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Didaktikon
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Date Posted:08/08/2009 5:38 AMCopy HTML

All,

I've spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon reviewing Laurie Nankivell's recent talks explicating his (mis)understanding of what textual-criticism 'proves' with respect to Bible translation generally, and the King James Version specifically. I'm certain he means well, however, Laurie doesn't present as being particularly knowledgeable or capable in the area of Bible translation. Quite the opposite. His talks clearly demonstrate him to be profoundly ignorant of the issues, yet brimming with misplaced arrogance and conceit. To be honest, I'm amazed his parishoners find him credible at all.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Talmid Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:09/08/2009 11:10 PMCopy HTML

Has Laurie bought the KJV-is-best line? I know John Joske was heavily pushing it both to his own assembly and amongst oversight for a number of years, but I've been out of that loop for a while.
 
It seemed at one presentation I attended that his "Lukisms" - incorrectly understood context, bulk quotes of bible verses, false assumptions, poor reasoning and ignorance - were seen as "learned" by many who listened. Fortunately John's assertion of KJV-is-best led me to question my own acceptance of majority-text-rules. If it were being promoted by him, someting was likely quite wrong with it! It didn't take too long for sound reasoning to push that idea out of my head.

The evidence for Mann-made global warming is unequivocal.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:09/08/2009 11:17 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Talmid.

Yes he did. Pastor Nankivell credited his information to Pastor Joske; consequently, we have one man who is altogether ignorant of the subject attempting to speak authorititively via appeal to another ignorant man's opinions. The heart of the issue, however, isn't what either man would have us believe. What's actually at state is a long-discredited KJV-only position on the subjects of inspiration and preservation.

I find it ironic Laurie believes his 'tongues' experience qualifies him to refute the overwhelming majority of qualified Christian text-critics. Bold indeed!

Blessings,

Ian

P.S. If there are any Revivalists out there who wish to become better informed about the subject, they could do worse than to part with $17.00 and buy the following book from Koorong: "The Text of the New Testament" by Harold Greenlee.

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:10/08/2009 3:48 AMCopy HTML

Morning Ianos,

According to my Nestle, the Apostle Peter uses the word "idias" which stems from "idios" meaning "one's own" or "belonging to one" or "personal".... In other words Peter is expressing the English equivalent of "subjective thought" in hermenuetical interpretation...

But dear oh dear me my glasses are getting a bit foggy with age. Perhaps I have the spelling wrong - perhaps the word might be better spelled  "IDIOT"...


blessings didaktikos

Metanoia



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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:15/05/2010 12:37 PMCopy HTML

i grew up in RF (well RCI when i was a wee lad)
i knew laurie personally, i know he may come across as a bit of a hothead, and im not going to backup the idea of the KJV being the be all and end all of the bible, but i knew him as a kind man who would give you the shirt off is back, was never to busy to hear a problem and have some prayer with you or share a scripture.
when i was a teenager and had been thrown out (not by him), he was the only one in a elder position who had any kind words at all for me and showed me the scriptures and gave me encouragement i needed to take steps back to a stable walk with god.
i dont go to RF anymore and haven't for years, but im still happy to call Laurie my friend even if he does have some shortcomings (as do we all)

i dont know why i wrote this but the idea that people who spend their lives in theology books and universities are more knowlegeble of god or more holy then someone who doesnt go to any of those but spends their life in a relationship with god is just stupid and egocentric. and pointing fingers at someone else and saying how stupid they are for believing something is just to me like watching two retards in a special ed class arguing about which colour to use on their schoolbook
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:15/05/2010 12:41 PMCopy HTML

oh also to the person who had the bit about man made global warming in their tag line: your an idiot.
and the irony is probably lost on you of putting that comment in this forum.
but if your interested in the idea of self betterment lookup Climategate in google and go from there.
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:16/05/2010 12:47 AMCopy HTML

I know Laurie too, he's an idiot and you've clearly missed the point. The point was that Laurie gave a talk on a subject that had nothing to do with loving god or living a holy life and everything to do with having a very specific set of skills in order to be able to give an opinion on the "superiority" of the KJV. Laurie hasn't got those skills (I bet he couldn't even spell "textual criticism") but didaktikon has. So which one is being "stupid" and "egocentric?" Laurie because he made a bunch of claims in his talk that weren't based on any first-hand knowledge or experience? Or didaktikon because he made some claims in a post here that were?

Can you take advice? Before you go calling people idiot, telling them they don't understand irony you should probably do a bit of googling yourself. You completely missed the irony in talmid's tagline.

The chuckster.
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:16/05/2010 5:01 AMCopy HTML

Reply to is_Aimoo_Guest

I know Laurie too, he's an idiot and you've clearly missed the point. The point was that Laurie gave a talk on a subject that had nothing to do with loving god or living a holy life and everything to do with having a very specific set of skills in order to be able to give an opinion on the "superiority" of the KJV. Laurie hasn't got those skills (I bet he couldn't even spell "textual criticism") but didaktikon has. So which one is being "stupid" and "egocentric?" Laurie because he made a bunch of claims in his talk that weren't based on any first-hand knowledge or experience? Or didaktikon because he made some claims in a post here that were?

Can you take advice? Before you go calling people idiot, telling them they don't understand irony you should probably do a bit of googling yourself. You completely missed the irony in talmid's tagline.

The chuckster.

 I know Laurie Nankivell, he was 'Pastor' for a while.

He is an idiot
Uncoolman Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #8
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:16/05/2010 7:34 AMCopy HTML

Reply to is_Aimoo_Guest

Reply to is_Aimoo_Guest

I know Laurie too, he's an idiot and you've clearly missed the point. The point was that Laurie gave a talk on a subject that had nothing to do with loving god or living a holy life and everything to do with having a very specific set of skills in order to be able to give an opinion on the "superiority" of the KJV. Laurie hasn't got those skills (I bet he couldn't even spell "textual criticism") but didaktikon has. So which one is being "stupid" and "egocentric?" Laurie because he made a bunch of claims in his talk that weren't based on any first-hand knowledge or experience? Or didaktikon because he made some claims in a post here that were?

Can you take advice? Before you go calling people idiot, telling them they don't understand irony you should probably do a bit of googling yourself. You completely missed the irony in talmid's tagline.

The chuckster.

 I know Laurie Nankivell, he was 'Pastor' for a while.

He is an idiot

Perhaps I could/should correct my above statement: "In reference to Didaktikon, you will find a very fine scholar in Didakitkon" to "In reference to Didaktikon, you will find a very fine BIBLICAL scholar in Didakitkon." - a much clearer context !! :-))

graycat
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:17/06/2012 12:54 AMCopy HTML

Ian,
I notice you waffle on a lot about the importance of greek and hebrew as if the english bible doesn't matter and can't be trusted. I believe the King James bible is the word of God and I don't need to know greek and hebrew to understand it properly. 

Mr Grits
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #10
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:17/06/2012 3:51 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Grits.

I must start by asking, is this going to be yet another thread where you 'spray' but then refuse to engage with any of my various responses?

I notice you waffle on a lot about the importance of greek and hebrew as if the english bible doesn't matter and can't be trusted. Actually, I'm on the Public record championing the worth, value and accuracy of the various English translations of the Bible that are so readily available. But I'm also on the record affirming the position that Scripture, as *originally* presented (i.e. in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek dress), should be the measure by which all translations are judged, and by which all Christian doctrines are defended. In other words, I fail to see how it's logical to be elevating a tendentious edition prepared in AD 1611 as if it were the 'touchstone' against which all subsequent translation efforts are evaluated. Especially given the 5,000 odd changes that have been introduced between the edition that King James held, and the version of the same that you hold.

I believe the King James bible is the word of God and I don't need to know greek and hebrew to understand it properly. You should be happy to discover that I believe the KJV is the Word of God too. But when I study Scripture, my preference is to do so directly rather than mediating God's witness through a 400 year old Elizabethan dialect and approach. Importantly from my perspective, the KJV remains close to the bottom of the pile of useful English-language Bibles when issues of textual, lexical and philosophical accuracy in translation are concerned. It simply doesn't stack-up against superior modern translations such as the ESV, NRSV, NIV or NLT, for example.

In closing I might also add the fact that you subscribe to Revivalist beliefs is, itself, telling. Your bias for heresy exposes the nonsense of your claim to being able to 'understand properly' the KJV, as clearly you don't. Not a single one of the men who produced the KJV believed as you believe, nor did they understand Scripture to present the message that you would claim is so plain.

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 2:06 AMCopy HTML

Reply to MrGrits

Ian,
I notice you waffle on a lot about the importance of greek and hebrew as if the english bible doesn't matter and can't be trusted. I believe the King James bible is the word of God and I don't need to know greek and hebrew to understand it properly. 

Mr Grits

 .... not so !!!  the King James is but a mere translation of the Bible which is ORIGINALLY written in three different  languages: Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and was written over a period of some 1600 years, so therefore the King James is NOT THE SOURCE. But given your non scholarly view, anything must be the go. But if you want to really want to discover God in his word and what God is really like, then you will have to shelve your heretical revivalist paradigmatic worldview.

 Eric  
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 6:52 AMCopy HTML

I took my old KJV to church yesterday because my NIV was in my wifes car who wasnt home. I still use it, but rarely. Unfortunatly some of the pew Bibles at my church are Good News Bibles which are not my favorite thats for sure, and I would prefer the KJV over them. At least the KJV is a direct translation and unlike the Good news Bible that has been paraphrased from an existing translation. My biggest problems with the KJV are that the English language has changed a lot since it was written. This doesnt worry me hugely because I tend to read a lot of old novels and I am quite familiar with the different meanings words have taken over the centuries, but it makes it very difficult when trying to show people unfamiliar with the Bible, what its trying to say. My second and more important problem with the KJV is that a lot of early manuscripts have been discovered since the 1600's and varifying verses can be done in more recent years with an acuracy that the authors of the KJV just didnt have access to. They would have no doubt written it different had they had the manuscripts todays scholars have. The KJV lends itself well to revival pastors who like to baffle people with their misinerpretation by being a difficult translation for the average person to read (although most revivalists, including myself when I was of their mindset, think they know the Bible well, when the opposite isthe case).

¡uıɐƃɐ ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ƃuıʎnq ɹǝʌǝu
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #13
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 8:06 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Rob.

Unfortunatly some of the pew Bibles at my church are Good News Bibles which are not my favorite thats for sure, and I would prefer the KJV over them. 'Horses for courses'. I'd choose the GNB over the KJV every time :) At least the KJV is a direct translation and unlike the Good news Bible that has been paraphrased from an existing translation. Not so, Old Man. First, contrary to popular opinion (and the original translator's preface), the KJV wasn't a direct translation made from the Hebrew and Greek. Rather, it was an intentional revision of the 1568 Bishop's Bible, and the Tyndale New Testament. The translators checked these two versions against the Hebrew and Greek texts readily available to them (OT: the Bomberg Rabbinic Bible and the Aldine edition of the Greek Septuagint; NT: Erasmus' Greek Testament), making amendments as they deemed necessary/expedient. 

The Good News Bible (properly, Today's English Version); however, was a fresh translation of the best Hebrew and Greek texts available to scholars in the mid 1960s (OT: German Bible Society's, Biblia Hebraica; NT: United Bible Societies', Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.). From memory this was the first English Bible translated according to the principles of the Functional Equivalence theory of translation, and was intended for readers for whom English was a second language. Consequently, it's a heck of a lot easier to make sense of than is the so-called Authorised Version!

You've gotten things backsides-about, bro' :)

Blessings,

Ian
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 8:53 AMCopy HTML

All ...

 Actually I find that Ian's adherence to the importance of the original language of the source text is a point to well note.. For example have a look at James 2:2

Greek New testament: εισ σουναγωγην 'υμων - into your synagogue ...

ESV :-  into your assembly

KJV:-  into your assembly

Amplified:- "into your congregation"

The Message:- '"enters your church"

New English Bible: "enter your place of worship"

And last but not least The NIV :- "comes into your meeting"

But given that James was writing his letter to a Jewish audience (James 1:1), you can see that 1) these Christians were Jewish and 2) they were having church in synagogues.. But all that context is lost if no reference is made to the Greek New Testament.. So FWIW, context which is so NO.1 in Biblical interpretation doesn't succeed too well WITHOUT reference to THE SOURCE text itself. I apologize if my simple example demonstrated above offends anyone (and there are many many more in bothe the Old and New Testaments especially our poor misinformed revivalist visitors ..

Blessings all

Eric
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 9:09 AMCopy HTML

Hi Eric, Im sure that there are many, many similar examples. Without context, and just pulling a verse from here and a verse from there as in Revival, you could twist the Bible to say almost anything. Or conversley, and I have done this as a joke at GRC camp once, I found the full imersion/tongues salvation message in my car workshop manual. Maybe I missed my calling, and should be a Revival pastop lol. Good career, but I will stick with being a Christian.
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/06/2012 7:28 PMCopy HTML

Reply to Mishnah

All ...

 Actually I find that Ian's adherence to the importance of the original language of the source text is a point to well note.. For example have a look at James 2:2

Greek New testament: εισ σουναγωγην 'υμων - into your synagogue ...

ESV :-  into your assembly

KJV:-  into your assembly

Amplified:- "into your congregation"

The Message:- '"enters your church"

New English Bible: "enter your place of worship"

And last but not least The NIV :- "comes into your meeting"

But given that James was writing his letter to a Jewish audience (James 1:1), you can see that 1) these Christians were Jewish and 2) they were having church in synagogues.. But all that context is lost if no reference is made to the Greek New Testament.. So FWIW, context which is so NO.1 in Biblical interpretation doesn't succeed too well WITHOUT reference to THE SOURCE text itself. I apologize if my simple example demonstrated above offends anyone (and there are many many more in bothe the Old and New Testaments especially our poor misinformed revivalist visitors ..

Blessings all

Eric

Hi Eric,

I get a little confused by these discussions. I don't know ancient Greek so I need an English translation. Which of the modern translations do you think is best?

When you refer to the original source language I get the impression things are not always quite that simple. Is the original language of the New Testament Greek or Aramaic? There are many manuscripts around, none of which is original. Which ones are best? In my limited understanding I gather that the King James and many modern translations differ in the choice of manuscripts, that for instance the NIV puts a lot of emphasis on two "oldest and most reliable" manuscripts. Can you shed any light on this for me please.

It isn't revival related at all (so I might get kicked off this forum) but I would be very interested to hear some expert opinions on the correct translation of Acts 13:20. Does the 450 years refer to the time of the Judges or the time in Egypt. Is the original text ambiguous? The KJV seems to be the only translation assigning the 450 years to the time of the judges.

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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:19/06/2012 6:26 AMCopy HTML

Reply to prezy

Hi Eric, Im sure that there are many, many similar examples. Without context, and just pulling a verse from here and a verse from there as in Revival, you could twist the Bible to say almost anything. Or conversley, and I have done this as a joke at GRC camp once, I found the full imersion/tongues salvation message in my car workshop manual. Maybe I missed my calling, and should be a Revival pastop lol. Good career, but I will stick with being a Christian.

Hi Prezy,

Any serious research requires locating a reliable good source. Such then is the Greek New Testament UBS4/NA27. What I was pointing out was what the NA27 states as compared to the modern English translations. The indication that the letter of James was addressed to a Jewish Audience and they were 'having church' in their synagogues gives some clue that the letter of James is a very early written letter indeed. Consider this: On the Feast of Shavuot(Pentecost), we start with 12 Apostles, then in one day the number grows to 3000, and then we get to Acts 4:4 and there is another 5000 converts (All Jewish). Go forward in history to Acts 9, and the converts among the Jews in the synagogues was drawing the attention of Saul of Tarsus. Then in Acts 10, the first Gentiles come into the church. But we are not told how many gentiles were involved but that it involved the close friends and relatives of the Cornelius the Roman centurion. So we could guess of between 20 - 50 people I suppose because Roman culture was a closely connected society as such, especially in commerce and military etc. So with the roughly 8 - 10,000 Jewish converts, you would estimate the gentile population or numbers at that historical moment to represent I suppose around 0.6 % of the total church numbers. When Paul was converted, Acts 9:20 shows that Paul "immediately in the synagogues was preaching Jesus" . So the letter of James was originally targeted at a Jewish audience and as such, it must have been possibly one of the first books of the new Testament written and as such the insight it provides into the early Jude-an - Christian church is fascinating to me personally. However, when you look at the subsequent English translations you can see that the translators were redirecting the letter of James to a more wider audience. I suppose in a modern Christian blend this is quite acceptable because in our modern age, the numbers of Jewish believers would now be 0.0000006 % as a guess estimation, but the original context is unfortunately unavoidably masked.
So what I say in closing is that Ian's focus on context is highly valid and the context does make the Bible a much more fascinating and enjoyable read. It really behoves  us as Christians to give our reading of our Bibles our highest regard and effort ....

blessings

Eric
       
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:19/06/2012 6:48 AMCopy HTML

Reply to WillemIV

Reply to Mishnah

All ...

 Actually I find that Ian's adherence to the importance of the original language of the source text is a point to well note.. For example have a look at James 2:2

Greek New testament: εισ σουναγωγην 'υμων - into your synagogue ...

ESV :-  into your assembly

KJV:-  into your assembly

Amplified:- "into your congregation"

The Message:- '"enters your church"

New English Bible: "enter your place of worship"

And last but not least The NIV :- "comes into your meeting"

But given that James was writing his letter to a Jewish audience (James 1:1), you can see that 1) these Christians were Jewish and 2) they were having church in synagogues.. But all that context is lost if no reference is made to the Greek New Testament.. So FWIW, context which is so NO.1 in Biblical interpretation doesn't succeed too well WITHOUT reference to THE SOURCE text itself. I apologize if my simple example demonstrated above offends anyone (and there are many many more in bothe the Old and New Testaments especially our poor misinformed revivalist visitors ..

Blessings all

Eric

Hi Eric,

I get a little confused by these discussions. I don't know ancient Greek so I need an English translation. Which of the modern translations do you think is best?

When you refer to the original source language I get the impression things are not always quite that simple. Is the original language of the New Testament Greek or Aramaic? There are many manuscripts around, none of which is original. Which ones are best? In my limited understanding I gather that the King James and many modern translations differ in the choice of manuscripts, that for instance the NIV puts a lot of emphasis on two "oldest and most reliable" manuscripts. Can you shed any light on this for me please.

It isn't revival related at all (so I might get kicked off this forum) but I would be very interested to hear some expert opinions on the correct translation of Acts 13:20. Does the 450 years refer to the time of the Judges or the time in Egypt. Is the original text ambiguous? The KJV seems to be the only translation assigning the 450 years to the time of the judges.


Hi Willem,

We all have had to start somewhere. Perhaps I could suggest you try out a college that offers quality distant education and inquire of what may be on offer to help you on your journey.

The King James is translated from the Textus Receptus which is a very limited collation of a handful of some half a dozen manuscripts. The TR was put together by Erasmus. Modern more recent English translations are translated from a refined more thoroughly weighed text that is drawn from some 5000 different manuscripts with the extra weighing of the Latin Vulgate etc and is accurate to within 98% of the original autographs of the New Testament. The TR on the other hand has a weighing accuracy of around 80-85% or thereabouts to the original autographs.

The 450 years refers to the time of the Judges. ... and Ian and Uncoolman won't kick you off the forum so make yourself comfortable.

blessings

Eric

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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:19/06/2012 11:03 AMCopy HTML

Willem,

I know you addressed your questions to Eric, and that he has responded; but I think I'll take a crack at providing more detailed answers :)

I get a little confused by these discussions. I don't know ancient Greek so I need an English translation. Which of the modern translations do you think is best? That would depend on what you mean by 'best'. If the issue is one of clarity of expression, then you'd be hardpressed finding better than the New Living Translation. If fidelity to grammatical forms is pivotal, then the English Standard Version is as good as any and better than most. The salient feature is that one can do much, much better than the King James Version. Consequently, there is no reason to continue to use what is a dated, and occasionally misleading version.

When you refer to the original source language I get the impression things are not always quite that simple. Is the original language of the New Testament Greek or Aramaic? Greek. There's no evidence, for example, to support the theory that Matthew ever wrote the Gospel that bears his name in Aramaic (which I think is what you were implying). However, there is considerable evidence, based on sophisticated wordplays, that he wrote the Gospel in Greek from the very outset. There are many manuscripts around, none of which is original. Of course. But there are manuscript copies that are between 600 and 800 years older than those which underpinned Erasmus' labours. Which ones are best? Generally the 'best' are those which are (a) the oldest, and therefore closer in age to the autographs; and (b) those which are the most widely represented geograhically. The 'better' manuscripts are also those which served as the vorlagen for the earliest New Testament translations (i.e. the Latin, Ethiopic, Syriac, etc). In my limited understanding I gather that the King James and many modern translations differ in the choice of manuscripts, that for instance the NIV puts a lot of emphasis on two "oldest and most reliable" manuscripts. Can you shed any light on this for me please. The King James Version was produced by around 47 Church of England scholars, using a Greek text that was based on only seven very late in date Greek manuscripts. The New International Version, by comparison, was produced by a team of about a hundred evangelical scholars who had access to collations of readings from approximately 5,700 Greek manuscripts.

The two 'oldest and most reliable' manuscripts that you referred to (i.e. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus), are fine examples of the manuscript tradition that was geographically widespread prior to Lucian's recension of the Greek New Testament in the fourth century. This latter work is what led to the so-called 'Majority Text', of which the Textus Receptus is representative.

It isn't revival related at all (so I might get kicked off this forum) but I would be very interested to hear some expert opinions on the correct translation of Acts 13:20. Then I'd suggest that you take some time to consult the commentaries of scholars such as Bruce, Bock, Peterson, Barrett or Marshall for their digested views. Does the 450 years refer to the time of the Judges or the time in Egypt. Is the original text ambiguous? Again, that depends. The reading in the Textus Receptus, which represents what we find in manuscripts D, E, P Ѱ and most of the minuscules, refers to the period of the judges following the division of Canaan. The older Alexandrian witnesses, including P74, א, A, B, C, 33, etc; have the temporal clause at the end of verse 19, where it better fits grammatically. So the short answer to your question is 'no', there is no real ambiguity. The KJV seems to be the only translation assigning the 450 years to the time of the judges. Not quite, the New King James does so as well, which is to be expected.

That only two English versions understand the period as referring to the judges, should give you some idea of how strong the textual argument that underpins the KJV rendering is.

Ian

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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:19/06/2012 11:43 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Eric.

Whilst James clearly indicated that he was writing to 'the Dispersion', I think you may have overdone the 'synagogue' bit. A number of manuscripts (e.g. א, B, C, Y, etc.) omit τὴν before συναγωγὴν, indicating that a meeting or a congregation rather than a 'synagogue' understood in a strictly Jewish sense, was properly intended.

Blessings,

Ian 
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:21/06/2012 1:09 AMCopy HTML

Hi Ian and Eric,

Thanks for your replies and recommendations regarding modern English language translations of the Bible.

I certainly accept that KJV has its problems, not least of which is the difficulty it causes people struggling with basic English, including children and foreigners. I've been using NKJV but I get the impression it is just a translation of the old KJV and it seems a waste to not make full use of the 5000 manuscripts. I will check out ESV and NLT.

Having said that I am concerned that many of the modern translations put a lot of weight on the Alexandrian text. That text seems to be missing quite a few verses and parts of verses. I can readily comprehend a copyist doing the hard work of copying ancient Greek missing out words or phrases. It is harder to accept conflation (if that is the correct term). That requires two errors, firstly someone has to generate a manuscript adding fictional text, then a second person needs to merge the bad manuscript with a good one. I suppose the subject is a bit too big to get into here. I have read some of the minority ramblings from the King James only crowd. A bit sad for anyone in a non-English speaking country that they don't have the word of god. Again, groups like SDA make revival seem quite tame.

Regarding Acts 13:20, it is only one verse, but the years of the judges do add up to 450 and the years in captivity don't come to 450 years. Chronology is quite a slippery subject so perhaps too much shouldn't be made of that but it does seem the KJV and NKJV are correct and the others are wrong in this case.

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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:21/06/2012 9:00 AMCopy HTML

Willem,

Thanks for your replies and recommendations regarding modern English language translations of the Bible. You're welcome.

I certainly accept that KJV has its problems, not least of which is the difficulty it causes people struggling with basic English, including children and foreigners. I've been using NKJV but I get the impression it is just a translation of the old KJV and it seems a waste to not make full use of the 5000 manuscripts. I will check out ESV and NLT. That would be wise. While you're at it, why don't you check out a host of other widely received and accepted English translations as well? 

Having said that I am concerned that many of the modern translations put a lot of weight on the Alexandrian text. And why should this concern you? New Testament text critics weigh the evidence to arrive at conclusions about this verse or that, this passage or that. And the evidence itself is conclusive: the so-called Alexandrian text family is more ancient and more accurate than is the so-called Byzantine text family that underpins the Textus Receptus. That text seems to be missing quite a few verses and parts of verses. Or, the Greek text that underpins the KJV has added quite a few verses and parts of verses (it's amazing how one's perspective can shift when one stops assuming that the KJV is the 'gold standard' against which every other version must be assessed. You might even be interested to learn that Erasmus introduced several readings that had never existed in any Greek manuscript prior to his time, and which found their way into the KJV. But this discussion is best left for another day). I can readily comprehend a copyist doing the hard work of copying ancient Greek missing out words or phrases. It is harder to accept conflation (if that is the correct term). Both unintentional and intentional omissions are fairly easy to detect given that we have (1) multiple document sources, which are (2) widely represented geographically, and which (3) derive from differing Christian faith communities and traditions. And conflation rather than excision was the 'natural' result of intentional manuscript production, whether of the New Testament or of Plato, given that the tendency of scribes was to 'smooth' difficult or competing readings (doing so was much easier than having to decide between one or the other). That requires two errors, firstly someone has to generate a manuscript adding fictional text, then a second person needs to merge the bad manuscript with a good one. Who said anything about 'fictional' texts? Or the necessity of 'merging good and bad manuscripts'? First, the Byzantine text family, which underpins Erasmus' Textus Receptus and subsequently the KJV, resulted from a requirement to provide official Bibles for the churches of Constantinople during the fourth century. Lucian of Antioch is credited with producing the recension that formed the basis of this Bible production effort (check out what the word 'recension' means). Second, there are numerous examples of marginal commentary gradually being incorporated into the body of the main text itself, especially when manuscripts (such as lectionaries) were copied by ear rather than by eye. You've simply assumed that something nefarious must have been at work, just as you earlier assumed that the KJV represents the 'complete' and 'unadulterated' biblical text. I suppose the subject is a bit too big to get into here. Not really. It simply requires informed input to be worthwhile, and such is one of the services that I seek to provide here :) I have read some of the minority ramblings from the King James only crowd. A bit sad for anyone in a non-English speaking country that they don't have the word of god. Sadder still that people in English-speaking countries believe such tripe to begin with. Again, groups like SDA make revival seem quite tame. Nice try, fail. Your preferred brand of heresy trumps anything the SDAs might throw forward.

Regarding Acts 13:20, it is only one verse, but the years of the judges do add up to 450 and the years in captivity don't come to 450 years. *Ahem*. You might want to check your math again. By my reckoning, the time of the judges adds up to 410 years. However, Israel's sojourn in Egypt, their wanderings in the wilderness, and later still the initial conquering of Canaan, does add up to 'about 450 years'. Chronology is quite a slippery subject so perhaps too much shouldn't be made of that but it does seem the KJV and NKJV are correct and the others are wrong in this case. Establishing workable biblical chronologies can be perilous, especially with respect to the Old Testament. But your claim that, 'it does seem the KJV and NKJV are correct and the others are wrong in this case', is demonstrably false.

Ian
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:22/06/2012 10:01 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

Hello, Eric.

Whilst James clearly indicated that he was writing to 'the Dispersion', I think you may have overdone the 'synagogue' bit. A number of manuscripts (e.g. א, B, C, Y, etc.) omit τὴν before συναγωγὴν, indicating that a meeting or a congregation rather than a 'synagogue' understood in a strictly Jewish sense, was properly intended.

Blessings,

Ian 

Hi Ian,

Perhaps but the NA27 omits την as well. But what we have to establish is the antecedent of the genitive "ύμων" - "your"  and this is covered in a string of "Ἁδελφοι μου - my brothers" stretching all the way back through the text to 1.2 where "my brothers" is first mentioned.. 

 Therefore I think the NEB's "your place of worship"  is close enough. This gives the reading a more wider audience that is inclusive of Christians in general rather than an exclusive Jewish Christian framework of reference without doing injury to the GNT.

cf TDNT VII pp 807 "NT Judaism uses συναγωγη esp. in the local cultic sense for the "house of meeting", "the synagogue"  .... The senses "congregation" and "synagogue building" cannot always be sharply differentiated, esp. as each congregation had its own building and both bore the same name".. 

Personally my point is that the Greek text itself, offers an important view into the mind and person of the writer himself within the worldview he lived, in order to give justice to the context of the original writing. As my own theology develops, I find the expenditure of time invested in the text becomes thoroughly an endless fascination. Simply put: I love it !!!

Well dude, I have to go so blessings be with you and will talk soon..

Eric
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:24/06/2012 7:13 PMCopy HTML

Hi Ian,

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my silly questions. Incidentally, I don't remember ever hearing about the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts etc at revival, my introduction to this came via SDA literature. I realise that wasn't necessarily very impartial so am always keen to find out more from other sources, as time permits.

If you don't want to continue the discussion on Acts 13:20 that's fine. It has minimal impact on the KJV discussion and chronology can be a bit tedious.

*Ahem*. You might want to check your math again. By my reckoning, the time of the judges adds up to 410 years. Okay, I'll bite, how did you get to 410 years for the time period of the judges? I assume this wasn't some kind of Ivan Panin style creative mathematics. A fairly straightforward reading of Judges and 1 Samuel gives 450 years:

8 years, Judges 3:8 Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia

40 years,Judges 3:11 Othniel

18 years,Judges 3:14 Eglon the king of Moab

80 years,Judges 3:30 Years of rest, Ehud/Shamgar

20 years,Judges 4:3 Jabin king of Canaan

40 years,Judges 5:31 Deborah/Barak

7 years,Judges 6:1 Midian

40 years, Judges 8:28 Gideon

3 years, Judges 9:22 Abimelech

23 Judges 10:2 Tola the son of Puah

22 years,Judges 10:3 Jair the Gileadite

18 years,Judges 10:8 Philistines

6 years,Judges 12:7 Jephthah

7 years,Judges 12:9 Ibzan of Bethlehem

10 years,Judges 12:11 Elon the Zebulunite

8 years, Judges 12:14 Abdon the son of Hillel

40 years,Judges 13:1 Philistines

40 years,1 Samuel 4:18 Eli

20 years,1 Samuel 7:2 Samuel


However, Israel's sojourn in Egypt, their wanderings in the wilderness, and later still the initial conquering of Canaan, does add up to 'about 450 years'

The time in Egypt was 215 years, based on 430 years (Gal. 3:16,17) from the promises to Abraham in Gen. 12 through to the Exodus. That takes into account the age of Abraham (Gen. 12:4) plus years for the birth of Isaac (Gen. 21:5), Jacob (Gen. 25:26), and the age of Jacob in Egypt (Gen. 47:9).

The difficulties of Bible chronology do make it hard to be certain, but it does seem that the KJV and NKJV may well be correct for Acts 13:20.


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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:25/06/2012 12:31 AMCopy HTML

Willem,

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my silly questions. Again, you're welcome. Incidentally, I don't remember ever hearing about the Alexandrian and Byzantine texts etc at revival, my introduction to this came via SDA literature. I realise that wasn't necessarily very impartial so am always keen to find out more from other sources, as time permits. There are any number of useful primers on the subject of New Testament textual criticism worth consulting (e.g. Greenlee's, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, or his The Text of the New Testament; Wegner's, A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible; or Black's, New Testament Textual Criticism: a Concise Guide). Of course there are also far weightier tomes that are standard references for scholars with training and experience in the field.

If you don't want to continue the discussion on Acts 13:20 that's fine. It has minimal impact on the KJV discussion and chronology can be a bit tedious. I'm perfectly happy to be having discussions of this sort. But I did suggest to you earlier that you should also consult the standard commentaries on Acts. There is nothing new in any of this; it has been covered ad nauseum in the literature, and you clearly have much catching up to do.

Still, I'm somewhat intrigued that our current discussion has veered away from the relative merits and value of the KJV, to being more concerned with aspects of Old Testament chronology. For instance I note that you've not commented on any of the points in my earlier rejoinder, choosing to focus instead on developing one small closing paragraph on the period of the Judges, into one rather long reply on what you think was Paul's view of the matter.

*Ahem*. You might want to check your math again. By my reckoning, the time of the judges adds up to 410 years. Okay, I'll bite, how did you get to 410 years for the time period of the judges? I assume this wasn't some kind of Ivan Panin style creative mathematics. Given that I'm a Christian rather than a Revivalist, nonsense such as so-called 'Bible Numerics' didn't enter into the equation (pun intended). A fairly straightforward reading of Judges and 1 Samuel gives 450 years. Your 'fairly straightforward reading' has apparently failed to note, for example, that certain events recorded in Judges happened concurrently, not consecutively. Similarly, you've overlooked important literary markers which directly impact on meaning, but more on this shortly.

Let me begin by pointing out to you that any decent commentary on the Book of Judges will address, in some detail, issues of chronology. So too do the various exegetical references (i.e. Bible dictionaries, encyclopedia, introductions and surveys, etc). For example, according to one standard reference, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (rev. ed.): "The period of the judges extends from the death of Joshua to the death of Samson or the beginning of the activities of Samuel. The total of the dates given in Judges is 410 years." Similarly, Hill and Walton's A Survey of the Old Testament (2nd. ed.) reads, "Adding up the years of each oppression and the years of rest noted at the end of each cycle yields a total of 410 years ..." And Stone's article in the IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, provides a table on p. 601 that demonstrates 111 years of oppression, and 299 years of rest/Judge. Combined, these figures total 410 years. However, the subject of chronology in the Old Testament is particularly complex, and simple/simplistic solutions seldom satisfy. Did you happen to note, for instance, the frequency of the number 40 and its multiples for the lengths of certain judges' offices? Being a common Old Testament literary device, the number itself suggests that a generation was in view. Consequently, it's rather doubtful that the period should be taken literally.

However, Israel's sojourn in Egypt, their wanderings in the wilderness, and later still the initial conquering of Canaan, does add up to 'about 450 years'. The time in Egypt was 215 years, based on 430 years (Gal. 3:16,17) from the promises to Abraham in Gen. 12 through to the Exodus. That takes into account the age of Abraham (Gen. 12:4) plus years for the birth of Isaac (Gen. 21:5), Jacob (Gen. 25:26), and the age of Jacob in Egypt (Gen. 47:9). Really? Do you think it that simple? I don't. Genesis 15:13 has God telling Abraham that his descendants would be sojourners and slaves in a land not their own for 400 years, whilst Exodus 12:40 reports that the people of Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430 years. In another twist, the LXX and the Samaritan Pentateuch disagree with the Masoretic text, by agreeing in reading the 430 years as applying to the entire span between Abraham and the Exodus! The simple fact is that noone can be overly dogmatic on chronology here, given that there are two principle theories addressing the respective dating of the sojourn/Exodus, and several competing minor ones. Added to these are problematic issues of archaeology, history, and contemporary and equivalent Ancient Near Eastern chronologies. 

I find it telling how the ancient Rabbis reconciled the difference between the Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40 accounts. They solved the problem by taking the 430 years as the time between God's covenant with Abraham and Moses' reception of the law, and 400 years as the period that Israel spent in Egypt. It's likely, then, that this is how Paul understood matters as well (so his comments in Galatians 3:17). Further, I believe this understanding is important for how you should approach Acts 13:20, given that Luke was a companion of Paul's. And me? Well, I take the manuscript and grammatical evidence seriously. Further, I consider what Luke wrote on the subject elsewhere in Acts as being definitive. In chapter 7:6 he mentioned 400 years of bondage in Egypt. In 7:36 and 13:18 he described 40 years of wilderness wanderings (i.e. 400 + 40). And two verses later in 13:20 he concluded by implying that it took ten years to conquer Canaan. Luke's total, then, describes 450 years before the time of the Judges began. This pretty much ties the bow on the entire package for me.

The difficulties of Bible chronology do make it hard to be certain, but it does seem that the KJV and NKJV may well be correct for Acts 13:20. Nope.

Ian

P.S. I will be absent from the forum for about a week commencing Wednesday.
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:01/07/2012 7:11 PMCopy HTML

Hi Ian,

The KJV certainly has its problems, and I'm not qualified to argue for or against the KJV. It would be great to have a good modern English language translation of the Bible. It seems that the definitive work on the New Testament text has yet to be done. Perhaps that is reflected in the large proliferation of modern translations, and by your encouragement to check out a host of other English translations.

There are any number of useful primers on the subject of New Testament textual criticism worth consulting
Thanks, I have now ordered some of your suggested reading. It may take some time to receive and read these. While browsing through the available literature I came across the following quote:
“Various other methods for restoration of the original NT text have fallen short of their goal, in part due to methodological subjectivity, and in part to a presuppositional bias against the claims of the Byzantine Textform. The texts created under such a bias tend to be based on only a handful of favored manuscripts, and fail to consider all transmissional factors in the preservation of the original text. As a result, the modern eclectic texts tend to preserve more of a caricature than the essence of the originals”, Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont.

There does seem to be a significant bias against the Byzantine text. It is not unusual in academia for personal biases to appear, or for particular theories to go in and out of fashion. A question would be is there good reason for a bias in favour of the Alexandrian test? I am nowhere near qualified to judge that. In the following I am just trying to note that there are other opinions.

And the evidence itself is conclusive: the so-called Alexandrian text family is more ancient and more accurate than is the so-called Byzantine text family
Conclusive? By accurate do you mean closest to the original? Age doesn't necessarily mean more accurate or reliable. The Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts might have survived longest because they were least used, as a result of being considered dubious. I have read that the Byzantine text type does appear in papyri at least as old, so while the Alexandrian manuscripts might be older there is no proof that the text family is older. Furthermore, since all these early Alexandrian manuscripts originally come from Egypt, they show us only what kind of text was current there, not necessarily what text was being used elsewhere. The earliest manuscripts from Greece and Asia Minor - the leading areas of the postapostolic church—are Byzantine, and they were copied from earlier Byzantine manuscripts now lost. Or are we to believe they didn't have their own manuscripts and had to create manuscripts from Western and Alexandrian texts?

A fundamental question is one of additions or omissions. Omissions are a quite plausible copying error, but adding text especially if that text doesn't appear anywhere else in the Bible, is substantially less plausible. Perhaps if there was some motivation for deliberate tampering one could say additions are equally as plausible as omissions, but if one suggest ed Origen inspired alterations that would point suspicion at the omissions more than the additions.

check out what the word 'recension' means
Recension - “an editorial revision of a literary work, especially on the basis of critical examination of the text and the sources used”. This is a theory not a fact, and the Lucian Recension is not a very widely held fact. However, if there was a recension the people carrying out that recension were closer to the time the originals were written, and may even have had access to the originals. They evidently didn't put much weight on the Alexandrian text.

Generally the 'best' are those which are (a) the oldest, and therefore closer in age to the autographs; and (b) those which are the most widely represented geograhically.
The criteria you mention might be important from an academic point of view but from a Christian point of view at least one more criteria needs to be added. The Bible is the written Word of God, so there is a need first and foremost for a correctness of the underlying message. If I haven't made my self very clear (again) perhaps an example would help. In Mark 1:2 the KJV reads “as it is written in the Prophets, ...”. In NIV it reads “It is written in Isaiah the prophet: ...”, then it goes on to quote Malachi 3:1. Perhaps that is not so serious an error since the verse afterwards contains a quote from Isaiah, but it is incorrect. I could imagine an unbeliever mocking and asking if god has forgotten the name of his prophet.

Still, I'm somewhat intrigued that our current discussion has veered away from the relative merits and value of the KJV, to being more concerned with aspects of Old Testament chronology.
Sorry for the digression. I think Acts 13:20 also shows the correctness of KJV for that verse, but I understand that the chronology is complicated. I have read various commentaries on Judges and there are various inconsistencies between the commentaries. This seems too far off the topic to get into here.


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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:02/07/2012 3:36 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Willem.

The KJV certainly has its problems, and I'm not qualified to argue for or against the KJV. Sure. It would be great to have a good modern English language translation of the Bible. Can I take it that you believe we don't have any 'good', modern English translations? Further, do you really believe that it must be a 'translation' singular rather than 'translations' plural as you indicated? If so, why?

I personally believe it's great that we DO have a good number of modern English language translations available to us. It seems that the definitive work on the New Testament text has yet to be done. Hardly. The text of the Greek New Testament has been established to roughly 98% accuracy. Perhaps that is reflected in the large proliferation of modern translations, and by your encouragement to check out a host of other English translations. The different translations exist for different reasons. Some are designed for scholarly use; consequently, they're precise in their wording, and in seeking to replicate (where possible) the underlying formal structures of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Others are for readers for whom English isn't their primary language, or who haven't developed sound literacy skills. Others still are designed for the ear (i.e. for hearing Scripture read aloud in church); whilst some have been prepared for the eye (i.e. personal reading).

There are any number of useful primers on the subject of New Testament textual criticism worth consulting.
Thanks, I have now ordered some of your suggested reading. It may take some time to receive and read these. While browsing through the available literature I came across the following quote: “Various other methods for restoration of the original NT text have fallen short of their goal, in part due to methodological subjectivity, and in part to a presuppositional bias against the claims of the Byzantine Textform. The texts created under such a bias tend to be based on only a handful of favored manuscripts, and fail to consider all transmissional factors in the preservation of the original text. As a result, the modern eclectic texts tend to preserve more of a caricature than the essence of the originals”, Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont.

There does seem to be a significant bias against the Byzantine text. It is not unusual in academia for personal biases to appear, or for particular theories to go in and out of fashion. A question would be is there good reason for a bias in favour of the Alexandrian test? I am nowhere near qualified to judge that. In the following I am just trying to note that there are other opinions. Robinson and Pierpont together comprise approximately 80% of the international scholarly New Testament text critical community who favours the Byzantine textual family. In other words, theirs is very much a minority opinion. Purchase the recommended primers, read what they present, and reflect on why it is that the arguments for Byzantine priority fail the critical tests.

And the evidence itself is conclusive: the so-called Alexandrian text family is more ancient and more accurate than is the so-called Byzantine text family. Conclusive? By accurate do you mean closest to the original? Age doesn't necessarily mean more accurate or reliable. The Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts might have survived longest because they were least used, as a result of being considered dubious. First, let me suggest to you that your assumptions are based on yet weaker assumptions. Second, א and B are not the only, nor are they the earliest, examples of the so-called Alexandrian textual family. Most of the papyri are centuries older than these two uncial manuscripts, and they overwhelmingly display 'Alexandrian' readings. Second, I'd suggest caution in making judgments without (or despite) adequate information and evidence. I provide this advice 'winking' that your own position seems to be largely ideologically based ;)

I have read that the Byzantine text type does appear in papyri at least as old, so while the Alexandrian manuscripts might be older there is no proof that the text family is older. Perhaps you would do me the courtesy of pointing out which papyri you had in mind when you made your comment regarding the age of Byzantine readings? Furthermore, since all these early Alexandrian manuscripts originally come from Egypt, they show us only what kind of text was current there, not necessarily what text was being used elsewhere. The term 'Alexandrian' is used to describe the family of manuscripts that display readings representative of what we see in the materials discovered in the Fayuum of Egypt. But what on earth gave you the impression that all of them came from Egypt? Both א and B, for example, are thought to have been produced in either Byzantium, Rome or Caesarea. The earliest manuscripts from Greece and Asia Minor - the leading areas of the postapostolic church—are Byzantine, and they were copied from earlier Byzantine manuscripts now lost. I hope you'll let me introduce a couple of facts into the discussion at this point. Fact: the autographa were written from Asia Minor, Judea and Italy. They were copied the world over, not simply in Greece and/or Asia Minor. Fact: the oldest extant examples of New Testament manuscripts don't represent Byzantine readings (your 'lost' Byzantine manuscripts are either a wish or a theory, depending on how charitable one chooses to be). Off the top of my head I can't think of any manuscripts having Byzantine readings, which pre-date the late 4th century (but I'd be happy to review any evidence that you may have to the contrary). Or are we to believe they didn't have their own manuscripts and had to create manuscripts from Western and Alexandrian texts? It seems more credible to me to be basing one's theories on evidence that is available, than to posit artifacts that don't exist.

A fundamental question is one of additions or omissions. Omissions are a quite plausible copying error, but adding text especially if that text doesn't appear anywhere else in the Bible, is substantially less plausible. Perhaps if there was some motivation for deliberate tampering one could say additions are equally as plausible as omissions, but if one suggested Origen inspired alterations that would point suspicion at the omissions more than the additions. You seem to be fairly certain on this point. Which begs the question, how many Greek New Testament manuscript readings have you personally collated over the years? In other words, how practised are you in the craft of New Testament textual criticism? Based on your experience, when you've considered the merits of internal versus external evidence in this reading or that, how did you reach your conclusions on the respective merits of the two? In short, unless you've actually had training and experience in the field your opinions as to what is, or isn't plausible with respect to the transmission process, don't carry much weight.

Of course conspiracy theories--such as the one that you've sought to introduce about Origen--work better when they have at least some basis in fact and history (Jack Chick-esque nonsense of this sort has no place in sober, biblical scholarship).

... check out what the word 'recension' means ... Recension - “an editorial revision of a literary work, especially on the basis of critical examination of the text and the sources used”. This is a theory not a fact, and the Lucian Recension is not a very widely held fact. I'd suggest that it's a theory inherently more credible than is yours concerning 'lost', proto-Byzantine manuscripts. However, if there was a recension the people carrying out that recension were closer to the time the originals were written, and may even have had access to the originals. At best the scribes who produced the 'Byzantine' manuscripts were about 300 years removed from the very last of the autographa produced. However, there are papyri which are up to 150 years earlier, and which clearly demonstrate 'Alexandrian' affinities. They evidently didn't put much weight on the Alexandrian text. 'They' being the Byzantine scribes? 

Generally the 'best' are those which are (a) the oldest, and therefore closer in age to the autographs; and (b) those which are the most widely represented geographically. The criteria you mention might be important from an academic point of view but from a Christian point of view at least one more criteria needs to be added. The Bible is the written Word of God, so there is a need first and foremost for a correctness of the underlying message. Two very obvious points. First, textual criticism is an academic discipline. Consequently, it's practice involves academic tools and the rigorous application and use of long-established, historically validated academic rules. Ergo, biblical text criticism isn't materially different to what applies for the critical reconstruction of secular writings such as Plato or Caesar. Both are matters of art and science. The principle difference between the two is that with biblical work the overwhelming majority of text critics are believers; their faith informs their work. Second, the obvious corrollary. One often can't determine what is the correct message in God's Word until one has first completed the text critical task!

If I haven't made my self very clear (again) perhaps an example would help. In Mark 1:2 the KJV reads “as it is written in the Prophets, ...”. In NIV it reads “It is written in Isaiah the prophet: ...”, then it goes on to quote Malachi 3:1. Perhaps that is not so serious an error since the verse afterwards contains a quote from Isaiah, but it is incorrect. Is it though? Why? I could imagine an unbeliever mocking and asking if god has forgotten the name of his prophet. I would think such mocking would depend on the degree of ignorance of the unbeliever, or of the Christian engaging with him/her. I've never personally ecountered this problem, you see :)

My thoughts on your example, and in no particular order. In 1:2 Mark quoted first from Exodus 23:20 (LXX) and then from Malachi 3:1 (MT), and in 1:3 he quoted from Isaiah 40:3 (LXX). Noting this the phrase ... ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ ("... in Isaiah the prophet") of verse 2a is found in ALL of the earlier uncials excepting for A (dated to the 5th century), and W (also dated to the 5th century). The reading established by א (dated to the 4th century) and B (also dated to the 4th century) predates the Byzantine reading that you clearly prefer by about a century. It's also very well represented geographically. The 'Alexandrian' reading is found in virtually all of the primary versional evidence currently available to us (e.g. the Coptic, the Armenian, the Georgian, and the Latin, etc). Further still, the 'Alexandrian' reading is quoted by the earliest of the Church Fathers (e.g. by Irenaeus in the 2nd century; and by Origen in the 3rd century). The alternative 'Byzantine' reading, ... ἐν τοῖς προφήταις ("... in the prophets"), on the other hand, dates from the 5th century and is an obvious attempt at scribal correction. Ask yourself this simple question: why on earth would a scribe change a smoother reading to a rougher one?

Philosophically, I believe your underlying premise is anachronistic and flawed. The rules for quotation in the first century aren't the same as what applies today. Absolute precision wasn't expected or required. If you doubt me in this, take a closer look at how Paul handles the Old Testament :)

Along with the vast majority of professional New Testament text critics, I follow an eclectic approach to choosing what is the 'best' reading when confronted by competing variants. I have something like eight critical Greek New Testaments, including the one prepared by Robinson and Pierpont; and when I do exegesis I consider all of the variant readings to hand. Consequently, and in common with all of the modern English Bible translations, I will occasionally support Byzantine readings over Alexandrian or Western ones. In every case it comes down to what is the balance of probabilities. With respect to your example from Mark 1:2a, the balance of probabilities favours the Alexandrian reading :)

Still, I'm somewhat intrigued that our current discussion has veered away from the relative merits and value of the KJV, to being more concerned with aspects of Old Testament chronology. Sorry for the digression. I think Acts 13:20 also shows the correctness of KJV for that verse, but I understand that the chronology is complicated. What I think is that you need to grapple with the evidence that I've presented to the contrary before dismissing it; to favour the KJV's reading on simply ideological grounds. I have read various commentaries on Judges and there are various inconsistencies between the commentaries. This seems too far off the topic to get into here. Given that you introduced the topic here, why the sudden change of heart with respect to thrashing-it-out? Is it because you've realised the maths doesn't support your theory?

Ian
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:05/07/2012 7:37 PMCopy HTML

Hi Ian,

Can I take it that you believe we don't have any 'good', modern English translations? No, you assume too much. My first Bible was NIV and I still like to refer to it. Since then a multitude of modern English language translations have come out.

Further, do you really believe that it must be a 'translation' singular rather than 'translations' plural as you indicated? If so, why? No, I don't believe there must be only one. For example, there may be a balance between literal and readability. What does surprise me is the sheer number of translations that continue to be produced. Why would anyone go to the effort of creating a new translation, unless it is different from previous translations? Are they trying in some sense to do a better job? I was referring to English translations when suggesting that the definitive edition had yet to be produced, but time will tell. How does someone buying a Bible know which one to get, should they get the one that will suit their ideologies?

In other words, theirs is very much a minority opinion. Yes, you have made this point numerous times. I understand that the majority favours the minority and the minority favours the majority.

Of course conspiracy theories--such as the one that you've sought to introduce about Origen--work better when they have at least some basis in fact and history (Jack Chick-esque nonsense of this sort has no place in sober, biblical scholarship). Never heard of Jack, but perhaps his ideas have spread. So if I am to understand this correctly, someone suggesting that Origen or others tampered with the manuscripts to drop text to make them more in line with their beliefs is a conspiracy theory, but someone suggesting byzantines tampered with the manuscripts to add new words and phrases and then make sure this new text is widespread is not a conspiracy theory. To me in my ignorance in either case the whole idea of anyone deliberately altering sacred scriptures seems unlikely, but what do I know.

First, let me suggest to you that your assumptions are based on yet weaker assumptions. They are not my assumptions. If I had sufficient brains to make an assumption I might do that but for the moment I am trying to assess the situation. The points I have put forward come from pro KJV web sites, and I mention them to get your response, which you have kindly provided.

If I may ask two more silly question, Firstly, I have read that textual criticism favours shorter readings. Is this true? I find it very hard to believe. It would mean an analysis technique which favoured shorter readings found that the shorter text type was favoured. Secondly, for the text differences between the Alexandrian and Byzantine text types do those added or removed passages contain substantially different writing styles or vocabularies from the common text? If so that would be quite a compelling argument in favour of the Alexandrian text.

textual criticism is an academic discipline. Consequently, it's practice involves academic tools and the rigorous application and use of long-established, historically validated academic rules. Yes, and like any academic tool it is based on assumptions that need to be valid and it requires good data. In this case most of the data terminates around the 4th century.

I'd suggest caution in making judgments without (or despite) adequate information and evidence. I provide this advice 'winking' that your own position seems to be largely ideologically based ;) There you go again. It sounds like here you are making judgements based on your ideology.

One often can't determine what is the correct message in God's Word until one has first completed the text critical task! Of course, but that wasn't what I was suggesting. The point I was trying to make is that it might be possible to detect things that are obviously incorrect.

I would think such mocking would depend on the degree of ignorance of the unbeliever, or of the Christian engaging with him/her. I've never personally ecountered this problem, you see :) Yes, I have encountered this kind of problem, particularly with Muslims some of whom enjoy finding the least appearance of inconsistency to claim the Bible can't be the Word of God. They will love Mark 1:2.

Ask yourself this simple question: why on earth would a scribe change a smoother reading to a rougher one? Well an editor might change a rougher reading to a smoother one, but a careless copyist could easily mess up the text and do the opposite. Wasn't that an early impression of the Alexandrian text, that it was the result of careless copying? If textual criticism makes assumptions in this regard it will slant the results of any analysis.

Given that you introduced the topic here, why the sudden change of heart with respect to thrashing-it-out? Is it because you've realised the maths doesn't support your theory? No, the only maths that concerned me related to the time it would take to thrash it out. As you are no doubt aware chronologists don't agree on whether it was 215, 400, or 430 years for Israel in Egypt, but the strongest case is for 215 years.



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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:06/07/2012 8:47 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Willem.

Can I take it that you believe we don't have any 'good', modern English translations? No, you assume too much. My first Bible was NIV and I still like to refer to it. Since then a multitude of modern English language translations have come out. My assumption was based on what you expressly wrote, i.e. "It would be great to have a good modern English language translation of the Bible." That seemed a fairly clear assessment of what you believed was the case.

Further, do you really believe that it must be a 'translation' singular rather than 'translations' plural as you indicated? If so, why? No, I don't believe there must be only one. For example, there may be a balance between literal and readability. Again your specific use of langauge threw me, in this instance the fact that you used the singular number 'a ... translation'. What does surprise me is the sheer number of translations that continue to be produced. Why would anyone go to the effort of creating a new translation, unless it is different from previous translations? I thought I'd answered that question already. To summarise: first, language evolves. Second, idioms differ between different communities. Third, different versions are produced to address different needs. Are they trying in some sense to do a better job? I think the translators are simply trying to do a 'good' job. I was referring to English translations when suggesting that the definitive edition had yet to be produced, but time will tell. The very idea that there must be a 'definitive' English translation smacks of either naivety or ignorance. It presumes that there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all English version, an idea that even you dismissed earlier. How does someone buying a Bible know which one to get, should they get the one that will suit their ideologies? I suppose they might ask (1) their minister, (2) knowledgeable Christian friends, or (3) someone who works in a Christian book store. Of course, if the prospective Bible reader was half-smart, then s/he would probably buy several different versions, and compare them regularly as s/he reads (such is what I recommend, in any case).

In other words, theirs is very much a minority opinion. Yes, you have made this point numerous times. I understand that the majority favours the minority and the minority favours the majority. Indeed. Text critics have this pesky habit of following the evidence wheresoever it leads (i.e. they 'weigh' the manuscripts, they don't simply 'count' them).

Of course conspiracy theories--such as the one that you've sought to introduce about Origen--work better when they have at least some basis in fact and history (Jack Chick-esque nonsense of this sort has no place in sober, biblical scholarship). Never heard of Jack, but perhaps his ideas have spread. So if I am to understand this correctly, someone suggesting that Origen or others tampered with the manuscripts to drop text to make them more in line with their beliefs is a conspiracy theory, but someone suggesting byzantines tampered with the manuscripts to add new words and phrases and then make sure this new text is widespread is not a conspiracy theory. Clearly. Conspiracy theories generally thrive on an absence of evidence; ergo, there is 'zero' evidence (either historical or textual) to suggest that Origen 'tampered' with anything; but there is overwhelming evidence (both historical and textual) that the Byzantine textual family contains multiple emendations dating from the fifth century onwards. The former, then, is a conspiracy theory; the latter is a matter of history. To me in my ignorance in either case the whole idea of anyone deliberately altering sacred scriptures seems unlikely, but what do I know. Not enough, clearly. Let me point out that your position on the matter is inconsistent: you've proffered that Origen "... deliberately altered sacred scriptures" on the one hand, but then suggested that the "... idea of anyone [doing so] seems unlikely". Or have I misunderstood you, yet again?

First, let me suggest to you that your assumptions are based on yet weaker assumptions. They are not my assumptions. If I had sufficient brains to make an assumption I might do that but for the moment I am trying to assess the situation. The points I have put forward come from pro KJV web sites, and I mention them to get your response, which you have kindly provided. You do seem to be highly invested in said pro-KJV assumptions.

If I may ask two more silly question, Firstly, I have read that textual criticism favours shorter readings. Is this true? It isn't. Under certain circumstances the shorter reading is to be preferred; under other circumstances the longer reading is to be preferred. Deciding which depends on context, principally on whether the presumed alteration is assessed as being intentional or unintentional. I find it very hard to believe. 'Knowledge dispels ignorance'. It would mean an analysis technique which favoured shorter readings found that the shorter text type was favoured. Would it though? Why? Secondly, for the text differences between the Alexandrian and Byzantine text types do those added or removed passages contain substantially different writing styles or vocabularies from the common text? One aspect that is considered when doing text-critical work relates to the correlation (or otherwise) of a variant to a particular biblical author's unchallenged style and vocabulary. But it is simply one consideration among many. If so that would be quite a compelling argument in favour of the Alexandrian text. Not necessarily. The same convention of considering internal evidence has led to certain Byzantine readings being favoured by the majority of text critics over competing Alexandrian or Western readings.

... textual criticism is an academic discipline. Consequently, it's practice involves academic tools and the rigorous application and use of long-established, historically validated academic rules. Yes, and like any academic tool it is based on assumptions that need to be valid and it requires good data. In this case most of the data terminates around the 4th century. Whereas all of the data in favour of the Byzantine textual family starts in the fifth century!

I'd suggest caution in making judgments without (or despite) adequate information and evidence. I provide this advice 'winking' that your own position seems to be largely ideologically based ;) There you go again. It sounds like here you are making judgements based on your ideology. my assessment was based on two principle criteria: (1) several years of experience actually engaging in text-critical work as part of my studies; and (2) the content of what you've shared with us in this thread thus far.

One often can't determine what is the correct message in God's Word until one has first completed the text critical task! Of course, but that wasn't what I was suggesting. The point I was trying to make is that it might be possible to detect things that are obviously incorrect. Doubtless. Why else do you think the overwhelming majority of professional New Testament text critics place more credence in Alexandrian over Byzantine readings?

I would think such mocking would depend on the degree of ignorance of the unbeliever, or of the Christian engaging with him/her. I've never personally ecountered this problem, you see :) Yes, I have encountered this kind of problem, particularly with Muslims some of whom enjoy finding the least appearance of inconsistency to claim the Bible can't be the Word of God. They will love Mark 1:2. Your experience of such people is radically different from my own. In about 15 years of working with, and engaging Muslims from all over the world, I've never experienced the example of Mark 1:2 being raised as an objection. Not once.

Given that you've chosen not to attempt a response to my text critical explanation of this passage, I've taken your silence as acknowledgement that your earlier position vis the KJV reading is wrong.

Ask yourself this simple question: why on earth would a scribe change a smoother reading to a rougher one? Well an editor might change a rougher reading to a smoother one, but a careless copyist could easily mess up the text and do the opposite. 'Might'? 'Could'? These assumptions of yours are based on what evidence, exactly? Wasn't that an early impression of the Alexandrian text, that it was the result of careless copying? Not that I'm aware of. Given the exalted position the so-called 'Textus Receptus' enjoyed until the early 19th century, competing Alexandrian and Western readings generally weren't given so much as a look-in before then. Once the assumption of TR ('Majority'/Byzantine/Syrian) 'purity' was challenged, and then disproven, things changed markedly and for the better.

A point that is worth noting at this point. There exists multiplied examples of careless copying spanning the gamut of textual families. Despite this, the Alexandrian text-type is considered to be the most ancient of the New Testament textual families, and it is also the most widespread geographically up to the early 6th century. Such are the facts. If textual criticism makes assumptions in this regard it will slant the results of any analysis. Such assumptions are yours alone. Incidently, and as I pointed out in a previous post, the majority of text critics don't slavishly follow any particular textual family (the one or two Byzantine proponents excepted). To the contrary, most adopt an eclectic approach to the practice of New Testament text criticism, weighing and assessing the merits of each variant as and when it appears. Such is a proper and scientific approach to the task.

Given that you introduced the topic here, why the sudden change of heart with respect to thrashing-it-out? Is it because you've realised the maths doesn't support your theory? No, the only maths that concerned me related to the time it would take to thrash it out. As you are no doubt aware chronologists don't agree on whether it was 215, 400, or 430 years for Israel in Egypt, but the strongest case is for 215 years. It's the weakest, actually. Check the scholarly literature, it's voluminous.

In closing, I've attempted to introduce verified and verifiable f-a-c-t-s when responding to your theories. I'd appreciate you doing the same; such would potentially advance this discussion no end.

Ian
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:31/07/2012 7:55 AMCopy HTML

Willem,

How have your studies been progressing?

Ian
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/08/2012 8:53 AMCopy HTML

Ian,
I think I'll stick to the King James bible. 

Mr Grits
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/08/2012 11:18 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Grits.

I think I'll stick to the King James bible. And I think you should. You're clearly too set in your ways to be open to new ideas, or to evidence that doesn't support your entrenched and narrow views.

"At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar" (1 Chronicles 26:18, KJV).

Goose.

Ian
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:18/08/2012 9:20 PMCopy HTML

Reply to MrGrits

Ian,
I think I'll stick to the King James bible. 

Mr Grits


That also doesn't claim England to be one of the so called "lost tribes".
¡uıɐƃɐ ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ƃuıʎnq ɹǝʌǝu
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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:21/08/2012 1:13 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

Willem,

How have your studies been progressing?

Ian

Hi Ian,

Making some progress thanks. I have got hold of some of the reference material you suggested. It is a lot to digest for a non-expert.

Regarding textual criticism both the Metzger Criteria and the twelve basic rules of Aland and Aland indicate that the more difficult reading is to be preferred and the shorter reading is to be preferred. This would favour the Alexandrian text-type over the Byzantine text-tye. Hypothetically, starting from a perfect original if such a thing actually existed these principles would favour a poor copy of the original where the copyist dropped words and phrases over an exact copy of the original.

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Re:Laurie Nankivell and the KJV

Date Posted:21/08/2012 8:20 AMCopy HTML

Hello, Willem.

Making some progress thanks. I have got hold of some of the reference material you suggested. It is a lot to digest for a non-expert. No doubt.

Regarding textual criticism both the Metzger Criteria and the twelve basic rules of Aland and Aland indicate that the more difficult reading is to be preferred and the shorter reading is to be preferred. Incorrect. Both Metzger and the Alands qualify when the more difficult and shorter readings are to be preferred; hence your 'one dimensional' (mis)representation of the facts does them an injustice. For example the Aland's rule number ten states, "There is truth in the maxim: lectio difficilior lectio potior ('the more difficult reading is the more probable reading'). But this principle must not be taken too mechanically, with the most difficult reading (lectio difficilima) adopted as original simply because of its degree of difficulty". The same is said for rule number eleven, pertaining to the shorter reading: "The venerable maxim lectio brevior lectio potior ('the shorter reading is the more probable reading') is certainly right in many instances. But here again the principle cannot be applied mechanically ... " Then, of course, there is rule number twelve: "A constantly maintained familiarity with New Testament manuscripts themselves is the best training for textual criticism."1 It's for this reason that those of us who've received formal training in the discipline were required to spend hours manually collating the readings of hundreds of manuscripts. There really is no better way to become intimately familiar with the vagaries and foibles of the various textual families, types and traditions.

This would favour the Alexandrian text-type over the Byzantine text-type.
Again, incorrect. As I've pointed out to you several times, the vast majority of professional and practising New Testament text critics are eclectic in their approach. Consequently, they consider external as well as the internal evidence, and then weigh the balance of probabilities when making their decisions. The truth be told it's the handful of Byzantine-priority critics who are, alone, completely inflexible in their assessments. Hypothetically, starting from a perfect original if such a thing actually existed these principles would favour a poor copy of the original where the copyist dropped words and phrases over an exact copy of the original. What absolute rubbish.

Ian

1. K. & B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., p. 280-316 [Chapter 7: Introduction to the Praxis of New Testament Textual Criticism].
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