b-greek-digest V1 #613

b-greek-digest             Tuesday, 14 March 1995       Volume 01 : Number 613

In this issue:

        Re: UBS Text 
        Re: UBS Text 
        Re: UBS Text
        Re: Text Types; Erasmus


From: Orthopodeo@aol.com
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 18:57:59 -0500
Subject: Re: UBS Text 

< continued from previous >

>As to the specific passages, what is your point regarding Matthew 5:22,
eike or racha?

<EIKH is translated "without a cause." If removed, it then would read, "But I
say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of
the judgment." If this reading is true, then Christ sinned when He threw out
the money changers. Instead, the true reading adds EIKH, and Christ had a
cause .... they had turned His father's house into a house of thieves.>

That doesn't follow, John.  In fact, I'd argue just that opposite.  I think
Metzger is right in his comment on the reading: "Although the reading with
eike is widespread from the second century onwards, it is much more likely
that the word was added by copyists in order to soften the rigor of the
precept, than omitted as unnecessary."  This passage is *quite* rigorous, and
if we are going to argue the variant on merely intrinsic probabilities and
theological grounds, it is indeed much easier to posit a softening of the
command than a strengthening of it.  What is more, the meaning of "adelphos"
must be considered when attempting to parallel this command with the holy
anger of the Lord in driving out the moneychangers.  But again, John, we have
to deal with the *fact* that the term is missing in P64, the original of
Aleph, B, 1292, the margin of 1424 and a number of fathers.  And think about
this, John: what if Erasmus had had, say, manuscript 1292, and decided he
"liked" that reading best?  Would you not be defending it on completely
different grounds as a result?

>I cover Luke 2:22 in my book, but I have to say that I find this a
tremendously weak argument.  Autou has miserable support;

<Actually, the word is AUTHS (Genitive, Feminine, Singular). And it has the
support of the whole Word of God.>

You learn something everyday, it seems.  I just discovered something about
this passage that I had not fully realized.  Tregelles and Von Soden do not
even list the variant.  The Majority Text likewise passes over the reading in
silence, reading "autwn," as all modern texts.  Only the Nestle text, from
what I've seen, addresses the variant.  I am using the 27th edition, and its
apparatus reads:  autou D pc lat sy(s) sa(ms) | - 435 pc bo(pt); Ir(lat).
 Autes is nowhere to be found.  The older editions of Nestle give autes but
in this form:  autou D pc (latsy(s), an = autes?) : - 435 pc Ir(lat).
 Thankfully Metzger addressed the variant:
          The reading autwn, which is by far the best attested reading, is
difficult for the Law prescribes no
          ritual of purification for the husband.  The reading autes (which,
in the editions of Theodore Beza,
          lies behind the AV) is a late correction made by a punctilious
scribe.  The Western reading autou
          can be regarded as a transcriptional error for autwn (in cursive
Greek script the pronoun was
          abbreviated aut with the termination expressed by a "shorthand"
stroke), or as a deliberate mod-
          ification, introduced because afterwards (ver. 27) Jesus is the
object of the presentation in the
          Temple (p. 134).

I had not realized that autes basically has no support at all--Hills says
that "a few minuscules" and manuscript 76 read autes.  That's it.  Period.
 So, John, we have literally hundreds of manuscripts--including 99.5% of the
entire Byzantine manuscript tradition--reading "autwn," and all the most
ancient manuscripts sharing the same reading, and a grand total of what, two,
maybe three VERY late manuscripts having a different reading, and yet you can
say that this reading has the "support of the whole Word of God"?  I'm sorry,
John, but that is textual criticism by a priori assumption, not by study.
 Oh, BTW, just for your information: ALL FIVE EDITIONS OF ERASMUS READ AUTWN.

It's important to note, John, that if we believe our theology is to be
derived FROM Scripture, we cannot set up our theology as the standard by
which to determine the readings OF Scripture.  That is the position you have
placed yourself in, however, as this variant demonstrates.

< The whole matter is found in Leviticus 12:2-6 ->

Citation deleted

<You see, the Critical Text bears 2 problems
1. The reading using AUTWN (Genitive Plural) does not fit with Scripture.
2. Jesus NEVER needed to be purified because HE NEVER SINNED. Christ is=

Note again, John, that you are taking your understanding, your ideas, and
using them as the standard by which to judge the actual words of Scripture
themselves.  See, John, what you need to think about is this: if you were a
Christian living, say 700 years ago, you would not be arguing like you are
now.  You know why?  Because there were no manuscripts in existence that read
"autes" (76 was written in the 14th century).  In fact, nearly every single
one of them read "autwn." Is it just slightly possible, John, that you have
misunderstood Luke's words?  And is it really safe to take your understanding
of Leviticus 12 as the final word, and by that understanding overthrow the
entire Greek manuscript tradition and adopt a reading that no Christian
what you are really suggesting to us, John?

<Some might use the Critical Apparatus, but for me, I'll stick to the Holy

That's a statement of faith, not of fact, John.  I stick with the Holy
Scriptures, too; I just don't arbitrarily decide that one particular reading
of them is the final word, facts, and history, notwithstanding.  Surely you
can see the circularity of your position, can you not?

>would you not admit that there is a perfectly orthodox understanding of
this passage >that in no way indicates sinfulness on the part of Christ? 

<Orthodox? maybe. Expedient? No.>

How do we judge expediency?  I'm sure some Roman apologists don't find the
indicative reading of echomen at Romans 5:1 to be "expedient," but I would
not allow them to reject that reading merely on such a basis.

>Luke 2:33 is even worse, in my opinion,
>than 2:22, since the TR itself uses pater of Joseph at 2:48.  If pater at
>2:33 somehow impacts the deity of Christ, why doesn't the same term do so at

<James, this example doesn't hold water. Luke 2:33 is Narrative, while 2:48
is Discourse. God's Word is PERFECT James. If PATHR is in 2:48, then there
has to be a reason. Ah, and it's seen in the following verses.....

 45  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem,
seeking him.
 46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the
temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking
them questions.
 47  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and
 48  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him,
Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy _father_ and I have=
thee sorrowing.
 49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I
must be about my _Father's_ business?

I have found time and again that the Holy Word is the BEST commentary for
Itself, don't you? Mary used the term "father" in reference to her husband
Joseph. Jesus _corrected_ her in verse 49 when He said that He was about His
_Father's_ business!>

A wonderfully intriguing interpretation, John, but one that utterly fails to
deal with the issue at hand.  First, what is the significance between finding
the term "pater" of Joseph in "narrative" rather than "discourse"?  Secondly,
do you really want to make the child Jesus to be contradicting and correcting
His mother in this passage?  Are you comfortable opening up the possibility
that Mary was somehow confused as to who the father of the child actually
was?  Don't you think you are having to go WAY overboard just to avoid
acknowledging that the term "pater" is used IN THE TR of Joseph, and in a way
that is easily understandable in an orthodox manner?

<Also, with 2:33, Luke is stating the truth, while in 2:48, he is quoting
what Mary really said.>

Mary didn't speak the truth, John?

<Mary really said, "...behold, thy
_father_ and I have sought thee sorrowing," and Jesus responded to her
statement by clarifying that He is about His "Father's" business. This not
only rejects your argument, but strengthens mine. The use of PATHR in 2:48
is another clarification of Jesus' relationship to Joseph. Joseph is NOT the
father of Jesus, which Aleph wants to say in 2:33.>

A few things.  First, it's not just Aleph, its Aleph, B D L W 1 700 1241
l2211 a few foreign translations, etc.  Secondly, please note that you are
doing what you say critical texts shouldn't do: you are making your ideas the
standard, the judge, of what the text of the Bible SHOULD say.  What's worse,
rather than using criteria such as those established in the practice of
textual criticism, you are using your theology as the standard.  What if your
theology is just a wee bit off in one area or another, John?  That's pretty
dangerous, isn't it?  Finally, given that you have made a distinction between
"narrative" and "discourse," and said that narrative is "stating the truth,"
what do you do with the appearance of hoi guneis autou at Luke 2:41?

>And John 1:18 is a plain reference to the deity of Christ, and, in
>fact, I would say is a strong evidence of the Trinity, too.  The wild

<I'd be very careful when handling MONOGENHS QEOS instead of MONOGENHS UIOS.
This is the one rotten apple that stinks of Arianism the most.>

Will you admit the possibility that you are incorrect in your understanding
of this passage, and how it may well allow a most orthodox interpretation?

<Arius denied that Christ was eternal - that He was "created of the Father."
For holding
to this heresy, he was chucked out on his tail, and labled for what he
really was: a heretic. Christ is God of very God! I do not hold to the
Hetero-ousianism, but to the Homo-ousianism, because Christ is the very same
essense as the Father! (And that is what I'll get polemic about!)>

Unless you have been very active as an apologist for many years, John, I can
assure you that I have been quite "polemic" about defending the deity of
Christ at least as often, and probably far more often, than you have.  I have
debated the issue live on the air on KTKK radio in Salt Lake City against
those who denied the belief; my name has been distributed to all
congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the metropolitan Phoenix area with
orders to avoid me at all costs.  Lord willing I will be writing a book on
the Trinity later this year.  But all of that only proves that doing textual
criticism on the basis of theology is a bad idea.  None of what you said
above is even slightly relevant to the reading of theos at John 1:18.  You
may wish to get polemic about it, but that doesn't change the reality of the
situation.  First, the reading has the support of the most ancient
manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Second, your understanding of the meaning
of monogenes seems to be deficient.  Please note the meaning of the term:

        Monogenes, -es: pertaining to what is unique in the sense of
        being the only one of the same kind or class -- `unique, only.'
        ton huion ton monogene edoken `he gave his only Son' Jn 3.16; ton
        huion autou ton monogene apestalken ho theos `God sent his only
        Son' 1 Jn 4.9; ton monogene prosepheren ho tas epangelias
        anadexamenos `he who had received the promises presented his only
        son' or `...was read to offer his only son' He 11.17.  Abraham,
        of course, did have another son, Ishamael, and later sons by
        Keturah, but Isaac was a unique son in that he was a son born as
        the result of certain promises made by God.  Accordingly, he
        could be called a monogenes son, since he was the only one of his
        kind (Louw and Nida, _Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
        Based on Semantic Domains_ (1988) p. 591).

        `Only Son' is the rendering of all modern translations.  There is
        no doubt regarding the meaning of the Greek word used here
        (monogenes); it means "only" and not "only begotten."  The
        meaning "only begotten," which appears in the Vulgate, has
        influenced KJV and many other early translations (Newman and
        Nida, _A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John_, 1980, p.

        Monogenes is literally "one of a kind," "only," "unique"
        (unicus), not "only-begotten," which would be monogennetos
        (unigenitus), and is common in the LXX in this sense...The
        emphasis is on the thought that, as the "only" Son of God, He has
        no equal and is able fully to reveal the Father" (Moulton and
        Milligan, _The Vocabularly of the Greek Testament_, 1930, pp.
        416-417).  This is cited with approval by Tenney, _The
        Expositor's Bible Commentary_ (1981) with the additional comment,
        "God's personal revelation of himself in Christ has no parallel
        elsewhere, nor has it ever been repeated" (p. 33).

        Monogenes, lit., "the only one of its kind," unique in its genos,
        in the LXX frequently translates yahid....(Beasley-Murray, _Word
        Biblical Commentary on John_, (1987) p. 14.

        We should not read too much into "only begotten."  To English
        ears this sounds like a metaphysical relationship, but the Greek
        term means no more than "only," "unique." [The footnote at this
        point reads as follows:  It should not be overlooked that
        monogenes is derived from ginomai not gennao...Etymologically it
        is not connected with begetting.]  (Morris, _The New
        International Commentary on the New Testament_, p. 105).

        monogenes, -es, only...of children: Isaac, Abraham's only
        son...Of an only son...--Also `unique' (in kind), of something
        that is the only example of its category...--In Johannine lit.,
        m[onogenes] is used only of Jesus.  The mngs. only, unique, may
        be quite adequate for all its occurrences here (so M-M, RSV, et
        al.; DMoody JBL 72, '53, 213-19; FCGrant, ATR 36, '54, 284-87).
        (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker (1979), p. 527).

As you can see, the term does not demand, or even really support, the idea of
"creation" ala Arianism.  In fact, I would strongly assert that the passage
can only be understood in a Trinitarian sense *when the most ancient reading
is allowed to stand.*  Finally, have you ever read anything by Gregory of
Nyssa?  He was an eminently orthodox man on the nature of God, the Trinity,
and the deity of Christ, yet I have yet to find a single place in his
writings where he did not cite John 1:18 as "monogenes theos."  Now just how
can that be, John?



From: Orthopodeo@aol.com
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 18:58:07 -0500
Subject: Re: UBS Text 

< continued from previous >

>What if you were to be shown that history does not really fit with your
>theory, let alone demand allegiance to it?  Might you consider the
>possibility that your idea of the MEANS of preservation is not necessitated
>by the word of Scripture itself?

<Sorry James, but I'm not into Situational Ethics. =3D)>

I'm sorry, but I asked the question in sincerity, and I was hoping for a
sincere response.  Are you saying that you claim infallibility with reference
to your doctrine of preservation, and if YOUR idea isn't "IT," then there can
be no others?

>John, if you wish to hold to the "Traditional Text" because your belief in
>preservation demands it, that's OK with me.  But I see no reason at all why
>holding to a particular text type is going to provide you with a*meaningful*
>basis for preservation. 

<The Critical Text questions the Preservation of the Scriptures by its very

Why?  And if you were in Erasmus' shoes those few centuries ago, how would
you have responded to the statement, "Erasmus' text questions the
preservation of the Scriptures by its very essence"?

<It calls to the Greek student to use his own intellect and talents
to "really" determine the original text.>

An amazing statement, John.  Am I safe to assume that you, like I, am a
Protestant?  I am a Reformed Baptist, myself.  I believe that I am
responsible before God for what I believe.  I cannot say, "Well, the Pope told
 me this" or "My priest told me that."  I can't pass my responsibilities off
on tradition, a magisterium, a prophet in Salt Lake City, or a Governing Body
in Brooklyn.  I am responsible before God for what I believe. 

Now, here we have a situation where, it seems, you are saying, "Hey, trust
someone else with the decisions on this one.  Don't allow Greek students to
know that there are textual variants, even though they exist.  Have someone
make the "final decisions," but let's not worry about how they arrived at
their final conclusions."  Let's take the case above: Luke 2:22.  You read
"autes."  It doesn't matter that no manuscript in the first 1000 years of the
Christian church read autes. It doesn't matter that 99.5% of all manuscripts
have a different reading.  It doesn't matter that all five editions of
Erasmus, and all the editions of Stephanus, read "autwn."  None of that
matters.  We have "made our choice," and hence facts become unimportant.  

You see, John, you can't avoid making decisions about these readings.  You
can close your eyes and hand your responsibilities over to someone else, such
as Erasmus, or Beza, or whoever, but that doesn't mean you are not engaging
in the very process you decry--you are just letting someone else do it, and
as long as you don't have to see it, you seemingly think it isn't going on.
 I'm sorry to point out that you are being grossly inconsistent, John, but
the facts are the facts.

>I'm sorry, John, but your argument is based upon an ignorance of the origin
>of the TR, and hence does not hold up to examination.

<And I am sorry to say that your argument is based on the ignorance of God's

Be very careful, John, in defining your *theories,* especially when they
stand so opposed to easily demonstrable facts, as "God's truths."

<James, if you are looking for empirical data, you are going to have a rather
difficult time at a particular level. I am a Christian. I live by faith and
not by sight (I Corinthians 5:7).>

John, I am a Christian.  An ordained Baptist minister, a teacher and preacher
of God's Word.  You are talking to a brother, whether you wish to believe
that or not.  I live by faith and not by sight, too, but I understand that in
the context in which Paul placed it, which has nothing--absolutely,
positively nothing--to do with ignoring the facts of history and the facts of
the manuscripts of Scripture.  Please, John, please do not pawn off your
inability or unwillingness to change your viewpoint on the grand concept of
"faith."  Remember, Christian faith ALWAYS HAS AN OBJECT.  And that object is
always TRUE.

<I do not believe in the modern movement
today of the syncritism of human intellect with dogmas. I believe that the
wisdom of God ALWAYS supercedes the wisdom of man (I Corinthians 2:6-7) and
that while there is nothing wrong with using the intellect of man, it MUST

You are preaching to the choir at that point, John--right up to the point
where you now make the leap so as to identify a particular translation or
textual tradition with the phrase "the Word of God."  That's where the
problem lies.  You see, I do not subjugate the Word to my intellect.  I agree
with Pascal who said, "Reason's last step is the recognition that there are
an infinite number of things which are beyond it.  It is merely feeble if it
does not go as far as to realize that."  And John Flavel rightly said, "I
know there is nothing in the Word or in the works of God that is repugnant to
sound reason, but there are some things in both which are opposite to carnal
reason, as well as above right reason; and therefore our reason never shows
itself more unreasonable than in summoning those things to its bar which
transcend its sphere and capacity."  I agree with all of that.  But I have to
point out that it is a canard to apply this grand, divine truth to the issue
of determining the readings of the manuscripts of the Bible.  Recognizing the
simple fact that the best reading at 2 Timothy 2:19 is "Lord" and not
"Christ" does not involve overthrowing the authority of the Word of God, it
simply involves using my common sense (where did anyone speak of the "name of
Christ" in the OT?)  And saying, "Erasmus was not inspired, nor inerrant, and
used his own private judgment to determine readings" is a transparently true
statement as well, and in no way involves a rebellion against God-ordained

<In your last letter, you raised questions and doubted the facts that I
presented. That does not, nor will not change my relationship with God and
with His precious Word.>

Nor should my questioning do so.  But if you cannot answer those questions,
and are led inexhorably to a different conclusion regarding your theories of
preservation, will you change your mind about those things?

<I was able to show you where you are wrong, but what
if you asked another question that I could not answer - does that mean that
I am wrong, and you are right? NO!>

Again, you are arguing a point that is not in contention.  However, just for
my information, where have you shown me to be wrong on a point of fact so far
in this conversation?

<It just means that I do not have the
complete information for your questions. My foundation is not based on the
level of my intellect, nor on my ability to understand and reason out the
Word of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). My foundation is based on FAITH!>

Yes, but make sure your faith is in accordance with TRUTH, John, not in
accordance with a TRADITION (yes, even we Protestants have traditions).

<Mind if I ask where you obtained your degree(s)?>

B.A. Bible (major in Biology, minor in koine Greek) Grand Canyon University,
M.A. Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary.  Hoping to enroll at Whitefield
Seminary in the Fall to do Ph.D. work.



From: Orthopodeo@aol.com
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 18:57:49 -0500
Subject: Re: UBS Text

< continued from previous >

<Time and time again, the Critical Text makes an unspoken statement- "Man=
the ability and the responsability to determine what God really said." If=

nothing else, this is the one main argument I have against the Critical T=
- - the whole concept of man's intellect being over the authority of the Wo=
of God is wrong! and it originates all the way back to the Garden when Sa=
said to Eve, "Hath God said....">

John, I truly believe this is an argument that can go nowhere but in a
circle.  How do you think the Textus Receptus came into existence?  Did i=
just float down from heaven on a cloud?  Was it carried by angels?  No, m=
used their God-given minds to examine Greek texts and MAKE DECISIONS betw=
variant readings.  Allow me to quote from a section of my book regarding
Erasmus' work in determining the readings that, seemingly, you think came=

into existence without the application of man's "judgment":

	In chapter 2 we noted briefly the work of Desiderius Erasmus, both in hi=
production of a printed Greek text (1516), the first of its kind to be
published, and a fresh Latin translation as well. His Greek text went thr=
a number of revisions, with new editions coming out in 1519, 1522, 1527, =
1535, the year before his death. Attached to his texts were his Annotatio=
that included, initially, notes on various passages and comments on
scriptural themes. As the controversy over his work grew, the Annotations=

grew as well, for he provided an explanation and defense of his stands in=
pages. The Annotations give us a great insight into the thinking and beli=
of Erasmus and, when coupled with the many apologies he wrote against his=

chief opponents, make it possible to understand the methods and goals of =
great scholar in his work on the text of the New Testament.
	One of the marvels of Erasmus' work is that he was able to produce such =
fine text with so few resources. He drew from barely half a dozen Greek
manuscripts in his initial work, not including those he would have examin=
in England. Over the years he took advantage of his travels to examine ot=
texts, but even if one added them all together the final number would sti=
be rather small. Despite the paucity of manuscripts available to him, Era=
showed himself a true scholar, and his Annotations address many of the sa=
textual variants that are discussed today by modern scholars, many of whi=
are relevant to the KJV Only discussion as well.
	Erasmus was aided by two scholars in his initial work, Nikolaus Gerber a=
Ioannes Oecolampadius, later an aid to Ulrich Zwingli and a leader in the=

Reformation movement. Oecolampadius looked up all the references to the
Hebrew of the Old Testament as Erasmus did not know Hebrew. Refusing paym=
for his services, Oecolampadius accepted only one of Erasmus' manuscripts=
the introduction to the Gospel of John, and is said to have treated it as=
relic, kissing it and hanging it on a crucifix while he prayed, that is,
until it was stolen. =

	It is well known that Erasmus struggled with the text of Revelation. Not=

finding any manuscripts that contained the book, he borrowed one from his=

friend Reuchlin. Erasmus was quite pleased with the text, feeling that it=
=93of such great age that it might be thought to have been written in the=
of the apostles.=94  He had an unknown copyist  make a fresh copy and ret=
the original to Reuchlin. The copyist had difficulty with the text (the
manuscript contained a commentary on the book of Revelation, and the actu=
text of Scripture was imbedded in the commentary), and as a result made s=
mistakes that found their way into the printed editions of Erasmus' Greek=

text, and finally into the text of the King James Version.
	The printer, John Froben, began work on the project October 2, 1515. The=

final product emerged March 1, 1516, weighing in at around 700 pages, a h=
volume to be sure. Over the span of the next four editions, Erasmus' text=

would be reprinted 69 times, and though we don't know exactly how many co=
that represents, a conservative estimate would be right at 300,000, an
incredible number for the sixteenth century.
	I emphasize the work of Erasmus for two reasons. First, his text was the=

beginning of what eventually would become known as the Textus Receptus.
 Hence, the sources he used, the methods he employed, and the conclusions=
came to are vitally important to any real discussion of the topic at hand=
Second, Erasmus encountered the very same kind of resistance to his work =
is put forward by KJV Only advocates today against modern translations. H=
answers then are just as valid today. The great irony is found in compari=
the arguments of Erasmus' opponents to the arguments used by AV Alone peo=
today. Let's look at some of these arguments and Erasmus' replies.
	It is very common to find the KJV Only advocate dismissing any appeal to=
Greek or Hebrew manuscripts. "So you have to know Greek to know what God
says" is the comment that has been made to me many times. "You are limiti=
God=92s Word to scholars. What about those of us who do not know Greek or=

Hebrew? Can't we know what God has revealed?" Recently I mentioned to a K=
Only advocate that I was teaching both Greek and Hebrew classes. He asked=
what percentage of Christian people today know Greek or Hebrew. I answere=
that it is a very small number, to which he replied, "Good. No need to wa=
time with such things anyway, since you have God=92s words in the AV 1611=
Erasmus encountered the same thing. Within three years of the publication=
the first edition of his New Testament text, Jacobus Latomus published a
treatise titled, The Three Languages and the Study of the System of Theol=
which had the subtitle, "Whether a knowledge of the three languages is
necessary for a theologian." One can guess to what conclusions Latomus
arrived. Erasmus responded with a written defense in which he stated, "no=

subject area depends more on languages than theology"  and,

With the help of Greek . . . many passages in the Vulgate have been resto=
that before were corrupt; many passages have been clarified that before w=
misinterpreted by commentators of great renown; much light has been shed =
passages that before were covered by a cloud of ambiguity. =

Erasmus criticized both Thomas Aquinas and Augustine over and over again =
the Annotations for their ignorance of the biblical languages. For exampl=
he said of Augustine at Mark 16:14, "He would have had no reason to raise=
question, had he consulted the Greek codices."  And with reference to
Augustine=92s comments on John 18 Erasmus wonders "why he did not consult=
Greek codices." =

	We are often told that God has blessed the KJV more than any other
translation of the Bible, and that the fact that it was the "only" Bible =
hundreds of years should be grounds enough for us today to hold to it as =
standard. We have already noted how attached many conservative theologian=
were to the =93traditional=94 text of the Latin Vulgate in the days of Er=
Dorp had written to Erasmus even before his work was published and had
asserted that no one would ever believe the Vulgate contained errors, "Fo=
r it
is not reasonable that the whole church, which has always used this editi=
and still both approves and uses it, should for all these centuries have =
wrong."  Dorp went so far as to say, "If however they contend that a sent=
as rendered by the Latin translator varies in point of truth from the Gre=
manuscript, at that point I bid the Greeks goodbye and cleave to the Lati=
 How does this differ in the least from the words of a modern KJV Only ad=
e, Dr. Samuel Gipp, "Question: What should I do where my Bible and my Gre=
Lexicon contradict? Answer: Throw out the Lexicon"?  Or this statement by=
same writer, "Question: What about a contradiction that can't be successf=
explained? Answer: You will have to accept the perfection of the Authoriz=
Version by faith."  Erasmus dismissed such arguments out of hand. "What w=
you do with the errors of the copyists?" Erasmus asked Dorp. =

	Dr. D.A. Waite, a defender of the Textus Receptus, attacks the New King
James Version in these words, =

The diabolical nature of the NEW KING JAMES VERSION shows itself in their=

printing all the various readings of the Greek text in the footnotes. The=
print all sides and take their stand in favor of none of them. By so doin=
they confuse the readers. The editors have made no decision as to what Go=
Words really are. =

Dr. Waite is expressing the same concern that Dorp included in his letter=
Erasmus, "For a great many people will discuss the integrity of the
Scriptures, and many will have doubts about it."  Again Erasmus rejected
these arguments out of hand. In fact, Erasmus presented to his critics ma=
of the same arguments and facts used by modern textual scholars. With
reference to the existence of textual variants and our need to deal with
them, he wrote, =

Granted that the Greek books are just as corrupt as the Latin ones, yet b=
collating manuscripts that are equally corrupt one can often discover the=

true reading, for it frequently happens that what has been corrupted by
chance in one is found intact in another. =

Now granted that the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are as corrupt as ours,=

does it follow that we are deprived of any hope of ever emending what is
found to be corrupted in our manuscripts? Does it not happen frequently t=
from several faulty manuscripts=97though not faulty in the same way=97the=
and genuine reading is found? =

How is this different than modern methods of textual criticism? Erasmus'
Annotations reveal to us something that every KJV Only advocate should
seriously consider: Erasmus used the very same basic methods of
textual-critical study that modern scholars use. I am not saying that he =
the full spectrum of textual tools available today, but the basic forms a=
methods of trying to arrive at the original reading were used by Desideri=
Erasmus even as he collated what became known as the Textus Receptus.  Th=
e TR
did not fall down out of heaven complete. Instead, Erasmus, a classical
scholar, used his best judgment in coming up with his Greek text, drawing=

from various sources, accepting some readings, rejecting others, as he sa=
fit. Anyone who believes the TR to be infallible must believe that Erasmu=
and the other men who later edited the same text in their own editions
(Stephanus and Beza), were somehow "inspired," or at the very least
"providentially guided"  in their work. Yet, none of these men ever claim=
such inspiration.
	Lest anyone think Erasmus did not speak in the same vein as modern textu=
scholars, I offer the following citations. When discussing the catalog of=

human sins in Romans chapter 1, specifically verse 29, he commented,
"Whenever a catalog of nouns occurs, whether you consult the Greek or Lat=
exemplars, there are differences. This is due to the forgetfulness of the=

scribes, for it is difficult to remember these kinds of things."  A simil=
comment is found later in his discussion of Romans chapter 8.  How Erasmu=
dealt with variants should be extremely important to any defender of the =
for the reading of that translation is often determined by Erasmus=92
decisions. At Romans 4:1 the order of words in the TR (and hence in the K=
translation) was determined not by the majority of Greek texts, but by
Erasmus' examination of the early Fathers and the Latin text. At Romans
10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"
(KJV), Erasmus realized that the Vulgate had "word of Christ," as did a
number of early Fathers (what he did not know, however, was that P46, Ale=
and B also have "Christ"). Basically, Erasmus "guessed" and chose "God,"
explaining, "It does not greatly affect the meaning except in the sense t=
the phrase `voice of God' lends more dignity to the words of the Apostle =
has a wider application."
	In another instance Erasmus indicated  that he "liked" one reading bette=
than the other, even though the one he chose was the minority reading. Sp=
cally, he liked "serving the time" at Romans 12:11 rather than "serving t=
Lord." He defended his choice by noting that the Greek terms for Lord
(kurios) and time (kairos) could easily be confused because they look the=

same.  This was true, *especially considering that copyists often abbrevi=
syllables in their writing.* Two things should be noticed about Erasmus'
position. First, here we find him using the exact same argument that has =
used to explain the difference between the readings "God" and "He" at 1
Timothy 3:16, a passage we will examine closely in chapter 8. KJV Only
advocates ridicule modern scholars when they point to the same facts that=
mus did long ago. Secondly, the only reason the KJV says "serving the Lor=
at Romans 12:11 rather than "serving the time" is because the KJV transla=
chose that reading, which appeared in the first edition of Erasmus and in=

Beza's text, over the other reading that appeared in the last four editio=
of Erasmus and in Stephanus' text. We will have more to say about the var=
"flavors" of the Textus Receptus later on in this chapter.
	In chapter 3 we noted how scribes could change a passage due to familiar=
with a parallel account in another place, or due to their familiarity wit=
the passage's use in the church. Erasmus realized the exact same thing. W=
ith r
eference to the phrase "Jesus Christ" at Matthew 1:18, Erasmus, noting th=
the Latin only had "Christ," said, =93However I suspect `Jesus' was added=
 by a
scribe because the passage is customarily recited in this way by the chur=
 In the same way he elsewhere noted that the scribes often wrote "not wha=
they find in the manuscripts but what is fixed in their memory."  He
recognized, correctly, the appearance of *harmonization* between parallel=

passages in the Gospels, even anticipating the decisions of modern textua=
scholars. One clear example of this is found at Matthew 20:22 where the K=
has, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be ba=
d with the baptism that I am baptized with?" The NASB has simply, "Are yo=
able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" While Erasmus kept the
phrase =93and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with=94 =
in his
text, he noted that it appeared to have been =93transferred=94 from the p=
passage in Mark 10:38. Modern texts put this phrase in the footnotes due =
the discovery of earlier manuscripts that support Erasmus' hunch. KJV Onl=
advocates would not be listing this passage as yet another "deletion" on =
part of the modern texts had Erasmus acted upon this inclination, somethi=
he did do in other places. =

	The words of Erasmus himself are seen to refute many of the arguments us=
by modern defenders of KJV Onlyism. If KJV Only advocates were to be cons=
t, they would have to reject Erasmus=92 work, which is the basis for the =
on the very same grounds as the modern translations. Anyone engaging in
textual criticism is said to be "judging God=92s Word," yet Erasmus did t=
very same thing! Of course, they do not reject Erasmus=92 work, thereby
demonstrating their system to be inconsistent and self-contradictory. I c=
say with confidence that if Desiderius Erasmus were alive today he would =
be an advocate of the AV 1611. He would, instead, reject vociferously the=

very same arguments that he faced so long ago, and in so doing would have=
reject the very foundation of the KJV Only position.

< continued in next message >


From: Pat Tiller <ptiller@husc.harvard.edu>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 20:23:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Text Types; Erasmus

On Mon, 13 Mar 1995, John Baima wrote:

> Harry Sturz (a fine gentleman) has died without making many disciples. One
> of his students, and former advocate, Daniel Wallace (Dallas Seminary), has
> on further examination rejected almost all of these examples as supporting
> Sturz's position. As a result, he has rejected Sturz's theory and method of
> textual criticism. It's too bad that Dan is not on the net.

I too am a disciple of Harry Sturz, though like Dan I have rejected his 
theory of the antiquity of the Byzantine Text Type.  One of the problems 
with Sturz's list of "distinctively Byzantine readings" supported by the 
papyri is that his definition of "distinctively Byzantine readings" is 
far too broad.  All he requires is a reading that is "attested by the 
mass of the later mss and is without the support of the following leading 
uncials: alephBCD(L) in the Gospels..."  Virtually all of his readings 
have the support of non-Byzantine witnesses like Caesarean mss (in Mark), 
non-Byzantine church fathers (e.g., Justin Martyr, Origen), so-called 
secondary Alexandrians, the Coptic version, old Latin mss., etc.  These 
can hardly be called "distinctively Byzantine."  Rather, they are 
Byzantine readings that already (without the papyri) have ancient, 
non-Byzantine support.  They papyri serve to show that when a Byzantine 
reading has in its support non-Byzantine witnesses, it is likely to be 
very old.

I do think, like Kirkpatrick, that all readings deserve some 
consideration, regardless of the strength of their external support, but 
unlike Kirkpatrick and Sturz, I rarely prefer a reading that has only 
late support.

By the way, Harry Sturz, was an exceedingly "fine gentleman" and one of 
the very best teachers that I have ever had.

Pat Tiller
Harvard Divinity School


End of b-greek-digest V1 #613


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