Acts 8:37 MSS support?

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by nate, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. nate

    nate
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    I'm writing a short essay on Acts 8:37 and why it should not be included in our Bibles according to mss support and other evidence. I went to a persons site and he claimed that Acts 8:37 has this Greek mss support:
    I know it's in the TR mss but my question is on another site only came up with three mss: E,945, and 1739, Old Latin, later Vulgate, and 1 Coptic. Was my source this wrong? Thanks for your guys help.
    Nate
     
  2. Hope of Glory

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  3. Bluefalcon

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    Codex E says something a little different: "And Phillip said to him, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may be saved;' then he answered and said, 'I believe in Christ the Son of God.'"

    The only other Greek MSS that add the verse are minuscules from the 10th or later centuries, i.e., 36 307 453 610 945 1678 1739 1891, and also lectionaries 592 and 1178. They read: "And he said to him, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may;' then he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'"

    The other manuscript numbers in the OP are not accurate representatives of Greek MS support for the verse, although they may be referring to Latin MSS (?); I doubt this to be the case, however.
     
  4. Askjo

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    Three earliest Church fathers prior to 3rd Century citied Acts 8:37. According to Dr. Jack Moorman, he wrote: "J. A. Alexander suggested that the verse was omitted by many scribes as unfriendly to the practice of delaying baptism, which had become common, if not prevalent, before the end of the 3rd century."

    Those translators of modern versions are wrong to omit this verse because of their uncertainity.
     
  5. nate

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    But askjo look at the mss evidence! 36 307 453 610 945 1678 1739 1891, that's 8. Not very many. This verse requires, just as with the Comma, that a reading can practically disappear from the Greek.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Zane Hodges omits it in his Majority Text NT. (I only have the 1st edition.) Robinson-Pierpoint's Byzantine NT omits it. UBS 3 (as you would expect) omits it. However, even Metzger agrees that the tradition is from the 2nd century, as Askjo has pointed out. Also, contra Bluefalcon, Metzger says that the earliest mss that has it is 6th century.

    "Although the earliest known New Testament manuscript which contains the words dates from the sixth century (ms. E), the tradition of the Ethiopian's confession of faith in Christ was current as early as the latter part of the second century, for Irenaeus quotes part of it (Against Heresies, III.xii.8). Although the passage does not appear in the late medieval manuscript on which Erasmus chiefly depended for his edition (ms. 2), it stands in the martin of another (ms. 4), from which he inserted it into his text because he 'judged that it had been omitted by the carelessness of scribes (arbitror omissum librariorum incuria).'" (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger, 360)

    Meself? I'd like to have it in there in brackets, anyway! It's so preachable! ;)

    God bless!
     
  7. nate

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    Thank you Bro. John and everyone I appreciate the info. I have one question for instance we don't have many copies of 1 John but there are many mss that include Acts correct?
     
  8. Bluefalcon

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    One of my professors has the complete collation information in the Text und Textwert editions published by Aland and her Institute for NT Textual Studies.

    The results for Acts 8:37 are as follows:

    Omit verse = 417 MSS (87%)

    Include verse in various forms (many variations, some only contain a small portion of the verse):

    E/08 88c 94 103 180 221mg 296 307 322 323
    385 429 452c 453 455 464 467 522 606 607
    610 628c 629 630 636 641 876 913 945 1104
    1501 1509 1609 1610 1642 1678 1704 1735 1739 1751
    1765 1780 1830 1832 1851 1853 1869 1877c 1883 1884
    1891 1892c 1903 2200 2298 2473 2488 2494 2544c 2619
    2737 2805 2816c 2818 = Total 64 MSS (13%)

    Here "c" means a corrector of the MS; "mg" means it is included only in the margin of the MS.

    Of course the tradition is old, so Metzger, and perhaps it even happened as Acts 8:37 says. But that is not the question. The question is whether or not Acts 8:37 is authoritative, inspired, original. How does one determine if it is original? That is the science of textual criticism.

    The transmissional indications are that Luke did not originally include it.
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Fascinating, Bluefalcon. Thanks.

    I do disagree that textual criticism is a science, though--not even close. It is a very subjective scholarly discipline.
     
  10. Boanerges

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    Keeping in mind of course, that Metzger is still just a man. Wasn't Bart Ehrman once an assistant to Metzger?
     
  11. Boanerges

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    It appears that they still work together:

    The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration

    Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman

    Format: Textbook Paperback | Hardcover
    Pub. Date: July 2005

    Amos 3
    3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Just operating from memory, yes, there are many mss of Acts. If I'm not mistaken, Acts is the main book for the Western family, having as it does in various the eight so-called "Western non-iterpolations" (WH term?). So, I was thinking the text of Acts would be much more confused than 1 John, but a glance at the UBS apparatus says that 1st John has some complicated problems besides just the comma. [​IMG]
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Naturally, and a quite fallible one. ;)
     
  14. Deacon

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    As long as you're quoting Metzger's "Textual Commentary" take a gander at his introduction to the book of Acts.
    He acknowledges difficulities within the text and has gathered numerous possible solutions from others.

    Could it be possibly that Luke provided more than one original document?

    Rob
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Hi, Rob.

    It's possible that Luke wrote more than one original document, even under verbal-plenary inspiration. Jeremiah wrote more than one original document, then God added to it when Jeremiah re-wrote it after the king cut it up and threw it into the fire.

    I lean to the 3rd theory Metzger gives, that the differences in mss are from interpolations. It's been quite a few years since I read up on all this, so forgive me if I goof here, but as I recall, the Western text is preserved chiefly in the Old Latin translations, which are notorious for adding readings. So, I feel the differences may have bled back into the Greek texts from the Latin.

    As it happens, even before this thread I had been planning to look into the main textual differences for purposes of my work here in Japan. My impression right now, though, is that there is not really that much difference in the text families compared to, say, Homer or Josephus--except of course for those pesky "Western non-interpolations." [​IMG]
     
  16. Boanerges

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    I google searched Metzger, and one of the sites that came up, is a popular one among fundamentalists:

    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/fundamen3.htm

    scroll to bottom of page

    Under the title of "Metzger's heresies", there were some pretty stiff accusations made. Since it appears that Metzger is still working with Ehrman, who has denied the New Testament and Christ, I think that I may need to look a little further now.There are as many opinions about the mss as there are text crits.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    I know Metzger has problems, but please don't make this a Metzger thread. I'd like to talk more about Acts 8:37. [​IMG]
     
  18. Boanerges

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    I understand what you are saying John, but if he is going to be cited as an expert, people should be aware of his views on inspiration, and preservation of mss.
     
  19. nate

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    I will now caution anyone to be wary of anything they read on Way of Life. :eek:
     
  20. nate

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    IMO the manuscript evidence is poor especially considering that the oldest (E) doesn't read like the rest. But the one thing that requires a closer look would be the church fathers. The church fathers who quote part or some of the material located in Acts 8:37 are:Irenaeus 178 A.D., Tertullian 220, Cyprian 258, as well as Ambrosiaster 384, Ambrose 397,and Augustine 430. But some have suggested that this story is just church tradition that found it's way into Acts chapter 8. The theory that Luke may have written more than one copy is fascinating. And could explain a lot.
     

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