inferior Greek texts, however widely used among believers, as is the case today.

In ¶ 18 Price says,

In order to have “a consistent, comprehensive, believing thought-system,” in relation to textual criticism, that system must explain the realities of the manuscript evidence. It was precisely at this point that Hills’ system broke down. His system simply did not explain the facts as they existed in the manuscripts.​

I have tried to show above that this charge is baseless. Charges will continue from Price as we look further at his essay, but for what has been alleged thus far Hills is exonerated. And we will return to some of the above issues as we continue.

In ¶ 19 Price says,

Unless the facts drawn from the manuscripts, which are the history of God’s preservation of the Scriptures, are self-interpreting without the presuppositions of Hills being imposed upon them, all attempts to know the original text must retreat as Hills ultimately did into an existential assertion of truth which says that it is true because it is true to me! This retreat into virtual existentialism was seen in Hills’ treatment of the topic, “How Do We Know The Bible Is True” in Believing Bible Study. Hills declared, “This then is the basic reason why I know the Bible is true. The Bible is true because it is true for me” (Hills, B.B.S., p. 59). Kierkegaard, the father of theological existentialism, could hardly have said it better.​

First of all, the charge that “the presuppositions of Hills [are] being imposed upon” the facts regarding the manuscripts is misunderstanding the nature of the presupposition. The facts are interpreted or understood in light of what is presupposed, that being God’s stated promises to preserve His words. One hostile to Reformed apologetics might view it as “imposition”, but how Hills handles the facts of the manuscripts and their history does not fall into such a category.

Then Price takes Hills’ words out of context in order to liken him to Kierkegaard! In this section of his book, “The Testimony of the Holy Spirit — How We Know the Bible Is True”, Hills talks about the Holy Spirit’s work in bearing witness to the truth of Scripture. I shall quote most of the section — and will put Hills’ wrested words in bold — to show the unfairness of Dr. Price in his allegation.

If we are true believers we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is our Divine Teacher in our study of the holy Word. But what then? Is our faith perfect? Are we henceforth delivered from all doubt? No, the same Satan that beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden assails us daily with temptations to disbelieve (2 Cor. 11:3). But even when we believers doubt, we do not doubt as unbelievers do. Our anxieties are real, our sins are real, our doubts are real, but God is more real even than these man-made mists we throw up against Him. Why is this so? Because of the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16) This assurance that we are God’s children is the divine antidote for all our doubts and fears. If we are God’s children, then our daily needs will all be met. Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things (Matt. 6:32) If we are God’s children, then our eternal future is secure. No man can pluck us out of our Father’s hand (John 10:29). And if we are God’s children, then we know that our Father’s word is entirely true. Thy word is truth (John 17:17b).

This then is the basic reason why I know the Bible is true. The Bible is true because it is true for me. The Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God and that therefore all the promises of holy Scripture are true in my case. With Jesus Christ I am joint heir, because His death by faith is mine (Rom. 8:17). But what more precisely do I mean when I say that the Bible is true? The Bible tells me that I mean for things. First, the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. Second, the Bible is eternally established. Third, the Bible is infallibly inspired. Fourth, the Bible is providentially preserved. (BBS, pp. 59, 60)​

Dr. Price’s is not a fair critique. To misrepresent a person by taking their words out of context is not right. He likely did not do such a thing deliberately, but was careless — with a man’s reputation.

In the next post I will continue, Lord willing, examining Price’s critique, starting with the section, “Hills’ Axioms of Textual Criticism”

Steve

[Edited on 10-16-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A note while I am preparing the response to James Price's article.

As I have been looking around on the internet, studying different discussions and critiques regarding this textual business, I must say I am appalled at the rancor and ungodly attitudes I have seen displayed, and that from both camps -- ” the KJO and those who oppose them. It seems anyone, from either camp, who dares to step up and publicly take a position, walks into a furnace of derision and abuse.

You who have intimated you would desire to see me interact with James White, why on earth would you wish this upon me? To see him beaten? To see him take me apart? I'm sure you are familiar enough with the issues to make up your own minds without having to see two proponents clash. I'm sure you don't go to dog-fights for sport, why do you wish such activities (for so they have proven to be) upon humans, upon sons of the living God?

You have seen what happened to men far better than I (I refer to Letis and Hills); I ask you, what are your motives? Nonetheless, as with these two men, I will not shrink from taking my stand.

Truly my stand is for the glorious Gospel of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but since the infallible and preserved Scriptures are the source of that Gospel, they must be stood for also.

Steve

[Edited on 10-16-2006 by Jerusalem Blade]
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jerusalem Blade
A note while I am preparing the response to James Price´s article.

As I have been looking around on the internet, studying different discussions and critiques regarding this textual business, I must say I am appalled at the rancor and ungodly attitudes I have seen displayed, and that from both camps "” the KJO and those who oppose them. It seems anyone, from either camp, who dares to step up and publicly take a position, walks into a furnace of derision and abuse.

You who have intimated you would desire to see me interact with James White, why on earth would you wish this upon me? To see him beaten? To see him take me apart? I´m sure you are familiar enough with the issues to make up your own minds without having to see two proponents clash. I´m sure you don´t go to dog-fights for sport, why do you wish such activities (for so they have proven to be) upon humans, upon sons of the living God?

You have seen what happened to men far better than I (I refer to Letis and Hills); I ask you, what are your motives? Nonetheless, as with these two men, I will not shrink from taking my stand.

Truly my stand is for the glorious Gospel of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but since the infallible and preserved Scriptures are the source of that Gospel, they must be stood for also.

Steve

Steve,

In regard to your question,
"You who have intimated you would desire to see me interact with James White, why on earth would you wish this upon me?".
For some context, let me post what I had originally said,
"Beautiful. Thank you, brother. You are a God-send.

BTW, we really need to get Dr.Oakley (James White) in here to engage your (and others) material. I'm sure Dr. White is familiar with these arguments. His participation, like yours, in this thread would be a treasure. "
I thought my comment points rather indicatevely to my motives and reasons. But I'll elaborate anyway. So you know, I agree, thus far, with your position and have read your .pdf To Break A Sword.

I originally posited the idea of James White interacting with you so I and others could benefit from it. Thats it. Not to see some dog fight. You said, "I'm sure you are familiar enough with the issues to make up your own minds without having to see two proponents clash." No, Steve, some of us, including myself, are not familiar enough with these issues - Thats why I wished for Dr. White to interact with you. And to "clash" well that is up to the proponents now isn't it? Call it a dogfight if you want I thought it was just a debate amongst brothers.

You also commented "You have seen what happened to men far better than I..." So? Forgive me if this is naive but, I hope that this doesn't happen. Because it has happened in the past are we now to assume (quite faithlessly) it will happen in the future? I do not and I will not.

Why do you want to have others interact and critique you, Steve? Like Maestroh Bill? So you can learn, correct? So one can change an erroneous position one may hold. This is why I want to see what "the other side" (James White's position) has to say about it. Strangely, I recall in the other thread, it was you who initially wanted to interact with James White on a certain point. Well, I agree, I'd like for this to happen.

I apologize if I am off base here but it seems to me you are accusing me, and others, with impure motives. Curiously, my reasons for wanting interaction are identical to yours! I have to say, brother, I'm a bit confused here. :candle:
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Fair enough, Chris. I have just been dismayed at what I have been reading on the net. While I have faith that God may change the way things happen, I am also not naive enough to ignore history.

Yes, I want to interact with White's ideas (and others who differ with me), as I may indeed learn something.

I suppose if it's too hot in the kitchen I should get out.

But I have a dish to cook, and first must finish it, serve it, and then I'll get out.

I'm sorry I offended you. I should not have assumed concerning your motives. That is not right. Forgive me for that, please. I should practice what I preach about "charity of judgment"! (The same apology goes to you, Ted.)

I just don't like conflict with brothers. I guess it comes with the territory.

Sorry again,

Steve
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Starting with the section of Price’s paper, “Hills’ Axioms of Textual Criticism”, I must say that Price’s citations are quite a mess, and that trying to locate his quotes often impossible, as he often quotes loosely, and his citations are as often as not erroneous. For instance, one gets the impression that Hills formulated “Six Axioms” of “consistently Christian textual criticism” (Price’s ¶ 20). But Hills never even used the word “axiom” in his books! Hills used a different word, “principles”, which, although close, has a distinctly different meaning. And nowhere does he list them in the manner Price delineates. Price just gathered them up from various parts of Hills’ books and put them together. A couple of definitions of “axiom” are as follows:

a statement taken to be true without proof; self-evident truth

a well-established principle, rule, or law​

One can get an idea of the force of axiom by the word axiomatic: self-evidently true, or universally accepted as being true.

“Principle” is a different word: a couple of definitions are:

an important underlying law or assumption required in a system of thought

a truth that is a foundation for other truths; fundamental, primary, or general truth​

Principle has less force as regards empirical validity, and pertains more to function, as in dynamics and operations within a system.

Why didn’t he just use Hills’ terminology?

Be all that as it may, I will simply proceed to examine these six principles, as Price has ordered them, and in his words:

1. that providential preservation has as its purpose the preserving of “the infallibility of the original text.”

2. that God’s providential preservation of the New Testament has operated in the area of the Greek text.

3. that this “providential preservation operated within the sphere of the Greek Church.” When axioms two and three are taken together, they say that the true text of the New Testament should be found in the Greek manuscripts which contain the text used by the Greek Orthodox Church.

4. that Divine “providential preservation operated through the testimony of the Holy Spirit.”

5. “The text of the majority of manuscripts is the providentially preserved and approved text.”

6. that the text of the majority of manuscripts was the standard text.

The fifth and sixth axioms are basically the same postulate stated in different words. Hills used the phrase “standard text” to justify departure from the Majority Text in favor of the Textus Receptus in some places. Both axioms were the inevitable conclusion from axioms two and three rather than independent postulates (Hills, B.B.S., pp. 29-35).​

To me this exercise of Price is strange. It appears to me he recasts Hills’ statements and words into such as he can allege inconsistency, and then pass judgment on them: “Consistency may not guarantee truth, but contradiction is a sure sign of error. This is simply the law of non-contradiction (Lewis, ibid., p. 344).” [this from Price’s ¶ 23]

In ¶ 21 Price has the cheek to say,

In examining Hills’ axioms further, the initial point to be noted was that they are not really axioms at all. Lewis defined an axiom as “a self-evident truth with which to begin a system of deductive thought” (Lewis, ibid., p. 340). Hills’ so-called axioms simply do not qualify as axioms. They are not self-evident truths which do not need to be proven; they are presuppositions Hills has postulated.​

It could be I’m a little slow, but I’ve been reading Hills’ books carefully (I did a computer search on KJV Defended), and have not found the word “axiom” once.

The laws or principles in Hills’ system of thought are now going to be examined. They are not presuppositions themselves but postulates or propositions derived from the presupposition that God will keep His promise to preserve His infallible inspired word.

Price’s ¶ 23 in full (and here we get to a real bone of contention):

Hills must be required to demonstrate that his axioms are in accord with and can explain the relevant facts as found in the manuscripts. Consistency may not guarantee truth, but contradiction is a sure sign of error. This is simply the law of non-contradiction (Lewis, ibid., p. 344). When Hills’ axioms are tried by the standard of consistency or non-contradiction, they are shown to be in error. Hills does not consistently apply his axioms to the evidence, and his conclusions frequently contradict his own axioms. The axioms in reality argue for the Majority Text, whereas Hills wants to argue for the text of the KJV.​

I answer (and state again), Hills principles state a far more nuanced view of the process of preservation:

Thus as a result of this special providential guidance the True Text won out in the end, and today we may be sure that the text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts is a trustworthy reproduction of the divinely inspired Original Text. This is the text which was preserved by the God-guided usage of the Greek Church. Critics have called it the Byzantine text, thereby acknowledging that it was the text in use in the Greek Church during the greater part of the Byzantine period (452-1453). It is much better, however, to call this text the Traditional Text. When we call the text found in the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts the Traditional Text, we signify that this is the text which has been handed down by the God-guided tradition of the Church from the time of the Apostles unto the present day.

A further step in the providential preservation of the New Testament was the printing of it in 1516 and the dissemination of it through the whole of Western Europe during the Protestant Reformation. In the first printing of the Greek New Testament we see God's preserving providence working hiddenly and, to the outward eye, accidentally. The editor, Erasmus, performed his task in great haste in order to meet the deadline set by the printer, Froben of Basle. Hence this first edition contained a number of errors of a minor sort, some of which persisted in later editions. But in all essentials the New Testament text first printed by Erasmus and later by Stephanus (1550) and Elzevir (1633) is in full agreement with the Traditional Text providentially preserved in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. This printed text is commonly called the Textus Receptus (Received Text). It is the text which was used by the Protestant Reformers during the Reformation and by all Protestants everywhere for three hundred years thereafter. Hence the printing of it was, after all, no accident but the work of God's special providence.

The special providence of God is particularly evident in the fact that the text of the Greek New Testament was first printed and published not in the East but in Western Europe where the influence of the Latin usage and of the Latin Vulgate was very strong. Through the influence of the Latin-speaking Church Erasmus and his successors were providentially guided to follow the Latin Vulgate here and there in those few places in which the Latin Church usage rather than the Greek Church usage had preserved the genuine reading. Hence the Textus Receptus was a further step in the providential preservation of the New Testament. In it the few errors of any consequence occurring in the Traditional Greek Text were corrected by the providence of God operating through the usage of the Latin speaking Church of Western Europe.

Thus God by His special providence has preserved the New Testament text in a three-fold way through the universal priesthood of believers. In the first place, during the fourteen centuries in which the New Testament circulated in manuscript form God worked providentially through the usage of the Greek-speaking Church to preserve the New Testament text in the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts. In this way the True New Testament Text became the prevailing Traditional Text. In the second place, during the 16th century when the New Testament text was being printed for the first time, God worked providentially through the usage of the Latin-speaking Church to influence Erasmus and the other editors and printers of that period to follow the Latin Vulgate in those few places in which the Latin Church usage rather than the Greek Church usage had preserved the genuine reading. Then in the third place, during the 450 years which have elapsed since the first printing of the New Testament, God has been working providentially through the usage of Bible-believing Protestants to place and keep the stamp of His approval upon this God-guided printed text. It is upon this Textus Receptus that the King James Version and the other classic Protestant translations are based. (The King James Version Defended, 1984, pp. 106, 107)​

I apologize if this is becoming tedious due to its length, but I want to do justice to the issues on the table. I will quote more from Hills in the KJVD on this matter of the TR and the Majority Text. He states his view below as to how he moves from confidence in the majority / Byzantine text to the Textus Receptus which underlies the King James Bible.

If we believe in the providential preservation of the New Testament text, then we must defend the Textus Receptus as well as the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts. For the Textus Receptus is the only form in which this Traditional Text has circulated in print. To decline to defend the Textus Receptus is to give the impression that God's providential preservation of the New Testament text ceased with the invention of printing. It is to suppose that God, having preserved a pure New Testament text all during the manuscript period, unaccountably left this pure text hiding in the manuscripts and allowed an inferior text to issue from the printing press and circulate among His people for more than 450 years. (p. 192)

The translators that produced the King James Version relied mainly, it seems, on the later editions of Beza's Greek New Testament, especially his 4th edition (1588-9). But also they frequently consulted the editions of Erasmus and Stephanus and the Complutensian Polyglot. According to Scrivener (1884), (51) out of the 252 passages in which these sources differ sufficiently to affect the English rendering, the King James Version agrees with Beza against Stephanus 113 times, with Stephanus against Beza 59 times, and 80 times with Erasmus, or the Complutensian, or the Latin Vulgate against Beza and Stephanus. Hence the King James Version ought to be regarded not merely as a translation of the Textus Receptus but also as an independent variety of the Textus Receptus. [When Hills talks here – and in the following paragraph – of the TR he means the Majority or Traditional Text. –SMR] (p. 220)

The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were God-guided. They were set up under the leading of God's special providence. Hence the differences between them were kept down to a minimum. But these disagreements were not eliminated altogether, for this would require not merely providential guidance but a miracle. In short, God chose to preserve the New Testament text providentially rather than miraculously, and this is why even the several editions of the Textus Receptus vary from each other slightly.

But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text do we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval, namely, the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version. (pp. 222, 223)​

To demonstrate briefly how Hills’ thought coheres, and how he does not contradict himself as regards his principles involved in preservation. He does not say that God’s providential preservation of the New Testament operated in the area of the Greek text exclusively, neither does he say that this “providential preservation operated within the sphere of the Greek Church” exclusively. One might try to paint Hills in a corner this way, but it is invalid to lay these thoughts at his doorstep. Please note this: Hills’ presupposition that God would successfully preserve His word down through the ages was the lens through which Hills discerned in the factual history of the New Testament text God’s hand upon it.

And consider this: the edition of the Majority Text / Textus Receptus in the English language given the world is the King James Bible; its underlying Greek text is the one God sovereignly chose to have used.
It exists, a fait accompli!

Next post I would like to continue reviewing Price’s critique.
 
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CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jerusalem Blade
Fair enough, Chris. I have just been dismayed at what I have been reading on the net. While I have faith that God may change the way things happen, I am also not naive enough to ignore history.

Yes, I want to interact with White's ideas (and others who differ with me), as I may indeed learn something.

I suppose if it's too hot in the kitchen I should get out.

But I have a dish to cook, and first must finish it, serve it, and then I'll get out.

I'm sorry I offended you. I should not have assumed concerning your motives. That is not right. Forgive me for that, please. I should practice what I preach about "charity of judgment"! (The same apology goes to you, Ted.)

I just don't like conflict with brothers. I guess it comes with the territory.

Sorry again,

Steve

I'd rather you not "get out of the kitchen" as I am learning much from you. But do what you must.

Your apology is accepted and I do forgive you, brother. :handshake:
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris,

What I meant was that I wouldn't be getting out of the kitchen till I finished cooking and serving the dish, so, no, I'll be staying in. Thanks for your graciousness.

To be frank with you, reflecting on my own heart, my comments to you arose because I was afraid of tangling with White, seeing him as a formidable opponent, and resented anyone furthering that possibility. Before the Lord, however (just a little while ago), I saw that I had nothing to fear, and that the cogency of my view can be thrashed but not overcome.

So I'm over that.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just a few quick remarks before sleep. I only now finished reading the White/Letis "Theonomy L" posts, and have to say that I have had a wrong impression of James White's manner (probably from reading too many of his opponents!). He conducted himself as a gentleman and a scholar. Which is not to say that I agree with him, but I have a new respect for him.

I think it is true, as he says, if we do not conduct ourselves as Christian brothers (or sisters), we belie our beliefs and the Spirit we claim to walk in.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Continuing the response to James A. Price’s online article, “The King James Only View of Edward F. Hills”.

-----------------

For the record, let us look at what Edward F. Hills actually said about “the six axioms of ‘consistently Christian textual criticism.’” (Price’s ¶ 20) It is important to examine this as it is the basis of Price’s contentions. As noted earlier, Hills never once used (not in any of the editions of his books I have, or have seen online) the word “axiom”. Nor did he compile a list of them such as Price fabricates in ¶ 20. Bear with me, please, as I introduce for the record what Hills actually said.

(f) The Principles of Consistently Christian New Testament Textual Criticism

Bentley, Zahn, Warfield, and countless others have tried to devise a theory of the special providential preservation of the Scriptures which leaves room for naturalistic New Testament textual criticism. But this is impossible, for the two concepts are mutually exclusive. Naturalistic New Testament textual criticism requires us to treat the text of the New Testament like the text of any other ancient book, in other words, to ignore or deny the special providential preservation of the Scriptures. Hence if we really believe in the special providential preservation of the Scriptures, then we cannot follow the naturalistic method of New Testament textual criticism.
For a believer, then, the only alternative is to follow a consistently Christian method of New Testament textual criticism in which all the principles are derived from the Bible itself and none is borrowed from the textual criticism of other ancient books. In the preceding pages we have striven to present such a consistently Christian New Testament textual criticism, and now we will recapitulate and summarize its principles briefly:

Principle One: The Old Testament text was preserved by the Old Testament priesthood and the scribes and scholars that grouped themselves around that priesthood.

Principle Two: When Christ died upon the cross, the Old Testament priesthood was abolished. In the New Testament dispensation every believer is a priest under Christ the great High Priest. Hence the New Testament text has been preserved by the universal priesthood of believers, by faithful Christians in every walk of life.

Principle Three: The Traditional Text, found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts, is the True Text because it represents the God-guided usage of this universal priesthood of believers.

Principle Four: The first printed text of the Greek New Testament represents a forward step in the providential preservation of the New Testament. In it the few errors of any consequence occurring in the Traditional Greek Text were corrected by the providence of God operating through the usage of the Latin-speaking Church of Western Europe. In other words, the editors and printers who produced this first printed Greek New Testament text were providentially guided by the usage of the Latin-speaking Church to follow the Latin Vulgate in those few places in which the Latin Church usage rather than the Greek Church usage had preserved the genuine reading.

Principle Five: Through the usage of Bible-believing Protestants God placed the stamp of His approval on this first printed text, and it became the Textus Receptus (Received Text). It is the printed form of the Traditional Text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.

Principle Six: The King James (Authorized) Version is an accurate translation of the Textus Receptus. On it God has placed the stamp of His approval through the long continued usage of English-speaking believers. Hence it should be used and defended today by Bible-believing Christians. (KJV Defended, pp. 111, 112) [You can also find it here in http://www.Jesus-is-lord.com/kjvdcha4.htm]chapter 4[/url] of the online version, toward the end]​


You can see that Hills did not term these principles “axioms”, and when one compares these to what Price has listed as Hills’ points – and thereby alleges “inconsistencies” and violations of “the law of (non)contradiction” – one can see that Hills has been “set up”! At the very end of http://www.Jesus-is-lord.com/kjvdcha3.htm]chapter 3[/url], in the section (d) “How to Take Our Stand – Through the Logic of Faith”, Hills has another “enumeration” (he likes to do that, as many Presbyterians do) of his principles, this time giving only four. As I’ve said before, it is not really fair restructuring another’s thoughts and terms so as to fit one’s own argumentation.

In Price’s ¶s 22 & 23 he says,

He started out by assuming that which must be proven. At the very least, one must test Hills’ axioms for their systematic consistency. It is not too much to ask that Hills demonstrate that his axioms can be logically and consistently applied to the evidence of the manuscripts and produce the text which he has proclaimed to be the Word of God.

Hills must be required to demonstrate that his axioms are in accord with and can explain the relevant facts as found in the manuscripts. Consistency may not guarantee truth, but contradiction is a sure sign of error. This is simply the law of non-contradiction (Lewis, ibid., p. 344). When Hills’ axioms are tried by the standard of consistency or non-contradiction, they are shown to be in error. Hills does not consistently apply his axioms to the evidence, and his conclusions frequently contradict his own axioms…​

Is it not so that Price, holding to an evidentialist apologetic, has a different criterion of what constitutes “proof” than Hills, whose approach is presuppositional? They are entirely different frames of reference. This is besides the matter of Price manipulating Hills’ principles so as to construe them as being contradictory.

In Price’s ¶ 25 he brings up the matter of Hills’ use of the term “infallible”. He does have a point here. Sometimes Hills does use them to refer to the “infallible inspired Scripture” as originally written, and sometimes to the preserved Scriptures we have today. For instance, he says (in Believing Bible Study, pp. 217, 218),

(d) The Logic of Faith – Maximum Certainty

God's preservation of the New Testament text was not miraculous but providential. The scribes and printers who produced the copies of the New Testament Scriptures and the true believers who read and cherished them were not inspired but God-guided. Hence there are some New Testament passages in which the true reading cannot be determined with absolute certainty. There are some readings, for example, on which the manuscripts are almost equally divided, making it difficult to determine which reading belongs to the Traditional Text. Also in some of the cases in which the Textus Receptus disagrees with the Traditional Text it is hard to decide which text to follow. Also, as we have seen, sometimes the several editions of the Textus Receptus differ from each other and from the King James Version.

In other words, God does not reveal every truth with equal clearness. Hence in New Testament textual criticism, as in every other department of knowledge, there are some details in regard to which we must be content to remain uncertain. But this circumstance does not in the least affect the fundamental certainty which we obtain from our confidence in God’s special, providential preservation of the holy Scriptures. Through this believing approach to the New Testament text we gain maximum certainty, all the certainty that any mere man can obtain, all the certainty that we need. Embracing the common faith, we take our stand upon the Traditional Text, the Textus Receptus, and the King James Version and acknowledge these texts to be trustworthy reproductions of the infallibly inspired original text. Admittedly there are some readings which remain undecided, but these are very few. For the special providential preservation of the Scriptures has kept this element of uncertainty down to a minimum. (BBS, pp.​

Throughout Hills’ books he does take this stance, that in a very few instances there are small errors, or variants about which we do not have certainty. There are other KJVO defenders who will not allow even this minimal uncertainty. In this case Romans 7:6 is more of an issue (to me, at any rate) than 1 John 5:7. Concerning Romans 7:6 (one of the three instances he admits) Hills says,

that being dead wherein we were held, instead of, being dead to that wherein we were held.

Hills is indicating that the latter phrase is the correct one, and this error was due to “[Conjectural emendation by Beza; correct reading given by KJV translators in margin.]” [NOTE WRITTEN DURING A LATER EDIT: ROMANS 7:6 AS IT IS IN THE KJV WILL BE EXAMINED AND VINDICATED IN A FORTHCOMING POST]

Let’s look at this matter of certainty versus uncertainty for a moment. Perhaps you will remember the excerpt from Pickering’s Identity of the NT Text I quoted above:

The argument from statistical probability enters here with a vengeance. Not only do the extant MSS present us with one text form enjoying a 95% majority, but the remaining 5% do not represent a single competing text form. The minority MSS disagree as much (or more) among themselves as they do with the majority. For any two of them to agree so closely as do P75 and B is an oddity. We are not judging, therefore, between two text forms, one representing 95% of the MSS and the other 5%. Rather, we have to judge between 95% and a fraction of 1% (comparing the Majority Text with the P75,B text form for example). Or to take a specific case, in 1 Tim. 3:16 some 600 Greek MSS (besides the Lectionaries) read "God" while only seven read something else. Of those seven, three have private readings and four agree in reading "who." So we have to judge between 99% and 0.6%, "God" versus "who." It is hard to imagine any possible set of circumstances in the transmissional history sufficient to produce the cataclysmic overthrow in statistical probability required by the claim that "who" is the original reading.​

The three phrases Hills says are errors (BBS, p. 83) comprise nine Greek words. In the Greek of the Textus Receptus (1894) there are 140, 521 words. That is .0064% or sixty-four one thousandths of one percent. Compare that with the variance between the Greek of the TR and the Greek of the Westcott and Hort text: 9,970 Greek words are changed. That is 7.095%. This would be equal to having the entire book of Romans (9,447 words) plus 2 and 3 John (and then some) thoroughly changed (usually the changes are omissions)! The uncertainty is 1,108.59 times greater in the Critical Text. (The word count for the TR is from D.A. Waite’s, Defending The King James Bible, p. xii)

This is what Hills means when he says we opt for maximum certainty instead of maximum uncertainty.

In ¶s 29 & 30 Price says,

In accord with his first axiom, Hills wrote concerning the Textus Receptus and the KJV that they were “trustworthy reproductions of the infallibly inspired original text.” Taken in the overall context of his writings, Hills did not appear to mean by “trustworthy reproductions” that they were perfect and without error in every detail, but that they were reliable and without error in matters of faith and morals.

If Hills were consistent, he would be able to say concerning the critical Greek text and translations such as the NASB and the NIV that they also are “trustworthy reproductions of the infallibly inspired original text” (Hills, B.B.S., pp. 217-218). The difference between the Textus Receptus and the KJV on one hand, and the Critical text and translations such as the NASB and the NIV on the other hand, are differences of degree of reliability, not reliable verses unreliable. The question of which to use is a question of good verses [sic] better, not good verses bad.​

Well, given the percentile differences, I would not agree with that. Really it is a difference of kind, not degree. )Technically it is degree, but the difference is so vast I consider it of kind.)

Does anyone know where they can easily get an original W&H Greek text? What I use is The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, which, as you most likely know, is put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That’s the Greek text they deliberately use, as it is doctrinally weak on the deity of Christ, despite what some may aver.

In my paper (to be found attached in the “Why do KJ Only types believe the Westcott and Hort manuscripts are bad?” thread), To Break A Sword, I write about the Unitarian, Dr. Vance Smith, whose presence on the W&H revision committee scandalized London in those days:

One of these highly significant changes [in the TR –SMR] – “trifling alterations” Hort would say, perhaps – was the unwarranted deletion of the word “God” in the text of 1 Timothy 3:16, where the Scripture in speaking of Jesus talks of “the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh”. The Revisers replaced it with “who”. The Unitarian Dr. Smith later wrote,

The old reading [of 1 Tim 3:16] is pronounced untenable by the Revisers, as it has long been known to be by all careful students of the New Testament…It is in truth another example of the facility with which ancient copiers could introduce the word God into their manuscripts,—a reading which was the natural result of the growing tendency in early Christian times…to look upon the humble Teacher as the incarnate Word, and therefore as “God manifested in the flesh”.* …It has been frequently said that the changes of translation…are of little importance from a doctrinal point of view…[A]ny such statement [is]…contrary to the facts.** (*Texts and Margins of the Revised New Testament Affecting Theological Doctrine Briefly Reviewed, by Dr. Vance Smith (London: 1881), pages 39, 47. Cited in Revision Revised, by Burgon, pages 515, 513. ** Ibid., page 45. Cited in Riplinger, page 432)

The only instance in the N.T. in which the religious worship or adoration of Christ was apparently implied, has been altered by the Revision: ‘At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,’ [Philippians 2:10] is now to be read ‘in the name.’ Moreover, no alteration of text or of translation will be found anywhere to make up for this loss; as indeed it is well understood that the N.T. contains neither precept nor example which really sanctions the religious worship of Jesus Christ. [Emphasis added] (Texts and Margins, Smith, page 47. Cited in, For Love of the Bible: The Battle for the King James Version and the Received Text from 1800 to Present, by David W. Cloud (WA: Way of Life Literature, 1997), page 31.)​

A.G. Hobbs, in his Forward to the reprint of Burgon’s The Revision Revised, wrote,

Here is a real shocker: Dean Stanley, Westcott, Hort, and Bishop Thirwall all refused to serve if Smith were dismissed [in the face of the public outcry at his presence on the Revision Committee]. Let us remember that the Bible teaches that those who uphold and bid a false teacher God speed are equally guilty. ‘For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds’ (2 John 9-11). No wonder that the Deity of Christ is played down in so many passages. (The Revision Revised, by John William Burgon (Centennial Edition, Fifth printing, 1991), Forward [no page #]. See also, Life of Westcott, Vol I, page 394.)​

In the next post concerning Dr. Price’s critique, I would like to take a look at his remarks concerning Erasmus. The critiques of Erasmus need some looking at, and the disinformation about him corrected.

I’d like to state plainly that I do not share Dr. Ted Letis’ views concerning the Fundamentalist Baptist KJO defenders (of course I do not align with a couple of extremists on the fringe of that camp). In the “Theonomy L” debate he termed them a cult. This is certainly not true. They are genuine Christians, and in no way fall into the “cult” categories. Yes, they err greatly regarding certain doctrines, election and atonement, to name a couple, yet many sincere children of God do the same. They have some of the most excellent researchers, scholars, and historians among them – to assess them intellectually.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
While I prepare to post concerning Erasmus and the radical disinformation that is spread concerning him, I want to mention an important passage in the Bible concerning God’s promise to preserve the Scriptures, Psalm 12:6,7. You will generally find this – in versions readily available today – only in the KJV, NKJV, MKJV (and other of Jay P. Green’s texts), and I’m not sure about the KJ21. It reads thus,


6. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.​

There was a division of interpretation concerning these verses, particularly v. 7, as to whether it was the words that were to be preserved, or the people mentioned in verse 5 and the earlier part of the psalm. Even among Hebrew scholars and exegetes there was this division, as is the case also among Christians.

In the newer versions they read variously – in place of the “them” twice-used in v. 7 – “them” and “us” or “us” and “us”.

Perhaps the best introduction to this are some excerpts from Pastor Peter Van Kleeck’s study, “The Translational And Exegetical Rendering Of Psalm 12:7 Primarily Considered In The Churchly Tradition Of The 16Th And 17Th Centuries And Its Expression In The Reformation English Bibles: THE GENIUS OF AMBIGUITY”, completed in the process of pursuing an M.A.R. at Calvin Theological Seminary. It is clear that in the choice of the modern versions to opt for the Greek/Latin texts to translate the psalm, a censorship of the Reformation’s MO (using the Hebrew), and the subsequent “churchly tradition”, which incorporated both exegetical traditions in its rendering of the verse.

Van Kleeck’s study shows the “genius of ambiguity” in the King James Bible’s translation.

As this is a very important Scriptural attestation to the doctrine of providential preservation, I add also Dr. Thomas Strouse’s remarks on the Hebrew construction, and Jack Moorman’s article, “Psalm 12:6-7 and Bible Preservation”. Moorman shows that one of the commentators he consulted referred to the KJV rendering as in accord with “the main Hebrew tradition.” Looking on my shelves, I find that in The Holy Scriptures published by the Hebrew Publishing Company (NY 1951), it reads as the KJV has it. (This has only the OT, as it is a Jewish publication.)

I attach another scholarly article, “GOD’S PROMISE TO PRESERVE HIS WORD (PS 12:5-7),” I downloaded from Far Eastern Bible College’s (Presbyterian), The Burning Bush magazine (Volume 6 Number 2, July 2000). I like the pdf version as it alone maintains the integrity of the Hebrew and Greek fonts (it can also be found at the bottom of the web page I referenced). In the pdf, the article starts on pdf page 88 and goes to 120 (12 of the pages are footnotes). Rev. Shin Yeong Gil, the author, after a thorough examination of the Hebrew, avers that the psalm refers only to the preservation of the LORD’s words, not to the people. This will be of use only to those whose knowledge of the Hebrew allows them to follow Rev. Gil’s exegetical arguments.

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It can probably be discerned that my presuppositions are based upon God’s word. It is my epistemological ground, the foundation of my knowing. I know because God knows, and has revealed His knowledge in the word He has spoken to us humans. Apart from God’s word we can know nothing certainly. That which appears to us, even scientific maxims, are often not as they seem, these latter often being superceded by new discoveries. But when God speaks I know this is truth. Insofar as my mind is in accord with His, I know the truth. And if I love and keep His word, I am in the truth. Although I fail in these things, as there is remaining corruption yet within me, thanks to the cleansing blood and His justifying grace I ever remain in the truth – in His heart – despite my failures and sins.

The word of Scripture is thus the basis of knowledge. Its clear dictums illumine reality. In the spiritual realm they create reality. When the word of God says that we died in Christ’s death and rose in His resurrection (Romans 6; Colossians 2, 3; etc), and now walk in newness of life, we may enter into these spiritual realities by faith, which is apprehending the substance of things not seen. The glories of God’s heart, the promises of His abundant life, the certainties of His faithfulness and love, are known by His word, the Holy Spirit bearing witness to them within us.

This is why I fight so to establish our possessing a sure text of Scripture. I am keenly interested in other aspects of this holy life we are in, but the defense of Scripture is the bedrock of it all. This is what drives me in the present discussion. While in this endeavor, I keep in mind what Paul said,

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1 Cor 13:2)​

I pray He give me grace to be a doer as well as a hearer.

(I seem to be having trouble attaching the pdf. If you're interested, then go to The Burning Bush link above, and click the pdf download at the bottom of their page.)
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
CONCERNING ERASMUS

I want to quote first from a paper titled, “That Rascal Erasmus—Defense Of His Greek Text”, pages 5-8, by Dr. Daryl R. Coats (available for $2.00 at BFT – Bible For Today Webstore – item # OP2456). Most of us have heard stories of Erasmus’ poor copies of texts available to him, and especially the one about his offering to insert 1 John 5:7 into his Greek editions if but one Greek MS was shown him which contained it. Dr. Coats writes,

The supposed “Erasmian Inventions”

Modern critics such as Metzger almost gleefully repeat the story that when Erasmus put together his Greek New Testament, he had access to only one copy of Revelation, a “very mutilated” copy missing the last six verses of the book and damaged in verse 17:4. As a result Erasmus supposedly retranslated the missing verses from the Latin vulgate back into Greek, producing several readings supposedly known in no Greek manuscripts and one word (akaqavrthtoV in 17:4) which doesn’t even exist in Greek. These readings (to Metzger’s apparent distress!) “are still perpetuated today in printings of the so-called Textus Receptus” [The Text of the New Testament: its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd Edition, by Bruce Metzger (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 100.

Even if this story were completely true,* these “Erasmian inventions” are of no consequence unless a person believes that the New Testament exists in no language other than the “original Greek.” Pressed to prove the seriousness of his claim of supposed inventions, Metzger lists only 33 words. Of these 33 words, 18 match the text of the UBS Greek New Testament which Metzger helped edit! Of the 15 words that don’t Metzger’s own text, 11 make no difference in English translation. Of the four words that do affect translation, three are found in Codex Sinaiticus (a), the oldest existing “complete Greek manuscript of Revelation!**

There are, however, at least three good reasons to doubt the validity of the story of Erasmus and his mutilated copy of Revelation: 1) the only evidence for it is that the manuscript apparently used by Erasmus for Revelation is missing its last page;*** 2) Erasmus’s Latin New Testament doesn’t agree with the Latin Vulgate in the last six verses of Revelation (a problem if his Greek text for those verses was derived from the Vulgate); and 3) there exists Codex 141.†

H.C. Hoskier spent a lifetime collating every edition of Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, several other printed Greek New Testaments, and almost all of the known Greek manuscripts of Revelation….His study and collation of Revelation in Codex 141 surprised him, because it contained substantially the same text that appears in Erasmus’s Greek New Testament. In Hoskier’s own words:

Upon reaching the end [of Revelation] and the famous final six verses, supposed to have been re-translated from the Vulgate into Greek by Erasmus when Codex I was discovered and found to lack the last leaf: the problem takes on a most important aspect. For if our MS. 141 is not copied from the printed text, then Erasmus would be absolved from the charge for which his memory has suffered for 400 years! [Emphasis in the original]​

In an effort to nullify the testimony of Codex 141, most “scholars” assign the manuscript a “young” age and simply claim that it is a copy of Erasmus’s (or Aldus’s or Colinaeus’s) printed Greek New Testament. But based on his study of the penmanship of the scribe who composed it, Hoskier determined that Codex 141 was executed in the 15th century—well before Erasmus’s Greek New Testament was printed; and based on his study of its contents (and the collation of same), Hoskier determined that MS 141 “has no appearance of being a copy of any [printed edition of the Greek New Testament], although containing their text (Coats’s emphasis).†† There is, then, manuscript evidence to support the supposed “Erasmian readings”—as much as there is to support the reading of Revelation 5:9 that appears in all the modern “bibles”—and critics who claim otherwise are either ignorant or purposely deceitful.

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Footnotes

* By their own admissions, not all the stories which these “scholars” tell about Erasmus are true. Since 1964, on p. 101 of all three editions of Text of the New Testament, Metzger has claimed that Erasmus inserted 1 John 5:7 in his Greek New Testament only because “in an unguarded moment [he] promised that he would….if a single manuscript could be found that contained the passage. At length such a manuscript was found—or made to order!” He has claimed further (pp. 62, 101) that Erasmus wrote notes stating his suspicions that the manuscript was a forgery and the passage was spurious. Yet in the third edition, in small print in footnote 2 on p. 292, he makes this admission: “What was said about Erasmus’ promise….and his subsequent suspicion that MS. 61 was written expressly to force him to [add 1 John 5:7 to the text], needs to be corrected in light of the research of H.J. de Jonge, a specialist in Erasmian studies who finds no explicit evidence that supports this frequently made assertion [bold emphasis mine –SMR; italic Coats’]. Why isn’t this admission in larger type in the text of the book? Why is the “assertion” (that is, lie!) still included? Because the enemies of the Bible are liars and crooks at heart.

** In Text of the New Testament (p. 100, n. 1), Metzger lists these “Erasmian inventions” in Revelation: one word in 17:14; one in 22:16; three in 22:17; seventeen in 22:18; ten in 22:19; and one in 22:21. But the “coined word” of 17:4 and the “invented words” of 22:16 & 17 are synonymous with the “original” words and make no difference in English translation.

Of the 17 words in question in 22:18, twelve match the text of the UBS Greek New Testament; two more are synonymous with the “original words” and make no difference in English translation. One word (a personal pronoun) “missing” from Erasmus’ Greek New Testament is also “missing” from many manuscripts of the Received Text, including von Soden’s subgroups c, d, and e—and including it makes no difference in English translation, because the King James translators already added a personal pronoun to the English text for clarity. The other two “invented words” appear in the scribal corrections in Codex a. (Other words in Erasmus’ text of this verse also appear in Codex A and the corrections in Codex a.


Six of the ten “invented words” in 22:19 match the USB Greek text. Three more represent only differences in spelling or inflection (case; conjugation/voice) andmake no difference in English translation. Only biblou (“book”) would affect English translation (“book of life” vs. “tree of life”). The invention cited for 22:21 is almost laughable: amhvn (“amen”! The word is rejected by the UBS Greek New Testament, but it’s found in most of the manuscripts of the Received Text as well as in Codices a, 046, 051, 94, 1611, 1854, 1859, 2020, 2042, 2053, 2065 (commentary section), 2073, and 2138. It is also translated in most of the counterfeit “bibles” on the market…

*** The audacity of “scholars” in speculating (and then basing theories and “facts”) on the contents of a missing leaf of a manuscript—or even in assuming that the leaf was missing when Erasmus used the manuscript (provided that this is the manuscript he used)—aptly demonstrates the reliability of such men in matters of scholarship.

† The manuscript is listed under several call numbers. Under Hoskier’s, Scrivener’s and the Old Gregory classification systems, it is MS 141; under the New Gregory system it is 2049; and under von Soden’s system, it is w 1684. It is located in the Parliamentary Library in Athens.

†† For full details, see H.C. Hoskier, Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse: Collations of All Existing Available Greek Documents with the Standard Text of Stephen’s Third Edition, Together with the Testimony of the Versions, and Fathers; a Complete Conspectus of All Authorities, Vol. 1 (London: Bernard Quaritch, Ltd, 1929), pp. 474-477. It was also Hoskier who noted that Erasmus’s Latin New Testament differs from the Vulgate in the last six verses of Revelation.​

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There are many more interesting details to Dr. Coats paper, mostly regarding the integrity of Erasmus’ text vis-à-vis modern text editors and editions.

Another informative paper on Erasmus is available online: In Defense of Erasmus, by Dr. John Cereghin: http://www.watch.pair.com/erasmus.html.

Although Dr. Coats’ short paper (11 pages) has many scholarly details regarding the text, I think the best of all is a booklet by David Cloud, now available as part of a larger and excellent book, Myths About Modern Bible Versions. It’s certainly worth springing 15 bucks for. Click on the link and you can see the contents.

In another thread someone showed there was a text version of his booklet; Cloud on Erasmus: http://www.textfiles.com/occult/CHRISTIAN/myth1.txt. It’s not too readable (to me anyway), unless you copy and paste it into a Word document in a font that’s easy on the eyes. Then it’s alright. I think the books is the better bet; it’s easier to take a book to bed with me and read, than a laptop.

James Price, in his ¶ 38, writes,

Hills did not base this view of the Textus Receptus on any claim that it always reflected the readings of the majority of the Greek manuscripts, for it does not. He argued that Erasmus was providentially guided by the common faith. Without realizing it, Hills has made an exceedingly important admission. He wrote of Erasmus, “He was not himself outstanding as a man of faith” (Hills, B.B.S., p. 63). But if Erasmus was not outstanding as a man of faith and yet his textual work was good, would that not mean that one cannot properly condemn a text on the basis of the spiritual failings of the editor? Does such a statement not mean that one does not necessarily have to be an outstanding man of faith to do good textual criticism? If Hills is correct about Erasmus, would not the same conclusion hold true for later editors of the Greek text such as Westcott and Hort? It should be noticed that the Hebrew Old Testament was preserved by non-Christian Jews. One almost feels compelled to ask why it is that only Westcott and Hort’s textual work seems to be rejected on the grounds that they were not outstanding men of faith.​

I suppose the phrase “outstanding as a man of faith” should be more rigorously defined and examined in the context of Erasmus’ life. Was he “outstanding” in the sense of Luther, Calvin, Owen, Edwards, or Spurgeon, to name but a few? No. Perhaps it should rather be asked, “Was he man of faith? Genuine faith?” I think this is of great import in such a discussion, where Dr. Price favorably compares Westcott and Hort to him. I think it is clear from their writings and statements the two revisers were not regenerate men. Was Erasmus? It is documented in his biographies that as a youth he had been brought up among the Brethren of the Common Life, a Roman Catholic group who followed the way of “Gerard Groote (1340-84) of Deventer. The son of a prominent merchant, he lived in a worldly manner until, in 1374, he had a conversion experience, which caused him to adopt an ascetic way of life. From 1379 he became a preacher of repentance, criticizing the clergy so severely that some of them caused him to be officially silenced. He appealed to the pope, who granted him permission to preach, but he died before this permission could reach him.” (http://www.eldrbarry.net/heidel/bcl.htm)

This group “held the Bible in great awe and reverence…Erasmus through life always had a similar reverence and respect for God’s Word.” (Lion’s History of Christianity, p. 359)
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Bibliographic note: The Christian Renaissance: a History of the Devotio Modern ( Century, 1924) and The Brethren of the Common Life: Gerard Groote and the Founding of the Brotherhood (Eerdmans, 1950) by Albert Hyma. Hyma's thesis is that the teaching ministry of the Brethren gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. He also wrote: Erasmus and the Humanists. (Crofts 1930) and The Youth of Erasmus.
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David Cloud, while critical of Erasmus for not separating from the Roman “church”, nonetheless sees in him a born-again individual. Erasmus was hated and widely spoken against for his accompanying commentary to his Greek and Latin editions of the New Testament, where he compared the Romish “church”, its false teachings, and ungodly clergy to the holy character of the apostles and New Testament saints; he revealed the glory and actual person of the Lord Jesus by making the Scriptures clear and understandable. His Greek editions rocked all of Europe. Historian J.H. Merle D'Aubigne comments on what Erasmus had done:

The great work of the 16th century was about to begin. A volume fresh from the presses of Basle had just crossed the Channel. Being transmitted to London, Oxford, and Cambridge, this book, the fruit of Erasmus’s vigils, soon found its way wherever there were friends of learning. It was the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, published for the first time in Greek with a new Latin translation—an event more important for the world than would have been the landing of the pretender in England, or the appearance of the chief of the Tudors in Italy. This book, in which God has deposited for man’s salvation the seeds of life, was about to effect alone, without patrons and without interpreters, the most astonishing revolution in Britain.

When Erasmus published this work, at the dawn, so to say, of modern times, he did not see all its scope. Had he foreseen it, he would perhaps have recoiled in alarm. He saw indeed that there was a great work to be done, but he believed that all good men would unite to do it with common accord. “A spiritual temple must be raised in desolated Christendom,” said he. “The mighty of this world will contribute towards it their marble, their ivory, and their gold; I who am poor and humble offer the foundation stone,” and he laid down before the world his edition of the Greek Testament.

Then glancing disdainfully at the traditions of men, he said: “It is not from human reservoirs, fetid with stagnant waters, that we should draw the doctrine of salvation; but from the pure and abundant streams that flow from the heart of God.”

And when some of his suspicious friends spoke to him of the difficulties of the times, he replied: “If the ship of the church is to be saved from being swallowed up by the tempest, there is only one anchor that can save it: it is the heavenly word, which, issuing from the bosom of the Father, lives, speaks, and works still in the gospel.” These noble sentiments served as an introduction to those blessed pages which were to reform England. Erasmus, like Caiaphas, prophesied without being aware of it.

The New Testament in Greek and Latin had hardly appeared when it was received by all menof upright mind with unprecedented enthusiasm. Never had any book produced such a sensation. It was in every hand: men struggled to procure it, read it eagerly, and would even kiss it. The words it contained enlightened every heart. but a reaction soon took place. Traditional Catholicism uttered a cry from the depths of its noisome pools (to use Erasmus's figure). Franciscans and Dominicans, priests and bishops, not daring to attack the educated and well-born, went among the ignorant populace, and endeavoured by their tales and clamours to stir up susceptible women and credulous men. “Here are horrible heresies,” they exclaimed, “here are frightful antichrists! If this book be tolerated it will be the death of the papacy!” “We must drive this man from the university,” said one. “We must turn him out of the church,” added another. “The public places re-echoed with their howlings,” said Erasmus. The firebrands tossed by their furious hands were raising fires in every quarter; and the flames kindled in a few obscure convents threatened to spread over the whole country.

The irritation was not without a cause. The book indeed contained nothing but Latin and Greek: but this first step seemed to auger another—the translation of the Bible into the vulgar tongue. Erasmus loudly called for it. “Perhaps it may be necessary to conceal the secrets of kings,” he remarked, “but we must publish the mysteries of Christ. The Holy Scriptures, translated into all languages, should be read not only by the Scotch and Irish, but even by Turks and Saracens. the husbandman should sing them as he holds the handle of his plough, the weaver repeat them as he plies his shuttle, and the weary traveler, halting on his journey, refresh him under some shady tree by these godly narratives.” These words prefigured a golden age after the iron age of popery. A number of Christian families in Britain and on the continent were soon to realize these evangelical forebodings, and England was to endeavor to carry them out for the benefit of all the nations on the face of the earth.

The priests saw the danger, and by a skillful maneuver, instead of finding fault with the Greek Testament, attacked the translation and the translator. “He has corrected the Vulgate,” they said, “and puts himself in the place of Saint Jerome. He sets aside a work authorized by the consent of ages and inspired by the Holy Ghost. What audacity!” and then, turning over the pages, they pointed out the most odious passages: “Look here! This book calls upon men to repent, instead of requiring them, as the Vulgate does, to do penance!” (Matt. 9:17). The priests thundered against him from their pulpits: “This man has committed the unpardonable sin,” they asserted, “for he maintains that there is nothing in common between the Holy Ghost and the monks—that they are logs rather than men!”….”He's a heretic, an heresiarch, a forger! He's a goose….he's a very antichrist!” (D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Vol. V, pp. 153-156; in recent one-volume edition, pp. 729, 730)​

Cloud has quoted part of the above in his booklet. This is from Cloud’s booklet:

The term "humanist" meant something entirely different in the sixteenth century than it means today. In December 1984 I wrote to Andrew Brown, at that time the Editorial Secretary of the Trinitarian Bible Society, and asked about the charge of Erasmus being a humanist. Brown's reply was most enlightening:

"Erasmus was a thoroughgoing `Christian humanist' from his youth to his
death. The use of the word `humanist' in the Renaissance and Reformation
period does not in any way share the atheistic connotations which that word
now has in popular usage. A `humanist' in that period was simply someone
who was interested in classical literature, culture and education, as a
means of attaining a higher standard of civilised life. Stephanus, Calvin
and Beza were all humanists in this sense, and it is these `humanist'
ideals which have largely shaped Western culture in the succeeding
centuries, blended with the teachings of the Christian Gospel.

"Erasmus was both a Catholic and a Reformer at the same time. He criticised
many of the worst abuses and corruptions of the Catholic church, but he
thought that the church should be reformed from within and that it was
wrong to separate from it. He was praised and criticised by Protestants and
Catholics alike. Some of his writings are highly spiritual, even if there
are occasional traces of unsound doctrine. His Enchiridon (Manual of a
Christian Soldier) was so edifying that it was translated into English by
William Tyndale, the translator of the first printed English New Testament.
I am sending separately an extract from one of his last works, the
`Treatise on Preparation for Death,' which I think will satisfy you
concerning his spiritual outlook. A good biography of Erasmus is R.
Bainton's Erasmus of Christendom." (Letter from Andrew Brown of the
Trinitarian Bible Society, Jan. 7, 1985.)​

Erasmus’s doctrinal orthodoxy is seen in his writings

Erasmus's own writings illustrate his doctrinal soundness and repulsion at Roman heresies. This was evidenced in his commentary to the Bible, but I want to quote from some of his other writings. We will begin with a quote from the last part of the work mentioned by Brown, Erasmus's “Manual of the Christian Soldier”. It is obvious from this that Erasmus did not follow Roman thought, but was sound at least regarding the major teachings of the Gospel. And it is certain that Erasmus was no humanist in any modern sense. As to the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God, Erasmus was orthodox.

Bainton informs us that Manual was "a resolute call to action in the Christian warfare" (p. 66). "As with Kempis and the Brethren [with whom Erasmus spent his early years], the stress is laid upon the exemplification of the gentler virtues: humility, meekness, self-effacement, tenderness, compassion, yielding rather than asserting one's due, forgiveness, love of enemies, overcoming evil with good. ... The color of monastic habits, the wearing of girdles and sandals are all inconsequential ... The sacraments, we learn, are without value apart from the spirit."

Let us hear it in Erasmus's own words. Following are quotes from "Treatise on Preparation for Death":

"Would you please Peter and Paul? Then emulate the faith of the one and the charity of the other. Thereby you will do better than if you make ten
pilgrimages to Rome ... You honor a statue of Christ in wood or stone and
adorned with colors. You would do better to honor the image of his mind
which through the Holy Spirit is expressed in the gospels. Are you excited
over the seamless robe and the napkin of Christ and yet doze over the
oracles of his law? Far better that you should believe than that you should
treasure at home a piece of the wood of the cross. Otherwise you are no
better than Judas, who with his lips touched the divine mouth. The physical
presence of Christ is useless for salvation ... In a word, let all your
possessions, all your concern, all your care be directed toward the
imitation of Christ, who was not born for himself, lived not to himself,
died not to himself, but for our sakes ...

"We are assured of victory over death, victory over the flesh, victory over
the world and Satan. Christ promises us remission of sins, fruits in this
life a hundredfold, and thereafter life eternal. And for what reason? For
the sake of our merit? No indeed, but through the grace of faith which is
in Christ Jesus. We are the more secure because he is first our doctor. He
first overcame the lapse of Adam, nailed our sins to the cross, sealed our
redemption with his blood, which has been confirmed by the testimonies of
the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and virgins and by the universal Church of
the saints. He added the seal of the Spirit lest we should waver in our
confidence ... What could we little worms do of ourselves? Christ is our
justification. Christ is our victory. Christ is our hope and security.
"Unto us a child is born." Unto US, born for us, given for us. He it is who
teaches us, cures our diseases, casts out demons, for us suffers hunger and
thirst, is afflicted, endures the agonies of death, sweats blood, for us is
conquered, wounded, dead and resurrected, and sits at the right hand of God
the Father ...

"As we approach death the sacraments are not to be despised, but of greater
importance is faith and charity without which all else is vain. I believe
there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist,
not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial who rest in
peace, while many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been
buried next to the altar have gone to hell. There is no point in putting on
a cowl. Better to resolve to live a better life if you get well. I know a
noble woman who gave a large sum to a priest to have masses said for her
soul at Rome. Her money might better have been spent to obligate the priest
never to go to Rome. ...

"Christ said, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour.’ Take refuge then in his
cave in the rocks. Flee to his wounds and you will be safe. The way to
enter paradise is the way of the penitent thief. Say simply, `Thy will be
done. The world to me is crucified and I to the world.'" (Erasmus,
"Treatise on Preparation for Death," quoted by Roland H. Bainton, Erasmus
of Christendom
(Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969), pp. 68, 69, 70, 269, 270.)​

-------------

I would like to wrap up this section on Erasmus with a couple of examples from David Cloud’s booklet (to which I have given the link to the entire text version above):

So much more, of course, could be given from Erasmus's writings to illustrate the man's Bible faith and love for Christ, but we think one more quote will suffice to prove our thesis. The following was composed by Erasmus for the boys at a school established by his Bible-believing friend John Colet. Note Erasmus's love for Christ and his pure faith in the true Christ of the Bible--truly God, truly man, only Savior. And note, as well, that there is no hint here of that false Catholic mysticism which attempts to pass itself off as devotion to Christ. Give an ear to Erasmus's exhortation to these sixteenth century boys:

Who in all history is like to Jesus, ineffably, inconceivably God of God,
born before all times, eternal and fully equal to his eternal and loftiest
parent? Does not his human birth easily overshadow that of all kings? By
the will of the Father and the breath of the Spirit he was born of a
Virgin, a man in time and still God, unsullied by our corruption. Who is
richer than he who gives all things and is not diminished? Who more
illustrious as the splendor of the glory of the Father, enlightening every
man that comes into the world? Who more powerful than he to whom the Father has given power in heaven and on earth? Who more mighty by whose nod the universe was established? at whose nod the sea is calm, species changed, diseases flee, armed men fall on their faces, devils are expelled, rocks
rended, the dead raised, sinners repent, and all things are made new? Who
is more august whom angels adore and before whom devils tremble? Who more invincible than he who has conquered death and cast down Satan from heaven? Who more triumphant than he who has harrowed hell and brought souls to heaven where he sits at the right hand of God the Father? Who is more wise
than he who founded and governs the universe in harmony? Whose authority is greater than his of whom the Father said, "This is my beloved Son. Hear ye
him"? Who is more to be feared than he who can cast body and soul into
hell? Who more fair than he whom to behold is perfect joy? Who is more
ancient than he who has no beginning and will have no end? But perhaps boys may better think of him as a boy, lying in swaddling clothes in a manger,
while angels sang, shepherds adored, the animals knew him, the star stood
over where he lay, Herod trembled, Simeon embraced, Anna prophesied. O
humble simplicity! O sublime humility! How can thoughts conceive or words
suffice to express his greatness? Better to adore than to seek to explain.

What then shall we do, if John the Baptist said he was unworthy to unloose
the latchet of his shoes? Strive, my dear boys, to sit at the feet of Jesus
the teacher. (Bainton, p. 102.)​

In these writings we see the heart and soul of a Protestant, not a true Roman Catholic; of a Bible-believing Christian, not a humanist.​

In his booklet, Cloud mentions concerning the manuscripts Erasmus had at his disposal, as well as those the Greek editors who came after him had. (A hint: if in the URL I gave above to Cloud’s booklet, if you change the part of the URL that says “myth1” to “myth2” you will have the second booklet in the series [or second chapter in the book I spoke of above], “Reformation Editors Lacked Sufficient Manuscript Evidence”.)

Concerning the death of Erasmus, he says,

We read that "in 1535, he [Erasmus] again returned to Basel and died there the following year IN THE MIDST OF HIS PROTESTANT FRIENDS, without relations of any sort, so far as known, with the Roman Catholic Church." [emphasis Cloud’s] (Edward F. Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 194, quoting T.A. Dorey, Erasmus (London: Kegan Paul, 1970); Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom; W. Schwarz, Principles and Problems of Translation (Cambridge: University Press, 1955), pp. 92-166; Preserved Smith, Erasmus, (New York: Harper, 1923).​

One may read these works (some made available to you in their entirety) and see that what is said about Erasmus is far from true. Both about him personally – his faith – and about his access to materials. It was not for nothing he was considered the premiere scholar in all of Europe; his access to libraries (even the Vatican’s, and its Codex B) and manuscripts throughout all Britain and Europe was unrivaled. He was a welcome guest everywhere (except the Catholic enclaves, after his publishing his NT, along with its devastating commentary on RC).

To close this section I would like to leave you with the link to Dr. E.F. Hills’ chapter 8 of his, The King James Version Defended, which – only 9 paragraphs in – has a good section on Erasmus, his life, and textual matters. I hope this has been of benefit in clarifying the life, heart, and work of Erasmus.

I will continue to critique Dr. James Price’s critique of Dr. Hills in a forthcoming post. Again, I say I hope this is not tedious, but as defending Dr. Hills I state much (though not all) of my views, and disarm those who misunderstand Hills’ thought, and seek to denigrate the KJO view therewith. It seems that Dr. Price’s article has been seminal to much of this misunderstanding.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ted C.,

Have you figured out how to save the entire thread yet? I use a Mac, but Windows is similar in that if you go to File of your browser's toolbar, click Save As, and designate a folder (or your desktop) there it will go. Give it a moment to download, as the graphics are high-volume. Also open the downloaded thread to give it a chance to get all the graphics in, each time you renew the save.

A question: As you were in touch with Ted Letis until his death, are you aware of any articles he'd published since publication of The Eccelesiastical Text? Anything more recent than that?

I just received his two books (bought online), and am reading the first currently (Majority Text). So far it's dynamite. (I had to pay $98 for it; last I looked there were no more available. I consider it well worth the price. It sort of evens out that I only paid $8 for ET on eBay, which generally goes for $150 and up with the booksellers.)

Sorry again I got out of line a little earlier.

It pained me to read the Theonomy L debate. But it's another example of "remaining corruption" in even the best of us. It does not lessen, in my view, the quality and import of his work.


Chris M.,

My turn to ask for help. I still haven't figured out how to get a photo under my name (an avatar I think its called). How did you get your image in?

Thanks,

Steve
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am almost finished responding to James A. Price’s online article, “The King James Only View of Edward F. Hills”.

-----------------

Quoting from Price’s ¶s 41, 42, and 43:

Unless one holds to Hills’ axioms and to his view that the Textus Receptus is the true text of the New Testament which has been divinely preserved, the differences between the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text create no difficulty. But if one follows Hills’ view, the presence of non-Majority readings is a major difficulty.

Hills’ six axioms argued that the text preserved by the Greek church as found in the majority of manuscripts was the true text. Thus, despite Hills’ protest to the contrary, non-majority readings should be rejected. The sudden shift of referring to the majority text as the standard text in axiom six rather than the preserved true text did not adequately deal with the difficulty which Hills faced. He was acting contrary to his axioms when he argued that virtually all the non-majority readings in the Textus Receptus should be retained in the text as either probably or possibly genuine (Hills, KJV Defended!, pp. 121-133).

Most of the non-majority readings in the Textus Receptus are Latin readings. Hills’ axioms would require that these readings be rejected…​

I think it has been sufficiently demonstrated above that Price’s rendition of Hills’ principles of textual criticism, and Hills’ actual principles are not the same. Price consistently misrepresents Hills’ views. Dr. Hills makes ample provision for the phenomenon of the inclusion of the non-majority, i.e., mostly Latin, readings, into the Textus Receptus.

In ¶s 45 and 46, Price opines,

Hills’ attempt to retain the non-majority readings of the Textus Receptus was completely out of harmony with his principles as stated in the six axioms. Hills and others are totally inconsistent when they defend the Textus Receptus in passages such as Acts 8:37, 9:5-6, I John 5:7 and others because these readings are not found in the God guided tradition that they have claimed has handed down the pure text. If one were to apply Hills’ principles consistently, he would be forced to abandon non-majority text readings. Hills’ inconsistency at this point clearly revealed that he had not arrived at his views by a careful evaluation of the evidence from the manuscripts. He started with the presupposition that the Textus Receptus was to be adhered to at almost any cost; and he adhered to the Textus Receptus even though it required him to renounce, at least in practice, his own stated principles of textual criticism.

Hills’ treatment of the non-majority readings was nothing more than an exercise in the most extreme form of eclectic methodology which some liberal textual critics have urged for years. He has shown a total disregard for the external evidence to the text at this point. Hills has violated most of his axioms, as well as his emphasis on the common faith.​

Dr. Price’s constant refrain that to “apply Hills’ principles consistently” would end in a result different than the TR/KJV readings rings hollow when it is seen that he does not comprehend (or at least present in his arguments) what Hills actually said. As noted above, Price’s view is based on an evidential approach to proofs, while Hills’ is based on a presupposition, this latter being – not “the Textus Receptus was to be adhered to at almost any cost” – but the Word of God concerning His promise to providentially preserve the inspired and infallible Scripture was true, and we need but to discern how He had done it, and seek to explain it if we can. Hills’ presuppositions were based upon the promises and truths of God’s word.

A brief word about the “common faith” Dr. Price mentions so often in an attempt to subvert Hills’ own view of it. Price likens the majority of Greek manuscripts in existence in our day to the majority of the Greek MSS which comprise the “majority text” tradition. He says,


Hills also affirmed,

“Today we may be sure that the text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts is a trustworthy reproduction of the divinely inspired original text” (Hills, B.B.S., p. 34).

But can one really determine the original text simply by finding the majority of manuscripts? One wonders what would happen if one were simply to count the Greek New Testaments in print during this century. If the majority is the determining factor, could not one argue that these represent the God-guided text for our day? In such a case the N-U Text would clearly be shown to be the true text for it is very likely that there are more copies of this critical N-U Text in existence today than all the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament that were ever made. The point is that majority vote of the copies, either handwritten or printed, is simply not a reliable standard, at least not by itself.

Clearly, Hills’ axioms were arguments for the Majority Text. But Hills’ view was not truly a Majority Text view. He was arguing for the Textus Receptus as represented in the KJV as being the restored text of the New Testament.​

It should be common sense that one cannot compare the mass-produced varieties of commercial editions of the Greek New Testament available today, with the ancient manuscripts come to us from earlier ages. However, let us examine anyway the abundantly-distributed “critical N-U Text” Price is enamored of a little more closely. You folks who have been following this (and its previous) thread know I do not throw the word “apostasy” around when it comes to this issue (though others may—to the great detriment of the civil discourse on the topic), but perhaps your perception of this may change a little when you read what is to come.


In the book Dr. Theodore Letis edited (and contributed to), The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate, James A. Borland has an essay, “Re-Examining New Testament Textual-Critical Principles and Practices Used to Negate Inerrancy” [reprinted from the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Vol. 25, No. 4 (December 1982), by permission]. In this essay Borland shows how that one thrust of TC practice is indeed used to negate the inerrancy of the apostles’ original writings; in other words, the apostles were in error in the things they wrote. I quote the opening paragraph of the essay:

Perhaps it is not shocking to assert that Satan uses every means at his disposal to attack the credibility, reliability and authority of God’s Word. He began the assault in the garden with Eve and has not stopped yet. But often his ways are more subtle than the blatant lie succumbed to by Eve. We live in a modern era of sophistication. Even in Biblical and textual studies we hear more and more about the use of computers and other highly technical tools. And Satan is more than willing to accommodate our sophistication in the area of textual criticism. Especially is this so when it occasionally allows men to assert fallibility in the New Testament autographs based on widely accepted principles and practice of textual criticism.​

He briefly surveys the established tenets of NT text critical theory, and then in particular Dr. Hort’s, which postulates the “primacy of the two earliest uncial MSS, Aleph (Sinaiticus) and B (Vaticanus), which date from the middle of the fourth century A.D. These two MSS were given the question-begging designation of being the ‘neutral text.’” He continues,

In short, the resultant practice of these new sophisticated principles was to overturn completely the textual critical practices of the past. Since the majority Byzantine text was judged to be a later text, the supposedly more ancient, more pure “neutral text” was substituted at the junctures of innumerable variants…

In referring to the Westcott and Hort theory, George Ladd approvingly writes, “The basic solution to the textual problem has been almost universally accepted.” He goes on to assert that “it is a seldom disputed fact that critical science has to all intents and purposes recovered the original text of the New Testament.” Ladd believes that “in the search for a good text, piety and devotion can never take the place of knowledge and scholarly judgment.” [the quotes are from Ladd’s book, The New Testament and Criticism (Eerdmans 1967) In a footnote Borland quotes Gordon Fee in the same vein saying, “Fee is equally bold in asserting that ‘the task of NT textual criticism is virtually completed’” (in “Modern Textual Criticism and the revival of the Textus Receptus,” JETS 21, 1978, 19-33).] Yet it is precisely this “almost universally accepted” “knowledge and scholarly judgment” that if followed too often leads to the conclusion that the very autographs of Scripture recorded errors and blunders.​

He then considers more deeply Westcott and Hort’s rules of external evidence regarding the manuscripts (by which they were able to dispose of the testimony of the majority of manuscripts), and then their rules of internal evidence, which came to the forefront after their external rules had gotten rid of the MT. Borland goes on,

Naturally each of these canons [of internal evidence] to a large degree must be subjectively applied. When a decision is difficult in the area of the internal evidence of readings, scholars often resort to the old circular reasoning that “certain MSS tend to support the ‘original’ text more than others and that those MSS are the early Alexandrian. Therefore, when internal evidence cannot decide, Gordon Fee advises, “the safest guide is to go with the ‘best’ MSS.” [Fee, “Textual Criticism of the New Testament,” Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 431] Thus all too often external evidence is the last resort, and when it is appealed to, the results have already been determined by a preconception of which MSS are the “best.”….[L]et us examine several examples of this prevalent textual-critical method—which ultimately asserts that the autographs did indeed contain incontrovertible mistakes.

In other words, the prevalent textual methodology can be and is being used to deny the inerrancy of the original autographs.

Nearly a century ago George Salmon astutely observed that Westcott and Hort had attributed to the gospel writers “erroneous statements which their predecessors had regarded as copyists’ blunders.” Salmon noted that “there was indeed but little rhetorical exaggeration in the statement that the canon of these editors was that Codex B was infallible and that the Evangelists were not. Nay, it seemed as if Hort regarded it as a note of genuineness if a reading implies error on the part of the sacred writer.” [G. Salmon, Some Thoughts on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (London: John Murray, 1897)]

I. The Case of Asa and Amon

One example of current import is found in the readings of Matthew 1:7, 10. These texts contain part of the kingly genealogy of Christ. Many conservative commentators seem almost oblivious to the problem [and in a footnote he lists a number]. But scholars who do not adhere to the doctrine of inerrancy do not pass up a chance to point out what they consider to be a fallacy in Matthew’s autograph. The majority of all MSS read Asa (Asa; v. 7) and Amon (Amon; v. 10), easily recognized as two kings of Judah who were ancestors of Christ. Matthew’s point is to demonstrate our Lord’s royal lineage. But the United Bible Societies’ text instead chooses alternate readings based on the “better” manuscripts as well as some very subjective internal considerations. They substitute for the kings Asa and Amon the names “Asaph” and “Amos,” a psalmist and prophet respectively. They reason that “the evangelist may have derived material for the genealogy, not from the Old Testament directly, but from subsequent genealogical lists, in which the erroneous spelling occurred.” [B.M. Metzger, et al., A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (NY: United Bible Societies, 1971), p.1] Prior to that confident assertion, Bruce Metzger and others, claimed that “most scholars are impressed by the overwhelming weight of textual evidence supporting Asaph.” [Ibid.]

What is the composition of this “overwhelming weight of textual evidence” in favor of the Asaph blunder? Heading the list are the fourth and fifth century codices, Aleph B and C. Next come the minuscules of families 1 and 13 and two eleventh- and twelfth-century cursives, 700 and 1071, followed by fourteenth-century manuscript 209. Among the versions are several Old Latin MSS (notably k, Bobiensis, a fourth or fifth century production), along with others of the seventh century and beyond. The Coptic, following the basic Egyptian text of Aleph and B, agrees; and the Armenian, Ethiopic and Georgian translations, each perhaps related to Caesarean origins (of f1 and f13), indicate Asaph also. In the Harclean Syriac it merits only a listing in the margin. In summary, barely more than a dozen Greek MSS carry the Asaph reading, followed by a few Old Latin MSS, the Coptic and several minor versions.

On the other hand, the expected reading of Asa is found in literally hundreds of Greek witnesses beginning with uncials E K L M U V W G D and P. These MSS date from the fifth through the tenth centuries and no doubt represent a wide geographic distribution, including Washingtoniensis (the Freer Gospels of the fifth century) and Regius (L), which in Metzger’s opinion has a good type of text, “agreeing very frequently with codex Vaticanus.” [Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 2nd ed. (NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968), p. 54] In addition, hundreds of cursives lend their support including numbers of those known “to exhibit a significant degree of independence from the so-called Byzantine manuscript tradition.” [Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. xvii] These would include 33 (the queen of the cursives and constant ally of Aleph and B) and other minuscules beginning with the ninth century. To this may be added the entire bulk of cursive manuscripts that must represent nearly every geographical point where Greek was studied and copied throughout the middle ages and demonstrates an unbroken continuity of evidence sorely lacking in the paucity of material supporting the Asaph reading.

The lectionaries too stand solidly behind Asa, as do a number of Old Latin MSS including the notable fourth-century Vercellensis. the entire Vulgate is another early and uniform witness to Asa—as are the Curetonian, Sinaitic, Pe****ta, Harclean and Palestinian versions of the Syriac. To these may be added both Ephiphanius and Augustine of the first quarter of the fifth century. Only a preconceived notion as to which witnesses are best would cause anyone to deny that the truly “overwhelming weight of textual evidence” favors the traditional reading of Asa.

If such is the case, then Asaph should be viewed as an early scribal blunder injudiciously copied into (fortunately) only a handful of Greek MSS. The evidence for Amon versus Amos in Matthew 1:10 is somewhat similar. It is difficult to believe that Matthew, no doubt an educated literary Jewish writer, was incapable of distinguishing between the Hebrew 'ãsã' and 'ãsãp' or between the even more distinguishable ‘ãmôn and ‘ãmôs. Not only would he have known the names of Israel’s kings by memory, but he probably would have used the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 3:10-14 in securing the names he used.

Lest one thinks this all amounts to academic irrelevance, we should be aware that the Revised Standard Version places the prophet’s name Amos in the text of Matthew 1:10 with the note “other authorities read Amon.” The Catholic New American Bible (1970) reads Amos without explanation. The American Standard Version, the RSV and the New American Standard Bible each read Asa for Matthew 1:7 but append a note indicating that the Greek reads Asaph. But where does the reading for Asa come if not from the Greek? The ASV and NASB do the same for Amos in Matthew 1:10, and the Jerusalem Bible is similar. At the least, this nomenclature is certainly inconsistent with the usual way of introducing a textual variant. We might well believe that Matthew got his kings, prophets and psalmists a bit confused! (excerpted from pp. 46-52)​

Thank you for bearing with this longish but significant portion of essay. He goes on with another example, but so as not to stretch my availing myself of the “fair use” policy of copyrighted material I will refrain.

If you will look at the lately much vaunted ESV, you will see that in Matthew 1 it reads both Asaph and Amos instead of the kings! It was in Letis’ audio sermon on the ESV that I learned it had been adapted from the old RSV; on the acknowledgment page it reads,

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.​

I would certainly hate to have to explain my way out of these false readings in the ESV to a class of bright teenagers!

Letis was of the mind that the royalties from our purchases of ESVs go the National Council of Churches, to further its agendas. Are we in accord with its agendas?*

-----------------

*[Brief portion added on Oct 16 '06 to make correction]:


From http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?currSection=sermonsdate&sermonID=41504103537

John Hooper from South Carolina (6/23/2004)

“Interesting”
I found this lecture quite interesting. Letis was misinformed though when he stated that proceeds from the ESV go to the National Council of Churches. Crossway states on its faq page (http://www.gnpcb.org/page/esv.faq) that it does NOT pay any royalties to anyone for the ESV text. They own all the rights to the text. For more information on textual base and translation style see: http://www.gnpcb.org/page/esv.philosophy


Theodore P. Letis (8/4/2004)

“Correction”
Mr. Hooper from South Carolina is unfortunately, misinformed. He derives his information from the official website of the ESV publishers, Crossway. I, on the other hand, derive my information directly from the National Council of Churches, who do, indeed, own the copyright to the old RSV--the basis of the ESV--as can be clearly seen from the copyright page of the ESV itself where this is made perfectly clear. That a licensing fee must be paid for the use of copyright material is standard procedure in the publishing world. That Crossway has such a contract with the National Council of Churches has also been confirmed to me, as I have said, directly by the NCC themselves. Hence, Crossway does financially benefit the NCC.


Gene from U.S.A. (7/29/2005)

“Very True! --And A Clarification”
I contacted the Crossway ESV site by email. The responding associate editor stated that there are NO ongoing royalty payments involved. However, he did admit that Crossway "purchased from the NCC full rights to use the RSV in developing the ESV..." He did not state the amount of funds involved obviously, but considering the market size of this kind of project, it is probably safe to assume a tidy sum. Why would a supposedly conservative translation group seek a translation source from the most rank liberal organization in the country? Dr. Letis makes the point that secular corporate ownership of the Bible translation business is a factor. It's hard to disagree….


---------

Back to Dr. Price. Can we actually compare the mass-produced varieties of the Greek Critical Text with the Greek manuscripts that come to us from antiquity? These mass-produced editions boldly pronounce the fallibility of the apostolic writings, the autographs themselves. Their editors (some of them) boldly pronounce it in their writings, and their bibles pronounce it in their texts! NO, the texts current and common among believers today are not to be compared to the majority texts of past centuries.

This view of James A. Borland will be strongly attacked, for it not only goes against almost the entire Text-Critical establishment, including those with vested interests in academia (which is not to deny that many proceed in their integrity – I do not mean to impugn people’s characters), and huge commercial interests, as Bruggen and the late Dr. letis have so annoyingly pointed out.

A friend has said to me that Daniel Wallace has sufficiently answered to Borland’s essay with one of his own (cf. http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1221). I have just looked it over, and do not agree. Shortly I will give a brief response to Wallace’s essay, and though I am way out of his league, can nonetheless think for myself.

P.S. I see that Dr. Borland has written a response to Wallace et al himself, "THE PRESERVATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT: A COMMON SENSE APPROACH" (http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj10d.pdf#search)
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In his essay dealing with KJV/TR and MT views, “Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticism,” Dr. Daniel B. Wallace writes,


I wish to address an argument that has been used by TR/MT advocates—an argument which is especially persuasive among laymen. The argument is unashamedly theological in nature: inspiration and preservation are intrinsically linked to one another and both are intrinsically linked to the TR/MT. That is to say, the doctrine of verbal-plenary inspiration necessitates the doctrine of providential preservation of the text, and the doctrine of providential preservation necessarily implies that the majority text (or the TR) is the faithful replica of the autographs. Inspiration (and inerrancy) is also used for the Byzantine text’s correctness in two other ways: (1) only in the Byzantine text do we have an inerrant New Testament; (2) if any portion of the New Testament is lost (no matter how small, even if only one word), then verbal-plenary inspiration is thereby falsified.

If inspiration and preservation can legitimately be linked to the text of the New Testament in this way, then the (new) KJV NT is the most accurate translation and those who engage in an expository ministry should use this text alone and encourage their audiences to do the same. But if this theological argument is not legitimate, then New Testament textual criticism needs to be approached on other than a theological a priori basis. And if so, then perhaps most modern translations do indeed have a more accurate textual basis after all…

The Critique

There are a number of serious problems with the theological premise of Byzantine text advocates. Generally speaking, however, they all fall into one of three groups: (1) a question-begging approach, (2) faulty assumptions, and (3) a non-biblical doctrinal basis. As will be readily seen, there is a great deal of overlap between these three areas.”

1. Question-Begging Approach

Majority text proponents beg the question for their view on at least three fronts.
a. What do you count? First, they only count Greek manuscripts. Yet, there are almost twice as many Latin NT manuscripts as there are Greek (over 10,000 to approximately 5,500). If the Latin manuscripts were to be counted, then modern translations would be vindicated rather than the King James, because the early Greek manuscripts which stand behind the vast bulk of Latin manuscripts and behind modern translations are quite similar. At one point, E. F. Hills argued that “God must preserve this text, not secretly, not hidden away in a box for hundreds of years or smoldering unnoticed on some library shelf, but openly before the eyes of all men through the continuous usage of His Church.”29 Preservation is therefore linked to public accessibility. It is precisely at this point that the argument for counting only Greek manuscripts begs the question. As Ehrman points out:

[According to Hills,] the subsequent preservation of the New Testament text did not extend to guaranteeing the accuracy of its translation into other languages, but only to protecting the relative purity of the Greek text itself. Here, of course, his prior argument that God preserved the text for the sake of His church becomes irrelevant—since only a select minority in the church has ever known Greek.​
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My own approach and answer to this is: We do not have an edition based on the 10,000 or so Latin MSS. The modern translations whose Greek base is somewhat similar to them are a recent phenomenon, as is that Greek text. For the English-speaking world the edition that emerged supreme as the Old and New Testaments were brought into in the English language was the King James Bible. It did not arise out of the Latin (save a few readings from the Vulgate) but out of the majority of the Greek MSS.

There is a preserving of the text, and then there is a preserving of the text—where its integrity is held even to minute readings not granted the former. That the former was nonetheless efficacious is analogous to the Bibles based upon the CT being efficacious to save and edify God’s people today, as witnessed by the multitudes regenerated through those who use the NIV and NASB. The minute preservation occurred in the primary edition (KJV/TR) which was to serve the English-speaking people and the translations created for the vast missionary work they undertook, which impacted the entire world. (It is accepted by many today that the English language is now the universal language—the second language of most other nations.) There was a progression in the purifying of the text, so as to almost (some would say completely) perfectly reconstitute the original manuscripts of the apostles, even as there has been, in the area of theology, a restoration of apostolic doctrine, which also went through phases of deterioration and eventual renewal.

Thus, even those areas of the church which were non-Greek-speaking also had a “preserved text”—as do multitudes in this present day—though their texts were not “minutely preserved.” The texts they had were efficacious unto the salvation of souls and the sustaining of the churches.

As regards the “minutely preserved” text, I observe the fait accompli of His work – Him who said, “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9, 10) – I observe this Book produced in 1611, and I seek to understand in retrospect what He did and how He did it. I am aware you may scoff at what you may term my “unscientific and ignorant” approach, but what is that to me? I do not have faith in your “science” or in your “learning,” so your judgment of my approach is not relevant to me. You may term this (as I have heard it said) “invincible ignorance,” but if my approach to knowledge is approved by my Lord, I care not for your disapproval.

Many times the people of God have not understood how a prophecy was to be fulfilled until it was a done thing, and then they looked backward to see how He had worked. It is thus in observing how He fulfilled His promise to preserve His word.

I look at the completed act of His providential preservation, the manuscripts He brought into the possession of (despised-by-many) Erasmus, and those editors who came after him; I follow the transmission backwards, the nature of those texts – behold, in the main they are those of the Byzantine text-type, with some few readings from the Latin Vulgate – and I seek to discern and construct what Maurice Robinson and Wm. Pierpont posited in their Introduction to The New Testament in the Original Greek According to the Byzantine / Majority Textform,

A sound rational approach which accounts for all the phenomena and offers a reconstruction of the history of textual transmission is all that is demanded for any text-critical hypothesis. (p. xxxii)​

I am likewise aware that Messrs. Robinson and Pierpont will disown me as one of their illegitimate progeny, as they make clear on their page xli, but I want to make clear I refuse to be under bondage to “the tyranny of experts,” to use Machen’s memorable phrase. I do not need the knowledge of “experts” who proceed according to methodologies I do not subscribe to. I will consider their work (as much as I am able) and use it if I please.

The MT scholars are the heavy linebackers who run interference against those CT opponents who clutter the field as the TR runner seeks the touchdown. In the realm of the mind it is not all so simple, because on an actual field when a man is knocked down or points are scored which win the game it is obvious for all to see who trust their senses; in these realms one can score points but others will yet seek to gainsay. The onlookers may think for themselves, and we have a Referee who knows what is what, and after the game is over He will vindicate those who were true.

I do believe the arguments of the MT scholars are far more cogent than those of the CT and ET (eclectic text). The distrust of certain methodologies in scholarship works to the great disadvantage of those scholars. When you are not trusted, nothing you say has the import of those who are. People with faith in a Scripture whose character is as supernatural as the One who wrote it disdain the ways of the unbelieving world, even when (or especially when) they deal with the Holy Bible.

“In logic, begging the question is the term for a type of fallacy occurring in deductive reasoning in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises… Essentially, the argument assumes that its central point is already proven, and uses this in support of itself. Begging the question is also known by its Latin name petitio principii ” (Wikipedia)​

I have spoken earlier of presuppositionalism, also termed Reformed apologetics; this approach to epistemology “emphasizes the presentation of Christianity as revealed—as based on the authoritative revelation of God in Scripture and in Jesus Christ.” (Faith Has Its Reasons: An Integrative Approach To Defending Christianity, by Kenneth D. Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr.; NavPress 2001, p. 249).”

Dr Wallace has said about our approach, “The argument is unashamedly theological in nature.” Yes, it surely is, as opposed to evidential, that based on natural evidences. Evidences have a place, but they are not absolutes. They are not the foundations of worldviews, not those which can stand, at any rate. Dr. Wallace’s argument (concerning Scripture) is unashamedly naturalistic, that is, antisupernatural.

The basic presupposition of my worldview is that God has spoken. I repeat what I said earlier:

I know because God knows, and has revealed His knowledge in the word He has spoken to us humans. Apart from God’s word we can know nothing certainly. That which appears to us, even the maxims of science, are often not as they seem, for our perceptions may be faulty, and in science new discoveries supercede previous ones on a regular basis. But when God speaks I know this is truth. Insofar as my mind is in accord with His, I know the truth.​

I proceed upon the basis that God has said He would preserve His word. Psalm 12:7, 8 is one Scripture I use for that (see above for a discussion of the controversy in translating this passage), and another is Matthew 4:4. That you may not accept the translation of Psalm 12 the AV uses does not deter my using it (an entire established exegetical tradition suppressed—censoredby editorial fiat!). Perhaps I will not convince you, but I will stand in the truth of God’s word, and give heart to those who desire to do likewise.

The Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” This is not a textual issue as the words in Matthew 4:4 are not contested anywhere. His words do give rise to a theological issue: implicit in the saying is that by every word of His we live, and such being so He will see to it that we have what we need in order to live. He has also said,

…His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us unto glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…(2 Peter 1:3, 4)​

Can He not fulfill these promises, He of whom it is written, that He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will”? (Ephesians 1:11)

If any say, “These presuppositions are being imposed upon the facts of the manuscripts,” I will reply, “The facts are interpreted or understood in light of what is presupposed, that being God’s stated promises to preserve His words. One unsympathetic to such a Reformed apologetic might view it as “imposition”, but I maintain that I proceed upon the foundations of knowledge—of truth—in my standing on His word. You may also dispute my exegesis, but I will hold to it.

Are there those who will say (I know there are) the presuppositional approach per se is question-begging? We do assume the words of God are true, and specifically so as regards promises of preservation; the corollary to this truth is that it must needs already have been accomplished as regards the English-speaking world, and only the KJV/TR meets the criteria of a minutely preserved text.

The second alleged question-beggar:

b. When do you count? Majority text advocates tacitly assume that since most Greek manuscripts extant today belong to the Byzantine text, most Greek manuscripts throughout church history have belonged to the Byzantine text. But this assumption begs the question in the extreme, since there is not one solid shred of evidence that the Byzantine text even existed in the first three centuries of the Christian era. Not only this, but as far as our extant witnesses reveal, the Byzantine text did not become the majority text until the ninth century. Furthermore, for the letters of Paul, there is no majority text manuscript before the ninth century. To embrace the MT/TR text for the corpus Paulinum, then, requires an 800-year leap of faith. Not only is this a severe instance of petitio principii, but it also is a cavalier treatment of historical evidence unbecoming of those who boast a faith which cannot be divorced from history. No majority text advocate would tolerate such a fideistic leap regarding the person and work of Christ; how then can they employ it when it comes to the text?”​

That’s quite a spin. When Dr. Wallace says, “not one solid shred of evidence,” I assume that the many Byzantine readings found in the papyri for some reason do not qualify in his eyes. The MT folks provide ample evidence to my thinking.

He will probably relegate what text critic Kirsopp Lake said to the circular file: “It is hard to resist the conclusion that the scribes usually destroyed their exemplars when they had copied the sacred books.” For Dr. Wallace says,

Many hypotheses can be put forth as to why there are no early Byzantine manuscripts. But once again an ounce of evidence is worth a pound of presumption. In historical investigation one must start with the evidence and then make the hypothesis. (from his essay, “The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?”)​

All of a sudden, out of the blue, in the ninth century, the majority text-type appeared, origins unknown. As for his “fideistic leaps,” we have the Scriptures to direct us concerning “the person and work of Christ,” whereas for post-NT history we have, on the one hand, nothing but often dark and incomplete knowledge, and on the other, the promises and prophecies of the New Testament. My “historical investigation” is illumined by that which is true, namely, the promises of Christ, and we can see the fulfillments thereof after-the-fact of their manifestation. Wallace may say I am going about things backwards—having a hypothesis before examining evidences—yet I say he is going about it backwards: seeking to discern the hand of God in providence by following shifting and uncertain evidences, the outcome the result of conjectures and faulty methodologies, which outcome seems to say on the face of it, the autographs had mistakes. And we need, he says, adjust our theologies accordingly.

As a young believer, it was told me (as regards moral issues), “When in doubt, do without.” I doubt the validity of Dr. Wallace’s entire text-critical enterprise. And I will do without it. The status of my Bible is a supreme moral issue.

Now for the 3rd alleged question-beggar:

c. Where do you count? Suppose we were to assume that only Greek manuscripts should be counted. And suppose further that public accessibility is a legitimate divine motive for preservation. Given these two assumptions, one would expect the Byzantine text-type to be readily accessible in all pockets of the ancient Greek-speaking world. But that is demonstrably not true. For example, it was not readily available to Christians in Egypt in the first four centuries. After carefully investigating the Gospel quotations of Didymus, a fourth-century Egyptian writer, Ehrman concludes, “These findings indicate that no ‘proto-Byzantine’ text existed in Alexandria in Didymus’ day or, at least if it did, it made no impact on the mainstream of the textual tradition there.” What confirms this further is that in several placed Origen, the great Christian textual scholar, speaks of textual variants that were in a majority of manuscripts in his day, yet today are in a minority, and vice verse. Granting every gratuitous concession to majority text advocates, in the least this shows that no majority text was readily available to Christians in Egypt. And if that is the case, then how can they argue for a majority on the basis of public accessibility?​

I don’t believe this is a case of universal “public accessibility,” but a thing done in the open, among the people of God, as opposed to manuscripts hidden away deep in the guarded archives of antichrist, or forgotten in a monastery.

I also addressed this above in the matter of adequate preservation as distinguished from preservation in the minutiae.

Many people may buy the scenario of the Critical Text advocates, who appreciate their view of the evidences, yet there are great numbers who do not, who see them as violating tenets of the faith in their secular approach to supernatural phenomena. The paradigm of their text-critical approach is inimical to a believing worldview. Of course they will say, Nonsense! But there it is.

Dr. Hills did not “abandon textual criticism,” as Dr. Wallace asserts, he only abandoned a methodology born of unbelief. He denied this approach was a sine qua non of the discipline, and returned to an earlier Reformed approach, founded upon different principles.

He should not wonder that some fire verbal birdshot as he wanders their fields, seeing he treads their holy ground in shoes soiled from disease-infested gutters of the world, spreading pestilence and havoc throughout the realm. I do not believe he intends this at all. But there it is.

The response to be continued.
 
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