The Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form (1261-1453 C.E.)

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 140 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Some Byzantine supporters argue that “It [Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form] is the most carefully controlled and textually unified group of Byzantine MSS that were produced.” Moises Rodrigues Coimbra, a Facebook New Testament Textual Studies group has said it this way, “it is very common to hear (at least for those who defend this MSS family) That the Byzantine Kr/family 35 text-form is the most precise and uniform grouping of New Testament manuscripts ever produced.” Astonishingly, that sounds quite impressive; when, in fact, really, it is not! You see, some have mistakenly taken these types of comments and the careful scribal work to produce a standard text of sorts from the Byzantine family of manuscripts to produce the Byzantine Kr/family 35 text-form with also being the most accurate text. The Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form of the 13th-15th centuries is the Textus Receptus before there was the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus is a corrupt critical text by Desiderius Erasmus in the 16th-century made from about half a dozen 12th-century Byzantine manuscripts. It is a Majority Text before there was the Majority. The Majority Text was produced in the 20th-century by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad as well as Robinson & Pierpont. It is called the Majority Text because it is considered to be the Greek text established on the basis of the reading found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts (Byzantine Family). The Textus Receptus differs from the Majority Text in 1,838 Greek readings, of which 1,005 represent “translatable” differences.

Immediately below is an overview of the Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form, which you should read through to better understand this article. But if you are already familiar with the Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form and want to jump right to the debunking of the idea that this text-form is the most accurate, scroll to the heading Responding to the Byzantine Advocate.

0123Family Kr (also known as Family 35) is a large group of the New Testament manuscripts. It belongs to the Byzantine text-type as one of the textual families of this group. The group contains no uncial manuscripts but is represented by a substantial number of minuscules. The Byzantine Greek New Testament (BGNT), is a new scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament. The BGNT base text is compiled from a consensus of readings from the Byzantine Kr or family 35 text form.

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Description of Byzantine Kr/family 35 Text-Form

The group was discovered by Hermann von Soden in the late 19th century and designated by him with symbol Kr.[1]

According to Soden, the group is the result of an early 12th-century attempt to create a unified New Testament text; the copying was controlled and the accuracy is unequaled in the history of the transmission of the New Testament text. Text Kr gained in popularity and became the most copied Greek text of the late Middle Ages. On the basis of the present location of most of the members of the group, it appears to have originated in the area of Constantinople or Mount Athos.

The majority of the manuscripts can be recognized by the distinctive marginal lectionary equipment which are different from the traditional Eusebian Canons. Von Soden used this marking to identify Kr members. The text of the group is also distinct and easy to identify.[2]

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

One characteristic of these manuscripts is that the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) is marked with obeli [a mark (– or ÷) used in ancient texts to mark a word or passage as spurious, corrupt, or doubtful]. Maurice Robinson argues that these marks do not represent a textual judgment, but are intended as a reminder that these verses are to be omitted when reading the Gospel for Pentecost (John 7:37-8:12).

David O. Voss confirmed the distinctiveness of the Kr group. He enumerated some readings typical for this group.[3] Wilbur Pickering generated a new testament reading based on the F35 family of manuscripts.[4]

1200px-Minuscule_2_(GA)_Matt_1-Byzantine text
Minuscule_2_(GA)_Matt_1-Byzantine text
From Paul Anderson:

 The BGNT is based on a general consensus of the f35, or family 35 group, of (Kappa) Byzantine MSS. It is composed of 260+ Gospel-only MSS with another approximately 150 MSS that contain the family group readings for Acts/Epistles and in Revelation (Mc or just c) for Complutensian type in the Apocalypse. There are between 15-20 complete NTs for family 35. No other group of Greek MSS has this pedigree. It is the most carefully controlled and textually unified group of Byzantine MSS that were produced. One thing important to start out is the addition of the important qualifier Kappa Byzantine.

 Kappa Byzantine groups have the highest percentage of Byzantine type readings in their respective groups as opposed to just Byzantine MSS/groups which contain lower percentage Byzantine readings in total. There are four (Kappa) Byzantine groups are: 1. K1(Omega) which has a M2 PA profile 40-50 MSS, 2. Ki/E-text which has uncials E/07, H(013) plus 60-80 minuscules, M5 in the PA. 3. Kx uncial V(031) plus 700-800 MSS (mainly M6 PA), 4. Kr/f35 non-uncials but 400+ total MSS (Gospel MSS all with M7 PA).

 So, the Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts are both K/Kx based texts vs. f35 being Kr or fam. 35-based MSS. But there is a very important detail in the Kx group we have found this year. Generally, the three Kappa groups K1, Ki and Kx together are called just K for Kappa. But they divide in readings into their respective groups at times i.e. K1, Ki and Kx. So, Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont state in their intros when K divides, they would generally go with the Kx reading consensus. But the interesting discovery we made this year that most Kx MSS have a M6 PA type and not M5 as in RP. This is a very important distinction within Kappa, and we did not know this before. Dr. Robinson has assumed that a Kx MS may have the M5 PA but, really not true. Only Ki (Kappa) MSS have the M5 PA within the four Kappa groups. But, on the M6 PA side, Kx dominates with this form of the PA. Few other Byzantine groups, even smaller ones, have the M6 PA form. So, in the end, Hodges-Farstad was consistent with the MS evidence while Robinson-Pierpont was not–not only in the PA but, in many other readings as well.

 Also, among the other three Kappa groups, Kx stands the closet to f35 or the Byzantine Greek New Testament (BGNT). There are a total of 1186 differences (even with the different PA form and the Apocalypse) between Robinson-Pierpont and the BGNT/f35 textform. Most are small differences. The TR is 1808 variants apart (Kx vs. TR) and 2000 variants (f35 vs. TR). Again, most are smaller variations but a few larger ones like Acts 8:37, the CJ and a few others.

But, again, with B and Aleph varying over 1,000+ differences in John alone (3,000+ in the 4 Gospels) these are small differences by comparison between Kx f35 and the TR taken as a whole. Again, Kx and Kr/f35 are really quite close therefore the RP/HF vs. BGNT/f35 are really the same in distance as their represented MSS groups they cater to.

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

Wisse’s Group Readings in Luke 1, 10, and 20

The word before the bracket is the reading of the UBS edition; the readings which are not bold are those of the Textus Receptus.[5]

Luke 1:44 — εν αγαλλιασει το βρεφος ] το βρεφος εν αγαλλιασει
Luke 1:55 — εις τον αιωνα ] εως αιωνος
Luke 1:63 — εστι(ν) ] εσται
Luke 10:4 — μη ] μηδε
Luke 10:12 — λεγω ] + δε
Luke 10:36 — πλησιον δοκει σοι ] δοκει σοι πλησιον
Luke 10:39 — τον λογον ] των λογων
Luke 10:41 — ειπεν αυτη ο κυριος (or Ιησους) ] ο κυριος ειπεν αυτη
Luke 20:1 — αρχιερεις ] ιερεις
Luke 20:5 — δια τι ] + ουν
Luke 20:9 — τις ] οmit
Luke 20:15 — αυτον ] οmit
Luke 20:19 — τον λαον ] οmit
Luke 20:28 — Μωυσης ] Μωσης
Luke 20:31 — επτα ] + και
Luke 20:34 — γαμιζονται ] εγκαμιζονται (ΤR reads: εγκαμισκονται)
Luke 20:37 — Μωυσης ] Μωσης.[6]

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

Members of the Family

Wisse enumerated 221 manuscripts of this family: 18, 35, 47, 55, 56, 58, 66, 83, 128, 141, 147, 155, 167, 170, 182, 189, 201, 204, 214, 246, 285, 290, 361, 363, 386, 387, 394, 402, 479, 480, 483 (Luke corrector), 510, 511, 512, 516, 521, 547, 553, 558, 575, 586, 588, 594, 645, 660, 664, 673, 685, 689, 691, 694, 696, 757, 758, 763, 769, 781, 786, 789, 797, 802, 806, 824, 825, 845, 867, 897, 928, 932, 938, 940, 952, 953, 955, 959, 960, 962, 966, 973, 975, 1003, 1020, 1023, 1025, 1030, 1046, 1059, 1062, 1072, 1075, 1082, 1092, 1095, 1111, 1116, 1145, 1156, 1147, 1158, 1165, 1169, 1176, 1185, 1189, 1190, 1199, 1224, 1234, 1236, 1247, 1250, 1251, 1276, 1323, 1328, 1329, 1334, 1339, 1348, 1389, 1400, 1401, 1409, 1435, 1445, 1453, 1461, 1462, 1471, 1476, 1480, 1482, 1487, 1488, 1489, 1492, 1493, 1496, 1499, 1501, 1503, 1508, 1517, 1543, 1544, 1548, 1551, 1552, 1559, 1560, 1572, 1576, 1584, 1596, 1599, 1600, 1601, 1614, 1617, 1619, 1621, 1622, 1625, 1628, 1633, 1634, 1636, 1637, 1638, 1648, 1649, 1650, 1656, 1658, 1659, 1664, 1667, 1686, 1694, 1698, 1699, 1703, 1713, 1813, 2122, 2135, 2204, 2221, 2260, 2261, 2273, 2284, 2296, 3222, 2323, 2355, 2364, 2367, 2370, 2382, 2399, 2407, 2452, 2454, 2460, 2466, 2483, 2496, 2503, 2520, 2554, 2621, 2635, 2673, 2689, 2692, 2709, 2765, 2767.[7]

English Bible Versions King James Bible KING JAMES BIBLE II

Responding to the Byzantine Advocate

The Family 35 group is the result of an early 12th-century attempt to create a unified New Testament text. So, they took Byzantine manuscripts at that time and tried to create a majority text in the 12th-century. So, if the Byzantine text is corrupt from its start in the fifth century C.E. and then copies of those corruptions were repeated and added to over the next 800 years and then they try and create a standard text from corrupt texts, you have a corrupt text. Yes?

In addition, by attempting to create a unified text in the 12-century, they have to openly admit that the Byzantine family was not unified all along. Otherwise, why created a standard text and then work so hard to make perfect copies. Thus, if it is not unified; then, even trying to pick the best readings from the 12-century manuscripts that created Family 35, you are picking from corrupt manuscripts to do so. And making the argument, which they do that “the copying was controlled and the accuracy is unequaled in the history of the transmission of the New Testament text” does not still answer (1) the Byzantine corruption period prior to, (2) nor deal with the Alexandrian Family that dates 200-250 years earlier than the earliest Byzantine text.

It is said of the Kr/family 35 Text-Form that it is the most precise and uniform grouping of New Testament manuscripts ever produced. What does that mean exactly? Really, it means nothing other than the Byzantine text-type dominated throughout the Byzantine Empire from 395-1453 C.E. and for 800 many major copyists errors like Mark 16:9-20, John 7:53-8:11, and 1 John 5:7-8 were repeatedly copied and recopied. However, during manuscript production, through the late Byzantine Empire (1261-1453) the scribes managed to copy precise uniform copies of texts that were already corrupt. Byzantine manuscripts have fewer disagreements is a common claim but that could hardly be the case when they make up 4,000+ of the 5898 Greek NT manuscripts. And even if so, it is a period with many very professional scribes all doing the work. But as was said, the horse (corruptions) was already out of the barn, so closing the door (professional scribes taking great liberties to be precise and uniform), was a bit futile.

How to Interpret the Bible-1 INTERPRETING THE BIBLE how-to-study-your-bible1

It is often argued by the Textus Receptus Onlyists and the King James Version Onlyists that there are thousands of differences between Codex Vatican and Codex Sinaiticus. John Miller on Social media makes a typical comment: “You think the TR is corrupt? What about the ~3500 differences between Vaticanus and Sinaiticus just in the gospels alone? The Critical Text is the corrupt one!” Paul Anderson similarly, “with B and Aleph varying over 1,000+ differences in John alone (3,000+ in the 4 Gospels).”

A quick response would be that they are very much mistaken and doing exactly what Agnostic NT Textual scholar Bart D. Ehrman does, misrepresenting the information. Miller’s comparison is like me saying a person who steals a radio from Walmart is the same as the man who murders 20 people and trying to say they are both criminals.

THE Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus differences are insignificant in the extreme. A large number of these differences are due to iotacisms and variants in transcribing Hebrew names. Others are because two of the scribes were bad spellers. They are nothing and much was corrected by the more competent scribe and the corrector.

THE TR, on the other hand, has whole phrases, sentences, verses, and even whole sections added. Plus textual changes for theological bias. Let’s not even mention the end of revelation. Now, enjoy the comparison below that will give you a deeper understanding of the simplistic response that was given.

Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, two of great uncial codices, representatives of the Alexandrian text-type, are considered excellent manuscript witnesses of the text of the New Testament. Most critical editions of the Greek New Testament give precedence to these two chief uncial manuscripts, and the majority of translations are based on their text. Codex Vaticanus dates to about 300 to 325 C.E. and is identified by the (03B). Herein, we will use the capital B. Codex Sinaiticus dates to about 330 to 360 C.E. and is identified by (01, א) What looks like a squiggly x is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet א (ʼAleph). We will use א to identify Codex Sinaiticus herein. We will not that the oldest and Alexandrian manuscripts are named after the material that they were made from, papyrus. So, for example, Papyrus 75 has the identifying symbol the Gothic P and a superscript number (𝔓75). We will just use the regular English font P75.

The Epistle to the Hebrews Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

The King James Version Onlyist argue that there are many differences between these two manuscripts. According to Dean Burgon: “It is, in fact, easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS differ the one from the other than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree.”[1] See Matthew 1:18-19 below as a perfect example.

This is simply exaggeration and a misrepresentation of the evidence. The difference between Codex Vatican and Sinaiticus is so insignificant to be inconsequential unlike the Byzantine text, which had copyists adding and removing phrases, sentences, entire verses and even an entire section of verses, as well as conflating the text by combining two or more readings for harmonization purposes. A few examples of the differences between the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus will suffice to show the insignificance. Spelling differences Ζαρε (ZerahB, supported by P1 and Ζαρα (Zerahא. Misspelled word παραθαλασσαν (by the seaא παραθαλασσιαν (by the seaB. Another εν τη Γαλιλαια (in the Galileeא
εν ολη τη Γαλιλαια (in all the GalileeB. A final example of insignificance, πασαν την Συριαν (whole of the Syriaא ολην την Συριαν (all the SyriaΒ. If these seem insignificant, note below those even more so.

For most of the New Testament, Codex Sinaiticus is in general agreement with Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, attesting the Alexandrian text-type. A notable example of an agreement between the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus texts is that they both omit the word εικη (‘without cause’, ‘without reason’, ‘in vain’) from Matthew 5:22 “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

In John 1:1–8:38 Codex Sinaiticus differs from Vaticanus and all other Alexandrian manuscripts. It is in closer agreement with Codex Bezae in support of the Western text-type. For example, in John 1:4 Sinaiticus and Codex Bezae are the only Greek manuscripts with textual variant ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἐστίν (in him is life) instead of ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ᾓν (in him was life). This variant is supported by Vetus Latina and some Sahidic manuscripts. This portion has a large number of corrections. There are a number of differences between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus; Hoskier enumerated 3036 differences: [2]

  • Matthew: 656
  • Mark: 567
  • Luke: 791
  • John: 1022
  • TOTAL: 3036

A large number of these differences are due to iotacisms and variants in transcribing Hebrew names. These two manuscripts were not written in the same scriptorium. According to Fenton Hort Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were derived from a common original much older source, “the date of which cannot be later than the early part of the second century, and may well be yet earlier.”[3]

Iotacism or itacism is the process of vowel shift by which a number of vowels and diphthongs converged towards the pronunciation in post-classical Greek and Modern Greek. The term “iotacism” refers to the letter iota, the original sign for, with which these vowels came to merge. The alternative term itacism refers to the new pronunciation of the name of the letter eta as [ˈita] after the change.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE

Example of differences between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in Matthew 1:18–19:

Codex Sinaiticus (01, א) Codex Vaticanus (03, B)
18 του δε ι̅υ̅ χ̅υ̅ η γενεσις ουτως ην μνηστευθεισης της μητρος αυτου μαριας τω ιωσηφ πριν η συνελθειν αυτους ευρεθη εν γαστρι εχουσα εκ π̅ν̅ς̅ αγιου19 ιωσηφ δε ο ανηρ αυτης δικαιος ων και μη θελων αυτην παραδειγματισαι εβουληθη λαθρα απολυσαι αυτην 18 του δε χ̅υ̅  ι̅υ̅ η γενεσις ουτως ην μνηστευθεισης της μητρος αυτου μαριας τω ιωσηφ πριν η συνελθειν αυτους ευρεθη εν γαστρι εχουσα εκ π̅ν̅ς̅ αγιου

19 ιωσηφ δε ο ανηρ αυτης δικαιος ων και μη θελων αυτην δειγματισαι εβουληθη λαθρα απολυσαι αυτην

The Holy Spirit_02 THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

Examples of the Insignificant Differences

Matthew 1:3
Ζαρε (Zerah) – B, supported by Papyrus 1
Ζαρα (Zerah) – Sinaiticus

Matthew 1:20
Μαριαν – B L f1 1241
Μαριαμ – א C D W Z Θ f13 Byz

Matthew 2:12
εις την χωραν αυτων (into their country) – Β
εις την εαυτων χωραν (into their own country) – א f1 157 a b g1 vg cop

Matthew 3:15
πρεπον εστιν ημας (it fitting us) – א cop it syr
πρεπον εστιν ημιν (it fitting for us) – Β

Matthew 4:8
δικνυει (showed) – א
δεικνυσιν (showed) – Β
εδειξεν (showed) – D 372

Matthew 4:13
παραθαλασσαν (by the sea) – א W
παραθαλασσιαν (by the sea) – B
παραθαλασσιον (by the sea) – D 372

Matthew 4:23
εν τη Γαλιλαια (in Galilee) – א
εν ολη τη Γαλιλαια (in all Galilee) – B C 157 cop syr eth
ολην την γαλιλαιαν (all Galilee) – D

For many more Examples, COMPARISON OF CODEX SINAITICUS AND CODEX VATICANUS

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP Agabus Cover BIBLICAL CRITICISM

Byzantine and Majority Text Proponents, KJVOists and TROists Questions

(1) How many textual errors (differences) are in the Byzantine manuscripts used to make the Textus Receptus, which is behind the KJV?

(2) How many textual errors (differences) are in the handful of Byzantine manuscripts used to make the Textus Receptus, which is behind the KJV?

(3) If there are no textual differences in the 4,000 Byzantine texts (which there are), what was the Word of God before the fifth-century Byzantine text of Codex Alexandrinus (400-440 A.D.)? Only the Western and the Alexandrian family texts existed in the third and fourth centuries and only the Alexandrian in the second century. So, God allowed errors by the copyists of the Alexandrian and Western manuscripts but miraculously inspired the thousands of Byzantine copyists from 400 -1455 A.D.?

(4) The Byzantine Advocates (the text behind the TR) acknowledge there are differences between the Byzantine text and the Textus Receptus and Textus Receptus Advocates believe there are differences between the TR and the Byzantine text. So, where is the miraculous preservation of Scripture?

(5) The TRIST and the KJVOIST argue that the New Testament original is found in the majority of the manuscripts, which is the Byzantine. However, there is a problem, there was no Byzantine text for the first four centuries, and the Byzantine text did not become the majority of the manuscripts until the 9th century. So, what was the New Testament Text before the 9th century when the Byzantine came to be the majority and up until that time the Alexandrian was the majority?

(6) Which is inerrant the Latin Vulgate Erasmus used to make some of the Textus Receptus or the Byzantine texts?

(7) What was the inerrant word of God in the second and third centuries A.D. before the development of the Byzantine text?

(8) You say scribes/copyists do not make changes to the text intentionally and unintentionally, so how do you explain the copyists who write in the margins that a previous copyist made changes? How do you explain the differences in the manuscripts?

(9) Speaking of the Textus Receptus, which of the four editions by Desiderius Erasmus do you prefer (1519, 1522, 1527, 1535), or the four editions of Robert Estienne (Stephanus) (1503– 1559), or the nine editions by Théodore Beza (1519– 1605)? How did the term Textus Receptus come about? How did the Greek text develop from Desiderius Erasmus to Robert Estienne to Théodore Beza, and did any of the editions have a critical apparatus with variants, and did any of these men consult any Alexandrian manuscripts?

(10) If the KJVOist advocates are correct and the copyists for the Byzantine text DID NOT make all of the additions to the Greek text but rather the Alexandrian copyists removed them, why do the 100+ papyri manuscripts discovered in the 1930s – the 1950s date with decades of the originals, 200 years before the 4th-century Alexandrian Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and 350 years before the earliest 5th-century Byzantine text looks just like the Alexandrian of manuscripts?

(11) THE PREFACE to the 1611 KJV by the translators says the KJV was a revision of the 16t century translations of Coverdale, Tyndale, the Great Bibles, and others. The translators said that they expect new revisions of their KJV translation when more manuscripts come to light and a better understanding of Hebrew and Greek, there should be revisions. Were those translators wrong?

(12) What do you do with the fact that the KJV has 1,000 different words that do not mean today what they meant in 1611, even having the opposite meaning? The understanding of Hebrew and Greek has astronomically improved since 1611 and the 1611 KJV translators said in the 1611 PREFACE that a new revision should be made upon such circumstances. So, why reject efforts to do so with the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV), the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), the 1952 Revised Standard Version (RSV), the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB), the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV), and the forthcoming Updated American Standard Version (UASV)? Are not these revisions simply following the instructions of the 1611 KJV translators?

(13) What do you do with the fact that the KJV has 1,000 different words that do not mean today what they meant in 1611, even having the opposite meaning? The understanding of Hebrew and Greek has astronomically improved since 1611, and the 1611 KJV translators said in the 1611 PREFACE that a new revision should be made upon such circumstances. So, why reject efforts to do so with the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV), the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), the 1952 Revised Standard Version (RSV), the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB), the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV), and the forthcoming Updated American Standard Version (UASV)? Are not these revisions simply following the instructions of the 1611 KJV translators?

“The manuscript evidence, as found in the major majuscule codexes [Vaticanus and Sinaiticus], and then confirmed by early papyri [esp. P66 (150 C.E.) and P75 (175-225 C.E.)], points to the Alexandrian text-type as the earliest (and a very stable) textual witness.” Stanley E. Porter. How We Got the New Testament (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology) (p. 64). Baker Publishing Group.

THE FOUR FAVORITE ARGUMENTS OF
KJVOIST LEADERS DEBUNKED

Bible scholar David Fuller brings us the first argument in his book, Which Bible, where he writes, “Burgon regarded the good state of preservation of B (Codex Vaticanus) and ALEPH (Codex Sinaiticus) in spite of their exceptional age as proof not of their goodness but of their badness. If they had been good manuscripts, they would have been read to pieces long ago. We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their preservation, solely to their ascertained evil character …. Had B (Vaticanus) and ALEPH (Sinaiticus) been copies of average purity, they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight. Thus, the fact that B and ALEPH are so old is a point against them, not something in their favour. It shows that the Church rejected them and did not read them. Otherwise, they would have worn out and disappeared through much reading.”

Thus, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, leading representatives of the Alexandrian family of manuscripts, are in such great condition because they are full of errors, alterations, additions, and deletions, so they would have had little chance of wear and tear, never having been used by true believers. This argument is simply the weakest and most desperate that this author has ever heard. First, many of the papyrus Alexandrian manuscripts are in terrible shape, some being 200 years older than codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, which would mean that they must have been read very often by true believers. Second, a number of old Byzantine and Western manuscripts are in good condition as well, which by this argument would indicate that they are also guilty of never having been read because they were full of errors, alterations, additions and deletions, so they would have had little chance of wear and tear. Third, the size of Sinaiticus with the Old Testament, the New Testament, and apocryphal books, among other books would have weighed about 50+ lbs. This book was not read in the same manner that Christians would read their Bibles today. The same would be true of Codex Vaticanus as well. Fourth, both were written on extremely expensive and durable calfskin. Fifth, the period of copying the Byzantine text type was c. 330 – 1453 C.E. and it progressed into the most corrupt period for the Church (priests to the popes: stealing, sexual sins, torture, and murder); so much so, it ends with the Reformation. Thus, the idea of true believers wearing out manuscripts is ludicrous. Sixth, the Bible was locked up in Latin. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, produced in the 5th century to make the Bible accessible to all, became a means of keeping God’s Word hidden. Almost all Catholic priests were biblically illiterate, so one wonders who were these so-called true believers and how were they reading God’s Word to the point of wearing it out. For centuries, manuscripts were preserved, even when the Catholic priests could no longer understand them.

Burgon, Miller, and Scrivener in their second argument maintained that the Byzantine text was used by the church for far more centuries, which proved its integrity, as God would never allow the church to use a corrupt text. B. F. Westcott wrote, “A corrupted Bible is a sign of a corrupt church, a Bible mutilated or imperfect, a sign of a church not yet raised to complete perfection of the truth.” (The Bible in the Church, 1864, 1875) The reader can determine for himself or herself if it is mere coincidence that as the church grew corrupt, the most corrupt manuscript of all grew right along with it for a thousand years.

As was stated earlier, Lucian produced the Syrian text, renamed the Byzantine text. About 290 C.E., some of his associates made various subsequent alterations, which deliberately combined elements from earlier types of text, and this text was adopted about 380 C.E. At Constantinople, it became the predominant form of the New Testament throughout the Greek-speaking world. The text was also edited, with harmonized parallel accounts, grammar corrections, and abrupt transitions modified to produce a smooth text. This was not a faithfully accurate copy. As we had just learned earlier under the corruption period, after Constantine legalized Christianity, giving it equal status with the pagan religions, it was much easier for those possessing manuscripts to have them copied. In fact, Constantine had ordered 50 copies of the whole of the Bible for the church in Constantinople. Over the next four centuries or so, the Byzantine Empire and the Greek-speaking church were the dominant factors as to why this area saw their text becoming the standard. It had nothing to do with it being the better text, i.e., the text that more accurately reflected the original. From the eighth century forward, the corrupt Byzantine text was the standard text and had displaced all others; it makes up about 95 percent of all manuscripts that we have of the Christian Greek Scriptures.

Burgon, Miller, and Scrivener in their third argument continued with the belief that it would be foolish to set aside thousands of manuscript witnesses (the Byzantine text-type) for a few supposedly early manuscript witnesses (the Alexandrian text-type). But in truth, the majority of anything does not automatically mean that it is the best or even correct. Today we can easily produce thousands of copies of a faulty manuscript with a machine, and every copy displays the same errors. If we were to hand-copy the same manuscript a thousand times, obvious errors probably would be corrected in many copies, but new errors would be introduced, many of them probably the result of a well-intended “correction.” A textual criticism principle that has been derived from this observation is that manuscripts should be weighed (i.e. for value), not counted.

In their fourth argument, Burgon, Miller, and Scrivener maintained that the Byzantine text-type was actually older and superior to the Alexandrian text-type. To refute this, we can go back to our patristic quotations, which reveal the Alexandrian text-type as earlier than the Byzantine text-type. Greenlee writes, “The fallacy in this argument was that the antiquity of a ‘Syrian’ (i.e., Byzantine) reading could be shown only when the Byzantine text was supported by one of the pre-Byzantine texts, which proved nothing in favor of the Byzantine since WH maintained that Syrian readings were largely derived from the pre-Syrian texts. That the traditional text was intrinsically superior was more nearly a matter of subjective opinion; but extensive comparison of text-types has left most scholars convinced that the late text [Byzantine] is in general inferior, not superior.”

by Edward D. Andrews and Wikipedia

In Defense Of Family 35 by Wilbur N. Pickering

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[1] H. von Soden Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments, in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte, Verlag von Arthur Glaue, Berlin 1902-1910, pp. 757-765, 799-805.

[2] F. Wisse, The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of Manuscript Evidence, as Applied to the Continuous Greek Text of the Gospel of LukeWilliam B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1982, p. 92.

[3] David O. Voss, Is von Soden’s Kr a distinct type of Text? JBL 57 (1938), pp. 311-318.

[4] “Textus Receptus Bibles”

[5] F. Wisse, The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of Manuscript Evidence, p. 95,

[6] Frederik Wisse, The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of Manuscript EvidenceWilliam B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1982, p. 92, 122-125.

[7]  F. Wisse, The Profile Method for the Classification and Evaluation of Manuscript EvidenceWilliam B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1982, pp. 92-93.

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