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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Peter wrote:
... 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...

You're assuming the conclusion in the argument and strawmanning again. The makers of ESV, NASB, NKJB and NIV do not believe "we are now allowed to question God's word." Presumably, you're characterizing their choice of an eclectic text as doing that, but this is what I mean by assuming the conclusion in the argument. If you're going to prove that the traditional text alone is the true word of God, it doesn't work to say that "the traditional text is the true word of God because any altering of it is altering the word of God." It's circular.

This whole "post-Enlightenment philosophy" thing is a big lump and dump. Roland's been trying to do it for years under the heading of "modernist paradigm." It's fairly effective for getting the choir to cheer but it will not persuade anyone doesn't already agree.
The reason is that it relies on erasing all distinctions that exist among those who do not hold to your view. But the distinctions are there and those who are in that group are well aware of them.
Your argument requires us to believe that anyone who thinks, say, "oldest is best," is one or more of the following:

  • a believer in post-Enlightenment philosophy
  • a believer not just in science but in the unbiblical particulars of "modern science" (as Roland uses the term, apparently, and I think you as well)
  • not guided by the Spirit
  • not part of the believing community
  • characterized by every other bad thing that characterizes the worst of textual critics

See, once one side of a debate succeeds in lumping all other views together, all he has to do is take the worst examples of the "not us" group and apply those flaws to the entire "not us" group.
But this doesn't work in persuading any of the "not us" people... because they know the group is not homogenous.

Peter wrote:
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.

I'm actually not disputing the history at all at this point. There is no need. If the believing community includes people who do not favor the traditional text, then there is no such thing as a single text that is "kept by the believing community."

Peter wrote:
... 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.

(Wow... so now the English is supposed to be self-attesting, too? I'm going to just leave that idea alone for now.)
You never have answered my question about how this happens. Does the Spirit reveal this directly or does the believing community evaluate according to criteria?

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
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. ....

So you believe we are infallible in our ability to recognize correct readings? If that's the case, how did these readings come to exist in the first place? How can people who always know the right reading produce a wrong one?
But no matter. Variant readings exist and the believing community is not unified on which are correct. These are facts that will not go away no matter how much anyone wishes they would.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, reworded slightly... the creators of the KJV clearly did not believe they were infallible in identifying correct readings. Otherwise, they would not have filled the margins with "or this" and "or that" alternatives for readers.
So tell me again where the "revisionist history in fully color" is happening?

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, 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.
You won't even answer a few questions or clearly define your position. I've straightforwardly and clearly answered your questions. What more do you want?

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.[/quote]No, Aaron, you guessed wrong. You're flopping back and forth. I haven't back down from my definitions but I've just closed a few rat holes for you.

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 . . . .

You have a history of twisting, misconstruing, and adding to what I say. You can't read between the lines. If you really want to refute something, then I've given you the opportunity . . . or, do you just want to whine? I've answered your questions but I won't allow you to twist things. You are limited to what I've clearly said. I know your methodology. You want to use a your own biased inference and go beyond what I say or intend. You want to say, "Well, Roland said . . . which must mean . . . ." No, you can't make the restatements of my position and inferences prejudicial for your argument. The reason that I am leery of your statements is because of your history of misconstruing and misstating my views. Accept them at face value . . . nothing more! Now, go ahead and make your argument.
Aaron wrote:
Roland's paradigm = truth is never discovered, only revealed and it's absolute, immutable, eternal and universal.
Here's my statement: Truth is never discovered, it can only be by revelation. Truth, for the purpose of our discussion, has the attributes of being immutable, absolute, eternal, and universal. Truth is true but all things that are true are not necessarily truth in the sense that we are using it. It may be true that I live in Tygerville, SC but that is not truth of the genre that we are discussing.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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Do you accept my short definitions to your terms then? Never got a straight answer to that.

Worth posting them again. It was thousands of words ago...

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

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:
Do you accept my short definitions to your terms then? Never got a straight answer to that.

Worth posting them again. It was thousands of words ago...

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

Aaron, the more I look at your summaries, the less I like them. Why don't you just let me put them in my own words. After all, I think that I understand what I mean better than you. Also, I'm very careful of my word choice.

  1. 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. It is a means of determining what is workable and what is not.
  2. Modern science is generally tied to methodology, 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. It works well in the physical realm where data is measurable, quantifiable, and the variables can be reasonably controlled.

    Although ancient societies made observations, their science was more philosophy (reason and argument) than a systematic methodology based on observable data. The scientific method is what sets modern science apart from other civilizations.

  3. 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. The most extreme form of Modernism is scientism with many milder forms blending along the spectrum including what passes for Fundamentalist scholarship.
  4. Truth, in a philosophical sense, has the attributes of being immutable, absolute, eternal, and universal. Truth is never discovered, it can only be known by revelation.
    What more do you want. I won't allow you to state my views for me. That seems to be what you're after.
Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm going to assume the terms above are accurately defined per your view.
Edit: just saw that you've rejected them. Bummer. Reasoning with terms requires pretty succinct definitions, not whole paragraphs.
Edit #2: cancel that "bummer." I don't see anything in your longer definitions that destroys what I've said below or differs materially from my shorter definitions.

The difference between "science" and "modern science" here is important because it means that the argument that eclectic texts should be rejected because those who favor them believe in modern science must be supported by showing that:

  • modern science as defined is unbiblical
  • all who prefer eclectic texts are lovers of the business of observation, hypothesis, testing and formulating laws and facts.

Defeating that particular argument only requires showing that there is one proponent of eclectic texts who is not fond of scientific method or at least doesn't believe it ends in real laws or absolute facts.
So just need an example.

The definition of "modernistic paradigm" is similarly important. The argument that eclectic texts should be rejected because those who contribute to them or prefer them hold to a "modernistic paradigm" can be defeated by providing an example of someone who favors eclectic texts who's beliefs do not fit the definition.

I just happen to know somebody like that pretty well. I'll take the two arguments in reverse order:

On “modernist paradigm”...

  1. A person who believes in angels, demons, the Trinity, miracles, the virgin birth, the inspiration of Scripture, etc. does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”
  2. A person who believes God has providentially and, at times, miraculously preserved His word in the form we have it today does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”
  3. A person who came to believe the gospel by faith rather than by empirical or rational proofs does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”

    All of these describe me.

    On “modern science”....

    1. A person who does not believe inductive reasoning can result in certainty is not a believer in “modern science.”
    2. A person who believes that a great deal of what is real cannot be observed is not a believer in “modern science.”
    3. A person who does not believe in evolution is not a believer in “modern science.”

      All of these describe me also.

      Anticipated objection: “You have been influenced by modern science and, to a degree hold a modernist paradigm.”
      Answer: please locate the influence and and specify the degree.
      Anticipated answer: “You are not a believer in the perfectly preserved traditional text”
      Defense: That's not how you've defined modern science/modernist paradigm. To support the claim of influence/degree, it would be necessary to describe features that match the definition and do not match anything else. In particular, supporting the claim of "influence of modern science" would require features that are unique to "modern science" and not also features of plain ol' regular science (as defined). Supporting the "degree of modernist paradigm" requires features unique to that term as defined and not also shared by another paradigm... say, "Roland's paradigm."

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

I'm sure this is much simpler than I'm making it. Just haven't quite figured out how to boil it down.
Maybe this works:

  • The argument that eclectic texts must be rejected because they are just modern science and rationalism fails when modern science and rationalism are precisely defined.
  • Similarly, the argument that the traditional text is the right one because it has been kept by the believing community through the Holy Spirit fails when the believing community is precisely defined and the scope of Spirit activity is not unduly restricted.

There's the Cliff notes version.

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:
I'm going to assume the terms above are accurately defined per your view.
Read on . . .
Quote:

Edit: just saw that you've rejected them. Bummer. Reasoning with terms requires pretty succinct definitions, not whole paragraphs.
Sorry about that, Aaron, but we're talking about the real world not the ivory tower . . . .
Quote:

Edit #2: cancel that "bummer." I don't see anything in your longer definitions that destroys what I've said below or differs materially from my shorter definitions.
Perhaps you are not as careful with words as I . . . words have connotation, denotation, and context all contributing to their semantical content and nudging or limiting it.
Quote:

The difference between "science" and "modern science" here is important because it means that the argument that eclectic texts should be rejected because those who favor them believe in modern science must be supported by showing that:

Well, here you go making assumptions, unwarranted inferences, and laying down conditions that I do not accept . . . . Just in case you haven't heard me plainly, my argument is simply that science and the scientific method cannot speak to what is not verifiable, observable, measurable, and the variables are controllable. Refute this, not some assumption that only exists in your cerebrum. I have stated that science and the scientific method are wonderful in limiting subjectivity and finding workable solutions in the physical world. Don't you read my comments?
Quote:

  • modern science as defined is unbiblical
I have never said this, implied this, and it does not necessarily follow logically from my statements or beliefs. This is simply your fantasy logic. I am a practitioner of modern science. Why would I pursue an un-Biblical vocation? Modern science is extra-Biblical, not un-Biblical. This simply means that science, although we see allusion to and mention of scientific principles in the Bible, and the scientific method are apart from Scripture. These are inferior to Scripture in that they cannot provide us with truth as defined but provide only workable solutions, not ultimate reality.
Quote:
  • all who prefer eclectic texts are lovers of the business of observation, hypothesis, testing and formulating laws and facts.
  • Again, I have never said this, implied this, and it does not necessarily follow logically from my statements or beliefs. Just in case you haven't heard me plainly, my argument is simply that science and the scientific method cannot speak to what is not verifiable, observable, measurable, and the variables are controllable. My argument is and always has been that modern textual criticism as represented by the vast majority of the modern eclectic texts purport to be grounded in theory upon the scientific method. I strenuously object to this blatant misuse of the scientific method because it is NOT appropriate due to the lack of replication, measurement, quantification, standard for comparison, uncontrolled factors, etc. It is based on many of the same objections to making evolution a scientific question.
    Quote:

    Defeating that particular argument only requires showing that there is one proponent of eclectic texts who is not fond of scientific method or at least doesn't believe it ends in real laws or absolute facts.
    LOL! This is a straw man for real. I have never advanced this "particular argument." You don't need to defeat it because I don't believe it. This is fantasy land!

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:

    So just need an example.

    The definition of "modernistic paradigm" is similarly important. The argument that eclectic texts should be rejected because those who contribute to them or prefer them hold to a "modernistic paradigm" can be defeated by providing an example of someone who favors eclectic texts who's beliefs do not fit the definition.

    Again, this argument is a fantasy. I have never said that! You have morphed it to a person whereas I have contended that eclectic texts are based on theories from a "modernistic paradigm." You are denying history if you deny that modern textual criticism had its roots in the Enlightenment. Now, are you willing to argue that both the Higher and Lower Criticism were NOT born in the context of Modernity and Modernist Scholarship? Look at the individuals and their epistemology who laid the foundations of modern textual criticism. Forget Hort and Westcott, if you like, but tell me that the Alands and Metzger do not fit this categorization.
    Quote:

    I just happen to know somebody like that pretty well. I'll take the two arguments in reverse order:

    On “modernist paradigm”...

    1. A person who believes in angels, demons, the Trinity, miracles, the virgin birth, the inspiration of Scripture, etc. does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”
    No, this is inaccurate. This cannot be a hard and fast statement because many who profess these beliefs use a "modernist paradigm" in all other areas making exceptions for these. It's simply being inconsistent, not holding a different paradigm of thought. Many of the Princeton Theology, who are viewed as stalwarts of orthodoxy, did this. One can never consistently justify these with their usual methodology of rational scholarship. There are a number of possible permutations here but I simply don't have time to discuss them now.
    Quote:
  • A person who believes God has providentially and, at times, miraculously preserved His word in the form we have it today does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”
  • No, this just means they are inconsistent if they apply the paradigm at all other times except when they must make exceptions to preserve their faith. The Modernists (meaning the religious variety) are just more consistent. The guys who say, "Give me two presuppositions that God exists and He has revealed Himself in the Bible and I can prove everything else" are still rationalists.
    Quote:
  • A person who came to believe the gospel by faith rather than by empirical or rational proofs does not hold to a “modernist paradigm.”
  • Well, how do you explain C. S. Lewis?
    Quote:

    All of these describe me.
    So?[quote]

    On “modern science”....

    1. A person who does not believe inductive reasoning can result in certainty is not a believer in “modern science.”
    2. A person who believes that a great deal of what is real cannot be observed is not a believer in “modern science.”
    3. A person who does not believe in evolution is not a believer in “modern science.”

      All of these describe me also.[quote]So what? I don't see the revelance here. I'm a "believer in 'modern science'" and a practitioner. Yet, I understand its place, use, and limitations. So, what's your point? I've never accused you of being some kind of heretic because you believe in science. If I've criticized your for science or the scientific method, it's because you are using it wrongly where it does not apply or work. The scientific method is a tool. I don't have a problem with a 3/4" box-end wrench but it's when you use it on a 11/16" nut and round it off that I say you did something wrong.

    RPittman's picture

    Quote:

    Anticipated objection: “You have been influenced by modern science and, to a degree hold a modernist paradigm.”

    Well, you and I both have been influenced. We grew up midst modernity and attended schools teaching modernist epistemology.
    Quote:

    Answer: please locate the influence and and specify the degree.
    BJU, for one, also Central and even your high school.
    Anticipated answer: “You are not a believer in the perfectly preserved traditional text”[/quote]And I'm not sure what you mean by a "perfectly preserved traditional text." You, who insist on my definition of terms, are cagey on defining your terms although you call me out on defining terms. BTW, I don't think you've ever seen me use that term. I usually just call the text Scripture.
    <br /> <b>Defense</b>: That's not how you've defined modern science/modernist paradigm. To support the claim of influence/degree, it would be necessary to describe features that match the definition and do not match anything else. In particular, supporting the claim of "influence of modern science" would require features that are unique to "modern science" and not also features of plain ol' regular science (as defined). [quote]Now, Aaron, you're trying to make the rules again? It won't work. Your paradigm is not in control. There's no logic here. Call it repartee, playing at philosophy, or even fantasy but it's not really debate or logic. I'm really a little disappointed.<br /> [quote wrote:
    Supporting the "degree of modernist paradigm" requires features unique to that term as defined and not also shared by another paradigm... say, "Roland's paradigm."
    So, what are you saying? Everyone has his own individual paradigm? Or, are you saying there are definable historical paradigms of epistemology (i.e. Pre-Modern, Modern, Post-modern)? Aaron, you have a very definite way of obfuscating every argument into obscurity. You get folks lost in a morass of irrelevant details. Your argument just doesn't make good rational sense to me. (See, I'm engaging you in your rationalist paradigm.)

    Please allow me to clarify. I have no debate with much of what you say once I figure out your meandering.

    Let me make a few pertinent observations:

    1. I have no argument with modern science and the scientific method properly utilized.
    2. Although the scientific method is a useful means of determining what is workable, it is not a means of discovering truth or ultimate reality.
    3. Science and the scientific method used properly and within limitations are not un-Biblical.
    4. We use terms to give broad general categorizations for sake of communication without detailed specification of minutiae.
    5. Methodology and epistemology, for sake of categorization, are classified into three broad groups: Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post-Modern.
    6. Great diversity exists among individuals in categorization of whatever trait so that one need not possess all the traits or even some of the traits consistently to fit the category.
    7. Experience and reason are valid means of knowing but they are limited and inferior to revelation.
    RPittman's picture

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    I'm sure this is much simpler than I'm making it. Just haven't quite figured out how to boil it down.
    Maybe this works:

    • The argument that eclectic texts must be rejected because they are just modern science and rationalism fails when modern science and rationalism are precisely defined.
    The problems is that this is NOT my argument.
    Quote:
  • Similarly, the argument that the traditional text is the right one because it has been kept by the believing community through the Holy Spirit fails when the believing community is precisely defined and the scope of Spirit activity is not unduly restricted.
  • This your evaluation within a rationalist paradigm (i.e. modernist paradigm). It works in a Pre-Modern paradigm of faith and reason.
    Quote:

    There's the Cliff notes version.

    Yeah, it ignores all the important points . . . .

    RPittman's picture

    Roland wrote:
    Due to technical problems, I had to split my one answer to Aaron's post into three sections. However, the time limit for editing expired during my last paste resulting in a flawed post. The corrected version is below:

    Aaron wrote:

    Anticipated objection: “You have been influenced by modern science and, to a degree hold a modernist paradigm.”
    Well, you and I both have been influenced. We grew up midst modernity and attended schools teaching modernist epistemology.
    Quote:

    Answer: please locate the influence and and specify the degree.
    BJU, for one, also Central and even your high school.
    Quote:

    Anticipated answer: “You are not a believer in the perfectly preserved traditional text”
    And I'm not sure what you mean by a "perfectly preserved traditional text." You, who insist on my definition of terms, are cagey on defining your terms although you call me out on defining terms. BTW, I don't think you've ever seen me use that term. I usually just call the text Scripture.
    Quote:

    Defense: That's not how you've defined modern science/modernist paradigm. To support the claim of influence/degree, it would be necessary to describe features that match the definition and do not match anything else. In particular, supporting the claim of "influence of modern science" would require features that are unique to "modern science" and not also features of plain ol' regular science (as defined).
    Now, Aaron, you're trying to make the rules again? It won't work. Your paradigm is not in control. There's no logic here. Call it repartee, playing at philosophy, or even fantasy but it's not really debate or logic. I'm really a little disappointed.
    Quote:
    Supporting the "degree of modernist paradigm" requires features unique to that term as defined and not also shared by another paradigm... say, "Roland's paradigm."
    So, what are you saying? Everyone has his own individual paradigm? Or, are you saying there are definable historical paradigms of epistemology (i.e. Pre-Modern, Modern, Post-modern)? Aaron, you have a very definite way of obfuscating every argument into obscurity. You get folks lost in a morass of irrelevant details. Your argument just doesn't make good rational sense to me. (See, I'm engaging you in your rationalist paradigm.)

    I have no debate with much of what you say once I figure out your meandering.

    Please allow me make a few pertinent observations:

    1. I have no argument with modern science and the scientific method properly utilized.
    2. The scientific method is a useful means of determining what is workable and what is not.
    3. The scientific method is not a means of discovering truth or ultimate reality.
    4. Science and the scientific method used properly and within limitations are not un-Biblical.
    5. The use of the scientific method in areas where it is not suited leads man astray into a false belief of certainty and knowledge (e.g. the Sokel Affair, evolution, and modern critical textual theory).
    6. We use terms to give broad general categorizations for sake of communication without detailed specification of minutiae.
    7. Methodology and epistemology, for sake of categorization, are classified into three broad groups: Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post-Modern.
    8. Great diversity exists among individuals in categorization of whatever trait so that one need not possess all the traits or even some of the traits consistently to fit the category.
    9. Experience and reason are valid means of knowing but they are limited and inferior to revelation.
    10. There are other valid means of knowing and knowledge other than experience and reason including revelation, intuition, the Holy Spirit, genetic factors, etc.
    11. Man's beliefs and opinions are more often formed from social learning than rational ratiocination.
    12. Words do not possess static semantical content.
    13. The semantic content of words of a language change with time and place having no fixed normative semantic value.
    14. Context rules semantics.
    15. Man's knowledge and understanding is limited by experience and intellect (quality, quantity, and kind).
    16. Man's knowledge and understanding are analogical to God's knowledge.
    17. Due to human limitations of reason and rationality, apparent paradoxes must exist.
    18. Man's knowledge of God is through revelation and the influence of the Holy Spirit.
    19. Man cannot and does come to God and know God by his rationality.
    20. God's revelation is true, although not exhaustive, and it is sufficient for man's knowledge in living and obeying God unto salvation and good works. (Disclaimer: This is NOT salvation by good works.)
    21. God's Word, the Bible, is not a rational book in that it is understood and discerned by rationality and reason, although the intellect is employed in reading and understanding the words, but the Scriptures are spiritually discerned under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
    22. The Scriptures defies reason and rationality by miracles, spiritual truths, attributes of God, apparent paradoxes, mysteries, etc. that cannot be understood or explained by the natural rational mind or reasoning.
    23. Our faith in God for salvation and life is by the Holy Spirit through God's revealed Word preserved through the Believing Church.
    RPittman's picture

    Okay, Aaron, I've fairly answered your questions. Also, I've given you plenty more to chew on. So, now is the time for reciprocity. It's time for you to answer some very simple, straightforward questions. Here are two. No excuses this time.

    1. Do you accept the categorizations of epistemology as Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post-Modern.

      Depending on your answer of the first, answer one of the following:

      1. If so, which category do you fit? (Of course, this allows for wide diversity and does not mean one is always consistent.)
      2. If not, what are your categories and where do you align?

    This shouldn't be too hard. NO quibbling now . . . . .

    RPittman's picture

    1. Modern textual criticism has it historical roots in the rise of rationalism during the Enlightenment.
    2. Many, if not most, of the basic principles of modern critical text theories were laid down by Westcott and Hort.
    3. Westcott and Hort lived and worked during the rise and dominance of religious Modernism/Liberalism.
    4. Westcott and Hort were influenced by and accepted the scholarship and thinking of their period dominated by Higher Criticism of Scriptural authorship, date, and place of writing as opposed to its counterpart in the Lower Criticism of the text of Scripture.
    5. Modern Biblical textual criticism is a subset of literary textual criticism.
    6. Modern critical text theory rests on the presupposition that all copies of texts contain errors.
    7. Modern critical text theory does not take into account any Divine preservation of Scripture.
    8. Modern critical text theory proposes how these errors occurred, which amount to little more than supposition.
    9. Modern critical text theory proposes to restore the text to the original through scientific and scholarly methods.
    10. These methods are based on presumptive and theoretical assertions without a sufficient bank of data.
    11. Modern critical text theory gives a false certainty and knowledge by inappropriately using the scientific method when quantification, controllable variables, measurable data, replication, a comparable standard, etc. are significantly lacking.
    12. Modern critical text theory lacks verification and replication as required by the scientific method.
    13. Modern critical text theory lacks experimentation utilizing controlled variables to standardize and validate the methods and techniques.
    14. Modern critical text theory has no predictive traits to verify it theories.
    15. Modern critical text theory has no religious component other than it is applied to the text of Scripture. In other words, it is purely a rational, scholarly activity performed by individuals who may or may not have any religious faith. It's veracity can never be elevated beyond this level.
    16. Modern critical text theory has a direct bearing on the authority of the Scriptures. The question is whether the Scripture text whose authority depends solely on rational scholarship is authoritative without some concept of Divine preservation of the text. Without Divine preservation, it would seem that Scriptural authority could be no authoritative than the rational scholarship producing the text.

      With which of the preceding propositions do you disagree, Aaron?

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Quote:
    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

    Not quite. The Standard Sacred Text position maintains that the correct text is in and of itself correct. How that text is manifest to the believing community is from the text side, the text self-attests and from the community side, the Spirit through the believing community bears witness with the Spirit’s own self-attesting words. Therefore Tyndale’s NT and the Geneva were fantastic translations as is evidenced by the presence of the self-attesting words in these texts as well as the moving of the Spirit among the Body of Christ. **This next part is key. Please do not overlook it. Some of the new versions (i.e. the version after the KJB) contain alot of God’s words both in the Greek and English. Don’t lose me, there’s more. The foundation of the contention can be brought down to three points: 1.) The Method: MSTC as a product of post-Enlightenment scholarship has no historical, theological, or biblical moorings [it is a new way, as if the believing community had it all wrong with regard to the formation of the Canon until the mid-1800‘s ], where the “text criticism” pre-Enlightenment did have these moorings. You need look no further than Andrew Willet’s commentary on Romans. Thus the empirical method is incapable of discerning the difference between human words and transcendent words, and as such bears little to no authority.

    2.) The Process: The authority of the Spirit lead believing community has been usurped by the scholarly community. You need look no further than yourself, Brother Aaron. Ask yourself, why do you argue the rather young perspective of MSTC and not the time-tested rich historical and exegetical position of the Standard Sacred Text position? I know for one that you were not taught it. In addition, you do so because the academy has told you to lecture after lecture. I dare say that your colleagues at your school and your professors poked fun at the Standard Sacred Text position and ignored its rich theological and exegetical history. This is the case with my schooling, with few exceptions. Pre-Enlightenment the academy was more Bible and Church centered and as such the academy was a help to the Church in the area of Bibliology. (e.g. pre-Enlightenment “Holy Scripture” was a technical term for the O.T. Hebrew not the LXX as the Post-Es want to argue in II Tim 3; “Inspiration” was not limited to the autographs as the Post-Es want to argue (i.e. Warfield), but rather the supstantia doctrina extended to the apographa as well).

    3.) The Product: Bible making has got to be the only industry where hundreds of prototypes are distributed over a hundred years without ever issuing a finished product. Furthermore, the autographs were composed of one set of words, which God by inspiration brought to the original writers. MSTC is incapable of locating that set of words therefore God’s people, so long as the leaders of the believing community maintain your position, will always be man‘s words coupled with portions of that autographic set of words. Can man’s words be the object of faith? No. So where you say the thousands of differences between these hundreds of versions do not affect anything important, I retort with, On the contrary, those thousands of differences in hundreds of versions affects whether or not faith can be exercised toward what those versions say.**

    Quote:
    If the system has a break, the "text kept by the believing community" argument fails…

    If I said “kept” then I retract, but I don‘t think I did. The believing community does not preserve God’s words, rather God does by means of secondary causes. The “break” does not mean the system has failed. Just because a saint sins does not mean that the system of salvation has failed and similarly just because the believing community has in part ceased in their roll with regard to the movement of the Spirit does not mean that the system of self-attesting word/Spirit filled believer has failed. Israel ignored the one prophet of God, but Israel to this day remains remains God’s chosen people.

    Quote:
    Nobody is claiming a right to alter the ineffable and transcendent.

    Brother Aaron, do you think that without the transcendent God in the person of the Holy Spirit, you could comprehend the height and depth of the person of Jesus Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture? I hope you would not answer yes. Therefore the content of Scripture being spiritually discerned is outside the confines of your standard noetic equipment and therefore is transcendent and ineffable. You need the transcendent and ineffable Holy Spirit to guide you through His transcendent and ineffable words.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

    Quote:
    In taking your position, I dispute it. By what authority do you determine the gender neutral translation to be bad? [Your Answer? ] Why... that would be because translations that are producing incorrect readings are, well, incorrect. What entitles us to resist?

    Who are you to determine a reading is incorrect. You are a man, of course you prefer God to be masculine so that you can maintain your strangle hold over the females. What you don’t understand, because you are a man is that the reason why the Bibles up until now read as masculine concerning God is because men were in charge and were oppressing women. Al-Shaddai rendered faithfully in the Hebrew as God of breasts. That is a correct rendering of the Hebrew word and coupled with the fact that women were oppressed in the ANE, it is rationally permissible under the dictates of MSTC that God be referred to as god our father/mother. You cannot dispute with me that the rendering of Al-Shaddai is out side the lexical values of the term. Furthermore, you cannot legitimately argue with me that women were not oppressed in the ANE. If you do then consider situations where a woman’s hand would be cut off for a particular infraction, polygamy, the practice of the nearer kinsman, an active menstral cycle would put a woman out of the camp as unclean etc. How many scribes were female…0. From a liberated female perspective the gender neutral version hasn’t gone far enough.

    Because you cannot locate in God’s word the process of how an English bible makes its way to the English speaking Church, all your eggs are in the MSTC basket, and MSTC is incapable of discrediting the above argument. So, how do you know with certitude that the reading “god our father/mother” is wrong? Are you going to appeal to that Bible that you admit has errors in it? Why? Error cannot be the source of faith, and how do you know with certainty that whatever verse you bring to bear on the above argument is not a result of oppression over women? Or worse, perhaps that verse you turn to is part of that error you admit to. How do you know for certain that the verse you employ to combat the feminist perspective above is free from all error? You don’t know for certain.

    Quote:
    We should do so with a determination to do the best we can to find and declare the truth.

    Really. Brother Blumer, can “the best you can” locate with certainty one word of God? How is it that you are going to “find” transcendent truth? I mean, are you so sure of yourself that you think you can find it on your own? Those engaged in MSTC do. Do you consider yourself part of that crowd that thinks they can “find” transcendent truth by doing “the best you can”? Satan brings God glory, does he not? Can Satan as an angel of light edify a believer by quoting Scripture as he did at the temptation of Christ? If you say no, then you severely under estimate our Adversary. If this anemic exegetical foundation is all that you have to support the practice of MSTC then apparently Satan could be running the joint.

    Quote:
    it doesn't work to say that "the traditional text is the true word of God because any altering of it is altering the word of God." It's circular.

    I have never said that, nor have a reasoned such. The “traditional text” is the true word of God because the self-attesting word of God has born witness with the believing community through the Spirit of God. The writers of the various modern versions ascribe to no such paradigm. They translate and issue a prototype. The End. There is no room for the self-attesting word of God or the Spirit’s leading. The writers of the modern versions “question” because those scholarly few are in no place to decide for the believing community. Even after the huge uproar over the gender neutral NIV, guess what, it is still being published. Why? Because the self-attesting word and the believing community are not part of the picture.

    Quote:
    Your argument requires us to believe that anyone who thinks, say, "oldest is best," is one or more of the following:

    Anyone who ascribes to “oldest is best” is a believer in post-enlightenment philosophy with regard to that statement. I do not lump together as you suggest. The reason why I offered my professors summation is so that you might recognize the cancer from which MSTC has spawned. “Oldest is best” was born from the notion that nothing can be known for certain, not even the Bible. Lions breed lions. Dogs breed dogs. Error breeds error, and for you to accept a product from a source that is fundamentally against the nature of Christianity is dangerous at least and perhaps reckless.

    Quote:
    (Wow... so now the English is supposed to be self-attesting, too? I'm going to just leave that idea alone for now.)

    You would. I venture a guess that you have little to no knowledge of the transmission of substantia doctrina as it occurs in the literature. It probably is best that you leave it alone.

    Quote:
    Variant readings exist and the believing community is not unified on which are correct. These are facts that will not go away no matter how much anyone wishes they would.

    These are the words of the defeated and unwilling.

    Quote:
    the creators of the KJV clearly did not believe they were infallible in identifying correct readings.

    That is because those that worked on the KJB were aware that it was not their place to discern such truths. The MSTC crowd on the other hand gladly and wrongfully have taken that place without apology or repentance.

    Thank you for your post Brother Blumer. I truly enjoy this back and forth.

    Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

    StandardSacredText.com

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    Sorry to drop out, guys, but I'm resting my case... I hope. The basic facts are not going to change so I think I have little more to say that is worth the time.

    Roland: what I posted is just logic. Nothing more than math with concepts. As a field of study it goes back at least as far as Aristotle. Nothing modernist or post Enlightenment about it. I didn't invent it. It's just how the universe I live in works.

    On definitions: if short definitions are good enough for dictionaries, they're good enough for me. Defining terms concisely at the beginning of a process of argument or refutation is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. More to the point, it's step one in thinking clearly about anything. Any "paradigm" that rejects that is a paradigm of obscurity and confusion.

    The basic facts are not going to change here:
    1. Roland cannot show that I hold to a modernistic paradigm or am influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate.
    2. The "believing community" includes men who believe the best text is eclectic. Therefore, there is no single "text kept by the believing community."
    3. There is nothing in the act of comparing manuscripts according to thoughtfully developed criteria that is unique to "modern science" as Roland has defined it. Nor is there anything in this activity that is unique to a "modernist paradigm."
    4. Peter cannot prove that all who favor eclectic texts do so without a serious commitment to obedience to all applicable Scriptures.
    5. Peter cannot prove that the Holy Spirit does not guide believers who are engaged in the work of eclectic textual reconstruction as they work through their process of evaluation.

    As a summation, I think that about covers it.

    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.

    Chip Van Emmerik's picture

    Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
    Therefore Tyndale’s NT and the Geneva were fantastic translations...

    Peter,

    It seems you contradict your entire position with this statement. How can these be great translations when they are different from the KJV? Using the arguments you have made previously, it seems the KJV was the errant interloper, since these earlier translations had already been self attested to/by the church before the KJV came along and muddied the waters with alternative renderings of multitudes of passages.

    Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    Sorry to drop out, guys, but I'm resting my case... I hope. The basic facts are not going to change so I think I have little more to say that is worth the time.
    Then why do you continue to argue and offer explanations?
    Quote:

    Roland: what I posted is just logic. Nothing more than math with concepts. As a field of study it goes back at least as far as Aristotle. Nothing modernist or post Enlightenment about it. I didn't invent it. It's just how the universe I live in works.

    No, it not logic as in formal logic. You've not supported or proven your case. What you're really saying is that it is logical to you, which puts you in the position as the defining authority.
    Quote:

    On definitions: if short definitions are good enough for dictionaries, they're good enough for me. Defining terms concisely at the beginning of a process of argument or refutation is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. More to the point, it's step one in thinking clearly about anything. Any "paradigm" that rejects that is a paradigm of obscurity and confusion.

    No serious scholar or thinker uses dictionary definitions, which are simply descriptions of common usage, to define philosophical concepts.
    Quote:

    The basic facts are not going to change here:
    1. Roland cannot show that I hold to a modernistic paradigm or am influenced by one in any way that matters in this debate.

    Then tell us plainly what paradigm you do hold. It is simply ridiculously to say you have not been influenced by a modernist paradigm in any way when we all grew up in a culture holding said paradigm. That's ludicrous.
    Quote:

    2. The "believing community" includes men who believe the best text is eclectic. Therefore, there is no single "text kept by the believing community."
    No one has said that every believer must believe it. You argument leaks like a sieve.
    Quote:

    3. There is nothing in the act of comparing manuscripts according to thoughtfully developed criteria that is unique to "modern science" as Roland has defined it. Nor is there anything in this activity that is unique to a "modernist paradigm."
    You must not have read my posts. Why don't you simply refute my points instead of ignoring them? Modern textual criticism is based on a scientific rationalism.
    Quote:

    4. Peter cannot prove that all who favor eclectic texts do so without a serious commitment to obedience to all applicable Scriptures.
    Does he have to prove this? Why? What's the point?
    Quote:

    5. Peter cannot prove that the Holy Spirit does not guide believers who are engaged in the work of eclectic textual reconstruction as they work through their process of evaluation.
    Now, you're trying to bring this under the requirements of rationalism. BTW, just who are these believers working through the process of eclectic textual reconstruction? Could you name a few?
    Quote:

    As a summation, I think that about covers it.

    Really?

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    On my logic... if my reasoning is faulty, by all means show how it is faulty.

    Paradigm: well, I've answered this question before in other threads. It didn't do any good because in your view of things, believing in comparing mss and evaluating them carefully acc. to criteria (vs. accepting a tradition) is inherently "modernist paradigm."

    So no matter what else I say I believe, your answer is, basically, "You disagree with me, therefore you are coming from a modernist paradigm."

    But for the benefit of anyone just tuning in, I'll summarize what I believe. Since I like to be clear (unlike some other folks around here), I'll be as concise as possible.
    But since I don't even know what your idea of a "paradigm" is, Roland, I really have no idea how much of what I believe I have to describe to answer the question.
    Here's a too-long stab at it...

    1. I believe reality is accessible to us by observation and reasoning but that a great deal of what is real is not observable, verifiable, measurable, etc.
    2. Observation and inductive reasoning (“scientific method”) can, at best, only establish the probability of hypotheses and theories.
    3. Though there is a great deal of evidence, I believe God exists and has revealed Himself in Scripture because I'm conscious that this is true, not because evidence proves it.
    4. I believe the gospel—and its relevance to me in particular—not because it can be proven by observation and reasoning, but because the Spirit convicted me of its truth directly.
    5. What we know by reasoning and observation is always subordinate to what we know by revelation.
    6. Though I am persuaded that the gospel is true by the ministry of the Spirit, I understand what the gospel is by the rational process of reading words God graciously provided.
    7. I believe that we discern what the Bible teaches by the rational process of reading it, understanding its terms and statements, placing statements in their immediate and overall context, etc. (God did not give us the Book so we could look at interesting marks while He directly imparts truth to our minds independently of the actual nouns, verbs, modifiers and connectors He inspired.)
    8. I believe it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we see the truthfulness and personal significance of what the Bible teaches. Anybody can figure out what it teaches. Only recipients of the work of the Spirit “take it to heart.”
      On the text question...

      1. I believe textual reconstruction must be conducted in a manner that is informed by, and yielded to everything Scripture teaches that relates to it. (It is "bound")
      2. I believe God inspired every word of Scripture by the entirely supernatural work of the Spirit.
      3. I believe God's word is preserved forever in Heaven.
      4. I believe God has not seen fit to keep the copies of Scripture from error, but has graciously preserved His word here below in the form we have it.
      5. I believe there is no biblical reason to reject the idea that, as more manuscripts are recovered, alternative readings should be compared, evaluated according to sound criteria and selected for most likely accuracy. I maintain that this is what the activity of “textual criticism” actually is, but prefer the term “text reconstruction,” due to the confusion “criticism” breeds among the uninformed.

        I hasten to add that I'd be happy to provide short definitions for any key terms, and if you'd like to summarize the definitions in your own words, I'd be happy to evaluate and clarify so you have definitions that are clear to you and that you can then reason with (for or against).

    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:
    So no matter what else I say I believe, your answer is, basically, "You disagree with me, therefore you are coming from a modernist paradigm."
    Aaron, overall, your post is fair and commendable in that you are bucking up to the task and giving some substance. However, the above quote is simply inane. It's not true. It's an unfair accusation and it's whining. I have never said this. However, I've accused you of using a "modernist paradigm" based on your methodology or stated suppositions. Remember that you're the guy who told me that I could not reject modernity. Right? Well, how did you escape? On the other hand, if you don't hold a rationalist paradigm (i.e. modernist paradigm), then identify the paradigm you hold--Pre-Modern, Modern, or Post-Modern.

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe that we discern what the Bible teaches by the rational process of reading it, understanding its terms and statements, placing statements in their immediate and overall context, etc. (God did not give us the Book so we could look at interesting marks while He directly imparts truth to our minds independently of the actual nouns, verbs, modifiers and connectors He inspired.)

    1. Okay, please define your term "rational process."
      1. I think you are confusing cognitive processes where there are definite distinctions. Reading, understanding, interpretation, etc. are highly diverse processes depending on many cultural and extraneous factors.
      2. Do you have any Scriptural support for this belief or is this just your rational inference?
    2. I find no mention of the Holy Spirit or spiritual discernment when there are many references to these ideas through out Scripture. Paul specifically argued that his preaching was not in the power of rational human wisdom. I believe a reasonable Biblical case can be presented that our understanding of Scripture is illumined by the Holy Spirit without which we cannot spiritually discern Scripture. This eliminates, I think, unbelieving and apostate commentators, regardless of how scholarly, from having a serious input into the interpretation of Scripture. This, Aaron, is precisely why I accuse you of operating from a purely modernistic rational paradigm. You have left the understanding and interpretation of Scripture entirely in the domain of the intellect without any role for the Holy Spirit. If I am wrong, then please clarify and correct me. Is this what you believe?
    3. Your parenthetical statement is either a straw man, an inanity, or a off-the-mark attempt at sarcasm. It has no serious content because no one has ever argued this point.
    4. If the Bible can be rationally comprehended, then why are there so many divergent and opposing teachings?
    5. Although culture and language changes with time and place, you seem to assign a static, locked-in semantic content to words. Is this what you're saying? Is the Word of God cemented into those Greek and Hebrew words, whose precise meaning and usage we no longer know, that we no longer speak and use in a living cultural context with all its connotations, hues, nuances, etc.? Is God's Word locked into dead languages?
    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    Though I am persuaded that the gospel is true by the ministry of the Spirit, I understand what the gospel is by the rational process of reading words God graciously provided.
    If your persuasion of the truth of the Gospel is by the Holy Spirit, then what is wrong with the concept of one being persuaded of the Holy Spirit that the KJV is the inspired Word of God?

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe God has not seen fit to keep the copies of Scripture from error, but has graciously preserved His word here below in the form we have it.
    How do you know? Is this a rationally derived conclusion because of the variants?

    Also, your preservation statement appears self-contradictory. Do you really mean to imply that God has preserved His Word with errors? It seem more logical to say He has seen fit not to preserve it. Check my logic.

    Premise: All present copies of Scripture contain errors.
    Premise: God has graciously preserved His Word here below in the present form.
    Conclusion: God has graciously preserved His Word here below with errors.

    Now, Aaron, this is where the rub comes. What do you mean by errors. You have never defined this even though I asked repeatedly. You brush me off. Are variants necessarily errors? I don't think so. How do you know they are errors? This goes back to your static view of language. I don't have the time and space to lay out this argument here but I do not accept the existence of text variants as conclusive proof of errors in the text. Some texts, of course, do have errors. But, a variant in a text does not necessarily mean that text is erroneous.

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe there is no biblical reason to reject the idea that, as more manuscripts are recovered, alternative readings should be compared, evaluated according to sound criteria and selected for most likely accuracy. I maintain that this is what the activity of “textual criticism” actually is, but prefer the term “text reconstruction,” due to the confusion “criticism” breeds among the uninformed.
    Because you seem informed and on speaking terms with the field of "text reconstruction," you surely realize that the reconstruction of the Biblical text is a part of the larger scholarly field of text reconstruction in literature, philosophy, etc. Do you agree with the current trend that the edited text is many times the correct text because it more accurately expresses the original intentions? Also, would you describe the attitude most common in this field to be a feeling of futility because text reconstruction is an ever-changing and fluctuating thing?

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe textual reconstruction must be conducted in a manner that is informed by, and yielded to everything Scripture teaches that relates to it. (It is "bound")
    Do you know any believers doing text reconstruction. Do you think unbelievers are influenced in their reconstruction by what Scripture teaches?

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron wrote:
    I believe it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we see the truthfulness and personal significance of what the Bible teaches. Anybody can figure out what it teaches. Only recipients of the work of the Spirit “take it to heart.”
    This seems contradictory to your earlier statement. Depending on what you mean, I'm not sure that I can agree with your last two sentences.
    Aaron wrote:
    I believe that we discern what the Bible teaches by the rational process of reading it, understanding its terms and statements, placing statements in their immediate and overall context, etc.
    Would you please clarify? I think the role of the Holy Spirit goes beyond personal application in the understanding and interpretation of Scripture.

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    I'll need some to respond, Roland.
    One quick answer to your first question:
    Rational thought process = conscious thinking, reasoning.

    I have class until noon.

    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

    RPittman wrote:
    Aaron wrote:
    I believe God has not seen fit to keep the copies of Scripture from error, but has graciously preserved His word here below in the form we have it.
    How do you know? Is this a rationally derived conclusion because of the variants?

    Also, your preservation statement appears self-contradictory. Do you really mean to imply that God has preserved His Word with errors? It seem more logical to say He has seen fit not to preserve it. Check my logic.

    Premise: All present copies of Scripture contain errors.
    Premise: God has graciously preserved His Word here below in the present form.
    Conclusion: God has graciously preserved His Word here below with errors.

    Now, Aaron, this is where the rub comes. What do you mean by errors. You have never defined this even though I asked repeatedly. You brush me off. Are variants necessarily errors? I don't think so. How do you know they are errors? This goes back to your static view of language. I don't have the time and space to lay out this argument here but I do not accept the existence of text variants as conclusive proof of errors in the text. Some texts, of course, do have errors. But, a variant in a text does not necessarily mean that text is erroneous.

    Most people assume that variants mean errors. Well, certainly textual variants can and do mean errors in some instances. In other words, there are copies with errors. However, this does not necessarily mean that all variants are errors. This is why I asked Aaron and others to define what an error was. Is it just using a different word from the original or is it using a word that alters, however slightly, the meaning or semantical content of the Scripture?

    There are other related factors here such as the original autograph theory, which I do not believe. One of the problems that must be resolved is the apparent reference to extant Scriptures as inspired in II Timothy 3:15-17. I know the argument over the two different Greek words translated Scriptures in verses 15 and 16 but I find it unconvincing against the overwhelming flow of the content and context. I just can't swallow the idea that Paul is saying, "The uninspired extant copies of the Scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation but the original autographs of Scripture are inspired and profitable for teaching, rebuke, correcting (i.e. putting you back on course), and instructing you in righteousness in order for you to be completely equipped as a mature man of God for good works." Somehow, I just can't get this down without regurgitating. It seems obvious that it's the same inspired Scripture brings one to salvation and guides him or her in life.

    If the Scriptures mentioned in II Timothy 3:15 are inspired, and it appears that Paul believes them to be, then it follows that variants existed in the OT Scriptures even then and were not considered errors. Now, don't ask me to explain it but I really don't have to have rational explanations for belief. That's only required in the modernist paradigm, which I reject. There are many things (e.g. miracles) that we accept and believe without a rational explanation. Why should this be any different? The only other alternative, as I see it, is that the Scriptures of II Timothy 3:15 are not inspired. As I said, I don't buy the specious reasoning based on a supposed and fanciful word usage. Tell me where I am wrong.

    RPittman's picture

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    I'll need some to respond, Roland.
    One quick answer to your first question:
    Rational thought process = conscious thinking, reasoning.

    I have class until noon.

    Take all the time you need. I teach both day and evening classes. I understand.

    Aaron Blumer's picture

    EditorAdmin

    On my http://sharperiron.org/comment/36503#comment-36503 ]alleged whining ... Think what you like.

    On " http://sharperiron.org/comment/36504#comment-36504 ]no mention of the Holy Spirit "
    See letters d, f, g and h http://sharperiron.org/comment/36478#comment-36478 ]here .

    Roland wrote:
    I believe a reasonable Biblical case can be presented that our understanding of Scripture is illumined by the Holy Spirit without which we cannot spiritually discern Scripture
    This is not in dispute. Read my post again. Look carefully for distinctions.

    On my parenthetical statement...

    Aaron wrote:
    (God did not give us the Book so we could look at interesting marks while He directly imparts truth to our minds independently of the actual nouns, verbs, modifiers and connectors He inspired.)

    This is actually very important. What I've described in the parenthesis is all that is left if we reject the idea that the meaning of Scripture is apprehended formally by the process of reasoning from nouns, verbs, sentences, paragraphs and larger contexts. It's also important because some do indeed believe that we are not obligated to support our doctrines from biblical evidence. But if we do not support them from biblical evidence, we have no valid claim at all that they are "biblical."

    But, again, seeing that what Scripture teaches is true and how it applies to us personally etc. ("spiritual discernment") is the work of the Spirit. However, I do not believe He is limited to this. He is able to guide our reasoning as well.

    Roland wrote:
    If the Bible can be rationally comprehended, then why are there so many divergent and opposing teachings?

    The real question is if it cannot be rationally comprehended, why does anyone get it right? Is it because they reasoned it out or because the Spirit revealed it directly (in which case the words may as well be random marks)? Has to be one or the other.
    The reason so many get it wrong is simple: we are sinners with imperfect minds, varying levels of intelligence, varying levels of willingness to see what is right in front of us.

    Roland wrote:
    Although culture and language changes with time and place, you seem to assign a static, locked-in semantic content to words.
    I don't know what that means or how you are getting that impression. If you can define your terms and/or link this in some way to what I'm saying, I might be able to respond in some meaningful way.

    Roland wrote:
    Aaron wrote:

    I believe God has not seen fit to keep the copies of Scripture from error, but has graciously preserved His word here below in the form we have it.

    How do you know? Is this a rationally derived conclusion because of the variants?

    I'm having hard time believing you really need an answer to this. But, FWIW... If two MSS disagree, one of them is in error. Errors exist, ergo, God permitted them to exist.

    RP wrote:
    What do you mean by errors?
    Really? OK, I guess.... Error=something incorrect.

    Roland wrote:
    Because you seem informed and on speaking terms with the field of "text reconstruction," you surely realize that the reconstruction of the Biblical text is a part of the larger scholarly field of text reconstruction in literature, philosophy, etc. Do you agree with the current trend that the edited text is many times the correct text because...

    It's way simipler than any of that. MSS's differ. When they do, at least one of them is wrong. Figuring out which is mostly likely correct requires evaluating them in some way, by some criteria. There are no divinely inspired criteria or scientifically "final" criteria. Just ideas that have more or less merit.
    But regardless of what the particular criteria are, the evaluation process is what translation teams like the guys who brought us ESV, NIV, NASB, etc. did--this is textual reconstruction. "Textual reconstruction" here means "doing your best to get the text right when you have copies that don't match." Nothing more. Nothing less.

    Roland wrote:
    Do you know any believers doing text reconstruction. Do you think unbelievers are influenced in their reconstruction by what Scripture teaches?
    I've done some myself. It didn't happen to be for anybody making a translation but I did it in the process of translating some passages myself.
    Do I think unbelievers are influenced... what does that have to do with anything?

    http://sharperiron.org/comment/36510#comment-36510 ]Questions in post 56 ...
    I've answered these. I'll try to say it another way.

    Understanding written material involves reasoning with the parts of speech, the grammar, the context, etc. This is true of all writing that people produce with the goal of being understood. The Bible is no different on that score.
    But seeing that "the Bible teaches X" is not the same as seeing that "X is true." It's even more different from seeing that "X is true, and X describes me, and Y is what I need to do about it." The "true" and "me" and "I must" parts are all dependent on the work of the Spirit. I belive that even the grammatical reasoning part is often aided by the Spirit as well, since even people who believe in reasoning have trouble doing it.

    Disagree if you like. Label it "modernist paradigm" if you like. If you want to persuade anyone, prove me wrong.

    One more thing about variants = errors. Verbal inspiration is the doctrine that God gave us the words of Scripture, not "semantic content" or concepts or some such. Therefore, when MSS disagree, there is always an error in one or the other (if not both).

    But even from a purely historical perspective it's obvious that variant=error. There was a moment when Paul wrote the words of Romans 1:1. What he actually wrote is what he wrote... any copy that differs is in error at any point where it differs.
    There's no need to obscure the situation by dragging in weird linguistic theories.

    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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