Re: "biblical" vs. "modern" textual criticism

From: Timothy Bratton (
Date: Thu Dec 21 1995 - 05:35:16 EST

On Tue, 5 Dec 1995, John Calvin Hall wrote:

> My foundation is Scripture. I can go to the Word of God and prove what
> I believe from the Bible. The MTC cannot, because their authority is
> not Scripture, but human intellect. . . . biblical-scholasticism ought
> not be based on the level of a person's intellect alone, but must rest
> mainly on the subserviance of their intellect to the Word of God.
> There are many people today who are considered to be Bible-scholars,
> but are not. So what if he sits on the Council of Five, and has
> written X number of books on Textual Criticism; if that man rejects the
> inerrency of Scripture, he's nothing more than a foolish man.
        So this makes St. Jerome and Erasmus major-grade sinners because
both men had to make editorial choices between different manuscript
traditions? What about the committee that compiled the KJV? And of
course the Hebrew scholars who translated the Septuagint into Greek must
be suspect, too. I don't think anybody on this list would disagree that
the Bible is the Word of God, but the sad truth is that it is always
mediated through fallible, imperfect, and sometimes just tired and
careless scribes. Think of that old party game where children pass
around an oral statement from child to child, and how garbled the
original sentence has become by the time it reaches the last child!
Indeed, I marvel rather that ancient scribes were trained well enough
that the errors are so relatively few! And if God were so determined to
preserve a particular Biblical text as canonical -- for example, the
*Textus Receptus* of 1611 -- why did He permit the discovery of
*Sinaiticus*, *Vaticanus*, the Chester Beatty papyri, and other
previously unknown sources within the last century? Or are you going to
claim that Satan is stirring up strife in Christian circles by deluding
Prof. Metzger and his associates? For all the abuse you insist on
heaping on members of this list, they are studying the Bible intently,
trying to extract every nuance of expression, in order to understand the
Word of God more clearly. Finally, your onw line of reasoning can be
turned against your argument. Might it not be that God has chosen to
reveal additional manuscripts because the "standard" text was being
misinterpreted or misapplied, so that He, in His infinite wisdom, led
Biblical scholars to find these?

Dr. Timothy L. Bratton
Department of History/Pol. Science work: 1-701-252-3467, ext. 2022
6006 Jamestown College home: 1-701-252-8895
Jamestown, ND 58405 home phone/fax: 1-701-252-7507

        "All ignorance is dangerous, and most errors must be dearly
paid. And good luck must he have that carries unchastised an error in
his head unto his death." -- Arthur Schopenhauer.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:35 EDT