Question about the history of the Textus Receptus

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Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey everyone, this is my first post here. I've been reading a bunch of threads on PB for a while without actually being a member, so thanks to the ministers and learned layman out there who have been a great help.

First some background before the question. Since getting into the question about which manuscript family (Byzantine or Alexandrian) should be used for translations, I have come to be convinced that the Byzantine family of manuscripts contains the word of God. I also hold to some form of providential preservation by God of his word in this manuscript family, without necessarily coming to the conclusion that one of the TR translations is absolutely perfect.

So the question is, what was the development of the Textus Receptus translations from Erasmus to Scrivener? Did it get better? Did the men after Erasmus have the same manuscripts, better ones, more to use? In other words, were the seeming deficiency of Erasmus' manuscript sources, and therefore possible mistakes, corrected in the later TR's?

Blessings,
Jonty
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Great questions Jonty,

There is no easy cut and dry answer. The men who works on the various editions did not make lists of manuscripts they used nor did catalogues of manuscripts exist. We can see some evidence that various editors/printers used additional manuscripts. They would take a previously published edition of the Greek Testament as their base, and edit it according to their own studies of manuscripts etc. We know Stephanus and Beza both had access to many manuscripts in addition to the editions of Erasmus. Much of this information can be found in Jan Krans' "Beyond What is Written".
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks! So the existing TR texts were edited according to the guy writing his own at the time from the available manuscripts of his day (mostly Byzantine), all the way up to the KJV translators who considered every TR available and also the Byzantine texts? As well as others.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Most of the various TR editions were made by a single editor, who examined the work of other men, and did his own work. The KJV translators primarily relied upon Beza's 1598 Greek text, with its accompanying textual notes, but also had in front of them at least Beza's other editions, those of Stephanus, and those of Erasmus. We know very little about the KJV translators' process because all of their minutes were lost in the great fire. However, all of the translators were themselves bonafide Greek, Hebrew, and Latin scholars who were experts in their fields. However, I think it is safe to say, that just like today, the KJV translators were not looking at manuscripts. They were working from printed texts.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
Ok so given the characters and learning of the men who compiled the TR texts, the king James translators could trust that they did their best as Christian men to write a faithful text from the available manuscripts (that God had provided for centuries) and therefore take their printed editions as worthy to consider in translating Gods word.

If the majority text gives the most common readings of the available manuscripts (mostly Byzantine) then, are those TR’s generally compatible with the Majority Text? Daniel Wallace apparently said there were a bunch of differences. Which then makes you think, are there less differences between the TR and the Majority text than there are between the CT and the majority text? Seems to me that testing the TR against the majority text would show how well they did?
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
There are of course many differences between all the manuscripts, and while they are many, they are usually impossible to even translate. I have done this test from time to time: Pull up a Byzantine minuscule, open my TR to a passage, and compare them. My experience is that they are very similar. It is fair to call the TR a form of the Byzantine text.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Comparing an edition of the TR to the 1904 Greek Patriarchal text demonstrates this as well. I have TR brothers who use the Greek Patriarchal text as their main Greek text.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Once upon a time I compared the book of Matthew word for word between the 156(3?) and 1598 Beza, and the 1904 Greek Patriarchal Text. The differences between the later two are slight, something like a word a chapter, never super significant, and punctuation (comma or no comma, etc). The former two are about as close as can be. Beza didn't introduce intentional variations into successive editions of his Greek text as far as I can tell. His Latin Bible however did contain translation tweeks and so the editions is important.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
This patriarchal text seems to be adding more weight to the credibility of the TR(s) as an accurate text. Which is also proving that, historically speaking, whatever manuscripts Erasmus and the rest of them in the TR tradition had, happened to be better than what some CT scholars claim.

Dr. John Karavidopoulos wrote an article about the greek patriarchal text. It seems from the article that he's not too confident about the Byzantine tradition, but this piece of historical info is interesting.

He writes:

"The numerous manuscripts and, in particular, their large number of their
variants led the committee to be limited to only 116 manuscripts of Gospels and of
Apostolic readings, out of which 45 were studied personally by B. Antoniades in
both Constantinople and Mount Athos, while the rest he took into consideration by
means of a collation that his co-workers had carried out in both Athens and
Jerusalem. The chronological breadth of the manuscripts is wide since represented
among them are texts read in the churches from the 9th to the 16th centuries, that is,
for about eight centuries."

The ecumenical patriarchate's 1904 New Testament edition and future perspectives, page 10.

If the source of the Greek patriarchal text are solid byzantine manuscripts, and the TR agrees a lot with it then the manuscript sources of the TR's are proven to be solid?
 
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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Most of the various TR editions were made by a single editor, who examined the work of other men, and did his own work. The KJV translators primarily relied upon Beza's 1598 Greek text, with its accompanying textual notes, but also had in front of them at least Beza's other editions, those of Stephanus, and those of Erasmus. We know very little about the KJV translators' process because all of their minutes were lost in the great fire. However, all of the translators were themselves bonafide Greek, Hebrew, and Latin scholars who were experts in their fields. However, I think it is safe to say, that just like today, the KJV translators were not looking at manuscripts. They were working from printed texts.

Plus, they saved themselves some time and work by bringing Tyndale's translation of the New Testament almost bodily into the text of the KJV for the New Testament.
 
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