The History of the Controversy
Dr Clinton Branine
Attack on the Autographs
There is no doubt that early church heretics attacked the New Testament autographs. Many new version advocates deny that the text was tampered with. Notice the statements of James White in. The King James Only Controversy. He says: "No grand conspiracies have been uncovered, no attempts to hide doctrines or beliefs by mistranslating the text have been found." He continues, "When differences are examined in a context of seeking to understand the reasons for the differences, rather than in one of fear and emotion, we learn more about the Word and the original intents of the authors. This is how Christian dialogue and discussion should take place. Whenever you encounter a supposed change in the Bible's text, take the time to look carefully at the available information and you will discover that there are reasons for the difference, and that there is no rationale at all for running to theories of conspiracies or evil intentions on the part of modern translators. Their goal is not to corrupt God's Word but to preserve and accurately pass it on to future generations." pp. 146 -147.
White, p. 155 says, "...it is impossible to say that someone was purposefully trying to 'hide' or 'change' anything."
Again, "...the fact remains that the modern translations are obviously not attempting to 'tamper' with anything, or 'remove' anything. Their translations are determined by the texts they are using..."
Many new version advocates agree with White. What Is The Real Truth?
We are giving you statements by several early Church Fathers that declare that the text was tampered with. History disagrees with Mr. White.
Irenaeus a disciple of Polycarp said of Marcion: "he (Marcion) mutilates the Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all that is written respecting the generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most clearly confessing that the Maker of this universe is His Father ... In like manner, too, he dismembered the Epistles of Paul, removing all that is said by the apostle respecting that God who made the world, to the effect that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also those passages from the prophetical writings, which the apostle quotes, in order to teach us that they announced beforehand the coming of the Lord." Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, ed., The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, 352.
New version advocates may say that Marcion's deprivations surely did not get into our text. Jay P. Green, Sr. in his book, The Gnostics, The New Versions, and The Deity of Christ reveals how much of his (Marcion's) kind of error did get into the manuscripts underlying the new versions.
Eusebius quotes the second-century Church Father, Gaius and says, "The sacred Scriptures have been boldly perverted by them." Pamphilus, Eccleseastican History, 215. Many quotes could be given by early Church Fathers.
Who Were The Heretics Who Changed The Text Before 200 AD?
They were Gnostic Docetists (An opinion that Jesus had no human body and only appeared to have died on the cross) who looked upon our Lord Jesus Christ as less than God. These were the people who altered the New Testament text along with Christian scholars of the Neoplatonic philosophy that found lodging in the School of Alexandria.
It has been documented that the first heretics who systematically depraved the New Testament text were Basilides (AD 134)- Valentinus (AD 140); and Marcion (AD 150). These three altered primarily the gospels. Besides Marcion's lacerated text of Luke, there was an Ebionite recension of Matthew. There was also a Cerinthian revision of Mark and a Valentinian perversion of John.
It is quite revealing that new version advocates like James White do not say one word about the heretics in the early Church altering the text. How can he say, "it is impossible to say that someone was purposefully trying to 'hide' or 'change' anything." He continues on referring to new version translators, "Their translations are determined by the texts they are using,...." This is partly true. He forgets to tell his readers of the early Church heretics who did change the text and influenced the underlying manuscripts that the new version translators use. Re also fails to tell how many words, in both Old and New Testaments are left out of the new versions, left untranslated, added, or have meanings changed. A quick look at Jay Green's work The Gnostics, The New Versions, and The Deity of Christ will give you some magnitude of the seriousness of this kind of altering by the new version translators.
Families of Bibles
Many disagree about families, but for our purpose we will refer to the common ones. There are several families of Bibles. These are classified differently by scholars. We will give a simple classification and present the families in three groups:
2. Western - Rome
3. Traditional - Antioch
We believe that the Alexandrian family is a result of an attack on the original text of the New Testament by this school's following the heretics mentioned above. At the time Alexandria was involved with producing manuscripts, they could not do much additional changing so they used what had already been changed.
The Alexandrian family came out of a background that denied literal interpretation of Scripture and allegorized Scripture to the point that it was seriously altered in meaning. This low view of Scripture allowed dangerous liberties with the text as history reveals.
We believe the Traditional Text is a preservation of the autographs. It has come down to us through ancient versions, such as the Peshitta (AD 145); the Gothic (AD 330) and others. Also the finding of the papyri manuscripts gives to us many traditional readings. Early Church Fathers also bear witness of the Traditional Text, What did they quote from? Dean Burgon examined the writings of 76 Church Fathers. From Fathers that died before AD 400, there were 2,630 references of the Traditional Text and only 1,753 of the Neologian (Westcott-Hort type) text. This proves that the Traditional Text was present before 400 AD The Traditional Text predominated over the Neologian (W-H) three to two.
New Version advocates deny this, but the facts are there. Notice: Westcott and Hort say, "before the middle of the third century, at the very earliest, we have no historical signs of the distinctively Syrian (traditional)." The Byzantine Text-Tvpe and New Testament Textual Criticism, p. 63.
What Are the Facts?
"These papyrus-Byzantine-Western alignments, opposed by the Alexandrian text-type, reveal readings which were well nigh universally known in the second century. But though they were eliminated from the Alexandrian text-type, they have been preserved independently in the Byzantine and in the Western traditions." Sturz, p. 5
Metzger (a liberal text critic) says, 'Papyrus 75 supports the majority text dozens of times. In relation to the (majority) text, P46 (about AD 200), shows that some readings ... go back to a very early period ... P66 has readings that agree with the majority text type." G.A- Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p. 108.
Edward Hills says, "Byzantine readings which most critics have regarded as late, have now been proven by Papyrus Bodmer II to be early readings." As quoted by Riplinger, p. 483.
The Journal of Theological Studies (London: Oxford University Press N.S., Vol. II, 1960) p. 381 says, 'Papyrus 66 supports the readings of the Majority Text."
Colwell found that as early as AD 200, scribes were altering manuscripts, changing them from a Majority-type text to a minority type. He notes, "The Bodmer John (P66) is also a witness to the early existence of many of the readings found in the (KJV). Strangely enough to our previous ideas, the contemporary corrections in that papyrus frequently changes a (KJV) reading to a (New version type). This indicates that at this early period readings of the... (New Version type) were supplanting the ... (KIV type)." E.C. Colwell, The Origin of Text Tvt)es of New Testament Manuscripts, 128-138,
H. A. Sturz says, as quoted by Pickering: "H.A. Sturz ... surveyed all the available papyri ... each new MS discovered vindicated added Byzantine readings ... The magnitude of this vindication can be more fully appreciated by recalling that only about 30% of the New Testament has early papyri attestation.... If we had at least three papyri covering all parts of the New Testament, all of the 5,000 plus Byzantine readings rejected by the critical (eclectic) texts would be vindicated by early papyrus ... Henceforth no one may reasonably or responsibly characterize the Byzantine text type as being ... late ... although modem editors continue to reject these readings, it can no longer be argued that they are late." The Identity of the New Testament Text, 77, 184, 202.
Notice this strange statement by White on p. 18. "Simply because isolated Byzantine readings are found before the fourth century is no argument that the Byzantine text existed before the fourth century."
The number of readings from the second century on, from a number of New Testament books surely indicates that the text existed. This amount of readings had to come from somewhere. Also early versions before the fourth century such as the Peshitta and the Itala also had to come from earlier Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The new version advocates since Westcott and Hort fuss with us over the date of the Peshitta. Prior to Westcott and Hort, all Bible scholars put the Peshitta at 150 AD Westcott and Hort put forth a now discredited theory for a late date for Peshitta. Many liberal scholars now recognize how wrong Westcott and Hort were, but our fundamental-evangelical experts still buy into their re-writing of history.
The Bible believing church has used the Traditional Text for over 1700 years. In 1881 the new Westcott-Hort text undertook to change this. The lay people in the churches did not accept the early new versions but the "scholars" fell for the Westcott-Hort Text that followed the Alexandrian Text.
Bible believing people from the early church, up to the Reformers, used Early versions that follow the Traditional Text. Some of these are:
Itala - 2nd century. This version was in use nine hundred years after the Vulgate appeared. The critical version never displaced it, and only replaced it when the Latin ceased to be a living language. Jack Moorman, Forever Settled, p. 19,
"The Old Latin manuscripts were used by the Waldensians 1170-1600 A.D International Bible Encyclopedia.
Tertullian quotes from this version and these quotes are "Received Text" in nature. It is also claimed that he quotes I John 5:7. Moorman, p. 103
"The first believers of ancient Britain nobly held their ground when the pagan Anglo-Saxons descended on the land like a flood. Dean Stanley holds it against Augustine, the missionary sent by the Pope in 596 AD to convert England, that he treated with contempt the early Christian Britons. Yes, more, he connived with the Anglo-Saxons in their frightful extermination of that pious people. And after Augustine's death when those same pagan Anglo-Saxons so terrified the papal leaders in England that they fled back to Rome, it was the British Christians of Scotland who occupied the forsaken fields. It is evident from this that British Christianity did not come from Rome. Furthermore, Dr. Adam Clarke claims that the examination of Irish customs reveals that they have elements which were imported into Ireland from Asia Minor by early Christians." Moorman, p. 105.
The Old Latin Bible was well established as Rome had not sent missionaries to the West before 250 A-D. It is evident that Christians in Britain refused to supplant their old Latin Bibles by the Vulgate. The Old Latin versions were used longest by the western Christians who would not bow to the authority of Rome - e.g., the Donatists; the Irish in Ireland, Britain, and the Continent; the Albigenses, etc." Moorman, p. 105. -
"Famous in history among all centers of Bible knowledge and Bible Christianity was Iona, on the little island of Hy, off the northwest coast of Scotland. Its most historic figure was Columba. D'Aubigne says that Columba esteemed the cross of Christ higher than the royal blood which flowed in his veins, and that precious manuscripts were brought to long, where a theological school was founded and the Word was studied. British missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, yea, even into Italy, and did more for the conversion of central Europe than the half-enslaved Roman Church." Moorman, pp. 105-106.
Milman claims that the French received their Christianity from Asia Minor. Neander also claims that the first Christianity in England came not from Rome, but from Asia Minor, probably through France. Moorman, p. 106.
In the fourth century, Helvidus, a great scholar of northern Italy accused Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, using corrupt Greek manuscripts. How could Helvidius have accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek manuscripts if Helvidius had not the pure Greek manuscripts? Jovinian the pupil of Helvidius was so learned and skilled in writing and teaching, that it demanded three of Rome's most famous fathers, Augustine, Jerome and Ambrose to unite in opposing Jovinian. Ms followers lived on and made the way easier for Luther." Moorman, pp. 106-107.
"The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 AD from which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they received from the apostles. The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from the Greek not later than 157 AD We are indebted to Beza, the renowned associate of Calvin, for the statement that the Italic Church dates from 120 AD From the illustrious group of scholars which gathered around Beza, 1590 AD We may understand how the Received Text was the bond of union between great historic churches." Moorman, p. 107.
That Rome in early days corrupted the manuscripts while the Italic Church handed them down in their apostolic purity, Allix, the renowned scholar, testifies. He reports the following as Italic articles of faith: "They receive only, saith he, what is written in the Old and New Testament. They say, that the Popes of Rome, and other priests, have depraved the Scriptures by their doctrines and glosses." Moorman, p. 1(17.
"It is recognized that the Itala was translated from the Received Text (Syrian, Hort calls it); that the Vulgate is the Itala with the readings of the Received Text removed." Moorman, p. 108.
The History of the King James Bible - People Involved
John Wycliffe (c. 1320-1384) is looked upon as the first to translate the entire Bible into English. We must remember that there was no Hebrew - Greek copies of the Bible in England in Wycliffe's time. It has been said "Wycliffe did his translating primarily from the only Bible then in use: The Latin Vulgate." Laurence Vance, A Brief History of English Bible Translations, p. 6.
History does provide evidence opposite to Mr. Vance's statement, though he does say "primarily." Some would not even say that. Jacobus quotes the "prologue" of Purvey's edition of Wycliffe stating (spelling retained),
"First ... with diverse felaives and helperis, to gedere manic elde biblis, and othere doctouris, and comune glosis and to make oo latyn Bible sumdel trewe; and thanne to studie it of the neue, the text with the glosse ... the thirdde tyme to counsiele withelde gramariens ... the fij time to translate as cleeli as hd code to the sentence, and to have manic gode felawis and kunnynge at the correcting of the translaeiun .... the comune Latyn Biblis hen more need to be corrected, as manic as I have seen in my fif, than hath the English Bible late translated." Jacobus Melanthon, Roman Catholic And Protestant Bibles Comparted 2 p. 206. Here we see that Wycliffe used other versions to compare with the Vulgate. He tells us that he corrected the Vulgate and that it had real need to be corrected.
Wycliffe was educated at Oxford and became the pastor at Lutterworth, in Leicestershire. He was a Roman Catholic priest, but opposed to ecclesiastical abuses and the Papacy, itself. He held to Scripture authority rather than the Pope. Wycliffe believed that the Bible should be in the hands of the common people. His Bible was completed in 1382. John Purvey (c 1353-1428) assisted him and translated much of the Old Testament.
In 1428, Wycliffe was posthumously condemned for heresy. The Pope's Council of Constance ordered Wycliffe's bones be unearthed, burned to ashes and thrown into the river Swift. Thomas Fuller said, "This brook has conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wiclif are the emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed all the world over." Quoted from Alexander McClure's Translators Revived, p. 14.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus (1466-1536) was born Gerhardus Gerhard. Erasmus was an extremely bright boy and young man and was well-schooled.
In the early 1500's, Erasmus became interested in the Greek language and learning. It was during this period, on through to the 1520's, that Erasmus became interested in translating the Bible from the original languages. He read Valla's notes on the New Testament that revealed the deplorable condition of the Latin Vulgate Version. Pope Nicholas V, a humanist, was interested in having a new Latin version done. He had Gianozzo Manette, a competent scholar, work on a translation. It was never completed. He put in parallel columns his translation, the Vulgate and the Italia.
Erasmus collected text material over a number of years at Bologna, Venice, Padua and Basle.
Preserved Smith (a great American Presbyterian Church Historians in ERASMUS, p. 163 says: "For the first edition Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in England, and five at Basle, where they had been left by Cardinal John of Ragusa, when he attended the Council of Basle in 143 1. The last codex was let him by John Reuchlin...."
Erasmus' Greek New Testament has been often criticized on the grounds that he had so little data at his command from which to draw and that they were "late copies." However, Erasmus did not go to the task unprepared. Although he had only five late minuscules, he had already translated a Latin New Testament and in preparation for this labor had collected and gathered variant readings from many Greek manuscripts. He journeyed all over Europe to libraries and to anyone from whom he could gather readings from manuscripts. Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 198.
Erasmus organized his findings and made notes for himself concerning the different readings. These travels brought him into contact with several hundred manuscripts and Erasmus divided them into two camps, i.e., those he considered spurious and those he deemed genuine and trustworthy. Fredrick Nolan, An Inquiry Into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate or Received Test of the New Testament, p. 413.
The first circulated edition of the Greek New Testament was the work of Erasmus in 1516 with a Latin translation in a parallel column. The second edition of 1519 corrected numerous printing errors and was the basis of the German translation of Martin Luther (14831546). In 1522, a third edition appeared in which he introduced the Johannine Comma. This edition became the basis for the later standardized Text.
Robert Estienne (1503-1549), better known as Stephanus, published several editions. Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was the next editor. His editions of 1589 and 1598 were used ostensively by the King James translators. Vance, pp. 12-13. The work of these men became known as the "Received Text" or "Textus Receptus."
Luther was born in 1483 at Eisleben. As a young student, he was approaching the outskirts of Stotternheim when suddenly, a thunderstorm struck and a bolt of lightning knocked him to the ground. He got up in terror and cried out, "St. Anne help me! I will become a monk."
"The man who thus called upon a saint was later to repudiate the cult of saints. He who vowed to become a monk was later to renounce monasticism. A loyal son of the Catholic Church, he was later to shatter the structure of medieval Catholicism. A devoted servant of the Pope, he was later to identify the Popes with Antichrist." Roland Bainton, Here I Stand A Life Of Martin Luther, p. 15.
Luther translated the New Testament at Wartburg, and it was published in 1522. The entire Bible was published in 1534.
Bainton said, "For the Germans, Luther's rendering was incomparable. He leaped beyond the tradition of a thousand years. There had been translations before him of the Scripture into German, reaching back to the earliest transcription of the Gothic tongue by Ulfilas. There were even portions of the Bible translated not from the Latin Vulgate, but from the Hebrew and the Greek. But none had the majesty of diction, the sweep of vocabulary, the native earthliness, and the religious profundity of Luther." p. 255.
Modem version advocates declare that Luther and other Reformers used the Traditional Text because they had no other choice. This is what Dr. Doran of Detroit Baptist Seminary said of Luther at the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship meeting at Thompson Road Baptist Church, Fall of 1996. But T.H.L. Parker said, "There existed, even in the sixteenth century, an alternative to the Textus Receptus." He referred to the edition of Colinaeus. Luther accepted the conclusions on the text by Erasmus, rather than Roman Catholic versions which were in agreement with Vaticanus.
Luther, along with the other Reformers, broke with Roman Catholic theology. They came to hold:
2. Sola gracia - Salvation is by grace alone
3. Sola feidism - Salvation is by faith alone, apart from works."
In the years following the completion of Wycliffe's Bible translation, the world was shaken by a "revival of learning," and by Luther and the Reformation. The Word of God was being translated in German, French, and Italian. Printing came on the scene and Erasmus published the Greek Text of the New Testament (basically the same as the Textus Receptus). However, no new translations have appeared for nearly 150 years.
God put His hand upon a young man by the name of William Tyndale. He was born in 1494 or 1495. "The Spirit of God presided over Tyndale's calling and training." Moorman, p. 159. He was schooled at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He left Oxford for Cambridge to study Greek under Erasmus. Erasmus taught at Cambridge from 1510 to 1514. Tyndale had a natural aptitude for languages. History tells us that he was skilled in seven languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, English, and French. He could speak all of them as his native tongue.
"When Tyndale left Cambridge, he accepted a position as tutor in the home of an influential landowner. Here his attacks upon the superstitions of Popery threw him into sharp discussions with a stagnant clergy, and brought down upon his head the wrath of the reactionaries. It was then, in disputing with a learned man who put the Pope's laws above God's laws, that he made his famous vow, 'If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth a plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou does'."
Terrence Brown gives the following fascinating account of Tyndale and his Bible.
"Tyndale with the means of giving to English readers for the first time a New Testament translated directly from the Greek, the language in which it was first written. Like Wycliffe, Tyndale was accused of heresy, and was not allowed to pursue his studies in peace. He spent several years on the Continent and was eventually betrayed by a false friend, arrested, imprisoned and burned at the stake at Vivvorde in Belgium in 1536. The place is marked by a memorial erected by the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Belgium Bible Society and the inscriptions include Tyndale's dying prayer "Lord open the eyes of the King of England." His prayer was answered when in 1538 King Henry VIII gave instructions that a large Bible should be placed in every parish church,
Tyndale published an edition of the New Testament in a conveniently small size and arranged for thousands of copies to be smuggled into England in barrels, bales of cloth, and even in flour sacks. By these means the New Testament was rapidly and widely distributed. Many copies were seized and burned at St. Paul's.
The Bishop of London, who was anxious to obstruct the progress of the Reformation, consulted with Pakington a merchant with connections in Antwerp, and asked his advice about buying up all the copies that could be obtained in Europe. He did not know that Pakington was a friend of Tyndale.
Tyndale was quite pleased with the arrangement, as the money relieved him of his debts, the burning of some of the Testaments had the effect of encouraging many people to support the work he was doing, and he now had resources to spend on an improved edition. Some time afterwards a man named Constantine was being tried before Sir Thomas Moore for heresy. He was promised leniency if he would tell where Tyndale and his helpers obtained the money to pay for their editions. Constantine replied - 'It is the Bishop of London that hath holpen us, for he bestowed among us a great deal of money up on New Testaments to bum them, and that been our chief succour and comfort." Moorman, pp. 160-161.
The New Testament was based on the, second and third editions of Erasmus' Text (1519 and 1522). The New Testament was finished in 1525-6. A large part of the Old Testament was completed before his martyrdom in 1536 (New Bible Dictionary). Bruce says, "The influence of Luther's work on Tyndale is obvious to anyone who compares the two versions, but Tyndale is far from being a mere echo of Luther." The influence of the wording and structure of Tyndale's New Testament on the Authorized Version is immense, and the latter provides a continuing tribute to the simplicity, freshness, vitality and felicity of his work. New Bible Dictionary.
List of English Bibles after Wicliff.
2. The Coverdale Bible - 1535
3. The Matthew's Bible - 1537
4. The Great Bible - 1539-41
5. The Taverner's Bible - 1539
6. The Geneva Bible - 1557-60
7. The Bishop's Bible - 1568
The King James Bible.
Fifty-four scholars were chosen to translate the King James Bible. Forty-seven were actually involved in the translation. These men were divided into six groups. Each group was given a different portion of Scripture to translate. Each man in the group translated the portion assigned and when they each finished, they came together and compared and refined their work. After that, their work was given to the other groups for further checking and revision. When this was done, two men from each group formed a committee of twelve to further check and revise. The work of these twelve were then sent for review to the bishops, the Privy Council, and the king.
"The Authorized Version, as it came to be called, went through several editions and revisions. Two notable editions were that of 1629, the first ever printed at Cambridge, and that of 1638, also at Cambridge, which was assisted by John Bois and Samuel Ward, two of the original translators. In 1657, the Parliament considered another version, but it came to naught. The most important editions were those of the 1762 Cambridge revision by Thomas Paris, and the 1769 Oxford revision by Benjamin Blayney." Vance, p. 29.
Alexander Geddes (d. 1802) a Roman Catholic priest, who in 1792 issued the first volume of his own translation of the Bible, paid tribute to the Bible of his time: "The highest eulogisms have been made on the translation of James the First, both by our own writers and by foreigners. And, indeed, if accuracy, fidelity, and the strictest attention to the letter of the text, be supposed to constitute the qualities of an excellent version, this of all versions, much in general, be accounted the most excellent. Every sentence, every word, every syllable, every letter and point, seem to have been weighed with the nicest exactitude; and expressed, either in the text, or margin, with the greatest precision.' Vance, pp. 29-30.
The new version supporters have cast scorn upon the King James translators. For the most part they attack the Textus Receptus and the manuscript evidence, and the versions that the translators used. The translators are also charged with not knowing the languages of the Bible as well as the present day translators do. What is the truth? Notice the qualifications of some of the key translators of the King James Version.
"Such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental, that had he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he might have served as interpreter-general." Alexander McClure, Translators Revived, p. 86. At his funeral Dr. Buckerridge said that Dr. Andrews had been conversant in fifteen languages.
He was expert in the study of Arabic as well as Persian, Latin, Hebrew and Greek.
He made annotations on 300 Church Fathers; he read them all. He was also well acquainted with the Rabbinical glosses and - comments. He was expert in Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew was as his native tongue.
He was reading and writing Hebrew in an elegant way by ten years of age. He was also skilled in Greek, both classical and Koine.
Dr. D.A. Waite writes: "Many modem 'translators' come up to a word, and in a footnote somewhere, or in an index at the bottom of the page, they'll say the meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain; so they have some other rendition of it. Well, the meaning of it is uncertain, perhaps, to these men who were living in 1960, when the NASV came out, in 1969, when the NIV came out or in 1979, when the New King James came out; but these men who translated the King James Bible knew their cognate languages well. They understood these references and there was no question in their minds about what most of these words meant. It is a strange thing; yet people doubt and question the authenticity, superiority, and the knowledge of these King James Translators. Cognate languages are simply sister languages related to Hebrew like Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, and so on." Defending the King James Bible, pp. 69-70.
The English Language in 1611
"We are now come, however, to a very striking situation which is little observed and rarely mentioned by those who discuss the merits of the King James Bible. The English language in 1611 was in the very best condition to receive into its bosom the Old and New Testaments. The past forty years had been years of extra-ordinary growth in English literature. Prose writers and poets - Spenser, Sidney, Hooker, Marlowe, and Shakespeare, to name only the greatest - had combined to spread abroad a sense of literary style and to raise the standard of literary taste. Under the influence, conscious or unconscious, of masters such as these, the revisers wrought out the fine material left to them by Tyndale and his successors, into the splendid monument of Elizabethan prose which the Authorized Version is universally admitted to be (Kenyon). Each word of the language was broad, simple, and generic. That is to say, words were capable of containing in themselves not only their central thoughts, but also all the different shades of meaning, which were attached to that central thought. Since then, words have lost that living, pliable breadth. Vast additions have been made to the English vocabulary during the past 300 years, so that several words are now necessary to convey the same meaning which formerly was conveyed by one. It will then be readily seen that while the English vocabulary has increased in quantity, nevertheless, single words have become fixed, capable of only one meaning, and therefore less adaptable to receiving into English the thoughts of the Hebrew which likewise is a simple, broad, generic language." Moorman quoting Kenyon, pp. 185-186. This is true of New Testament Greek as well.
'For three centuries it (the KJV) has been the Bible, not merely of public use, not merely of one sect or party, not even of a single country, but of the whole nation and of every English-speaking country on the face of the globe." Moorman quoting Kenyon, p. 188.
Those Who Attacked the King James Bible
Moorman says: "The King James Bible had hardly begun its career before the enemies commenced to fall upon it. Though it has been with us for three hundred years in splendid leadership -- a striking phenomenon -- nevertheless, as the years increase, the attacks became more furious. If the Book were a dangerous document, a source of corrupting influence and a nuisance, we would wonder why it has been necessary to assail it since it would naturally die of its own weakness. But when it is a Divine blessing of great worth, a faultless power of transforming influence, who can they be who are so stirred up as to deliver against it one assault after another?" Moorman, p. 191.
"Wherever the so-called Counter-Reformation, started by the Jesuits, gained hold of the people, the vernacular was suppressed and the Bible kept from the laity, So eager were the Jesuits to destroy the authority of the Bible -- the paper pope of the Protestants, as they contemptuously called it -- that they even did =: not refrain from criticizing its genuineness and historical value." Moorman, p. 191.
Unbelieving scholars mounted an attack (higher criticism) against the truth of the Bible until it became an ocean surge inundating France, Germany, England, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries, and even Russia. This tide of higher criticism soon seen to change its appearance and to menace the whole framework of fundamentalist thinking. Revision of the Bible was sought, and soon time-honored Bibles in France, Germany, England and Scandinavia were radically redone, and new meaning was read into words of Inspiration.
Three indications became evident as features of "higher criticism." First, "collation" became the watchword. Manuscripts were searched to find various readings and to justify which reading the critic chose as correct. The result was a turning from the majority of manuscripts which underlie the Traditional Text to a handful of manuscripts that can be proved questionable in character. Second, this movement was Hostile to the Reformation. A third indication was that our time-honored Bibles, when revised, were changed in favor of Roman Catholicism. It is interesting to note that we have revised our Bibles back to harmony with Rome.
Some of the higher critics from 1611 to the French Revolution (1789) were Simon, Astruc, Geddes, Eichhorn, Semler and DeWette.
This retreat to unbelief led to devastating war across Europe. Napoleon marched back and forth across Europe, and the foundations of the world were broken down. Even from the Vatican the cry arose, "Religion is destroyed." After Napoleon was beaten, Europe stood forever changed.
Protestantism reacted in two ways: (1) Some found a strong faith in the Scriptures, (2) Others reacted against God. They felt God and the Bible were impotent and had allowed the French Revolution and war to happen. And, as in the days before that outbreak, Germany, which had suffered most, seemed to be fertile soil for a strong and rapid growth of higher criticism.
After the French Revolution, Lachmann (1793-1851), Tischendorf (1815-1874), and Tregelles (1813-1875) continued on the road of Higher Criticism. These men threw aside the Received Text and endorsed a new Greek Testament based on a different Family of manuscripts.
Tischendorf found the Sinaitic Manuscript in the convent at the foot of Mt. Sinai. This find seemed to destroy his judgment. Previous to this find, he had brought out seven different Greek New Testaments, declaring that the seventh was perfect and could not be bettered. After he found the Sinaitic Manuscript, he brought out his eighth Greek New Testament, which was different from his seventh in 3,572 places.
Tregelles followed Lachmann's principles back to what he thought were the most ancient manuscripts and, like him, he ignored the Received Text and the great mass of cursive manuscripts.
Bishop Ellicott says of these men, "Lachmann's text is really one based on little more than four manuscripts, and so is really more of a critical recension than a critical text." And again, "A text composed on the narrowest and most exclusive principles." Moorman quoting Ellicott, p. 195.
All of the above men were unbelieving skeptics. How can we as Bible believing fundamentalists square our doctrine of "Separation" with our wholesale adoption of the views of the higher and lower critics?
It can be shown that Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles fell under the influence of Cardinal Wiseman's theories. There are more recent scholars of textual criticism who pass over these three and leap from Griesbach to Westcott and Hort. It was Griesbach who classified Greek manuscripts into three groups, the Received Text, the Alexandrian, and the Western.
"Brook Foss Westcott (1825-1901), and Fenton J.A- Hort (18281892), Anglican scholars at Cambridge University are the men who worked together on a critical text (25 Years), publishing the text and principles in 1881-82, built on German scholars such as Lachmann, Griesbach, and Tischendorf to produce the text behind the English Revision of the New Testament in 1881." Moorman, pp. 197,198. These men followed the course set by higher criticism and its sister, lower criticism.
Westcott and Hort deliberately set out to construct a theory that would destroy the Received Text and support their "Neutral" Text.
Moorman gives an outline of their attack:
2. There are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text.
3. The numerical preponderance of the Received Text can be explained through genealogy. Basically this means frequent copying of the same kind of "defective" manuscripts.
4. Despite its numerical advantage, the Received Text is merely one of several competing text types.
5. The fact that the Received Text is fuller is because it is a conflated text. It was combined with the shorter readings of the other competing text types. This conflation was done with the official sanction of the Byzantine Church during the 4th century,
6. There are no distinctive Received Text readings in the writings of the Church Fathers before 350 AD
7. The shorter reading is to be preferred (on the assumption that a scribe would be more likely to add material). Also the harder reading is to be preferred (on the assumption that the scribe has attempted to simplify.
8. The primary basis for a Greek Text is to be found in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. (These two disagree seriously with each other in over 3,000 times in the gospels alone).
9. Harmonization. Parallel passages in the New Testament were made to say the same thing.
All of these theories of Westcott and Hort can be disproved.
New Version translators, of the present, basically take the theories of Westcott and Hort and their text. The Westcott and Hort Text is the one that is basically used for translation purposes. The new version translators say that they use an eclectic approach to translating (they use all the manuscript evidence). This can be refuted. They still hold to the Westcott-Hort theories, and their text is predominant in the new versions,