Predictably, because preservation is more fundamental to Pickering’s view, he thinks that Hodges is wrong in adopting minority text readings. The vast majority of them (mostly 10,000 Vulgate copies) do not affirm the Byzantine text. The primary premise in the majority text view is this: “Any reading overwhelmingly attested by the manuscript tradition is more likely to be original than its rival(s).”30 In other words when the majority of manuscripts agree, that is the original.31 Majority text advocates have turned this presumption into a statistical probability.32 But in historical investigation, statistical probability is almost always worthless. The “longer ending” of Mark, 16:9–20 {Mark 16}, today is found in a large majority of Greek manuscripts; yet according to Jerome, it “is met with in only a few copies of the Gospel—almost all the codices of Greece being without this passage.” Similarly, at Matthew 5:22 he notes that “most of the ancient copies” do not contain the qualification “without cause”…which, however, is found in the great majority today.49, Metzger discusses several references in Jerome, Origen, and other early writers where a variant found in the majority of manuscripts in their day is now found in a minority of manuscripts, as well as the other way around.50 “In other words, variants once apparently in the minority are today dominant, and vice versa; some once dominant have even disappeared. In other words textual criticism must be done on the church fathers in order to see how they attest to the New Testament text. Too often people with deep religious convictions are certain about an untruth. Pickering is appealing to an uncritical text of the fathers, using late manuscripts, as a basis for the suggestion that the Byzantine texttype is early—and right after he criticized Aland for not making a critical study of the Fathers’ texts. First italics added; second, Pickering’s. Logically three observations may be made: (a) The equation of inspiration with man’s recognition of what is inspired (in all its particulars) virtually puts God at the mercy of man and requires omniscience of man. For one thing Pickering has charged Hort with being prejudiced against the Byzantine texttype from the very beginning of his research: “It appears Hort did not arrive at his theory through unprejudiced intercourse with the facts. In historical investigation, presumption is only presumption. To sum up: as long as the doctrine of preservation and the majority text view are inseparably linked, it seems that no amount of evidence can overcome the majority text theory.28 But if the doctrine of preservation is not at stake, then evangelical students and pastors are free to examine the evidence without fear of defection from orthodoxy.29. Erasmus adjusted the text in many places to correspond with readings found in the Vulgate or as quoted in the Church Fathers; consequently, although the Textus Receptus is classified by scholars as a late Byzantine text, it differs in nearly 2000 readings from the standard form of that text-type, as represented by the "Majority Text" of Hodges and Farstad (Wallace 1989). 140–52). 56 That there are not many ‘A’ ratings (virtual certainty about the original) in the UBS text does not indicate overall uncertainty of reasoned eclectics about the text of the New Testament.               Apostolic Constitutions (380?) Does debt affect giving in modern times in light of the Israelite tithe and slaves? And where they are, the majority text (as well as the Western text) almost always has an inferior reading, while the Alexandrian manuscripts almost always have a superior reading.55, One may consult, for example, Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament to see some of the rationale for accepting one reading over another. 5 Wilbur N. Pickering, “An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism” (ThM thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1968), p. 86. Though some Byzantine readings existed early, the texttype apparently did not.48. A Lasting Legacy: Choosing A Wife For Isaac (Gen. 24:1-67). For example, I know eleven different studies on Origen alone that contradict all of Pickering’s discussion, and not one of them is even recognized to have existed” (“A Critique of W. N. Pickering’s The Identity of the New Testament Text: A Review Article,” Westminster Theological Journal 41 [1978–79]: 415). (Compare Asterius, above, with his predecessors.) Actually, as Kenyon points out, there is no prejudice against the majority text here. Sorry if you have already addressed this, need to hear it in layman's terms. (These Western witnesses are not followed by the editors of the UBS text.) He took the position that the two were virtually identical. 54 See Holmes, “The ‘Majority Text Debate’: New Form of an Old Issue,” p. 17. The early fathers had a text that keeps looking more like modern critical editions and less like the majority text.45, In summing up the evidence from the early church fathers, in none of the critical studies made in the last 80 years was the majority text found to be the text used by the church fathers in the first three centuries.46 Though some of these early Fathers had isolated Byzantine readings, the earliest church father to use the Byzantine text was the heretic Asterius, a fourth-century writer.47, All the external evidence suggests that there is no proof that the Byzantine text was in existence in the first three centuries. For another, several isolated Byzantine readings are early, and where they have good internal credentials, reasoned eclectics adopt them as original. The unknown roots of a particular tradition, consequently, do not compel one to argue that it goes back to the original.               Chrysostom (d. 407) supported MT 88.5% (40.5% against Alexandrian); etc. Many of them lived much earlier than the date of any Greek manuscripts now extant for a particular book. Probably not, and for the following reason: a careful distinction must be made between citation, quotation and transcription…. For over 250 years, New Testament scholars have argued that no textual variant affects any doctrine. But then in the following paragraph he argues, “John W. Burgon made copious reference to Patristic citations in all his works; his massive index of 86,489 such citations is still the most extensive in existence (so far as I know)” (ibid.). There may be a subconscious theological necessity not to reconsider the status of the ‘Byzantine’ text” seriously (“An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism,” p. 110). 27 Actually this number is a bit high, because there can be several variants for one particular textual problem, but only one of these could show up in a rival printed text. But virtually all Old Testament textual critics—even those who embrace inerrancy—recognize the need, albeit rare, for conjectural emendation (and significantly some of the conjectures of an earlier generation have now found support in the earliest witnesses to the Hebrew text found in Qumran). It seems that he has confused method with rationale for the method. No one today would deny that this was Hort’s starting point. supported MT 50% (19% against Alexandrian); Since the term Textus Receptus has been applied to a variety of Greek New Testament texts over the years, it could be legitimately asked, “which Textus Receptus?” For those who hold this position, the text in mind is the text of Erasmus and the Elzevirs–the text that was eventually used by the King James Bible translators. These are actually pretty good numbers, and I think it makes the case *FOR* using a Byzantine like RP2005. Originally his estimate was between 500 and 1,000 differences (“An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism,” p. 120). First, it is not critical, as even Pickering points out (“The Text of the Church,” p. 4). 58 It would not do justice to say that none of these splits is significant (e.g., ἔχομεν/ἔχωμεν in Rom 5:1). This is also the text that agrees with more than 95% of the Bible Manuscripts in Koine (common) Greek.It is known by other names, such as the Traditional Text, Majority Text, Byzantine Text, or Syrian Text. If one wishes to speak about the majority, why restrict the discussion only to extant Greek witnesses and not include the versional witnesses? There are several fallacies in this thinking, both on a historical level and on a logical one. But if the majority text view is right, then each one of these versions was based on polluted Greek manuscripts—a suggestion that does not augur well for God’s providential care of the New Testament text, as that care is understood by the majority text view.38 But if these versions were based on polluted manuscripts, one would expect them to have come from (and be used in) only one isolated region. The editions of the . 160?) 45 For example, concerning Origen’s commentary on John, Fee says that “in citations where we have the highest level of certainty, Origen’s text is 100 per cent Egyptian” (“Origen’s Text of the New Testament and the Text of Egypt,” New Testament Studies 28 [1982]: 355). Yours in Christ,James Snapp, Jr. Just a quick clarification on Bob's statement. But nowhere do they explain why this view of preservation is the biblical doctrine.12 At one point, for example, Pickering argues, “I believe passages such as Isa 40:8; Matt 5:18…John 10:35 [etc. But this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a wholesale adoption of the majority text. For example if someone were to look at the Win-Loss column for the Los Angeles Lakers and see 38 losses and only 12 wins, he would know that the typesetter switched the numbers. Yet this is the kind of inference that majority text advocates try to make out of isolated Byzantine readings that existed before the fourth century, almost all of which are found in other, demonstrably early texttypes. That is not true. 21 Pickering was unaware there would be so many differences between the Textus Receptus and Majority Text when he wrote this note. And Jerome, who produced the Latin Vulgate on the basis of the best Greek manuscripts, “deliberately sought to orientate the Latin more with the Alexandrian type of text” (Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations, p. 359). Until that is done, it is impossible to speak definitively about what the majority of manuscripts actually read.               Irenaeus (d. 202) supported MT 33% (16.5% against Alexandrian); In this sweeping statement, he has condemned B. Why? Hisconsolidated Greek text was based on only seven minuscule manuscripts of theByzantine text type that he had access to in Basel at the time, and he reliedmainly on two of these - both dating from the twelfth century.^^ Although many point to obvious limitations and certain short-comings in Erasmus'first Greek text, later editors used it as their starting point, making minorrevisions as needed based on additional Greek manuscript evidence. And this is a threefold cord not easily broken. As Hodges points out: The reason for this resemblance, despite the uncritical way in which the TR was compiled, is easy to explain. His works of Textus Receptus proves this, which fully diverged from Vulgate (Jerome 405 A.D.), because Textus Receptus has been translated much more according to Byzantine text. Their premise is that the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture requires that the early manuscripts cannot point to the original text better than the later manuscripts can, because these early manuscripts are in the minority. And once they concede this, another pillar (that early fathers must have used the majority text, since later copies of their works did) cannot bear the weight they give it. In fact theologically one may wish to argue against the majority: usually it is the remnant, not the majority, that is right.17. The Textus Receptus says "ye know all things", not "ye all know". Several factors account for this, but it is ancillary to the present discussion. Erasmus used several Greek manuscripts, which were eastern / Byzantine in nature. When a scribe was copying the New Testament text quoted by a church father, he would naturally conform that text to the one with which he was familiar.41 This fact has been recognized for the past 80 years. Frequently the most black-and-white, dogmatic method of arriving at truth is perceived to be truth itself. differ from each other as well. Many will directly claim that the TR is the M-Text, or will say that the TR represents “the vast majority of Greek manuscripts.” Neither of these are true statements. 140–52. If so, then whatever the merits of this viewpoint are—and there are many—it must be stressed that as long as majority text advocates hold this view of preservation, no amount of evidence will convince them that reasoned eclecticism is right, because the majority text view is “a statement of faith.”10 And as Pickering has so clearly articulated, this is not just a presupposition—it is a doctrine.11, In many respects this theological premise is commendable. 61 This quest for certainty often replaces a quest for truth. Actually this kind of argument is more befitting defenders of the Textus Receptus. The ‘neo-evangelical’ defection on Scriptural inerrancy is a case in point” (“An Evaluation of the Contribution of John William Burgon to New Testament Textual Criticism,” p. 90). And it is precisely where internal evidence is “objectively verifiable” (or virtually so) that most scholars today maintain that the majority text contains a secondary reading. In this respect majority text advocates’ presuppositions govern their methods far more drastically than do reasoned eclectics’ presuppositions. Not all majority text advocates share his approach, however. In this translation, instead of rendering Cyril’s quotations from Scripture, Rabbula inserted the wording of the current Syriac version—a method which more than one author followed in translating from Greek into Syriac” (ibid., p. 58). One should note especially the places in which Metzger defends the ‘A’ rating of the UBS text.56, One other comment is needed here. The TR is a form OF the Byzantine manuscripts. Differences are found in the manuscripts of the Byzantine text types. Bible versions, Greek New Testament, Textual Criticism, history of the Bible, Westcott Hort, 'modern' versions, KJV, NIV, NA27, UBS, omitted verses, word of God, textual transmission, history. 30 The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text, p. xi. All Patristic ‘citation’ needs to be evaluated with this distinction in mind and must not be pushed beyond its limits. The Textus Receptus stands behind the King James Version, the NA27/UBS4 is represented in several modern versions like the NIV, NASB, ESV, the Byzantine Majority Text is represented in the Analytical-Literal Translation (Gary F. Zeolla). Nevertheless the point is not disturbed.               Epiphanius (d. 403) supported MT 74% (41% against Alexandrian); Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. The Byzantine text type is the majority or received text. The King James Version is a “text,” as is the New American Standard Bible. There is in fact some evidence that suggests that it was not until the ninth or tenth century that the Byzantine manuscripts really had high agreement with the Majority Text. Majority text advocates must recognize this insertion of a version in currency only at a later date, rather than that of the ancient writer. In light of this it is difficult to understand what Pickering means when he says that this pure text “has been readily available to [God’s] followers in every age throughout 1900 years.”21 Purity, it seems, has to be a relative term. 1 On February 21, 1990, Wilbur N. Pickering, president of the Majority Text Society, gave a lecture at Dallas Theological Seminary on the majority text and the original text. It is known by other names, such as the Traditional Text, Majority Text, Byzantine Text, or Syrian Text. In fact majority text advocates often see the issue as so black and white that if even one majority text reading were proved false, their whole theory would collapse. The Westcott-Hort theory, with its many flaws (which all textual critics today acknowledge), was apparently still right on its basic tenet: the Byzantine texttype—or majority text—did not exist in the first three centuries. But the fact that internal evidence can be subjective does not mean that it is all equally subjective. Finally, as Fee points out, it is not merely a good, critical copy of a church father’s text that moves it away from the Byzantine texttype; every early copy does the same thing (see note 44). Do they agree perhaps as much as 50 percent of the time? Only 1,440 textual problems are listed, though there are over 300,000 textual variants among the manuscripts. “Majority text advocates, however, object quite strenuously to the use of the canons of internal evidence. Yet, it is obvious that these men do not buy Burgon’s basic position or method. The charge of “theological necessity” would seem to apply more to Pickering than to the men he cites. 88–103; idem, “St. And either option is fatal to the claim that Mark’s Gospel is ‘God-breathed’“ (“Mark 16:9–20 and the Doctrine of Inspiration” [unpublished paper distributed to members of the Majority Text Society, September 1988], p. 1). So the agreement is better than 99 percent. But his thesis, which unashamedly declared this doctrinal position, preceded the book by 12 years. 15 Although Pickering provides no proof text for his view of preservation, he views it as the logical corollary to inspiration: “If the Scriptures have not been preserved then the doctrine of Inspiration is a purely academic matter with no relevance for us today. 20 E.g., 1 John 5:7–8 and Revelation 22:19. 285–93. However, Erasmus by no means had access to all of the Greek manuscripts, so there was no way he could develop a true Majority Text. Indeed, several of the critiques made in that article of Hodges’s “stemmatic reconstruction” are voiced by other majority text advocates. Holmes points out the value of this for the present discussion. Many hypotheses can be put forth as to why there are no early Byzantine manuscripts. The interpretation of individual passages may well be called in question; but never is a doctrine affected.”25 The remarkable thing is that this applies both to the standard critical texts of the Greek New Testament and to Hodges’s and Farstad’s Majority Text; doctrine is not affected by the variants between them.26. Hodges and Farstad give a second principle: “(2) Final decisions about readings ought to be made on the basis of a reconstruction of their history in the manuscript tradition” (p. xii). Even though the Textus Receptus (basically a Byzantine text) was the basis for the Westminster Confession, there is not a single point in the entire confession that would change if it were based upon a modern eclectic text rather than upon the Byzantine text! When Westcott and Hort developed their theory of textual criticism, only one papyrus manuscript was known to them. Since that time almost 100 have been discovered. Another comment is in order regarding external evidence. This is true for any textual tradition. These canons, they argue, are only very broad generalizations about scribal tendencies which are sometimes wrong and in any case frequently cancel each other out.”53, There is some truth to this point; in fact even Fee, an ardent opponent of the majority text, has argued likewise. This fact alone rules out any attempt to settle textual questions by statistical means.”51. David Hume, in his Essay on Miracles, argued against miracles on the basis of statistical probability. (1) Older studies, which were based on late copies of the church fathers and on uncritical editions, are not helpful in determining what the church fathers said. For one thing, it agrees with the critical text 98 percent of the time. They seem to be reacting to the evidence consistently at different isolated points but seem to be unable to break away from the Hort framework. As far as getting to the root of the problems I believe must begin with the character and beliefs of these men of those early text composers. Wallace: There Are 1,838 Differences Between Textus Receptus and the Majority Text Biblical Studies • Nov 01, 2017 When I introduce New Testament transmission history and textual criticism, it is amazing to me that there will always be one student who approaches me afterwards with questions about the majority text and/or Westcott and Hort. Let the conservative Christian not be ashamed of his presuppositions—they are more reasonable than those of the unbeliever…. 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