Textual base or textual criticism?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Ed Edwards, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    icthus: " ... the textual basis for the KJV is far superior to any other version."

    Your statement is hollow. The Geneva Bible had the same
    textual basis as the KJV.

    Your statment is unfair, A subset of the textual basis for
    the NIV is the textual basis for the KJV. I might add
    "a small subset".

    What i really think you might have issue with is that
    the KJV Translators were better at textual criticism than
    were (say) the NIV translators.

    My pastor thinks the KJV translators were more understanding
    of the retorical devices of the Hebrew and Greek than
    are most modern translators (say) the Holman Christian
    Standard Bible (HCSB).
     
  2. Bluefalcon

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    On the one hand, icthus keeps saying his textual criticism is better founded than that of modern textual critics. What might help all of us is to see, point by point, his criteria for textual criticism, and then match that up with the criteria of modern textual critics. Both icthus and modern textual critics claim to be doing textual criticism, but both arrive at opposing conclusions.

    Icthus, what are your criteria for sound textual criticism?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  3. HankD

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    In a nutshell, at least for myself, I follow the leading of Burgon-Scrivener whose trust was in the "Traditional Text" of the Old and New Testaments.

    Especially the Byzantine Types which came forth from the apostolic churches in the region of Asia Minor. Texts whose ultimate source were the churches which were the result of the leading of the Holy Spirit and Paul's obedience to that leading. Some of these books even bearing their geographical names (Galatia, Ephesus, Thessolanika, etc).

    However, I am not KJVO.

    I still use the modern critical text based Bibles and call them the infallible (in doctrine and teaching) Word of God for several reasons.

    I'll give only one: There are scribal errors and variants within the Byzantine family just as there are within the Alexandrian family of texts, howbeit to a dramatically smaller degree within the Byzantine family which underlies the KJV.

    But to call the Byzantine texts "pure" and the Alexandrian texts "corrupt" is logically the same as saying that God doesn't make big mistakes only little ones if He in fact superintended the preservation and transmission of the text as well as the inspiration.

    Personally, I can't go there. God makes no mistakes of any size or kind even typos, only man (scribes) makes mistakes and and/or unauthorised changes to the text.

    There are some uncomfortable questions coming out of these historical facts which the KJVO cannot answer without a compromise of traditional and orthodox Baptist positions.

    The only answer so far to deal with the variants within the Byzantine texts has been (in effect) to "appoint" a "magesterium" to define and identify the "pure text" (shades of Vulgate Onlyism!).

    For example: to deal with these variants, it has now become necessary to proclaim that the King of England and his pado-baptist successionists "Bishops" (with apostolic authority) have defined this "pure" text.

    I can't go there with the "bishops" either.

    Lastly, the KJV (having two different First Editions, Oxford/Cambridge) itself has variants within its historical revisions and editions.

    In other words the Traditional Text translations suffer from the same maladies as the critical text translations internally and externally (howbeit to a lesser degree) so how can we say that God superintended the translation thereof either?

    One solution is to publicly proclaim with apostolic authority which these "pure" revision/editions of the "auhorized" Bible (other than the one one your desk) is ideed the "pure" and therefore the "authorized" one since things which are different cannot be the same.

    Oh well, who am I anyway?


    HankD
     
  4. icthus

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    We all need a good starting point. For me it is the TR (all editions), I also have access to textual editions by Lachmann; Tischendorf; Tregellis; Souter, USB and Nestle & Aland. I also have the Latin Vulgate, and access to the Church fathers in J P Migne and other editions.

    The two main scholars who have impacted my own research and have guided my thoughts, and F Scrivener and J Burgon, no doubt two of the most outstanding textual scholars of all time, and whose works have not been matched even today. I do not hold that their judgement is accurate in everything they say, for example, 1 John 5:7, where, unlike these two, I hold this verse to be part of the original epistle of John. This I arrived at, after beginning to doubt the words myself in 1984, shortly after becoming a believer. But after more than six years of intense study into this verse, I concluded that the evidence, textual, historical, and internal, proves without any doubt that 1 John 5:7 is the work of John.

    However, I believe that the most important factor in all Biblical study, is the Holy Spirit, Who is needed to help us know truth from error.
     
  5. av1611jim

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    As I read (but don't participate in) the various threads you guys have going apart from the KJVo thing, I am beginning to more fully grasp your side of this thing. Not changing my view, mind you! ;) But coming to a fuller understanding, nonetheless. Thanks guys.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  6. williemakeit

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    Yep, Bro Jim. Civilized discussion does lead to better understanding of both sides. It is unlikely that I will be swayed, but at least I will visit a thread as long as it maintains civility. Once the mud starts slinging, I am outta there.
     
  7. av1611jim

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    Amen Wille, Amen.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  8. Bluefalcon

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    Icthus, I imagine many here don't have easy access to the 19th c. works of Scrivener or Burgon, and that they only have a little time, and would not read those works written in elegant but relatively archaic prose even if they had them on their shelves.

    Can you summarize your approach to textual criticsm and summarize the apporach of the opposite side so we can see how you arrive at different conclusions.

    For the sake of example, in theory, old manuscripts in themselves are actual evidence of their age, whereas manuscripts from, say, after the 9th c. may not have this intrinsic probability of age in and of themselves. How do you refute this claim of modern textual critics?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  9. Bluefalcon

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    I'm still waiting for a summarizing comparative textual critical statement from icthus, here.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    'Rasmus used a small handful of Greek texts, all from copies of copies of copies from the same basic Byzantine heritage (these were preserved by the Eastern Catholic Church which still spoke Greek and had been obtainable).

    They did not, of course, even include all of the verses of the NT among them. And even today, 95% of the multitudinous copies of Byzantine (Eastern Catholic) texts are from the 10th Century CE or later.

    Now we have 5500 texts, including many from before Constantine or Nicea! What a privilege we have to look back 700 years earlier to see what the NT said BEFORE the addendums of centuries of well-meaning Orthodox scribes altered the text.
     
  11. Paul33

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    Right!
     
  12. Bluefalcon

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    Dr. Bob, look at Jude 25, where the "earliest" MS (p72) is also the most corrupt. This all too frequent type of example does not bode well for the canon of NT textual criticism that says the earliest MSS are intrinsically the best. And if this canon is false then the whole cookie crumbles, because it is this a priori argument that sets up the proposition under which all modern textual critical suppositions are laid, e.g., because the earliest MSS are best, then all MSS need to be categorized in terms of difference to those, and then if the earliest are shorter, anything else is false, if the earliest are choppier, then anything else is corrupt, if the earliest are [fill in the blank], then all others are in error, etc. BUT if the earliest are not necessarily the best, then all the suppositions are not necessarily true either, and modern versions are in a world of hurt for blindly trusting the Textus Receptus of the modern era, i.e., the NESTLE-ALAND GREEK NEW TESTAMENT.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  13. mioque

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    "This all too frequent type of example does not bode well for the canon of NT textual criticism that says the earliest MSS are intrinsically the best."
    "
    First of all there is no one canon of textual criticism rules. And second there is a big difference between your intrinsically the best and the actual position of older manuscripts are likely to be less copies removed from the originals and manuscripts that are less copies removed from the original are likely to contain fewer copying errors.
     
  14. Bluefalcon

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    I agree. What I said is that there is a starting point from which all the modern rules were derived, and that starting point is substantiating the earliest MSS as the best primarily due to their age as you mention below, and then from those "primary and better" MSS finding the differences in all other MSS and making rules that qualify the dismissal of all other MSS based on those differences from the "earliest and best" MSS.

    No, from a logical starting point, they simply ARE intrinsically the best precisely because of the logic you posted here. This was Hort's starting point and logically it is indefensible. Too bad the sporadic and wild papyri, many of which far predate the MSS he had access to, hadn't been discovered yet; had they been, the intrinsic value of being earlier would have had little merit.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  15. mioque

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    Nope.
    An older manuscript can have been copied more times than a newer one. And a manuscript that was only copied a few times may have been copied by incompetent scribes leading to more errors, than a more copied manuscript by skilled professionals.
    Nothing intrinsic about it.
     
  16. icthus

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    "Many from before Constantine or Nicia"

    Just what exactly are you referring to here? I counted about 35 Papyri manuscripts that pre-date this era, and the majority of these only consist of a few verses or chapters from the books of the New Testament. Let me know what you refer to here.

    You say that the majority of the Greek manuscripts for the Byzantine text are from the 10th century or later. You of course are under the illusion that because a manuscript is old, therefore it is more reliable. I am not sure what school of Textual Criticism you would belong to, as the basis for your judgement in Textual matters are greatly flawed, much like the two corupted Greek manuscripts of the 4th century.

    Are you aware, that oldest fragments for the Masoretic Text dates from the 9th century AD, but the oldest complete texts come from the 10th and 11th centuries AD? I suppose that in your estimation, this must be a very unreliable text, seeing its late date from when the Old Testament was composed?
     
  17. TCassidy

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    Erasmus had 5 manuscripts available to him.

    1 an 11th century manuscript containing the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles which is primarily Alexandrian. (We now know that MS 1 proper only contains the Gospels, so the origin of the Acts and Epistles of what Erasmus called MS 1 is in some doubt.)

    2 a 15th century manuscript of the Gospels only which is primarily Byzantine.

    2ap a 12th-14th century manuscript of the Acts and Epistles which is primarily Byzantine.

    4ap a 15th century manuscript of Acts and the Epistles which is Byzantine.

    1r a 12th century manuscript of the Revelation.

    He also had access to the readings of Vaticanus copied for him by his friend Paulus Bombasius of Rome.

    Erasmus' copy of 1r was missing the last page which contained the last six verses of Revelation 22 which he translated from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek.
    It is a grave error to dogmatically insist that the Byzantine textform represents a text with additions when no evidence for such a recension exists. And, when you realize that Byzantine readings pre-date the two main Alexandrian exemplars, Aleph and B, as well as pre-dating the supposed Lucian Recension it becomes obvious to the unbiased textual critic that the date of the manuscript is less important than the date of the reading. A newer manuscript may contain the older reading and the older manuscript may contain a later reading.
     
  18. TCassidy

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    1. Number. The majority reading will most likely be the correct reading. Hort even agrees to this, then explains away why he ignored it. [​IMG]

    2. Age. The older reading will be closer to the autograph and will most likely preserve the original reading. However, there is much more to judging the age of the reading than simply ascertaining the actual age of the ms. The oldest reading does not necessarily reside in the oldest mss. The most significant variants in the mass of textual sources came into being before 200 AD.

    3. Acceptance, or historicity. The churches down through the ages of church history will have most likely used the correct texts.

    4. Geography. The Palistinian/Syrian/Asia Minor/Southern European churches were the churches to which the autographs were addressed and those churches were much more likely to have the original readings as they had, at least for a time, the autographs to compare their copies to.

    5. Agreement. A variety of witnesses attest to the same reading, i.e, mss, Patristics, Versions, lectionaries, etc. It is an error to place, for instance, the lettered uncials above all other types of witnesses. We should look at all the variety of witnesses and see which reading is evident in all of the different types of witnesses across the entire spectrum of the evidence.

    6. Credibility. Credibility of a witness is of course a relative term. Among the witnesses to a reading, Tertullian, Cyprian, Athanasius, the orthodox African writers, and the Waldensian Bibles would stand out as credible to most objective critics. However, virtually unknown cites, dragged from the depths of obscurity would probably not be credible witnesses.

    7. Context and other internal considerations. Grammar, syntax, and immediate context are important internal evidences for a reading. This has nothing to do with "transcriptional probability" or "intrinsic probability" as championed by Westcott and Hort. I agree with Bengel on this issue. "No conjecture is ever on any consideration to be listened to. It is safer to bracket any portion of the text, which may haply to appear to labour under inextricable difficulties."
     
  19. Aaron

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    TCassidy,

    Are you Dr. Thomas Cassidy?
     
  20. icthus

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    I simply DO NOT think much of both Westcott or Hort, even though they may have been good scholars, but their judgement as to textual criticism it very doubtful. The methods they used to determine the correct reading of any text is very poor, as they ingnored the evidence of the versions of the TR. As these two were the main driving force behind the Revised Version of 1881-1885, which is very corrupt, I feel that they have no credibality as textual scholars.

    As I have said before, I have yet to find textual scholars as brilliant as Fredrick Scrivener and John Burgon, both who were very much agaist W&H. Even though Scrivener was part of the RV committee, yet he was voted down when he tried to suggest that certain readings that were accepted were wrong. With such dominance of the liberals on this committee, which would include W&H and Bishop Ellicott, their Chairman, there is no use in supposing that this version can really be classified as "the Word of God"! Add to this the fact, that Dr George Vance Smith, a Unitarian, was also on the UK committee, whose strong objection to the reading, "theos" at 1 Timothy 3:16, gave cause to the committee to change to the heretical reading, "hos"! On the US committee for the same version, which came out as the American Standard Version, there was Dr Joseph Thayer, famous for the Greek lexicon with his name. He too was a Unitarian.

    As to the theory that the oldest reading, or that which has the majority of the support, being the correct one. This is, in my opinion not the case. Take, for example Colossians 2:2, which has no less than 15 variants. The accepted reading: "tou Theou Christou", up til recently had only the support of Codex B, and Hilary who was a Latin Church father. It was on the basis of these two witnesses, that the RV and W&H accepted it. This now also has the support of the Papyri Mss. 46, which dates around 200 A.D. However, Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215), knew the reading: "tou Theou tou en Christou" (of God in Christ), which would be older than even the P46.

    Another good example is the "woman found in adultery" (John 7:53-8:11), which is omitted in almost all Greek and English versions. For the inclusion the oldest Greek Mss. is the 5th or 6th century Codex Bezae. Yet, Jerome (342-420), said that this passage was found in the Gospel of John, "in many manuscripts, both Greek and Latin" (C.Pelag.II.17). Where, then are these "many manuscripts"? Didymus, the blind (A.D.313-398) knew of the passage, as did Ambrose (339-397), and the Syriac, Coptic, Old Latin, Latin Vulgate, and Salvonic Versions. Augustine says of the passage: "Persons of small faith, or rather enemies of the faith, have taken it away" Both the AV and TR have it, which no doubt proves beyond any doubt that the Lord has preserved the true text in these versions, against most of the modern ones!
     

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