Testing the Core Textus Receptus Premise

In all the discussion of the TR-Only position, I think there have been a lot of straw men erected (on both sides of the discussion) and a lot of complimentary schismogenesis. I am going to ask all of you to forget all the anxilliary arguments for a moment. I think the core discussion is being lost in the fog of all the stuff being thrown around.

At the core of the Textus Receptus argument is this simple statement:

God entrusted the Bible to the Church; and the part of the Church that spoke Greek preserved the Greek New Testament.

As a corollary to this primary thesis:

Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.

This is why the Elzevir brothers termed this manuscript tradition textus receptus and why it was later dubbed majority text.

Now, without getting into any anxillary points, can we look at this thesis and its corollary and find any reason it should not stand.

I am legitimately asking the commenters and contributors to suspend any discussion of the ‘weight’ of variants and those things. I am asking you to focus only on the thesis and its corollary.

This discussion is open to anyone (including even you, Steve), but I warn you that any discussion off-topic will be removed. I want to see if it is even possible for everyone to deal with this premise and this premise alone. If you can’t stay on topic, however, it is probably best not to comment.

OFF THE SUBJECT:
There might also be a secondary corollary to this:

The archaic, koine, form of Greek is older than the Attic and Byzantine forms of Greek where the two might diverge in living, received manuscripts.

But that is a topic for another time.

104 Responses to “Testing the Core Textus Receptus Premise”

  1. Paul Anderson says:

    Erik,

    I for one will volunteer for the challenge. I think your test is valid. I will attempt to stay on the theory and corollary and its validity.

    I would affirm that the “Textus Receptus” is within the guidelines of the Church as the preserved Word of God. Why so? Let me try to be brief and explain. Within the Greek and other Orthodox Churches there has historically been a leeway of latitude on the text (within boundries). One may have a Byzantine text which might be a common lectionary type text a TR lectionary if you will as far as readings go. The text may also be Kx, Kr/f35 MT based or another variant form or even the TR. It must have all essential doctines retained i.e. divinity of Christ, fasting and so on. Therefore, the Elzevirs were quite in line in their statement. They had included all essentials in light of the Church’s requirement for its text. Also, they did see that God entrusted and preserved the Greek NT to the Church. (Orthodox) Christians were the preservers of the Word. If not for the Greek speaking Churches and their scribes and monks and their preservation of the text we in the West would be looking through the rubbish heaps for manuscripts to collate and examine.

    Erik, your corollary is valid as well. The readings of newly discovered manuscripts are to be rejected. Why? The Greek speaking or other Orthodox churches find in the small number of manuscripts that do not have affinity to the TR or Byzantine/MT text (which they have latitude for) as troubling i.e. reduction of the Divinity of Christ, deletion of fasting passages and so on as unacceptable. Therefore, Elzevirs TR edition was and is today within bounds for the Greek or Russian Church as it retains “all things”. Note: The Russian Church uses the TR type continuous text and not a Greek lectionary as in the Greek Orthodox Church today.

    In conclusion, your thesis is sound and its corollary. This is also why in the West Byzantine/MT advocates like Robinson, Pickering and myself included have used both the TR and KJV. They are within boundries of the “textus receptus” as defined by the Elzevirs. Hope this helps. Blessings.

  2. While I do not accept the primary thesis, and think it would require some discussion, I do think your corollary would automatically follow if the primary thesis is correct.

    I do think the thesis contains one of the best arguments for a Byzantine text type – use and preservation by the body of Christ. But that idea has some drawbacks as well.

    In any case, yours is a very constructive post, and I’m going to follow the discussion with interest.

  3. Bob Hayton says:

    I would say that the primary thesis isn’t always expressed exactly that way by TR advocates. But basically that is their position.

    I believe some have a more nuanced thesis. They believe that the invention of printing allowed for a stable text. And they believe that some true readings were preserved in the Latin by the Latin church, but most by the Greek church in Greek, and in the TR the two streams came together. That is E.F. Hills’ position.

    My problem with the primary thesis is that it limits things to Greek only. What about other churches, Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, etc.? A similar problem with the corollary is that many of these “new” readings, were discussed by the church leaders like Augustine, Origen, and Jerome. They were known and taken into account by those in the know.

    But the idea that the church received the text and merely passes it to history does have a strong emotive attachment to it. As others have pointed out, it becomes a little hard to nail down precisely which of competing variants the church “received”. And what does “receive” mean exactly? I could go on but I’d probably be going away from the intended limits of discussion.

    • Very few TR advocates approach the issue from this premise. It is a fatal flaw, in my opinion. They should because it is really the only stable ground they could have.

    • In terms of the language issue, I think the primary thesis is based on a presupposition:

      God inspired the NT in Greek so it is a Greek text which would have been preserved.

      As I’ve expressed elsewhere, I believe that ‘preservation’ is done through the entire corpus and we should leverage technology to do a genuine compilation and collation of all known manuscripts – something that has not been attempted at least in the last 200 years or so.

  4. Damien says:

    How about a very simple challenge to the thesis:

    As with doctrine and morals, the Church may err in its preservation of the text.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Good point, Damien. The church errs in interpretation often enough.

      Another point, brought up by something I was reading written by one of our commenters from time to time, James Snapp, he mentioned something to this effect. That God’s promises to preserve His Word could very well be conditioned upon our obedience and how purely we preserved the Gospel. He points to a principle that can be learned from the finding of the “lost book” of Deuteronomy (presumably) in Josiah’s day. Because they had abandoned God, he let the Word fall into obscurity for a time. Subsequent to the Reformation, an interest in going back to the sources and finding the true text of Scripture was revived…

    • Damien, that certainly may be the case, but it is not essential to their position.

      Historic and textual evidence would indicate that unlike the doctrine and morals (which took many tortuous turns during the medieval period), the text stayed at least substantially static while continuing to be copied and used.

      This is not the place, but I’ve done a lot of research into the Eastern empire and church, and I think the neglect of the study of this part of our history seriously impairs our understanding of a lot of things.

    • Also, I think that many fundamentalists and evangelicals are very uncomfortable with presenting the Orthodox Church in a positive light. I think it is a case of their modern context dictating their understanding of the past.

    • Damien says:

      I totally agree with that, Erik. Having Orthodox family has caused me to dig deeper as well, and I doubt I share the same views as other evangelicals concerning Eastern Christianity.

      The thesis you bring up does deal primarily with the issue of authority. I know a great chasm of philosophy and approach exists between the Roman and Eastern churches, but they both share an underlying presupposition about the church’s authority that extends far greater than Protestants (the pope and magisterium in the West and the ecumenical councils in the east; both based on apostolic succession). Though confessional, Reformed Protestants tend to have a higher ecclesiology than the rest of evangelicalism or fundamentalism, most of us Christians outside either Catholic church tend to have a presupposition that, although the church carries some authority, the church is in constant need to reform. I think at this point is where evangelicalism/protestantism really diverges from Rome/East. It’s actually one of the main reasons I remain Protestant.

      So this applies to the above issue in that the church is subject to erring in copying that with which she has been charged. She is, thankfully, not subject to a complete apostasy (at least that’s the impression I get from our Lord’s promises). Yes, you can say the text was “substantially static” for a large period of time, but determining exactly how much and when it began (in terms of origins) is another project. Hopefully this isn’t violating your request to keep it on topic, but the late, minority readings that crop up in the TR tradition and KJV seem to argue against the original thesis. At least to be consistent, one would have to omit them and end up with a text that is closer to the TR but similar to the CT in a few places. I would guess the Majority Text is more a product of that original thesis.

    • Yes, errors could be made. You may have noticed in some of my other writings that I use essentially the same syllogism I posted in the article differently than the TR-O advocates – because I introduce the idea that the textual corpus does not have to be precise in order to be the Word of God. In other words, they could be custodians of a textual corpus that has flavors and variety in it. Thus, I would still be wary of the ‘new’ discoveries for the most part, but I have no problem with some minority readings that have been ‘received’ as part of the corpus.

    • Damien says:

      oh, and what I wanted to ask. . .and this question has been posed to KJvonlyists before and I don’t remember reading any answers. I suspect someone espousing the position you are articulating above would need to answer it:

      How would a Christian (just as convinced in the church’s role in keeping the text) living in Alexandria in the 2nd century view the New Testament text? Is his church any more or less authoritative than the Greek church at this time?

    • I think you would be hard pressed to make any conclusion about that scenario – for a couple of reasons. First of all, we know nearly nothing about 2nd century Alexandrian churches and what we do know is filtered through later authors. Second, there’s not much evidence (actually I’d say practically none) that the Alexandrian churches used a different version of the NT at that point. The ‘Alexandrian’ texts (and I have a bad taste in my mouth even making reference to text family theory) are all later than that.

  5. Paul Anderson says:

    Erik,

    I am an evangelical and I attend quite often the Russian Orthodox Church. I have given a ppt. and presenation on the text of the NT at it I have had no problems in reception and dialogue quite the opposite. Some may have this problem. I do not. Some clarifying on some points.

    Bob had a point. What of the other churches? Most he mentioned are within the Orthodox sphere. The Latin Church aside. The point I was making is that the TR of Elzevir is within boundries of the Eastern Church and any variant differences contained. That would not be the case for the UBS or NA editions due to their variants of infringement on doctrine and essentials that both TR editions and MT Greek editions have not touched. Some have made a large issue of difference in the TR and MT but they are not near the degree of TR/MT vs. NA or UBS or say Codex B(Vaticanus).

    Erik is right, to a large degree the text has been static in the East for a long time. Preservation of the text being retained. TR and MT texts are perfectly acceptable in the variants they differ in. That is the latitude I mentioned earlier. Hope this clarifies some issues.

    • Paul, your thoughts are very similar to my own on the issue, I think. While I am not a TR-O or MT-O, I do believe that the TR/MT derive manuscript tradition derives from a core text that we can truly call ‘received’. It was not lost; but was passed down.

      If I might suggest the error of the TRO position, it is that they abandoned the concept of a received text and have defaulted to arguing for a printed version. Thus, when the variants between TR and MT crop up, they feel obligated to choose between the two instead of embracing them both.

      Personally, I don’t know that any TRO proponent has actually put forward a simply syllogism like the one I presented in the main article. I think that from that syllogism, they could make a much more solid case for their position.

      I think there is a fear of stating such a syllogism because it would force many TR-O proponents to expand what they believe the TR is and they have a very narrow interpretation of it because they mostly come from KJV-O and back into a TR-O position.

  6. redgreen5 says:

    Can we get a clarification why Erik uses term “majority text” (lower case) and precisely what he means by the term?

    I have seen KJVO arguments that – knowingly or not – appear to blur the distinction between the TR and MT traditions, hoping to ‘borrow’ some of the arguments for the Majority Text tradition and use them to buttress the the KJVO or (TRO) argument. The two manuscript traditions are not the same, although they share much in common – certainly much more in common than either tradition shares with the CT tradition.

    These same KJVO folks are unwilling to admit that the two two traditions are not the same (especially in the book of Revelation, where the Majority Text diverges significantly from the Textus Receptus).

    In an attempt to prevent fudging of attributes from the MT tradition over onto the TR tradition, I think clarification would be helpful.

    • I use the lower case because there is a published edition called “Majority Text” that came long after the term had been applied to the corpus and defined it differently.

      As to the divergences, that depends on what you define as a manuscript tradition. I would contend that the majority text and received text were both coined to refer to the same textual tradition – the Greek manuscripts preserved in the Eastern Church.

  7. Paul Anderson says:

    Erik,

    I agree. It is not the Eastern Orthodox of Russian Church that has problems using either a Byzantine/MT or TR as a common “Received Text” in their liturgies. It seems to be us in the West for some reason. Maybe it is due to our own Western isolation from their common textual origins. There is enough similarity not to fight or debate over it in the East.

    I think the issue comes up in the West due to acceptance of the critical text and their related English versions and only having the TR/KJV in the West as an alternative. We have no “true” Byzantine/MT English version as of yet. I guess I see it as the East, the differences in the TR and MT are not great enough to argue and debate over.

  8. Bob Hayton says:

    Dr. Maurice Robinson typically stays out of debates concerning the TR or the KJV. He asked me however, to post a clarification on his behalf. He desires to see his own position represented fairly and accurately.

    Paul Anderson had mentioned in the first comment above:

    “This is also why in the West Byzantine/MT advocates like Robinson, Pickering and myself included have used both the TR and KJV.”

    Dr. Robinson’s clarification:

    “I do not use and have never used either the TR or KJV as a primary or even secondary authoritative source. My work strictly involves the Byzantine Textform as regards the Greek text, and I have already noted my use of the NKJV (following its M-text notes along with additional Byzantine adjustments) for basic preaching and teaching purposes.”

    • I am sure that Dr. Robinson does not use the published TR editions or the KJV as an authority for his research, but he did include the TR texts (not the published editions) as part of the Majority Text corpus, correct?

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Erik, and others,

      Dr. Robinson wanted me to add another brief clarification here.

      “I consider the printed TR editions (any of them) to be defective forms of a generally Byzantine or majority type of text. Defective in the specific sense of possessing over 1800 differences, coming from outside or non-dominant textual traditions, that force the result away from the Byzantine Textform (or majority consensus as it may be). Quite frankly, I would find the average handwritten Byzantine-type Greek manuscript to be *far* closer to the Byzantine mainstream than any printed TR edition.”

    • Yet again, let me say that this is not an argument about the PRINTED TR. I don’t know why everyone keeps insisting on that…To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of repeating it.

      TEXTS, TEXTS, TEXTS – MANUSCRIPT TEXTS, NOT PRINTED EDITIONS. (And yes, I’m using caps but not to shout, simply for emphasis because this style sheet does not allow me to control font sizes otherwise I would put it in very large print).

    • Erik -

      There’s no such thing as a non-printed TR. No one knows what you mean when you use your own terms. I think you are not being understood because your position is confusing.

    • I disagree, and so do the bulk of the TR-O proponents I know, chief among them my father. The very term textus receptus was coined by the Elzevir brothers to reflect their attempt to produce a printed edition of what they called the textus receptus. It is only later proponents who reduced it to the printed text.

  9. redgreen5 says:

    Hi again Erik,

    Thanks for your explanation. Some comments / questions follow:

    I use the lower case because there is a published edition called “Majority Text” that came long after the term had been applied to the corpus and defined it differently.

    I have not researched this fully. However, in a similar discussion over at Bible Versions Discussion Board, a poster whose opinion I respect (forum name, Euthymius) was debating that same point. After much searching, he has been unable to find any publication or place where the term “majority text” (small letters) was applied to the TR prior to the year 1982.
    http://bibleversiondiscussionboard.yuku.com/sreply/50158/t/Textus-Recepticus-Hort-Wescott-Greek-Differances.html

    Note that the term was indeed used earlier than 1982; obviously by people such as Hodges, Farstad, Pickering, etc. However, when it was used it referred to the “Majority Text” tradition (capital letters) and was clearly demarcated as different than the TR. In fact, Aland appears to have coined the term originally; that sets a benchmark for how early the term could have been used to apply to *anything*. As such, it could not have been used to refer to the TR tradition before Aland, because he apparently invented the word.

    Now, returning to the point: applying the term “majority text” to the TR appears to have started only after 1982, when KJVO writers tried to appropriate the more persuasive Majority Text arguments and apply them to the TR, in spite of the disconnects between the two traditions. Another poster has compiled a list of published KJVO writers with citations of its use in this manner:
    http://bibleversiondiscussionboard.yuku.com/sreply/50160/t/Textus-Recepticus-Hort-Wescott-Greek-Differances.html

    Erik, can you point to any source prior to 1982 that was using the term “majority text” (small letters) to refer to the TR? Can anyone else participating in this discussion?

    As to the divergences, that depends on what you define as a manuscript tradition. I would contend that the majority text and received text were both coined to refer to the same textual tradition – the Greek manuscripts preserved in the Eastern Church.

    And I would contend that this is what I referred to earlier: an example of the TR tradition trying to appropriate the finery of the Majority Text position, while ignoring the areas of non-overlap.

    The argument for the MT tradition has several facets, but two commonly heard ones are:

    1. Divine preservation ought to result in a corpus of work that demonstrates numerical superiority
    http://bible.org/article/majority-text-and-original-text-are-they-identical

    For many advocates of the majority text view, a peculiar form of the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture undergirds the entire approach. Their premise is that the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture requires that the early manuscripts cannot point to the original text better than the later manuscripts can, because these early manuscripts are in the minority.

    Pickering’s thoughts here can sum up this first point: ” “If we reject the majority text view, we reject the doctrine of preservation.”

    2. Since the TR tradition contains many readings not supported by the majority of manuscripts (as evidenced by collations such as von Soden’s) it therefore cannot be counted as fully part of the historical majority text. Consequently, someone seeking a true MT text would not use the GNT of the TR tradition.

    For me, here is the rub:
    The Majority Text differs from the TR significantly in several areas, 1 John 5:7-8, and major parts of the book of Revelation. The reasoning that TR advocates use – continual use in the Greek churches, abundance of manuscripts, a continually living text, fidelity of transmission, etc. – suddenly get tossed out the window when it comes to 1 John 5:7-8 and the book of Revelation. My experience has been that when they reach that point, KJVO and TRO advocates circle the wagons and start manufacturing all kinds of fascinating explanations for why the Majority Text readings should *now* be ignored in favor of those in the KJV or the TR.

    As far as I can tell – and I’m willing to be corrected on this, if anyone has a citation – the handful (a few dozen) mss. chosen by Beza, Stephanus, etc. as the sources for their published editions were not chosen based on any criterion like internal integrity, ancient witnesses, fidelity of transmission, etc. They were instead the ones most commonly in circulation in Europe and therefore easily available at that time. Expedience and easy availability are probably the least convincing reasons for making such an important selection. But it is precisely due to this expediency and ready availability that the TR departs from the Majority Text in these areas; the MT readings simply weren’t in the source mss. used by Beza, Erasmus, etc.

    • Red, I think this topic is a bit far abreast of the thesis and corollary presented in this article, so I would ask that we close this avenue for now. I answered your question about my use of the lower case. You’ve had your response; but this was not a post on the differences between the TR and MT. It is not that I agree or disagree; but as I asked in the article, we attempting to discuss the thesis – not the details.

    • I should also note that the term was used in caps prior to the publication of Dr. Robinson’s work. A number of TR advocates, my father among them, were not pleased with the philosophy of the published Majority Text and took to referring to it with lower case letters.

    • Eric -

      I thought you father seemed to defend the majority text view in the interview?

    • Really? The “TR Advocate” in the title didn’t give his position away? Read the rest of the article and comments, and all your questions will be answered. The distinction was made about a dozen times.

    • Eric -

      Perhaps I should have said “majority of texts” view? He mentions a 95% mainstream for instance and refers to a Byzantine text type. This doesn’t sound TRO to me. I made that comment in the comment thread of those posts.

  10. C Watson says:

    Erik,

    Your first thesis is actually an enthymeme – that God promised to perfectly preserve His writings. This is a theological/practical thesis that demands being demonstrated by exegesis and good theology. Can the TR proponents demonstrate this point exegetically? (And I don’t think that this point can be argued from the Lamed section of Ps 119…)

    • Actually, I don’t think it is an enthymeme. Yes, it has some presuppositions (although nowhere in the thesis did I state that “God promised” only that “God entrusted”) but any thesis will involve presuppositions.

  11. Paul Anderson says:

    Erik,

    Quickely to answer for Dr. Robinson and Pickering as I know them both well enough personally. This issue is that they do see probelems textually with some unsupported variants from the manuscripts in the TR hence the KJV but, overall as in the Greek and Russian Church there is enough leeway as I have mentioned that they (Pickering and Robinson) do not see it largely problematic as in the case of unsupported readings in the critical editions (UBS and NA)and related modern English versions.

    When and if Dr. Pickering is interviewed on this site you may want to ask him the same question and then ask him for the number of variants of difference between the TR vs. MT as oppossed to the TR/MT vs. NA 27/UBS4. Then ask him the theological issues involved. As mentioned the Greek and Russians use both a TR based text and a lectionary more MT based text with no problems. Comments I have heard like, “No reputable scholar uses the TR” is quite short sighted. Hermann Hoskier did and he is a quite respected in the field of NT-TC. Colwell’s family % rule (70% ruling)applies between the TR and MT editons or manuscripts not the UBS/NA editions. That’s my point.

  12. Nazaroo says:

    As a corollary to this primary thesis:

    “Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.”

    Lets talk about the corollary here first:

    James Snapp was mentioned above as bringing in an argument or at least consideration based on an OT example, the loss of the Torah either in the Kingdom period or during the restoration of the temple on the return from Babylon.

    I don’t want to let that slip by, without this comment:

    This may be good case for an OT situation just not being applicable to a NT situation or even era.

    In the OT era, the Covenant and its written records were the responsibility of the government (theocracy) of Moses. During the Kingdom period, God kept in touch with His people through the Prophets He sent. Thus, for instance, God’s word was not in danger of being lost, even when kings deliberately burned scrolls (like Jeremiah’s). God re-dictated as an example of how even a king’s activity in the sphere of Israel did not have power to obstruct God’s message.

    Nonetheless, obviously people could ignore and forget the word of God, and even eventually misplace it at least temporarily, and this appeared to be allowed by God Himself as a consequence of sin. On the principle of reaping what one sows, God only drew near and preserved His word among those who would value it.

    This means it was possible for groups of Israelites, whole tribes (as Benjamin in Judges), and even the majority of Israel to lack possession of the word of God (as previously publicly revealed so far), at various times.

    But as Christians, not only do we reject the idea that all things just proceed randomly according to natural laws, and we affirm God’s interference as a Spiritual Force in the world, we also recognise a new ERA, that God has done Something NEW, that He has poured His Spirit upon peoples generously in these Last Days as per Pentecost etc.

    And, Christians believe God has done something NEW in forming a “Church”/Body, living in the world, and forming a Spiritual core for His new Adopted, Redeemed Family of peoples.

    In light of this, we must reject the possibility that God’s word can be “lost” again, as in the OT kingdom days, or the time of exile. This just doesn’t connect to the Christian Dispensation (however defined).

    If then Christians must assent to the idea that God’s New Covenant, His Current Message for Humankind, is in the possession of His “Church” (however defined), we must reject the archaeologist’s fantasy that the “real” text can be ‘discovered’ among ancient papyri dug out of garbage dumps.

    Thats my first caveat.

    peace
    Nazaroo

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I get what you’re saying, Nazaroo. But remember we reached a point as the Church of Christ, where the Gospel itself had to be recovered. Certainly there were faithful remnants, but by and large the church was far afoot from the NT ideal.

    • We reached a point where the Gospel had to be recovered? Could you qualify that statement? I think I strongly disagree with it.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I’m thinking Reformation. I already qualified it that there were places where the true Gospel wasn’t abandoned yet. But the Reformation helped go past the fog and haze of medieval additions to the pure Gospel, and get back to the basics. That’s my view anyway, and I’m espousing a common view, but I haven’t read as widely on this as you probably….

  13. C Watson says:

    Nazaroo,

    Interesting point – but none of us who lean towards a critical text would argue that God’s word has been lost. We are simply trying to answer the question – “which words did God speak?” If you were to be honest – you would state that you accept the KJ/TR as God’s Word by faith. This is not bad; however, for the sake of textual transmission – I would see it as inadequate. We have more than 5k mss to examine. More than a hundred are papyri from the 2-3rd ccl. The Byzantine readings are at least as old as the papyri readings (if you accept Sturtz – if you accept Metzger, they are 5th ccl readings). God’s Word was not lost, but suffered some changes at the hands of errant, human copyists. No one text is the same as another. Why not look at all of the textual evidence and weigh the evidences for import?

    • Nazaroo says:

      Greetings, C. Watson:

      “lost” can have several connotations, and perhaps degrees of truth connected to the word.

      If a textual critic (or TR defender for that matter) admits that the text is ‘less sure’ in some places (unfinished collating), or has so far lacked clear Byz/Maj support (split readings), then we can say that in these places specifically, the text is ‘lost’ (undetermined) from a basis of current “scientific” methodology. We are still free to recognise or choose which reading (if one is available) we believe to be the original.

      The “changes” that the Greek text has ‘suffered’ (not a word I would feel the need to use) which can in fact be demonstrated (and I’ll get to whats required in a moment) are for the most part grammatical/lexical morph. improvements or rather language updates. Greek itself did not stay static over some 300-400 years of both literary, commercial and personal use.

      These changes mean the GNT naturally “evolved” (read: morphed) along with, but behind the living language. The GNT remained an ‘artificial’ (technical) language for religious purposes. But these changes are not what textual criticism or the debate between GNT (TR/MT vs. CT) is all about.

      Its these OTHER changes, a small subset of the normal expected changes that the fuss is about.

      Put another way, If the spelling of a word is altered or standardized, the translation (and meaning) is not altered. The NEW TEXT not surprisingly RETAINS ITS INSPIRED ERROR-FREE STATUS, while the OLD Text loses its “inspiration” through becoming unintelligible (over long periods).

      This intelligent, flexible and practical version of “Inspiration” is the REAL doctrine of “verbal inspiration”. The MESSAGE is inspired (God-breathed) and remains alive in whatever casing or container (language) it is placed. God’s Spirit also follows along, wherever the NEW Text is used by God-seekers, instructing and ensuring communication of God’s message.

      No version of “inspiration” that leaves itself behind in the original autographs, or in untranslatable artifacts of history is of any useful value.

      Just as the “only the autographs are inspired” doctrine is a false one, so also is the “only autographs are perfect” is a false doctrine.

      Because posing these versions of “inspiration”, “inerrancy”, “preservation” is in fact an absurdity, making God into some kind of dislexic, incompetant, distant stranger, when part of the Gospel is that this “unknown God” is KNOWABLE, and the same “yesterday, today and tomorrow”.

      Bluntly, “inspiration”, “inerrancy”, “perservation” rides along with the Holy Spirit, who follows God’s words to their destination in both place AND TIME. None of these attributes, which must come from God or not at all, can be left behind in a 3rd-century MS, long forgotten by God and man.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • C Watson says:

      Nazaroo,

      In the end, you are making a theological argument when you state:

      “Bluntly, “inspiration”, “inerrancy”, “perservation” rides along with the Holy Spirit, who follows God’s words to their destination in both place AND TIME. None of these attributes, which must come from God or not at all, can be left behind in a 3rd-century MS, long forgotten by God and man.”

      Can you demonstrate this assertion through the tools of exegesis, biblical, historical, and systematic theology? Where does God promise inspiration to be carried over to the manuscripts of today? Where does God promise preservation of the mss through a specific line? You appear to be taking a view of inspiration and canonicity that allows for a fluid text. So if I understand you correctly – you do not believe that the text of the New Testament is fixed until…it was first printed? Elziver’s? Today? Are you saying that the message remains the same but the text itself is fluid – while remaining inspired and inerrant?

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Nazaroo,

      The texts we find are just windows to the past, there is no reason to assume they were abandoned at that time. In many cases there is clear evidence they continued to be used as in the case of Sinaiticus with multiple late correctors actively using the text.

      I do agree with a certain fluid sense of “inspired” in that the inspired status of the original words remains in accurate translations, but I’m not ready to accept that the content of inspiration could vary from church to church and time-period to time-period.

    • Nazaroo says:

      I will preface this with the fact that I am no theologian, but a Christian layman. I have laboured in the field of NT TC for about 35 years, but mostly in a specialized area, the PA.

      Secondly, if I embark into some probably previously unexplored areas in the category of inspiration/preservation, there may be some mistakes and poor handling of texts. Lets call these my first draught rough-notes:
      ———————————

      (1) Bob Hayden: “I do agree with a certain fluid sense of “inspired” in that the inspired status of the original words remains in accurate translations, but I’m not ready to accept that the content of inspiration could vary from church to church and time-period to time-period.”

      Let me invite you into my world, and show you the very real probability that the content of inspiration DID vary from church to church and time-period to time-period. Because that objection is easily dealt with.

      a) Paul’s churches for at least short but significant periods, DID have the content of their inspiration (meaning we assume their ‘working texts’ of Holy Scripture) vary. In fact, it is safe to say, that even if they possessed the Gospel of Mark (and I don’t deny this likelyhood), they were missing about 1/3 of the NT, namely all of Paul’s unwritten letters. The content of Paul’s own oral teaching also had to vary to meet changing circumstances and new crises. They would also be missing the books of Luke/Acts for a significant period (at least 20 years or more). Many Christians in the Apostolic Age would indeed be martyred, without ever having imagined the Book of John, Luke/Acts, Paul’s Epistles, etc. Their “NT Canon” was significantly abbreviated.

      b) It will not do to object that the time-period is short. We have the whole OT period to consider, and that is a period of at least 2,000 years, in which men desired to see what we see, but did not see it.

      c) Many illiterate God-fearers would be in that position all their lives for the next 1,000 years. We have the same ongoing problem of Christian education today.

      To sum up, the “content of inspiration” may be the current NT Canon to you, and it may seem beyond dispute in fact, but the reality where the rubber meets the road in ordinary Christians’ daily lives is what really counts.

      There, you’ll find many a housewife that simply cannot read the Gospel of John with adequate comprehension, many a child who cannot tell an apostle from an apostrophe. In this real world, the Holy Spirit is right there, moving among the people, instructing hearts and focussing attention on what matters.

      Thats a pretty dynamic and flexible, responsive “content of inspiration”.

      I hope this helps connect our theological discussion to the real world strongly enough to make it meaningful.

      (Part II coming)

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • C Watson says:

      Nazaroo

      So is it safe to say that you understand inspiration to be how the Holy Spirit takes the content of Scripture and uses it presently in the lives of God’s people? How does this differ from illumination?

      Although you have offered some arguments for your position, you still have not demonstrated how your arguments fit:

      1. The Bible
      2. Christian History
      3. Systematic Theology

      I realize that you are not a theologian – but you cannot make arguments like these apart from theology. You are arguing for a fluid, open canon that almost sounds like subjective post-modernity conceived by Barth. Barth argued that the Bible was the container of the Word of God – that the Holy Spirit used the Bible in order to speak to people on an individual basis. He would not argue that the Bible is the word of God.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Nazaroo,

      In principle, I accept your statement about some not having the whole canon and the Spirit working anyway, and with others who can’t understand the Scripture well enough or have never read it all.

      But all of that is beside the point to the technical definition of inspiration and canonization. Furthermore, I don’t see how any of this allows for brand new readings to accumulate into the NT that weren’t penned by the inspired author. For instance, if new words or phrases or even new Greek stylistic points like the movable nu or new updated spellings, became used that doesn’t mean they were inspired or original to the text. They are a development and may be helpful and all (like chapter and verse divisions, and punctuation for that matter), but they aren’t original to the text. I don’t see how they can be viewed as if they suddenly are as authoritative as the original content of inspiration would be.

    • Nazaroo says:

      Back to serious matters: I will now address as best I can C. Watson’s various questions and issues. Then I will return to Bob Hayton’s reasonable objections below, as time permits.
      ————————————–

      (Part II): Can I demonstrate my minor thesis, “that bluntly, ‘inspiration’, ‘inerrancy’, ‘preservation’ must ride along with the Holy Spirit in place and time”.

      Probably only to my own satisfaction (which is however, job 1).

      (2) Watson: “Where does God promise inspiration to be carried over to the manuscripts of today?”

      - not just any MSS, but those in use by the living Church, properly identified. With this necessary restriction on the question, I find that promise here:

      Jn. 14:23, Jn. 14:26, Jn. 15:7, Jn. 16:13, Jn. 17:8,14.

      It matters not that some of these expressions have a natural, deliberate, and expected ambiguity, because the cumulative effect is still the same, and comes out overwhelmingly in favour of the idea that the Inspired word of God remains with His loyal steadfast people.

      (3) Watson: “Where does God promise preservation of the mss through a specific line?”

      The answer is not in the ambiguous expression “specific line” (of transmission), but in *how* we identify the line of purity which MUST exist for God’s promises of the enduring truth of scripture to be fulfilled.

      Thus as Christians we postulate a few simple things:

      (a) God’s truth is not being lost or corrupted at all in the NT age, but is flowering, multiplying, spreading like wildfire, and overcoming all darkness in Satan’s kingdom. Our very prayer that the FATHER’S KINGDOM continue every day to fill up, flow out, spread over the whole earth makes this belief mandatory.

      (b) It must be found easily by those who earnestly seek it. There can be no “lost bits”, awaiting to be discovered by clever intellectuals who have no commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. Everything that was perfect, complete, and fulfilled in the initial outpouring and release of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Christ must be present now with the Christian people in some useful and accessable form.

      Talk of “corruption” or “loss” can only have meaning in places and among those who have abandoned Christ for money. Yes, the NT text IS lost, to those who are lost. Yes, it IS unavailable, veiled, broken and confused, in the discarded bits preferred by the perverse, the rebellious, the stubborn, the wealthy, the principalities and powers of this world. But not among Christians.

      (4) Watson: “…you do not believe that the text of the New Testament is fixed..(?!)”

      No, I can’t believe that, anymore than I can believe that God and His message(s) for man are finite and limited. There may be temporary limits, imposed by God, circumstance, sin, etc. but these limits themselves will vanish upon the Return of the King and the completion of the Restoration of Heavens and Earth.

      Lets give some examples. Paul wrote many letters, but only a good representative sample of them made it into the Canon. Were the others less inspired? Not at all! But only a certain amount of redundancy was required.

      Many prophets were active throughout the Apostolic period, some of them even advising Paul on future events. Were they LESS inspired than the prophecies that have been preserved in the NT? Not at all. How do I know? John Baptist explains: “God doesn’t give the Spirit by measure.” (Jn. 3:34).

      What they said was necessary to those who received it, but simply not universally important for all time, or of direct use to us. Those prophecies didn’t make the Canon.

      (5) Watson: “Are you saying that the message remains the same but the text itself is fluid – while remaining inspired and inerrant?”

      This is the closest statement I think to my own understanding.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • C Watson says:

      Nazaroo,

      Allow me to offer a few critiques on your views concerning inspiration:

      1. What you argue is completely against what any fundamentalist/evangelical (of the more conservative side) has argued (that I know of – and I’ve read a bit widely on this debate) since the time of B B Warfield and later.

      2. What you argue is a denial of verbal inspiration. Verbal inspiration can be demonstrated through Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount where he declares that “not one jot or one tittle shall pass away” (paraphrase from the top of my head). The jot is the smallest Hebrew letter (yodh) and the tittle is the smallest portion of the letter. In other words, the letters (which make up the words) of the text itself were important to Christ – the words themselves were the word of God, not simply the message. The words communicate the message – and God intended which specific words would communicate the unchanging message of the Scriptures.

      If I understand you correctly, you see inspiration as a present event – as God interacting the text with the reader. Thus the text is a tool, and not the inspired thing in itself. This is a position that I simply cannot accept as good, true, or biblical because it stands against Scripture, against history, and against theology.

    • Nazaroo says:

      Thanks for the critique, C. Watson. Lets deal with it point by point:

      1. Who’s B.B. Warfield?

      (a) a 100 year old Protestant “hero”.

      (b) nobody.

      The correct answer is (b), here in the big boy section where we don’t worship men, but God only.

      But in fact, Warfield isn’t exactly nobody after all. He even pushes the stupid-meter into the negative. We have an article on him in our “Goof” section onsite here:

      http://adultera.awardspace.com/SUPLEM/Warfield-Haplography.html#r08

      Warfield, following idiots like Tregelles, Hort and Ellicot, tried to explain the Pericope Adulterae (“PA”= John 7:53-8:11) as a marginal gloss (!?).

      We refute his nonsense further down the same page here:

      http://adultera.awardspace.com/SUPLEM/Warfield-Haplography.html#r10

      To this however, we can only add the following important point, which puts a big damper on your attempt to use the Sermon on the Mount reference.

      Warfield and his Hortian friends tried to remove both the PA and the Ending of Mark from the NT, in total contradiction to the sentiment about ‘jots and tittles’.

      As it turns out, the PA is still in the Bible, upholding Christ’s words but making a monkey out of B.B. Warfield.

      If Warfield is in heaven, he knows full well now that the PA is authentic John. If he awaits resurrection, then he’ll have to give account for his assininity.

      As Ricky Ricardo would say,

      “Lucy: you got some ‘splaining to do!”

      (point 2 to follow)

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Nazaroo says:

      2. (Watson:) “What you argue is a denial of verbal inspiration. … The words communicate the message – and God intended which specific words would communicate the unchanging message of the Scriptures.”

      I disagree. I don’t deny verbal inspiration. On the contrary I uphold it. The Greek text for instance was as inspired as any modern living translation, and in the correct for form those in the 1st century to receive the “unchanging message of the Scriptures” (your words).

      —————————–

      (Watson:) “If I understand you correctly, you see inspiration as a present event – as God interacting the text with the reader. Thus the text is a tool, and not the inspired thing in itself.”

      Again, this should be obvious. A dog can watch a man read the NT. The dog’s eye records the color and shape of the letters, but not the meaning. The dog’s eye does NOT represent what is being exchanged between God and man as the man reads. That comes from a materialistic philosophy alien to the Bible.

      ———————————

      (Watson:) “This is a position that I simply cannot accept as good, true, or biblical because it stands against Scripture, against history, and against theology.”

      Well, it doesn’t stand against Scripture as far as I can tell. Perhaps you can illustrate that someday. It doesn’t go against history, since it is a historical fact that 1st century Christians used a different text than any English translation (or Greek NT) available.

      Theology? You mean Protestant theology? Baptist theology? Presbyterian theology? Calvinism? You completely lost me there.

      Picture the scene in Wizard of Oz where the cowardly lion explains what he’d do if he had courage:

      “Theology? Why I’d tear em from top to bottomology!”

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Nazaroo says:

      Dear Bob: Sorry to take so long getting back to this:

      (Bob Hayden:) “I don’t see how any of this allows for brand new readings to accumulate into the NT that weren’t penned by the inspired author.”

      Those who believe in a closed, set Canon, fixed for all time (i.e., meant to be adequate till the Second Coming for instance), will feel strongly that:

      (1) You can add verse numbers, introductions, footnotes, formatting, type-styles/colors, etc. all you like as a help to readers, but there will always be a clear line between the TEXT and the EXTRAS, and a difference in both nature, and authority between them.

      This basic position gives us a Bible, and makes it different than any other ordinary book. The details of ‘verbal inspiration’, preservation, translation are supposedly worked out by theologians.

      Lets call this the “fall back” or starting position for every believing Christian.

      Most Christians have already acknowledged (if they are aware of the issue) that the writings of Paul and other Apostles and early writers (Luke, Mark etc.) have the same or greater authority than the OT Scriptures. Thus the NT has equal or greater status than the OT, regarding inspiration and authority.

      Nonetheless, in our living walk with Christ as Christians in any era, there are the seeds of NEW REVELATION, a potential and a precedent from the start, as illustrated in the Book of Acts, and Paul’s Epistles.

      The Canon may be ‘closed’ in the sense of an authoritative Holy Book available to the end of the age, but God is not hindered in doing new things, announcing new prophecies, revealing new truths, all with equal authority to His previous Revelation in the Book.

      This thesis is supported by the action of the Holy Spirit during and after Pentecost, the healings and miracles and prophecies that followed Paul and the apostles, etc.

      It is supported by the NT interpretation of OT prophecies too. (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28 etc.)

      The fact that cults have sprung up (false prophets and messiahs, leaders and false prophecies) should not deter us from entertaining the very real possibility of further messages from God, to individuals, the churches, the nation(s), the world.

      We, like the Bereans, can simply use our God-given Holy Scriptures and the wisdom of the Spirit to measure and discern any would-be prophet or preacher (See Acts).

      Any new revelation from God will have the same or greater authority than our Holy Bible, but at the same time, because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, such an authentic revelation will not contradict the Bible.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Nazaroo,

      Let’s not be calling people “idiots” over here. That kind of language is not called for. You can disagree without stooping to that level.

      Warfield defended biblical inerrancy and no matter what else you can say about him, he was a godly man.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Historically, Protestants have held the canon is closed. Rev. 22:18-19 comes at the end of the New Testament and may have been one of the last books written. This has been viewed as a declaration that all the Biblical books have been completed.

      Your view is quite novel, actually.

    • C Watson says:

      Nazaroo:

      I hate to do this, but here it is.

      You stated:

      “The correct answer is (b), here in the big boy section where we don’t worship men, but God only.

      But in fact, Warfield isn’t exactly nobody after all. He even pushes the stupid-meter into the negative.”

      Logical Fallacy – Ad hominem

      You stated:

      “Warfield, following idiots like Tregelles, Hort and Ellicot, tried to explain the Pericope Adulterae (“PA”= John 7:53-8:11) as a marginal gloss (!?).

      We refute his nonsense further down the same page here:

      http://adultera.awardspace.com/SUPLEM/Warfield-Haplography.html#r10

      To this however, we can only add the following important point, which puts a big damper on your attempt to use the Sermon on the Mount reference.

      Warfield and his Hortian friends tried to remove both the PA and the Ending of Mark from the NT, in total contradiction to the sentiment about ‘jots and tittles’.

      As it turns out, the PA is still in the Bible, upholding Christ’s words but making a monkey out of B.B. Warfield.

      If Warfield is in heaven, he knows full well now that the PA is authentic John. If he awaits resurrection, then he’ll have to give account for his assininity.”

      Logical Fallacy – Red herring

      My reference to Warfield was a reference to the beginnings of the articulation of the evangelical (I use this term in a technical, historical sense) view of bibliology – a theology of the Bible. Bible believing evangelicals since Warfield have been articulating that the autographs are verbally and plenarily inspired and that the canon of Scripture is closed. Inspiration is limited only to the autographs. You took that reference to Warfield and used it to attempt to make a point about the PA passage – something which I never mentioned. I am not comfortable with Warfield’s view of evolution, but that does not mean that Warfield’s view of inspiration was wrong.

      Also, your blatant references to 1939 and 1957 pop culture, although they are an attempt at humor, do not aid in moving the conversation forward.

    • C, I hope you don’t mind, but I added some formatting to your post just for clarity.

      Nazaroo, there is no call for referring to people as “nobody” or on the “stupid-meter.” This is indeed ad hominem, and it is rude and unacceptable. You can disagree with a position without attacking the person. The same applies to referring to people as “idiots.” Pronouncing eternal judgment on the man is also something I cannot let stand. It is not your place to judge anyone, especially here. You can have your opinions – and that is fine – but please refrain from writing stuff like “If Warfield is in heaven…if he awaits resurrection…” This is inflammatory and unnecessary.

      I did however enjoy your pop culture references.

    • Nazaroo says:

      Perhaps it may be helpful to explain where I’m coming from.

      I was never an evangelical. In my younger days I visited many different churches, excited to meet other Christians and learn from them all.

      The only “evangelical” churches I visited, I believe, were Pentacostal in orientation. They were greatly disturbing, and I found them full of fakery.

      People were speaking jibberish in “tongues”, and since I had already been indoctrinated by the Baptists (who have unusually organized and sensible teaching on ‘tongues’), I didn’t buy any of their BS.

      Now the mere mention of the word “evangelical” makes me cringe, and reminds me of just about every TV evangelist I have ever seen bilking the public and disappointing cancer victims.

      I have similar reactions everytime I hear some “scholar” praised and honoured. It grates me from top to bottom, right to the bone. I took seriously Jesus Christ’s warning:

      “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (Jn. 5:44)

      This scripture is not a joke. Honouring men leads to one thing: apostacy, blindness, and death in your sins.

      I cannot and will not honour any man, dead or alive. They are all the same to me: worthless in comparison to the Gospel of Christ, which includes honouring what Jesus said, and refusing the honour of men.

      I only give to men what I would wish for them to give to me, and that EXCLUDES fawning, honour, flattery, and any other form of lying or hypocrisy.

      Hearing the praise of other men makes me physically want to vomit. I absolutely hate it. It makes me mad, that people do this, which plainly mocks what Christ taught.

      Honour men at your own peril. I must shake my shoes off from dust such as that.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Thanks Nazaroo, while I again provide you with a caution to avoid inflammatory language, I can agree with your view of praising scholars. Certainly we can find a more elegant way to state a critique of an individual than “a tragic character on a landscape of clowns who misled millions.”

      When I was in my undergraduate studies, a particular preacher stood up in chapel and announced that you could tell a man’s walk with God by the study Bible he carried. Since that day, I determined to know the Bible well enough that I could carry thinline Bibles with no study notes or cross-references and still be able to speak from the authority of the Scriptures. The only study Bibles I own are in a box in my basement – gifts from well-intentioned parishioners and friends.

      It is easy to revere scholars too highly, to accept their views because they are scholars and must be intellectually superior. I have never accepted this view, and I never will. Once, while teaching in a Christian high school, a student said to me, “You seem to question everything. How can you go through life like that?” I replied, “How can you not?”

      We should not accept anyone’s statements without verification, and by verification, let us not mean we look for another scholar to say that the first scholar was right. Let us use the minds granted to us and examine the evidence. Thank you for the reminder not to follow men.

    • Nazaroo says:

      I’ll re-state this, because it seems to have been missed.

      I’m not a Protestant or a Catholic. I hate them both equally, for the schism in the Body of Christ that they have created.

      I’m a Christian. My loyalty is to Jesus Christ and no one or nothing else.

      I couldn’t care less what Protestants past or present think, or Catholics either.

      I take an interest, only to correct their obvious foolishness.

      ——————————

      (2) I don’t believe B.B. Warfield articulated any coherent or acceptable doctrine of verbal inspiration. I think he is a tragic character on a landscape of clowns who misled millions.

      I have to utterly reject the notion that “Inerrancy”, “inspiration” etc. are confined to the ‘autographs’.

      What a bunch of absolute useless nonsense.

      Call me when any of you have a coherent theory of verbal inspiration and inerrancy.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Nazaroo says:

      This is for Erik:

      Watson: “Mrs. Nigabaiter has exploded!”

      Nazaroo: “Oh, mother. People explode all the time.”

      Watson: “Oh, I suppose you’re right. I never really liked her anyway.”

      ————————————-

      Watson: “Ahah! I’ve got you!”

      Nazaroo: “No you haven’t.”

      Watson: “Yes I have: If you’re arguing with me, I must of paid!”

      Nazaroo: “Not necessarily. I could be arguing with you in my spare time.”

      Watson: “Oh, I’ve had enough of this.”

      Nazaroo: “No, you haven’t.”

    • For those of you who don’t know, Nazaroo is referencing two sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I don’t remember the name of the first one, but the second one is known as “Argument Clinic” and is one of my favorites.

      Nazaroo, I will now always imagine you looking like John Cleese with your arms folded, looking disinterested.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      Note: I think I will point out that I generally do not get into discussions with Nazaroo on issues like the canon, inerrancy, inspiration and doctrine.

      Simply, I appreciate greatly what he writes in textual studies and analysis, stuff like haplography, the Pericope Adultera, the issues of Byzantine manuscripts and the Alexandrian corruptions, stuff like that. His writings in those types of areas have been strong and well thought out, and often end up very readable and understandable on a web page or forum.

      I’m not trying to kabosh any discussions, I’m just sharing my viewpoint.

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

  14. redgreen5 says:

    Erik,

    I should also note that the term was used in caps prior to the publication of Dr. Robinson’s work.

    Well, naturally. But when that term was used, it was in reference to the Farstad/Hodges view of “Majority Text”, was it not?

    Robinson/Pierpoint was only first published in 2005. Farstad/Hodges was published twenty years earlier, in 1985, shortly after the publication of the New King James Version. So for at least 20 years, discussion about the Majority Text was obviously going on, because of Farstad & Hodges’ published work. Presuming that the research, dissertations, publication discussions, etc. preceded publication of Farstad Hodges by a handful of years, that still puts the earliest use of “Majority Text” in the mid or late 1970s. And in no case did the term “Majority Text” or “majority text” refer to the TR tradition.

    A number of TR advocates, my father among them, were not pleased with the philosophy of the published Majority Text and took to referring to it with lower case letters

    OK. Your comment here is about your father referring to Farstad/Hodges and Robinson/Pierpoint’s work as “majority text” in small letters instead of with caps, presumably to deny it any sort of credibility or authenticity as a valid text tradition.

    But your father – and these other KJVO or TRO writers – were still referring to the published Majority Text when they did that.

    Consequently, I still don’t see where anyone referred to the corpus of texts comprising the TR tradition as the “majority text” (small letters) before 1982. That was your earlier claim, if you remember?

    I use the lower case because there is a published edition called “Majority Text” that came long after the term had been applied to the corpus and defined it differently.

    • Actually, Red, you’re assuming to know an awful lot about what my father did or didn’t do. In point of fact, your statement about his usage is incorrect. Unless you can produce anything my father produced in that period that states contrary to what I have said, I recommend you not try to inform me as to my father’s positions.

      You need to re-read what I wrote. My father and the TR-O guys used Majority Text in caps to refer to the majority text tradition as a whole until the publication of the Majority Text in 1982. Since they did not agree, they started using the lower case when speaking of the tradition. They do not use the lower case to refer to Farstad or Robinson’s work.

      I could keep going round and round with you, but as I’ve already stated this is off topic. The focus of this post is the thesis and corollary; and I will ask you to refrain from off topic posts.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I would say I searched Google Books and cannot find any reference to “majority text” prior to the mid-70s. I found nothing from TR advocates using that phrase. I found Benjamin Wilkinson (and surely others), made the claim the majority of Greek manuscripts support the TR but no using of the “majority text” moniker.

      I agree it’s off topic, but it’s interesting as I had always assumed the majority text lingo had been stolen from KJVO and TRO advocates by the MT proponents.

    • Ok. I give up. Everyone – from now on, I will say majority of texts rather than majority text or majority texts although I fail to see how the terms are different.

      I checked with my father and he is under the impression that that term majority text was in currency in TR circles prior to Farstad, but I’m not going to argue with you guys because it is a difference that makes no difference.

      Whether you call it a majority text or the majority of texts does not change what is being said.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I agree it is partly semantic here. I think it’s interesting if the term really wasn’t used as a term prior to the MT, but I’d agree the concept surely was used. That’s where the whole term as used by Hodges came from, I’d argue.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      redgreen5
      > I still don’t see where anyone referred to the corpus of texts comprising the TR tradition as the “majority text” (small letters) before 1982.

      Not too hard to find.

      =========

      this majority text (from which the King James Version was translated) – Interpreters Bible 1952 p. 79

      Fuller – “to demonstrate that this appraisal is fundamentally wrong, and the Majority Text or Traditional Text — sometimes called the Received Text — underlying the King James Version more faithfully preserves the inspired revelation” – David Otis Fuller, Which Bible, 1970

      Dr Arthur I. Farsted … says .. the revision will be unique .. the only one which reflects the “majority text” concept of manuscript selection used by the original team that produced the King James Version in 1611. – Presbyterian survey , Volume 69 1979 p.48

      One quote from 1979 is quite precise: “and the Ecclesiastical text (= the ninth- to fifteenth-century Majority text) are related texts” – (New Testament studies, Volume 26 Gordon Fee p. 525

      There is no easy way today to use the term, there is no standard terminology. The criticism of Kirk DiVietro :

      “This is why the Elzevir brothers termed this manuscript tradition textus receptus and why it was later dubbed majority text.”

      was a little strained. However I do believe that Kirk DiVietro does mish-a-mosh the concepts at times, which I have written about on TC-Alternate.

      Shalom,
      Steven

    • Thanks for the citations, Steve.

      I would note that I made this statement: “This is why the Elzevir brothers termed this manuscript tradition textus receptus and why it was later dubbed majority text.”

      Thank you also for remaining respectful in your post.

  15. redgreen5 says:

    Alas, apparently I have my dates wrong. Farstad / Hodges was first printed in 1982, not 1985 as I mentioned (the 2nd edition was in 1985). And Robinson/Pierpoint was first printed in 1991, although their 5th edition came out in 2005.

    In spite of my blunders, however, I think my key points back to Erik are still intact:

    1. of course people were discussing “majority text” prior to Pierpoint/Robinson; that is because Farstad/Hodges preceded them by several years, both in publication as well as in research;

    2. but in no case was the term “majority text” being used to describe the TR tradition.

    And again, apologies for the mistakes above.

  16. I think this discussion is getting a bit off topic.

    Has everyone stated their thoughts on the thesis?

  17. redgreen5 says:

    Hi again Erik,

    You write in your corollary:

    Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.

    It seems to me that the emphasis on daily use, living text, etc. argues for the Majority Text, not the TR tradition. I can imagine this same statement from someone in the camp of the MT tradition. How would you differentiate the TR tradition, then?

    I have not been able to make my point understood; for that I apologize. Instead, I will quote from Steven Rafalsky, on how the TR tradition borrows and extends the MT assumptions:

    http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/history-kjv-tr-19376/index2.html#post243046

    But the AV adherents go a step farther than the MT folks: they see God’s preservation of the Greek text not only in the Byzantine mss, but in the confluence of those and other sources which contained readings lost in the Byzantine, such as disappeared during the dominance of the Arian party in the Byzantine empire, and the struggle against the Sabellians, in the 4th century, namely those Scripture passages declaring the triunity of the Godhead and the deity of Jesus Christ.

    The AV folks hold that God, even though He had adequately (and that is the operative word) preserved the NT Scriptures in previous times and locales, at the onset of the Reformation brought together those passages He had preserved the readings of into the Scriptures the Reformation divines would use to restore Biblical doctrine and the Biblical church, and from there these Scriptures would go forth into all the world in the great missionary thrust of the recent centuries. It was a matter of adequate preservation compared to preservation in the minutiae.

    While I am neither KJVO or TRO, I do find Rafalsky’s description of different streams brought together to be a good summary of the defining difference between the TR tradition and the MT tradition. Advocates of the TR position believe that the TR has “rescued readings lost in the Byzantine” and restored them. It is this “confluence of streams” argument that allows the TR advocate to ignore the MT / TR discrepancies, brushing off the fact that the majority of Greek texts disagree with the TR in 1 John 5:7-8 and throughout the book of Revelation.

    You asked for comments on the thesis and corollary. The omission of this “restored lost readings” element is what I believe makes your thesis and corollary somewhat incomplete.

    I apologize again for not making my point earlier, with fewer words, and more clarity.

  18. I agree, Red. This is a valid concern with the TR view and I’m glad you got around to it.

    Can we state it thusly: the difference between the TR and MT positions is the reliance on other non-Greek sources. If this is truly the case then the premise of the TR needs to be modified – as Bob pointed out in an early comment.

  19. redgreen5 says:

    Erik,

    So glad I was able to make my point clear. Verbosity is a deadly sin. :-)

    Can we state it thusly: the difference between the TR and MT positions is the reliance on other non-Greek sources.

    Yes, if the statement mentions that TR advocates believe that the TR tradition reflects a Divine rescue and restoration of *lost* readings.

    That is, after all, the rationale that allows advocates of the TR tradition to use MT arguments, and then abandon those same arguments where the MT and TR conflict.

    Cheers.

    • Nazaroo says:

      You fellows have finally got down to business and teased out an important nuance distinguishing TR and MT positions.

      I don’t know if there is an organised group that supports MT as opposed to TR. It may be that many attracted initially to TR arguments simply fall short of embracing their position, because an MT-style argument has strong plausibility, while support of minority readings or readings preserved in non-Byzantine or non-Greek sources appears to be a stretch on the surface.

      I would think then that many who currently circle around an MT position do so by default, or from lack of commitment, or from the failure of TR arguments re: “other sources” to convince them to adopt the TR position.

      But in fact, the TR position is not a more naive position than the MT position. It is nuanced by taking seriously “*all* the evidence”, just as textual critics on both sides of the text-type issue argued in the 19th century.

      The TR position holds the door open that it *is* in fact possible that a valid inspired reading was preserved in an alternate transmission line, and that it *is* in fact likely that NO line of transmission is perfect in its delivery of the goods, not even the Byzantine.

      In this, the TR position is much closer to the CT position, which can have no objection to the possibility of original readings being lost to the living Church through less than perfect practices.

      Thus, both the TR and CT positions concede that a verse like 1st Jn. 5:7 could be original, but was dropped by error or malice from various streams of transmission.

      They only differ on the interpretation of the extant evidence, and the probability that this particular verse either is or isn’t original, based on a combination of external and internal arguments.

      It is the MT position that is seen to be over-simplified, and one which is not sustainable under premises accepted by both CT and TR, in which verses can be misplaced in whole traditions or sub-church streams.

      The MT position, if it were pushed into a KJVOnly-style extremism would be difficult to sustain. It would suggest we should all adopt the Greek Orthodox text, and render textual criticism moot (perhaps a good thing…).

      Finally, however, at the end of the day, the MT position still retains the merits it always had under any circumstance: It will be right 90% of the time anyway, even if it isn’t perfect. And it remains the interm working solution for a text that ought to be acceptable by all Christians as a base.

      My last comment here is that probably most serious MT advocates, or even Byz. advocates (like perhaps Dr. Robinson) are NOT making any extreme claims about either the MT text or the Byz text. They rightfully argue however, that adopting the MT/Byz text will result in the least overall errors in the text, regardless of the final determination of the remaining disputed passages.

      A claim regarding the text as a whole however, cannot be extended to any particular reading or variation Unit. That is, the “method” of choosing the Majority text guarantees *THE TEXT* will have the most likelyhood of being correct, but it will follow that every individual reading will have the same assurance of accuracy.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Nazaroo says:

      Sorry, that last line should read:

      “That is, the “method” of choosing the Majority text guarantees *THE TEXT* will have the most likelyhood of being correct, but it will *NOT* follow that every individual reading will have the same assurance of accuracy.”

      Peace
      Nazaroo

    • I don’t think a TR position necessarily embraces a restoration of the text – but rather that they expand the text stream to include more than Greek texts. The problem is that a TR position does not embrace most of the other language streams wholesale. They embrace other language streams only to provide a basis from which they can understand portions of the Greek stream which is not clear.

      Formulating the thesis and corollary would produce something akin to this:

      THESIS:God entrusted the Bible to the Church; and the part of the Church that spoke Greek preserved the Greek New Testament.

      COROLLARY: Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.

      COROLLARY: Majority witness manuscripts of other ancient languages provide insight into the Greek text where it is uncertain.

      This second corollary is only a rough try at the concept. Obviously, there is a lot of diversity among the TR advocates – and some are just plain ignorant of the influence of other language streams.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I think in reality it is a restoration of lost readings, but as the advocates themselves live the theory out, it isn’t. They would say we have to just assume that the true readings were available for remnant churches (like Waldensians, Albigenses, etc.).

      As for Eric’s attempt at editing the corollary, I think it still won’t fly as there are some readings that are minority no matter how you look at it, but in principle that is an argument they use.

      I get the feeling with the TR position, that original advocates of TR superiority argued for the TR as opposed to unproven texts which had, to their mind, faulty premises (like emphasis on Aleph or B or both). These same advocates recognized deficiencies in the TR, but the new texts weren’t patching those deficiencies, they were supplanting the entire TR.

      The KJV Only and TR Only crowd of today came on the scene relatively late. And they represent largely a reaction to the RSV and later translations. They borrowed the arguments of Burgon and others for the primacy of Byzantine witnesses and they also caught on regarding the conspiracy ideas about Alexandria and the doctrinal problems. The KJV was set up as the measuring rod to compare new versions and see the errors in them. Then the doctrine of preservation was marshaled into defense of the new movement. Not only were new Bibles doctrinally deficient, and based on faulty textual thinking, there is a theological rationale for defending the “old landmark” that is the KJB. Given this coalescence of factors, the KJV ends up being prized to the point of being itself error-free.

      TR advocates that stress Greek study and aren’t afraid to posit different renderings of the Greek TR in their preaching, nevertheless agree in what is almost a universal lock-step thought. They will not credit any error or deficiency to the KJB preferring to say the Word of God is “intact” in the KJV, and that there are not even translational errors in it. This sets them up to have to defend unusual readings in the KJB or the Greek behind the KJB.

      The majority argument and the Greek witness, even the “received Bible” mindset all play second fiddle when discussing a particular reading. Places exist where the “received Bible” idea is split, where Reformation Bibles part ways or even the Greek TR printed editions vary. In those places, the KJB reading decides it all. Rev. 16:5 is a classic case in point. Ultimately, there are many arguments marshalled to prove the superiority of the KJB, and then at root it is affirmed by faith.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      Bob Hayton:
      “They would say we have to just assume that the true readings were available for remnant churches (like Waldensians, Albigenses, etc.).”

      This side emphasis was developed by Benjamin Wilkinson. It flounders on the simple fact that their Italic or Old Latin roots for their Bibles were simply not that pure. (I hesitate to criticize this theory because of the Christian witness of these groups, but that does not mean their Bibles were 100% pure.) I am pretty sure there is no earlier proponent of this idea than Wilkinson.

      Gail Riplinger has recently worked with another theory of “vernacular versions”, a theory without merit.

      Any KJB defender who really understands the Reformation Bible dynamic will have a much simpler view that does not need to go to what is almost ethereal preservation. This will involve the Greek fountainhead, the Latin lines, the early church writers, internal evidences and textual heart and expertise, providentially brought forth.

      Nazaroo seems to have a nice grasp of the Greek and Latin relationship unto the TR, contra the more simple Majority Text ideas. I will show the three or four short, critical, paragraphs from his post.

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      Nazaroo hit the nail on head here.
      =========================================

      the TR position is not a more naive position than the MT position. It is nuanced by taking seriously “*all* the evidence”, just as textual critics on both sides of the text-type issue argued in the 19th century.

      The TR position holds the door open that it *is* in fact possible that a valid inspired reading was preserved in an alternate transmission line, and that it *is* in fact likely that NO line of transmission is perfect in its delivery of the goods, not even the Byzantine.

      In this, the TR position is much closer to the CT position, which can have no objection to the possibility of original readings being lost to the living Church through less than perfect practices.

      … They only differ on the interpretation of the extant evidence, and the probability that this particular verse either is or isn’t original, based on a combination of external and internal arguments.

      It is the MT position that is seen to be over-simplified, and one which is not sustainable under premises accepted by both CT and TR, in which verses can be misplaced in whole traditions or sub-church streams. … at the end of the day, the MT position still retains the merits it always had under any circumstance: It will be right 90% of the time anyway,

      =============================

      Amen.

      The only point I would add is the note that the CT position also has the defect of de facto ignoring the Latin line evidences, it is a Greek Uncial Alexandrian Only position, eclectic disclaimers aside. However, conceptually Nazaroo is correct to say that the TR and CT have basic similarities contra the MT position. The CT position at least has a conception, if not the reality, of being diverse in evidence combination and correlation unto the (received) text. One other major difference is that the TR gives as a result “The Bible” while the CT ends up with a “Probability Text” with every verse variant having a grade and that grade can go up and down as theories and evidences change, or as interpreted by the beholder (think James White declaring his preference for 1 Timothy 3:16).

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

    • Bob Hayton says:

      It’s refreshing to hear you admit that Steve, about the Waldensians and all. David Sorenson in his book repeated the old line from Wilkinson, sadly, which Kutilek and others have decisively disproven.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      Just to be clear, I do believe the Waldensian Bible likely has Old Latin heritage as well as Vulgate, that is denied by Kutilek, who seeks to paint it as simply Vulgate. (Tim Dunkin goes into some of this in his updated article on the heavenly witnesses.) However the extant Old Latin line is not exceedingly pure anyway, and that is where the KJB defenders trip up. So my position on the technical aspects of Waldensian issues is mid-field and only moderately informed. In a sense, since the effect on the Reformation Bible of the Old Latin lines is modest, the issue is not that significant.

      Recently, I am beginning in some other forums to discuss these issues with KJB proponents, to hash out the distinction between the Reformation Bible perspective and some of the traditional “streams of Bibles” and “Waldensian” and recently “vernacular versions” positions.

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

  20. Steven Avery says:

    Hi Folks,

    The following has existed in some TR circles, and also, indirectly, some KJB circles.

    “God entrusted the Bible to the Church; and the part of the Church that spoke Greek preserved the Greek New Testament.”

    This simply makes no sense in terms of the Reformation Bible – which principally incorporates preservation in the Greek fountainhead along with the Old Latin and Vulgate Latin lines.

    Such a statement would only come out of a defective branch of KJB-TR scholarship that simply does not recognize the superb Reformation Bible dynamic (in the DBS-Riplinger contretemps, the defective view is on both sides).

    From what I have seen, something like this was rather common till a couple of years ago, but KJB and TR defenders with a solid historical understanding would never say anything like the above. All you have to do is read the history of the Bible debates.

    You can see a far better representation from the Steven Rafalsky quote above.

    —————-

    The Byzantine Majority Greek position (mentioned above in the discussion) is barely a textual theory (it is more a defunct-ecclesiastical position) precisely because of the missing of the vibrant Latin preservation. Along with the lack of proper consideration to internal evidences, the distinction between omission and alternate variants, early church writers, etc. Thus this position is more a scholastic exercise — and used as a refuge for those who are looking for a fence-straddling alternative to the dubious modern versions and their tremor-causing Reformation Bible, especially the KJB.

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery

    • Steve, do you HAVE to use abrasive language? I opened this conversation up, trying to show good faith and you proceed to spout superiority language and condescension? Are you seriously going to try to do this again?

      defective branch…
      barely a textual theory
      the dubious modern versions and their tremor-causing Reformation Bible

      The key word here is RESPECT. If you cannot show it, then I will have to ban you again. I have no patience for this disrespect.

    • Nazaroo says:

      In an attempt to short-circuit the summer heat and shortened tempers due to the physical frailties of man, I will here take the risk of providing a chart I think will help non-TR defenders understand their bretheren better.

      From the chart it is easy to see why TR people tend to see the KJV as a purer, more directly descended heir to the English translation legacy:

      http://adultera.awardspace.com/AE/modernversions.html

      Peace
      Nazaroo

    • C Watson says:

      Nazaroo,

      I fail to see the importance and significance of this chart. Anyone can make up a chart drawing all sorts of strange connections that have absolutely no meaning or significance at all to the conversation. How was the American Bible Society (Eugene Nida) influenced by the JW translation in the Good News Bible? How did the Good News Bible influence the NIV (other than Nida’s Dynamic Equivalence philosophy, which was popularized among scholars in the 1960s)?

      First, at least make an attempt at explaining the chart and giving substantial evidence of why it is true (remember that correlation is not the same as correspondence from a historical perspective). Second, you must demonstrate why the W-H text is negative. Yes, some may have used the W-H text as a basis for negative results (i.e. JW, satanic bible, etc.). Using a thing to a wrong end does not make the thing wrong in itself. Killing murderer George Tiller was a wrong action by Scott Roeder – but it was done in the name of Christianity within a Christian church…Does that make Christianity wrong? I’m sure it does’t.

    • Nazaroo’s chart is obviously meant to be humorous.

    • Nazaroo says:

      Elementary my dear Watson:

      If you re-examine the page, you’ll see near the top two small words, “comic relief”. This, given a moment’s pondering, will make all things clear.

      peace
      Nazaroo

    • Gary Simmons says:

      Personally, *I* enjoyed the comic relief. (If the chart were not “simplified,” we’d have to list all the pop culture references to the KJV, and that would be a *very* long chart.)

      I’m glad that most people stayed on topic here. Thank you for this blog and this discussion. [I would be interested in a post on that off-topic corollary, also.

      Sadly, I have nothing to add to the topic that hasn’t already been said, other thank “thanks for posting this.”

    • C Watson says:

      You speak correctly. My mistake. I’ve seen way too much of this kind of thing in Gail Riplinger and others…

  21. I think my admonition to remain on topic seems to have been expended in vain.

    If I might offer some advice to all the commenters. Your posts have been informational and expansive, but many of you have wandered far off point – and that unfortunately dilutes the effectiveness of your arguments.

    At this point, I think everyone has expressed their thoughts on the premise of the article, and I am going to close the comments at 6pm EDT.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      I commented above on “the part of the Church that spoke Greek preserved the Greek New Testament”. Saying that the issue is the Reformation Bible, from the Received Text, and that is Greek and Latin preservation.(And additional textual savvy like the ECW and internal evidences and what Hills called the “logic of faith”) through men of great wisdom and anointing. Nazaroo I felt wrote on the TR issue excellently, Steve Rafalsky as well on puritanboard. So I think, in summary, we all deny any premise that our TR GNT is only from those who spoke Greek. Even Erasmus and Beza were, to a large degree, working Latin first, the ultimate Greek priority via the TR is almost incidental.

      As a corollary to this primary thesis:

      “Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.”

      This is almost axiomatic. Even to the CT people, even redactionists, would be slow to try to foist any “newly discovered .. textual readings”. This would be one or three manuscripts against multi-thousands. What they try to do is change the balance of evidences so that good ‘ol Vaticanus (known to Erasmus) plus Sinaiticus becomes the evidentiary heavyweight, essentially equal to all other weights put together. Sinaiticus is the new boy on the block. The TR position says that all this is fabricated, the theories are wrong, the texts are scribally and textually corrupt, and the historic textual understandings unto the pure Bible stand today just as they did in 1600.

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

    • Steve,

      I think my father and the entire Dean Burgon Society would disagree, and I addressed this issue in what I put forward as the TRO’s 2nd corollary. I forwarded the premise and corollaries specifically to my father, and he said they absolutely represent his position.

      That does not mean that many TRO advocates don’t adopt your stated position, but I would be hesitant to paint all of them with the universal statements you’ve made.

  22. Steven Avery says:

    Hi Folks,

    Well, the DBS is the most visible TR organization out today, so they can take whatever position they feel is proper. The question is whether the position holds up well to analysis and goes far beyond the DBS.

    When I refer to the support of Greek-Latin combination from Rafalsky (TR-KJB), Nazaroo (Eclectic) and myself (KJB-TR) it is designed to show the dissonance, the situation to be considered — what we see as the difficulty of a historic Greek position that places Greek in some innately independent position, as implied in “the part of the Church that spoke Greek preserved the Greek New Testament”. Breaking this down it means that the TR (Greek New Testament considered preserved scripture) is derivative of the Greek only. However historically, studying Erasmus and Beza and the text, this is not the case. Does the DBS address this ? Dunno.

    Also the strong Latin influence upon the TR and in many cases leads to verbal confusion mixing the Bzyantine Majority with the TR. This was discussed in a post I put in to TC-Alternate.

    So yes, that is the DBS position, ergo it is the most public TR position, but it looks to me to be an orphan DBS position .. (David Cloud is the principle public TR proponent, I dunno if he would affirm that statement, I think not.)

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery

    • How can the most visible TRO group have an ‘orphan’ position? Do you realize the paradox you created? If they’re the most visible group, then by default their position is not an orphan position. But I digress.

      Your condescending ‘Delete this of course. And try not to get upset…” is bordering on the kind of games you got banned for. You seem to not be able to resist getting jibes in, and I for one really find it annoying. I’m serious when I tell you that I only opened this up for you to speak respectfully. This is the second warning on this article. Fortunately for you, I’m closing discussion here at 6pm EDT tonight.

    • Steven Avery says:

      Hi Folks,

      “Delete this of course” was meant for the moderator (like sending a private email, since I know you review my posts) .. I did not expect you to put the post through, I was asking you to correct the post above where I had left out a word. Beyond that I was just chatting to the mods.

      You folks need some egg shells to put on the carpet next to the pin cushions :) ?

      Shalom,
      Steven Avery

    • Steven, you are once again banned from my posts.

      Your little jibe on the last post was the final thread, and as to the previous post with “Delete this of course” you still managed to throw a little patronization in there – and I want all the readers to see that you have been banned because of your continual refusal to abide by the rules of engagement.

  23. Steven Avery says:

    This is just a correction, on the post above ..

    David Cloud is the ** next most visible ** public TR

    Delete this, of course. And try not to get too upset that the DBS position is being challenged, at least we are doing it in friendly manner :) . This post above I would consider my final summary.

    • Bob Hayton says:

      I would just say Steve, that you are ignoring the post Erik linked to. There he added the qualification that the majority witness of other non-Greek languages does have bearing in helping the Greek text in uncertain places.

      My only drawback on that additional corollary which Erik pointed out is that occasionally the places the TR departs from the Greek witness, are in places where the non-language support is anything but “majority witness”.

  24. Eric -

    Regarding, “Textual readings that are newly discovered and vary from the living, received text are not to be preferred over the readings that remained in daily, regular use.” – I guess it depends on what daily regular use means. We all agree that the Latin was used in the West, so the question is how much was the GNT used in the East. Was it being studied and preached from on a daily basis? Is this the claim? Does it matter? I think the East puts tremendous emphasis on the liturgies. I would say the Greek used on a ‘daily basis’ in those churches would be the liturgies that were passed down. How were the printed copies used? Were they read/chanted in Monasteries? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but the picture of a group of believers attending Sunday worship with the TR tucked under their arm is not accurate. So what is accurate? Hopefully, someone can answer.

    As a related aside, does anyone know the relative sizes of the Easter/Western church during the Middle Ages? I’ve thought of the Western church as being much larger, and so it really was the Vulgate that dominated during this time. If that were the case, would we weigh the Vulgate as heavily as the KJV translators did?

    • Let me put it this way.

      Constantinople was the largest city in the known world (not including Asia) for most of the medieval period. Unlike the European capitals, it was not successfully attacked until 1204 (and that was by the Western European Crusaders). The Romans (that is what they called themselves) said, “Half the wealth of the world is in The City. The rest is just scattered.” (By The City, they meant Constantinople.)

      Up to the sack in the Fourth Crusade, Constantinople’s population was over a million and sometimes got over two million. The Theodosian Walls, which circled the main city, were 6.5 km in length, and they only west side of the city. The north, south and east were protected by water. The city was a triangular peninsula that literally contained the best of everything.

      As to daily use, the lectionaries and codices of the Eastern Church were copious and were used regularly in public readings – much more so than the Latin texts which were isolated mostly in the Vatican and Italy. Outside of Italy, until the Gregorian reforms of the 11th century, most European priests couldn’t even read.

  25. redgreen5 says:

    Erik,

    I was wondering if you had a recommendation for a good primer volume on the Constantinople and the Eastern Church?

    Thanks.

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