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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] A catalogue of error and irrelevancies...

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  • timmopussycat
    ... wrote: Instead, I provided irrefutable evidence that both Reformed Baptist Tim, and C. Taylor stated an error about a very common-place
    Message 1 of 16 , May 2, 2005
      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Theodore Letis
      <bucerian@y...> wrote:

      Instead, I provided irrefutable evidence that both Reformed Baptist
      Tim, and C. Taylor stated an error about a very common-place fact
      within the history of N.T. text criticism, namely, that Tischendorf
      DID NOT claim to have rescued the O.T. portion of Codex Aleph
      (Sinaiticus) from the fire. Instead, I documented that he most
      certainly DID save the O.T. portion of this manuscript--according to
      Tischendorf's testimony.

      Tim-And you are in fact correct on this point. My apologies to the
      list.

      Hence, may I remind all on this list that this subject is no
      playground and if folks want to make assertions they had better
      check their facts, or I will surely check them for them, at great
      costs to themselves. So far as I am concerned these two individuals--
      neither of whom have even offered an acknowledgment of their error,
      much less provided this list with an apology--have very little
      credibility on this subject. Moreover, that all the maje or
      > doctrines of the Christian faith have been brought into question
      by means of textual variation, I shall once again provided the
      documentation for:
      >
      > Theodore P. Letis, "Reviews of James White's The King James
      Version Only Controversy: Can You trust the Modern Versions (1995)
      and Gail Riplinger's New Age Versions (1993)," Appendix B as found
      in The Ecclesiastical Text: Text Criticism, Biblical Authority and
      the Popular Mind 2nd ed. (Philadelphia and Edinburgh: The Institute
      for Renaissance and Reformation Biblical Studies, 2000), pp.223-225
      >
      >
      > On pp. 27-28 White wants to make the claim that text criticism
      never affects doctrine and that only the higher criticism does so.
      He is, of course, quite wrong about this, as nearly all text critics
      would agree,

      Tim-None of the eclectic school, by far the majority of evangelical
      scholars will agree with you here.

      but on page 40 he makes this claim very explicit:
      >
      > The simple fact of the matter is that no textual variants in
      either the Old or New Testaments in any way, shape, or form
      materially disrupt or destroy any essential doctrine of the
      Christian faith. This is a fact that any semi-impartial review will
      substantiate (p.40).
      >
      > Because White does not know the literature on this subject he has
      no knowledge of my essay: "B.B. Warfield, Common-Sense Philosophy
      and Biblical Criticism," which appeared in the Journal of the
      Presbyterian Historical Society a few years back (1991), where I
      show that not only did text criticism—formerly known as "lower"
      criticism—open the way for the higher criticism, but that Warfield's
      introduction of this discipline to Princeton Seminary led in a
      significant way to its eventually adopting higher criticism.

      Warfield himself, therefore, I argued, contributed in a substantive
      way to the eventual reorganization of Princeton to allow for the
      modern critical approach to studying the Bible, currently practiced
      in most mainline seminaries and religious studies departments in
      universities throughout the world. He did this by teaching his
      colleagues and students the art of lower criticism.[1]

      Tim-Guilt by association fallacies. There are a multitude of other
      factors that led to Presbyterianism's decline.
      >
      > Nor does White know of my Ph.D. dissertation research which
      established that his assertion, that doctrine is never affected by
      text criticism, is a rather old one and not without a pedigree: it
      was an ideological stratagem created as early as the 18th century
      during debates by the orthodox with the challenges of the English
      Deists.[2]

      Tim-Whether the claim is old or not is not the issue: whether it is
      true or not is the issue.


      > But the most damning indictment of White's book is the fact that
      because he is not, properly speaking, part of the text critical
      guild, he shows no knowledge whatsoever of the most important book
      written in text critical studies in the past fifty years, that is,
      Professor Bart Ehrman's The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The
      Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New
      Testament (Oxford University Press, 1993). This, it should be
      added, was published the same year as Riplinger's. Riplinger's he
      knows, this book he does not know.
      >
      > This, the most important book ever written on the very subject
      of the doctrinal influence of text critical practice--which White
      raises with such certainty--by the world's leading authority on the
      subject, comes to just the opposite conclusion to which White
      himself arrives! Professor Ehrman would remind White that,
      >
      > The textual problems we have examined affect the interpretation
      of many of the familiar and historically significant passages of the
      New Testament: the birth naratives of Matthew and Luke, the prologue
      of the Fourth Gospel, the baptismal accounts of the Synoptics, the
      passion narratives, and other familiar passages in Acts, Paul,
      Hebrews, and the Catholic epistles. In some instances, the
      interpretations of these passages were understood by scribes
      who "read" their interpretations not only out of the text but
      actually into it, as they modified the words in accordance with what
      they were taken to mean…. Naturally, the same data relate to the
      basic doctrinal concerns of early Christians—theologians and,
      presumably, laypersons alike: Was Jesus the Messiah, predicted in
      the Old Testament? Was Joseph his father? Was Jesus born as a human?
      Was he tempted? Was he able to sin? Was he adopted to be the Son of
      God at his baptism? At his resurrection? Or was he himself God? Was
      Jesus one person
      > or two persons? Did he have a physical body after his
      resurrection? And many others. The ways scribes answered these
      questions affected the way they transcribed their texts. And the way
      they transcribed their texts has affected, to some degree, the way
      modern exegetes and theologians have answered these questions (pp.
      276; 281-82, n. 11).

      Tim-Nobody who knows the history of this subject has denied that
      textual variants have been an influence on doctrinal debate. That is
      not my point. My point, I repeat ad nauseum, is whether the orthodox
      interpretation of any doctrine is rendered untenable by reliance on
      the Alexandrian text alone(which as you know, is not fully followed
      by any major translation. And this is a point which your Ehrman
      quote does not address. Does Ehrman make that claim and if so where?

      Incidently those who do not have access to theological libraries
      can find a useful post-Metzger introduction to textual criticism at
      the following website. I don't endorse all the conclusions, but
      there is much food for thought here.

      http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn/


      > Finally, may I just say that I have spent the last 25 years giving
      attention to just these subjects first at Westminster Theological
      Seminary (Philadelphia), and then at Emory University, and then at
      Concordia Theological Seminary, and finally at New College, the
      University of Edinburgh. My research on the subject of how the
      Westminster Divines understood the doctriens of inspiration and
      Preservation can be found summerized here:

      Tim-Dr. Letis, I am disputing neither your degrees nor your post
      degree work in this area. What I see is someone who may have
      valuable things to say but chooses (in internet discussions) to
      shoot himself in the foot by using strawman and guilt by association
      arguments rather than providing the evidence that is asked for.
      I think you can do better.

      Tim
    • forisraelssake
      ... even offered an acknowledgment of their error, much less provided this list with an apology.... This is untrue and the list knows it. That Mr Letis can
      Message 2 of 16 , May 3, 2005
        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Theodore Letis
        <bucerian@y...> wrote:
        > So far as I am concerned these two individuals--neither of whom have
        even offered an acknowledgment of their error, much less provided this
        list with an apology....


        This is untrue and the list knows it. That Mr Letis can fail even at
        the basic task of reading all the posts from this e-group is not my
        responsibility. I recognized my factual error and admitted I was
        mislead by common recapitulations of the Tischendorf story that do not
        admit that the LXX fragments Tish. saved were found in the Sinaiticus
        bundle 15 yrs later.

        And for the record, my name is C. Tylor, not C. Taylor.
      • forisraelssake
        ... the doctrinal influence of text critical practice--which White raises with such certainty--by the world s leading authority on the subject, comes to just
        Message 3 of 16 , May 3, 2005
          > This, the most important book ever written on the very subject of
          the doctrinal influence of text critical practice--which White raises
          with such certainty--by the world's leading authority on the subject,
          comes to just the opposite conclusion to which White himself arrives!
          Professor Ehrman would remind White that,
          >
          > The textual problems we have examined affect the interpretation of
          many of the familiar and historically significant passages of the New
          Testament: the birth naratives of Matthew and Luke, the prologue of
          the Fourth Gospel, the baptismal accounts of the Synoptics, the
          passion narratives, and other familiar passages in Acts, Paul,
          Hebrews, and the Catholic epistles. In some instances, the
          interpretations of these passages were understood by scribes who
          "read" their interpretations not only out of the text but actually
          into it, as they modified the words in accordance with what they were
          taken to mean…. Naturally, the same data relate to the basic doctrinal
          concerns of early Christians—theologians and, presumably, laypersons
          alike: Was Jesus the Messiah, predicted in the Old Testament? Was
          Joseph his father? Was Jesus born as a human? Was he tempted? Was he
          able to sin? Was he adopted to be the Son of God at his baptism? At
          his resurrection? Or was he himself God? Was Jesus one person
          > or two persons? Did he have a physical body after his resurrection?
          And many others. The ways scribes answered these questions affected
          the way they transcribed their texts. And the way they transcribed
          their texts has affected, to some degree, the way modern exegetes and
          theologians have answered these questions (pp. 276; 281-82, n. 11).
          >
          > This puts White's confident assertion that no doctrine is ever
          affected by text criticism in a very dim light indeed.
          >


          Dr Erhman is a liberal of liberal in this field. He is no Christian,
          rejects the Trinity and the definition of Chalcedon, and doubts or
          repudiates the historicity of the bible.

          He did write all these things, no doubt. And it may be convenient for
          traditional text defenders like Letis to simply carry over the logic
          of his 'orthodox corruption' theses into their own rear guard defenses
          of the bible qua textus receptus, but the larger context of Erhman's
          ideas has to be measured.

          Was Joseph his father? You have to understand the context of this: The
          Sinaitic Syriac ms alone indicates that Joseph was the father of Jesus
          ("Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, fathered Jesus who is
          called the Christ"). Although much discussed, this reading has not
          been found in any Greek witnesses. B. M. Metzger suggests that it was
          produced by a careless scribe who simply reproduced the set formula of
          the preceding lines in the genealogy (TCGNT 6).

          Hence Dr Letis is building his whole case about how "different
          manuscripts" corrupt or modify doctrines of the Protestant Churches by
          appealing to a bizarre reading found in a single manuscript of a
          foreign language version, a codex that incidentally still does include
          the rest of Matt 1 and Luke 2 (so the context of the corruption found
          in Syr(S) is greatly mitigated).

          In fact all the other examples Erhman lists are of much the same
          nature. It is quite right to make a case for the theologically
          motivated corruption of the scriptures (in both directions, orthodox
          and unorthdox although mainly orthodox) at the hands of scribes, but
          there is a big difference between than and saying something to the
          effect that Reformation & Protestant doctrines become assaulted or
          doubtsome once we go beyond the Scrivener Textus Receptus and consider
          other variants.


          As to my own opinion, I disagree with both Tim and Theodore on this.
          Tim up to now has de-emphasized theologically-motivated readings as
          being present and at least theoretically of being important in the
          real world in situations where the church needs one variant to preach
          and teach (and rebuke) from, while Letis on the other hand has
          emphasized them to such an absurd level that the presence of the
          obviously corrupt variant of Matt 1:16 in the Sinaitic Syriac
          manuscript calls into question the entire doctrine of the Virgin Birth
          in ALL the manuscripts and therefore apparently we have a duty to hold
          to the Textus Receptus forever and never revise it! Or something like
          that anyway.

          --Chris
          RPNA
        • timmopussycat
          ... Tim-Chris, your above conclusion is not exactly what I am trying to say. I did not mention theologically motivated readings, not because such have not
          Message 4 of 16 , May 3, 2005
            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "forisraelssake"
            <c_tylor@y...> wrote:

            >
            > As to my own opinion, I disagree with both Tim and Theodore on this.
            > Tim up to now has de-emphasized theologically-motivated readings as
            > being present and at least theoretically of being important in the
            > real world in situations where the church needs one variant to preach
            > and teach (and rebuke) from,

            Tim-Chris, your above conclusion is not exactly what I am trying to
            say. I did not mention theologically motivated readings, not because
            such have not occurred, but because they form a secondary dimension to
            the problem, and not its primary one which is the differences in texts.
          • forisraelssake
            ... because ... to ... texts. Chris-True, I sometimes am careless in my words toward you in that you and I seem to hold similar positions in this whole
            Message 5 of 16 , May 3, 2005
              > Tim-Chris, your above conclusion is not exactly what I am trying to
              > say. I did not mention theologically motivated readings, not
              because
              > such have not occurred, but because they form a secondary dimension
              to
              > the problem, and not its primary one which is the differences in
              texts.

              Chris-True, I sometimes am careless in my words toward you in that you
              and I seem to hold similar positions in this whole business (if we
              find Kurt Aland type views more plausible than Maurice Robinson type
              views), and the only striking difference between us being mainly that
              I hold to a Presbyterian formalized super-structure of government and
              discipline imposed on this topic. I'll try to be more careful in
              future posts.

              I have to admit though, that while I find Aland type reconstructions
              of the original text more plausible, I still a great deal of healthy
              respect for Robinson's position, and frankly, I am skeptical of both
              positions even if one of them sounds like it probably has to be the
              right approach. Defaulting to the Scrivener Textus Receptus,
              fortunately is a pretty sane approach in the interim. That NT text was
              (in a strong legal and theological sense) 'good enough' for the
              Reformed Church of Scotland and the Westminster Assembly, which means
              it is good enough now, even while recognizing at a meta-textual level
              the obvious godliness of revising out scribal corruptions/variants. I
              simply am not learned enough to know which greater 'meta' position is
              right, so in the interim, it's the TR for me. :)

              Chris
              Montreal, QC
              Member: RPNA http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/
            • Theodore Letis
              My highest accolades for honesty and principled behavior on this point. Let us now build on the common pool of factual data that all share in common and
              Message 6 of 16 , May 4, 2005
                My highest accolades for honesty and principled behavior on this point. Let us now build on the common pool of factual data that all share in common and account for why two separate communities come to two separate conclusions about this data, i.e., the contemporary status quo of the discipline of N.T. text criticism (two schools, rigorous and reasoned eclecticism); and the Majority Text defenders. It is within the latter school that I place my own position, but prefer to call it the Ecclesiastical Text School since this actually accounts for why this text is in the majority, a point our Baptist Fundamentalist Brethren who prefer to merely call it the "majority text," would rather not draw attention to.
                 
                Theodore P. Letis

                timmopussycat <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Theodore Letis
                <bucerian@y...> wrote:

                Instead, I provided irrefutable evidence that both Reformed Baptist
                Tim, and C. Taylor stated an error about a very common-place fact
                within the history of N.T. text criticism, namely, that Tischendorf
                DID NOT claim to have rescued the O.T. portion of Codex Aleph
                (Sinaiticus) from the fire. Instead, I documented that he most
                certainly DID save the O.T. portion of this manuscript--according to
                Tischendorf's testimony.

                Tim-And you are in fact correct on this point. My apologies to the
                list.

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              • Theodore Letis
                So what, the vast majority of those who worked on the UBS4 and Nestle/Aland27 are as well--so what s your point!? You accept their textual decisions as founf
                Message 7 of 16 , May 4, 2005
                  So what, the vast majority of those who worked on the UBS4 and Nestle/Aland27 are as well--so what's your point!? You accept their textual decisions as founf in the NIV/TNIV/ESV/NASB so why this big protest when Prof. tells the truth about doctrine being affected by textual choices? This is a mere red herring, meant to take attention away from a real authority in the field, when your amateur opinion has already proven to lead folks astray here on this list with careless error. How dare you challenge someone who earned his doctorate at the feet of perhaps the world's most well respected N.T. text criticism, Prof. Bruce Metzger. You certainly do not even have the basic facts in order on this subject, why should anyone on this list listen to you discounting the opinion of one who is a master of the subject such as Prof. Ehrman? Your opinion certainly carries no weight with me. The simple facts of the matter are that Warfieldians in this field of text criticism (those who claim the only final authority are the lost "inerrant autographs" which neither the UBS, nor N/A claim to have reconstructed, much less would they claim their texts are "inerrant"), are a slim minority who engage in special pleading when they claim no doctrine is at stake, when the real authorities in the field say exactly the opposite. What you are is a mere ill-informed propagandist for these Evangelicals and their publishing empire, hell-bent on pushing either the NIV or the TNIV or the ESV on what remains of confessional Christianity, but thank God most on this list know exactly what the "Knight of Malta" Roman Catholic Rupert Murdoch and his Zondervan Corporation are up to. Let us listen to text critics when they are real authorities in the field, rather than to propagandists for Murdoch, who hardly have their facts in order at any rate.
                   
                  Theodore P. Letis

                  forisraelssake <c_tylor@...> wrote:


                  Dr Erhman is a liberal

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