"All agree that one cannot simply take the older manuscripts and trust them, for they may conceivably be very poor copies, while later manuscripts may be good copies of excellent parents that are now lost. For example, a tenth century miniscule may conceivably be a good copy of an excellent fourth century uncial, and therefore prove quite superior to a fifth century uncial."
The king James Version Bible debate pg. 18 D.A.Carson
"Even classification by date is of limited value. Other things being equal, an earlier manuscript is likely to have suffered less from copyists' slips than a later manuscript; but if a thirteenth century manuscript has been copied direct from a fifth-century manuscript which has since been lost, it must receive almost the same consideration as its exemplar would have received had it survived. Some scholars have gone too far in judging the value of manuscripts exclusively by their age. Such a scholar was Carl Lachmann, whose writings on the subject of New Testament criticism, published between 1842 and 1850, were epoch making. Faced with an unmanageable body of manuscript evidence, Lachmann simplified it by disregarding the bulk of later Manuscripts. More recently, however, it h as become clear that even some quite late manuscripts have preserved some early readings." F.F. Bruce The books and the Parchments pg. 174
Damage to the originals and early copies
"First the text of the Bible was transmitted in the context of history. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire, for example, is an important aspect of the transmission of the text of the Bible to our day. So, too, is the rise of Islam and the protracted conflict between Muslim and Christian forces around the ancient city of Constantinople. These things had a great influence upon Christians and, necessarily, upon the manuscript in their possession. This might seem rather elementary and not worthy of noting, but scholars have put forth entire theories about the text of the Bible that seemed to be utterly oblivious of the simple facts of history and how they impacted the entire process."
James White The king James Only Controversy pg. 41-42This is a statement I totally agree with. We need to look specifically at the history of the text transmission and the transmitters to understand how we get to the originals. It is unfortunate that White shows very little history in his book. He spends some time criticizing the history of Erasmus, the majority text and the kjvo camp. Yet besides these, he never spends much time on real historic issues of the text. He doesn't go over the history of Alexandria, or the specific Alexandrine school. He mentioned Romans and Muslims but stopped there. he never explains why the alexandrine text never persevered in the transmission of the text and he never discusses the ancient translations and translators in detail. However when we are confronted with the delimma of the Majority TR not having the majority of the manuscripts: How do we account for the majority text?
To account for the massive amount of Byzantine manuscripts it is generally theorized that the Byzantine Christians created the byzantine text. They believe it was done under the heretic Lucian.
However, do they have proof that this was done so historically?
Basis: A. Late date
"Before the middle of the third century, at the very earliest, we have no historical signs of the existence of readings , conflate or other, that are marked as distinctly Syrian by the want of attestation from groups of documents which have preserved the other ancient forms of text. This is a fact of great significance, ascertained as it is exclusively by external evidence, and therefore supplying an absolutely independent verification and extension of the result already obtained by comparison of the internal character of readings as classified by inflation."
F.J.A. Hort Introduction pg 115-119 (gathered from The Byzantine text type and New Testament textual criticism by Harry A. Sturz)
Now we must focus on this argument, because the dominant protestant NT was always the Textus Receptus. The different Bibles were Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish. So to change the text was comparable to changing the canon. So why is God's Holy Word subject to challenge? The first pillar of the challenge is lack of Byzantine manuscripts prior to AD300. So if there is evidence that there are ancient Byzantine manuscripts prior to that date, then the whole motive for replacing the TR and the majority of english Bibles are KJV. Therefore, if the evidence of the book is compelling then the Alexandrine argument is grossly fraudulent.
B. conflated text
""...we are led to conclude that the hypothesis provisionally allowed [i.e., that where the Syrian text differs from all other extant ancient texts, its authors may have copied some other equally ancient and perhaps purer text now other wise lost] must now be definitely rejected, and to regard the Syrian text as not only partly but wholly derived from other known ancient texts. It follows that all distinctively Syrian readings may be set aside at once as certainly originating after the middle of the third century, and therefore, as far as transmission is concerned, corruptions of the apostolic text."
FJA Hort introduction pg. 116
This is the capstone of the Alexandrian argument. There has to be an origin for the Byzantine text. If the Alexandrine is the true text, then there must have been a conflation, once there is not then the reliability of that Alexandrine MS will erode. Since historically it's reproduction disappeared.
How can you prove a conflation?
Answer: By the manuscripts alone
"We are told nothing as to the amount of revision which he undertook in either Old or New Testament text, the nature of the manuscripts which he consulted, the relation of his work to the hexapla and other similar matters. We must turn to the manuscripts which have been thought to contain the Lucian Recension"
Here we can see that the entire argument is not founded upon historical data; but instead upon critical theory or the guesswork of liberal scholars.
Where is the history?
"The silence is inexplicable: it is not what one would expect. It seems logical that there should be as great or greater reaction to the replacement of a whole Greek New Testament (The original language) than there was to Jerome's revision of the Old Latin (a translation)."
The Byzantine text type and New Testament textual criticism by Harry A. Sturz
It should be noted that modern critical text advocates have shied away from the Lucian recension theory, since they lack any historical support for it.
"I am not here arguing for or against a theory that sees the genesis of the Byzantine text as a systematic conflation of other texts, even though some conflation certainly occurred"
The king James Version Bible debate pg. 51 D.A.Carson
However, they must still argue for the recension even though they can no longer pinpoint a single historical example.
"Most believe the Byzantine represents a later period in which readings from other text-types were put together ('conflated') into the reading in the byzantine text. This is not to say the Byzantine does not contain some distinctive readings that are quite ancient, but that the readings that are unique to that text type are generally secondary or later readings. Since the byzantine comes from a later period(the earliest texts are almost all Alexandrian in nature, not Byzantine), it is 'fuller' in the sense that it not only contains conflations of the other text types, but it gives evidence of whay might be called 'the expansion of piety'. That is, additions have been made to the text that flow from a desire to protect and reverence divine truth's"
James White The king James Only Controversy pg.43
Here Alexandrine advocates can not even endorse the recension theory, which denies them the logical right to ever win the argument.
If there is no proof of a historical recension then the text must be authentic
"A text type is either recensional or not recensional. By "recensional" I mean that a text has come into being by conscious revision, editing, or conflation or by change over a period of time as part of a directed developing process. If this does not explain the genesis of a particular text, then that text is simply the copy of a copy; it is not recensional at all."
The king James Version Bible debate pg. 53 D.A.Carson
So why is there a minority of early byzantine manuscripts?
As mentioned by Dr. White their was on-going persecution of Christians in the east from both the roman empire early on and the Muslims later. It is very well possible that either Muslim or Roman occupation of the east would have to a burning of the original manuscripts as well as several other early manuscripts. But just because there was this destruction of the ancient text doesn't mean that they were gone, once the Byzantine scholars had them.
"The first Edicts calling for the persecution of Christians came in March 303. Diocletian ordered the cessation of the meetings of the Christians, the destruction of the churches, the deposition of the officers of the church, the imprisonment of those who persisted in their testimony to Christ, and the destruction of the scriptures by fire."
Christianity through the centuries Earl E. Cairns pg. 92
"All this was fulfilled in our day when we saw with our own eyes our houses of worship thrown down from their elevation, the sacred scriptures of inspiration committed in the flames in the midst of the markets, the shepherds of the people basely concealed here and there, some of them ignominiously captured and the sport of their enemies; when,also, according to another prophetic declaration, "contempt was poured out upon their rulers, and he made them to err in atrackless by-path, and where there is no road." (ps.107:40)"Eusibius' Ecclesiastical history book 8 chapter 2 translated by C.F. Cruse
"It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of diocletian and the month of dystrus, called by the Romans March, in which the festival of our Savior's passion was at hand, when the imperial Edicts were everywhere published to tear down the churches tot heir foundations and to destroy the sacred scriptures by fire." Eusibius' Ecclesiastical history book 8 chapter 2 translated by C.F. Cruse
"Both the eastern and the Western sections of the church were weakened by losses of people and territory to Islam, but the losses of the eastern churches were greater than those of the west. The strong North African Church disappeared and Egypt and the Holy Land were lost. The eastern Churches were able to do little more than hold back the muslim hordes from sweeping past Constantinople." Christianity through the Centuries Earl E. Cairns pg.169-171
"The lack of old Byzantine church buildings concerned me. At one time the city had been a lively Christian community. Of course, there are explanations, as I realized when I took time to think about it. The Arab conquest beginning in the seventh century, completed by the eighth, and reknewed in the ninth had a catastrophic effect upon this community, as well as throughout the mediterranean and middle east area. Christianity here was already riddled and weakened by theological quarrels and disunity among churches and their leaders. Then came an uneasy truce between Christianity and Islam, which could be shattered by a whim of a sultan and often was.
The devastation and total destruction of Christian church buildings in Asia minor was complete when Seljuk Turks became masters of the whole Middle East in the eleventh century. On their way to capture Jerusalem in 1087, while their capital was konya, they destroyed all churches in Asia Minor in their way except the underground, hard to read Byzantine churches and chapels at Cappadocia that managed to outlive the Seljuk sacking. It was this intolerant Moslem Turkish offensive that was to provoke the First crusade and send the crusaders off from Europe through Asia Minor to rescue Palestine and Jerusalem, then closed to Christian Pilgrimage. So it is that no old church buildings survive in Konya today."Traveling through turkey: An excursion into history and religion Harriet-Louise H. Patterson pg 157-158
Not only can heretics warp scriptural teaching they can tear up the manuscripts and they have historically!
"(1) In a work written by one of these authors against the heresy of Arteman, which Paul of Samosata again attempted among us, there was a narrative well-adapted to the history we are now investigating...
"(3) "They assert" said he "that all those primitive men and apostles themselves, both received and taught these things as they are now taught by them, and that the truth of the gospel was preserved until the times of Victor who was the thirteenth Bishop of Rome from Peter. But that from his successor Zephyrinus, the truth was mutilated.
"(4) And perchance what they say might be credible, were it not that the Holy Scriptures contradict them; and then, also, there are works of certain brethren older than Victor times which they wrote in defense of the truth, and against heretics then prevailing. I speak of Justus and Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement, and many others in which the deity of Christ is asserted.......
"(13) To this, we will also add other extracts from the same writer respecting this sect: "The sacred scriptures " said he "have been boldly perverted by them; the rule of faith they have set aside, Christ they have renounced, not inquiring what the Holy Scriptures declared, but zealously what form of reasoning may be devised to establish their impiety...
"(15) But as to these men who abused the acts of the unbelievers, to their own heretical views, who adulterate the simplicity of faith contained in the holy Scriptures, by the wily arts of impious men; where is the necessity of asserting that they are not right in their faith? For this purpose they fearessly lay their hands upon the holy Scriptures saying they have corrected them.
"(16) And that I do not say this against them without foundation, whoever wishes may learn; for should anyone collect and compare their copies with one another, he would find them greatly at variance among themselves.
"(17) For the copies of Asclepiodotus will be found to differ from those of theodotus. Copies of many you may find in abundance, altered, by the eagerness of their disciples to insert each one of their own corrections, as they call them, i.e, their corruptions. Again, the copies of Hermophilus do not agree with these , for those of Apolonius are not consistent within themselves. For one may compare those which were prepared before by them, with those which afterwards perverted for their own objects, and you will find them widely differing....
"For either they do not believe that the holy scriptures were uttered by the Holy Spirit, and they are thus infidels, or they deem themselves wiser than the holy spirit, and what alternative is there but to pronounce them demoniacs?"
Eusibius' Ecclesiastical history book 8 chapter 28 translated by C.F. Cruse
"The same extreme care which was devoted to the transcription of manuscripts is also at the bottom of the disappearance of the earlier copies. When a manuscript had been copied with the exactitude prescribed by the Talmud, and had been dutifully verified, it was accepted as authentic and regarded as being of equal value with any other copy. If all were equally correct, age gave no advantage to a manuscript, on the contrary age was a positive disadvantage, since a manuscript was liable to become defaced or damaged in the lapse of time. A damaged or imperfect copy was at once condemned as unfit for use."
"Attached to each synagogue was a 'Gheniza' or lumber cupboard, in which defective manuscripts were laid aside : and from these receptacles some of the oldest manuscripts no extant have in modern times been recovered. Thus far from regarding an older copy of scripture more valuable, the Jewish habit has been to prefer the newer, as being the most perfect and free from damage. The Older copies once consigned to the 'Gheniza' naturally perished, either from neglect or from being deliberately burned when the Gheniza became overcrowded."
Frederick Kenyan Our Bible and Ancient manuscripts
Christianity was a Jewish sect, and it seems obvious that they would preserve the in the same manner through the scriptorium.
Later manuscripts may have had access to the originals(or near to the originals)
Though the originals would be burned, they would have to be preserved. Therefore the later may have indeed simply been copies brought and preserved through the later Byzantine copies.
It was the understanding of Westcott and Hort. Those manuscripts should be classified into families with similarities. They then went from this reasoning to the assumption that those manuscripts that are alike would then be related to each other in some way or another. But while there are noticeable similarities, can they truly guarantee a full lineage?
"Hardly any have been copies from any of the rest. On the contrary, they are discovered to differ among themselves in countless unimportant particulars: and ever here and there single copies exhibit idiosyncrasies, which are altogether startling and extraordinary. There has therefore demonstrably been no collusion- no assimilation to an arbitrary standard, no wholesale fraud. It is certain that every one of them represents a MS., or a pedigree of MSS., older than itself."
Traditional text of the Holy Gospels pg 46-47 Dean John Burgeon
In other words, if all the byzantine manuscripts were from one common plot, then they would have been exactly alike. Yet they all have spelling errors, and word order errors that are in totally different areas. So while they are the same in the words they write, and therefore showing one text type; they are so different in grammatical errors that they had to be independent of each other, otherwise this would have been corrected.
How are to be certain as to the dating methods of these manuscripts? Specifically Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.
"Codex Sinaiticus is generally dated to the fourth century, and sometimes more precisely to the middle of that century. This is based on study of the handwriting, known as palaeographical analysis. Only one other nearly complete manuscript of the Christian Bible – Codex Vaticanus (kept in the Vatican Library in Rome) – is of a similarly early date."http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/date.aspx"Palaeography can be used to provide information about the date at which a document was written. However, "paleography is a last resort for dating" and, "for book hands, a period of 50 years is the least acceptable spread of time" with it being suggested that "the 'rule of thumb' should probably be to avoid dating a hand more precisely than a range of at least seventy or eighty years". In an 2005 e-mail addendum to his 1996 "The Paleographical Dating of P-46" paper Bruce W. Griffin stated "Until more rigorous methodologies are developed, it is difficult to construct a 95% confidence interval for NT manuscripts without allowing a century for an assigned date." William M Schniedewind went even further in the abstract to his 2005 paper "Problems of Paleographic Dating of Inscriptions" and stated that "The so-called science of paleography often relies on circular reasoning because there is insufficient data to draw precise conclusion about dating. Scholars also tend to oversimplify diachronic development, assuming models of simplicity rather than complexity".https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaeography#Document_dating
- 7)Turner, Eric G. (1987). Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World (2nd ed.). London: Institute of Classical Studies.
- 7)Nongbri, Brent (2005). "The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel" (PDF). Harvard Theological Review. 98: 23–48 (24).
- 8)Griffin, Bruce W. (1996), "The Paleographical Dating of P-46" Schniedewind, William M. (2005). "Problems of Paleographic Dating of Inscriptions". In Levy, Thomas; Higham, Thomas. The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science. Routledge. ISBN 1-84553-057-8.
Here Dr. Wilbur Pickering Argues for the power of the majority of witnesses.
"Even Hort acknowledged the presumption inherent in superior numbers. 'A theoretical presumption indeed remains that a majority of extant documents is more likely to represent a majority of ancestral documents at each stage of transmission than vice versa.' The work of those who have done extensive collating of MSS has tended to confirm this presumption. Thus Lake, Blake, and New found only orphon children among the MSS they collated, and declared further that there were almost no siblings each MS is an 'orphan child'. This means that they are independent witnesses, at least in their own generation."
Wilbur Pickering The identity of the New Testament text pg 130, 131
Pickering catches Dr. Hort admitting that the fact that a text is reproduced in the majority (like over 90%!) would make one naturally assume that the text has more ancient roots. Pickering finds several Biblical Scholars who conclude that the genealogical theories are debunked.
How closely related are they? D.A. Carson argues
"What recent studies have shown, I think, is that the four classic text-types are too neatly isolated. Perhaps we are forced to conclude that most early manuscripts are mixes. If so the boundaries between text types becomes hazy, like the change from color in a rainbow; but it still does not follow that the concept text types is entirely dispensable, any more than we could dispense with colors of the rainbow, or argue that those colors can not be distinguished from another."
The king James Version Bible debate pg. 109 D.A.Carson
Carson is arguing against the Majority Text position of Wilbur Pickering. Pickering has debunked the idea of isolated genealogical text type families. In other words, the idea that the scribes were isolated from each other and had no choice in what text type to copy. Carson tries to rebound that the text type families still exist and they were detectable.
However, here is where the modern textual critic has found itself trapped. If these scribes were aware of alternative readings, then the vast majority of them chose to reject the alexandrine text type.
Some "Early Alexandrian Manuscripts" have preserved several Byzantine/Syrian readings!
"During the past decades several papyri have come to light which tend to increase one's uneasiness over Hort's reluctance to acknowledge the possibility that an ancient reading may have been preserved in the antiochan text even though it be absent from all the great uncial manuscripts. SInce the discovery of the Chester Beatty Papyri (particularly p45 and p46) and the Bodmer Papyrus II (p66), proof is available that occaisionally the later Byzantine text preserves a reading that dates from the second or third century and for which there had been no other early witness..."
"...enough examples have been cited to suggest the roots of the Antiochan text go back to a very early date, antidating Lucian by several generations. It does not follow that the Textus Receptus should be rehabilitated en bloc, or even that in the examples cited above the Antiochan text is necessarily the original text, The lesson to be drawn from such evidence, however, is that the general neglect of the antiochan readings which has been so common among many textual critics is quite unjustified" The Luscian Recension of the Greek Bible pg. 38-39
When you have any type of hand-craft, the skill usually revolves around the region: or those who are more closely linked to the origin. For instance, I would rather eat Mexican food from my new Mexican aunt June than Taco Bell any day of the week! (but she would eat at Taco bell sometimes anyway.)
There are two regional directions of authenticity to look for in regards to the preservation of the New Testament text. First, is the Jewish scribal tradition of preservation and then next is the location of the original manuscripts.
As shown elsewhere in the book, the byzantine text was influenced by the school of Antioch. Antioch was not only a powerful early church with a decent reputation, it also had a huge scribal influence. The Jew and the Jewish Christians would not tolerate poorly constructed biblical texts as authoritative.
Finally, the majority of the original manuscripts of the New Testament hovered across Asia minor all the way into the 2nd century.
''Come now who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of salvation, run over the apostolic churches. In which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre- eminent in their places. in which their own authentic writings are read. uttering the voice and representing the face of each severally. Achaia is very near you, [in which] you find Corinth. Since you are not far from Macedonia, you have Phillipi: (and there too) you have the Thessalonians. Since you are able to cross to Asia. Ephesus. Since. more over. you are close}' upon Italy you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of the Apostles themselves). How happy is it's church, on which the apostles poured forth their blood!" Tertullian On Persecution against heretics 208AD
What is significant about this statement is that the location of the original manuscripts is centered around the area of the byzantine text family and was preserved at least up to 200AD. Could it not be conceivable that copies of the originals being made by local Asians have exact copies that would last until the next century when we had the first preserved major Byzantine manuscripts?
"Speaking in terms of regions, Asia Minor may be safely said to have had twelve (John, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Philemon, 1 Peter, 1 and 2 and 3 John and Revelation) Greece may be safely said to have six (1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Titus in Crete), Rome may have safely been said to have two (Mark and Romans)- as to the rest, Luke, Acts and 2 Peter were probably held by either Asia Minor or Rome; Matthew and James by either Asia Minor or Palestine; Hebrews by Rome or Palestine;while it is hard to state even a probability fo rJude it was quite possibly held by Asia Minor, Taking Asia Minor and Greece together, the Aegean area held the autographs of at least eighteen(two-thirds of total) and possibly as many as twenty-four of the twenty seven New Testament books; Rome held at least two and possibly up to seven; Palestine may have held up t three; Alexandria(Egypt) held none! The Aegean region clearly had the best start and Alexandria the worst. (Identity pg. 111.)" Wilbur Pickering "Can Anything good come out of [Egypt]?"
While Alexandria Egypt was hundreds of miles away and across the Mediterranean. Why would they be the only ones to copy the manuscript down exactly? Not only that, but it had no apostolic heritage, and was infested with many varieties of heretics. (the gnostics, monophysites, Arians, subordinationists etc.) Who by the way are not fluent in the new Testament Greek!
"To copy a text by hand in a language you do not understand is a tedious exercise- it is almost impossible to produce a perfect copy. You virtually have to copy letter by letter and constantly check your place (It is even more difficult if there is no space between the words and no punctuation, as was the case with the N.T. text in the early centuries.) But if you can not understand the text it is very difficult to remain alert. Consider the case of p66. This papyrus manuscript is perhaps the oldest (c.200) extant manuscript of any size (it contains most of John). It is one of the worst copies we have. It has an average of roughly two mistakes per verse- many being obvious mistakes, stupid mistakes, nonsensical mistakes. I have no qualms in affirming that the person that produced p66 did not know Greek. Had he understood the text he would not have made the number of and sort of mistakes that he did." Wilbur Pickering "Can Anything good come out of [Egypt]?"
"A theoretical presumption indeed remains that the majority of extant documents is more likely to represent a majority of ancestral documents at each stage of transmission than vice versa."
"As of 1994 Kurt and Barbara Alund produced their latest combined statistics of extant manuscripts of the New Testament and estimated there to be 5,656 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in varying form. However in 1967, Kurt Aland provided additional analysis of existing manuscripts. At that time, he noted a total of 5,255 New Testament manuscripts of varying form, Of that number 5,210 manuscripts supported the received text. In his 26th edition of the Nestle'-Aland Greek Text, Aland considered 5,210 manuscripts to belong to the received text group. Or to put it another way, he determined that only forty-five of those 5,255 manuscripts were something other than the recieved text. It was from those forty five manuscripts that the 26th edition of the Nestle'-Aand text was produced. Therefore in 1967, 99percent of all existing manuscripts favored the recieved text and only 1 percent supported the critical text. That percentage has changed only slightly in the intervening years as other manuscripts have been discovered."
David H. Sorenson Touch not the unclean thing**
Now there have been several critics who have argued against the majority text argument. Many argue that if numbers is the main way of criticism, then we should look at the latin text.which has over 10,000 copies.
First of all, few if any kjvo's and majority text critics operate on number arguments alone. Secondly, a large number of Latin manuscripts can lead us toard what the latin text says, but it can never be the primary means of understanding Greek so long as we have Greek text to compare it with. They do have the ability to weigh in and witness to text families. But they are subjective and do not have as high an authority in the issue. Third, we know that Jerome openly revised the traditional Latin text and so it is naturally more of a secondary text.
The Latin does have a definite place and witness, just not primarily in the text debate. The KJV and early English Translations do rely heavily on the Latin and vulgate in translational issues however, proving that the KJV wasn't ignorant of other biblical texts.
Unity vs disunity of the text
"J.H. Ropes describes the quality of the codex: Codex Siniaticus is carelessly written, with many lapses of spelling due ti the influence of dialectal and vulgar speech, and many plain errors, and crude vagaries. Omissions by homoeoteleuton abound, and there are many other careless ommissions. All these gave a large field for the work of correctors, and the manuscript does not stand by any means on the same level of workmanship as B."
Paul D. Wegner The Journey from the Texts to the Translations
"There is considerable scholarly dispute about this text type. Some scholars hold that the Western text is the creation of a group of scribes whose work developed ina more rather than less confusion as each generation of scribes toiled without knowledge or care, A few contend for an individual scribe at the heart of the tradition. Others argue that the text type is not homogenous enough to be a true textual recension, and postulate that the manuscripts classified under the "Western" rubric sprang from fairly wild and undisciplined scribal activity."
D. A. Carson The King James Bible Debate pg. 26-27
"The text type probably originated in egypt and may have been brought in Caesarea by Origen. It boast a unique mixture of Western(above) and Alexandrian (below) readings, prompting some scholars to question the value of calling it a text type."
D. A. Carson The King James Bible Debate pg.27
So essentially we have a small minority text that still has more disagreements than it's competitor, even though the majority texts is 1oo times larger!
"At the close of the second or beginning of the third century, parts of the New Testament began to circulate in Syria in what is called the Old Syriac version."
Ancient translations Peshitta pg. 26, 30 The Bible in Translation Bruce Metzger
"Therefore, Peshitta should not be confused with the 5th century Bible revisions in Aramaic and new versions which were made from Greek. None of those new Revisions and versions made by the Monophysite Bishops in the 5th century has ever been accepted by the Church in the East."
Preface to the Holy Bible from Ancient manuscripts[Peshitta} George M. Lamsa Itala pg. 30
"Noteworthy Old Latin Readings frequently agree with the Greek text of the codex Bezae and the Old Syriac." Pg. 30 The Bible in Translation Bruce Metzger
It has been said by a few KJV advocates that the Antiochan School sent missionaries out west to give them ancient copies of the New Testament. That the Old Itala copies were from this group of missionaries and that copies existed in Africa(such as Donatist) and North Italy. The North Africans were devout conservative Anabaptist like Christians who would eventually be wiped out by the muslims. Yet the North Italians would later move to the alps being known as the Voudois, later revealing themselves as the Waldensians of the dark ages. Preserving the Greek Manuscript later named Codex Bezae after they donated it to the reformer Theodore Bezae. The Old Latin would soon be the basis of their french Waldenses Bible. So with one with one sentence Metzger has opened up a can of worms supporting the Textus Receptus!
Now I want to be honest, there are several spurious Old Latin manuscripts, but that should not disqualify the witness of the ones in agreement with Syriac.
"The codex Argentus(the Silver Codex) of the early sixth century is a delux copy of the four gospels, written with silver ink on the purple parchment...
"The order of the gospels is the so-called western order (Matthew, John, Luke, Mark). like that of two fifth century Greek manuscript (Codex Bezae and Codex Washingtonianus), a few of the older Peshitta manuscripts and a considerable number of Old Latin manuscripts."
pg. 39 The Bible in Translation Bruce Metzger
Here we have another example of an ancient manuscript in agreement more with the traditional text.
"More manuscripts of the Armenian version are extant today than those of any other ancient version, with the exception of the Latin Vulgate...
"MOst scholars have been impressed by several types of evidence pointing to a close affinity between the Armenian and the Greek text."
pg. 41-42 The Bible in Translation Bruce Metzger
By the way, the Greek text here is obviously Byzantine.
Admittedly a revised work because of the differences among Itala Bibles. Jerome was nervous about a revision. He used the LXX and some Hebrew along with a text that was Western or Alexandrine Greek. This is discussed in the Chapter "the Catholic connection"
Georgian"In spite of some legendary concerning miracles by Nino, historians are inclined to accept the date of about the middle of the fourth century for the introduction of Christianity among the Georgians..."Apart from such traditionalists it is generally accepted that at the least the gospels some other parts of the New Testament had were made available in written form for Georgian Christians by about the middle of the fifth century...
"It is debated whether the translation was made from the Greek, Armenian, or Syriac."
pg. 43-44 The Bible in Translation Bruce Metzger
Here we see a 5th century manuscript. By the fact that there are 3 contenders for the translation, it is obvious the text used was traditional /Byzantine. Though Bruce did obviously go into detail about this fact.
"By the fifth or sixth century, portions of the Bible were translated into Ethiopic (for Ge'ez as ethiopic is called; see fig15.5)[sic], probably by monophysite monks (i.e. they held that Christ had only one nature) who fled to Ethiopia due to persecution by Byzantine rulers. It was through the influence of these monks that Coptic and Ethiopic churches came to be monophysite."
Paul D. Wegner The Journey from the texts to the translations
So here we have a translation that does not lean "Byzantine text" even critics admit that it was translated by heretical Monophysites.
Many oppose to a KJVO position would argue that this is an out of balance minority. After all while the majority of the Greek text. The western text has stronger support in the Latin tradition and their 10,000 ancient copies of the Latin text. However if we are going to consider this line of reasoning, then we must look to the majority of all the ancient manuscripts, period. Then you will find many ancient language translations that more than out number the Latin text like the Syrian, Armenian and Gothic text which support Byzantine Readings. Yet since we keep the Greek text as our primary text source we must focus upon it, and that is obviously dominate Byzantine.
Matthew 6:13Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. "
The reformation doctrine Sola Gloria Deo meaning "The Glory to God alone" is central to this verse. Yet the catholic bibles early on with Jerome denied this text. Finis Dake nottices that "out of over 500 codices only 8 omit it" (Dake Annotated Reference Bible)
Scholars have noticed the Biblical quality of this verse and it's relation to David's prayer.
1 Chronicles 29:11Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all."
David was praising the Lord for an overwhelming offering. It seems quite poetic that the end of the Lord's prayer is in praise to God, it seems incomplete with an ending of petitions. This brings up the common teaching of God as taking orders of humanity. It seems rather awkward to end a question with a finishing "amen". Yet an ending of God's praise especially this has a natural brilliance. I once attended an ecumenical event where a catholic man sang the Recieved Text. The Lord's prayer and contrary to his religion he got tearful at the climax singing this phrase, which is normally omitted from Catholic worship.
Mark 9:43-48Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
One thing that people forget is that the Hebrews had poetic use of repetition in their prose to emphasize a point. Their is nothing particularly odd about Jesus doing this. Why would someone want to add repetition to the text? They wouldn't need it since he already stated it.
Mark 16:9-20(AKJV) 9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."
This is the largest text, which being argued over in debate of text types between the alexandrian and Received Text. Many forget that this text epitomizes the debate in the sense that the number of ancient texts with this passage is vastly dominating and that the only real contention is found in the Alexandrian manuscripts.
Modern Scholarship uses this text to significantly diminish the doctrine of the resurrection. (1 Corinthians gives eye-witnesses to it but not the account). Modern scholarship claims that Mark was the 1st gospel.(Church History teaches that Matthew was written first) Not only this but the same group which has much sway in modern evangelical seminaries claim that the gospels originated naturally, and therefore, Mark was the primary source for the other gospels. So if the primary sources for the other gospels does not have a resurrection account, then was there one to begin with?
let's see where the gospel stops...
Mark 16:1-8Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 16 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
Here the account appears different. They came to the tomb with the stone rolled away. Then they see a boy. Other gospels say it was an angel. This is fine in the sense that angels can apear in human form. However, if we believe that this is the primary gospel and approach the text naturallistically we can assume that other gospels were trying to modify the story. To make it appear more miraculous.
On a spiritual level the shorter version is a horribly pathetic message. that the Resurrection was in fact recorded by a bunch of bumbling women who didn't understand what was going on and didn't stop to find any rock solid evidence because they were startled by a little boy. Consider the sexism of the day, women were not seen as very credible witnesses anyhow. The result of the resurrection causes them to go into shock and not want to tell others.(vrs 8) Is this really the gospel?
The boy tells them Christ is risen. However, this word is a little hazy. It does not always refer to physical resurrection. (Matt 11:11, Luke 7:16) Therefore, the boy could have been saying Jesus spiritually arose. Secondly, even if he was saying that Jesus had physically rose from the dead what credibility does he have? He could , according to this version, have been part of a grave robbing crew trying to scare away noisy women. He also simply might have made assumptions from the empty tomb itself. There is only a possible assumption to a resurrection in the 1st gospel but no genuine proof. That is, if Mark was the first gospel and the text of Mark 16:9-20 was illegitimate. Then we have very weak if any proof that Mark believed or recorded the resurrection, and therefore it is not an essential aspect to the gospel. Have non-Christians picked up on this? ( ask Bart Ehrman)
Mark 16:9Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."
Pro-Alexandrian scholars who favor this verse like to argue the "Now" shows a separation indicating that this passage was probably added on. This would indicate that the passage is not seen as continuous with the Gospel. The stupidity behind this attack is that the very word "Now" is not found in the Greek Textus Receptus! it is one of those "Italicized words" added to the text to match up with proper English grammar!
Jay P. green translates this passage in the interlinear New Testament as such.
"He told you. And going out quickly, they fled from the tomb, held and then trembling and ecstasy; and no one nothing they told; they were afraid for. having risen and early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdelene, from whom He had cast seven devils."
(Mark 16:8-9 Jay P. Green ultra literal translation)
If we look at this, I believe the issue is that the translators and verse dividers, not the author have put up a false division. I would argue that when the chapter and verse divisions were originally placed , they cut short on the Greek Word 'Anistas' or 'risen' should have been translated with vrs 8.making it end more like "and they were very fearful for his having risen." This is probably not discussed by the alexandians, because it would prove the authenticity of the passage!
Mark 16:10-14Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."that the rushed details indicate that this was not part of the text and was added after other gospels. But if we reject the assumption
Many argue that the rushed details indicate that this was not part of the text and was added after the other gospels. But if we reject the assumption that Mark was the first gospel. (an idea not supported by church history) and remember that Mark being the "Roman Gospel" could have been under persecution and may have just been rushed anyhow. But most Bible commentators agree that the Whole gospel was indeed at a rushed pace compared to the other three anyhow.
"Tregelles(1854) admitted "that arguments on style are often very fallacious, and that by themselves prove very little'"
Edward Hills The King James Bible Version defended ch. 6 e.
Mark 16:15-20Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
When we look at the manuscript evidence for the text, it is staggering. It is shocking to see this much lay forth when it is currently so universally denied.
Many times I have heard evangelicals argue that the text in question is doctrinally neutral and that their existence makes no difference but it was interesting to read the NIV Study Bible's opinion.
"Serious doubt exist as to whether these verses belong to the gospel of Mark. They are absent from important early manuscripts and display certain peculiarities of vocabulary. style and theological content that are unlike the rest of Mark. His Gospel probably ended at 16:8, or it's original ending has been lost."
NIV Study Bible
It is obvious from there commentary that they dislike the theological content of the passage as well as had no concern about the inspiration of the words of Mark. Yet the case is far from closed on the issue.
One fact that is purposely forgotten is that there were sources of scripture before the making of the Alexandrine text. One of the churches most recognized father's was Irenaeus.(lived in the 2nd century) He is famous for being a disciple of Polycarp a martyr who was a disciple of St. John the Apostle who was taught by JESUS!. Irenaeus was most famous for his Contribution to the Canon of Scripture. It was Irenaeus who helped defend the gospel of John and more importantly Revelation.
There is no mistake that he is quoting scripture. I will quote a portion of the text "Against Heresies" Chapter 6 Where Irenaeus is arguing for the Deity of Christ.
"For the promise did announce one and another God , but one and the same; under various aspects, however many titles. For varied and rich in attribute is the Father as I have already shown in the book preceding this; and I shall show [the same show] from the prophets themselves in further prophets themselves in the further course of this work. Also towards the conclusion of his gospel, Mark says, "So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God:" confirming what had been spoken by the prophet:"The Lord said to my Lord sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes Thy footstool" Thus God and the Father are one and the same; He who was announced by the prophets, and handed down by the true gospel; whom we Christians worship and love. with the whole heart, as the maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein."
Irenaeus against heresies chapter 6
So back to square one, why if Irenaeus recorded this so fervently in defense of the Deity of Christ, is it not considered evidence when this took place before the so-called most reliable manuscripts existed?
Many Alexandrian advocates have actually question Irenaeus accuracy, but you should be careful in doing such as he played a central role in establishing Christian theology in light of the attacks of gnosticism.
"Judgement about the authenticity of canonical writings was based on the idea that the tradition of the church in this matter was trustworthy in general, although it could be wrong in detail. The scholars did not accept the tradition uncritically; they did their best to verify whether books in question were actually written by Apostles or by those on touch with apostles. As long as there was uncertainty about apostolic authorship. There was reluctance to accept books as canonical. Thus St. john's gospel was not readily accepted at first, and it was only after Irenaeus gave what was thought sufficient proof of it's authorship by John that it's canonicity was established."
A concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter pg 34
Now it was basically Irenaeus calling to Identify true scripture. In Alexandrine theory this passage should not have existed. If you contend Irenaeus to have added this to scripture then you question the New Testament canon itself! Not to claim Irenaeus as the sole foundation but without apostolic connection and authenticity the canon is put into serious question.
John 1:18Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Alexandrine manuscripts replace the word "Son" with "God" Therefore the Word of God becomes a begotten God. This matches the theology of arianism. You can see this clearly when you read the literal NASB translation. The question asked is if this is an Arian verse. If you read the "New World" Translation published by the Arian "Watch Tower Society" (Jehovah's Witness) then the answer is obvious. I have a Watch Tower article from 1960 endorsing the Alexandrian text for it's less trinitarian reading.
john 753 And every man went unto his own house. 8 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
One of the most famous passages dealing with forgiveness. Many scholars today admit it probably was from Christ, only they deny it was in John. Yet why would churches which held very strict anti-sexual laws want to place in a passage referring the free forgiveness of an Adulterer?
Acts 7:30Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
Acts 7:30New American Standard Bible (NASB)30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush.
Exodus 3:2Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Exodus 3:2New American Standard Bible (NASB)2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of [a]a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed."
If one believes in the inerrancy of scripture this becomes a troubling text. The Alexandrian text removes the phrase "of the Lord" which when placed with angel gives us the figure of a theophany or meeting with God. Thus this changes the meaning of the text.
The Old testament reference in exodus whether the modern or ancient texts agrees that the angel of the Lord appeared in the burning bush The TR is consistent with both Old testament manuscripts and in harmony in the KJV. But the Alexandrine readings contradict the moder OT and therefore contradicts itself!
Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
This is an example of a ludicrous historical argument. Christian society, at the time of the copying of these texts. was paedo-baptists. This verse argues for the Ana-baptist position. What's more, episcopate and Papal Authority would not include this type of thing. It seems more likely that Alexandrians cut out the text to feel better about infant baptism.
This is an example of a ludicrous historical argument. Christian society, at the time of the copying of these texts. was paedo-baptists. This verse argues for the Ana-baptist position. What's more, episcopate and Papal Authority would not include this type of thing. It seems more likely that Alexandrians cut out the text to feel better about infant baptism.
1 Timothy 3:16Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
"There is much to be said in defense of the kjv rendering of 1 timothy 3:16 as 'God was manifest in the flesh.' In fact I prefer this reading and feel that it has more sufficient support from the greek manuscripts."
James White The King James Bible Controversy pg. 207
Here in the text "God" is replaced with "he". Turning it into "he was manifested in the flesh" But how was that a great mystery of godliness? I was manifested in the flesh and so were you! It makes sense if the rendering is "God" since, then, we are talking about the incarnation. Is the incarnation of Christ a major doctrine? Once again the very fundamentals of the faith are being attacked through the Alexandrine text.
1 john 5:7
This is the most criticized of all the Textus Receptus. most of all because it is a high minority even among the Byzantine text. However it was included in the Textus Receptus and if this was the preserved Word of God, then 1John 5:7 must be defended.
"7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
Manuscript evidence (here I will argue in reverse order from weakest to strongest arguments)
A. Unanimous early English translations:
I decided to start with a more subjective point of reference to the proofs of this text. The origins of English versions has unanimously testified to it.
Starting with John Wycliffe, who translated his text hundreds of years before Erasmus. Therefore we can't blame Erasmus on the inclusion of the text. Yet Wycliffe when observing the Latin text went and translated the passage.
"Although modern scholarship stresses Wycliff's reliance on Vulgar readings, a later revision of the work done by John Purvy which brought the translation back in tune with Jerome makes it evident that Wycliffe had access to some Old Latin Manuscripts. Purvey's later defection to Rome sheds added light on the issue."
Final Authority William P. Grady pg 123(referring to R.W. Thompsons Life of Jesuits)
It should be remembered that the Old Latin "Itala" Bible had been dated back to as far as the the 2nd century. though the copies today are lost, there are many quotes today from the Church father's using this manuscript.
Next we see the inclusion of William Tyndale. Tyndale had both testimonies of Erasmus and Wycliffe. The linguistic scholar that he was (he could speak 7 languages fluently) He could have easily weighed in on Wycliffe's assessment of the latin manuscripts as well as Erasmus assessment of the old british manuscript which contained the "comma" along with other manuscripts which didn't. Not to mention that he was wel aware of erasmus initial protest on the issue. He was still faithful to this verse abd felt it worthy in his translation of the Greek text. The Coverdale Bible and the Matthew Bible both had influence from Tyndale though they compared theirs with differet translations still keeping the text. A translation of Great notability is thde Geneva Bible, all keeping in line with the Textus Receptus.
Through the history of English Translations there could have been other revisions, which excluded the comma, but they did not. Even the Roman Catholic "Douay Rheims" version with it's leniency on Alexandrine readings keeps this statement.
B. Spread with the Authorized Version and A.V. Translations.
The majority of Bibles contain the comma Johanine. Why does God allow this consistent "supposed error"? History has no accountability with God's providence in the lost gospels of modern version theory. God has allow not only the king James bible to keep this text but all the foreign language bibles in the worldwide missions movement of the 1800's.
C. The original attacks were based upon Unitarian bias
The early text critics who attacked this verse happened to be members of the Unitarian church. They denied the trinity and were attacking the most trinitarian verse in the Bible! Obviously they had an agenda. Among Bible believing Christians even less conservative the overwhelming consensus is in favor of admitting that scripture teaches the trinity. Meanwhile the Unitarianism has fallen out of communion with Christianity and is modern days filled with members who do not identify with Christianity and often proclaim atheism.
A:Vulgate: The early Vulgate removes this verse. jerome had alexandrine readings and was influenced by it. This however will work as a witness that this debate is much more historic and later scholars were well aware of it.
B.Later Vulgate: The fact that the Vulgate is then revised back to include the verse says there was some Argument which was convincing to overturn the previous removal.
C. Old Latin Itala Bible: The Old Latin which carries this verse is a very ancient testimony confirming it's authenticity.
One interesting thought that occured to me is that Jerome is not criticized for using mostly Alexandrine readings of the text, he is only criticized when he used byzantine readings, Mark 16:9-20 and the Johanine Comma. So the popular modern scholarship is indeed biased in favor alexandrine readings. Which are equivalent to Catholic readings. So even with a tradition favoring Alexandrian readings, the fact that they include this text is weighty.
"While the Greek textual evidence is weak, the Latin textual evidence for the Comma is extremely strong. It is in the vast majority of the Old Latin manuscripts which outnumber the Greek manuscripts."
Dr. Thomas Holland Crowned with Glory 2000
A. Manuscripts of 1 john are few
While there are almost 6,000 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament only 500 carry the epistle of 1st john.
B. There are minorities of manuscripts that do have the comma in Greek
"Although not found in most Greek manuscripts, the Johanine Comma is found in several. It is contained in 629(fourteenth century), 61(sixteenth century) 918 (sixteenth century) 2473(seventeenth century), and 2318(eighteenth century), it is also in the margins of 221(tenth century), 635(eleventh century), 88 (twelveth century), 429(fourteenth century) and 636 (sixteenth century)"Dr. Thomas Holland Crowned with Glory
Minority texts are given precedence all the time in the Critical Text, yet for some reason they focus on Comma more than others.
"Nevertheless, being a minority reading does not eliminate it as genuine. The critical text considers the reading of Iesou(of Jesus) to be the genuine reading instead of Iesou Christou (of Jesus Christ) in John 1:7. Yet Iesuo was is the minority reading with only twenty-four manuscripts supporting it
Dr. Thomas Holland Crowned with Glory
C. debunking the claim "Reformation scholarship was not competent to weigh in on the issue."
"The famous manuscript Vaticanus (written about AD 325-350 and considered by many modern scholars to be the most important manuscripts in existence) is believed to have been in the Vatican sometime before 1475.
The polyglot text itself, however, shows no dependence on vaticanus."
Pg. 228 A Visual History of English Bible Daniel Brake
Codex vaticanus was indeed available to these scholars but they simply dismissed it beacause it was a terrible copy and that was apparent even in the catholic church
One popular myth
First and foremost there has been a popular myth circulating in seminaries for years regarding Erasmus inclusion into the text. In a nutshell, the legend says that Erasmus would not include this into the text unless there was a Greek manuscript which supported it. So he was then presented with a Greek manuscript,which supported it, and there was still wet ink dripping from the page when he got it. It may be a humorous joke, yet when alexadrine advocates like James White claim it to be factual then it is no longer funny.
When asked if this story was aunthentic, leading Erasmus researcher H.J. de Jonge dean of the faculty of theology at Rijksuniversiteit. (Leiden, Netherlands) stated that this was a myth from letter of Erasmus taken far out of context. This was stated in a letter to Scholar Michael Maynard in June 13, 1995.
"I have checked again Erasmus words ' quoted by Erika rummel and her comments on them in her book 'Erasmus' Anotations. This is what Erasmus writes [on] in his liber tertius quo respondet.... Ed. Lei: Erasmus first records that Lee had approached him with neglect of the MSS. of 1 John because Erasmus(according to Lee) had consulted one MS. Erasmus replies that he certainly not used only one MS., but many copies, first in England, then in Brabant, and finally at Basil. He cannot accept, therefore, Lee's reproach of negligence and impiety"
So in layman's terms the story was not that Erasmus was dogmatically opposed to the Johanine comma and was challenging Edward Lee to find a manuscript. But in reality the manuscripts had already been found. Erasmus was just simply trying to justify himself for not initially including the text to begin with, stating that he had not found it in his personal library. Erasmus did not put up a fight in reality he had included it afterwards in all his later editions. Like many a proud scholar after him he was simply trying to justify himself when it became apparent the he had made a mistake.
Here is Erasmus own testimony...
"Is it negligence and impiety , if I did not consult manuscripts which were not in my reach? I have at least assembled whatever I could assemble. Let Lee produce a Greek MS. Which contains what my edition does not contain and let him show the manuscript was within my reach. Only then can he reproach me with negligence in sacred matters."
Michael Maynard (Maynard, A history of the debate Over 1 John5:7-8 p. 383 Comma Publications Tempe Arizona 1995.)
The negligence of Erasmus is up for debate. Yet after reading this the negligence of James White is a fact! Why is it that we should defend modern version defenders when they do not search out their facts? When their books never really cover the evidence put forward By KJVO advocates? The modern version advocates have won the multitudes through the power of influence and ignorance. I can tell a professor these facts and almost guarantee they will still push the Erasmus myth to feel good about themselves.
But let's give White the benefit of the doubt and say Erasmus did have reservations about 1 john 5:7 and that someone slipped a bad manuscript in the Greek. First of all Erasmus, being the scholar that he was would have spotted it. There was no pressure for him to include the comma there was the earlier Vulgate for him to hang on to, and the codex vatican was available. The RCC tolerated Him with his textus receptus readings against the vulgate hundreds of times, why would this be any different? Erasmus was never disciplined his entire life either before or after the inclusion of the comma.
As far as the reformers go, they had no sway over Erasmus, obviously, but also he had no official sway over them! If Erasmus had 2 different edition of the Greek New Testament, then the Reformers could have else just stayed faithful to the first edition. In fact the reformers did debate the legitimacy over this verse and others, but included it in all there versions such as Luther's German translation and the Geneva Bible. The reformers had collated their own manuscripts later with more testimony of ancient Greek manuscripts and so this argument is a moot point, not to mention debunked.
So if the comma Johanine is not in the majority of Greek New Testaments then why was it left out of so many?
Obviously this had to have happened early on in the transmission of the text. Since the later Greek manuscripts were aware of the damage done to the text over the centuries, they began to leave it in. There were several motivations for easterners to damage this theological statement. Most likely was the theological doctrine of subordinationism. The Alexandrine school starting Origen taught the the Father and son and Holy Spirit were not equal. Instead that Father ruled over the so and Holy Ghost. Therefore this was a strong challenge to their orthodoxy. So someone annihilated it. Could this be ironically Lucian? I am unaware.
While the comma had some debate in the reformation period. There was a great deal more controversy over this verse.
1 john 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."
Which actually they thought had a weaker testimony and was a minority text. Modern critics do not challenge it since it does have witness in the alexandrine manuscripts. Why do they remove one minority text and uphold another? Because of subjective Bias. Without faith in the providence of God, the issue of manuscript accuracy becomes meaningless and subjective.
Church father's historical quotations
Cyprian quotes this passage as scripture in the 3rd century B.C. Now it is argued that most of the early church fathers who quoted this text did not quote it as scripture. However none of these fathers say that they are not quoting scripture. Also it is easy to have a Preacher quote scriptures without citing them as to add to a spiritual effect in their messages.
Tertullian: "So the close series of the Father in the Son and the
Son in the Paraclete makes three who cohere, the one attached
to the other: And these three are one
in the sense in which it was said, I and the Father are one,4 in
respect of unity of substance, not of singularity of number. Take
a further quick glance, and you will find that he whom you
believe to be the Father is called the Father's vine,5
It should be noticed that tertullian is dealing with the writings of John, explaining the trinity and the quote is in the same context as the comma.
Athanasius quoted this passage. This is especially significant in that not only was Athanasius an Eastern church father but an Alexandrian scholar as well. (with the most conservative and orthodox reputation of course) he could have easily dismissed this verse and probably was pressured to do so. yet he did so.
No Scholarly Defense?
"As to it's being wanting in some manuscripts, as the alexadrine and others, it need only be said that it is to be found in many others, it is an old British copy, and in the complutesian edition, the compilers of which use of various copies: and out of the sixteen copies of Robert Stephens', nine of them had it: and as to its not being cited by ancient father's, this can be not be ancient proof of spuriousness of it since it might be an original copy, though no tint the copies used by them, through the carelessness of unfaithfulness of transcribers; or it might be in their copies and not cited in them, they having Scripture enough without it to defend the doctrine of the trinity, and the divinity of Christ; and yet afterall, certain that it is, that it is cited by many of them; by
Fulgentius in the beginning of the sixth century, against the Arians, without any scruple of hesitation; and Jerome, as had been observed before has it in his translation made in the larger part of the fourth century in his epistle to Eustochium prefixed to his translation of the canonical epistles,he complains of the omission by unfaithful interpretors. It is cited by Athanasius about the year 350; and before him by Cyprian in the middle of the third century, about the year 250; and it is referred to by Tertullian about the year 200; and which was within a hundred years, or a little more, of the writing of the epistle: which may be enough to satisfy anyone of the genuiness of the passage: and besides there never was any dispute over it till Erasmus left it out of the first edition of his translation of the New Testament; and yet He himself upon the credit of the old British copy before mentioned it into another copy of his translation."
John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament
john Gill was the one of the most recognized Baptist scholars in History. The first reformed bible scholar to have exhausted commentaries on every book of the Bible. (Calvin excluded Revelation)
D.A. Carson actually took this specific quote and went about trying to refute it with as much dogmatism as he could muster. Yet in the end none of his refutations were backed up with any documentation. Just platitudes, for instance in pg. 60 he states "Gill is wrong about the facts" at which point he begins to refute Gill with facts of his own. yet in his refutation, he never cites his own facts! He just guesses what manuscripts was referring to. D.A Carson is using circular reasoning to prove his scholarship is superior to that of John Gill.
Why should we trust D.A. Carson's scholarship is superior to that of John Gill? because D.A. Carson said so!
A. Joahnine vocabulary
All the words are common in Johanine writing. It was in the gospel of John that we have the discussion of "WORD"/logos. We also find the most thorough discussion of the Holy Spirit and the Father Son relation. We also find throughout this gospel and in his letter the discussion of Witness. If John were this complex with expressions in his gospel, it would be arguable that in a later written letter, his theological complexity should increase and not decrease. therefore this phrase is entirely fathomable within the mind of John.( though ultimately the mind of god.)
B. Greek consistency from feminine to masculine pronouns
The grammar of John is actually incorrect in the Alexandrine version. So could the Bible be without error if the very words were not receivable due to Grammatical error? If so the title inerrant changes a great deal!
"..(he has not been consistent) in the way he has happened upon his terms; for after using Three in the masculine gender he adds three words which are neuter, contrary to the definitions and laws which you and your grammarians have laid down. For what is the difference between putting a masculine Three first, then adding One and One and One in the neuter, or after a masculine One and One and One to use the Three not in the masculine but in the neuter, which you yourselves disclaim in the case of Deity?"
Fifth Orientation of the Holy Spirit Gregory Naziansus What is interesting is that one of the Byzantine Eastern Church fathers who did not possess the comma seems bewildered at the grammatical inconsistency of his manuscript. This is a rock solid testimony to the internal need of the comma johanine in 1st John!
C. Record to witness flow
1 John 5:
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. "
The context of this passage is the case for orthodoxy. The subject of John's discussion is the nature of Jesus Christ as God's Son. This would obviously be a good time to discuss the nature of the trinity. It is easily provable that John espouses Trinitarian views more than any other New Testament writer.in terms of discussing the subject. It is obvious that John is concluding the passage discussing Christian duties concerning the focus of faith.
The use of the phrase "the Word" is very accurate. In this text God is bearing witness to Jesus as being the Christ. Therefore, not only does God the Father, but the Holy SPirit and the Logos(word) have recorded that the human Jesus is the Christ. The human Jesus would not be a credible witness to Himself as the Messiah. However, the deity of Jesus, which is the Word would be an accurate witness considering the divine mind. Therefore there are three powerful heavenly witnesses that the human Jesus is is the uniquely begotten Son of God.
The critical version of this passage does not make sense. How can blood and water be witnesses when they are not persons?! They are used as evidences not as individual persons. Also the text says that God bore witness to the Son states a division between the Son and God.(1 john 5:10). This division is not needed when we have the Johanine text, sense it explains that all persons of the trinity were bearing witness to the human nature of the Son Jesus. However with the removal of the comma, the context is destroyed and God is bearing witness to the Son of God who is seemingly a different individual.
1 john 5:8 [j]the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are [k]in agreement. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son." NASB Here God the Father replaces the godhead, and as a result it seems like an Arian testimony. Since it is God as an individaul referring to another individual Jesus. yet if we insert the comma it makes sense.
But what is the Witness of God? Let's look in John's gospel.
john 5: 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape."
Now there is talk of two witnesses here. Jesus has explained that his human testimony would not do. (john 5:31) Yet he has a greater witness. Notice that while the Father is later mentioned he is not directly identitfied as the greater witness. The witness is also specifically not human.(john 5:34) the witness which has a masculine connotation was a burning and shining light. Who in the writings of John is mentioned as light?
John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Obviously the Logos(Word) is the Light! And the Word is the heavenly Witness. This explains John's use of the Word in 1 John 5:7.
There are three evidences of Christ used in the 1st century which the persons of the godhead trinity used to authenticate that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. The water refers to Jesus' Baptism which had God the Father personally testify of Jesus' Sonship. The Blood of Christ which is shed on the cross and and bears witness that Jesus alive later was a resurrection Finally the Holy Spirit bears witness to the hearts of Men have testifed of His greatness.
One of the basic issues involving the inclusion of a minority text is internal evidence.
A majority may appear more right than a minority, but there is no absolute certainty. However, internal evidence is much more certain assuming that John could coherently write. Since John was consistent in his other books and we know that He was inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is certain that he must have used the comma and this trumps the argument of manuscript support. Since it is more like that the Apostle was consistent and his verse mostly deleted, than the idea of an inspired man being inconsistent and unintelligible.
Now there is an endless stream of texts from which people may find to debate on manuscript differences. But ultimately if We are firm in faith, understanding God's inspiration and preservation. Then our faith will inevitably lead us to the traditional Bible.
Total deletions 2886 words, this is slightly more words than 1&2 Peter combined. (Gathered from Catherine Carmichael for Pastor Jack Moormon "Modern Bible VErsions the dark secret") 7% of the New Testament has word alterations between the two texts. Also Modern Versions have disagreements with roughly 5% of the OT! So how much of the Bible do you believe?