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Ehrman-Wallace SMU Debate, and Preservation

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  • james_snapp_jr
    David Robert Palmer, Thanks for the review. I haven t read the transcript or watched the DVD. From your description, it looks as if Ehrman s position is that
    Message 1 of 54 , Dec 9, 2011
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      David Robert Palmer,

      Thanks for the review. I haven't read the transcript or watched the DVD. From your description, it looks as if Ehrman's position is that the earliest recoverable text probably isn't the same thing that was initially produced by the people who produced the NT, and Wallace' position is the opposite. Neither position can be empirically verified. This debate doesn't sound very different from a debate that Dr. Ehrman had with James White; the most interesting part of that one came and went when James White mentioned that he has a bow-tie with P52 on it, and then showed that he was not all that familiar with the contents of P52.

      I wonder if this sort of debate is productive. Hasn't the distance between the archetype and the autographs always been something that one either fills in with conjectural emendations, or else takes on faith as non-existent, or else takes on faith that it is immaterial as far as the meaning of the text is concerned?

      If Ehrman is attempting to build a scientific case that a significant part of the NT text is lost, instead of just proposing that there is a chance that part of the NT text is lost, then specifics are in order. It's one thing to propose that *if* Codex D were intact, and *if* original readings occurred in Pristine-D at the same rate they do in the parts that really are extant, a few original readings in Acts would be recovered from Pristine-D. Or that *if* Codex B were intact, and *if* original readings occurred in Pristine-B at the same rate they do in the parts that really are extant, a few original readings in Hebrews 9-13 would be recovered from Pristine-B. It's another thing to point to specific passages and build a case that their original text is not extant because D or B is not extant.

      And even if one were to point to specific passages and claim that their original text is not extant -- say, I Cor. 6:5, or II Peter 3:10 -- one would have to be careful not to make too strong a case for conjectural emendations; otherwise people would say that they know that the conjectures are correct (and thus, the text is known at those points after all).

      There was something in your review that I'd like to address. You asked:

      "Which is a greater act of preservation: to preserve for 1,200 years a manuscript that was written in 600-900 A.D., like most Byzantine manuscripts, or to preserve for 1,800+ years a manuscript written by Alexandrian scribes? If you profess to believe that God preserves his word, then clearly, he has preserved the Alexandrian manuscripts longer than the Byzantine manuscripts."

      Huh? If one accepts the premise that the Byzantine Text is pure, then the Alexandrian Text is corrupt -- and thus, wherever it deviates from the Byzantine Text, the original text is not preserved in it. From that perspective, your question would be comparable to asking, "Which is the more impressive example of the preservation of water: to preserve for 1,200 years a canteen containing pure water (which was poured into it from an older canteen), or to preserve for 1,800 years a canteen containing mud?"

      A 1,800-year-old corruption is still a corruption; it does not become the original text merely by aging. Consider: if tomorrow someone found a well-preserved second-century copy of Marcion's NT-books, would you accept all its contents as the word of God, on the grounds that it has been preserved for so long? Of course not.

      DRP: "If not God, then is Satan in the business of preserving the text of the New Testament? Some will actually say he is, that it is Satan that preserved the Alexandrian text in Egypt."

      A similar line may have been taken by some KJV-Onlyists. But the natural climate of Egypt is what has preserved many Egyptian copies of Scripture on papyrus, along with pagan prayers, horoscopes, plays, thousands of receipts, letters, and very many miscellaneous documents. The mere fact that something has been preserved longer than something else does not imply that it has the approval of God, or of Satan. Right?

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
    • David Palmer
      James Snapp wrote:
      Message 54 of 54 , Dec 23, 2011
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        James Snapp wrote:
        << A 1,800-year-old corruption is still a corruption; it does not become the original text merely by aging. Consider: if tomorrow someone found a well-preserved second-century copy of Marcion's NT-books, would you accept all its contents as the word of God, on the grounds that it has been preserved for so long? Of course not. >>

        No I would not.

        <<  DRP: "If not God, then is Satan in the business of preserving the text of the New Testament? Some will actually say he is, that it is Satan that preserved the Alexandrian text in Egypt."

        A similar line may have been taken by some KJV-Onlyists. But the natural climate of Egypt is what has preserved many Egyptian copies of Scripture on papyrus, along with pagan prayers, horoscopes, plays, thousands of receipts, letters, and very many miscellaneous documents. The mere fact that something has been preserved longer than something else does not imply that it has the approval of God, or of Satan. Right?  >>

        Ok, but if God was looking around for a place to preserve a document, then it would be such a climate as in Egypt.  This is not my idea; I did not write the scriptures.  The scriptures that you believe in, they say in several places that the desert is a place that God resorts to in order to preserve things.  Take that up with the scriptures, not me.
         
        David Robert Palmer
        http://bibletranslation.ws/palmer-translation/

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