Flaws in Critical GNT known 100 years ago

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Nazaroo, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Nazaroo

    Nazaroo
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    Flaws in Critical GNT known 100 years ago


    The Westcott/Hort theory and text, based as it was on earlier work beginning with the suggestions of Wetstein, Selmer, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tregelles, & Tischendorf, was criticized and rejected almost immediately by Christian conservatives, both Protestant and Catholic. People such as Scholz, Scrivener, Burgon, Hoskier, von Soden, & Merk did not accept the arguments, methods or results of the new "naturalistic textual-criticism".

    [​IMG]
    Hort, in a cranky mood

    What is less well-known, is that within a decade, many among the liberal camps in scholarly and academic circles also roundly rejected the W/H text, especially in Germany, Britain, and America. They saw plainly that Hort's theories and reconstructions were implausible and near-worthless on scientific and historical grounds. A good example of this penetrating insight was William Benjamin Smith, who published a series of books and articles in both German and English from 1890 to 1911.

    Wikipedia gives us the following backgrounder on Smith:

    William Benjamin Smith

    At around the same time William Benjamin Smith (1850–1934), a professor of mathematics at Tulane University in New Orleans,...

    The following is taken from Smith's article "Status and Drift of NT Criticism" (1890-1911):


    "The first inquiry ...of any document concerns the text itself. ...Has it suffered any corruption...? It will perhaps be necessary to reconstruct the original from the contradictory attestations of these witnesses [MSS]. Such is the text problem of NT Criticism, one of the most highly complex that ever challenged the efforts of human understanding.
    The [textual evidence] ...is enormous in amount, and...The problem of sifting and evaluating such a mass of evidence and striking the golden mean of truth would seem too difficult for the human intellect, especially as there is no ... sure way of testing our results... and the whole case must be left undecided. Under such circumstances the marvel would seem to be that there should be any agreement at all, that there should not be as many minds as critics. However, as numerous as the [differences] are, the agreements are still far greater, where critical opinions rest harmonious...
    Now it might be thought that this agreement would be extended and perfected by the discovery of new testimony [i.e., MSS], which of late years has proceeded apace, and by the deeper and minuter study of the long familiar evidence. But the fact is exactly the reverse: Accumulation of depositions and profounder investigations have confirmed some critical judgments, but have shaken many others and completely overthrown not a few. The problem is indeed becoming not less but more complicated with advancing knowledge, and the textual uncertainty was never before so great as it is now.
    True it is that the last generation has witnessed the most brilliant attempts yet made to construct the most highly probable text. Those masterly scholars, bishop Westcott and Dr. Hort, thought they might, by a certain careful study of the genealogy of the various witnesses, attach a coefficient of value to each one singly and in combination, and thereby determine the original text in the overwhelming majority of cases with a close approach to certainty. Plausible and seductive as was their argumentation, and thoroughly accepted even now in many high quarters, it was yet fatally defective at many points and for several reasons, and can no longer command scientific assent.

    (a) The "neutral" text which they posited, as best represented by the great Vatican Codex B, is a figment of the imagination.
    (b) The deference paid to certain 'great uncials' was unwarranted.
    (c) The testimony of the Fathers, and versions was undervalued.
    (d) The depreciation of the so-called Western text was undeserved.
    (e) The rash assumption that Codex F awas a copy of G was unfortunate.

    Closer study has shown decisively that at crucial points the witnesses upon which Westcott & Hort relied most confidently might all be misleading, and the MSS most lightly esteemed might present the older reading. Even as the sheperd boy of old laid low the giant, so at any time may some neglected cursive or version or citation overthrow the most venerated uncial [e.g. with early papyrus support].


    Romans 1:7, 15
    The word here is attested by nearly all the best authorities; nonetheless it is an interpolation (Smith, JBL 1901, Part I, p 3ff, Harnack, 'Preuschen's Zeitschrift', 1902, I, p83 f).
    Doxology
    So too the doxology at the end of Rom. 16 is witnessed by Aleph B C D and the best versions; nevertheless the position at the end of ch. 14 is certainly the older.
    Epilogue
    The Epilogue (ch. 14 and 16) is given by nearly every authority, but, in spite of all, it is proved to be a later addendum; the Amiatinian and Fuldensian capitulations clearly point to its earlier absence.

    These examples also correct very usefully a prevalent notion that textual variations are after all mere trifles, ... On the contrary, they are sometimes blinding in their illumination, in their revelation of the primitive structure of our Scriptures. Thus the textual facts just stated involve a complete reconstruction of our notions about Romans, which now seems to be no Epistle and not addressed originally to Romans, but to be a compilation of moral and theological essays...afterwards fitted with Prologue and Epilogue as it now stands.


    So too, the extremely important F and G variant in Rom 9:22, unnoticed even by the best commentators (as Godet, Sanday, Weiss, Lipsius, Hofmann), indicates clearly the pure Judaic original of this famous chapter... (see 'the Hibbert Journal' 1, 2 pp. 328, 329).


    Still another notion must be corrected. Let no one imagine that all or nearly all of the variants are mistakes or due to mistakes; very many are visibly intentional. It was the ancient habit, particularly of the Oriental, to compile and recompile, to edit and re-edit again, and with sacred books this habit became an almost inviolable rule. No one disputes this fact in the case of the O.T. and the Apocrypha and the extra-canonical early Christian Writings (ECW). It would be well-nigh miraculous, if the NT Scriptures should offer exceptions. Before the establishment of the Canon no sacred awe invested the canonics; there was no apparent reason why the favorite Scriptures should not be systematically modified to keep pace with the developing Christian consiciousness, very much as our creeds are altered nowadays.


    Wetstein's great word holds good:

    "Various readings, almost all, are due to the zeal, ingenuity, and guesswork of transcribers."


    Tischendorf admits:


    "It can not be doubted that in the very earliest days of Christianity there were multifarious departures from the pure Scripture of the Apostles, wherein to be sure there entered naught of dishonesty or guile."


    Under the deeper probing of von Soden and others the original "neutral" B-text of WH turns out to be only a very learned revision; the fault of the Vatican [MS] is that it has considered too curiously. (As Holsten was led to observe - Holsten, the matchless master of exegesis, whose imposing reconstructions of Paulinism, by their very perfection, constitute the reductio ad absurdum of the premises and methods he employs.)

    It is impossible to blink at the fact that all MSS of all parts of the NT abound in readings that are plainly second thoughts. Our most ancient and revered codices reproduce only deformed, transformed, and highly elaborated originals. ...
    The discovery of new MSS, the collation of a few hundred more, will not bring the chaos to order but will make confusion still worse confounded. Witness the publication of the Sinaitic Syriac palimpsest, and the turning of attention to the famous Codex Bezae (D): they have merely raised new problems, not settled old. ...Blass no longer quotes critical editions but quotes the MSS themselves, never presuming to say what is the "true text". Such in theory at least is the position to which criticism must finally come. The critic's text, no matter how ingeniously or plausibly manufactured, is only the critic's text, not the "true text" after all.
    ..."

    _______________________________________


    Such a thorough shredding of Westcott-Hort a mere decade after his final edition (1896) by a modernist and scientist delivers the death-blow to the claim that the W-H theory and text is in any way adequate or definitive, even objective in its radical editing of the traditional Christian NT.

    Nazaroo
     
  2. Rippon

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    Naz:You Need To Be Brief & Go To Proper Forum

    Quoting from D.A.Carson's The King James Version Debate:

    What shall we say too about the vast majority of evangelical scholars,including men in whom were found the upmost piety and fidelity to the Word along with scholarship second to none? These men hold that in the basic textual theory Westcott and Hort were right,and that the church stands greatly in their debt. A conservative like Samuel P. Tregelles anticipated Westcott and Hort and their work,and a conservative like Warfield confirmed that work. (p.75)
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Happily critical textual work didn't cease 100 years ago. Thankfully the modern critical text has been deeply and robustly corroborated by textual discoveries over the last 100 years.

    With recent discoveries continuing to add light to the text of the NT we have a highly qualified text that is far closer to the extant autographs than ever before. Certainly higher than the TR.
     
  4. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    This debate will never stop. I have read Carson and White and still hold to Burgeon's position. Those that some call "conservatives" who embrace the critical text theory I call semi-liberals.

    God's Word did not disappear for hundreds of years (4th to 16th century) and it is the majority text that is found and used among the free church groups in that same period not the representatives of the critical text (Vaticanus, Siniaticus or Alexanderian).
     
  5. Nazaroo

    Nazaroo
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    Glad you brought of Tregelles, whose shameful and fraudulent manipulation of Horne's work has been noted here:

    Tregelles and Samuel Davidson sabotage Horne

    Tregelles was a phoney, and a maverick heretic who died outside of fellowship with any church.

    Warfield was no textual critic, just a clown.

    "What shall we say too about scholars like D.A. Carson, who admit fudging the arguments against John 7:53-8:11?"
     
  6. Nazaroo

    Nazaroo
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    With recent discoveries continuing to add light to the text,
    we can see that the modern critical UBS text is in gross error in at least 80 places , caused by homoeoteleuton accidental omissions!

    Homoeoteleuton errors in the UBS text
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    I am certain they are sad you consider them such. The KJVO position is just highly uninformed from a historical, textual, and theological point of view.

    I've really got nothing to say to this. I know Carson, and have met Dr. White a couple of times, and they are thoroughly biblical, thoroughly evangelical, thoroughly conservative scholars. If you don't believe that I've got nothing to say to you.

    Nobody is saying it did. In highly, highly illiterate societies the construction of the critical text wasn't given anywhere near the importance it needed over the past 200 years. There were plenty of texts available and the Latin version which the Catholic Church used in Mass did job just fine. From an academic standpoint, while this period also marked the most difficult in terms of transmission of the text, it wasn't lost and Christianity didn't wander in the wilderness for eons. Rather during the greatest expansion of the Church the text of the Bible was still maintained and was useful.

    Now that we utilize more modern methods for textual reconstruction, as opposed to Erasmus' more slipshod manner, in the critical text we have the NT to about 99.9995%. That's pretty good. The TR gets no where close. Perhaps it would benefit us all to sit down and talk with someone like Dan Wallace who can better explain how recent archaeological and textual discoveries are actually supporting the critical text every day. We have the best preserved and reconstructed text of any document of its period in the critical text of the New Testament. No other document gets close.
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    I think you're overstating your case. What doctrines have been compromised by the suggested errors? What major parts of the biblical narrative have been corrupted by the suggest errors? How has this error laden text presented a false Christ and corrupt Gospel?
     
  9. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    This is exiting as can get. I am all ears ....

    [Yes, I.m back with my website still in shambles. It will take a very long time to finish updating. I could not withstand loosing out on BB; so I'm back by God's grace to learn more ... and perhaps raise a few words in objection from an outcast's standpoint. hope this thread could be maintained. ]
     
    #9 Gerhard Ebersoehn, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2011
  10. Rippon

    Rippon
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    As much as I respect you in other areas of theology --I have to say you are really mistaken here. Those who embrace the CT are semi-liberals?! Come on. You are condemning some scholars who are as biblically conservative as they come.
     
  11. Rippon

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    You know when you say that kind of shameful thing about the Lion of Princeton you bring disgrace upon yourself.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Really? Then why did he author An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament? Hmm...?
     
  13. Rippon

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    You are adept at name-calling --sinfully so.

    Samuel P.Tregelles was part of the original Plymouth Brethren movement. My early church background was with the PB's. Tregelles was regarded as a warm-hearted evangelical from what I have read on the web. He was a scholar and a hymn writer. He certainly wasn't anything that you so shamefully attributed to him.

    If you google his name nothing nasty appears about him except primarily from your own website.


    No fudging. D.A.Carson is a well-respected Christian scholar,author and preacher. You had better get your facts straight before you label godly men with your less than wholesome remarks.

    I don't think you'd recognize a real heretic since you call the orthodox such unsavory names.
     
  14. JesusFan

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    Think that sometimes those holding firmly to KJVO are stuck in a "time warp" believing that there were NO textual advancements made, or tech available, since 1611!
     
  15. Nazaroo

    Nazaroo
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    ..Because in the 19th century,
    just about every pompous [edit] in England or America
    in a privileged position and who was allergic to work
    published their own hairbrained ideas about how to 'reconstruct'
    the NT. It was the national pastime.
    These were the days when Joseph Smith could triple
    the size of the Bible with tales of "gold tablets",
    fake Egyptian, and a printing press.
     
    #15 Nazaroo, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2011
  16. Nazaroo

    Nazaroo
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    Blessed be the LORD,
    who teaches my hands to war.


    He was a Unitarian heretic.

    So your expert opinion is based on google.
    What happened to the Bible as the highest authority?




    No fudging. D.A.Carson is a well-respected Christian scholar,author and preacher. You had better get your facts straight before you label godly men with your less than wholesome remarks.

    I don't think you'd recognize a real heretic since you call the orthodox such unsavory names.[/QUOTE]
     
  17. Rippon

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    You have no inkling about the stature of Warfield to describe him in such a manner.

    That has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Are you and BroJames friends?
     
  18. Rippon

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    Says you. Please furnish proof of your slanderous charge.


    We are discussing Samuel Tregelles. He's not a Bible character. I googled to see if anyting you said was true. You lied about him. The Bible has some things to say about bearing false witness.



    That's right. Amen!


    Right again!
     
  19. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Well I think the character of the OP has shown that he isn't interested in actual conversation.

    Using derisive curse words to impugn another brother in Christ shows he has nothing to provide to this board or conversation.

    Since that is the case I'll bid the poster, and this thread, adieu.
     
  20. Gerhard Ebersoehn

    Gerhard Ebersoehn
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    Now look where this discussion has ended up .....
    eish! and I prepared for a proper dish of spiritual food....
     

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