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How We Got the Bible Lesson 6: The Text of the New Testament & Significance of Textual Variations.

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Presentation on theme: "How We Got the Bible Lesson 6: The Text of the New Testament & Significance of Textual Variations."— Presentation transcript:

1 How We Got the Bible Lesson 6: The Text of the New Testament & Significance of Textual Variations

2 a study of Neil R. Lightfoot How We Got the Bible, 3rd ed. 2

3 The text of the New Testament The fact of errors in printing What is textual criticism? Mistakes of copyists Basic rules of textual criticism

4 The fact of errors in printing No autographs available, only copies and copies of copies Mistakes in copying not an ancient problem only For example, 400 typographical errors corrected in the first two years of the KJV

5 Textual criticism “Criticism” is “the scientific investigation of literary documents (as the Bible) in regard to such matters as origin, text, composition, character, or history” (Webster’s 7 th ed.) Higher Criticism – authorship, date Textual or Lower Criticism is a study of the form of words, i.e., the text itself

6 The function of textual criticism To recover the exact wording of the original New Testament

7 Copyists’ unintentional mistakes Mistaking one word for another Confusing similar sounding words Improper word division Overlooking or underlooking words Phrases and lines Copying marginal notes into the text

8 Improper Word Division Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have [echomen] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ –NRSV Or, let us have [echōmen] peace...

9 Improper Word Division Revelation 1:5 To him who loves us and freed [lusanti] us from our sins by his blood –NRSV Or, washed [lousanti] us...

10 Word division What does this say? GODISNOWHERE

11 Copyists’ intentional mistakes Spelling Grammar Harmonizing Historical difficulties Combining readings

12 Grammatical correction John 7:39 Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. –NRSV Or, for as yet the Spirit had not been given...

13 Correction for clarity Acts 2:47 And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. NRSV “church”

14 Harmonization Matthew 11:19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” –NRSV Or, wisdom is vindicated by her children. (cf. Luke 7:35)

15 Basic rules of textual criticism The more difficult reading is to be preferred The quality of witnesses is more important than the quantity In parallel passages, the different reading is to be preferred

16 Works or Children (Matt. 11:19) “works” = The more difficult reading is to be preferred “works” = The quality of witnesses is more important than the quantity “works” = In parallel passages, the different reading is to be preferred

17 Significance of textual variations The Bible has been described as “the book of 200,000 errors” The counting method: one copyist’s error repeated 3,999 times = 4,000 errors An attempt to undermine faith in God's word Instead, the 5,300 manuscripts validating the Bible should be emphasized

18 Consequences of variations Trivial variations of no consequence Substantial variations of no consequence Substantial variations affecting the text

19 Types of Error or Variations Dittography - letter twice, only once Haplography - letter once, needed two Homoeoteleution - omission of line, ending Homoeoauches - omission of page, beginning Fusion - combing two words Fission - dividing a single word Metathesis - reversing position of letters Homophony - substitution of another word Misreading - of similar letters

20 Consequences of variations Trivial variations of no consequence

21 Spelling of proper names “Apelles” or “Apollonios” (Acts 18:24) “Bethabara beyond the Jordan” or “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (John 1:28) “Bethzatha” or “Bethesda” or “Bethsaida” (John 5:2)

22 Unimportant trivial variations The addition or omission of words Whether Jesus spoke of “the one who has ears [to hear]” from page for Matthew 11:10-23 in Nestle-Aland’s Novum Testamentum Graece, 25th ed.

23 Unimportant trivial variations The addition or omission of words Whether Jesus spoke of “the one who has ears [to hear]”

24 Order of words What is the difference? –“The birth of Jesus Christ,” or –“The birth of Christ Jesus” from Matthew 1:18

25 Consequences of variations Trivial variations of no consequence Substantial variations of no consequence

26 Bezae’s unique reading for Luke 6:5 Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 19A Codex Bezae (D)

27 Bezae’s unique verse Luke 6:5 moved to follow v. 10 Luke 6:5 then reads, “On the same day, seeing one working on the sabbath day, he said to him, ‘Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you do not know, you are accursed and a transgressor of the law.’ ”

28 Opening of “The Adulterous Woman” in the NASU The story of the adulterous woman

29 Evidence about John 7:53-8:11 Earliest Greek manuscript is Codex Bezae (6th cent.) Where found in other manuscripts from the 8th cent. onward, it sometimes follows John’s Gospel or after Luke 21:38, or is marked with asterisks

30 Evaluation about John 7:53-8:11 Seems to be a tradition handed down from the early church Vouches for its own truthfulness

31 Acts 8:36-38 from Codex Laudianus (Ea); Greek on right, Latin on left Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 22 Confession of the Ethiopian Eunuch

32 Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), plate 22 Confession of the Eunuch “I believe in the Son of God”

33 Evidence for Acts 8:37 Earliest Greek manuscript is Codex Laudianus (6th cent.) Quoted consistently by the early church fathers

34 Irenaeus quoting Acts 8:37 2nd century church father “…that the eunuch himself, after he believed and immediately became worthy to be immersed, was saying, ‘I believe that the Son of God is Jesus’ ” –Irenaeus, Adversus haeresus

35 The Three Heavenly Witnesses 1 John 5:7-8 Became a part of the KJV because of a rash promise made by textual critic, Erasmus The third edition of Erasmus’ Greek N.T. (1522) became the basis of the Greek text used in translating the N.T. of the KJV 1611 Originally quoted in a 4th cent. Latin sermon

36 Consequences of variations Trivial variations of no consequence Substantial variations of no consequence Substantial variations affecting the text

37 The ending of Mark’s Gospel The evidence that Mark ends at 16:8 Not found in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (the two oldest Greek uncials) Not found in the earliest copies of the Old Syriac, the Latin Vulgate and others The style and vocabulary of 16:9-20 is different than the rest of Mark’s Gospel

38 The ending of Mark’s Gospel The evidence that Mark ends at 16:20 Vaticanus has a gap large enough for vv ; clearly the scribe knew of the passage Many other early manuscripts and versions include the last twelve verses What book ends with the words, “for they were afraid”? Irenaeus (2nd cent.) clearly quotes from it

39 Irenaeus’ quote from Mark “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God;’ ” –Irenaeus, Adversus haeresus 3.10

40 J.W. McGarvey on Mark 16:9-20 Argued that the last twelve verses of Luke’s Gospel have the same number of differences in style and vocabulary that Mark 16:9-20 has, yet nobody questions the end of Luke –J.W. McGarvey, Matthew and Mark, (1875; reprint ed., Delight, AR: Gospel Light), pp

41 J.W. McGarvey on Mark 16:9-20 He concluded that Mark 16:9-20 is — “authentic” = historically accurate — “not genuine” = not written originally by Mark –J.W. McGarvey, Matthew and Mark, (1875; reprint ed., Delight, AR: Gospel Light), pp

42 Some observations Every teaching in Mark 16:9-20 is found elsewhere in the N.T. It seems that early in the history of Mark’s Gospel the last page was accidentally torn away Mark or some other early Christian supplied the ending we have now

43 Questions for review (1) What is textual criticism? What are some ways that variations entered into copies of the ancient text? What are some of the rules of textual criticism?

44 Questions for review (2) How do you explain some 200,000 variations in the manuscripts of the N.T.? What are the questions concerning the ending of Mark’s Gospel?

45 Next week Lesson 7: Restoring the New Testament Text & Manuscripts from the Sand

46


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