Review of Burgon's Revision Revised

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by greenbaggins, Nov 1, 2017.

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  1. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    While there is little doubt that Dean John William Burgon was one of the most learned, meticulous, and pious textual critics of all time, the thesis of this review is that Burgon's arguments in Revision Revised, while strong in some areas, are weak in others, and even illogical.

    Burgon's own canons (or rules) for the practice of textual criticism are clear. 1. Any reading that has consistent ecclesiastical testimony is preferable (xxv). Specifically, this involves the testimony of the manuscripts, translations (or versions), and the early church fathers (xxvii). 2. The earliest reading is preferable (this is not concurrent with the earliest manuscripts necessarily, 339). 3. The largest number of manuscripts, versions, and patristic citations has a better claim to be original (339). Later on, he will directly contradict Westcott and Hort's theory (manuscripts are to be weighed, not numbered) by claiming that the number of manuscripts is weight (455). 4. The widest geographical distribution of the readings in canon 3 has a greater likelihood of authenticity. 5. The reading that can explain all the other readings is also preferable (340). 6. External grounds weigh heavier than internal considerations (96), or what he calls “postulates of the Imagination.”

    While much of what Burgon affirms here is clearly sensible, there are some caveats that need attention. Concerning the first canon, the question arises of what constitutes consistent ecclesiastical testimony. What if two readings, for instance, enjoy fairly equal numbers of attestation by manuscripts, versions, and fathers? Secondly, the third canon is difficult to maintain consistently. If number is weight, then why does Burgon not once mention how much agreement there is between א and B, on the one hand, and the Textus Receptus (hereafter TR) on the other? This huge agreement does not prevent Burgon's complete rejection of the two manuscripts as two of the most corrupt manuscripts of all time. The fourth canon is not one that affects Burgon's arguments much. He argues far more from majority than from geographical distribution. While canon 5 is one that almost all textual critics agree with, Burgon oftentimes forgets to address alternate possible explanations of how a reading might have arisen. Concerning canon 6, while it is relatively strong to assert that patristic readings ought to be given more weight than they usually are, since they often attest to a reading that predates any extant manuscripts, much more caution is necessary with regard to the patristic evidence. Determining actual citations is notoriously difficult, since some fathers quoted from memory, and some biblical passages are very similar to others, thus casting doubt on which biblical passage is actually cited. Burgon shows little hesitation concerning the church father citations, which shows an over-confidence on his part concerning the evidence. In other words, external evidence is not always as clear as Burgon thinks it is.

    Burgon's strongest arguments in the book are in reaction to Bishop Ellicott's articles (367-520). This response basically constitutes one long argument for the TR reading of Θεὸς as the correct reading over against the relative pronoun ὃς in 1 Timothy 3:16. These arguments are immensely detailed, and generally convincing. However, here or there one may quibble. For instance, the detailed argument concerning the cross stroke of the Θ and the overstroke indicating abbreviation in Codex Alexandrinus does not take into account the fact that it is equally possible that they were added by a corrector. Later textual criticism (particularly Metzger) refers the relative pronoun reading to the original reading of A, and the cross-stroke to the corrector of A (see NA28). That being said, it is very instructive to note Burgon's comments on how manuscripts can fade over time, and how the evidence then “changes.”

    It is also difficult to argue with his dictum that all readings are old (245). This fact does not receive enough attention among modern textual critics. Most modern critics uncritically assume that the oldest reading is always (or usually) in the oldest manuscript. However, if a tenth century manuscript is copied from a first generation manuscript, there might be fewer generations of manuscripts in between the later tenth century manuscript and the autograph than between a fourth century manuscript that has more generations between it and the autograph. Of course, it is exceptionally difficult to determine genealogical relationships of any sort among the manuscripts. Even affinity among manuscripts is not proof of common ancestry. This is true because it is not usually evident from what exemplar a manuscript might have been corrected. This allows the possibility of much cross-pollination among the so-called families.

    This leads to the first major problem of Burgon's book. On the one hand, he rejects the genealogical method in general, a method which he calls “purely arbitrary” (20). His objection is clear: that if no actual steps in the genealogical process are evident, then scholars cannot speak of genealogical evidence (256). However, this sets up a massive tu quoque: he uses the very same genealogical argument with regard to the relationship between א and B (12, 28, 227, 255-257, and 318)! Just because they have similar readings does not prove they have a common ancestor. To add a further problem: Burgon actually grants that “groupings” can be valid (339), though he rejects using such an idea as a foundational principle. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Burgon rejects the idea of grouping if it disadvantages the TR, but is perfectly willing to use the argument if it disadvantages א and B. Burgon is therefore overly prejudiced against א and B.

    The second major problem of the book is that, although Burgon posits the TR as a standard for comparison only, not a standard for excellence (xviii-xix, 75), he does not avoid using the TR as a standard for excellence as well. Deviations from the TR are even labeled “depraved” (xxx). Furthermore, since the TR is assumed to be correct, any minuses from the TR are labeled as “omissions.” This begs the question of whether the material in א and B (for example) is shorter by intention or accident, versus the material in TR possibly being an expansion. This problem is one reason why most modern textual critics prefer the non-value terms “plus” and “minus” instead of “addition” or “omission,” terms which imply an a priori conclusion. Burgon does not hold back from judging the motivations of the scribes of א and B as being intentionally sinister (16, 245).

    The third major problem with Burgon's book is the illogicality of many of his arguments. For instance, he argues that the reason why א and B have survived is because they were not of average purity (319, 325). In other words, the purer documents were in use and thus wore out, and the less pure documents were unused, thus being preserved. This argument is common among defenders of the TR. It only works, however, if there are no other possible explanations of why such older manuscripts might have been preserved. All the extant manuscripts have been preserved. Is it completely out of the realm of possibility that the reason א and B have survived is because scribes thought it might be good to produce two excellent manuscripts and then put them away so that they might be brought out later to correct other manuscripts? Why is it impossible for God's providence to have worked in this way? Burgon's argument is so bizarre, that, if taken to its logical conclusion, it would cast doubt on the reliability of any ancient manuscript of any book. Burgon's view would imply that the older a manuscript is, the less likely it is to be a good manuscript. Where would one draw the line between a date that ensures it was a well-used copy versus a date that proves it was a poor copy and thus put away? So there are two main problems with this argument. First, it falls prey to the argument of the beard (what date is the cut-off?). Secondly, it has a too-narrow view of the providence of God. All of the extant manuscripts have been preserved by God's providence. That God's providence looks unusual in the case of some manuscripts should not be a strike against them.

    This leads to the fourth major problem with Burgon's book. It has quite a large number of logical fallacies. Burgon commits the following fallacies: 1. the fallacy of the beard—arguing that manuscripts have differences in every verse does not negate their usefulness (31). Where would he draw the line with regard to how many verses the manuscripts would have to offer consistent testimony on in order to be credible? 2. Begging the question—Burgon's use of statistics in the number of words in Luke's gospel (19,941) is begging the question, assuming the TR count. This is evident also in the way Burgon uses statistics generally, which never manages to point out the agreement of א and B with the TR. He only points out the differences. As a result, he greatly exaggerates the differences. 3. Non sequitur—it does not follow that manuscripts quoting the LXX are therefore self-condemned (56). It does not follow that Scripture could not have recorded something so foul as Herod being sexually aroused by his own daughter, and that this is therefore grounds for rejecting a reading (68). Genesis 19 comes to mind. It does not follow that because Burgon might be right in some instances of analysis, that therefore he is correct in all (107). 4. Poisoned well fallacy—just because there might be a “thicket” of incorrect readings does not make a reading in the midst of them untrue (96). Similarly, the often-used poisoned-well fallacies of the discovery of א in a waste-paper basket, and the long housing of B in the Vatican find their way to Burgon's pen (343). Joseph came out of a prison. Does this mean he was guilty or wrong in something? We do not know the links in the chain of God's providence as to how א got to be in a monastery's waste-paper basket, or how B got to be housed in the Vatican library. It is highly unwise to speculate on such things, let alone cast doubt on the manuscripts' worth by such means. 5. Ad hominem fallacy—the doctrinal position of a textual critic on the deity of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with how well he might be able to do his job as a textual critic (witness the care of Jewish scribes!). Yet Burgon casts doubt on everything Westcott and Hort did simply by attacking their association (and thus committing simultaneously the guilt by association fallacy) with some people who deny the deity of Christ (344). Burgon himself asked for help from Roman Catholic scholars. Should this fact cast doubt on the validity of Burgon's own conclusions? 6. False dichotomy—Burgon commits a false dichotomy in describing א and B, claiming that they are either the very purest or the very foulest of all manuscripts (365). These two manuscripts have far more agreement with the TR than disagreement. How is Burgon so certain that there is no mediating position? Surely every manuscript in existence has a greater or lesser degree of purity.

    To conclude, Burgon's book has some very strong arguments in certain sections, especially when he is dealing with particular text-critical problems. At the very least, Burgon should be a caution against espousing Westcott and Hort's theories blindly and fanatically. Westcott and Hort were certainly too slavish in their devotion to א and B. It is also certain that Westcott and Hort downplayed the Byzantine manuscripts far too much. The dictum that says manuscripts should be weighed not counted is a false dichotomy. Surely some manuscripts are better than others (though none have any kind of absolute sway). And yet it is also true that numbers count. Furthermore, the genealogical method has many flaws that make conclusions based on it far more tenuous than most proponents of the method would like to believe. It is far too difficult to discern real genealogical relationships when the historical data is so thin (all we really have in most cases is the evidence of the manuscripts themselves), and when agreement and difference can be due to a fair number of different factors. Affinity among manuscripts can be a factor, however, even if it has to be chastened, just as many of the canons of textual criticism require adjustment.
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  2. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    Excellent write-up, thanks. I agree with the analysis, I found Burgon to be more than a bit biased and arbitrary, though he had some good points of restraint upon modern textual criticism. Two of my favorite critics are Maurice Robinson and Charles Scrivener, both of whom I think are careful thoughtful, yet not necessarily trying to fit all evidence to support the TR.

    I think your point about it being too narrow a view of Providence to be spot on.
  3. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    Actually, Dr. Robinson believes that Burgon was on the right path in his approach to the subject.

    Personally, having read quite a bit on this subject, I think it rather silly to think that ANYONE comes at this as pure, unbiased science without presuppositions fundamentally effecting conclusions from the outset.

    One of the things I particularly appreciate about Burgon is his clarity regarding how his doctrine of the Scripture undergirded his approach to textual criticism.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  4. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Oh I wish I had the time to interact with your methodically-researched comments, Lane! Between teaching, sermon prep, and pastoral care I seem to not even have time for "pleasure" research and study! (Partly it's my age slowing me down.)

    Burgon has been a companion for me many decades now, and while I do have a bone or two to pick with him, I would differ with you on some of the things you have said. Perhaps this "bump" will extend the period of this thread to allow me to "steal time" and post a few remarks.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    He was for the majority text of the Greek NT, correct?
  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    What is interesting to me is that he is claimed as the patron saint of textual criticism by those holding to the KJVO, and yet he himself wrote that the TR itself and many areas where it should have been corrected.
  7. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Sounds like Burgon was trying to rig textual criticism so that his beloved KJV would always come out on top.
  8. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What a cynical judgment on a godly man, Richard—unworthy an RE. Seeing such aspersion cast upon him, I shall indeed have to add a little to this thread.
  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Maybe not that extreme, but
    he would have to be seen as being KJV preferred, if not KJVO.
  10. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    In the 19th century, both Alexander Maclaren and Charles Spurgeon would preach from the 1881 Revised Version when they felt that a particular reading was superior to the KJV. They both still adhered to the KJV most of the time but, as I say, were not averse to the new translation.
  11. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

    Yes. Spurgeon believed the Revised Version used better manuscripts in 1 John 3:1 than the Authorised Version. Spurgeon said this:
    "A genuine fragment of inspired Scripture has been dropped by our older translators, and it is too precious to be lost. Did not our Lord say, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost”? The half lost portion of our text is restored to us in the Revised Version... Those authorities upon which we depend—those manuscripts which are best worthy
    of notice—have these words; and they are to be found in the Vulgate, the Alexandrian, and several other versions. They ought never to have dropped out. In the judgment of the most learned, and those best to be relied on, these are veritable words of inspiration."
  12. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Stephen,

    That goes to show that even "the prince of preachers" is not infallible. The RV was, in his day, a big deal, purporting to have a more accurate text, and many good men were initially enamored of it. It remains that it is a reading from a Roman Catholic ms (I will answer Lane on this issue when I get to that), and not the Reformation text. A very few mss have the reading, while the vast majority of the Greek mss do not recognize it.
  13. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Junior

    I have read James White and James Price and I find their arguments convincing. But I wait with sincere interest your answer to Lane.

    Note: Re James White, his presuppositions are helpfully laid out in his 'King James Controversy' Revised ed, p 79ff.
  14. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks, Stephen. I don't know if I have the revised ed (can't keep buying book updates, Bible updates – when money is tight), but I'll check the edition I have. For the record, while I differ with James on the Bible issue, I do love the man – he's a stand-up brother – and have a lot of respect for him (notwithstanding friends who demonize him). I pretty much understand his presupps anyway.
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    They would have probably, if alive today, preached at times from the modern versions such as Nas/ESV, as wee not KJVO.
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I think that the works of James White is this area of bible versions is must reading.
  17. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I find it perplexing that so many consider James White to be an expert on textual criticism, and yet I doubt anyone could come up with any reasons as to why this would be the case.
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Mainly due to him be able to show in layman terms just how stupid the KJVO position is regarding the scriptures.
  19. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    David, you need to temper your position a bit here. Not every person believes that the KJV is best for the same reasons. Some arguments are better than others. It is far better to deal with individuals, who have quite different sets of arguments, rather than treating them all in one lump.
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  20. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Low hanging fruit is always easy to pick, however he is much less compelling when dealing with the more cogent arguments of those who prefer the traditional text. Those who don’t know much about textual criticism probably think Dr. White did well in his debate with Bart Ehrman, but those who are more well versed in the subject realize that Ehrman was just toying with him.
  21. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Lane,

    To respond to your “first major problem of Burgon's book” as noted in the OP.

    I see your method is to completely bypass his primary arguments and view of the textual terrain, and focus instead on small apparent contradictions, one of which is your confusing the use of genealogical categories. You said, “he rejects the genealogical method in general, a method which he calls 'purely arbitrary' (20).” Below I give the context of that statement in Burgon:

    But indeed the principle involved in the foregoing remarks admits of being far more broadly stated. It even stands to reason that we may safely reject any reading which, out of the whole body of available authorities,—Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers,—finds support nowhere save in one and the same little handful of suspicious documents. For we resolutely maintain, that external Evidence must after all be our best, our only safe guide; and (to come to the point) we refuse to throw in our lot with those who, disregarding the witness of every other known Codex—every other Version—every other available Ecclesiastical Writer,—insist on following the dictates of a little group of authorities, of which nothing whatever is known with so much certainty as that often, when they concur exclusively, it is to mislead. We speak of codices b or א or d; the IXth-century codex l, and such cursives as 13 or 33; a few copies of the old Latin and one of the Egyptian versions: perhaps Origen.—Not theory therefore:—not prejudice:—not conjecture:—not unproved assertion:—not any single codex, and certainly not codex b:—not an imaginary “Antiochene Recension” of another imaginary “Pre-Syrian Text:”—not antecedent fancies about the affinity of documents:—neither “the [purely arbitrary] method of genealogy,”—nor one man's notions (which may be reversed by another man's notions) of “Transcriptional Probability:”—not “instinctive processes of Criticism,”—least of all “the individual mind,” with its “supposed power of divining the Original Text”—of which no intelligible account can be rendered:—nothing of this sort,—(however specious and plausible it may sound, especially when set forth in confident language; advocated with a great show of unintelligible learning; supported by a formidable array of cabalistic symbols and mysterious contractions; above all when recommended by justly respected names,)—nothing of this sort, we say, must be allowed to determine for us the Text of Scripture. The very proposal should set us on our guard against the certainty of imposition.

    We deem it even axiomatic, that, in every case of doubt or difficulty—supposed or real—our critical method must be the same: namely, after patiently collecting all the available evidence, then, without partiality or prejudice, to adjudicate between the conflicting authorities, and loyally to accept that verdict for which there is clearly the preponderating evidence. The best supported Reading, in other words, must always be held to be the true Reading: and nothing may be rejected from the commonly received Text, except on evidence which shall clearly outweigh the evidence for retaining it. We are glad to know that, so far at least, we once had Bp. Ellicott with us. He announced (in 1870) that the best way of proceeding with the work of Revision is, “to make the Textus Receptus the standard,—departing from it only when critical or grammatical considerations show that it is clearly necessary.” We ourselves mean no more. Whenever the evidence is about evenly balanced, few it is hoped will deny that the Text which has been “in possession” for three centuries and a half, and which rests on infinitely better manuscript evidence than that of any ancient work which can be named,—should, for every reason, be let alone.​

    I apologize to the readers for the lengthy quotes, but as Rev. Lane gives no context for his allegations, I must supply them instead to make sense of the matter. The “purely arbitrary” nature of Hort’s use—and definition—of “genealogical evidences” he (Burgon) does make clear, which I shall get to in a moment. Burgon’s denial of Hort’s peculiar “genealogical evidences” is but one of many flawed claims, as can be noted in the above paragraphs.

    Rev. Lane says of Burgon, “His objection is clear: that if no actual steps in the genealogical process are evident, then scholars cannot speak of genealogical evidence (256). Let us go to these pages 255-256 and see what Burgon actually says of Hort’s method:

    High time however is it to declare that, in strictness, all this talk about “Genealogical evidence,” when applied to Manuscripts, is—moonshine. The expression is metaphorical, and assumes that it has fared with MSS. as it fares with the successive generations of a family; and so, to a remarkable extent, no doubt, it has. But then, it happens, unfortunately, that we are unacquainted with one single instance of a known MS. copied from another known MS. And perforce all talk about “Genealogical evidence,” where no single step in the descent can be produced,—in other words, where no Genealogical evidence exists,—is absurd. The living inhabitants of a village, congregated in the churchyard where the bodies of their forgotten progenitors for 1000 years repose without memorials of any kind,—is a faint image of the relation which subsists between extant copies of the Gospels and the sources from which they were derived. That, in either case, there has been repeated mixture, is undeniable; but since the Parish-register is lost, and not a vestige of Tradition survives, it is idle to pretend to argue on that part of the subject. It may be reasonably assumed however that those 50 yeomen, bearing as many Saxon surnames, indicate as many remote ancestors of some sort. That they represent as many families, is at least a fact. Further we cannot go.

    But the illustration is misleading, because inadequate. Assemble rather an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scot; a Frenchman, a German, a Spaniard; a Russian, a Pole, an Hungarian; an Italian, a Greek, a Turk. From Noah these 12 are all confessedly descended; but if they are silent, and you know nothing whatever about their antecedents,—your remarks about their respective “genealogies” must needs prove as barren—as Dr. Hort's about the “genealogies” of copies of Scripture. “The factor of Genealogy,” in short, in this discussion, represents a mere phantom of the brain: is the name of an imagination—not of a fact.​

    What Burgon is saying, is that in this context and usage, the impressive-sounding phrase “genealogical evidence” is but quasi-academic bluster meant to impress the unlearned, as it has no substance to it.

    Then the good Rev. Lane charges Burgon with making a “massive tu quoque”, which in essence means a retort charging an adversary with doing what he criticizes in others. But is Burgon doing such, that is, using “genealogical evidence” that he disallows in Hort? Here we get into more intricate and interesting detail.

    What actually is the genealogical method as pertains to textual transmission? Is it even a valid method? Hort uses the term as though it is, but does Burgon? Rev. Lane says that “he uses the very same genealogical argument with regard to the relationship between א and B”, but does he? Because Burgon claims that “Between the first two (b and א) there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original” (page 12), does this mean he is using the “genealogical method” as posited in some TC (text critical) circles, or is he simply stating that they both derive from a common source, given that these two mss have in common unique remarkably close variants found hardly anywhere else. The concept of genealogical families is quite different and more greatly developed than such a basic idea of transmission from an archetype to two copies made therefrom.

    In his book, Forever Settled: A Survey of the Documents and History of the Bible (an online version here), Jack Moorman, discussing genealogical “families of manuscripts”, says,

    Though there is truth in the above commonly presented position and we have quoted Dr. Hills at length, yet the basic idea of textual types or families has its source in the naturalistic viewpoint and we do not believe that it represents the facts concerning the distribution of MSS in the early centuries.

    With some 85% or more of the 5000 extant MSS falling into the category of the Received Text, there is in fact only one textual family, the Received. All that remains is so contradictory, so confused, so mixed, that not by the furthest stretch of imagination can they be considered several families of MSS.

    Rather than face squarely this preponderance of support for the TR, naturalistic scholars with their ingrained bias against that text have found it convenient to talk of three or four families, as if all were basically equals. This was one of the main pillars in the Westcott and Hort theory which enabled them to Construct a new Greek Testament on the fewest possible MSS.

    Yet as the following quotations from "The Identity of the New Testament Text" by Wilbur Pickering show, most present day textual scholars (mainly naturalistic) are prepared to abandon the entire idea:

    "We have reconstructed text types and families and subfamilies and in so doing have created things that never before existed on earth or in heaven." (Parvis).

    "The major mistake is made in thinking of the old text-types as frozen blocks." (Colwell).

    "It is still customary to divide MSS into four well-known families ...this classical division can no longer be maintained." (Klijn).

    "Was there a fundamental flaw in the previous investigation which tolerated so erroneous a grouping ... Those few men who have done extensive collating of MSS, or paid attention to those done by others, as a rule have not accepted such erroneous groupings." (Metzger).

    "I defy anyone, after having carefully perused the foregoing lists ... to go back to the teaching of Dr. Hort (regarding text-types) with any degree of confidence." (Hoskier).​

    Given all of this, I think that Rev. Lane’s distaste for the Received Text over against the Critical Text has tinted the lenses through which he views Burgon’s book. I have some (far milder) criticisms of Burgon, which Dr. E.F. Hills, the Harvard text critic has stated, that being Hills’ “high Anglicanism”, and the transmission of Christian truth primarily through the apostolic succession of church bishops, has weakened his view of the text to a small extent.

    If I proceed to critique the remainder of Rev. Lane’s four “problems” with Burgon, please be prepared to endure lengthy rebuttals, as I like to be thorough in these matters. In fact, I have greatly abbreviated my present response, restraining myself for both the readers’ sakes, and my own, as I’m a busy man.

    (Here is a decent online copy of Burgon’s The Revision Revised by
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  22. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    David, although I am not KJVO, but KJV priority (granting the legitimacy of other Bible versions), it really is neither wise nor godly to opine "how stupid the KJVO position is regarding the scriptures". There is a thin line between the KJVO view and my own, and if you think I'm stupid you'd do better to demonstrate that rather than simply throw slurs around without any substance, and toward an ordained pastor at that, not to mention a child of the Almighty God. I probably am stupid about some things, and if it bothers me I try to rectify that by learning, but you do your reputation no service by mouthing but empty words.
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  23. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Steve, thank you for your explanatory post. I'm always edified by your insight and evident study of the matter. I too am a KJV priority and appreciate your insightful and kind defense of the AV. You have taught me much.
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Since you asked for "any reasons" why Dr. White could be viewed as having some expertise in Textual Criticism does the fact that his current PhD work involves textual critical work on a manuscript count?
    James does not promote himself as *the* expert on Textual Criticism but I've studied the field of textual criticism as part of my Seminary degree and everything that James talks about is consistent with a grasp in the field that most people do not possess. Toward that end, he is one of the few people who actually regularly engages the topic from an apologetic perspective defending against popular claims by Ehrman and others.

    May I ask what reasons, if any, someone should trust your own expertise in gauging whether Dr. White possesses any expertise in textual criticism?
  25. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Dr. White is no doubt a brilliant man and one whose work has profited me greatly. Regardless, there are objective standards by which to judge whether or not someone is an expert in a particular field, and one does not himself need to be an expert to discern this, nor do these objective standards change or cease to exist simply because we like or agree with the person in question. Much of what Bill Nye says lines up with what most scientists say, does this make him an expert? As far as textual criticism goes, the objective standards would be someone who has a legitimate Ph.D in a relevant field and who has engaged in the subject for multiple years as his primary occupation and pursuit. Dr. White, brilliant though he may be, does not meet this standard. Perhaps he will in the future.
  26. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Again, what expertise do you possess to gauge the relative expertise of Dr. White.
    You state that there are "objective standards" to determine whether a person has a sufficient grasp of textual criticism to be relied upon for information.

    What are these objective standards? Since neither of us are experts, can you please point me to the place where men are certified as having expertise in the field?

    I ought to note as well that men like Dan Wallace have no problem interacting with Dr. White as if he has a firm handle on these subjects.

    You stated that you doubt anyone can give even a single reason why Dr. White should be considered possessing expertise in this field. I find it to be a mean-spirited swipe at the man beneath the office you hold. What I'd like to find is proof that you were not merely being churlish but that you actually have some "objective standard" by which I can measure Dr. White and agree with you that there is absolutely *NO* reason why his well-reasoned discussions on these topics should be respected.
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I fully agree with you on this issue, as my comments were directed towards the KJVO position period and only, as that position has really no scripture or textual support for it. One can be KJV preferred is fine, as I do use that version, as well as the Nas and the ESV .
  28. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I have no interest in arguing with you over this matter. I agree that Dr. White is a fine apologist and a gift to the church. I also believe that there are objective standards by which to judge such matters and that one need not himself be an expert in order to deduce this. I find these things to be rather self-evident, and in fact if they were not, we would be hopelessly lost when it comes to seeking reliable sources of information. At any rate, I certainly did not intend to be churlish, and if I came off as such, then I apologize.
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I meant no disrespect to you or anyone else here who has the KJV as best translation, as the KJVO goes way behind that, and makes it the only translation God will use, and makes it a perfect translation.
  30. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The basic problem might be that he supports the Greek critical text over both the TR/MT, and some do have issues with him just due to that.
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