Moderate TR View

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NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
Are there folks out there who hold a general belief that the TR is the best text we have (even over against the MT) because of a high view of providential preservation, yet acknowledge there may be some places where corrections can be made? I've been growing more and more in the past couple years in a strong preference for the TR on both textual and theological grounds, yet I'm not willing to go as far as many of the prominent TR advocates I've heard in defending every single possible TR reading as beyond correction. Does anyone else hold this type of position? Am I just being illogical and not following all the way through? I'd be curious to hear thoughts on this.

A Note: I know this is an issue that has been played out a lot, so not trying to tire anyone with debate, just curious what views are out there.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I noticed in the debate between Dr Riddle and Dr White on the TR that Dr Riddle takes the position of defending the body of the TR but not particular readings in the TR. He doesn't take this to the full conclusion in my opinion (i.e., even the Johannine Comma is not in early editions of the TR but he always defends the Comma).
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I made these comments a few months ago:
In one sense I fully agree. Higher criticism assumes a naturalistic approach to Biblical doctrine, and much modern textual criticism also assumes a naturalistic approach. As a matter of interest it is worth listening to the debate on Eph 3:9 between James White [JW] and Jeff Riddle [JR]. When JW tried to argue one uses a scholarly textual criticism to determine the text of ancient writers such as Plato, JR correctly argued that the Bible is not a naturalistic book - it is a supernatural book. That said I think the argument is a bit more nuanced. The KJV has a number of text notes that suggest certain phrases or verses are not part of scripture. See for example the KJV notes at Luke 10:22, 17:36 and Acts 25:6. The KJV also appears to question parts of 1 John 2:23. Modern translations (including the NKJV) do not question this. I have previously mentioned Beza's textual emendation at Rev 16:5. My point is - do the KJV translators engage in some naturalistic textual criticism and doubt some passages of scripture with these changes/ footnotes? Someone like JW is quick to capitalise on these KJV textual issues.

See my comments above.

Coming back to the Eph 3:9 debate between JW and JR. I think JR was right to point out JW naturalistic assumptions. However JW pointed out that the slim textual evidence for the KJV reading of Eph 3:9 ignores the fact that God works through history. JW also pointed out that JR was inconsistent in that he defended the reading of the last few verses of Mark 16 by appealing to the majority of mss, but defended the KJV reading of Eph 3:9 by appealing to the minority of mss. It seems to me JW is correct on this point. That said I think JR was right to say that JW defence of the CT has produced a textual criticism that is uncertain and changing, based on the latest fads of modern textual scholars.


This argument certainly has some appeal for me. Perhaps the best Reformed TR scholar who argued for this position is Edward Hills. It is interesting that James Price's book "King James Onlyism" ch 12 summarises Dr Hills argument and accuses him of circular reasoning. https://www.jamesdprice.com/images/King_James_Onlyism.pdf Maybe he is right. But is it not true that Presuppositional Apologetics has pointed out that all reasoning is circular by its nature. We presuppose the self-attesting nature of scripture based on the infallible authority of God who gave us the scriptures.

In the final analysis I am back to my original argument. It may be good to have a new edition of the TR but in the few places where it is problematic, it would be wise to revise it by the weightier mss of the Byzantine tradition.

It is worth listening to the JW and JR debate.

Yes you pointed out a bad choice of words on my part. My apologies. What JW said was the TR reading in Eph 3:9 is "almost non existent" JW makes his case about 23 minutes into the debate. I thought he made his case very well. JR had a 10 minute response. I did not find JR response convincing at this particular point (I have pointed out other area where JR is strong, so I aim to be fair).

Now, if JW and JR were debating John 7:53-8:11 JW would say this passage has weaker evidence than the long ending of Mark. An esteemed Majority Text scholar such as Dr W Pickering also says this. But I am confident JW would not say the evidence for John 7:53-8:11 is "almost non existent". There is reasonable textual evidence for that passage in John's gospel. Not so in Eph 3:9.

Hence I believe I was still correct to say:
"In the final analysis I am back to my original argument. It may be good to have a new edition of the TR but in the few places where it is problematic, it would be wise to revise it by the weightier mss of the Byzantine tradition."
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
I made these comments a few months ago:



"In the final analysis I am back to my original argument. It may be good to have a new edition of the TR but in the few places where it is problematic, it would be wise to revise it by the weightier mss of the Byzantine tradition."
Out of curiosity, would you distinguish your view from a basic MT view? For example would you say for theological reasons the TR should still be favored in some instances where it is not in the majority but has some reasonable textual support?
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
My personal view - The TR is the Reformation Text so my default position is use a TR reading unless it has very very little manuscript support. In this case use a Byzantine Priority reading. Eg Ephesians 3:9, and Beza's textual emendation at Rev 16:5. In these readings I would go with a Byzantine Priority reading.
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
My personal view - The TR is the Reformation Text so my default position is use a TR reading unless it has very very little manuscript support. In this case use a Byzantine Priority reading. Eg Ephesians 3:9, and Beza's textual emendation at Rev 16:5. In these readings I would go with a Byzantine Priority reading.
Gotcha. I think that's about where I'm at as well.
 
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