Wetstein switches to Byz. text-type
- A fascinating study here on Wetstein's huge switcheroo, which was subsequently covered up, glossed over, excused, danced around, and finally ignored.
As a result of first-hand immersion in the manuscript evidence for 20 years, Wetstein finally concluded that the 4th century Uncials were corrupt, and not worth more than the RC vulgate as to reading support.
- Hi Folks,
Thanks for a fascinating article.
A fascinating study here on Wetstein's huge switcheroo, which was subsequently covered up, glossed over, excused, danced around, and finally ignored. http://adultera.awardspace.com/AE/Wetstein3.html As a result of first-hand immersion in the manuscript evidence for 20 years, Wetstein finally concluded that the 4th century Uncials were corrupt, and not worth more than the RC vulgate as to reading support.
"...The remarkable thing about Wetstein, is that after 21 years of carefully collating and studying manuscripts, he reversed his position on the newly forming text-critical canon, which was gaining popularity among German critics and Protestant ideologues ..."
denouncing some of the most ancient and valuable MSS. as altered and corrupted from the Latin Version, and as possessing no higher authority, and lending no farther sanction to those readings in which they agree with the Latin, than the Latin would have conferred without their assistance.
The Latinization theory I believe was also given by Erasmus. One difficulty with such theories is that the omissions (and corruptions) are far more extensive in the alexandrian manuscripts than the Latin mss. Is that probative against the theory ? (This would not make Wetstein less right, only would cause a review of the reasons for the corruption.)
The following is said about Wetstein:
Misquoting Jesus: Does Bart Erhman Prove the New Testament is Corrupt?
by Daniel McCarthy
In contrast to Bengel, Erhman picks what he most likely sees as a person who parallels his life, Johann Wettstein. He is described by Erhman as starting out in University as a devoted evangelical who saw that God had, bestowed this book (Bible) once and for all on the world as an instrument for perfection of human character. Wettsteins goal was to become expert on the Bible and further its cause for mankind. On a trip to England where was he was given full access to the Codex Alexandrinus, he had his faith shaken. While studying the text, he found that many of the references to Jesus divinity involved textual variants. Similar to Erhmans loss of faith due to his loss of trust in the inerrancy of the Bible, Wettstein lost his faith because of the problems he saw the text posed in verses like 1 John 5:7-8, the Johannine Comma.
Ehrman does actually, grudgingly, acknowledge that Wetstein stuck closer to the TR, ignoring the textual shift given by Porter.
Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the Bible and why
Bart D. Ehrman
Johann J. Wettstein
Wettstein ignored the advances in method made by Bentley (for whom he had once worked, collating manuscripts) and Bengel (whom he considered an enemy) and maintained that the ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament could not be trusted because, in his view, they had all been altered in conformity with the Latin witnesses.
Baird is interesting, but ignores this aspect.
From deism to Tübingen (1992)
So are Bart and Baird missing "the rest of the story" ?
What would be helpful would be actual verses, especially with commentary, that document the shift
from 1730 to 1751. Even a couple.
- Hi Steven: More detail on specific Variation Units may be found in Michaelis (xlation Marsh). I haven't got that handy. I only converted Michaelis' basic statement on Wetstein, but it is possible (and I think Michaelis mentions it) that Michaelis discusses specific VUs in another section of his large volume/review.
Another source might be a translation of any of Wetstein's prolegomenas which were published separately and could be compared with the prolegomenas printed later with his GNT.
I don't know if either is available raw or translated in any form. Perhaps if Wetstein's GNT has been scanned, the prolegomenas were too. The Gospel Volume would be the one of interest, or perhaps the volume on Acts.
You are right that "latinization" is not a full or proper explanation for the much more numerous mistakes (omissions) and variants found in the Alexandrian MSS.
I think that was just the only plausible belief at the time, when the RC church was thought to be the Throne of the AntiChrist himself. It may be that some variants are in fact intrustions from the Latin side, but that is a moot point, as is the misidentified source of the Alexandrian variants.
The key fact is that Wetstein was right about the state of the manuscripts, even though he was not in a position to identify the cause(s) of the variants at that time.
In hindsight today we can agree with Wetstein, Burgon and Hoskier that the MSS are indeed corrupt and full of errors, but the causes are obviously complex and come from many sources and times.
Wetstein's example shows that any longtime familiarity with these manuscripts is likely to result in a negative assessment of their value, due to the fact that their readings are often quite obviously secondary.
Even back as far as 1750 those familiar with the MSS were aware of their lack of textual unity and their many arbitrary readings.
- In fact, we've now expanded this webpage to include:
(1) Baird on Wetstein
(2) Vincent on Wetstein
(3) Erhman on Wetstein
Plus a summary.
--- In TC-Alternatefirstname.lastname@example.org, "BenD" <mr.scrivener@...> wrote:
> P.S.: Steven: I've updated the article with your comments.