Examination of Modern NT Text Criticism (1/2)
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Examination of Modern New Testament Text Criticism Theory and Methods version 2.0 By: Jeffrey A. Young Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org For: Pastor Kenneth K. Miller 10/31/95 This document may be reproduced in its entirety free of charge for non-commercial private use only. This document may not be otherwise reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of the authors. Introduction......................................................... 2 I. We Know from God's Word that Modern the Conclusions are False.... 3 A. God Establishes His Word....................................... 3 B. The Scriptures Have Not Been Lost.............................. 3 C. No One May Add to or Subtract from God's Word.................. 4 D. Doctrinal Purity is not Popular in the Last Times.............. 4 E. Recent Text Critics Have Modified the Apostasy................. 5 II. We Know from Their Reasoning that the Modern Theory is False.... 5 A. The Major Premise of Westcott and Hort is False................ 5 (1) Westcott and Hort's Favorite Manuscripts Bear the Marks of Those Corrupted by Gnostic Adoptionists in the 2nd Century.. 6 (a) These Manuscripts Show Deviations Along Gnostic Doctrinal Lines.............................. 7 (b) These Manuscripts Show Wild Discordance Within the Set..... 9 (c) These Manuscripts Show Wild Discordance With Manuscripts of Similar Age................................. 10 (d) These Manuscripts Show Wild Discordance with the Traditional Text...................... 10 (2) The Evidence Westcott and Hort Offer is Extremely Weak...... 10 (3) Data Speaking Against the Major Premise is Abundant and Powerful.................. 12 (a) Data from Church History Shows the Major Premise is False. 13 (b) Data that Substantiates the Traditional Text Shows that the Major Premise is False..................... 13 (i) The Translations Witness Against the Major Premise...... 13 (ii) The Church Fathers Witness Against the Major Premise... 14 (iii) The Lectionaries Witness Against the Major Premise.... 14 (iv) The Later Copies Witness Against the Major Premise..... 15 (c) Recent Papyri Finds Prove the Major Premise False......... 16 (4) The Beliefs of Westcott and Hort Favor Gnosticism........... 17 B. Consequent Assumptions of Westcott and Hort are False Because the Major Premise is False................... 19 C. The Text Criticism Method of Westcott and Hort is False Because it is Based on a False Premise and False Implications.. 22 D. The Application of the Text Criticism Method is Disastrous..... 22 E. Modern Text Critics have Never Answered the Points Raised in this Essay Although the Weighty Arguments Were Cited within 2 Years of the Publication of the Text Critical Method.. 24 References........................................................... 25 Introduction There is a cartoon by Larson that shows a physicist addressing a room full of farmers at a dairy convention. The physicist is saying "assume a spherical cow." This situation bears a striking resemblance to the present controversy over which Greek text should be used for New Testament translation into English (text criticism). The physicist represents Westcott and Hort, two text critics who published a revolutionary text of the New Testament in 1881. Their methods of criticism are wholeheartedly accepted by most liberal text critics today, and their Greek text has been largely used for virtually all modern English translations (including NIV, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, NAB, REB, CEV, TEV, GNB, LIVING, PHILLIPS, NEW JERUSALEM, & NEW CENTURY). The farmers are the Christians who need to buy Bibles to study God's Word. As with any other theory harbored by hopelessly impractical academics, they over-simplify the problem. Forming conclusions under their unrealistic assumptions is much easier than really considering the pertinent evidence. They make too much of their own authority, and forbid laymen to weigh the conclusions and evidence and form their own opinion. As usual, the academics do everything they can to complicate matters by multiplication of terminology, confusion of fact with inference, and confusing repetition of an assertion for supplying proof. Their conclusions are much more destructive than most eccentric scholarly theories. The motivation for the conclusions in both the case of Westcott & Hort, and the modern liberal text critics is apostasy (though the nature of the apostasy is different in the two cases). They reject what God's word says about it's origin and preservation, so they comb the text evidence to find a footing for their rejection of what it teaches. In this way they use the data at their disposal to discredit God's word. Their false beliefs have a very real impact on the words that are included in the modern translations. All modern English Translations use a Greek text that changes or casts doubt on about one word in twenty of New Testament Scripture. These changes reflect false doctrines held by early (2nd century) devil-worshipping heretics. If you want to avoid the modern butchers, you must use the King James Version. No other modern translation, to my knowledge, completely avoids the modern error. The assumptions of the modern Greek New Testament Text Critics do not represent an approximation to the actual evidence, but a negation of the actual evidence. The dark secret they protect is that the scant evidence they offer does not support their claims. The purpose of this report is to show briefly, but accurately that the conclusions of the moderns contradict scripture (part I), and that the basis of their conclusions is blind hope in the face of contrary evidence (part II). I. We Know from God's Word that the Modern Conclusions are False. A. God Establishes His Word. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God's Word | Westcott & Hort Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Through faith in the | Only scholars properly equipped substitutionary suffering and death | with training and a thorough of Christ the Holy Ghost enters | knowledge of Greek and the ancient into the heart (Gal 3:2, Jn 16:14); | manuscripts are qualified to sit in and He is the Spirit of truth, who | judgment over God's Word. [2, p. teaches men to recognize His Word | 285] which He spoke through the Prophets | and Apostles (1 Pet 1:10-12) as His | A trained critic may through his Word. | superior knowledge know better than | all witness that have gone before. It is a mistake to think that we | [1, p. 421], [2, p. 13 cmpr preface sit in judgment over God's Word and | p. viii], [2, p. 17] He knows may decide which Greek text we wish | better than the ancient copyists. to accept for our own use (2 Pet | [1, p. 420] 1:16). It is instead the duty of | each Christian to recognize the | Without the Holy Ghost or any Word of God, to which we owe our | evidence what-ever the trained allegiance and most devout | critic can improve God's Word. [1, attention. | p. 426], [1, p. 428], [1, p. 428, | 429, 430 where word 'corruption' is God's Word has its own authority | used] [2, p. 32] (Jn 10:27-29) and it is foolhardy | to think we need to add credibility | to His Word with testimonials (Ps | 50:12, Jn 5:41), but rather it is | God that delivers us (Ps 50:15), | and preserves scripture (Jn 10:35, | 2 Pet 1:19, Mt 5:17-18) by His | almighty power (Jn 5:37-47, Ro | 4:21, Is 46:10-11). He is the | author and finisher of our faith, | and uses His own methods to keep us | (2 Pet 2:9) | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ B. The Scriptures Have Not Been Lost. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God's Word | Westcott & Hort Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ All scripture is God's word. (2 Tim | They assume that between 250 A.D. 3:16). It can never fail (John | and 350 A.D. there was a revision 10:35, Mt 5:18, 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk | of the Greek text which produced 21:33), but is true. (Jn 17:17), | the traditional text. [1, p. 428], | [2, p. 92 cmpr p. 94 p. 133] It does not contain fables (2 Pet | 1:16), but scripture is more sure | They say this revision caused the than if God were to speak directly | original text to be lost. [1, p. to us from heaven (2 Pet 1:19). | 426] [2, preface p. xiv] | God's Word has never been secret | They say this was a conspiracy but always openly declared (Isa | which has successfully suppressed 45:18,19). If it is hid, then it | the original up to and including is hid to them that are lost and | the present time. [1, p. 430] [2, blinded through unbelief (2 Cor. | p. 150-151] 4:3-4). | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ C. No one May Add to or Subtract from God's Word. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God's Word | Westcott & Hort Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ It is a sin to add to or subtract | All text evidence (including the from God's Word (Deut. 12:32, Rev | traditional text) but for a few 22:18-19). | ancient manuscripts may safely be | ignored. [1, p. 429-430], [2, p. We are commanded not to listen to | 285]. those false prophets who do (Jer. | 23:16, 1 John 4:1). | Because these disagree with each | other the true text is unknown. [2, Every Christian can recognize them | p. 150-151] [2, p. 287] (Mt 7:15-20, Isa. 8:20, 1 Jn 2:21f, | 1 Jn 2:27). | We are left with subjective | considerations to determine what The true God is nothing like false | we may accept as the true text for gods, and it is a sin to mix in the | the present time. [1, p. 430] But teachings of false gods (Ro 1:16- | these subjective considerations 28), or to seek out familiar | must be those of the most eminent spirits (Isa 8:19-20, Lev 19:31, | scholars. They may decide for Lev 20:6, Deut 18:11). | themselves and you must accept | their results [1, p.420, 426, 428- To reject Gods word is to call Him | 430], [2, p. 24]. These scholars a liar (1 John 5:10). | never agree however, witnessing to | the shortcomings of their personal | fetishes. [2, preface p. xi][2, | preface p. xiv] [2, p. 17], [2, p. | 32] [2, p. 65] [2, p. 66]. It only | remains to doubt that God's Word is | knowable. [2, preface p. xiv] | | People should be grateful to them | because of the comparative purity | of their texts to the traditional | text which went before [1, p. 430] | [1, p. 452], and never mind that as | a consequence you must abandon hope | of finding the 'right' text for the | present time. [2, p. 285] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ D. Doctrinal Purity is not Popular in the Last Times. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God's Word | Westcott & Hort Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ It was foretold repeatedly and | In these latter times with our urgently that shortly after Paul | superior knowledge and exact died grievous wolves would arise | science we have advanced far beyond within the outward fellowship of | the primitive Christians. In these Christendom (Acts 20:29-31). | last times we have a superior | belief that has eliminated the That men would reject the truth in | fables formerly believed and favor of fables (2 Tim 4:4). | carried in the traditional text. | [1, p. 430, 452] That they would secretly bring in | damnable heresies (2 Pet 2:1). | | That many would follow them (2 Pet | 2:1, Luke 17:27). | ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ God's Word | Westcott & Hort Conclusion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ At the end of the world apostasy | They say miracles are not real but would be very popular (Luke 17:26- | apparent. [8, p. 32] They say 27). This apostasy would deny | certainty of the text relies on the miracles and be based on the | subjective considerations of the passions of the false prophets who | scholar. [1, p. 430] They deny the are willingly ignorant that the | almighty power of God's Word since word of God is almighty. They don't | they say it has been lost. They believe in the second coming of | deny the person of Satan [8, p. Christ, or fear judgment (2 Pet | 13], Hell [8, p. 17], and the 3:1-10) | sudden coming of Christ for | judgment [8, p. 17E] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ E. Recent Text Critics Have Modified the Apostasy. Modern text critics accept the method of Westcott and Hort whole- heartedly (see also II D, E). [1, p. 419-420, 430, 452] They change the set of discordant manuscripts worthy of consideration (still eliminating the traditional text). They highly prize the most venerated manuscript invoked by Westcott & Hort. [1, p. 430] They witness against the erroneous nature of Westcott and Hort's theory by contradicting their conclusions. (See section II D) They advance an even greater apostasy (Synoptic Theory) that eclipses the first. They say that since Matthew, Mark and Luke have a common view yet have different details, this is not evidence of independent witnesses, but Matthew, Mark and Luke are an artful fabrication of two original books that are totally unknown at the present time. One of these they designate as Marcan (Mark-like). The other as Q. [1,p.447 and chapter on Synoptic Problem] II. We Know from Their Reasoning that the Modern Theory is False. A. The Major Premise of Westcott and Hort is False. It is impossible to make sense of Westcott and Hort's text theory unless you hold firmly in mind that their most primitive assumption is that the whole church prior to 350 A.D. participated in a conspiracy to suppress the original text. Based on this hidden premise, Westcott and Hort derived principles of text criticism, and then used these principles to prove their major premise, thus closing the loop forming a circle of reasoning that is spread out over 150 pages of presentation. It is wrong to say that they didn't offer any evidence. It is perfectly accurate to say that the evidence they do offer does not establish the thesis they must prove. Their thesis is a historical thesis which contradicts all previous historical conclusions, and yet they didn't offer a single historical observation from the period under consideration to prove it. This leads us to a paradox. Why, if the major premise of their theory is historical, did they not avail themselves of a single historical fact in it's defense? Two conclusions are possible. First, it could be that Westcott and Hort were wholly ignorant of the history under consideration. Aside from being an absurdity, this hypothesis is much too kind to them, as will be seen shortly. Second, it could be that they knew of it; and were willing to believe their theory correct regardless of how strongly the historical evidence stood against them. This second conclusion is supported in the biography of Westcott by the fact that He wrote Hort saying "On many things when I am in doubt you seem to have clear views, and you generally appear, I think, to have a more solid foundation than I can boast of in a kind of historic optimism." [12, p. 252] The most important historical fact in the period 150-350 A.D. relative to text criticism is that heretics mutilated some copies of scripture. This mutilation was performed by Adoptionists late in the second century. Adoptionism is a form of gnosticism (the most widespread heresy of the period). This mutilation followed doctrinal lines. Those who performed it claimed to have corrected the text to the apostolic original, and produced "a large number" [4, p. 237] of wildly discordant copies (since later Gnostic copyists didn't hesitate to further mutilate the text they received from their masters). They treated the standard of faith with contempt. Their purpose in changing the words of the manuscript was to escape the judgment of the scriptures very much the same way Jehovah's Witnesses prepared their own translation to fit their own doctrine. Therefore these copies showed wild variation compared to manuscripts of similar date and with the traditional text. [4, p. 235-238] Conspicuously absent from Westcott and Hort's principles of text criticism is any warning to avoid these mutilated copies. This glaring omission is frequently repeated in the authoritative critique of Westcott and Hort's text critical theory . The reason they fail to warn against depraved texts is not far to seek. The few manuscripts they do not ignore have all been rejected as depraved texts because they bear all the marks of corrupted texts [3, p. 249]. Instead of listing the characteristics of the copies mutilated by the Gnostics, Westcott and Hort warn that it was the practice of orthodox church copyists to mutilate the text by blending discordant manuscripts to form the traditional text. Where history records a mutilation of some copies of the sacred text by Gnostic heretics Westcott and Hort are silent. Where history records that the true sacred text survived this assault and is preserved in the traditional text, Westcott and Hort counter that the whole church participated in a conspiracy to fabricate a blended (and therefore corrupted) text. Westcott and Hort must not have believed the traditional Christian church to be genuine, but a sham. This thesis is supported by the biographies of Westcott and Hort. When J. F. D. Maurice was accused of false doctrine, Westcott commented that Orthodox Christians are like a new Islam persecuting a revival of the true Christians. He also said that it was the practice of his party not to be open about their views. [11, p. 229] Westcott said he thought most people in his day didn't know what classical theology is. [11, p. 261] He said that there is a "forgotten truth" that Mariolotry bears witness to. [11, p. 251]. Westcott wrote to Hort and distinguished between the "old Medieval Church" and "the Church" and confessed that he didn't know how they were related historically. [11, p. 285]. Hort responded that the true church has been greatly injured since the Athanasian creed (400 A.D.), and dead since the reformation, and that he believes protestantism to be only parenthetical and temporary. [16, p. 31-33] A year later, and twenty years before publication of the revised Greek text he wrote to Hort "More and more we seem to need to go to the beginning of things. Those who hold the truth seem to hold it irrationally. I can dimly imagine a new way for establishing old beliefs." [11, p. 293-294] Westcott and Hort must have believed that what historians recorded as a defense against heretics was in reality a suppression of the true church. They believed that what the historians recorded as heretically corrupted texts were closer to the true autographs. Westcott and Hort did not publicly admit that they thought gnosticism to be genuine Christianity. The private beliefs of Westcott and Hort are not primarily at issue here, but rather the evidence that speaks for and against their major premise. The error of their major premise is demonstrated in that (1) Westcott and Hort's favored texts bear all the marks of Gnostic corruptions compared to the traditional text, (2) the evidence they offer is extremely weak, (3) the data speaking against their major premise is abundant and powerful. Although unnecessary to the refutation of their major premise, the works of Westcott and Hort, and their biographers have clearly shown that (4) the beliefs of Westcott and Hort were biased in favor of Gnosticism. (1) Westcott and Hort's Favored Manuscripts Bear the Marks of Those Corrupted by Gnostic Adoptionists in the 2nd Century. There were two manuscripts Westcott and Hort favored most. The first is CODEX B (Vaticanus). The second is ALEPH (Sinaiticus). They called these manuscripts "almost wholly neutral". They deemed the readings of these "strongly preferred," and said they had the "ring of genuineness". It is manifest that these manuscripts bear all the marks of Gnostic corruptions. This is evidenced in that they show (a) deviations along Gnostic doctrinal lines, (b) wild discordance with each other (c) wild discordance with manuscripts of similar age and (d) wild discordance with the traditional text. Since ALEPH and B exhibit the marks of Gnostic corruption, it is clear that these two manuscripts are depraved. (a) These Manuscripts (ALEPH and B) Show Deviations Along Gnostic Doctrinal Lines. The changes found in the modern English Bibles are due in large measure to the modification of the Greek text to agree with ALEPH and B. This may be proved by considering some sample section of scripture such as Mark 2:1-12. In these twelve verses Westcott and Hort adopt 23 variations. A variation is a deviation from the traditional text. A variation may be any one of the standard phenomena of text criticism including omitted words, added words, substituted words, transposed words, variation of case, tense, spelling or phrase. Of these 23 variations, in 18 ALEPH and B agree, in 2 ALEPH is unsupported by B, and in 2 B is unsupported by ALEPH [3, p. 16]. The reader may correlate doctrinal changes himself against the following summary of Gnostic doctrine [7, p. 74-79]. Gnosticism may be summed up into three false doctrines to which all others must give way. These three false doctrines are (I) Spiritism: the belief that the supreme God is unknowable and a hierarchical array of intermediary spirits exist the lowest of which is Jehovah (the creator and God of the Jews), (II) Anti-Materialism: the belief that sin resides in matter, and (III) Illuminism: the belief that salvation comes by secret knowledge supplied by intermediate spirits. In essence this system is devil worship because it says the lowest spirit is the creator (Jehovah of the Jews). This not only places all devils and Satan above the true God, but also ascribes to the true God the multiplication of evil by creating the (evil) material world, and robs Jesus of the prophetic office giving it to devils and Satan. Some examples of how these Gnostic corruptions have crept into the modern versions may be found by comparing the NIV to the KJV. The former uses the Greek text of Westcott and Hort, while the latter follows the traditional Greek text. A comparative study of the first 12 chapters of Luke with a more detailed description of Gnostic false doctrine gives the following evidence of Gnostic corruption. Those Gnostic false doctrines related to Spiritism are: The Jewish Scriptures are looked on as an inferior revelation, and several extra-biblical accounts of creation are used. The trinity is denied. By substituting a pantheon of devils for the true God, the importance of the true God is minimized. Meanwhile the status of the devils is elevated saying that they dwell in light. The miracles worked by God are diminished because they want to say that the false wonders produced by devils are better. Redemption is the release of the spirit from the prison house of it's (evil) body. [7, p. 74-79] Spiritism is reflected in the first 12 chapters of Luke (NIV) by those passages that diminish the wickedness of the devils, those that diminish the authority of Christ over the devils, those that diminish the authority of the Father over devils, and those that diminish the opposition of the true God to evil. The wickedness of devils and the authority of Christ over devils are diminished in Luke 4:8 where the NIV deletes the words in CAPS from "And Jesus answered AND SAID UNTO HIM, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord." The authority of the Father over devils is diminished in Luke 11:2 when the Lord's Prayer is butchered denying the fact that the father dwells in heaven and His will is done there. The NIV deletes the words in CAPS "OUR Father WHICH ART IN HEAVEN hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN, SO IN EARTH". This is also shown by turning the kingdom of God in the KJV into just the kingdom in Luke 12:31. The opposition of the true God to evil is diminished when the words "DELIVER US FROM EVIL" are cut out of the Lord's Prayer in the NIV Luke 11:4. Those Gnostic false doctrines related to Anti-Materialism are: The fall is equated with the creation of matter. The resurrection of the dead is denied. Two different denials of Christ's Divine or human nature. (A) Some say his body was not real, but a phantom. (B) Others say that he was a mere man prior to his baptism, and after Gethsemane (Adoptionism, which amounts to an accusation of demon possession). Both of these deny Christ's real humanity before baptism and during His passion on the cross. Anti-Materialism is reflected in the first 12 chapters of Luke (NIV) by those passages that reflect Adoptionism. Adoptionism says that Jesus was an ordinary mere man before His baptism, and that He was possessed by the pure spirit Christ who descended on Him at His baptism. The adoptionist influence is revealed by denial of the virgin birth in Luke 2:33 where the KJV has "Joseph" but the NIV has "father" and in Luke 2:43 where the KJV has "Joseph and his mother" and the NIV has "parents". In Luke 9:35 the KJV has God calling Jesus His "beloved Son" but the NIV has "Son, whom I have chosen". The latter is consistent with Adoptionism, while the former is not. Jesus words in KJV Luke 9:55-56 make Adoptionism impossible "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." The problem this poses to Adoptionism is that Jesus ascribes salvation particularly to His human nature when He says it is the "Son_of_man" who is come to save. This denies the Adoptionist belief that the Christ is merely a possessing spirit. It also directly denies the Gnostic notion that the mission of the redeemer is to bring about death to free the good spirit from it's evil body. Instead Jesus says here that His mission is to save life. This wholesale rejection of adoptionistic gnosticism is why these words of Jesus were cut out in the ancient corrupt manuscripts, and not included in the NIV. Those Gnostic false doctrines related to Illuminism are: Man is saved by knowledge not faith, so there is no need for God's Law or repentance. Knowledge is given by the redeemer (implying death). Knowledge is given by any of the intermediary spirits who are above scripture. There are three types of men: those who cannot be saved, those who may or may not be saved, and those who can be sure of their salvation. The knowledge is only given secretly to the elite. This implies infiltration and pretended fellowship with the uninitiated (Orthodox Christians). The secret revelation tends toward notions of hidden ciphers in scripture. Illuminism is reflected in the first 12 chapters of Luke (NIV) by those passages that deny the importance of the Word of God and remove the rebuke of hypocrisy. (See also those passages above that diminish God's importance and exalt devils). In Luke 4:4 the words in CAPS are excised from the NIV "It is written that man shall not live by bread alone BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD". In Luke 6 Jesus said that someone who hears His sayings and does them is like one who built upon rock. Clearly the rock is God's Word. Where the KJV recognizes that the cause of the house standing is that it "was founded upon a rock" the NIV has that it was "well-built". The hallmark of Illuminism is a secret revelation reserved only for the elite. They condescend to unite with the Orthodox Christians even though they don't agree with them in doctrine. They think that they are giving us time to be enlightened by their initiation. In other words they enshrine hypocrisy. The NIV, based on the Gnostic corrupt Greek of Westcott and Hort, excises the accusation of hypocrite in several places, one of which is in the twelve chapters under consideration Luke 11:44. A recent work by Taylor  makes it very easy for anyone who cannot read Greek to compare the more significant variations adopted based on variation of the Greek text. Counting the deviations (listed in ) which resulted from a difference in the Greek text in the book of Matthew 55 of 94 deviations favored Gnostic doctrine, while none of the 94 deviations went against Gnostic doctrine. Twenty-four of them favored spiritism, 16 favored anti-materialism and 15 favored illuminism. Counting the deviations (listed in ) which resulted from a difference in the Greek text in the book of Luke 62 of 83 deviations favored Gnostic doctrine, while none of the 83 deviations went against Gnostic doctrine. Thirty-two of these favored spiritism, 14 favored anti-materialism and 16 favored illuminism. The large number of text modifications that don't appear to support Gnostic beliefs may be due to "corrective" modification of a later Gnostic hand. A more likely hypothesis that warrants further investigation is that the modifications were made so that the text would conform to some hidden cipher system. At least one author has used the numerical symmetry of the Westcott and Hort text as an argument for it's authenticity and inspiration . God has never promised numerical symmetry, and He expressly denies any hidden meaning [Isa. 45:18-19, 2 Cor. 4:3-4]. It is significant that in both Matthew and Luke the largest number of deviations concern Spiritism (about half that favor Gnosticism). Can you say that it doesn't matter which version is used in light of this? God says in scripture "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". Exodus 20:3. The disagreement of the NIV compared to the KJV is often the result of a different underlying Greek text. When this is the case, the English reader may compare the difference in content to Gnostic false doctrine and judge for himself whether the KJV or the NIV favors Gnosticism. When this exercise is performed it is found that about one out of two changes in the NIV based on different Greek favors Gnosticism, and no changes contradict Gnosticism. The changes in the Greek text used for NIV translation are largely based on the Greek text of Westcott and Hort. Since Westcott and Hort put an extremely heavy emphasis on two manuscripts heretofore rejected as depraved texts, one may conclude that these manuscripts are the result of the Gnostic manuscript corruption reported in history. (b) These Manuscripts (ALEPH and B) Show Wild Discordance Within the Set. Recall that the two favored manuscripts of Westcott and Hort are known as ALEPH and B. Since these two manuscripts originated at nearly the same time, and are believed by all to have originated from a common ancestor, a high degree of disagreement between the two manuscripts is evidence that they are Gnostic corruptions. This may be concluded because those who report the Gnostic corruptions in history tell us that "If anyone will take the trouble to collect their several copies and compare them, he will discover frequent divergencies; for example, Ascelepiades's copies do not agree with Theodotus's. A large number are obtainable, thanks to the emulous energy with which disciples copied the 'emendations' or rather perversions of the text by their respective masters....it is possible to collate the ones which his disciples made first with those that have undergone further manipulation, and to find endless discrepancies." [4, p. 237] In order to establish a basis of comparison, two other manuscripts about the same age as ALEPH will be considered that don't show the marks of Gnostic doctrinal corruption. ALEPH and B are so closely related that one of their advocates claimed the same copyist worked on part of the two manuscripts [3, p. 318]. The two manuscripts are believed to be about 50 to 100 years apart in age. The time span is very short and the kinship is admitted on all sides. Westcott and Hort put them in the same class and call them highly preferred. But in this short period of time, these two manuscripts show wild variation given the short time between the two. In the four Gospels alone B has 589 readings peculiar to itself, affecting 858 words, but ALEPH has 1460 such readings affecting 2640 words. In perhaps 100 short years the number of peculiar readings grew by 871 [3, p. 318]. Compare this to two more reliable manuscripts A and C. About 400 years passed from the time the gospels were penned to the time that A and C were copied. Yet in St. Luke's Gospel A has only 90 peculiar readings affecting 131 words and C has 87 peculiar readings affecting 127 words [3, p. 249]. Thus the rate of corruption of either A or C compared to the traditional text is less than one ninth of the rate of corruption of ALEPH compared to B. The warning from history of wild variation existing within the set of manuscripts tainted with Gnostic corruptions allows the determination to be made conclusively that ALEPH and B have been depraved through Gnostic corruptions. The high rate of corruption of ALEPH compared to B supports this determination. (c) These Manuscripts (ALEPH and B) Show Wild Discordance With Manuscripts of Similar Age. History reports of those who produced manuscripts tainted with Gnostic corruptions that "they did not receive the Scriptures in such a condition from their first teachers, and ... cannot produce any originals to justify their copies." [3, p. 249] Consider the ten verses of Luke 8:35-44 collated with the Gnostic corruptions ALEPH and B, compared with reliable manuscripts A and C. Recall that a variation is a deviation from the traditional text. A variation may be any one of the standard phenomena of text criticism including omitted words, added words, substituted words, transposed words, variation of case, tense, spelling or phrase. ALEPH has 27 variations compared to the traditional text, and B has 25. ALEPH has 8 readings peculiar to itself and B has 6, yet show 4 common variants. The variants of B are supported by A in only one place, and by C in only one place. The variants of ALEPH are supported by A in only one place, and by C in only one place. [3, p. 17] This illustrates that ALEPH and B are discordant with manuscripts of similar date. Of the 27 variations that ALEPH displays in this passage only one is supported by A, and only one is supported by C. Of the 25 variations displayed by B, only one is supported by A and only one by C. Since discordance with manuscripts of similar date is one of the characteristics of the Gnostic corruptions, this discordance supports the thesis that ALEPH and B are Gnostic corruptions. (d) These Manuscripts (ALEPH and B) Show Wild Discordance with the Traditional Text. The wild discordance of ALEPH and B with the traditional text is a further witness to the fact that they are Gnostic corruptions of the genuine autographs. Westcott and Hort concede in their textual theory that the traditional text is every bit as ancient as the more ancient of ALEPH and B (B). They further acknowledge that it was the consensus of all Church fathers living at the time that the traditional text was identical with the genuine autographs. [2, p. 92] From church history we know that one of the characteristics of the Gnostic corrupt manuscripts was their wild discordance with the traditional text. In the gospels alone ALEPH and B are shown to be wildly discordant: B shows 7578 variations and ALEPH shows 8972 variations. [3, p. 289] This is surprisingly large since the Gospels contain about 61,400 words, these two manuscripts exhibit a variation of about one word in ten. [3, p. 264] (2) The Evidence Westcott and Hort Offer is Extremely Weak. Westcott and Hort admit that it was the unanimous judgment of the whole Christian church of the fourth century that the traditional text is preferred to their coveted codex B (which was copied during the fourth century). In view of this admitted fact, one would expect them to supply weighty evidence indeed. At this point the reader would expect to be buried in academic references, bombarded with arcane facts impossible to sort out. But, surprise! The entire theory comes down to one simple claim summarized in the little word "conflation". That's right, "con fla tion n. : BLEND FUSION; esp: a composite reading or text.(Webster's Dictionary)" According to Westcott and Hort, you can tell that all ancient Christian witnesses are wrong, and the Christian faith is a sham, because traditional Greek text appears, on the face of it, to them, to be a blended text. What Westcott and Hort deny is that anyone can weigh this claim by looking at the evidence they offer. I lay this challenge to you: If you can decipher the explanation in this section you will have elevated yourself to the favored class of the elite scholars. For only elite scholars, according to Westcott and Hort, alone are able to understand such matters. What, pray tell, do they say the traditional text was blended from? They're not really sure. They say that there were two kinds of text welded together, and they have given names to the kinds, but they can't actually produce the two texts; these must have been thrown away long ago by those who were claiming to rid the world of corrupt manuscripts. How convenient. This makes it cumbersome to prove the theory wrong, for a theory must be more than mush before it can be demonstrated wrong. The duty of proof lies with the revisers of all previous Christian history (Westcott and Hort). If the source texts cannot be produced for examination, then how do we know they really existed? While they don't claim to have exact copies of the postulated text types, they have reasonable approximations. Reasonable enough, one must hope, to at least articulate the claim. Of course, it is impossible for Westcott and Hort to tell just how close an approximation these are to the originals since they assume the originals are lost. They call the two kinds of text "neutral" (meaning that which doesn't differ very much from B and ALEPH) and "western" (meaning that which doesn't differ very much from a codex known as D (or Bezae)). The reader by now is familiar with the character of codices ALEPH and B which are Gnostic corruptions, but what is the pedigree of D? It is not a manuscript from the third or fourth century, but it is from the sixth century. It is not a Gnostic corruption, however, but a text corrupted for some other reason, because the changes do not correlate with Gnostic false doctrines. We know it is corrupted because it differs wildly from the traditional text. By counting text phenomena, it differs from the traditional text of Luke in 4753 places out of only 19,941 words. This amounts to about one modification for every four words. A credible hypothesis is that the text is a re-translation of a Latin manuscript back into Greek. There is nothing novel about producing rabidly depraved manuscripts; these have been available to those interested in such things since the second century. What is new, is to say that the traditional text was fabricated from two manuscripts previously counted as corruptions. So according to their view, the traditional Greek text, which existed in the fourth century, is a mixture of two source texts. One of these sources is like Codex B (which was copied in the fourth century) and the other is like Codex D (a sixth century manuscript). How could a fourth century document be a blend of a fourth century document and a sixth century document? This is where the concept of conflation is used. They claim that the evidence of looking at D, ALEPH and B is so compelling that the traditional text is a harmonization of these divergent texts that there must have been two source texts that were blended to form the traditional text. What evidence do they offer that was so compelling to them? Out of the entire New Testament, after searching for 30 years for evidence that would justify their irrational fondness for codex B they have found but eight verses of the traditional text that appear to them to have been fused. They say that since ALEPH and B agree in omitting the same part of these eight verses, and D omits a different part, therefore the traditional text must have been a harmonization of the two which fused the material found in each. To someone who wishes to believe the unanimous witness of the church fathers living in the fourth century, this sounds remarkably like independent omission by one Gnostic copyist of codex B in the fourth century who was hostile to the faith, and by a second copyist (or latin-to-greek translator) 200 years later. In Luke and Mark, B omits 1 of every 21 words, ALEPH omits 1 of every 19 words, and D omits 1 of every 13 words. A reliable copyist of the same era (Codex A) omits only one in 91 words. What would be unexpected about three unreliable witnesses omitting different words in 8 verses of Luke and Mark? For their major premise to even merit consideration they must show that fusion is possible and more credible than independent deletion. Let the reader judge for himself. Of the eight verses they mention, four of them fail entirely to exhibit the desired phenomena because D contains a paraphrase of the traditional text. This takes care of examples in Mark 6:33, Mark 8:26, Luke 9:10, and Luke 11:54. Since D is a paraphrase of the traditional text, these four verses witness that the traditional text must have come first. Can anyone conceive of a harmonizing copyist inventing details that lie behind a paraphrase? The fifth case they offer is Luke 12:18, but here ALEPH and B diverge, and so this case must be discarded as contradictory to the theory. Finally we are left but three verses in the entire New Testament displaying the desired phenomena. Consider these. The following passages have words in CAPS that ALEPH and B delete, and words preceded by an underscore (e.g. _because) which D deletes. Mark 9:38 "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out demons in thy name, AND HE FOLLOWETH NOT US: AND WE FORBAD HIM,_because_he_followeth_not_us." Mark 9:49 "For_every_one_shall_be_salted_with_fire,_AND EVERY SACRIFICE SHALL BE SALTED WITH SALT." Luke 24:53 "And were continually in the temple, PRAISING_AND _blessing_God. Amen." Can the reader see anything in these omissions that favors the hypothesis of Westcott and Hort? How would you show from this evidence that a fusion occurred in all traditional texts of the fourth century rather than independent deletions in the fourth and the sixth centuries in two isolated copies? This is a puzzle that Westcott and Hort don't even attempt to solve. Rather they say it is obvious to all sufficiently trained scholars. Is the emperor clothed? Are cows round? It is my contention, any observer can judge these questions. Now consider all the facts they have set forth to substantiate their major premise. They have one manuscript which they can prove to be as old as the traditional text of the fourth century, and a second manuscript from the sixth century. These disagree with each other and with the traditional text, wildly. They can produce 8 verses in the New Testament where ALEPH, B, and D exhibit omission but not the same words. In four of these, D paraphrases the traditional text, witnessing that the traditional text is older. Only three can be produced that have ALEPH and B omitting one thing and D something else. Even if it is irrationally believed that the omissions in these three cases witness to fusion rather than deletion, there is the difficulty that the four paraphrases of D contradict this belief. This argument is assembled only from evidence they cite to substantiate their claim, and already they are out- numbered with witnesses against them. I won't bore the reader with the abundant further evidence that witnesses to the antiquity of the traditional text reading of these three verses, but it was cited against the theory 2 years after it was stated in 1883, [3, p. 260-261, notes , , ] It is no wonder that the modern text critics who adopt this theory don't shrink from positing synoptic theory. Seeing how popular Westcott and Hort have become for having postulated an irrational theory, that amounts to nothing but bald apostasy, without having even to supply or defend the slightest evidence imaginable, the modern text critics have progressed to complete freedom from evidence. The nature of text evidence in attempting to substantiate a conspiracy theory of such far-reaching implications is extremely weak. They are charging all Christians of the fourth century with the murder of the true autographs. What does the fact that different words are deleted in various old manuscripts have to do with the charge of conspiracy against all ancient Christendom? A fused text is only the merest shadow of a conspiratorial event of this magnitude. It is demanded of a prosecuting attorney when bringing a charge against a single man in this day that he show motive, means, and opportunity before the case is given a hearing. It is reasonable in this case, when countless millions of Christians of the fourth century are being charged with murder of the true autographs, that we extend them the same courtesy. How does their case stack up to this test? The motive is never stated, and so we are left to wonder why so many would agree in such a fusion. The means, or mechanism by which fusion could be instituted and maintained also is unknown. Opportunity is also totally lacking. Where were the conspiring meetings held? Who presided? How did they get the unwilling to succumb? All of these elements of their case are lacking. All they endeavor to show is that the traditional text may not be the true autographs. This is analogous to the prosecution laboring heavily in a murder trial to show that the victim is dead, and not being able to find the body. (3) Data Speaking Against the Major Premise is Abundant and Powerful. It is assumed that the reader will thank me for providing only the briefest outline of the data standing against the major premise of Westcott and Hort. This is justified in that their case is so weak, and the evidence against it so abundant, that the interested reader may occupy the rest of his life with nothing more than studying the data which Westcott and Hort ignored. The purpose of this section is to introduce the reader to the vast body of data that Westcott and Hort, and most modern liberal text critics are willingly ignorant of (In addition to God's Word 2 Pet 3:5). (a) Data from Church History Shows the Major Premise is False. Of primary importance in refuting their major premise is the data from church history that stands against any motive, means or opportunity ever being established for such a conspiracy theory. Consider the main features of the church as it existed in ancient Rome before 350 A.D.  In this period there was no hierarchy, but only local congregations led by pastors. There was no central control which could be diverted. Prior to 311, every 20 years or so there was a violent persecution of Christians in which they would be fed to the lions or tortured to death. One of the chief controversies of the age was caused because one bishop, after an ebb in the wave of persecution, refused to readmit those to the church who had refused martyrdom. These are the people who are said to have willingly ignored their Lord's word and accepted some unknown church authority! In about 311, Constantine the Great ended the persecutions by legalizing Christianity. At this point, there were nearly as many Christians in the Roman Empire as there were pagans. How could such a large, diverse populace be made to succumb to butchering their Word of Life when they suffered torture and death rather than verbally recant their status as Christian? How could this be done without a single recorded protest in history? How could someone elevate himself in popularity to such an authority status that everyone would accept his judgment without leaving a single historical fact that attests to his authority? (b) Data that Substantiates the Traditional Text Shows that the Major Premise is False. Of secondary importance in refuting their major premise is the data that substantiates the authenticity of the traditional text. This is of secondary importance because it is impossible for them to show the motive, means or opportunity for their major premise from an historical standpoint. A Christian should know that the text has been preserved according to the promise of God in scripture (Jn 10:35, 2 Pet. 1:19, Mt 5:17-18, Jn 5:37- 47, Rom 4:21, Is 46:10-11). Indeed the scoffing apostasy of Westcott and Hort does nothing but confirm the trustworthiness of God's Word because He foretold it. [2 Pet 3:1-10] Since Westcott and Hort don't claim to have God's Word preserved, they don't have an alternative for a Christian. The old man, the scoffing modern scholars, and any unbeliever, is acting contrary to evidence and reason if he fails to recognize the traditional text as the one which the Holy Ghost breathed and preserved. This is evidenced by (i) the translations, (ii) the witness of the fathers, (iii) the witness of the lectionaries, and (iv) the witness of the later copies (i) The Translations Witness Against the Major Premise. One problem with the theory that a conspiracy suppressed the true Greek text in the fourth century (or even the third century) is that the Bible was translated into other languages at a very early date. This evidence is very abundant, over 15,000 copies exist of various translations. [9, p. 40]. Since Westcott and Hort reject the unanimous testimony of the Christian Church in the fourth century, they would also explain away the manuscripts of translations that were made after 400 A.D. into Gothic, Georgian, Ethiopic and Nubian. They would, no doubt, say these were dupes of the conspiracy. They would dismiss the translations into Syrian: Palestinian (5th century), Philoxenian (508), and Harkleian (616). They would dismiss the Egyptian translations: Bohairic (4th Century) and Middle Egyptian (5th century). They would likewise dismiss all copies of Jerome's translation into Latin that was completed in 384, demanding more ancient evidence. But there is an inconsistency in this. What is to compel me to accept the witness of two heretical doctors of divinity from the nineteenth century above the witness of fourth and fifth century translators? Their criterion of ancient is better means that I must accept the witness of those nearer the event than those later. The burden of proof laid upon Westcott, Hort, and their modern allies grows to a crushing mountain when it is considered that every New Testament translator between 300 and 1881 must be shown to be a traitor or a dupe to a conspiracy to suppress the true text. Even if we irrationally accept their demand for a witness before the fourth century, they fare no better. The Peshitta (a translation into Syrian) was produced early in the second century. It is possible that this translation was in the hands of Saint John. There are 350 copies extant of this translation, and they support the traditional text. The old Latin translation that was in use when Jerome prepared the Vulgate was translated much earlier than 300 A.D. because 50 copies are still extant dated between 300 and 400 A.D. This translation is also a witness, prior to the fourth century, that testifies to the authenticity of the traditional text. (ii) The Church Fathers Witness Against the Major Premise. Even if all copies of the Greek manuscripts and translations were lost to us, the Bible is such a heavily quoted book in history that it is possible to reconstruct nearly the entire New Testament from quotes scattered about in the early church fathers. Sir David Dalrymple established that the entire New Testament could be assembled from quotes of the fathers of the second and third century except 11 verses. [9, p. 51] The mass of this evidence is demonstrated in the index of New Testament citations of the Church Fathers of Antiquity by the Dean John Burgon who is also the author of the authoritative critique of Westcott and Hort's theory . This index consists of 16 thick volumes and contains 86,489 quotations. [9, p. 52] How this data may be used to certify the authenticity of the traditional text is illustrated by Dr. Burgon as follows. He considers 15 verses (Mk 10:17-31) copied by Clement of Alexandria in 183 A.D. Alexandria was a hotbed of Gnosticism during this period, and Clement was not completely free of Gnostic taint. Because of this, the witness of Clement against Westcott and Hort is more credible because it shows that no matter how sympathetic one is when choosing witnesses, the traditional text is supported. When compared to the traditional text Clement differs in 38% of it. But when Clement is compared to Westcott and Hort, he differs by 44%. The reader may well ask how such a corrupt copy could possibly be of use to us at the present time. Since Clement's text evidently is more corrupt than Westcott and Hort, how can his testimony be of any use? Let Clement be considered an impartial witness who lived before any of this controversy arose, and let him weigh in on the proposed changes of Westcott and Hort. Of the 15 changes proposed by Westcott and Hort, 12 of them are rejected by Clement who testifies to the authenticity of the traditional text. [3, p. 327-331] This testimony is 150 years older than the favored manuscripts of Westcott and Hort, and it comes from the area that is most likely to agree with the doctrinal bias of Westcott and Hort. The authenticity of the traditional text is verified by the fact that the ancient fathers quoted it. If it were welded together in the fourth century, how could someone substantiate it's wording 150 years earlier? To believe such a thing is to turn history on it's head.