Dr. White on Textual Criticism - Recent Podcast

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
For those of you interested in learning about Textual Criticism, Dr. White just finished a series on Textual Criticism. If you subscribe to his Podcast you'll find that the Dividing Line has the shows from 2/1/07 to 2/15/07 on the subject. He even has PDF's available on his website so you can follow along as he teaches on it.

Very informative.

http://aomin.org/dividingline.html
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Great! Thanks for pointing this out, Rich!

I'm working with a guy who is just starting to attend church and read the Bible. Unfortunately, before he's even through the Gospels, he decides that the book he is going to read concurrently with the Bible is "Misquoting Jesus", and he comes to me all the time with "what he's found out about the Bible", and the discrepencies and errors therein, etc.

What a way to start one's journey into the Christian faith, huh?

(I can tell I'm gonna have a long, frustrating road ahead of me....)
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
I like James White in a lot of areas, I am not too keen on the CT which he likes and defends. My use and trust in the AV and the manuscripts it is based on has more to do with the providence of God preserving his Holy Word. White can be a bit Non-reformed in his approach to Textual Criticism. Example (and a prime one) He states God in His Providence saw fit to preserve more than one line of legitimate manuscripts. (Forgive me James that is not verbatim, but come from your book King James Only Controversy and is pretty close to your statement),NOW, I might be able to accept this exept when a lot of the texts he likes contradict and disagree within themselves. That does not sound like divine providence and Preservation to me! I cannot reconcile that with Reformed Theology because it is irrational. Flip side James White is a great Apologist, and a solid Christian thinker. I have Witnessed to JW's and his site has given me great material to think about. Just my............:2cents:
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
Thank Ted. I have had a day of it on a thread I started/unleashed.........nice that some find aggrement with me in some areas!;)
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks for this, Rich. I took Bart Ehrman's New Testament class a year and a half ago and was challenged in many ways. But even though I still have a few questions, my faith was stronger by the time the class was over as I continued to see the doctrine of inerrancy prevail in the face of a whole load of criticism. I'm sure these will be very helpful to fill in some of the holes and equip me to answer others' questions more effectively.
 

Ivan

Pastor
Thanks for this, Rich. I took Bart Ehrman's New Testament class a year and a half ago and was challenged in many ways. But even though I still have a few questions, my faith was stronger by the time the class was over as I continued to see the doctrine of inerrancy prevail in the face of a whole load of criticism. I'm sure these will be very helpful to fill in some of the holes and equip me to answer others' questions more effectively.

Am I understanding this correctly? Dr. Ehrman teaches New Testament at UNC-Chapel Hill and he supports biblical inerrancy?

BTW, David...did you ever get a chance to hear William Willimon preach? (I know, I know...he's a Methodist, gang. Good preacher though.)
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Am I understanding this correctly? Dr. Ehrman teaches New Testament at UNC-Chapel Hill and he supports biblical inerrancy?

BTW, David...did you ever get a chance to hear William Willimon preach? (I know, I know...he's a Methodist, gang. Good preacher though.)

No, Dr. Ehrman was the one providing the assault against inerrancy. But in spite of this the inerrancy of the bible was even more clear to me than before by the end of the class.

I don't think I've ever heard of William Willimon. Does he preach at the Methodist church here?
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
I like James White in a lot of areas, I am not too keen on the CT which he likes and defends. My use and trust in the AV and the manuscripts it is based on has more to do with the providence of God preserving his Holy Word. White can be a bit Non-reformed in his approach to Textual Criticism. Example (and a prime one) He states God in His Providence saw fit to preserve more than one line of legitimate manuscripts. (Forgive me James that is not verbatim, but come from your book King James Only Controversy and is pretty close to your statement),NOW, I might be able to accept this exept when a lot of the texts he likes contradict and disagree within themselves. That does not sound like divine providence and Preservation to me! I cannot reconcile that with Reformed Theology because it is irrational. Flip side James White is a great Apologist, and a solid Christian thinker. I have Witnessed to JW's and his site has given me great material to think about. Just my............:2cents:

You know....I really appreciate the way you stated your disagreement with JRW in the above post. Very Christ-like. I wish more brethren could do this.

On the flip side of things, I'd actually say that Norm Geisler would come in handy for the guy just starting off his Christian walk. A General Introduction the Bible is still one of the best, if not, THE best book on the subject. I don't agree with the ecclectic approach (I'm a Byz Guy), but Geisler does have enough solid material to convince anyone reading that the scriptures are reliable.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

James White does some good work in apologetics - especially in debating with Roman Catholics and Mormons. I wish he would stick to areas where he is good at, and not dive into matters that he is unfamiliar with in his experience.

As a debater I believe there are few that can stand against him. Though he has a tendency to fall into logical fallacies. In the lectures it seems that he uses his debate tactics rather than the simple facts.

I have only listened to the first two lectures, but it was enough to make me sick. It seems to me that he plays upon the ignorance of his audience.

"People will vilify a mss just because it disagrees with what evidently what they believe the Bible says which in and of itself should tell you the lack of balance of many who address this particular subject" 2nd Lecture at 17:06.

-Does this describe you Dr. White

"There is no mss in the world that read like that text (Textus Receptus) ... there is no Greek mss written by man that reads like it," 2nd Lecture at 27:40 and following.

Using Dr. Whites' same criteria one can say the same thing about the Critical Text. Both are Text-types and are based on various mss of the Greek text.

At Lecture 2 9:48ff Dr. White addresses the "common myth" that the Codex Sinaiticus was found in a trash can. Though much of what he says is true, there are factual matters that he has neglected.

First, according to Tishendorf's own testimony, he does not make a distinction between the "trash can" mss that he saw in 1844, and the mss given to him circa 1862. Second, Dr. White also misses the fact that in 1844 Tishendorf was given the opportunity to read the "trash can" mss, and he made a 1 page copy from it. This one page (1844) copy matches the same page of the copy given to him in 1862.

Nowhere in Dr. Tishendorf's own testimony does it verify the "myth" that Dr. White makes about how Tishendorf received the Sinaitic Bible from the monks. In 1844 Tishendorf charged the monks not to burn such ancient mss. Later the monks wrote to him denying access to these mss that they, "...have, since your (Tishendorf's) departure, learned the value of these sheets of parchment, and will not part with them at any price." (From Tishendorf's account published by the Michigan University Press, pg. 30).

Clearly, Dr. Tishendorf considered what he saw in 1844 with what he finally received and brought to St. Petersburg in 1862 as one and the same. Dr. White's whole story about the "trash can myth" is without historical foundation.

This is just a few problems with his presentation.

Blessings,

-CH
 
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tellville

Puritan Board Junior
CalvinandHodges said:
James White does some good work in apologetics - especially in debating with Roman Catholics and Mormons. I wish he would stick to areas where he is good at, and not dive into matters that he is unfamiliar with in his experience.

Funny, this is what a lot of Catholics and Mormons say as well, though they would naturally replace the inference to textual criticism with their own worldview: "James White is great when dealing with Mormons, but he should stay away from Catholicism, an area he obviously knows little about."

If you disagree with James White on textual matters, then so be it. Point out his errors. But to say that he is unfamiliar with textual criticism just because he disagrees with you is pure fallacy. I would imagine he knows more about textual criticism then almost anybody on this board.
 
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Beoga

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for this, Rich. I took Bart Ehrman's New Testament class a year and a half ago and was challenged in many ways. But even though I still have a few questions, my faith was stronger by the time the class was over as I continued to see the doctrine of inerrancy prevail in the face of a whole load of criticism. I'm sure these will be very helpful to fill in some of the holes and equip me to answer others' questions more effectively.

Related to this but not really on topic...
I had a similar experience to this. I just finished a class taught by Marcus Borg today. I praise God for His faithfulness in my life. Throughout the course there were constant attacks on orthodox Christian Truth. Instead Dr. Borg proposed ideas that were clearly contrary to Scripture, yet he claimed them to be Christian none the less. I praise God that He used this class to challenge me to study deeper His great truths and cause me to worship Him.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Funny, this is what a lot of Catholics and Mormons say as well, though they would naturally replace the inference to textual criticism with their own worldview: "James White is great when dealing with Mormons, but he should stay away from Catholicism, an area he obviously knows little about."

If you disagree with James White on textual matters, then so be it. Point out his errors. But to say that he is unfamiliar with textual criticism just because he disagrees with you is pure fallacy. I would imagine he knows more about textual criticism then almost anybody on this board.

Greetings:

Thanks for pointing this out. If James White was so knowledgeable about Textual Criticism, then why does he make sooooo many mistakes? It is clear that he has a bias, and that bias warps his thinking on this matter. I think my quotation of him describes him exactly:

"People will vilify a mss just because it disagrees with what evidently what they believe the Bible says which in and of itself should tell you the lack of balance of many who address this particular subject" 2nd Lecture at 17:06.
White "vilifies" the Textus Receptus in favor of his own Critical Text. Should we mention "Critical Text Onlyists" as a new category?

Blessings,

-CH
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Related to this but not really on topic...
I had a similar experience to this. I just finished a class taught by Marcus Borg today. I praise God for His faithfulness in my life. Throughout the course there were constant attacks on orthodox Christian Truth. Instead Dr. Borg proposed ideas that were clearly contrary to Scripture, yet he claimed them to be Christian none the less. I praise God that He used this class to challenge me to study deeper His great truths and cause me to worship Him.

Dr. Borg eh? I'm happy to hear you weren't assimilated and that resistance was not futile!
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
CalvinandHodges said:
Greetings:

Thanks for pointing this out. If James White was so knowledgeable about Textual Criticism, then why does he make sooooo many mistakes? It is clear that he has a bias, and that bias warps his thinking on this matter. I think my quotation of him describes him exactly:

White "vilifies" the Textus Receptus in favor of his own Critical Text. Should we mention "Critical Text Onlyists" as a new category?

Maybe James White does have a bias. Maybe he is making tons of mistakes. And maybe you are the one to point them out. But that still doesn't mean he isn't knowledgeable on the topic. He wrote a book on textual criticism for crying out loud! A book that had Bruce Metzger's endorsement on it (I realize you probably think very lowly of Metzger).

My only complaint of your post was your claim that James White isn't knowledgeable on textual criticism. As to why he makes so many "mistakes": maybe it's because we are all fallen and prone to making mistakes :2cents:

Robert, I would be happy to see more critiques of James White TC podcasts (even though I would agree with James White and the CT). I just didn't like the claim that he didn't know what he was talking about.

Keep doing what you do best brother. :handshake:
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Maybe James White does have a bias. Maybe he is making tons of mistakes. And maybe you are the one to point them out. But that still doesn't mean he isn't knowledgeable on the topic. He wrote a book on textual criticism for crying out loud! A book that had Bruce Metzger's endorsement on it (I realize you probably think very lowly of Metzger).

My only complaint of your post was your claim that James White isn't knowledgeable on textual criticism. As to why he makes so many "mistakes": maybe it's because we are all fallen and prone to making mistakes :2cents:

Robert, I would be happy to see more critiques of James White TC podcasts (even though I would agree with James White and the CT). I just didn't like the claim that he didn't know what he was talking about.

Keep doing what you do best brother. :handshake:

Greetings:

I deeply appreciate your reply, and I thank you for clarifying your point. I meant no offense in my comment. I have to say that my comment concerning him is due to a frustration with him on my account. I very much like Dr. White - I met him personally on several occasions, and I even drove him in my car to one of his lectures - I am very sincere when I say that I greatly appreciate his debates with papists and Mormons. He has done invaluable work for the Church in that regard. Yet, when it comes to this Textual Criticism matter, it seems like he loses all perspective.

If you are referring the his book, The King James Only Debate (of which I have a signed copy) :) it is not really a textbook on Textual Criticism, but a polemic against the King James Only Advocates. Dr. White has some kind of burr on his shoulder concerning this matter. On his website under "Apologetics", "King James Onlyism", and the last article on Erasmus he writes:

The most famous textual “problem” involved in Erasmus’s work was 1 John 5:7, the famous Comma Johanneum. Absent from every Greek text he had (indeed, some think from every Greek text in existence!), he rightly omitted it. A hue and cry was raised upon publication, and charges of heresy and Arianism were cast about. Erasmus asked his friend in Rome, Bombasius, to consult the famous Codex Vaticanus concerning the passage. When Bombasius replied that the verse was not contained in that ancient codex, Erasmus rashly proclaimed that if he were to find so much as one Greek text containing the “Three Witnesses” he would include it in his next edition. Of course, such a manuscript was quickly produced. Many suspect it as having been produced specifically for the occasion. It is today known as minuscule 61 and is housed at Trinity College, Dublin. It is dated to the 16th century, and Metzger reports it opens of its own accord to the passage in 1 John, its having been consulted at that point so often.24 True to his word Erasmus included the spurious passage in the third edition (1522) “that there be no calumny.”25 He expressed in a lengthy footnote his doubts concerning the authenticity of the manuscript. However, verse remains today a touchstone of orthodoxy for some, most notably the Roman Catholic Church.26
This "story" was successfully challenged and found wanting by Erasmus scholars H.J. DeJong (Sp?) and Roland Bainton. Bruce Metzger notes this in his book on the various texts, and Dr. White has been notified of this on several occasions. Yet, still he refuses to point this out on his website.

Why? Because it makes good debating points. It seems that he is more interested in winning an argument, than in promoting the truth. Such an attitude is dangerous to say the least.

All of our feet are made of clay, but the errors that Dr. White are promoting may lead many to false conclusions.

Blessings,

-CH
 

Tallen

Puritan Board Freshman
This "story" was successfully challenged and found wanting by Erasmus scholars H.J. DeJong (Sp?) and Roland Bainton. Bruce Metzger notes this in his book on the various texts, and Dr. White has been notified of this on several occasions. Yet, still he refuses to point this out on his website.

CH,

I appreciate this post very much. You have offered correction in the Spirit our Lord.

I am curious though, has White ever even acknowledged having been pointed to this fact? If he hasn't I would think either he has honestly missed the point some how, or that he is ignoring the point.

If he has I would think he would address it, if he hasn't maybe a more direct approach should be taken.

Blessings.
 

Tallen

Puritan Board Freshman
Should we mention "Critical Text Onlyists" as a new category?

If not, it certainly is a good title for some. :lol: :wave:

I think there is and can be a "good spirit" that exists among those of different opinions, it is the extremes of these views that denigrates the whole of the discussion. I think there are shining examples of love and constraint on both sides.
 

CalvinandHodges

Puritan Board Junior
Greetings:

I think there is and can be a "good spirit" that exists among those of different opinions, it is the extremes of these views that denigrates the whole of the discussion. I think there are shining examples of love and constraint on both sides.

:handshake:

Absolutely! I think the KJOnlyists are mainly responsible for poisoning the well.

Blessings,

-CH
 
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