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The Basic Principles of Textual Criticism

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A Summary of the basic principles Scholars use in New Testament textual criticism. For more updates on the experiment, like and follow the Facebook page and join the email list on the website: https://www.thegospeltrainingground.com/ https://www.facebook.com/The-Gospel-Training-Ground-2080558355560273/
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Text Comments (19)
Solus Christus (1 year ago)
If you do not have faith in the almighty God of scripture to have preserved his word in a meaningful way. Such as putting his word in it's entirety in one volume to hold in your hand and read. Then you shouldn't put your faith in a bunch of textual scholars to treat the bible like a science project and follow some bread crumb trail back to the first century using some completely man made made up system when we have probably less than 1% of all the manuscripts we ever had. Originals onlyism is not a biblical teaching. Paul told Timothy All scripture is given by inspiration of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 Notice the present tense is not past tense was. Timothy did not have the original autographs of Moses.
Solus Christus (1 year ago)
I probably shouldn't have said with any certainty. Let me clarify what I meant. The word certain by itself is an absolute. The definition of certain is known for sure,established beyond doubt. There really is no such thing as having merely a great deal of certainty or being generally or reasonably certain. Your either certain or your not. To answer your question of which bible I use. The KJV. As for why I prefer it. If you have a bunch of translations and they are all correcting over each other in the meaning of the text.Either one of them is right and the rest are wrong or they or all wrong they cannot all be right. Same thing goes if one or more retains a scripture and others omit it. Either one is correct and the rest wrong or they are all wrong. The sovereign providence of God is required in the transmission of the bible. You cannot rely on the philosophies and opinions of men especially sense many involved in the field of modern textual criticism are not even professing Christians. 1:18 Corinthians For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Wrong to take a naturalistic approach to a super natural book.
Regarding that last comment you made, I don't know any critical scholars that would say we can't know what God says with any certainty. In fact it's just the opposite. They all claim a great deal of certainty in practically all the text of the NT, save a few small passages. May I ask, what Bible do you use and why do you prefer that one over the others?
Solus Christus (1 year ago)
The power of God. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Logic follows that if we are to live by every word of God not only should we have them, but we ought to be able to tell what they are in their entirety with certainty. I can see how young Christians can be impressed by textual scholars, but they are really not a source of truth it is an entirely naturalistic system. When that philosophy is embraced you must presuppose that every bible version pick and read is wrong in at least some part. Yet the bible doesn't teach you not to believe what it says. Romans 4 Makes it clear Abraham believed the promise of God the biological birth of Isaac between him and Sarah. Abraham didn't interpret the promise of God for hyperbole. No scripture says he considered the birth of Ishmael with Hagar as God fulfilling his promise nor are we told that he and Sarah went out and adopted a child and counted that as being of him and Sarah. No Abraham actually believed what God said and it was imputed to him for righteousness. What do you suppose the scholars of Abraham's day would've said if he told them he and his wife were going to have a biological child when he was like 99 or 100 and his wife was 90? So based on super natural presupposition I believe the word of God in it's entirety has been transmitted into the bible I can hold in my hand a read free from error. Modern textual critics at least the ones that profess to believe. Tell us they believe God preserved his word but then tell us it is jumbled up in countless translations or a in a sea of Greek manuscripts which has over 250,000 variant readings and counting. That is a totally useless view of preservation of scripture in my view. Not to say that the so called believing textual critics don't believe in God or that their not Christian or that their not saved, but it is not a biblical faith. Biblical actually believes what God says and all of what God says. You cannot do that when you embrace a philosophy that says you cannot know what God says at least not with any certainty.
Hey there! You mentioned "original onlyism", but what is that in contrast to? What do you rely on as the Word of God?
Clinton Post (1 year ago)
Your trust in the the (so called) older text is disturbing.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
Regarding point #7: your statement is flatly false regarding many majority readings. This entire point should be withdrawn and thoroughly reworded.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
White's book is basically a combination of previous anti-KJV materials and Metzger's Text of the New Testament and Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament; when White drifts from the materials he depends upon for his data, he falls into mistakes that expose the shallowness of his research. As for the Porter-Pitts book, the first edition was so flawed that it ought to be withdrawn; see my review at http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2015/12/a-review-of-fundamentals-of-new.html . Some resources that offer different perspectives from the standard approach used by Metzger (whose materials enjoyed a near monopoly over the field in the 1970s-90s) are among the book in the Library of New Testament Textual Criticism at http://www.curtisvillechristianchurch.org/NTTCLibrary.htm . Some of the links, unfortunately, are defunct, but most still work. The 1897 Oxford Debate might be a good place to start, as an introduction to the issues. And Burgon should not be ignored.
And i think i made it clear at the beginning of the video that each of these 7 things are principles, not hard fast rules and that we have to take them all into consideration when deciding a variant. So I don't think I ever asserted that the majority reading can't be the preferred reading, I was just saying the majority doesn't resolve the variant for us simply because it's the majority. At least that's what I intended to communicate.
I just listened to what I said in that section again. At one point I said, "The earliest MSS do not contain what we have today as the majority reading", and upon review, I would agree that is an oversimplification. I made it sound like the majority reading is //never// found in the earliest MSS, but Of course, the majority reading //can// be found and //is// indeed found in the earliest MSS. So I accept your critique there. What I meant to communicate is the simple fact the the majority reading that we have today is not //always// found in the earliest MSS. So I could have worded that better.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
Briefly, it is not particularly rare to find that the reading of the majority of MSS is also the reading with the earliest evidence in its favor. Nor is it rare to find that the Nestle-Aland editors have rejected the reading that has the earliest manuscript support.
Also, I'm always looking to read more on this subject because, though I humble acknowledge that I am no where close to being an expert in this field, I am absolutely fascinated with Textual Criticism. Books I've read thus far are the KIng James Only Controversy by James White, The Text of The New Testament by Bruce Metzger, the Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism by Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts, and then I've listened to tons of lectures by Daniel Wallace and Bart Ehrman and others. I can tell by a few of your comments that you are of different opinions than some of these men, so I wanted to ask what resources, books, and lectures you'd recommend.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
10:35 -- Just because there is a way to maintain inerrancy while embracing a difficult reading, "We can afford to" is not a valid reason to accept any reading. Take a more panoramic view of the tendencies of copyists to *add* names, and to add specificity, and also at Mark's tendency to refer to Old Testament material in general terms, and you may reach the shocking conclusion that over 95% of the Greek manuscripts of Mark -- including Codices A and W -- are not corrupt at this point, and that researchers have been repeating arguments from writers in the 1800s that should not have ever been considered persuasive.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
9:30 -- The theory that scribes changed from "in Isaiah the prophet" to "in the prophets" flies in the exact opposite direction of what we see in other cases where some MSS have a proper name, and others do not: the scribal tendency is toward, not away from, specificity. The witnesses for "in Isaiah the prophet" are not, when you look at them in detail, as uniform as it would seem when one looks at the evidence in English; the Alexandrian reading is not the same as the Western, so it is not implausible at all to picture the same sort of alteration toward specificity being carried out independently by different scribes; it is not "the exact same" reading at all, contrary to your description of it.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
Re: 9:00 - appealing to "the most reliable" MSS in the course of your case is begging the question' isn't it. For if those MSS are incorrect at this point, it would have an impact on the assessment of their reliability.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
6:30 -- So the NKJV and MEV are not "modern translations"?? re: Romans 8:1 -- without aspiring to resolve the textual contest in one little comment, I would mention that it is also possible that a scribe looked at the surrounding text, reckoned that since "who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" was superfluous in verse 1 because it is repeated in verse 4, and omitted it in verse 4 to remove what he considered a needless repetition. Also, it should not be overlooked that this variant-unit is not a simple two-horse race; the inclusion of only "who walk not according to the flesh" is another variant, attested by Codex A, Chrysostom, the Vulgate, etc.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
Re: Canon #2 (Preference for the Shorter Reading) -- This is a "common sense" assumption which was in play in text-critical work on the New Testament throughout the 1800s and 1900s, but even then, it was valid only when qualified to the point of being superfluous. And it is abandoned with strange casual consistency at points where the Byzantine reading is shorter than an Alexandrian rival reading. In addition, when James Royse, instead of following the example of earlier textual critics who were content with what seemed sensible to assume, made a scientific investigation of how copyists of seven important papyri actually performed, Royse found that copyists tended to make omissions more frequently than they made additions, generally at a ration of 6:4. So regardless of how frequently writers such as Wallace and White echo Nestle (who echoed Hort, who echoed Griesbach), the relative lengths of rival variants should really not be a factor. Wallace and those dependent upon him seems rather behind the times where this point is concerned.
James Snapp (1 year ago)
Re: Canon #1 (Preference for the Older reading) -- When all the support for one reading is early, and all the support for a rival reading is late (post-800s), this is valid. However, this canon is sometimes abused as a tricky way to promote the text used in Egypt, where the low-humidity climate permitted the survival of papyrus-material -- which is why we have not only so much more New Testament material, but also discarded letters, receipts, etc., from Egypt than from any other place -- especially Oxyrhynchus, and the area in and around Dishna and Thebes. It should not be minimized or belittled that the later MSS did not spring full-grown from the earth; they all had ancestors that co-existed with the papyri, and a mere difference of climate does not justify silencing their testimony. Especially when it is augmented by early patristic and/or versional evidence.

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