Modern Scientific Textual Criticism - Bound or Independent

In 1558 William Whitaker, a master apologist for the truth of sola Scriptrua, wrote his comprehensive apology against the Roman Catholic dogma of Bellarmine and Stapleton on the topic of Holy Scripture - Disputations on Holy Scripture. Under the First Controversy and the Sixth question Whitaker writes concerning the necessity of Scripture,

"For if in civil affairs men cannot be left to themselves, but must be governed and retained in their duty by certain laws; much less should we be independent in divine things, and not rather bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule, lest we fall into a will-worship hateful to God." [523]

So for this brief post, here is the question, to those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of modern scientific textual criticism [MSTC], in what way is MSTC "bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule" seeing that Holy Scripture falls most conspicuously under the category of "divine things"?

I maintain that MSTC is not bound but rather is a "will-worship hateful to God." For the nay-sayer, I concur that a form of textual criticism was in practice before the likes of MSTC, but that form was not of the same genus. Not of the same genus in that pre-Enlightenment textual criticism was subject to the leading of the Holy Ghost as manifested in the spirit-filled believing community of the time, whereas MSTC is subject to the scientific deductions of select scholarly board. For those perhaps a bit confused on this point, here is a slice of Theology 101. Where the Holy Spirit is leading the word of God is also present, and where the word of God is present so also is the leading of the Holy Spirit. MSTC pretends no such thing. You need not look any further than the several prefaces to the various editions of the leading Greek NT's on the market today. The goal of the MSTC scientific exercise is not for certainty, truth, or doxology, but for scientific worship of their own wills by oppressing the church with their findings and declaring all others uneducated, ignorant, and old-fashioned. So I conclude, where the Spirit of God is leading, the word of God accompanies that leading, thus pre-Enlightenment textual criticism is not of the same genus as MSTC, and should not be considered as such.

For those who seek to position MSTC with in the limits of the "prescribed and certain rule" [i.e. Holy Scripture], know that if you cannot, then you are in danger of condoning, supporting, and advancing a "will-worship hateful to God." Why is it will-worship? Because MSTC's goal is professedly not that of God's will but of a never-ending scientific endeavor governed by the limitations of human cognition to locate God's words. [i.e. men worshipping their own will to decide certain content qualities of divine revelation] Why is it hateful to God? A willful act not subject to the will of God is what brought us sin and the fall of man. Thus, MSTC is nothing more than an present day extension of that god-overthrowing will evidenced by our first parents.

The purpose of this post is to sharpen the iron of the supporters of the MSTC, by challenging them to locate MSTC in the greater exegetical and historical tapestry of Bibliology and if they cannot, to abandon MSTC as a system suitable for the work of Christ's Kingdom.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Before the challenge can be answered, terms have to be clarified.

Peter wrote:
I concur that a form of textual criticism was in practice before the likes of MSTC, but that form was not of the same genus. Not of the same genus in that pre-Enlightenment textual criticism was subject to the leading of the Holy Ghost as manifested in the spirit-filled believing community of the time, whereas MSTC is subject to the scientific deductions of select scholarly board. For those perhaps a bit confused on this point, here is a slice of Theology 101. Where the Holy Spirit is leading the word of God is also present, and where the word of God is present so also is the leading of the Holy Spirit. MSTC pretends no such thing.

You've correctly observed here that your argument depends on the idea that "MSTC" is distinct from the kind of textual reconstruction practiced in OT times and later (by Erasmus and the like).
Your argument claims that the distinction lies primarily in role of the Spirit in the textual work. The claim has two parts: a definition of that Spirit role and a definition of "MSTC."

Three questions then:
1) What form did this "leading of the Holy Spirit" take? Break it down for me. The possibilities are several:

  1. Those doing the textual work heard the Spirit speak (as in the book of Acts)
  2. Those doing the textual work were born along by the Spirit like the "holy men of God" in 1Pet.1.21
  3. Those doing the textual work had the gift of prophecy and could reveal which readings were correct
  4. Those doing the textual work were lead by the Spirit through majority vote as local congregations voted on alternate readings
  5. Those doing the textual work sought wisdom as they evaluated the available copies and were granted that wisdom

    There are probably other possibilities, but testing the argument requires clarity on this point.

    2) Where is the biblical evidence that the kind of Spirit leading described in the answer to #1 actually occurred?

    3) Where is the evidence that none of those practicing textual reconstruction today seek and obtain that aid of the Spirit? Your argument also requires a comprehensive view of "MSTC" (i.e., "all of those who practice textual reconstruction today reject the work of the Spirit"). If you are only claiming that some who practice it reject this work of the Spirit, there is no disagreement. Everybody knows some of these guys are only interested in reconstructing an accurate text for academic reasons and do not even believe there is a Holy Spirit).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Thank you for your post Brother Blumer. The answer to question 1 is this, the Standard Sacred text position as I maintain it, holds that the believing community (i.e. blood bought saints, the Body of Christ) is lead by the Holy Spirit into all truth (John 16:13) which includes what is God's word and what is not. The Spirit of God bears witness to the spirit of the believing community, and through this leading, God's people come to accept or reject the readings of a given text because ultimately the words of Scripture are spiritually discerned, not scientifically.

Answer to question 2. The most concise explanation of the process mention in the first paragraph is found in Isaiah 59:21:

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in they mouth, shall not depart out of they mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of they seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.

Here is the clearest example of the word of God, Spirit of God, and people of God dynamic. Please note that the covenant maker is Jehovah and the covenant made here is just as strong as that one given to Abraham. Also note that it is upon "seed's seed", not merely the educated or leaders but upon generation after generation which leads to the next point. This covenant is transgenerational and given no point of termination. Finally, seeing that the O.T. and N.T are equal in authority, certainty, and inspiration, there is to be no division of testaments with regard to this covenant in the dispensation of grace. (See also Deut. 30:10-14)

Answer to question 3. Is there a place for linguistic, archeological, and hermeneutical investigation? Yes there is, but the conclusions must be kept within the upper and lower control limits of Holy Scripture, which is achieved through following the process briefly described above. As you have already admitted there are some who treat the Scripture as merely a science project, and because of their radically terrestrial Archimedean point their opinions concerning those things which are spiritually discerned bear virtually no authority with regard to the believing community or its sacred text. It is the believing community which has authority over lost scholar's guesses. Let us assume for the present discussion that there are those who do textual work mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. These laborers for the faith are servants of the believing community not the "Bosses" of the believing community. In other words, the findings of linguists, archeologists, and scholars are not to be foisted upon the Body of Christ. In likeness to a Pauline analogy, this would be like the feet of the body taking the body where the rest of the body is not ready to or does not want to go. Even if the findings are correct, it is the Spirit lead believing community that places the imprimatur upon the finding(s) not the scholarly community. In short, the scholars perform the work in their several disciplines and present their work to the believing community and through the leading of the Spirit the work is accepted or rejected. Those practicing textual reconstruction, even if lead by the Spirit, do not have the power or authority to place the imprimatur on what is God's word and to withhold it from what is not. Only the Spirit lead believing community is capable of that.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

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Peter wrote:
The answer to question 1 is this, the Standard Sacred text position as I maintain it, holds that the believing community (i.e. blood bought saints, the Body of Christ) is lead by the Holy Spirit into all truth (John 16:13) which includes what is God's word and what is not. The Spirit of God bears witness to the spirit of the believing community, and through this leading, God's people come to accept or reject the readings of a given text because ultimately the words of Scripture are spiritually discerned, not scientifically.

This doesn't really answer the question. When faced with manuscripts that do not match, how do "God's people come to accept or reject the readings"? What does this look like? Is there a vote? Is automatic consensus? Does it have to be unanimous?
But even more importantly, how does the information from the Spirit come to the minds of the people? Do they intuitively know the correct reading or is there some process of evaluation according to criteria or any process of reasoning?

This line of questioning is vital to the debate for multiple reasons, but, to name two:

  1. If the information comes to the minds of believers directly by the Spirit apart from any cognitive process or evaluation, this puts the entire question outside the realm of debate. Proponents can simply claim that they "just know" this is how the process works. Reasoning (or discussion or debate or even thought) are irrelevant to someone who "just knows" something.
  2. If, on the other hand, the position is that the Spirit guides the believing community as they engage in a process of evaluating readings according to criteria, there is also very little left to debate. This is so because once we allow that the Spirit can work through reasoning and not just intuitively, we must then allow that believers who engage in text reconstruction by evaluating the likely age of MSS, the breadth of geographical distribution of readings, the likely error scenarios that would explain one reading or another, etc. can experience the guidance of the Spirit in that process. It becomes evident that there is no difference between the text reconstruction efforts of believers in OT times vs. that of believers today who do so using a disciplined evaluation process.

    We could also go into what you mean by "scientific," but I've gone many rounds in the past with those who hold to this position and the prospect of doing it again is wearisome. There is almost always a steadfast determination to avoid using precise definitions and this determination grows stronger the closer we get to arriving at the real substance of the debate. One tends to think that the view relies on vagueness and ambiguity as its chief means of defense.

    To return to the original question, if the question is, "is the practice of reconstructing texts by evaluating mss and readings according to criteria an activity that believers carry out under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (what is meant by "bound"?) or outside of that Lordship ("unbound"?), the answer is self evident. To a Christian everything is service to the Master. This includes science (though it's never made much sense to me what science has to do with this... we're really talking about study and evaluation.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Larry's picture

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Quote:
So for this brief post, here is the question, to those whose trust rests in the quality and certainty of modern scientific textual criticism [MSTC ], in what way is MSTC "bound by the closest ties to a prescribed and certain rule" seeing that Holy Scripture falls most conspicuously under the category of "divine things"?
Why is this the standard? I am not familiar with the Bible basis for this, nor for the Bible identification of the prescribed and certain rule for textual criticism. Can you be more clear on this? What are the "upper and lower limits" as established by the Bible? And where does the Bible establish them?

Quote:
where the word of God is present so also is the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Is the word of God present in the modern Greek texts? If you say No, then tell us why it is virtually identical in all respects to what you say is the Word of God. If you say yes, then why aren't the modern Greek texts are the result of the leading of the Holy Spirit? What say you?

Quote:
You need not look any further than the several prefaces to the various editions of the leading Greek NT's on the market today. The goal of the MSTC scientific exercise is not for certainty, truth, or doxology, but for scientific worship of their own wills by oppressing the church with their findings and declaring all others uneducated, ignorant, and old-fashioned.
Can you please quote these prefaces that say their goal is worshiping their own wills and oppressing the church with their findings? I admit to not having read these in a while, but I don't recall that being found in any prefaces that I am familiar with. And since (as everyone agrees), the modern versions are virtually identical to the ancient versions (in some cases closer to the ancient versions than even the TR is), can you help us understand why would we not want to be oppressed by the Word of God?

Quote:
Because MSTC's goal is professedly not that of God's will but of a never-ending scientific endeavor governed by the limitations of human cognition to locate God's words. [i.e. men worshipping their own will to decide certain content qualities of divine revelation
How is this different than you, limited by your own human cognition, locating God's words in only one text or translation? Why should we listen to you rather than to them?

Quote:
The Spirit of God bears witness to the spirit of the believing community, and through this leading, God's people come to accept or reject the readings of a given text because ultimately the words of Scripture are spiritually discerned, not scientifically.
Lastly, how do you account for the fact that the vast majority of the "believing community" today accepts the eclectic texts and the translations that come from them? This is particularly true among those who know what they are talking about. It seems that very few people in the "believing community" who are informed on the issues accept your position. If God infallibly leads the "believing community" to the right texts and right variants through the Spirit, it seems to me that we have some major problems.

PSFerguson's picture

I must say that I find it refreshing that Br Van Kleeck is defending a historic bibliology on this. Those who are familiar with the Westminster Confession are cognisant that the term "authentical text" was their Scriptural presuppositions leading them to the TR and the Masoretic. Indeed, the wording was deliberately selected as a counterpart to the Council of Trent's claim that the authentic text was the Vulgate with its underlying Critical Text. That is why they included the longer ending of the Lord's Prayer and 1 John 5:7 in their confessional documents.

Anyone who is familiar with Church history, especially from a Reformed background should be aware of these facts. That is why I find it bewildering that so many claim in modern Fundamentalism that KJV/TR advocates are some kind of late twentieth century aberration in the church. I am assuming it is not intellectual dishonesty but rather a truncated Americanised view of textual history from the less well informed. Without being patronising, it appears from what I have read that those who propagate this erroneous myth is that they tend to be from the Bible seminaries that emerged in the middle of the twentieth century mainly from an IFB persuasion who deliberately cut themselves off from the Reformed heritage that we all sprung from.

I wrote a paper, which no one has ever answered, documenting from multiples sources throughout the last 600 years that the Reformers have consistently held to the TR/Masoretic only view of the texts.

[url ]http://oldfaith.wordpress.com/category/king-james-version-issues/

I would be interested to see one from a Critical Text perspective refuting it.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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I really don't think anybody is disputing that the reformers used TR/MT exclusively. This is not the same as saying it was all they would use if they'd had more options.
But we're kind of switching horses here a bit aren't we? Supposedly the argument for TR/MT was that there is a special group of believers with a special knack for hearing from the Holy Spirit in the process of textual reconstruction. And supposedly, anybody who disagrees with them is doing "Modern Scientific Textual Criticism."

But now we should use TR/MT exclusively because the Reformers allegedly taught that no other text could be authentic. Of course, both arguments could be used for the Traditional Text view, but it's interesting how switching from one argument to another is so often a method of "let's hope they won't notice that we haven't answered their objections to the other argument."

I'm intrigued by your claim that the Vulgate was made from a "critical text."
You're obviously not using the same definition of "critical" that Peter is using, since, for him, this is a problem of using Science instead using the Spirit. But the Vulgate text was definitely not a product of "Modern Scientific Textual Criticism."
(And what about the places where KJV translates following the Vulgate?... e.g. "Lucifer")

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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The part that has to do with the Reformers' views on things begins at p.21.
After some general (and not in dispute) observations about the Reformers' believe in sola scriptura, we find this...

Quote:
W.R. Farmer explains how the Alexandrian manuscripts were tainted by corruption, “But there is ample evidence that by the time of Eusebius the Alexandrian text-critical practices were being followed in at least some of the scriptoria where New Testament manuscripts were being produced. Exactly when Alexandrian text-critical principles were first used . . . is not known1.” Calvin said of Origen,

Origen, and many others along with him, have seized the occasion of torturing Scripture, in every possible manner, away from the true sense. They concluded that the literal sense is too mean and poor, and that, under the outer bark of the letter, there lurk deeper mysteries, which cannot be extracted but by beating out allegories. And this they had no difficulty in accomplishing; for speculations which appear to be ingenious have always been preferred, and always will be preferred, by the world to solid doctrine

.

If this is a sample of how the argument unfolds in the rest of that section of the paper, I don't think I'll the time to read it. Calvin is not talking here about Alexandrian manuscripts. He is talking allegorical method of interpretation.

... great advice from Calvin there though!

One more sample, a few pages later...

Quote:
Commenting on Isaiah 59:21, Calvin affirmed his belief in the perfect preservation of all the Words of Scripture in every age in the true Church,

The word of Christ shall always continue in the mouths of the faithful; there shall be some in every age who, believing with the heart unto righteousness, shall with the tongue make confession unto salvation. The word shall never depart out of the mouth of the church; for there shall still be a seed to speak Christ's holy language and profess his holy religion. Observe, The Spirit and the word go together, and by them the church is kept up. For the word in the mouths of our ministers, nay, the word in our own mouths, will not profit us, unless the Spirit work with the word, and give us an understanding. But the Spirit does his work by the word and in concurrence with it; and whatever is pretended to be a dictate of the Spirit must be tried by the scriptures. On these foundations the church is built, stands firmly, and shall stand for ever, Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.

So I guess it's obvious that Calvin is saying here that...
1. every word would be preserved here below,
2. whenever manuscripts didn't match, true believers would know which reading is correct,
3. that we would have an edition of the text we know is the one that contains every word,
4. that the TR/MT are that text, and
5. any MSS that ever turn up that don't match, they can't possibly be right

Look closely. It's all there somewhere.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. and PSFerguson have brought some refreshing views to this textual debate on SI. Although the original article was published over a week ago, I do not see the usual naysayers on this thread. It seems that they prefer to only answer the extreme positions of a few KJVO advocates and portray them as normative for anyone professing a TR position. So, Aaron and Larry are left to carry the ball without any blocking. It will be very interesting to see how this thread develops.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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That would be me wouldn't it?

But I don't think it will be that interesting. There really is nothing much more to say that hasn't been said dozens of times before.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
You've correctly observed here that your argument depends on the idea that "MSTC" is distinct from the kind of textual reconstruction practiced in OT times and later (by Erasmus and the like).
Your argument claims that the distinction lies primarily in role of the Spirit in the textual work. The claim has two parts: a definition of that Spirit role and a definition of "MSTC."
Aaron, you're trying to force the argument into your own modernist paradigm by defining the question according to your own terms, enforcing your own methodology, and establishing your own conditions for proof. Well, I challenge you on these grounds. What evidence or argument can you advance for the conditions that you've laid down? You must first establish your right to set the conditions. Furthermore, if these conditions are consistently applied across the board, you could not support many things that you profess to believe as fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.

First of all, I'm not sure that one can define the role of the Holy Spirit in textual matters but it is not a requirement for one to reasonably accept and believe it. There are things that you supposedly believe and can't define. Please tell me how the Holy Spirit creates faith in the unbeliever. Or, does the unbeliever produce his own faith? Furthermore, can you disprove the role of the Holy Spirit in textual preservation?

Aaron, I don't think you really understand scientific methodology and research methods which is really the underlying premise for all your modern textual criticism. In fact, modern textual criticism is very short on rigor and proof when it comes down to true hard scientific research. It is pretty soft from a scientific point of view not having a standard for comparison or being able to predict results. But my point is that one proves scientifically by disproving. If you've ever really done research, then you know that one forms a hypothesis and then formulates a null hypothesis, which he disproves. So, let's take your hypothesis that the Holy Spirit has no role in the transmission and preservation of the Scriptural text. The null hypothesis is that the Holy Spirit has a role in the transmission and preservation of the Scriptural text. Can you disprove the null hypothesis? Of course not! Now, I've done to you what you tried to do to another. So, how does the shoe feel on the other foot?

Second of all, most knowledgeable folks know that modern textual criticism is based on a methodology born in the climate of Higher Criticism where scientific methodology and rationalism supposedly separated fact and fiction in Christianity. The Lower Criticism (i.e. textual criticism) accepted the same principles applied to the text rather than the content. What was wrongheaded in the Higher Criticism is no less wrongheaded in the Lower Criticism. Just as older Biblical scholarship is different from the Higher Criticism, so the older compiling of texts is different from the Lower Criticism. It is the infatuation of modernism with methodology. The idea is that if man uses scientific methodology, then he is sure to arrive at the right answer. Not so, as experience has demonstrated time after time.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
That would be me wouldn't it?

But I don't think it will be that interesting. There really is nothing much more to say that hasn't been said dozens of times before.

Really? Then, you must be missing the broadening of the perspective. Yes, I've suggested ideas along the same lines but these gentleman are expanding and bringing new light.

No, I wasn't speaking of you because you are carrying the ball on this thread. Without blocking, you haven't gained much yardage. I find it very interesting to watch you looking for daylight and not really finding it. :bigsmile:

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Disclaimer: Because of work I will not be able to respond to any further discussion until the weekend, so please bear with me.

Before I begin my response I would like to offer a simple anecdote. After attending an evangelical college, concluding graduate work at a Presbyterian seminary and post-graduate work at a Christian Reformed seminary I never once encountered the historic Standard Sacred Text position being taught by these schools with the exception of two professors. That said, I would not be surprised if some opponents of said position are hearing portions, if not all of this material for the first time. In addition, if you would desire to know the Standard Sacred Text position then allow me a simplistic paraphrase of Socrates, If you are to learn a thing then understand first that there are aspects you don't know about the thing, for if you already know the thing there is very little to learn. Furthermore, if you do not know then it is unwise to make an enemy of that unknown thing, prematurely.

Brother Blumer, the reason I begin with the anecdote is because a regular and prolific term used throughout church history on this topic is autopistos which brings about the doctrine of self-attestation. As Augustine said, God alone is a fit witness unto Himself. God's words are self-attesting. They must be because no being in se has the ability to speak for God. God speaks for Himself. Furthermore, the principle of gradation necessitates it. An infinitely lesser gradation i.e. man cannot assert the authority or power of the infinitely greater Source i.e. God. In addition and more importantly, the Scriptures bear out that even when men speak in the authority and/or power of God they speak God's words, whether that person be a prophet or apostle. There are two other terms which are prolific in the literature, self-authenticating and self-interpreting. Discussion concerning these two terms will remain in the wings until they are needed, but I encourage you Brother Blumer to research and study these terms if your questions are one's of knowledge because you will not find this terminology in the prevailing academic environment.

So then the proper paradigm for bible translation is this: scholars dutifully engage the available mss > scholars submit their findings as an act of service to the Body of Christ > the Spirit filled Body of Christ reads the submissions > the self-attesting words of God bears witness with the Holy Spirit filled Body of Christ > some findings are rejected (e.g. the Gospel of Judas, the Bishops Bible) and some are accepted (e.g. Tyndale's NT, Geneva, and KJB) > as this self-attesting/Spirit filled process continues those sources and reading which have been rejected remain so (e.g. Aleph and Cool > those things which are accepted remain so until the self-attesting word and the Spirit filled community move point to the next iteration. Note: The quote from the N/A 27 under the next respondent bears not even the slightest inkling of this process.

The transition is not instant but takes time as is the general case related to the movement of the Church. Still, the transition from the Geneva to the KJB was roughly 30yrs. After over 100+ years of MSTC my professors at Calvin [the birthplace of the NIV ] and Westminster [ Poythress and the ESV ] readily say MSTC is just as much a continuing process as when it started. Over the thirty years from the Geneva to the KJB there was only one version. At present, over a hundred years has produced hundreds of versions. The Standard Sacred Text position is accused of zealotry, but I ask that the accusers take a look in the mirror if they construe a hundred years producing hundreds of versions as a transition rather than a confusing muddle.

Starting in the Enlightenment, scholars cared little for the authority of the Spirit filled believing community and rejected the notion of self-attestation. As a result that which was rejected for hundreds of years was readmitted, not by the Spirit filled believing community but by the will-worship of the scholarly community. The textual criticism to follow was no longer bound by the self-attestation of Scripture or the Spirit filled believing community. As of late, the believing community has become the Guinea Pig of scholarly opinion. I often run into the question, Why don't the people of God stand against this usurpation by modern scholarship? I believe the answer is simple. The Devil knows and we often forget that God's people are the sheep of His pasture rather than lions. Ultimately this is why leaders who lead God's people astray (willingly or otherwise) "shall receive the greater condemnation."

With regard to the word "scientific", the term is used in the sense that the vast majority of the textual work being done today is wholly empirical. In other words, look at the mss and make a decision in the place of the believing community. A synonym I use is transcendentless. Of the choices for MSTC I either have scientific or transcendentless. In this case I went with scientific.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Thank you for your post Brother Larry. It has been nearly eight years since last I posted on these forums and I distinctly remember your interaction with my Dad and me. To this day my Dad still has on his computer the hundreds of posts of give and take on this topic which you were part of. I know for certain that years ago we answered the vast majority if not all of the questions you have recently posted. Unless you have drastically changed your position, I know that you disagree the the Standard Sacred Text position, still, you have been given the answers to the questions you ask. So now I wonder why you ask them again? For whatever reason, I hope the post above begins to refresh your memory on the Standard Sacred Text position. Lord willing, as the discussion continues the remainder of your questions will addressed for those who have yet to hear the answers.

With regard to the ideological bent of modern critical language work I think it bears pointing out that p. 45 of the Introduction to the Novum Testamentum Graece reads

"The text shared by these two editions was adopted internationally by Bible Societies, and following an agreement between the Vatican and the United Bible Societies it has served as the basis for new translations and for revisions made under their supervision. This marks a significant step with regard to interconfessional relationships. It should naturally be understood that this text is a working text (in the sense of the century-long Nestle tradition): it is not to be considered as definitive, but a stimulus to further efforts toward defining and verifying the text of the New Testament."

Now for a brief exegesis. The believing community is no where mentioned here, rather all that is mentioned is scholars (i.e. United Bible Societies) and the Vatican. They make no apology that scholars and Rome are making the decisions as to what is God's word and what is not, which leads to significant steps in interconfessional relationships (read ecumenicism). In other words the NA 26 and 27 are bringing the idolatry of Rome and true worship of Jesus Christ closer together. This text is a working text which means it is in process, but the believing community is to believe that versions translated from this Greek text are not. Furthermore there is no attempt to distinguish between alleged lesser important things and important things. The whole work is in process which means that the believing communities source for divine authority and certainty is also in process. This is why the writers of the Introduction (i.e. the Alands) do not shy away from saying that this work is not suppose to be considered definitive, but those who support MSTC eagerly say definitively that the NIV and ESV are just as much the word of God as the KJB.

What I find most telling is the "century-long Nestle tradition". Opponents of the Standard Sacred Text position have a propensity to call said position an extremist position when it is the MSTC position that admits to being only 100 years old. How did the believing community get along before the Nestle tradition? The believing community "got along" with Spirit of God working with the self-attesting words of God in the hearts of the believing community.

All in all, the Alands do not say they are performing will-worship, but Satan is Satan whether he admits to it or not. This level of transcendentless abiblical ahistorical contrivance is nothing more than man worshiping himself or will-worship.

____

Brother Ferguson and Pittman, your posts are a delight to see. Thank you for joining us.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Jay's picture

Speaking of old saved posts - Most of the old threads are still available at the SI Archive, which is located at http://20.sharperiron.org. If you have an old and broken hyperlink that you want to go to (say, http://sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=9901&page=1&pp=10), inserting the "20." prefix (to get http://20.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=9901&page=1&pp=10 instead) should fix it.

I now return you all to the regularly scheduled discussion of textual criticism.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

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Roland.... Every time I use a little reasoning you start singing the "modernist paradigm" song. It's not persuasive. I'm just asking people to think and most of them (all?) know that modernists did not invent thinking... nor did they invent the idea that once you assign meaning to terms and put them into statements, the relationships between statements begin to force conclusions.

There is nothing modernistic about saying that those who claim that the believing community has kept a word perfect preserved text through the Holy Spirit and that all other texts are the result of "modern scientific textual criticism" must mean something by these statements. If we grant that they mean something, there is nothing modernistic about asking them to be specific about what they mean by "believing community," by "guided by the Spirit," by "scientific" etc.
And there are only so many possible answers to these questions.

But, Roland, I have some other questions for you:

1) What is science?
2) What is modern science as distinct from science in general?
3) What beliefs constitute a "modernistic paradigm"?

Were I a betting man, I'd put money down that you're not going to define these clearly. Clearly defining them would facilitate a debate on the real points of disagreement rather than the endless cycles of repeated generalities and evasions.

Peter, your argument rests on distinctions that need to be demonstrated. A few of the distinctions...
a) Comparing manuscripts and evaluating readings based on likely age, geographical distribution, likely error scenarios, etc. by believers is distinct from a process involving the believing community. (In other words scholars are not part of the believing community)
b) Evaluating manuscripts as I've described is "empirical," and "scientific" and essentially distinct from what people have always done when they had to compare two MSS and figure out which one is correct.

In addition to these, there's still the problem of how the believing community is defined (I suspect that the answer is "The believing community is the community of those who approve the traditional text" and, in turn, "the proper text is the one approved by the believing community.")

The self attesting quality of the word of God is not in dispute here. I don't think it has been the position of the church that differences between manuscripts are self attesting. But if we grant that they are, what is self attesting has always had to be recognized in some way and the process of recognizing has always involved evaluation according to criteria of some kind. People did not look at the variety of writings available in the second century and "just know" which were authentic. They had to reflect and evaluate, not to determine what the word of God is, but to discern which writings were "self attesting" that they were God's word.
So the appeal to self attestation really solves nothing other than making the important--but not in dispute--distinction that people do not determine what the word of God is. They only discern what it is--discover it, recognize it. But that distinction in no way removes the need to use a thought process to do the discerning and discovering and recognizing.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Thanks for your kind response, Peter.

Yes, years ago I interacted on this more than I do these days. And I will probably regret getting involved in this discussion again, though I intend to keep my participation short. Back then the answers that were given were unconvincing to me, or at least they didn't stick with me. Perhaps I am just forgetful. There are a lot of questions that have to be answered in order to establish your view, starting with some questions just to make sense of your view. Appealing to history, as in "This is the historical view," doesn't help that much. It is going to take some explanation. And for my dollar, it seems there's a reason why the vast majority of the "believing community" who well know history and who are reformed in the Westminster tradition doesn't hold your view.

Your quote of the preface to the UBS text does not seem to be relevant here. If I am reading you correctly, you said that the preface to these texts shows that the goal of the people involved was "scientific worship of their own wills by oppressing the church with their findings and declaring all others uneducated, ignorant, and old-fashioned." I don't see any evidence of that in the quote you gave. So I think we can dispense with that notion, unless you have another quote.

However, I asked some pretty specific questions that come to my mind in trying to understand your position. I hope you will take time to be clear on the answer to those questions. They may not help anyone else, but they would help me at least understand more about your position. Hopefully you will take time to answer them directly.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
But, Roland, I have some other questions for you:
1) What is science?
Science is a systematic, organized collection of observations, inferences, and theories about man and his surroundings (include universe here). It is based on observations and reason.
Quote:

2) What is modern science as distinct from science in general?
Modern science is generally tied to a methodology commonly called the scientific method. It is a systematic means of testing a hypothesis and verifying the result through repeated replication of results. Workable and tested hypotheses may be generalized into theories that may become established scientific laws or scientific facts. All scientific laws or facts are tentative and subject to modification and revision. For example, CERN has reported recently the discovery of a particle faster than light. If so, it puts Einstein's work in a different light (Pun intended Cool )

The scientific method is very useful in determining what works and what does not work especially in the physical realm where measurement is possible and the number of contributing factors can be controlled. When the thing under observation cannot be measured and quantified or the number of uncontrolled factors is large, the scientific method loses value exponentially. The scientific method is useful in reducing subjectivity and increasing objectivity but it can never eliminate subjectivity and achieve complete objectivity. It is intellectual bondage to be a slave to methodology. A higher level of cognitive functioning is to know where, when, and how to appropriately use or not to use methodology.

Other science, such as Greek or Babylonian or Egyptian science, was somewhat based on observations (observation of the heavenly bodies) but these observations were not tightly controlled by systematic methods. Greek science was as much philosophy (argument and reason) as science. Democritus proposed the concept of atoms based on the argument of matter being discontinuous but it was not until John Dalton that actual observations were used to support this concept. Modern science is methodological.

Quote:

3) What beliefs constitute a "modernistic paradigm"?
The "modernist paradigm" is basically naturalistic rationalism. It is based on reason and observation as the only means of knowing. In other words, reason trumps all other forms of knowing. Also, it is tied to methodology, specifically the scientific method. By churning through the proper methodology, man's reason alone will supply all his answers. Its most extreme form is scientism but most moderns, including Fundamentalists, hold some modified conception of this general paradigm. Nothing is accepted that cannot be proven through accept methodology. Many of my arguments with you, Aaron, are when you try to force me or others into your methodology. I have no problem in using reason but it can be and is often inappropriately used.

My problem is not with reason but it is with the inappropriate application without the proper regard for its limitations. This is what you don't seem to understand. Reason is not a way to truth. Truth, which is absolute, final, eternal, universal, fixed, immutable, etc., can only be revealed, never discovered. The scientific method is incapable of giving us truth; it can only tell us what is workable and what is not. Scientific knowledge is by nature tentative and ever changing. Furthermore, things beyond our powers of observation and the limits of our intellects cannot be discerned by experience and reason alone.

In sum, Aaron, you cannot lay down for me or others the methodology for establishing the validity of our truth claims. To do so, you must first establish the validity of your methodology. If we are agreed in methodology, then you can stipulate the conditions. But, we're often not agreed. And you are resorting to the commonly accepted "modernistic paradigm" for your methodology. You probably call it logic but the idea of logic is inherent in your particular paradigm. Logic is not brute fact because there are no brute facts.

Now, how do you refute our truth claims? Unless you can establish your own methodological paradigm to be superior to mine, and you can't, then you must step out of your paradigm into mine and show the internal inconsistency of my own professed epistemology. Often, you've accused me of inconsistently using reason. That's not true. I stepped into your paradigm of reasoning to show your inconsistency when you advanced arguments but I work within my own paradigm of faith and reason when I offer my own ideas. It was a legitimate use of reason; you just didn't understand. This, of course, is the typical modernistic mindset--it ain't true if we can't understand it.

Your paradigm demands an explanation and reasoning for everything you propose. My own paradigm of faith and reason accepts revealed things as true and recognizes my own limits in explaining through reason what I believe to be true. It doesn't mean that it's not true just because I can't explain or prove it methodologically. Although my faith is reasonable, it does not fill in all the details. Many things must be left as "I don't know." However, I do believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to say that I have all I need for life and godliness. Some things may be necessary inferences to tie the parts together such as the belief in the preservation of Scripture to believe in the Scriptures.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
Roland.... Every time I use a little reasoning you start singing the "modernist paradigm" song. It's not persuasive. I'm just asking people to think and most of them (all?) know that modernists did not invent thinking... nor did they invent the idea that once you assign meaning to terms and put them into statements, the relationships between statements begin to force conclusions.
Aaron, I just refuse allowing you to lay down rules for my thinking. You cannot impose your methods upon me without first validating your methodology. Just because your methodology is commonly held among our circle of Fundamentalist doesn't mean it is right. After all, the Post-modernists have the Modernists on the ropes. One can hardly deny that modernity hasn't panned out.

On the other hand, I don't think you are thinking. I heard the same things in the same place . You're parroting what you've been taught. I have questioned those platitudes but evidently you haven't. So, who's thinking?

And, "t's not persuasive." True. Because you cannot step outside your paradigm, you will always be persuaded of your own rightness. It's a defensive maneuver or intellectual self-preservation instinct.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm interested in getting at the real points of disagreement here as clear as possible.
That's the driving force in every post I've made in this thread.

With that still as the goal, I'll point out that I didn't lay down any rules. I made an observation about how you use the "modernist paradigm" card.

Not in dispute (I accept all of these as true):

  • modernity hasn't worked out
  • how commonly held a methodology is doesn't prove it's right (nor does it prove it's wrong)

In dispute but not relevant:

  • I'm not thinking, just parroting. Like to see you prove that.... well, not really. Waste of time. What matters is whether what I'm saying is true or not true.
  • Whether your constant accusation of "modernistic paradigm" is persuasive. I point out that it isn't persuasive only for your sake. In any case, waving that flag does not prove I'm wrong and so it's irrelevant.

Real progress!
You can't a debate about substance (vs. about words) until the terms are clearly defined and real points of disagreement are identified. We have some progress toward a substantive debate, due to post 17.
For purposes of debate I'm willing to stipulate that:

  • Science = observation and reasoning, theorizing, systematizing.
  • Modern science = the above using a method of observation, hypothesis, repeated testing, etc., ending in laws and facts.
  • Modernistic paradigm = belief that observation + reason is the only means of knowing and trumps all other means of knowing, with a commitment to the use of the method described above without recognizing its limitations

When I say "stipulate" I mean, accept for the purposes of argument. Have I correctly summarized your definitions?

One more:

  • Roland's paradigm = truth is never discovered, only revealed

Have I got it right so far?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Okay, Aaron, now it's time for you to answer some questions. Let's see if you're game for the challenge.

Aaron wrote:
Whether your constant accusation of "modernistic paradigm" is persuasive. I point out that it isn't persuasive only for your sake. In any case, waving that flag does not prove I'm wrong and so it's irrelevant.
Okay, then tell me: What is your paradigm?

If you're knowledgeable of historical paradigms, as you should be, then you would know that I've loosely defined myself within the Pre-modern framework of faith and reason with certain variations and modifications. I have told you as much. Remember you were the guy who told me in another thread that I could NOT reject modernity. Do you still hold that view?

So, utilizing your own system of logic, it would follow if you disallow me to reject modernity (i.e. the modernist paradigm), then you too are confined within the same. You can't have it both ways. Which is it?

Furthermore, do you remember asserting that if you were allowed a couple of presuppositons such as God exists and has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, then you could logically prove everything from the Scriptures. (I have intentionally refrained from mentioning this until I had the time to document it and nail you firmly to the wall but now it's out of the bag.) This is absolutely a statement and an attitude of the modernistic paradigm. Your expressed views are consistent with the Princeton Theology and their descendants (i.e. modern Reformed theolgoy) and spinoffs (i.e. modern Fundamentalist scholarship), which lie squarely within a modernistic paradigm.

Yes, your paradigm is relevant. Just as in the physical world, you must define your frame of reference. Otherwise, two different observers in two different frames of reference make different observations and arrive at different conclusions. You must give me a reference point.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
One more:

Roland's paradigm = truth is never discovered, only revealed


Only if you accept my description of truth as absolute, immutable, eternal, and universal. There is a difference between something being true and truth, although truth is true. I ate sushi for lunch may be true but it's not truth in the sense of an universal, eternal principle.

RPittman's picture

Aaron wrote:
I'm not thinking, just parroting. Like to see you prove that.... well, not really.
It's a working hypothesis based on homological argument in the best tradition of scientific rationalism. :bigsmile: If I hear you spouting the same arguments and views as I heard in the same place where both you and I attended school, then homology argues a common source meaning that these ideas and arguments are not original with you but you are repeating what you were taught. I used "parroting" as a picturesque word for repeating others' arguments instead of formulating new and creative arguments of one's own. Do you remember anyone arguing my views at that place?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Roland, before we talk about "my paradigm," we need to finish figuring out what yours is. I'm not go to rabbit trailing just as we were starting to get close to something like clarity on what your views are. So I'll quote myself...

Aaron wrote:

You can't a debate about substance (vs. about words) until the terms are clearly defined and real points of disagreement are identified. We have some progress toward a substantive debate, due to post 17.
For purposes of debate I'm willing to stipulate that:

  • Science = observation and reasoning, theorizing, systematizing.
  • Modern science = the above using a method of observation, hypothesis, repeated testing, etc., ending in laws and facts.
  • Modernistic paradigm = belief that observation + reason is the only means of knowing and trumps all other means of knowing, with a commitment to the use of the method described above without recognizing its limitations

When I say "stipulate" I mean, accept for the purposes of argument. Have I correctly summarized your definitions?


So have I correctly summarized your definitions?

Roland wrote:
Only if you accept my description of truth as absolute, immutable, eternal, and universal.

Well, we just need to be clear on what your view is.
So how's this:

  • Roland's paradigm = truth is never discovered, only revealed and it's absolute, immutable, eternal and universal.

You put together quite a sequence of heavy weight words there, and we'd really need to know what you mean by each of them, but I think it's probably clear enough that we can proceed with it as it is if you're agreed that I've summarized it accurately.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Brother Blumer thank you again for your post. Comparing mss and evaluating data (time, place, age etc) is already part of the process. Because the state of one's soul is known only to God and that person, both the lost and saved can do this work. What is in dispute is the authority of subsequent findings after the comparing and evaluating has concluded. The Standard Sacred Text position locates the scholarship at the beginning of the process and their findings as holding little authority. Rather the authority rests in the believing community.

With regard to the definition of "believing community", I have already offered that definition in post #2 "blood bought believers, the Body of Christ". Scholarship is not the Body of Christ. Those scholars who are blood bought believers are part of the Body of Christ.

Self-attestation in an essential quality of Holy Scriptures. Self-attestation is confirmed by the Holy Spirit to the believing community. "The people" never looked at a "variety of writings" because they were for the most part unable to read the Greek and Hebrew. As for English readings, you could count on one hand how many were in circulation, and over time each iteration went by the wayside until the KJB and it remained the uniting text of the believing community until the 1800's. Since that time, the believing community has never be united around a single text. Somehow that is good for the believing community?

The common response from the Multiple Version Only (MVO) position is that all of the hundreds of versions are equal or the same. This reasoning ignores a fundamental of logical reasoning, Two things that are different cannot be equal/the same. To make this principle more appropriate to the discussion, Hundreds of things that are different cannot be the same and as such do not bear equal/the same authority. If you were in a class where a professor offered a syllabus where of the 70 he issued, each one differed ever so slightly in the due dates for given assignments, any self respecting student would protest. But when Holy Scripture is altered, omitted, or added to certain ecclesiastical attendees are happy for the gender neutral bible, the ebonics bible, or the feminist bible.

As has been my experience here on Shaper Iron years ago and I expect still lingers, those who stand against the Standard Sacred Text position stand against the versions mentioned in the previous sentence. Why? The Hebrew Al-Shaddai means "god of the mountains or mounds" and "Shaddai" when used in a non-covenantal sense is plural for "breasts". Given certain scholarly evidence concerning oppression of women by men in the ANE it has been concluded that the removal of that oppression and acceptance of a valid reading of God's name necessitates at least the gender neutral version and more accurately a feminist version of the Bible. This is the result of sound Post-Enlightenment scholarship, but you resist. What entitles you to resist? "God's word", you might say. But why? The same hardball scholarship and attention to linguistic detail that brought you MSTC was simply embraced without consulting God's words, even further is has been held here on SI that the dictates of Scripture have no place in directing MSTC. Again, the scholarship that brought you hundreds of versions also brings you the feminist version. If God is pleased with the former why is not pleased with the latter? Whatever your answer is Brother Blumer please accompany it with the "why".

The Standard Sacred Text position maintains that the scholars practicing the MSTC which produced the gender neutral version and the scholars practicing MSTC which produced a Bible omitting 1 John 5:7 have usurped the authority of the Spirit of God working in the people of God through the self-attesting word of God by pretending their scholarly opinions to be of more worth than they are. Why? Because there is an illegitimate treatment of God in the person of the Holy Spirit and His words in both cases. If God wanted to be called a woman than the believing community would have been lead by the Holy Spirit to do so through the self-attesting word of God. The believing community has not. If God wanted 1 John 5:7 omitted from the Scripture then the believing community would have been lead by the Holy Spirit to do so through the self-attesting word of God.

Brother Blumer, has the believing community been lead to omit 1 John 5:7 by the leading of the Holy Spirit because 1 John 5:7 is not self-attesting? If no, then what lead the believing community to do so? If Yes, then you are closer to the right side than you know.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
With regard to the definition of "believing community", I have already offered that definition in post #2 "blood bought believers, the Body of Christ". Scholarship is not the Body of Christ. Those scholars who are blood bought believers are part of the Body of Christ.

If scholars who are believers are part of the body of Christ, what do you make of believing scholars who do not prefer the traditional text?

Peter wrote:
"The people" never looked at a "variety of writings" because they were for the most part unable to read the Greek and Hebrew. As for English readings, you could count on one hand how many were in circulation, and over time each iteration went by the wayside until the KJB and it remained the uniting text of the believing community until the 1800's. Since that time, the believing community has never be united around a single text. Somehow that is good for the believing community?

It doesn't much matter if it's good or not. It just is. But in this last statement you've defeated your own argument. If the believing community is not united, it cannot be possible to look to a particular text as the correct one "because it's the one that has been kept by the believing community."

But the statements before that are problematic as well. The Hebrew kings charged with making and keeping copies of the Scriptures certainly could read Hebrew. Later believers certainly could read Greek. Does your definition of "believing community" begin sometime after these languages died out? Why? Again, we'd save alot of back and forth if you'd define your terms succinctly.

Peter wrote:
If you were in a class where a professor offered a syllabus where of the 70 he issued, each one differed ever so slightly in the due dates for given assignments, any self respecting student would protest. But when Holy Scripture is altered, omitted, or added to certain ecclesiastical attendees are happy for the gender neutral bible, the ebonics bible, or the feminist bible.

Two things about that. One, the analogy of different dates distorts the reality of the kinds of differences we find in the MSS. In any case, those who prefer an eclectic text did not invent or create the differences that exist among them. They were created by copyists more than a thousand years ago. It doesn't matter how much we like these differences. They are there and we have to deal with them.
Second, that there are bad translations is not in dispute. Nobody here is for a feminist Bible or a gender neutral one either... etc.

Peter wrote:
As has been my experience here on Shaper Iron years ago and I expect still lingers, those who stand against the Standard Sacred Text position stand against the versions mentioned in the previous sentence. Why? ... This is the result of sound Post-Enlightenment scholarship, but you resist. What entitles you to resist? "God's word", you might say. But why?

Why... that would be because translations that are producing incorrect readings are, well, incorrect. What entitles us to resist? Well nobody needs to be entitled to resist "post enlightenment scholarship." Nobody believes that all the work of scholars since the enlightenment is true. It's an absurd idea because post enlight. scholarship doesn't agree with itself a good bit of the time.... it's impossible to agree with "all" of what is self contradictory. So people have no choice but to reject at least some of it.
But the short and sweet answer is that as people who believe the Scriptures, we cannot accept what is contrary to them. [/quote]

Peter wrote:
...even further is has been held here on SI that the dictates of Scripture have no place in directing MSTC.

Where did that happen?

Peter wrote:
Again, the scholarship that brought you hundreds of versions also brings you the feminist version. If God is pleased with the former why is not pleased with the latter? Whatever your answer is Brother Blumer please accompany it with the "why".

Peter, the grocery store that brought you pickled pigs feet (or whatever yucky thing you'd like insert here) also brought you high quality fresh fruit and really good pot roast. X came from A, therefore everything that comes from A must be tainted with X?
The "why" in this case is that it just doesn't make sense.

Peter wrote:

Brother Blumer, has the believing community been lead to omit 1 John 5:7 by the leading of the Holy Spirit because 1 John 5:7 is not self-attesting? If no, then what lead the believing community to do so? If Yes, then you are closer to the right side than you know.

If the believing community includes all Christians, this statement is nonsense because the believing community is not agreed on this point. Indeed, even Luther did not believe the Johannine Comma was authentic... wasn't part of the believing community? Many centuries ago when hundreds of MSS were made that do not contain it, these copyists were not part of the believing community?
But, again, even what is self attesting must be recognized as self attesting. "Self attesting" describes what Scripture does, not what we do. What we do is evaluate and conclude. Since the believing community has disagreed and still does, we are clearly not infallible in our ability to recognize correct readings.
... but I don't want to be understood here as accepting the idea that self attestation has been historically understood to apply to differences in MSS. I highly doubt that's the case (the translators of the KJV apparently didn't think so, since they frequently recommended "or this.... or that" options to readers in the margins).

But I'd sure like to get back to clarifying terms...
I think I'm clear on who the "believing community" is... all genuine Christians (nobody else is "blood bought")
But I didn't catch whether you believe the Spirit is able to guide the believing community by aiding them as they evaluate and weigh evidence. In your view, is Spirit guidance limited to direct apprehension? Visions? Gifts of prophecy? Gut feelings? Or can He lead people to conclusions that include some kind of "because" ("I believe A because B")?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Roland, before we talk about "my paradigm," we need to finish figuring out what yours is. I'm not go to rabbit trailing just as we were starting to get close to something like clarity on what your views are. So I'll quote myself...
Aaron wrote:

You can't a debate about substance (vs. about words) until the terms are clearly defined and real points of disagreement are identified. We have some progress toward a substantive debate, due to post 17.
For purposes of debate I'm willing to stipulate that:

  • Science = observation and reasoning, theorizing, systematizing.
  • Modern science = the above using a method of observation, hypothesis, repeated testing, etc., ending in laws and facts.
  • Modernistic paradigm = belief that observation + reason is the only means of knowing and trumps all other means of knowing, with a commitment to the use of the method described above without recognizing its limitations

When I say "stipulate" I mean, accept for the purposes of argument. Have I correctly summarized your definitions?


So have I correctly summarized your definitions?

Roland wrote:
Only if you accept my description of truth as absolute, immutable, eternal, and universal.

Well, we just need to be clear on what your view is.
So how's this:

  • Roland's paradigm = truth is never discovered, only revealed and it's absolute, immutable, eternal and universal.

You put together quite a sequence of heavy weight words there, and we'd really need to know what you mean by each of them, but I think it's probably clear enough that we can proceed with it as it is if you're agreed that I've summarized it accurately.

Although I have no basic disagreement with the preceding statements, I'm not going to commit myself to agreeing these few simple statement represent my whole body of ideas or thought. Not at all! As for clarity on my views . . . well, I've been expressing them rather regularly on SI for a few years now. I don't think there's anything in the preceding that I have not repeatedly expressed, though perhaps not in the same words, in other posts.

Aaron, be real. Your few simple questions and my answers are in not an outline of my thinking or paradigm of thought. As I told you, I'm somewhat like a Pre-modern although I deviate in many areas. For example, I employ rationalistic-empirical methodology when it comes to the natural world. The scientific method is wonderful within its limits and rightly applied. It begins to falter when applied to psychology or sociology even though statistical analysis does provide some benefits.

Although I reject Post-modernism, I sound a lot like one in my arguments against modernity. However, I do believe Post-modernism does have some important things to say to us, especially regarding the fallacies of Modernism (i.e. modernity) that we have accepted. During one of our first encounters years ago, I asked if you were willing to step outside your paradigm just to look at other points of view. I really can't accurately state your answer but you have shown repeatedly either your unwillingness or inability to do so. You can't understand and dismiss Post-modernist arguments safely protected by your Modernist presuppositions. Likewise, you cannot understand my Pre-modern thinking unless you are willing to step out.

Aaron, you're dodging the questions and making excuses. Come on and face up . . . . .

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Roland, I'm not trying to express the whole body of Everything Roland Believes About Everything. I'm trying to get clear definitions to a few key terms in order to locate the real points of disagreement.
If you are unwilling to be clear, we have nothing to talk about.

Guess I was right...

Aaron wrote:
Were I a betting man, I'd put money down that you're not going to define these clearly. Clearly defining them would facilitate a debate on the real points of disagreement rather than the endless cycles of repeated generalities and evasions.

It's just so much easier to take a vague position with evil sounding words in it than it is to take a precise position that you then have to support.
So... get out the generalities and beat the other point of view with the ol' "modernist paradigm" club and "scientific methodology" club... but at all costs avoid letting people know exactly what these terms mean.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Quote:
what do you make of believing scholars who do not prefer the traditional text?

First we have to assume they are "believing scholars" then when we do, Agabus and Paul disagreed but still one was right and one was wrong. They were not both right as when the MSTC crowd argues that the NIV and ESV are "both right".

Quote:
It doesn't much matter if it's good or not

It certainly does matter. Anything that comes into the fold must be examined. If it is of the shepherd then it must be from the Shepherd, and the only way to know that is by looking to Scripture, except if your Scripture is gender neutral, then the shepherd must take the revelation of the Shepherd and preach gender neutral. The motivation behind the above statement alludes me, but it is nevertheless troubling.

Quote:
If the believing community is not united,

Here it is. Where you see logical inconsistency, I see a break in the system. There was a time when there was only one version of the Bible and it was based on a standard set of Greek and Hebrew mss. That singularity and unity has been stripped away through the methods and practices of MSTC, as is evident in the multiple and continuing editions of the Greek NT and the myriads of English translations. I have seen what happens in Sunday School where there are multiple versions in the room and we begin to read around the room and one of God's people becomes confused because their Bible is missing a verse so they read the wrong one or they think a verse has ended because their Bible omits the last phrase. I have seen responsive reading vanish from public worship. In the places where it is still practiced, the muddle in the verse of response is tragic. The fact is that the believing community is not united. Just as there were times in the history of Israel where Israel had no shepherd (I King 22:17 and Matt. 9:36) or no revelation from Jehovah (Intertestimental Period). The system was not whole at the time, which by no means lends to the conclusion that the system is flawed. I read here and other places the desire for revival from on high, but how do you expect to get there when the prophets of Baal are allowed imput (Vatican see Introduction to the NA 27) along side the prophets of God?

Quote:
the analogy of different dates distorts the reality of the kinds of differences we find in the MSS

Brother Blumer I offer this analogy in the context of the multiplicity of English versions. No, school or student would allow multiple version of a syllabus, nor would we as Americans allow for multiple versions of the Constitution, but we will allow for the Bible. This is intellectually inconsistent. We don't allow the terrestrial and imminent to be altered, but you fight vociferously for the right to alter the ineffable and transcendent.

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Second, that there are bad translations is not in dispute.

In taking your position, I dispute it. By what authority do you determine the gender neutral translation to be bad? Why don't you use your own words above and say "It doesn't much matter if it's good or not. It just is."? And by that reasoning if it "just is" then it is by definition rationally permissible.

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that would be because translations that are producing incorrect readings

Again, based on what rule or standard to make such an assumption? You may say, "Because God has revealed himself as male." Not according to the gender neutral version, and who are you to stand over this Bible and judge it. Is it not a necessary quality of Scripture to judge you? The answer is, yes. So you are not in place to judge it as correct or incorrect, right or wrong, good or bad. See, what you are blind to is that you usurp the authority of the Bible you have made. This is strikingly similar to the practice of idolatry where you may take a piece of wood and burn it but with the other piece make a god. Scholarship makes a Bible that is 95% like the rest with the exception of the gender neutral element and you "burn" it. The Bible must be 100% God's word. If it is 99% God's word and 1% something else, then with part we worship God and the other part is fit for the furnace.

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Where did that happen?

You would be the first to dispute this with me. What verses in God's Holy word govern the rules of MSTC like shortest is best and hardest is best?

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Peter, the grocery store that brought you pickled pigs feet (or whatever yucky thing you'd like insert here)

I need not make this of my own admission, my advisor for my ThM in Philosophical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary told the whole class the summary contribution of post-Enlightenment philosophical theology is that we now have a better understanding of the pervasiveness of sin with regard to the human condition and we understand better that the human ability to know a particular is far more handicapped than we first thought. It is under this guise that we are now allowed to question God's word and the leading of the Spirit in a way we had never done before, because, hey, we can never know for certain which reading the word God gave in the autographa. Following this line of reasoning, that is why the UBS "rates" God's word like on American Idol. If the reading gets enough votes it gets to stay and keep singing, but if not then its a see-you-later on results night. So yes, all the MSTC grocery store sells in rotten produce and rotten pigs feet, at least we think its produce and pigs feet, but who knows.

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this statement is nonsense because the believing community is not agreed on this point.

The believing community did agree for the hundreds of years through the existence of the KJB. Your statement is simply revisionist history in full color.

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"Self attesting" describes what Scripture does, not what we do.

Correct, the "what we do" part is when the Holy Spirit part comes in. God in the person of the Spirit moves the Spirit-filled believing community which in turn acknowledges the self-attesting nature of God's word in the English.

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we are clearly not infallible in our ability to recognize correct readings

This is why you will never hold God's word in certainty and authority, nor will your children so long as this sectarian rhetoric persists. You may say your Bible is certain and authoritative, but just because you call a duck a dog, does not make the duck a dog. If you are able, through a small community decide for God's people what God's word says in the original and in the English yet at the same time reserve the right to lord over that Bible and call it into contempt when you see fit according to your interpretation of the "evidence", then you are the master of your master, and that is a fallacy.

I’m off to the Church picnic.

Sorry, still figuring out the quote feature.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

What you do is highlight the text you want to quote and then hit the quote button. That surrounds the highlighted text with open and close quote tags. Or you can put 'em in manually... a [ quote ] at the beginning and a [ /quote ] at the end (but remove spaces). You can also add an = somebody after the [ quote ] so it has a source named.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Peter... you quoted alot of my statements out of context here and then responded to something other than my intent. I'm not sure what that accomplishes since the context is just a couple posts up for all to see. I'll probably just ignore most of those. On to some responses:

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
Aaron wrote:
what do you make of believing scholars who do not prefer the traditional text?

First we have to assume they are "believing scholars" then when we do, Agabus and Paul disagreed but still one was right and one was wrong...

This does not solve the problem for your view. If your argument is that the correct text is the one that has been kept by the believing community and that all others are not the product of the believing the community, the argument is defeated if the believing community includes those who do not favor the traditional text.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
If the believing community is not united,

Here it is. Where you see logical inconsistency, I see a break in the system. There was a time when ...

If the system has a break, the "text kept by the believing community" argument fails because the text has not been kept. The argument either has to claim that those who reject the traditional text are not to true believers or it has to admit that there is no single text that has been kept.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
the analogy of different dates distorts the reality of the kinds of differences we find in the MSS

... I offer this analogy in the context of the multiplicity of English versions. ... We don't allow the terrestrial and imminent to be altered, but you fight vociferously for the right to alter the ineffable and transcendent.

Several things wrong here. First, though, this particular point is ancillary to the "single traditional text via believing community" argument.
That said, you are comparing documents that are a. not ancient, b. not in another language, c. able to be mass produced by printing presses and copiers.
Finally, your last sentence assumes the conclusion as part of the support.. and strawmans at the same time. Nobody is claiming a right to alter the ineffable and transcendent.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Second, that there are bad translations is not in dispute.

In taking your position, I dispute it. By what authority do you determine the gender neutral translation to be bad?... [the rest of this statement takes what I said out of context and distorts so... omitting here ]

I already answered the "by what authority" question when I answered the "why" question in the previous post.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
that would be because translations that are producing incorrect readings

Again, based on what rule or standard to make such an assumption? You may say, "Because God has revealed himself as male." Not according to the gender neutral version, and who are you to stand over this Bible and judge it...

It's not an "assumption." And I've already answered that question. "Stand over the Bible and judge it"? Surely you are toying with me a bit here? An intentionally incorrect rendering of perfectly clear Greek and Hebrew is not "the Bible."

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Where did that happen?

...What verses in God's Holy word govern the rules of MSTC like shortest is best and hardest is best?

Quite a few verses govern everything we do. If we must compare differing MSS and identify which are correct, we should do so to the glory of God (1Cor.10:31). We should do so for the edification of believers (Rom.14:19). We should do so with a determination to do the best we can to find and declare the truth (Eph. 4:25). The particular criteria are completely open to debate. I'm especially skeptical of "hardest is best" idea. But the whole process of evaluating by criteria cannot be dismissed on the grounds that ... well, whatever in the world your grounds are (a. it's not knowledge directly imputed by the Spirit apart from a conscious thought process? b. it doesn't produce the text received by the believing community? c. everything but the traditional text is pure post enlightenment junk?).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

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