can a preference for the harder reading ever get one back to the inspired text?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by timothy 1769, Mar 13, 2003.

  1. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    if i understand this right, one of the accepted principles of textual criticism is that the harder reading is to be preferred.

    now, as this applies to secular documents, perhaps this is the best approach. i'm too ignorant to say.

    but if the originals were perfect, inspired by god, how will this principle ever get us back to the original text? this principle would tend toward adding errors, not removing them.

    i think it's not a good idea* to follow a principle that fully applied will never get you what you know by faith is the correct result: an inerrant bible.

    *edited from "silly"

    [ March 13, 2003, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: timothy 1969 ]
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Perhaps it is only silly because you don't understand the principle. The principle states that it is more likely that a scribe would make a hard reading easier than that he would make an easy reading hard.

    there would be no reason for a Scribe to make an easy reading harder. He might simplify it because it seemed to him to be too difficult to be right.

    This is all provided "it is not too hard."
     
  3. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    i think i understand it well enough for my objection to be reasonable. do you understand my objection? a subset of "hard readings" are those that introduce contradiction, and an approach which values contradictory readings will never get one back to the original inerrant bible.

    if a path isn't leading one to the proper destination, why follow it?

    [ March 13, 2003, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: timothy 1969 ]
     
  4. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    i'm sorry, "silly" was a bad word choice on my part.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understand your objection. But I still disagree with it on the basis of the principle involved. The principle is generally stated similar to: The harder reading is to preferred over the easier reading provided it is not too hard.

    A subset of harder readings being contradictions is not really, to my recollection, involved in any of the variants, though I do not know them all. Perhaps you have one in mind.

    The idea of this is that the authentic reading is teh one that best accounts for the others. With a "hard" and an "easy" reading, it would easy to see how a "hard" reading was made "easy" by a scribe; it would be very difficult to explain how a "hard" reading got introduced into the text. For instance, why would someone introduce a contradiction (your example above)? There is no reason. That does not make sense. But it does make sense that a scribe would take something he thought was a contradiction and simplify it in copying. Thus the principle is vindicated.

    The decision must be based on the evidence in front of us. Our theology is based on revelation. Revelation cannot be based on our theology. There are many things about God and his revelation that we might consider contradictory and simplify such as many have tried to do with the debate about Calvinism and arminianism, but that is simply inappropriate. We let the text stand as it does and then base our theology on that.

    Again, if you have a specific example we could discuss, it would be helpful.
     
  6. Scott J

    Scott J
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,462
    Likes Received:
    0
    I now tend toward more of a majority text position because of this and the idea that the shorter reading is to be preferred to a longer one.

    My doubt of these principles comes from my own experience. In having managed numerous data entry operators, I would not necessarily assume that a harder word was correct. The harder reading might be a typo (or in the case of scribes a similar mistake). A longer reading might be due to a copyists assumption or a shorter one might be an error of fatigue or haste.

    I don't think these principles need to be booted completely. But from studying and listening to various sources on the topic, I surmise that the original is somewhere to the 'majority' side of the critical texts.
     
  7. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    pastor larry, here is one example:

    KJV

    Mat 10:10 Nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

    Mar 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for [their] journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in [their] purse:

    NIV

    Matthew 10
    10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

    Mark 6
    8These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.

    actually my 11 yr. old daughter noticed this while we were studying mark, as she had seen the matthew movie many, many times (taken word for word from the niv). so i told her the niv, while it basically tells the same story, isn't as reliable as the kjv.
     
  8. Scott J

    Scott J
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,462
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are obviously two choices here. The Gospels were at some late date harmonized. Or else, that as these Gospels were circulated and copied independent of each other in the early church, words were mistakenly dropped.

    I tend to find the latter more convincing. The early church was under constant persecution. Making a hand copy of one of the Gospels would take time and peace... both in short supply for the earliest copyists. The places that most afforded the security and resources needed to make these copies probably weren't very conducive to accurate copying either- dark hidden rooms, caves, dense woods, etc.

    I think that the earliest mss, primarily Alexandrian, are tremendously important witnesses and should not be ignored. However, they should not be the de facto rule of thumb either.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must admit I don't follow you here. They both say the same thing. The difference here, if there is one, is not between teh KJV and the NIV but between the Matthean and the Markan account.

    Consider the following comparison of Matthew 10:10(the KJV is first line, the NIV is second):

    Nor scrip for your journey,
    take no bag for the journey,

    neither two coats,
    or extra tunic

    neither shoes,
    or sandals

    nor yet staves:
    or a staff

    for the workman is worthy of his meat.
    for the worker is worth his keep.

    In the Greek text, staff is plural in the TR and singular in the ET and in the TR the verb "estin" is inserted the last clause while not inserted in the ET since it is understood. These differences are seen in the English text only in "staff" vs. "staves."

    Now Mark 6:8:
    And commanded them that
    These were his instructions:

    they should take nothing for their journey,
    "Take nothing for the journey

    save a staff only
    except a staff

    no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.
    no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:

    In Mark the only difference is that bread and bag is reversed in both the Greek and English.

    So how are you arguing that there is a difference between the NIV and KJV? There is not a shorter vs. longer reading here. The UBS 3rd does not even list a textual variant for either of these passages.

    How can the NIV not be as reliable?? It says exactly the same thing.
     
  10. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    kjv: nor yet staves
    niv: or a staff

    this is the problem. "nor yet staves" can mean to not bring any extra staves, which lines up well with mark. here the niv has a contradiction, and the kjv does not.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, I see what you are saying, but "nor yet staves" means "no staves." So your contradiction is still not a KJV/NIV one, but a Matthew/Mark one. What I pointed out earlier is that the texts read the same things in Mark and in Matthew this difference is a singular vs. plural issue. the TR of Matthew is not giving permission to bring one staff but not many staves. It is forbidding the bringing of staffs period.

    This is an issue that exists in both versions and must be solved by some other means. Additionally, it is still not an issue of a shorter vs. longer reading, which is what this trhead is about.
     
  12. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    hmm.. well i don't know how to proceed. i guess we understand the english differently. it appears to me that the statements "bring a staff" and "don't bring staves" are logically compatible, while "bring a staff" and "don't bring a staff" are not. in the first case, one could bring only one staff and satisfy both requirements, but the second case presents a contradiction.

    my intention in introducing this thread is to show that a preference for harder readings would lead to the insertion of contradictions into the critical text. since the goal of the critical process (at least when applied by orthodox scholars) is the recreation of an inerrant document, this principle seems hard to justify.
     
  13. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    But that is the problem: English is not the issue. The issue is, What does the Greek say? The Greek makes no difference in the terms that you present here. This distinction that you are making is a difference only in translation, not in the Greek.

    But again, this is not a textual variant that qualifies for a hard/less hard distinction. You are using a poor illustration of this I think. It just doesn't qualify it doesn't seem.
     
  14. timothy 1769

    timothy 1769
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    0
    But that is the problem: English is not the issue. The issue is, What does the Greek say? The Greek makes no difference in the terms that you present here.

    one greek term is singular, leading to contradiction, the other is plural, avoiding it.

    But again, this is not a textual variant that qualifies for a hard/less hard distinction.

    a contradiction is a harder reading.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    No it doesn't. Look again at what I said: The Greek is not suggesting one vs more than one but rather one vs. none. The plural is not at issue here I do not believe. I think you are working to hard to work this out. Take it as it stands. I have not studied this passage. I will look into it when I get to my office but I really think you are making a mountain out of a molehill here.

    That is not what it meant by the "harder/easier" distinction in textual criticsm, which is what I keep trying to say. The "harder/easier" has to do with more with grammar and structure, not theology.
     
  16. neal4christ

    neal4christ
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,815
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, this is one of my problems with modern textual criticism. A couple of other problems is Luke 3:33 and Matthew 1:7-8. If we take this one in question as it stands, we have an error. Either Matthew/Luke are right or Mark is. They can't both be.

    Neal
     

Share This Page

Loading...