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Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by BayouHuguenot, Feb 10, 2019.
Thank you. Prof Duguid, where does the Syriac Peshitta fit in on the textual tradition debate?
That would be great. At present, though, it's hard to imagine. We don't have the number of scholars, the funds, or the leisure that the larger community that produces the NU has. Plus, it would have a very limited appeal, even among TR folks (there would be those who would be skeptical).
Robinson is a different story, though. He's a Byzantine guy (I know there's only a hair's breadth of difference between the texts, but the theoies are different). He, with Pierpoint, have put out a critical edition of the "Byzantine text type." Look up Byzantine Text Form 2005.
I can't think of an example where the Peshitta alone would influence a reading; it might be helpful for the translation of an obscure word, which is far more often an issue in the OT than the NT. And of course it might provide further support for a reading found in the LXX and at Qumran.
I believe that the CT is inferior as it has not been kept pure in all ages. (WCF 1.8)
It seems that the CT contains newly discovered fragments that add or take away from the manuscripts that have always been known and preserved by the church.
If God inspired the Holy Writ and his church is the pillar and ground of the truth, it does not seem probable that he would allow corruption to his sacred manuscripts. Variants do not assume that the text is not authentic as the true reading can be distinguished by a collation of known and better manuscripts in the church's depository.
The science of textual criticism is important but it must not be primary or on par with what Holy Scripture says but instead subservient to it.
Unless it can be demonstrated that these fragments are earlier (e.g., being Used by Irenaeus, Tatian, etc).
And if we judge doctrine by the text, and not the other way around, then it is the text that determines doctrine, not doctrine that determines text.
What I am seeing is the exact same argument that EO use: "If we don't presuppose that God promised to be with his church and keep the doctrine pure, even if we don't have textual evidence for the earliest claims, then what can we possibly believe?"
Why is it assumed that the manuscripts used in CT are ALL corrupted? You seem to only apply the above truth to the TR manuscripts. This does not seem logical and further seems to break your own rule. Unless you only view the TR manuscripts as being valid. Again, did God not preserve the other manuscripts?
Andrew, a couple of points. I believe you are using TR presuppositions in your description of Warfield and Kruger. The most evident example is in how you subtlely change the definition of the idea of "corruption." In the TR version of things, a wide gulf seems to exist between the TR manuscripts and all other manuscripts. The latter are corrupted with a capital C (Burgon's language on this particular issue goes far beyond what I have described here: he thinks they are of the devil). However, when Warfield and Kruger talk about corruptions, they are using the word with a lower-case "c." Even the quotations you have adduced show that Warfield didn't think the CT was very far away from the TR. Warfield wasn't thinking that we had to reinvent the whole wheel, much less that the church had been deprived of the Word for centuries.
Andrew, I am glad you don't think that the CT position is nullified by the history of its origins. That's great. But if that is the case, you picked a most EXTREMELY misleading way to say it. Your rather strong hint was that the CT's history of origins was a significant strike against it (and you did not differentiate AT ALL between Reformed versions of the CT theory and unbelieving versions, thus lumping them all together). Its history is not a strike at all against the Reformed view of it, any more than Johann Gabler's take on Biblical Theology is a strike against Vos's view of Biblical Theology.
Third point: do you believe that it is impossible for a Reformed person to hold to any form of CT and yet also claim that the text has been kept pure in all ages? I get the strong feeling that you think that is impossible. I will tell you my position: the Word of God has been kept pure in all ages. Notice that the word "absolutely 100%" does not occur prior to the word "pure" in the WS, nor does it in the phrasing of my opinion. I do not interpret that phrase in the confession to imply that in every age, the text of the original is present in any one manuscript, or even tradition of manuscripts. There are degrees of purity. The TR is mostly pure, and the pure doctrine of God comes through it. Its errors of transmission are mostly insignificant in nature. The CT offers a corrective to the TR that can make it even more pure. But this is, in my view, an issue of correcting a TR text that is, say, 98% pure (and the remaining 2% is mostly insignificant stuff), with the help of the other manuscript traditions to make it 99.99% pure. I would hope you can agree that this position of mine is FULLY in accord with the WS.
What I see mostly from TR defenders, however, is an attempt (whether conscious or not) to disenfranchise people who hold to the CT. They cannot be confessionally Reformed, or at least they cannot be consistently Reformed, and only the TR position is Reformed. This goes too far, in my opinion. I have never seen anyone from the CT position claim that TR folk cannot be confessionally Reformed. I have seen the reverse, and I do not think there is any world of discourse where that is appropriate.
I would like to brag for a minute about one of my professors, Dr. Michael Barrett. I took a class from him a little over a year ago, Fall of 2017, on textual criticism of the OT and NT. Dr. Barrett holds to the Majority Text position, rejects the idea of "families" of manuscripts, and holds that the oldest reading (not the oldest manuscript) is what we should be after. He rejects the CT position, but he is the farthest thing from rejecting CT brothers as being Reformed. He holds his position firmly, but with the utmost charity, and he did not grade me down on a paper that I wrote with which he had quite a few disagreements. I wish TR and Majority Text people were more like him.
The TR is exactly that: a reconstructing and rebuilding of the original with only about 15 manuscripts and the Complutensian Polyglot. What do you think Stephanus was doing if not seeking to rebuild the original? It is amazing to me that TR defenders seek to put this vast gulf between the idealogies of the TR and the CT, as if they both weren't actually trying to do the exact same thing! The CT position holds that the original readings are out there in the manuscripts. Isn't that the same thing that the TR position holds? The only real difference, it seems to me, is that the TR holds that only Byzantine readings are allowed to be original, because use in the church is the only providence of which God is capable with regard to manuscripts. Hiding them away for later use is not something God could possibly do. I reject a narrow view of God's providence. Furthermore, Vaticanus was in Rome for centuries. If it be objected that this is the RCC, then I would point out Erasmus was a Roman Catholic, and was heavily involved in the origin of the TR.
Just as an aside, this works both ways. Students who have presuppositional and methodological concerns with contemporary textual criticism do not necessarily have the confidence that their work won't be marked down for disagreements.
I'd like someone to tell me what a TR manuscript is, or what the TR textual tradition is.
I'm sure you're right. CT is such the majority position that many professors forget that there are plausible arguments for the TR position, and that they should deal with the TR folk with as much charity as they would hope to have if the positions were reversed.
Tyler, TR stands, in this case, for "Textus Receptus," the Greek text of the NT published by Robert Stephanus in the 1540's, building on Erasmus's work. Generally, the TR is known for representing the Byzantine manuscript tradition.
Thanks--I think you may have missed my point. The TR isn't a manuscript tradition, nor are there "TR manuscripts." That kind of sloppy language keeps getting used on this thread, implying that only a limited "family" of manuscripts is consulted when criticism is done from a TR perspective. My understanding is that Beza, the KJV translators, etc. consulted texts of the so-called Alexandrian text type, as well as texts from the so-called Byzantine text type when doing their textual criticism.
Then you didn't make your point very clear. Yes, the scholars who published the TR consulted manuscripts that have Alexandrian text type (in fact, that is WHY I used the word "generally"). They rejected almost all Alexandrian readings if they differed from the Byzantine. I didn't say that the TR was a manuscript tradition. Nowhere have I said that. The TR is a Greek edition of the NT that is actually eclectic within the Byzantine manuscripts. Those who engage in textual criticism who favor the TR don't use the other manuscripts if they reject them, such as Burgon does! He only examines the Alexandrian texts to reject them. By "TR manuscripts" I only mean the manuscripts that were used to create the Greek edition of the TR. So, no sloppiness is in evidence.
I've posted the following before, long ago, in another thread where the TR vs the CT creds were being debated ... I post it again because I feel, from a CT perspective it is worth noting. FJA Hort, co translator with BF Westcott of a critical text of the GNT, wrote this in the introduction to his explanation of the W&H translation, 'Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek.' 1896, reprint Hendrikson 1988. Underlined and emboldened text, by me, are the points I wanted to stress.
It would seem unlikely that these fragments were used earlier and then lost for it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
I believe that Scripture is the first principle in the supernatural order and is self- attesting. The text manifests the doctrine and the doctrine affirms the text.
Textual evidence is very important. But they are secondary and should conform to Scripture. The science of textual evidence according to natural man is fallible. Therefore it must be subjected and taken captive to faith.
I think there is unfortunately sloppy language all over, and I'm certainly guilty of it too. It seems that even TR advocates often disagree on what constitutes the TR (I could name five different views just from the members on this board)!
The TR published by TBS and that seems to be most common was in some sense a reconstruction from the KJV, by Scrivener, of the manuscripts and published texts available to the translators. Those manuscripts were no longer available so it seems to be something of an "eclectic text" (irony). My understanding is that it contains a few readings not found any surviving manuscript. Isn't that the sort of thing the CT gets criticized for?
I'm with Lane here. It's hard for me to see the major technical difference in process...
God did not preserve all the CT manuscripts throughout the ages. There are recent discoveries of fragments that have been lost for centuries. It seems unlikely that God would bestow such an inestimable treasure upon his church and then take it away.
The God I read of in scripture often gives and takes away as he sees fit NOT as it makes sense to us. I am not trying to totally imply that with the preservation of his word, as I believe he has preserved it in all ages and in more manuscripts than the TR is based on. I am not willing to say God did not have a GOOD plan with the CT just because I cannot understand all the ways our Lord works. Even if we had 0 bibles left in the world, the Lord would still provide for his sheep I assure you.
That's true only if you equate the fullness of Scripture with the apographa. And historically if we have evidence that some fathers used these fragments, and then they were lost, then that seems like my point.
Depends on the doctrine in question. Trinity? Sure, but because it was able to be defended by guys like Athanasius who did not resort to the Johannine Comma, for example.
But God didn't give us fully intact Protestant canons. Men had to do the hard work of recovering manuscripts, some of which were damaged in persecution, and others damaged by time.
When an apostle wrote a piece of Scripture, did the papyrus and parchment suddenly take on the properties of immutability and eternity? Of course not. They were copied and sometimes tricks of the eye came in (autou becomes auton, for example). And given that the script was often written without spaces, it was sometimes a judgment call. This is how copying ancient documents worked.
And yet God didn't seem too bothered by it.
I agree about the sloppiness. Things get muddled pretty quickly in a venue like this. That's not to say anything against thr PB--it's just hard to have a technical conversation on an online forum.
I can't speak to the Scrivener issue. All I know is that the goal was to present the Greek that underlies the KJV.
It's an interesting goal, to be sure. Not necessarily a bad one but probably not the best one either.
Please understand that my statement was not directed to you in particular. The OP speaks of a TR manuscript tradition, and that sort of language has been used here and there throughout the thread.
As for my point being clear, I assumed it would be understood in light of what I've said elsewhere in this thread. I've emphasized several times that there are no TR manuscripts, no TR manuscript tradition, etc., and that the various editions of the TR are critical editions of the Greek testament.
It's useful for those who use the KJV. There's no reason it should be viewed as the definitive edition, though.
Interestingly enough, I listened to James White presenting a class on the TR and textual criticism a week or two ago on youtube here. I had bought the edition of the TR published by the Trinitarian Bible Society, not knowing that it was the Scrivener translation.
Why would that be a problem ? Well ... according to David Norton, in his The King James Bible, A Short History, From Tyndale To Today, Skivener edited the original edition of the Cambridge Paragraph Bible by making changes he 'thought' were accurate, without the textual evidence to prove it.
In the aforementioned video @ 3:10 James White says that Scrivener used manuscripts by Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and compared them with one another, then back translated 'his' TR from the English translation of the KJV. Apparently Scrivener wanted a TR text that was as close as possible to what the KJV translators had. This was more difficult because they relied so much on Tyndale, further obscuring the original textual sources.
James White says, "This is a Greek text based on an English translation." JW says somewhere in the video, that there is no Greek manuscript in existence that reads exactly as the Scrivener translation.That said, it is a really nicely done edition, as far as the fonts, and the quality of the printed book. Whether Scrivener, as in the Cambridge Paragraph Bible, allowed his presuppositional biases to influence his translation is something I wonder about. At this stage of my struggle to learn koine it isn't an issue, because I'm still a neophyte with a long way to go to have the ability to read it fluently. I only bring it up to disseminate the information.
We're getting pretty far afield of the OP, but I just want to say that, from what I understand, this is a very unfair representation of Scrivener's work. His NT is based on the KJV in the sense that he chose his Greek readings based on the KJV. His goal was to show the text which underlies the KJV. To be clear: Scrivener was not a TR guy--he held to the genealogical method, and preferred the so-called Byzantine text. Also, he did not have a superstitious attachment to the KJV--he helped produce the RV.
Well, the science of textual criticism has, as its burden, determining the true text of Scripture by comparing and contrasting all of the existing manuscripts (both fragments and entire manuscripts). So, its job is to determine what Scripture says - so it's not a matter of textual criticism being "subservient" to the Bible, since it's determining what the Bible says (while not being involved with its interpretation).
Brother Tyler, who do you identify as being unfair in representing Scivener's work ? if you're referring to my speculation regarding his handling of the text, that was based on Norton's description of Scrivener's editing of the CPB. I did not say that he translated based on his bias, if he had any, I said that I hoped he didn't.
I was mainly referring to White's statement about it being a Greek edition based on an English version. I'll have to watch the video myself--forgive me for commenting before having done so, but White isn't known for being terribly charitable toward those with whom he disagrees on textual-critical issues.
Thank you for the clarification Tyler. Here is a bit of info I found on a site devoted to the TR. I found it in a google search, so I don't endorse it since I only discovered it tonight, but below is a little bio of Scrivener's TR ;