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Re: Text types

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  • Daniel
    Chris, One thing I would like to say is that I agree with you that no translation of the original languages is at all pure and also that they still can in some
    Message 1 of 32 , May 4, 2005
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      Chris,

      One thing I would like to say is that I agree with you that no
      translation of the original languages is at all pure and also that
      they still can in some sense be called the word of God. In other
      words if the only translation I had was the NIV, then I would use it,
      as corrupt as it is.

      And I see what you are saying about the fact that the spirit assures
      us that the Bible is the word of God so that what is debated is not
      the authority of scripture but which text type most accurately
      reflects the original. But to me it seems like the same thing as
      questioning God's word but on a different level. Yes, the original is
      inspired but if we don't know what the original is then we are back
      to square one (square one being that we don't really know what the
      word of God is yet). What good is it simply to know that there is an
      original out there somewhere? Because, if the means by which we get
      back to the original is by textual criticism, which is by definition
      uncertain, then we still have that layer of doubt to pass through to
      get to God's word. It might be true that all of the text types agree
      in most places but is that why we should be sure that those
      particular words are inspired? The only reason why we know that is
      because the textual critics say it and as faithfull as the RPNA is
      (and I would say that they are one of the most faithfull
      denominations) I cannot rely of there testimony because they are
      still mere men.

      I actually believe that Textual Criticism can be used to guide us,
      just like we can use church history to guide us to find the right
      cannon of scripture, but I firmly believe that God has to give a
      direct witness in order to be completely sure. Just as we wouldn't
      say the the authority of Scripture rests on the church we should also
      say that it doesn't rest on the testimony of textual critics. For
      instance, I don't believe that John 3:16 is there simply because all
      of the text types have it, but because the spirit assures it to my
      heart. What I am against is modern textual criticism which seems to
      confuse that order of importance. So, I don't believe that the Spirit
      first guides us to the Bible and then leaves us to find out which
      text is right, because even the places that agree can only be found
      out to be so by those who see the texts first hand (and even that
      doesn't remove the uncertainty) but that the Spirits work always
      logically precedes the uncertainty of science on any level.

      Some, I guess, could argue that I am missrepresenting the arguement
      by saying that we rely on textual CRITICS as opposed to saying
      textual CRITICISM. Putting aside the fact that textual criticism
      wouldn't be certain anyway, I think that we can safely say that the
      church would have to rely on the actual fallible CRITICS themselve
      because only they are qualified enough to make such an inquiry
      leaving the rest of the church to move with them as they get blown to
      and fro by every wind of scientific discovery and human error.

      It is good to discuss this with you and God bless.

      In Christ,

      Daniel Drost
    • bob_suden
      Sorry Chris, Didn t see this before my last. Finally an acknowledgment of PP according to the WCF contra the previous discussion on nothing would be lost
      Message 32 of 32 , May 14, 2005
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        Sorry Chris,
        Didn't see this before my last.
        Finally an acknowledgment of PP according to the WCF contra the
        previous discussion on nothing would be lost regardless of which
        text/manuscript family used etc.etc.

        cordially in Christ,
        Bob Suden


        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "forisraelssake"
        <c_tylor@y...> wrote:
        > > What good is it simply to know that there is an
        > > original out there somewhere?
        >
        > Dan:
        >
        > I think what I am saying is that we know about the providential
        purity
        > of the Scripture text (a priori) and so any corruption must
        > necessarily be insignificant by definition, or preservation isn't
        > preservation.
        >
        > The autograph is not some hypothetical entity existing at the end of
        > research, it is present with us in the apogpraphs (copies) by virtue
        > of providential preservation (WCF 1:8). This isnt Kantianism, where
        > the ding-an-sich is unknowable and always beyond perception. The
        > apographs are of course pure themselves.
        >
        > I just thought this up and the logic of it might be wrong but it
        seems
        > to me as if your position is the one that puts the Scripture outside
        > somewhere. True, you believe we can by a leap of pure faith all
        > together 'reach' out and grab the original variant. You therefore
        > think any sincere Christian can know the words of the original.
        >
        > But your position, if I followed you correctly (which I am not
        certain
        > I have!), considers all but the autographical readings impure and
        the
        > entire manuscript tradition literally a big mass of inchoate
        corrupted
        > uninspired variants. You suggest we can by "inner ostention", pick
        > out individually (or corporately in some capacity) the autographical
        > reading through sincere faith (and perhaps, some scholarship).
        >
        > However it seems to me that is inadequate, since it more or less
        > treats the manuscript tradition as wildly infused with corruptions.
        > How can God by a singular providence kept the autograph readings
        pure
        > if the autograph reading must by definition be only a single variant
        > among the several that usually exist for each sentence?
        >
        > (Forgive me if I reduced a strawman to absurdity, Daniel!)
        >
        > The proper confessional way to view it seems to me to say the
        > manuscripts in church use have been kept pure from heresy or schism
        or
        > infidelity. Isn't that what WCF 1:8 is saying? The TRs of the
        > Reformation are the RPNA's ecclessiastical text(s) because it was a
        > homologated text of the Reformers and it is a known pure text.
        Other
        > printed texts (or even manuscripts) are of indeteriminate purity and
        > so can't be authoritative use until we have a Covenanted synod or
        > assembly trained in all the requisite fields homologate that those
        are
        > pure.
        >
        > [For instance, what if someone wanted to teach doctrine today based
        > off a manuscript of Marcion?! Or another gnostic hacked up text?
        > Providential purity protected only the visible church's
        > ecclessiastical preaching texts and not mutilated versions of
        damnable
        > heretics. One big reason to put a question mark on the Alexandrian
        > and Western (and now Caesarian) text types is John Burgon's
        > scholarship to prove these were isolated, heretical texts that never
        > had widespread ecclessiastical use. Was he right?]
        >
        > The apograph variants are all literally insignificant on this way of
        > viewing things, and the lost autographs are not of any great
        relevence
        > to us today. Of course the fact that the many variants for any
        given
        > pericope originate from a single original entail that only one
        variant
        > is autographical, and textual criticism works towards that. But the
        > enterprise of suggesting most likely autographical readings (which
        is
        > what textual criticism is) is not of any great importance because of
        > the known factor of providential purity of the manuscript tradition.
        >
        > That's why it is not right to think of the implications of accepting
        > textual criticism as implying some sort of
        > Letis-style-interpretion-of-Warfield, the eternal and unreachable
        > search for the autographs, and replacing the apographs with some
        > scholarly probabilistic autograph reconstruction. Who knows, maybe a
        > lot of people who deny the enduring providential purity of the text
        in
        > the framer's sense might believe that. Not sure if Warfield did.
        >
        > So that is kind of why I think textual criticism doesnt make the
        bible
        > the preserve of the "specialist" and the scholar and destroy
        > infallibility. I think if anything your view (or the one I am
        > ascribing to you in this post for the sake of argument) of treating
        > any non-autographical variant as a life-or-death end of inerrancy
        > (saved only by our inner ostending--a Wittgenstein word--the one and
        > only pure variant) is the death of infallibilty.
        >
        > What do you think?
        >
        >
        > Sincerely in Christ,
        >
        > Chris T.
        > Montreal, QC
        > RPNA
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