Monday, June 29, 2009
A short history of how we got the corrupted Bible versions, online but also available in booklet form, put out by the Trinitarian Bible Society.
I suggest that only because it's short, and it might whet the appetite for the one book I think all pastors must read, and as many Christians in general who can handle it, Dean John William Burgon's eye-opening The Revision Revised.
I pray for pastors to break the spell of the Bible versions wolves in sheeps' clothing.
Another area of concern is of course 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Most of the relevant material is online, including Mary Kassian's chapter in her Women, Creation and the Fall, at the CBMW site. Chapter 9. A quick read.
The only book I'm aware of on the subject is Warren Henderson's Glories Seen and Unseen and it's a very good start.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I was just reading more in David Cloud's book, the Bible Versions Hall of Shame, and read through the information on the fourteen translators of the Revised Standard Version he presents, which is a compendium of modernist/rationalist doubt of the Bible, refusal to believe most of what it says, and every kind of speculative reinterpretation of whatever seemed too incredible for them. Complete destruction of everything the Bible is meant to be to us through simple faith. What a sad story. Infinitely sad.
It made me sad but it also made me SO grateful that God gave me faith in His word from the moment I believed. I just "knew" it was all true, every word of it, and I've never wavered an iota since that moment. I may not understand many things in the Bible but I believe it all and my understanding grows because of my belief. After reading the ugly sad destructive thoughts of these translators it comes home to me with extra force how faith really is a gift of God. I'm SO grateful.
Later. June 29
Studying the Bible versions problems makes me aware that I believed implicitly in the inerrancy of the scripture before I knew anything about how it is all put together. I believed that the ENGLISH was inerrant I realize now, not merely the original autographs. But that didn't necessarily mean I believed every single word had to be the ONLY word to convey the point, I simply believed that what it SAID was the TRUTH. For that purpose it doesn't matter if some words might have been better chosen or some words change their meaning over time; still they convey the truth as they are. I didn't have the King James particularly in mind though, simply vaguely assumed ALL the English Bibles were inerrant in the same sense.
But now I have to rethink all that. How could all the modern versions, that have sprung up like so many suspect mushrooms from the fetid soil of Westcott and Hort's bogus Greek text and abominable English revision, also be the inerrant word of God? They are too different. I assumed they were inerrant TOO (except maybe some we were frequently told should be avoided), before I had any idea how gratuitous and inelegant were most of their changes in the English, how mutilated the Greek on which they were based.
How am I now to think about this? ARE they the inerrant word of God? Well, no they aren't. Not a single one of them is. Oh they may CONTAIN some of God's word, but in the sense the term is normally used, no, they are not the inerrant Word. I suppose it's a sort of poetic justice too (God's justice is always "poetic"), now that they dominate the field, that the Higher Criticism which presided over their birth also reigns over more and more churches, and more minds, and it tells us that of course the Bible is not inerrant anyway.
Another thing I recognized recently is that I have been aware of the follies of the Higher Criticism since soon after I became a Christian, but it never linked up in my mind with the Bible versions for some reason until now.
Much to mull.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Was just reading the Preface to the RSV and want to note how it presents the history of Bible versions. First it gives a history of the English Bibles before the King James, with the usual compliments to the prose of the King James and so on and so forth. Then goes on:
Yet the King James Version has grave defects.I'm already worn out from the research I've done so far on the versions but I've realized for some time I'm going to have to do at least a minimum of research into what people mean when they say there are errors in the KJV. How can it be that one group says there are NO errors at all and another says there are "grave defects?" Then there are some in the middle as well who allow for some errors or defects and so on and so forth. Sigh. Makes me really appreciate those who have dedicated the necessary time and study to this issue to be as thorough and accurate as possible.
I already glanced very briefly at a site that lists what they regard as KJV "errors." I randomly chose one reference from their list to see if Burgon says anything about it in his Revision Revised and found out that he did! I'd chosen Luke 2:14, and find Burgon beginning a six-page discussion of this verse with:
A more grievous perversion of the truth of Scripture is scarcely to be found than occurs in the proposed revised exhibition of S. Luke ii. 14, in the Greek and English alike; for indeed not only is the proposed Greek text (...) impossible, but the English of the Revisionists ('peace among men in whom he is well pleased') 'can be arrived at' (as one of themselves has justly remarked) 'only through some process which would make any phrase bear almost any meaning the translator might like to put upon it. [footnote Scrivener's Introduction, p. 515] More than that: the harmony of the exquisite three-part hymn, which the Angels sang on the night of the Nativity, becomes hopelessly marred, and its structural symmetry destroyed, by the welding of the second and third members of the sentence into one. Singular to relate, the addition of a single final letter (Greek s) has done all this mischief....Over one hundred years later people are still blindly accepting what the revisionists did with that verse instead of heeding Burgon's knowledgeable discussion in favor of the KJV. His discussion goes on for six pages and I've only quoted part of the first paragraph. There are also many footnotes I found in the Index that discuss this same passage that I haven't yet checked out.
Granted, this is only one verse, which I've only barely touched on, and a couple dozen or so "errors" are listed for the KJV which also require investigation in order to be thorough, but if I never get beyond this one I'm happy to conclude that there's no error in the KJV here and if there is none here then it's quite likely the others aren't errors either. All I need is a few words from the righteous and knowledgeable Burgon to conclude that the "error" is no error at all, because he CLEARLY knows what he's talking about and all the rest are ignoramuses by comparison.
In fact the whole idea that there are errors at all is based for starters on the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts, and the whole list is rationalized by made-up specious explanations by people who don't know what they are talking about.
An unbelievable mess was made of the Bible by the Revisers of 1881, at least the leaders of the pack, who had no feeling for the Greek or the English, no ability to appreciate the work of the KJV translators, a strange personal disdain for the Textus Receptus and indeed for the supernatural revelations of the Bible altogether, and the only right conclusion of this sad tale would be that the whole enterprise be denounced and all the modern Bible versions burned. I'd say we should start all over at that point but clearly there is no one today with the abilities and sensibilities of a Burgon, let alone a whole committee who could be entrusted with the necessary tasks, so there is no starting over possible. The KJV has to become the Bible of all the churches if there is any genuine concern that God's word survive among His people, until such time as Greek and English scholarship improves enough to rethink it, but I'm not holding my breath. I have no doubt but that the Lord Himself will return before that could even become possible.
Oh but I only quoted one line of the Preface to the Revised Standard. There's more (a LOT more):
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation.I'm sorry to have to report here that this is simply a lie, in fact it is a collection of lies. The majority of new discoveries were of the Byzantine tradition and agreed with the Textus Receptus and no revision was called for at all.* The very few of the very ancient Alexandrian type were already known to the KJV translators -- they were aware of that other TYPE of manuscript and that TYPE of reading and had REJECTED it as corrupt.
Another lie is that "many" and "serious" defects were the reason for the revision. The reason for the revision was for an UPDATING of the text as MINIMALLY as possible. No hint of many serious defects was given at all.
Another lie is that the finding of these manuscripts had anything whatever to do with the call for a revision. They did not. The other manuscripts were not to figure in the revision at all. The Textus Receptus was to remain the foundation for the revision. That the revisers substituted their own preferred texts was a violation of their agreement.
*Here's a reference by the Trinitarian Bible Society:
Recent Discoveries and Textual Criticism During the next three hundred years [after the publication of the King James Bible] vast numbers of documents were brought to light and Biblical scholars made many attempts to reconstruct the Greek New Testament. There are now over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, including 90 papyrus fragments (2nd-8th century); 270 Uncial copies (3rd-l0th); 2,800 minuscules (9th-16th); and 2,000 Lectionary copies. The overwhelming majority of these manuscripts agree so closely that they may be said to present the same Greek text, called by some the "Byzantine Text" because it prevailed throughout the Church in the Byzantine period A.D. 312-1453 (and long after).
The Versions. In addition to these Greek sources, scholars have recovered copies of ancient translations in Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Gothic, etc. Some of these originated before our oldest existing Greek copies and thus testify to the contents of still earlier manuscripts. Much of this evidence is favourable to "The Received Text'' underlying the Authorised Version.
Early Greek and Latin writers -- The "Fathers"The writings of early champions of the truth (and heretics) contain copious references to the Scriptures and again testify concerning the Greek text as it was in the 2nd century onwards. The majority of these witnesses support the "Byzantine" or "Received" or "Traditional" text underlying the Authorised Version, and they establish the antiquity of this text and its superior acceptance in the early period.
The Papyri It is alleged that the most ancient papyrus fragments are hostile to the Received Text, but it must be remembered that the fragments that remain are few in comparison with the many that must have perished through long and frequent use. It is probable that the surviving minority survived because they were not much used and that they fell into disuse because of their deficiencies. A number of papyri of the 6th to 8th centuries do not contain a distinctively "Byzantine" type of text, although it is beyond question that the "Byzantine" text was dominant in that period. These papyri are surviving representatives of a defective and discarded text.
Friday, June 19, 2009
But surely (rejoins the intelligent Reader, coming fresh to these studies), the oldest extant Manuscripts (B [Vaticanus], Aleph [Sinaiticus], A C D) must exhibit the purest text! Is it not so?
It ought to be so, no doubt (we answer); but it certainly need not be the case.
We know that Origen in Palestine, Lucian at Antioch, Hesychius in Egypt, 'revised' the text of the N.T. Unfortunately, they did their work in an age when such fatal misapprehension prehvailed on the subject, that each in turn will have inevitably imported a fresh assortment of monstra into the sacred writings. Add the baneful influence of such spirits as Theophilus (sixth Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 168), Tatian, Ammonius, &c., of whom we know there were very many in the primitive age, -- some of whose productions, we further know, were freely multiplied in every quarter of ancient Christendom: -- add, the fabricated Gospels which anciently abounded; notably the Gospel of the Hebrews, about which Jerome is so communicative, and which (he says) he had translated into Greek and Latin: --lastly, freely grant that here and there, with well-meant assiduity, the orthodox themselves may have sought to prop up truths which the early heretics (Basilides, A.D. 134, Valentinus, A.D. 140, with his disciple Heracleon, Marcion, A.D. 150, and the rest,) most perseveringly assailed;--and we have sufficiently explained how it comes to pass that not a few of the codices of primitive Christendom must have exhibited Texts which were even scandalously corrupt. 'It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound,' writes the most learned of the Revisionist body,'that the worst corruptions, to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed: that Irenaeus [A.D. 150] and the African Fathers, and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens thirteen centuries later, when moulding the Textus Receptus.' *And what else are codices Aleph, B C D but specimens--in vastly different degrees-- of the class thus characterized by Prebendary Scrivener? Nay, who will venture to deny that those codices are indebted for their preservation solely to the circumstance that they were long since recognized as the depositories of Readings which rendered them utterly untrustworthy?
[*footnote: Scrivener, Introduction, p. 453. -- Stunica, it will be remembered, was the chief editor of the Complutensian, or first printed edition of the New Testament, (1514).]
Only by singling out some definite portion of the Gospels, and attending closely to the handling it has experienced at the hands of A Aleph B C D,--to the last four of which it is just now the fashion to bow down as to an oracular voice from which there shall be no appeal, --can the student become aware of the hopelessness of any attempt to construct the Text of the N.T. out of the materials which these codices exclusively supply. Let us this time take S. Mark's account of the healing of 'the paralytic borne of four' (ch. ii. 1-12)--and confront their exhibition of it with that of the commonly received Text.
POST UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
No need to believe in the Biblical account of the Creation and Fall, just a myth-based "Gospel":
No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis give literal history -- I could never understand how any one reading them with open eyes could think they did -- yet they disclose to us a Gospel. So it is probably elsewhere.Even Moses and David are really only mythical beings:
-----(WESTCOTT, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1890, cited in Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, Vol II, p. 69) -- Cloud, p. 100.
If you feel now that it was, to speak humanly, necessary that the Lord should speak of the 'sun rising,' it was no less necessary that He should use the names 'Moses' and 'David' as his contemporaries used them.No need to believe in a real Eden or a historic Fall of man:
-----(WESTCOTT, same source as above)
I am inclined to think that no such state as 'Eden' (I mean the popular notion) ever existed, and that Adam's fall in no degree differed from the fall of each of his descendants, as Coleridge justly argues.Probably we could have done without the Protestant Reformation too:
-----(WESTCOTT, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, Vol. I, p. 78) -- Cloud, p. 101.
I have been persuaded for many years that Mary worship and Jesus worship have very much in common in their causes and their results.Christ didn't really need to die for us either, in fact the very idea is a "heresy":
-----(HORT to Westcott, 1865, cited in Life of Hort, Vol. II, p. 50) --Cloud, p. 101
The pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical.
----- (HORT, cited in Life of Hort, 1848, Vol. I, p. 76) --Cloud, p. 101
...the popular doctrine of substitution is an immoral and material counterfeit. ... Certainly nothing could be more unscriptural than the modern limited of Christ' bearing our sins and sufferings to his death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy.Nothing divine or supernatural about God's word:
-----(HORT to Westcott, 1860, cited in Life of Hort, Vol. I, p. 430.) -- Cloud, p. 101
In matters of textual criticism the Bible is to be treated like any other ancient book. No special considerations are to be made concerning its claims of inspiration and preservation.No need to believe in the virgin birth, the Deity of Christ etc.:
-----(WESTCOTT AND HORT, The New Testament in the Original Greek, Introduction and Appendix, 1881) --Cloud, 102
[on John 14:1] The belief is 'in Christ' and not in any propositions about Christ.There's lots more where I got these. I tried to select the most obvious ones that need no explanation, but Westcott in particular was a master of using orthodox language to mean something very unorthodox when you finally figure out what he's saying. I left those subtler ones out. Many of them are in his commentaries on the Bible. Hate to think how many might read those and miss his camouflaged heresies. Maybe it would be worth going through them and including Cloud's explanations when I'm up to it.
-----(WESTCOTT, The Gospel According to St. John, 1881, p. 200). --Cloud, p. 103
Monday, June 15, 2009
As I've been reading David Cloud's book, For Love of the Bible, my faith in the KJV is getting strengthened. I waver sometimes when I read criticisms of it saying it has many errors, but when I realize that those criticisms are almost exclusively generated from the modern-Bibles perspective, taking the Alexandrian texts and the abominable translation of Westcott and Hort and their followers as their standard, I recover from my lapse.
I see no reason why on principle the KJV COULDN'T need revision, however. I don't believe that any translation is perfect, directly inspired by God, and the translators themselves acknowledged that their work couldn't be perfect. They were, after all, revising previous versions of the English Bible that they considered to be God's word nonetheless.
However, I've more and more come to believe that in our time it is increasingly dangerous to think of revising the KJV at all. Who would do it? There is no authority who could authorize it as the English Crown could in the day of King James, and there are not enough experts today who deserve to be trusted with the task. The general mentality is utterly changed since the time of the King James translators. The King James was translated from a perspective of God-fearing reverence which can hardly be said for the revisions after it. Also, it seems to me that the revisions themselves with their abominable English have come to define what the text SHOULD say in a subtle but compelling way that makes it hard to defend the King James text even where it is clearly superior. For instance, "charity" even at the time of the revision was no doubt superior to "love" for translating "agape," at least in 1 Cor 13, but we are now so used to the revisions' "love" that the very use of "charity" that the King James had enshrined in the English language no longer carries the same meaning it did then. I suspect that meaning was still quite alive when the revision was first made, but by now it isn't and there is little hope of reinstating it. However, I do not capitulate. I now say we have to stick to the King James no matter what, even in the face of a clear error if there is such a thing in the KJV. ALL the other alternatives are dangerously more undesirable for many reasons.
I'm no longer going to be wavering about the KJV, such as by looking for a new translation from the Received Text as I had been doing from time to time before.
In David Cloud's book I've found many heartening quotes from men before and after Westcott and Hort who understood what was at stake and what was being challenged by the revisions, as they battled against the tide of rationalism that was bringing in destructive doubts about the Bible from many angles. I want to post some of those quotes as I go along with this blog, but right now I want to quote what Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in favor of the KJV back in 1961:
From Cloud, For Love of the Bible page 251, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaking at a rally at the Royal Albert Hall in 1961:
Whenever I start wavering, thinking that the KJV really IS too hard for people as so many complain it is, I'm going to remember this quote from one of my favorite preachers, Lloyd-Jones. He's right. The KJV improved the English language, it should go on improving the English language for every individual.
I suppose that the most popular of all the proposals at the present moment is to have a new translation of the bible. ... The argument is that people are not reading the Bible any longer because they do not understand its language-- particularly the archaic terms-- what does your modern man ... know about justification, sanctification, and all these Biblical terms? and so we are told the one thing that is necessary is to have a translation that Tom, Dick and Harry will understand, and I began to feel about six months ago that we had almost reached the stage in which the Authorised Version was being dismissed, to be thrown into the limbo of things forgotten, no longer of any value. Need I apologise for saying a word in favour of the Authorised Version in this gathering? ...
It is a basic proposition laid down by the Protestant Reformers, that we must have a Bible 'understanded of the people.' That is common sense ... we must never be obscurantists. We must never approach the Bible in a mere antiquarian spirit ... but it does seem to me that there is a very grave danger incipient in so much of the argument that is being presented today for these new translations. There is a danger, I say, of our surrendering something that is vital and essential ...
Take this argument that the modern man does not understand such terms as justification, sanctification and so on. I want to ask a question. When did the ordinary man ever understand those terms? ... Did the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitefield preached in the 18th century understand? They had not even been to a day school ... they could not read, they could not write. Yet these were the terms that were used. This was the version that was used--Authorised Version. The common people have never understood these terms. ...We are concerned here with something that is spiritual something which does not belong to this world at all; which, as the Apostle Paul reminds us, the princes of this world do not know. Human wisdom is of no value here--it is a spiritual truth. This is truth about God primarily, and because of that it is a mystery. ...
Yet we are told---it must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is sheer nonsense. WHAT WE MUST DO IS TO EDUCATE THE MASSES OF THE PEOPLE UP TO THE BIBLE, NOT BRING THE BIBLE DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. One of the greatest groubles today is that everything is being brought down to the same level, everything is cheapened. The common man is made the standard of authority; he decides everything, and everything has to be brought down to him....
Are we to do that with the Word of God? I say No! What has happened in the past has been this -- ignorant, illiterate people, in this country and in foreign countries, coming into salvation have been educated up to the Book and have begun to understand it, to glory in it, and to praise God for it, and I say that we need to the same at this present time. What we need is therefore, not to replace the Authorised Version ...we need rather to reach and train people up to the standard and the language, the dignity and the glory of the old Authorised Version. [The emphases in all caps and underlining are Cloud's, those in boldings and italics are mine]
But in this post I'm just going to throw out a wild polemic without looking up quotations. I recently ordered Dr. David Cloud's book For Love of the Bible, in which he laboriously documents the history of textual criticism back to 1800 and even earlier, using his huge library of resources he assembled over decades. These resources include many very old out-of-print books he acquired at great expense in order to get his quotations from the horse's mouth. The result is impressive. He quotes from writers on both sides of the issue from well before Westcott and Hort, showing the rationalistic bias of the supporters of the Critical Text, which was continued by Westcott and Hort. By the time you read the quotes you can't have any doubt of this. And I do hope I'll still get around to posting some of them here.
From now on I'm going to be recommending that EVERYBODY read THIS book AS WELL AS Dean Burgon's Revision Revised at LEAST. It's available at Way of Life Ministries under Topical Books.
You will not find this information anywhere else in such complete form, and not at all from any of those who support the modern Bibles. It ought to grieve us all to recognize what has been done with the Bible over these last two centuries to deceive and manipulate us and it ought to be KNOWN to us all, in order that this deception be ended and only those who want to be deceived remain deceived. I think of those many preachers who apparently hold to all the main orthodox positions and preach them avidly and yet nevertheless have swallowed the teaching on the modern Bible versions hook, line and sinker, versions which were the product of the rationalistic Bible-doubting teachings that are normally shunned by them. And they have in all sincerity passed on their own delusion to their congregations.
This is because they trust in their teachers and don't investigate the situation for themselves apart from the materials recommended by those teachers.
I can't do much at my little blog of course. If anybody ever does stumble across it why should they spend any time over it? I'm a woman too and a woman is not to teach men. Well, what can I say? It's up to the Lord whether what I write here has any impact or not. All I can do is write it. I'm not standing in front of a class as some sort of authority, whoever reads any of this reads it by choice, not compulsion. And all I care about is that the truth get to people who CAN teach it. I refer you to MEN who can teach YOU so you can teach it.
Having said that I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs that
ANYBODY WHO IS A CHILD OF GOD AND HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIM AND WALKS BY THE SPIRIT MUST, FOR HIS SPIRITUAL HEALTH AND, IF HE IS A PREACHER, FOR A BLAMELESS TESTIMONY BEFORE GOD OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO HIS CONGREGATION, BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE MODERN VERSIONS AND STOP GIVING AUTOMATIC CREDENCE TO DEFENDERS OF THE MODERN BIBLES.
I DON'T HESITATE TO SAY THAT IF YOU DO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU CANNOT CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE MODERN BIBLES FOR ANOTHER SECOND AFTER FAMILIARIZING YOURSELF WITH THIS HISTORY -- THE TRUE HISTORY OF ALL THE EFFORTS TO REVISE THE BIBLE AND THE MENTALITY BEHIND THEM, NOT THE PREJUDICED REVISIONIST HISTORY YOU GET FROM THE MODERNISTS.
Again, I hope to get around to giving some quotes here as well so you can see what I mean. But you need to read the books, both Burgon's and Cloud's books.
And while you're at it, you should also seriously rethink 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and push aside everything you've been taught about it.
[P.S. David Cloud is anti-Calvinism and I'm still a Calvinist so obviously I'm not recommending everything he writes. He also doesn't agree with me about the head covering].
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Many of Burgon's criticisms of W and H were unfounded.Most of this pastor's comments are of this sort -- broad general statements without evidence to support them, which are of course impossible for me to answer. I can only ask: Such as? But it was a while ago that I was in dialogue with this pastor and I didn't ask it at the time so now I don't know how he would answer. I had the impression, however, that he was not giving me the results of his own study of Burgon, which I suspect he had not done, but of received opinion.
I had mentioned to him that Burgon says that W&H's Greek is "schoolboy" level. I didn't quote Burgon and unfortunately I now can't find the exact quote that says this, though when I do I'll put it up right away, but it's quite clearly Burgon's assessment overall judging from his many discussions of their decisions on various renderings of the Greek.
[Westcott's] knowledge of patristic writings, Greek grammar and syntax is impressive even by the standards of modern scholarship.If Burgon's judgment is right, that makes modern scholarship just as questionable as Westcott's, and I am of course very impressed with Burgon's apparent knowledge and style of argument. Burgon writes as if he considers W&H's scholarship to be decidedly inferior to the standard of his day.
He had described Burgon as promoting a conspiracy theory, so I responded that I don't see that in Burgon:
The conspiracy ideas about W and H range from them seeking to usurp, overthrow the TR, to changing the Bible (I think Burgon fits here), to the absurd (occult, etc). Although there are no pure Westcott and Hort textual advocates today, they did make some headway and are respected for their scholarship.But isn't it a simple matter of accomplished fact that they DID usurp or overthrow the TR? It was a done deal already in the work Burgon was criticizing, the English Revised Version. It has become consolidated as an accomplished fact in all the Bibles we have that are not based on the TR, which are the great majority.
They did this by substituting their own preferred Greek Text which was largely based on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which was a violation of their agreement, which was to make the most minimal necessary changes to the English as well as the Greek -- the Greek of the TR that underlies the KJV. This is documented, not merely asserted, in Burgon's Revision Revised.
And besides the changes brought about by the substitution of a different Greek text, they made thousands of changes in the English translation, most of which can't be justified on any standard, especially considering, again, their agreement to make the most minimal changes necessary.
And how can W&H be said to have made some "headway" if what they did was substitute corrupt Greek texts for the Textus Receptus and make thousands of unnecessary-to-downright-abominable changes in the English? "Headway" toward what?
As for their involvement in the occult, I wish none of that had become part of this argument because it obscures the most important points -- but that has nothing to do with Burgon, who didn't accuse W&H of anything personal at all, only criticized their work on the revision.
Burgon may have been a pious man, but much of his scholarship has been shown to be insufficient or deficient, such as his massive work on patristic quotations.I think I'd said that Burgon sounds like a Christian to me in a way that W&H do not -- to explain the reference to piety. Burgon does not use pious language, however, he merely sounds like a Christian in that he cares about what Christians should care about, such as preserving the flock's trust in God's word. As for Burgon's scholarship he's amazingly thorough for a mere review, and he himself admits that to do an exhaustive job would require many times the space. I don't know about his independent work on patristic quotations but he includes so many in Revision Revised it ought to be possible to confirm or refute his accuracy from that alone -- and it shouldn't be too hard to come up with at least ONE example to prove the point.
But again this is just a general statement condemning Burgon's scholarship as "insufficient or deficient" without a mention of any examples or a reference that might give some substance to the accusation. These broad general statements are really quite unfair.
I suppose I can't expect anyone to go into detail about such things with an amateur such as myself, however, so I have no idea whether there is any substance to this charge or not. As usual I also wonder, Has the pastor read all this himself or is he merely passing on the accepted judgment among today's scholars? My impression, judging from his remarks, is that he isn't at all personally familiar with Burgon.
June 14. I've been reading some quotes by Westcott and Hort that leave no doubt of their modernist-rationalist mental set, even their own knowledge that what they were doing to the Bible was likely to be called heresy if they didn't plan its introduction very carefully. They planned so well, apparently, that graduates of many a respectable seminary since then have learned nothing but their modernist approach to textual criticism. I strongly suspect that the supposedly great improvements by modern scholarship are very much less than great, that Burgon's judgments are far better.
Also I'm puzzled by this idea that there was something wrong with his patristic quotations. What could go all that wrong with quoting what the Church Fathers actually wrote? He collected quotations from their writings that reflect readings from the Textus Receptus or the Byzantine texts on which the KJV was based. Either these readings are actually in those writings or they aren't -- how great a chance of error could there be?
It's so easy to get off on sidetracks in discussing the scholarly questions that I sometimes have to stop and remind myself what concerns me most fundamentally about all this:
I HATE the plethora of different readings, the inability to recognize a Bible quote because it's from some other version than mine, the inability to find a verse in the Concordance because the wording is different, the frequent need to refer to the Greek or the Hebrew to read a Bible that should be trustworthy in the English in the first place without making textual critics and translators of rank and file Christians, I hate the doubts about the trustworthiness of the text that are insinuated by various footnotes, and I hate the truly inferior English of most of them. Having all these translations is not the great benefit to the church so many try to make it out to be. I think it's an unfair burden on the Christian flock that distracts us from living the life Christ wants of us, and in fact in some cases actually undermines that life.
If the TR needed some correction, it still needs it as it certainly didn't need anything to the extent of what W&H did, nor did the KJV itself. Obviously I'll have to do without the reasonable revision that should have been done in 1881. As things stand, as Douglas Wilson pointed out, it's the old KJV or the new versions, there’s nothing in between. So here I am suspended between the modern scholars and the wild and woolly fundamentalists. I guess I'll be here a while.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
"My apology for bestowing so large a portion of my time on Textual Criticism, is David's when he was reproached by his brethren for appearing on the field of battle,--"Is there not a cause?"True. It was true then and it's still true. No, they are aired in all our Bibles, including the New King James, as noted in the last post.
#23. For,--let it clearly be noted,--it is no longer the case that critical doubts concerning the sacred Text are confined to critical Editions of the Greek.
"So long as scholars were content to ventilate their crotchets in a little arena of their own,--however mistaken they might be, and even though they changed their opinions once in every ten years,--no great harm was likely to come of it.Which, of course, is no longer the case, and harm has come of it and keeps on coming of it.
Students of the Greek Testament were sure to have their attention called to the subject,--which must always be in the highest degree desirable; and it was to be expected that in this, as in every other department of learning, the progress of Inquiry would result in gradual accessions of certain Knowledge. After many years it might be found practicable to put forth by authority a carefully considered Revision of the commonly received Greek Text.Let me emphasize what he is saying here:
He expects it would take MANY years to arrive at the point where it would be practicable to revise the text, the time being necessary for resolving all the problems raised by the many opinions. But Westcott and Hort and Company recklessly did not take the time to resolve the problems. Of course they didn't WANT to resolve the problems. They wanted their own private opinion to triumph.
And to put it forth BY AUTHORITY, rather than determined by a few men of doubtful competence for the job.
A CAREFULLY CONSIDERED Revision, blessed with many counselors of prayer as well as competence.
Of the COMMONLY RECEIVED Greek Text, that is, the Textus Receptus, as opposed to the corrupted texts chosen by these self-appointed experts.
#24. But instead of all this, a Revision of the English Authorised Version having been sanctioned by the Convocation of the Southern Province in 1871, the opportunity was eagerly snatched at by two irresponsible scholars of the University of Cambridge for obtaining the general sanction of the Revising body, and thus indirectly of Convocation, for a private venture of their own,--their own privately devised Revision of the Greek Text.Two "irresponsible scholars," he says. Strong language. It seems to me that in the context of such a book, in which Burgon demonstrates his scholarly grasp of all the issues involved in revising the Bible, that such strong language ought to be taken quite seriously as possibly pointing to a serious violation both of trust and of scholarship. It ought to give pause to those who have been more or less uncritically accepting Westcott and Hort as worthy textual critics. OUGHT to, I say.
They produced, he says, THEIR OWN PRIVATELY DEVISED REVISION OF THE GREEK TEXT. Are today's Bible scholars aware of this? Do they believe it? Does it matter to them? Would they defend it as proper scholarship? (Reminder to those tempted to dismiss all discussion of Westcott and Hort on the ground that their work does not figure so much in the modern Bible versions: This is not true. There have been changes, minor changes, to their Greek text, that have been published as different editions of the Critical Text, such as Nestle-Aland and the Unitied Bible Societies' text, but the changes are minor and it is W&H's adherence to the two most ancient texts, Aleph or Sinaiticus, and B or Vaticanus, that is the big problem, and that continues in all the Critical Texts and therefore all the modern versions (except for the NKJV if its translators' claims are correct, but there it continues in the deplorable multitudinous intrusive footnotes. Of course there is the other point of view: Michael Marlowe, the Bible Researcher, as I note below, appreciates this very fact as making the NKJV the most fully documented Bible).
He goes on:
On that Greek Text of theirs, (which I hold to be the most depraved which has ever appeared in print), with some slight modifications, our Authorised English Version has been silently revised: silently, I say, for in the margin of the English no record is preserved of the underlying Textual changes which have been introduced by the Revisionists. On the contrary. Use has been made of that margin to insinuate suspicion and distrust in countless particulars as to authenticity of the Text which has been suffered to remain unaltered. In the meantime, the country has been flooded with two editions of the New Greek Text; and thus the door has been set wide open for universal mistrust of the Truth of Scripture to enter.The "most depraved which has ever appeared in print" says Burgon of the Greek Text produced by Westcott and Hort, which now in various forms underlies the majority of our English Bibles. This is, of course, the complete opposite judgment from that of the scholars who support the modern versions and the W&H production, or at least the later variations of it. They may not want to give as MUCH support to Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as Westcott and Hort did, but these mss are nevertheless still held in high esteem these days, even given special weight over the Traditional text, as Bible Researcher Marlowe affirms in his judgment of the NKJV, discussed in a post below. They are given this weight ONLY because they happen to be among the very oldest to have survived the wear and tear of time. (Their survival was very likely due to having been ignored and even discarded for all those centuries until they were discovered in the obscurity and ignominy to which they rightly belonged, dusted off and elevated to unmerited glory, but those who support them believe that finding them was a great gift of God to the church instead.)
#25. Even schoolboys, it seems, are to have these crude views thrust upon them. Witness the 'Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools,' edited by Dean Perowne,--who informs us at the outset that 'the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press have not thought it desirable to reprint the text in common use.'(It doesn't meet their standards for sowing rationalistic doubts in schoolboys' minds apparently).
A consensus of Drs. Tischendorf and Tregelles,--who confessedly employed the self-same mistaken major premiss in remodelling the Sacred Text,--seems, in a general way, to represent those Syndics' notion of Textual purity. By this means every most serious deformity in the edition of Drs. Westcott and Hort becomes promoted to honour, and is being thrust on the unsuspecting youth of England as the genuine utterance of the HOLY GHOST.Yes, a dishonorable and deformed text promoted to honor.
Would it not have been the fairer, the more faithful as well as the more judicious course,--seeing that in respect of this abstruse and important question adhuc sub judice lis est,--to wait patiently awhile? Certainly not to snatch an opportunity "while men slept," and in this way indirectly to prejudge the solemn issue! Not by such methods is the cause of GOD's Truth on earth to be promoted.Is the enormity of what they did starting to get through to you? Or are you just against anyone, like Burgon, who takes the things of God so seriously?
Even this however is not all. Bishop Lightfoot has been informed that "the Bible Society has permitted its Translators to adopt the text of the Revised Version where it commends itself to their judgment." In other words, persons wholly unacquainted with the dangers which best this delicate and difficult problem are invited to determin, by the light of Nature and on the 'solvere ambulando' principle, what is inspired Scripture, what not; and as a necessary consequence are encouraged to disseminate in heathen lands Readings which, a few years hence,--(so at least I venture to predict,)--will be universally recognized as worthless.Oh, I WISH that it were so. But what has happened instead is that as these Texts were disseminated by "persons wholly unacquainted with the dangers," trusting in Scholars rather than God, they were accepted everywhere as if they were the very truth of God, until the modern versions have spread like evil leaven throughout the world.
#26. If all this does not constitute a valid reason for descending into the arena of controversy, it would in my judgment be impossible to indicate an occasion when the Christian soldier is called upon to do so:--the rather, because certain of those who, from their rank and station in the Church, ought to be the champions of the Truth, are at this time found to be among its most vigorous assailants.Doesn't this deserve our attention and concern? Aren't we aware that in fact out of the 19th century in many forms came the rationalistic tendencies that have produced all our Liberal apostate churches, and the Anglican is the queen of them all? Can you go on dismissing Burgon now? Can you just write him off as a fanatic or something? Doesn't this make you mourn over the compromised state of the church?
I hope next to get to some of the substantive facts and arguments Burgon gives against the Westcott and Hort Greek Text.
I do always wonder whether those who argue as he does have read Burgon, and I mean REALLY read him. I suppose it's possible they have but I have to guess that in most cases the answer is No, they really don't have any idea at all that there is such a completely opposite way of thinking about all this than their way, which supports the modern Bible versions.
Here is Bible Researcher Marlowe on The New King James Version.
The New King James Version is a conservative revision of the King James version that does not make any alterations on the basis of a revised Greek or Hebrew text, but adheres to the readings presumed to underlie the King James version. In the New Testament, this means that the Greek text followed is the Textus Receptus of the early printed editions of the sixteenth century. The ancient manuscripts, upon which critical editions of the Greek text have been based for nearly two centuries now, are ignored (except in the marginal notes). So, for example, the Johannine Comma is printed in the text of 1 John 5:7-8 just as it was in the King James Version (although a note informs the reader that "only 4 or 5 very late manuscripts contain these words in Greek").His opinion is already clear here despite his neutral-sounding language, when he says "the ancient manuscripts ... are ignored (except in the marginal notes)." "Ignored" is the clue.
Burgon originally encountered in Westcott and Hort's Revised Bible marginal notes very similar to those in the NKJV, and his judgment was that they were an intrusion on the text, giving information that was of no use to the reader, often serving to instill doubt about the validity of a text that when examined in fact had very solid support in spite of the insinuating note. This is exactly the effect of the NKJV notes and in fact most of them are of exactly the same sort as Westcott and Hort's, saying such things as "Some ancient manuscripts say such and such." And of course ALL the notes reflect the readings of those "ancient manuscripts" that Marlowe takes as authoritative, as did Westcott and Hort, the same manuscripts that Burgon went to such pains to demonstrate were in fact corrupt, sometimes even by the hand of an early heretic, and recognized as unworthy by competent scholars in their day. He also showed in many cases that the preponderance of support for a particular reading that the "ancient manuscripts" excluded is in fact very strong, so that W&H, and the NKJV translators, are in fact giving credence to not only corrupt but very minimally attested readings, some of them even already known to have been scribal errors.
Whether the NKJV is in any real sense based on the Textus Receptus I haven't completely determined for myself yet. A great deal of the language in it has been changed to conform it to the Revised Bible and those choices could be influenced by the false texts indirectly. They may be merely translational choices of course, as opposed to textual choices, and the claim that the Textus Receptus underlies this version may be technically correct in that the "ancient texts" -- those false corrupted texts -- were not consulted. However, Westcott and Hort committed crimes of many sorts against our English Bible, not just introducing suspect Greek (and Hebrew) texts, but also introducing tens of thousands of changes in the English itself that Burgon also shows to be for the most part deplorable, especially considering that in doing so they had violated their agreement to make the absolutely most minimal changes to the text only when absolutely necessary.
However, Michael Marlowe is completely on the side of the Revision and the "ancient manuscripts."
Statements made in the Preface regarding this aspect of the version are somewhat misleading. The Preface points out that the few late medieval manuscripts upon which the Textus Receptus was based "were representative of many more" which constitute "the traditional text of the Greek-speaking churches" (also called the 'Byzantine Text'), and it further asserts that "it is now widely held that the Byzantine Text that largely supports the Textus Receptus has as much right as the Alexandrian or any other tradition to be weighed in determining the text of the New Testament." While this statement is true as far as it goes — all manuscripts and other witnesses to the text deserve to be weighed and are weighed by scholars — the reader should be told that nearly all competent scholars agree that the so-called Byzantine manuscript tradition of the middle ages can never be given the same evidential weight as the ancient manuscripts.Yes, indeed they do, today's "competent scholars" do in fact side with Westcott and Hort in giving special weight to these "ancient manuscripts," the very same "ancient manuscripts" that are in fact so sparsely supported by the rest of the evidence, as Burgon laboriously demonstrates, and are also corrupt in many ways, as Burgon also demonstrates, even having in some cases been provably mutilated by known heretics, and that in general were a disastrous substitution in the place of the time-honored and highly attested Textus Receptus. Marlowe wants to be sure that we understand that these "ancient manuscripts" he believes to be authoritative, in sharp opposition to Burgon, have been slighted in the New King James translation. To me, of course, it's greatly in favor of that translation that this is so. It's too bad there are also so many indefensible changes in the text of other kinds.
I am going to have to put up some more quotes from Burgon to demonstrate that the marginal text-critical notes Marlowe is so appreciative of are for the most part everything from uselessly intrusive to falsely insinuating of doubts into the reader's mind, and are far from possessing any authority as implied. The NKJV notes are based on different versions of the Critical Text (Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies') from that of the original Revised Version, but are very similar in that they support the "ancient manuscripts" (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) over the Textus Receptus.
The NKJV editors have provided information on the readings of the ancient manuscripts in the margin. Most of the significant differences between the underlying Greek text of the NKJV and the ancient manuscripts are indicated there, by notes which give the readings of the United Bible Societies' third edition (see Aland Black Metzger Wikren Martini 1975). Also indicated are significant differences from the "Majority Text" published by Hodges and Farstad in 1982. The Preface explains that with these notes the NKJV "benefits readers of all textual persuasions," and this is true. No other Bible version has such a complete set of text-critical notes.
The notes in the NKJV are one of the most annoying things about it. You are always being informed that this or that reading does not occur in "some ancient manuscripts." The average reader has no way of judging these things and accepts that the scholarly wisdom is that the note would not be there if it were not important. Burgon objects to this very implication. "Some ancient manuscripts" often means only one or two that have been given extraordinary weight only because they are "ancient" while the manuscripts they have eclipsed, which the church made use of for 1700 years have genuine authority in ancient quotations and sheer amount of usage over the centuries. Just about the same notes were put in the margin of W&H's original Revised English Bible and Burgon goes into great detail discussing their uselessness, their insinuation of an authority that they do not possess, even their complete falseness. The "significant differences" Marlowe finds reflected in them are to Burgon significant only of the corruption of the "ancient manuscripts."
However, it is not true that the editors have presented this information minus "tendentious remarks," as is claimed in the Preface. The textual note on the Story of the Adulteress in the eighth chapter of John's Gospel reads, "NU brackets 7:53 through 8:11 as not in the original text. They are present in over 900 mss. of John." Obviously the purpose of the second sentence in this note is to give a 'Majority Text' rationale for the authenticity of the story. Students would have been better served by a note which indicated that the verses are absent from the ancient manuscripts and versions.And again Marlowe sides with the "ancient manuscripts," as represented in this case by the particular forms of the Critical Text which represent those "ancient manuscripts," (based on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) known as the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Society's. He apparently thinks the Majority Text should not be given any credence at all despite its attestation of over 900 manuscripts that contain the story of the Adulteress, preferring the scanty evidence of the "most ancient" ones (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) that omit that story.
Well, obviously he has convinced himself that the more ancient the text the more valid, and he's doggedly insistent on that point of view. Unfortunately Burgon does not have a comment on this part of the text, to my great disappointment, because he's very thorough at showing where the Textus Receptus has huge support in ancient writings and ancient versions that quote the very passages the Critical Text / Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Vaticanus (B), leave out, showing that it is the manuscripts themselves that have been altered, while the majority reading is authentic.
I continue to be convinced, even more and more, that Burgon is the only hope that the church might come to recognize the enormity of what Westcott and Hort did, the falseness of the "ancient texts" they imposed on our Bible, and the mutilation they performed on it as well with their inferior grasp of the requirements of translation into English. I don't know of any other source of the kind of information on these things that Burgon provides, and his having been a contemporary of Westcott and Hort and a scholar of the texts himself makes his work inestimable. How sad for the church that he is ignored.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
It's terribly discouraging, of course, to realize that it probably doesn't matter what I present from Burgon for some people, because their minds have been organized around a whole contrary paradigm that has multiple points of support, and of course their view is shared by many others of high reputation.
Just for one small point, by now many of the fine observations Burgon made against the follies of the Revised Bible are simply lost to any hope of restoration, as the follies have become familiar to people and accepted as the "right" reading so that any other just "sounds" wrong. For instance Burgon shows why "bowls" should not replace "vials" in Revelation, why "love" should not replace "charity" for "agape," among many other such changes introduced by W&H, but by this time there is little hope of making the case for people accustomed to the wrong words in order to reinstate the old words. At least those who stick to the KJV will have them.
But that's a very minor point in the whole picture. The more I learn about the situation brought about by Westcott and Hort the more aghast I am at what an amazing amount of destruction they managed to accomplish in those ten years on that committee.
(A) We may now proceed with our examination of their work, beginning--as Dr. Roberts (one of the Revisionists) does, when explaining the method and results of their labours--with what we hold to be the gravest blot of all, viz. the marks of serious suspicion which we find set against the last Twelve verses of S. Mark's Gospel. Well may the learned Presbyterian anticipate that--'The reader will be struck by the appearance which this long paragraph presents in the Revised Version. Although inserted, it is marked off by a considerable space from the rest of the Gospel. A note is also placed in the margin containing a brief explanation of this.'A very brief 'explanation' certainly: for the note explains nothing. Allusion is made to the following words--'The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel.'But now,--For the use of whom has this piece of information been volunteered? Not for learned readers certainly: it being familiarly known to all, that codices B [Vaticanus]and Aleph [Sinaiticus] alone of manuscripts (to their own effectual condemnation) omit these 12 verses. But then scholars know something more about the matter. They also know that these 12 verses have been made the subject of a separate treatise extending to upwards of 300 pages,--which treatise has now been before the world for a full decade of years, and for the best of reasons has never yet been answered. Its object, stated in its title-page, was to vindicate against recent critical objectors, and to establish 'the last Twelve Verses' of S. Mark's Gospel.* Moreover, competent judges at once admitted that the author had succeeded in doing what he undertook to do. Can it then be right (we respectfully enquire) still to insinuate into unlearned minds distrust of twelve consecutive verses of the everlasting Gospel, which have yet been demonstrated to be as trustworthy as any other verses which can be named?
The question arises,--But how did it come to pass that such evil counsels were allowed to prevail in the Jerusalem Chamber?
We shall perhaps be told that, scandalously corrupt as the text of Aleph, B C D hereabouts may be, no reason has been shown as yet for suspecting that heretical depravation ever had anything to do with such phenomena. That (we answer) is only because the writings of the early depravers and fabricators of Gospels have universally perished. From the slender relics of their iniquitous performances which have survived to our time, we are sometimes able to lay our finger on a foul blot and to say, 'This came from Tatian's Diatessaron; and that from Marcion's mutilated recension of the Gospel according to S. Luke.And so on. Now on to page 35:
Besides omitting the 11 words which B (Codex Vaticanus) omits jointly with Aleph (Codex Sinaiticus) [Our, which art in heaven, but deliver us from evil], Drs. Westcott and Hort erase from the Book of Life those other 11 precious words which are omitted by B only. [Thy will be done, as in heaven, also on the earth].I've never investigated the wording of the Lord's Prayer myself, although I've been bothered that some versions have "debts" where others have "trespasses" and had no idea where either came from or which was the best rendering. Now I see for the first time that the King James has "debts" in Matthew but in Luke has "sins" and then a phrase about those who are "indebted to us."
Luke 11: 2b-4 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.It certainly makes me wonder why they thought there was any need to change any of this. It reads fine, it says what it ought to say. Apparently the reason for the change is the readings in the Greek texts so loved by Westcott and Hort though condemned by Burgon -- Sinaiticus, also known as Aleph, and Vaticanus, or B.
And in this way it comes to pass that the mutilated condition to which the scalpel of Marcion the herectic reduced the LORD's Prayer some 1730 years ago, (for the mischief can all be traced back to him!), is palmed off on the Church of England by the Revisionists as the work of the HOLY GHOST.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Next he deals with the passage about the number 666. Have you, as I have, noted the footnote on this subject in some versions, or had someone owlishly inform you that "Some manuscripts say it's really 616?" Now that did throw me when I first heard it. What? This is a test of wisdom, after all, it has to be accurate. If there is any doubt about it we are in real trouble. Burgon restores the Truth.
(d) Only once more. And this time we will turn to the very end of the blessed volume. Against Rev. xiii. 18---Well, modern versions apologists? I'm pausing for an answer too.
"Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him "count the number of the Beast; for it is the number of a Man: and his number is six hundred and sixty and six."
Against this, we find noted, -- 'Some ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen.'
But why is not the whole Truth told? viz. why are we not informed that only one corrupt uncial (c): -- only one cursive copy (11):--only one Father (Tichonius): and not one ancient Version--advocates this reading?--which, on the contrary, Irenaeus (A.D. 170) knew, but rejected; remarking that 666, which is 'found in all the best and oldest copies and is attested by men who saw John face to face,' is unquestionably the true reading. Why is not the ordinary Reader further informed that the same number (666) is expressly vouched for by Origen,--by Hippolytus,--by Eusebius:--as well as by Victorinus--and Primasius,--not to mention Andreas and Arethas? To come to the moderns, as a matter of fact the established reading is accepted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles,--even by Westcott and Hort. Why therefore--for what possible reason--at the end of 1700 years and upwards, is this, which is so clearly nothing else but an ancient slip of the pen, to be forced upon the attention of 90 millions of English-speaking people? Will Bishop Ellicott and his friends venture to tell us that it has been done because "it would not be safe to accept" 666, "to the absolute exclusion of" 616? . . . "We have given alternative Readings in the margin," (say they,) "wherever they seem to be of sufficient importance of interest to deserve notice." Will they venture to claim either 'interest' or 'importance' for this? or pretend that it is an 'alternative Reading' at all? Has it been rescued from oblivion and paraded before univeral Christendom in order to perplex, mystify, and discourage 'those that have understanding,' and would fain 'count the number of the Beast,' if they were able? Or was the intention only to insinuate one more wretched doubt--one more miserable suspicion--into minds which have been taught (and rightly) to place absolute reliance in the textual accuracy of all the gravest utterances of the SPIRIT: minds which are utterly incapable of dealing with the subtleties of Textual Criticism; and, from a one-sided statement like the present, will carry away none but entirely mistaken inferences, and the most unreasonable distrust? . . . Or, lastly, was it only because, in their opinion, the margin of every Englishman's N.T. is the fittest place for reviving the memory of obsolete blunders, and ventilating forgotten perversions of the Truth? . . . We really pause for an answer.
Read it and weep, I say.
No longer "More tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah?"
(e) But serious as this is, more serious (if possible) is the unfair Suppression systematically prctised throughout the work before us. "We have given alternative Readings in the margin,"--(says Bishop Ellicott on behalf of his brother-Revisionists)--"wherever they seem to be of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice." [iii.1.] From which statement, readers have a right to infer that whenever "alternative Readings" are not "given in the margin," it is because such Readings do not "seem to be of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice." Will the Revisionists venture to tell us that,--(to take the first instance of unfair Suppression which presents itself,)-- our LORD's saying in S. Mark vi. 11 is not "of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice"? We allude to the famous words, --"Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city:"--words which are not only omitted from the "New English Version," but are not suffered to leave so much as a trace of themselves in the margin. And yet, the saying in question is attested by the Peschito and the Philoxenian Syriac Versions: by the Old Latin: by the Coptic, Aethiopic and Gothic Versions:--by 11 uncials and by the whole bulk of the cursives:--by Irenaeus and by Victor of Antioch. So that whether Antiquity, or Variety of Attestation is considered, --whether we look for Numbers or for Respectability,--the genuineness of the passage may be regarded as certain.Our complaint however is not that the Revisionists entertain a different opinion on this head from ourselves: but that they give the reader to understand that the state of the Evidence is such, that it is quite "safe to accept" the shorter reading,--"to the absolute exclusion of the other." --So vast is the field before us, that this single specimen of what we venture to call 'unfair Suppression,' must suffice. (Some will not hesitate to bestow upon it a harsher epithet.) It is in truth by far the most damaging feature of the work before us, that its Authors should have so largely and so seriously falsified the Deposit; and yet, (in clear violation of the IVth Principle or Rule laid down for their guidance at the outset,) have suffered no trace to survive in the margin of the deadly mischief which they have effected. [Italics are Burgon's]
[Burgon's italics, my boldings and other emphases throughout.]
Why indeed? Shouldn't this make you wonder, all you who accept the "scholarly" conclusions in defense of such omissions and changes?
The marginal readings, which our Revisers have been so ill-advised as to put prominently forward, and to introduce to the Reader's notice with the vague statement that they are sanctioned by "Some' (or by "Many')'ancient authorities,' -- are specimens arbitrarily selected out of an immense mass; are magisterially recommended to public attention and favour; seem to be invested with the sanction and authority of Convocation itself. And this becomes a very serious matter indeed. No hint is given which be the 'ancient Authorities' so referred to: -- nor what proportion they bear to the 'ancient Authorities' producible on the opposite side: -- nor whether they are the most 'ancient Authorities' obtainable: -- nor what amount of attention their testimony may reasonably claim. But in the meantime a fatal assertion is hazarded in the Preface (iii. 1.), to the effect that in cases where 'it would not be safe to accept one Reading to the absolute exclusion of others,' 'alternative Readings' have been given 'in the margin.' So that the 'Agony and bloody sweat' of the World's REDEEMER (Lu. xxii. 43, 44), -- and His Prayer for His murderers (xxiii. 34), --and much beside of transcendent importance and inestimable value, may, according to our Revisionists, prove to rest upon no foundation whatever. At all events, 'it would not be safe,' (i.e. it is not safe) to place absolute reliance on them. Alas, how many a deady blow at Revealed Truth hath been in this way aimed with fatal adroitness, which no amount of orthodox learning will ever be able hereafter to heal, much less to undo! Thus, --(a) From the first verse of S. Mark's Gospel we are informed that 'Some ancient authorities omit the Son of God.' Why are we not informed that every known uncial Copy except one of bad character, -- every cursive but two, -- every Version [translation], -- and the following Fathers, -- all contain the precious clause: viz. Irenaeus, -- Porphyry, -- Severianus of Gabala, -- Cyril Alex., -- Victor Ant.,--and others, --besides Ambrose and Augustine among the Latins:--while the supposed adverse testimony of Serapion and Titus, Basil and Victorinus, Cyril of Jer. and Epiphanius, proves to be all a mistake? To speak plainly, since the clause is above suspicion, Why are we not rather told so? [pp. 131-2.].
(b) In the 3rd verse of the first chapter of S. John's Gospel, we are left to take our choice between,--'without Him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life,' &c., -- and the following absurd alternative,--'Without him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in him; and the life,' &c. But we are not informed that this latter monstrous figment is known to have been the importation of the Gnostic heretics in the IInd century, to be as destitute of authority as it is of sense. Why is prominence given only to the lie? [p. 132]
Can those who dismiss Burgon as simply overreacting have actually read him? Why has no one ever answered his actual facts?
(c) At S. John iii. 13, we are informed that the last clause of that famous verse ('No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man--which is in heaven'), is not found in 'many ancient authorities.' But why, in the name of common fairness, are we not also reminded that this, (as will be found more fully explained in the note overleaf,) is a circumstance of no Textual significancy whatever?Why, above all, are we not assured that the precious clause in question ... is found in every MS. in the world, except five of bad character?--is recognized by all the Latin and all the Syriac versions; as well as by the Coptic,--Aethiopic,--Georgian,--and Armenian?--is either quoted or insisted upon by Origen,--Hippolytus,--Athansius, --Didymus,--Aphraates the Persian,--Basic the Great,--Epiphanius,--Nonnus,-ps.-Dionysius Alex., --Eustathius;==by Chrysostom,--Theodoret,--and Cyril, each 4 times; --by Paulus, Bishop of Emesa (in a sermon on Christmas Day, A.D. 431); --by Theodorus Mops., --Amphilochius,--Severus,--Theodorus Heracl.,--Basilius Cil., --Cosman,--John Damascene, in 3 places,--and 4 other ancient Greek writers;--besides Ambrose,--Novatian,--Hilary,--Lucifer,--Victorinus,--Jerome,--Cassian,--Vigilius,--Zeno,--Marius,--Maximus Taur., --Capreolus,--Augustine &c.:--is acknowledged by Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf: in short is quite above suspicion: why are we not told that? Those 10 Versions, those 38 Fathers, that host of Copies in the proportion of 995 to 5,--why, concerning all these is there not so much as a hint let fall that such a mass of counter-evidence exists? . . . Shame,--yes, shame on the learning which comes abroad only to perplex the weak, and to unsettle the doubting, and to mislead the blind! Shame,--yes, shame on that two-third majority of well-intentioned but most incompetent men, who,--finding themselves (in an evil hour) appointed to correct "plain and clear errors" in the English 'Authorized Version,' --occupied themselves instead with falsifying the inspired Greek Text in countless places, and branding with suspicion some of the most precious utterances of the SPIRIT. Shame,--yes, shame upon them! [pp 132-5]