This brings us to the current scoundrels.
I’ve talked about what Textual criticism is, and kighlighted some of the problems.
I’ve talked about the spurious conclusions of men with axes to grind.
I’ve talked about false teachers.
I’ve talked about modernists. I’ve given quotes about how Evangelicals recognize there’s major problems with textual critics, and instead of applying the rules of the Bible ‘by their fruits will ye knew them…’ – they use pithy sayings such as “they may be heretics and lost men, but when it comes to the Holy word of God, they’re just reporters.”
Yeah, uh… wrong.
Textual critics do not just report.
They make decisions. Like Griesbach, a man to whom the Bible is not the inspired word of God, but a mere book. He advocated the dismissal of Mark 16:9-20.
Lo and behold, 70 years later, a manuscript is found that supports Griesbach. Instead of rejecting it as written by heretics or forgers, “Scholars” rush to embrace it.
Vaticanus is championed by the scholars as well. Instead of questioning it, and denouncing it as possibly a Sixtus manuscript, or written by Eusebius the heretic, it is embraced.
Can we honestly say that Textual Critics – most of whom hold heretical views of Christ, the Bible, Salvation, etc., are just reporters?
No. We let them tell us what the Bible really is. We let them tell us that verses are not in the Bible. We let them tell us that words and parts of verses are not in the Bible. We let them tel us that this section of the Bible and that section of the Bible is based upon Jewish superstition, or Jewish culturism – and not stopping to consider that although Jews wrote down the Bible, we did not write the Bible.
We are so impressed with their unsaved scholarship, we invite them to place their sin-laden hands upon the Bible, and translate our Bibles for us. And we protest not when they yank out verses, or write footnotes casting doubt.
This brings us to Wescott and Hort.
Wescott writes about the textual critic in his Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1897), “He will accept, without the least misgiving, the canon that the Bible must be interpreted like any other book; and his reward will be, to find that it is by the use of this reverent freedom he becomes assured with a conviction, rational and immovable, that it is not like any other book.”
For starters, the bible is not to be interpreted like any other book. Books are divided into two categories – fiction, and non fiction. Wescott is not stating in which category he is placing the Bible. I will assume he’s placing it into the historical category, and thus non-fiction – since Wescott neglects to say so in his book. Incidentally, the books of Wescott and Hort would have slipped into obscurity if not for the efforts of the Dean Burgon society, who publish them for other defenders of the King James Bible. Others have haunted book sellers, and done mischievious things like scan them and upload them to archive.org
The first Greek book which I possessed was a copy of the manual edition of Griesbach’s revision of the New Testament. – – Brooke Foss Wescott, 1890
Brooke Wescott and Fenton John Hort were the two responsible for all the problems. The need was felt at the time for a new revision of the King James, where the archaic words were to be removed. The call for a revision was being made by such people as Charles Spurgeon, and the scholars and Bible societies began to push for the new translation.
The first major error, was that none of the scholars who were championed for the new revision project ever were asked to sign a statement of faith. I believe that Wescott and Hort would have lied, as Wescott wrote books in which he advocated things that in his letters he privately admitted he did not believe (see The Historic faith vs. The private letters of Brooke Wescott vols 1 & 2). All three books can be found, by the way, on Archive.org
The committee handed the rules to the scholars included an outright order that they were to use the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Textus Receptus, and no other manuscripts.
The doors of the chambers had barely shut when Wescott began agitating for them all to use his brand new Greek Manuscript. The manuscript was made by Wescott and Hort by diligent comparison between Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Vaticanus.
The problems with this cannot be underestimated. Vaticanus omits chapters, verses, words… and entire books. Sinaiticus has the same problem. The renderings of verses between them cannot be easily reconciled, as Vaticanus says one way, Sinaiticus words it another. When they conflict, Wescott and Hort sided with Vaticanus, which they felt – based simply on a hunch – was the most accurate Biblical manuscript. There’s no word on how they reconciled when the verse or book was missing in both.
felt. Based upon a hunch. “That’s the one!”
They’re the first ones who felt that way – every scholar before them who collated Greek manuscripts ignored Vaticanus.
The way it should be done is to take manuscripts that the Christians used (not the Catholics) for centuries, and compare them. It doesn’t matter if they’re late manuscripts or old, as long as what they copy is accurate. If I diligently copy a Greek manuscript used by the early churches and I am thorough, then it is far more accurate than a flawed and edited Greek manuscript whose very age is completely irrelevant.
“No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history—I could never understand how anyone reading them with open eyes could think they did—yet they disclose to us a Gospel. So it is probably elsewhere.” — Brooke Foss Wescott, Westcott, Arthur, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, (New York, 1903), Volume 2, P.69
Let’s take a look at the very first verse of Mark 1. This would have given me a great deal of pause if I’d started WEscott and Hort’s project, and I would have gone to the Textus Receptus right away.
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ· – Textus Receptus
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ – Wescott/Hort
What’s missing? υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ “The son of God.”
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; Mark 1:1 (KJV)
Archē tou euaggeliou Iēsou Christou, huiou tou Theou;
Hu-wheee-o’u Tou The’oo is how it’s roughly pronounced.
Was this an isolated example of Wescott/Hort I pulled out?
Nope. It’s the very first verse I looked at, comparing the TR and the W/H.
“Certainly nothing can be more unscriptural than the modern limiting of Christ’s bearing our sins and sufferings to His death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy.” Hort, Arthur Fenton, Life and letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, (New York, 1896), Vol. 1, p. 430
I’ve spoken a couple of times about a Methodist pastor who I used to work with. We were talking about Greek one day at work, and he told me he kept the Greek New Testament on his cell phone. “Which manuscript?” I asked.
“UBS and Wescott/Hort.” He answered.
“Wait, I thought you said you had the Bible in Greek.”
He rolled his eyes.
If I’d been sitting in the room with the Scholars and W/H tried submitting their Greek manuscript, i’d have voted “no” very loudly. And if they’d pushed it through (which they did over all objections), i’d have resigned and gone to the press, which in those days would have leaped on a story like that.
Codex Vaticanus was NEVER used by churches. It remained under lock and key in the Vatican. Codex Sinaiticus was NEVER used by the churches. If it’s genuine, it’s been sitting on a shelf for 500 years (it cannot be traced back before the 15th century – and I have not seen the investigation to determine its age).
I personally think Vaticanus was written by Origen, or is a survivor of the heretical Pope Sixtus manuscripts. Dean John Burgon was convinced as well that Vaticanus was an Origen manuscript.
Sinaiticus was probably written in 1830-40 by Constantinus Simonides. If it is genuine and Simonides was lying (I see no reason why he should, and many more reasons to have kept silent if he was telling the truth), then it is a Eusebian manuscript.
Origen and Eusebius were Arian heretics who believed in using a Greek method of allegorical interpretation in the Bible. They wrote Greek manuscripts to support Gnostic or Arian interpretations of the Bible.
Vaticanus is one of those, or possibly a Sixtus manuscript. If Sinaiticus is not a modern forgery, which I believe it to be, then it is most certainly another Eusebian manuscript.
Both are described as unreliable, and having heavy editing, including marginal notes to Scribes telling to not change the Bible! All of the claims that the scholars falsely make about the Antioch manuscripts actually apply to the Alexandrian manuscripts!
Wescott and Hort were able to force their document through over objections. They completed the translation work using a new Greek manuscript (in violation of the very rules they’d been commissioned on), and published the W/H manuscript for critical review the day before the RV was published!
This did not allow any scholars enough time to review the W/H before the RV was published.
It caused a furor. The very men who’d championed a revision now loudly decried it. Spurgeon distanced himself from the RV quickly. The RV was commercially a failure. Fundamentalist pastors ignored it.
But New Evangelicals loved it, and touted it. The RV was responsible for the birth of the Charismatic phenomenon, as it was the personal Bible of Frank Sandford, the cult leader of Shiloh, the origination of the speaking in tongues phenomenon (although Charles Parham took credit for it several years later).
It’s interesting that the first Christian apologist (Wilbur Pickering) wrote a book championing the King James – but allowed the RV to affect his doctrine (he had a particular dislike for the story of the paralytic at Bethesda, and preferred the RV’s butchering of that text).
I too “must disclaim setting forth infallibility” in front of my convictions. All I hold is, that the more I learn, the more I am convinced that fresh doubts come from my own ignorance, and that at present I find the presumption in favour of absolute truth- I reject the word infallibility-of Holy Scripture overwhelming.” Westcott, Arthur, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, (New York, 1903), Volume 1, P. 207
I don’t have the time to go into all the problems with Wescott/Hort. The Modern Version champions claim that the scholars no longer use W/H for their Bibles – but that’s a smoke screen. The UBS and Nestle-Aland texts are essentially different editions of W/H. The preface to those editions explain that they always start with the W/H text, then make their changes as they see fit. Essentially, from what I see when I look at it, the differences between W/H and N/A or UBS are so vanishingly small, I wouldn’t be able to tell without an exhaustive word by word study.
And I won’t do that. I’d rather spend my time reading the Bible.