Latin Manuscript Evidence Concerning 1 John 5:7-8
A Debate between Dr. Gregory S. Neal and Dr. Thomas Holland




During the month of September in 1998 Dr. Gregory Neal (revneal@aol.com) engaged Dr. Thomas Holland (Logos1611@aol.com) in a significant debate on the the canonicity of 1 John 5:7-8, otherwise known as the Johanine Comma. The following is an edited account of the debate, with most extranious remarks from other participants removed for the purpose of easing the flow of the debate.

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Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Subject: Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Date: Tue, Sep 1, 1998 11:01 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090204012200.AAA16710@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Logos writes:

<<It (i.e. 1 John 5:7) is found in the majority of the early Latin manuscripts which date from the second, third, and forth centuries [see the apparatus by Alexander Souter, Novum Testamentum Graece]. Further, it is found in many editions of the Vulgate (forth century). It is also found in later Old Latin manuscripts, such as m (ninth century) and r (seventh/eighth century).>>

And, then, in response to an a question from Bav, Logos amplifies:

<<The information, as noted, came from the textual apparatus of Dr. Alexander Souter (Latin 1966 reprint of the 1910 original work). Souter notes that the Latin phrase, "in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus" comes from a consensus of Latin manuscripts from "(saec. ii (?) - iii - iv)." He also notes it is the consensus of later Latin manuscripts such as e, a, p, and r. Admittedly, I was somewhat surprised when I first read this notation. But in light of the Old Latin readings which support the Comma, and with Dr. Souter's knowledge of the subject, I do not doubt its authenticity. I am certainly willing to consider other Latin witnesses, if so desired.>>

I'm not sure what it is you're saying, here, but you should know that (to the best of my ability to determine based upon my resources) the Old Latin Manuscripts of e and a do NOT contain the Catholic Epistles and, hence, don't contain 1 John and, as such, are not valid resources for affirming the Comma. As for what Dr. Souter may have meant about that, I don't know.

The KNOWN Old Latin affirmations of the Comma (some with variations from the "canonical" version) are:

m -- around the 5th century in the Catholic Epistles
p -- 13th century
c -- 12th -13th centuries
dem -- 13th century
div -- 13th century
q -- 7th century

As you can see, NONE of the Old Latin manuscripts which contain the Comma date from the 2nd or 3rd centuries. That the Old Latin BEGAN in the 2nd century doesn't mean that the Comma dates from then.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
Dr. Gregory Neal

http://www.revneal.org

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Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Subject: Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Date: Wed, Sep 2, 1998 2:44 PM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998090219444200.PAA14450@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Rev Neal quotes my postings twice and writes:

>>I'm not sure what it is you're saying, here, but you should know that (to the best of my ability to determine based upon my resources) the Old Latin Manuscripts of e and a do NOT contain the Catholic Epistles and, hence, don't contain 1 John and, as such, are not valid resources for affirming the Comma. As for what Dr. Souter may have meant about that, I don't know . . . As you can see, NONE of the Old Latin manuscripts which contain the Comma date from the 2nd or 3rd centuries. That the Old Latin BEGAN in the 2nd century doesn't mean that the Comma dates from then.<<

There is clearly a difference here regarding the dates of some Old Latin manuscripts. And, like yourself, I make determinations to the best of my ability upon the resources I have at hand. Therefore, let me again review Dr. Souter's apparatus.

In his footnote for 1 John 5:7 he writes, "in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus." This is followed with a German "L" and with "(vt.m vg. codd.):". His apparatus at the front of the book states that the German "L" is a consensus of Latin manuscripts. That "L" (vt) is comes from the "saec. ii (?) - iii - iv)," and also the Latin "uetus (e a p r), consensus codicum siue ominium siue plerorumque, qui eam uersionem (eas uersiones) repraesentar uidentum codies citati sunt hi: - " He then lists several Latin manuscripts as would be found in most major apparatuses.

My statement, >>He also notes it is the consensus of later Latin manuscripts such as e, a, p, and r<< was meant to reflect the consensus of Latin manuscripts used, not just Latin manuscripts which support the Comma. However, rereading what I wrote I can understand how one could conclude that I was referring to the Comma regarding e and a.

So, what of these dates concerning the 2nd and 3rd centuries? It seems to me that there are a few possibilities here.

1). Being human, it is possible that I have misread his apparatus. However, I have checked and rechecked it several times now and there is no misreading of the phrase "saec. ii (?) -iii - iv." Perhaps the application is wrong, but it certainly seems from reading Souter that the "L" refers to the consensus of Latin manuscripts dating from the 2nd to the 4th century.

2). The dating of Latin manuscripts have changed in recent years. This is possible. Although paleography allows one to set a date for a manuscript within a 50 year period, it is not always accurate and dates have been changed before. For example, the Greek minuscule 76 was dated as coming from the 12th century in both the 2nd edition of the UBS text and the 26th edition of the NA text. However, it has been updated to the 14th century in later editions. It would therefore be possible to assume that some Latin manuscript which contained an early date had been revised and given a later date. Certainly the Vetus Latina Institute has done a great deal in revising understanding regarding Latin manuscripts since its establishment in the 1950s.

3). There is information here which is not discussed. Not having a "hands on" approach to textual criticism regarding most manuscripts we must be content with the information provided by others. Most scholars state we do not have 2nd or 3rd century manuscripts of Latin texts. However, excluding the possibility of updates, there may be information which has not been considered and that others, such as Souter, has. Even Dr. Westcott noted that the Old Latin version was translated prior to 200 AD. He notes that these versions did not contain the books of Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter as part of their canon (see A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, pp. 249-250. Also, this information is noted by Geisler and Nix in A General Introduction to the Bible, p.191). It is possible that Westcott was receiving his information from a second hand source, but usually such a source is noted. Any way, one wonders how the canon of these books in the Old Latin prior to 200 AD can be established if there are no manuscripts from which to judge. I have to think that either he was receiving the information from other sources, or the dates of the age of the manuscripts have been updated, or their is additional information we have not considered.

4). Perhaps both Souter and Westcott were drawing conclusions about the Old Latin based on citations from early Latin fathers and later church historians. Regarding his symbol "m" Souter writes, "sub hoc signo indicantur uarii codies 'Speculi' Pseudo-Augustiniani, . . ." ("This symbol indicates various codies which reflect Pseudo-Augustine, . . . ").

On a personal note: Rev Neal and I have briefly discussed issues regarding textual criticism in the past, and I have found him to be kind to those with whom he disagrees. Therefore, I am glad to see him weigh in on this topic (although we do differ on the outcome). He has, in the past, experienced some not so kind remarks from some who believe as I do regarding Biblical preservation and the Authorized Version. Having received some not so kind remarks from those who do not believe in Biblical preservation and advocate modern versions, I know how he feels. I appreciate any who can discuss a topic with those whom they disagree in a Christ like and scholarly manner. Therefore, I hope more discussion of this type will be forthcoming.

God bless and thanks for reading,
Thomas

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Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Subject: Re: 1 John 5:7 Logos1611
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 1998 2:57 AM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090307574700.DAA07312@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Tom,

<<There is clearly a difference here regarding the dates of some Old Latin manuscripts.>>

While it is true that there is some flux in the dating of many of the Manuscripts, as far as I can tell from what resources I have there has never been any assertion that any of the Old Latin Manuscripts which we have date from any earlier than the late fourth century. I doubt that differences in the fundamental dating of the textualcopia is what is causing our problem here.

<<In his [Dr. Souter's] footnote for 1 John 5:7 he writes, "in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus." This is followed with a German "L" and with "(vt.m vg. codd.):". His apparatus at the front of the book states that the German "L" is a consensus of Latin manuscripts. That "L" (vt) is comes from the "saec. ii (?) - iii - iv)," and also the Latin "uetus (e a p r), consensus codicum siue ominium siue plerorumque, qui eam uersionem (eas uersiones) repraesentar uidentum codies citati sunt hi: - " He then lists several Latin manuscripts as would be found in most major apparatuses.>>

Firstly, my interpretation of the situation is that you are misinterpreting Dr. Souter. I have combed through all of my resources on the versions of the New Testament in general, and the Old Latin Text in particular, and I cannot find ANY single Old Latin manuscript which dates from prior to the 4th century, much less a consensus concerning "in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus" among the Old Latin exemplars which we DO have. Since I doubt that Dr. Souter would make such an error, I suspect that you have misinterpreted him.

Secondly, the range of dates for the origination and common use of the Old Latin Text is, indeed, the 2nd to 4th centuries; this is the range given to the origination of the Old Latin Text in the apparatus of the UBS 3rd and 4th editions of The Greek New Testament, and in the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. Likewise, it is the range given by the Alands in their The Text of the New Testament (186-187) and by Metzger in his The Text of the New Testament (see pp. 72-75) and in his The Early Versions of the New Testament (see pp. 285-295). It should, however, be noted again that we have NO Latin manuscripts coming from the 2nd or 3rd centuries, and that the early range of dates for the origination of the Old Latin Text is NOT based, directly, upon extant manuscripts. Rather, the origination range is based upon: (1) the citations of the Old Latin Text in extant Latin Fathers, and (2) indirectly upon the reconstructed parent-manuscripts upon which our extant manuscripts were based. These grounds for so-dating the range is reflected in Dr. Metzger's discussion concerning the origin of manuscript k:

<<[k's] form of text agrees very closely with the quotations made by St. Cyprian of Carthage (about A.D. 250). According to E.A. Lowe k shows palaeographical marks of having been copied from a second-century papyrus.>> (Metzger: TNT, p. 73)

Hence, while our extant manuscripts are NOT from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, nevertheless such manuscripts as k, a, and especially gig, all reflect earlier manuscripts which MAY, indeed, come from that earlier period.

Thirdly, the tenacity of the Old Latin Text to continue in use EVEN AFTER the appearance of the Vulgate has usually (and correctly) been attributed to the liturgical use of these Old Latin readings. Hence, while the European and African Old Latin Text was basically formalized by the end of the 4th century, and generally surpassed by the Vulgate by the 5th century, nevertheless it continued to be copied for nearly 1000 years thereafter. ALL of our copies come from AFTER the period of the formation of the Old Latin Text, and hence the addition of the Comma in an IRREGULAR and INCONSISTENT fashion is VERY illustrative of its character as a LATER and non-original addition.

<<My statement, >>He also notes it is the consensus of later Latin manuscripts such as e, a, p, and r<< was meant to reflect the consensus of Latin manuscripts used, not just Latin manuscripts which support the Comma. However, rereading what I wrote I can understand how one could conclude that I was referring to the Comma regarding e and a.>>

Allow me to press you here. WHAT was their consensus? I'm sorry, but they cannot contain a CONSENSUS reading on 1 John OR the Comma since most contain NEITHER. So, what is their consensus supposed to reflect? Here is the reason for my confusion: e, a, p, and r are all radically different manuscripts, each containing a different form of the Latin Text and, indeed, in nearly every case a radically different canonical content.

e ("Codex Palatinus") is a 5th century manuscript containing ONLY portions of the four Gospels (no Catholic Epistles and, hence, no 1 John and no Comma). Of particular note for our purposes is that it is an African version of the Old Latin Text, fairly much like what Bishop Augustine of Hippo used; it has, however, a significant number of later editorial changes which were applied in an attempt to make the text more similar to the
European version of the Old Latin Text.

a ("Codex Vercellensis") is a late 4th century manuscript containing the Gospels (again, no Catholic Epistles and, hence, no 1 John and no Comma) which, as tradition has it, was written in 370 by St. Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli -- a tradition which is often doubted, though it may reflect that it was commissioned by St. Eusebius of Vercelli. It is a European version of the Old Latin Text and, hence, varies rather widely, at points, from e. They, together, could not be the basis of a general consensus (at least, not as far as I can tell).

p ("Codex Perpinianensis") is a 13th century manuscript made up of a mixed Vulgate in the Gospels and Pauline Epistles and European Old Latin in the Acts and the Catholic Epistles. Please note ... while p DOES contain the Comma, and thus 1st John, and while the Old Latin text IS European in character (the same as a), p and a are otherwise entirely dissimilar -- even down to which canonical works each contains. There is, therefore, no way they could possibly be used together to represent a "consensus."

r ("Codex Rodensis") is a 10th century manuscript of mostly a Vulgate Latin Text, with African Old Latin variant readings in the Acts found mostly in the margin but sometimes inserted into the text. The Catholic Epistles are NOT Old Latin (they are Vulgate) and, indeed, don't contain the Comma. Where the Old Latin marginal and textual additions in the Acts overlaps p's readings in the Acts, they MIGHT be said to reflect a consensus reading ... however, since the Old Latin notes are African text in character and not European, the possibility that they reflect or may be used as the basis for a consensus reading is practically nonexistent.

<<So, what of these dates concerning the 2nd and 3rd centuries? It seems to me that there are a few possibilities here.>>

I've already addressed much of this above, but I'll remark on what you've identified as "a few possibilities...."

<<1). Being human, it is possible that I have misread his apparatus.>>

Lord knows, I've misread apparatus as well. None of us are perfect.

<<However, I have checked and rechecked it several times now and there is no misreading of the phrase "saec. ii (?) -iii - iv." Perhaps the application is wrong, but it certainly seems from reading Souter that the "L" refers to the consensus of Latin manuscripts dating from the 2nd to the 4th century.>>

Again, I think that you are misinterpreting what Dr. Souter is saying. There simply are NO Old Latin Manuscripts dating from the 2nd to the 4th centuries. I ask you ... do you have a candidate? Among the VERY earliest extant Old Latin Manuscripts are: a (ca. 370 AD), k (ca. 400 AD), b (ca. 400 AD), and e (ca. 450 AD).

<<2). The dating of Latin manuscripts have changed in recent years. This is possible.>>

To the best of my ability to determine the dates of the extant Old Latin Manuscripts in question haven't changed in nearly 100 years. I have some reference resources on the Old Latin Text from the 1910s which date k and e to the current estimates (400 and 450 AD, respectively).

<<Although paleography allows one to set a date for a manuscript within a 50 year period, it is not always accurate and dates have been changed before. For example, the Greek minuscule 76 was dated as coming from the 12th century in both the 2nd edition of the UBS text and the 26th edition of the NA text. However, it has been updated to the 14th century in later editions. It would therefore be possible to assume that some Latin manuscript which contained an early date had been revised and given a later date. Certainly the Vetus Latina Institute has done a great deal in revising understanding regarding Latin manuscripts since its establishment in the 1950s.>>

It is, indeed, true that many manuscripts have been re-dated in the past, and, indeed, there has been a growing trend toward re-dating manuscripts over the last 20 years. In addition to the redating of min76, Dr. Kim's proposed dating scheme for P46 is another excellent example. Nevertheless, while such MIGHT be true in some cases, my resources DON'T support such a theory here. As I've already indicated, these particular Old Latin Texts haven't been re-dated lately. Additionally, for these manuscripts to be 2 centuries earlier than they are currently dated would entail a change in their medium. They are parchments, however, and not papyri, and hence it is highly unlikely that they were EVER thought of as being older than the fourth century.

<<3). There is information here which is not discussed. Not having a "hands on" approach to textual criticism regarding most manuscripts we must be content with the information provided by others. Most scholars state we do not have 2nd or 3rd century manuscripts of Latin texts.>.

You state this as if you know of specific Old Latin manuscripts which are 2nd or 3rd century. I'm going to press you here: list them, quote the analysis of said manuscripts which support such an early dating, and identify the scholarship which make the argument so that I may track down their citations and read them for myself.

<<However, excluding the possibility of updates, there may be information which has not been considered and that others, such as Souter, has.>>

That's certainly possible, but I seriously doubt that such a high-caliber scholar as Dr. Bruce Metzger would write an academic reference book on the versions, devoting 80+ pages to the Old Latin and Vulgate Texts alone, and fail to at least address a claim that there may be known Old Latin Manuscripts from the 2nd or 3rd centuries. And, if you think that such is likely, then can you make the same claim for any of the following high-powered scholars, each of whom is an expert in Latin New Testament Textual Criticism, and each of whom fails to make such a claim: Beuron, Bover, Julicher, Kilpatrick, Legg, Lowe, Merk, and Ropes? Indeed, Thomas, in reviewing Dr. Metzger's several books, as well as the books of some of the above scholars, I note with GREAT interest that many of them have referenced various of Dr. Alexander Souter's publications, including his TheText and Canon of the New Testament, many many times, and yet none of them ever interpret Dr. Souter as saying that we actually HAVE 2nd or 3rd century copies of the Old Latin Text. They ALL agree, however, that the Old Latin Text BEGAN in the 2nd century, and that some of our extant manuscripts may indeed reflect manuscripts from the early period.

<<Even Dr. Westcott noted that the Old Latin version was translated prior to 200 AD. He notes that these versions did not contain the books of Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter as part of their canon (see A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, pp. 249-250. Also, this information is noted by Geisler and Nix in A General Introduction to the Bible, p.191). It is possible that Westcott was receiving his information from a second hand source, but usually such a source is noted. Any way, one wonders how the canon of these books in the Old Latin prior to 200 AD can be established if there are no manuscripts from which to judge. I have to think that either he was receiving the information from other sources, or the dates of the age of the manuscripts have been updated, or their is additional information we have not considered.>>

I think I have demonstrated that our basis for making the claim that the Old Latin Text originated in the 2nd century, even though we don't actually have copies from that period, is sound. We don't have copies from prior to the 4th century, but we KNOW that the Old Latin text dates from the 2nd century.

<<4). Perhaps both Souter and Westcott were drawing conclusions about the Old Latin based on citations from early Latin fathers and later church historians. Regarding his symbol "m" Souter writes, "sub hoc signo indicantur uarii codies 'Speculi' Pseudo-Augustiniani, . . ." ("This symbol indicates various codies which reflect Pseudo-Augustine, . . . ").>>

Correct, in part. I wish you had spent more time on that point. It would have saved me a little bit of work. :-)

<<On a personal note: Rev Neal and I have briefly discussed issues regarding textual criticism in the past, and I have found him to be kind to those with whom he disagrees. Therefore, I am glad to see him weigh in on this topic (although we do differ on the outcome). He has, in the past, experienced some not so kind remarks from some who believe as I do regarding Biblical preservation and the Authorized Version. Having received some not so kind remarks from those who do not believe in Biblical preservation and advocate modern versions, I know how he feels. I appreciate any who can discuss a topic with those whom they disagree in a Christ-like and scholarly manner. Therefore, I hope more discussion of this type will be forthcoming.>>

I thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, my personal schedule doesn't afford me the free time to be more than hit-and-miss on these boards.

Grace and peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

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Rev Neal/Logos & 1 John 5:7
Subject: Rev Neal/Logos & 1 John 5:7
Date: Fri, Sep 4, 1998 8:14 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998090413142400.JAA04236@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Brother Greg (and all who read),

I have certainly enjoyed these postings during the past few days in that they have not been insultive, but have sought rather to edify. Also, I think they reflect my original point (8/29/98) that a great deal of textual criticism involves conjecture (as Sir Kenyon stated). Although this issue has somewhat diverged into a discussion of Souter's apparatus, it has been very enlightening to me.

You write in your posting of 9/03/98:

>>While it is true that there is some flux in the dating of many of the Manuscripts, as far as I can tell from what resources I have there has never been any assertion that any of the Old Latin Manuscripts which we have date from any earlier than the late fourth century. I doubt that differences in the fundamental dating of the textualcopia is what is causing our problem here.<<

I concur and only offered it as a possibility. Many of the dates of the known Latin manuscripts which you gave earlier were unchanged in the dates which Souter does give in his apparatus. However, I should note that where you may say 12th or 13th century, he would say 12th century. Also, not OL all manuscripts were given dates in his apparatus.

>>Firstly, my interpretation of the situation is that you are misinterpreting Dr. Souter.<<

I tend to think not. I am human and liable to make mistakes, but having checked and rechecked the source it stands as has been given (which you seem to agree with by your further statements). Having posted much of Souter's comments and knowing that it is a reference book which should be found in most Seminaries, those who really wish may read it for themselves. It is clear the phrase in question, even if one cannot read Latin, refers to the dates given.

Also, I would think if Souter were in error that other scholars would have pointed this out. Instead, all I have ever read of those who comment on Souter offer praise. The closest I have heard in disagreement is that his Greek text follows closely to the TR with less than 500 changes. But even those who criticize this point immediately state that his apparatus is outstanding (see Dr. Eldon Epp's essay "The Twentieth-Century Interlude In New Testament Textual Criticism," Journal of Biblical Literature 93 (1974) 386-414).

I will hold off comment on much of what was written because I agree. Sometimes, as the UBS and NA texts do, dates are given for the Old Latin Mss of the 2nd and 3rd Century even without existing mss. to support the claim. In this fashion, these critical texts agree with Souter's. And, I think your quote from Metzger regard k is correct.

Next we have the paragraph containing my quote:

<<My statement, >>He also notes it is the consensus of later Latin manuscripts such as e, a, p, and r<< was meant to reflect the consensus of Latin manuscripts used, not just Latin manuscripts which support the Comma. However, rereading what I wrote I can understand how one could conclude that I was referring to the Comma regarding e and a.>>

You then write:

>>Allow me to press you here. WHAT was their consensus? I'm sorry, but they cannot contain a CONSENSUS reading on 1 John OR the Comma since most contain NEITHER. So, what is their consensus supposed to reflect? Here is the reason for my confusion: e, a, p, and r are all radically different manuscripts, each containing a different form of the Latin Text and, indeed, in nearly every case a radically different canonical content.<<

As to the consensus, I do not know. I would have to check each one in every place as Souter had done. What I do know is that Souter reported (in regard to the Comma) a footnote in the apparatus placing a German "L" which, according to his apparatus, means a consensus of the Latin mss.. This does NOT mean that ALL Latin mss. have the same NT books (we know they do not). Nor does it mean that all OL mss. have a general consensus. What it does show is that throughout his critical apparatus, when Souter uses the German "L" it will show that in the existing Latin mss. there is a consensus with those OL mss. which contain that NT book or reading. The mss. used to make this consensus are listed in the front of his book. Therefore, Codex Vercellensis (a) could be used as one of the consulting OL mss., and signified with the German "L", even though it does not contain the Epistle of First John (and thus no Comma). This is because the German "L" is used throughout his NT and means that when it appears anywhere in the apparatus, in that reading where we have OL mss for that reading, there is a consensus.

Concerning some possibilities, I had written:
<<1). Being human, it is possible that I have misread his apparatus.>>

You write:
>>Lord knows, I've misread apparatus as well. None of us are perfect.<<

Amen. Wish I were, but I do have the promise that one day I shall be :-).

I wrote:
<<3). There is information here which is not discussed. Not having a "hands on" approach to textual criticism regarding most manuscripts we must be content with the information provided by others. Most scholars state we do not have 2nd or 3rd century manuscripts of Latin texts.>>.

You respond with:
>>You state this as if you know of specific Old Latin manuscripts which are 2nd or 3rd century. I'm going to press you here: list them, quote the analysis of said manuscripts which support such an early dating, and identify the scholarship which make the argument so that I may track down their citations and read them for myself.<<

No, I know of none. I was offering four possible reasons for Souter's statement. Like you, I tend to agree with the fourth one. However, I also know that my first hand knowledge of the subject of Latin mss. is very limited. I have to depend on the work of others, as most of us do. I was simply stating that perhaps it is possible that there are OL mss. which we know not off, or which have not found their way into someone's catalog.

I had written:
<<Even Dr. Westcott noted that the Old Latin version was translated prior to 200 AD. He notes that these versions did not contain the books of Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter as part of their canon (see A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, pp. 249-250. Also, this information is noted by Geisler and Nix in A General Introduction to the Bible, p.191). It is possible that Westcott was receiving his information from a second hand source, but usually such a source is noted.<<

Apart from comments on the Comma, I would be VERY interested as to ANY information you (or anyone reading this) would have on Westcott's evidence. Perhaps he was drawing from secondary sources, as I noted. But if there is additional information here, I would certainly love to read it. Have any????

I wrote:
<<4). Perhaps both Souter and Westcott were drawing conclusions about the Old Latin based on citations from early Latin fathers and later church historians. Regarding his symbol "m" Souter writes, "sub hoc signo indicantur uarii codies 'Speculi' Pseudo-Augustiniani, . . ." ("This symbol indicates various codies which reflect Pseudo-Augustine, . . . ").>>

You respond:
>>Correct, in part. I wish you had spent more time on that point. It would have saved me a little bit of work. :-)<<

Well, we both seem to enjoy doing such work :-). I am curious, you state I am correct "in part." Is there a part which is incorrect? Or is it that there is more information which proves the point, such as you listed, and you wish I had given more?

Until later, God bless and thank you for reading,

Thomas

***

On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Sat, Sep 5, 1998 1:08 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090518083400.OAA17345@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

On Friday I moseyed over to SMU's Bridwell Theological Library and looked up works by Dr. Alexander Souter. They own several dozen of his books on a wide range of topics, some of which so interested me that I printed out the whole list so I could follow up on them later. He was a scholar of remarkable depth and breadth. The good news is that they had BOTH of the books I was actually looking for: Dr. Souter's Novum Testamentum Graece and his significantly more helpful The Text and Canon of the New Testament. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913.

Let me put this as directly and as simply as I can: speculation as to what Dr. Souter means by the German-L is entirely unnecessary -- he's told us what he means in The Text and Canon of the New Testament (TCNT). Dr. Souter nowhere asserts that we have actual copies of the Old Latin New Testament that date earlier than the mid 300s AD. Indeed, he gives us the grounds for making the assumption that the OL came into existence in the late 2nd or early 3rd century and his grounds do NOT include 2nd or 3rd century copies NOR do his grounds include speculation on the possible existence of unknown manuscripts. Here are his remarks on this topic:

<<It is perfectly clear from references in Tertullian, who wrote at Carthage (mainly in Latin, but also in Greek) between A.D. 195 and 218, that Latin translations of at least some parts of Scripture existed in his time. Tertullian's regular practice was to use the Greek original and to translate for himself. But, in addition to his actual mention of existing Latin translations, it is clear that he sometimes used them himself. A study of his quotations by Monceaux has shown that he must have possessed translations of Luke, John, Galatians, First Corinthians, Romans and Ephesians. The existence of a (relatively) complete New Testament in Africa first comes into clear view in the writings of Cyprian (+ 258), who quotes a Latin Bible abundantly and accurately. The fact that on close study the translation used by him shows secondary characteristics confirms the conclusion that in Tertullian's time a Latin New Testament already existed in Africa, and suggests that it is the result of a long period of translation commenced not later than 150.>> (Souter, Alexander The Text and Canon of the New Testament. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913 p. 35-36)

Note, this is his ONLY ground for asserting that Latin translations existed as early as the second and third centuries. NO speculation is present in his text concerning extant manuscripts from this period ... the assertion is based entirely upon analysis of quotations in Church Fathers.

Let's not stop here, however ... what Souter goes on to say is of particular note for those who would try to take such speculation about the early text and magnify it in attempting to prove that a marginal and highly improbable reading is authentic.

<<There was, however, in Cyprian's time no one official version. For instance, a Bishop Nemesianus of Tubunas (on the confines of Numidia and Mauritania), who was present at the Rebaptism Council of Carthage in A.D. 256 with Cyprian himself, uses a Latin translation which differs from that employed by him [Cyprian], and is probably earlier in origin. The texts used in Africa down to about the end of the fourth century (and in some cases even later) are substantially identical with Cyprian's, though some have been subjected to revision in varying degrees.>> (TCNT, 36)

In other words, there was GREAT VARIATION in the Old Latin Text, variation which illustrates the fluidity of translation and the probably differentiation in the Greek Manuscripts which lay behind the Latin versions. Any attempt, therefore, to claim that the presence of the Comma in one or two MUCH LATER copies reflects its presence in earlier NON-extant copies fails to stand the test of parsimony. Also, the oft-supposed but greatly questioned quotation of the variant from Cyprian fails to suffice in this matter, too, for even in Cyrpian's time there were OL texts of great variation relative to that which he used.

Turning to the German-L notation found in Souter's Novum Testamentum Graece, the above is very instructive as to what he means.

Firstly, the dates he provides for the Old Latin "(vt.)" are <<saec. ii (?) - iii - iv)>>. Note, there is a question mark after "ii," which reflects the clear problems present in identifying extant examples of the OL with the echoes of the OL which we find in the writings of the Church Fathers. Nevertheless, Souter is willing to grant that what we have, in the extant mss, reflect later stages in the earlier translation-history of the OL text. I, essentially, agree.

Secondly, and more importantly, how should the German-L be read? I've reviewed Souter's use of the German-L in the textual apparatus of his NTG , with a particular eye toward its use relative to the subdivisions "vt" and "vg" and with even more particular interest in his further use of specific mss. limitations within those subdivisions. I'm sorry to tell you this, Thomas, but you have most certainly misread Souter's textual apparatus.

When the German-L is listed, Souter does NOT always mean that the variant phrase to which he attaches it is found in a consensus of the Latin Manuscripts listed (and certainly NOT inclusive back to the second century -- you've read his reference to "consensus" wrong, too). Rather, the German-L references the consensus of the New Testament Latin Textualcopia in general, with subdivisions by "vt" (Old Latin) and "vg" (Vulgate) identifying in which form of the Latin Text the variant phrase may be found. In some cases (many, actually) Souter will reference a variant with the German-L and then apply just the superscription (vt) or (vg) or, indeed, both. When he does this, without qualifications on the superscription, cross-referencing with other sources has indicated that such a variant is, indeed, commonly found in a consensus of the Old Latin and/or Vulgate sources listed. When, HOWEVER, he qualifies the superscription with a manuscript designation, what he is doing is saying that the variant reading in question is found ONLY in that particular manuscript of the Latin Textualcopia. Hence, in the case of the 1 John 5:7-8 variant, Souter is saying: the variant, as included in his NTG, is found in the Old Latin "m" and some, but not a few, Vulgate codices. He is NOT saying that it is found in a majority of the Old Latin manuscripts ... indeed, he is saying exactly the opposite ... it is found in ONE Old Latin manuscript as he cites it. There are additional remarks regarding some other manuscripts where it may be found, and the variations in these citations are NOT at all helpful to its inclusion as an authentic reading. For example, when he says that the variant is found "eadem fere" in Old Latin manuscript "q" and in some, but not a few, Vulgate codices, he is saying that the variant is found in these mss. in nearly the same form, or with a similar reading. NOWHERE in his textual apparatus does he assert that the variant is a common one in the Old Latin, or that it dates to an early period in the Old Latin Text.

What about "m"?? Well, it's VERY damaging to your position. Here is what Souter says about "m":

<<m. This symbol is used, not to indicate a MS. of one particular book or group of books of Scripture, but to represent a work called 'Speculum' (mirror for conduct), wrongly attributed in manuscripts to St. Augustine. This book consists of many verses of Scripture arranged topically, and it might have been introduced earlier [in Souter's book], but for the fact that its text in the Catholic Epistles is more interesting than it is elsewhere: for there it agrees almost ad litterani with the quotations of Priscillian, the first person put to death by the Church (+ 385). For instance, James, chap. v. 1-3 (m)=Priscilian, ed. Schepss, p. 17, ll. 9-14.>> (TCNT pp 46-47)

In other words, "m" is, at the EARLIEST, a late 4th century collection of quotes mostly from Priscillian ... not a particularly thrilling source of authority for your favorite variant, is it?

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Mon, Sep 7, 1998 8:58 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998090713584800.JAA12878@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Brother Greg,

Thank you for your posting. I do own a copy of Souter's book The Text and
Canon of the New Testament,
but I had to borrow his Novum Testamentum
Graece
from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio). Also, my copy was in
Latin and I must say I wish I had had an English version of it. That, I believe,
would have made things a little clearer.

Regarding Souter's comment, which in Latin reads as follows:

>>"(saec. ii (?) - iii - iv)."<<

You note:

>>Firstly, the dates he provides for the old Latin "(vt.)" are <<saec. ii (?) - iii -
iv)>>. Note, there is a question mark after "ii," which reflects the clear problems
present in identifying extant examples of the OL with the echoes of the OL which
we find in the writings of the Church Fathers. Nevertheless, Souter is willing to
grant that what we have, in the extant mss, reflect later stages in the earlier
translation-history of the OL text. I, essentially, agree..<<

I had noted the question mark myself in earlier postings. And, I fully concur with
your above statement. This, as one looks over the record, makes far more sense
and certainly was what we both were leaning towards as noted in our postings.
Souter, like Westcott and others, simply concluded what the 2nd-4th century OL
mss. must have read based on the citations of Latin church fathers during this same
period. I am delighted to know that my understanding of Souter's Latin quote
was, in this sense, correct.

However, you also note the following:

>>Secondly, and more importantly, how should the German-L be read? I've
reviewed Souter's use of the German-L in the textual apparatus of his NTG , with
a particular eye toward its use relative to the subdivisions "vt" and "vg" and with
even more particular interest in his further use of specific mss limitations within
those subdivisions. I'm sorry to tell you this, Thomas, but you've misread Souter's
textual apparatus.<<

I am sorry you had to tell me this too :-D. But, you are correct in stating I had
misread the apparatus. As noted, the fact that Souter lists the early dates is
correct, but we also know why that is as listed above. My mistake is that I had
read the "L" on one page (noting the early dates) and did not follow through with
the other readings noting the Vulgate. Thank you for pointing this out.

As I wrote to another on these postings, the point would have been moot anyway.
It does not matter, as some scholars have noted, if we can say credit Cyprian (for
example) with citing the Comma or not. The weight of the external evidence
would stand against the Comma. In like manner, if we had reference to such early
Latin mss supporting the Comma, it would still (in all likely hood) be rejected.
Both of us know that very early Greek readings are rejected. Therefore,
demonstrating the Comma to have been in existence in the Latin Church in the 2nd
or 3rd century would not, IMOH, persuade modern textual scholars to include it
(other than it may receive more notation in some apparatuses).

You then note:
>>In other words, "m" is, at the EARLIEST, a late 4th century collection of
quotes mostly from Priscillian ... not a particularly thrilling source of authority for
your favorite variant, is it?<<

On the contrary, it establishes the reading existed in the 4th century (and in all
likelihood in mss. form). The fact that Priscillian was heretical seems irrelevant,
unless one is building a case against the Trinity and insists that Priscillian inserted
the clause to propagate the Trinity doctrine. In all honesty, I do not know how
Priscillian used the quote. Do you? If so I would very much like to read it. If he
cited it in objection to the Trinity, or suggests that the orthodox believers placed it
in the OL texts, it may be argued in favor of my position (that is only speculation,
for I do not have the quote with me and would have to search for it next time I am
at the UTS library).

Without speculation, or referencing what you would consider questionable such as
Cyprian, here is some of the evidence supporting the Comma. In the Greek
witnesses it is found in a few late manuscripts (61, 88, 221, 429, 629, 636, 918 and
2318). Of these it is found in the margins of 88, 429, 636, 221, and 2318. It also is
found in the majority of the Vulgate manuscripts from 800 AD and after.
Additionally, it is found in later Old Latin manuscripts, such as m (ninth century)
and r (seventh/eighth century). Excluding Cyprian (whom I think does refer to it)
the Comma is cited without question by Priscillian (385 AD), Cassian (435), Ps-
Vigilius (date unknown), Ps-Athanasius (sixth century), Fulgentius (533 AD), and
Ansbert (eighth century). And, it is found in other writings such as the Speculum
(427 AD) and the Varimadum (380 AD).

Although there may be more evidence, this is really the lot of the external evidence
which supports the Comma. There is NO question that the weight of the external
evidence speaks against the Comma. Nevertheless, there IS external evidence for
the Comma which makes the reading POSSIBLE (unless one believes such
external evidence must be ignored). This would, I think, explain why the
information (at least some of it) is contained in the apparatuses of both Souter and
NA, and is noted by other scholars (such as Alford's, The Greek Testament, and
Plummer's, Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges).

However, the argument for the Comma shifts when we also consider the internal
evidence. Here the weight of the internal evidence is greater for it than against it.

If the Comma were an interpolation we would expect something such as "Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost." The more common expression concerning the Trinity.
Instead, we find the phrase "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost." It is
certainly Johannine, to refer to Christ as "the Word" (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:7).
In fact, he is the ONLY NT writer to do so.

It is not uncommon for John to introduce a topic, and then amplify it later
(Christians walk in light--1:7; amplified in 2:9. The spirit of anti-christ --2:18;
amplified in 4: 2-6. Love for brethren -- 2:10; amplified in 3:11. And so on.)
Therefore, when we read in 4:13-14 that the Spirit, Father and Son testify, it is not
uncharacteristic to read of their heavenly testimony in 5:7. In fact, we would
expect it.

John uses parallelism. For example, in 2:22 he asks, "Who is a liar but he that
denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the
Son." The verses is paralleled in 2:23. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same
hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also."
The same is true when John writes of little children, fathers, and young men (2:12-
14). It comes as no surprise, therefore, to see the parallel of witnesses in 5:7-8
(heavenly and earthly).

Finally, there is the matter of Greek grammar. The words "spirit," "water," and
"blood" are neuter. Yet they are presented as masculine in 5:8. This is poor
grammar without the Comma. Yet, with the Comma and the introduction of
Father and Word (masculine) the clause in 5:8 is correct and would be expected.

Does any of this prove the Comma? No. But it does cause it some regard. To
disparage it may be in vogue, but in so doing we rob ourselves of some additional
considerations. In my opinion, the combination of the heavy internal evidence,
with the external evidence, moves the Comma from possibility to probability.

Again, thank you for exposing the error concerning Souter. Until later, my
brother, may God bless as you labor for Him.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Mon, Sep 7, 1998 1:39 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090718391300.OAA16794@ladder01.news.aol.com>

My Dear Brother Thomas,

<<Thank you for your posting. I do own a copy of Souter's book The Text and Canon of the New Testament, >>

That's a rather interesting fact ... why did you fail to read it on the topic of the dating of the Old Latin Text? In my opinion it would be difficult for anyone to read this book and fail to see that Souter is basing his argument for a 2nd century origination of the Latin Text ENTIRELY upon citations from Church Fathers. No question as to Souter claiming 2nd century manuscripts should have come up.

<<...but I had to borrow his Novum Testamentum Graece from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio). Also, my copy was in Latin and I must say I wish I had had an English version of it. That, I believe, would have made things a little clearer.>>

From what information I've been able to dredge up there's not been an English version of his text.

<<I had noted the question mark myself in earlier postings. And, I fully concur with your above statement. This, as one looks over the record, makes far more sense and certainly was what we both were leaning towards as noted in our postings. Souter, like Westcott and others, simply concluded what the 2nd-4th century OL mss. must have read based on the citations of Latin church fathers during this same period. I am delighted to know that my understanding of Souter's Latin quote was, in this sense, correct.>>

You're missing the precision of my point. Souter, like Westcott and others, assume (correctly) that Old Latin Manuscripts existed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries based upon the citations of certain Church Fathers from that period. In other words, it's not physical manuscripts that serve as the basis for our knowledge of the existence of a 2nd and 3rd century OL mss period, but Church Father knowledge of such mss. That much is correct.

HOWEVER, not even Souter is willing to grant full identity between those quotations and the OL mss in question. We DO have mss in which the scribe has swapped out the version of the scriptural citation which the Church Father used for the version of the scriptural passage that the scribe knew and prefered. This happened in many ways, SOMETIMES by later scribes who would wash off the Father's version and write in the one they knew. Hence, there is some (sometimes significant) variation even in the version of text found in the Fathers' citations.

Also, we must NOT forget that there is clear evidence of significant variation in the kinds of text present EVEN in the period of the Fathers, and not only inbetween different Fathers but also even in citations from the SAME Father (a difference that, on occasion, THEY clearly noted themselves). In other words, just because a Father cites a passage a certain way does NOT mean that ALL OL mss MUST have read that particular way. In fact, we KNOW that such is not always true.

<<I am sorry you had to tell me this too :-D. But, you are correct in stating I had misread the apparatus. As noted, the fact that Souter lists the early dates is correct, but we also know why that is as listed above. My mistake is that I had read the "L" on one page (noting the early dates) and did not follow through with the other readings noting the Vulgate. Thank you for pointing this out.>>

Not only did you not follow through with the other readings noting the Vulgate, but you also failed to note that the citation doesn't include a consensus of all Old Latin Manuscripts but, rather, is simply the citation of this version of the variant in ONE of those manuscripts ("m") which nominally make up that consensus. This is the more important point, for it illustrates the error of your statement:

<<It is found in the majority of the early Latin manuscripts which date from the second, third, and forth centuries [see the apparatus by Alexander Souter, Novum Testamentum Graece]. Further, it is found in many editions of the Vulgate (forth century). It is also found in later Old Latin manuscripts, such as m (ninth century) and r (seventh/eighth century).>>

Note, the apparatus doesn't say the first part of this AT ALL, and that there is no "further" in the apparatus regarding "m." Rather, it says that Latin Manuscript (German-L) of the Old Latin form (vt) "m" has it. I'm sorry to have to drive this home, but I don't want this missed by others who have not had the opportunity to eye-ball the apparatus themselves -- and particuarly not, given the several times you've posted this erroneous statement in the past. Put simply, there is NO Old Latin Consensus on the inclusion of the Comma, and Souter CANNOT be interpreted as so saying. THAT is the important point.

<<As I wrote to another on these postings, the point would have been moot anyway. It does not matter, as some scholars have noted, if we can say credit Cyprian (for example) with citing the Comma or not. The weight of the external evidence would stand against the Comma.>>

Only partially correct. The Fathers citations are important, yes, and so are Old Latin references to it ... but only in as much as they provide support for how the Greek text was dispersed in the Versions AND how the text was interpreted and understood and applied, theologically, at that time. They would also be important IF an extremely early copy of the Comma were to be found in a Greek-langauge mss (like a 2nd or early 3rd century Papyrus).

<<In like manner, if we had reference to such early Latin mss supporting the Comma, it would still (in all likely hood) be rejected. Both of us know that very early Greek readings are rejected.>>

Some are, depending upon the character of the reading ... but not always. AND, you MUST admit that the discovery of earlier readings has sometimes occasioned changes in the critical text. Hence, your statement (while nominally true) is not, in actuality, precisely true and certainly not true all the time -- and, hence, not true for making your conclusion.

<<Therefore, demonstrating the Comma to have been in existence in the Latin Church in the 2nd or 3rd century would not, IMOH, persuade modern textual scholars to include it (other than it may receive more notation in some apparatuses).>>

Demonstrating the Comma to have been in existence in the Latin Church in the 2nd or 3rd century would be helpful in tracking down its entrance into the Latin Textualcopia. That, in and of itself, would be an important break-through.

<<On the contrary, it [the inclusion of the Comma in "m"] establishes the reading existed in the 4th century (and in all likelihood in mss. form). The fact that Priscillian was heretical seems irrelevant, unless one is building a case against the Trinity and insists that Priscillian inserted the clause to propagate the Trinity doctrine. In all honesty, I do not know how Priscillian used the quote. Do you? If so I would very much like to read it. If he cited it in objection to the Trinity, or suggests that the orthodox believers placed it in the OL texts, it may be argued in favor of my position (that is only speculation, for I do not have the quote with me and would have to search for it next time I am at the UTS library).>>

It seems to me that this is where your methodology falls into serious inconsistancy. IF association with, and proximity to, heretics (Gnostics) is damaging and shadow-casting for the Church at Alexandria, and hence for its manuscripts, the SAME KIND OF CHARGE (association with and proximity to Arians) ***M U S T *** be true for the Church at Antioch, and hence for its manuscripts. In other words, Thomas, if an argument is good for the goose (Alexandria) then it is VERY WELL good for the gander (Antioch). I've pointed this inescapable fact out to other KJV-Only supporters in the past, only to have them slink away without responding to it.

<<Without speculation, or referencing what you would consider questionable such as Cyprian, here is some of the evidence supporting the Comma. In the Greek witnesses it is found in a few late manuscripts (61, 88, 221, 429, 629, 636, 918 and 2318). Of these it is found in the margins of 88, 429, 636, 221, and 2318.>>

Let's get PRECISE, shall we?

61 is a post-1st edition Erasmus GNT text, and therefore is dated to the 16th century. Textual analysis shows that it is based upon the text of Erasmus' FIRST edition of the GNT, with the Comma added.

88 is a 12th century minuscule with the Comma in the margin in a modern handwriting

221 is a 10th century minuscule with the Comma added in the margin (the marginal addition is dated to about 15th or 16th century)

429 is a 14th century minuscule with the comma, yet again, in the margin

*629 is a 14th century minuscule with the comma in the body-text (YEAH!!!! Finally!)

636 is a 15th century minuscule with the comma in the margin in a modern handwriting.

918 is a 16th century minuscle with the comma in the body text

And 2318 is an 18th century (ie, another POST Erasmus) minuscule with the comma in the margin of the text written in the Latin of the Clementine edition of the Vulgate.

So ... what do you have?? MOST of your Greek manuscript citations have the variant in the margin in a substantially modern hand. The OLDEST Greek manuscript with the variant in the body-text is ms. 629, which is a 14th century (1300s AD) manuscript. The marginal additions contain MUCH variation, reflecting having been copied and translated from the Latin Vulgate and, indeed, in one case (manuscript 2318) the variant is, itself, in the Latin of the Clementine edition! I'm sorry, Thomas, but this is such utterly POOR attestation that I'm shocked you think it is valid!!

<<It also is found in the majority of the Vulgate manuscripts from 800 AD and after. Additionally, it is found in later Old Latin manuscripts, such as m (ninth century) and r (seventh/eighth century). Excluding Cyprian (whom I think does refer to it) the Comma is cited without question by Priscillian (385 AD), Cassian (435), Ps-Vigilius (date unknown), Ps-Athanasius (sixth century), Fulgentius (533 AD), and Ansbert (eighth century). And, it is found in other writings such as the Speculum (427 AD) and the Varimadum (380 AD). >>

We've already discussed "m" -- it's a collection of the scriptural quotations of Priscillian, not a Scripture text.

Regarding the rest ... I am left with the question -- why would it not be found in any extant Greek manuscripts from this period? AND, are we justified in disregarding the absence of the passage from the Greek witnesses for 13 hundred years?

<<Although there may be more evidence,...>>

Not much.

<<...this is really the lot of the external evidence which supports the Comma. There is NO question that the weight of the external evidence speaks against the Comma.>>

Correct.

<<Nevertheless, there IS external evidence for the Comma which makes the reading POSSIBLE (unless one believes such external evidence must be ignored).>>

Agreed ... the reading is certianly POSSIBLE. However, I don't think it is probable. Thomas ... I would LOVE it if this were a valid reading, but I cannot accept that it would skip 1300 years in the Greek Textual record! In the VERY least, Thomas, you MUST admit that any inclusion of it is based upon a backward translation from Latin into Greek. Hence, even if you want to accept the Comma in general, you MUST admit that the variant may not be precisely as it would have been in the autograph.

<<This would, I think, explain why the information (at least some of it) is contained in the apparatuses of both Souter and NA, and is noted by other scholars (such as Alford's, The Greek Testament, and Plummer's, Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges).>>

Evidence for-or-against should not be ignored. The variant is still a variant, regardless of how it got into the Biblical account. My personal opinion is that it should be maintained in the margin of most translations as a common variant that is not, however, part of the oldest and best textual record.

<<However, the argument for the Comma shifts when we also consider the internal evidence.>>

I disagree.

<<If the Comma were an interpolation we would expect something such as "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." The more common expression concerning the Trinity. Instead, we find the phrase "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost." It is certainly Johannine, to refer to Christ as "the Word" (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:7). In fact, he is the ONLY NT writer to do so.>>

This simply illustrates that the addition is orthodox theological reflection upon the unquestioned text into which it was inserted, reflection that kept in mind the theological language of 1 John and the Gospel of John. Hence, viewing this as an argument FOR its inclusion is no better than viewing it as an argument against its inclusion. I would call this a neutral obsevration. It proves nothing, other than that the variant is in accord with Johannine theology.

<<It is not uncommon for John to introduce a topic, and then amplify it later (Christians walk in light--1:7; amplified in 2:9. The spirit of anti-christ --2:18; amplified in 4: 2-6. Love for brethren -- 2:10; amplified in 3:11. And so on.) Therefore, when we read in 4:13-14 that the Spirit, Father and Son testify, it is not uncharacteristic to read of their heavenly testimony in 5:7. In fact, we would expect it.>>

Granted ... against the weight of the textual witness, however, this is a weak argument indeed. Also, one might say that a sharp reader might notice this lack of parallelism and thusly insert it into the text at this point.

<<John uses parallelism. For example, in 2:22 he asks, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." The verses is paralleled in 2:23. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." The same is true when John writes of little children, fathers, and young men (2:12-14). It comes as no surprise, therefore, to see the parallel of witnesses in 5:7-8 (heavenly and earthly).>>

This argument would be significantly stronger were 5:7-8 to be seen following directly on the heels of 2:12-14. Sorry, again, against the textual weight this is a very weak argument indeed.

<<Finally, there is the matter of Greek grammar. The words "spirit," "water," and "blood" are neuter. Yet they are presented as masculine in 5:8. This is poor grammar without the Comma. Yet, with the Comma and the introduction of Father and Word (masculine) the clause in 5:8 is correct and would be expected.>>

That would be a nice argument, Thomas, except that "three" is almost always found in the NT in masculine form when used as a substantive REGARDLESS of what gender it "should" take. Hence, what you identify as an indicator that something has been removed isn't anything more than an example of variation in style.

<<Does any of this prove the Comma? No. But it does cause it some regard. To disparage it may be in vogue, but in so doing we rob ourselves of some additional considerations. In my opinion, the combination of the heavy internal evidence, with the external evidence, moves the Comma from possibility to probability.>>

I find this conclusion aboslutely mind-blowing. How can you weigh your exceedingly weak internal evidences for its inclusion against the overwhelmingly POWERFUL external evidence AGAINST its inclusion, and come up with a probability that it should be included? To make such an assertion you either have to not be bothered by its stunning lack of presence in the Greek manuscript record for over 1300 years, or you must be governed by a predetermined bias to find that the Comma is valid (in other words, the evidence is irrelivant -- you will find in favor of the Comma no matter what). I think both may be in place and functioning here. Based upon what you've said to others, I'm of the opinion that you really don't care what the textual evidence shows; you disregard any evidence "against preservation" and only recognize evidence that is FOR your understanding of "preservation." I find this way of going about scholarship to be wholly corrupt and, hence, entirely unconvincing. I, in the very least, am willing to consider the possibility that the Comma is valid. Indeed, as I've already said, I would LOVE it if it were valid and don't want it to be invalid. But, as much as I would LOVE to find it in the autograph, my desire to find it there cannot be the factor which determines the reading. Indeed, I consider my bias in favor of finding it there to be a point of suspicion in my scholarship -- just as I find it fundamentally disasterous to yours. Nevertheless, give me ONE 2nd or 3rd century GREEK papyrus witness to the text and I might very well be willing to argue that the Arian heretics at Antioch took the passage out in order to enable them to argue against the veracity of the Holy Trinity; but, you don't even have THAT! All you have is mostly LATE versional support, plus some weak non-scriptural references.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Mon, Sep 7, 1998 7:13 PM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998090800135600.UAA01323@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Brother Greg,

I had mentioned that I owned Souter's book. You begin your recent letter by
noting that and you ask:
>>That's a rather interesting fact ... why did you fail to read it on the topic of the
dating of the Old Latin Text? <<

Because I thought I had read his Latin NTG correctly.

Moving on you note:
>>It seems to me that this is where your methodology falls into serious
inconsistency. IF association with, and proximity to, heretics (Gnostics) is
damaging and shadow-casting for the Church at Alexandria, and hence for its
manuscripts, than the SAME CHARGE (association with and proximity to Arians)
***M U S T *** be true for the Church at Antioch, and hence for its manuscripts.
In other words, Thomas, if an argument is good for the goose (Alexandria) then it
is VERY WELL good for the gander (Antioch). I've pointed this inescapable fact
out to other KJV-Only supporters in the past, only to have them slink away
without responding to it.<<

I did not raise this argument, and am not accountable for those who do. I do not
reject the Alexandrian textual line because there were Gnostics in Egypt. I may
reject a certain reading (in any textual line) if it can be shown that it was placed
there by heretics, or if that reading agrees with heretical doctrine. But there are
times when I have supported the KJV readings because of something found in
Alexandrian texts. Manuscripts, to me, are just witnesses to God's preservation of
His word. Not that any one manuscript (or line of manuscripts) is His preserved
word. Regardless, it may do well for us to limit our discussion to points we raise,
not points others have raised.

You ask:
>>So ... what do you have?? MOST of your Greek manuscript citations have the
variant in the margin in a substantially modern hand. <<

I admitted in my posting that they were found in the margins.

You continue:
>>The OLDEST Greek manuscript with the variant in the body-text is ms. 629,
which is a 14th century (1300s AD) manuscript.<<

Yes, that is true. But than again, most of the mss. we have come from this period.
Most of the copies of the Epistle of John (which do not have the Comma) date to
the same time. There are no papyrus which contain 1 John chapter 5, accept for
P74 and it does not contain any of this passage for us to know for certain what
was written or not. Among the uncials we have Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, A, K, L, P,
044, 048, 049, 056, 0142 which contain 1 John chapter 5 and do not have the
Comma. The first two date to the 4th century, A and 048 to the 5th, the others
come later (mostly from the 9th century).

My point is this, while there is no Greek support for the Comma (in the text of the
Greek itself) until the 14th century, there is textual support in the Latin which
dates to the time of the majority of these uncials. Further, there is textual support
(again in Latin through citations) which dates to the 4th century. Again, your
point is well taken. But that does not mean we should not consider this Latin
information (which is almost as old as a few Gk. uncial mss.).

You ask:
>>Regarding the rest ... I am left with the question -- why would it not be found in
any extant Greek manuscripts from this period? AND, are we justified in
disregarding the absence of the passage from the Greek witnesses for 13 hundred
years?<<

I assume, of course, that it was written in Greek in very early mss. which we no
longer have. My belief in Biblical preservation does not demand that a reading
remain in the original language, nor does it demand that we have mss. from every
generation testifying to its authenticity. I am sure you know that some argue the
reason it was not used early is because of the Sabellian heresy.

You then note:
>>Evidence for-or-against should not be ignored.<<

I am grateful to know that you believe all evidence should be noted. On this, we
agree.

I wrote:
<<If the Comma were an interpolation we would expect something such as
"Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." The more common expression concerning the
Trinity. Instead, we find the phrase "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost."
It is certainly Johannine, to refer to Christ as "the Word" (John 1:1, 14; 1 John
1:7). In fact, he is the ONLY NT writer to do so.>>

You respond:
>>This simply illustrates that the addition is orthodox theological reflection upon
the unquestioned text into which it was inserted, reflection that kept in mind the
theological language of 1 John and the Gospel of John. Hence, viewing this as an
argument FOR it's inclusion is no better than viewing it as an argument against its
inclusion. I would call this a neutral obseration. It proves nothing, other than that
the variant is in accord with Johannine theology.<<

This is only an argument against my point, that the phrase is Johannine. You are
not offering internal evidence against this point. Which is why I think the internal
evidence is stronger. Again, the expression in the Comma is Johannine.

I wrote:
<<It is not uncommon for John to introduce a topic, and then amplify it later . . .
Therefore, when we read in 4:13-14 that the Spirit, Father and Son testify, it is not
uncharacteristic to read of their heavenly testimony in 5:7. In fact, we would
expect it.>>

You write:
>>Granted ... against the weight of the textual witness, however, this is a weak
argument indeed. Also, one might say that a sharp reader might notice this lack of
parallelism and thusly insert it into the text at this point.<<

Thank you for granting the point, even if you think it weak.

I wrote:
<<John uses parallelism . . . It comes as no surprise, therefore,
to see the parallel of witnesses in 5:7-8 (heavenly and earthly).>>

You respond with:
>>This argument would be significantly stronger were 5:7-8 to be seen following
directly on the heels of 2:12-14. Sorry, again, against the textual weight this is a
very weak argument indeed.<<

My point is that parallelism is used in several places by John. It therefore does not
have to come after 2:14.

I wrote:
<<Finally, there is the matter of Greek grammar. The words "spirit," "water," and
"blood" are neuter. Yet they are presented as masculine in 5:8. This is poor
grammar without the Comma.>>

You note:
>>That would be a nice argument, Thomas, except that "three" is almost always
found in the NT in masculine form when used as a substantive REGARDLESS of
what gender it "should" take. Hence, what you identify as an indicator that
something has been removed isn't anything more than an example of variation in
style.<<

I am sorry, my friend, but this is a grammatical irregularity. The phrase "treis eisin
oi martupountes" is masculine. The proper grammatical structure of the verse (if
5:7 is not there) should be "tria eisin ta martupounta." As for "treis" by itself, I
would be delighted to consider examples if you would like to supply them. But I
was referring to the whole clause. Having it stand in the masculine in verse 8 is
irregular. That does not mean it is impossible, it means that the internal evidence
provides better grammar if verse 7 is not omitted.

You go on to say:
>>I'm of the opinion that you really don't care what the textual evidence shows;
you disregard any evidence "against preservation" and only recognize evidence
that is FOR your understanding of "preservation." I find this way of going about
scholarship to be wholly corrupt and, hence, entirely unconvincing.<<

My friend, I avoid using words such as "corrupt" in regard to the views of others.
Please respect my view enough to do likewise.

As for caring what the textual evidence shows, I have made it clear from the
beginning that I do not start with the evidence to decide which section of Scripture
I believe is original or not. I do not think the Bible needs to be reconstructed. I
believe it has always been preserved. I approach the subject theologically, and
have clearly stated this to be the case.

In a way it is the same as with the creation/evolution debate. I am a creationist. I
can view the subject and look at the evidence, but the bottom line is that I am not a
creationist because of the scientific evidence for it. I am a creationist because I
approach the subject theologically. Then I interrupt the evidence in light of that
theological belief. The same is true of Biblical inerrancy. And, the same is true of
Biblical preservation. God bless, my friend, as you labor for Him.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Brother Thomas

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Mon, Sep 7, 1998 10:51 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090803512500.XAA03553@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<I did not raise this argument, and am not accountable for those who do.>>

You are correct, you didn't raise that argument in our discussion. You are also correct in saying that you are not accountable for the actions of others. HOWEVER, those two things being said, you DO raise this very argument in your study series on the subject of the KJV-Only, and so I am raising it now.

<<I do not reject the Alexandrian textual line because there were Gnostics in Egypt. I may reject a certain reading (in any textual line) if it can be shown that it was placed there by heretics, or if that reading agrees with heretical doctrine.>>

I assume, therefore, that you've changed your position since you wrote this in your lesson plan:

<<All these Greek manuscripts mentioned were
discovered in Egypt and have more to do with Clement of
Alexandria and Origen than the original autographs, and they show
how textual critics of the second and third century were willing to
alter the word of God.>>

I'm sorry to bring up your own words out of past writings, Thomas, but these are your words ... correct? And, you did spend a significant amount of time in your study-series on the topic of the Heretical tainting of the Alexandrian Text, correct?

<<But there are times when I have supported the KJV readings because of something found in Alexandrian texts. Manuscripts, to me, are just witnesses to God's preservation of His word.>>

Except when they have been corrupted by gnostics in Alexandria, I suppose?? And, I gather, you determine which manuscripts have been corrupted based upon their degree of agreement with the KJV's textual exemplars. And how do you know that the textual exemplars in the KJV are not, themselves, corrupted?? I know ... I know ... your faith in their preservation. But how do you know that it's THESE that God has preserved? I know ... I know ... your faith in THEIR preservation. Shall we go spiraling on?

<<Not that any one manuscript (or line of manuscripts) is His preserved
word. Regardless, it may do well for us to limit our discussion to points we raise,
not points others have raised.>>

It would seem that I have, indeed, limited it to points that you have raised. If you don't want to address this issue now, that's fine. Granted, you didn't raise it in the context of our conversation, but you have in the past ... and, I have been confronted by KJV-Only supporters who are using your teaching-series in ways that are not nearly as congenial as you have approached me in our current encounter. Are you, perhaps, starting to get my point?

<<My point is this, while there is no Greek support for the Comma (in the text of the
Greek itself) until the 14th century, there is textual support in the Latin which
dates to the time of the majority of these uncials.>>

And that point is read and understood. I just don't find it convincingly strong enough to outweigh the textual weight against the variant.

<<Further, there is textual support (again in Latin through citations) which dates to the 4th century. Again, your point is well taken. But that does not mean we should not consider this Latin information (which is almost as old as a few Gk. uncial mss.). >>

Of course their witness should be considered -- however, Latin is not Greek, and the autograph was written in Greek. Likewise, the Comma appears in Latin sporadically and with variation, and only later does it increase in frequency of appearance and in increased stability of citation. That's not a good sign for it's inclusion ... not a good sign at all.

I had asked: <<Regarding the rest ... I am left with the question -- why would it not be found in any extant Greek manuscripts from this period? AND, are we justified in disregarding the absence of the passage from the Greek witnesses for 13 hundred
years?>>

Your response was:

<<I assume, of course, that it was written in Greek in very early mss. which we no
longer have. My belief in Biblical preservation does not demand that a reading
remain in the original language, nor does it demand that we have mss. from every
generation testifying to its authenticity. I am sure you know that some argue the
reason it was not used early is because of the Sabellian heresy.>>

1. I simply cannot imagine HOW it could be missing from EVERY SINGLE Greek manuscript until so VERY late a period of time in the transmission of the Greek Text. Periodic appearances in the textualcopia SHOULD have been expected.

2. You are twisting the problem of this variant relative to the Sabellian heresy. In fact, you're putting it precisely on its very head. The FACT that it is not cited EVEN IN DEBATES WITH THE SABELLINAS is a very damaging FACT AGAINST the inclusion of the Comma. It SHOULD have been cited, but it wasn't.

In response to your argument regarding the internal placement of the comma, I wrote:

<<This simply illustrates that the addition is orthodox theological reflection upon
the unquestioned text into which it was inserted, reflection that kept in mind the
theological language of 1 John and the Gospel of John. Hence, viewing this as an
argument FOR it's inclusion is no better than viewing it as an argument against its
inclusion. I would call this a neutral observation. It proves nothing, other than that
the variant is in accord with Johannine theology.>>

You wrote: <<This is only an argument against my point, that the phrase is Johannine. You are not offering internal evidence against this point. Which is why I think the internal evidence is stronger. Again, the expression in the Comma is Johannine.>>

Nonsense, Thomas. Read it again. I'm saying that the Comma ***IS*** Johannine in character. That it is Johannine doesn't prove, however, that it is original. You must first assume that it is original for your conclusion to be valid. You have the cart before the horse here ... as you do in your entire methodology.

I responded to your remark about the grammar problem in 1 John 5 without the comma with the following:

<<That would be a nice argument, Thomas, except that "three" is almost always
found in the NT in masculine form when used as a substantive REGARDLESS of
what gender it "should" take. Hence, what you identify as an indicator that
something has been removed isn't anything more than an example of variation in
style.>>

You responded: <<I am sorry, my friend, but this is a grammatical irregularity. The phrase "treis eisin oi martupountes" is masculine. The proper grammatical structure of the verse (if 5:7 is not there) should be "tria eisin ta martupounta." As for "treis" by itself, I would be delighted to consider examples if you would like to supply them. But I was referring to the whole clause. Having it stand in the masculine in verse 8 is irregular. That does not mean it is impossible, it means that the internal evidence provides better grammar if verse 7 is not omitted.>>

Thomas, I understand the grammatical argument quite well; you may remember that I used to teach Greek at the undergraduate and graduate level. My response -- which you might have noticed had you not launched into a patronizing lecture on Greek grammar -- recognized the irregularity of the grammar in this situation. Allow me to state it more fully: the "three" should be in gender agreement with the neuter "Spirit," "water," and "blood," but it's not -- "three," in 1 John 5:7, is masculine. WHY is it masculine and not neuter? You posit that it is not in agreement because something has been removed which causes a solecism. That's certainly possible, but your argument violates parsimony by requiring the addition of text that is NOT there in the Greek (at least, not until the 14th century). It makes far more sense -- and doesn't violate Occum's razor -- to recognize that "treis," when used substantively, often takes the masculine REGARDLESS of the context or the grammar conventions which the context would require. The exception to this general rule is 1 Corinthians 13:13. Here, the grammatical context requires feminine plural but what we find is "tria," -- neuter plural. Are both of these solecisms? Sure, they are! But, as the 1 Corinthians example should illustrate, such are known in the Greek New Testament! CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION ON THIS TOPIC

The long and short of it is this: I would rather accept that what we have is a simple grammatical irregularity then go through the textual gymnastics requisite in justifying the inclusion of the variant.

I said: <<I'm of the opinion that you really don't care what the textual evidence shows;
you disregard any evidence "against preservation" and only recognize evidence
that is FOR your understanding of "preservation." I find this way of going about
scholarship to be wholly corrupt and, hence, entirely unconvincing.>>

<<My friend, I avoid using words such as "corrupt" in regard to the views of others.
Please respect my view enough to do likewise.>>

I must have misread your words in your Study, then:

<<This is not to say all the early church
theologians or manuscripts are corrupt. It is to say that we
cannot trust any one of these sources as the final authority.
Instead, we must depend upon the providence of God to preserve
His words without error and then demonstrate where this preserved
word is.>>

I'm sorry, Thomas, if I insulted you ... I used the term "corrupt" to illustrate the severe malfunction -- the devastating flaw -- inherent in your methodology. Indeed, this flaw is illustrated remarkably in the quotation immediately above. Given the weight you give to that word, and the way you used it in your study, I should have known better than to have applied it in my remark regarding your methodology. Know that I wasn't accusing you of being an apostate or of not being orthodox ... rather, I was simply asserting that I find your way of going about scholarship to be flawed.

<<As for caring what the textual evidence shows, I have made it clear from the
beginning that I do not start with the evidence to decide which section of Scripture
I believe is original or not. I do not think the Bible needs to be reconstructed. I
believe it has always been preserved. I approach the subject theologically, and
have clearly stated this to be the case.>>

Granted. And it is the sheer circularity of your approach that I find so devastating to your methodology. Your position provides no room for YOU to do what you demand that WE do -- which is examine the evidence of Scripture and the textual witness. Nothing that we present, textually speaking, will change your mind. By your own admission, therefore, you are not open for real, meaningful debate -- your position is dependent entirely upon faith, and faith alone.

<<In a way it is the same as with the creation/evolution debate. I am a creationist. I
can view the subject and look at the evidence, but the bottom line is that I am not a
creationist because of the scientific evidence for it. I am a creationist because I
approach the subject theologically. Then I interrupt the evidence in light of that
theological belief. The same is true of Biblical inerrancy. And, the same is true of
Biblical preservation.>>

Your approach is certainly an excellent one for one who is already a believer -- it doesn't hold much water, however, for a skeptical world that demands cogent arguments.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Tue, Sep 8, 1998 8:27 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998090813271000.JAA07849@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Brother Greg,

One of the problems with these type of postings is that conversations seem to
diverge from the original subjects raised into various discourses and sub-
discourses. My original posting (which now seems lost) was that a great deal of
textual evidence has to do with conjecture. I posted that because I wanted to note
that conjecture is not limited to one side or the other.

Both of us have been mistreated by the other side. When this happens it is easy to read into what someone says. If a statement sounds like something raised by an antagonizer, we assume that this person must also be an antagonizer. I do not
desire for those reading these postings to conclude that the topic cannot be
discussed without antagonism.

Concerning the subject of Gnosticism. You cite from my lessons as justification
for raising the topic. The inference is that while I stated in yesterday's post:

<<I do not reject the Alexandrian textual line because there were Gnostics in
Egypt. I may reject a certain reading (in any textual line) if it can be shown that it
was placed there by heretics, or if that reading agrees with heretical doctrine.>>

You ask if I had changed my mind because I write in my lessons:

<<All these Greek manuscripts mentioned were discovered in Egypt and have
more to do with Clement of Alexandria and Origen than the original autographs,
and they show how textual critics of the second and third century were willing to
alter the word of God.>>

I have not changed my mind, and the context of the statements found in both my
lesson and posting stand. The reader can see for themselve by viewing my lesson
on this topic at http://members.aol.com/jbabster/holland/lesson04.html

The context of the posting dealt with a blanket rejection of the Alexandrian line
because of possible Gnostic influence. The statements in your posting the day
before suggest if we are going to reject the Alexandrian line because of possible
Gnostic influences, then we must also reject the Latin line because of possible
heretical influences (good for goose, good for gander argument). Such a blanket
rejection is unwarranted as noted in my posting. This does not mean, however,
that readings in those manuscripts should not be rejected. Nor does it mean that
there are not readings in textual lines which may have been influenced by, or were
direct changes by, heretical doctrine. If you wish, I can give some examples. In
fact, that may be good for another discussion in these postings.

You also write:
>>Except when they have been corrupted by gnostics in Alexandria, I suppose??
And, I gather, you determine which manuscripts have been corrupted based upon
their degree of agreement with the KJV's textual exemplars. And how do you
know that the textual exemplars in the KJV are not, themselves, corrupted?? I
know ... I know ... your faith in their preservation. But how do you know that it's
THESE that God has preserved? I know ... I know ... your faith in THEIR
preservation. Shall we go spiraling on?<<

Then, later when discussing the Greek of 1 John 5, you write:

>>My response -- which you might have noticed had you not launched into a
patronizing lecture on Greek grammar -- recognized the irregularity of the
Grammar in this situation.<<

I hope that I am misreading the tone of your postings, but the above statement
seems a little patronizing itself. As to the Greek, I was not trying to patronize you.
There are those reading these postings who do not know Greek, and I was offering
what I thought the text should read if verse 7 were not there. If I were being
patronizing, I would have been insulting in my remarks. And, no insult was
intended or implied.

Likewise, there was this exchange:

I had written:
<<My friend, I avoid using words such as "corrupt" in regard to the views of
others. Please respect my view enough to do likewise.>>

You write:
>>I must have misread your words in your Study, then:<<

Then you quote from my lesson:

<<This is not to say all the early church theologians or manuscripts are corrupt. It
is to say that we cannot trust any one of these sources as the final authority.
Instead, we must depend upon the providence of God to preserve His words
without error and then demonstrate where this preserved word is.>>

Again, both statements can be true, in context. If we can show that an early
church theologian had corrupt teachings (such as the Father/Mother God held to
by Clement and the Gnostics). To call such "corrupt" is a far comment. If, on the
other hand, I state that YOUR view or approach is corrupt, I have moved my
methodology into the realm of being insulting. I try not to personalize such
debates.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas
http://members.aol.com/Logos1611/index.html

***

Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Subject: Re: On Souter and his Latin Apparatus
Date: Wed, Sep 9, 1998 1:25 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090918252900.OAA16725@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<One of the problems with these type of postings is that conversations seem to
diverge from the original subjects raised into various discourses and sub-
discourses.>>

My brother, that is a theorem which is far easier to prove than Fermat's!! In other words -- you are precisely correct! Thread Drift is a REAL phenomenon ... though, I'm not so sure, a bad one.

<<My original posting (which now seems lost) was that a great deal of
textual evidence has to do with conjecture. I posted that because I wanted to note
that conjecture is not limited to one side or the other. >>

I agree with you. I suppose the point of difference, on this general subject, is that some conjectures take greater leaps of faith to span than others.

<<Both of us have been mistreated by the other side. When this happens it is easy to read into what someone says. If a statement sounds like something raised by an antagonizer, we assume that this person must also be an antagonizer. I do not desire for those reading these postings to conclude that the topic cannot be discussed without antagonism.>>

I certainly echo your experience and desire. Sadly, I'm not so sure such is possible.

<<The context of the posting dealt with a blanket rejection of the Alexandrian line
because of possible Gnostic influence. The statements in your posting the day
before suggest if we are going to reject the Alexandrian line because of possible
Gnostic influences, then we must also reject the Latin line because of possible
heretical influences (good for goose, good for gander argument). Such a blanket
rejection is unwarranted as noted in my posting. This does not mean, however,
that readings in those manuscripts should not be rejected. Nor does it mean that
there are not readings in textual lines which may have been influenced by, or were
direct changes by, heretical doctrine. If you wish, I can give some examples. In
fact, that may be good for another discussion in these postings. >>

Thomas, allow me to make 2 points.

1. IF we reject the Alexandrain Line because of the suspected influence of Gnostics, then we MUST (I'm sorry, I am going to have to be unyeilding on this one) WE ****MUST**** reject the Antiochian Textual Line (The Byzantine Text) due to the possibility of influence from the Arians who WERE present in Antioch (and in positions of significant power and influence in the Byzantine Empire).

2. My point is entirely rhetorical, HOWEVER, since I REJECT the very concept of rejecing EITHER textual line on those grounds.

Rather, I would say that we should reject readings for what they ACTUALLY contain, and not whole textual lines or even whole manuscripts due to their geographical and cultural origination. HOWEVER, contrary to what you say above, this approach is NOT one which you support! Here, again, are words from your Study:

<<Most of the Gnostic Gospels come from manuscripts found in Egypt. Many of the supporters of the Traditional Text (such as Edward F. Hills, Zane Hodges, Robert Wilson, Peter Ruckman, and David Otis Fuller) have stated or suggested that Gnosticism influenced the philosophy of the scribes copying the manuscripts in Egypt. Gnosticism is known as an ancient heresy, teaching that all that is spiritual is good and all that is physical is evil. The heresy also suggests that since Jesus was created, and all that is physical is evil, Christ was not coming back in the flesh. This is the false doctrine which John addresses in his first epistle. Thus manuscripts coming from Egypt are questionable.>>

What is the logical conclusion which follows from the above? Why, simply, that the Alexandrian Textual Line is questionable and must be rejected. THAT is the force of your argument in your study. It IS nice that you don't seem to be supporting that argument with me in the course of this discussion but, rather, prefer a variant-by-variant (or manuscript by manuscript) approach. However, the above words from you -- and their context of usage -- really do illustrate your antipathy toward the Alexandrian Textual Line, AND your grounds for so viewing them. AND my observation is, accordingly, EQUALLY true ... IF you are correct, and <<manuscripts coming from Egypt are questionable,>> then Manuscripts which come from Antioch are EQUALLY questionable.

Frankly, I prefer my approach -- NO manuscript tradition should be rejected due to suspected heretical tampering but, rather, each variant reading should be weighed and judged based upon criteria intrinsic to the text and the context.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: Disparity Between Methods
Subject: Re: Disparity Between Methods
Date: Wed, Sep 9, 1998 2:07 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998090919070600.PAA20846@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<Others have their own biases as well, and many cannot see them for they are hidden in intellectualism. Intellectualism is by no means a sin, it is something we should strive for. But it is also not a god, and need not rule our lives. Somethings simply have to begin with faith. I think the question here is, where is that faith placed.>>

I agree completely, though I would add that intellectualism is not the only reason why many cannot see their own biases. Some are blinded by misplaced faith.

As for where (actually, in WHOM) we place our Faith ... I would pray that we place our faith in the life, atoning death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: Disparity Between Methods
Subject: Re: Disparity Between Methods
Date: Thu, Sep 10, 1998 8:57 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998091013572200.JAA15981@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Brother Greg (and all others who are reading this),

In yesterday's posting there is a note we all can agree on:

>>As for where (actually, in WHOM) we place our Faith ... I would pray that we
place our faith in the life, atoning death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of Jesus
Christ our Lord.<<

To this I give a hearty, "AMEN!"

This posting introduced with the following:

>>I agree completely, though I would add that intellectualism is not the only
reason why many cannot see their own biases. Some are blinded by misplaced
faith.<<

Again, "AMEN!" Misplaced faith is wrong faith. But is faith in the promise of
Biblical preservation misplaced? That, it seems to me, is the question here. Before progressing I feel there needs to be two basic definitions given. That of faith and that of Biblical preservation.

Faith. Taking God at His word. Believing what He says.

Biblical preservation. That the words given by inspiration of God (i.e. the
Scriptures) are the words of God and will be kept by God. That which He has
inspired, He will preserve.

With these definitions, I wonder if faith in Biblical preservation is misplaced faith.
Or, if faith in one's own intellectualism is misplaced is faith. Jesus said,
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt.
24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

Yet, when I read places where some claim the ending of Mark (for example) has
been lost through transmission. Or all those Hebrew numbers regarding kings,
horses, and the correct number of warriors have been lost. I am faced, with a
decision. Has some of God's words passed away? If so, then my faith will have to
rest in men to restore what was not kept. If they have not passed away, then I
must ask myself where they are.

Most conservative Christians (rather they support the KJV, MT, TR, or even in
some cases such as White & Sheehan the CT) agree that the words of God have
not passed away. He inspired them, they are inerrant, and He has kept them.
Inerrancy, is an outgrowth of inspiration. I believe the KJV movement (and for
that matter the MT and TR movements) is an outgrowth of inerrancy. The points
raised by MJay can equally apply to the TR or any Christian who believes in
Biblical inerrancy. After all, all one need do is find one error and there is no
inerrancy.

I took God at His word that He would save me. I take God at His word that
Christ was raised from the dead, seated in Heaven, and will one day return. Is it
"misplaced" faith to believe that the same God who raised the dead and atones for
our sins can also preserve His words?

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas

***

What Would It Take?
Subject: What Would It Take?
Date: Thu, Sep 10, 1998 11:58 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998091016581900.MAA28811@ladder01.news.aol.com>

What Would It Take?

Back to the issue of the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7). It is often stated (in one
way or another) that the Comma is not genuine because of the lack of external
textual evidence. Question: What would it take for you to accept the Comma as
genuine? How much evidence would you really need?

I ask this question because I do not believe it is a matter of lacking textual
evidence. Granted, the external textual evidence against the Comma greatly out
numbers the external textual evidence for the Comma (internal evidence, I believe,
favors the Comma). However, it is my contention that even if this were not so, the
Comma would still be rejected. Therefore, the argument against it based on
minimal external evidence is illegitimate.

Let us break the external evidence into two camps.

1). The lack of Greek mss. before the 14th century which contain the Comma.
2). The vast majority of Greek textual evidence which does not contain the Comma.

If we could prove that the Comma was in the Greek mss. before the 14th century,
that would not satisfy those who disparage the Comma as genuine. We have many
Gk. mss. long before the 14th century which contain readings found in the TR (and
the English KJV) which are rejected. Likewise, the Comma would be rejected.

Allow me to illustrate:

Matthew 6:13 and the longer ending of the Lord's prayer is rejected and not
included in most modern versions. Yet it is in Sigma and Phi of the 6th century. It
is in W of the 4th century. Nor is it limited there, it is in K, L, W, Delta, Theta,
and the majority of all existing Greek mss. It is cited by Chrysostom (d. 407 AD)
and is found in the Apostolic Constitutions (4th century). There is early Greek
support for this reading and there is massive Gk. support for this reading. Yet, it is
rejected. It is NOT in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Nor is it in Codex D and most old
Latin witnesses (however, I am mainly speaking of Gk. support here for my point
of this posting).

My contention is this. If the Comma was in all the Gk. mss. listed above and yet
absent in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, it would still be rejected. Therefore, the
argument against the Comma for late Gk. mss. support is unwarranted. It would
still be rejected because it is not contained in these two Alexandrian mss. It would
not matter how much textual evidence the Comma has (externally speaking). It
would still be rejected as other witnesses are rejected which have both early
readings, and readings which are in the majority of existing Gk. mss..

So, why isn't it in the Gk. mss. for 1,300 years? We cannot say that is was not.
We can only say that it is not in the existing Gk. mss which date before the 14th
century. There are no papyrus mss. which contain any of 1 John 5 but for a very
small section. Therefore, we CANNOT conclude what was or what was not in the
Egyptian papyrus mss.. Among the Gk. uncial mss. there are but 10 or 11 (025, or
P, contains part of 1 John 5, but I do not have at hand what part it does or does
not have). The majority of Gk. mss. which do not contain the Comma are found in
the minuscules and date to the middle ages or after (which is close to the time of
existing Gk. mss. which do contain the Comma).

Dealing with these 10 or 11 uncial mss., it is not unreasonable to suggest that the
Comma did not appear due to homoioteleuton (a scribal error where a phrase is
omitted because of a like phrase, i.e. verse 8). Modern textual critics would have
us believe that the original ending of Mark's Gospel most likely was, "accidentally
lost . . . before it was multiplied by transcription." (Bruce Metzger, A Textual
Commentary On The Greek New Testament, 1st ed., p. 126). If such can be
assumed regarding the ending of Mark, it is not unreasonable to believe the verse 7
of 1 John 5 was "accidentally lost" in the Gk. mss., before or through the process
of transcription. Yet, because of God's promise to preserve His words, it was kept
in the Latin witnesses and appeared later Gk. mss and the TR of the Protestant
Reformation. Instead, the finger of corruption is pointed, not at a possible scribal
error or heretical influence, but to orthodox believers who are said to have
corrupted the text with truth.

Bottom Line: The Comma is not in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Therefore, it is
rejected. If it appeared in the majority of Gk. mss. it would still be rejected. If it
were found in the majority of uncial mss. and not in these two, it would still be
rejected (as illustrated above). I approach the problem with firm confidence in
God's ability to keep and preserve His word because I see that promise in
Scripture. I cannot help but believe this is a better starting point. It certainly
seems a better than to start with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas Holland

PS: I am sure there will be those who will respond. I shall try and answer such if time
permits this weekend. However, I do pastor a church and will be busy for the upcoming
days. Also, on Monday I have to undergo some minor surgery and will be laid up for the
most part of next week.

***

Re: Disparity Between Methods
Subject: Re: Disparity Between Methods
Date: Thu, Sep 10, 1998 12:23 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998091017231100.NAA01334@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<Yet, when I read places where some claim the ending of Mark (for example) has
been lost through transmission. Or all those Hebrew numbers regarding kings,
horses, and the correct number of warriors have been lost. I am faced, with a
decision. Has some of God's words passed away? If so, then my faith will have to
rest in men to restore what was not kept. If they have not passed away, then I
must ask myself where they are. >>

This question of yours raises the issue of inspiration. WHAT is the nature of Biblical Inspiration? From what you write, I gather that you believe that God dictated the Scriptures to the human authors, and that the human authors wrote precisely what God dictated to them, without interpretation or subtraction or addition or bias or opinion. By this understanding, I also assume that you believe that every word of the Bible is God's Word.

I don't believe any of this. I believe that God inspired the authors, and that SOMETIMES (particularly in the law) the inspiration was in the form of a Divine Dictation. However, I don't believe that the same kind of dictation can be demonstrated to be true throughout the entire Biblical account. I mean, let's take the accounts seriously. Did God inspire James' poor grammar and poor logic? Did God inspire Paul's OPINIONS, telling him to lie about the source of his opinions? What about the clear indications that the Gospel authors used other sources in the writing of their Gospels? How could each Gospel reflect each different author's point of view on the events if God dictated their Gospels to them, each and every word??? What about the INTERNAL statements of St. Luke that he did research before writing his Gospel? Did the Holy Spirit dictate to Luke those words, directing him to lie about how he got his information (for we really know that the Holy Spirit gave him every word of his Gospel, word for word, dictated without variance or error).

No, I don't believe that the Bible was dictated in the sense that every single word is God's dictated word. Nor do I believe in the Inerrancy of the Bible. Rather, I believe in the Inerrancy of THE Word of God: Jesus Christ, our Lord. When I say that Jesus Christ is The Inerrant Word of God I am saying that He is GOD and that He is PERFECT in and of HIMSELF. His perfection doesn't come FROM somewhere; HE is perfect by his own nature. This cannot be said of the Holy Scriptures, however. The Bible is not perfect by its own nature; what perfection the Bible has is derived FROM God, transmitted through the minds and wills and language of men. Minds, wills, and language of men are all fallible and errant -- that is, capable of error. Hence, the Scriptures are NOT the Inerrant Word of God. They ARE, however, the Infallible word of God. They don't communicate error or false faith or doctrine. They communicate to us the truth of God, of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they contain EVERYTHING that we need for salvation. As a Means of Grace, the Scriptures communicate to us The Inerrant Word of God who is Jesus Christ our Lord. But they are not, themselves, inerrant because they contain the language of men, the opinions of men, and the perspectives of men.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Thu, Sep 10, 1998 5:58 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998091022581700.SAA11807@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<Back to the issue of the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7). It is often stated (in one
way or another) that the Comma is not genuine because of the lack of external
textual evidence. Question: What would it take for you to accept the Comma as
genuine? How much evidence would you really need?>>

Given the lack of witness to the Johannine Comma in the breadth and width of the Greek Textualcopia, at minimum I would need an early (late 2nd - mid 4th century) Papyrus or Parchment Uncial with the variant, IN GREEK, in the body-text of the manuscript. The Old Latin references won't do, though the Old Latin and Vulgate textual examples would be supportive and helpful IF you had a Greek variant from such an early date. The presence of the variant in the Greek textual witness would demonstrate that the variant was known in the Greek Textualcopia at a date prior to the division of the Greek New Testament into the major text-types, and that would increase the chances that it was original to the autograph. I would prefer more than just one such reference in the early manuscript tradition, but just ONE would enable me to say that the variant was KNOWN in Greek in at least the second century, if not before. I would also like more examples of it in the Uncial and Minuscule Textualcopia, but we already know that THAT simply isn't going to happen.

<<I ask this question because I do not believe it is a matter of lacking textual evidence.>>

Yes, it is. Lacking textual evidence PARTICULARLY from the 2nd - 5th centuries.

<<Granted, the external textual evidence against the Comma greatly out
numbers the external textual evidence for the Comma (internal evidence, I believe,
favors the Comma).>>

ALL external evidences are against the Comma. Internal evidence do not, in my opinion, favor the Comma. I suppose we have a difference in opinion here. (Wouldn't be the first time). :-)

<<However, it is my contention that even if this were not so, the
Comma would still be rejected. Therefore, the argument against it
based on minimal external evidence is illegitimate.>>

I beg to differ, as the above statement from me illustrates. Why have you begun to launch out in this method? We've devastated your textual arguments, so now your attacking our intentions and orthodoxy? You disappointment me.

<<Let us break the external evidence into two camps.

1). The lack [TOTAL lack] of Greek mss. before the 14th century which contain the Comma.
2). The vast majority of Greek textual evidence which does not contain the Comma.

If we could prove that the Comma was in the Greek mss. before the 14th century,
that would not satisfy those who disparage the Comma as genuine. We have many
Gk. mss. long before the 14th century which contain readings found in the TR (and
the English KJV) which are rejected. Likewise, the Comma would be rejected.>>

Faulty argumentation. I'll follow and answer your illustration, nevertheless please note my initial statement as to what it would take.

<<Matthew 6:13 and the longer ending of the Lord's prayer is rejected and not
included in most modern versions. Yet it is in Sigma and Phi of the 6th century. It
is in W of the 4th century. Nor is it limited there, it is in K, L, W, Delta, Theta,
and the majority of all existing Greek mss. It is cited by Chrysostom (d. 407 AD)
and is found in the Apostolic Constitutions (4th century). There is early Greek
support for this reading and there is massive Gk. support for this reading. Yet, it is
rejected. It is NOT in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Nor is it in Codex D and most old
Latin witnesses (however, I am mainly speaking of Gk. support here for my point
of this posting).>>

Thomas, you really need to cite your references with greater precision. You make it look like all of these sources, which site the longer ending of the Lord's Prayer, include it without variation. The way you site them also leaves open the impression that the dating or textual characteristics on them are unimportant. However, none of this is the case The fact that there is variation in the content of the longer ending between those manuscripts and sources which include it are devastating to its originality. Additionally, MOST of those manuscripts which cite it are exceedingly LATE in the manuscript tradition, and hence their inclusion of the variant is very WEAK indeed.

Firstly, I don't see where Sigma and Phi are noted as containing the variant. It's not included in the list in either the Textual Apparatus of the UBS or of the Nestle-Aland. Is there some other source that includes them? Both are Predominately Byzantine Texts, and so if they included the variant I would not be surprised. Nevertheless, they're not listed in the list of those manuscripts which include it.

Secondly, the following are the specifics on the variant in Greek.

"ponaerou, oti sou estin ae Basileia ae dunamis kai ai doxa eis tous aionas. amen."

is included in the following GREEK Biblical Manuscripts:

K (9th century)
L (8th century)
W (5th century)
Delta (9th century)
Thea (9th century)
Pi (9th century)
Family 13 (11th century - 15th centuries)
28 (11th century)
33 (9th century)
565 (9th century)
700 (11th century)
892 (11th century)
1009 (13th century)
1010 (12th century)
1071 (12th century)
1079 (10th century)
1195 (1123 AD)
1216 (11th century)
1230 (1124 AD)
1241 (12th century)
1242 (13th century)
1365 (12the century)
1546 (1263? AD)
1646 (1172 AD)
2174 (14th century)

The following three manuscripts add the additional doxology:

"doxa, tou patros kai tou uiou kai tou agiou pneumatos eis"

157 (12th century)
225 (1192 AD)
418 (15th century)

and, with further variation, also 1253 (15th century)

Of the above, most are category V (Predominately Byzantine in character) although a few are nominally category II or III. NONE are Category I. The earliest is Codex W, 5th century (the 400s AD), and as such is an important early exemplar; and Codex L is generally considered a fairly important, though chronologically late, exemplar; but MOST (21) date from the 10th century or later and, for the most part, contain a text of clearly secondary nature.

As such, I'm sorry but the Greek witness -- while extensive -- is NOT AT ALL early.

Those Greek Biblical manuscripts which DON'T include it are:

Sinaiticus [Aleph] (4th century)
Vaticanus [B] (4th century)
D (5th-6th century)
Z (6th century)
0170 (4th century)
Family: 1 (12th century - 15th century)

This sure doesn't look like much, does it? And yet, they reflect FAR EARLIER readings that any of those listed above. Firstly, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and 0170 are all 4th century ... that means that they date better than 100 years earlier than ANY of the mss listed above. Secondly, there are MANY versions [translations into other languages] which lack it. In other words, while it is certainly true that the MAJORITY of manuscripts include it, it is NOT true that the earliest and best manuscripts include it. Unfortunately, there are NO extant 2nd - 3rd century Papyrus manuscripts for Matthew 6 ... if there were, THEY would take a superior position over and against the 4th century Uncials.

Does that make clear HOW we go about making weighted judgments? This should illustrate why your following contention and conclusion is both and, indeed, flat out wrong.

<<My contention is this. If the Comma was in all the Gk. mss. listed above and yet
absent in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, it would still be rejected. Therefore, the
argument against the Comma for late Gk. mss. support is unwarranted. It would
still be rejected because it is not contained in these two Alexandrian mss. It would
not matter how much textual evidence the Comma has (externally speaking). It
would still be rejected as other witnesses are rejected which have both early
readings, and readings which are in the majority of existing Gk. mss..>>

I'm sorry, Thomas, but your analysis is simply wrong. Firstly, the longer version of the Lord's prayer is NOT in any "early" Greek manuscripts -- the earliest is a 5th century manuscript which, while certainly "early" in some ways, is not AS early as 3 extant 4th century manuscripts. The REASON why the longer reading of the Lord's prayer is not considered valid is because it's not in our oldest and best manuscripts. IF we had one or more Papyrus copies of Matthew 6 which included the longer version of the Lord's Prayer, and if that Papyrus were judged to contain a better version of Matthew 6 at this point (a weighted judgment which has been made about other readings relative to the Great Uncials), then it VERY WELL WOULD have been included in the Nestle-Aland and UBS Texts EVEN THOUGH Vaticanus and Sinaiticus don't have it.

In other words, it's NOT JUST that the longer version isn't in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are important because their are our oldest and most complete copies of the Greek New Testament. HOWEVER, if older and better Papyrus copies of Matthew were to surface with the variant IN them, THEY would be used over and against Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Your argument is, therefore, empty and faulty.

<<So, why isn't it [the Comma] in the Gk. mss. for 1,300 years? We cannot say that is was not.>>

I'm sorry, Thomas, but we CAN. It's not just missing from ALL of our Greek early, and nearly ALL of our later, manuscripts, but it is ALSO missing from the Lectionaries and from a large percentage of the versions which were produced over this period of time. WERE it extant in some places, at least SOME reference to it in Greek would have been made, and at least SOME example, SOMEWHERE over those 1300 years, would have survived. It is EXCEEDINGLY improbable that what you suggest is true.

<<We can only say that it is not in the existing Gk. mss which date before the 14th
century.>>

That would be the minimum we can say, but we can certainly conclude FAR MORE than that.

<<There are no papyrus mss. which contain any of 1 John 5 but for a very
small section. Therefore, we CANNOT conclude what was or what was not in the
Egyptian papyrus mss..>>

To be PRECISE, a LATE (7th century) Papyrus, containing a text that is significantly early due to its agreement with extant Papyri from the 2nd century, P74, contains 1 John 1:1,6; 2:1-2, 7, 13-14, 18-19, 25-26; 3:1-2, 8, 14, 19-20; 4:1, 6-7, 12, 16-17, 5:3-4, 9-10, 17. Hence, it just BARELY lacks verse 7-8. According to Kurt Aland's edition of The Papyrus Greek New Testament the reconstructed text of P74's 1 John, based upon the extant fragments, does not leave room for the Comma. In other words, they've laid out the fragments based upon the known size of each page and the relative placement of the fragments on each page, and for the known fragments to fit there simply isn't enough room for the contested words between where the 1 John 5:3-4 fragment MUST be and where the John 5:9-10 fragment MUST be. SO, we can say that P74 doesn't have it either.

<<Among the Gk. uncial mss. there are but 10 or 11 (025, or P, contains part of 1 John 5, but I do not have at hand what part it does or does not have). The majority of Gk. mss. which do not contain the Comma are found in the minuscules and date to the middle ages or after (which is close to the time of existing Gk. mss. which do contain the Comma).>>

Specifically, the following manuscripts SHOULD contain the Comma but don't:

Sinaiticus (4th century)
Alexandranus (5th century)
Vaticanus (4th century)
K (9th century)
P (6th century)
Psi (8th-9th century)
048 (5th century)
049 (9th century)
056 (10th century)
0142 (10th century)
33 (9th century)
81 (1044 AD)
88 (12th century)
104 (1087 AD)
181 (11th century)
326 (12th century)
330 (12th century)
436 (11th century)
451 (11th century)
614 (13th century)
630 (14th century)
945 (11th century)
1241 (12th century)
1505 (1084 AD)
1739 (10th century)
1877 (14th century)
1881 (14th century)
2127 (12th century)
2412 (12th century)
2492 (13th century)
2495 (14th - 15th century)

Doesn't that look like a familiar list?? I find it VERY interesting, and VERY inconsistent of you, that you are DEMANDING that a similar kind of list FOR the inclusion of Matthew 6:13 variant be accepted, but you FLATLY REFUSE to accept a very SIMILAR kind of list AGAINST the inclusion of the Johannine Comma. Your methodology is flawed, my friend. Mine, on the other hand, is at least coherent. The NUMBERS of manuscripts are not relevant; what IS relevant is the quality of the mss and their relative generational distance from the originals. Hence 2 or 3 manuscripts from the 4th and 5th centuries are FAR MORE POWERFUL in support of a variant than 30 manuscripts of the 10th - 14th centuries.

<<The majority of Gk. mss. which do not contain the Comma are found in
the minuscules and date to the middle ages or after (which is close to the time of
existing Gk. mss. which do contain the Comma).>>

Apply that to Matthew 6:13, my friend, and you'll see your house of cards come tumbling down.

<<Dealing with these 10 or 11 uncial mss., it is not unreasonable to suggest that the
Comma did not appear due to homoioteleuton (a scribal error where a phrase is
omitted because of a like phrase, i.e. verse 8).>>

WERE we to have one or two Papyrus copies of the Comma, I would be MORE THAN WILLING to accept that as a reason -- particularly if the text could lend itself to that kind of error. Unfortunately for your theory, we don't have an original example of the variant in Greek to apply ... even those Greek examples which we DO have are often fraught with variation themselves or, indeed, are clearly backwardly translated from Vulgate Latin. Hence, we would need an original example of the variant, in Greek and IN PLACE in the text, in order for us to then say that homoioteleuton could have even taken place. As it is, you're speculating (no ... wishing) in the absolute DARK.

<<Modern textual critics would have us believe that the original ending of Mark's Gospel most likely was, "accidentally lost . . . before it was multiplied by transcription." (Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament, 1st ed., p. 126). If such can be assumed regarding the ending of Mark, it is not unreasonable to believe the verse 7
of 1 John 5 was "accidentally lost" in the Gk. mss., before or through the process of transcription.>>

That is certainly possible, Thomas. Interesting, however, that you accept this argument in an attempt to shore up the ABSOLUTE nonexistence of early copies of the Comma and yet utterly REJECT the argument for the nonexistence of the ending of St. Mark's Gospel. I thought you didn't like that theory??? Again, your inconsistency is most unfortunate.

<<Yet, because of God's promise to preserve His words, it was kept in the Latin witnesses and appeared later Gk. mss and the TR of the Protestant Reformation. Instead, the finger of corruption is pointed, not at a possible scribal error or heretical influence, but to orthodox believers who are said to have corrupted the text with truth.>>

PLEASE! Who is using the hated "corruption" term now!? I'm sorry, Thomas, but IF the phrase was lost due to early scribal error, I would have expected at least SOME echoes in the Greek. IF we had a Papyrus copy, I would be more willing to accept the theory. As it is, you're hypothesizing in the DARK.

<<Bottom Line: The Comma is not in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Therefore, it is rejected.>>

Wrong. Bottom Line: The Comma is not in the earliest copies of the Greek New Testament. Therefore, it is rejected. IF a papyrus of superior quality dating from the 2nd or 3rd century is discovered sometime in the near future (let us say in 2015, just for grins), you had better believe that the then-editors of the Nestle-Aland and the UBS WILL give SERIOUS consideration to reinserting the Comma. It would be difficult, I imagine, for them to accept that mention of the comma escaped reference later on, but with clear and unquestioned 2nd century evidence the witness of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus AND Alexandranus etc. would almost certainly suffer a serious blow. We've seen MANY examples of where the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus readings have been rejected in favor of OLDER, superior Papyrus readings, so my speculation on this matter is on fairly solid footing.

<<If it appeared in the majority of Gk. mss. it would still be rejected. If it
were found in the majority of uncial mss. and not in these two, it would still be
rejected (as illustrated above).>>

Hmmmm ... perhaps, or perhaps not. It would depend upon the quality of that reading and whether or not there was any variation in the reading. If the reading lacked variation, and was found in just about EVERY copy of the Greek New Testament, including the Fathers and the Versions, and had been used in the Sabellian and Arian debates, AND if there were room for it in P74, I would imagine that the reading would be graded rather low (let us say a C or a D) but it would have been, most likely, maintained. I can point to several other examples of precisely this kind of thing happening in other variants.

Thomas, you're going to have to face that fact that the reason why Scholarship often points to the fact that the VAST MAJORITY of the Greek manuscripts lack the Comma is NOT because we believe that the Majority Readings = the best readings, but because there ARE people who DO say that the majority reading should be followed and yet STILL want to find a way to accept the Comma. You, based upon your own words relative to Matthew 6:13, are among those with such an inconsistent approach. After all, don't you say in your own study on this VERY issue:

<<For years the omission of the phrase "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." marked the difference between Protestant and Catholic versions of the Lord's prayer. However, today, even conservative translations such as the NIV and NASV have chosen the Alexandrian reading of Catholicism instead of the Traditional text which is supported by the majority of all Greek uncials and minuscules.>>

Why don't you apply this same criteria for the Comma???

<<I approach the problem with firm confidence in
God's ability to keep and preserve His word because I see that promise in
Scripture. I cannot help but believe this is a better starting point. It certainly
seems a better than to start with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.>>

Putting aside the fact that you are entirely wrong in your assertion regarding where we "start," I still want to ask: upon what grounds do you reach the conclusion that your faith-based starting point is better than one that can be demonstrated by intra-disciplinary means? Your starting point has meaning only for you, and while that may be good enough for you, it's not good enough for scholarship.

<<However, I do pastor a church and will be busy for the upcoming days.>>

Brother, tell me about it! We've just begun the Fall Semester at Wesleyan, and hence my pastoral and teaching schedule has suddenly jumped up into high-gear. This semester is easier than the last, but when you throw in Pastoral duties, I'm surprised I find time to breath ... let alone post!

<<Also, on Monday I have to undergo some minor surgery and will be laid up for the
most part of next week.>>

I shall remember you in my prayers this weekend and on Monday morning.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org
***

Subject: Re: Disparity Between Methods
Date: Fri, Sep 11, 1998 9:56 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <1998091114561900.KAA12398@ladder03.news.aol.com>

This will be my last posting for about a week. If any have comments and wish a
reply, please e-mail me a copy and I will try and respond to that posting at the end
of next week. Thank you.

Dear Brother Greg,

You note of my belief of inspiration:

>>From what you write, I gather that you believe that God dictated the Scriptures
to the human authors, and that the human authors wrote precisely what God
dictated to them, without interpretation or subtraction or addition or bias or
opinion. By this understanding, I also assume that you believe that every word of
the Bible is God's Word.<<

Among conservative/evangelical Christians there are many who believe in the
dictation interpretation of inspiration. Others, such as myself, believe that
inspiration involves more than dictation (although that certainly occurred in some
places, even as you listed). I believe inspiration allows for personal attributes
within the writings. I believe it means that the Holy Spirit of God so influenced
the writer that what they wrote was the very words of God. This, I believe, is in
accord with 2 Peter 1:21 and the finished product was the inspired word of God (2
Tim. 3:16) which I believe to be inerrant (John 17:17; Psalm 19:7; 119:140).

The remainder of your comments illustrate why there will not be a consensus on this board. We can never come to a conclusion regarding the KJV because we cannot come to a consensus regarding Biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and preservation. God bless.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas

***

Re: Disparity Between Methods
Subject: Re: Disparity Between Methods
Date: Fri, Sep 11, 1998 10:59 AM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <1998091115593101.LAA18261@ladder03.news.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

Although I know and understand why you won't be able to respond for a week, I thought I would go ahead and post this response to your latest remarks on the issue of Inspiration and the Inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures.

Put simply, your response and first surprises me and, then, it confuses me.

<<Among conservative/evangelical Christians there are many who believe in the
dictation interpretation of inspiration. Others, such as myself, believe that
inspiration involves more than dictation (although that certainly occurred in some
places, even as you listed). I believe inspiration allows for personal attributes
within the writings. I believe it means that the Holy Spirit of God so influenced
the writer that what they wrote was the very words of God.>>

I'm not sure what you're saying here. Are you asserting the "personal attributes" of the authors within the writing -- even though they are human in character and, therefore, are subject to flaw and error -- are, nevertheless, the "very words of God"? I hope you see my confusion and the problem I have with YOUR words here. HOW can Divine Inspiration include personal attributes of the authors AND YET their writings be "the very words of God." My impression is that you MAY be meaning that God so overpowered the human aspect of each author that what they wrote was, while certainly their own words, nevertheless ALSO the "very words of God." My ONLY problem with that concept is that it forces the Holy Spirit into lying and inspiring poor grammar, spelling, and logic. Either Paul is correct in that he is speaking for himself, or he is incorrect and only THINKS he is speaking for himself -- in reality, the Holy Spirit is lying through him by causing him to write that what he is writing to the Corinthians is his own opinion. Likewise, in the case of James' letter you are asserting that his poor grammar, poor spelling, and poor logic are actually GOD's poor grammar, poor spelling, and poor logic.

I would say that the Scriptures contain many human attributes, some of which God used and some of which God allowed, along WITH The Word of God. What the authors wrote CONTAINED The Word of God, but what the authors wrote ALSO contained the words of human beings. Indeed, even those words which are FROM God come through the agency of human authors with human language, grammar, spelling, interpretation, AND opinion AND (to borrow a word from the political arena) "spin." Hence, due to the (1) agency of human communication, and (2) the incorperation of human elements, the Holy Scriptures can not, in any way, be thought of as inerrant -- perfect -- in and of itself. It doesn't communicate false faith, mind you, but it DOES contain human points of view.

Now, before I'm charged by some with the heresy of limiting what God could have done, I have NOT said that God couldn't have overcome the sinful nature of the human authors of the Bible in order to produce a perfect Bible. I'm not saying that God couldn't do that at all! What I AM saying is that the Biblical record is CLEAR ... God DIDN'T do that. That God didn't do it doesn't mean that God couldn't have done it ... not any more than saying that God COULD have done it means that God MUST have done it. That's putting a limit on God's omnipotence, too.

<<This, I believe, is in accord with 2 Peter 1:21....>>

The 2 Peter reading is, in partial context:

<<Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men
of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.>> (2 Peter 1:20-21 KJV)

<<First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.>> (2 Peter 1:20-21 NRSV)

I'm sorry, Thomas, but I don't see where this 2 Peter reading supports your position. Rather, it supports MINE! (VBG) All this is saying that that human prophets were inspired to speak the Word of God. I don't disagree! QUITE THE CONTRARY, I agree! Please note, it does NOT say that EVERYTHING the prophets said came from God, but that their prophecy comes from God. When and where what they say isn't from God it
shouldn't be identified as a prophecy. I hope you get the direction of my statement. The Bible IS a book of prophecy, and that prophecy comes from God, but it comes to US in the context of human attributes and human failings and human language and human errancy.

<<...and the finished product was the inspired word of God (2 Tim. 3:16)...>>

Indeed, ALL Scripture IS Inspired of God. I've never said anything other than that. But WHAT do we mean by Inspiration? Is it exclusive of human attributes? You've said that it's not exclusive of such, but such (apparently) is so controled that it represents the "very words of God." I'm incapable of making that assumption because there is simply too MUCH in scripture that demonstrates that such isn't so. ALL Scripture IS Inspired of God, and that Inspiration allows MUCH human opinion, interpretation, bias, and attribute.

<<which I believe to be inerrant (John 17:17; Psalm 19:7; 119:140). >>

John 17:17 doesn't support your claim that the BIBLE is inerrant. Your use is non-contextual.

Psalm 19:7 tells us that the law of the Lord is perfect and that the decrees of the Lord are sure. With this I do not disagree, though I beg to point out that the Psalter is filled with much poetic and hyperbolic language and should NOT be taken woodenly or literally on everything that it says. Nevertheless, the Torah of the Lord IS perfect, and we cannot live it. That's why Christ came ... to live it FOR us so that we might live IN
Him.

Psalm 119:140 KJV "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it."
Psalm 119:140 NRSV "Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it."

This Psalm doesn't support your claim that the Bible in Inerrant ... it is a poetic reflection upon the glorious promises of God, which support us and enable us to act in Faith.

<<The remainder of your comments illustrate why there will not be a consensus on
this board. We can never come to a conclusion regarding the KJV because we
cannot come to a consensus regarding Biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and
preservation. God bless.>>

Agreed ... neither side is willing to capitulate to the other's POV, and in the end that is what the other side requires.

Thomas, know again that you have my prayers as you go in for your surgical proceedure.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Wed, Sep 16, 1998 1:22 PM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <19980916142238.17319.00000143@ng05.aol.com>

Dear Brother Greg (and all others),

Regarding the posting of 9/10/98 entitled "Re: What Would It Take?" there are a
few things I would like to address. I had made the following comment:

<<Back to the issue of the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7). It is often stated (in
one way or another) that the Comma is not genuine because of the lack of external
textual evidence. Question: What would it take for you to accept the Comma as
genuine? How much evidence would you really need?

I ask this question because I do not believe it is a matter of lack of textual
evidence. Granted, the external textual evidence against the Comma greatly out
weighs the external textual evidence for the Comma. However, it is my contention
that even if there were not so, the Comma would still be rejected. Therefore, the
argument against it based on minimal external evidence is illegitimate.>>

You respond with:
>>Given the lack of witness to the Johannine Comma in the breadth and width of
the Greek Textualcopia, at minimum I would need an early (late 2nd - mid 4th
century) Papyrus or Parchment Uncial with the variant, IN GREEK, in the body-
text of the manuscript.<<

Thank you for responding and stating what you would need to justify the Comma.
This, I believe, establishes my point (which will be redressed later in this letter).

Concerning my statement:

<<However, it is my contention that even if this were not so, the Comma would still be rejected. Therefore, the argument against it based on minimal external evidence is illegitimate.>>

You respond with:

>>I beg to differ, as the above statement from me illustrates. Why have you begun
to launch out in this method? We've devastated your textual arguments, so now
your attacking our intentions and orthodoxy? You disappointment me.<<

If I may ask, where in this comment do you find that I have attacked your
intentions or your orthodoxy? To point to a fallacy in one argument is not to draw
conclusions that I find either your intentions or orthodoxy in question. As far as I
know, you intentions (as with most textual scholars) is to establish and restore
what you believe to be the original readings of the New Testament autographs.
Based on what you have said about Biblical inspiration in other postings, I think
you fall into the right-wing of the liberal interpretation regarding that doctrine.
This, however, does not mean that I reject your orthodoxy. Nor, does my
comment insinuate such.

The context of my comment dealt with the illegitimacy of the argument which
rejects the Comma based on the lack of Gk. support before the 14th century . . .
BECAUSE even if there were textual support within the Gk. mss. before the 14th
century the Comma would still (in all likely hood) be rejected. In fact, your
comment states the need for a papyrus or parchment uncial mss. from the 2nd - 4th
century in Greek ("at minimum") to accept the Comma. I do not think the Comma
is rejected soley on the basis of its lack of textual support before the 14th century or
its lack of textual support among the mass of Greek witnesses (although that would
be the argument of the Majority Text). It, I believe, is rejected because it is not part
of the Alexandrian textual line. My contention is that even if the Comma had textual
support which match other non-Alexandrian readings, it would be rejected.

Within the above quote you state: >>We've devastated your textual arguments, so
now your attacking our intentions and orthodoxy?<<

First of all, this argument regarding the Comma has been debated for centuries.
We may have differing views here, but we are not going to lay this issue to rest in
these postings. Second, I am disturbed by the phrase "devastated your textual
arguments." I can certainly understanding presenting differing positions, and I
would strongly encourage you and others to establish their beliefs and contentions.
But why would you (or anyone else) wish to "devastate" someone else's belief?
Would it not be better, especially in these postings, to promote our beliefs and our
contentions instead of trying to devastate the positions of others?

You then state:>>You disappointment me.<< I do not think such personal
comments are warranted, and I will ignore the entire posting if such continue.

Next, you address my illustration of Matthew 6:13.

>>Thomas, you really need to cite your references with greater precision. You
make it look like all of these sources, which site the longer ending of the Lord's
Prayer, include it without variation. The way you site them also leaves open the
impression that the dating or textual characteristics on them are unimportant.
However, none of this is the case The fact that there is variation in the content of
the longer ending between those manuscripts and sources which include it are
devastating to its originality. Additionally, MOST of those manuscripts which cite
it are exceedingly LATE in the manuscript tradition, and hence their inclusion of
the variant is very WEAK indeed.<<

I did not need to establish a textualcopia for the passage because it was an
illustration. My only point was that if the Comma had the very same textual
support for it as the longer ending of the Lord's Prayer does, it would still be
rejected.

>>Firstly, I don't see where Sigma and Phi are noted as containing the variant. It's
not included in the list in either the Textual Apparatus of the UBS or of the Nestle-
Aland.<<

I do not wish to get sidetracked as to the textual support for the longer ending.
The apparatuses of UBS and NA are not complete but are representative. My
source for Codex Sigma and Codex Phi is Dr. Edward Hills. He, apparently, took
the information from S.C. Legg's Evangelium Secundum Matthaeum.

You note:

>>I'm sorry, Thomas, but your analysis is simply wrong. Firstly, the longer
version of the Lord's prayer is NOT any "early" Greek manuscripts -- the earliest is
a 5th century manuscript which, while certainly "early" in some ways, is not AS
early as 3 extant 4th century manuscripts. The REASON why the longer reading
of the Lord's prayer is not considered valid is because it's not in our oldest and best
manuscripts.<<

"Oldest and best" is a phrase often used and is somewhat relative. The oldest mss. agree with the KJV in John 4:1 in reading "kurios" instead of "Iesous" (i.e. P66 & P75). Yet, they are not accepted on this reading because it is not the general reading of the Alexandrian textual line.

I had written:

<<So, why isn't it [the Comma] in the Gk. mss. for 1,300 years? We cannot say
that is was not.>>

You respond with:

>>I'm sorry, Thomas, but we CAN. It's not just missing from ALL of our Greek
early, and nearly ALL of our later, manuscripts, but it is ALSO missing from the
Lectionaries and from a large percentage of the versions which were produced
over this period of time. WERE it extant in some places, at least SOME reference
to it in Greek would have been made, and at least SOME example,
SOMEWHERE over those 1300 years, would have survived. It is
EXCEEDINGLY improbable that what you suggest is true.<<

No, we cannot. It may be "improbable," but it is certainly possible. And, as I have
stated in other postings, when we consider the internal evidence, it moves into the
realm of probability.

After listing several mss. which do not contain the Comma, you then state:

>>Your methodology is flawed, my friend. Mine, on the other hand, is at least
coherent.<<

This is not the first time you have made such a comment to me. I must state, in all
due respect, that I find such a comment at the very least insulting. If my
methodology is so flawed and my arguments are therefore incoherent, then you
need not bother addressing them. Please, brother, let's not make such personal
comments to each other in these postings.

I made the statement:

<<Modern textual critics would have us believe that the original ending of Mark's
Gospel most likely was, "accidentally lost . . . before it was multiplied by
transcription." (Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New
Testament, 1st ed., p. 126). If such can be assumed regarding the ending of Mark,
it is not unreasonable to believe the verse 7 of 1 John 5 was "accidentally lost" in the Gk. mss., before or through the process of transcription.>>

You respond with:

>>That is certainly possible, Thomas. Interesting, however, that you accept this
argument in an attempt to shore up the ABSOLUTE nonexistence of early copies
of the Comma and yet utterly REJECT the argument for the nonexistence of the
ending of St. Mark's Gospel. I thought you didn't like that theory??? Again, your
inconsistency is most unfortunate.<<

I was just called incoherent and now I am labeled by you as inconsistent.
Regardless, it is not inconsistent. I reject the argument of the falling out of the
ending of Mark because Biblical preservation argues for its presence
SOMEWHERE. Your argument is that it does not exist ANYWHERE. My point
is that if you can argue that one reading fell out of the GREEK textual line, then it
is possible to argue that another reading fell out of the Greek textual line. You
even note that it is possible. HOWEVER, the consistency is that I believe in
Biblical preservation. Therefore, even if a reading falls from the original language
and appears in another, it has still been PRESERVED. I realize that you do not
agree with my theology regarding Biblical preservation, but I do feel I am
consistent in using it.

I wrote:
<<Yet, because of God's promise to preserve His words, it was kept in the Latin
witnesses and appeared later Gk. mss and the TR of the Protestant Reformation.
Instead, the finger of corruption is pointed, not at a possible scribal error or
heretical influence, but to orthodox believers who are said to have corrupted the
text with truth.>>

You respond with:
>>PLEASE! Who is using the hated "corruption" term now!? I'm sorry, Thomas,
but IF the phrase was lost due to early scribal error, I would have expected at least
SOME echoes in the Greek. IF we had a Papyrus copy, I would be more willing
to accept the theory. As it is, you're hypothesizing in the DARK.<<

I do not recall off hand who wrote it, but there is a book which supports modern
textual criticism which I think is entitled, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.
Anyway, it is not uncommon for the accusation of the corruption of the text to fall
to the orthodox scribe and accuse him of inserting orthodox alterations.

Finally, I wrote:
<<For years the omission of the phrase "For thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen." marked the difference between Protestant and
Catholic versions of the Lord's prayer. However, today, even conservative
translations such as the NIV and NASV have chosen the Alexandrian reading of
Catholicism instead of the Traditional text which is supported by the majority of all
Greek uncials and minuscules.>>

You ask:

>>Why don't you apply this same criteria for the Comma???<<

Because the manuscripts are witnesses, not my final authority. Nor, are they my
starting point. My next comment, which you cite, substantiates this:

<<I approach the problem with firm confidence in God's ability to keep and
preserve His word because I see that promise in Scripture. I cannot help but
believe this is a better starting point. It certainly seems a better [one] than to start
with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.>>

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas

***

Gnosticism And Heretical Influence
Subject: Gnosticism And Heretical Influence
Date: Wed, Sep 16, 1998 1:25 PM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <19980916142510.17319.00000144@ng05.aol.com>

Gnosticism And Heretical Influence

Last week I saw there were several postings regarding Gnostic and/or heretical
influences on the various NT mss.. At the risk of again being accused of self-
contradiction, there are a few points I would like to raise.

First, there are church fathers whose theology seems to have been influenced by
heretical thought and is reflected in their various writings. If these fathers had
access to various mss., it is not beyond reason to suspect if they influenced the text of Scripture.

Second, it seems rather narrow to suggest that all textual variants occurred
due to various scribal errors, and not open the possibility that heretical thought
influenced some of the textual variants.

We know, from Scripture, that corruption of the text began as soon as the original
writings (or even sayings) were given. As is often pointed to by those of us who
support the KJV and Biblical preservation, the very first words recorded of Satan
are those questioning God's word (Gen. 3:1). In the process, Eve somewhat
altered the words God spoke to her and Adam (Gen. 3:2-3). In the NT, Paul
warns about those who would corrupt God's word (2 Cor. 2:17 . . . . which I
recognize will not be accepted as proof text because of the various translations of
kapeleuontes). However, there is also the matter of those who were forging letters
and claiming Paul had written them (2 Thess. 2:2). Further, no less than three
times does the Scripture warn against adding to or taking from God's word (Deut.
4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18). Therefore, it is reasonable to note that the Bible
itself warns of influences which would seek to alter God's word.

We also know from historical writings that various heretical groups sought to alter
God's word. Ireaneus, for example, combated the heretical teachings of Docetism
(which was a form of Gnosticism) and noted that they altered Mark's Gospel to
match many of there heretical doctrines. It has been suggested (by Hills) that the
Latin mss. k reflects such Gnostic tampering in places such as Mark 16:4 where
clear heretical teaching has been added to the text. There, the addition supplied by
k matches the Gnostic Gospel of Peter.

In his thesis, Against Heresies, Ireaneus also noted that, "Marcion cut up that
according to Luke." Thus showing that Marcion was willing to alter Luke's
Gospel in order to promote his theological heresies, among which denied the
physical resurrection of Jesus. This may account for the omission of Luke 24:40 in
the Western Codex D concerning the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This does not mean that ALL of their alteration were overt. Again, Ireaneus noted
that those who altered the gospels could be refuted from the very gospels they
altered. He writes, "(t)hose who separate Jesus from Christ and say that Christ
remained impassable while Jesus suffered, and try to bring forward the Gospel
According to Mark, can be corrected out of that, if they will read it with a love of
the truth." (Richardson's translation of Against Heresies, [Westminister Press, Vol.
1], p. 382). Any who have studied heresies (ancient or modern) know that many
of the changes are subtle and underline the foundation for a greater and more overt
heresy.

Tatian (110-180 AD), became a Gnostic shortly after his completion of the
Diatessaron (a harmony of the Gospels). It is reasonable to suggest that while
working on the Diatessaron that he was influenced by Gnosticism and that it may
have influenced some of his choices in readings. However, we do not know since
we do not have an original Diatessaron to compare. Nevertheless, it does establish
that one who was instrumental in the production of textual work came under the
influence of heretical doctrine. Further, the fact that Theodoret (early to mid 5th
century) the bishop of Syria rejected and destroyed 200 copies of the Diatessaron
because he felt they were corrupt indicate that the Diatessaron fell under such
heretical influence (at least the copies which survived until his day).

It is also of concern that some of the church fathers in Alexandria reflected Gnostic
teachings in some of their writings. Clement of Alexandria (150-215) for example
accepted the Gnostic doctrines that God was both male and female, and that He
was God the Father/Mother (see Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, [Vintage Books]
pp. 81-83). Although not very careful in his quotation of Scripture we know that
in , " . . . the Gospels he used a text closely related to Codex Bezae (D)." (A.
Souter, The Text And Canon Of The New Testament, p.81).

And, it should be of some concern that the NT papyri found in places such as
Ocyrhynchus or Fayyum (both in Egypt) likewise contain heretical literature (see
Epp and Fee, Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual
Criticism, pp. 274-297). This may be considered guilt by association, but we
should also remember the additional Gnostic finds at Nag Hammadi thus showing
that early Christianity was influenced by Gnosticism. It is not unreasonable to
suspect that some of the texts were likewise influenced by Gnostics.

For example, the reading found in 1 John 1:7 in the MT and TR states, "kai to
aima Ihsou Xpistou tou uiou autou" (and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son). The
Critical Text and modern versions read "kai to aima Ihsou tou uiou autou" (and the
blood of Jesus his Son). The difference is subtle, "Jesus Christ" or "Jesus." To us
there is no difference because Jesus and Jesus Christ speak of the very same
Person. But John was writing his epistle to combat false teachings such as those of
Gnosticism. The Gnostics taught that Jesus and the Christ were two different
beings of the same person. They believed Jesus was born of Joseph and Mary,
and that the Christ came upon Jesus when He was baptized. At the crucifixion, they
taught that the Christ left Jesus. So it was Jesus who shed His blood, and not the Christ.
Therefore, the phrase "Jesus Christ" becomes rather important in combating the false
doctrine of Gnosticism.

Another example from 1 John is found in 4:3. The text reads, "And every spirit
that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is
that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now
already is it in the world." The phrase "is come in the flesh" is not found in the
Alexandrian line, and would again match the Gnostic doctrine concerning the
dualism of Christ. Some Gnostics denied that Christ was really in a body of flesh,
because all that was material was considered evil. They felt Christ was not in the
flesh, but was a manifestation. However, Polycarp (70-155 AD) confronted
Gnosticism and used this verse to confront their heresy (see Lightfoot, The
Apostolic Fathers; Wake, The Lost Books of The Bible, and Geisler & Nix, A
General Introduction to the Bible. All state that Polycarp cited 1 John 4:3 with the
phrase "is come in the flesh").

I think these things should cause us some amount of suspect. It would have been
nice if those heretical groups who had influenced certain texts or readings had
placed a red flag or footnote stating such. However, they do not. But these few
examples, I believe, certainly illustrate some interesting variance which just happen
to agree with Gnostic doctrine. Admittedly, these examples do not firmly establish
that heretical influences corrupted this or that text. But these examples should
cause us some amount of concern.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Thomas Holland
http://members.aol.com/Logos1611/index.html

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Thu, Sep 17, 1998 3:05 AM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <19980917040545.20856.00000424@ng140.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

You wrote: <<However, it is my contention that even if this were not so, the Comma would still be rejected. Therefore, the argument against it based on minimal external evidence is illegitimate.>>

My response was: <<I beg to differ, as the above statement from me illustrates. Why have you begun to launch out in this method?>>

And your reply to my response was: <<If I may ask, where in this comment do you find that I have attacked your intentions or your orthodoxy? To point to a fallacy in one argument is not to draw conclusions that I find either your intentions or orthodoxy in question.>>

Thomas, your comment came on the heels of a series of messages from someone else which accused me of denying the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity because I denied the canonicity of the comma. As I read on, I gathered the context of your argument, but by the time I was finished answering your message I forgot to go back and edit out what I said earlier that didn't apply.

As for pointing out a fallacy ... well, I don't agree that you did.

<< As far as I know, you intentions (as with most textual scholars) is to establish and restore what you believe to be the original readings of the New Testament autographs.>>

That's almost correct. It is our desire to try and reconstruct, to the best of our ability, the readings of the New Testament Autographs. None of us think we'll ever quite achieve such in this life, but we believe we should try.

<<Based on what you have said about Biblical inspiration in other postings, I think you fall into the right-wing of the liberal interpretation regarding that doctrine.>>

That's probably correct, though I've never attempted to so precisely label myself.

<<The context of my comment dealt with the illegitimacy of the argument which rejects the Comma based on the lack of Gk. support before the 14th century . . . BECAUSE even if there were textual support within the Gk. mss. before the 14th century the Comma would still (in all likely hood) be rejected.>>

As I have already stated, your interpretation is faulty. Our argument is not "illegitimate."

<<In fact, your comment states the need for a papyrus or parchment uncial mss. from the 2nd - 4th century in Greek ("at minimum") to accept the Comma. I do not think the Comma is rejected soley on the basis of its lack of textual support before the 14th century or its lack of textual support among the mass of Greek witnesses (although that would be the argument of the Majority Text). It, I believe, is rejected because it is not part of the
Alexandrian textual line.>>

As I have already demonstrated, your opinion is not substantiated by the evidence. And, if I remember correctly, your initial assertion is that the Comma wouldn't be accepted because it wasn't part of the Vaticanus or Sinaiticus manuscripts, precisely. That is, of course, flat wrong ... there are MANY variants that are included in the Nestle-Aland even though one or BOTH of these manuscripts lack it. Let's see, what did you actually say?

<<My contention is this. If the Comma was in all the Gk. mss. listed above and yet absent in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, it would still be rejected.>>

I have already pointed out why this precise contention of yours is faulty. Now, you've expanded your argument to the whole Alexandrian Text-Type. In doing so, you are closer to being correct, but you're still not quite there. The Comma will be rejected AS LONG AS it is lacking in the oldest and best manuscripts. These are NOT ALWAYS Alexandrian manuscripts, although they often ARE. IF, at some point in the future, we were to discover Uncials and Papyri of the Alexandrian and/or Pre-Alexandrian "Strict" or "Normal" text, I suspect that the Comma might be included in the Nestle-Aland (perhaps in brackets, but perhaps not) and graded D or C. So, it's NOT JUST its absence from the Alexandrian Text that is in play here. That's certainly PART of it, but sometimes the Alexandrian Text is judged to be secondary to the "Strict" Text of the second and early third century Category I Papyri.

<<My contention is that even if the Comma had textual support which match other non-Alexandrian readings, it would be rejected.>>

Most probably. But, then, that isn't the primary argument of the Critical community ... ie, that it lacks pre-14th century Greek support. RATHER, the problem for the academic Critical community has been, and continues to be, that the Comma lacks Greek support in the earliest and best manuscripts AND that it lacks support otherwise. The stress, therefore, is not the absence of pre-14th century support but, rather, on the absence of pre-4th/5th century support. Does that make our position a bit more clear? YES, it is important that ALL of the pre-14th century manuscripts lack the variant. But only the MT supporters view that as THE most important point. Critical scholarship tends to view the absence from the 5th - 14th century mss as being BAD, but not the CRUCIAL problem. The CRUCIAL problem is that this variant is lacking in the pre-5th century mss.

<<...this argument regarding the Comma has been debated for centuries. We may have differing views here, but we are not going to lay this issue to rest in these postings.>>

That is very true ... which makes me wonder why it's okay for you to criticize our methodologies as being "illegitimate," but it is somehow a personal attack for me to criticize your methodologies.

<<But why would you (or anyone else) wish to "devastate" someone else's belief? >>

Demonstrating the fallacy of another's methodology or argument doesn't constitute "devastating" another's "belief." I have never tried to destroy your "belief" that the King James Version of the Bible is the Only Inspired, Inerrant Word of God. What I have addressed is your understanding of the critical apparatus and your methodology for using textual evidence for your position and against ours. As it would appear, you don't use the textualcopia as evidence; you only use it to support your preconceived, faith-based conclusion. That's fine. But when and where you attempt to use the textual witness to argue AGAINST us, I WILL respond in the strongest and most accurate way I can to demonstrate the methodological fallacies of your position.

<<I did not need to establish a textualcopia for the passage because it was an illustration.>>

I'm afraid that this argument wont wash. You cannot use the variant as an illustration because it doesn't apply. The textual evidence which I presented makes that clear.

<<My only point was that if the Comma had the very same textual support for it as the longer ending of the Lord's Prayer does, it would still be rejected.>>

Certainly. That's an empty point, however; it's the MT community that believes that the Majority Reading should be THE reading. The Critical Community prefers the oldest and best readings.

And my response is still valid. If you accept the longer (but not the longest) ending because of its stronger numerical witness, then you should reject the Comma on the same grounds. I know ... from your own statements, I assume that you don't accept the Comma OR the longer (but not the longest) ending of the Lord's prayer based upon the textual evidence one way or the other. You accept both because they are the reading in the KJV.

<<"Oldest and best" is a phrase often used and is somewhat relative.>>

LOL ... it's not just "somewhat" relative, it's entirely relative. It is a scholarly judgment call, based upon how one weighs the evidence pro/con for any given manuscript or reading. This is the case, particularly, in the example you give.

<<The oldest mss. agree with the KJV in John 4:1 in reading "kurios" instead of "Iesous" (i.e. P66 & P75). Yet, they are not accepted on this reading because it is not the general reading of the Alexandrian textual line. >>

P66 and P75 both agree with the Majority Text reading, true, but they are not rejected because "it is not the general reading of the Alexandrian textual line." Put simply, Thomas, not only is this not even TRUE regarding the variant, but it is also NOT the reason given for their choice. Dr. Bruce Metzger, in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, writes regarding this variant:

<<As between "Iaesous" and "Kurios" the Committee preferred the former. Had "Kurios" been present in the original text, it is unlikely that a scribe would have displaced it with "Iaesous," which occurs twice in the following clauses. On the other hand, in accord with the increasing use of "kurios" in reference to Jesus, and in order to relieve the clumsy style, more than one copyist may have smoothed the passage by changing the first instance of "Iaesous" to "kurios.">> (p. 205-206)

Their grading for this choice was a "C," which reflects <<... a considerable degree of doubt whether the text or the apparatus contains the superior reading,....>>

I agree with those members of the committee who expressed a "considerable degree of doubt" with the chosen reading. I have always had a problem with judgments that are predicated almost entirely upon a theoretical argument and not upon the actual textual readings. In my opinion, the textual evidence should be understood as establishing the reading "Lord" in THIS case.

All this aside, however, I am surprised that you used THIS variant as your example because it doesn't even come close to supporting your assertion. Specifically, the manuscript witnesses don't support your claim that the committee's reason for choosing "Jesus" over "Lord" was "because it is not the general reading of the Alexandrian textual line."

"Iaesous" is supported by:

Sinaiticus -- 4th century (Alexandrian Text)
D -- 5th/6th century (Western Text)
Theta -- 9th century (Caesarean Text)
086 -- 6th century (Western Text)
Family 1 -- late minuscules (Caesarean Text)
565 -- 9th century (Caesarean Text)
1009 -- 13th century (Byzantine Text)
1010 -- 12th century (Byzantine Text)
1195 -- 1123 AD (Mixed Byzantine and Western Text)
1241 -- 12th century (Western Text in Gospels)
1365 -- 12th century (Caesarean Text)
and many versions and other authorities, including St. John Chrysostom.

"kurios" is supported by:

P66 -- ca 200 AD/Dr. Kim redates it to ca 145 AD ("Free Text")
P75 -- early 3rd century/Dr. Kim redates it to ca 175 AD ("Strict Text")
Alexandranus -- 5th century (early Byzantine)
Vaticanus -- 4th century (Alexandrian)
C -- 5th century (Mixed Alexandrian/later Egyptian)
K -- 9th century (Byzantine)
L -- 8th century (Later Alexandrian)
W(copp) -- 5th century (Caesarean Text)
Delta -- 9th century (Mixed Alexandrian/Byzantine)
Pi -- 9th century (Byzantine Text)
Psi -- 8th/9th century (Later Alexandrian)
083 == 6th/7th century (Alexandrian)
Family 13 -- later minuscules (Caesarean Text)
28 -- 11th century (Byzantine Text in Matthew)
33 -- 9th century (Alexandrian Text in Gospels)
700 -- 11th century (Caesarean Text)
892 -- 9th century (Alexandrian)
1071 -- 12th century (Caesarean/Western Mixed Text)
1079 -- 10th century (Mixed text, Byzantine and Egyptian)
1216 -- 11th century (Mixed text, Byzantine and Egyptian)
1230 -- 1124 AD (Unknown Type -- too mixed to classify)
1242 -- 13th century (Alexandrian Text)
1253 -- 15th century (Caesarean Text)
1344 -- 12th century (Unknown Type -- too mixed to classify)
1546 -- 1263? AD (unlisted in text type chart)
1646 -- 1172 AD (unlisted in text type chart)
2148 -- 1337 AD (unlisted in text type chart)
2174 -- 14th century (Mixed text, Byzantine and Egyptian)
The Byzantine Text minuscules
and many versions.

This list of witnesses demonstrate 3 things very clearly.

1. The textual support for "Iaesous" over "kurios" is weak, and the conclusion in favor of "Iaesous" depends entirely upon the argument of how "kurios" might have replaced "Iaesous." That kind of argument is VERY weak, in my opinion, particularly in the face of the KIND and weight of textual evidence on the other side.

2. The variant "Kurios" has extensive support not only throughout the breadth of textual witness, but also in the EARLIEST and BEST manuscripts ... which, in the above list, are P66, P75, and Codex Vaticanus.

3. Your argument is that "Iaesous" was included because of its inclusion in the Alexandrian Text Type. Well, the above should illustrate the faulty nature of your argument.

(a) Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are divided on the variant.

(b) their division on the variant highlights the fact that the entire Alexandrian Text Type is CLEARLY divided as well.

(c) INDEED, all of the Text Types, including 2 manuscripts of the Byzantine Text Type, are divided on the subject.

(d) MOST of the support for "Iaesous" is NOT Alexandrian, but Caesarean and Western. INDEED, only 1 purely Alexandrian manuscript supports "Iaesous," while there are not less than 9 Alexandrian Manuscripts supporting "Kurios."

I hope you see what I'm getting at. It's NOT AS SIMPLE, nor as programmatic, as you seem to think it is. The Nestle-Aland doesn't include "Iaesous" because it is the favored reading in the Alexandrian Text ... that's flat OUT false, as the list of manuscripts which support both readings makes clear. NO, the committee accepted "Iaesous" over "Kurios" thanks to an argument for how they think the variant evolved. They rejected the strong argument based upon textual witness in favor of their theory. I appreciate that they graded it "C," and I must assert that I disagree with their variant choice. In MY opinion the reading should be "Kurios," NOT "Iaesous," and it should be graded "B." Why graded "B"??? Because of Sinaiticus, D, and the mixed Text-Type support for "Iaesous." I think the autograph reading, in this case, was probably "Kurios", however.

I provided EXTENSIVE and SIGNIFICANT substantiation for our stating that the Comma most probably wasn't in the Greek textual tradition for 1300 years. Your response was:

<<No, we cannot. It may be "improbable," but it is certainly possible.>>

Of course it is possible that the Comma managed to evade our having either a direct copy of it, or a reference to it, in the Greek manuscript tradition for 1300 years ... and I could be elected a United Methodist Bishop in 2000. Indeed, the degree of improbability is so incredibly HIGH that it IS reasonable for us to assert more about it than to just say that it is absent in all pre-14th century manuscripts. In other words, the conclusions that we can draw from the absence are VALID within the limits of probability.

<<And, as I have stated in other postings, when we consider the internal evidence, it moves into the realm of probability. >>

I'm sorry, Thomas, but I've already addressed your arguments from internal evidence, and have effectively demonstrated why they don't do anything of the kind. Internal evidence is NOT, and NEVER CAN BE, considered stronger than external textual evidence. Rather, internal evidences are generally considered supportive of external textual evidence.

Now, there ARE cases where the external evidence is inconclusive. Sometimes the evidence is balanced, with no side having a conclusive lead. Other times the evidence is so mixed between several conclusions that none of them have the preponderance of the evidence. In those kinds of cases, appeals to internal arguments CAN produce conclusive results -- internal evidence CAN push the weight of the evidence one way or the other. But that is NOT the case here. What we have here is an Elephant (=the textual evidence against the Comma) sitting on one side of the scales, and a flea (=the textual evidence in favor of the Comma) sitting on the other side of the scales, and you adding your internal evidence to the flea's side is like dropping a feather on the scales. The result is the same as before.

I stated: <<Your methodology is flawed, my friend. Mine, on the other hand, is at least coherent.>>

Your response was: <<This is not the first time you have made such a comment to me. I must state, in all due respect, that I find such a comment at the very least insulting. If my methodology is so flawed and my arguments are therefore incoherent, then you need not bother addressing them. Please, brother, let's not make such personal comments to each other in these postings. >>

I'm sorry that you considered my evaluation of your methodology to be a personal comment. If you don't want to have your methodology examined and challenged, as you examine and challenged ours, then I put it to you that you have problems other than your methodology that you may need to be addressing.

<<I was just called incoherent and now I am labeled by you as inconsistent. Regardless, it is not inconsistent.>>

Certainly, it is.

<<I reject the argument of the falling out of the ending of Mark because Biblical preservation argues for its presence SOMEWHERE. Your argument is that it does not exist ANYWHERE.>>

I'm not sure I've posted, in this folder, my opinion on the ending of Mark's Gospel. Be that as it may, suffice it to say that you don't have any grounds other than faith to support WHICH ending you prefer.

<<My point is that if you can argue that one reading fell out of the GREEK textual line, then it is possible to argue that another reading fell out of the Greek textual line.>>

Hmmm ... perhaps. The difference between the two variants is rather remarkable, however. St. Mark's ending exists in several major variations, and is quite extensively attested to throughout the textualcopia. An argument CAN be made for its inclusion based upon widespread character of its inclusion, though in several major variations, but the argument against its inclusion is rather stronger and stands upon Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as well as upon several other manuscripts AND citations from certain Church Fathers. It SHOULD be noted that both the Nestle-Aland 27th edition AND the UBS 3rd (corrected) edition include both the longer and the shorter endings in brackets.

The Comma, on the other hand, is totally absent from the Greek textualcopia up until the 14th century, and when it does appear it is clearly through backward-translation from Vulgate Latin into Greek. Sorry, Thomas, but these two variants aren't even in the same league when it comes to variant support!

<<You even note that it is possible. HOWEVER, the consistency is that I believe in Biblical preservation. Therefore, even if a reading falls from the original language and appears in another, it has still been PRESERVED. I realize that you do not agree with my theology regarding Biblical preservation, but I do feel I am consistent in using it. >>

There is definitely a kind of internal consistency to your argument, but it is a consistency of circularity which functions ONLY IF your conclusion is predetermined; your purpose in textual-critical work is to support your conclusion, not determine it. Put in other words, you know the preserved readings based upon what the KJV says, and any reading that violates what the KJV says is not graced with preservation and should be discarded.

<<...the manuscripts are witnesses, not my final authority. Nor, are they my starting point.>>

For the purpose of making sure that I, and everyone else, knows exactly what you mean here, would you mind detailing what your final authority and your starting point is? HOW do you know the "authority" when you see it? And, more importantly, HOW do you know that it IS the "authority?" I know what you've written about Biblical Preservation. What I want to know is HOW you know that what you have IS that which God preserved?

<<My next comment, which you cite, substantiates this:>>

Actually, no ... it doesn't. It is simply your creed on this topic; your statement of faith. It doesn't substantiate anything, but simply tells us what it is you believe. There is NOTHING wrong with that. But HOW do you know WHAT IT IS that God preserved??

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: Gnosticism And Heretical Influence
Subject: Re: Gnosticism And Heretical Influence
Date: Thu, Sep 17, 1998 7:08 AM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <19980917080819.20856.00000457@ng140.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<First, there are church fathers whose theology seems to have been influenced by heretical thought and is reflected in their various writings. If these fathers had access to various mss., it is not beyond reason to suspect if they influenced the text of Scripture.>>

That is certainly a possibility. I've often seen it proposed.

<<Second, it seems rather narrow to suggest that all textual variants occurred due to various scribal errors, and not open the possibility that heretical thought influenced some of the textual variants.>>

Honestly, Thomas, this sounds suspiciously like a strawman. Aland, Metzger, Souter, Greenlee, Petzer, Moulton, Fee ... none of these top flight scholars EVER claim that the only way that the variants made their way into the textual record was through scribal error. HOWEVER, that does NOT mean that the only alternative is that "heretical thought" was the source of the other errors. Sure, some might have been -- indeed, there are instances, I believe, where heretical thought IS found in occasional manuscripts. HOWEVER, that any given Text Type reflects such thought has never been demonstrated. Frankly, I believe that there was significantly MORE added to or changed in the Bible by orthodox scribes than was taken away or changed by heretics.

<<it is reasonable to note that the Bible itself warns of influences which would seek to alter God's word.>>

While I could present several arguments contrary to this, I won't bother to to offer them at this time. I don't think that altering the Scriptures is a good idea, which is why I prefer trying to get back to the readings found in the Autographs. I'm not willing to just assume, by faith, that what we have at the END of 2000 years is what was written in the beginning ... particularly not when we can actually TRACE the actual entrance of quite a few words and phrases into the textual witness that is finally reflected in the "end product," the KJV.

<<We also know from historical writings that various heretical groups sought to alter God's word.>>

That is very true. And, for the most part, what they produced is obviously heretical.

<<It has been suggested (by Hills) that the Latin mss. k reflects such Gnostic tampering in places such as Mark 16:4 where clear heretical teaching has been added to the text. There, the addition supplied by k matches the Gnostic Gospel of Peter. >>

Okay ... I remember this one popping up a couple of years ago, the first time we bumped into each other. You do know, of course, that this reading is not found in any Greek Biblical manuscript of which I am aware, nor is it a variant reflected in the Nestle-Aland or the UBS. Indeed, you can find precisely the speculation that you attribute to Hills in Metzger's textual commentary on Mark 16:4. I'm not saying that Hills doen't say it -- in fact, I know he does -- but be aware that you're not "springing" anything on critical scholarship by making reference to this. As I said earlier, it is VERY true that there are occasional examples of this kind of thing happening. Just making the assertion that this kind of thing happens, however, should NOT be understood as supporting the claim that all -- or most/many -- of the textual variants in the Greek New Testament Textualcopia are the result of similar kinds of processes.

<<In his thesis, Against Heresies, Ireaneus also noted that, "Marcion cut up that according to Luke." Thus showing that Marcion was willing to alter Luke's Gospel in order to promote his theological heresies, among which denied the physical resurrection of Jesus. This may account for the omission of Luke 24:40 in the Western Codex D concerning the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.>>

What an interesting choice for a variant that is the result of heretical tampering! It should be an excellent example for WHY most of these claims are SO obviously false. Firstly, you do know, of course, that this variant is HEAVILY attested against in the Textualcopia? Secondly, I trust that you also know that verse 40 is included in the Nestle-Aland and the UBS? The note in Dr. Metzger's commentary on this verse is worth quoting:

<<Was ver. 40 omitted by certain western witnesses... [omit citations]... because it seemed superfluous after verse 39?>>

So ... Marcion was sharp enough to chop out a reference to Jesus actually showing the disciples His hands and His feet, but Marcion wasn't sharp enough to cut out verse 39, where Jesus tells them to look at His hands and His feet and affirms that He is flesh and bone and not a Ghost???? Do you see the sheer ridiculousness of your charge? I hope you recognize that this, among ALL the possible candidates for heretical tampering, is probably among the least convincing? If Marcion is responsible for this POOR example of Gnostic tampering, in which he can cut out a reference to Jesus showing His hands and feet but can't cut out the reference to His flesh and bones, then he wasn't the menace which we KNOW he was. Since Marcion was FAR MORE SINISTER than this pathetic example, the conclusion should logically follow that Marcion wasn't responsible for this tiny and poorly supported variant.

Metzger goes on: <<Or is it a gloss introduced by copyists in all other witnesses from Jn 20.20, with a necessary adaptation (the passage refers to his hands and feet)? A minority of the committee preferred to omit the verse as an interpolation...; the majority, however, was of the opinion that, had the passage been interpolated from the Johannine account, copyists would probably have left some traces of its origin by retaining "taen pleuran" in place of "tous podas" (either here only, or in ver. 39 also).>> (p. 187)

I agree with Metzger. The verse is original, not interpolated from John 20:20. The textual record certainly supports originality.

<<This does not mean that ALL of their alteration were overt.>>

If Luke 24:40 is an example of heretical tampering, then I would imagine that they would have to do better to earn their pay. Thus far, I'd be demanding my money back.

<<Again, Ireaneus noted that those who altered the gospels could be refuted from the very gospels they altered.>>

Very true. By this I assume you mean that they didn't change everything. Perhaps ... but if what we have in the Alexandrian line reflects the results of their tampering -- the VOLUMINOUS amounts of orthodox doctrine, and the overwhelming lack of overt Gnostic doctrine -- then the scribes whom the Gnostics comissioned to produce the Alexandrian line should never have been paid for their work due to utter incompetence!

<<He writes, "(t)hose who separate Jesus from Christ and say that Christ remained impassable while Jesus suffered, and try to bring forward the Gospel According to Mark, can be corrected out of that, if they will read it with a love of the truth." (Richardson's translation of Against Heresies, [Westminister Press, Vol.1], p. 382).>>

Isn't this true for ANY heretic (and even for mislead orthodox Christians) who would try to use the scriptures to prove their pet theologies? One doesn't even have to actually change the wording of the scriptures in order to try and twist it. I think you may be over-interpreting St. Ireaneus' statement.

<<Any who have studied heresies (ancient or modern) know that many of the changes are subtle and underline the foundation for a greater and more overt heresy.>>

Most of the heresies involved taking a doctrinal truth -- like the Divinty of Jesus (in Gnosticism), or His humanity (in Arianism) -- and pulling it to an exclusive extreme. Hence, there is always a bit of truth in heresy. However true this is of heretical theology, they don't need to pervert the actual text of the scriptures to do this. Arius didn't misquote the Bible to make his arguments, he simply interpreted it heretically. The same was true for Nestorius and (more particularly) his followers.

<<Tatian (110-180 AD), became a Gnostic shortly after his completion of the Diatessaron (a harmony of the Gospels). It is reasonable to suggest that while working on the Diatessaron that he was influenced by Gnosticism and that it may have influenced some of his choices in readings. However, we do not know since we do not have an original Diatessaron to compare.>>

Our sources for the Diatessaron were, until the latter half of the 1980s, mostly through translations of it into Latin, Old High German, Old Dutch, Persian, Arabic, and several other languages. We also had an Armenian version of Ephraem's commentary on the Diatessaron. However, in the 1980s a complete Syriac copy of his Commentary was discovered, and this commentary contains nearly the entire Diatessaron, in its original Syriac, in quote form. Based upon this, we know that the Diatessaron was substantially free of any overt (and probably from any covert) Gnostic influence. This is good, especially for the later translations, like the Old Syriac, the Peshitta, and Philoxeniana, and the Harklensis version of the Syriac New Testament, all of which almost certainly contain echoes of the Diatessaron where wording is concerned.

<<Nevertheless, it does establish that one who was instrumental in the production of textual work came under the influence of heretical doctrine.>>

Nothing new. Speculation, built upon ad hominem.

<<Further, the fact that Theodoret (early to mid 5th century) the bishop of Syria rejected and destroyed 200 copies of the Diatessaron because he felt they were corrupt indicate that the Diatessaron fell under such heretical influence (at least the copies which survived until his day).>>

You are assuming MUCH here, Thomas, that you really don't have any substantiation for assuming. I seem to remember I countered you on this a couple of years ago.

You assert that the bishop had 200 copies destroyed because he felt that they were corrupt, and that this indicates that "the Diatessaron fell under such heretical influence...." This, however, is NOT reflected in most scholarly writing on the subject. Indeed, there appears to be MUCH confusion as to the actual reason for the destruction of the 200 copies. Some sources say that the Theodoret was upset because Tatian left out (1) the birth narratives, while others assert that the bishop was mistrustful of it because he believed it lacked (2) the genealogies, and (3) "whatever other passages show that the Lord was born of the seed of David according to the flesh." (from: Hogg, Hope W. (ed) "The Diatessaron of Tatian." The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9, p. 38.)

The problem with these 3 points is that NONE OF THEM are reflected in the actual text of the Diatesseron; neither as found in the Arabic translations (formerly the best available), NOR as it is found in the newly rediscovered Syriac version as recovered from Ephriam's Syriac-language commentary, which is FAR MORE important than any translated version. while there ARE some translated copies with MUCH variation on this topic, nevertheless the best and the oldest copies (and the copy in Syriac) clearly DOES include all of the things that Theodoret is suggested to have been upset about having been left out. Indeed, several sources assert that Theodoret's problem was more with Tatian himself, and with the traditional weight of the 4-fold Gospel, rather than with the specifics of the Diatesseron.

<<Both Zahn and Harnack agree, as do most other scholars, that the work was written before Tatian became a heretic; however, his work was looked upon with suspicion, and of course in later days, when so much stress was laid (as e.g. by Irenaeus) upon the fourfold Gospel, Christians would be naturally distrustfull of a single Gospel proposed as a substitute for them.>> (From: Arthur Cushman McGiffert, (ed) "The Church History of Eusebius" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, p. 209n)

Bruce Metzger's remarks are also notable: Bishop Theodort, <<...because of Tatian's reputation as a heretic, ordered that some 200 copies of the Diatessaron be destroyed, and that copies of the seperate Gospels be put in their place.>> (Metzger, The Versions of the New Testament, citing the Treatise on Heresies, i. 20)

I think these final two conclusions are, in the end, the most resonable of all the reasons cited. Ad hominem attacks on Tatian are so much easier, after all, than actually having to deal with what the Diatesseron contains. Tatian was a known heretic -- never mind that he wrote prior to going heretical -- and, hence, what he wrote is automatically suspect. And, of course, it is not 4 Gospels but 1, and THAT violates the tradition of the 4-fold Gospel. These sound like more reasonable grounds than for us to speculate as to possible heretical content in the work itself. After all, each and every claim made about the Diatesseron's lacking certain orthodox doctrines have all come up empty.

<<It is also of concern that some of the church fathers in Alexandria reflected Gnostic teachings in some of their writings.>>

A similar argument (along a different heretical line) can be easily made against some Antiochene fathers, including particularly Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople and head of the "Antiochene school." Similar arguments could be made against Eutyches and Eusebius of Nicomedia, who was the principle supporter of Arius. All of these were important voices in the Byzantine Church, and often had support from Antioch.

On the other hand, among of THE principle voices of orthodoxy were Bishops Cyril, Alexander, and especially Athanasius ... all in Alexandria.

<<Clement of Alexandria (150-215) for example accepted the Gnostic doctrines that God was both male and female, and that He was God the Father/Mother (see Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, [Vintage Books] pp. 81-83). Although not very careful in his quotation of Scripture we know that in , " . . . the Gospels he used a text closely related to Codex Bezae (D)." (A. Souter, The Text And Canon Of The New Testament, p.81).>>

Would you mind giving me more evidence of this? Specifically, I'd like the citation which Elaine uses in her book ... I don't have it in front of me, and will probably not have time to access it soon (I've loaned it to a friend who lives rather too far away for me to access it again in the near future). Likewise, I can't find referneces about this in Clement's actual writings, and I suspect that you (or Elaine, depending rather heavily upon her predisposition in favor feminist causes) are entirely misconstruing Clement's allegorical interpretation of Scripture. Indeed, from everything I've been able to read in Clement's own writing, he appears to be a rather harsh critic of Gnosticism, which makes me wonder what it is you're talking about.

<<And, it should be of some concern that the NT papyri found in places such as Ocyrhynchus or Fayyum (both in Egypt) likewise contain heretical literature (see Epp and Fee, Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual
Criticism, pp. 274-297).>>

Okay ... give me a listing of the heretical literature contained in these NT papyri. List the Papyri in question, while you're at it. I know, you've given the source, but that's argument from authority. Don't just give the source ... give the evidence.

<<This may be considered guilt by association, but we should also remember the additional Gnostic finds at Nag Hammadi thus showing that early Christianity was influenced by Gnosticism. It is not unreasonable to suspect that some of the texts were likewise influenced by Gnostics.>>

This IS a seriously fallacious argument. Rather than depending upon such arguments, why don't you spend a little more time going to specific papyri and presenting the variant readings that reflect gnostic influence? THAT is how you demonstrate your claims.

<<For example, the reading found in 1 John 1:7 in the MT and TR states, "kai to aima Ihsou Xpistou tou uiou autou" (and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son). The Critical Text and modern versions read "kai to aima Ihsou tou uiou autou" (and the
blood of Jesus his Son). The difference is subtle, "Jesus Christ" or "Jesus." To us there is no difference because Jesus and Jesus Christ speak of the very same Person. But John was writing his epistle to combat false teachings such as those of Gnosticism.>>

1. I'm sorry, but this kind of variant simply doesn't cut the mustard. The accumilation of "Christ" to "Jesus" was a common occurance, flowing from piety NOT from any theological grounds. You assume that it was present in the original, when in reality it wasn't.

2. The removal of Christ in NO WAY decreases the reality that this is Jesus, FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN. Had the intent been to decrease the Divinity of Jesus (something a Gnostic would NEVER do, by the way), there are quite a few more things that really need to be removed.

3. Where this the result of gnostic influence, shouldn't "Jesus" be removed instead of "Christ?" You seem to think that just disconnecting them is sufficient, but removing the supposedly "divine" reference runs contrary to Gnostic thinking.

<<The Gnostics taught that Jesus and the Christ were two different beings of the same person. They believed Jesus was born of Joseph and Mary, and that the Christ came upon Jesus when He was baptized.>>

I'm not sure where you've gotten your information, but nearly every source I've ever read on the heretical movements indicate that most Gnostics denied that our Lord had a human body AT ALL, or that he only "appeared to have a body," and while some said that he did they usually argued that it was made of "spiritual matter." Hence, it was important for them to limit any and or all references to the humanity of Jesus.

YOU appear to be confusing Gnosticism with Apollinarianism, which argued that Jesus had a fully human body but that, at his baptism, he was granted a divine Soul. You also appear to be confusing it with Nestorianism, in which the divine Soul couldn't suffer and die, so it left Jesus at the time of his death.. Might I suggest a book? Harold O.J. Brown Heresies. It's an excellent address to this, and other, topics.

<<At the crucifixion, they taught that the Christ left Jesus. So it was Jesus who shed His blood, and not the Christ. Therefore, the phrase "Jesus Christ" becomes rather important in
combating the false doctrine of Gnosticism. >>

Again, most Gnostics would deny that our Lord ever went to the cross. They would assert that he only "appeared" to go to the Cross, and only "appeared" to die. They would deny a real human body to Jesus, and hence they would deny that he could die on the cross. I submit that you are creating distinctions between Jesus and Christ that simply don't exist in Gnosticsm. Check out Nestorianism for the divine part of Jesus having left the human body.

<<Another example from 1 John is found in 4:3. The text reads, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." The phrase "is come in the flesh" is not found in the Alexandrian line, and would again match the Gnostic doctrine concerning the dualism of Christ. Some Gnostics denied that Christ was really in a body of flesh, because all that was material was considered evil. They felt Christ was not in the flesh, but was a manifestation.>>

You are still confused about Gnosticism, but this latter part regarding their doctrine is more accurate than what you said previously.

As for 1 John 4:3 ... actually, it IS found in quite a few examples of the Alexandrian line. Sinaiticus certainly contains a version of it.

The reason for it's non-inclusion is NOT because leaving it out is an attempt to support gnostic doctrine but because: (1) it is easier to understand how it my have been assimulated from 4:2, and (2) the proliferation of different versions of this addition doesn't lend much support to its originality.

I think everyone should note how the placement of the following at 4:2 aboslutely blows away your claim that the leaving out of "in the flesh" in 4:3 is the result of gnostic corruption.

"By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God."

Now, disconnect your bias for a moment and think with as much objectivity as you can muster. Shouldn't the Gnostics have removed, from 4:2, the affirmation of Jesus Christ's having come in the flesh? By leaving this affirmation in the text IMMEDIATELY PRIOR to the verse in question, they totally undermine all that they supposedly accomplished by corrupting 4:3! Don't you see the flaw in your claim here? And, for that matter, please note that this uncontested verse, just prior to the verse you are talking about, includes BOTH Jesus AND Christ. Even MORE evidence that these supposed Gnostic corruptions simply don't stand up to investigation.

<<However, Polycarp (70-155 AD) confronted Gnosticism and used this verse to confront their heresy (see Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers; Wake, The Lost Books of The Bible, and Geisler & Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible. All state that Polycarp cited 1 John 4:3 with the phrase "is come in the flesh").>>

Yes, he did ... only, not precisely. The witness (as cited in in the UBS) indicates that it is an approxomate citation, probably from his memory.

<<I think these things should cause us some amount of suspect. It would have been nice if those heretical groups who had influenced certain texts or readings had placed a red flag or footnote stating such. However, they do not. But these few examples, I believe, certainly illustrate some interesting variance which just happen to agree with Gnostic doctrine.>>

As I have demonstrated, these do NOT agree with Gnostic Doctrine. And, what is SUPPOSED to be such actually DOESN'T, for the prior verse (4:2) BLOCKS any claim that might be made for the removal of the phrase in question in 4:3.

<<Admittedly, these examples do not firmly establish that heretical influences corrupted this or that text. But these examples should cause us some amount of concern. >>

Quite the contrary, these examples don't do a thing but prove that those who wish to find connections and conspiracies and corruptions in various manuscripts or Fathers can easily do so. Often those connections are in the nit-picky suspicions of those who are doing the looking, and NOT inherent to the text itself. These examples have to be FORCED into saying what you want them to say.

Thank you, however, for finally giving some examples of actual variants for which a claim might be made. Unfortunately for your argument, none of them work when examined within their context and with an eye toward what Gnostic Doctrine actually was, and not some inprecise assumption as to what it was. Again ... in case you've forgotten ... the Gnostics would have removed "Jesus" NOT "Christ." Gnostics denied the humanity of Jesus, not his Divinity.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Thu, Sep 17, 1998 8:38 AM
From: Logos1611
Message-id: <19980917093854.06316.00000526@ng40.aol.com>


Dear Brother Greg,

The following was posted as an exchange between us:

You wrote: <<Your methodology is flawed, my friend. Mine, on the other hand, is at least coherent.>>

I responded with: <<This is not the first time you have made such a comment to me. I must state, in all due respect, that I find such a comment at the very least insulting. If my methodology is so flawed and my arguments are therefore incoherent, then you need not bother addressing them. Please, brother, let's not make such personal comments to each other in these postings.>>

You copied both and then wrote: <<I'm sorry that you considered my evaluation of your methodology to be a personal comment. If you don't want to have your methodology examined and challenged, as you examine and challenged ours, then I put it to you that you have problems other than your methodology that you may need to be addressing.>>

To differ with methodology is one thing (and it is obvious we both differ in methodology). To proclaim that mine is flawed and yours is coherent implies that my methodology is incoherent. You followed this with a statement that I am inconsistent.

I put it to you that for one to differ with methodology (or to contend with one point as not justifiable) is one thing. But to call SOMEONE "inconsistent" and to insinuate that SOMEONE is "incoherent" is another. That then becomes PERSONAL. That, my friend, is the contention.

I also wrote:
<<But why would you (or anyone else) wish to "devastate" someone else's belief?>>

You responded with:
>>Demonstrating the fallacy of another's methodology or argument doesn't constitute "devastating" another's "belief." I have never tried to destroy your "belief" that the King James Version of the Bible is the Only Inspired, Inerrant Word of God.<<

And, yet you wrote:
>>We've devastated your textual arguments [regarding the Comma], so now your attacking our intentions and orthodoxy? You disappointment me.<<

Agreed, presenting evidence and supporting one's views does not constitute devastating another person's belief. But I ask you, what did you mean by stating you "devastated" my arguments regarding the Comma if you were not trying to devastate my belief in the Comma (and I might add, therefore the KJV)? The question is rhetorical and I think the above statements speak for themselves.

BTW: Just for the record, I do not believe the KJV is inspired. Nor do I believe it is the ONLY inerrant word of God. I believe it is the preserved word of God for the English-speaking people of today.

You also ask about by faith statement:

>>For the purpose of making sure that I, and everyone else, knows exactly what you mean here, would you mind detailing what your final authority and your starting point is? HOW do you know the "authority" when you see it? And, more importantly, HOW do you know it IS the "authority?" I know what you've written about Biblical Preservation. What I want to know is HOW you know that what you have IS that which God
preserved?<<

I thank those who have read my lessons know the answer. But to the point, I believe the Bible is the written inerrant word of God, and is my final authority for my belief and practice. The Bible, I believe, teaches Biblical preservation. Therefore, I believe we still have God's inerrant words today. I believe God bears witness to His words, and that for those of us who speak English, it is found in the Authorized Version.

There are several "evidences" as to why I believe the preserved word of God is the KJV, and I will be the first to state that I start with faith (Heb. 11:6). This faith is not in the KJV itself, but in God's promise regarding Biblical preservation (Ps. 12:6-7; Matt. 24:35; etc.). It seems to me that the only candidate to fill this promise for those of us who speak English today is the KJV. It's text (the TR) was the one used by God during the
Reformation. The English text has experienced unusual blessings from God:

It was the text of great revivals throughout our history.
It was the text of English and American history.
It arrived after the printing press and before the expansion of the British Empire.
It was the text used to educate and expand Christian culture for four centuries.
It is the only translation to form our current language and not be formed by it.
It is the only translation which has had a dynamic impacted on our literature.
It is the standard by which other translations compare themselves to.
It is the only English version which extensively uses Hebraisms.
It's translators gave special and unique testimony concerning it.
It is a modern English version written on 12th grade level.
It does not dumb-down our language, instead it offers a standard of education.
It is a truly ecumenical version among Protestants.
It has a unique history in various Christian backgrounds.
It has been responsible for the salvation of more souls than any other version.
And, I believe, it stands without any proven error.

I am sure there are other reasons, but these come to my mind off hand. Basically, it fits the mold for Biblical preservation, and no other version does. If you have a candidate, I am willing to consider it. But we both know that you do not because you do not believe in Biblical preservation (or inerrancy).

This brings me to another point, which is underlined in you comment regarding "KJV ONLY". Those who accuse us of being "KJV Only" do not justifiably use the term. First, it is not the KJV "ONLY," it is the KJV for the modern English- speaking world. We believe God's inerrant word existed before 1611. Nor, for that matter, do we all demand that if you do not speak English you must translate the KJV into your language. And, myself and others have used modern versions.

Second, those who accuse us of being "KJV only" offer NO other version (in any language) they believe to be inerrant. In fact, my friend, those who are more liberal such as yourself do not believe the original writings were inerrant. I offer the compromise and sometimes refer to myself as a KJV advocate (because I certainly do advocate the KJV). We usually refer to ourselves as "Bible believers." Of course, I understand were others would find
fault with such a term because it implies that those who do not support the KJV do not believe their Bibles. In fact, my lessons even state so because I do not believe you can believe something and correct it at the same time.

Your in Christ Jesus,
Thomas
http://members.aol.com/Logos1611/index.html

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Thu, Sep 17, 1998 1:10 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <19980917141020.11914.00000690@ng123.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

<<To differ with methodology is one thing (and it is obvious we both differ in methodology). To proclaim that mine is flawed and yours is coherent implies that my methodology is incoherent. You followed this with a statement that I am inconsistent.>>

My brother, what I was saying was that your methodology doesn't obey the well-established rules of logical discourse or textual-critical convention. Indeed, it violates most of them through circularity and presumption of result. I was using "coherence" and "inconsistency" in the context of their precise meaning in epistemological discourse: "systematic or logical connection or consistency." (Websters) In THIS context, Thomas, I am saying that neither your METHODOLOGY nor your ARGUMENTS follow a logical structure which obeys the rules of Textual Criticism.

<<I put it to you that for one to differ with methodology (or to contend with one point as not justifiable) is one thing. But to call SOMEONE "inconsistent" and to insinuate that SOMEONE is "incoherent" is another. That then becomes PERSONAL. That, my friend, is the contention. >>

I sincerely thought that I was addressing your methodology -- I never intended to be understood as saying that YOU, personally, were being "incoherent." No, it is your METHODOLGY which doesn't cohere to the standards and norms of Textual Critical convention.

<<But I ask you, what did you mean by stating you "devastated" my arguments regarding the Comma if you were not trying to devastate my belief in the Comma (and I might add, therefore the KJV)? The question is rhetorical and I think the above statements speak for themselves.>>

Thomas, at the time I wrote, what I was thinking of was your arguments regarding the 2nd and 3rd century Old Latin witnesses, which you originally claimed supported the Comma. I also had in mind your internal arguments in favor of the Comma, which I believe I answered rather well (even though I am under no illusion that you're going to agree). Since you base your belief in the Comma upon its presence in what you believe to be God's Preserved Word, how I evaluate your methodology or deconstruct your arguments shouldn't bother you.

<<BTW: Just for the record, I do not believe the KJV is inspired. Nor do I believe it is the ONLY inerrant word of God. I believe it is the preserved word of God for the English-speaking people of today. >>

Okay ... and the difference is?

<<I thank those who have read my lessons know the answer.>>

That much is true, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have you on the record here.

<<But to the point, I believe the Bible is the written inerrant word of God, and is my final authority for my belief and practice. The Bible, I believe, teaches Biblical preservation. Therefore, I believe we still have God's inerrant words today. I believe God bears witness to His words, and that for those of us who speak English, it is found in the Authorized Version.>>

Ah, so. It is the inerrant Word of God in English, but not the ONLY one (ie, other languages have theirs). How do they get theirs? By translation from the KJV?

<<There are several "evidences" as to why I believe the preserved word of God is the KJV, and I will be the first to state that I start with faith (Heb. 11:6). This faith is not in the KJV itself, but in God's promise regarding Biblical preservation (Ps. 12:6-7; Matt. 24:35; etc.). It seems to me that the only candidate to fill this promise for those of us who speak English today is the KJV. It's text (the TR) was the one used by God during the
Reformation.>>

Why is THAT a limiting criteria? By this, do you mean that the other manuscript lines don't share in Biblical Preservation? I would press you here, seriously ... everything you say leaves me asking "but why the KJV only for english people?"

Also, I ask you ... so, God didn't have a Preserved word before Erasmus and his sucessors produced their scholarly work that eventually became the TR (after the KJV was translated, by the way).

<<It was the text of great revivals throughout our history.>>

True ... so, why does THIS fact mean that it is the only Preserved Word of God?

<<It was the text of English and American history.>>

But it most certainly WASN'T the only Text. Prior to the KJV, and even after its initial production, there WERE other Texts. Likewise, for about a century now we've had other texts as well.

<<It arrived after the printing press and before the expansion of the British Empire.>>

Yes ... and the significance of this was??? I'm not sure what this means, other than it was in the right place at the right time, with the authority of the crown behind it, and was thus proliferated throughout the English-Speaking world.

<<It was the text used to educate and expand Christian culture for four centuries.>>

1998-1611 = 387 years, of which the last 100, or so, have been years in which it has been contested as the "text used to educate and expand Christian culture." I could make a good argument, Thomas, that this point of yours is simply illustrative of ecclesiastical and cultural inertia. That, however, wouldn't be doing the text all the justice it is due, for the KJV is a wonderful translation.

<<It is the only translation to form our current language and not be formed by it.>>

You are arguing in a circle on this one. On top of that, you should be aware that current English isn't formed by the KJV -- not hardly. If anything, current English is formed by the Movies and TV. For example ... what does "let" mean in modern English? I'm sure you realize that the English of the KJV was the English of the late 1500s and early 1600s, and that it WAS formed by the then-current cultural conditions and needs of that time? It IS
true that the KJV had an effect upon post 1611 English -- up until about the mid-to-late 1800s. But beyond that your argument falls apart. Indeed, by your argument, I could propose and support a claim for Shakesphere being God's Preserved Word! <VBG>

<<It is the only translation which has had a dynamic impacted on our literature.>>

Quite probably. So?

<<It is the standard by which other translations compare themselves to.>>

Firstly, not at all. Secondly, when this is true it is so due to the proper reverence which most, including many scholars, have for it. It IS a good and time-tested translation, but that doesn't prove anything in and of itself.

<<It is the only English version which extensively uses Hebraisms.>>

Try the Jerusalem Bible. Better yet, try the Tanahk in English.

<<It's translators gave special and unique testimony concerning it.>>

They certainly didn't claim that it should hold the position that you claim for it. I think you're reading more into the Preface than they wrote.

<<It is a modern English version written on 12th grade level.>>

Oh, boy! I hope MJay decides to jump in on that one! I'm sorry, but it is NOT modern English. The density of words that are no longer in use, or are in use in different ways, AND the denisty of grammar rules that have changed over the last 400 years, are simply too great to make the claim that it is a modern version. As for it being on the 12th grade reading level ... well, I'll just let Jay hit that one. He's done it before (I think).

<<It does not dumb-down our language, instead it offers a standard of education.>>

Gracious, Thomas, is that the best way to proclaim the Word of God? Make it hard to understand for the average person!? I can understand why the Apocalyptic writers wrote in code, but I don't think they intended such to be true for the entire Bible!

<<It is a truly ecumenical version among Protestants.>>

Okay ... but what about other Christians?

<<It has a unique history in various Christian backgrounds.>>

That's a particularly relative assumption.

<<It has been responsible for the salvation of more souls than any other version.>.

Perhaps ... in English, perhaps. So???

<<And, I believe, it stands without any proven error.>>

I disagree.

<<I am sure there are other reasons, but these come to my mind off hand. Basically, it fits the mold for Biblical preservation, and no other version does.>>

Given that you develope your mold for Biblical Preservation FROM the KJV, no other conclusion could possibly be drawn.

<<If you have a candidate, I am willing to consider it. But we both know that you do not because you do not believe in Biblical preservation (or inerrancy).>>

Certainly not in the way you comprehend Biblical Preservation. I DO think that the incredible tenacity of the Greek Text over the centuries -- regardless of Text Type -- is a testamony to the power of God in preserving scripture, however.

<<Those who accuse us of being "KJV Only" do not justifiably use the term.>>

Hmmmm ... okay.

<<First, it is not the KJV "ONLY," it is the KJV for the modern English- speaking world. We believe God's inerrant word existed before 1611. Nor, for that matter, do we all demand that if you do not speak English you must translate the KJV into your language. And, myself and others have used modern versions.>>

That's an interesting point ... I've found, in my reading in the KJV-Only literature AND in talking with KJV-Only proponants, that there ARE many different points of view on this subject. I've dealt with some who would call you a heretic for daring to assert that any other translation should be used for anything other than firewood.

<<Second, those who accuse us of being "KJV only" offer NO other version (in any language) they believe to be inerrant. In fact, my friend, those who are more liberal such as yourself do not believe the original writings were inerrant. I offer the compromise and sometimes refer to myself as a KJV advocate (because I certainly do advocate the KJV).>>

The problem, my friend, is that I TOO am an advocate of the KJV. I have used it in preaching and I have used it for personal devotional study. I believe it is a good translation of the Bible. Hence, that term for yourself is somewhat misleading. You advocate a particular position of supremacy for the KJV.

<<We usually refer to ourselves as "Bible believers." Of course, I understand were others would find fault with such a term because it implies that those who do not support the KJV do not believe their Bibles.>>

It ALSO is a rather huge insult. Even your own words articulate an insult ... ie, that we don't support the KJV. I DO ... I just don't give it the DEGREE of supreme support that you do.

<<In fact, my lessons even state so because I do not believe you can believe something and correct it at the same time.>>

Prove the statement that we cannot believe something and "correct it" at the same time. Better yet, prove your statement from within the context of what we ACTUALLY are doing, rather than your strawman assertion of what we do. Prove that we cannot believe something at the same time that we work to try and re-establish, with precision, its original reading. For me, the matter is one of devotion. I love the Scriptures so much that I dedicated 12 years of my life to undergraduate and graduate-level study, including 8 years of Greek and 4 years of Hebrew, and all so that I might be more faithful in seeking to understand and re-construct the most likely reading of the original. Your assertion, however, denegrates those of us who do this FAR MORE hideously than anything I might have said about your inconsistency in methodology. Indeed, in so doing you effectively "de-Christianize" us.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

***

Re: What Would It Take?
Subject: Re: What Would It Take?
Date: Fri, Sep 18, 1998 12:44 PM
From: Rev Neal
Message-id: <19980918134406.17525.00000350@ng154.aol.com>

Dear Thomas,

You said to Jay in prior message [a message edited out]:

<<If the Comma had additional textual support, at least as much as other variant readings such as Matt. 6:13, it would still be rejected. Therefore, the argument proclaiming the lack of textual evidence for the Comma before the 14th century in Greek by itself is not solely true.>>

I've already addressed this point in detail, but I think -- given that you're still repeating your misunderstanding here -- that I'll do it again in a slightly different wording. Put simply, you're confused on the issue of textual support and HOW textual support works. I believe you are confusing the MT method of using textual support with the Critical Comunity's method. Put simply, Thomas, BOTH believe that the textual support is VERY important, but we go about evaluating that support differently.

You know that Majority Text supporters look at the Majority of the Readings and make their decision based upon what the Majority of the Greek readings say. Often that's an easy call ... there is usually a FLOOD of manuscripts in favor of one reading and only a small trickle of manuscripts in favor of a different reading(s); but, sometimes, the reading variants are ballanced. When THAT happens, Farsted and Hodges apply a textual-critical rule to help them determine which reading is the right one: put simply, they analyze the relative character of the variants to see if they can determine HOW the variants developed. From that, they can strike one or two of the variants and, by that process of elimination, come up with the reading with the MOST (and, therefore for them, the best) support. That's not a bad system, and in the very least it is a fairly consistant approach to Textual-Criticism. I only wish they would ALWAYS apply that method to the text, and not just in those cases where there is no single variant with a preponderance of the manuscripts.

Nevertheless, for the Majority Text the Comma is not considered the valid reading BECAUSE the majority of the manuscripts which contain 1 John 5 LACK it. For MT folk, however, the manuscript support FOR Matthew 6:13 IS major, and so they INCLUDE the longer (but not the longest) ending for the Lord's Prayer. The Critical Community doesn't function that way. YOU are attaking the Nestle-Aland and the Critical Community for not accepting Matthew 6:13, and trying to assert that if the manuscript support was really what was important to us, we should be accepting Matthew 6:13.

I hope you are now seeing the problem in your argument. The problem is that the Critical Community doesn't accept the methodology of Majority Text Supporters. We don't count manuscripts, we WEIGH them (metaphorically speaking). Manuscript support IS VERY IMPORTANT, but questions of numbers are NOT how we go about making our determinations; rather, we determine which reading is the correct one by selecting the reading that has the strongest (least problimatic) support in the "oldest and best" manuscripts. Now, GRANTED, such doesn't always happen. Sometimes the editorial board disagrees amongst themselves on a reading, and sometimes they decide to affirm a variant based upon a theoretical proposal for how all the other readings came about. In general (though not always) I disagree with this exception to the rule, and I prefer sticking more closely with the "oldest and best" manuscripts. And, as I have already demonstrated, the "oldest and best" manuscripts are NOT always Alexandrian Manuscripts, and they certainly are NOT always the "Great Uncials," though they often are or include one or both.

In conclsion, we reject the Comma NOT JUST because of the lack of manuscript support in the pre 14th century textualcopia -- though that IS one of the reasons -- BUT ALSO and MOST IMPORTANTLY because the Comma is lacking in the pre-5th century Textualcopia, when and where we would EXPECT to find it. Your charge that we reject it simply because it is not found in Vaticanus or Sinaiticus is obviously false, and your charge that we reject it because it is not in the Alexandrian Text Type is also quite misleading. We consider the Alexandrian Text Type to be among the earliest of the formal Text Types, and hence the best of those formal Text Types, but there ARE forms of the Greek Text that are PRIOR to the development of the Alexandrian Type, and which differ from the Alexandrian Type on several issues, and THESE (the "Strict," "Normal," and "Free" text of the 2nd and the 3rd century) are of PRINCIPLE importance to Critical Scholarship these days.

<<Some KJV advocates have made the claim that rejection of the Comma is rejection of the Trinity. Therefore, it may be a case of guilt by association.>>

Indeed ... and the first time I read your remarks regarding your point that we reject the Comma for reasons other than textual reasons, THAT was how I interpreted it. You must admit, Thomas, you didn't explain what you were saying immediately and it DID sound like you were about to launch off at us in that direction. It wasn't until I read your later explination that I understood what you were saying. You were, as I have demonstrated, wrong, but at least you weren't coming from the theological angle. As for "guilt by association" ... well, I could say quite a bit about the Alexandrian Text and the presence of Gnostics in Alexandria, but I won't. I've already discussed, and dispatched, your claims in that area.

<<You reject the Comma because it has very little Gk. mss. support, little or no textual support apart from the Latin, and not early (in your opinion) support before the 4th or 5th century even in the Latin (I say "your opinion" because I do think Cyprian refers to the verse).>>

You still don't understand, do you? EVEN IF Cyprian could be demonstrated to have known it IN GREEK, that wouldn't be enough because we lack GREEK BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPT support from prior to the 5th century. THAT is what kills it. EVERYTHING ELSE is secondary. What kills the Comma as a valid reading is that there is NO Greek Biblical Textual Support for the reading prior to the 5th century.

<<If the Comma had as much textual support as say Matt 6:13, would you accept it? I would assume you would not (as most textual scholars would not), because you accept the textual arguments of modern textual methods.>>

No, I wouldn't ... and I've already explained why. It's not a question of numbers of manuscripts, but the QUALITY and ANTIQUITY of manuscripts. Matthew 6:13's longer (but not the longest) ending is lacking in the earliest and best manuscripts. The SAME is true for the Comma. You are engaging, Thomas, in strawmanship on this issue. I have explained, several ways and several times, why your argument is flawed here. I suggest that you might want to reconsider your claim regarding WHY we reject the Comma.

Grace and Peace,

Greg+
http://www.revneal.org

All original writings are:
© 1998, 2001, Rev. Gregory S. Neal
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