Re: [textualcriticism] Acts 8:39
----- Original Message -----
From: "Minton, Ron" <rminton@...>
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 2:21 PM
Subject: [textualcriticism] Acts 8:39
> I received this note from a missionary in Russia. How would you respond
> his comments and question? It seems to me the textual evidence for not
> including his capital letter portion is extremely strong.
> Ron Minton
> Tuesday January 04, 2005
> Dear Bro. Minton,
> I have a very serious question regarding the Russian Bible.
> Doing some study, I came across the verse:Ac 8:39 And when they were come
> out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the
> saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
> In the Russian Synodal Version, which is the most accurate and true
> translation available, the same verse reads
> Ac 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the
> CAME UPON EUNUCH, AND THE ANGEL OF THE LORD caught away Philip, that the
> eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
> In other words, the translators ADDED the words I capitalized above.
> it leaves the impression of Baptismal Regeneration, but more importantly,
> how can I stand up and say to the people that this is God's Word without
> error, when the translators obviously tampered with the text?
> I dont mean to stir up any controversy, just want to know how I can teach
> people properly.
This reading is part of the 'Western' text of Acts. (found
in various Fathers some Latin texts of Acts and in the
margin of the Syriac Harclean). There are a number of
distinctively Western readings in the Slavonic text of Acts.
Whether this reading is the original text or not depends
largely upon whether the Western text of Acts is generally
closer to the original than the Neutral/Alexandrian text.
(The majority/Byzantine text mostly follows the neutral/
Alexandrian text not the Western text)
The majority scholarly opinion is probably that the special
Western readings in Acts are not original but very ancient
going back to the 2nd century CE.
The translators were NOT deliberately tampering with
the text but in good faith using in Acts a largely Byzantine
text but one with with many Western readings.
Theologically I don't think the Western reading necessarily
involves any strong sacramental doctrine of Baptismal
Regeneration. In the context of the narrative the baptism is
the eunuch's first public profession of Christian committal
occurring within a few hours of being first confronted with
the claims of Christ. IMO there is no need of a strong
doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration to regard it as an
appropriate time for him to receive the Holy Spirit.