Calling all experts: Textus Receptus vs. Critical Text

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Frosty

Puritan Board Sophomore
I know there have been countless PB threads on the textual issues in the past. I have viewed a few of these in recent days. What I intend this thread to be is a summary of the pros and cons of each position. I understand that Bible-loving Reformed folk can come down on either side of this issue.

So, I dare to ask:

1) What is the basic source(s) for each text?

2) What are the pros and cons of each position?

3) Which do you hold to, and why?

I am seeking a deeper understanding of the issues involved. Thanks.
 

BibleCyst

Puritan Board Freshman
I've personally been back and forth on the issue of texts. I'm far from being an expert, but perhaps it would be a good thing to hear the perspective from at least one "layman."

Google is a TERRIBLE place to research this issue! The top results are all King James Only (KJO), and to KJO's, everything is a conspiracy. In this age, it seems odd to recommend this, but I would limit your online research to good, solid, Reformed websites such as the Puritan Board. There are some great books written on this issue. In my opinion, The King James Only Controversy by James White is one of the easier works from a layman's perspective.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
I know there have been countless PB threads on the textual issues in the past. I have viewed a few of these in recent days. What I intend this thread to be is a summary of the pros and cons of each position. I understand that Bible-loving Reformed folk can come down on either side of this issue.

So, I dare to ask:

1) What is the basic source(s) for each text?

2) What are the pros and cons of each position?

3) Which do you hold to, and why?

I am seeking a deeper understanding of the issues involved. Thanks.

To answer your questions in order,

1) The source of the text underlying most English translations today would be some combination of Greek texts as produced from primarily the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus Manuscripts by Nestle/Aland or United Bible Societies. The text underlying the New King James Bible and a few others would be some combination of Greek texts as produced from the Byzantine family of texts by Hodges and Farstad or by Maurice Robinson.

2) The pros and cons would best be stated by those on either side of the debate

3) I hold to the Majority or Byzantine text tradition because I have been convinced by the arguments.

You could read RETHINKING NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICISM edited by David Alan Black for a current update.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
I've personally been back and forth on the issue of texts. I'm far from being an expert, but perhaps it would be a good thing to hear the perspective from at least one "layman."

Google is a TERRIBLE place to research this issue! The top results are all King James Only (KJO), and to KJO's, everything is a conspiracy. In this age, it seems odd to recommend this, but I would limit your online research to good, solid, Reformed websites such as the Puritan Board. There are some great books written on this issue. In my opinion, The King James Only Controversy by James White is one of the easier works from a layman's perspective.

I think this goes both ways, I personnaly wouldn't recommend The King James Only Controversy to somebody who is new to this issue since it is heavily biased towards modern textual critism and does not address the many issues it has. I would recommend The Traditonal Text of The Holy Gospel by John Burgon to gain better understanding of the textual tradition and The Revision Revised also by John Burgon to learn of the many issues with he Critical Text

I'm no expert but here's my simple answers:


1) What is the basic source(s) for each text?

This is not a simple answer but I will try to summerize it according to my understanding.

TR:
Was originaly compiled by Desiderius Erasmus mainly from a few "Byzantine" MSS which had become available to the Western Empire (Western European Countries) after the fall of the Byzantine (Eastern) empire. Others such as Robert Stephanus, Theodore Beza and the Elzevir brothers have worked on additional editions of what is now known as the Received Text (Textus Receptus). Althought these editors didn't have all the MSS we have available today their texts agree closely with the vast majority of MSS that was discovered since (over 5000 MSS mainly from what is now known as the Byzantine familly).

CT:
Westcott and Hort proposed a new revision of the Greek text during the 19th century and lead the revision committee. The revision was mainly based on 2 MSS dating from the 4th century (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) plus a handfull of MSS from what is now known as the Alexandrian familly (around 45 MSS I think). Note: These MSS even if they were "older" did not agree with one anoher on many readings and the revisions made as part of this new Critical Text were far from being unanimous among those MSS. The Nestle-Aland/UBS committees picked up the torch after the Wescott and Hort committee, that's why today's CT are called the Nestle-Aland/UBS texts.

Note: Some of the MSS that are considered superior because of their age by the CT committees were known to the editors of TR and were ignored due to their depravity, Codex D (Beza) is a great example. Codex B (Vaticanus) was "discovered" in the Vatican Library in 1481 which is prior to any of the editions of the TR and was not used. I don't know if it was available to them or not but its existence was known, due to the fact that they ignored other MSS such as Codex D I think it is safe to say that they would have done the same with Codex B,


2) What are the pros and cons of each position?

As you have probably figured out I don't see many pros for the CT. It is true that they have more MSS available to them than the editors of the TR had, but they give more weight to MSS that show clear signs of corruptions just because they are older. The philosophy behind modern Textual Criticism is definitely flawed in my opinion.

The pros for the TR are that for one thing there is a clearer historical line that can be traced back almost to te apostles and a greater acceptance by the true church throught the New Testament dispensation. I also believe that its stabilty gives a greater testimony to God's preservation and protection of his holy word.


3) Which do you hold to, and why?

The TR, some of the reasons I mentionned above, mainly because it has a greater support from most MSS, early versions and quotations known to us today, it has greater acceptance from orthodox believers of the past and in my opinion it definitely has a better testimony to God's preserving providence over his word.

Also in my opinion the CT has only brought confusion, compromise and division into the Church of Christ.

my :2cents:
 
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