One More Textus Receptus Critique Question

Aspiring Homesteader

Puritan Board Freshman
I have one more question, but don’t want to muddy the other thread I just posted.

Is it true or not that the creation of the TR involved textual critical work that modern TR defenders call illegitimate when it is done today?

Those who put together the TR, and the subsequent TR tradition, did they not use textual criticism to arrive at their decisions?
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have one more question, but don’t want to muddy the other thread I just posted.

Is it true or not that the creation of the TR involved textual critical work that modern TR defenders call illegitimate when it is done today?

Those who put together the TR, and the subsequent TR tradition, did they not use textual criticism to arrive at their decisions?
yes it was textual criticism. But the field of textual criticism, and its underlying axioms, largely shifted in the 19th century.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
No. It was expressly collation and not textual critical principles. John Owen and a great deal of others during that time period went to great lengths to prove this against some textual critics (Walton, etc.) of that time period.

They had manuscripts we no longer have and also wrestled with the three main contested passages. But that was NOT text criticism as defined today, which has a different epistemological presupposition underlying it which seeks to undermine Westminster's definition of providential preservation. Collation is indeed different than modern text criticism.

What is often the case today, is that people read their own principles back into the Reformation era. But more careful scholarship is honest and states the differences -- honest scholarship can be found with Muller and Ron Hendel (who actually criticized the Reformation view). At least both were honest with what they believe.
 

Before

Puritan Board Freshman
I have one more question, but don’t want to muddy the other thread I just posted.

Is it true or not that the creation of the TR involved textual critical work that modern TR defenders call illegitimate when it is done today?

Those who put together the TR, and the subsequent TR tradition, did they not use textual criticism to arrive at their decisions?
If I understand your question correctly, I believe all translations used textual criticism (even Jerome) in deciding which body of manuscripts to use. A big difference is that the Critical Texts weren't known at the time of the compilation of the TR.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
No. TR proponents do not call textual criticism illegitimate, and of course engage in it too (in a sense). The substance of the TR critique of CT methodology is basically that CT methodology ultimately gives priority to rules of textual criticism over the doctrine of preservation (though of course proponents of CT on this board still affirm that doctrine, though I daresay that's a minority position among CT proponents as a whole).

Of course there is more nuance to it than that, for instance there are also critiques of the priority CT gives to certain things within their scheme, but those critiques are not unique to TR proponents, so I think the above is the main bone of contention between TR specifically and CT.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
You're going to get different answers from different folks because of definitions. One way you could answer this question is to look at some of what into the process of creating the TR. The TR went through many editions during Erasmus's life and then was continued afterwards by Beza and others. The compilers of the TR did a lot of work to compare different manuscripts, translations, and other resources. Even many of the most disputed differences that we now look at as between the TR and the Critical Text today are actually variants that exist within the TR. One example is the Johannine Comma (I John 5:7), which was not included in early editions of Erasmus's TR or Bibles based on it (like the Luther Bible) but was included in later editions. Another is Beza's Emendation (Revelation 16:5) which is included in the KJV but not several earlier TR Bibles like Tyndale to name one.

If you define textual criticism very narrowly, then it is a discipline that emerged in the 19th century. If you define it broadly as several ways of interacting with textual differences to produce a single text, then many of the same practices were done prior to the 19th century with the creation of the TR (and arguably, even earlier textual comparison work by early church theologians like Origen) follows a lot of similar ideas. I think those who say the TR is using textual criticism are using the term broadly to emphasize continuity in many practices, in contrast to some who emphasize preservation so much that they miss some of the critical eye applied to bringing together a multitude of sources.
 

Redneck_still_Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
A big difference is that the Critical Texts weren't known at the time of the compilation of the TR.
Not exactly true. Yes, papyri and other manuscripts hadnt been found but one of the touchstones of CT, Codex Vaticanus, was known. Erasmus, through his connections, used it in his Greek NT but rejected its readings as spurious. While that is only one of many, it is in essence 50% of the CT evidence whereby they judge all other texts.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I have one more question, but don’t want to muddy the other thread I just posted.

Is it true or not that the creation of the TR involved textual critical work that modern TR defenders call illegitimate when it is done today?

Those who put together the TR, and the subsequent TR tradition, did they not use textual criticism to arrive at their decisions?
Here's an article, and a website which should answer some of your questions, follow the link below to read the balance of that particular page. Much good stuff on this site.

Textual Criticism is Nothing New​

On this page I quote some comments from Augustine, Jerome, and Erasmus which show that textual criticism (the critical evaluation of various readings of the manuscripts) of the New Testament is not a modern invention. Even in ancient times, writers like Augustine and Jerome were faced with the problem of deciding between alternative readings in the manuscripts, and they made decisions on the basis of text-critical principles which sometimes correspond to those of modern scholars.

 

En Kristo

Puritan Board Freshman
For what it is worth, I personally have found it unhelpful and unnecessarily contentious to view this subject from a 20,000 foot altitude. Instead of fretting over whether the critical text or received text is the superior, I look at the manuscript evidence for individual verses (with the aid of Accordance Bible study software and technical commentaries) as I study them. I have found that there are several passages that excite emotional debate and we all know which ones those are (the longer ending of Mark, the woman taken in adultery, the Johannine Comma and the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer and maybe, for some, Revelation 16:5). I may have left out something, but in my experience, those seem to be the passages over which people get excited. I have found if I simply concentrate on the particular text that I am studying and come to a conclusion about it, there is no reason to debate such issues as the philosophy of textual transmission and so forth. Personally, I have yet to find any differences between the CT and TR that threaten any single doctrine of the faith. For example, is the Johannine Comma original to John? In my opinion the overwhelming testimony of the manuscript evidence is that it is not original. Among other things, it was not once mentioned during the Council of Nicaea. But, whether or not it is original changes nothing. We have the same doctrine of the Trinity with it or without it. If we had only the Byzantine manuscripts or only the Alexandrian manuscripts, we would still have the word of God. God has preserved his word. Don't worry. Be happy.
 
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Before

Puritan Board Freshman
Personally, I have yet to find any differences between the CT and TR that threaten any single doctrine of the faith.
Would that be the major concern or would the fact that there have been pieces of text either added or omitted be a greater concern?
Especially in the light of such texts as... Mt 5:18 or Rev 22:18-19.
 

Redneck_still_Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
For what it is worth, I personally have found it unhelpful and unnecessarily contentious to view this subject from a 20,000 foot altitude. Instead of fretting over whether the critical text or received text is the superior, I look at the manuscript evidence for individual verses (with the aid of Accordance Bible study software and technical commentaries) as I study them. I have found that there are several passages that excite emotional debate and we all know which ones those are (the longer ending of Mark, the woman taken in adultery, the Johannine Comma and the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer and maybe, for some, Revelation 16:5). I may have left out something, but in my experience, those seem to be the passages over which people get excited. I have found if I simply concentrate on the particular text that I am studying and come to a conclusion about it, there is no reason to debate such issues as the philosophy of textual transmission and so forth. Personally, I have yet to find any differences between the CT and TR that threaten any single doctrine of the faith. For example, is the Johannine Comma original to John? In my opinion the overwhelming testimony of the manuscript evidence is that it is not original. Among other things, it was not once mentioned during the Council of Nicaea. But, whether or not it is original changes nothing. We have the same doctrine of the Trinity with it or without it. If we had only the Byzantine manuscripts or only the Alexandrian manuscripts, we would still have the word of God. God has preserved his word. Don't worry. Be happy.
If you look at the TBS pamphlets, especially the Textual Key to the New Testament and the literature about different verses, you may find why people seize on differences (ex. 1 Tim. 3:16 God vs. Him). There is, to me a difference and I personally believe it does impact doctrine but I do not worry my brothers or sisters at church with my crazy opinions because it would be rather divisive and unwise. PS. I once spoke about it with a fellow but that was permitted by the teacher of our Sunday School class being a one-on-one conversation.

One thing I have heard from TR advocates is that if the TR has no substantial differences doctrinally, why do we need a CT? I also see a reverse, if the CT doesn't impact doctrine, why have people defended and insisted on the old TR? There is probably a logical fallacy in here on my part but it shows me that there must be a difference, otherwise men like Mark Ward and James White wouldn't be so vocal.

I see this debate as an intermural debate among Christians for the most part (notable exceptions exist). But when you begin to get to the fringes, liberalism begins to seep into the CT position (Metzger, Eherman) and gnostocism seeps into the KJVO position (notice, not the TR position, they arent the same even though we often get lumped in the debate with Gipp et all). My pastor and favorite preachers all are CT men so I have respect for their work and dont insist that it anathemizes a person as some would do.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
For what it is worth, I personally have found it unhelpful and unnecessarily contentious to view this subject from a 20,000 foot altitude. Instead of fretting over whether the critical text or received text is the superior, I look at the manuscript evidence for individual verses (with the aid of Accordance Bible study software and technical commentaries) as I study them. I have found that there are several passages that excite emotional debate and we all know which ones those are (the longer ending of Mark, the woman taken in adultery, the Johannine Comma and the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer and maybe, for some, Revelation 16:5). I may have left out something, but in my experience, those seem to be the passages over which people get excited. I have found if I simply concentrate on the particular text that I am studying and come to a conclusion about it, there is no reason to debate such issues as the philosophy of textual transmission and so forth. Personally, I have yet to find any differences between the CT and TR that threaten any single doctrine of the faith. For example, is the Johannine Comma original to John? In my opinion the overwhelming testimony of the manuscript evidence is that it is not original. Among other things, it was not once mentioned during the Council of Nicaea. But, whether or not it is original changes nothing. We have the same doctrine of the Trinity with it or without it. If we had only the Byzantine manuscripts or only the Alexandrian manuscripts, we would still have the word of God. God has preserved his word. Don't worry. Be happy.
I didn't expect Bobby McFerrin to be quoted on pb. :)
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
For what it is worth, I personally have found it unhelpful and unnecessarily contentious to view this subject from a 20,000 foot altitude. Instead of fretting over whether the critical text or received text is the superior, I look at the manuscript evidence for individual verses (with the aid of Accordance Bible study software and technical commentaries) as I study them. I have found that there are several passages that excite emotional debate and we all know which ones those are (the longer ending of Mark, the woman taken in adultery, the Johannine Comma and the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer and maybe, for some, Revelation 16:5). I may have left out something, but in my experience, those seem to be the passages over which people get excited. I have found if I simply concentrate on the particular text that I am studying and come to a conclusion about it, there is no reason to debate such issues as the philosophy of textual transmission and so forth. Personally, I have yet to find any differences between the CT and TR that threaten any single doctrine of the faith. For example, is the Johannine Comma original to John? In my opinion the overwhelming testimony of the manuscript evidence is that it is not original. Among other things, it was not once mentioned during the Council of Nicaea. But, whether or not it is original changes nothing. We have the same doctrine of the Trinity with it or without it. If we had only the Byzantine manuscripts or only the Alexandrian manuscripts, we would still have the word of God. God has preserved his word. Don't worry. Be happy.
I would humbly submit that you can only say it makes no difference in doctrine because you are standing on 1800 years of non-Alexandrian text in use by the church. We may well have a very different “orthodoxy” if the Alexandrian texts had won the day.

w/r/t 1Jn 5:7, while it wasn’t cited at Nicea, it was cited at Carthage a century and a half later with no evidence of a peep regarding its authenticity.
 

En Kristo

Puritan Board Freshman
w/r/t 1Jn 5:7, while it wasn’t cited at Nicea, it was cited at Carthage a century and a half later with no evidence of a peep regarding its authenticity.
I wasn't aware of this. Can anybody point me to a reference? I can find no such citation in my copy of The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon.
 
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Redneck_still_Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
I would humbly submit that you can only say it makes no difference in doctrine because you are standing on 1800 years of non-Alexandrian text in use by the church. We may well have a very different “orthodoxy” if the Alexandrian texts had won the day.
I have often thought this but never saw anyone else posit it this well. I have been reading JND Kelly's Early Christian Doctrine and it seems that Alexandria was ripe with heresy and heterodox Christian thought. Is that true? If so, wouldn't that explain some alterations?
 

En Kristo

Puritan Board Freshman
I have often thought this but never saw anyone else posit it this well. I have been reading JND Kelly's Early Christian Doctrine and it seems that Alexandria was ripe with heresy and heterodox Christian thought. Is that true? If so, wouldn't that explain some alterations?
No doubt there were heresies floating in the air at Alexandria. But though Arius came from Alexandria, so did his foil, Athanasius. No doubt, there were heresies floating around Asia Minor and the Byzantine empire as well. I personally find none of that line of discussion particularly helpful when I look at specific verses.

Tangentially, I sometimes meet Christians who have the notion that the early church was pure and the model to be followed in every respect. I don't think that idea squares very well with Paul's writings to the Corinthians nor with John's address to the 7 churches in his Revelation. The purest church in history had sinners sitting in the pews, wheat and tares growing side by side. I think we make much more progress climbing down out of the clouds to look into the specific differences in the texts. To the extent that I have done that, I find the differences to be insignificant.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I have often thought this but never saw anyone else posit it this well. I have been reading JND Kelly's Early Christian Doctrine and it seems that Alexandria was ripe with heresy and heterodox Christian thought. Is that true? If so, wouldn't that explain some alterations?

No. Athanasius was from Alexandria. His bishop and mentor, Alexander, was the first to hold the line against Arius.
 

Grumman Tomcat

Puritan Board Freshman
I see this debate as an intermural debate among Christians for the most part (notable exceptions exist). But when you begin to get to the fringes, liberalism begins to seep into the CT position (Metzger, Eherman) and gnostocism seeps into the KJVO position (notice, not the TR position, they arent the same even though we often get lumped in the debate with Gipp et all). My pastor and favorite preachers all are CT men so I have respect for their work and dont insist that it anathemizes a person as some would do.
I have also seen Sabellianism and Oneness seeping into the KJVO position as well. I have family members that are into KJVO. When I saw these heresies springing up, I ran the other way.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I’m confused by this statement. Athanasius was from Alexandria, therefore Alexandria didn’t have heresy?

No. It's merely that Alexandria wasn't a unique hotbed of heresy. Yes, it had heresy, but it also had *the* leading defenders of orthodoxy. By that logic, Alexandrian texts could just as well produce orthodoxy.

And the main opponents of later Alexandrians, the Antiochians, were Nestorian heretics. It's best to judge an issue based on the merit of the case than on its location.
 

En Kristo

Puritan Board Freshman
w/r/t 1Jn 5:7, while it wasn’t cited at Nicea, it was cited at Carthage a century and a half later with no evidence of a peep regarding its authenticity.
I'm not sure that this comment is quite right. There doesn't appear to be an obvious citation or quote of the King James Version of 1 John 5:7.

Perhaps someone can shed some light on this. I'm not sure that I am correctly following the argument. As I understand the issue, the comment above refers to a quotation by Cyprian.

First, Gregory of Nazianzus writes:

"For I also will assert that Peter and James and John are not three or consubstantial, so long as I cannot say Three Peters, or Three Jameses, or Three Johns; for what you have reserved for common names we demand also for proper names, in accordance with your arrangement; or else you will be unfair in not conceding to others what you assume for yourself. What about John then, when in his Catholic Epistle he says that there are Three that bear witness, the Spirit and the Water and the Blood?"

Philip Schaff remarks: "This is the famous passage of the Witnesses in 1 John 5:8. In some few later codices of the Vulgate are found the words which form verse 7 of our A. V. But neither verse 7 nor these words are to be found in any Greek Ms. earlier than the Fifteenth Century: nor are they quoted by any Greek Father, and by very few and late Latin ones. They have been thought to be cited by S. Cyprian in his work on the Unity of the Church; and this citation, if a fact, would be a most important one, as it would throw back their reception to an early date. But Tischendorf (Gk. Test. Ed. 8, ad. loc.) gives reasons for believing that the quotation is only apparent, and is really of the last clause of verse."

In plain English, Gregory quotes John 5:8, not the disputed passage in the King James version 1 John 5:7.

In his Treatise I, Cyprian writes:

"He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, “I and the Father are one;” and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, “And these three are one.

If I understand the argument correctly, the question is, is Cyprian alluding to Gregory of Nazianzus's quote, or is he alluding to a Greek manuscript, now lost to history, that contains the disputed phrase in the King James Version (1 John 5:7, For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.). Cyprian's remark is not a direct quote of the disputed text. Some take it to be an allusion to it, but many do not.

Jerome did not include the verse in his translation (though much later versions of the Latin Vulgate did pick it up).

The matter is in doubt. I personally am persuaded by the manuscript evidence that Erasmus' inclusion of the text (not in his original translation, but added in subsequent editions) and the subsequent inclusion of the disputed text in the King James Version are not authentic to the original Greek manuscript.

My major point is that the issue is inconsequential. Our understanding of the Trinity is informed by many other texts. The inclusion of 1 John 5:7 doesn't change our understanding of the doctrine and neither does it's omission. God has preserved his word.

Let each person be persuaded in their own mind.
 
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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
is Cyprian alluding to Gregory of Nazianzus's quote, or is he alluding to a Greek manuscript, now lost to history, that contains the disputed phrase in the King James Version

If we are talking about the famous Cyprian of Carthage, he predated Nazianzen by 100 years.
 

En Kristo

Puritan Board Freshman
If we are talking about the famous Cyprian of Carthage, he predated Nazianzen by 100 years.
So, then, when Schaff writes, "They have been thought to be cited by S. Cyprian in his work on the Unity of the Church...", the pronoun "they" must refer to the disputed text in 1 John 5:7, not to the quote by Gregory.

If that is the case (and it certainly appears to be), then I really don't see the point of Shaff's footnote remarks on Gregory's citation of 1 John 5:8. I don't see how they can relate at all to either 1 John 5:7 or to Cyprian's quote. That's one of my problems.

The other problem I am having is locating a quotation of 1 John 5:7 "at Carthage." I presume it is the quote above by Cyprian (which is at best a possible allusion, not a quote).
 
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Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
It was in the orthodox defense statement drawn up by Eugenius in response to the Synod called by the Arian king in 484.

As to the Cyprian quote (250), he says it is written of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that “these three are one”. Modern scholars, assuming 1 Jn 5:7 to be a very late addition, argue that Cyprian was interpreting verse 8, even though that’s not what he says. He uses a scripture citation formula. Furthermore, there are statements dating back to ca. 500 who cite Cyprian as quoting verse 7.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
I've said it before, but again I don't think 1 John 5:6-9 makes any sense if verse 7 is omitted. The flow of the passage is thus interrupted, since it contrasts heavenly and earthly witnesses, a lesser to greater argument.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
I want to add, that I recognize the historical evidence surrounding 1 Jn 5:7 is sparse. But to listen to modern textual scholars speak, you would think it was invented after AD1300.
 

Aspiring Homesteader

Puritan Board Freshman
It’s strange seeing those of the TR camp appeal to evidence in order to justify a particular reading.

I thought it was a position of faith in God’s preservation, and making decisions by weighing evidence was a CT thing.

Or is it that once you presuppose the TR, you’re allowed to fill in the gaps with any evidence you choose—even weak evidence like that for the Comma—because “all evidence proves the TR.”
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
It’s strange seeing those of the TR camp appeal to evidence in order to justify a particular reading.

I thought it was a position of faith in God’s preservation, and making decisions by weighing evidence was a CT thing.

Or is it that once you presuppose the TR, you’re allowed to fill in the gaps with any evidence you choose—even weak evidence like that for the Comma—because “all evidence proves the TR.”
That's a slightly caricatured way of looking at it, but in a sense, yes (though not any evidence you choose, just the evidence that actually exists). Is it any more strange than the whole discipline of apologetics? After all, our position is faith in God's existence, so why bother with evidences?
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
It’s strange seeing those of the TR camp appeal to evidence in order to justify a particular reading.

I thought it was a position of faith in God’s preservation, and making decisions by weighing evidence was a CT thing.

Or is it that once you presuppose the TR, you’re allowed to fill in the gaps with any evidence you choose—even weak evidence like that for the Comma—because “all evidence proves the TR.”
The argument for the TR is theologically a priori, not fideistic.
 

John Yap

Puritan Board Sophomore
That's a slightly caricatured way of looking at it, but in a sense, yes (though not any evidence you choose, just the evidence that actually exists). Is it any more strange than the whole discipline of apologetics? After all, our position is faith in God's existence, so why bother with evidences?
The thing with the TR is that the evidence methodology is not consistent: the science/methodology to justify 1 Jn 5:7 / Longer ending / Eph 3:9 are all different. Then the TR proponent would say their view does not rely on evidence. Then the question is thrown back - why then talk about evidence? (No sarcasm is meant here. It is just the logical outworking of a non-TR guy viewing the views of the TR position: why would TR guys talk about evidence when its a priori presuppositional view and we must admit the talk of evidence would only muddy the TR view)
 
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