Follow Up to the James White–Jack Moorman KJV Debate

Last week’s televised debate between James White and Jack Moorman is now available to watch on demand. I was able to watch it this weekend and was really impressed with White, I thought he won the debate hands down.

White could have also pointed out that other languages beside Greek provide support for many Alexandrian readings, and only limited support for Byzantine readings. Also, the dearth of Greek study in general prior to the Renaissance helped ensure the Byzantine Text (being secreted into Europe with the onslaught of the Muslims against Byzantium) would be the primary text available for Erasmus and his like in the early period of recovering the Greek New Testament text.

I also thought Moorman should have had a better answer handy on the Revelation 16:5 point, which was repeatedly stressed. White did dodge some bullets, but the format makes it hard to address everything carefully.

Care to share your thoughts on the debate? Or did you (like me), miss it the first time round? Give it a watch and then chime in here. UPDATE: A better quality video surfaced on YouTube here.

For those who don’t know, while I’m evaluating the Majority Text position, currently I still am persuaded by the general tenor of the arguments for the modern Greek text behind modern versions, as shared by White and others. I believe our modern text can be refined and should be, but for the most part it is better than the Textus Receptus which preceded it. That’s my personal opinion and not necessarily the opinion of most of my fellow bloggers here at KJVOnlyDebate.com.

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48 thoughts on “Follow Up to the James White–Jack Moorman KJV Debate

  1. James Snapp, Jr. February 7, 2011 / 5:32 pm

    Bob,

    Yes; I think it’s fair to say that James White won the debate, but for all the wrong reasons: Moorman’s general demeanor was unaggressive; White made numerous incorrect statements that Moorman did not correct (or, apparently, even notice!), and White shifted the focus of the debate away from the KJV to the TR, so that the debate ended up being more about the TR than about the KJV. And things went all over the map in the Q-and-A section. And somehow the debate came and went without very many passages of Scripture (John 1:18, I Tim 3:16, Rev. 16:5, I Jn. 5:7, Titus 2:13 and II Pet. 1:1) being directly compared in the KJV and in other versions; only two — I Tim 3;16 and Rev. 16:5 — were discussed in any detail.

    So; it wasn’t much of a win; it showed me two things. First, Moorman is not a good debater. White gave him an incredible slow pitch down the middle about I Tim. 3:16, and Moorman let it go right by. I was expecting Moorman to say, “If you really think ‘God’ is the original text in I Tim. 3:16, then, regardless of whether the word ‘God’ was removed via intentional tampering, or by a careless mistake, why would you ever want to support the modern versions that remove this inspired word, and replace it with something that was not inspired? You say you want what Paul wrote? Then why, James, why do you advocate versions which remove, in this important doctrinal passage, the word that Paul wrote, and replace it with something else? Not only in this passage, but from Genesis to Revelation, you are inviting readers to a textual cafeteria when you welcome them to use a variety of translations using a variety of translation-techniques based on a variety of texts.” But it never happened. Second, it showed that anyone who debates James White should be sure that the debate includes on-the-spot fact-checking. He made all sorts of false statements, some minor and some major.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Bob Hayton February 7, 2011 / 9:17 pm

      I’m not sure about “all sorts of false statements”. He may have overstated his case somewhat, but that’s hard to avoid.

      I thought bringing it back to the TR is where it has to go with KJV Onlyists like Moorman. If he was arguing the Byzantine text’s superiority and not clinging to several minority readings, that would be a different case.

      I thought White’s comments about the desire to have one standard text were spot on. This is behind KJV Onlyism.

      Some of the texts you mentioned were addressed, but the audience questions and things took up a lot of time and weren’t necessarily all that helpful.

      I don’t think we’ve arrived with the modern Greek text we have. But I don’t think (at least at this juncture in time), that the Byzantine text is the answer. An eclectic text or a compilation text that shares what the Church in various regions around the world and various times, that shares what these various sectors had as their text would be super helpful, as Erik has said on here before. I think many of the points White raises about the Byzantine text being a default majority are valid. He just didn’t deal with some of the Alexandrian shortcomings and problems either.

      Thanks for your thoughts, they’re always worth hearing and interacting with.

      Sorry to you (and many others, I’m sure). Commenting has been off and on around here. In the not too distant future I hope to change servers, refresh my wordpress installation and I hope that’s enough to rid me of these pesky bugs which keep turning all my comments off.

      I hope to land on this theme for the time being. I kind of like it, what say you?

    • Erik DiVietro February 9, 2011 / 2:34 pm

      James,

      I wish Moorman had been a better debater. To be honest, it wasn’t even fair. One wonders if it wasn’t intentional. White came prepared with computer graphics and his iPad while Moorman was constantly waving around books and shuffling through papers. Sadly, this is how many KJVO proponents appear.

      Perhaps it is lingering issues from the paper debates White had with my father years ago, but he tends to come off as somewhat over confident when he starts overstating his case, almost dismissive. Sadly, Moorman played right into his hands.

      I’ve seen a number of debates like this, and in almost every case, the KJVO guy was hopelessly outclassed. This might not be intentional since most KJVO guys are from previous generations and since they withdrew from peer review in previous decades, they are out of touch.

  2. Cory Howell February 7, 2011 / 9:24 pm

    I just watched the debate on YouTube, and I too was very impressed by White’s arguments. White used logic as the basis for his arguments, and quite clearly showed that KJV Only proponents refuse to apply the same criteria to the KJV as they do to modern translations. Moorman’s main argument, which he repeated over and over, was “you know where you stand with a standard.” Seriously? That’s the best he had?

    No question. White was the clear winner.

    • bibleprotector February 8, 2011 / 4:09 am

      You can watch my two responses to the debate on my youtube page:

  3. Cory Howell February 8, 2011 / 7:45 am

    Matthew (aka Bible Protector)– I am familiar with your devotion to the “Pure Cambridge Edition” of the KJV, and almost all the material on your website merely reinforces the illogical position of KJV Onlyism that White successfully refuted. You arbitrarily hold up the PCE as THE Word of God in English; therefore, any deviations from that predetermined norm are seen as particularly egregious. As far as I’m concerned, you are repeating ad nauseam Dr. Moorman’s motto: “You know where you stand with a standard.” But thanks for your reply to my reply above. I never thought I would catch the attention of the infamous Bible Protector.

    • Bob Hayton February 8, 2011 / 8:36 am

      “Infamous”??? He’s a good guy. I disagree with him and all. But he’s welcome around here. I wouldn’t call him infamous though. 🙂

      By the way, nice to see a new face in the comments here, Cory. Glad you found us.

  4. James Snapp, Jr. February 8, 2011 / 6:03 pm

    Bob,

    Here are some of the inaccuracies in White’s opening statement, along with a couple of things where I was thinking I-can’t-believe-Moorman-isn’t-taking-a-swing-at-this:

    (1) White claimed that Erasmus “would have loved to have used” Vaticanus. In real life, Erasmus *did* use some readings from Codex Vaticanus; in 1533 Juan Sepulveda sent him a list of 365 of its readings; Erasmus mentioned one of them in his Adnotationes — the reading “Kauda” in Acts 27:16 (instead of the usual Byz “Klaudhn”). Erasmus, though he was intrigued by Vaticanus, did not energetically pursue its text or adopt its readings, because he was convinced that it had been conformed to the text of the Vulgate. (Perhaps, in part, because Sepulveda had specifically selected variants in B which agreed with the Vulgate.)

    (2) Regarding the idea that the compilers of the TR and/or translators of the KJV “somehow chose not to” use manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus, White said, “There’s just no way of substantiating that from the historical sources at all.” However, White had, on the table beside him, Stephanus’ 1550 Greek text, in which readings from Codex Bezae are cited throughout the Gospels and most of Acts. Beza, and the KJV-translators, and anyone who read Stephanus’ apparatus-notes, would be aware of many “Western” readings, but did not accept them. Likewise, everything in the Complutensian Polyglot was available for them to consult. The KJV-translators did not have a theory of text-types worked out, but clearly they were aware of many textual differences, and had to choose which sources they regarded as the most reliable.

    (3) White perpetuated the statement that “Erasmus only had about half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts to work with.” But Erasmus’ resources actually far exceeded that, because he also accessed Valla’s notes, and the commentaries of Bede and Theophylact, and numerous patristic writings which contained copious New Testament citations, besides his recollections of copies he had seen before he sat down in Basel.

    (4) White told the audience, “Remember, the Pilgrims detested the King James.” But John Alden’s Bible was a KJV; it is, as was noted in the Q-and-A near the end of the debate, still on display at Pilgrim Hall. The Pilgrims’ general preference for the Geneva Bible does not imply that they detested the KJV, especially since the Pilgrims were residing mainly in Holland when the KJV was introduced.

    (5) White said, “There is this drive, on the part of every religious group, to have a single religious text, and have no questions about it. . . . Here’s the problem: that’s not how God gave us the Bible.” What??? That’s not how copyists gave us the Bible. But it’s exactly how the Holy Spirit gave the Bible; He did not inspire two variant-readings at the same place. But that is what White seems to want readers to embrace. White spoke inconsistently about this; here he dismisses the desire to have a definitive text as if it’s problematic, but toward the end of his opening statement he affirms enthusiastically that he wants what the apostles wrote, not a variant made by a scribe.

    (6) White said, “I would have debated Erasmus had I lived in his day.” Easily said.

    (7) White said if the King James translators “had available to them what we have available to us, they certainly would not take the position that is taken by King James Only representatives today.” Well, I’m not so sure. It is hard to say what their opinions would be after living over 400 years. The KJV Preface-writer stated that the translators aimed to produce one principle translation, rather than to settle for the situation of 1604, when there was a growing number of translations of diverse quality.

    (8) White said, “Sinaiticus was not found near or in a trashcan. That’s a common myth, but it’s untrue. All you have to do is read Constantine von Tischendorf’s own firsthand account of his discovery of the manuscript: a monk brought it out of the closet of his cell wrapped in red cloth.” Let’s read and see if White is telling the whole story. You can access Tischendorf’s 1866 account at http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/extras/tischendorf-sinaiticus.html where he makes it clear that he visited St. Catherine’s Monastery more than once. Here is what Tischendorf says happened during his visit there in 1844:

    “It was in April, 1844, that I embarked at Leghorn for Egypt. The desire which I felt to discover some precious remains of any manuscripts, more especially Biblical, of a date which would carry us back to the early times of Christianity, was realized beyond my expectations. It was at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the Convent of St. Catherine, that I discovered the pearl of all my researches. In visiting the library of the monastery, in the month of May, 1844, I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that two heaps of papers like these, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments, or about forty-three sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire. But I could not get them to yield up possession of the remainder. The too lively satisfaction which I had displayed had aroused their suspicions as to the value of this manuscript. I transcribed a page of the text of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and enjoined on the monks to take religious care of all such remains which might fall in their way.”

    Later, Tischendorf returned to St. Catherine’s Monastery. He tells us about what happened on the second visit, in 1859:

    “I was taking a walk with the steward of the convent in the neighbourhood, and as we returned, towards sunset, he begged me to take some refreshment with him in his cell. Scarcely had he entered the room, when, resuming our former subject of conversation, he said: “And I, too, have read a Septuagint” – i.e., a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy. And so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume, wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and, in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Pastor of Hermas. Full of joy, which this time I had the self-command to conceal from the steward and the rest of the community, I asked, as if in a careless way, for permission to take the manuscript into my sleeping chamber to look over it more at leisure. There by myself I could give way to the transport of joy which I felt. I knew that I held in my hand the most precious Biblical treasure in existence – a document whose age and importance exceeded that of all the manuscripts which I had ever examined during twenty years’ study of the subject.”

    I think this speaks for itself. I should add that J. Rendel Harris, who visited St. Catherine’s, insisted that Tischendorf’s story about finding the pages in a wastebasket, discarded to be burned, was false. (The monks of the monastery, to this day, concur with Harris.) Whether Tischendorf profoundly misunderstood the monks’ explanation of what the basket was for, or simply made up the story so as to justify taking the codex away from the monastery, Harris was confident that the basket in question — which he claimed to have personally seen — was not a wastebasket, but simply a basket. So, White is probably correct that Tischendorf did not find Sinaiticus in a wastebasket, even though Tischendorf claimed that when he visited the monastery in 1844, he had found pages of Codex Sinaiticus in a basket, “destined for the fire” if not for his timely intervention. The thing to see here is that White’s incomplete version of events is quite misleading; those who say that Sinaiticus was found in a wastebasket are not arbitrarily perpetuating a myth. They are repeating Tischendorf’s own claim, made in the very composition to which White appeals! At the very least, if we take Tischendorf’s story seriously at all, he initially found unbound pages of Sinaiticus in a dismembered state in a basket.

    (9) White stated that NA27 “is not based simply upon Aleph and B,” and that is true, but it is also true that the Textus Receptus is not based on just the six MSS that Erasmus had on hand in Basel. White gives listeners different lenses through which to view different pieces of evidence, depending on what he wants them to see. The primary basis of NA27 is, most certainly, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

    (10) White said, “And what do those papyri manuscripts tell us? That Sinaiticus and Vaticanus represent the text from the second century.” That is not a balanced statement. Some papyri tell us something else. For example, in the text of Mark 7:25-37 in Papyrus 45, if we collect all the places where P45 disagrees with Vaticanus, or with the Byzantine Text, or with both, it disagrees with them both 48% of the time; it agrees with B 22% of the time, and it agrees with Byz 30% of the time. Papyrus 45 does not represent the Alexandrian Text; it represents a different text, which, at least on the page containing Mk. 7:25-37, was slightly more Byzantine than it was Alexandrian. And the same sort of thing is shown in some other papyri. Granting that some large papyri (P75, for example) strongly support the Alexandrian Text (in Luke and John), what the early papyri really tell us is that the text of the second century in Egypt was diverse, and that some copyists in Egypt felt free to adjust and clarify the text to re-express its meaning colloquially. They say nothing about the state of the text in other locales.

    (11) White said, “There is no Byzantine manuscript, a manuscript that contains specifically, and only, Byzantine readings, until the fourth or fifth century. And so we’re talking about the earliest, most primitive manuscripts.” He’s right, but he did not explain (nor did Moorman) the main reason why texts from places other than Egypt are not represented in papyri. It’s not as if churches in other locations did not have papyri. It’s because the papyri copies in other locations rotted away, while some of the papyri in Egypt survived because of Egypt’s climate. Favoring a text just because it has the oldest attestation would often guarantee adoption of an Egyptian text, and essentially let the weather be the deciding factor in text-critical decisions.

    (12) White challenged Moorman, “Show us any evidence that any of these manuscripts were touched by, influenced by, tinged by, any heretic that you can name, and we can then deal with that kind of assertion that is made.” Moorman did not make a clear and direct answer to that challenge. But it can be done: the names of Heracleon, Marcion, and Origen leap to mind (and if we embrace the opinion of Jerome, Eusebius of Caesarea also qualified as a heretic), and connections can be drawn from various pieces of patristic evidence (such as statements by Tertullian and Epiphanius) between heretics and some readings adopted in NA27.

    (13) White said, “The modern translations based upon the Nestle-Aland 27th edition are in much better shape to defend the deity of Christ than if you’re utilizing the Byzantine Text.” I disagree, sort of: if one were to assume that the Byzantine Text is original, it would present stronger affirmations of the deity of Christ than NA27. One big example of this is the very passage which White focused on: I Tim. 3:16. White seems content to use modern versions even though he thinks that their text there in I Tim. 3:16 is not what Paul wrote. Plus, a lot of the modern translations, where their text has a deity-of-Christ-affirming reading, feature a footnote that mentions an alternative; as a result, readers are not really in a much stronger position than with the KJV; rather, they are left to their own devices in a doctrinal cafeteria.

    (14) White claimed that the nomina sacra were developed because the early Christians “would actually use abbreviations to try to get more onto a page.” Now, it is not easy to prove what the motive for the creation of the nomina sacra was. (I think they began as an adaptation of the custom, in Hebrew-writing, of writing the name of God in special lettering; in LXX-copies, where KURIOS was substituted for the sacred tetragrammaton, it was given special treatment to differentiate it from the instances in which it did not refer to God.) It is easy, though, to prove what it was not, and it wasn’t what White says it was. The nomina sacra were not developed as a means of conserving writing-material. The lettering and the margins in the early MSS are much larger than they would be if the manuscript-maker had put a high priority on the conservation of material.

    (15) White said that for the first 300 years of the church’s existence, “You couldn’t go to the rich people to have nice manuscript copies made at that particular point in time. And so they would use these abbreviations for, like, God, Jesus, Spirit, common words — they would abbreviate them as one or two letters and put a line over the top of them.” In real life, the Roman persecution was not constant, and although most Christians, like most inhabitants of the Roman Empire, had neither the ability to make books or to read them, some Christians did have rich friends, and had nice manuscript copies made during that time. For proof, just read what Eusebius says about Origen in Ecclesiastical History, Book 6, ch. 23, describing what occurred in about 217-230:

    “At that time Origen began his commentaries on the Divine Scriptures, being urged thereto by Ambrose, who employed innumerable incentives, not only exhorting him by word, but also furnishing abundant means. For he dictated to more than seven amanuenses [i.e., secretaries], who relieved each other at appointed times. And he employed no fewer copyists, besides girls who were skilled in elegant writing. For all these Ambrose furnished the necessary expense in abundance.”

    That does not resemble the picture painted by White. His idea that the nomina sacra were developed by poor copyists who were trying to conserve writing-materials is fiction.

    (16) White appealed to John 1:18 as a case where “the King James does not contain a reference to the deity of Christ that is found in the modern translations, where Jesus is describes as MONOGENES THEOS, the unique God,” but he does not seem to be aware that the Alexandrian reading is warmly embraced by the Watchtower Society and was adopted in the New World Translation (which White explicitly denounced as a perversion in the debate). Heretics can interpret the Alexandrian Text of Jn. 1:18 as support for the idea of degrees of godhood as easily as White interprets it as support for the deity of Christ. Plus, the real issue here is, “What did John write?” not “What is the most doctrinally helpful variant,” and White did not settle that issue.

    (17) White asked, “Will Pastor Moorman admit that it would be better to translate OU PHONEUSEIS as thou shalt not murder in both places?” (“Both places” being in the Gospels and in the Epistles. But White seems perfectly content to use a variety of translations, so it seems inconsistent to regard uniform translation of the same terms in different passages as an improvement, while endorsing different versions which render the same passage differently.

    (18) White asked, “Would it not be best to fix the translation of Romans 9:5 so that it is as clear in its testimony to the deity of Christ as the New King James Version is?” Moorman should have had a ready answer: Only if the original text justifies it — and if you consult the Greek text of Romans 9:5 you will see that the KJV conforms to the Greek text very closely.

    (19) White objected to Beza’s conjectural emendation in Rev. 16:5, while seeming oblivious to the conjectural emendation in NA27 in Acts 16:12, or to the numerous conjectural emendations in the OT base-text of modern translations.

    (20) White stated, “If you just look at the first thousand years of church history, the majority text is not the Byzantine Text; it’s the Alexandrian Text.” That is not the case. I think White got this from Wallace, who misrepresented the evidence. The Byzantine Text was dominant centuries before A.D. 1000.

    (21) Just a small intuitive nit-pick to close out the list: When White said, “God provisionally has provided us with a solid foundation for believing in the inspiration and accuracy of the New Testament,” he probably meant “providentially,” rather than “provisionally.”

    Now, these were just the things I noticed in White’s opening statement. He made some other questionable statements in the rest of the debate too. But this should give you some idea of why there should be an on-the-spot fact-checking stage in the next debate about the KJV, if there is one. It’s a sad day when someone can make such errors in a debate and still win.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Bob Hayton February 8, 2011 / 10:38 pm

      James,

      I don’t have time currently to respond to all these right now. I plan to respond to some of them. Clearly, on several points, you exaggerate the error-level, in my opinion. And some of your assertions are not so clearly proven as you make them out to be. Someone else could pick and choose and find certain data points which seem to invalidate your assertions and cry fowl on you. I think the whole thing is a bit more complex than that.

      But I’ll say more later.

    • Bob Hayton February 10, 2011 / 8:07 pm

      James,

      Here are some responses to a few of your points:

      (2) …The KJV-translators did not have a theory of text-types worked out, but clearly they were aware of many textual differences, and had to choose which sources they regarded as the most reliable.

      I admit this. But as the study of the manuscripts was still in its infancy, and as they were expressly asked by the king to just revise the existing Version. It’s not surprising that they kept to the TR. We don’t know what they would have done with additional evidence, but clearly only one text was as available to them as the TR was. Still they looked at the Latin alot too. The reasons for their not being another competing Greek text to the TR at that time may be many, and are not necessarily to be chalked up to a universal consensus on the superiority of the TR as opposed to other manuscripts that were being found and summarily rejected. Although this later interpretation is what KJV Onlyists prefer.

      (3) White perpetuated the statement that “Erasmus only had about half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts to work with.” But Erasmus’ resources actually far exceeded that, because he also accessed Valla’s notes, and the commentaries of Bede and Theophylact, and numerous patristic writings which contained copious New Testament citations, besides his recollections of copies he had seen before he sat down in Basel.

      This is a bit nit-picky, I think. He did only have limited resources to work with. He did do his work in a rush. There wasn’t a universally available standard Greek text to consult. He did have to make choices and he did not have the benefit we have of seeing hundreds and hundreds of other Byzantine copies (not to mention other kinds of mss) from which to compare and ensure a text is sound. I know Erasmus had notes and commentaries etc. But with his dealing with Revelation, for instance, are you prepared to say the TR is not poorer for Erasmus’ not having access to an actual Greek text of Revelation instead of one that was set within a commentary, was hard to read, and was missing a leaf or two at the end of the book?

      (4) White told the audience, “Remember, the Pilgrims detested the King James.” But John Alden’s Bible was a KJV; it is, as was noted in the Q-and-A near the end of the debate, still on display at Pilgrim Hall. The Pilgrims’ general preference for the Geneva Bible does not imply that they detested the KJV, especially since the Pilgrims were residing mainly in Holland when the KJV was introduced.

      I chuckled when I read that. I am actually a descendant of John Alden! Taking one individual Pilgrim (and Alden originally was a cooper looking for a new life in the New World, before he settled down and became a thorough-going Pilgrim) as proof of the whole is certainly no less accurate than taking White’s general statement. This is the King James who was causing Pilgrims to become pilgrims, remember? They were being hounded and driven out. And so they’re immediately going to cherish His state-ordained Bible? I don’t think so. The KJV wasn’t printed in the US for a long time, if I remember right. Like early 1800s, even….

      (5) White said, “There is this drive, on the part of every religious group, to have a single religious text, and have no questions about it. . . . Here’s the problem: that’s not how God gave us the Bible.” What??? That’s not how copyists gave us the Bible. But it’s exactly how the Holy Spirit gave the Bible; He did not inspire two variant-readings at the same place. But that is what White seems to want readers to embrace….

      God didn’t give us the autographs for eternity. He chose not to directly intervene in the copying process. That seems to be what White is getting at. You’re reading between the lines to much to conclude that White wants us to embrace that God inspired two variant-readings. He didn’t. And we need to decide which one is original. White isn’t against making textual decisions. But those decisions need to be made, they aren’t handed down to us as already made based on some mystical certainty that God would do it that way. Scripture doesn’t promise He would do it that way. We can differ on why we think a reading is original, but we shouldn’t have to argue that there is a tendency on the part of many to shirk any textual critical problems and pretend like we don’t have to make any decisions at all, we just pick text A as definitive and run with it. That tendency exists.

      (7) White said if the King James translators “had available to them what we have available to us, they certainly would not take the position that is taken by King James Only representatives today.” Well, I’m not so sure. It is hard to say what their opinions would be after living over 400 years. The KJV Preface-writer stated that the translators aimed to produce one principle translation, rather than to settle for the situation of 1604, when there was a growing number of translations of diverse quality.

      I agree we don’t really know what they would do, albeit it seems like they would make use of other texts. The preface does say of many, “one principle translation”. They were aiming at a standard at a new and improved, better more durable translation. They achieved their goal. But that doesn’t mean, as some would have it mean, that they hoped to create a new translation that would make other translations not needed or wanted anymore. One principle translation, doesn’t change their admission that other translations of even the poorest quality were still God’s word. And they never said they hoped their translation would be above improvement and never need updating. Some seem to twist those words from the preface to mean something like I just stated, however.

      RE: The discovery of Sinaiticus

      I hope you are aware of what White is trying to correct. He may do so too cavalierly and with not as much precision as one would hope. But the standard myth still abounds that Tischendorf rescued the Bible from the trashcan and from the flames, and this obviously corrupt manuscript about to be burned became Tischendorf’s prize and the jewel of Westcott and Hort’s eye. I was taught that. It is still current today. Even your explanation shows it to be false.

      What isn’t entirely clear to me from the quotes you gave is whether the sheets he rescued had been part of Sinaiticus or not. He could have been speaking of the kind of manuscript, that similar to what he found, was another manuscript that was wrapped in red cloth for years and years even prior to his first visit, and only later did they show it to him. Your quotes make me rethink this. But the can wasn’t a trashcan. And Sinaiticus wasn’t about to be burned. And White is correct in making much of that point.

      (9) White stated that NA27 “is not based simply upon Aleph and B,” and that is true, but it is also true that the Textus Receptus is not based on just the six MSS that Erasmus had on hand in Basel. White gives listeners different lenses through which to view different pieces of evidence, depending on what he wants them to see. The primary basis of NA27 is, most certainly, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

      Pretty much agreed.

      (10) White said, “And what do those papyri manuscripts tell us? That Sinaiticus and Vaticanus represent the text from the second century.” That is not a balanced statement. Some papyri tell us something else. For example, in the text of Mark 7:25-37 in Papyrus 45, if we collect all the places where P45 disagrees with Vaticanus, or with the Byzantine Text, or with both, it disagrees with them both 48% of the time; it agrees with B 22% of the time, and it agrees with Byz 30% of the time. Papyrus 45 does not represent the Alexandrian Text; it represents a different text, which, at least on the page containing Mk. 7:25-37, was slightly more Byzantine than it was Alexandrian. And the same sort of thing is shown in some other papyri. Granting that some large papyri (P75, for example) strongly support the Alexandrian Text (in Luke and John), what the early papyri really tell us is that the text of the second century in Egypt was diverse, and that some copyists in Egypt felt free to adjust and clarify the text to re-express its meaning colloquially.

      pretty much agreed up to this point.

      They say nothing about the state of the text in other locales.

      I don’t share your stress on limiting the evidence found in Egypt to being evidence that only teaches us about the state of the text in Egypt. I think it has wider application.

      (11) White said, “There is no Byzantine manuscript, a manuscript that contains specifically, and only, Byzantine readings, until the fourth or fifth century. And so we’re talking about the earliest, most primitive manuscripts.” He’s right, but he did not explain (nor did Moorman) the main reason why texts from places other than Egypt are not represented in papyri. It’s not as if churches in other locations did not have papyri. It’s because the papyri copies in other locations rotted away, while some of the papyri in Egypt survived because of Egypt’s climate. Favoring a text just because it has the oldest attestation would often guarantee adoption of an Egyptian text, and essentially let the weather be the deciding factor in text-critical decisions.

      The papyrii found in Egypt are not universally Alexandrian as you yourself have pointed out. Alexandria was a trade hub and so the texts we find are not necessarily all Egyptian. I can see that some bias could be present due to what we have that survived, but we can compare it with many other language translations and other texts too. To flip the coin, though, isn’t it more by default that the Byzantine text is so homogenous? It is from one main region, in the one area in the world that continued to speak and read Greek. And the vast majority of Byzantine texts are the miniscules which are late. In the time period when miniscules were being written, pretty much the only area speaking Greek was the Byzantium region.

      (12) White challenged Moorman, “Show us any evidence that any of these manuscripts were touched by, influenced by, tinged by, any heretic that you can name, and we can then deal with that kind of assertion that is made.” Moorman did not make a clear and direct answer to that challenge. But it can be done: the names of Heracleon, Marcion, and Origen leap to mind (and if we embrace the opinion of Jerome, Eusebius of Caesarea also qualified as a heretic), and connections can be drawn from various pieces of patristic evidence (such as statements by Tertullian and Epiphanius) between heretics and some readings adopted in NA27.

      Are you trying to prove that heretics tampered with Scripture by citing Marcion? I agree they did. But we don’t follow Marcion’s tamperings. Can you point to specific textual variants and prove that a heretic is behind it? We can assume and read between the lines, but the direct evidence is lacking. Maybe White is overstating it somewhat from his perspective, but have you read all the ink spilled over the “Alexandrian cult” and numerous other totally far out, over-the-top, beyond belief, superstitions that are being given about the Satanic conspiracy behind everything related to the modern texts? After seeing such overstatement and even a horrible twisting of evidence and truth beyond reason and Christian civility, I can see a little bit where White might be reacting against some of this.

      (13) White said, “The modern translations based upon the Nestle-Aland 27th edition are in much better shape to defend the deity of Christ than if you’re utilizing the Byzantine Text.” I disagree, sort of: if one were to assume that the Byzantine Text is original, it would present stronger affirmations of the deity of Christ than NA27. One big example of this is the very passage which White focused on: I Tim. 3:16. White seems content to use modern versions even though he thinks that their text there in I Tim. 3:16 is not what Paul wrote. Plus, a lot of the modern translations, where their text has a deity-of-Christ-affirming reading, feature a footnote that mentions an alternative; as a result, readers are not really in a much stronger position than with the KJV; rather, they are left to their own devices in a doctrinal cafeteria.

      No, it’s not a doctrinal cafeteria. It’s a solid understanding of the New Testament texts and what they actually say. It’s not a one-sided view that ignores some of the textual evidence in hopes of making things simpler for people. Tit. 2:13, and 1 Pet. 1:1 are much clearer in the modern versions. So is Rom. 9:5, although there would be footnotes there. Jn. 1:18 could go either way. 1 John 5:7 if given with no footnote is not being honest with people. If you have footnotes at all, footnote that text. Sure it sounds stronger and all, but it isn’t genuine. 1 Tim. 3:16, I agree is stronger in the KJV. So yes, the cumulative weight may be greater in a nose-counting exercise of stringing together as many proof texts as possible. But I don’t agree that the fluctuation in divine titles lessens the witness to Christ’s deity. It goes both ways, but fuller titles isn’t the same as a fuller testimony or anything. Also, in Jude 4, it could be argued that the TR avoids using a term which is always understood as Divine whereas the CT has it.

      RE: points 14 & 15

      Not sure you proved your case. The fact that some rich manuscript centers in the late 3rd century and later existed doesn’t disprove the general thrust of White’s statement. Is there another reason other than keeping cost down that you can think of for writing all capital letters with no spaces? That seems to be behind the palimpsest practice too, of scraping the ink off the page to reuse the vellum.

      Now also, stop and think, if you disprove White on the rationale for the nomina sacra, are you really overturning his whole central thesis in the debate? No.

      (16) White appealed to John 1:18 as a case where “the King James does not contain a reference to the deity of Christ that is found in the modern translations, where Jesus is describes as MONOGENES THEOS, the unique God,” but he does not seem to be aware that the Alexandrian reading is warmly embraced by the Watchtower Society and was adopted in the New World Translation (which White explicitly denounced as a perversion in the debate). Heretics can interpret the Alexandrian Text of Jn. 1:18 as support for the idea of degrees of godhood as easily as White interprets it as support for the deity of Christ. Plus, the real issue here is, “What did John write?” not “What is the most doctrinally helpful variant,” and White did not settle that issue.

      I’ve read too that there is a heretical reason for coming up with the Jn. 1:18 reading found in the KJV, too. Modern heretics and past heretics will find ways to twist texts to their ends. You are right the issue is what was original. On this text, I’m not certain, more study is needed from me on it. But on the face of it, I can see how calling Jesus the unique God, could add to the deity proof text count in the modern versions.

      (17) White asked, “Will Pastor Moorman admit that it would be better to translate OU PHONEUSEIS as thou shalt not murder in both places?” (“Both places” being in the Gospels and in the Epistles. But White seems perfectly content to use a variety of translations, so it seems inconsistent to regard uniform translation of the same terms in different passages as an improvement, while endorsing different versions which render the same passage differently.

      But what is White debating against? Moorman is defending a position which seems to defend the perfection of the KJV translation. Moorman even went on record in the debate saying he wouldn’t update the KJV at all. So that being the case, why should inconsistencies like that, which are confusing to modern day atheists, as White pointed out, why should that be left to stand as somehow perfect?

      (19) White objected to Beza’s conjectural emendation in Rev. 16:5, while seeming oblivious to the conjectural emendation in NA27 in Acts 16:12, or to the numerous conjectural emendations in the OT base-text of modern translations.

      No, no, no. You are twisting the reality here, James. White is not one who has pointed to his Greek text and claimed it is absolutely perfect down to the letter, and that it perfectly represents the autographs. Given the high claims made for the TR, and the King James Bible, then we need to know why a reading as found in Rev. 16:5 which has zero manuscript support of any kind, is to be accepted. Yes, conjectural emendation can be debated and questioned. I think in places, it is the only solution we have, for places like 1 Sam. 13:1. But that’s beside the point here. What basis is there for the emendation, and why did the Elzevir’s TR text reject that emendation? This is a valid point.

      Now I can grant, that picking out small issues like this with the TR can seem unfair. And sure, there is a bigger picture. And Moorman could have tried to point out that picture (I think he did). But with a claim of 100% perfection, you open yourself up to intense scrutiny.

      (20) White stated, “If you just look at the first thousand years of church history, the majority text is not the Byzantine Text; it’s the Alexandrian Text.” That is not the case. I think White got this from Wallace, who misrepresented the evidence. The Byzantine Text was dominant centuries before A.D. 1000.

      “I think”? I looked it up and it comes from Wallace in part but also from Aland. Just count the miniscules as compared to all the other manuscript types we have. They dwarf everything, and they weren’t even being produced until the ninth century. So almost all of them don’t help the verdict on the first 1,000 years of post-NT history. I’d be interested in proof that this assertion is incorrect.

      I think over all here, James, you are grabbing at small little points of dispute where White may have overstated his case somewhat. But by and large his thesis stands, in my opinion.

      I don’t think the Byzantine text is attested in more locales and more time periods than a text similar to today’s Critical Text was. I agree more study is needed, and I even like your equitable eclecticism idea. I want more of the textual witness to be studied than has been. But currently I don’t see a Byzantine priority, and even if I granted that, Moorman’s position would not follow.

    • Erik DiVietro February 10, 2011 / 9:57 pm

      Without getting too involved here, I just want to provide Count von Tischendorf’s actual words so the readers themselves can decide whether James White misrepresented him:

      In visiting the library of the monastery, in the month of May, 1844, I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that two heaps of papers like this, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. When Were Our Gospels Written?”, p 28

      He then remarks that he was allowed to keep a third of these parchments, 45 sheets. This means the total sheets was about 135. On his 1844 trip, he found a little fragment which “written over on both sides, contained eleven short lines of the first book of Moses, which convinced me that the manuscript originally contained the entire Old Testament, but that the greater part had been long since destroyed.” (pp 30-31)

      On his third trip, he has fruitless days of searching, despite the best wishes of the prior of the monastery until one afternoon:

      Resuming our former subject of conversation, he [the steward of the neighboring convent] said, “And I too have read a Septuagint, i.e., a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy;” and so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered to my great surprise, not only those very fragment which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Pastor of Hermas.” (p 34)

      Tischendorf then goes on to explain that he tried to convince the steward to let him take the book to Cairo, but he refused. The monks get involved and insist the prior must authorize such a move. Tischendorf rushes to Cairo where the prior is waiting to go to Constantinople to participate in the ordination of a new archbishop, and he grants him permission. And on and on the story goes.

      By the way, for my two cents worth, the English translation of Tischendorf’s story smacks of romanticism and I’ve read enough accounts from that era to know that they tend to conflate the facts. I wish I read German so I could get the feel from his own prose. The whole thing sounds like a bit of a work-up to me, but I digress. That has nothing to do with this discussion.

    • Bob Hayton February 10, 2011 / 10:32 pm

      Thanks, Erik. That is helpful. Not sure what to think. I think maybe the way the story was told by some KJV Onlyists was so embellished that others have ignored the bits of truth in it, in responding. I’d be interested to hear if White is not ignorant of these passages but has some other explanation of them.

    • redgreen5 February 10, 2011 / 9:37 pm

      James Snapp, Jr.

      (3) White perpetuated the statement that “Erasmus only had about half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts to work with.” But Erasmus’ resources actually far exceeded that, because he also accessed Valla’s notes, and the commentaries of Bede and Theophylact, and numerous patristic writings which contained copious New Testament citations, besides his recollections of copies he had seen before he sat down in Basel.

      How does that refute the statement that Erasmus had only a half-dozen to a dozen mss to work with? I’m sure that White would have stipulated Erasmus’ access to notes, patristic writings, etc. These are items which of course Wescott and Hort also had – yet W&H are commonly said to have worked from only two manuscripts.

      (4) White told the audience, “Remember, the Pilgrims detested the King James.” But John Alden’s Bible was a KJV; it is, as was noted in the Q-and-A near the end of the debate, still on display at Pilgrim Hall. The Pilgrims’ general preference for the Geneva Bible does not imply that they detested the KJV, especially since the Pilgrims were residing mainly in Holland when the KJV was introduced.

      Yes, but a single exception does not prove a general rule. Moreover, Alden also owned a Geneva Bible, which is now in the Dartmouth College Library. Alden’s personal copies can’t be proof for either side, I would think.

      The Pilgrims may have been residing in Holland, but it can’t have escaped them that James was persecuting Puritans. Moreover, James was trying make his namesake version pre-eminent, by stamping out Geneva: printing, importing and ownership of the Geneva Bible would eventually be a crime. Given all this, why do you consider it a stretch to say that the Pilgrims hated the KJV?

      (15)
      That does not resemble the picture painted by White. His idea that the nomina sacra were developed by poor copyists who were trying to conserve writing-materials is fiction.

      Single exception disproving a general rule again? This objection doesn’t seem to follow. The fact that one person (Origen) – a particularly important person at that – had a wealthy patron that subsidized his work does not disprove the statement that White made, or undercut his claim about how the nomina sacra came to be.

      That would be like someone saying “12th century Europeans couldn’t afford meat at every meal” and then countering with an example of a lord, baron or king who dined sumptuously.

      (16) White appealed to John 1:18 as a case where “the King James does not contain a reference to the deity of Christ that is found in the modern translations, where Jesus is describes as MONOGENES THEOS, the unique God,” but he does not seem to be aware that the Alexandrian reading is warmly embraced by the Watchtower Society and was adopted in the New World Translation (which White explicitly denounced as a perversion in the debate). Heretics can interpret the Alexandrian Text of Jn. 1:18 as support for the idea of degrees of godhood as easily as White interprets it as support for the deity of Christ. Plus, the real issue here is, “What did John write?” not “What is the most doctrinally helpful variant,” and White did not settle that issue.

      By the same token, it does not matter what use or value the Watchtower Society gets out of the CT translation of John 1:18. By way of example Gen 1:26 has been used as a proof text for the Trinity in the OT, by use of the words “us, our”:

      26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

      But it has also been used as a “proof” by Islamic apologists that Christianity is a form of polytheism. Should we factor in how external groups might misuse a text, if the text is indeed the correct one?

      White’s point here is to counter the tired old KJVO complaint that CT-based translations water down the divinity of Christ. Even if someone thought that the CT was penned by the hand of Satan himself, what we have here is nevertheless a counter-example; a place where the CT is exalting the divinity of Christ, where the Byzantine does not. So as far as that goes, White succeeded in making his point. The fact that an external group (Watchtower) might get some mileage out of this verse — ripped out of context — is a total non-sequitir.

      Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that the CT rendering is correct; just that this particular objection seems a little off-the-mark.

      (17) White asked, “Will Pastor Moorman admit that it would be better to translate OU PHONEUSEIS as thou shalt not murder in both places?” (“Both places” being in the Gospels and in the Epistles. But White seems perfectly content to use a variety of translations, so it seems inconsistent to regard uniform translation of the same terms in different passages as an improvement, while endorsing different versions which render the same passage differently.

      Hmm. I’m not sure why you pointed out that White “seems content to use a variety of translations”, since none of the major modern versions render this passage differently:

      Matt 5:21
      kill – KJV
      murder – NKJV, NASB, HCSB, NIV1984, NIV2010, NLT, CEV, ESV

      Matt 19:18
      murder – all

      Rom 13:9
      kill – KJV
      murder – NKJV, NASB, HCSB, NIV1984, NIV2010, NLT, CEV, ESV

      The only version out of step here is the KJV.

    • Michael June 4, 2011 / 10:19 pm

      I know that people here are trying to be real… well, nice and all. But some blunt plain-speaking is in order. James White “won” the debate if:
      A- Telling as many bald-faced lies as one could think up counted in his favor, and
      B- Arrogance is considered a virtue

      Yes James White “won” according to that criteria.

  5. Erik DiVietro February 9, 2011 / 1:02 pm

    I’m watching the video right now, and I want to jot some thoughts down as I go.

    Jack Moorman
    First of all, Moorman is a terrible speaker. He has that typical ‘preacher’ style of speaking, but he has a poor way with specific terms (referring to Sinai as sih-nee-ay, Psalm 147:15 as Psalms 147:15, and pronouncing epoch as EE-pok). I know these are little things, but in academic circles such little missteps can make even the smartest guy look like a back hills preacher.

    1. Moorman’s 4th point is a faulty argument. Using Deuteronomy 30:14 [time ref, 6:19] to argue that the Greek manuscript of the New Testament would be readily available is a bit of a stretch. Scripture must be interpreted in context, and the context of this passage is not a universal statement. It is a statement of the moment.
    2. Using Psalm 68:11 as a justification for the groups of the translators is a little weak, don’t you think?
    3. Isn’t a bit insulting to imply that all post-Enlightenment people are ‘tainted by rationalism, by unbelief…”? Whenever a KJVO guy makes this statement, it gives me pause, because they are themselves post-Enlightenment and their movement is post-Enlightenment.
    4. Moorman spents a great deal of time quoting the Preface of the Translators as justification for their philosophy. I’ve never understood this argument. Hitler made perfectly sound rational arguments in the introduction to Mein Kampf. We cannot evaluate an author’s work based on their own testimony. We must evaluate it in light of the facts.
    5. The argument that since the early typesetters did not make a uncial type is a stretch.
    6. [45:14] Moorman allowed himself to get distracted into a side issue. (Where does he get his weird theory about Mary’s sister?) The audience member was pointing out that the KJV renders yiakobos as James and is thus an ‘unfaithful’ translation. Moorman would have been better served to just say, the translators chose to use the familiar form of their day.
    7. He really shot himself in the foot over 1 John 5:7-8 and Revelation 16:5. He admitted that it doesn’t appear in the Greek, but still maintains that it belongs. In essence, he is saying then that while it doesn’t appear in the text at all, it belongs – which is a giant variant.
    8. At 1:06:50, Moorman descends to ad hominem arguments and tries to make James White be some kind of floating believer with no standard. He erroneously views the KJV as the standard. Shouldn’t the Greek/Hebrew originals be the standard? He keeps calling the KJV a “four hundred year standard” but in reality, it took nearly 100 years to become “the standard” and that was only in the Anglican church, and then it stopped being “the standard” in the late 19th century, me thinks. That’s more of a “one hundred year standard”.
    9. Moorman makes a solid point and returns to it time and again that the KJV was never current English, and that is a valid point. It was written in a unique style that was never spoken, and was done so on purpose. White drops the ball on his approach to the question because this was not a theological language. It was a liturgical style.
    10. I have a hard time with his argument that the Vulgate was “locked away and never used by God’s people”. There are 10,000 Vulgate manuscripts. It was far more widespread in Europe than any Greek text was.

    James White
    Right off the bat, White wants to establish that he is not opposed to inerrancy, which is a good move since that is what he is often accused of.

    1. James White reports some erroneous history [27:45]. Latin had long been the language of Western Roman Empire. By the time of the Muslim conquest, the West had been ‘barbarian’ for nearly two centuries, with only a brief interlude when Justinian managed to recapture Italy. The West always spoke Latin and most would not have spoken Greek – ever.
    2. White’s reasoning on 1 Timothy 3:16 is weak. The correction of Sinaiticus might have come later, but that doesn’t make it wrong. The Sinaiticus scribe could have gotten it wrong. He didn’t provide any support – too myopic.
    3. At 1 hour, White opens a door for Moorman by saying that if you apply the same hermeneutic and translation philosophy to both the TR and the NA, you would get the same doctrine and the same faith. Moorman comes from a proof-texting background, so he wants a volume of proof. The more proof, the better the proof must be. This is an Enlightenment stance.
    4. White makes an erroneous statement [1:04:03] about the Qumran documents and LXX. LXX was not found at Qumran. What was found were Hebrew texts which were “proto-LXX” – in other words, they were Hebrew manuscripts that varied from the Masoretic text where LXX varies.

    My Thoughts
    I know I pointed out a lot more problems with Moorman’s arguments than White’s. To be frank, Moorman did not meet White as an equal. At several places, he descended to ad hominem and logically weak arguments while demanding that James White meet his criteria. He lost the debate on rhetorical grounds and kept arguing past James White. His argument was a one-trick pony.

    • Erik DiVietro February 10, 2011 / 10:06 pm

      I want to add a comment that I thought I put in here. Both sides – James White included, despite his attempts to appear otherwise – paint history with too broad a brush for me. I know they were working with limited time, but all the more reason to be accurate. Whether it is Moorman’s assertion that the translating committee was somehow spiritually superior because they were pre-Enlightenment (my first question would have been, “How many of their works beside the KJV have you read, exactly?”) or it is White’s baffling oversimplification of the Muslim interaction with Constantinople (again, my question would be, “I’m sure the Crusaders didn’t have anything to do with the destruction of Greek manuscripts, would they have?”), they both historically broad statements and then build arguments on them. We don’t like this when PBS or Al Gore do it, and we shouldn’t like it when debaters do it either.

    • Bob Hayton February 10, 2011 / 10:34 pm

      True, but many of us don’t mind when Limbaugh and Beck do it. You have good cautions Erik. Thanks. The perspective of the listener will color their tolerance for broadbrush statements, I’m sure. Still I think the points raised by White, many of them were valid.

    • Erik DiVietro February 10, 2011 / 10:52 pm

      My attempt at being relevant to what I assumed to be a politically/socially conservative crowd.

      (Personally, it drives me batty from all camps)

  6. James Snapp, Jr. February 9, 2011 / 11:02 pm

    Eric,

    I wouldn’t say that Moorman is a terrible speaker; his opening statement was at least adequate. He’s not an aggressive debater, though. I generally concur with your observations and just want to briefly revisit a couple of things that White said:

    Regarding I Tim 3:16, one must see what White was trying to do: he was attempting to exonerate the creation of hOS by explaining that it was an innocent, rather than deliberate, deviation from QS. (In The King James Only Controversy, p. 207, White refers to “theos” — the KJV’s base-text there — and states, “In fact, I prefer this reading and feel that it has more than sufficient support from the Greek manuscripts.”) White was in a difficult situation, since he was debating in favor of using modern versions which he thinks have the incorrect reading in I Tim. 3:16.

    Regarding White’s attempt to correct the idea that Tischendorf found Siniaticus in or near a wastebasket: I think I’ve perceived the problem. In The King James Only Controversy, White summarizes (on pages 32-33) the story of how Tischendorf visited St. Catherine’s monastery, and found “some scraps of parchment in a basket that was due to be used to stoke the fires in the oven of the monastery.” The thing is, White apparently read Tischendorf’s account in a cursory manner, or recollected it imperfectly, or both, and has never realized that those “scraps of parchment” were pages from Codex Sinaiticus. In an online article from March 15, 2006, James White, referring to the story of how Tischendorf discovered Sinaiticus, wrote, “Any “scholar” who can’t even get this story straight is not really worth reading, to be honest.” Well, if he says so.

    (Also, you may want to double-check the DJD volumes regarding the LXX texts found at Qumran, esp. the one (ones?) about Greek texts from Cave 4.)

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Erik DiVietro February 10, 2011 / 8:56 am

      My assessment of Moorman as a ‘terrible speaker’ was rather off the cuff, so it might have been a bit harsh. I would say he is a poor debater. It is very obvious that he is used to stating his position and everyone simply agreeing with him (which is what happens at Dean Burgon Society meeting I’ve attended, so I’m not terribly surprised). Having endured this kind of authoritarian lecture style so often in my life, I find it very off-putting. So, ‘terrible speaker’ was more a personal reaction. I can live with ‘not an aggressive debater’.

      I stand by my statement that they did not ‘find’ LXX at Qumran. What they found were pieces of Greek manuscripts. Just because it was Greek and pre-dated Christianity doesn’t make it LXX. As I understand the Dead Sea Scrolls – and my knowledge is limited to some basic reading and a series of lectures from Lawrence Schiffmann – there are a few fragments Leviticus (4Q119, 4Q120), a piece of Numbers (4Q121) and a bit of Deuteronomy (4Q122) from Cave 4. There’s also a bit of Exodus from Cave 7 (7Q1) and a verse or two of Jeremiah in the same (7Q2). There are some other Greek fragments scattered about as well, but they’re all indecipherable. So it is true that there were pieces of Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures found at Qumran, but were they really LXX? Sure they’re ascribed an LXX identifier but to say that they found LXX at Qumran would be misleading. White overstated his case, in my opinion. The discovery of these fragments at Qumran did not change the scholarship toward the use of LXX in any way. I think (and it’s entirely my opinion), that White was just playing a game of one-upmanship to show that he was more aware of DSS scholarship than Moorman was.

    • Bob Hayton February 10, 2011 / 12:26 pm

      Re: LXX. I think in the world of KJV Onlyists who deny it is pre-Origen, the presence of Greek OT manuscripts in the Qumran caves is significant. But I do agree small fragments are not enough to prove the validity of the LXX as a whole. Still the Hebrew findings which support readings that were previously considered unique to the LXX as we know it, again are significant and probably more significant when it comes to this claim, as it shows that Origen and others of his day aren’t the source of those readings.

      Great summary of the debate, Erik. I do think at times White is using his flair and experience as a debater to score points. And other times Moorman missed opportunities White gave him. But as far as defending a KJV Only position, Moorman didn’t do the best job.

  7. Bob Hayton February 10, 2011 / 8:24 pm

    UPDATE: A better quality video surfaced on YouTube here.

  8. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 3:35 am

    Bob,

    I’ll try to address most of the concerns raised by you, Erik, and RedGreen, although in the interest of brevity I will focus on just the ones in which the essence of my claims appear to have been challenged instead of clarified.

    It’s not nit-picky to correct the depiction of Erasmus working with only about half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts, because that description does not do justice to the resources that Erasmus had which did not take the form of Greek manuscripts. How many books do you have when you have a copy of NA27? It’s one single book. But its apparatus represents the contents of many more manuscripts, right? How misleading would it be if I were to say that a person who uses NA27 is depending on one single text! But when a person says that Erasmus worked with just six Greek manuscripts, and forgets the patristic writings he used, and his earlier studies, and Valla’s notes, such a person is misleading his readers in the same way, by making it look as if Erasmus’ resources were substantially less than they actually were.

    Regarding the text of Revelation, you asked, “Are you prepared to say the TR is not poorer for Erasmus’ not having access to an actual Greek text of Revelation instead of one that was set within a commentary, was hard to read, and was missing a leaf or two at the end of the book?” It might seem like the answer to that would be an obvious “Yes,” but it would really depend on the quality of the text in whatever copy Erasmus would use in the hypothetical scenario. There were worse copies of Rev than the one Erasmus used. Obviously it would have been better to have a better copy, and worse to have a worse one.

    Regarding the Pilgrims and the KJV, have you seen any historical support for the claim that the Pilgrims detested the KJV? Inasmuch as the Pilgrims were mainly in Leiden when the KJV was finished, it would be a sign of non-acquaintance, rather than hatred, if not a single Pilgrim had a copy, so to find that a copy was used by John Alden is rather positive evidence that they did not detest it. Again: instead of proposed reasons why Pilgrims shouldn’t have liked the KJV, is there any historical evidence that they detested the KJV?

    Regarding the inconsistency between White’s statement that there is a problem with the drive to have a single religious text, and his statement that he only wants what the apostles wrote (i.e., a single text), you said what White seems to be getting at is that God chose not to directly intervene in the copying process. But my point was elsewhere: it was that White affirms that he wants only the inspired text to be considered authoritative, while he advocates for the use of various Bible versions which disagree among themselves textually (i.e., they have different base-texts) and translationally (i.e., they translate things differently, sometimes substantially altering the nuance and meaning of sentences). How can a person who wants only one text to be treated as if it authoritative endorse the use of several texts, or, rather, translations of several texts?

    Regarding what White said about the discovery of Sinaiticus: stay tuned and I try to sort this all out in my comment to Erik. For now, I will just say that the individual responsible for what you described as “the standard myth” that Tischendorf rescued the codex from the trashcan and from the flames is Constantine von Tischendorf himself.

    You wrote, “I don’t share your stress on limiting the evidence found in Egypt to being evidence that only teaches us about the state of the text in Egypt. I think it has wider application.” Why? Besides the Sahidic version (in Egypt), what other versional evidence is there, or what non-Egyptian patristic evidence is there, for the Alexandrian text, that would lead you to believe that it was used outside Egypt and Caesarea?

    You asked, “To flip the coin, though, isn’t it more by default that the Byzantine text is so homogenous? It is from one main region, in the one area in the world that continued to speak and read Greek.” I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Are you saying that given the disruption of other major MS-production centers, it was inevitable that the Byzantine Text would dominate? Even if that were granted, it would still not account for the large stratum of Byzantine readings shared by witnesses such as A and Pesh.

    You asked, “Can you point to specific textual variants and prove that a heretic is behind it?” One can never persuade the unpersuadable, but yes; there are a few variants that seem to clearly have heretical origins, and a couple of individuals known to have had questionable theology can be placed close to where some important manuscripts were made. That might be a good topic to consider separately. As for the “Alexandrian cult” stuff, yes; I’ve heard that KJV-Onlyist propaganda. But such distortions do not make certain heretical readings disappear. White’s challenge was answerable, although answering it would have distracted from the main subject.

    Regarding the doctrinal cafeteria: Yes; it *is* a doctrinal cafeteria. If you use the NRSV, the NASU, and the TNIV (popular modern translations), equally, you will not have the same message at Titus 2;13, II Pet. 1:1, Romans 9:5, and I Tim. 3:16. You’ll have a cafeteria, in which readers are left to decide which variant, or which alternate rendering, they will embrace as the Word of God. And even if a reader decides to embrace the translation or variant which more strongly conveys the deity of Christ, his embrace will remain loose due to his memory of the variant-reading, or the alternate rendering.

    You mentioned something about Jude v. 4. Would you mind mentioning the modern translations that apply “a term which is always understood as Divine” to Jesus?

    Regarding the points about the nomina sacra: before pursuing this, can you cite any scholarly researcher, anywhere, from any time-period, who has said that the nomina sacra were created to conserve writing-material? I do not think you can. Because everyone who has looked into the subject (everyone not named James White, at least) can see that the nomina sacra do not really conserve an appreciable amount of space. Now, as you said, “The fact that some rich manuscript centers in the late 3rd century and later existed doesn’t disprove the general thrust of White’s statement,” but at least it is a historical fact, instead of a completely unsupported, ahistorical assertion, which is all that White’s statement is. The nomina sacra did not originate to conserve writing-material.

    You asked, “Is there another reason other than keeping cost down that you can think of for writing all capital letters with no spaces?” Yes; scriptio continuum was simply the normal way Greek was written at the time. The early MSS don’t have much punctuation; perhaps White thinks that the copyists were trying to conserve ink. As I mentioned already, look at the size of the margins of MSS and you will see that the copyists left a lot of space unused; they were not overly concerned with conserving writing-material. As for palimpsest-creation, we’re way beyond the origination-point of nomina sacra by the time we get to the earliest Christian palimpsest.

    You asked, “If you disprove White on the rationale for the nomina sacra, are you really overturning his whole central thesis in the debate?” Of course not, but but falsehoods are like vipers; we should not wait until they have their fangs in someone’s arm before dealing with them.

    On point 17, I’m not sure that you see my point, which is simply that it was inconsistent of White to act as if inconsistent translation is a bad thing, while endorsing translations which translate the same terms differently (i.e., inconsistently). The same kind of alleged flaw in the KJV, between renderings in different books of the NT, appears in modern translations, between the different translations.

    On point 19, there’s no reality-twisting going on. White’s objection to Rev. 16:5 made his own position vulnerable, because the modern translations that he advocates are based on conjectural emendations in some passages. Now, far be it from me to try to defend the KJV’s rendering of Rev. 16:5! But it was inconsistent of White to throw an objection-stone at the KJV from within his own glass house. As a debating-tactic, it worked; Moorman was distracted from the points of his opening statement. But a more aggressive debater could have gotten at least a single off that pitch.

    On point 20, rather than take the time to systematically refute White’s claim that the Byzantine Text was the minority text until A.D. 1000, I invite you to just consider where the minuscules (not “miniscules”) came from. Only a small percentage of them share a verifiable mother-daughter sort of relationship. As Lake said, the minuscules are mostly orphans. Which implies ancestors — Byzantine ancestors. Also consider what kind of text was used by patristic writers. Hort, in his Introduction, does not disguise the facts but openly affirms that the Byzantine Text (what he calls “Syrian”) was dominant in the 400’s and 500’s. (If you want more details about this, see Maurice Robinson’s “The Case for Byzantine Priority,” which is online somewhere, besides being the Appendix of RP-2005.)

    You wrote, “I don’t think the Byzantine text is attested in more locales and more time periods than a text similar to today’s Critical Text was.” If you proceed variant-by-variant, I think it will rapidly become impossible to maintain that the Byzantine Text is attested in fewer locales, and fewer time-periods, that the rival Alexandrian reading. That would still not mean that the Byzantine readings are original, though, just because they are more widespread and long-lived.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Erik DiVietro February 11, 2011 / 9:30 am

      James White does misrepresent the use of the nomina sacra as a way of saving paper or effort. Abbreviating divine names and not making other radical abbreviations would indicate that the scribes who did it (and not all did) were doing it more out of a votive act, as James points out; but there really is no way to know for sure. One thing we do know for sure is that it wasn’t to save paper.

      Also, as to writing without spaces and punctuation. You only have to listen to the way Greek is spoken (not Erasmian scholarly Greek, actual Greek) and realize that word divisions are not natural in their language. They don’t need them. I know that makes no sense to us, but that’s the way it is. Even today, Greek remains a highly oral language – unlike English which is print-primary because of the influence of medieval Latin.

      (I can’t imagine what there is to comment on my posting von Tischendorf’s own words as a resource. I await your comment.)

  9. Philip D February 11, 2011 / 9:24 am

    Here is where Tischendorf himself describes his discovery of Sinaiticus.

    Google Books

    I think he is pretty clear that he thought that Sinaiticus was on its way to the flames.

    “What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments, or about forty-five sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire.

    “… he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete,”

    In other words, the pages that he had originally “rescued” from the waste basket were from the OT of Sinaiticus, so this at least was bound to be fuel for the fire, and then more of the OT, the NT, and some other miscellaneous stuff was brought to him later. Was the NT part of what was in the basket? Probably.

    • Erik DiVietro February 11, 2011 / 9:41 am

      You know, I’m not sure I trust von Tischendorf as much as everyone seems to. Like I said elsewhere, the English translation of his account is just a bit too Indiana Jones for me.

      I’ve read through the whole encounter with Sinaiticus (which is a single witness by the way, with no external confirmation and which the monks of the monastery still say is false) and I think it leaves a lot unsaid.

      He claims that when the librarian saw how excited von Tischendorf was about the manuscripts, he scooped them off and only let him have a third of them.

      Why only the OT pages in the pile? Why not the rest of the codex?

      Maybe the binding broke and it fell apart. Maybe the librarian had a bad day and put them in the wrong stack. Maybe some novice was helping him and did it. Why do we assume that because the stack was for burning that the librarian was burning Sinaiticus on purpose?

      Why when von Tischendorf returns years later is it with the steward of the convent and not in the monastery? Why did von Tischendorf, who spent years trying to get access again, only spend a ‘few days’ at the monastery on his 3rd trip and was already planning to have ‘my Bedouin’ (I love European arrogance) take him back to Cairo?

      Why for that matter does the prior grant von Tischendorf leave to take the codex seemingly without a fight if he went through all the trouble of hiding it in the first place?

      I just have too many questions about his story, and I just don’t trust 19th century European scholars enough to go on his single account that reads like a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel.

      I know; I know. You can’t question everything, but certainly we should be willing to question something with so little external support.

  10. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 9:31 am

    Erik,

    By all means, yes; Tischendorf’s words should be consulted, which is why I provided the link to Tischendorf’s account. As you can see in the portion you cited, Tishendorf reported that in May 1844, he found in “a large and wide basket,” “a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek,” and, as you said, he says that he was allowed to keep a third of these parchments, “about 43 sheets.”

    Further along in his account, Tischendorf affirms that he deposited “the Sinaitic fragments,” that is, those 43 sheets, at Lepizig, and called it Codex Frederico-Augustanus, thus naming it after Frederick II, king of Saxony.

    Now consult White’s King James Only Controversy book and read his version of events on page 32: instead of saying that Tischendorf found over 100 pages of the Septuagint, including 45 which he was allowed to keep, White says that Tischendorf found “some scraps of parchment” in a basket, etc.

    White simply has failed to realize that the 43 sheets from St. Catherine’s Monastery that Tischendorf obtained in May 1844 (43 sheets, which White calls “a few scraps of parchment!”), and which later were called Codex Frederico-Augustanus, are pages from Codex Sinaiticus. That is why he can say that it is a myth that Codex Sinaiticus was found in a waste-basket while simultaneously telling readers that for proof that it’s a myth, they should read Tischendorf’s own account — where Tischendorf says that he found the pages of Codex Frederico-Augustanus (which = pages from Codex Sinaiticus) in a waste-basket, about to be burned.

    At http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/name.aspx you can read a summary that briefly explains why part of Codex Sinaiticus was previously known as Codex Frederico-Augustanus. And at
    http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/history.aspx there is a history of Codex Sinaiticus and its component-parts, without Tischendorf’s fanciful story about a wastebasket. And I already mentioned J. Rendel Harris’ earlier protest against the unlikeliness of Tischendorf’s version of events. It should be clear from all this if someone were to tell James White that those “scraps of parchment” that he says Tischendorf found in 1844 were in fact 43 pages from Codex Sinaiticus, he would be surprised.

    Now, granted, none of this can settle the issue about whether the exclusive use of the KJV is a better option than the use of a lot of modern translations. But it is worth mentioning, not only to sort out White’s mistake (which should be done, especially since his statement that Tischendorf found “some scraps of parchment” has probably spread it far and wide), but to test the impression that White’s presentation gave about advocates of the KJV, as if they had invented a “myth” about Codex Sinaiticus. The myth-perpetrator in this case is really Tischendorf; the KJV-Onlyists have repeated what Tischendorf claimed, and understood the implications of Tischendorf’s claim better than White does.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Erik DiVietro February 11, 2011 / 9:48 am

      I’ve read von Tischendorf’s whole account and I don’t buy what he’s selling. (See above) And I agree with you that White is at the very least obfuscating the facts with a bit of hand waving.

      He plays too casual with historical evidence for my taste, but then again all of us from time to time repeat what he have been taught on what we consider a ‘closed case’.

  11. redgreen5 February 11, 2011 / 12:04 pm

    James Snapp, Jr.

    It’s not nit-picky to correct the depiction of Erasmus working with only about half a dozen to a dozen manuscripts, because that description does not do justice to the resources that Erasmus had which did not take the form of Greek manuscripts.

    But if these resources did not take the form of manuscripts, then why should they be counted as manuscripts?

    The same thing could be said of W&H and their work; it’s commonly said – and is correct – that they worked from two manuscripts. Of course they also had access to all the types of additional resources that you mention. Should we then say that W&H worked from more than two manuscripts? Or should we be more accurate and say that W&H worked from two manuscripts, but had the additional benefit of commentaries, patristic writings, etc.?

    This seems to be a pretty simple issue. For both Erasmus and W&H, here were two kinds of resources: (1) actual Greek manuscripts and (2) everything else.

    How many books do you have when you have a copy of NA27? It’s one single book. But its apparatus represents the contents of many more manuscripts, right? How misleading would it be if I were to say that a person who uses NA27 is depending on one single text!

    Totally different case; NA27 is a full composite manuscript that represents a collation and selection process of multiple mss standing behind it.

    But when a person says that Erasmus worked with just six Greek manuscripts, and forgets the patristic writings he used, and his earlier studies, and Valla’s notes, such a person is misleading his readers in the same way, by making it look as if Erasmus’ resources were substantially less than they actually were.

    Again: I think White (and everyone else) would fully stipulate to having more than just mss. to work with as additional resources. But trying to artificially boost the manuscript count by pointing to commentaries, patristic writings, etc. seems to be special pleading.

    On point 17, I’m not sure that you see my point, which is simply that it was inconsistent of White to act as if inconsistent translation is a bad thing, while endorsing translations which translate the same terms differently (i.e., inconsistently). The same kind of alleged flaw in the KJV, between renderings in different books of the NT, appears in modern translations, between the different translations.

    Since you took the time to call out White on this particular issue (“kill” vs. “murder”) and then followed up by mentioning verses where you thought this was an inconsistency in modern versions, I assumed that you had specific issues with those verses. When I found no such issues of inconsistency, I was naturally confused.

    Inconsistent translation *is* a bad thing. What needs to be teased out is whether the example at hand truly is inconsistency, or was there a bonified grammatical, contextual, semantic reason for choosing a different English word in the particular instance? And that holds true for the KJV, the NASB, or any other version. But the KJV practice – variation for the mere sake of expansive use of English vocabulary – seems pretty clearly to open the door to a lot of inconsistencies and *invite* such problems, simply by its nature.

    Responding with “Yeah, but the modern versions do it too!” seems like mere handwaving. Without specific instances to discuss, there’s no way to respond to such a general comment. I’ve found inconsistencies in my favorite version (NKJV); I don’t like them, but I will acknowledge that they exist. Lastly, I think that referring to this as an “alleged” flaw in the KJV, as you do, is unproductive. Are you really trying to claim that there are no inconsistencies in the English translations in the KJV? There are numerous lists that can be produced to demonstrate it.

    Now, far be it from me to try to defend the KJV’s rendering of Rev. 16:5! But it was inconsistent of White to throw an objection-stone at the KJV from within his own glass house.

    No, not really. The issue here is whether or not – when given proof of such a conjectural emendation in a modern version – whether or not White would have admitted any such emendation and confessed the need to make a change. I suspect that he would have easily admitted it, since White doesn’t seem to be emotionally vested in any particular version, modern or otherwise. Now contrast with Moorman, who was point-blank presented with fairly conclusive evidence that the verse doesn’t appear in the Greek, and yet insisted that it should still be in the Bible. Until you get White to make such a leap of unwarranted faith, you haven’t demonstrated inconsistency on White’s part.

  12. Bob Hayton February 11, 2011 / 12:11 pm

    James you bring up some good points on the not-so-widespread nature of the Alexandrian text and the potential more wide attestation of the Byzantine text. I remain interested in this and plan to study it out further. I think White is saying not so much the Alexandrian text is widespread but the Critical Text takes the widespread evidence into consideration, whereas the TR doesn’t.

  13. Tammy February 11, 2011 / 12:22 pm

    I haven’t seen very many debates with James White and some other person who is for KJVO. The ones I have seen the KJVO supporter comes across as not a very good debater. I like the KJV. I think it’s the best translation out there.

  14. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 12:23 pm

    RedGreen:

    You asked how the statement about the full range of Erasmus’ resources would refute the statement that Erasmus had only a half-dozen to a dozen MSS to work with. It does not refute it; that statement is technically true. But it supplements it in a significant way, showing that Erasmus had access to a broad range of patristic materials and other resources (such as Lorenzo Valla’s notes, and the commentary of Theophylact) that included information about other MSS, as well as including considerable excerpts from ancient Bibles, embedded in patristic compositions. Continuous-script manuscripts are not the only valuable resources a person can have. Regarding the idea that White “would have stipulated Erasmus’ access to notes, patristic writings, etc.,” it is easy to propose such a thing, but what White actually did was to give a false impression to his listeners about the extent of the resources which were used to establish the text of Erasmus’ Greek NT, and, indirectly, the text of the KJV. One could just as easily mention all the editions made before the KJV was made, and the textual apparatus in Stephanus’ work, and the detailed analyses of Beza, and Erasmus’ use of additional MSS in later editions of his GNT. But White did not do that, and that tends to mislead his listeners.

    Regarding the accuracy of White’s claim that the Pilgrims detested the KJV, and the observation that John Alden had a KJV, and the observation that the Pilgrims were mainly in Holland when the KJV was released, you wrote, “Yes compared, but a single exception does not prove a general rule.” What rule? So far, White’s assertion has no support. I do not consider something a rule just because James White asserts it. You don’t either, do you. The Pilgrims’ customary use of the Geneva Bible is not justification for the idea that they ever detested the KJV. One can *imagine* reasons why a Pilgrim might be averse to the KJV, but do you have any *historical evidence* that they actually detested it? You asked, “Why do you consider it a stretch to say that the Pilgrims hated the KJV?” Because of the lack of historical support that the Pilgrims hated the KJV, of course. The Pilgrims’ natural preference for the Geneva Bible does not imply that the Pilgrims hated the KJV.

    Regarding what White said about the nomina sacra, this is simple: he was making stuff up. There is no evidence that the NS were made as a means of conserving writing-material, and there’s plenty of evidence that that was not the reason why they were made. If you really want to try to defend White’s proposal, please tell me that you’ve read what Hurtado has written on the subject first. If you want to plunge right into a defense of White’s theory, though, start by explaining why these copyists who were supposed to be conserving writing-material did not use the kai-compendium every time “kai” appears in the text. The real situation is not like the analogy you offered; the situation is that White has made a false hypothesis about the origin of the nomina sacra. The nomina sacra developed (and were subsequently expanded) out of a sense of reverence, not for economic reasons. There is, again, no rule here, just White’s groundless assertion.

    Regarding John 1:18, I see what you’re saying! If MONOGENES THEOS is original then we should not reject it no matter how it is misinterpreted and abused. We agree there. The sub-point that MONOGENES THEOS may lend itself to heretical interpretations (in ancient times and in the present day) is secondary, and would take some time to explain fully. My main point, with which I think you agree, is simply that a base-text does not become better by being more capable of showing the deity of Christ; it becomes better by conforming more exactly to the contents of the autographs. The idea that the legitimacy of a variant should be gauged by its doctrinal utility is as invalid when White is using it as it is when it is used by KJV-Onlyists. Right?

    Regarding the point about different translations of the same words in different parts of the NT, when I pointed out that it seems inconsistent to regard uniform translation of the same terms in different passages as an improvement, while endorsing different versions which render the same passage differently, you pointed out that none of the major modern versions render this passage — specifically, Mt. 5:21, Mt. 19:18, and Romans 13:9 — differently. Granted, but oodles of other passages are rendered differently in the modern translations; that’s one thing that makes the different translations different from one another. The KJV’s rendering of OU PHONEUSEIS varies not just from Matthew to Romans, but from one place in Matthew to a different place in Matthew. White’s appeal to “smooth that out” would drastically affect the renderings in the modern translations where the same words are rendered differently (and often justly so, due to contextual differences and other factors), so it is inconsistent of him to treat that as if it is some sort of weakness.

    You said, “Hmm. I’m not sure why you pointed out that White “seems content to use a variety of translations.”” I say that he seems content to use a variety of translations because he was defending the use of a variety of translations in the debate. About which I have, I believe, spent more words than that debate is worth.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  15. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 3:17 pm

    RedGreen,

    Looks like there’s a bit more to address. I’ll try to be brief.

    Erasmus’ additional resources should not be mentioned as MSS; they should be mentioned as what they were, though.

    It is not correct to say that W&H “worked from two manuscripts.” Their resources were vast, as the citations in /Notes on Select Readings/ and the discussions in their Introduction prove. We certainly should say that W&H utilized a wide variety of MSS, patristic writings, and other resources. They almost always adopted the Alexandrian reading (calling it “Neutral”), but that was not because of a lack of resources; it was the result of their model of the text’s history. Similarly it would be incorrect to say that the Robinson-Pierpont text was made using only Byzantine MSS, even though it is altogether Byzantine. The compilers were aware of alternatives and of MSS in which they were found.

    You said, “NA27 is a full composite manuscript that represents a collation and selection process of multiple mss standing behind it.” Yes, like Stephanus’ best editions, equipped with an apparatus that listed readings in MSS that included Codex Bezae and Codex Claromontanus. And like the Complutensian Polyglot.

    You wrote, “I think White (and everyone else) would fully stipulate to having more than just mss. to work with as additional resources.” Great, but it seems like we have to settle, again and again, for “would,” instead of “do,” when the resources available to Erasmus, and to the translators of the KJV, are described by advocates of modern translations.

    Regarding the matter about “kill” versus “murder,” I described that as an alleged flaw rather than an actual one because each rendering has valid grounds, and not because I harbor any notion that there are no inconsistencies in the KJV. I would argue, rather, that absolute consistency is not good; a translation that renders the same word the same way, regardless of context and other considerations, is overly consistent to the point of being rigid. This has been affirmed by translators of the modern translations such as the NIV, and the KJV’s preface affirms the same thing. A person who advocates a version that renders the same word sometimes as “flesh” and sometimes as “sinful nature” is on tenuous ground when he raises an objection against the KJV’s rendering of the same word as “kill” and “murder.” . . . (Btw, it’s “bona fide,” not “bonified.”)

    Regarding White’s use of Rev. 16:5 to build a case that translations other that the KJV should be used, it seems to me that White was giving listeners the impression that the KJV’s rendering there is inferior because it has no manuscript support. The thing is, there are readings in some of the modern translations that also have no manuscript support. There’s no way to know if White would have acknowledged this or not, since Moorman did not point that out. But there are only two possibilities: either White knows about conjectural emendations in the base-texts of modern translations, or else he doesn’t know. Either way, a simple list of those conjectural emendations would reveal an inconsistency in his approach by showing that the modern versions he endorses have the same trait to which he was objecting.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  16. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    Erik,

    I just want to make sure you understand the deal about Tischendorf’s story: he claimed to have obtained 43 pages from Codex Sinaiticus (these 43 pages = “Codex Frederico-Augustanus”) out of a waste-basket — 43 pages which, according to him, otherwise would have been burned by the monks. He also claimed that when he returned to the monastery, he was presented with Codex Sinaiticus, including some of the pages that he had seen (but not obtained) in the basket. This would imply, if Tischendorf’s report was correct, that the monks, between Tischendorf’s visits, had decided not to burn the basket’s contents, and instead rebound them to the rest of Codex Sinaiticus (more specifically, to the larger part that they still possessed). But it could also imply that the monks were going to repair the codex anyway, and were in the process of doing so when Tischendorf encountered the unbound pages in the basket. How Tischendorf could misunderstand what was going on is something of a mystery, though. Maybe he misunderstood something (if, instead of saying that MSS were being burned, someone told him that MSS were being repaired), or maybe he made up that part of the story.

    J. Rendel Harris protested that Tischendorf had seen a basket, but not a waste-basket, and that the idea that the monks were burning parchment manuscripts is an utter myth. In 1975, at the monastery, a genizah was discovered, which implies that the monk’s usual way of retiring damaged MSS (before the genizah-room was sealed off, at least) had not been by burning them, but by depositing them in the genizah-room. This further erodes Tischendorf’s credibility.

    As for White, on this particular point, it’s not that he’s obfuscating the facts; it’s that he does not know the facts; clearly when he wrote The King James Only Controversy, and when he debated Moorman, White did not realize that the 43 pages that Tischendorf found in the basket (43 pages that White described as “some scraps of parchment”) were pages of Codex Sinaiticus.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Erik DiVietro February 11, 2011 / 5:39 pm

      I think that’s what I was saying, isn’t it? I’m not trying to be difficult, but I think you’re talking past me on this. I’m not defending von Tischendorf in any way. I think he got the entire situation wrong.

  17. Nazaroo February 11, 2011 / 4:33 pm

    James said: “It is not correct to say that W&H “worked from two manuscripts.” Their resources were vast, as the citations in /Notes on Select Readings/ and the discussions in their Introduction prove.”

    This does not tell the whole story…

    In fact, it is apparent that Tregelles had either loaned or given his collected notes to Hort, saving him many man-hours of labour. Tregelles himself was too old to carry out his own planned NT with apparatus. Such a large part of Hort’s Notes on Selected Readings seem to be simply cobbled together notes actually written by Tregelles, and the time-factors appearing also to corroborate this very plausible scenario, that the balanced is heavily tipped in favor of some extensive plagarism.

    This is probably justice in some sense, given that Tregelles himself plagarized his partner in crime, Samuel Davidson, and the two were quite a pair of devils when re-writing Horne’s Manual when he was too sick to supervise or protest.

    peace
    Nazaroo

  18. James Snapp, Jr. February 11, 2011 / 10:09 pm

    Erik,

    It looked like you were saying half a dozen questions, so I was trying to make sure everything was sorted out, as it should be when what I’ve written, and the materials at the links I provided, is taken into consideration — emphasizing that if one believes Tischendorf’s account (the account which White recommended to his listeners), then one will believe that Tischendorf did find part of Codex Sinaiticus in a wastebasket — unless, like James White, one does not realize that the 43 pages that Tischendorf said he took from the wastebasket = Codex Frederico-Augustanus = pages of Codex Sinaiticus.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

    • Erik DiVietro February 12, 2011 / 6:36 am

      They were rhetorical questions, James. I probably should have made that more clear. They are flaws in von Tischendorf’s story that lead me to distrust it.

    • Michael June 4, 2011 / 10:28 pm

      Rev 16:5 is all James White has. Even if we grant that the new version peddlers proved ONE ERROR in the WHOLE King James Bible and the TR, that would not vindicate their Alexandrain forgeries or the Satanic effect these new perversions have had on England and America, nor would it exonerate the new versions from all the doctrinal corruptions, deletions and watered down renderings in them. the King James position and text still stands, rev 16:5 or not. The gnat-straining Pharisee that is James White wants to import a TRUCKLOAD OF ERRORS AND PERVERSIONS simply because the 1611 might have one mistake??? Yes that is what this Satanically inspired man and all those who lie like he does want. They serve the Devil, who is the father of lies

    • Erik DiVietro June 4, 2011 / 10:49 pm

      Consider this a warning. We do not tolerate rhetoric like this. Accusations that someone has a “satanic” nature are not tolerated here.

  19. Michael June 5, 2011 / 4:12 pm

    What I mean is that if Peter could be under the influence of the Devil that the Lord rebuked him and said “get thee behind me satan”, and if Christ said “Have I not chosen you 12 yet one of you is a devil”–it is clear that any Christian can be under the influence of demon power. The fact that James White, knowing what he knows, can tell the lies that he does, spin history like he does, play deceitful debate games that are not rooted in honesty or truth, but the desire to win, deceptively I might add, and that he KNOWS he is doing it—what can be said of such a man??? Destroying faith in God’s Word, exalting Alexandrian forgeries to replace it, deliberatey twisting facts of history and the manuscripts, wanting to appear scholarly and smart==what is such a man? To say that he is under the influence of the Devil, saved or not, to say that the Devil is using him whether he knows it or not are understatements. In the Bible, these kinds of scenarios are painted in black and White for us. The Devil, through subility, cast doubt on God’s Word, and further, he comes to STEAL THE WORD as soon as it is sown. He is a lying thief. Modern Textual Critics are exactly that, I don’t care what their profession is, how others of their ilk claim they are “godly Biblicists”, etc. They are DECEIVERS of the most destructive sort, of which destruction we see all around us in our nation. When we were a nation of ONE BIBLE, we went from ONE REVIVAL TO ANOTHER and had high moral standards and Biblical literacy across the nation. Now look at us!

    • Erik DiVietro June 5, 2011 / 7:27 pm

      Michael, let me be more plain. We do not permit this type of rhetoric on this site. You are free to say whatever you want on sites which permit it, but we do not permit this type of accusation here. This is not the platform for it.

      Let me emphasize it again. If you continue to ignore our simple instruction, your comments will not be posted here. Do you understand?

    • Bob Hayton June 5, 2011 / 10:28 pm

      Michael,

      Not everyone here agrees with you. Regardless of that, have some respect. This is a place for safe debate of the issues. The matter is up for debate.

      Your tone is not charitable, not kind, and quite dismissive. This is against our comment policy. Hit “The Rules of the Debate” tab at the very top of the site for our detailed rules.

      You have been warned.

      Bob Hayton
      Site Publisher and Moderator.

  20. Michael June 6, 2011 / 1:32 pm

    Your rules are your rules, and that is fine. I spoke like a Christian, with facts, based on what Christ and others said and did when dealing with deceivers. I am especially surprised at you Erik. You should know better. The King James Bible, in its language and tone condemn men like James White and their tactics exactly the way I have. Now if you wish to state that your rules do not allow posters to speak Biblically, if you wish to state that your rules are “nicer” than what we find in the Bible, then state it plainly. I find your and Bob’s objections to be unBiblical and foolish. I will leave you with a quote from the a preacher of a bygone era–Burgon’s era:

    To employ soft words and honeyed phrases in discussing questions of everlasting importance; to deal with errors that strike at the foundations of all human hope as if they were harmless and venial mistakes; to bless where God disapproves, and to make apologies where He calls us to stand up like men and assert, though it may be the aptest method of securing popular applause in a sophistical age, is cruelty to man and treachery to Heaven. Those who on such subjects attach more importance to the rules of courtesy than they do to the measures of truth do not defend the citadel, but betray it into the hands of its enemies. Love for Christ, and for the souls for whom He died, will be the exact measure of our zeal in exposing the dangers by which men’s souls are ensnared” (quoted in a sermon by George Sayles Bishop, author of The Doctrines of Grace and Kindred Themes, 1910).

    AMEN! God needs MEN.

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