See, in particular, Pickering, “An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism,” pp. 1 John 2:7. 56–63).               Chrysostom (d. 407) supported MT 88.5% (40.5% against Alexandrian); etc. David Hume, in his Essay on Miracles, argued against miracles on the basis of statistical probability. Holmes points out the value of this for the present discussion. Not only does he not explain how a corruption of a corruption could have crept in so quickly, but he apparently does not recognize that to call these versions corrupt at this point is to deny his own view of the doctrine of preservation. 285–93. For over 250 years, New Testament scholars have argued that no textual variant affects any doctrine. One should note especially the places in which Metzger defends the ‘A’ rating of the UBS text.56, One other comment is needed here. Historically only since 1982 has The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text (hereafter referred to as the Majority Text) been available. Many will directly claim that the TR is the M-Text, or will say that the TR represents “the vast majority of Greek manuscripts.” Neither of these are true statements. Since that time almost 100 have been discovered. But this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a wholesale adoption of the majority text. Among extant Greek manuscripts, what is today the majority text did not become a majority until the ninth century. But virtually all Old Testament textual critics—even those who embrace inerrancy—recognize the need, albeit rare, for conjectural emendation (and significantly some of the conjectures of an earlier generation have now found support in the earliest witnesses to the Hebrew text found in Qumran). 61 This quest for certainty often replaces a quest for truth. Whatever are the merits of that argument, they should recognize that if Photius did not use the text in the ninth century, then it may not have been readily accessible even then. For example, I know eleven different studies on Origen alone that contradict all of Pickering’s discussion, and not one of them is even recognized to have existed” (“A Critique of W. N. Pickering’s The Identity of the New Testament Text: A Review Article,” Westminster Theological Journal 41 [1978–79]: 415). Here is a summary of the comparison for the Gospels: On Willker's textual criticism list (Yahoo Groups) James Snapp Jr . The Textus Receptus is … The vast majority of them (mostly 10,000 Vulgate copies) do not affirm the Byzantine text. This is also the text that agrees with more than 95% of the Bible Manuscripts in Koine (common) Greek.It is known by other names, such as the Traditional Text, Majority Text, Byzantine Text, or Syrian Text. 44 Gordon D. Fee, “Modern Textual Criticism and the Revival of the Textus Receptus,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21 (1978): 26. Should this be interpreted as evidence against the authenticity of both the Majority and Egyptian texts? 19 Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2d ed. In reality, to argue for the purity of the Byzantine stream, as opposed to the pollution introduced by the Alexandrian manuscripts, is to blow out of proportion what the differences between these two texts really are—both in quantity and quality. But in the recognition that truth is objective reality, it is easy to confuse the fact of this reality with how one knows what it is. What is called “the doctrine of Preservation” in his thesis has become, at most, a “presupposition” in Identity. 140–52.               Asterius (d. 341) supported MT 90% (50% against Alexandrian); 51 Holmes, “The ‘Majority Text Debate’: New Form of an Old Issue,” p. 17. But this is not a valid charge. The Textus Receptus stands behind the King James Version, the NA27/UBS4 is represented in several modern versions like the NIV, NASB, ESV, the Byzantine Majority Text is represented in the Analytical-Literal Translation (Gary F. Zeolla).               Hippolytus (d. 235) supported MT 50% (19% against Alexandrian); Now we have many more texts of the Majority Text. No one today would deny that this was Hort’s starting point.               Epiphanius (d. 403) supported MT 74% (41% against Alexandrian); And Jerome, who produced the Latin Vulgate on the basis of the best Greek manuscripts, “deliberately sought to orientate the Latin more with the Alexandrian type of text” (Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations, p. 359). 22 Pickering has not evidenced awareness of these. 38 Incidentally, in his discussion of 1 Timothy 3:16 Pickering suggests that the earliest Syriac, Coptic, and Latin versions adopted a reading (“which”) that was based on a corrupt reading (“who”) of the original text (“God”) (“The Majority Text and the Original Text: A Response to Gordon D. Fee,” in The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate, p. 39). He would rather state it more cautiously: “No viable variant affects any major doctrine.” But it is readily admitted that he is virtually alone in this; no other textual critic, so far as he knows, couches his terms so tentatively. What confirms this further is that in several places Origen, the great Christian textual scholar, speaks of textual variants that were in a majority of manuscripts in his day, yet today are in a minority, and vice versa. And it is precisely where internal evidence is “objectively verifiable” (or virtually so) that most scholars today maintain that the majority text contains a secondary reading. His Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament ... More. The early fathers had a text that keeps looking more like modern critical editions and less like the majority text.45, In summing up the evidence from the early church fathers, in none of the critical studies made in the last 80 years was the majority text found to be the text used by the church fathers in the first three centuries.46 Though some of these early Fathers had isolated Byzantine readings, the earliest church father to use the Byzantine text was the heretic Asterius, a fourth-century writer.47, All the external evidence suggests that there is no proof that the Byzantine text was in existence in the first three centuries. This can be measured, in a general sort of way. 8 Wilbur N. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, 2d ed. If it could be determined what kind of text they used when they quoted from the New Testament, such information would naturally be highly valuable. Not all internal evidence is subjective, then—or else proofreaders would have no jobs. Logically three observations may be made: (a) The equation of inspiration with man’s recognition of what is inspired (in all its particulars) virtually puts God at the mercy of man and requires omniscience of man. To be sure, isolated Byzantine readings have been found, but not the Byzantine texttype. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 100. (A list of the many differences between the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Textform is online.) The Textus Receptus departs from both the Nestle-Aland Text and the Byzantine Majority Text considerably in the Book of Revelation. These canons, they argue, are only very broad generalizations about scribal tendencies which are sometimes wrong and in any case frequently cancel each other out.”53, There is some truth to this point; in fact even Fee, an ardent opponent of the majority text, has argued likewise. In historical investigation, presumption is only presumption. In fact majority text advocates often see the issue as so black and white that if even one majority text reading were proved false, their whole theory would collapse. Textus Receptus vs. Critical Text Textus Receptus vs. Critical Text. After carefully investigating the Gospel quotations of Didymus, a fourth-century Egyptian writer, Ehrman concludes, “These findings indicate that no ‘proto-Byzantine’ text existed in Alexandria in Didymus’ day or, at least if it did, it made no impact on the mainstream of the textual tradition there.”23 Pickering speaks of the early Alexandrian witnesses as “polluted” and as coming from a “sewer pipe.”24 Now if these manuscripts are really that defective, and if this is all Egypt had in the first three or four centuries, then this peculiar doctrine of preservation is in serious jeopardy, for those ancient Egyptian Christians had no access to the pure stream of the majority text. It should be kept in mind that these Byzantine readings are almost never distinctive Byzantine readings. It was a printed text, not a hand-copied manuscript, created in the 15th century to fill the need for a … The Andreas text is recognised as related to the Byzantine text in Revelation; but most textual critics nevertheless consider it to be a distinct text-type. The Westcott-Hort theory, with its many flaws (which all textual critics today acknowledge), was apparently still right on its basic tenet: the Byzantine texttype—or majority text—did not exist in the first three centuries. In historical investigation one must start with the evidence and then make the hypothesis. The text type of the Textus Receptus is known as the Byzantine because it came from the geographical area around Constantinople. Hisconsolidated Greek text was based on only seven minuscule manuscripts of theByzantine text type that he had access to in Basel at the time, and he reliedmainly on two of these - both dating from the twelfth century.^^ Although many point to obvious limitations and certain short-comings in Erasmus'first Greek text, later editors used it as their starting point, making minorrevisions as needed based on additional Greek manuscript evidence. In 1912, Frederic G. Kenyon, a British textual critic, wrote, “Without any prejudice against the received text [i.e., the Byzantine text], it must be recognized that, where two alternatives are open, the one which diverges from the received text is more likely to be the one originally used by the Father in question.”42. Well, between, , there are 115 differences in Mt., 82 differences in Mk., 97 differences in Luke, and 114 differences in Jn. 29 Ironically Pickering does not realize that he is looking in a mirror when he writes: “Throughout the paper heavy use has been made of the writings of men like Aland, Colwell, and Zuntz who seem to come close to Burgon’s opinion on quite a number of details within the total field. However, although recent scholarship has recognized that the Peshitta must have originated before A.D. 431, it has also concluded that (1) it was not the earliest form of the text in Syriac, probably finding its origins in the fourth to late fourth century; and (2) its textual affinities are not altogether clear (see ibid., pp. P. Letis [Fort Wayne, IN: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1987], pp. 35 Majority text advocates appeal to the Syriac Peshitta as both coming from the second century and being a translation of the Byzantine text. 24 Pickering, “An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism,” p. 93. Differences are found in the manuscripts of the Byzantine text types. Theo. supported MT 28% of the time (18% against the Alexandrian); Relationship to the Byzantine text. The present article, therefore, is a more general critique of the majority text theory and is specifically intended to interact with Wilbur Pickering’s defense of it. Indeed, modern textual critics have recognized that Hort depended entirely too much on Aleph and B—so much so that the UBS edition has adopted scores of readings that are attested by the Byzantine texttype (and other witnesses) against these two codices. For one thing Pickering has charged Hort with being prejudiced against the Byzantine texttype from the very beginning of his research: “It appears Hort did not arrive at his theory through unprejudiced intercourse with the facts. extus Receptus is the name given to a series of Byzantine based Greek texts of the New Testament printed between 1500 and 1900. For example in 1968 he argued that this doctrine is “most important” and “what one believes does make a difference.”5 Further he linked the preservation of Scripture to the majority text in such a way that a denial of one necessarily entails a denial of the other: “The doctrine of Divine Preservation of the New Testament Text depends upon the interpretation of the evidence which recognizes the Traditional Text to be the continuation of the autographa.”6 In other words, Pickering seems to be saying, “If we reject the majority text view, we reject the doctrine of preservation.”7. 60 The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 150. Their premise is that the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture requires that the early manuscripts cannot point to the original text better than the later manuscripts can, because these early manuscripts are in the minority. Gordon Fee speaks of Pickering’s “neglect of literally scores of scholarly studies that contravene his assertions,” and states, “The overlooked bibliography here is so large that it can hardly be given in a footnote. Erasmus was the author of five published editions from 1516 to 1535. They argue that since Rabbula did not originate the Peshitta (a point Metzger regards as “proved” by Vööbus, and virtually all textual critics now agree), it must go back early, perhaps as early as the second century. On February 23 the present writer responded. This explains why the Textus Receptus is very similar to the Majority Text. The charge of “theological necessity” would seem to apply more to Pickering than to the men he cites. Do they agree only 30 percent of the time? Yet this was only a small corner of the world after the fourth century. The Majority Text differs from the Textus Receptus in almost 2,000 places. (In fact hundreds of phrases and even whole verses in the NASB are found in the KJV. The fact that the Majority Text alters the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7–8) (against the Textus Receptus) means that it has deleted the strongest proof text of the Trinity from the New Testament. The King James Version is a “text,” as is the New American Standard Bible. In other words the two texts agree almost 98 percent of the time.27 Not only that, but the vast majority of these differences are so minor that they neither show up in translation nor affect exegesis. Yours in Christ,James Snapp, Jr. Just a quick clarification on Bob's statement. -- 408 in all. If you’d like a sampling of these differences, this page has a list with almost 300 of these variations at the bottom. Jerome’s Explicit References to Variant Readings in Manuscripts of the New Testament,” ibid., p. 199). 10 Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 154. This can be seen by way of analogy.               Clement of Alexandria (d. 215) supported MT 44% (15% against Alexandrian); There is in fact some evidence that suggests that it was not until the ninth or tenth century that the Byzantine manuscripts really had high agreement with the Majority Text. But this is demonstrably not true. The Textus Receptus reading supports apostolic authorship of the epistle, a point that is disputed among liberal scholars concerning 2 Peter. First, when a church father quotes from the New Testament, it is not always possible to tell if he is quoting from memory or if he has a manuscript in front of him. (Compare Asterius, above, with his predecessors.) There are several fallacies in this thinking, both on a historical level and on a logical one. To sum up: as long as the doctrine of preservation and the majority text view are inseparably linked, it seems that no amount of evidence can overcome the majority text theory.28 But if the doctrine of preservation is not at stake, then evangelical students and pastors are free to examine the evidence without fear of defection from orthodoxy.29. (c) Even majority text advocates “do not know precisely” which words are original in every place, as Pickering himself admits (The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 150). 55 But this is not always true. 4 Edited by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982). It could be in the majority of witnesses, or it could be in a small handful of witnesses. For many advocates of the majority text view, a peculiar form of the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture undergirds the entire approach. At first this process may sound subjective. Their high appraisal of the [Alexandrian] tradition in preference to “Western” or Byzantine readings rests essentially on internal evidence of readings…it is upon this basis that most contemporary critics, even while rejecting [Westcott and Hort’s] historical reconstructions, continue to follow them in viewing the Majority text as secondary.52, In other words Westcott and Hort—without the knowledge of the early papyri discovered since their time—felt that the majority text was inferior because of internal evidence. Latin patristic writers report no legend or tradition bearing on the subject” (ibid., p. 286). Further, Metzger argues, “Among the more scholarly patristic writers Origen and Jerome take first place in the Eastern and the Western Churches respectively” (“St. If he saw an article by Harold Hoehner in which A.D. 30 was mentioned as the crucifixion date, the reader could be sure that this was a printing mistake. More than one study has shown that the Byzantine text became more uniform and more like the Majority Text as time went on. 136–37, commenting on 2 Corinthians 1:6–7a. Textus Receptus vs. Byzantine (Majority) Text. 7 More recently, Pickering has linked inspiration and preservation so closely that he argued that a denial of one was the denial of the other: “Are we to say that God was unable to protect the text of Mark or that He just couldn’t be bothered? Many hypotheses can be put forth as to why there are no early Byzantine manuscripts. This theological premise has far-reaching implications. Another comment is in order regarding external evidence. Let the conservative Christian not be ashamed of his presuppositions—they are more reasonable than those of the unbeliever…. Even though the Textus Receptus (basically a Byzantine text) was the basis for the Westminster Confession, there is not a single point in the entire confession that would change if it were based upon a modern eclectic text rather than upon the Byzantine text! In his work in stemmatics, Hodges has actually demonstrated that the majority text is a minority text in several places (see Wallace, “Some Second Thoughts on the Majority Text,” pp. It is not legitimate to declare a priori what the situation must be, on the basis of one’s presuppositions” (The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 153). In his rebuttal of Kurt Aland’s “The Text of the Church?” (Trinity Journal 8 [1987]: 131–44), where Aland gives substantial evidence that the early fathers did not use the majority text, Pickering says, “Something that Aland does not explain, but that absolutely demands attention, is the extent to which these early Fathers apparently cited neither the Egyptian nor the Majority texts—about half the time. It might help if you could point to the post you'd prefer he quoted?               Origen (d. 254) supported MT 45% (17% against Alexandrian); It is high time that conservatives recognize both this fact and its implications” (ibid., p. 89). An ounce of evidence is worth a pound of presumption. Rather, he deliberately set out to construct a theory that would vindicate his preconceived animosity for the Received Text.”8 But has not Pickering done the same thing? This is also the text that agrees with more than 95% of the Bible Manuscripts in Koine (common) Greek. Finally, as Fee points out, it is not merely a good, critical copy of a church father’s text that moves it away from the Byzantine texttype; every early copy does the same thing (see note 44). But the Vulgate is the exception rather than the rule. Pickering does not accept this second principle as valid and consequently parts company with Hodges at this point. Precisely because modern textual critics do not share the same rigid presupposition that Hort embraced, they are able to see the value of readings not found in these two uncial texts. Hort held the opposite (no distinctive Byzantine reading is original), and majority text advocates continue to write in a triumphant manner when they can prove Hort wrong on this point, usually assuming that reasoned eclecticism is thereby falsified. 58 It would not do justice to say that none of these splits is significant (e.g., ἔχομεν/ἔχωμεν in Rom 5:1). Before I die I wanna taste everyone in the world. 20 E.g., 1 John 5:7–8 and Revelation 22:19. (compared to heir differences to the Byzantine base text), into trying to classify manuscripts in their subfamilies. Is the majority text identical with the original text? Which for me gives me a heads up as to which group I will side with. But his thesis, which unashamedly declared this doctrinal position, preceded the book by 12 years. They seem to be reacting to the evidence consistently at different isolated points but seem to be unable to break away from the Hort framework. But if the majority text view is right, then each one of these versions was based on polluted Greek manuscripts—a suggestion that does not augur well for God’s providential care of the New Testament text, as that care is understood by the majority text view.38 But if these versions were based on polluted manuscripts, one would expect them to have come from (and be used in) only one isolated region. (The papyri have simply confirmed their views.) In it we have an excellent interim Greek Text to use until the full and final story can be told” (The Identity of the New Testament, p. 150). The rationale may be somewhat complex, but the method is quite simple: count “noses.”. James: hhmmm...I'll see if I can fix Naz's post here. Fee, who is recognized as one of the leading patristic authorities today, wrote: Over the past eight years I have been collecting the Greek patristic evidence for Luke and John for the International Greek New Testament Project. But it would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts to say that all these witnesses of the early period agree with each other all the time. It is a remarkable fact that the Latin churches do not seem to have retained any memory of this great event in their history. In a carefully documented study, Metzger points out that the Gothic version is “the oldest representative of the…Antiochian [i.e., Byzantine] type of text.”36 When was this version produced? 31 On February 21, 1990, in his lecture at Dallas Seminary, Pickering asserted that his method was much “more complex than merely counting noses.” But in The Identity of the New Testament Text he gives the clear impression that this is precisely his method (see especially his “Appendix C,” which deals with statistical probability). Pickering is appealing to an uncritical text of the fathers, using late manuscripts, as a basis for the suggestion that the Byzantine texttype is early—and right after he criticized Aland for not making a critical study of the Fathers’ texts. Apparently to jettison the majority text would be a departure from orthodoxy for many of its advocates.               Apostolic Constitutions (380?) In these instances the Textus Receptus often follows Erasmus' Reuchlin manuscript (2814). Not o... Main Printed Greek New Testaments, with Key Textus Receptus Editions highlighted in Green The 16th century saw the first printed Greek... How big a difference is that? (More on this in a moment.) 270–90). Here is a good instance in which the evidence dictates the shape of the proposition, not vice versa. It's like going into a Christian book store and looking for some good Bible study material. But belief in the resurrection of Christ is not based on statistical probability—there is evidence which, in this case, overturns statistics. Do they attest to the Byzantine texttype in the early period? When Westcott and Hort developed their theory of textual criticism, only one papyrus manuscript was known to them. This is true for any textual tradition. The Byzantine Text-Type & New Testament Textual Criticism by Harry A. Sturz, p.13 To be clear, this list isn’t exhaustive. So the Textus Receptus is definitely a Byzantine text, but far from a purely Byzantine text. Thanks to an advertisement by the publishers it was referred to as the Textus Receptus, or the “Received Text.” (1) Older studies, which were based on late copies of the church fathers and on uncritical editions, are not helpful in determining what the church fathers said. The TR is not IN the Byzantine family. The Coptic version also goes back to an early date, probably the second century34—and it was a translation of Alexandrian manuscripts, not Byzantine ones. Many of them lived much earlier than the date of any Greek manuscripts now extant for a particular book. Do they agree perhaps as much as 50 percent of the time? But the TR is hardly identical with the majority text, for the TR has numerous places where it is supported by few or no Greek manuscripts. God has preserved the text of the New Testament…the Traditional Text is in the fullest sense of the term, just that.9, In other words, according to Pickering, it seems that the Christian’s presupposition is that the majority text is the original text. In none of these locales was the Byzantine text apparently used. For a critique of the stemmatic reconstruction principle, see Daniel B. Wallace, “Some Second Thoughts on the Majority Text,” pp. I see no other alternative—either He didn’t care or He was helpless. Yet people do it every day—every time they read a newspaper. Nevertheless his point is that an assumption as to what really constitutes a majority is based on faulty and partial evidence (e.g., von Soden’s apparatus), not on an actual examination of the majority of manuscripts. 23 Bart D. Ehrman, Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986), p. 260 (italics added). (For rebuttal of so early a date, see ibid., pp. The present author writes from the perspective of “reasoned eclecticism,” the text critical theory that stands behind almost all modern versions of the New Testament (the New King James Version excepted). Perhaps this is why Pickering recently said, “Not only are we presently unable to specify the precise wording of the original text, but it will require considerable time and effort before we can be in a position to do so.”60, To sum up, though internal evidence is subjective, it is not all equally subjective. First, majority text advocates are fond of saying that since the roots of the majority text are shrouded in mystery, it must not have come from a deliberate recension. But then in the following paragraph he argues, “John W. Burgon made copious reference to Patristic citations in all his works; his massive index of 86,489 such citations is still the most extensive in existence (so far as I know)” (ibid.). So:Should the Textus Receptus be considered the definitive text, or should the Majority Text be considered the definitive text? This illustrates two things: (1) not only are internal criteria at times very objective—for the external evidence in such cases is often very much against the Byzantine reading—but it demonstrates the falsity of Pickering’s charge that modern textual critics “manipulate the text to [their] own subjective bias” (The Identity of the New Testament Text, p. 93); and (2) although the Byzantine text is not early, many Byzantine readings are—and these have the right to be heard when internal evidence is considered. Hundreds of phrases and even whole verses in the discussion only to Greek... Exists for what the original text exists in the procedures used by Westcott and Hort the! Apprehension of something perceived to be evaluated with this distinction in mind that these men not! 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