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THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COPYISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT MISREPRESENTING JESUS_Third Edition The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

While this blog article is 22 pages long and the other blog article NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICISM: Evaluation of The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) and Its Usefulness is 8 pages long, the full article/chapter (110 pages) is out of THE TEXT OF THE TESTAMENT by Wilkins and Andrews. Wilkins has penned an easy to understand chapter, which covers a very deep and complex subject matter, which also just happens to be one of the longest treatments of the CBGM to date.

DON WILKINS: B.A. UC Irvine, M.Div. Talbot Seminary

Th.M. Talbot Seminary, M.A. UCLA, Ph.D. UCLA, He has worked with The Lockman Foundation (TLF) as a translator since 1992, Worked on the NASB. Senior Translator for the New American Standard Bible.

Don Wilkins

The twenty-eighth edition of the Nestle-Aland (hereafter NA) text differs from the previous edition only in the General (Catholic) Epistles, yet the 34 changes found there represent groundbreaking work done in New Testament textual criticism and led chiefly by Gerd Mink of the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung at the University of Münster. Thanks to Mink and his colleagues, we now have the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, a powerful tool to assist in the construction of stemmata for textual readings in the New Testament. Credit specifically goes to Klaus Wachtel and Volker Krüger for writing the application. The impact of the CBGM is due to the fact that it is to be the basis for the NA text from the 28th edition on.

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Existing Greek New Testaments

Some explanation may be needed, beginning with background on the state of the NT Greek text up to the 28th edition. Until very recently Bible translators and their publishers essentially had three choices of Greek texts: the one based on the oldest and acclaimed “best” manuscripts (called “Alexandrian” by proponents and opponents alike); the Textus Receptus or TR (used for the KJV); and the Majority Text or MT (similar to the TR but differing from it in significant places of especially weak manuscript support). The first text could be found either in the NA or in the Greek NT published by the United Bible Societies. Nearly all modern Bible translations were, and continue to be, based on the NA text. The NKJV, as its title implies, has followed the TR but noted the readings in the MT and NA.

We should also add by way of explanation that users of the NA text have always had access to a substantial collection of variant readings (including MT or Byzantine readings) supplied in footnotes, so translators have been free to choose readings rejected by the editors of the text. They also have had the valuable aid, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament by the late Bruce Metzger, a complementary volume that provides brief explanations of many of the decisions made by the editors, and rates the level of certainty for each.[1] So translators have never been forced to follow a particular text, though they may have chosen to.

Setting aside the TR and MT for a moment, let’s focus on the NA text and what has led to the 28th edition, current at the time of this discussion. Without going into all the history which is readily available elsewhere, the famous (or to TR advocates, infamous) scholars Westcott and Hort et al. defined the quest of textual critics as that of identifying the variant among other variant readings for a given passage which best accounts for all the others. That is, in any passage of which there is more than one version in the extant Greek manuscripts, the goal is to determine the original reading, which must have been changed into the other forms rather than the reverse. This is actually common sense of the reverse engineering variety. We know that scribes (copyists) at one or more points in time changed the original to something different for some reason(s); we want to reverse the process mentally by determining what they were thinking or failed to do properly, which will lead us back to the original reading, assuming that at least one of the extant manuscripts has it.

Of course, we cannot read the mind of any scribe, and we cannot debrief anyone who is deceased. We are forced to do a credible “profile” of an ancient scribe, and we begin with the assumptions that he is competent and conscientious, unless the manuscript he has produced is a mess. The high degree of agreement that we find among the extant Greek manuscripts tends to confirm these assumptions.

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Differing Families of Manuscripts

Nevertheless, the manuscripts prove to disagree in many places, and we now know (thanks to CBGM research) that the level of agreement between all the passages that feature variants–in the General Epistles at least–averages about 88%. This agreement is called “coherence” in the new method. Textual scholars have necessarily focused on the disagreements, and the number and various kinds of disagreements led them to postulate that there were “families” of manuscripts with differing levels of quality. To simplify a complex situation, one can attempt to narrow the principal families to three, including the two already mentioned above: the early (Alexandrian) family and the later manuscripts, roughly lumped together as the MT or Byzantine family. There are very many more of the latter, leading to the name “Majority Text” by its advocates. The third family is usually called the Western text, best represented by codex D, Bezae.

A characteristic of the Byzantine family is that when there are differences with the earlier manuscripts, the Byzantine readings usually are “easier” for one reason or another: sometimes the reading is smoother, at other times it avoids a theological difficulty or some other problem. Westcott and Hort, in their quest for the original text, came to the conclusion that the Byzantine family was the result of misguided scribal attempts to correct or improve upon the original and therefore was to be rejected. They preferred the more ancient Alexandrian manuscripts. Advocates of the Byzantine family have argued that the scribes wisely corrected corrupt readings found in the earlier manuscripts. Westcott and Hort also rejected Western readings for the most part, which tend to be embellished.

Downgrading the Byzantine manuscripts has met with favor among most textual critics, and most have also preferred the Alexandrian family. However, Westcott and Hort went further in their admiration for these manuscripts by making the extraordinary claim that we have the original text whenever the two leading manuscripts of the family–Aleph (Sinaiticus or 01) and B (Vaticanus or 03)–agree.

In practice, this claim appears to have met with considerable acceptance, because one can see that Aleph and B tend to prevail in textual decisions seen in earlier editions of the NA (and GNT) text. But in more recent years a backlash to this position developed, and the NA editors made a concerted effort to minimize this effect and “dethrone” Westcott and Hort. As a translator, I saw the results in some places where the editors changed their minds about previous readings and placed other readings in the text that had the support of seemingly lesser manuscripts chosen over Aleph and B and even had some Byzantine support. Of course, it did not mean that I had to agree with the editors, and if they selected the “easier” reading with lesser manuscript support, I rejected it.

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Thoroughgoing Eclecticism

Another challenge to Westcott and Hort, and to other traditional textual critics, has come from opponents who advocate what is often called “thoroughgoing eclectic criticism,” briefly discussed earlier. The keyword here is “thoroughgoing,” because in practice all textual critics do eclectic criticism to a greater or lesser extent, usually called “reasoned eclecticism.” Thoroughgoing eclecticism can be differentiated as “internal criticism” in opposition to “external,” because it is limited to choosing a reading based on contextual and transcriptional factors. Actually, it is easier to define this practice by pointing out what it does not include: dating of manuscripts, the quality of individual manuscripts, and where geographically they originated and were used.

For example, in traditional criticism, a reading found in B (Vaticanus) is taken seriously at the outset because B is an old (fourth-century) manuscript rated as very high in quality. In the thoroughgoing eclectic approach, B’s pedigree, as one might call it, does not matter. The reading is judged solely by how likely it seems to be the original, given the context and any transcriptional issues. This is entirely in line with Westcott’s and Hort’s quest for the reading from which the other (invented) readings came, and the same rules and guidelines are for the most part applied. For example, both thoroughgoing eclectics and traditional textual critics favor the harder reading over the easier one.

Another way to better understand thoroughgoing eclectics is through one of their complaints, which is also reflected in the word “thoroughgoing.” They often say that they will agree with reasoned eclectics in evaluating readings internally to determine the most likely original, only to find their counterparts rejecting the reading judged best from sound (internal) criteria and choosing another reading purely on the basis of external criteria. For example, J.K. Elliott voices his agreement with most of the TC guidelines taught by Metzger, but then he says this about many of the discussions he finds in Metzger’s Commentary:

Where I have found grounds for criticism is that the editors of the United Bible Societies’ The Greek New Testament (= UBSGNT) or of the allied Nestle-Aland testament (= NA) often jettison their own principles of internal criteria if they, or a majority of them, did not approve of the manuscript support for the reading that the internal criteria pointed to as original.[2]

 To critics employing reasoned eclecticism, this is simply a balanced approach, taking the external criteria of age, quality, etc. into account together with internal factors. Employing external criteria is also seen as a way to avoid wholly subjective decisions about readings.

An excellent example of this situation can be found in 1 Pet. 4:16, which ends with “…glorify God in this name,” as seen in most versions. It turns out that the word “part” in Greek is found in Byzantine manuscripts instead of “name,” which is supported by the oldest manuscripts, including Aleph and B. Indeed, on the basis of external evidence, the decision for “name” is easy, and this was the reading of the NA text down to the twenty-seventh edition. The problem is that “part” clearly is the more difficult reading; so we must ask, “Why would a scribe change ‘name’ to ‘part’?” It is easy to see why the opposite might occur. Contextually, therefore, “part” should be the original reading, and the editors of NA28 have placed it in the text, based on CBGM analysis.

You may infer from this example that the CBGM is a new version of thoroughgoing eclecticism; in a real sense, it is, though its advocates would probably protest this characterization. Nonetheless, consider that emphasis is placed on the fact that manuscripts play no part in the analysis; they are merely the physical carriers of text, and only the texts they carry matter. Consequently, the date of an individual manuscript is of doubtful or no importance, and users of the method are told to set aside previously held views of the quality of any manuscript, which can get in the way of doing an objective analysis of the text. Say goodbye to any shrines dedicated to Sinaiticus (Aleph/01) or B (03). Not only that; we are also told that the theory of a Lucianic recension resulting in the Byzantine text type, or any such early recension, is not at all helpful and should be jettisoned as potentially harmful clutter, along with the now-obsolete concept of text-types.

It would certainly appear from these advisories that the CBGM aims to dethrone Westcott and Hort and that advocates of the Byzantine text have new reason to rejoice. I have to confess that I was more than a little skeptical of the method, and might not have felt compelled to deal with it were it not for the fact that the NA text is to be determined by it, apparently for the foreseeable future. As a result, intellectual and spiritual honesty compels translators to learn the method, or at least to become sufficiently acquainted with it to be able to intelligently accept or to honestly reject it. For those who do the latter, I suspect that the NA text will become frozen in time at the 27th edition (some may already prefer an earlier edition).

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A Detailed Introduction to the CBGM

I trust that this background is sufficient to prepare the reader for an introduction to the CBGM, which probably will be the future of textual criticism from this point on. I can express its greatest strength in one adjective: meticulous. By contrast, an adjective that I would use to express the greatest weakness of textual criticism up to this point is: subjective. Because of the subjectivity, many textual critics have given up calling the discipline a science (if they ever did), or even a science-art. I do not mean to disparage the claims already made in this book for TC as a science or to dispute the subtitle of this book. In a general sense, one can still call textual criticism a science because it does have principles and rules that have found almost universal agreement among scholars of the school. It deals primarily with natural human behavior, as for example, psychology does. However, in comparison to a laboratory science, it is just an art, in that it lacks sufficient empirical measurements. This seems frightening when one considers that we are talking about identifying the original text of the Bible as the goal. Like dealing with life-and-death situations, we want to be as correct as we possibly can be.

The CBGM is possible because it is built on a computerized database, i.e. a collection of all the variant readings in carefully selected Greek NT manuscripts (well over 100 thus far) converted to machine-readable code for the purpose. A collation of the same data has been published separately under the title Editio Critica Maior 2nd Revised Edition (ECM2),[3] to which we have already referred. Over 3,000 variant passages are covered there and by the CBGM. I’m sorry to add that there is one piece of very bad news: as I already indicated, only the General Epistles have been fully input and processed to date, and it looks like it will be a very long time before the rest of the NT is included. This is bad news, that is, if you decide that you like the CBGM. I am undoubtedly the bearer of good news if you don’t like it. We will probably continue to see new editions of the NA text in partial stages of completion, like NA28.

I think there is no denying that the CBGM has some major shortcomings, which I will discuss later. However, being able to manipulate so much data for the biblical books covered thus far has led to interesting discoveries under the sharp eyes of Mink and his colleagues. First, though, you need a basic understanding of the CBGM, beginning with the concept of “coherence” upon which the system as titled is based.

Coherence, the Basis of the CBGM

Coherence is the level of agreement between any two texts that are found in any two manuscripts, down to individual characters and spaces. The term “text” is very important. Essentially a text is what a scribe copies from one manuscript to another, which is a simple concept. If we are looking at a long historical chain of copying an ancient text, however, the text (i.e. the copied words) that we find in any manuscript may be much older than the manuscript itself. Think, for example, of buying a copy of the Declaration of Independence at a museum. I accept–at least for the purpose of this illustration–the museum’s guarantee that the text of the Declaration in my copy is the authentic eighteenth-century document, but the physical copy that I purchase is twenty-first century. My copy probably was one of hundreds or more that were printed by a machine using a printing plate with the image found on my copy, and like mine, every copy produced is a perfect reproduction in the sense that all the characters and spaces exactly match the original image. For example, there is not a single letter in the text that is different in some copies. In CBGM terms, this is perfect coherence. I could diagram it by representing the original as a circle from which arrows go out to all the hundreds of copies that were made. Every copy has the original as its one and only source.

Let me give another example of perfect coherence that is encountered in the CBGM. I could duplicate at home what the machine essentially did with the Declaration of Independence reproductions by using my home photocopier to run off a hundred copies of the copy I purchased at the museum. I would diagram the process the same way, with a hundred arrows going from the original (my copy in this case) to all the copies. However, I could also do it by making the first copy, then a copy of the first copy, then a copy of the second copy and so on. Each copy would then be the ancestor, as it is called in the CBGM, of the next copy, and the arrows would point from one copy to the next after starting with the original. That is, instead of a starburst of arrows (all copies directly from the original), I would have a straight line from one copy to the next. The text of each “manuscript” would be a perfect copy of its ancestor.

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Mink’s Four Assumptions about Scribes

Now that we have a good grasp of perfect coherence, it follows that imperfect coherence occurs when texts do not entirely agree. This, of course, is the case most of the time in textual criticism since we are dealing with hand-copied documents. We will look at this in more detail below, but first, we have to profile our scribes. This Mink does by postulating four basic assumptions. I will list them much as he does, but with additional clarification:

First, a scribe wanted to copy his exemplar (German Vorlage) with fidelity.[4] To provide a clearer idea of each assumption and its probability, I will posit the opposite, like including an antonym as a means of clarifying the definition of a word. In this case, I will posit that the scribe did not care in the least whether his copy was accurate. We could assume that our hypothetical scribe was lazy and wanted to be done with the job as quickly as possible. If so, his copy would vary widely from the original and probably omit a good deal of it. Misspellings and other mistakes would be common. Since all these assumptions apply to the average scribe, we would expect to see vast differences between all the copies that are still extant, and few of them would be credible as representatives of the original. The fact of the matter, however, is that what we find in the extant copies is the opposite, supporting Mink’s assumption. Logically, we probably should expect it to turn out this way given that the exemplars were copies of Scripture.

Mink’s second assumption is that if a scribe intentionally introduced diverging variants (which led to imperfect coherence), he obtained them from another source (manuscript), rather than inventing them himself. The opposite of this assumption would be that whenever a scribe deviated from his exemplar, he made up the change himself, oblivious as to whether the same change already existed in another manuscript elsewhere. A corollary to this opposing assumption would be that the scribe most likely had only one manuscript as his exemplar from which to copy.

This second assumption is somewhat problematic in comparison to the first because we know that its opposite must ultimately account for the changes that we find in extant manuscripts; that is, for every variant reading, some scribe had to invent and introduce it the first time. As for the corollary I added, it is either true when such a change occurred, or if there actually was more than one manuscript available to the scribe in question, then the manuscripts agreed on a reading that the scribe rejected, or the scribe ignored or found any alternative readings available not to his liking. To some extent, however, the evidence from extant manuscripts which supports the first assumption also supports this assumption: over nearly two millennia there has been plenty of time for these kinds of changes to multiply dramatically, and in fact what we find are undoubtedly far fewer changes than we should expect if scribes exercised considerable freedom to invent changes.

Let me point out one more thing about the corollary: it seems unlikely that a scribe would actually treat more than one manuscript as his exemplar unless he were compelled to do so. One such scenario, which would not be uncommon, is that the exemplar would be missing some passages and another manuscript (or manuscripts) would be needed to fill in the missing section(s). The phenomenon of differing readings, however, forces us to infer that the scribe either invented the variant in question or found it in another manuscript. According to the second assumption, the scribe first consulted any other manuscripts available to him for an acceptable alternative to what he found in his exemplar. If he actually did find a reading he preferred, one would think that he would switch to that manuscript as the new exemplar if he were still in the copying process. Large blocks of texts that represent variant readings from a possible exemplar indicate that this may have happened to a degree.

On the other hand, the more typical variants of much shorter lengths indicate to the contrary that scribes kept to one manuscript as the exemplar even after resorting to a reading found in another manuscript. This suggests to me that the exemplar was favored for some reason and that the scribe was either assigned the task or considered it part of his task to, in effect, “correct” the exemplar when a reading seemed suspect. Whether or not he made a notation on the exemplar itself, the change became an integral part of his copy, making it a new descendant in the textual flow. In his chapter “Contamination, Coherence, and Coincidence,” Mink observes that a frequent feature of contamination is that a witness does not agree with its immediate ancestor in the CBGM analysis (the technical term is “closest potential ancestor”), but with the immediate ancestor of the latter.[5] This is just the sort of thing we should expect if an exemplar was favored–I dare say “popular”–but considered in need of correction on the ground that its scribe had deviated too much from the exemplar that he used.

The third of Mink’s four assumptions is that scribes used few rather than many resources. This assumption is the result of practical and psychological considerations. On the practical side, it seems doubtful that a scribe would have access to more than two or three manuscripts at a time from which to make his copy. If he were copying one manuscript mainly and making occasional changes, it seems most likely that he would introduce changes from one other manuscript, as in the scenario I just described. Psychologically, the job of having to make changes taken from more than one additional manuscript probably would seem taxing. The opposite assumption would be that scribes normally made their copies from “many” resources, and while “many” is hard to specify, I would think something in the neighborhood of a dozen or more would qualify. Pity our hypothetical scribe who is given a large stack of manuscripts and told, “There you are!” It is also hard to imagine “many” manuscripts of the same text being available at one place and one time.

In presenting the third assumption, Mink also makes much of an artificial limitation in the process of constructing “optimal substemmata” later.[6] These stemmata are best done with a minimal number of witnesses of readings, and the number of witnesses actually required to account for any given text in its entirety possibly depends on this assumption. It is at least a good working hypothesis because the number of witnesses essential for the text can logically be reduced, and this helps to make sense out of what otherwise might be a considerably more complicated genealogy. Historically of course, as Mink admits, we cannot know what actually happened. For example, extant manuscript X might be the one containing a text that has several particular readings found in manuscript Z. Therefore the text of X must be included in the optimal substemma of Z; however, in reality, the scribe who produced Z might have used one or two other manuscripts whose texts X reproduces. By the same token there may have been manuscripts overlapping in textual content that was actually used by scribes in the chain of the copying process, but manuscripts that duplicate readings serve no useful purpose genealogically and would only clutter the substemma. I should clarify again that in the CBGM terminology the textual content of a manuscript is also called a “witness,” closely associated with the manuscript but older (potentially much older) than it.

The fourth and final assumption is that the sources (manuscripts) used by scribes featured closely related texts rather than less related ones. As Mink notes, this assumption is a corollary of the first: that the scribe wanted to copy his exemplar with fidelity. The evidence of extant manuscripts, as we have noted, points to the truth of assumption one. What we find are manuscripts that are very similar in content rather than the opposite. The point of the copying process is to reproduce the original, so the “best” copies are those that are virtually identical to the originals, and the more a copy deviates from its original, the less good it is. As we noted earlier, the average agreement among texts that feature variant readings is about 88%, so this assumption seems well-founded. It proves to be very important to the CBGM because textual flow diagrams in the method and the stemmata of readings depend on it. That is, variant readings are assumed to be “inherited” from texts whose similarity to the text in question establishes them as “potential ancestors.” Indeed, the CBGM begins by creating lists of “potential ancestors” (a term that I will use without quotation marks henceforth) that qualify initially by their level of agreement with the witness in question.

I should note that the CBGM tools currently are available online in two versions, the original and version 2. I discovered that in comparison, the number of agreements between witnesses seems to decrease slightly in version 2 as seen in the “EQ” column. Not understanding how this could happen, I sent a question to the INTF, and Klaus Wachtel very kindly explained to me that two factors led to the changes: 1) corrections to the apparatus in v. 2 led to a decrease in the total number of variant passages by three; 2) in v. 1 of the CBGM 122 variant passages were undecided in the initial text and treated as lacunae (email from Wachtel 8/28/14). In v. 2 a decision was made in 79 of these passages. The first factor accounted for the changes I observed. What is especially important is that the number and percentage of agreements between witnesses are objective measurements, i.e. they are purely statistical and not in any way a product of human judgment (subjective evaluation). They are subject only to errors of the eye in their reading and to erroneous input or manipulation, which one hopes has been and will continue to be eliminated.

The four assumptions explained above are crucial to the success of the CBGM because they vastly reduce the complexity and the range of unknowns that the textual critic would otherwise face in dealing with the vast number of NT manuscripts now available. Therefore it is also crucial that the assumptions all be correct. The overall fidelity of the NT textual tradition indicates that they are. At the same time, however, I think it is fair to say at the outset that what is most likely true in general of scribal habits cannot be guaranteed for any particular manuscript. We must content ourselves with the expectation that whatever may have actually happened in the production of a given manuscript turns out to be only the logical equivalent of the process covered by the four assumptions.

Now then, I hope to offer an explanation of the CBGM that will be a little easier to grasp than most already published. Some observers have described it in statistical terms that can overwhelm readers without formal training in statistics. Mink himself uses statistical terminology from time to time, and a cursory look at the various tables and diagrams can be daunting.

However, as one of those without formal training in that discipline, I am happy to report that I do not recall encountering anything more challenging in the tables than a mathematical average or mean, in addition to percentages. In other words, the math could hardly be simpler. It is mainly the sheer volume of data that makes it appear complicated; the concepts, as I and others who have worked through the presentation and articles have learned, are sufficiently comprehensible. Moreover, the opportunity to obtain practical experience with them is available through the online tools that anyone can access at the INTF (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung) website. A guide is included with examples that one can easily work through by using the tools. While hoping to offer an easier explanation of the CBGM, I do not mean to replace others already published, but only to supplement them. I strongly encourage the reader to read everything available for a fuller understanding of the method.

The Initial Text

There are at least two different places at which one could start even after examining the four assumptions about scribal habits: the so-called “initial text,” and the concept of coherence. Mink focuses on the latter and seemingly deemphasizes the former, but I think it is the “initial text” or Ausgangstext that is most likely to puzzle a novice to the CBGM, especially if he or she tries to follow the online presentation at the website.[7] There one finds the initial or “A-text” at the top of the heap of Greek witnesses to the NT.

One cannot fault Mink for ignoring disputes among textual critics over the meaning and nomenclature of the text that the discipline is trying to reconstruct, nor does he minimize the problems a novice or someone with a traditional understanding of TC might have with this “A-text.” On the contrary, in the early pages of the “Presentation,” he briefly mentions the leading theories of what the initial text might be, e.g. the author’s own text or the archetype of the textual tradition that perhaps differed from the authorial text in various places. The CBGM is not concerned with the theory, however, so he concludes by treating the A-text as the author’s text in order to simplify the situation. But he also emphasizes that the A-text is “a hypothetical reconstruction,” not “any actual historical reality.”[8]

Mink concludes the Presentation with, among other things, the extraordinary comment that the CBGM “does not make textual decisions,” it just reveals what a textual tradition will look like based on a given text-critical study of all the variants.[9] I found this most puzzling at first, given the fact that NA28 features changes based on the CBGM. So it would seem on the one hand that Mink treats the A-text as the autograph, while on the other, he distances himself and the CBGM from being any kind of final authority on the NT text.

I actually think now that this is a fair and accurate analysis. No extant manuscript on earth contains the A-text in all of its readings. The A-text is merely the product of a large number of textual decisions covering all the variant readings in the General Epistles, for now, and eventually the same will be true for the rest of the NT. These decisions were all initially made primarily on the basis of internal criteria, as opposed to the dating, provenance, and quality of individual manuscripts,[10] so in a sense, Mink is correct when he says that the CBGM does not make textual decisions. The A-text seems to have been established by textual critics as a preliminary to the operations of the CBGM. Despite its hypothetical nature, however, it is treated just like an extant text, and by default, it is assumed to be the autograph in CGBM analyses. That is, one has to physically select a different text as the “initial text” in the online tools to see a chart or diagram based on another text, and there is a problem with this that I will explain shortly below.

For the sake of greater utility, and I would also say objectivity, Mink has introduced into the CBGM the aforementioned option to choose any variant reading as the “initial text,” which for practical purposes can be considered the autograph. At the end of the Presentation, he even remarks that the CBGM can be used by those who prefer the Byzantine text. The significance of this remark becomes clear when one discovers that the A-text, as a result of the criteria used to establish it, is closely modeled by B (Vaticanus). Thus the Byzantine text, to many the original “A-text,” is the antithesis of Mink’s A (Ausgangstext)-text. So the application’s option of choosing a different initial text could be viewed as evidence that Mink is not using the CBGM as a means of delivering to us another Textus Receptus of his own making.

There is a significant flaw in this feature of the online application, however, to which I alluded: while one can choose any reading as the initial text, one cannot change any of the textual decisions that ultimately led to the genealogical relationships assumed by the application. It would be an even greater flaw if textual quality were linked to a particular text by the application, but the application itself does not do that. Any quality assessments are inferences by the user. Still, in light of the criteria of textual decisions, I think the claim that users from any textual position (notably Byzantine proponents) will find the CBGM a useful tool is questionable at best. If I favor the Byzantine as the original reading, for example, it follows that I also favor the easier reading as the original, uncorrupted form, and the harder (corrupted) form becomes the descendant. In the CBGM I can pick an initial reading different from A, but the application will work around my choice to present a stemma or flow diagram that is still consistent with the standard (non-Byzantine) TC criteria. I will be saying more about the criteria and related issues as we turn now to a detailed discussion of coherence, to which I briefly referred above.

Coherence and Contamination

Coherence, the first word in the title of the application, is a foundational concept developed by Mink to deal with the problem of contamination among the many extant NT Greek manuscripts. “Contamination” obviously is a negative term and not popular among all textual critics of the NT, but it is nonetheless useful in describing what we find. Some prefer a friendlier term, e.g. “mixture” or “crosspollination”.

As a technical term, coherence is a close relationship between two or more texts, bearing in mind that a “text” is not a manuscript but its written contents. In the CBGM, there are basically two kinds of coherence, “pre-genealogical” and “genealogical.” The first is the degree to which variant readings in any two texts agree verbatim in passages where variations are found among all the extant manuscripts. As noted earlier, the average level of agreement approaches 88%. However, in practice, the percentage at which agreement is considered significant by Mink varies in relation to the number of extant manuscripts found to be in high agreement with the text of a particular manuscript. This enables him to more easily categorize a text as primarily Byzantine or non-Byzantine by essentially giving him freedom in where to draw the line of distinction in the list of manuscripts. Some might say this is “fudging” to make the method appear more reliable than it really is, but then the concept of an average does allow some freedom of interpretation.

This pre-genealogical coherence is a highly objective measurement, essentially comparing the readings character-by-character, so it is entitled to our confidence–assuming as I cautioned earlier that there are no mistakes in the electronic input and no bugs in the application. Some technicalities could affect a decision, but the only subjective element, as I just implied, would be the level of agreement that is judged as the minimum to assess the texts of manuscripts as closely related.

Genealogical coherence, on the other hand, can be highly subjective. It is an evaluation of all the variations where there are discrepancies among the witnesses (texts) being compared. It seems to be based entirely on a set of “internal” criteria, i.e. criteria for determining the original reading from contextual (author-generated) and transcriptional (scribe-generated) factors. The exclusive use of these criteria has been called “thoroughgoing eclecticism” (previously discussed) and other names. They stand, not in opposition, but in contrast to “external” criteria, which are primarily the age and provenance (original geographic location) of a manuscript.

We have discussed all the criteria earlier, and we noted that there are two internal criteria that in a sense summarize all the others, like the two “great commandments” that summarize all the rest. Given alternative readings, that one which best accounts for the creation of the other(s) most likely is the original, and the harder(-est) reading most likely is the original.

Taking the hypothetical A-text discussed above as a reconstruction of the NT Greek text following the generally accepted internal criteria, every variant reading in the text of a manuscript is compared with it, and if the two agree, then the text of the manuscript is assumed to be the original or at least the “initial” text. When variants disagree both with the A-text and with each other, it is usually possible to reverse-engineer the scribal thinking that led to each variant by comparison with the others, and in these cases the decision is made as to which of two texts features the reading that was the source or “ancestor” of the other. These are all ultimately human judgment calls and are always subject to reevaluation. Indeed, the A-text itself is always subject to revision as more information comes to light, or as decisions on individual “variation units,” i.e. places where there are variant readings, are reevaluated.

This process is carried out for every variant reading common to witnesses (the texts of manuscripts) that are being compared. The results are input into the database, after which the witnesses are rated on the basis of genealogical coherence as queried by the user. That is, one can go online and have the computer output lists of ancestors and descendants for any witness in the database. Logically, one might think that the strongest genealogical coherence as an ancestor should be assigned to the witness that has the highest number of prior (“ancestor”) readings, and witnesses with lower numbers would then occupy lower places in the list.

If only it were that simple. The problem of contamination immediately becomes apparent in any of these lists, as we discover that virtually every potential ancestor has not only prior readings but also posterior (“descendant”) readings relevant to the witness being compared. It is as if the hypothetical process that I described above, in which a scribe creates a new copy by “correcting” some of the readings in his exemplar to match the readings of the exemplar’s ancestor, were actually the norm. Whatever the circumstances may have been, the outcome was the same: judging by internal criteria, manuscripts have contaminated or mixed texts relative to other manuscripts. A skeptic might argue that this problem simply points to flaws in the internal criteria or the application of them, but I am convinced that the criteria really do make sense.

In the CBGM, where very little seems simplistic, Mink (in my opinion) decided on the most basic standard possible to establish the ancestor-descendant relationship between witnesses: given any two, the one with at least one more prior reading than the other is the ancestor. It would seem that finding substantially more prior readings would lend more credence in identifying the ancestor. As Mink points out, however, this has an inherent drawback in that to have more of these readings, a witness also must have fewer agreements in variation units with the witness of comparison, which weakens their pre-genealogical coherence. If that is weak, then what are perceived as genealogical relationships between readings becomes doubtful. In the overall method, this means that agreements in variant readings between witnesses that are not related are most likely just coincidences.

In practice, the tables of potential ancestors reveal that the percentage of agreement in variation units is what establishes how close a given ancestor witness is to the descendant being compared. The basis for this evaluation is the fourth assumption about scribes, i.e. that they tended to use closely-related texts. Since the level of agreement is inversely proportional to the number of passages where one reading is the ancestor of its counterpart in the other witness, a greater or lesser majority of prior readings only affects the stability of the ancestor-descendant relationship. For example, if one of two witnesses being compared has only one more prior reading than the other witness–and a difference of only one or two more does happen–then the relationship is very unstable because if the editors who decided which readings were prior changed their minds about even a single reading at some future time, then the relationship will either be reversed or become undecided. How likely is this? As I will note below, we already have examples from comparing versions 1 and 2 of the CBGM, and the iterative nature of the revision processes is a given. One can only predict that at some point in the future, the processes will have been repeated to the point that further revisions will seem very unlikely.

When we examine the online potential ancestor tables, we find that the witnesses are all ranked not only by their positions in the list, which strictly follow the percentages of agreement, but also by rank numbers. The numbers are in order from one at the top (most closely related) to higher numbers running down the list, but with zero’s here and there for some witnesses. These are witnesses presenting exactly the same number of prior and posterior readings as the witness to which they are compared, and by this simple standard neither can (for the time being) be designated as a potential ancestor of the other. There are also cases of two (or more) witnesses with the same rank number when the percentages of agreement are the same or nearly so.

You may very well wonder what the real-world meaning of this evaluation is. It goes back to the assumption that the scribe wants to copy his exemplar with fidelity–unless he is also using another manuscript and taking some readings from it. Even then, we can expect to see very close resemblances between the copy and the main exemplar. The greatest deviations most likely would occur if the scribe copied a large block of text from the other manuscript, in which case the copy would closely resemble that text.

So then, the final product is a copy that should be very close in content to the exemplar. When we find two witnesses that agree with each other in variation units (and of course the remaining text agrees) in the high 90% range, as often happens, then by CBGM reasoning, we are probably looking at two texts that were on a scribe’s desk: the exemplar and its copy. As the percentage decreases, we are probably looking at a witness a few scribes or more removed from the ancestor to which it is being compared. The ranking in the potential ancestor’s tables represents this, though not in the strictest sense. Mink points out numerous times that in the genealogies of older witnesses, in particular, there are large gaps because so many manuscripts have been lost. The loss of these manuscripts obviously is beyond dispute, so the existence of large gaps is always available as an explanation for phenomena.

Connectivity vs. External Criteria

The ranking of witnesses as potential ancestors is one part of a very important concept in the CBGM that is the backbone of stemmata and textual flows in the method: connectivity.

[1] As noted previously, some worthy students and scholars have complained about the subjectivity of the ratings and suggested that they be ignored. I (DW) have always considered them of value, not as objective truth but as a window into the minds of the editors.

[2] Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, eds., “Thoroughgoing Eclecticism in NT Textual Criticism; by J. Keith Elliott,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, 2nd ed., Studies and Documents, vol. 46 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013), 752.

[3] Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, ECM2.

[4] The four assumptions are stated in Gerd Mink, “Contamination, Coherence and Coincidence” in Klaus Wachtel and Michael W. Holmes, eds., The Textual History of the Greek New Testament: Changing Views in Contemporary Research, Society of Biblical Literature Text-Critical Studies, no. 8 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 151–55.

[5] Ibid., 153.

[6] Ibid., 189-202.

[7] Available for download at egora.uni-muenster.de/intf/service/downloads_en.shtml.

[8] “Presentation,” 17.

[9] He says the same in his article, “The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method – What is it about?” at egora.uni-muenster.de/intf/projekte/gsm_aus_en.shtml.

[10] This is my own judgment call, based on readings preferred in the General Epistles of NA28 and various examples discussed by Mink because nothing like Metzger’s Textual Commentary has yet been published documenting the decision processes.

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The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of …

FLEECING THE FLOCK_03FLEECING THE FLOCK: Setting the People of God Free From the Lies of Tithing

Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, …

Deception In the ChurchDECEPTION IN THE CHURCH: Does It Matter How You Worship?

DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.

Translation and Textual Criticism

THE COMPLETE GUIDE to BIBLE TRANSLATION: Bible Translation Choices and Translation Principles [Second Edition]THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION: Bible Translation Choices and Translation Principles [Second Edition] 

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use.

CHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation DifferencesCHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation Differences

There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word …

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT The Science and Art of Textual CriticismTHE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Science and Art of Textual Criticism

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews …

MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman's MISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” [Third Edition]

Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the …

Biblical Studies

HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of GodHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are …

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & ContentTHE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

…the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and how that meaning can then apply to us. Marshall gives you what you need for deeper and richer Bible study. Dr. Lee M. Fields writes, “‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees …

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded] 

The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has …

THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded] 

Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of …

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical HermeneuticsINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to HermeneuticsHOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …

THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern PeopleTHE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzz word. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in RevelationDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy ChurchesA Case-Study in Revelationbegins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …

DYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …

JOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK: Experience the Ministry of Jesus in a Spiritually Captivating WayJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …

ANGELS & DEMONS: The Bible AnswersANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT The Christian Worldview

An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.

Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Daily Devotionals

DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Growing Up In Christ

Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach.

DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDYDEVOTIONAL FOR THOSE COPING WITH TRAGEDY: A Journey Back to God

This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.

DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERSDEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS: Finding Strength Through Faith 

Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL Daily Musings From the Old Testament

Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musing From the New Testament

Paul counseled, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2) It is, for this reason, Marshall has penned the DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musings From the New Testament, which can help us be protected against Satan’s efforts at controlling our mind and heart.  For each day of the year, DAILY DEVOTIONAL provides a Daily Bible Reading and comments for consideration.

BREAD OF HEAVEN: Daily Meditations on Scripture

BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior.

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE SECRET HIDEAWAYTHE SECRET HIDEAWAY ON BRIDGETON HILL

Rachael Garrison knows all the shrewd ways to successfully close multi-million-dollar real estate deals with her father’s famous New York real estate enterprise. But beyond her savvy to rake in huge deals is her premonition that an impending global takeover of the world’s financial wealth is on the horizon by evil leaders of The Great Ten Nations. From New York City to the Irish Hills of Michigan, and into the streets of Detroit her life takes on enormous purpose as

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.

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