Saturday, August 31, 2013

Which Bible 4

Which Bible 4

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eating Crow

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  I was wrong.  The real question is, what do I intend to do about it?  After all, crow is rather a tasty dish.  It’s the realization that one’s mentors’ work contains the error.  It’s the emotional feeling of disloyalty, the feeling of being a Judas; that’s what really hurts.  Still, truth has merit for Truth’s sake.  Truth is not what we think we know.  Rather, Truth is the One we follow, Jesus Christ.  We ought not be amazed that we err, even blunder, stumble, and fall, when we undertake to follow Jesus.  Even so, He lifts us up.  Still, the error is totally mine.

What Exposed the Errors

These errors were first uncovered by the article written by Dr. Daniel Baird Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary, “The Majority-Text Theory: History, Methods and Critique”, in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS) 37/2 (June 1994) pages 185-215.[1]  Let’s try to trace this essay together, so that you will have a better idea of my errors and their source.

A Brief Outline of Attendant History

During the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries the Ottoman Empire expanded into eastern Europe controlling lands as far west as the Adriatic, and approaching Vienna.  In 1529 Vienna is under siege, by 1547 much of Hungary is under Ottoman rule.  Ottoman failure to take Vienna turns the tide; they are finally defeated on September 11, 1683.[2]

Still, many Orthodox prefer Ottoman to Venetian rule: Venice is responsible for the attack on Constantinople.  In 1201 Venice negotiates a secret treaty with Egypt.  In 1203 Constantinople is attacked and falls to Crusaders.[3]

Refugees flee into western Europe, bringing much of their art, scholarship, and other treasures with them; among these treasures, ancient Bible manuscripts, Byzantine text manuscripts.

A Timeline of Text Criticism

1516-1535: Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), a leading humanist issues five editions of the Greek New Testament,[4] which were published by Johann Froben.[5]  These editions are primarily Byzantine text documents.  They become the Textus Receptus.

1517: Luther posts his “Ninety-five Theses”.[6]

1521: Henry VIII publishes “[Defense] of the Seven Sacraments” in his dispute with Luther.[7]

1522: The Complutensian Polyglot (1514, but not published until 1522), a competing publication is issued.  The New Testament contains Greek and Vulgate in parallel columns.  The Old Testament has Hebrew, Vulgate, and Septuagint in parallel.  It is initiated and financed by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517) and published by Complutense University.[8]

1522-1534: Luther publishes his German language Bible translation from the text of Erasmus.[9]

1524: Erasmus publishes his Of free will: Discourses or Comparisons, an attack on Luther.[10]

1525: Luther publishes his On the Bondage of the Will, a counterattack on Erasmus.[11]

1529: Zwingli disputes with Luther over the Lord’s Supper.[12]

1536: Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion.[13]

1546-1551: Robert Estienne or Stephanus (1503-1559), a French, later Swiss printer publishes four editions, the Stephanus Greek New Testament, which is essentially the Erasmus’ text.[14]

1565-1582: Theodore Beza (1519-1605), a French, later Swiss theologian issues two editions of the Greek New Testament in Erasmus’ text, with possible consideration of Codices Cantabrigensis and Claromontanus.[15]

1618–1648: The Thirty Years’ War.[16]

1624-1633: Elzevir, Bonaventura (1583-1652) and Abraham (1592-1652),[17] Dutch printers publish two notable editions of the Greek New Testament in Erasmus’ text.[18]  Isaac (1596-1651) is also involved in the trade.[19]

1640-1660: The English Revolution.[20]

1648: the Peace of Westphalia treaties are signed ending the Thirty Years’ War and providing a terminus for the Reformation.[21]

1650: approximate beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.[22]

1689: Richard Simon (1638-1712), a French text critic is possibly the first to identify manuscript families.[23]

1736: Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752), a German Lutheran scholar identifies known manuscripts as either African (today, Alexandrian) and Asiatic (Byzantine).  He publishes a [Defense] of the Greek Text of the New Testament.[24]

1757: Johann Salomo Semler (1725-1791), a German text critic continues classification of manuscripts by families (i.e. Alexandrian and Byzantine).[25]

1774-1775: Johann Jakob Griesbach (1745-1812), a German text critic publishes Novum Testamentum Graecum.[26]

1775-1783: The American Revolution.[27]

1789-1799: The French Revolution.[28]

1794: approximate beginning of the Age of Reason.[29]

1808: Johann Leonhard Hug (1765–1846), a German Roman Catholic orientalist publishes Einleitung in die Schriften des Neuen Testaments.[30]

1831: The Trinitarian Bible Society is founded.[31]

1837-1841: Karl Konrad Friedrich Wilhelm Lachmann (1793-1851), a German philologist and text critic issues three New Testament editions.  “[He is] the first major editor to break from the Textus Receptus, seeking to restore the most ancient reading current in manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type, using the agreement of the Western authorities (Old Latin and Greek Western Uncials) as the main proof of antiquity of a reading where the oldest Alexandrian authorities differ.”[32]

1840-1843: Lobegott Friedrich Constantin (von) Tischendorf (1815-1874),[33] a German text critic issues several editions of the Greek New Testament with critical apparatus, which are published by the Didot family.[34]

1844: Tischendorf discovers forty-four pages of a Septuagint, then the oldest known LXX manuscript, in the trash at Saint Catherine's Monastery.[35]  These are published in 1846.17

1845-1891: Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener (1813-1891), an English text critic and advocate of the Byzantine text authored and edited several works on text, text criticism, and translation.[36]

1849: Tischendorf publishes the Greek New Testament, with Witness of Ancient Recessions, Critical Apparatus, and Rules of Criticism.[37]

“Basic rule: The text is only to be sought from ancient evidence, and especially from Greek manuscripts, but without neglecting the testimonies of versions and fathers.
1. A reading altogether peculiar to one or another ancient document is suspicious; as also is any, even if supported by a class of documents, which seems to evince that it has originated in the revision of a learned man.
2. Readings, however well supported by evidence, are to be rejected, when it is manifest (or very probable) that they have proceeded from the errors of copyists.
3. In parallel passages, whether of the New or Old Testament, especially in the Synoptic Gospels, which ancient copyists continually brought into increased accordance, those testimonies are preferable, in which precise accordance of such parallel passages is not found; unless, indeed, there are important reasons to the contrary.
4. In discrepant readings, that should be preferred which may have given occasion to the rest, or which appears to comprise the elements of the others.
5. Those readings must be maintained which accord with New Testament Greek, or with the particular style of each individual writer.”

1853-1859: Tischendorf, under the patronage of Czar Alexander II and with the aid of Russia, discovers and obtains Codex Sinaiticus, which is published in 1862.14

1857-1872: Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), an English text critic issues his great critical edition of the New Testament.[38]

1881: Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901),[39] a British bishop, and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892),[40] an Irish theologian, publish The New Testament in the Original Greek.[41]

1881: John William Burgon (1813-1888),[42] an English theologian refutes Westcott and Hort in the Quarterly Review.[43]

1896: The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels[44] and The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels Vindicated and Established[45]are published after Burgon’s death.  In the latter he outlines his “seven Tests of Truth,” which he also calls “Notes of Truth.”

“Notes of Truth.
1. Antiquity, or Primitiveness;
2. Consent of Witnesses, or Number;
3. Variety of Evidence, or Catholicity;
4. Respectability of Witnesses, or Weight;
5. Continuity, or Unbroken Tradition;
6. Evidence of the Entire Passage, or Context;
7. Internal Considerations, or Reasonableness.”

Burgon: “We do not advocate perfection in the Textus Receptus.”  “I am not defending the ‘Textus Receptus.’ ”

1898: Eberhard Nestle (1851-1913) a German text critic publishes the first edition of his Novum Testamentum Graece.[46]

1902: Baron Hermann von Soden (1852-1914), a German scholar publishes Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt.[47]

1912-1981: Edward Freer Hills (1912-1981), an American text critic supports the Textus Receptus, even to the extent of approving Erasmus’ reverse translations from Latin.[48]

1924: Burnett Hillman Streeter (1874-1937),[49] a British text critic publishes The Four Gospels, claiming that Origen used two text-types.[50]

1927: Erwin Nestle (1883-1972) Eberhard’s son publishes the thirteenth edition of his father’s Novum Testamentum Graece.[51]

1929: Herman Charles Hoskier (1864–1938), a British text critic most known for collating “every known Greek manuscript of the Apocalypse up to 1918” publishes Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse.[52]

1952: Kurt Aland (1915-1994), a German text critic publishes the twenty-first edition of Nestle’s Novum Testamentum Graece.[53]

1950: Frederick Fyvie Bruce (1910-1990),[54] a British scholar publishes The Books and the Parchments (Revell, Westwood, NJ, 1950, 1953, 1963: 287 pages).

1967: Harry August Sturz (possibly 1940-1997) publishes The Byzantine Text-type and New Testament.  Ostensibly, Sturz shows that the Byzantine Text is neither the God nor the Garbage text of Textual Criticism.[55]

1970: David Otis Fuller (1903-1988)[56] an American pastor publishes Which Bible? that includes an article by Hodges.  “[This article] made an impression on Gordon D. Fee sufficient for him to pen an article that sparked a lively debate between Hodges and Fee within the pages of JETS and elsewhere.”1

1976: Jakob van Bruggen (b. 1936), a Dutch theologian publishes The Ancient Text of the New Testament.[57]

1977: Wilbur N. Pickering (biography not found), an American missionary translator publishes The Identity of the New Testament Text.[58]

1978: The Dean Burgon Society is founded.[59]

1981: Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955)[60] authors New Testament Textual Criticism Quest for Methodology. [61]  Ehrman’s Rule of text criticism states that preservation requires perfection: that is, no textual corruptions may exist in at least one of three cases: either in all manuscripts, a set of manuscripts, or a single manuscript.1

1982: Arthur Leonard Farstad (1935-1988) and Zane Clark Hodges (1932-2008), American pastors publish The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text.[62]

1987: Willem Franciscus Wisselink (biography not found) publishes Assimilation as a criterion for the establishment of the text: a comparative study on the basis of passages from Matthew, Mark and Luke.[63]

1987-2009: Gordon Donald Fee (b. 1934), a Canadian theologian publishes the NICNT commentaries on 1 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians; as well at the NIBC commentaries on 1 & 2 Timothy, & Titus.[64]

1988: Majority Text Society established.  This organization appears to be defunct.  Attempted communications with P.O. Box 141289, Dallas, Texas, 75214 and have so far failed.

1991: William Grover Pierpont (1915-2003)[65] and Maurice Arthur Robinson (biography not found), American text scholars publish The Greek New Testament according to the Byzantine/Majority Textform.[66]

1992: Bruce Manning Metzger (1914-2007),[67] an American text critic publishes The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.[68]

1993: the United Bible Societies (UBS) publish their fourth edition of The Greek New Testament, which is similar to the Nestle-Aland twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh editions.22

1993: Eldon Jay Epp (biography not found) and Gordon D. Fee, American text scholars publish Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism. [69]

1994: Daniel Baird Wallace (b. 1952), an American text scholar publishes “The Majority-Text Theory: History, Methods and Critique”, in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

2002: David Alan Black (b. 1952),[70] an American text scholar publishes Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism.66

2008: David C. Parker (biography not found),[71] a British text scholar publishes An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts.66

2010: The Center for Study and Preservation of the Majority Text (CSPMT) is founded.[72]

2012: the Nestle-Aland twenty-eighth edition is released.[73]

2013: Pickering issues In Defense of Family 35.

2013: The Byzantine Greek New Testament (BGNT) Family 35 is published by CSPMT.[74]

Notes on A Timeline of Text Criticism

A timeline of text criticism shows that history, text criticism, theology, translation, and other fields are inseparably and intricately intertwined.  Any attempt to separate them, results in a contorted view of reality, ending with the destruction of them all.  The more we can embrace the total reality, the better the results we shall find.  Some of the above contributors will attempt to convince us that we can better understand text criticism by separating it from its whole reality: this is misleading and untrue.  There is no text criticism apart from history, theology, translation, and other fields.

Some of the above contributors are intellectual or ivory-tower snobs: they believe that qualification begins and ends with the letters, PhD.  These have quite forgotten that the Holy Ghost is given to all Christians: educated and uneducated, kings and peasants, male and female, slave and free, wealthy and paupers, young and old alike.  In bygone years, after a man had gained a lifetime of experience, he was awarded a PhD and invited to share that precious experience.  Nowadays, bright young people are pushed into the PhD through a process of intense education, devoid of life experience; the product is contaminated with large numbers of educated fools, who have no practical wisdom.

What does education accomplish?  It is not the end of the race, it is merely the beginning of the race.  A BA/BS degree qualifies one to be a starter in some race of practice.  An MA/MS or Th.M. qualifies one to begin to write, it merely shows that certain minimal writing skills have been learned and demonstrated.  A PhD merely shows that certain more advanced speaking and writing skills exist.  None of these degrees establishes that a subject matter expert has developed.

“I was no prophet, nor was I the son of a prophet; I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: when the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”[75]

People in the above timeline are honored and respected for their hard work and for what they accomplished by it, not for any degrees or titles they may possess.

A timeline of text criticism shows that worthy adversaries sharpened each other.[76]  We are as indebted to Westcott as we are to Burgon.  I must enter the same bloody battlefield to fully uncover my errors and find better answers.  You must come with me, because you seek the Truth as well.

A timeline of text criticism reveals an immense gap between 1650 and 1830.  We found what we could to fill that gap.  One word stands out as descriptive, radicalism: evidently it was a period of great social upheaval.  Text criticism may not have advanced during this period, but it is impossible to believe that the newly published texts and translations did not instigate that great social upheaval.  From a Christian perspective this marks the radical departure away from trust in authority and revelation, toward trust in individual personal intelligence.  Man becomes his own god, and God is eventually proclaimed to be dead, or at least unnecessary.  From the perspective of text criticism, man no longer needs God to resolve the mystery, the problems can be solved with science and statistics; or so man falsely assumes.

We may not leave a timeline of text criticism without observing that the Renaissance (fourteenth-seventeenth centuries),[77] Reformation (prior to 1517-1648),[78] and Counter-Reformation (1545-1648) are all part-and-parcel with the early years of this timeline.

Finally, we observe that a timeline of text criticism records a tendency toward division into separate groups that eventually stop talking to one another, at which point real growth ceases.

Cursives, Uncials, and Other Stuff

Since we cannot examine ancient manuscripts first hand, there is very little reason to spend much time here.  Cursives are manuscripts written in more or less running writing, but somewhat different than Spencerian English script.  Uncials or majuscules are manuscripts lettered in all block capitals or uppercase, as opposed to minuscules which are generally lettered in all lowercase.  Since these manuscripts are all lettered manually the style of individual scribes, and teams of scribes plays an important role in manuscript identification.

Surface materials, inks, and paints used are also subject to visual examination; but chemical analysis, microscopy, x-ray, radio-dating, and just about any other technology you can imagine can be used.  Since nearly every material on earth has been used as a writing surface: broken pottery and wet clay; velum, parchment, and paper; plastic, metals, and wood; all kinds of cloth and carpet; cave walls and mountain sides; dirt and sand; glass, granite, marble, precious gems, even diamonds have all been used as writing surfaces.  Writing materials are not limited to pencil and ink: also included are paint, charcoal, scribing, cutting, etching, hammering, slip, weaving, welding, air and water jet, stitching, stone lithography, and now laser.  Today, I am writing with an electronic keyboard on a computer pixel display.  Let your imagination run as wildly as possible; you cannot think of a chemical element or compound that has not been used somewhere in the development of writing.

Text criticism is the process of detailed and thorough examination of each artifact from every possible angle.  It is nothing less than the attempt to mentally reverse the writing process, and trace it back to its physical origin.  Since the making of writing is such a varied process, involving nearly every technology known to man, reversing the process is every bit as complicated and diverse.  Text critics may be drawn from the best experts from nearly any field.

In addition the text critic must crack a foreign language, master its idioms, and be able to detect the minutest details.


Alexandrian (Category I):[80] so called because of its development and discovery in and around Alexandria, Egypt.  Alexandria, Egypt[81] is founded by and named for Alexander the Great;[82] capital city of the Ptolemaic Empire;[83] easily the most prominent city in first century Egypt; and second only to Rome in the entire Roman Empire.  Being such a seat of government, prominence, wealth, and culture, it developed all the best education, libraries, and writing.  Alexandria had a large Jewish population.  Such Greek speaking Jews needed Scripture translated into a language they could understand.  In terms of cultural resources, Alexandria was a far better location for such work than Jerusalem was.  Consequently, at least part of the Septuagint[84] translation is made there: at least the Torah, and probably much more.  It is not inconceivable that the entire Old Testament, including the Deuterocanon, is first translated there, although this is far from certain.  The Alexandrian text-type is thought to have originated and developed there.  In both Old and New Testament text criticism, the oldest known manuscripts are thought to belong to the Alexandrian text-type; so the Alexandrian text-type is crucial to both Old and New Testament text criticism.  A few of the more prominent Alexandrian manuscripts are:75

·       P52, P90, P104 according to Aland’s classification

·       P46 (circa 200) Paul’s Epistles

·       P66 (circa 200) Gospels

·       P75 (201-300) fragments of Luke & John

·       P72 (201-400) 1 & 2 Peter; Jude

·       B (325-350) most of Old & New Testament[85]

·       א (330-360) large portions of Old & most of New Testament[86]

·       A (circa 400) nearly complete Old & New Testament[87]

Byzantine (Category V):[88] so called because of its development and discovery in and around Byzantium,[89] or Constantinople,[90] and the Byzantine Empire.[91]  Constantine the Great made it the new capital city of the Roman Empire in 330 AD, shortly after his conversion to Christianity.  Before long Constantinople reached a prominence rivaling that of Rome and Alexandria.  While Constantinople thrives, Alexandria and Rome are in decline.  Being also such a seat of government, prominence, wealth, and culture, it developed all the best education, libraries, and writing.  The Byzantine text-type is thought to have originated and developed there.  A few of the more prominent Alexandrian manuscripts are:

·       A (circa 400) nearly complete Old & New Testament[92]

·       C (401-500) parts of Old & most of New Testament[93]

·       W (401-500) lacunose,[94] but most of Gospels[95]

·       Q (401-500) most of Luke & John[96]

·       061 (401-500) damaged, parts of 1 Timothy[97]

·       P73 (401-500) Matthew 25:43; 26:2-3

Caesarean:[98] named from Caesarea Philippi.[99]

·       P29 (201-300)

·       P45 (201-300)

Eclectic (Category III): refers to any manuscripts that Kurt and Barbara Aland considered to have multiple sources (i.e. part Alexandrian and part Western)

·       0212 (250)

·       P88 (350)

Egyptian (Category II): refers to any otherwise Alexandrian manuscripts that Kurt and Barbara Aland considered to have alien influences.

·       P6 (350)

·       P8 (350)

·       P17 (350)

·       0185 (350)

Western (Category IV): so called because of its predominance among Latin Christians.  It is not associated with any known academic center, although Rome would be the logical possibility.

·       P48 (201-300) fragment of Acts 23

·       P69 (201-300) fragment of Luke 22

·       P37 (circa 300) fragment of Matthew 26

·       P38 (circa 300) fragment of Acts

·       0171 (301-400) fragments of Matthew & Luke

·       א

·       D (circa 400) most of Gospels & Acts[100]

Antiochian or Syrian: see Byzantine.

Notes on Text-Types

David C Parker71

“Commenting on the text of the Greek New Testament, he said:

The text is changing. Every time that I make an edition of the Greek New Testament, or anybody does, we change the wording. We are maybe trying to get back to the oldest possible form but, paradoxically, we are creating a new one. Every translation is different, every reading is different, and although there’s been a tradition in parts of Protestant Christianity to say there is a definitive single form of the text, the fact is you can never find it. There is never ever a final form of the text.

Regarding a textual change in Codex Sinaiticus:

There is also a fascinating place in the codex in the Sermon on the Mount where we can see a change to the text altering the attitude to anger. Jesus says the person who is angry with his brother deserves judgement. But there is a variation on that. If you look at the page in Codex Sinaiticus you will see that somebody’s added a little word in the margin in Greek which changes it to “the person who is angry with his brother without good reason deserves judgement,” and there you’ve got two very different views of Christian life.”

The classifications are less than exact.  One critic assigns a manuscript to one type, while another critic classifies the same manuscript to a different type.  There is a regular practice of marginalizing evidence that is offensive for one reason or another.  Many manuscripts, especially the papyri are too small to classify at all; few have a known or knowable history.  This lack of size and history does not deter the critic from making a classification where it is suitable, or declaring that a manuscript cannot be classified where it is unsuitable.  There are very few real text critics.  The work is hard, technically rigorous, and poorly funded.


Alexandria:[101] According to Jerome or Eusebius, it was founded by St. Mark who appointed St. Justus (d. 129).[102]  Reported deans are: Athenagoras (176), Pantaenus (d. 200)[103] who allegedly adopted the Greek alphabet in the Coptic script, Clement of Alexandria (150-216),[104] Origen (184-254)[105] who was expert in text criticism and published his Hexapla,[106] Heraklas, (180-248),[107] Dionysius of Alexandria (190-264),[108] Theognostus (210-270),[109] Pierius (d. 309),[110] Pamphilus,[111] Peter (d. 311),[112] Didymus (c.313-c.398).[113]  It was closed shortly after 451, possibly in persecution of the Copts.  Reported famous students include: Gregory Thaumaturgus (213-270),[114] Rufinus, Basil (229-379),[115] Gregory Nanzianzen (329-390) or possibly his father,[116] and Jerome.[117]

Antioch:[118] Antioch[119] is one of the five ancient patriarchates,[120] or the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.[121]  Little is known of the school (270-450).  Reported leaders and students include: Paul of Samosata (200-275),[122] Lucian of Antioch (240-312) who is proposed as the author of a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament,[123] Diodorus of Tarsus (d. 390),[124] John Chrysostom (347-407),[125] Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428),[126] Nestorius (386-450),[127] and Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-457).[128]

We hoped that this search of ancient schools would uncover historical connections to texts, and text criticism.  It bore little fruit.

We expected that the school at Alexandria would have had a significant influence on the development and preservation of the Alexandrian text-type.  The hypothesis concerning Pantaenus and the adopting of the Greek alphabet in the Coptic script is a solid clue that could help with identifying writing styles.  Origen’s work is commonly known, but it does not seem related to the subject at hand.

We hoped that the school at Antioch would disclose some of the history of development for the Byzantine text-type.  The theory concerning Lucian lacks substantiation.

Still, if the history of textual development is to be known, it must be gleaned from the writings of the Church Fathers.  Here we are totally dependent on specialists in Patristics, and eagerly await any new findings.[129]  For example:

“Fee, recognized as one of the leading patristic authorities today, wrote: ‘Over the past eight years I have been collecting the Greek patristic evidence for Luke and John for the International Greek New Testament Project.  In all of this material I have found one invariable a good critical edition of a father's text, or the discovery of early MSS, always moves the father’s text of the NT away from the TR and closer to the text of our modern critical editions.’ ”1

The Crux of the Problem

I have always adhered to the priority of the Byzantine text-type,87 of which the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus are two variations.  I have also followed my mentors Hodges and Farstad in embracing the Majority Text position.62  This is the text supported by most Orthodox Christians, as well as many conservative western Christians.  I believe it is fair to say that the majority of scholars have consistently adhered to the Alexandrian text-type.

I have always adhered to the idea that hypotheses unsupported by evidence, must necessarily fail.  We are grateful to St. Thomas for this idea: we want to see the nail prints, and since Thomas pressed the point we are all the more confident in our faith.  Cheap arguments are worthless.  We believe that Christ would have us follow Truth, He is the Truth, and Truth requires reality — solid evidence.

Fee claims that there is very little Patristic support for the Textus Receptus [or, therefore, for the Majority or Byzantine text either].  Wallace claims that there is absolutely no evidence for a Byzantine, Majority, or Textus Receptus prior to the fifth century (401).[130]  We have searched for evidence to the contrary, and found none.  It is not that evidence for the Majority Text prior to 401 is rare or sparse; it is totally absent.

The Majority Text hypothesis stands or falls on the existence of a majority of manuscripts; and the argument that, prior to 401, climactic conditions and regular use, caused a more rapid deterioration of the majority manuscripts.  In this case we would expect the existence and preservation of worn out fragments, but no fragments exist at all.

We are reluctantly compelled to two conclusions.

One, the Majority Text hypothesis has failed for lack of evidence.  Baring the discovery of new evidence, or the reinterpretation of old evidence, the Majority Text hypothesis is wrong and will remain defeated forever.

Two, using the rules of the Majority Text hypothesis, the true Majority Text must be the Alexandrian text, not the Byzantine.

Several questions remain.

Will a more thorough examination of the Patristic evidence support Fee’s conclusion?  If all we ever examine are Alexandrian Fathers, we have begged the question, we have assumed the conclusion.  There are authorities that disagree with Fee’s conclusion.

Will a more thorough examination of the papyri, and other manuscripts support Wallace’s conclusion?  We believe that the classification and analysis of manuscripts is a highly subjective process, prone to error, and lacking verification.  Simply counting manuscripts to see who has the most marbles is inadequate.

Almost all of the canons or rules of text criticism have been called into question.  Do we need to reexamine the historic evidence with fresh minds and proposed new rules?

Since the Majority Text hypothesis has fallen, does that obviate all similar approaches?

Since the Majority Text hypothesis has fallen, does the Byzantine Text fall with it?  Or are there other compelling approaches?

A Mile Stone or Two or More

All is not lost.

“But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”[131]

Our world has conformed many churches to its own standards.  Brothers and Sisters, these things ought not to be.  The job of The Church is to be that instrument in the hands of Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost, and totally dependent on the grace of God the Father, that instrument, which conforms our world to Christ.  We are failing in our assigned task.  If we ever needed to be revived from our complacency, today is that day.  Shame on us, we have denied our Savior.  Shame on us, our hands are drenched in the blood of those who are perishing.[132]  Shame on us, if we refuse to take this seriously.

[6] and
[18] and
[20] and
[26] and criticus_in_textum_Gr%C3%A6cum.html?id=EkAhHAAACAAJ
[27] and
[30],, and
[37] Novum Testamentum Graece. Ad antiquos testes recensuit, Apparatum Criticum multis modis auctum et correctum apposuit, Commentationem Isagogicam praemisit Constantinus Tischendorf (please forgive my crude attempts at translation).
[50] According to Bruce, p. 185
[62] Farstad Arthur L. and Zane C. Hodges, The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1982: 810 pages)
[72] e-letter from Paul Anderson, President-CSPMT, Washington, D.C.
[75] Amos 7:14-15
[76] Proverbs 27:17
[79] — All authorities are neither consistent nor in agreement.
[83],, http://www., and Empire.html?id=cLBhof4h2K4C
[92] This could be an error in classification.  It is dubious that both text-types can claim the same document unless the texts are mixed, the classification is in error, or the entire classification system is fallacious.  Please note the duplicity in evaluation: when Alexandrian, the date is circa 400; when Byzantine, the date is fifth century.  These terms mean the same thing, but they create the impression that Alexandrian is one hundred years older than Byzantine.  If Alexandrinus is substantiated to contain both Alexandrian and Byzantine features the whole debate over which family, which archetype may fall flat.  If mixed, how did they become mixed at such an early date?  Again the debate over text families is called into question.
[93] — Bruce classifies C as Alexandrian, rather than Byzantine: p 185.
[94] characterized by having (many) gaps, holes, lapses, or lacunae.
[101], of_Alexandria, and
[102], and
[103], and
[106],, and
[107], and
[108], and
[112], and
[113], and
[115], and
[116], and
[117],, and Jerome
[122],, and
[123],, http://ccdl., and
[124],, and
[125],, http://www., and
[126],, and
[127],, Nestorianism, and
[128],, theodoret, and
[129],,,,,,, and
[130] See Wallace’s diagram on page 206:, and Aland’s chart “Distribution of Greek manuscripts by century and category at
[131] John 14:26; see Luke 12:12; John 16:13.
[132] Acts 20:26-31; 26:20