What’s the next step in getting our Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So now we’re moving on with Spiritual Deception in the Highest into the history of the text. Of course, no scholars of textual criticism have been cited. If you were a scholar in the field, this would be somewhat understandable, but Johnson is not. As always, the source material can be found here.
After the Apostle John died, the Church used its collection of New Testament manuscripts. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, these separate manuscripts were brought together into codex (book) form.
Could be, but no sources are cited. Now could one of the Early Church Fathers said this? Sure. Is this plausible? Yes. Still, my problem is that Johnson just gives assertions.
In the very early years of the Church, the Traditional Majority Text (i.e. the Bible) was called the Greek Vulgate; Greek because it was written in Greek and Vulgate because Vulgate means:
“… that which is popular; the usual or best known, and most used by the majority of the people” [S4P97].
Again, this could be the case, but Johnson gives me no reason to believe it and since I have already seen his research isn’t good on what I have studied in-depth and even things I can check in just a couple of minutes. Now it could be that the S 4 refers to the fourth book in his footnotes, but is this a scholarly source who has studied the history of textual transmission? I have no reason to think so.
Then around 150 A.D. the Greek Vulgate (the Traditional Majority Text) was translated into Syrian. This Bible, for the Syrian Church, was named the ‘Peshitta Bible’. Syriac scholars state that the Peshitta Bible was:
“… careful, faithful, simple, direct, literal version, clear and forceful in style” [S4P97].
Again, this is entirely plausible, but it would be nice to know who these scholars are. The source could say something, but I still question Johnson’s sources.
In his book: “Believing Bible Study”, Edward F. Hills compares the Syrian Peshitta Bible to the Traditional Majority Greek Text:
“The Peshitta Syriac version agrees closely with the Traditional text found in the vast majority of the Greek New Testament manuscripts …” and he says: “… the Peshitta was regarded as one of the most important witnesses to the antiquity of the Traditional text” [S8P94].
No problem here really. Biblical transmission has been very accurately done.
The statement above is VERY, VERY, important. The original reason (i.e. excuse) given by Westcott and Hort to make a ‘new’ (i.e. corrupted) Greek New Testament was that the Textus Receptus did not date back to the early manuscripts. The quote above shows the ‘Traditional Majority Text’, i.e. the text used in the King James Bible, dates back to the early Syrian Church, and thus to the earliest manuscripts.
And that translation was done at an early time, yes, but that does not mean that the manuscripts were the best. Keep in mind that we have found new manuscripts since then and especially with the Old Testament, we have found the Dead Sea Scrolls. I am fine with the idea that Westcott and Hort said this, but I would also like to know why they thought what they thought, but Johnson doesn’t want to give us the argument.
It used to be that: “… some scholars of the nineteenth century believed that the ‘Majority Text’ was a fourth century recension and did not represent the earliest manuscripts … This [theory] has been abandoned by most present day scholars” [S3P480].
And who are the present day scholars? When is the present day?
Isn’t it appropriate that the Traditional Majority Text can be traced back to the early Church in Syria. I say this because it was in Syria, specifically at Antioch the capital of Syria, where believers were first called ‘Christians’! ( Acts 11:26 ).
Why this would indicate this text is the best? Your guess is as good as mine.
We will continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)