357 92 538KB
English Pages 
1,174 106 19MB Read more
The New Testament is a fascinating book—the canonical root of Christian history and theology. Yet the book is also a par
684 138 54MB Read more
The New Testament in Antiquity is a textbook for college and seminary students penned by three evangelical scholars with
480 95 21MB Read more
This book investigates the use of the Greek term “proskuneo” with Jesus as the object in the New Testament writings. Ray
391 72 683KB Read more
The Majority text of the Greek New Testament By Giuseppe Guarino
Introduction by Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD
from the website www.ebiblicalstudies.com please check for updates
INTRODUCTION b Wilbr N. Pickering. .
PREFACE b the athor .
CHAPTER ONE Tetal Criticism and the Greek Ne Testament .
CHAPTER TWO Variant Readings and Tet Tpes .
CHAPTER THREE Critical Editions of the Greek Ne Testament
CHAPTER FOUR The Neologian tet and some of the principles behind it
CHAPTER FIVE The Majorit Tet .
CHAPTER SIX Eamples of Variant Readings
MS MSS NT TR M A W
manuscript manuscripts New Testament Textus Receptus Majority Text Alexandrian Text Western Text
Westcott and Hort and their text Traditional Text
INTRODUCTION B Wilbr N. Pickering, ThM PhD
It is refreshing to read a defense of the Majorit Tet of the Greek Ne Testament ritten b an Italian liing in Ital. The athor gies a good introdction to the sbject of Ne Testament tetal criticism for the la person, inclding a brief reie of the facts of histor that make the practice of tetal criticism necessar. Hoeer, since this is an introdction, anone ho ishes to prse the matter shold conslt the orks of Brgon, Scriener or Millerin or da those of Marice Robinson or mself. The athor rote the article directl in English; it is ell done, bt there are little things thi ngs that sho tthat hat he is not a nati natiee speaker. Giseppe Garino is to be commended for a job ell done; I recommend this article to the interested la person. Wilbr N. Pickering, ThM PhD
PREFACE B the athor
The goal of this riting is not controers. What led me to rite abot tetal criticism of the Ne Testament and conseqentl abot m preference for the Majorit tet, is m ecitement for the onderfl a God presered His Word throgh a jorne lasted no abot to thosand ears I speak of the Ne Testament onl. I hope the reader, hateer his opinions abot this sbject ma be, ill nderstand m ork as an effort in the direction of commnicating confidence in the spernatral a God gae His Word to the man of the XXI centr. The goal is alas: That the man of God ma be perfect, throghl frnished nto all good orks. 2 Timoth 3:17.
The Bible is a collection of books. Some of them date as earl as the fifteenth centr BC. The latest ritten, er probabl the Gospel of John and the book of Reelation, Ree lation, both dating arond the end of firs firstt centr AD. Too far from the inention of print to hae taken adantage of it. The first book printed from moable tpes as a Bible in the middle of the fifteenth centr. Along ith other old books before that epoch making eent, the preser preseration ation and diffsion of the Bible as eclsiel connected to the hand coping process. Hand coping, thogh a er deeloped art een in old times, as sbject to let mistakes enter the tet. This applies to all kinds of books and being the Bible Bib le also a book, it applies, to a certain etent, to the Bible too. Tetal Criticism is the std of the aailable, sriing manscript eidence in order to recoer either: 1.the original tet of a book or 2.the best retraceable tet. A lot easier said than done. As far as main tetal criticismthe of etra biblical books is concerned, face to problems: late date of manscripts aailablecritics and the scarcit of them. Brce M. Metger gies some interesting nmbers. Homers Iliad sries in less than 600 manscripts. Eripides orks are presered in less then 400 manscripts. The complete Annals of Tacits in one manscript onl dating from the ninth centr. Biblical tetal criticism on the contrar, deals ith too large an amont of manscripts the date of some being relatiel close to the originals. In this article I ill take into ccloser loser consideration the Ne Testament onl, taken for granted that the so called Masoretic 6
Tet is still the best tet aailable of the Old Testament, er ell attested and confirmed b the discoer of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among them the so called Great Isaiah Scroll, dated 100 BC. When compared to the Masoretic tet, it shoed that: Despite of the fact that the Isaiah scroll as abot a thosand ears older than the Masoretic ersion of Isaiah, the to ere nearl identicalThe reslts obtained from comparatie stdies of this kind hae been repeated for man other scriptral books represented at Qmran. The large majorit of the ne scrolls do belong to the same tetal tradition as the Masoretic tet. The are, hoeer, centries older and ths demonstrate in a forcefl a ho carefll Jeish scribes transmitted that tet across the ears. James C. Vanderkam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Toda, page 126. Jst to gie an idea, in i n rond nmbers, this iiss the sitation of the Ne Testament sriing manscripts: More than 5000 manscripts srie, hich contain all or part of the Greek Ne Testament. One need onl consider that The Book of Reelation is the least ellattested part of the Ne Testament, being presered in abot 300 Greek manscripts. man scripts. Brce M. Metger, , , 1968, Oford Uniersit Press, page 34. 8000 mss itness to the Latin Vlgate, the famos translation b Jerome. Also man other mss contain other ersi ersions ons of the Bibl Bible. e. More than 2000 lectionaries. Bible qotations in earl Christian riters the so called Chrch Fathers are also er important. The itness both to readings of the tet and the se and eistence of Ne Testament books. I think hat said ill sffice to sho the incredible amont of eidence sriing of the Ne Testament. What abot the age of sch eidence?
P52 pictre here on the right is a papri fragment of the gospel of John. It has been dated arond 125 BC or een earlier! One need bt qickl consider hat an incredible itness this is and realie the priceless sorce of information sch a small docment ma be. It gies eidence of the eistence of Johns Gospel at sch an earl period, giing a definite confirmation of the traditional dating of this gospel. Recentl a groing nmber of scholars has been spporting the theor that sees a fragment of the Gospel of Mark in the manscript fragment 7Q5. It as fond at Qmran and since this commnit disappeared in 70 BC, this ms ma be eidence of the gospel of Mark alread haing been ritten before that time. if sch identification is correct, is the Also, first Christian scroll manscript eer7Q5 fond. So far, onl code manscripts ere aailable. I discss the matter concerning 7Q5 at length in another article. The pictre on the left reprodces the papri P75. It belongs to the Bodmer Papri collection. It has been dated 175225 AD. It is er important for the portions of the gospel of John and his eident relation to the Vaticans code. For a readable pictre of this papri check the Google or Yahoo images and search for P75. It is qite an eperience it as for me to be able to read the beginning of Johns Gospel straight from a 1800 earold manscript. P66 pictre on the right is another er old papri ms. It is as old as the second 8
Centr It has arried at s in a er good state. It is part of the Bodmer Papri collection. More other papri eidence has recentl been collected and, apart from an tetal ale attached to them, the itness the eistence and spread of the gospels as e kno them as earl as the traditional ie has alas belieed. B and a (read Aleph) are still the to oldest and most complete manscripts, both containing almost the hole Bible and dating as earl as the middle of the forth centr. Alef or code Sinaitics, as fond on Mt. Sinai b Constantin Von Tischendorf, the famos tetal critic. To honor its antiqit and importance it as named after the first letter of the Hebre alphabet: a , Aleph. It originall contained all the Bible bt it has not sried in its integrit thogh all the Ne Testament is still intact. B or code Vaticans is part of the Vatican librar. Thogh it dates earl in the IV centr, it as not aailable to critics ntil the second half of the nineteenth centr. The to last mentioned mss generall enjo the most credit among scholars and are responsible for the editions of the Ne Testament from 1881 ntil toda. Another categor of mss is the minscle. Up to the ninth centr, Ne Testament Greek manscripts ere ritten in capital letters. That is h the are also called Uncials. Bt, from this time on, the tet as transmitted in minscle handriting. Minscle manscripts ere prodced from the period don to the inention of print. MS61 is a minscle dated fifteenthsiteenth centr. It is at Trinit College at Dblin. It is er famos becase it has the Johannine Comma, I John 5:78. Erasms sed this manscript to motiate the inclsion of the Comma into the third edition of his Greek tet, latter to be called Tets Recepts. 9
Portions of Gospels and Acts
Portions of Paul’s epistles
Epistles of Paul and Revelation
John 18:31-33, 37-38.
Portions of John
Portions of Luke and John
The whole Bible
The whole Bible
The whole Bible
The whole Bible
New Testament in Latin and Greek
We said the coping process ineitabl let mistakes creep into the tet. To see ho eas this is, do a er simple eperiment: cop a long tet. Then cop from the cop. Again prodce another cop from the cop. The more copies of copies o prodce, the more mistakes o ill ineitabl collect. Imagine this process delaed in hndreds of ears. Of corse Bible manscripts ere cherished as the ere Gods Word, the diligent reader old This as the case forThe Jeish scribes, ho ere in thisarge. task beond imagination. destroed the manscripts the ere coping from, not to leae a mtilated cop of Scriptre. The also reieed their ork and if more than a certain nmber of mistakes ere fond, the old destro the cop prodced as nfaithfl to the original. The same care, along ith a specific skill, as deeloped in the monasteries deoted to the coping of books in the Middle Ages. Bt hen the Gospel began to be spread among the Gentiles, it had to confront itself ith a totall different frame of mind than the Hebre's. What as most sacred to the Je, cold be sbject to inestigation b the Greek mind of the Gentile belieers. This is h, besides nintentional mistakes, a nmber of ariant readings fond in manscripts can be retraced don to the self oerestimation of some earl scribes. In The Identit of the Ne Testament Tet, Wilbr Pickering rites: the MSS contain seeral hndred thosand ariant readings. The ast majorit of these are misspellings or other obios errors de to carelessness or ignorance on the part of the 11
copists. As a sheer gess I old sa there are beteen ten thosand and fifteen thosand that cannot be so easil dismissed i.e., a maimm of fie percent of the ariants are significant. Scholars Westcott and Hort arged something similar hen the rote: ...the amont of hat can in an sense be called sbstantial ariation is bt a small fraction of the hole residar ariation, and can hardl form more than a thosandth part of the entire tet. Westcott and Hort, The Ne Testament in the Original Greek, p. 2. Well hae to keep this in mind throghot or std. We are not looking for the tet of the Ne Testament, bt for the best tet of the Ne Testament among the critical editions aailable toda.
Identifing the pecliarities of ancient their readings, scholars hae identified threemanscripts, main tpes of tet.ariant The are: the Western, the Aleandrian (or Egptian) and the Majorit (Srian, Bantine, Traditional) tet. Let me dismiss the term Bantine tet at once. It renders no jstice to this tpe of tet and implies a late deliberate prodction of it. This latter assmption is false, destitte of an historical spport, the reslt of mere spposition. At the same time, calling it the Traditional tet old go too far in the opposite direction. On the contrar, calling it the Majorit tet epresses a dobtless fact, i.e. it is the tet fond in the majorit of the Greek manscripts of the Ne Testament. The Western is a "longer" tpe of tet, characteried b interpolations. It is fond in the Uncial D and in manscripts of the Old Latin Version. It also is a itness to some pecliar omissions in the Gospel of Lke. Some of them became famos thanks to Westcott and Hort, ho isolated and adopted some of these omissions, calling them the .
The term Western is conentional, since it is er probable that this tet originated in the East. The Aleandrian is a "shorter" ersion of the Greek Ne Testament tet. The Majorit stands beteen the to and it is rightl and simpl called so becase it is fond in the ast majorit of the Greek Ne Testament manscripts. Since the ork of the scholars Westcott and Hort, the Aleandrian shorter tet has been faored b critics. The simple assmption is that the Western tet has been clearl tempered ith interpolations and that the Majorit tet has been prodced e'll see later hat is intended b this technical term the Western and the Aleandrian tet to prodce a smooth readable tet. Some other scholars (aoriginal minorit, to the be honest) beliee Majorit to be the closest to the and Egptian to be the a shorter ersion of it and the Western a longer one. I beliee this latter case to be tre and still to this da the Majorit tet is, in m opinion, to be preferred to the others. Later in this article I ill tr to eplain h. Histor of the editions of the Ne Testament appeared on the scene since the inention of print, has seen arios seasons of fortnes for the Aleandrian and the Majorit tet. Let s briefl consider the critical editions appeared since the inention of print.
The first phase of the histor of the printed editions of the Greek Ne Testament sa the rise of the so called Receied Tet, the Tets Recepts. It as the first pblished, b Desideris Erasms in 1516. Stephans' forth edition of 1551 as the first to contain or modern erse diision. In the Preface to ergo the 1633 edition theomnibs Eleir brothers, ,itin as ritten: habes, nncofab qo nihil immlatm at corrptm dams From this, the name Tets Recepts, translated Receied Tet. It as sed b the translators of the King James Version of the Bible completed in 1611. It as translated b Diodati in Italian and French, b Lther in German. The tet of the TR is mainl the tet of the majorit of the Greek Ne Testament manscripts, thogh some readings are pecliar to the fe manscripts sed to edit it. Acts 8.37, is an eample: it is fond in the TR bt not in the Majorit tet. Another famos reading pecliar to the TR is I John 5:7. It as first introdced in a later edition (Erasms third edition of 1522) and eer since printed ith it. The critical ale of the Tets Recepts can be jdged from arios points of ie. The sal objection is that onl a fe and late manscripts ere sed hen editing it. This is tre. Bt it old be a false 14
representation if e do not add that, b incident or b the grace of God, the fe manscripts conslted contained the Majorit Tet. Personall if this ma be of an interest to the reader I read and std on the KJV. If I read the Bible in Italian I still consider the Diodati Bible m faorite translation. Bt, since I hae learned Greek, I hae not read translations mch. Of corse I prefer the original. I consider the TR a good tet since it incldes the Majorit tet. We can conclde that the ale of the Tets Recepts, thogh, beond an possible dobt, dobt , reision of it as nece necessar ssar to improe its critical ale, rests on the importance gien to the Majorit Ne Testament tet.
In 1881 to English scholars, Brooke Foss Westcott (18251901) and Fenton John Anthon Hort (18281829), pblished their edition of the Ne Testament, along ith their theories in spport of it. The claimed to hae retraced and presented to the pblic hat the called the Netral Tet, the closest tet to the original possible. Their Greek Tet is mainl based on the Vatican (B) and Sinaitic (a) manscripts, hich had become aailable at their time. Brce M. Metger qotes them saing: "it is or belief that the readings of a B shold be accepted as the tre readings ntil strong internal eidence is fond to the contrar", Brce M. Metger, The Tet of The Ne Testament, second edition, 1968, Oford Uniersit Press, page 133. The reason for the sccess of their theor as de to a simple concept, er captiating to the mind of both the aerage Bible reader and the stdent: "the oldest, the best." An idea that an sfficientl honest scholar of tetal criticism can disproe. Bt that can easil in the pblic's confidence on the reliabilit of their 15
ork. Aleander Soter rites: A manscripts importance does not of corse depend solel on its age. An old manscript is likel to be a more faithfl representatie of its ltimate original onl becase in its case there has been be en less time for corrption to accmlateBt a late manscript ma be the last of a series of faithfl copies, and ma ths presere a better tradition than another manscript actall mch earlier in date of it. The Tet and Canon of the Ne Testament, page 18. The Netral Tet that WH thoght to hae retraced simpl neer eisted. Krt and Barbara Aland clearl agreed on the fact that there is no Netral Tet. The backbones of their theor ere mere sppositions. Their and Bantine Tet official theories ere not spported b historical eidence. Inothing mst confess that consider their fame nmerited, since little remains of Ithe alidit of the reasons that led them to or spport the tet the edited. Een their disrespectfl attitde toard hat the called the Bantine tet mst be abandoned and toda it is ith right called the Majorit tet in the best editions of the Greek Ne Testament. Another pecliarit of their theor ere the so called Western Non Interpolations. WH collected nine Bible passages that ere in all or in part omitted b the Western tet representatie Oncial Manscript D, preferring this isolated itness against the rest of the Ne Testament eidence. The are Mt 27.49, Lk 22.19b20, 24.3, 6, 12, 36, 40, 51 and 52. The discoer of Papri nknon dring the das hen the deeloped their theor, if necessar, proed ho nmotiated ere sch considerations on a part of the Ne Testament tet so ell spported b eternal eidence, and ho personal jdgement gided their ideas more than eidence. Their absolte preference for shorter readings led them to spport a tet that contradicted een their faorite manscripts, B and a , as ell as the rest of the aailable eidence. Brce Metger sas: 16
"...scholars hae been critical of the apparentl arbitrar a in hich Westcott and Hort isolated nine passages for special treatment (enclosing them ithin doble sqare brackets), hereas the did not gie similar treatment to other readings that are also absent from the Western itnesses", A tetal Commentar on the Greek Ne Testament, Second Edition, United Bible Societies, p. 165. We mst agree ith those ho spposed that the onl tre sccess of these to scholars as to bring back to life a tet that fond in the so called Aleandrian Egptian manscripts that the chrch had gotten rid of almost to thosand ears earlier. This coniction stood at the base of the ork of their opponents.
John W. Brgon (18131888) another anothe r English scholar, raised his hi s oice against the Westcott and Hort theor. Among his books, he rote: . , 1871. , 1883. , 1896. , 1896. The latter to books ere edited b Edard Miller. Brgon spported the Majorit tet. He called it the Traditional Tet, giing to it the dignit of the tet hich best represented the originals, being faithfll handed don, copied and spread b the chrch. The sad thing is that it as er difficlt to recoer those sedced b the so captiating the the oldest, the best sl slogan. ogan. Frederick Henr Ambrose Scriener (18131891) belieed also in the speriorit of the Majorit tet. I am a fan of his ork and tet. This great scholar as, in m opinion, er reliable and moderate, 17
sond in his research principles. His critical edition of the Greek Ne Testament is here reprodced in the pictre. It is the beginning of the Gospel of John in the edition of 1887. It can be donloaded at .archie.com.. The tet is .archie.com that of Stephans pblished in 1550 and translated in the King James Version, along ith the changes made in the Reised Version of 1881. apparats shoing the The readings of other critical editions, inclding Westcott and Hort, makes it er alable. The facts that he as so moderate a spporter of the Traditional Tet and that he sered onl the case of a better knoledge of the tet of the Ne Testament, mied ith his nforgiable falt not to hae prodced an sensational theor, I beliee are the reasons h he is nknon to the pblic. Tre and honest serants of trth rarel prodce sensational theories and their precios ork is done in silent and er rarel ill bring fame and fortne. I mst add that his great contribtion to tetal criticism inclded the editing of Code Beae, the collation of Code Sinaitics, Alef, ith the TR. He also rote A Plain Introdction to the Criticism of the Ne Testament 1861. , ,
The most credited critical editions toda are the NestleAland and the UBS (United Bible Societies), hich are irtall identical. I personall se er freqentl the 27th edition of the NA tet. It is a er important reference ork becase of the critical apparatses hich offers a list of the ariants of the manscripts. Thogh I do not agree ith some conclsions, the eidence is listed and this makes it most sefl. The tet preferred is still mainl that of Westcott and Hort since most credibilit is still gien to the Aleandrian itnesses, B and a. The more recent discoer of the papri has someho strengthened the itness to the AleandrianEgptian manscripts. Thogh, as I alread said, Horts basic principles hae been reieed. Krt and Barbara Aland ith confidence call their tet the "Standard Tet". The beliee it represents the closest to the original eer presented to the pblic.
Recentl a groing nmber of scholars hae adocated the ale of the Majorit Tet. This position stands in the AngloSaon orld, right beteen the to etremes of the KJVTR onl spporters and those ho totall dismiss the Bantine/Traditional/Majorit tet as of little or no critical ale. This school can be retraced in the positions of scholars alread mentioned, like Brgon or Miller. Wilbr N. Pickering has made a Majorit Tet aailable. It is fond .alkinhiscommandments.com It It is difficlt not to on line at .alkinhiscommandments.com recognie the ale of this scholars ork as he arges for both the Majorit tet and the reliabilit of the Ne Testament.
The Majorit tet edited b Zane C. Hodges and Arthr L. Farstad has been pblished b Thomas Nelson Pblishers, Nashille. This editor also made aailable a ne translation of the TR, the Ne King James Version. Marice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont edited another edition of the Majorit Tet, pblished b Chilton Book Pblishing. It is aailable online at http://koti.24.fi/jsalak/GreekNT/RP2005.htm http://koti.24.fi/jsalak/GreekNT/RP2005.htm Personall, I translated the book of Colossians into Italian from the critical tet edited b Pickering and I made it aailable in m ebsites, .ebiblicalstdies.com .ebiblicalstdies.com and and .stdibiblici.e .stdibiblici.e.. The Majorit tet clearl emendates the TR of its mistakes and restores to its rightfl place a er important itness to the Greek Ne Testament. I beliee it is the closes tet to the original, its archetpe being, in m opinion, the originals themseles. .
For the sake of information, it mst be listed also a certain school of thoght that boldl defends the TR and its most famos English translation, the King James Version. It is mainl a phenomenon of the Englishspeaking Christianit. It is also to be eplained as a reaction to the beildering confsion raised b so man ne English translations being pblished. Edard F. Hills in his stdies defended and recalled the ork of Dean Brgon, onl to take it frther and spport the pecliar readings of the Tets Recepts. I personall dont feel like condemning Hills ork, since I see the honest efforts of a Bible belieing Christian defending defe nding the Atho Athoried ried Version. Of corse, I 20
cannot share his positions, bt his book the King James Defended1 contains a lot of good information. Thogh the ale of the Tets Recepts cannot be denied, since it is a good representatie of the Majorit tet, some of its reading need be corrected. We cannot blame critics ho spport readings fond in onl one or to manscripts and beliee the TR to be a ne atograph onl becase it is the receied tet een hen it shos pecliar readings that hae no possible tetal ale. Of corse the reision of the nineteen centr if it as reall meant to improe the Tets Recepts failed miserabl. Some organiations, like the Bible for Toda in America or the Trinitarian Bible Societ, defend the TRKJV onl position.
I noticed it is aailable a ailable on line, in arios ebsites. 21
The main stream of todas tetal critics are still spporting the itness of B, Alef and the mss that associate ith them. Their preference is clearl for the AleandrianEgptian tet. The road trodden toda is still that inagrated b Westcott and Hort, thogh the means sed to trael in it are qite different. The first and most significant practice behind the Neologian tet is . Using this method, the critic chooses among the aailable ariant readings, according to Intrinsic Probabilit and Transcriptional Probabilit. In la terms, the personal jdgment of the editor ill lead him to choose among the aailable readings fond in the etant manscripts, according to hat he beliees the athor of the inspired book might hae ritten and ho the scribes might hae handled the tet, the mistakes the might hae done or their intentional changes introdced in it. Colell clearl pointed ot that sing sch a method, manscripts become onl sppliers of readings. And the tet of the critical editions based on this principle, thogh it ma seem an incredible parado, taken as a hole, is not one fond in an etant manscriptModern eclectics hae created an artificial entit ith no ancestral lineage from an single historical MS or grop of MSS. We are speaking literall of critical tets that prodce a seqence of faored readings that at times eer oer short segments of tet has no demonstrated eistence in an knon manscript, ersion or father. Marice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, , , 2005. 22
In other ords, Eclecticism in the hands of tetal critics prodces a tet that has no archetpe. It does not reflect the itness of an manscript too, not een of the Aleandrian Tpe. It differs from Alef. It is different than B. Its not the tet of P66. Nor that of P75. It is simpl a frther editing of the Aleandrian tet, folloing, er probabl, the principles of the scribes behind this tet. The reslt, like the preios, is onl a ne isolated itness. In m opinion, the eak link in todas tetal criticism is that critics still follo the tet of Westcott and Hort. Most of the pillars of the theor of those to scholars hae been completel demolished, bt incredibl the bilding is still p, the preference is still for the Aleandrian itnesses. Something is going rong ith this approach to the tet of the Ne Testament. Hort had created a Netral Tet. Bt no it is abndantl clear that, if there eer as an archetpe of the Aleandrian tet, it is impossible to tr to find it in the contradicting sriing manscripts that are thoght to derie from it. The onl option left is internal eidence and personal jdgment of the editors. Official tetal criticism has become an art. Bt it as meant to be a science. It has become the art of sppling first the translators and then the Bible readers ith the aailable readings to choose from. Some principles of this ill be frther discssed. A er controersial rle, so famos ith modern critics, is that "a is more likel to be right than a longer. Aleander Soter, The Tet and Canon of the Ne Testament, page 110. As an editor the scribe of P45 ielded a sharp ae. The most striking aspect of this stle is conciseness. The dispensable ord is dispensed ith. He omits aderbs, adjecties, nons, participles, erbs, personal pronons ithot an compensating habit of 23
addition., E. C. Colell, Scribal habits in Earl Papri: A std in the corrption of the Tet, p. 383, qoted b Wilbr Norman Pickering and pblished in Tre or False, edited b Daid Otis Fller, p. 250. According to the same athorit the omission practice is pecliar of the scribe of P66. One need bt compare the Aleandrian itnesses to nderstand ho nsafe sch confidence in the short readings can be, especiall considering the fact that their omissions are pecliar to some of them and not to all. Their disagreement is often eidence of the liberties taken b the scribes behind this tpe of o f tet and the tendenc tende nc is clearl for omissions omissions.. Origen as a representatie of the Christian school at Aleandria, in Egpt. Jst to gie an idea of the critical spirit at ork in this branch of the chrch, I ill qote qo te a passage of his commentar on on the Gospel according to Matthe: "Bt o ill compare together His saing to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan", ith that said to the deil ( ho said to Him, "All these things ill I gie Thee if Tho ilt fall don and orship me"), "get thee hence", ithot the addition, "behind Me;" for to be behind Jess is a good thing", The AnteNicene fathers, edited b A. Allan Menies, forth edition, Hendrickson Pblishers, olme 9, p. 462. Origen gies s here an eample of hat is technicall called , hich is the most mos t dangeros practice of tetal criticism: the critic emendates the tet not becase of an eternal eidence bt becase of personal considerations. Since Origen thoght it as impossible that Jess had actall said to the deil: "get thee behind me, Satan", he spposed that "behind me" as not part of the original. Is it a onder that the mss coming from the AleandrianEgptian tradition spport a shorter tet? This assmption the short is the best is false. The shorter reading has no more right to be considered the closest to the original than the longer. Sch presmption mst be abandoned. Or better, it proes that the preference gien to a certain tpe of tet is er 24
probabl de to the fact that the scribes that prodced that mtilated tet and modern critics share a er similar frame of mind. Westcott and Hort ere deepl coninced that the Majorit tet as deliberatel created in Antioch and that it as imposed on the chrch. This Bantine of the tet old be isible in the eamples of the so called the propose to the reader. This as a backbone of their theor bt it has not shaken the secrities of the spporters of their tet the simple fact that no trace in histor remains of sch an eent. A theor based on assmptions based on silence or considerations on the state of the aailable tet is at least eak and closer to speclation than to facts. The death blo to this Recension theor is that the Majorit tet is qoted b chrch fathers and some traces are fond also in nel discoered papri, taking its eistence long before it is spposed to hae appeared on the scene. P66 is said to agree in the first eight chapters of John more ith the M readings (50.9%) than those of a (43.7%), Stdies in the Tet and Method of Ne Testament Tetal Criticism, b Epp and Fee, pp.228, 233. Brce M. Metger rites abot Colossians 1:12: "The reading of B is an earl conflation of both ariants" the Majorit and the Western. Ho can an earlier tet be inflenced b a later fabricated tet? It is er instrctie to conslt Millers ork in this field. B a carefl std he as able to retrace hat Hort called Srian or Bantine readings in the ritings of Christian riters in a time (before the IV centr) here Hort belieed the cold not eist. In this same direction the reslts of Pickerings stdies are er interesting. Toda the birth of the Majorit tet has been taken back significantl. Bt not back enogh in time, as I ill state latel. The Alands are coninced that official recensions occrred also in other branches of the Chrch. The think, ana, that some old 25
mss presere a tet antedating those recensions. The boldl state that their so called brings back to light a tet te t that antedates sch recensions. I beliee that no historical eidence sries of sch recensions and that it is more than dobtfl that chrches anted or ere able to impose a niform tet of the Ne Testament. I think I can sa that the Standard Tet is the best tet that can be obtained toda if the presmptions of tetal critics are considered tre. It is slightl different. On top of an other rle and, being so simple and apparentl obios, is the first confident statement made b eer spporter of the Standard Tet: . If this is the case, the oldest papir mst be the recipient of the all the Ne Testament tetal preness. Upon inspection, or epectations ma er qickl trn into disappointment. P45, P66 and P75 do not hae in common antiqit onl. P66 is perhaps the oldest manscript of the Ne Testament. It contains most of John. It is said that it is the earliest itness to omit the so called , hich is John 7:53 7:5 3 8:11. Bt to nderstand ho reliable this manscript is and the significance of the readings it spports, other facts mst be eighed. Pickering records that it shos an aerage of to mistakes per erse. He arges that the scribe ho copied this manscript did not een kno Greek, since the kind of mistakes he made clearl sho that he copied the tet sllable b sllable. This old hae not been the case had he knon the langage. It has 482 singlar readings. Bt if the oldest itness is the best, h cant e rel on this manscript and reie or tet according to it? Becase, notithstanding its age, it is a bad cop, orth something jst 26
becase it sried to or das to itness the in incompetent competent ork of a scribe. A reason h it got to s mabe the fact that, becase of the poor tet, it mst hae been pt aside and not een read. P75 is another er old papri manscript. It is onl a little less older than P66 bt its tet is of no better qalit. It shos 257 singlar readings, 25 percent of hich are nonsensical. Pickering beliees that this scribe also mst not ha haee knon Greek, since, b the kind of mistakes he made it seems that he copied letter b letter. In general, P75 copies letters one b one; P66 copies sllables, sall to letters in length. P45 copies phrases and clases. The accrac of these assertions can be demonstrated. That P75 copied letters one b one is shon in the pattern of the errors. He has more than sit readings that inole a single letter, and not more than ten careless readings that inole a sllable. Bt P66 drops sitone sllables (tentthree of them in leaps) and omits as ell as a doen articles and thirt short ords. In P45 there is not one omission of a sllable in a leap nor is there an list of careless omissions of sllables. P45 omits ords and phrasesHe shortens the tet in at least fift places in singlar readings alone. Bt he does not drop sllables or letters. His shortened tet is readable. Colell, Scribal Habits p. 380, 383. Manscripts prodced een one thosand ears later than the aboe are er easil more reliable and accrate than them. Age in itself does not mean mch. A manscript that has been copied ithot de care, thogh it ma be closer to the original timeise, cannot be aled more than a later manscript, come don throgh a nmber of faithfl and accrate, honestl prodced copies.
Yes, honestl. Becase another reason for ariant readings, besides mistakes de to the qalit of the ork of the scribe, are deliberate changes. The scribe of P45 literall created2 a tet of its on. Westcott and Hort thoght "the oldest as the best" also becase the spposed that no deliberate changes ere made to the tet of the Ne Testament. All ho beliee that, mst also be coninced ith those to scholars that the etant manscript sho no trace of deliberate falsification of the tet. Eidence proe the opposite to be tre. Both as far as histor and manscript eidence are concerned. With this (false) presmption Hort belieed that throgh hat is called a method, knoing the practice of scribal ork and retracing the accidental mistakes it introdces in the tet, it old be possible to emend those mistakes and restore the original tet. We read of ho some scribes handed the manscripts ith freedom. It deseres notice that sch mss belonged to the Egptian/Aleandrian tradition! We read of Origen, belonging to this school. It mst be added that man heretic ies came from this area of Christianit. Een the Christian school there as considered Gnostic Christian. It is a knon fact that heretics of the first centries adlterated the tet of manscripts creating ne copies that old fit to their ideas. The heretic Marcion mtilated his copies of Scriptre in order to jstif his heretical heretic al ies. I think some of the omissions fo fond nd in the mss tradition of Lke can be retraced to this heretic man. The Western NonInterpolations spported b WH and fond in the Uncial ms D ma be a trace of sch deliberate tempering of the tet. Here is a direct itness to the deliberate adlterations of the Ne Testament. Cais (180217 AD) as a Christian ho rote of the 2
Edited is the technical term. 28
heretics: the hae boldl laid their hands pon the diine Scriptres, alleging that the hae corrected themif an one shold choose to collect and compare all their copies together, he old find man discrepancies among them. The AnteNicene fathers, edited b A. Roberts & J. Donaldson, olme 5, p. 602. To see the etent of ho mch some anted credit for their heretic ies one mst onl consider the man apocrphal gospels and other ritings circlating in the first centries of or era. The recent discoer of the gospel of Jdah has onl added one to the nmber of them e alread kno. The historical and religios ale of those ritings is ell knon to the informed and the antiqit of sch forgeries ill impress onl the naare of the mltitde of heretical moements that rose in the first centr of Christianit. Going back to or sbject. WH presmption of no deliberate changes affecting the transmission of the NT tet, as rong and their method and ork ere affected b that as ell as other rong assmptions. If not so, the old hae not failed to see ho sspicion it is that the itnesses of the Aleandrian tet, to hich the more recentl papri mst be added, contradict one other all the time. If a complete cop of Marcion mtilated tet of the Bible as fond toda, old it be considered reliable and trstorth onl becase of its age? The problem Westcott and Hort had to sole before going on ith their theories and prodce their tet as the Majorit Traditional Tet. Before being able to discard it, he had to find an eplanation for something that has no other eplanation than the spernatral ork of God throgh the Chrch in presering the Ne Testament.
So man independent itnesses, agreeing ith one another, spporting the same tet of the Ne Testament too good to be tre3. In order to discard it altogether a satisfactor, rational eplanation for its eistence had to be fond. If I ma add their attitde seems to me so close those of nbelieers hen the are confronted ith the most precios trths of the Christian faith, the irgin birth, the resrrection, etc. An eplanation is desperatel soght eerhere to aoid the simple itness of the apostles. Westcott and Hort spoke of Bantine or Srian tet, eplaining its eistence ith a deliberate ecclesiastic recension that took place on the IV centr. The chrch then ent on to impose the edited tet. Conflate readings old proe sch eent. This old eplain the eistence of the Majorit tet. All orks perfectl, doesnt it? Ecept for the fact that sch an eent neer took place, since no trace in histor is left, and no branch of the chrch as eer reall able to impose (not in the IV centr for sre) its tet to the hole Christian orld. The so called Lcian Recension Theor no faded ot of the scene and in the apparats of critical editions ( NA 27 th edition) o ill read of M as an abbreiation for the Majorit tet. Bt e mst eplain hat that capital M stands for. Since, isibl, it gies the idea as of one isolated itness, e need to remark the eight of eidence that is inclded in that abbreiation indicating the Majorit tet. Pickering rites: Not onl do the etant MSS present s ith one tet form enjoing a 95 percent majorit, bt the remaining 5 percent do not represent a single competing tet form. He adds:
The chief Aleandrian itnesses, B, A a are in constant and significant disagreement among themseles, so mch that there is no objectie a of reconstrcting an archetpe. 150 ears earlier the pictre is the same; P45, P66 and P75 are qite dissimilar and do not reflect a single tradition. When I spoke of tet tpes, I did for the sake of simplicit, folloing hat is the reference of tetal criticisms manals. I do not beliee there are tet tpes besides the Majorit tet. The aboe statements proe it abndantl. In fact, instead of looking for Horts netral tet, resting on their personal jdgment and internal considerations, todas tetal critics ealate each controersial reading adopting from time to time that spported b this or that manscript. Bt please notice that behind that M spporting this or that reading against B or P75, there is a 95 percent consent of manscript eidence. Pickering makes it er clear and simple, the Majorit tet is the reslt of an essentiall normal process of transmission. The apostolic ritings ere faithfll copied from the first centr on till the inention of print. Those fe disagreeing itnesses are onl deiations from this pre stream of manscripts. Their disagreement among themseles proes it. To recoer the original tet of the Ne Testament all that todas scholars shold reall do is find the archetpe of the Majorit tet. Praise God for those scholars ho are orking in this direction.
Most of hat I kno abot the Majorit Tet I oe to John William Brgon. So I think it is more appropriate to present his athoritatie oice instead of mine. He called the Majorit Tet the Traditional Tet. He rites: their itness (Aleandrian MSS) does not agree together. The Traditional Tet, on the contrar, is nmistakabl one. The Traditional Tet of the Hol Gospels Vindicated and Established b John William Brgon, p. 34. It is a simple and ndeniable trth that itnesses that contradict one another, are not reliable. On the contrar, agreeing itnesses, if no connection or conspirac can be proed, mst be spposed to be reliable and honestl representing the trth. Abot M Brgon adds: Those man MSS ere eected demonstrabl at different times in different contries, p.46. Independent agreeing itnesses are er reliable. These are the kind of itnesses hich spport the Majorit Tet. On the contrar, concerning the Aleandrian tet not onl e cannot sa that its representaties agree ith one another, bt e can't also call them independent itnesses, since the mostl derie from the same location. The consentient testimon of to, for, si, or more itnesses, coming to s from idel sndered regions is eightier b far than the same nmber of itnesses proceeding from one and the same localit, beteen hom there probabl eists some sort of smpath, and possibl one degree of collsion, p. 52.
For eample, the itness b the Aleandrian tet against John 5:4 as it is fond in the M tet, is considered final b modern critics. Bt it shold be said of those itnesses against the athenticit of the traditional reading that the are nable to agree among themseles hether there as a Jersalem a sheeppool (a) or a pool at the sheepgate: hether it as srnamed (BC), or named (D), or neither (a): hich appellation, ot of thirt hich hae been proposed for this pool, the t he ill adopt, seei seeing ng that C is for Bethesda; B for Bethsaida; a for Bethatha; D for Belethain respect of the thirtto contested ordsonl three of them omit all the ords in qestionD retains the first fie, and srrenders the last tentseen., p. 8283. Adding the information proided b the nel discoered papri, this is the itness of the mss against the traditional reading: Bethsaida P75, B, T,W Bedsaida P66 Bethatha Alef and 33. The choise among those, hen discarding the Majorit tet, can be onl based pon the editors personal jdgment or preference. Eternal eidence is for the traditional reading. Brgon gies een more details abot the contradictions of the Aleandrian tet itnesses. The fie Old Uncials ( a A B C D ) falsif the Lords Praer as gien b St. Lke in no less than fort fie ords. Bt so little do the agree among themseles, that the thro themseles into si different combinations in their departres from the Traditional Tet; and et the are neer able to agree among themseles as to one single arios reading., p.84. The eakness of the M tet is the relatiel late age of its representaties. Again e sa that age alone cannot determine hether a ms is reliable or not. A sith centr ms that is the last in a chain of faithfll copied mss is more reliable than a single ms prodced in the second centr b a scribe so coninced of his 33
doctrinal positions to change the tet of a ms accordingl. We read abot chrch official reisions and the ecclesiastical athorit imposing those reisions, the Bantine, the Aleandrian. Bt those are simpl theories. The habit of some to change the NT tet for doctrinal prposes is a docmented fact. We qoted Cais and Origen. It ill be sefl to relate abot an instance of this kind fond in P66. It stands alone in adding an article before the ord "prophet" in John 7:52. The scribe did not hesitate to sole an eident difficlt of the tet b changing it as he pleased. If the mss of the M tet are late, it means onl that its ancestors hae not sried to or das. In m librar, the best presered tet is the Ne World Translation, the Jehoah's Witnesses Bible. I simpl do not read it. On the contrar, the books hich I most ale are those in the orst conditions. Is it not possible that the ancestors of M ere in se in the chrch and are no more in eistence becase the ere torn apart b the se in the chrch, hose onl care as to prodce ne faithfl copies of the original? Code Sinaitics as literall resced from fire b Tischendorf. The Vaticans ms as ndistrbed in the Vatican librar for centries. Another reason h e hae so man old mss of the AleandrianEgptian tradition is becase of the dr and hot climate of those areas. Nmber is no more releant in itself than age. In general, nmber old be less important than the age. Bt becase of hat e noticed, this ma not be applicable to the mss of the NT. Some facts mst be taken into consideration along ith the age of the Aleandrian itnesses. The ale the can boast becase of their antiqit is eakened b: 1. The contradictions of his representaties. 2. The fact that these mss come from one specific area and conseqentl from one tetal school and tradition. 3. The area from hich the come is here heresies ere rampant, so mch that it een inflenced the orthodo.
Thogh nmber in itself old not mean mch, the other facts in faor of the reliabilit of the M tet are: 1. That its representaties mss come from different areas of Christendom, 2. The all agree in one tet, bt the sho some pecliarities that are eidence of their ale as independent itnesses4. 3. This tpe of tet is ell spported b the qotations of the fathers of the chrch, hich take its eistence back in time, before the spposed Recension, hich as said to hae gien birth to it. The trth is that the Recension theor as conceied to gie a rational eplanation to the eistence of the M tet hich is in it self a qite pecliar phenomenon. In fact, ithot belieing that the Traditional tet is the prodct of an athoritatie Recension, ho can e eplain its eistence? The Western tet has Majorit Tet readings. The Aleandrian Tet e sa in the papri has them too. The Western and the Aleandrian differ from one another. The late date assigned to the Bantine tet is bt a mth, so no other reason can be fond to den its antiqit. Is it then so strange, is it not the natral conseqence to beliee that the Traditional/Bantine/Majorit tet simpl represented the normal faithfl process of coping of the Ne Testament ritings and those isolated, contradicting itnesses, onl corrptions of it. No it is time to ask: What old o epect from the faithfl coping of the books of the NT, don from the time of the apostles to the age of print, if not a tet like the Majorit tet? Moreoer: 4
Robinson has collated the Pericope Adlterae (John 7:538:11) in all
aailable Greek manscripts and lectionaries that inclde the narratie of this incidentThe Pericope Adlterae data sggests an increased presmption pres mption of relatie independence ithin the arios lines of Bantine manscript descent. Robinson and Pierpont, Preface to their Greek Tet, p.ii. 35
hat old o epect of mss departing from this faithfl transmission of the tet, if not a small nmber of nreliable itnesses, contradicting each other, soon to be doomed to obliion along ith the hands and minds that prodced them? Robinson and Pierpont, sa it more technicall in their Preface to their Greek Tet: This normal state of transmission presmes that the aggregate consentient testimon of the etant manscript base is more likel to reflect refl ect its archetpal sorce (in this t his case the canonical atographs) than an single manscript, small grop of manscripts, or isolated ersional or partristic readings that failed to achiee idespread diersit or transmissional continit. The Bantinepriorit hpothesis ths appears to offer the most plasible scenario for canonical atograph transmission. p. 5. I close this section b reprodcing a qestion posed b Brgon, hich resembles mine aboe. "Does the trth of the Tet of Scriptre dell ith the ast mltitde of copies, ncial and crsie, concerning hich nothing is more remarkable than the marelos agreement hich sbsists beteen them? Or is it rather to be spposed that the trth abides eclsiel ith a er handfl of manscripts, hich at once differ from the great blk of the itnesses, and strange to sa also amongst themseles?", The Traditional Tet, p. 1617.
I think the time has come to discs some of the most famos ariant readings detectable in Bible translations, leaing the theoretical speclations for the most important consideration of the practical implications. I ill compare the King James Version as a representatie of the TR and still the most poplar Majorit Tet translation aailable, to the NestleAland GreekEnglish Ne Testament, eighth edition, 1994 and its companion tetal commentar b Brce M. Metger. I ill shortl consider some controersial Bible passages. 1.25 KJV: And kne her not till she had broght forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
The NA tet, folloing B and Alef, omits the ord her firstborn. The Majorit tet, as ell as other manscripts, retain it and so does the Tets Recepts. 6:13 For thine is the kingdom, and the poer, and the glor, for eer. Amen. These ords are omitted b Alef, B and D. Bt the are in the Majorit tet and in other manscripts that sall side ith the
Aleandrian itnesses like L, W, 33. 37
Do e need more oerhelming eidence to consider athentic a portion of Scriptre? 1.1 KJV: The Beginning of the Gospel of Jess Christ, the Son of God. The ords Son of God are sometimes omitted, sometimes enclosed in brackets. I like the a Metger jstifies this decision, I like the a he eplains it in a moderate and scientific a. Bt eternal eidence in spport of the long reading is oerhelming. The short reading is onl spported b sppositions and a fe manscripts, belonging to the Aleandrian tet. M opinion is that this is one of the man instances that shos the attitde of some scribes to shorten the tet, like e see it in the mss so mch aled
b some critics. 16.920 The so called long ending, the traditional ending of the gospel of Mark, ith hich most are familiar, is spported b the Majorit tet. Its omission is based both on the eternal spport of the Aleandrian itnesses and on internal considerations concerning the tet: most scholars agree abot the fact that the athor of this ending of the gospel as not the athor of the rest of Mark.
John W. Brgon rote a book b ook on this sbject sbject.. I ask mself a simple qestion: Wh is it that the long ending is still retained in the Bibles hich translate the modern tet? Wh don't the simpl end the gospel at .8? If critics, and the mss spporting the omission of this portion of Scriptre, are right: 1. Are e to beliee that Mark ended is gospel at .8, qoting: "And the ent ot qickl, and fled from the seplcher; for the trembled and ere amaed: neither said the an thing to an man; for the ere afraid." 2. Or, een orse, are e to beliee that the original ending of this gospel is lost? 38
Besides the oerhelming spport of mss to this passage, it as qoted b old Christians like Papias, Jstin Martr, Irenaes, Diatessaron of Tatian, Tertllian, Hippolts, Epiphans, taking the eistence of the M tet back to the first steps of Christianit. Concerning the testimon in faor of the omission, there are some facts hich mst be taken into er serios consideration concerning B and a. Code Vaticans B, in the place ere these erses shold hae been has a "blank space, ampl sfficient sffici ent to contain the t he erses, the colmn in qestion being the onl acant one in the hole manscript.", Dean Brgon, The Traditional Tet, p. 298. It is clearl seen in the pictre belo of this portion of the code. To be added to this strange case, is the fact that the er same scribe ho is athor of B "appears to hae cancelled the sheet originall ritten b the scribe of a , and to hae sbstitted for it the sheet as e no hae it, ritten b himself... Ths e are led not onl to infer that the testimon of a is here not independent of that of B, bt to sspect that this t his sheet ma hae been ths cancelled and reritten in order to conform its contents to those of the corresponding part of B." The Traditional Tet, p. 299. The blank space in B is de to the fact that the ending e kno as fond in the manscript it as copied from? What other eplanation can there be? 39
At the same time, if the scribe of B had to fi the testimon of a in order to agree ith his omission, are e not entitled to nderstand that the ending of the gospel as e kno it as knon to him and that he, illingl, for some reasons, thogh fond in the copies he had before him, decided to omit this portion of Scriptre? Is this eidence against the traditional ending of Mark's gospel, or rather against the reliabilit and een honest of the ork of the scribe behind a and B? Brce Metger rites: "the longer ending, thogh crrent in a ariet of itnesses, some of them ancient, mst also be jdged b internal eidence to be secondar." A Tetal Commentar on the Greek Ne Testament, p.104. On the grond of the same considerations so called: internal eidence! the athenticit of John 21, of some epistles of Pal, of II Peter, is qestioned. Is it safe to rel on the personal jdgment of critics? Resting on objectie eternal eidence alone, as it is safe to do, there is no reason for the omission of this portion of Scriptre. 10:4142 KJV: And Jess ansered and said nto her, Martha, Martha, tho art carefl and trobled abot man things: Bt : and Mar hath chosen that good part, hich shall not be taken aa from her.
The reading of the KJVTR is the Majorit tet reading. P45 and P75 agree ith it. The leae B, a, L and 33, ho spport the reading: Fe things are needfl, or one. The M tet is the original. There cant be an dobt, not if e rel on tetal eidence instead of sppositions and/or personal 40
jdgment. Where is the theor of a late, fabricated tet te t here? The M tet has the earliest itnesses on its side. Please, notice the Gnostic taste of the tet of B and Alef ! Are e to beliee that that deiation dei ation from the tet might hae occrred b mistake? Of corse the sprios reading is rejected b neer critical editions bt it as adopted b the Westcott and Hort tet. 12:31 KJV: Bt rather seek e the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added nto o. is spported b M and P45. Also b A, W,
33 and other itnesses. is fond in P75. is the reading of B and Aleph It is qite pecliar that P45 reads like the Majorit tet. The other manscript here the Aleandrian tet shold hae fond spport is P75. Bt it finds none bt the death blo. Considering the preceding passage obsered, Lke 10:4142, it is er probabl to beliee that the scribe of P75 changed from a M reading sing his sharp ae. The fact still remains, the traditional reading is spported b an ancient manscript. Again, e mst ask here is the theor of a late, fabricated tet here? Again the Majorit reading is fond in the oldest athorities! Again e notice the confsion and contradiction among the Aleandrian itnesses themseles. In the best case, at least to of them are ling! Eternal eidence is oerhelming in faor of the TRMajorit Tet reading. The onl reason h the reading of the B and Alef (against older Aleandrian itnesses) can be preferred is mere internal 41
considerations, not objectie eidence. From the omission of of God (P75) to the addition of His (B and Alef) e see ho the original tet as corrpted into the reading still spported b Alands tet. In a er similar instance, Matthe 6:33, B and Alef, sho a corrpt tet, thogh Westcott and Hort blindl adopted it. Toda een the NA mst retain the traditional reading in the tet, thogh of God is beteen sqare brackets. The Majorit reading is b far the best attested reading. Incredible as it ma seem, the three old Papri, P45, P66 and P75 sho a nmber of M readings that is too releant. It is something nepected from mss that hae been sall assimilated to the Aleandrian tet. Sch a thing as impossible if Horts theories ere tre. On the contrar, sch an eent perfectl fits the idea that the Majorit tet is simpl the reslt of a normal and faithfl ork of coping the originals don to the inention of print and that the so called Aleandrian itnesses, B and Alef, are old deiations from the pre and honest stream of manscripts. P45, 66 and 75, being older sho a larger nmber of traditional readings. I checked m NA apparats in Johh. In John 5:17, Jess is omitted b P75, B, Alef and of corse Westcott and Hort tet. Bt it is fond in P66! In John 5:19 the original Greek ord ν is the reading of Alef and B, adopted b WH. Bt the Majorit reading ν , among other itnesses, is fond in P66, P75! In John 5:29 the choice is beteen: ο - P66c, B. It is in WH.
ο δ - P75, Alef. Like in the preceding readings, in light of the ne eidence, the traditionalMajorit reading has become the NA also. κα ο - P66, W. Pickering rites: I hae sed Klijns std ith reference to the eistence of tettpes, bt his material also frnishes eidence for the antiqit of the Bantine tet. Smming p the eidence for the 51 cases Klijn discsses, P45 agrees ith Alef 21 times, ith B 25 times, ith TR 33 times P66 agrees ith Alef 16 times, ith B 32 times, ith TR 38 times P75 agrees ith Alef 11 times, ith B 36 times, ith TR 33 times or to pt it another a, all three papri agree ith Alef 4 times, ith B 18 times, ith TR 20 times, an to of them agree ith Alef 8 times, ith B 13 times, ith TR 15 times, jst one of them agrees ag rees ith Alef 36 times, ith it h B 62 times, ith T TR R 69 times, for a total of 48 times, 93 times, 104 times. In other ords, in the area coered b Klijns std the TR has more earl attestation than B and tice as mch as Alef eidentl the TR reflects an earlier tet than either B or Alef. Wilbr Pickering, . The instances of agreement of the aboe mentioned papri ith Alef and B is not a srprise, since the are een said to belong to the same tpe of tet, the all are AleandrianEgptian manscripts. Bt it is qite a srprise that the hae so man Traditional Majorit readings. The latter cannot be called Bantine tet anmore, since definitel its eistence beforebthe Bantine is no a fact eistence proed a rial tpe ofperiod tet itnesses! 43
The trth is that, if P45, 66 and 75 had been aailable then, there old hae neer been Westcott and Hort speclations abot a Bantine tet, a Lcian Recension, a Netral Tet. The onl reslt of their ork and theories as to create the strongest prejdice against the Traditional Tet of the Ne Testament.
22:4344 KJV: "And there appeared an angel nto him from heaen, strengthening him. And being in an agon he praed more earnestl: and his seat as as it ere great drops of blood falling don to the grond" One can jst onder ho can the itness for the omission of this
passage mean anthing hen it represents the oice of the champions of deliberate omissions: P75, a , B, Marcion, Origen. Some earl Christian sects (among them that of Marcion) denied the realit of the incarnation of Jess, not belieing he as a tre man! With some other (confsed) eceptions, the rest of the Ne Testament mss spport the athenticit of this passage along ith qotations from the ritings of earl orthodo Christian riters like Jstin, Hippolts, Irenaes, Esebis. 23:34 KJV: "Then said Jess, Father, forgie them; for the kno not hat the do." This portion of Scriptre is omitted b P75, B, D and some fe more mss. P75 and B are so close to each other that the cold be ith right considered jst one itness. D, besides the famos Western NonInterpolations, omits other passages considered nanimosel original, Mt. 9.34, Mk 2.22, 10.2, 14.39, Lk 5.39, 10:41
42, 12.21, 22.62, 24.9, Jn 4.9. What is the eight of the testimon of 44
sch an nreliable itness, hich shos a tet that has been so clearl illingl mtilated? Eternal eidence cannot motiate the denial of the athenticit of the ords of Jess. Metger motiates the dobts cast on this passage b the fact that no reason cold eplain its deliberate omission. Bt I old rather sa that: no reason that e kno of, cold eplain the omission! Ho incredible ere the sppositions of Origen to lead him to dismiss the ord "behind me" as sprios. The fact is that e do not kno h some might hae remoed this portion of Scriptre from their copies, and since sch scarce eidence is in faor of the omission and the rest for its presence, if e ant to abide in the realm of objectie eidence and not speclations, e mst admit there are no tre or sfficient reasons to cast an dobt on the athenticit of this passage. 1.18 KJV: No man hath seen God at an time; the onl begotten Son, hich is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. I hae discssed of this passage in m Italian book on the Trinit. The Aleandrian tet reads God instead of Son. The change is er simple in the original Greek: it takes a single consonant change, since Son as among the so called and
abbreiated YS (υς) and ThS (θς). It is onl another corrption of the Aleandrian tradition and mabe clear eidence of Gnostic infiltration in the Egptian tet of this gospel. Some modern translators nderstand the total absence of meaning of the epression the onl begotten God and retain the Majorit tet. Also in this case, the itnesses against the Majorit tet are not in agreement ith each other. 1. ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς the onl begotten Son is the Majorit TR reading. 45
2. ὁ μονογενὴς θεὸς the onl begotten God is spported b P75, 33 and a corrector of a. 3. μονογενὴς θεὸς onl begotten God is spported b P66, a , B, C, L. The latter reading enjos consent ofofmodern critics. Bt the contradiction in hich thethe spporters the reading Onl Begotten God fall, inalidates the ale of their itness. The article cold onl hae been dropped intentionall. Omission is a characteristic of the Aleandrian tet scribes. The freedom ith hich the tet as handed, let the change to God enter the tet. The imprint of Gnostic inflence is clearl seen in the Aleandrian reading: "the onl begotten God" simpl means nothing. Read some of the sriing Gnostic Gospels and o ill agree. 3:13 καὶ οὐδεὶς ἀναβέβη ἀναβέβηκεν κεν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν Εἰ μὴ ὁ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώ ἀνθρώπου που ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ.
No one has ascended to heaen bt He ho came don from heaen, that iis, s, the Son of Man ho ho is in hea heaen. en.
The representaties of the Aleandrian tet omit: ho is in heaen. The are P66, P75, Alef, B and 33. Honestl it is a lot more eplainable the omission of this gloss than the insertion of it. If e consider also that the longer reading is attested b manscripts of different traditions against the Egptian tradition onl, it remains little or no room for dobt that the longer reading is the original. The reasons for its omission are eplained b Brce M. Metger: the qalit of the eternal attestation spporting the shorter reading, regarded the ords ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ (ho is in Heaen) as an interpretatie gloss, reflecting later Christological deelopment. A Tetal Commentar on the Greek Ne Testament, United Bible Societies, second edition, page 175 46
The qalit of a tet limited to se in a single region is obiosl poor. The Christological deelopment eplanation is een a eaker point, since this reading clearl creates a difficlt een to it. Sch difficlt as the reason for its omission. It is both clear and simple. It is also eident a loss in the rhthm of the ording if the last sentence is missing. 6.69 KJV: And e beliee and are sre that tho art that Christ, the Son of the liing God. Instead of the son on the liing God, the modern tet has the Hol One of God. I do not see the need to discss the importance of choosing one tet instead of another. One ma not fail to see ho
nimportant sch a slight change in a 2000 ears old tet is. I rge the reader to keep this fact in mind, since it ill be dl considered hen I ill dra m conclsions on this sbject. 7:538:11 This portion of Scriptre, the so called is one of the most famos portions of the Bible. It is spported b the Majorit tet. Jst like in the case of o f Mark 16.920, I ask the reader: h is it it retained in the tet of most Bibles? If thoght not to be part of the original gospel of John, h is it not completel deleted and hat critics are sre is the original tet restored? If it is considered original, ho can e reject sch an important itness of the Aleandrian tet and then adopt the other ariant readings from them? Most Bible readers dont kno that John 21 is also thoght not to hae belonged to the original gospel. This is sall spposed becase of internal considerations consideration s on the tet. Bt since (so far) not one ms spports its omission, no tetal critic can sccessfll 47
remoe it from the receied tet. All it old take is een one single manscript! I personall adocate the inclsion of the right here it is. The manscripts that hae it in other places of the Ne Testament are nreliable itnesses. It is spported b the Majorit tet and fe other passages of Scriptre hae enjoed so mch sanction from the bod of Christ. It is also fond in D. It is in the Old Latin manscripts and . Jerome inclded it in his hi s forth centr tr translation, anslation, the Latin Vlgate. Agstine of Hippo, ho lied beteen 354 and 430 AD, rote concerning this passage of Scriptre: Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the tre faith, fearing, I sppose, lest their ies shold be gien impnit in sinning, remoed from their manscripts, the Lords act of forgieness toard the adlteress, as if he ho had said sin no more had granted permission to sin. Qoted b Hills in the . 8:39 The ansered and said nto him, Abraham is or father. Jess saith nto them, If e Abraham's children, e the orks of Abraham.
The confsion among the itnesses against the Majorit reading has not stopped critics from choosing from the Aleandrian spporters. If o Abrahams children, the orks of Abraham is fond in P66 and B. It as the tet of Westcott and Hort. If o Abrahams children, o the orks of Abraham. is fond in adopted P75 and in Alef. The latter isthe reading the NestleAland tet. 48
It is so eident that the Aleandrian tet mst hae fallen ictim of the attempts of scribes to correct and earl coping mistakes. The Majorit tet has the strongest eternal spport and is still to be preferred. 10:29 KJV: M Father, hich (or ho) gae (to) me, is greater than all; and no is able to plck ot of m Father's hand.
The of the Jehoahs Witnesses adopts the Greek tet of Westcott and Hort. translates: What m Father has gien me is something greater than all other things, and no one can snatch them ot of the hand of the Father Again the simplicit of the trth of Scriptre is trned into philosoph. The confsion of the mss against the traditional reading makes them spport no definite reading. The traditional reading is fond also in P66. This is another instance here the Majorit tet is spported b the earliest athorit. 1.1 KJV: Pal, an apostle of Jess Christ b the ill of God, to the saints hich are at Ephess, and to the faithfl in Christ Jess. The ords at Ephess are omitted b some itnesses. The eidence for its presence in the tet are too strong to gie an credit to a fe itnesses ho hae fallen ictim of scribes sedced b the speclations of some earl heretics and Christian commentators on the real addressee of this epistle. 3.16
KJV: And ithot controers great is the mster of godliness: as manifest in the flesh, jstified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached nto the Gentiles, belieed on in the orld, receied p into glor. The reading God as manifest is the Majorit tet reading. The change again, jst like in John 1:18, as possible b changing one single consonant in the . Θες () as abbreiated Θς (). The modern tet (Reised Standard Version) has He as manifested in the flesh. Bt this is not the translation of the Greek tet the spport. In fact the RSV adds in a note: Greek Who. If the Greek tet sas ho h dont the translate it ho? Becase in eer langage a sentence needs a sbject and this is missing in the Neologian tet! No less ithot meaning the reading of D and the Latin Versions that read: hich as manifest in the flesh. Thogh a misleading note in the same RSV sas: other ancient athorities read God, eidence is abndantl in faor of the Majorit tet. Pickering maintains that the manscript eidence is the folloing: 300 Greek manscripts read God and 7 hae other readings.
It as er sad to read in a book on the epistles of Pal pblished b a famos Italian pblisher of John John W. Brgton spporting spporti ng the Tets Recepts hich, sas the athor, he belieed as ncontaminated. Sch a gratitos rong statement comes from a man nable een to spell Brgons name correctl! Serios scholars like Brgon, Scriener, Miller then, Pickering, Robinson, Pierpont toda, defend the critical ale of the 50
Traditional/Majorit tet. Brgon as coninced that reision of the TR as necessar. He onl arged that the reision made dring his das in light of the Aleandrian itnesses did not improe the tet bt onl made it orse. The ideas of Brgon stood the test of time. The are as good toda or een stronger than the ere in the nineteenth centr. All he maintained against Westcott and Hort theor, time proed to be correct! Thogh the Tets Recepts is a good representatie of the Majorit tet, its pecliarities cannot be spported. Here are some eamples: 8.37
KJV: And Philip said, If tho belieest ith all thine heart, tho maest. And he ansered and said, I beliee that Jess Christ is the Son of God. The case is against the athenticit of this passage. It is an insertion thogh it appears to be an earl one. It is not fond in the Majorit tet, in P45, P74, Alef, A, B, C, 33. It as not een in the manscripts sed b Erasms. He introdced it into the tet becase he fond it in the margin of one manscript. 5.78 KJV For there are three that bear record in heaen, the Father, the Word, and the Hol Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear itness in earth, the Spirit, and the ater, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
The nderlined ords are not fond in all the Greek mss. The ere inclded in the TR b Erasms becase he fond them in the controersial ms 61. The long reading is not the original one, this is beond qestion. 51
I kno that man Christians consider this passage a strong affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinit. Bt it as not ritten b John. I beliee in the Trinit too and I rote a book on the sbject sbject,, bt it is not in this passage that e fi find nd this trth bt in almost eer page of the Ne Testament! 17:8 KJV : hen the behold the beast that as, and is not, and et is.
The correct reading is: and is to ccome. ome. The TR reading is de to a mere printing mistake.
The time has come to end or discssion and eplain the pecliarities of Ne Testament Greek Tetal Criticism and its impact on the Bible reader. When I consider the arios tets aailable toda, I marel at the great ork of God, ho he presered his Word in sch a miraclos a. M first Bible as a TR Italian translation, the Diodati. Then I started sing the Riedta Li Bible, hich is sort of an Italian Reised Version. Right no I read the Ne Testament in Greek praise be to God for that, it's not m merit bt His grace. I learned Greek on the TR. Later, hen I as able to get one, I started sing the Majorit tet, in an interlinear GreekEnglish edition. I recentl got a NestleAland tet hich I consider er important for std prposes. The percentage of differences from different editions is so small and the qalit of those changes affect so little the meaning of the sentences and passages and een less the doctrine and teaching of the chrch that I can boldl sa that the preseration of the Ne Testament is a fact. No other book can boast sch a onderfl reliable reliabl e tet after a 2000 ears jorne! I beliee in the erbal and plenar inspiration of the Bible. I am coninced that God inspired the er ords of Scriptre. This is the diine aspect of the Bible, its spernatral qalit. Jess as God made man. He as God bt as also a man. A special man bt hman in the fll sense of the term. He cold alk, eat, speak. He had to alk from one place to another, thogh he as God and as sch, time and space had no poer oer him. The Bible is Gods Word. Bt it is also a book. As a book it as sbject to all the qalit and limitations of a book. Toda the Bible 53
is being translated in man langages and pblished almost eerhere in the orld. It is also aailable on adio and ideo. It is aailable on the internet. As a book it is enjoing all the potentials offered b the technolog of or time. Eerone has a Bible in their home. I hae doens, both printed and electronic editions. Wh do e accept all the priileges don from the time of the inention of print to toda, bt neglect to considered the limitations that ere common to all the books before the inention of print? Wh do e ant to jdge ith or eperience facts e cannot correctl interpret from todass perspectie? What as gien to other generations has not been gien to ors. And, at the same time, hat has been gien to or generation has not been gien to other past generations. We need to lie or time. We mst not jdge the past from or perspectie, bt trst God's might ork. Wh do some ant a niform tet of the Bible, a printed perfect edition of the Scriptre to satisf their need for certainties? It is the same frstrating search for doctrinal perfection in different denominations, hen it is qite eident that no chrch is perfect on earth. If e do simpl look at the facts and consider them for hat the are, e can bt marel at the greatness of Gods perfect plan to sae man. Ho God created the grond for the birth of Jess, so perfectl prophesied of in the Old Testament. Ho God arranged the times and the conditions so that the Gospel might easil be preached to all the nations, hen the Roman Empire irtall nited politicall all the then knon orld and the Greek cltre and langage as familiar to people eerhere, like English is toda. As there are some areas of Christianit and chrches that go astra and far from the trth, so far as that their faithflness to the Gospel ma be easil qestioned Jehoah's itnesses, Latter Da Saints or 54
some liberal Protestant chrches at the same time, there are some Bible tets ho can be considered inferior to others. Critics toda definitel prefer the Aleandrian, shorter, tet. The rest follos as a conseqence. It as the same tet that circlated in an area here thinkers like Origen and Gnostics dominated the scene. This means one thing: the frame of mind of critics of toda is simpl more fitting to the frame of mind of those ho lied in that enironment and created the deiations of the tet sried in the Aleandrian itnesses. The same applies to Christianit toda. Todas moderate, compromising, edcated bt not coninced Christianit, animated more b ecmenical desires than b the ill to spread the Trth of the Gospel, finds itself at ease ith this tpe of tet, prodced b likeminded people. The modern tet has not improed the TR tet, the Majorit tet in se in the chrch, it has simpl reied a tet that the chrch had long since gotten rid of. The Hol Spirit did not let some portions of Scriptre to be taken aa. I can't find an other reason h Marks traditional ending or the , thogh openl considered sprios b eminent critics, are still there, aailable to the Bible reader in all its editions. Most of the omissions considered to restore the original tet are not entirel folloed and the tet is still there: enclosed in doble sqare brackets, inclded in the tet ith a note casting dobt on its athenticit, some omissions folloed, some not... If the critics are so sre of these omissions and their tet, h don't the jst edit a tet, their tet, getting rid of the spposed sprios additions? Is it becase the bod of Christ on't accept sch a tet? Is it becase the Spirit of God has alread sanctioned some of the omissions of the modern tet into the hearts of belieers? For the reasons that I hae gien so far, there is no reason to think that critics from Westcott and Hort till toda improed the tet of the Tets Recepts. The modern tet hae is flctating, 55
changing according to the personal jdgment of editors and their choices among the contradicting eidence of mss departing from the Majorit tet. Westcott and Hort's Netral Tet proed to be a fable. The same ill happen in time to the Standard Tet of toda. M sggestion is that e follo the path of the earl chrch and confine again to obliion the Aleandrian tet and the confsed isolated itnesses departing from the TraditionalMajorit tet of the Ne Testament.
The Majority text of the New Testament has been underestimated for too many years by textual critics from the days of Westcott and Hort on. This article will provide enough evidence to let the reader reconsider the simple concept of “the oldest the best” in light of the reliability of the readings supported by the majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.