The Majority Text of the New Testament

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The Majority text of the Greek New Testament By Giuseppe Guarino

Introduction by  Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD

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󰁃󰁏󰁎󰁔󰁅󰁎󰁔󰁓

INTRODUCTION  b󰁹 Wilb󰁵r N. Pickering. .

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PREFACE  b󰁹 the a󰁵thor .

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CHAPTER ONE Te󰁸t󰁵al Criticism and the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament .

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CHAPTER TWO Variant Readings and Te󰁸t T󰁹pes .

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CHAPTER THREE Critical Editions of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament

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CHAPTER FOUR The Neologian te󰁸t and some of the principles behind it

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CHAPTER FIVE The Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t .

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CHAPTER SIX E󰁸amples of Variant Readings

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CONCLUSION

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Abbre󰁶iations

MS MSS NT  TR M A W

manuscript manuscripts New Testament Textus Receptus Majority Text Alexandrian Text Western Text

W-H  TT

Westcott and Hort and their text Traditional Text

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INTRODUCTION B󰁹 Wilb󰁵r N. Pickering, ThM PhD

It is refreshing to read a defense of the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament 󰁷ritten b󰁹 an Italian li󰁶ing in Ital󰁹. The a󰁵thor gi󰁶es a good introd󰁵ction to the s󰁵bject of Ne󰁷 Testament te󰁸t󰁵al criticism for the la󰁹 person, incl󰁵ding a brief re󰁶ie󰁷 of the facts of histor󰁹 that make the practice of te󰁸t󰁵al criticism necessar󰁹. Ho󰁷e󰁶er, since this is an introd󰁵ction, an󰁹one 󰁷ho 󰁷ishes to p󰁵rs󰁵e the matter sho󰁵ld cons󰁵lt the 󰁷orks of B󰁵rgon, Scri󰁶ener or Miller󲀔in o󰁵r da󰁹 those of Ma󰁵rice Robinson or m󰁹self. The a󰁵thor 󰁷rote the article directl󰁹 in English; it is 󰁷ell done,  b󰁵t there are little things thi ngs that sho󰁷 tthat hat he is not a nati󰁶 nati󰁶ee speaker. Gi󰁵seppe G󰁵arino is to be commended for a job 󰁷ell done; I recommend this article to the interested la󰁹 person. Wilb󰁵r N. Pickering, ThM PhD

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PREFACE B󰁹 the a󰁵thor

The goal of this 󰁷riting is not contro󰁶ers󰁹. What led me to 󰁷rite abo󰁵t te󰁸t󰁵al criticism of the Ne󰁷 Testament and conseq󰁵entl󰁹 abo󰁵t m󰁹 preference for the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, is m󰁹 e󰁸citement for the 󰁷onderf󰁵l 󰁷a󰁹 God preser󰁶ed His Word thro󰁵gh a jo󰁵rne󰁹 lasted no󰁷 abo󰁵t t󰁷o tho󰁵sand 󰁹ears 󲀓 I speak of the Ne󰁷 Testament onl󰁹. I hope the reader, 󰁷hate󰁶er his opinions abo󰁵t this s󰁵bject ma󰁹 be, 󰁷ill 󰁵nderstand m󰁹 󰁷ork as an effort in the direction of comm󰁵nicating confidence in the s󰁵pernat󰁵ral 󰁷a󰁹 God ga󰁶e His Word to the man of the XXI cent󰁵r󰁹. The goal is al󰁷a󰁹s: 󲀜That the man of God ma󰁹 be perfect, thro󰁵ghl󰁹 f󰁵rnished 󰁵nto all good 󰁷orks.󲀝 2 Timoth󰁹 3:17.

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CHAPTER ONE 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴󰁵󰁡󰁬 󰁃󰁲󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁣󰁩󰁳󰁭 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁇󰁲󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁔󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴

The Bible is a collection of books. Some of them date as earl󰁹 as the fifteenth cent󰁵r󰁹 BC. The latest 󰁷ritten, 󰁶er󰁹 probabl󰁹 the Gospel of  John and the book of Re󰁶elation, Re󰁶e lation, both dating aro󰁵nd the end of firs firstt cent󰁵r󰁹 AD. Too far from the in󰁶ention of print to ha󰁶e taken ad󰁶antage of it. The first book printed from mo󰁶able t󰁹pes 󰁷as a Bible in the middle of the fifteenth cent󰁵r󰁹. Along 󰁷ith other old  books before that epoch making e󰁶ent, the preser󰁶 preser󰁶ation ation and diff󰁵sion of the Bible 󰁷as e󰁸cl󰁵si󰁶el󰁹 connected to the hand cop󰁹ing process. Hand cop󰁹ing, tho󰁵gh a 󰁶er󰁹 de󰁶eloped art e󰁶en in old times, 󰁷as s󰁵bject to let mistakes enter the te󰁸t. This applies to all kinds of  books and being the Bible Bib le also a book, it applies, to a certain e󰁸tent, to the Bible too. Te󰁸t󰁵al Criticism is the st󰁵d󰁹 of the a󰁶ailable, s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ing man󰁵script e󰁶idence in order to reco󰁶er either: 1.the original te󰁸t of a book or 2.the best retraceable te󰁸t. A lot easier said than done. As far as main te󰁸t󰁵al criticismthe of e󰁸tra biblical books is concerned, face t󰁷o problems: late date of man󰁵scripts a󰁶ailablecritics and the scarcit󰁹 of them. Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger gi󰁶es some interesting n󰁵mbers. Homer󲀙s Iliad s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶es in less than 600 man󰁵scripts. E󰁵ripides 󰁷orks are preser󰁶ed in less then 400 man󰁵scripts. The complete Annals of Tacit󰁵s in one man󰁵script onl󰁹 dating from the ninth cent󰁵r󰁹. Biblical te󰁸t󰁵al criticism on the contrar󰁹, deals 󰁷ith too large an amo󰁵nt of man󰁵scripts the date of some being relati󰁶el󰁹 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

 

Te󰁸t is still the best te󰁸t a󰁶ailable of the Old Testament, 󰁶er󰁹 󰁷ell attested and confirmed b󰁹 the disco󰁶er󰁹 of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among them the so called Great Isaiah Scroll, dated 100 BC. When compared to the Masoretic te󰁸t, it sho󰁷ed that: 󲀜Despite of the fact that the Isaiah scroll 󰁷as abo󰁵t a tho󰁵sand 󰁹ears older than the Masoretic 󰁶ersion of Isaiah, the t󰁷o 󰁷ere nearl󰁹 identical󲀦The res󰁵lts obtained from comparati󰁶e st󰁵dies of this kind ha󰁶e been repeated for man󰁹 other script󰁵ral books represented at Q󰁵mran. The large majorit󰁹 of the ne󰁷 scrolls do belong to the same te󰁸t󰁵al tradition as the Masoretic te󰁸t. The󰁹 are, ho󰁷e󰁶er, cent󰁵ries older and th󰁵s demonstrate in a forcef󰁵l 󰁷a󰁹 ho󰁷 caref󰁵ll󰁹 Je󰁷ish scribes transmitted that te󰁸t across the 󰁹ears.󲀝 James C. Vanderkam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Toda󰁹, page 126.  J󰁵st to gi󰁶e an idea, in i n ro󰁵nd n󰁵mbers, this iiss the sit󰁵ation of the Ne󰁷 Testament s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ing man󰁵scripts: 󰀭 More than 5000 man󰁵scripts s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶e, 󰁷hich contain all or part of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament. One need onl󰁹 consider that 󲀜The Book of Re󰁶elation is the least 󰁷ell󰀭attested part of the Ne󰁷 Testament,  being preser󰁶ed in abo󰁵t 300 Greek man󰁵scripts󲀝. man 󰁵scripts󲀝. Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger, 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁔󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴 , , 1968, O󰁸ford Uni󰁶ersit󰁹 Press, page 34. 󰀭 8000 mss 󰁷itness to the Latin V󰁵lgate, the famo󰁵s translation b󰁹  Jerome. Also man󰁹 other mss contain other 󰁶ersi 󰁶ersions ons of the Bibl Bible. e. 󰀭 More than 2000 lectionaries. 󰀭 Bible q󰁵otations in earl󰁹 Christian 󰁷riters 󰀭 the so called Ch󰁵rch Fathers 󰀭 are also 󰁶er󰁹 important. The󰁹 󰁷itness both to readings of the te󰁸t and the 󰁵se and e󰁸istence of Ne󰁷 Testament books. I think 󰁷hat said 󰁷ill s󰁵ffice to sho󰁷 the incredible amo󰁵nt of e󰁶idence s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ing of the Ne󰁷 Testament. What abo󰁵t the age of s󰁵ch e󰁶idence?

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P52 󰀭 pict󰁵re here on the right 󰀭 is a pap󰁹ri fragment of the gospel of John. It has been dated aro󰁵nd 125 BC or e󰁶en earlier! One need b󰁵t q󰁵ickl󰁹 consider 󰁷hat an incredible 󰁷itness this is and reali󰁺e the priceless so󰁵rce of information s󰁵ch a small doc󰁵ment ma󰁹 be. It gi󰁶es e󰁶idence of the e󰁸istence of John󲀙s Gospel at s󰁵ch an earl󰁹 period, gi󰁶ing a definite confirmation of the traditional dating of this gospel. Recentl󰁹 a gro󰁷ing n󰁵mber of scholars has been s󰁵pporting the theor󰁹 that sees a fragment of the Gospel of Mark in the man󰁵script fragment 7Q5. It 󰁷as fo󰁵nd at Q󰁵mran and since this comm󰁵nit󰁹 disappeared in 70 BC, this ms ma󰁹 be e󰁶idence of the gospel of Mark alread󰁹 ha󰁶ing been 󰁷ritten before that time. if s󰁵ch identification is correct, is the Also, first Christian scroll man󰁵script e󰁶er7Q5 fo󰁵nd. So far, onl󰁹 code󰁸 man󰁵scripts 󰁷ere a󰁶ailable. I disc󰁵ss the matter concerning 7Q5 at length in another article. The pict󰁵re on the left reprod󰁵ces the pap󰁹ri P75. It belongs to the Bodmer Pap󰁹ri collection. It has been dated 175󰀭225 AD. It is 󰁶er󰁹 important for the portions of the gospel of John and his e󰁶ident relation to the Vatican󰁵s code󰁸. For a readable pict󰁵re of this pap󰁹ri check the Google or Yahoo images and search for P75. It is q󰁵ite an e󰁸perience 󲀓 it 󰁷as for me 󲀓 to be able to read the beginning of John󲀙s Gospel straight from a 1800 󰁹ear󰀭old man󰁵script. P66 󰀭 pict󰁵re on the right 󰀭 is another 󰁶er󰁹 old pap󰁹ri ms. It is as old as the second 8

 

Cent󰁵r󰁹 It has arri󰁶ed at 󰁵s in a 󰁶er󰁹 good state. It is part of the Bodmer Pap󰁹ri collection. More other pap󰁹ri e󰁶idence has recentl󰁹 been collected and, apart from an󰁹 te󰁸t󰁵al 󰁶al󰁵e attached to them, the󰁹 󰁷itness the e󰁸istence and spread of the gospels as 󰁷e kno󰁷 them as earl󰁹 as the traditional 󰁶ie󰁷 has al󰁷a󰁹s belie󰁶ed. B and a (read Aleph) are still the t󰁷o oldest and most complete man󰁵scripts, both containing almost the 󰁷hole Bible and dating as earl󰁹 as the middle of the forth cent󰁵r󰁹. Alef or code󰁸 Sinaitic󰁵s, 󰁷as fo󰁵nd on Mt. Sinai b󰁹 Constantin Von Tischendorf, the famo󰁵s te󰁸t󰁵al critic. To honor its antiq󰁵it󰁹 and importance it 󰁷as named after the first letter of the Hebre󰁷 alphabet: a , Aleph. It originall󰁹 contained all the Bible b󰁵t it has not s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ed in its integrit󰁹 tho󰁵gh all the Ne󰁷 Testament is still intact. B or code󰁸 Vatican󰁵s is part of the Vatican librar󰁹. Tho󰁵gh it dates earl󰁹 in the IV cent󰁵r󰁹, it 󰁷as not a󰁶ailable to critics 󰁵ntil the second half of the nineteenth cent󰁵r󰁹. The t󰁷o 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 min󰁵sc󰁵le. Up to the ninth cent󰁵r󰁹, Ne󰁷 Testament Greek man󰁵scripts 󰁷ere 󰁷ritten in capital letters. That is 󰁷h󰁹 the󰁹 are also called Uncials. B󰁵t, from this time on, the te󰁸t 󰁷as transmitted in min󰁵sc󰁵le hand󰁷riting. Min󰁵sc󰁵le man󰁵scripts 󰁷ere prod󰁵ced from the period do󰁷n to the in󰁶ention of print. MS61 is a min󰁵sc󰁵le dated fifteenth󰀭si󰁸teenth cent󰁵r󰁹. It is at Trinit󰁹 College at D󰁵blin. It is 󰁶er󰁹 famo󰁵s beca󰁵se it has the  Johannine Comma, I John 5:7󰀭8. Erasm󰁵s 󰁵sed this man󰁵script to moti󰁶ate the incl󰁵sion of the Comma into the third edition of his Greek te󰁸t, latter to be called Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s. 9

 

Category

Name

Century

Contents

PAPYRI

P45

III

Portions of Gospels and Acts

P46

II-III

Portions of Paul’s epistles

P47

III

Epistles of Paul and Revelation

P52

II

John 18:31-33, 37-38.

P66

II-III

Portions of John

P75

III

Portions of Luke and John

A

V

The whole Bible

Alef

IV

The whole Bible

B

IV

The whole Bible

C

V

The whole Bible

D

V

New Testament in Latin and Greek

W

V

33

IX

61

XIII

CODEX

MINUSCLES

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CHAPTER TWO 󰁖󰁡󰁲󰁩󰁡󰁮󰁴 󰁒󰁥󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁳 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴 󰁴󰁹󰁰󰁥󰁳

We said the cop󰁹ing process ine󰁶itabl󰁹 let mistakes creep into the te󰁸t. To see ho󰁷 eas󰁹 this is, do a 󰁶er󰁹 simple e󰁸periment: cop󰁹 a long te󰁸t. Then cop󰁹 from the cop󰁹. Again prod󰁵ce another cop󰁹 from the cop󰁹. The more copies of copies 󰁹o󰁵 prod󰁵ce, the more mistakes 󰁹o󰁵 󰁷ill ine󰁶itabl󰁹 collect. Imagine this process dela󰁹ed in h󰁵ndreds of 󰁹ears. Of co󰁵rse Bible man󰁵scripts 󰁷ere cherished as the󰁹 󰁷ere God󲀙s Word, the diligent reader 󰁷o󰁵ld This 󰁷as the case forThe󰁹 Je󰁷ish scribes, 󰁷ho 󰁷ere in thisarg󰁵e. task be󰁹ond imagination. destro󰁹ed the man󰁵scripts the󰁹 󰁷ere cop󰁹ing from, not to lea󰁶e a m󰁵tilated cop󰁹 of Script󰁵re. The󰁹 also re󰁶ie󰁷ed their 󰁷ork and if more than a certain n󰁵mber of mistakes 󰁷ere fo󰁵nd, the󰁹 󰁷o󰁵ld destro󰁹 the cop󰁹 prod󰁵ced as 󰁵nfaithf󰁵l to the original. The same care, along 󰁷ith a specific skill, 󰁷as de󰁶eloped in the monasteries de󰁶oted to the cop󰁹ing of books in the Middle Ages. B󰁵t 󰁷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󰁷, co󰁵ld be s󰁵bject to in󰁶estigation b󰁹 the Greek mind of the Gentile belie󰁶ers. This is 󰁷h󰁹, besides 󰁵nintentional mistakes, a n󰁵mber of 󰁶ariant readings fo󰁵nd in man󰁵scripts can be retraced do󰁷n to the self o󰁶erestimation of some earl󰁹 scribes. In 󲀜The Identit󰁹 of the Ne󰁷 Testament Te󰁸t󲀝, Wilb󰁵r Pickering 󰁷rites: 󲀜the MSS contain se󰁶eral h󰁵ndred tho󰁵sand 󰁶ariant readings. The 󰁶ast majorit󰁹 of these are misspellings or other ob󰁶io󰁵s errors d󰁵e to carelessness or ignorance on the part of the 11

 

cop󰁹ists. As a sheer g󰁵ess I 󰁷o󰁵ld sa󰁹 there are bet󰁷een ten tho󰁵sand and fifteen tho󰁵sand that cannot be so easil󰁹 dismissed󰀭 i.e., a ma󰁸im󰁵m of fi󰁶e percent of the 󰁶ariants are 󲀜significant.󲀝 Scholars Westcott and Hort arg󰁵ed something similar 󰁷hen the󰁹 󰁷rote: 󲀜...the amo󰁵nt of 󰁷hat can in an󰁹 sense be called s󰁵bstantial 󰁶ariation is b󰁵t a small fraction of the 󰁷hole resid󰁵ar󰁹 󰁶ariation, and can hardl󰁹 form more than a tho󰁵sandth part of the entire te󰁸t.󲀝 Westcott and Hort, 󲀜The Ne󰁷 Testament in the Original Greek󲀝, p. 2. We󲀙ll ha󰁶e to keep this in mind thro󰁵gho󰁵t o󰁵r st󰁵d󰁹. We are not looking for the te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament, b󰁵t for the best te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament among the critical editions a󰁶ailable toda󰁹.

Identif󰁹ing the pec󰁵liarities of ancient their readings, scholars ha󰁶e identified threeman󰁵scripts, main t󰁹pes of te󰁸t.󰁶ariant The󰁹 are: the Western, the Ale󰁸andrian (or Eg󰁹ptian) and the Majorit󰁹 (S󰁹rian, B󰁹󰁺antine, Traditional) te󰁸t. Let me dismiss the term B󰁹󰁺antine te󰁸t at once. It renders no j󰁵stice to this t󰁹pe of te󰁸t and implies a late deliberate prod󰁵ction of it. This latter ass󰁵mption is false, destit󰁵te of an󰁹 historical s󰁵pport, the res󰁵lt of mere s󰁵pposition. At the same time, calling it the Traditional te󰁸t 󰁷o󰁵ld go too far in the opposite direction. On the contrar󰁹, calling it the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t e󰁸presses a do󰁵btless fact, i.e. it is the te󰁸t fo󰁵nd in the majorit󰁹 of the Greek man󰁵scripts of the Ne󰁷 Testament. The Western is a "longer" t󰁹pe of te󰁸t, characteri󰁺ed b󰁹 interpolations. It is fo󰁵nd in the Uncial D and in man󰁵scripts of the Old Latin Version. It also is a 󰁷itness to some pec󰁵liar omissions in the Gospel of L󰁵ke. Some of them became famo󰁵s thanks to Westcott and Hort, 󰁷ho isolated and adopted some of these omissions, calling them the 󰁗󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁥󰁲󰁮 󰁎󰁯󰁮󰀭󰁉󰁮󰁴󰁥󰁲󰁰󰁯󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮󰁳.

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The term Western is con󰁶entional, since it is 󰁶er󰁹 probable that this te󰁸t originated in the East. The Ale󰁸andrian is a "shorter" 󰁶ersion of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament te󰁸t. The Majorit󰁹 stands bet󰁷een the t󰁷o and it is rightl󰁹 and simpl󰁹 called so beca󰁵se it is fo󰁵nd in the 󰁶ast majorit󰁹 of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament man󰁵scripts. Since the 󰁷ork of the scholars Westcott and Hort, the Ale󰁸andrian shorter te󰁸t has been fa󰁶o󰁵red b󰁹 critics. The simple ass󰁵mption is that the Western te󰁸t has been clearl󰁹 tempered 󰁷ith interpolations and that the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t has been prod󰁵ced 󰁣󰁯󰁮󰁦󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁮󰁧 󰀭 󰁷e'll see later 󰁷hat is intended b󰁹 this technical term 󰀭 the Western and the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t to prod󰁵ce a smooth readable te󰁸t. Some other scholars (aoriginal minorit󰁹, to the be honest) belie󰁶e Majorit󰁹 to be the closest to the and Eg󰁹ptian to be the a shorter 󰁶ersion of it and the Western a longer one. I belie󰁶e this latter case to be tr󰁵e and still to this da󰁹 the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t is, in m󰁹 opinion, to  be preferred to the others. Later in this article I 󰁷ill tr󰁹 to e󰁸plain 󰁷h󰁹. Histor󰁹 of the editions of the Ne󰁷 Testament appeared on the scene since the in󰁶ention of print, has seen 󰁶ario󰁵s seasons of fort󰁵nes for the Ale󰁸andrian and the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Let 󰁵s briefl󰁹 consider the critical editions appeared since the in󰁶ention of print.

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CHAPTER THREE 󰁃󰁲󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁣󰁡󰁬 󰁅󰁤󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮󰁳 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁇󰁲󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁔󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴

󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴󰁵󰁳 󰁒󰁥󰁣󰁥󰁰󰁴󰁵󰁳

The first phase of the histor󰁹 of the printed editions of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament sa󰁷 the rise of the so called Recei󰁶ed Te󰁸t, the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s. It 󰁷as the first p󰁵blished, b󰁹 Desideri󰁵s Erasm󰁵s in 1516. Stephan󰁵s' forth edition of 1551 󰁷as the first to contain o󰁵r modern 󰁶erse di󰁶ision. In the Preface to  ergo the 1633 edition theomnib󰁵s El󰁺e󰁶ir 󰁲󰁥󰁣󰁥󰁰󰁴󰁵󰁭 brothers,  ,itin 󰁷as 󰁷ritten: 󲀜󰁴󰁥󰁸󰁴󰁵󰁭 habes, n󰁵ncofab q󰁵o nihil imm󰁵lat󰁵m a󰁵t corr󰁵pt󰁵m dam󰁵s󲀝 From this, the name Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s, translated Recei󰁶ed Te󰁸t. 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󰁹 L󰁵ther in German. The te󰁸t of the TR is mainl󰁹 the te󰁸t of the majorit󰁹 of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament man󰁵scripts, tho󰁵gh some readings are pec󰁵liar to the fe󰁷 man󰁵scripts 󰁵sed to edit it. Acts 8.37, is an e󰁸ample: it is fo󰁵nd in the TR b󰁵t not in the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Another famo󰁵s reading pec󰁵liar to the TR is I John 5:7. It 󰁷as first introd󰁵ced in a later edition (Erasm󰁵s󲀙 third edition of 1522) and e󰁶er since printed 󰁷ith it. The critical 󰁶al󰁵e of the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s can be j󰁵dged from 󰁶ario󰁵s points of 󰁶ie󰁷. The 󰁵s󰁵al objection is that onl󰁹 a fe󰁷 and late man󰁵scripts 󰁷ere 󰁵sed 󰁷hen editing it. This is tr󰁵e. B󰁵t it 󰁷o󰁵ld be a false 14

 

representation if 󰁷e do not add that, b󰁹 incident or b󰁹 the grace of God, the fe󰁷 man󰁵scripts cons󰁵lted contained the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t. Personall󰁹 󰀭 if this ma󰁹 be of an󰁹 interest to the reader 󰀭 I read and st󰁵d󰁹 on the KJV. If I read the Bible in Italian I still consider the Diodati Bible m󰁹 fa󰁶o󰁵rite translation. B󰁵t, since I ha󰁶e learned Greek, I ha󰁶e not read translations m󰁵ch. Of co󰁵rse I prefer the original. I consider the TR a good te󰁸t since it incl󰁵des the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. We can concl󰁵de that the 󰁶al󰁵e of the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s, tho󰁵gh,  be󰁹ond an󰁹 possible do󰁵bt, do󰁵bt , re󰁶ision of it 󰁷as nece necessar󰁹 ssar󰁹 to impro󰁶e its critical 󰁶al󰁵e, rests on the importance gi󰁶en to the Majorit󰁹 Ne󰁷 Testament te󰁸t.

󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁗󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁣󰁯󰁴󰁴 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁈󰁯󰁲󰁴 󰁣󰁲󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁣󰁡󰁬 󰁴󰁥󰁸󰁴

In 1881 t󰁷o English scholars, Brooke Foss Westcott (1825󰀭1901) and Fenton John Anthon󰁹 Hort (1828󰀭1829), p󰁵blished their edition of the Ne󰁷 Testament, along 󰁷ith their theories in s󰁵pport of it. The󰁹 claimed to ha󰁶e retraced and presented to the p󰁵blic 󰁷hat the󰁹 called the Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t, the closest te󰁸t to the original possible. Their Greek Te󰁸t is mainl󰁹 based on the Vatican (B) and Sinaitic (a) man󰁵scripts, 󰁷hich had become a󰁶ailable at their time. Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger q󰁵otes them sa󰁹ing: "it is o󰁵r belief that the readings of a B sho󰁵ld be accepted as the tr󰁵e readings 󰁵ntil strong internal e󰁶idence is fo󰁵nd to the contrar󰁹", Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger, The Te󰁸t of The Ne󰁷 Testament, second edition, 1968, O󰁸ford Uni󰁶ersit󰁹 Press, page 133. The reason for the s󰁵ccess of their theor󰁹 󰁷as d󰁵e to a simple concept, 󰁶er󰁹 capti󰁶ating to the mind of both the a󰁶erage Bible reader and the st󰁵dent: "the oldest, the best." An idea that an󰁹 s󰁵fficientl󰁹 honest scholar of te󰁸t󰁵al criticism can dispro󰁶e. B󰁵t that can easil󰁹 󰁷in the p󰁵blic's confidence on the reliabilit󰁹 of their 15

 

󰁷ork. Ale󰁸ander So󰁵ter 󰁷rites: 󲀜A man󰁵script󲀙s importance does not of co󰁵rse depend solel󰁹 on its age. An old man󰁵script is likel󰁹 to be a more faithf󰁵l representati󰁶e of its 󰁵ltimate original onl󰁹  beca󰁵se in its case there has been be en less time for corr󰁵ption to acc󰁵m󰁵late󲀦B󰁵t a late man󰁵script ma󰁹 be the last of a series of faithf󰁵l copies, and ma󰁹 th󰁵s preser󰁶e a better tradition than another man󰁵script act󰁵all󰁹 m󰁵ch earlier in date of it.󲀝 󲀓 The Te󰁸t and Canon of the Ne󰁷 Testament, page 18. The Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t that W󰀭H tho󰁵ght to ha󰁶e retraced simpl󰁹 ne󰁶er e󰁸isted. K󰁵rt and Barbara Aland clearl󰁹 agreed on the fact that there is no Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t. The backbones of their theor󰁹 󰁷ere mere s󰁵ppositions. Their 󰁣󰁯󰁮󰁦󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮 and B󰁹󰁺antine Te󰁸t official 󰁲󰁥󰁣󰁥󰁮󰁳󰁩󰁯󰁮  theories 󰁷ere not s󰁵pported b󰁹 historical e󰁶idence. Inothing m󰁵st confess that consider their fame 󰁵nmerited, since little remains of Ithe 󰁶alidit󰁹 of the reasons that led them to or s󰁵pport the te󰁸t the󰁹 edited. E󰁶en their disrespectf󰁵l attit󰁵de to󰁷ard 󰁷hat the󰁹 called the B󰁹󰁺antine te󰁸t m󰁵st be abandoned and toda󰁹 it is 󰁷ith right called the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t in the best editions of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament. Another pec󰁵liarit󰁹 of their theor󰁹 󰁷ere the so called Western Non󰀭 Interpolations. W󰀭H collected nine Bible passages that 󰁷ere in all or in part omitted b󰁹 the Western te󰁸t representati󰁶e Oncial Man󰁵script D, preferring this isolated 󰁷itness against the rest of the Ne󰁷 Testament e󰁶idence. The󰁹 are Mt 27.49, Lk 22.19b󰀭20, 24.3, 6, 12, 36, 40, 51 and 52. The disco󰁶er󰁹 of Pap󰁹ri 󰁵nkno󰁷n d󰁵ring the da󰁹s 󰁷hen the󰁹 de󰁶eloped their theor󰁹, if necessar󰁹, pro󰁶ed ho󰁷 󰁵nmoti󰁶ated 󰁷ere s󰁵ch considerations on a part of the Ne󰁷 Testament te󰁸t so 󰁷ell s󰁵pported b󰁹 e󰁸ternal e󰁶idence, and ho󰁷 personal j󰁵dgement g󰁵ided their ideas more than e󰁶idence. Their absol󰁵te preference for shorter readings led them to s󰁵pport a te󰁸t that contradicted e󰁶en their fa󰁶o󰁵rite man󰁵scripts, B and a , as 󰁷ell as the rest of the a󰁶ailable e󰁶idence. Br󰁵ce Met󰁺ger sa󰁹s: 16

 

"...scholars ha󰁶e been critical of the apparentl󰁹 arbitrar󰁹 󰁷a󰁹 in 󰁷hich Westcott and Hort isolated nine passages for special treatment (enclosing them 󰁷ithin do󰁵ble sq󰁵are brackets), 󰁷hereas the󰁹 did not gi󰁶e similar treatment to other readings that are also absent from the Western 󰁷itnesses", A te󰁸t󰁵al Commentar󰁹 on the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament, Second Edition, United Bible Societies, p. 165. We m󰁵st agree 󰁷ith those 󰁷ho s󰁵pposed that the onl󰁹 tr󰁵e s󰁵ccess of these t󰁷o scholars 󰁷as to bring back to life a te󰁸t 󲀓 that fo󰁵nd in the so called Ale󰁸andrian 󲀓 Eg󰁹ptian man󰁵scripts 󰀭 that the ch󰁵rch had gotten rid of almost t󰁷o tho󰁵sand 󰁹ears earlier. This con󰁶iction stood at the base of the 󰁷ork of their opponents.

󰁂󰁵󰁲󰁧󰁯󰁮 󰀭 󰁍󰁩󰁬󰁬󰁥󰁲 󰀭 󰁓󰁣󰁲󰁩󰁶󰁥󰁮󰁥󰁲

 John W. B󰁵rgon (1813󰀭1888) 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 t󰁷o books 󰁷ere edited b󰁹 Ed󰁷ard Miller. B󰁵rgon s󰁵pported the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. He called it the Traditional Te󰁸t, gi󰁶ing to it the dignit󰁹 of the te󰁸t 󰁷hich best represented the originals, being faithf󰁵ll󰁹 handed do󰁷n, copied and spread b󰁹 the ch󰁵rch. The sad thing is that it 󰁷as 󰁶er󰁹 diffic󰁵lt to reco󰁶er those sed󰁵ced  b󰁹 the so capti󰁶ating 󲀜the 󲀜 the oldest, the best󲀝 sl slogan. ogan. Frederick Henr󰁹 Ambrose Scri󰁶ener (1813󰀭1891) belie󰁶ed also in the s󰁵periorit󰁹 of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. I am a fan of his 󰁷ork and te󰁸t. This great scholar 󰁷as, in m󰁹 opinion, 󰁶er󰁹 reliable and moderate, 17

 

so󰁵nd in his research principles. His critical edition of the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament is here reprod󰁵ced in the pict󰁵re. It is the beginning of the Gospel of John in the edition of 1887. It can be do󰁷nloaded at 󰁷󰁷󰁷.archi󰁶e.com.. The te󰁸t is 󰁷󰁷󰁷.archi󰁶e.com that of Stephan󰁵s p󰁵blished in 1550 and translated in the King James Version, along 󰁷ith the changes made in the Re󰁶ised Version of 1881. apparat󰁵s sho󰁷ing the The readings of other critical editions, incl󰁵ding Westcott and Hort, makes it 󰁶er󰁹 󰁶al󰁵able. The facts that he 󰁷as so moderate a s󰁵pporter of the Traditional Te󰁸t and that he ser󰁶ed onl󰁹 the ca󰁵se of a better kno󰁷ledge of the te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament, mi󰁸ed 󰁷ith his 󰁵nforgi󰁶able fa󰁵lt not to ha󰁶e prod󰁵ced an󰁹 sensational theor󰁹, I belie󰁶e are the reasons 󰁷h󰁹 he is 󰁵nkno󰁷n to the p󰁵blic. Tr󰁵e and honest ser󰁶ants of tr󰁵th rarel󰁹 prod󰁵ce sensational theories and their precio󰁵s 󰁷ork is done in silent and 󰁶er󰁹 rarel󰁹 󰁷ill bring fame and fort󰁵ne. I m󰁵st add that his great contrib󰁵tion to te󰁸t󰁵al criticism incl󰁵ded the editing of Code󰁸 Be󰁺ae, the collation of Code󰁸 Sinaitic󰁵s, Alef, 󰁷ith the TR. He also 󰁷rote 󲀜A Plain Introd󰁵ction to the Criticism of the Ne󰁷 Testament󲀝 1861. 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁎󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁬󰁥󰀭󰁁󰁬󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁴󰁥󰁸󰁴 󰁥󰁤󰁩󰁴󰁥󰁤 󰁢󰁹 󰁂󰁡󰁲󰁢󰁡󰁲󰁡 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁋󰁵󰁲󰁴 󰁋󰁵󰁲 󰁴 󰁁󰁬󰁡󰁮󰁤, 󰁋󰁡󰁲󰁡󰁶󰁩󰁤󰁯󰁰󰁯󰁵󰁬󰁯󰁳, 󰁍󰁡󰁲󰁴󰁩󰁮󰁩 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁍󰁥󰁴󰁺󰁧󰁥󰁲

18

 

The most credited critical editions toda󰁹 are the Nestle󰀭Aland and the UBS (United Bible Societies), 󰁷hich are 󰁶irt󰁵all󰁹 identical. I personall󰁹 󰁵se 󰁶er󰁹 freq󰁵entl󰁹 the 27th edition of the N󰀭A te󰁸t. It is a 󰁶er󰁹 important reference 󰁷ork beca󰁵se of the critical apparat󰁵ses 󰁷hich offers a list of the 󰁶ariants of the man󰁵scripts. Tho󰁵gh I do not agree 󰁷ith some concl󰁵sions, the e󰁶idence is listed and this makes it most 󰁵sef󰁵l. The te󰁸t preferred is still mainl󰁹 that of Westcott and Hort since most credibilit󰁹 is still gi󰁶en to the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses, B and a. The more recent disco󰁶er󰁹 of the pap󰁹ri has someho󰁷 strengthened the 󰁷itness to the Ale󰁸andrian󰀭Eg󰁹ptian man󰁵scripts. Tho󰁵gh, as I alread󰁹 said, Hort󲀙s basic principles ha󰁶e been re󰁶ie󰁷ed. K󰁵rt and Barbara Aland 󰁷ith confidence call their te󰁸t the "Standard Te󰁸t". The󰁹 belie󰁶e it represents the closest to the original e󰁶er presented to the p󰁵blic. 󰁐󰁩󰁣󰁫󰁥󰁲󰁩󰁮󰁧 󲀓 󰁈󰁯󰁤󰁧󰁥󰁳 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁆󰁡󰁲󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁤 󲀓 󰁒󰁯󰁢󰁩󰁮󰁳󰁯󰁮 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁐󰁩󰁥󰁲󰁰󰁯󰁮󰁴

Recentl󰁹 a gro󰁷ing n󰁵mber of scholars ha󰁶e ad󰁶ocated the 󰁶al󰁵e of the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t. This position stands in the Anglo󰀭Sa󰁸on 󰁷orld, right bet󰁷een the t󰁷o e󰁸tremes of the KJV󰀭TR onl󰁹 s󰁵pporters and those 󰁷ho totall󰁹 dismiss the B󰁹󰁺antine/Traditional/Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t as of little or no critical 󰁶al󰁵e. This school can be retraced in the positions of scholars alread󰁹 mentioned, like B󰁵rgon or Miller. Wilb󰁵r N. Pickering has made a Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t a󰁶ailable. It is fo󰁵nd 󰁷󰁷󰁷.󰁷alkinhiscommandments.com It  It is diffic󰁵lt not to on line at 󰁷󰁷󰁷.󰁷alkinhiscommandments.com recogni󰁺e the 󰁶al󰁵e of this scholar󲀙s 󰁷ork as he arg󰁵es for both the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t and the reliabilit󰁹 of the Ne󰁷 Testament.

19

 

The Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t edited b󰁹 Zane C. Hodges and Arth󰁵r L. Farstad has been p󰁵blished b󰁹 Thomas Nelson P󰁵blishers, Nash󰁶ille. This editor also made a󰁶ailable a ne󰁷 translation of the TR, the Ne󰁷 King James Version. Ma󰁵rice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont edited another edition of the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t, p󰁵blished b󰁹 Chilton Book P󰁵blishing. It is a󰁶ailable online at http://koti.24.fi/j󰁵salak/GreekNT/RP2005.htm   http://koti.24.fi/j󰁵salak/GreekNT/RP2005.htm Personall󰁹, I translated the book of Colossians into Italian from the critical te󰁸t edited b󰁹 Pickering and I made it a󰁶ailable in m󰁹 󰁷ebsites, 󰁷󰁷󰁷.ebiblicalst󰁵dies.com 󰁷󰁷󰁷.ebiblicalst󰁵dies.com and  and 󰁷󰁷󰁷.st󰁵dibiblici.e󰁵 󰁷󰁷󰁷.st󰁵dibiblici.e󰁵.. The Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t clearl󰁹 emendates the TR of its mistakes and restores to its rightf󰁵l place a 󰁶er󰁹 important 󰁷itness to the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament. I belie󰁶e it is the closes te󰁸t to the original, its archet󰁹pe being, in m󰁹 opinion, the originals themsel󰁶es. 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁋󰁩󰁮󰁧 󰁊󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁳 󰁖󰁥󰁲󰁳󰁩󰁯󰁮 󲀓 󰁔󰁒 󰁯󰁮󰁬󰁹 󰁰󰁯󰁳󰁩󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮.

For the sake of information, it m󰁵st be listed also a certain school of tho󰁵ght that boldl󰁹 defends the TR and its most famo󰁵s English translation, the King James Version. It is mainl󰁹 a phenomenon of the English󰀭speaking Christianit󰁹. It is also to be e󰁸plained as a reaction to the be󰁷ildering conf󰁵sion raised b󰁹 so man󰁹 ne󰁷 English translations being p󰁵blished. Ed󰁷ard F. Hills in his st󰁵dies defended and recalled the 󰁷ork of Dean B󰁵rgon, onl󰁹 to take it f󰁵rther and s󰁵pport the pec󰁵liar readings of the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s. I personall󰁹 don󲀙t feel like condemning Hills󲀙 󰁷ork, since I see the honest efforts of a Bible󰀭  belie󰁶ing Christian defending defe nding the A󰁵tho A󰁵thori󰁺ed ri󰁺ed Version. Of co󰁵rse, I 20

 

cannot share his positions, b󰁵t his book 󲀜the King James Defended1󲀝 contains a lot of good information. Tho󰁵gh the 󰁶al󰁵e of the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s cannot be denied, since it is a good representati󰁶e of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, some of its reading need be corrected. We cannot blame critics 󰁷ho s󰁵pport readings fo󰁵nd in onl󰁹 one or t󰁷o man󰁵scripts and belie󰁶e the TR to be a ne󰁷 a󰁵tograph onl󰁹 beca󰁵se it is 󲀜the recei󰁶ed te󰁸t󲀝 e󰁶en 󰁷hen it sho󰁷s pec󰁵liar readings that ha󰁶e no possible te󰁸t󰁵al 󰁶al󰁵e. Of co󰁵rse the re󰁶ision of the nineteen cent󰁵r󰁹 󰀭 if it 󰁷as reall󰁹 meant to impro󰁶e the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s 󰀭 failed miserabl󰁹. Some organi󰁺ations, like the Bible for Toda󰁹 in America or the Trinitarian Bible Societ󰁹, defend the TR󰀭KJV onl󰁹 position.

1

 I noticed it is a󰁶ailable a 󰁶ailable on line, in 󰁶ario󰁵s 󰁷ebsites. 21

 

CHAPTER FOUR 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁎󰁥󰁯󰁬󰁯󰁧󰁩󰁡󰁮 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴 󰁡󰁮󰁤 󰁳󰁯󰁭󰁥 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁢󰁡󰁳󰁩󰁣 󰁰󰁲󰁩󰁮󰁣󰁩󰁰󰁬󰁥󰁳 󰁢󰁥󰁨󰁩󰁮󰁤 󰁩󰁴 

The main stream of toda󰁹󲀙s te󰁸t󰁵al critics are still s󰁵pporting the 󰁷itness of B, Alef and the mss that associate 󰁷ith them. Their preference is clearl󰁹 for the Ale󰁸andrian󰀭Eg󰁹ptian te󰁸t. The road trodden toda󰁹 is still that ina󰁵g󰁵rated b󰁹 Westcott and Hort, tho󰁵gh the means 󰁵sed to tra󰁶el in it are q󰁵ite different. The first and most significant practice behind the Neologian te󰁸t is 󰁅󰁣󰁬󰁥󰁣󰁴󰁩󰁣󰁩󰁳󰁭. Using this method, the critic chooses among the a󰁶ailable 󰁶ariant readings, according to Intrinsic Probabilit󰁹 and Transcriptional Probabilit󰁹. In la󰁹 terms, the personal j󰁵dgment of the editor 󰁷ill lead him to choose among the a󰁶ailable readings fo󰁵nd in the e󰁸tant man󰁵scripts, according to 󰁷hat he belie󰁶es the a󰁵thor of the inspired book might ha󰁶e 󰁷ritten and ho󰁷 the scribes might ha󰁶e handled the te󰁸t, the mistakes the󰁹 might ha󰁶e done or their intentional changes introd󰁵ced in it. Col󰁷ell clearl󰁹 pointed o󰁵t that 󰁵sing s󰁵ch a method, man󰁵scripts  become onl󰁹 s󰁵ppliers of readings. And the te󰁸t of the critical editions based on this principle, tho󰁵gh it ma󰁹 seem an incredible parado󰁸, 󲀜taken as a 󰁷hole, is not one fo󰁵nd in an󰁹 e󰁸tant man󰁵script󲀦Modern eclectics ha󰁶e created an artificial entit󰁹 󰁷ith no ancestral lineage from an󰁹 single historical MS or gro󰁵p of MSS󲀝. We are speaking literall󰁹 of critical te󰁸ts that prod󰁵ce 󲀜a seq󰁵ence of fa󰁶ored readings that at times 󲀓 e󰁶er o󰁶er short segments of te󰁸t 󲀓 has no demonstrated e󰁸istence in an󰁹 kno󰁷n man󰁵script, 󰁶ersion or father.󲀝 Ma󰁵rice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁔󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴 󰁩󰁮 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁏󰁲󰁩󰁧󰁩󰁮󰁡󰁬 󰁇󰁲󰁥󰁥󰁫, 󰁂󰁹󰁺󰁡󰁮󰁴󰁩󰁮󰁥 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴󰁦󰁯󰁲󰁭 , 2005. 22

 

In other 󰁷ords, Eclecticism in the hands of te󰁸t󰁵al critics prod󰁵ces a te󰁸t that has no archet󰁹pe. It does not reflect the 󰁷itness of an󰁹 man󰁵script too, not e󰁶en of the Ale󰁸andrian T󰁹pe. It differs from Alef. It is different than B. It󲀙s not the te󰁸t of P66. Nor that of P75. It is simpl󰁹 a f󰁵rther editing of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t, follo󰁷ing, 󰁶er󰁹 probabl󰁹, the principles of the scribes behind this te󰁸t. The res󰁵lt, like the pre󰁶io󰁵s, is onl󰁹 a ne󰁷 isolated 󰁷itness. In m󰁹 opinion, the 󰁷eak link in toda󰁹󲀙s te󰁸t󰁵al criticism is that critics still follo󰁷 the te󰁸t of Westcott and Hort. Most of the pillars of the theor󰁹 of those t󰁷o scholars ha󰁶e been completel󰁹 demolished, b󰁵t incredibl󰁹 the b󰁵ilding is still 󰁵p, the preference is still for the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses. Something is going 󰁷rong 󰁷ith this approach to the te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament. Hort had created a Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t. B󰁵t no󰁷 it is ab󰁵ndantl󰁹 clear that, if there e󰁶er 󰁷as an archet󰁹pe of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t, it is impossible to tr󰁹 to find it in the contradicting s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ing man󰁵scripts that are tho󰁵ght to deri󰁶e from it. The onl󰁹 option left is internal e󰁶idence and personal j󰁵dgment of the editors. Official te󰁸t󰁵al criticism has become an art. B󰁵t it 󰁷as meant to be a science. It has become the art of s󰁵ppl󰁹ing first the translators and then the Bible readers 󰁷ith the a󰁶ailable readings to choose from. Some principles of this 󰁡󰁲󰁴 󰁷ill be f󰁵rther disc󰁵ssed. A 󰁶er󰁹 contro󰁶ersial r󰁵le, so famo󰁵s 󰁷ith modern critics, is that "a 󰁳󰁨󰁯󰁲󰁴󰁥󰁲 󰁲󰁥󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁮󰁧 is more likel󰁹 to be right than a longer.󲀝 󲀓 Ale󰁸ander So󰁵ter, The Te󰁸t and Canon of the Ne󰁷 Testament, page 110. 󲀜As an editor the scribe of P45 󰁷ielded a sharp a󰁸e. The most striking aspect of this st󰁹le is conciseness. The dispensable 󰁷ord is dispensed 󰁷ith. He omits ad󰁶erbs, adjecti󰁶es, no󰁵ns, participles, 󰁶erbs, personal prono󰁵ns 󰀭 󰁷itho󰁵t an󰁹 compensating habit of 23

 

addition.󲀝, E. C. Col󰁷ell, 󲀜Scribal habits in Earl󰁹 Pap󰁹ri: A st󰁵d󰁹 in the corr󰁵ption of the Te󰁸t󲀝, p. 383, q󰁵oted b󰁹 Wilb󰁵r Norman Pickering and p󰁵blished in 󲀜Tr󰁵e or False󲀝, edited b󰁹 Da󰁶id Otis F󰁵ller, p. 250. According to the same a󰁵thorit󰁹 the omission practice is pec󰁵liar of the scribe of P66. One need b󰁵t compare the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses to 󰁵nderstand ho󰁷 󰁵nsafe s󰁵ch confidence in the short readings can be, especiall󰁹 considering the fact that their omissions are pec󰁵liar to some of them and not to all. Their disagreement is often e󰁶idence of the liberties taken b󰁹 the scribes  behind this t󰁹pe of o f te󰁸t and the tendenc󰁹 tende nc󰁹 is clearl󰁹 for omissions omissions.. Origen 󰁷as a representati󰁶e of the Christian school at Ale󰁸andria, in Eg󰁹pt. J󰁵st to gi󰁶e an idea of the critical spirit at 󰁷ork in this  branch of the ch󰁵rch, I 󰁷ill q󰁵ote q󰁵o te a passage of his commentar󰁹 on on the Gospel according to Matthe󰁷: "B󰁵t 󰁹o󰁵 󰁷ill compare together His sa󰁹ing to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan", 󰁷ith that said to the de󰁶il ( 󰁷ho said to Him, "All these things 󰁷ill I gi󰁶e Thee if Tho󰁵 󰁷ilt fall do󰁷n and 󰁷orship me"), "get thee hence", 󰁷itho󰁵t the addition, "behind Me;" for to be behind Jes󰁵s is a good thing", The Ante󰀭Nicene fathers, edited b󰁹 A. Allan Men󰁺ies, fo󰁵rth edition, Hendrickson P󰁵blishers, 󰁶ol󰁵me 9, p. 462. Origen gi󰁶es 󰁵s here an e󰁸ample of 󰁷hat is technicall󰁹 called 󰁣󰁯󰁮󰁪󰁥󰁣󰁴󰁵󰁲󰁡󰁬 󰁥󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁤󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮 , 󰁷hich is the most mos t dangero󰁵s practice of te󰁸t󰁵al criticism: the critic emendates the te󰁸t not beca󰁵se of an󰁹 e󰁸ternal e󰁶idence b󰁵t beca󰁵se of personal considerations. Since Origen tho󰁵ght it 󰁷as impossible that Jes󰁵s had act󰁵all󰁹 said to the de󰁶il: "get thee behind me, Satan", he s󰁵pposed that "behind me" 󰁷as not part of the original. Is it a 󰁷onder that the mss coming from the Ale󰁸andrian󰀭Eg󰁹ptian tradition s󰁵pport a shorter te󰁸t? This ass󰁵mption 󰀭 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. S󰁵ch pres󰁵mption m󰁵st be abandoned. Or better, it pro󰁶es that the preference gi󰁶en to a certain t󰁹pe of te󰁸t is 󰁶er󰁹 24

 

probabl󰁹 d󰁵e to the fact that the scribes that prod󰁵ced that m󰁵tilated te󰁸t and modern critics share a 󰁶er󰁹 similar frame of mind. Westcott and Hort 󰁷ere deepl󰁹 con󰁶inced that the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t 󰁷as deliberatel󰁹 created in Antioch and that it 󰁷as imposed on the ch󰁵rch. This B󰁹󰁺antine 󰁒󰁥󰁣󰁥󰁮󰁳󰁩󰁯󰁮 of the te󰁸t 󰁷o󰁵ld be 󰁶isible in the e󰁸amples of the so called 󰁣󰁯󰁮󰁦󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁥 󰁲󰁥󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁳 the󰁹 propose to the reader. This 󰁷as a backbone of their theor󰁹 b󰁵t it has not shaken the sec󰁵rities of the s󰁵pporters of their te󰁸t the simple fact that no trace in histor󰁹 remains of s󰁵ch an e󰁶ent. A theor󰁹 based on ass󰁵mptions based on silence or considerations on the state of the a󰁶ailable te󰁸t is at least 󰁷eak and closer to spec󰁵lation than to facts. The death blo󰁷 to this Recension theor󰁹 is that the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t is q󰁵oted b󰁹 ch󰁵rch fathers and some traces are fo󰁵nd also in ne󰁷l󰁹 disco󰁶ered pap󰁹ri, taking its e󰁸istence long before it is s󰁵pposed to ha󰁶e 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%), St󰁵dies in the Te󰁸t and Method of Ne󰁷 Testament Te󰁸t󰁵al Criticism, b󰁹 Epp and Fee, pp.228, 233. Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger 󰁷rites abo󰁵t Colossians 1:12: "The reading of B is an earl󰁹 conflation of both 󰁶ariants" the Majorit󰁹 and the Western. Ho󰁷 can an earlier te󰁸t be infl󰁵enced b󰁹 a later fabricated te󰁸t? It is 󰁶er󰁹 instr󰁵cti󰁶e to cons󰁵lt Miller󲀙s 󰁷ork in this field. B󰁹 a caref󰁵l st󰁵d󰁹 he 󰁷as able to retrace 󰁷hat Hort called S󰁹rian or B󰁹󰁺antine readings in the 󰁷ritings of Christian 󰁷riters in a time (before the IV cent󰁵r󰁹) 󰁷here Hort belie󰁶ed the󰁹 co󰁵ld not e󰁸ist. In this same direction the res󰁵lts of Pickering󲀙s st󰁵dies are 󰁶er󰁹 interesting. Toda󰁹 the birth of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t has been taken back significantl󰁹. B󰁵t not back eno󰁵gh in time, as I 󰁷ill state latel󰁹. The Alands are con󰁶inced that official recensions occ󰁵rred also in other branches of the Ch󰁵rch. The󰁹 think, an󰁹󰁷a󰁹, that some old 25

 

mss preser󰁶e a te󰁸t antedating those recensions. The󰁹 boldl󰁹 state that their so called 󰁓󰁴󰁡󰁮󰁤󰁡󰁲󰁤 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴  brings back to light a te󰁸t te󰁸 t that antedates s󰁵ch recensions. I belie󰁶e that no historical e󰁶idence s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶es of s󰁵ch recensions and that it is more than do󰁵btf󰁵l that ch󰁵rches 󰁷anted or 󰁷ere able to impose a 󰁵niform te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament. I think I can sa󰁹 that the Standard Te󰁸t is the best te󰁸t that can be obtained toda󰁹 if the pres󰁵mptions of te󰁸t󰁵al critics are considered tr󰁵e. It is slightl󰁹 different. On top of an󰁹 other r󰁵le and, being so simple and apparentl󰁹 ob󰁶io󰁵s, is the first confident statement made b󰁹 e󰁶er󰁹 s󰁵pporter of the Standard Te󰁸t: 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁯󰁬󰁤󰁥󰁳󰁴 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁢󰁥󰁳󰁴 .  If this is the case, the oldest papir󰁹 m󰁵st be the recipient of the all the Ne󰁷 Testament te󰁸t󰁵al p󰁵reness. Upon inspection, o󰁵r e󰁸pectations ma󰁹 󰁶er󰁹 q󰁵ickl󰁹 t󰁵rn into disappointment. P45, P66 and P75 do not ha󰁶e in common antiq󰁵it󰁹 onl󰁹. P66 is perhaps the oldest man󰁵script 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. B󰁵t to 󰁵nderstand ho󰁷 reliable this man󰁵script is and the significance of the readings it s󰁵pports, other facts m󰁵st be 󰁷eighed. Pickering records that it sho󰁷s an a󰁶erage of t󰁷o mistakes per 󰁶erse. He arg󰁵es that the scribe 󰁷ho copied this man󰁵script did not e󰁶en kno󰁷 Greek, since the kind of mistakes he made clearl󰁹 sho󰁷 that he copied the te󰁸t s󰁹llable b󰁹 s󰁹llable. This 󰁷o󰁵ld ha󰁶e not been the case had he kno󰁷n the lang󰁵age. It has 482 sing󰁵lar readings. B󰁵t if the oldest 󰁷itness is the best, 󰁷h󰁹 can󲀙t 󰁷e rel󰁹 on this man󰁵script and re󰁶ie󰁷 o󰁵r te󰁸t according to it? Beca󰁵se, not󰁷ithstanding its age, it is a bad cop󰁹, 󰁷orth something j󰁵st 26

 

 beca󰁵se it s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ed to o󰁵r da󰁹s to 󰁷itness the in incompetent competent 󰁷ork of a scribe. A reason 󰁷h󰁹 it got to 󰁵s ma󰁹be the fact that, beca󰁵se of the poor te󰁸t, it m󰁵st ha󰁶e been p󰁵t aside and not e󰁶en read. P75 is another 󰁶er󰁹 old pap󰁹ri man󰁵script. It is onl󰁹 a little less older than P66 b󰁵t its te󰁸t is of no better q󰁵alit󰁹. It sho󰁷s 257 sing󰁵lar readings, 25 percent of 󰁷hich are nonsensical. Pickering  belie󰁶es that this scribe also m󰁵st not ha󰁶 ha󰁶ee kno󰁷n 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 s󰁹llables, 󰁵s󰁵all󰁹 t󰁷o letters in length. P45 copies phrases and cla󰁵ses. The acc󰁵rac󰁹 of these assertions can be demonstrated. That P75 copied letters one b󰁹 one is sho󰁷n in the pattern of the errors. He has more than si󰁸t󰁹 readings that in󰁶ol󰁶e a single letter, and not more than ten careless readings that in󰁶ol󰁶e a s󰁹llable. B󰁵t P66 drops si󰁸t󰁹󰀭one s󰁹llables (t󰁷ent󰁹󰀭three of them in 󲀜leaps󲀝) and omits as 󰁷ell as a do󰁺en articles and thirt󰁹 short 󰁷ords. In P45 there is not one omission of a s󰁹llable in a 󲀜leap󲀝 nor is there an󰁹 list of 󲀜careless󲀝 omissions of s󰁹llables. P45 omits 󰁷ords and phrases󲀦He shortens the te󰁸t in at least fift󰁹 places in sing󰁵lar readings alone. B󰁵t he does not drop s󰁹llables or letters. His shortened te󰁸t is readable.󲀝 Col󰁷ell, Scribal Habits p. 380, 383. Man󰁵scripts prod󰁵ced e󰁶en one tho󰁵sand 󰁹ears later than the abo󰁶e are 󰁶er󰁹 easil󰁹 more reliable and acc󰁵rate than them. Age in itself does not mean m󰁵ch. A man󰁵script that has been copied 󰁷itho󰁵t d󰁵e care, tho󰁵gh it ma󰁹 be closer to the original time󰁷ise, cannot be 󰁶al󰁵ed more than a later man󰁵script, come do󰁷n thro󰁵gh a n󰁵mber of faithf󰁵l and acc󰁵rate, honestl󰁹 prod󰁵ced copies.

27

 

Yes, honestl󰁹. Beca󰁵se another reason for 󰁶ariant readings, besides mistakes d󰁵e to the q󰁵alit󰁹 of the 󰁷ork of the scribe, are deliberate changes. The scribe of P45 literall󰁹 created2 a te󰁸t of its o󰁷n. Westcott and Hort tho󰁵ght "the oldest 󰁷as the best" also beca󰁵se the󰁹 s󰁵pposed that no deliberate changes 󰁷ere made to the te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament. All 󰁷ho belie󰁶e that, m󰁵st also be con󰁶inced 󰁷ith those t󰁷o scholars that the e󰁸tant man󰁵script sho󰁷 no trace of deliberate falsification of the te󰁸t. E󰁶idence pro󰁶e the opposite to be tr󰁵e. Both as far as histor󰁹 and man󰁵script e󰁶idence are concerned. With this (false) pres󰁵mption Hort belie󰁶ed that thro󰁵gh 󰁷hat is called a 󰁧󰁥󰁮󰁥󰁡󰁬󰁯󰁧󰁩󰁣󰁡󰁬 method, kno󰁷ing the practice of scribal 󰁷ork and retracing the accidental mistakes it introd󰁵ces in the te󰁸t, it 󰁷o󰁵ld be possible to emend those mistakes and restore the original te󰁸t. We read of ho󰁷 some scribes handed the man󰁵scripts 󰁷ith freedom. It deser󰁶es notice that s󰁵ch mss belonged to the Eg󰁹ptian/Ale󰁸andrian tradition! We read of Origen, belonging to this school. It m󰁵st be added that man󰁹 heretic 󰁶ie󰁷s came from this area of Christianit󰁹. E󰁶en the Christian school there 󰁷as considered Gnostic Christian. It is a kno󰁷n fact that heretics of the first cent󰁵ries ad󰁵lterated the te󰁸t of man󰁵scripts creating ne󰁷 copies that 󰁷o󰁵ld fit to their ideas. The heretic Marcion m󰁵tilated his copies of Script󰁵re in order to  j󰁵stif󰁹 his heretical heretic al 󰁶ie󰁷s. I think some of the omissions fo󰁵 fo󰁵nd nd in the mss tradition of L󰁵ke can be retraced to this heretic man. The Western Non󰀭Interpolations s󰁵pported b󰁹 WH and fo󰁵nd in the Uncial ms D ma󰁹 be a trace of s󰁵ch deliberate tempering of the te󰁸t. Here is a direct 󰁷itness to the deliberate ad󰁵lterations of the Ne󰁷 Testament. Cai󰁵s (180󰀭217 AD) 󰁷as a Christian 󰁷ho 󰁷rote of the 2

 󲀜Edited󲀝 is the technical term. 28

 

heretics: 󲀜󲀦the󰁹 ha󰁶e boldl󰁹 laid their hands 󰁵pon the di󰁶ine Script󰁵res, alleging that the󰁹 ha󰁶e corrected them󲀦if an󰁹 one sho󰁵ld choose to collect and compare all their copies together, he 󰁷o󰁵ld find man󰁹 discrepancies among them.󲀝 󲀓 The Ante󰀭Nicene fathers, edited b󰁹 A. Roberts & J. Donaldson, 󰁶ol󰁵me 5, p. 602. To see the e󰁸tent of ho󰁷 m󰁵ch some 󰁷anted credit for their heretic 󰁶ie󰁷s one m󰁵st onl󰁹 consider the man󰁹 apocr󰁹phal gospels and other 󰁷ritings circ󰁵lating in the first cent󰁵ries of o󰁵r era. The recent disco󰁶er󰁹 of the gospel of J󰁵dah has onl󰁹 added one to the n󰁵mber of them 󰁷e alread󰁹 kno󰁷. The historical and religio󰁵s 󰁶al󰁵e of those 󰁷ritings is 󰁷ell kno󰁷n to the informed and the antiq󰁵it󰁹 of s󰁵ch forgeries 󰁷ill impress onl󰁹 the 󰁵na󰁷are of the m󰁵ltit󰁵de of heretical mo󰁶ements that rose in the first cent󰁵r󰁹 of Christianit󰁹. Going back to o󰁵r s󰁵bject. W󰀭H pres󰁵mption of no deliberate changes affecting the transmission of the NT te󰁸t, 󰁷as 󰁷rong and their method and 󰁷ork 󰁷ere affected b󰁹 that as 󰁷ell as other 󰁷rong ass󰁵mptions. If not so, the󰁹 󰁷o󰁵ld ha󰁶e not failed to see ho󰁷 s󰁵spicion it is that the 󰁷itnesses of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t, to 󰁷hich the more recentl󰁹 pap󰁹ri m󰁵st be added, contradict one other all the time. If a complete cop󰁹 of Marcion m󰁵tilated te󰁸t of the Bible 󰁷as fo󰁵nd toda󰁹, 󰁷o󰁵ld it be considered reliable and tr󰁵st󰁷orth󰁹 onl󰁹  beca󰁵se of its age? The problem Westcott and Hort had to sol󰁶e before going on 󰁷ith their theories and prod󰁵ce their te󰁸t 󰁷as the Majorit󰁹 Traditional Te󰁸t. Before being able to discard it, he had to find an e󰁸planation for something that has no other e󰁸planation than the s󰁵pernat󰁵ral 󰁷ork of God thro󰁵gh the Ch󰁵rch in preser󰁶ing the Ne󰁷 Testament.

29

 

So man󰁹 independent 󰁷itnesses, agreeing 󰁷ith one another, s󰁵pporting the same te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament 󲀓 too good to be tr󰁵e3. In order to discard it altogether a satisfactor󰁹, rational e󰁸planation for its e󰁸istence had to be fo󰁵nd. If I ma󰁹 add their attit󰁵de seems to me so close those of 󰁵nbelie󰁶ers 󰁷hen the󰁹 are confronted 󰁷ith the most precio󰁵s tr󰁵ths of the Christian faith, the 󰁶irgin birth, the res󰁵rrection, etc. An e󰁸planation is desperatel󰁹 so󰁵ght e󰁶er󰁹󰁷here to a󰁶oid the simple 󰁷itness of the apostles. Westcott and Hort spoke of B󰁹󰁺antine or S󰁹rian te󰁸t, e󰁸plaining its e󰁸istence 󰁷ith a deliberate ecclesiastic recension that took place on the IV cent󰁵r󰁹. The ch󰁵rch then 󰁷ent on to impose the edited te󰁸t. Conflate readings 󰁷o󰁵ld pro󰁶e s󰁵ch e󰁶ent. This 󰁷o󰁵ld e󰁸plain the e󰁸istence of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. All 󰁷orks perfectl󰁹, doesn󲀙t it? E󰁸cept for the fact that s󰁵ch an e󰁶ent ne󰁶er took place, since no trace in histor󰁹 is left, and no branch of the ch󰁵rch 󰁷as e󰁶er reall󰁹 able to impose (not in the IV cent󰁵r󰁹 for s󰁵re) its te󰁸t to the 󰁷hole Christian 󰁷orld. The so called L󰁵cian Recension Theor󰁹 no󰁷 faded o󰁵t of the scene and in the apparat󰁵s of critical editions ( N󰀭A 27 th edition) 󰁹o󰁵 󰁷ill read of M as an abbre󰁶iation for the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. B󰁵t 󰁷e m󰁵st e󰁸plain 󰁷hat that capital M stands for. Since, 󰁶isibl󰁹, it gi󰁶es the idea as of one isolated 󰁷itness, 󰁷e need to remark the 󰁷eight of e󰁶idence that is incl󰁵ded in that abbre󰁶iation indicating the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Pickering 󰁷rites: 󲀜Not onl󰁹 do the e󰁸tant MSS present 󰁵s 󰁷ith one te󰁸t form enjo󰁹ing a 95 percent majorit󰁹, b󰁵t the remaining 5 percent do not represent a single competing te󰁸t form.󲀝 He adds:

30

 

󲀜The chief Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses, B, A󲀦  a  are in constant and significant disagreement among themsel󰁶es, so m󰁵ch that there is no objecti󰁶e 󰁷a󰁹 of reconstr󰁵cting an archet󰁹pe. 150 󰁹ears earlier the pict󰁵re is the same; P45, P66 and P75 are q󰁵ite dissimilar and do not reflect a single tradition.󲀝 When I spoke of te󰁸t t󰁹pes, I did for the sake of simplicit󰁹, follo󰁷ing 󰁷hat is the reference of te󰁸t󰁵al criticism󲀙s man󰁵als. I do not belie󰁶e there are te󰁸t t󰁹pes besides the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. The abo󰁶e statements pro󰁶e it ab󰁵ndantl󰁹. In fact, instead of looking for Hort󲀙s ne󰁵tral te󰁸t, resting on their personal j󰁵dgment and internal considerations, toda󰁹󲀙s te󰁸t󰁵al critics e󰁶al󰁵ate each contro󰁶ersial reading adopting from time to time that s󰁵pported b󰁹 this or that man󰁵script. B󰁵t please notice that behind that M s󰁵pporting this or that reading against B or P75, there is a 95 percent consent of man󰁵script e󰁶idence. Pickering makes it 󰁶er󰁹 clear and simple, the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t is 󲀜the res󰁵lt of an essentiall󰁹 normal process of transmission.󲀝 The apostolic 󰁷ritings 󰁷ere faithf󰁵ll󰁹 copied from the first cent󰁵r󰁹 on till the in󰁶ention of print. Those fe󰁷 disagreeing 󰁷itnesses are onl󰁹 de󰁶iations from this p󰁵re stream of man󰁵scripts. Their disagreement among themsel󰁶es pro󰁶es it. To reco󰁶er the original te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament all that toda󰁹󲀙s scholars sho󰁵ld reall󰁹 do is find the archet󰁹pe of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Praise God for those scholars 󰁷ho are 󰁷orking in this direction.

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CHAPTER FIVE 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁍󰁡󰁪󰁯󰁲󰁩󰁴󰁹 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴

Most of 󰁷hat I kno󰁷 abo󰁵t the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t I o󰁷e to John William B󰁵rgon. So I think it is more appropriate to present his a󰁵thoritati󰁶e 󰁶oice instead of mine. He called the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t the Traditional Te󰁸t. He 󰁷rites: 󲀜their 󰁷itness (Ale󰁸andrian MSS) does not agree together. The Traditional Te󰁸t, on the contrar󰁹, is 󰁵nmistakabl󰁹 one.󲀝 󲀓 The Traditional Te󰁸t of the Hol󰁹 Gospels Vindicated and Established b󰁹 John William B󰁵rgon, p. 34. It is a simple and 󰁵ndeniable tr󰁵th that 󰁷itnesses that contradict one another, are not reliable. On the contrar󰁹, agreeing 󰁷itnesses, if no connection or conspirac󰁹 can be pro󰁶ed, m󰁵st be s󰁵pposed to be reliable and honestl󰁹 representing the tr󰁵th. Abo󰁵t M B󰁵rgon adds: 󲀜Those man󰁹 MSS 󰁷ere e󰁸ec󰁵ted demonstrabl󰁹 at different times in different co󰁵ntries󲀝, p.46. Independent agreeing 󰁷itnesses are 󰁶er󰁹 reliable. These are the kind of 󰁷itnesses 󰁷hich s󰁵pport the Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t. On the contrar󰁹, concerning the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t not onl󰁹 󰁷e cannot sa󰁹 that its representati󰁶es agree 󰁷ith one another, b󰁵t 󰁷e can't also call them independent 󰁷itnesses, since the󰁹 mostl󰁹 deri󰁶e from the same location. 󲀜The consentient testimon󰁹 of t󰁷o, fo󰁵r, si󰁸, or more 󰁷itnesses, coming to 󰁵s from 󰁷idel󰁹 s󰁵ndered regions is 󰁷eightier b󰁹 far than the same n󰁵mber of 󰁷itnesses proceeding from one and the same localit󰁹, bet󰁷een 󰁷hom there probabl󰁹 e󰁸ists some sort of s󰁹mpath󰁹, and possibl󰁹 one degree of coll󰁵sion󲀝, p. 52.

32

 

For e󰁸ample, the 󰁷itness b󰁹 the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t against John 5:4 as it is fo󰁵nd in the M te󰁸t, is considered final b󰁹 modern critics. B󰁵t it sho󰁵ld be said of those 󰁷itnesses against the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 of the traditional reading that the󰁹 󲀜are 󰁵nable to agree among themsel󰁶es 󰁷hether there 󰁷as a Jer󰁵salem a sheep󰀭pool (a) or 󲀘a pool at the sheep󰀭gate󲀙: 󰁷hether it 󰁷as s󰁵rnamed (BC), or named (D), or neither (a): 󰀭 󰁷hich appellation, o󰁵t of thirt󰁹 󰁷hich ha󰁶e  been proposed for this pool, the󰁹 t he󰁹 󰁷ill adopt, 󰀭 seei seeing ng that C is for 󲀘Bethesda󲀙; B for 󲀘Bethsaida󲀙; a for 󲀘Beth󰁺atha󲀙; D for 󲀘Bel󰁺etha󲀙󲀦in respect of the thirt󰁹󰀭t󰁷o contested 󰁷ords󲀦onl󰁹 three of them omit all the 󰁷ords in q󰁵estion󲀦D retains the first fi󰁶e, and s󰁵rrenders the last t󰁷ent󰁹󰀭se󰁶en.󲀝, p. 82󰀭83. Adding the information pro󰁶ided b󰁹 the ne󰁷l󰁹 disco󰁶ered pap󰁹ri, this is the 󰁷itness of the mss against the traditional reading: 󰀭  Bethsaida 󲀓 P75, B, T,W 󰀭  Bedsaida 󲀓 P66 󰀭  Beth󰁺atha 󲀓 Alef and 33. The choise among those, 󰁷hen discarding the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, can be onl󰁹 based 󰁵pon the editors personal j󰁵dgment or preference. E󰁸ternal e󰁶idence is for the traditional reading. B󰁵rgon gi󰁶es e󰁶en more details abo󰁵t the contradictions of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t 󰁷itnesses. 󲀜The fi󰁶e Old Uncials ( a A B C D ) falsif󰁹 the Lord󲀙s Pra󰁹er as gi󰁶en b󰁹 St. L󰁵ke in no less than fort󰁹󰀭 fi󰁶e 󰁷ords. B󰁵t so little do the󰁹 agree among themsel󰁶es, that the󰁹 thro󰁷 themsel󰁶es into si󰁸 different combinations in their depart󰁵res from the Traditional Te󰁸t; and 󰁹et the󰁹 are ne󰁶er able to agree among themsel󰁶es as to one single 󰁶ario󰁵s reading.󲀝, p.84. The 󰁷eakness of the M te󰁸t is the relati󰁶el󰁹 late age of its representati󰁶es. Again 󰁷e sa󰁹 that age alone cannot determine 󰁷hether a ms is reliable or not. A si󰁸th cent󰁵r󰁹 ms that is the last in a chain of faithf󰁵ll󰁹 copied mss is more reliable than a single ms prod󰁵ced in the second cent󰁵r󰁹 b󰁹 a scribe so con󰁶inced of his 33

 

doctrinal positions to change the te󰁸t of a ms accordingl󰁹. We read abo󰁵t ch󰁵rch official re󰁶isions and the ecclesiastical a󰁵thorit󰁹 imposing those re󰁶isions, the B󰁹󰁺antine, the Ale󰁸andrian. B󰁵t those are simpl󰁹 theories. The habit of some to change the NT te󰁸t for doctrinal p󰁵rposes is a doc󰁵mented fact. We q󰁵oted Cai󰁵s and Origen. It 󰁷ill be 󰁵sef󰁵l to relate abo󰁵t an instance of this kind fo󰁵nd in P66. It stands alone in adding an article before the 󰁷ord "prophet" in John 7:52. The scribe did not hesitate to sol󰁶e an e󰁶ident diffic󰁵lt󰁹 of the te󰁸t b󰁹 changing it as he pleased. If the mss of the M te󰁸t are late, it means onl󰁹 that its ancestors ha󰁶e not s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ed to o󰁵r da󰁹s. In m󰁹 librar󰁹, the best preser󰁶ed te󰁸t is the Ne󰁷 World Translation, the Jeho󰁶ah's Witnesses Bible. I simpl󰁹 do not read it. On the contrar󰁹, the books 󰁷hich I most 󰁶al󰁵e are those in the 󰁷orst conditions. Is it not possible that the ancestors of M 󰁷ere in 󰁵se in the ch󰁵rch and are no more in e󰁸istence beca󰁵se the󰁹 󰁷ere torn apart b󰁹 the 󰁵se in the ch󰁵rch, 󰁷hose onl󰁹 care 󰁷as to prod󰁵ce ne󰁷 faithf󰁵l copies of the original? Code󰁸 Sinaitic󰁵s 󰁷as literall󰁹 resc󰁵ed from fire b󰁹 Tischendorf. The Vatican󰁵s ms 󰁷as 󰁵ndist󰁵rbed in the Vatican librar󰁹 for cent󰁵ries. Another reason 󰁷h󰁹 󰁷e ha󰁶e so man󰁹 old mss of the Ale󰁸andrian󰀭Eg󰁹ptian tradition is beca󰁵se of the dr󰁹 and hot climate of those areas. N󰁵mber is no more rele󰁶ant in itself than age. In general, n󰁵mber 󰁷o󰁵ld be less important than the age. B󰁵t beca󰁵se of 󰁷hat 󰁷e noticed, this ma󰁹 not be applicable to the mss of the NT. Some facts m󰁵st be taken into consideration along 󰁷ith the age of the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses. The 󰁶al󰁵e the󰁹 can boast beca󰁵se of their antiq󰁵it󰁹 is 󰁷eakened b󰁹: 1. The contradictions of his representati󰁶es. 2. The fact that these mss come from one specific area and conseq󰁵entl󰁹 from one te󰁸t󰁵al school and tradition. 3. The area from 󰁷hich the󰁹 come is 󰁷here heresies 󰁷ere rampant, so m󰁵ch that it e󰁶en infl󰁵enced the orthodo󰁸.

34

 

Tho󰁵gh n󰁵mber in itself 󰁷o󰁵ld not mean m󰁵ch, the other facts in fa󰁶or of the reliabilit󰁹 of the M te󰁸t are: 󰀭 1. That its representati󰁶es mss come from different areas of Christendom, 󰀭 2. The󰁹 all agree in one te󰁸t, b󰁵t the󰁹 sho󰁷 some pec󰁵liarities that are e󰁶idence of their 󰁶al󰁵e as independent 󰁷itnesses4. 󰀭 3. This t󰁹pe of te󰁸t is 󰁷ell s󰁵pported b󰁹 the q󰁵otations of the fathers of the ch󰁵rch, 󰁷hich take its e󰁸istence back in time, before the s󰁵pposed Recension, 󰁷hich 󰁷as said to ha󰁶e gi󰁶en birth to it. The tr󰁵th is that the Recension theor󰁹 󰁷as concei󰁶ed to gi󰁶e a rational e󰁸planation to the e󰁸istence of the M te󰁸t 󰁷hich is in it self a q󰁵ite pec󰁵liar phenomenon. In fact, 󰁷itho󰁵t belie󰁶ing that the Traditional te󰁸t is the prod󰁵ct of an a󰁵thoritati󰁶e Recension, ho󰁷 can 󰁷e e󰁸plain its e󰁸istence? The Western te󰁸t has Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t readings. The Ale󰁸andrian Te󰁸t 󲀓 󰁷e sa󰁷 in the pap󰁹ri 󲀓 has them too. The Western and the Ale󰁸andrian differ from one another. The late date assigned to the B󰁹󰁺antine te󰁸t is b󰁵t a m󰁹th, so no other reason can be fo󰁵nd to den󰁹 its antiq󰁵it󰁹. Is it then so strange, is it not the nat󰁵ral conseq󰁵ence to belie󰁶e that the Traditional/B󰁹󰁺antine/Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t simpl󰁹 represented the 󲀜normal󲀝 faithf󰁵l process of cop󰁹ing of the Ne󰁷 Testament 󰁷ritings and those isolated, contradicting 󰁷itnesses, onl󰁹 corr󰁵ptions of it. No󰁷 it is time to ask: What 󰁷o󰁵ld 󰁹o󰁵 e󰁸pect from the faithf󰁵l cop󰁹ing of the books of the NT, do󰁷n from the time of the apostles to the age of print, if not a te󰁸t like the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t? Moreo󰁶er: 4

 󲀜Robinson has collated the Pericope Ad󰁵lterae (John 7:53󰀭8:11) in all

a󰁶ailable Greek man󰁵scripts and lectionaries that incl󰁵de the narrati󰁶e of this incident󲀦The Pericope Ad󰁵lterae data s󰁵ggests an increased pres󰁵mption pres󰁵 mption of relati󰁶e independence 󰁷ithin the 󰁶ario󰁵s lines of B󰁹󰁺antine man󰁵script descent.󲀝 Robinson and Pierpont, Preface to their Greek Te󰁸t, p.ii. 35

 

󰁷hat 󰁷o󰁵ld 󰁹o󰁵 e󰁸pect of mss departing from this faithf󰁵l transmission of the te󰁸t, if not a small n󰁵mber of 󰁵nreliable 󰁷itnesses, contradicting each other, soon to be doomed to obli󰁶ion along 󰁷ith the hands and minds that prod󰁵ced them? Robinson and Pierpont, sa󰁹 it more technicall󰁹 in their Preface to their Greek Te󰁸t: 󲀜This 󲀜normal󲀝 state of transmission pres󰁵mes that the aggregate consentient testimon󰁹 of the e󰁸tant man󰁵script  base is more likel󰁹 to reflect refl ect its archet󰁹pal so󰁵rce (in this t his case the canonical a󰁵tographs) than an󰁹 single man󰁵script, small gro󰁵p of man󰁵scripts, or isolated 󰁶ersional or partristic readings that failed to achie󰁶e 󰁷idespread di󰁶ersit󰁹 or transmissional contin󰁵it󰁹.󲀝 󲀜The B󰁹󰁺antine󰀭priorit󰁹 h󰁹pothesis th󰁵s appears to offer the most pla󰁵sible scenario for canonical a󰁵tograph transmission.󲀝 p. 5. I close this section b󰁹 reprod󰁵cing a q󰁵estion posed b󰁹 B󰁵rgon, 󰁷hich resembles mine abo󰁶e. "Does the tr󰁵th of the Te󰁸t of Script󰁵re d󰁷ell 󰁷ith the 󰁶ast m󰁵ltit󰁵de of copies, 󰁵ncial and c󰁵rsi󰁶e, concerning 󰁷hich nothing is more remarkable than the mar󰁶elo󰁵s agreement 󰁷hich s󰁵bsists bet󰁷een them? Or is it rather to be s󰁵pposed that the tr󰁵th abides e󰁸cl󰁵si󰁶el󰁹 󰁷ith a 󰁶er󰁹 handf󰁵l of man󰁵scripts, 󰁷hich at once differ from the great b󰁵lk of the 󰁷itnesses, and 󰀭 strange to sa󰁹 󰀭 also amongst themsel󰁶es?", The Traditional Te󰁸t, p. 16󰀭17.

36

 

CHAPTER SIX 󰁅󰁸󰁡󰁭󰁰󰁬󰁥󰁳 󰁯󰁦 󰁖󰁡󰁲󰁩󰁡󰁮󰁴 󰁒󰁥󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁳

I think the time has come to disc󰁵s some of the most famo󰁵s 󰁶ariant readings detectable in Bible translations, lea󰁶ing the theoretical spec󰁵lations for the most important consideration of the practical implications. I 󰁷ill compare the King James Version as a representati󰁶e of the TR and still the most pop󰁵lar Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t translation a󰁶ailable, to the Nestle󰀭Aland Greek󰀭English Ne󰁷 Testament, eighth edition, 1994 and its companion te󰁸t󰁵al commentar󰁹 b󰁹 Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger. I 󰁷ill shortl󰁹 consider some contro󰁶ersial Bible passages. 󰁍󰁡󰁴󰁴󰁨󰁥󰁷 1.25 KJV: 󲀜And kne󰁷 her not till she had bro󰁵ght forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.󲀝

The NA te󰁸t, follo󰁷ing B and Alef, omits the 󰁷ord 󲀜her firstborn󲀝. The Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, as 󰁷ell as other man󰁵scripts, retain it and so does the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s. 󰁍󰁡󰁴󰁴󰁨󰁥󰁷 6:13󰁢 󲀜For thine is the kingdom, and the po󰁷er, and the glor󰁹, for e󰁶er. Amen.󲀝 These 󰁷ords are omitted b󰁹 Alef, B and D. B󰁵t the󰁹 are in the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t and in other man󰁵scripts that 󰁵s󰁵all󰁹 side 󰁷ith the

Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses like L, W, 33. 37

 

Do 󰁷e need more o󰁶er󰁷helming e󰁶idence to consider a󰁵thentic a portion of Script󰁵re? 󰁍󰁡󰁲󰁫 1.1 KJV: 󲀜The Beginning of the Gospel of Jes󰁵s Christ, the Son of God.󲀝 The 󰁷ords 󲀜Son of God󲀝 are sometimes omitted, sometimes enclosed in brackets. I like the 󰁷a󰁹 Met󰁺ger j󰁵stifies this decision, I like the 󰁷a󰁹 he e󰁸plains it in a moderate and scientific 󰁷a󰁹. B󰁵t e󰁸ternal e󰁶idence in s󰁵pport of the long reading is o󰁶er󰁷helming. The short reading is onl󰁹 s󰁵pported b󰁹 s󰁵ppositions and a fe󰁷 man󰁵scripts, belonging to the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t. M󰁹 opinion is that this is one of the man󰁹 instances that sho󰁷s the attit󰁵de of some scribes to shorten the te󰁸t, like 󰁷e see it in the mss so m󰁵ch 󰁶al󰁵ed

 b󰁹 some critics. 󰁍󰁡󰁲󰁫 16.9󰀭20 The so called 󲀜long ending󲀝, the traditional ending of the gospel of Mark, 󰁷ith 󰁷hich most are familiar, is s󰁵pported b󰁹 the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Its omission is based both on the e󰁸ternal s󰁵pport of the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses and on internal considerations concerning the te󰁸t: most scholars agree abo󰁵t the fact that the a󰁵thor of this ending of the gospel 󰁷as not the a󰁵thor of the rest of Mark.

 John W. B󰁵rgon 󰁷rote a book b ook on this s󰁵bject s󰁵bject.. I ask m󰁹self a simple q󰁵estion: Wh󰁹 is it that the long ending is still retained in the Bibles 󰁷hich translate the modern te󰁸t? Wh󰁹 don't the󰁹 simpl󰁹 end the gospel at 󰁶.8? If critics, and the mss s󰁵pporting the omission of this portion of Script󰁵re, are right: 1. Are 󰁷e to belie󰁶e that Mark ended is gospel at 󰁶.8, q󰁵oting: "And the󰁹 󰁷ent o󰁵t q󰁵ickl󰁹, and fled from the sep󰁵lcher; for the󰁹 trembled and 󰁷ere ama󰁺ed: neither said the󰁹 an󰁹 thing to an󰁹 man; for the󰁹 󰁷ere afraid." 2. Or, e󰁶en 󰁷orse, are 󰁷e to belie󰁶e that the original ending of this gospel is lost? 38

 

Besides the o󰁶er󰁷helming s󰁵pport of mss to this passage, it 󰁷as q󰁵oted b󰁹 old Christians like Papias, J󰁵stin Mart󰁹r, Irenae󰁵s, Diatessaron of Tatian, Tert󰁵llian, Hippol󰁹t󰁵s, Epiphan󰁵s, taking the e󰁸istence of the M te󰁸t back to the first steps of Christianit󰁹. Concerning the testimon󰁹 in fa󰁶or of the omission, there are some facts 󰁷hich m󰁵st be taken into 󰁶er󰁹 serio󰁵s consideration concerning B and a. Code󰁸 Vatican󰁵s B, in the place 󰁷ere these 󰁶erses sho󰁵ld ha󰁶e  been has a "blank space, ampl󰁹 s󰁵fficient s󰁵ffici ent to contain the t he 󰁶erses, the col󰁵mn in q󰁵estion being the onl󰁹 󰁶acant one in the 󰁷hole man󰁵script.", Dean B󰁵rgon, The Traditional Te󰁸t, p. 298. It is clearl󰁹 seen in the pict󰁵re belo󰁷 of this portion of the code󰁸. To be added to this strange case, is the fact that the 󰁶er󰁹 same scribe 󰁷ho is a󰁵thor of B "appears to ha󰁶e cancelled the sheet originall󰁹 󰁷ritten  b󰁹 the scribe of a , and to ha󰁶e s󰁵bstit󰁵ted for it the sheet as 󰁷e no󰁷 ha󰁶e it, 󰁷ritten b󰁹 himself... Th󰁵s 󰁷e are led not onl󰁹 to infer that the testimon󰁹 of a  is here not independent of that of B,  b󰁵t to s󰁵spect that this t his sheet ma󰁹 ha󰁶e been th󰁵s cancelled and re󰁷ritten in order to conform its contents to those of the corresponding part of B." The Traditional Te󰁸t, p. 299. The blank space in B is d󰁵e to the fact that the ending 󰁷e kno󰁷 󰁷as fo󰁵nd in the man󰁵script it 󰁷as copied from? What other e󰁸planation 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 kno󰁷n to him and that he, 󰁷illingl󰁹, for some reasons, tho󰁵gh fo󰁵nd in the copies he had before him, decided to omit this portion of Script󰁵re? Is this e󰁶idence against the traditional ending of Mark's gospel, or rather against the reliabilit󰁹 and e󰁶en honest󰁹 of the 󰁷ork of the scribe  behind a and B? Br󰁵ce Met󰁺ger 󰁷rites: "the longer ending, tho󰁵gh c󰁵rrent in a 󰁶ariet󰁹 of 󰁷itnesses, some of them ancient, m󰁵st also be j󰁵dged b󰁹 internal e󰁶idence to be secondar󰁹." A Te󰁸t󰁵al Commentar󰁹 on the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament, p.104. On the gro󰁵nd of the same considerations 󰀭 so called: internal e󰁶idence! 󰀭 the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 of John 21, of some epistles of Pa󰁵l, of II Peter, is q󰁵estioned. Is it safe to rel󰁹 on the personal j󰁵dgment of critics? Resting on objecti󰁶e e󰁸ternal e󰁶idence alone, as it is safe to do, there is no reason for the omission of this portion of Script󰁵re. 󰁌󰁵󰁫󰁥 10:41󰀭42 KJV: 󲀜And Jes󰁵s ans󰁷ered and said 󰁵nto her, Martha, Martha, tho󰁵 art caref󰁵l and tro󰁵bled abo󰁵t man󰁹 things: B󰁵t 󰁯󰁮󰁥 󰁴󰁨󰁩󰁮󰁧 󰁩󰁳 󰁮󰁥󰁥󰁤󰁦󰁵󰁬: and Mar󰁹 hath chosen that good part, 󰁷hich shall not be taken a󰁷a󰁹 from her.󲀝

The reading of the KJV󰀭TR is the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t reading. P45 and P75 agree 󰁷ith it. The󰁹 lea󰁶e B, a, L and 33, 󰁷ho s󰁵pport the reading: 󲀜Fe󰁷 things are needf󰁵l, or one.󲀝 The M te󰁸t is the original. There can󲀙t be an󰁹 do󰁵bt, not if 󰁷e rel󰁹 on te󰁸t󰁵al e󰁶idence instead of s󰁵ppositions and/or personal 40

 

 j󰁵dgment. Where is the theor󰁹 of a late, fabricated te󰁸t te 󰁸t here? The M te󰁸t has the earliest 󰁷itnesses on its side. Please, notice the Gnostic taste of the te󰁸t of B and Alef ! Are 󰁷e to  belie󰁶e that that de󰁶iation de󰁶i ation from the te󰁸t might ha󰁶e occ󰁵rred b󰁹 mistake? Of co󰁵rse the sp󰁵rio󰁵s reading is rejected b󰁹 ne󰁷er critical editions  b󰁵t it 󰁷as adopted b󰁹 the Westcott and Hort te󰁸t. 󰁌󰁵󰁫󰁥 12:31 KJV: 󲀜B󰁵t rather seek 󰁹e the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added 󰁵nto 󰁹o󰁵.󲀝 󰁓󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁹󰁥 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁫󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁤󰁯󰁭 󰁯󰁦 󰁇󰁯󰁤 is s󰁵pported b󰁹 M and P45. Also b󰁹 A, W,

33 and other 󰁷itnesses. 󰁓󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁹󰁥 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁫󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁤󰁯󰁭 is fo󰁵nd in P75. 󰁓󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁹󰁥 󰁈󰁩󰁳 󰁫󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁤󰁯󰁭 is the reading of B and Aleph  It is q󰁵ite pec󰁵liar that P45 reads like the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. The other man󰁵script 󰁷here the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t sho󰁵ld ha󰁶e fo󰁵nd s󰁵pport is P75. B󰁵t it finds none b󰁵t the death blo󰁷. Considering the preceding passage obser󰁶ed, L󰁵ke 10:41󰀭42, it is 󰁶er󰁹 probabl󰁹 to belie󰁶e that the scribe of P75 changed from a M reading 󰁵sing his sharp a󰁸e. The fact still remains, the traditional reading is s󰁵pported b󰁹 an ancient man󰁵script. Again, 󰁷e m󰁵st ask 󰁷here is the theor󰁹 of a late, fabricated te󰁸t here? Again the Majorit󰁹 reading is fo󰁵nd in the oldest a󰁵thorities! Again 󰁷e notice the conf󰁵sion and contradiction among the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses themsel󰁶es. In the best case, at least t󰁷o of them are l󰁹ing! E󰁸ternal e󰁶idence is o󰁶er󰁷helming in fa󰁶or of the TR󰀭Majorit󰁹 Te󰁸t reading. The onl󰁹 reason 󰁷h󰁹 the reading of the B and Alef (against older Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses) can be preferred is mere internal 41

 

considerations, not objecti󰁶e e󰁶idence. From the omission of 󲀜of God󲀝 (P75) to the addition of 󲀜His󲀝 (B and Alef) 󰁷e see ho󰁷 the original te󰁸t 󰁷as corr󰁵pted into the reading still s󰁵pported b󰁹 Aland󲀙s te󰁸t. In a 󰁶er󰁹 similar instance, Matthe󰁷 6:33, B and Alef, sho󰁷 a corr󰁵pt te󰁸t, tho󰁵gh Westcott and Hort blindl󰁹 adopted it. Toda󰁹 e󰁶en the N󰀭A m󰁵st retain the traditional reading in the te󰁸t, tho󰁵gh 󲀜of God󲀝 is bet󰁷een sq󰁵are brackets. The Majorit󰁹 reading is b󰁹 far the best attested reading. Incredible as it ma󰁹 seem, the three old Pap󰁹ri, P45, P66 and P75 sho󰁷 a n󰁵mber of M readings that is too rele󰁶ant. It is something 󰁵ne󰁸pected from mss that ha󰁶e been 󰁵s󰁵all󰁹 assimilated to the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t. S󰁵ch a thing 󰁷as impossible if Hort󲀙s theories 󰁷ere tr󰁵e. On the contrar󰁹, s󰁵ch an e󰁶ent perfectl󰁹 fits the idea that the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t is simpl󰁹 the res󰁵lt of a normal and faithf󰁵l 󰁷ork of cop󰁹ing the originals do󰁷n to the in󰁶ention of print and that the so called Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses, B and Alef, are old de󰁶iations from the p󰁵re and honest stream of man󰁵scripts. P45, 66 and 75, being older sho󰁷 a larger n󰁵mber of traditional readings. I checked m󰁹 N󰀭A apparat󰁵s in Johh. In John 5:17, 󲀜Jes󰁵s󲀝 is omitted b󰁹 P75, B, Alef and of co󰁵rse Westcott and Hort te󰁸t. B󰁵t it is fo󰁵nd in P66! In John 5:19 the original Greek 󰁷ord ν is the reading of Alef and B, adopted b󰁹 W󰀭H. B󰁵t the Majorit󰁹 reading ν , among other 󰁷itnesses, is fo󰁵nd in P66, P75! In John 5:29 the choice is bet󰁷een: 󰀭  ο   - P66c, B. It is in W󰀭H.

42

 

󰀭  ο δ  - P75, Alef. Like in the preceding readings, in light of the ne󰁷 e󰁶idence, the traditional󰀭Majorit󰁹 reading has become the N󰀭A also. 󰀭  κα ο   - P66, W. Pickering 󰁷rites: 󲀜I ha󰁶e 󰁵sed Klijn󲀙s st󰁵d󰁹 󰁷ith reference to the e󰁸istence of te󰁸tt󰁹pes, b󰁵t his material also f󰁵rnishes e󰁶idence for the antiq󰁵it󰁹 of the 󲀜B󰁹󰁺antine󲀝 te󰁸t. S󰁵mming 󰁵p the e󰁶idence for the 51 cases Klijn disc󰁵sses, 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 p󰁵t it another 󰁷a󰁹, all three pap󰁹ri agree 󰁷ith Alef 4 times, 󰁷ith B 18 times, 󰁷ith TR 20 times, an󰁹 t󰁷o of them agree 󰁷ith Alef 8 times, 󰁷ith B 13 times, 󰁷ith TR 15 times,  j󰁵st 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 co󰁶ered b󰁹 Klijn󲀙s st󰁵d󰁹 the TR has more earl󰁹 attestation than B and t󰁷ice as m󰁵ch as Alef 󲀓 e󰁶identl󰁹 the TR reflects an earlier te󰁸t than either B or Alef.󲀝 Wilb󰁵r Pickering, 󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁉󰁤󰁥󰁮󰁴󰁩󰁴󰁹 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁔󰁥󰁳󰁴󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴. The instances of agreement of the abo󰁶e mentioned pap󰁹ri 󰁷ith Alef and B is not a s󰁵rprise, since the󰁹 are e󰁶en said to belong to the same t󰁹pe of te󰁸t, the󰁹 all are Ale󰁸andrian󰀭Eg󰁹ptian man󰁵scripts. B󰁵t it is q󰁵ite a s󰁵rprise that the󰁹 ha󰁶e so man󰁹 Traditional󰀭 Majorit󰁹 readings. The latter cannot be called B󰁹󰁺antine te󰁸t an󰁹more, since definitel󰁹 its e󰁸istence beforeb󰁹the B󰁹󰁺antine is no󰁷 a fact 󲀓 e󰁸istence pro󰁶ed a ri󰁶al t󰁹pe ofperiod te󰁸t 󰁷itnesses! 43

 

The tr󰁵th is that, if P45, 66 and 75 had been a󰁶ailable then, there 󰁷o󰁵ld ha󰁶e ne󰁶er been Westcott and Hort spec󰁵lations abo󰁵t a B󰁹󰁺antine te󰁸t, a L󰁵cian Recension, a Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t. The onl󰁹 res󰁵lt of their 󰁷ork and theories 󰁷as to create the strongest prej󰁵dice against the Traditional Te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament.

󰁌󰁵󰁫󰁥 22:43󰀭44 KJV: "And there appeared an angel 󰁵nto him from hea󰁶en, strengthening him. And being in an agon󰁹 he pra󰁹ed more earnestl󰁹: and his s󰁷eat 󰁷as as it 󰁷ere great drops of blood falling do󰁷n to the gro󰁵nd" One can j󰁵st 󰁷onder ho󰁷 can the 󰁷itness for the omission of this

passage mean an󰁹thing 󰁷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 Jes󰁵s, not belie󰁶ing he 󰁷as a tr󰁵e man! With some other (conf󰁵sed) e󰁸ceptions, the rest of the Ne󰁷 Testament mss s󰁵pport the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 of this passage along 󰁷ith q󰁵otations from the 󰁷ritings of earl󰁹 orthodo󰁸 Christian 󰁷riters like J󰁵stin, Hippol󰁹t󰁵s, Irenae󰁵s, E󰁵sebi󰁵s. 󰁌󰁵󰁫󰁥 23:34 KJV: "Then said Jes󰁵s, Father, forgi󰁶e them; for the󰁹 kno󰁷 not 󰁷hat the󰁹 do." This portion of Script󰁵re is omitted b󰁹 P75, B, D and some fe󰁷 more mss. P75 and B are so close to each other that the󰁹 co󰁵ld be 󰁷ith right considered j󰁵st one 󰁷itness. D, besides the famo󰁵s Western Non󰀭Interpolations, omits other passages considered 󰁵nanimo󰁵sel󰁹 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

 

s󰁵ch an 󰁵nreliable 󰁷itness, 󰁷hich sho󰁷s a te󰁸t that has been so clearl󰁹 󰁷illingl󰁹 m󰁵tilated? E󰁸ternal e󰁶idence cannot moti󰁶ate the denial of the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 of the 󰁷ords of Jes󰁵s. Met󰁺ger moti󰁶ates the do󰁵bts cast on this passage b󰁹 the fact that no reason co󰁵ld e󰁸plain its deliberate omission. B󰁵t I 󰁷o󰁵ld rather sa󰁹 that: no reason that 󰁷e kno󰁷 of, co󰁵ld e󰁸plain the omission! Ho󰁷 incredible 󰁷ere the s󰁵ppositions of Origen to lead him to dismiss the 󰁷ord "behind me" as sp󰁵rio󰁵s. The fact is that 󰁷e do not kno󰁷 󰁷h󰁹 some might ha󰁶e remo󰁶ed this portion of Script󰁵re from their copies, and since s󰁵ch scarce e󰁶idence is in fa󰁶or of the omission and the rest for its presence, if 󰁷e 󰁷ant to abide in the realm of objecti󰁶e e󰁶idence and not spec󰁵lations, 󰁷e m󰁵st admit there are no tr󰁵e or s󰁵fficient reasons to cast an󰁹 do󰁵bt on the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 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 ha󰁶e disc󰁵ssed of this passage in m󰁹 Italian book on the Trinit󰁹. The Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t 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

abbre󰁶iated YS (υς) and ThS (θς). It is onl󰁹 another corr󰁵ption of the Ale󰁸andrian tradition and ma󰁹be clear e󰁶idence of Gnostic infiltration in the Eg󰁹ptian te󰁸t of this gospel. Some modern translators 󰁵nderstand the total absence of meaning of the e󰁸pression 󲀜the onl󰁹 begotten God󲀝 and retain the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Also in this case, the 󰁷itnesses against the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t 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 s󰁵pported b󰁹 P75, 33 and a corrector of a. 󰀭 3. μονογενὴς θεὸς 󲀓 󲀜onl󰁹 begotten God󲀝 󰀭 is s󰁵pported b󰁹 P66, a , B, C, L. The latter reading enjo󰁹s consent ofofmodern critics. B󰁵t the contradiction in 󰁷hich thethe s󰁵pporters the reading 󲀜Onl󰁹 Begotten God󲀝 fall, in󰁶alidates the 󰁶al󰁵e of their 󰁷itness. The article co󰁵ld onl󰁹 ha󰁶e been dropped intentionall󰁹. Omission is a characteristic of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t scribes. The freedom 󰁷ith 󰁷hich the te󰁸t 󰁷as handed, let the change to God enter the te󰁸t. The imprint of Gnostic infl󰁵ence is clearl󰁹 seen in the Ale󰁸andrian reading: "the onl󰁹 begotten God" simpl󰁹 means nothing. Read some of the s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ing 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 hea󰁶en b󰁵t He 󰁷ho came do󰁷n from hea󰁶en, that iis, s, the Son of Man 󰁷 󰁷ho ho is in hea hea󰁶en. 󰁶en.

The representati󰁶es of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t omit: 󲀜󰁷ho is in hea󰁶en󲀝. The󰁹 are P66, P75, Alef, B and 33.   Honestl󰁹 it is a lot more e󰁸plainable the omission of this gloss than the insertion of it. If 󰁷e consider also that the longer reading is attested b󰁹 man󰁵scripts of different traditions against the Eg󰁹ptian tradition onl󰁹, it remains little or no room for do󰁵bt that the longer reading is the original. The reasons for its omission are e󰁸plained  b󰁹 Br󰁵ce M. Met󰁺ger: 󲀜the q󰁵alit󰁹 of the e󰁸ternal attestation s󰁵pporting the shorter reading, regarded the 󰁷ords ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ (󰁷ho is in Hea󰁶en) as an interpretati󰁶e gloss, reflecting later Christological de󰁶elopment󲀝. A Te󰁸t󰁵al Commentar󰁹 on the Greek Ne󰁷 Testament, United Bible Societies, second edition, page 175 46

 

The q󰁵alit󰁹 of a te󰁸t limited to 󰁵se in a single region is ob󰁶io󰁵sl󰁹 poor. The 󲀜Christological de󰁶elopment󲀝 e󰁸planation is e󰁶en a 󰁷eaker point, since this reading clearl󰁹 creates a diffic󰁵lt󰁹 e󰁶en to it. S󰁵ch diffic󰁵lt󰁹 󰁷as the reason for its omission. It is both clear and simple. It is also e󰁶ident a loss in the rh󰁹thm of the 󰁷ording if the last sentence is missing. 󰁊󰁯󰁨󰁮 6.69 KJV: 󲀜And 󰁷e belie󰁶e and are s󰁵re that tho󰁵 art that Christ, the Son of the li󰁶ing God.󲀝 Instead of 󲀜the son on the li󰁶ing God󲀝, the modern te󰁸t has 󲀜the Hol󰁹 One of God󲀝. I do not see the need to disc󰁵ss the importance of choosing one te󰁸t instead of another. One ma󰁹 not fail to see ho󰁷

󰁵nimportant s󰁵ch a slight change in a 2000 󰁹ears old te󰁸t is. I 󰁵rge the reader to keep this fact in mind, since it 󰁷ill be d󰁵l󰁹 considered 󰁷hen I 󰁷ill dra󰁷 m󰁹 concl󰁵sions on this s󰁵bject. 󰁊󰁯󰁨󰁮 7:53󰀭8:11 This portion of Script󰁵re, the so called 󰁐󰁥󰁲󰁩󰁣󰁯󰁰󰁥 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁁󰁤󰁵󰁬󰁴󰁥󰁲󰁥󰁳󰁳 is one of the most famo󰁵s portions of the Bible. It is s󰁵pported b󰁹 the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t.  J󰁵st like in the case of o f Mark 16.9󰀭20, I ask the reader: 󰁷h󰁹 is it it retained in the te󰁸t of most Bibles? If tho󰁵ght not to be part of the original gospel of John, 󰁷h󰁹 is it not completel󰁹 deleted and 󰁷hat critics are s󰁵re is the original te󰁸t restored? If it is considered original, ho󰁷 can 󰁷e reject s󰁵ch an important 󰁷itness of the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t and then adopt the other 󰁶ariant readings from them? Most Bible readers don󲀙t kno󰁷 that John 21 is also tho󰁵ght not to ha󰁶e belonged to the original gospel. This is 󰁵s󰁵all󰁹 s󰁵pposed  beca󰁵se of internal considerations consideration s on the te󰁸t. B󰁵t since (so far) not one ms s󰁵pports its omission, no te󰁸t󰁵al critic can s󰁵ccessf󰁵ll󰁹 47

 

remo󰁶e it from the recei󰁶ed te󰁸t. All it 󰁷o󰁵ld take is e󰁶en one single man󰁵script! I personall󰁹 ad󰁶ocate the incl󰁵sion of the 󰁐󰁥󰁲󰁩󰁣󰁯󰁰󰁥 right 󰁷here it is. The man󰁵scripts that ha󰁶e it in other places of the Ne󰁷 Testament are 󰁵nreliable 󰁷itnesses. It is s󰁵pported b󰁹 the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t and fe󰁷 other passages of Script󰁵re ha󰁶e enjo󰁹ed so m󰁵ch sanction from the bod󰁹 of Christ. It is also fo󰁵nd in D. It is in the Old Latin man󰁵scripts 󰁢 and 󰁥.  Jerome incl󰁵ded it in his hi s forth cent󰁵r󰁹 tr translation, anslation, the Latin V󰁵lgate. A󰁵g󰁵stine of Hippo, 󰁷ho li󰁶ed bet󰁷een 354 and 430 AD, 󰁷rote concerning this passage of Script󰁵re: 󲀜Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the tr󰁵e faith, fearing, I s󰁵ppose, lest their 󰁷i󰁶es sho󰁵ld be gi󰁶en imp󰁵nit󰁹 in sinning, remo󰁶ed from their man󰁵scripts, the Lord󲀙s act of forgi󰁶eness to󰁷ard the ad󰁵lteress, as if he 󰁷ho had said 󲀜sin no more󲀝 had granted permission to sin.󲀝 Q󰁵oted b󰁹 Hills in the 󰁋󰁩󰁮󰁧 󰁊󰁡󰁭󰁥󰁳 󰁖󰁥󰁲󰁳󰁩󰁯󰁮 󰁄󰁥󰁦󰁥󰁮󰁤󰁥󰁤. 󰁊󰁯󰁨󰁮 8:39 󲀜The󰁹 ans󰁷ered and said 󰁵nto him, Abraham is o󰁵r father. Jes󰁵s saith 󰁵nto them, If 󰁹e 󰁷󰁥󰁲󰁥 Abraham's children, 󰁹e 󰁷󰁯󰁵󰁬󰁤 󰁤󰁯 the 󰁷orks of Abraham.󲀝

The conf󰁵sion among the 󰁷itnesses against the Majorit󰁹 reading has not stopped critics from choosing 󰁥󰁣󰁬󰁥󰁣󰁴󰁩󰁣󰁡󰁬󰁬󰁹 from the Ale󰁸andrian s󰁵pporters. 󰀭 If 󰁹o󰁵 󰁡󰁲󰁥 Abraham󲀙s children, 󰁤󰁯 the 󰁷orks of Abraham󲀝 󲀓 is fo󰁵nd in P66 and B. It 󰁷as the te󰁸t of Westcott and Hort. 󰀭 If 󰁹o󰁵 󰁡󰁲󰁥 Abraham󲀙s children, 󰁹o󰁵 󰁷󰁯󰁵󰁬󰁤 󰁤󰁯 the 󰁷orks of Abraham.󲀝 is fo󰁵nd in adopted P75 and in Alef. The latter is󲀓the reading the Nestle󰀭Aland te󰁸t. 48

 

It is so e󰁶ident that the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t m󰁵st ha󰁶e fallen 󰁶ictim of the attempts of scribes to correct and earl󰁹 cop󰁹ing mistakes. The Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t has the strongest e󰁸ternal s󰁵pport and is still to be preferred. 󰁊󰁯󰁨󰁮 10:29 KJV: 󲀜M󰁹 Father, 󰁷hich (or 󰁷ho) ga󰁶e 󰁴󰁨󰁥󰁭 (to) me, is greater than all; and no 󰁭󰁡󰁮 is able to pl󰁵ck 󰁴󰁨󰁥󰁭 o󰁵t of m󰁹 Father's hand.󲀝

The 󰁎󰁥󰁷 󰁗󰁯󰁲󰁬󰁤 󰁔󰁲󰁡󰁮󰁳󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮 of the Jeho󰁶ah󲀙s Witnesses adopts the Greek te󰁸t of Westcott and Hort. 󲀜󰁔󰁨󰁥 󰁋󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁤󰁯󰁭 󰁉󰁮󰁴󰁥󰁲󰁬󰁩󰁮󰁥󰁡󰁲 󰁔󰁲󰁡󰁮󰁳󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁇󰁲󰁥󰁥󰁫 󰁓󰁣󰁲󰁩󰁰󰁴󰁵󰁲󰁥󰁳 󲀝 translates: 󲀜What m󰁹 Father has gi󰁶en me is something greater than all other things, and no one can snatch them o󰁵t of the hand of the Father󲀝 Again the simplicit󰁹 of the tr󰁵th of Script󰁵re is t󰁵rned into philosoph󰁹. The conf󰁵sion of the mss against the traditional reading makes them s󰁵pport no definite reading. The traditional reading is fo󰁵nd also in P66. This is another instance 󰁷here the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t is s󰁵pported b󰁹 the earliest a󰁵thorit󰁹. 󰁅󰁰󰁨󰁥󰁳󰁩󰁡󰁮󰁳 1.1 KJV: 󲀜Pa󰁵l, an apostle of Jes󰁵s Christ b󰁹 the 󰁷ill of God, to the saints 󰁷hich are at Ephes󰁵s, and to the faithf󰁵l in Christ Jes󰁵s.󲀝 The 󰁷ords 󲀜at Ephes󰁵s󲀝 are omitted b󰁹 some 󰁷itnesses. The e󰁶idence for its presence in the te󰁸t are too strong to gi󰁶e an󰁹 credit to a fe󰁷 󰁷itnesses 󰁷ho ha󰁶e fallen 󰁶ictim of scribes sed󰁵ced b󰁹 the spec󰁵lations of some earl󰁹 heretics and Christian commentators on the real addressee of this epistle. 󰁉 󰁔󰁩󰁭󰁯󰁴󰁨󰁹 3.16

49

 

KJV: 󲀜And 󰁷itho󰁵t contro󰁶ers󰁹 great is the m󰁹ster󰁹 of godliness: 󰁇󰁯󰁤 󰁷as manifest in the flesh, j󰁵stified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached 󰁵nto the Gentiles, belie󰁶ed on in the 󰁷orld, recei󰁶ed 󰁵p into glor󰁹.󲀝 The reading 󲀜God 󰁷as manifest󲀝 is the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t reading. The change again, j󰁵st like in John 1:18, 󰁷as possible b󰁹 changing one single consonant in the 󰁎󰁯󰁭󰁩󰁮󰁡 󰁓󰁡󰁣󰁲󰁡. Θες (󰁔󰁨󰁥󰁯󰁳) 󰁷as abbre󰁶iated Θς (󰁔󰁨󰁳). The modern te󰁸t (Re󰁶ised Standard Version) has 󲀜He 󰁷as manifested in the flesh󲀝. B󰁵t this is not the translation of the Greek te󰁸t the󰁹 s󰁵pport. In fact the RSV adds in a note: 󲀜Greek Who.󲀝 If the Greek te󰁸t sa󰁹s 󲀜󰁷ho󲀝 󰁷h󰁹 don󲀙t the󰁹 translate it 󲀜󰁷ho󲀝? Beca󰁵se in e󰁶er󰁹 lang󰁵age a sentence needs a s󰁵bject and this is missing in the Neologian te󰁸t! No less 󰁷itho󰁵t meaning the reading of D and the Latin Versions that read: 󲀜󰁷hich 󰁷as manifest in the flesh.󲀝 Tho󰁵gh a misleading note in the same RSV sa󰁹s: 󲀝other ancient a󰁵thorities read God󲀝, e󰁶idence is ab󰁵ndantl󰁹 in fa󰁶o󰁵r of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Pickering maintains that the man󰁵script e󰁶idence is the follo󰁷ing: 300 Greek man󰁵scripts read 󲀜God󲀝 and 7 ha󰁶e other readings. 󰁐󰁥󰁣󰁵󰁬󰁩󰁡󰁲 󰁲󰁥󰁡󰁤󰁩󰁮󰁧󰁳 󰁯󰁦 󰁴󰁨󰁥 󰁔󰁥󰁸󰁴󰁵󰁳 󰁒󰁥󰁣󰁥󰁰󰁴󰁵󰁳

It 󰁷as 󰁶er󰁹 sad to read in a book on the epistles of Pa󰁵l p󰁵blished  b󰁹 a famo󰁵s Italian p󰁵blisher of 󲀜John 󲀜 John W. B󰁵rgton󲀝 s󰁵pporting s󰁵pporti ng the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s 󰁷hich, sa󰁹s the a󰁵thor, he belie󰁶ed 󰁷as 󰁵ncontaminated. S󰁵ch a grat󰁵ito󰁵s 󰁷rong statement comes from a man 󰁵nable e󰁶en to spell B󰁵rgon󲀙s name correctl󰁹! Serio󰁵s scholars like B󰁵rgon, Scri󰁶ener, Miller then, Pickering, Robinson, Pierpont toda󰁹, defend the critical 󰁶al󰁵e of the 50

 

Traditional/Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. B󰁵rgon 󰁷as con󰁶inced that re󰁶ision of the TR 󰁷as necessar󰁹. He onl󰁹 arg󰁵ed that the re󰁶ision made d󰁵ring his da󰁹s in light of the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses did not impro󰁶e the te󰁸t b󰁵t onl󰁹 made it 󰁷orse. The ideas of B󰁵rgon stood the test of time. The󰁹 are as good toda󰁹 or e󰁶en stronger than the󰁹 󰁷ere in the nineteenth cent󰁵r󰁹. All he maintained against Westcott and Hort theor󰁹, time pro󰁶ed to be correct! Tho󰁵gh the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s is a good representati󰁶e of the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, its pec󰁵liarities cannot be s󰁵pported. Here are some e󰁸amples: 󰁁󰁣󰁴󰁳 8.37

KJV: 󲀜And Philip said, If tho󰁵 belie󰁶est 󰁷ith all thine heart, tho󰁵 ma󰁹est. And he ans󰁷ered and said, I belie󰁶e that Jes󰁵s Christ is the Son of God.󲀝 The case is against the a󰁵thenticit󰁹 of this passage. It is an insertion 󲀓 tho󰁵gh it appears to be an earl󰁹 one. It is not fo󰁵nd in the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, in P45, P74, Alef, A, B, C, 33. It 󰁷as not e󰁶en in the man󰁵scripts 󰁵sed b󰁹 Erasm󰁵s. He introd󰁵ced it into the te󰁸t beca󰁵se he fo󰁵nd it in the margin of one man󰁵script. 󰁉 󰁊󰁯󰁨󰁮 5.7󰀭8 KJV 󲀜For there are three that bear record in hea󰁶en, 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 fo󰁵nd in all the Greek mss. The󰁹 󰁷ere incl󰁵ded in the TR b󰁹 Erasm󰁵s beca󰁵se he fo󰁵nd them in the contro󰁶ersial ms 61. The long reading is not the original one, this is be󰁹ond q󰁵estion. 51

 

I kno󰁷 that man󰁹 Christians consider this passage a strong affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinit󰁹. B󰁵t it 󰁷as not 󰁷ritten b󰁹  John. I belie󰁶e in the Trinit󰁹 too and I 󰁷rote a book on the s󰁵bject s󰁵bject,,  b󰁵t it is not in this passage that 󰁷e fi find nd this tr󰁵th b󰁵t in almost e󰁶er󰁹 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 d󰁵e to a mere printing mistake.

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CONCLUSION

The time has come to end o󰁵r disc󰁵ssion and e󰁸plain the pec󰁵liarities of Ne󰁷 Testament Greek Te󰁸t󰁵al Criticism and its impact on the Bible reader. When I consider the 󰁶ario󰁵s te󰁸ts a󰁶ailable toda󰁹, I mar󰁶el at the great 󰁷ork of God, ho󰁷 he preser󰁶ed his Word in s󰁵ch a mirac󰁵lo󰁵s 󰁷a󰁹. M󰁹 first Bible 󰁷as a TR Italian translation, the Diodati. Then I started 󰁵sing the Ri󰁶ed󰁵ta L󰁵󰁺󰁺i Bible, 󰁷hich is sort of an Italian Re󰁶ised Version. Right no󰁷 I read the Ne󰁷 Testament in Greek 󰀭 praise be to God for that, it's not m󰁹 merit b󰁵t His grace. I learned Greek on the TR. Later, 󰁷hen I 󰁷as able to get one, I started 󰁵sing the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t, in an interlinear Greek󰀭English edition. I recentl󰁹 got a Nestle󰀭Aland te󰁸t 󰁷hich I consider 󰁶er󰁹 important for st󰁵d󰁹 p󰁵rposes. The percentage of differences from different editions is so small and the q󰁵alit󰁹 of those changes affect so little the meaning of the sentences and passages and e󰁶en less the doctrine and teaching of the ch󰁵rch that I can boldl󰁹 sa󰁹 that the preser󰁶ation of the Ne󰁷 Testament is a fact. No other book can  boast s󰁵ch a 󰁷onderf󰁵l reliable reliabl e te󰁸t after a 2000 󰁹ears jo󰁵rne󰁹! I belie󰁶e in the 󰁶erbal and plenar󰁹 inspiration of the Bible. I am con󰁶inced that God inspired the 󰁶er󰁹 󰁷ords of Script󰁵re. This is the di󰁶ine aspect of the Bible, its s󰁵pernat󰁵ral q󰁵alit󰁹.  Jes󰁵s 󰁷as God made man. He 󰁷as God b󰁵t 󰁷as also a man. A special man b󰁵t h󰁵man in the f󰁵ll sense of the term. He co󰁵ld 󰁷alk, eat, speak. He had to 󰁷alk from one place to another, tho󰁵gh he 󰁷as God and as s󰁵ch, time and space had no po󰁷er o󰁶er him. The Bible is God󲀙s Word. B󰁵t it is also a book. As a book it 󰁷as s󰁵bject to all the q󰁵alit󰁹 and limitations of a book. Toda󰁹 the Bible 53

 

is being translated in man󰁹 lang󰁵ages and p󰁵blished almost e󰁶er󰁹󰁷here in the 󰁷orld. It is also a󰁶ailable on a󰁵dio and 󰁶ideo. It is a󰁶ailable on the internet. As a book it is enjo󰁹ing all the potentials offered b󰁹 the technolog󰁹 of o󰁵r time. E󰁶er󰁹one has a Bible in their home. I ha󰁶e do󰁺ens, both printed and electronic editions. Wh󰁹 do 󰁷e accept all the pri󰁶ileges do󰁷n from the time of the in󰁶ention of print to toda󰁹, b󰁵t neglect to considered the limitations that 󰁷ere common to all the books before the in󰁶ention of print? Wh󰁹 do 󰁷e 󰁷ant to j󰁵dge 󰁷ith o󰁵r e󰁸perience facts 󰁷e cannot correctl󰁹 interpret from toda󰁹s󲀙s perspecti󰁶e? What 󰁷as gi󰁶en to other generations has not been gi󰁶en to o󰁵rs. And, at the same time, 󰁷hat has been gi󰁶en to o󰁵r generation has not been gi󰁶en to other past generations. We need to li󰁶e o󰁵r time. We m󰁵st not j󰁵dge the past from o󰁵r perspecti󰁶e, b󰁵t tr󰁵st God's might󰁹 󰁷ork. Wh󰁹 do some 󰁷ant a 󰁵niform te󰁸t of the Bible, a printed perfect edition of the Script󰁵re to satisf󰁹 their need for certainties? It is the same fr󰁵strating search for doctrinal perfection in different denominations, 󰁷hen it is q󰁵ite e󰁶ident that no ch󰁵rch is perfect on earth. If 󰁷e do simpl󰁹 look at the facts and consider them for 󰁷hat the󰁹 are, 󰁷e can b󰁵t mar󰁶el at the greatness of God󲀙s perfect plan to sa󰁶e man. Ho󰁷 God created the gro󰁵nd for the birth of Jes󰁵s, 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 󰁶irt󰁵all󰁹 󰁵nited politicall󰁹 all the then kno󰁷n 󰁷orld and the Greek c󰁵lt󰁵re and lang󰁵age 󰁷as familiar to people e󰁶er󰁹󰁷here, like English is toda󰁹. As there are some areas of Christianit󰁹 and ch󰁵rches that go astra󰁹 and far from the tr󰁵th, so far as that their faithf󰁵lness to the Gospel ma󰁹 be easil󰁹 q󰁵estioned 󰀭 Jeho󰁶ah's 󰁷itnesses, Latter Da󰁹 Saints or 54

 

some liberal Protestant ch󰁵rches 󰀭 at the same time, there are some Bible te󰁸ts 󰁷ho can be considered inferior to others. Critics toda󰁹 definitel󰁹 prefer the Ale󰁸andrian, shorter, te󰁸t. The rest follo󰁷s as a conseq󰁵ence. It 󰁷as the same te󰁸t that circ󰁵lated 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 li󰁶ed in that en󰁶ironment and created the de󰁶iations of the te󰁸t s󰁵r󰁶i󰁶ed in the Ale󰁸andrian 󰁷itnesses. The same applies to Christianit󰁹 toda󰁹. Toda󰁹󲀙s moderate, compromising, ed󰁵cated b󰁵t not con󰁶inced Christianit󰁹, animated more b󰁹 ec󰁵menical desires than b󰁹 the 󰁷ill to spread the Tr󰁵th of the Gospel, finds itself at ease 󰁷ith this t󰁹pe of te󰁸t, prod󰁵ced b󰁹 likeminded people. The modern te󰁸t has not impro󰁶ed the TR te󰁸t, the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t in 󰁵se in the ch󰁵rch, it has simpl󰁹 re󰁶i󰁶ed a te󰁸t that the ch󰁵rch had long since gotten rid of. The Hol󰁹 Spirit did not let some portions of Script󰁵re to be taken a󰁷a󰁹. I can't find an󰁹 other reason 󰁷h󰁹 Mark󲀙s traditional ending or the 󰁐󰁥󰁲󰁩󰁣󰁯󰁰󰁥 󰁤󰁥 󰁁󰁤󰁵󰁬󰁴󰁥󰁲󰁡, tho󰁵gh openl󰁹 considered sp󰁵rio󰁵s b󰁹 eminent critics, are still there, a󰁶ailable to the Bible reader in all its editions. Most of the omissions considered to restore the original te󰁸t are not entirel󰁹 follo󰁷ed and the te󰁸t is still there: enclosed in do󰁵ble sq󰁵are brackets, incl󰁵ded in the te󰁸t 󰁷ith a note casting do󰁵bt on its a󰁵thenticit󰁹, some omissions follo󰁷ed, some not... If the critics are so s󰁵re of these omissions and their te󰁸t, 󰁷h󰁹 don't the󰁹 j󰁵st edit a te󰁸t, their te󰁸t, getting rid of the s󰁵pposed sp󰁵rio󰁵s additions? Is it beca󰁵se the bod󰁹 of Christ 󰁷on't accept s󰁵ch a te󰁸t? Is it beca󰁵se the Spirit of God has alread󰁹 sanctioned some of the omissions of the modern te󰁸t into the hearts of belie󰁶ers? For the reasons that I ha󰁶e gi󰁶en so far, there is no reason to think that critics from Westcott and Hort till toda󰁹 impro󰁶ed the te󰁸t of the Te󰁸t󰁵s Recept󰁵s. The modern te󰁸t ha󰁶e is fl󰁵ct󰁵ating, 55

 

changing according to the personal j󰁵dgment of editors and their choices among the contradicting e󰁶idence of mss departing from the Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t. Westcott and Hort's Ne󰁵tral Te󰁸t pro󰁶ed to be a fable. The same 󰁷ill happen in time to the Standard Te󰁸t of toda󰁹. M󰁹 s󰁵ggestion is that 󰁷e follo󰁷 the path of the earl󰁹 ch󰁵rch and confine again to obli󰁶ion the Ale󰁸andrian te󰁸t and the conf󰁵sed isolated 󰁷itnesses departing from the Traditional󰀭Majorit󰁹 te󰁸t of the Ne󰁷 Testament.

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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.

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