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Switch to Forum Live View KJV: Translation from Inferior Text?
10 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2008 - 11:14AM #21
Verdugo
Posts: 5,258
[QUOTE=CalKnox;262893]Listing all the evidence for the reliability of various manuscripts would be too cumbersome for this forum and thread.  Those interested should pursue the topic elsewhere.

Those arguing for the reliability of the mid to late 4th century manuscripts (i.e. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) point out their lack of certain words, phrases, and whole verses which appear in the Textus Receptus.  However, one may and must consider quotes in early church fathers, ante-Nicaean literature, and translations predating 350 AD.  If such include these words, phrases and verses, one may argue for their reliability and validity in the Received Text.

Examples: the conclusion or doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13b, or John 7:53-8:11.  Are these the word of God?[/QUOTE]


OK, now see here how you precisely demonstrated my point:  doing as you suggest and laying the two versions side by side would prove nothing and add nothing to the discussion.  What you have done here is really much more helpful:  summarized a key argument of the opposition, and presented a brief, succinct refutation of that argument.  That seems to me a much better way to proceed, rather than offering evidence (listing the differences) to something that is a given not in dispute (that there are differences between the two texts).
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 1:36AM #22
Verdugo
Posts: 5,258
Cal writes:

Examples: the conclusion or doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13b, or John 7:53-8:11. Are these the word of God?

You appear to be raising several sticky questions simultaneously.  At first I thought you were going for an intuitive sort of "does it feel like God's word" sort of question which I really don't like.  But then I realized it's much more multi-layered and interdependent.  Let me try to tease out some of the layers of the underlying question here:

First of all, your deceptively simple question begs the question: What makes  a text "the word of God"?  Does canonization make it so?  I think here we want to answer no.  Something is/is not the word of God if it came from God-- from the indwelling inspiration/action of the Spirit.  So if, for example, half of the book of Mark had accidentally fallen into the fire immediately after being written, before it could be read by anyone or canonized by the church, those would, we presume, still be the Word of God-- but we'll never see/hear it.

But... that begs the question:  how do we recognize the Word of God?  Ah, there I think canonization comes into play.  Because as Reformed Christians we believe God speaks through the gathered community: so one of the prime ways we recognize the Word of God is through the witness of the gathered community that this text is exactly that.  As you've already noted, that's what canonization is.  So in my hypothetical example, the lost pages of Mark would yes be the word of God but we would never recognize it as such obviously because it would never been seen by the gathered community.  I don't have a problem with that, we only "see through a mirror dimly", but I believe the Spirit works to preserve what is needed to ensure that we receive "sufficient unto salvation."

But... here's where your question gets really sticky I think.... what if something was not part of the original text, but a later scribal gloss... But was part of the "canonized" version-- the part recognized and adopted by the gathered community (i.e. the church councils).  Does that affirmation take precedence and therefore make it "the word of God", or does the affirmation simply confirm our awareness that human councils are fallible because we are fallible?

I'm mulling all these interesting questions over in my mind.  But it seems to me that since we (I'm presuming we) decided in the first question that canonization is not what actually makes a text the Word of God, but rather is the means by which we apprehend or recognize it as the Word of God, it would seem to me that we gotta fall on the latter option for our third question: because canonization alone can not confirm "Word of God" status.

Unless.... the scribal gloss always was a part of the word of God, but was "missing" for whatever errant reason from the original.  So... if (and yes, Cal, it is a tentative, arguable, "if") John 7:53-8:11 is not in the original text... can we posit that the Spirit preserved this treasured story about Jesus that tells us so much about his heart for a purpose?  And if it found its way into the text of John through whatever means, whether through a scribe, a protege, or John himself in a later rewrite-- does the affirmation of the Christian community of that story mean something?  Are we possibly correctly discerning that this, too, is an authentic Word of God, even though it came to us through a slightly different path than the rest of the book?

Interesting, foundational questions.  Now I'm afraid I'm going to be up all night thinking about this!  Drat you, Cal.  : )
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 11:09AM #23
Verdugo
Posts: 5,258
Examples: the conclusion or doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13b, or John 7:53-8:11. Are these the word of God?

STILL mulling this over.

But what I like about the modern translations is that they give you the tools/info. to make this decision yourself, to wrestle with the questions I mentioned int he earlier post.  Both  Matthew 6:13b and John 7:53-8:11 are found in my NRSV, NIV, and other translations-- Matt. 6:13b in a footnote, John 7:53-8:11 in the text with a heading noting it is found only in later mss.  The info. is all there in a clear and upfront manner for the discerning reader to prayerfully consider.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 12:21PM #24
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=Verdugo;267745]First of all, your deceptively simple question begs the question: What makes  a text "the word of God"?  Does canonization make it so?  I think here we want to answer no.  Something is/is not the word of God if it came from God-- from the indwelling inspiration/action of the Spirit.  So if, for example, half of the book of Mark had accidentally fallen into the fire immediately after being written, before it could be read by anyone or canonized by the church, those would, we presume, still be the Word of God-- but we'll never see/hear it.[/quote]

All God says is God's Word.  Obviously, prophets, apostles and Jesus spoke God's words, which were not always recorded or preserved.  Everything God said through them was not written down.  Everything the prophets and apostles said or wrote was not God's Word.  Everything they wrote was not preserved. 

What of the one or two other probably letters of Paul to the Corinthians?

As every word spoken or written by an apostle was not necessarily the inspired word of God, these may not be inspired.

As every inspired word was not preserved, these may be inspired but not preserved.

A sovereign God inspires and also preserves.  The sixty-six books we currently have are the inspired and preserved Word of God.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 12:42PM #25
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=Verdugo;267745]But... here's where your question gets really sticky I think.... what if something was not part of the original text, but a later scribal gloss... But was part of the "canonized" version-- the part recognized and adopted by the gathered community (i.e. the church councils).  Does that affirmation take precedence and therefore make it "the word of God", or does the affirmation simply confirm our awareness that human councils are fallible because we are fallible?[/QUOTE]

Canonization was not done by a church council.  The early church (different regional churches, independently) recognized certain books as those written by apostles or the companions of apostles.  Initially, a few other works were considered, and all early lists did not contain all the current books.  However, eventually, before Nicaea, the content of the New Testament canon was by common agreement.  It was not the work of a committee; but of the spirit guided early churches coming to a consensus as to what should be included.

As apostolic origin was a requirement for recognition, the words of the original author must be the standard for what is the word of God.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 1:52PM #26
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=Verdugo;267745]But... here's where your question gets really sticky I think.... what if something was not part of the original text, but a later scribal gloss... But was part of the "canonized" version-- the part recognized and adopted by the gathered community (i.e. the church councils).  Does that affirmation take precedence and therefore make it "the word of God", or does the affirmation simply confirm our awareness that human councils are fallible because we are fallible?

I'm mulling all these interesting questions over in my mind.  But it seems to me that since we (I'm presuming we) decided in the first question that canonization is not what actually makes a text the Word of God, but rather is the means by which we apprehend or recognize it as the Word of God, it would seem to me that we gotta fall on the latter option for our third question: because canonization alone can not confirm "Word of God" status.

Unless.... the scribal gloss always was a part of the word of God, but was "missing" for whatever errant reason from the original.  So... if (and yes, Cal, it is a tentative, arguable, "if") John 7:53-8:11 is not in the original text... can we posit that the Spirit preserved this treasured story about Jesus that tells us so much about his heart for a purpose?  And if it found its way into the text of John through whatever means, whether through a scribe, a protege, or John himself in a later rewrite-- does the affirmation of the Christian community of that story mean something?  Are we possibly correctly discerning that this, too, is an authentic Word of God, even though it came to us through a slightly different path than the rest of the book?[/QUOTE]

As none of the lists of the canon, nor decrees of councils, specify an exact text, we cannot establish the text based on canonization.  As different manuscripts have or do not have John 7:53-8:11, different segments of the early church included or didn’t include this passage in their texts, this does not offer a standard.  The question must be, was it in the original manuscript?

What evidence is available?

Proponents of the critical text will argue against this passage based upon it not appearing in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.  These are the oldest extant manuscripts.  However, is that all the evidence?
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2008 - 2:01PM #27
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=Verdugo;268273]Examples: the conclusion or doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13b, or John 7:53-8:11. Are these the word of God?

STILL mulling this over.

But what I like about the modern translations is that they give you the tools/info. to make this decision yourself, to wrestle with the questions I mentioned int he earlier post.  Both  Matthew 6:13b and John 7:53-8:11 are found in my NRSV, NIV, and other translations-- Matt. 6:13b in a footnote, John 7:53-8:11 in the text with a heading noting it is found only in later mss.  The info. is all there in a clear and upfront manner for the discerning reader to prayerfully consider.[/QUOTE]

I wouldn't call-

((The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.)) NIV-

a helpful tool.  It plants doubts regarding the passage in the minds of laymen; and gives unbelievers reason to doubt the whole Bible. 

Better to leave textual discrepancies to the commentator rather than bracketing and textual notes. 

I’m still traveling and must drive from Georgetown, Kentucky, to Cincinnati within the hour.  When I have sufficient time, I intend to provide some evidence for the inclusion of Jn. 7:53-8:11 in the original text predating Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

I’m glad to see Verdugo mulling.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2008 - 11:55AM #28
mnwillems
Posts: 53
[QUOTE=CalKnox;288557]As different manuscripts have or do not have John 7:53-8:11, different segments of the early church included or didn’t include this passage in their texts, this does not offer a standard.  The question must be, was it in the original manuscript?[/QUOTE]

Some have argued that it belongs in one of the Synoptics rather than in John. Even if it wasn't in the "original manuscript" of one of the four Gospels, does that necessarily mean that it is any less an authentic record from Jesus' life?

If this passage is not in an early version does it make that version somehow less than the Word of God?

What theologicaly significant issues are at stake in prefering one over the other?

Even if we established the "superior reliability" of a particular base text type (Byzantine, Alexandrian) does that then discredit translations based on the "inferior" text?

(In a slightly tangental line of thought)

At what point does the degree to which a particular translation varies from the "original" make a difference? I'm thinking particularly of the current trend to de-genderfy Scripture.

PS - For an extensive list of textual “differences” see http://www.bible-researcher.com/hodges-farstad.html.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2008 - 11:58PM #29
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=mnwillems;308110]Some have argued that it belongs in one of the Synoptics rather than in John. Even if it wasn't in the "original manuscript" of one of the four Gospels, does that necessarily mean that it is any less an authentic record from Jesus' life?



We have no other gospel manuscript, of which I’m aware, which includes this passage.  We do have copies of John which include it.  So, if it is original, it was in John.

There were certainly things Jesus said and did which are not recorded.  If he is the incarnate and eternal son of God, all his words are “infallible.”  However, such words must be included in the canon of Scripture before we can regard them as a reliable witness.  The gospel of John is the best candidate we have. 

If this passage is not in an early version does it make that version somehow less than the Word of God?

What theologicaly significant issues are at stake in prefering one over the other?

Even if we established the "superior reliability" of a particular base text type (Byzantine, Alexandrian) does that then discredit translations based on the "inferior" text?



Where all the ancient manuscripts agree, which is more than 90% of the text, all are reliable.  The important questions center on the differences.  If a particular manuscript or family of manuscripts has many discrepancies not in the original, this indicates tampering with the text for theological reasons.

(In a slightly tangental line of thought)

At what point does the degree to which a particular translation varies from the "original" make a difference? I'm thinking particularly of the current trend to de-genderfy Scripture.

PS - For an extensive list of textual “differences” see http://www.bible-researcher.com/hodges-farstad.html.[/QUOTE]

The original was God’s word, not out subjective and culturally influenced paraphrases.  Sometimes, a masculine pronoun was intended to include both male and female.  Indicating this in translation is not misleading; however, a literal translation is more faithful to the original.  Best to leave interpretation to the expositor.

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10 years ago  ::  Feb 28, 2008 - 4:58PM #30
CalKnox
Posts: 330
Allow me to offer a few reasons to believe in the authenticity of John 7:53-8:11. 

The oldest extant complete manuscript of the New Testament is Sinaiticus dating from 330-350 AD.  It does not contain John 7:53-8:11.

However, literature prior to 330 does refer to this passage about the woman caught in adultery:

The Didascalia (200-250 AD) speaks of this passage:

". . . to do as He also did with her that had sinned, whom the elders set before Him, and leaving the judgment in His hands departed. But He, the Searcher of Hearts, asked her and said to her, 'Have the elders condemned thee, my daughter?" She saith to Him, 'Nay, Lord.' And He said unto her, 'Go thy way: Neither do I condemn thee.'["

Many in the early Christian regarded adultery as such a serious sin that it could only be forgiven, if at all, after severe penance.  Cyprian (c. 250) says that certain bishops in North Africa "thought that reconciliation ought not to be given to adulterers and allowed to conjugal infidelity no place at all for repentance." These would have taken offence at the account of an adulterous woman brought to Christ, because she seemed to have received pardon too easily.

This being the case, it is more reasonable to believe in a tendency to deleted such a passage from the text than to add such because it did not support ascetic and disciplinary view of the early church, especially in Africa where Sinaiticus comes from.  The prevailing prejudice makes it difficult to believe in the insertion of this passage into the gospel of John.

Augustine (c. 400) mentions such moralistic objection to the pericope de adultera being responsible for its omission in some of the New Testament manuscripts known to him. "Certain persons of little faith or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord's act of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if He who had said 'sin no more' had granted permission to sin."

A 10th century Greek named Nikon accused the Armenians of "casting out the account which teaches us how the adulteress was taken to Jesus . . . saying that it was harmful for most persons to listen to such things."

An early 5th century (401-500) manuscript D contained this periocope de adultera.  Jerome says in 415 AD, “..."in the Gospel according to John in many manuscripts, both Greek and Latin, is found the story of the adulterous woman who was accused before the Lord." Jerome accepted the passage as authentic and included it in his Latin Vulgate translation.  He certainly had access to manuscripts as old or older than Sinaiticus.

Sinaitucus does not provide us with sufficient reason to say “the oldest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain this passage.”
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