Why I'm King James and the Contrast with a Dangerous King James Version Position

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T.R. Only? Is there really any difference from KJVO?

He consistently makes the statement that God perfectly preserved His Word in the documents behind the KJV. Perhaps he does not mean this, but what it sounds like he is espousing is T.R. onlyism. While a more nuanced approach to the KJVO issue, I am really not sure that his position is actually that much different as he posits "The King James Version is translated from that text of scripture.  There is no other English translation from that text.  For that reason, I trust the King James Version." (Emphasis mine) This line of thinking flies in the face of both what the scriptures teach regarding preservation and what we observe as preserved. In reality, there is no difference between what he is saying and what those he criticizes are saying. At least as I see it.

Phil Golden

TR Man

So, Kent is a TR-Only man. Okay, so now he just needs to demonstrate why that is the only viable choice to believe in preservation.

Artful dodge, really

Note that he's assuming more or less on faith that the TR is the preserved Word, and almost entirely dodges the entire science of analyzing other ancient texts of the New Testament to infer the autographs.  Beautiful way to dodge the issue most of us consider important, really. 

And a factual correction; I'm pretty sure that Oliver Cromwell would have been using the 1599 or 1560 Geneva Bible, since it did not contain the apocrypha, while the 1611 KJV does.  I love my KJV, and I know and appreciate the arguments that the controversial passages not found in the Alexandrian texts really were in the autographs--we might start simply by noting that even if they were "put back in" by Erasmus from the Vulgate, their inclusion in the Vulgate suggests that Jerome might have seen those very passages before him in the Greek in the 4th century AD--a time comparable with the age of the most ancient Alexandrian texts.

But to ignore the debate....sigh.

Brandenburg

Kent Brandenburg edited a book, Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, where he explains his position in detail. I referenced the book in my first article on the Trinity when I mentioned 1 Jn 5:7b-8a. I appreciate his article, because he specifically calls out the "KJV is inspired" crowd. I respect the fact that he prefers the TR, because his authority is in the original language.

I continue to prefer TR and BYZ readings in some cases for contextual reasons; see, for example, whether it is an "angel" (TR) or an "eagle" (UBS-5) who heralds the impending woes to the rest of the world before the final three seals are opened in Revelation 8:13 . . .

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

which textus receptus?

Whenever I hear someone arguing for a TR only position, I always want to ask, which textus receptus? The first edition, by the confession of Erasmus himself was a editorial mess. Subsequent editions cleaned up a lot of problems, and some were never cleaned up. Even so, except for the book of Revelation, the text upon which the TR is based is largely the 12th century minuscule GA 1. Erasmus made some textual critical decisions from a handful of other manuscripts, but the lion's share of the first edition TR is minuscule GA 1. Why? It was available to him in Basel when he arrived there to print his own new Latin edition, which turned into a project to print both Latin and Greek.

So what about GA 1 made it a perfect preservation of the New Testament? Or perhaps more precisely, what about GA 1 plus the corrections made by Erasmus made it perfect? At which edition of the TR did it reach this point of perfection? The common answer is the edition upon which the KJV was translated--and there we have returned full circle to the problem.

TR

from Theopedia

The KJV translators never published the Greek text from which they worked, so Scrivener attempted to reverse-engineer the text by examining the various texts that would have been available to them. Scrivener merely matched various readings (primarily the Beza and Stephanus texts) to fit the English used by the KJV translators. 

There is no single Greek manuscript that represents the Textus Receptus, for the more than 30 varieties of the Textus Receptus were all eclectic texts formed by incorporating variant readings.

Older and more manuscripts used in translation, as opposed to fewer and newer manuscripts!

Erasmus was the author of five published editions from 1516 to 1535. His consolidated Greek text was based on only seven minuscule manuscripts of the Byzantine text type that he had access to in Basel at the time, and he relied mainly on two of these - both dating from the twelfth century.

A speaker said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that we have 110 pieces in the manuscript evidence as opposed to 90 pieces of a 100-piece puzzle.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

TylerR wrote:I continue to

TylerR wrote:
I continue to prefer TR and BYZ readings in some cases for contextual reasons

When I do textual analysis as part of my sermon prep, I always compare the NA28 to the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine text. I find both very helpful.

ALCON

If you've been in the military, you know "ALCON" means "all concerned!"

I have Bibleworks setup to compare TR, BYZ (Robinson & Pierpont), and UBS-5 whenever I look at the NT. Very interesting and helpful.

Brandenburg has addressed all your questions about the TR on his blog or in his book. All of them. No, I'm not a TR guy, but I always consult it. Always. Many times, as in Rev 8:13, I believe it provides the best reading. Sometimes, as in Rev 5:9-10, I believe it is flat wrong.

The more you compare Greek printed texts, the more you realize this is a complicated and often case-by-case issue. I believe many people make a mistake by simply slavishly adopting the UBS-5 and never looking back; and the opposite is also true.

JohnBrian wrote:

There is no single Greek manuscript that represents the Textus Receptus, for the more than 30 varieties of the Textus Receptus were all eclectic texts formed by incorporating variant readings

And, in the interest of fairness, we all must acknowledge (as Maurice Robinson noted in his edition of the BYZ), that there is no single manuscript which contains the text of the UBS-5, either! Remember this before we start disparaging the TR. Every printed text is the result of textual criticism. Compare the printed texts, and investigate discrepancies as you come across them.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

two facts

Here are two facts that must be acknowledged as a foundation to the whole textual critical discussion:

1) The original New Testament documents have perished.
2) The extant copies have differences, with no two exactly alike.

So how we respond to these facts is where the debate unfolds.

In that the originals have perished, and the copies are not the same, how do we determine which is correct?

Three different ways to respond to this problem are as follows:

1) Some argue that divinely inspired originals require that God must have preserved a perfect copy. But who decides which manuscript is the perfectly preserved one?

2) Some argue that the originals are preserved only in the manuscripts that were the most frequently used and copied in Church history, often called the Ecclesiastical, or Majority Text. But this approach has problems. When in church history? Where in church history? What is counted? Greek mss only or do you look at early versions? It is simply arbitrary to approach the pile of evidence having already discarded out of hand evidence that doesn't meet your standards--standards that by their very definition would shift and adjust throughout church history.

3) The originals have perished, and the copies have differences, so every available piece of evidence is explored to best propose the readings that were in the original autographs. This does not mean that every piece of evidence is of equal value. A 19th century copy known to have been hand copied from an extant manuscript has less value than manuscripts hand copied in the early centuries.

I am for #3.

complexity

Furthermore, there exists among the manuscripts a lot more complexity in varying readings than many might presume exists. There are some specific groups of manuscript 'families' with a higher degree of commonality of readings, however many of the manuscripts commonly identified as 'Byzantine' display significant variety, showing a mixture of agreement with readings outside those classified as common to the Byzantine text. For instance, when I collated the 10th century minuscule 2907, I concluded that the overall nature of the manuscript was Byzantine, however, there were several chapters in Matthew's gospel with a larger number of readings that agreed with manuscripts classified as Alexandrian. Then in Luke's gospel there were several 'Western' readings including one lengthy insertion only found in Codex Bezae, the chief witness in the gospels to the Western text-type. Then in John's gospel the pericope adulterae is missing, without any notes. This omission is somewhat common for a 10th century manuscript of John's gospel.

I say all this just to illustrate that many whose interaction with the issue of NT textual criticism is limited might wrongly presume neat and orderly manuscript evidence when the actual evidence shows much more disorder.

Even just 20 years ago, the discussion of textual issues was insulated from the actual manuscripts themselves as one would have to travel around the world and physically enter libraries to see the manuscripts. Those days are over due to the internet and the ongoing digitization and publication of manuscripts. Many can now be studied by anyone with internet access. I have recently completed an update of the list of Greek minuscules numbered 2001-2932 on wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_minuscules

I have added a column with referenced links to the web page where you view images of the actual manuscript. I intend to do the same work on the other two pages showing minuscules 1-1000 and 1001-2000.

 

 

MEV

I wonder where he stands with the MEV, which is a 2014 translation from the SAME sources as the KJV. According to his philosophy, he should be in agreement with it.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg

JNoel

Didn't know that. I know the NKJV is from the TR. I have heard Dan Wallace, who worked on editing the NKJV with Art Farstad, claim that they had to remove readings from the NKJV that translators brought in from the critical text. That's how dedicated they were to sticking with the TR. I read, at Bro. Brandenburg's blog, that he believes the NKJV used several critical text readings, and I know the blog post I'm thinking of has documentation of that. I haven't checked it out for myself.   

But, I wasn't aware a new translation had been made from the TR. Good to know.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

critical text readings

"Critical text readings" -  The reality is most variant readings will have support from some manuscripts of a multiple text-types. It is actually rarer to see a situation where one text-type stands alone. Usually there is a mixture of support for competing readings.

But here is one example of a situation where Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (Aleph and B[03]) agree and stand alone against all the Majority Text manuscripts: James 5:4. But if you check your 'critical text' (NA_27), you will see the reading of the Majority Text is chosen and the reading of Aleph and B is relegated to the apparatus. So in this instance, does NA_27 cease being the critical text and becomes the Majority Text because they chose to avoid the dreaded Aleph and B? No. All printed texts are at some level a 'critical text' unless they are simply a printed transcription of a single hand copied manuscript.

Even the TR is a critical text--though it was edited from only a small collection of manuscripts in Basel rather than a critical text considering hundreds of manuscripts.

1599 Geneva

It is my understanding that the Geneva Bible is based on the same TR as the KJV. Thus this claim:

"The King James Version is translated from that text of scripture.  There is no other English translation from that text." 

causes me some concern. What does one do when faced with another translation that's based on the that TR? 

Actually I enjoy my 1599 Geneva. I've always thought its translation on John 1:1 was better than the KJV.

"In the beginning was that Word, and that Word was with God, and that Word was God."

But, like any translation, I'm not inerrant.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

The trouble with "TR only"...

The author's frame of reference is revealed in his questionnaire:

The Bible has been perfectly preserved....
a.     Somewhere in the abundance of all the manuscripts, the hand copies from copies of the original manuscripts.
b.     In the underlying Hebrew and Greek text behind the King James Version.
c.     In the English translation of the King James Version. 

In studying the King James Version New Testament, I would primarily study the words by....
a. Finding what the underlying Greek word is and means.
b. Looking up the English word in the dictionary.

If you believe (b) is the answer to the first question, your preservation really ends up being double inspiration, but the second object of inspiration is the TR, not the KJV. That is really what the modern "preservationist" wants to say, but it is cloaked.

NKJV

I took 2 years of Hebrew from Dr. James Price OT editor for the NKJV. At the time he was giving some responses to Riplinger's book, and in that context told us a number of times that no matter what critics say, the NKJV was translated from same texts as the KJV. The preface to the translation also makes that plain. So it bewilders me to hear people say that the KJV translation is the only English translation based on the texts that the KJV used. That statement is flat out false.

Yup

Jonathan documents what I have also experienced.  In theory, many KJV defenders concede that another English translation based upon the TR would be acceptable, but when one is produced, they usually find fault with it.  It seems that the real issue is the KJV itself, and an unwillingness to allow any other version equal access in English.  It seems to be more emotional than rational.

G. N. Barkman

G. N. Barkman wrote:In theory

G. N. Barkman wrote:
In theory, many KJV defenders concede that another English translation based upon the TR would be acceptable, but when one is produced, they usually find fault with it.  It seems that the real issue is the KJV itself, and an unwillingness to allow any other version equal access in English.  It seems to be more emotional than rational.

Which is how I would describe Brandenburg's position after reading through his comment section. While he is "open" to another English translation using the TR, he then provides a list of hurdles that would have to be met in order for him to embrace it. And, because no modern English translation will ever be able to overcome his hurdles (despite which text-type is used), he is a de facto KJV-only guy.

 

But...

Mr. Charles.

For the record, I am an ESV user and also like the NASB, NKJV, and KJV.

It is actually pretty well documented that the NKJV translation follows the critical text vs. the KJV sources in some places, probably very few. But, if it follows the critical text in even one place, that means it is not 100% from the same sources as the KJV. Kent Brandenburg shows two examples in the response on his Blog. The translators, even Dr. James Price himself, may adamantly claim it strictly follows the KJV sources, but the evidence is in what is actually written on the pages, and it cannot be argued with.

I have read several places over the years that the NKJV translators had no choice but to adopt some of the critical text readings in order for the NKJV to vary from the KJV enough, in percentage, in order to obtain a copywrite. That may or may not be true, but it at least makes sense. It would not keep me from using the NKJV, but it does bolster Kent's argument that the NKJV is not strictly from the same sources as the KJV (if that's what a person cares about...not me).

 

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg

Inspiration and Preservation

I don't think many argue with the definition of inspiration. God breathed words, humans listened and wrote. God's use of different authors means their own styles are reflected on the pages. It was miraculous. It is finished. There is no more inspiration, and scripture stands.

Preservation, on the other hand, seems to be the big issue. It seems there are different definitions, and the lack of agreement seems to drive the question of which Bible translation and even manuscripts are used.

What exactly is The Doctrine of Preservation? Does it mean every letter will be preserved until the end of time? Sure doesn't seem like that to me, since everyone agrees that 100% agreement between the extant manuscripts does not exist, therefore we have no idea which one is The Preserved Word. What's the point in preserving the Word if no one knows which one it is? That doesn't make any sense. So it must mean something else.

When I read my Bible, I believe it is God's Word. I believe every doctrine has been preserved, but I do not believe every letter has been preserved. How could I, when even in the rock-star translation of the ESV there are plenty of times my pastor clearly shows that the translators did not use the best word or words to translate a particular passage out of Greek into English. There is no perfect translation, and I'm okay with that, because I am confident that every doctrine within the pages of my ESV has been translated into late 20th/early 21st century American English in a manner that is in harmony with the original languages. I also believe the same could be said about the KJV, NKJV, NASB, and HCSB. I'm okay with much of the NIV except where the translators made decisions where the original languages are ambiguous: that crosses a line with which I am uncomfortable.

I suspect many KJVOs believe in a different Doctrine of Preservation than non-KJVOs. Perhaps that is where the debate between KJVOs and non-KJVOs should be. Prove their own doctrine of preservation is different from non-KJVOs, and the debate comes to an end fairly quickly. If one can then prove their own doctrine of preservation is unscriptural, then we come to a matter of biblical separation, for they may be adding things that God never said and then elevating those things to the level of making it an idol.

 

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg

My recollection re NKJV was the footnotes

Example (Google NKJV footnotes for more):

The NKJV does not omit dozens of verses, hundreds of phrases and words as is done in these other versions. It is not a loose translation or a paraphrase. However, the problems of the NKJV are significant in the light of the claim by its publishers and others that it is an accurate improvement of the AV and thus should replace the AV. The version includes many doubt producing footnotes, which favor critical text readings.

What do the footnotes in the NJKV [New King James Version] mean?

Where significant variations occur in the New Testament Greek Manuscripts, textual notes are classified as follows: 

NU-Text
These variations from the traditional text generally represent the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text [the oldest, but sometimes questioned text]. They are found in the Critical Text published in the Twenty-sixth edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the United Bible Society's third edition (U), hence the acronym "NU-text."

M-Text
This symbol indicates points of variation in the Majority Text from the traditional text [a consensus of most Greek manuscripts]. It should be noted that M stands for whatever reading is printed in the published Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, whether supported by overwhelming, strong, or only a divided majority textual tradition.

 

DA Waite and more

DA Waite:

“The NEW KING JAMES VERSION is the MOST DANGEROUS BIBLE VERSION On The Market Today!! Why do I say this? I say this because it uses the name ‘King James’ in its title. It throws the non-thinking Christian off-balance—especially the one who has been used to the KING JAMES VERSION for most of his Christian life. The deceptive use of ‘KING JAMES VERSION’ in the title would lead many to think that there are only a few small incidental changes in their NEW KJV, but it is basically just the KING JAMES VERSION with a few minor changes to bring it up to date. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!! I certainly do NOT call a PERVERSION of the Bible with upwards of 100,000 CHANGES merely a ‘FEW MINOR CHANGES’! ...when the name ‘NEW KING JAMES VERSION’ is used, the uninformed observer right a way thinks that this is very CLOSE to the genuine KING JAMES VERSION, and so might buy it and use it. In actuality, it is a DECEPTIVE COUNTERFEIT of the real thing! While the NEW KJV borrows the ‘NAME’ of the KING JAMES VERSION, the similarity stops there!...

“The NEW KING JAMES VERSION Used The DIABOLICAL Method of ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE’ Repeatedly While Professing A Love For 'COMPLETE EQUIVALENCE.’ ...The editors...say how they have used ‘COMPLETE EQUIVALENCE’and have shunned ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE.’ This is a lie!  As we have shown repeatedly in the evidence herein reproduced, the NEW KJV is replete with the DIABOLICAL ‘DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE’!”

(D.A. Waite, The New King James Version Compared to the King James Version and Underlying Hebrew & Greek Texts, 1997, p. ix) 

Another [Not DA Waite]: WHAT ABOUT THAT MYSTERIOUS MARK?

 

 

 

 

dynamic equivalence

Of course the KJV uses dynamic equivalence too....shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? God forbid.

No!

T Howard wrote:

 

Jim wrote:

 

DA Waite:

“The NEW KING JAMES VERSION is the MOST DANGEROUS BIBLE VERSION On The Market Today!!

Another [Not DA Waite]: WHAT ABOUT THAT MYSTERIOUS MARK?

 

 

Jim, do you really take either of these sources seriously?

Absolutely not! I began using the NKJV NT as soon as it was published and the entire Bible (from the pulpit) in1983

Today I use the ESV, NKJV, NASB, and NIV

I'm reminded....

of a "pastor" I knew who decided he was going to not only replace perfectly good NIV pew Bibles with KJVs, but was going to do so with KJVs which did not include the translators' notes.  Why so?  My guess is that since the translators' notes admitted ambiguity in certain parts of the translation, he didn't want them there because it undercut his KJVO theories.  The guy was a piece of work, too--he would use both the Chick KJVO booklet (which works from the idea that it was actually the Old Latin, not the TR, at the root of the KJV) and David Sorenson's books (more of a standard TR/ad hominem argument) without realizing how greatly these two sources disagreed.

Love my KJV, love the TR, but I must confess that at times, it is hard for me to remain civil when dealing with KJVO activists.  

And answering the question posed to Jim, you could infer that I don't take either source seriously, and quite frankly a rule that's served me well is that any "source" that MAKES LIBERAL USE OF ALL CAPS and strange colored fonts can be safely relegated to the circular file.  Unfortunately, since too many dear brothers take such things seriously, they cannot always be safely ignored.

My DA Waite quote was a follow on to ...

My DA Waite quote was a follow on to ... how some objected to the footnotes

I know DA and frankly he is a very nice person. I'm guessing he is in his late 80's

So I have a complex relationship with him because we were always friendly (were in the same church together)

D A Waite

I have talked to him as well, Jim, and he is a nice, kind man. He one time called me just to see how I was doing... and our only connection is me having ordered a few books from him. Do I think he is way overboard on his anti-anything other than KJV? Yes. But there is some fruit to be gained in his books and teachings. I do have concerns about some of the logic that leads to the eclectic text that is accepted for today's Bibles.

His sermons are really dry, but the way he connects verses together can be very insightful. Don't look for what people usually call "great preaching" from him. He mostly just quotes the Bible.

"New Doctrine"

Anyone care to rebut Kent Brandenburg? He calls SI's position on Preservation "New Doctrine" that should be rejected. He is adamant that the Doctrine of Preservation has always, up until modernists got their hands on it, meant that every single "jot and tittle" would be preserved for all time, and that we have, available to us today, a perfect, 100% exact copy of the autographs available.

I'm all ears, because I honestly want to know more about the subject.

 

 

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jason,

One side has a doctrine and the other doesn't. What one side says happened was what everyone was saying at one time, and then with the advent of modernism, another side said another thing was happening, brand new. A new doctrine shouldn't be given credence, like proxy baptism or transubstantiation. New doctrines should be rejected. They're new. Doctrine isn't new. When doctrines change, there should be something in the Bible itself that should signal that the Bible teaches something different, but that would also mean a total apostasy of doctrine on scripture. Could that occur? Of course not.

Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend On whom for heaven my hopes depend! It must not be! be this my shame, That I no more revere His name. -Joseph Grigg

Book

Jason:

Buy and read Bro. Brandenburg's book (linked somewhere above, near the beginning), if you'd like to know more about his position. Before we do historical theology on a position, we should look at what the Scriptures say about that position. It's genuinely helpful to see how different people have historically wrestled with a position, but something which ought to come after looking at the Scriptures.

Off the cuff, I have found the historical theology claims to be very anachronistic. It reminds me of how Baptists like to claim the Novatians as their "kin," because of some superficial doctrinal parallels on ecclesiastical separation which evaporate upon further examination. Also, to a certain extent, I find the historical theology discussion on this issue pointless. Would Calvin (for example) have eagerly accepted the papyri? Well, he didn't have it. We can speculate. Maybe he would have. Maybe he would have also liked the new Ben-Hur movie, too, I guess. I know he would have enjoyed Culvers. He just didn't have the papyri. He didn't write about it. However, he did do textual criticism in his commentaries and spoke about preferring one reading over the other based on internal evidence.

To me, it's not very useful to speculate about what somebody would have thought about something they knew nothing about. Would Marco Polo have liked the idea of the International Space Station? I guess, but I don't really know. Would Alexander the Great have really liked to have had drones at his command? I'm guessing yes, but he knew nothing about drones, for goodness' sake! Would Augustine have liked the NA28 critical apparatus? Maybe . . . Does it really matter? What does the Bible say?

Bro. Brandenburg's discussions on the preservation passages in his book are where the argument needs to go. Read the book, study the passages, make a decision. It's a good book, and is probably the best presentation of a TR position you'll likely find. Most people never read people they disagree with, and rely on strawmen and second-hand caricatures. Read the book.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

My attempt...

JNoel, I think I hinted at this in my comment on the 26th at 10:06 am--as did Tyler and Darrell about the same time.  More or less, what he's asking for  is a doctrine of what is, and is not, a good representation of the Scriptures.  His is that the TR qualifies (whichever one was used for the Geneva Bible of 1599 of course), and that eclectic or majority texts do not.  

OK, that's his view, but....does that really follow from Matthew 5:18?  Is Christ really saying that every letter is going to be preserved?  I don't think so; there are times when Christ quotes from what appears to be texts apart from the Ben-chayyim text used in the KJV.  Moreover,, He would have been very aware of rabbinic councils standardizing the Tanach not too long before He was born​ (the variances had become too great), the Septuagint, and more.  So I think the context of Scripture and history simply doesn't support Brandenburg's argument.

Nor, for that matter, does the history of Bible translation.  The Vulgate was commissioned when the variants of the Old Latin became too embarrassing, I'm told, and the very task of Erasmus and others in his trade was to weigh the variants of many Greek manuscripts spirited out of Asia Minor after the fall of Constantinople.    So I'd argue that believers have always weighed textual variants to arrive at an approximation of the autographs.  

In other words, I think Brandenburg's position is the innovation.  That that this means we must reject his thesis--that would just be a basic genetic fallacy--but at the same time it means I can't exclude positions like "Majority Text" or "eclectic text" out of hand, either.

My personal position, which I think works well with Matthew 5 and the testimony of history, is that a great part of the preservation of the Bible derives from the fact that Hebrew and Greek are phonetic and declined--so if a letter is misplaced, one can reckon the sense from the sound and the context.  Combine that with the number of manuscripts in various languages, and we've got a very good sense of what the autographs said through texts like the eclectic text.

Though I'd still argue that the presence of some of the debated passages in the Vulgate suggests that Jerome might have had a text before him every bit as old as the Alexandrian manuscripts with those passages in it.  :^)


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