Examination of Modern NT Text Criticism (2/2)

Note: Formatted by author for mono-space type.
Page 2 of 2.
Previous Page

(iii)  The Lectionaries Witness Against the Major Premise.

     There are at least 2143 lectionaries extant.  Lectionaries are portions 
of the New Testament books arranged according to a fixed order for reading in 
the churches at worship.  This system developed at a very early date in the 
church (probably the first century), because the practice of assembling the 
scriptures in this way was taken over from Judaism.  This being the case, the 
text of the lectionaries represents a very reliable transmission medium since 
the lectionaries saw such limited use and were publicly read.  The 
lectionaries support the reading of the traditional text over against the 
proposed changes of Westcott and Hort.

(iv)  The Later Copies Witness Against the Major Premise.

     There are about 3000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that were 
copied by handwriting.  Most of these copies are dated after 800 A.D.  The 
class of manuscripts dated after 800 A.D. is known as the "later copies" in 
this section.  It is the contention of Westcott and Hort that since there was 
a conspiracy that fabricated the traditional text, all later copies may be 
collapsed into a single fabricated copy of the fourth century which may be 
ignored.  But since they did not show that there was such a conspiracy, the 
witness of the church in the fourth century is in reality a consensus of 
independent witnesses to the authenticity of the traditional text.  Westcott 
and Hort don't believe there were any errors due to transmission between the 
fourth century and the later copies that couldn't be corrected through a 
majority consensus of the manuscripts.  Since they did not prove the fourth 
century text to be a fabrication, a procedure that corrects the errors in the 
later copies establishes the authentic text.
     The rate that errors formed in transmission by handwriting may be 
observed by considering how many times Codices A and C mentioned above differ 
from the traditional text in the book of Luke.  This gives about one word 
being affected in 90 over the course of 400 years.  Estimate the New Testament 
to contain approximately 140,000 words.  There are 2000 copies that existed 
less than 1200 years from the autographs.  If the transmission rate was 
basically the same until the middle ages, and no corrections were made, it may 
be concluded that the average error rates of the later copies is about 1 word 
in 30.  
     Even if all early copies were destroyed, the original text could be 
recovered from the later copies through error correction.  The error 
correction procedure is to take an odd number of manuscripts and form the 
corrected text by adopting the words supported by the majority.  This recipe 
of correction is hardly novel, it has intuitive appeal as a reasonable 
correction algorithm where independent, equally credible witnesses are 
     One modern text critic objects that this method is irrational because 
the later copies are "too homogeneous" for this model [12, p. 207].  This 
difficulty may not exist, because this author does not quantify his claim;  to 
a liberal text critic, one error in thirty may be considered homogeneous.  
Even if the error rate is lower than one word in thirty, it is easily 
explainable in that a majority vote process may have been employed by many 
independent witnesses in the course of document transmission, and thus the 
errors corrected through independent observation.  It is significant that no 
mechanism has ever been put forward by these critics to account for how an 
archetype would be universally enforced in the monasteries of the middle ages.  
This is a large difficulty because hand-writing had to be the mechanism of 
transmitting and enforcing the archetype.  Logistically this is a very large 
task.  How could it be executed without evidence is a puzzling mystery.
     If it is pessimistically assumed that no copyists in the middle ages 
employed error correction, it would still only take 7 independent manuscripts 
with an error rate of 1 word in 30 to establish the New Testament text with 
only 1 error.  If 21 manuscripts are used then the probability of a single 
error in the new testament is less than 1 part in one hundred thousand.  
Before the final edition of Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament, he had 
considered at least 17 Greek manuscripts, and 10 Latin manuscripts on a first-
hand basis.  Many more manuscripts were consulted by those who reviewed or 
commented on his publication, including codex B whose variants are mentioned 
in the margin of the second and 5th editions and accurately characterized as 
corrupt.  In addition to this Erasmus compared two other contemporary Greek 
editions:  the Aldine, and the Complutensian.  With this large, diverse body 
of manuscripts consulted, it is more likely that the original autographs were 
re-assembled by Erasmus than to think that they were not. [13, p. 35-42]
     The later copies are sometimes wrongly thought to be the strongest 
evidence against the theories of Westcott and Hort.  Those who argue from the 
later copies are accused of trusting only the later copies instead of the 
ancient.  All the opponents of Westcott and Hort attempt to do with this 
argument, however, is show that it is unreasonable to think that there are any 
uncorrected errors in the New Testament caused by transmission through 
writing.  The later copies show that Westcott and Hort's theory is wrong 
because there was no conspiracy in the fourth century.  It is unreasonable in 
the face of historical evidence to believe that the ancient Christian church 
accepted a fabrication, and so the later copies establish the original 
     It is usually claimed that the text type of the later copies isn't 
represented very strongly in the earlier centuries by remaining manuscripts.  
This difficulty has not been proved to exist because the "text type" 
categories have never been precisely defined.  (See section II B, and D.)  
Even if this difficulty exists, it is no serious problem to the traditional 
view, because the more popular and reliable a manuscript is, the more likely 
it is that ancient copies would have worn out and no longer be available.  One 
author who has the courage to mention this argument in a scholarly paper [12, 
p. 206] raised the related difficulty that if this applies to the copies 
before 800 A.D. why does it not apply to those after 800 A.D.  The reason is 
simple.  Movable type was invented in the early 1400's, and manuscripts didn't 
see the same use that they did prior to it's invention.
     When movable type was invented the mechanism for text preservation was 
changed.  Without movable type a reliable manuscript had to be handled at 
least once, and probably many times for each copy that was produced.  With 
movable type, copies could be produced by the thousand with little more 
manuscript handling than it previously took to produce one copy.  It is no 
wonder that the Gutenburg Bible is the first book of this period known to be 
printed in movable type.  By 1500, there were more than 1,000 printer shops in 
Europe.  Erasmus, who assembled a Greek edition for printing, lamented the 
idleness and carelessness of copyists in 1522 "such are the customs of the 
clergy, who care more about plates than pages and are interested more in money 
than manuscripts." [13, p. 41]  
     In the later copies we have a snapshot of the reliable manuscripts that 
were employed to preserve the text through transmission by handwriting.  As 
you go back in time before the invention of movable type, the more reliable 
manuscripts gradually taper away until none are available before 800.  This 
same phenomenon is observed in other works that were preserved by transmission 
through handwriting.  The following list gives the title and date of the 
earliest extant copy of 14 works whose earliest extant copy is later than 800:  
Caesar (900 A.D.), Plato Tetralogies (900 A.D.), Tacitus Annals (1100 A.D.), 
Tacitus minor works (1000 A.D.), Pliny the Younger History (850 A.D.), 
Thucydides History (900 A.D.), Suetonius De Vita Caesarum (950 A.D.), 
Herodotus History (900 A.D.), Sophocles (1000 A.D.), Catullus (1550 A.D.), 
Euripides (1100 A.D.), Demosthenes (1100 A.D.), Aristotle (1100 A.D.), 
Aristophanes (900 A.D.). [9, p. 42]  The Bible has much support before 800 
A.D. by manuscripts that were not used regularly by professional scribes, but 
this evidence is inferior to that of the later copies because the breadth of 
evidence more than compensates for the time span from the original {see also 
section II B. point (2) comment (c)}  If this is not reasonable to you, then 
can you tell where so many homogeneous copies would have appeared from if not 
from an abundance of similar copies that existed in previous centuries but 
were worn out?

(c)  Recent Papyri Finds Prove the Major Premise False

     When Westcott and Hort published their Greek Text in 1881, all but one 
of the more than 200 early Egyptian Papyri were yet to be discovered.  
According to their view, none of these Papyri (dated between 100 and 300 A.D.)
should support the readings that are included in the traditional text but 
not in ALEPH, B, or D.  They believe their major premise (that the traditional 
text was fabricated in the fourth century).
     Sturz [14] has collected lists of readings found in Papyri dated between 
100 and 300 A.D. that contradict the major premise of Westcott and Hort.  His 
first list gives 150 different readings of the traditional text, that Westcott 
and Hort rejected because they were found in neither ALEPH, nor B, nor D.  
This evidence is extremely damning to the major premise because it is 50 times 
longer than the list Westcott and Hort offer for proof of conflation.  A 
second list of Sturz contains 170 readings found in the traditional text that 
were confirmed by early Papyri, but were rejected by Westcott and Hort because 
they were not found in ALEPH or B but were found in D.  A third list contains 
80 readings found in the traditional text that were confirmed by early Papyri, 
but were rejected by Westcott and Hort because either ALEPH, or B, or D did 
not contain the reading.

(4)  The Beliefs of Westcott and Hort Favor Gnosticism.

"Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, 
and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!",  
Isaiah 5:20

     Given the incredible weight of evidence standing against the theory of 
Westcott and Hort, and the very thin evidence they offer to establish their 
theory, it is natural to ask:  what motivated their theory?  Since Westcott 
and Hort say that the church up to their time has been following the wrong 
manuscript, they claim that Christianity for the last 1500 years has been a 
large heretical sect.  Since their favored manuscripts show Gnostic doctrinal 
corruption, it is natural to suspect that they espoused Gnosticism, and this 
is the reason for their conclusion.  A brief review of the history of 
Gnosticism compared to Westcott and Hort's biographies and works shows this to 
be true.  Early in their career Westcott and Hort were open, flagrant 
spiritists.  This apostasy continued throughout their life but was veiled in 
secrecy for the success of their text critical theory.  The doctrine that they 
taught publicly reveals their Gnostic bias.
     One might think that the correlation of Westcott and Hort's heresies 
with one of the early heretical groups is nothing more than coincidence.  The 
history of the Gnostic heresy makes this thought impossible because Gnosticism 
was an extremely popular and repulsive heresy.  The visible roots of 
Gnosticism trace back to Philo Judaeus (20 B.C. to 40 A.D.) a learned Jew of 
Alexandria who had a school that produced most of the prominent early Gnostic 
leaders including Basilides [7, p. 74] who also established a school in 
Alexandria.  Basilides was secretive about the unspeakably disgusting 
practices, but we know from those who practiced openly (e.g. Carpocrates) that 
they cast spells by sorcery, practice dream-bringing of familiar spirits, and 
so on.  "In keeping with this they teach that all the vilest things must be 
done by those who intend to go through with their initiation into these 
'mysteries' or rather abominations; for in no other way can they escape the 
'cosmic rulers' than by rendering to them all the due performance of 
unspeakable rites." [4, p. 159, p. 87]  These unspeakable rites involved 
cannibalism, unlawful intercourse and such like.  It is reported that the 
Gnostic movement was the mother of nearly every heresy that plagued early 
Christendom [4, p. 86].  Yet they did not represent a monolithic organization 
that agreed in doctrine, but "one after another new heresies were invented, 
the earlier ones constantly passing away and disappearing, in different ways 
at different times, into forms of every shape and character." [4, p. 160]  
Because Gnostics claimed to be Christians, it was believed that Christians did 
these horrible things, and this was the wellspring of the persecutions. [4, p. 
160-161].  The religious doctrines that characterized Gnosticism were not 
always found with the unspeakable rites in evidence.  For example, Clement of 
Alexandria (150-215) and Origen (185-254) were apparently never accused of 
partaking of the secret rites, though they espoused Gnostic doctrine.  It is 
difficult to find a heresy from the early church that was not related in some 
way to Gnosticism.  One can learn a great deal about the opposing doctrines 
that precipitated the creeds by comparing the summary of Gnostic doctrine 
presented earlier with the content of the creeds.  It is no coincidence that 
Arius (318) the leader of the controversy that opposed the true church and 
necessitated the creeds was a presbyter at Alexandria [7, p. 121], the hot-bed 
of Gnosticism.
     As an undergraduate in 1851 Westcott organized something called the 
Hermes club with Hort and Edward White Benson who later became the Bishop of 
Canterbury.  In Hort's own words this was "a society for the investigation of 
ghosts and all supernatural appearances and effects, being disposed to believe 
that such things really exist." [15, p. 211]  Hort's enthusiasm for 
investigating the phenomena was unbounded, he proselytized by passing out 
papers by the thousand. [15, p. 219]  Westcott's son says that his father had 
a lifelong "faith in what for lack of a better name, one must call 
Spiritualism." [11, p. 235]  They were not above recruiting impressionable 
students as members.  Henry Sidgwick a student of Westcott's and cousin to 
Benson was recruited before he took his degree in 1859.
     Hort suggested that their spiritism remain hidden for the success of 
their text theory.  In 1860 (22 years before published) Hort wrote to Westcott 
"This may sound cowardice--I have a sort of craving that our text should be 
cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with 
suspicion.  I mean, a text, issued by men already known for what will 
undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy will have great difficulties in 
finding its way to regions which it might otherwise hope to reach and whence 
it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms."  [15, p. 445]  And 
elsewhere, Hort said "If only we speak our minds, we shall not be able to 
avoid giving grave offense to...the miscalled orthodoxy of the day." [15, p. 
421]  Westcott evidently agreed, for his son reports in his biography that "My 
father labored under the imputation of being 'unsafe'." [11, p. 235] and   
"What happened to this (ghostly) Guild in the end I have not discovered.  My 
father ceased to interest himself in these matters, not altogether, I believe, 
from want of faith in what for lack of a better name one must call 
Spiritualism" [11, p. 119]
     Someone today objecting to such membership may be called superstitious 
or old fashioned.  But scripture says  "Regard not them that have familiar 
spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your 
God." Lev 19:31, (c.f. Lev 20:6 Deut 18:11)
     Although they never openly claimed to be Gnostics, their favor for 
Gnostic doctrine was evident in their life and beliefs.  Hort read Philo 
Judaeus more than any other author. [16, p. 485]  Westcott said he was anxious 
to learn all he could of "the (Jewish?) literature of the apostolic age"  --
especially Philo Judaes.  [11, p. 233]  Among the beliefs classified as 
Gnostic Spritism in section II-A-(1)-(a) Westcott and Hort taught the 
following:  that the Father is not God [8,p. 10], that Jesus is not God [8, p. 
22-26], that the Holy Spirit is not God [8, p. 15], that the devil is not a 
person but a power [8, p. 13], that heaven is not a physical place but purely 
spiritual [8, p. 16], that Hell is not a place but represents earthly 
suffering before death [8, p. 17].  Among the beliefs classified as Gnostic 
Anti-Materialism in section II-A-(1)-(a) Westcott and Hort taught the 
following:  that the spirit of man is divine [8, p. 9, 11], that Jesus was a 
mere man [8, p. 22-26], that Christ is a possessing spirit that descended at 
Jesus' baptism [8, p. 14], that the resurrection of the body of Jesus is not 
true [8, p. 32], that the father is the creator of all material including man 
in his present state [8, p. 9].  Among the beliefs classified as Gnostic 
Illuminism in section II-A-(1)-(a) Westcott and Hort taught:  that it is not 
the word of God that is inspired, but the messengers [8, p. 5], that 
revelation is in scripture, but not scripture itself [8, p. 5], that God is 
the primary revealer (note they say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not 
God, so they must mean spirits by this) [8, p. 7].
     Thus we are left with the conclusion that a group previously discounted 
as heretical by the early church was to Westcott and Hort the keeper of the 
truest autographs.  These people were made to suffer the brand of heretic, and 
up until 1881 languished in obscurity.  In essence what is behind their major 
premise is a subtext accusing the Christian church as a whole of false 
doctrine and successful suppression of the true church.  But how do we know 
what the true Christian church is?  This is not primarily an historical 
question, but a doctrinal question.  The true Christian Church is that Church 
which publicly teaches the doctrine ordained by God and administers the 
sacraments according to Christ's institution.  It is irrational to think that 
Gnosticism is true Christianity because the Messiah of Christianity must be 
the Messiah who was promised and foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures.  
The proof that the publicly accepted Christian Church is heretical must be 
made from the Old Testament.  But this Westcott and Hort never do.  In fact 
their entire system is impossible in the face of the Old Testament.  For one 
need read no further than the first commandment to know that Gnosticism does 
not reflect true Judaism.  "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." Exodus 

B.  Consequent Assumptions of Westcott and Hort
    are False Because the Major Premise is False.

     Recall the major premise of Westcott and Hort: that there was a 
conspiracy that fabricated the traditional text.  Derived from their major 
premise are several principles used in the text critical method that are wrong 
because the major premise is wrong.  Westcott admitted premeditation in the 
rejection of the traditional Greek text when, 30 years before it was 
published, he said "I am anxious to provide something to replace them." [11, 
p. 229]  A summary of the modern principles of text criticism [1, p. 419-453] 
will be analyzed in the light of the erroneous nature of their major premise.  
As the principles are discussed, note particularly those things denoted in the 
right hand column by lower case letters according to the following notation.  
Three items are particularly of note (a) the principles which artificially 
favor the Gnostic texts and (b) the principles that only make sense if their 
major premise is believed (c) the principles that call for something 
impossible on the part of the critic.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(1)  A scribe usually went about      |  (b)  This makes no sense whatever 
blending the texts available to him   |  unless you assume the text was 
trying to make improvements to the    |  lost.  What would be the motive for 
text.                                 |  a faithful scribe?  To improve 
                                      |  God's Word?

  Westcott & Hort     |
      Principle       |                      Analysis
(2)  Older            |  (a)  This principle is wrong.  Observe that the 
manuscripts have      |  poorest condition books are those used most 
fewer corruptions.    |  frequently.  The roughest book I own is my Bible.  
                      |  The only way a book can last a long time is if it 
                      |  is so corrupt that it is never used.  The fact 
                      |  that a book has survived for a very long time is 
                      |  an indicator of corruption.  Two cases in point:  
                      |  B which was on a forgotten shelf in the Vatican 
                      |  library, and ALEPH which was literally snatched 
                      |  from the waste fire.
                      |  (c)  While it would be true that older 
                      |  manuscripts are more reliable if the later 
                      |  manuscript is known to have been copied only from 
                      |  the earlier one, this information is unknown.  If 
                      |  many independent later manuscripts are compared 
                      |  using a majority vote, an error rate is achieved 
                      |  that is lower than the error rate of single older 
                      |  copies.  For example, if 3 manuscripts are used 
                      |  with an error rate of 1/30 words each (12th 
                      |  century) an error rate of 1/300 is achieved in 
                      |  the resultant text.  This error rate is more than 
                      |  3 times lower than a single reliable 4th century 
                      |  manuscript.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(3)  You must not look at each        |  (a)  This principle prevents them 
variant point-by-point within a       |  from being forced to prove their 
document to determine the             |  assertion.  Who can present any 
character, but you must make a        |  evidence against them other than 
value judgment of the document as a   |  point-by-point.  With this 
whole.                                |  principle they can make any 
                                      |  judgment about any document they 
                                      |  wish and claim academic superiority 
                                      |  without any evidence whatever.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(4)  If a document is of mixed type   |  (c)  Who can tell what the two 
(appears to be a harmonization of     |  originals were without having them?  
two contradictory texts), then a      |  This makes putting the toothpaste 
critic must divorce the two types     |  back in the tube look easy.
and rely on the older or more         |  (b)  Unless you can prove that a 
reliable type.                        |  fabrication occurred in the past, 
                                      |  this principle is wrong.  It 
                                      |  essentially assumes deletions 
                                      |  didn't occur but blending.
                                      |  (a)  The critic is totally free to 
                                      |  choose any false reading he wishes.  
                                      |  He is also unassailable on this 
                                      |  point if he posits anything at all 
                                      |  because who can prove any such 
                                      |  fabrication wrong without having 
                                      |  the originals.  He can also claim 
                                      |  that all evidence that disagrees 
                                      |  with the hypothesized reading 
                                      |  supports it because it is longer, 
                                      |  and must be a blend.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(5)  A very small group may be        |  (c)  The formation of groups is 
good, a very large group may be       |  something which they first 
bad.  (By group they mean a set of    |  introduced, but they never clearly 
manuscripts that give largely the     |  defined the criteria for group 
same reading and so form a common     |  formation or explained what 
witness)                              |  constituted their groups or how 
                                      |  they arrived at them. 
                                      |  (a)  Could they perhaps be thinking 
                                      |  of their small group of corrupt 
                                      |  witnesses over against the +95% 
                                      |  large group that supports the 
                                      |  traditional text?  A principle this 
                                      |  obvious shows lack of imagination

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(6)  If of 10 readings 9 agree and    |  (b)  This only makes sense if they 
one is different, the tenth is        |  are talking about a fabrication.  
preferred.                            |  Since there is no such thing, this 
                                      |  principle leads to a wrong text. 

  Westcott & Hort     |
      Principle       |                      Analysis
(7)  Counting         |  (a)  How convenient for Gnosticism.  Take an 
manuscripts must      |  analogy to an election process:  Suppose there 
play no part at all   |  are three candidates I, II, and III.  99.99% vote 
because all           |  for I, 0.004% for II, and 0.001% for III.  By 
manuscripts that      |  their reasoning this election is a tie because 
agree descend from a  |  there are three candidates.  While it is true 
common ancestor, and  |  that you must select one of the three, that 
so must be counted    |  doesn't mean that all three candidates are 
as a single example.  |  equally supported by votes.
                      |  (c)  They fail to inform the reader that no one 
                      |  has been able to prove that any extant manuscript 
                      |  is the ancestor of any other extant manuscript.  
                      |  We have a host of witnesses, but we know 
                      |  absolutely nothing about how they descended or 
                      |  are related to one another.  Since this 
                      |  information is lacking, any hypothesis of 
                      |  ancestry is unfounded.  By this ruse they try to 
                      |  collapse a host of independent witnesses into one 
                      |  opinion which they will ignore.
                      |  (c)  This assumes the critic knows the answer 
                      |  ahead of time.  How else can he be assured that 
                      |  the majority of witnesses don't favor the right 
                      |  answer?  Why complicate the matter with 
                      |  terminology and learning.  They should adopt the 
                      |  simple principle that the critic may choose 
                      |  whatever text he wants, in spite of all evidence, 
                      |  and save us the trouble of reading their circular 
                      |  reasoning.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(8)  The only kind of consent         |  (c)  Marvelous!  Here we are again 
between documents that shows          |  being able to tell which documents 
community of origin is community of   |  are in error.  If the critic knows 
error.                                |  what an error is when he sees one, 
                                      |  then he must also know what the 
                                      |  true text is.  It would be nice, if 
                                      |  Westcott and Hort claimed to know 
                                      |  the true text, but they claim the 
                                      |  opposite.  They leave us to doubt 
                                      |  saying they are left to subjective 
                                      |  considerations.  Then how can they 
                                      |  spot errors?

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(9)  In a mixture the ancestor        |  (b)  There is no such thing as 
stands nearer to the autograph than   |  mixture that has been demonstrated 
any of it's later copies.             |  so this principle is wrong.
Therefore a mixture cannot speak      |  (c)  Recall that not a single case 
against an ancestor.                  |  of manuscript ancestry has ever 
                                      |  been proven.  They are theorizing 
                                      |  about thin air.

      Westcott & Hort Principle       |              Analysis
(10)  The harder (poor                |  (b)  This only makes sense if it is
grammatically) and shorter reading    |  believed that a fabrication took 
is preferred.  (This assumes that     |  place.  This essentially assumes 
the source texts were bad             |  that the penmen who spoke Greek 
grammatically and that they were      |  fluently didn't even bother to 
shorter than the resultant text)      |  check their own grammar in what 
                                      |  they wrote, and that the Holy Ghost 
                                      |  didn't care.
                                      |  (a)  This principle favors the 
                                      |  Gnostic corruptions, because the 
                                      |  Gnostics had a low regard for 
                                      |  Scripture and changed words to suit 
                                      |  them.  A lapse in grammar is more 
                                      |  likely to occur in this procedure 
                                      |  because grammatical agreement is 
                                      |  likely to slip by such a butcher, 
                                      |  who attempted to falsify what he 
                                      |  found.  Unless it is a first draft, 
                                      |  native writers tend to use flawless 
                                      |  grammar.  Since many doctrinally 
                                      |  motivated corruptions are 
                                      |  omissions, this principle favors 
                                      |  the Gnostic corruptions.

C.  The Text Criticism Method of Westcott and Hort

     The method comes down to five steps.  (1)  Classify documents according 
to similar type of reading.  (2)  Find the Parent for each type of text (that 
is:  the oldest of that type).  (3)  Ignore all the rest of the evidence 
except the Parents.  (4)  Ignore those parents which are believed to be a 
mixture of other parents.  (5)  Where the remaining parents disagree you must 
rely on the personal taste of the revered experts.
     From the fallacies pointed out in the previous section the reader is 
able to list what is wrong with each step of this method.  The biggest fallacy 
in my estimation is step (3), when all evidence but the parents is ignored.  
The implicit assumption is that the oldest document that agrees broadly with a 
large class of readings is the document from which all latter documents were 
copied.  No ancestry link between any two manuscripts has ever been 
established.  The fact that one document has survived longer than others is 
more likely evidence that it was not in the same lineage at all.  This 
implicit assumption is nothing but the opposite of the sensible assumption.  
By this assumption, the entire host of extant evidence is reduced to the 
earliest, and therefore most corrupt, representative.  It is perhaps more 
amazing that this one representative is subsequently ignored for subjective 
reasons.  Such a procedure is extremely damaging to the true faith because we 
know that some manuscripts within this era were fabricated by people hostile 
to God's word.  Surely ignoring the doctrinal deviation at each variation is 
the same as giving equal time to heretics.  But Westcott and Hort do more than 
that, they enshrine the doctrinal deviations due to their own theological 
bias.  It is a sad commentary on the current crop of Text Critical scholars 
that they call conservatives who support the traditional text theologically 
biased, but say that Westcott and Hort who were biased with a heresy were 
"objective." [12, p. 204]

D.  The Application of the Text Criticism Method is Disastrous.

     The method of text criticism defined by Westcott and Hort has been 
applied with disastrous results.  Westcott and Hort themselves used it as an 
excuse to disregard the traditional text entirely.  They defined the following 
four categories.

Traditional_text: (also called Byzantine or Syrian or Antiochian or Graeco-
  Syrian or Constantinopolitan or Asiatic or Oriental or Koine or Common or 
  Alpha)  A lot of names for something which Modern Text Critics only ignore.
  Westcott and Hort claim this is a blending of Western and Neutral texts.
Western_text:  represented by D.  Westcott and Hort claim this was a 
  corruption of the Neutral text.
Alexandrian_text:  Westcott and Hort claim this was generated by an attempt to
  correct the Western to agree with Neutral.
Neutral_text:  Represented by B, and vaguely by ALEPH.  Disagreeing with 
  Traditional, Western and Syrian.  Westcott and Hort say no manuscript, 
  version, or patristic writer preserves this text in its original purity.

     These are new terms, but the conclusions have already been presented.
In the new terminology, Westcott and Hort believed that there were two New 
Testament text revisions.  They said that the Syrian text is a conflation of 
Western and Neutral types.  Since the Syrian is a blend it must be ignored.  
(The traditional text of scripture is a forgery).  They said that the Neutral 
text type is the original and was corrupted to form the Western type.  The 
Western type was made closer to the Neutral through revision, resulting in the 
Alexandrian text type.  Since they say you should only use the oldest document 
of any given type, this means codices B and ALEPH must be used exclusively to 
form the New Testament.  (The Gnostic corrupted texts must be used to replace 
the traditional New Testament.)
     Recent text critics have not blindly accepted the complete system of 
Westcott and Hort.  Indeed there is room for arguing that if all the 
criticisms of Westcott and Hort are gathered from the various modern text 
critics, a complete refutation of their system may be assembled.  While they 
have not been uncritical, recent text critics have in large measure adopted 
Westcott and Hort's major premise, conclusions, text criticism method, text 
type definitions, and favored corrupt manuscripts.  This is why so much space 
has been given in the present essay for refutation of Westcott and Hort.  
Modern text critics' conclusions are in practice identical with those of 
Westcott and Hort.  They still ignore the traditional text and believe in 
spite of the evidence that there was a conspiracy that fabricated the 
traditional text.  Modern text critics trust ALEPH and B so that their 
resultant text differs very little from that of Westcott and Hort.  Modern 
text critics adopt Westcott and Hort's critical method and principles; how 
could they possibly come to true conclusions when at the foundation of their 
system is an outrageous lie?
     Recent text critics have eliminated the Neutral category, saying that 
ALEPH and B are the oldest of the Alexandrian text type.  This is a fatal 
admission.  The witness comes from those who adopt the theory of Westcott and 
Hort, so the witness is biased toward their view.  It shows that the category 
of Neutral was a begging of the question.  The major premise, that an 
authoritative revision produced the traditional text, has grown into an 
exalted myth among text critics which no one dare question.  Since no one has 
ever shown that there was a revision, each critic may believe his own 
mechanism, author, and source texts of the mythical revision.  The so called 
experts are not able to convince one another.  Their various conflicting 
opinions demonstrate that it has not been proved.  If it had they would all 
agree.  For example, Von Soden thinks there were three revisions instead of 
two, but no one really agrees with this. [14, p. 22]  Streeter disagrees with 
the notion of authoritative revision saying the revision was not global, but 
local.  A small minority rejecting both of these innovations, still cling 
entirely to the whole system of Westcott and Hort, "neutral" text type and 
all.  No one is allowed to speak of manuscripts among the modern critics 
unless he uses the three remaining text types defined by Westcott and Hort.  
This is amazing, since Westcott and Hort never even bothered to explain what 
they meant by the categories they used, other than which manuscripts they 
thought to be the earliest representative of the type.  The practice of only 
trusting the earliest representative of a type is very attractive to the 
modern text critics because they are lazy.  Why bother looking at more than 
the earliest text type since the problem must be solved with subjective 
considerations anyway.  Instead they just trust the earliest representatives 
(ALEPH and B).
     That the modern text critics attempt to build theory based on a 
foundation of sand is amazing.  But the reader should recall that the theory 
is very complimentary to the scholastic elite.  The acceptance of the theory 
is self-serving and self-aggrandizing.  They want to have their publications 
well-received by their peers.  But most of all they want to deny the 
inspiration and preservation of the Scripture because it gives them the 
opportunity to substitute their own word for God's Word.  They want to sit in 
judgment of God and be better than Him.  The temptation is not new, in the 
garden of Eden the devil brought about the fall with this temptation saying 
"ye shall be as God" Gen 3:5.
     It is God's Word that created and maintains the present order of the 
physical world.  The moderns lie when they say that the physical world created 
or determines God's Word.  This lie is the mark God has given for us to 
recognize this apostasy. (2 Pet 3:3-13)

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.

     The reader should not think that a proper view of text criticism is no-
where to be found in the present day.  There are a large number of scholars 
today who are questioning more and more of the text critical principles they 
inherited from Westcott and Hort.  They have not totally thrown off the yoke 
of erroneous assumptions brought by Westcott and Hort for the success of their 
Gnostic New Testament.  Nor is the Greek text of Westcott and Hort thoroughly 
Gnostic.  About 10% of the New Testament was doubted or rejected by Westcott 
and Hort.  Recent scholars have assembled texts that place more weight on the 
traditional text than Westcott and Hort.  Hodges, Farstad, et al. assembled a 
text they mis-named the "Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text."  
The name is misleading because they have incorporated minority readings [12, 
p.196], yet they have reduced the variation with the traditional text down to 
1%.  A huge step in the right direction.  Other modern authors that advocate 
the correct view include Pickering, Moorman, etc.  A Greek text that truly 
contains the majority text has been assembled by Pierpont and Robinson.  The 
recognition of the King James Version as the best translation is becoming 
common among layman.  A recent book criticizing the modern versions has sold 
50,000 copies. [5]
     Recently some text critics have tried to refute the supporters of the 
traditional text.  The attempt of Wallace [12] is particularly noteworthy 
because it is very recent, and shows the typical arguments.  The ammunition of 
the text critics consists mainly of name calling, name dropping, and ignoring 
the arguments which, they admit, have been known for over 100 years but remain 
     Name calling:  the first line of defense is to claim that traditional 
text advocates don't have proper credentials. [12, p. 188, 197, 200 (note 
96)].  When traditionalists do have credentials acceptable to them they call 
us other names.  Burgon doesn't deserve to be answered because he has an acid 
pen. [12, p. 189] Westcott wouldn't read or answer him because of "violence" 
in his writing. [12, p. 189]  Hoskier may be ignored because he is "quirkish" 
[12, p. 197 (note 83)].  Hills is accused of academic dishonesty because he 
only got his credentials by pretending to believe the modern Text Critical 
School [12, p. 192].  Hills and his followers are theologically biased 
(believe inspiration and preservation) [12, p. 192, 197, 198, 201 (esp. note 
97), 202, 203, 204].  Traditionalists are called "schizophrenic," [12, p. 213] 
"backwaters," [12, p. 185] and "prejudiced." [12, p. 201]  Their views are 
called a "scholarly curiosity", which doesn't rate an answer. [12, p. 200].
     Name dropping:  the second line of defense is to say all the really 
important text critics accept the views of Westcott and Hort and so you have 
to accept the more learned view.  Thus famous scholars are paraded who dismiss 
the traditional text with a wave of the hand without adducing any reasons 
whatever.  Thus Martin Vincent, A. T. Robertson, Leo Vagany, Bruce Metzger are 
paraded. [12, p. 189]  So also G. D. Kilpatrick [12, p. 192] and Greenlee [12, 
p. 200] are cited.  Even the author, Daniel B. Wallace, references his own 
works, and dismisses Traditional Text advocates out of hand without any proof. 
[12, p. 200 (note 96), p. 208 (notes 134-6)]  When modern critics reject the 
traditional view without evidence, this procedure of refutation is evidence of 
the poverty of their argument.  Later, when it is admitted that the better 
traditionalist scholars have never been answered, [12, p. 189] it shows why 
name dropping must be employed.
     If traditionalists are really such unlearned dolts, why can they not be 
answered convincingly without resorting to name calling and name dropping as 
two main lines of attack?  As highly learned as the elite critics are, it 
should be child's play to answer simpletons like me.  Yet their silence is 
devastating.  They admit that no point by point rebuttal to Burgon has ever 
been prepared.  [12, p. 189]  Again, it is argued that the acceptance of the 
traditional text is a 'scholarly curiosity'.  And since there are no text 
critics alive today that believe it, it will not be answered.  Yet they admit 
that there are prejudiced, fundamentalist, backwater, schizophrenics who 
believe it.  It may seem strange that their learned fury pleases me.  Without 
it, it would be difficult to illustrate that they really have no convincing 
arguments.  Wallace is extremely convincing that he cannot answer the 
traditionalists, simply because in the end, he admits he must ignore their 
arguments and call them names, and find excuses for not considering what they 
say.  He stands before us as one of the many so-called scholars who write 
before they read, and condemn before they consider.
     I thank thee Lord God heavenly father that thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and the prudent and hast revealed them unto babes.  For thus it 
pleases God to reveal the devil's mask to all men low and high.

1.  An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament, 2nd Ed., A. H. McNeile, 
     Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1955.
2.  The New Testament in the Original Greek,  Text revised by Brooke Foss 
     Westcott D. D., and Fenton John Anthony Hort D.D.  Cambridge and London 
     1881.  Volume 2 Introduction.
3.  The Revision Revised,  John William Burgon B.D.  Dean of Chichester.  
     October 31, 1883.
4.  Eusebius The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine, Translated 
     with an introduction by G. A. Williamson.  Penguin Books Baltimore 
     Maryland 1965.
5.  New Age Bible Versions, G. A. Riplinger.  A. V. Publications  Munroe Falls 
     Ohio, 1993.
6.  R. G. Taylor, Distorted Scripture:  Analysis of the New International 
     Version of the Holy Bible Compared to the King James Version, New Haven 
     Indiana July 1995.
7.  A History of the Christian Church, Lars P. Qualben Thomas Nelson and Sons, 
     New York, 1942.
8.  Heresies of Westcott & Hort, Rev. D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., 1979, by 
     Plains Baptist Challenger, Lubbock, Texas.
9.  Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volume I, Josh McDowell, Here's Life 
     Publishers, Inc., San Bernardino CA, 1986.
10.  The Shorter Works of Ivan Panin, The British Israel Association 1238A 
     Seymour Street Vancouver, 1934.
11.  The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, Vol. I, Arthur Westcott, 
     London:  Macmillan and Co., Limited 1903.
12.  Daniel B. Wallace, The Majority-Text Theory:  History, Methods and 
     Critique, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society June 1994 pp. 
13.  Erasmus' Annotations on the New Testament  From Philologist to 
     Theologian, Erika Rummel, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1942.
14.  The Byzantine Text-Type & New Testament Textual Criticism, H. A. Sturz, 
     H. A.  Thomas Nelson, NY 1984.
15.  The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Vol. I, Arthur Hort, 
     Macmillan and Co. Ltd., London, 1896. 
16.  The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Vol. II, Arthur Hort, 
     Macmillan and Co. Ltd., London, 1896.

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.

Reproduction Information:  The pagination is consistent with
word for windows 6.0c top margin 0.6", bottom margin 0.6"
                      right margin 1" left margin 1"
                      True Type Courier New 10 pt font

|  Jeffrey A. Young, Ph.D. Electrical Engineering (Digital Communication)  |
|    Seminary training from my Pastor since fall '89 (currently 2/3 done)  |
|  Synodical Affiliation:  Lutheran Churches of the Reformation            |
|  Church:  Christ Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Ft. Wayne, IN       |
|  Employment:  Magnavox Ft. Wayne, IN (Soon to be part of Hughes Aircraft)|