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:
...what you should do is recognize that there is preponderance of exegesis, theology, history, and scholarship that supports the Standard Sacred Text position, and as a result it is best that you take this topic out of your "not a problem" category because there is more than meets your eye.

Haven't seen this preponderance.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
So, just so we're clear, the "believing community" in your usage is some blood bought saints.

Why do you insist on quantifying this?

Because your argument depends on ambiguity in the term. If you get clear with it, the argument fails, because
a. either the term includes those who do not favor the traditional text.
b. or the term is defined circularly to exclude all who do not favor the traditional text.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
As for the good ideas, how about pasteurization for example.

Wow, impressive. Both applicable and profound.

Is there a counterargument in that reply somewhere?

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
there is no era of history that produced 100% bad ideas.

I agree now help us all understand the "good ideas" concerning Bibliology that spawned from the post-Enlightenment era.

How about the idea that we should use all the available MSS when we put together a text for translation?
But it turns out to be moot, because, as I've argued above, though this idea happened after the Enlightenment chronologically, there's really nothing about it's character that is uniquely Enlightenment.

But yet again, even if it's character could be shown to be uniquely Post E., that would not prove it false because, as you've already conceded, there is no era of history that produced 100% bad ideas.
You're trying to reason like this:
-All PE ideas are bad
-Not preferring the traditional text is a PE idea
-Therefore not preferring the traditional text is a bad idea

But you've already rejected the first premise.

You could tweak it and try this:
-All PE bibliology is bad
-Not preferring the traditional text is PE bibliology
-So not preferring the traditional text is bad

This is a bit better, but you haven't supported the first premise and saying "Show me good PE bibliology" is the old onus probandi fallacy. "I'm right unless you prove me wrong" is not valid support for a claim.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
"Prove I'm wrong" is not a supporting argument.

If am wrong then truth is on your side. Show us the truth. Enlighten us. [Like that play on words Smile ]

I've already offered quite a few arguments in support of my position.
"Prove me wrong" is still not a supporting argument for a claim.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
it hardly matters what form we say the Spirit's activity takes.

This is absurd, unless you are a Pentecostal.

You took my quote out of context. The form of activity is not relevant to your argument if you cannot show that this work of the Spirit operates only in those who prefer the traditional text.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
historically, what we have understood to be self attesting is what books belong in the canon.

First, prove it. Second, how on earth can a book be self-attesting if the words are not? If all of the words in book X are not self-attesting then only part of the book is self-attesting. Third, I would like for you to explain to us the process of how canonization happened?

First: I have never seen your idea of self attesting anywhere but in the writings of modern traditional text defenders. I'll appeal to readers generally on this. Perhaps someone with more expertise in the history on this point can tell me if I'm wrong?
But Peter, this idea of self-attesting is your claim and, again, telling me to disprove it is not valid support for your claim.

Second: Why can't it? The logical inconsistency there is imaginary.

Third: believers slowly recognized the self-attesting authenticity of the books of the Bible.

Peter wrote:
The whole premise 1, 2, Conclusion thing is flawed dramatically in this respect. You do not know, you cannot know, who is saved and who is obedient. To entertain your hypothetical logic serves no purpose.

There was nothing hypothetical about it. What you're basically saying here is that you have no counterargument.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
The thinking here assumes that the Spirit cannot use "rational faculties." I say He can.

Sure, but how do you know He IS.

As far as your argument goes, it doesn't matter if we know He is. If you grant that He can, the "traditional text keepers have unique link to Holy Spirit" argument fails.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
So who is claiming the greater authority and expertise:

God is...

You changed the subject completely there. God's supreme authority is not in dispute. You were alleging that a person who says "this copy of Scripture is not genuine" was making some high handed claim of authority. My counter was that a person who says "this copy is genuine" is making an equal claim of authority.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
How do you know when the Spirit of God is telling you that it's correct to render X as Y?

In the same way the Spirit leads one to accept the resurrection as true, and that Jesus is the Son of God.

I was hoping you'd say that. The clarity makes my work easier.

These ideas are very different in kind:
a. Manuscript X has the correct reading in verse Y
b. Jesus rose from the dead

If it isn't obvious how different these propositions are, I offer two words: sola scriptura.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
We have thousands of MSS now and they differ widely.

We had thousands at the time of the King James Bible.

The Greek text used in the KJV was not based on thousands of MSS.
The many that have been found since then have revealed that the traditional text does not even match the majority text in several places.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
Recent translations have been made by Christian people

How do you know they are Christians?

They claim to be and I have no reason to doubt it. It isn't charitable to question a brother's profession of faith without some compelling reason to do so.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
the Scriptures do not teach that copies would not differ or that there should be no thoughtful evaluation involved in selecting among the differences.

I agree, but thoughtful evaluation alone cannot select authoritatively, therefore what follows is not necessarily authoritative and as a result is not necessarily God's word. If what that thing is, is not necessarily God's word then it is not God's word. God's word cannot be potentially God's word.

You're raising convolution to an art form. It doesn't follow that if "A might not be B" then "A is certainly not 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.

DavidO's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
the Scriptures do not teach that copies would not differ or that there should be no thoughtful evaluation involved in selecting among the differences.

I agree, but thoughtful evaluation alone cannot select authoritatively, therefore what follows is not necessarily authoritative and as a result is not necessarily God's word. If what that thing is, is not necessarily God's word then it is not God's word. God's word cannot be potentially God's word.

You're raising convolution to an art form. It doesn't follow that if "A might not be B" then "A is certainly not B."

Sorry for the quote tunnel, but, despite his faulty final leap, he has hit on the greatest weakness of our position. We can bring the greatest scholarship to bear on a given group of variants and make a selection of the "best one", but how do we know it is the true original? It is not at all inconceivable that there are variant groups for which the true reading will never be arrived at by passing the variants through the prevailing matrix of textual crit simply because it happens to be an exception to the principles making up that matrix.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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It's not a weakness for a view to face reality honestly.
From our point of view the reality is a bummer--we'd all love to have 100% certainty that we have, in our edition of the Hebrew and Greek texts, every single word God inspired (and no more). But the situation is what it is. Textual critics did not create the abundance of MS evidence we now have.

At its root, Peter's view is a commitment to Certainty Above All.

But because arguments in support of his view fail again and again, his view is forced to accept uncertainty as well. (We haven't even gone into all the other problems with his view, such as the fact that the text used prior to the KJV does match that used for the KJV in every single word. Changes occurred from Erasmus to Stephanus to Beza, etc. Arguing that we must have certainty about every single word to have a sure "word of God" fails the KJV as much as any other translation--witness the marginal notes. This view's claims of certainty are manifestly desperate.)

Peter's version of the traditional text view is big on the idea of faith (others, like Kent Brandenburg, use the term far more often: "logic of faith" and so forth). But both views involve not only uncertainty (if they're honest) but also faith. In my case, I have faith that God has kept for us a sufficient word for faith and practice, even though we're pretty sure we haven't correctly identified every single word God inspired.

So the question is, which of these points of faith is best supported by Scripture?

  1. God has preserved a sufficient word for us.
  2. God has preserved His word in the form of a text we know is word perfect.

    It's pretty easy to support the first idea biblically. So far, the biblical case for the second is extremely weak.
    For the Christian, there is nothing desirable about faith that is not biblical faith.

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.

DavidO's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
It's not a weakness for a view to face reality honestly.

I use weakness in the sense that it presents an opening for attack. In the following ways:

1. We are painted as rank evidentialists vs. them as noble people of faith.
A. We can be made to appear capricious about when faith is our basis for reality vs empirical evidence-- Evolution, never! Some of God's words lost or unidentified? Probably.)
B. The fact that it would have been just as easy for God to preserve all the words as opposed to a sufficient word.
2. There are Biblical promises many people read as extending preservation to the crossing of "t"s, as it were.
3. Our attempt to reconstruct the original text is entirely a device of man, the product of which is unverifiable against a higher authority.

These too are realities we must face (and be prepared to counter).

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

I had 5 other pages of response loaded into the computer when I read this final post of Brother Blumer(#153), and I chose not to post those 5 pages because I believe we have come to a place of fundamental origin.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

we'd all love to have 100% certainty that we have, in our edition of the Hebrew and Greek texts, every single word God inspired (and no more). But the situation is what it is.

Inflection is lost on blogs, but this saddens me. All Brother Blumer has to offer is aspiration. He does not offer truth. He does not offer certainty. Variants in mss limit his faith in the word of God. God's word says it is pure on earth, but the devices of men say otherwise. God's word says the worlds were created in 6 days, but men's devices say otherwise. God's word says that baby is indeed that, but men's devices say otherwise. God's word says marriage is between a man and a woman, men's devices say otherwise. You all know the list goes on.

The fundamental difference between the Standard Sacred Text position is this:

  • I believe that when the Bible is talking about itself it is talking about a real text in the hand of real people on earth.
  • From, this point I address, manuscript errors, variants etc. I start from a position of faith seeking knowledge, not the other way around.
  • Brother Blumer and company appear to reason in a different order.
  • Brother Blumer appears to allow the difficulties of what he sees, to inform his faith, rather than his faith informing the difficulties he sees.

His reasoning perhaps looks something like this, "The Bible can't mean that it is pure because look at all this evidence that contradicts the Bible's claim of purity." "The Bible must be speaking about something else when it says 'pure', because the evidence is so powerful." "The Bible must be talking about a Bible in Heaven."

This is why I include the S in MSTC, because the Brother Blumer places alot of weight with what he can verify through his senses, rather than placing that weight with what he can verify through faith.

This I believe is the fundamental difference.

I sat under an hour lecture from a astrophysicist from MIT while I was attending Calvin, who claimed theistic evolution is the only way to reconcile science with Scripture. I engaged that astrophysicist and challenged her to approach science through the lens of Scripture and faith.

Now I am being told that the only way to reconcile the evidence of varying mss and the nature of Scripture is to accept an aspiration to the certainty and truth of Scripture. I return with the challenge to begin with the truth and certainty of authoritative Scripture and from there deal with the “evidence“.

Fault me for it if you like, but when I engage in a discussion of the state of Scripture I start from the stand point of faith and Scripture and deal with variants through that lens.

We will never agree because our points of departure are fundamentally different.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

At its root, Peter's view is a commitment to Certainty Above All.

No, Scripture above all which gives me certainty above all.

Quote:
Brother Blumer wrote,

So the question is, which of these points of faith is best supported by Scripture?
a. God has preserved a sufficient word for us.
b. God has preserved His word in the form of a text we know is word perfect.
It's pretty easy to support the first idea biblically.

The letter b. is most consistent with Scripture if you exchange “know” for “believe” and through our belief we know. If we were talking about the Iliad I would use words closer to yours Brother Blumer, but the Bible is of a difference substance than all other books.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Jay's picture

DavidO wrote:
Aaron Blumer wrote:
It's not a weakness for a view to face reality honestly.

I use weakness in the sense that it presents an opening for attack. In the following ways:

1. We are painted as rank evidentialists vs. them as noble people of faith.
A. We can be made to appear capricious about when faith is our basis for reality vs empirical evidence-- Evolution, never! Some of God's words lost or unidentified? Probably.)
B. The fact that it would have been just as easy for God to preserve all the words as opposed to a sufficient word.
2. There are Biblical promises many people read as extending preservation to the crossing of "t"s, as it were.
3. Our attempt to reconstruct the original text is entirely a device of man, the product of which is unverifiable against a higher authority.

These too are realities we must face (and be prepared to counter).


David,

Good points, and I'm glad to see that your thoughts parallel mine. Yes, it is a 'weakness' in that I can't say that we have perfect certainty that Paul or whomever wrote whatever they did in the original text, which has now been lost. However, PVK's argument has more holes than mine in that he can only assert the superiority of one specific family/text. He cannot provide evidence to support the superiority of the text he supports because his position is based on the faith that his text is best. Even his arguments about W&H are based on the argument that they deviated (or rejected) from the truth found in his preferred text, with a bit of ad hominem or false dichotomy thrown in so as to make his position appear stronger than it is.

He talks about the MSTC being utterly devoid of faith, and faithlessness being sin. What he doesn't realize is that our faith lies in the fact that:
A. God promised to preserve His Word and
B. He is not obligated to tell us how He chooses to do so

From there, we rest in the fact that God has done what he said, even though we don't know how he does it. That might sound crazy, but we don't know a lot about how God does a lot of things - We don't fully comprehend the Trinity. We don't fully comprehend what it means for Jesus to be 'forsaken' by the Father. We don't fully understand His plans - indeed, we see through a glass darkly (I Cor. 13:12)

Instead, we are told that we must believe that:
A. God promises to preserve His Word
B. He has only done that with one specific text family, although we don't have any kind of criteria to know what is acceptable and what isn't
C. Evil and wicked men, driven by Satan, have make all sorts of attempts to pollute God's Word by using other text types
D. The text he prefers is the only one that is uncorrupted.

Way back in posts http://sharperiron.org/comment/36596#comment-36596 ]#67 and http://sharperiron.org/comment/36672#comment-36672 ]#73 , I posed the follow questions to Peter. Here they are again:

Quote:
1. How do you know that the KJB is the 'final product' or 'conclusion' of these works?
2. By what means do we know that this absolutely the work of God and not the work of Satan, trying to spread lies and deceit about the revelation of one final and authoritative text family as opposed to the view that we've had since the originals were penned?
3. By what means will we ever know of a new divine act that gives us an updated language for the KJB? Can such a thing ever happen?
4. How can we know God's revelation in another 500 years?

and

Quote:
And how do you know that with any degree of certainty?

While I will grant you that the current motives for formulating new bible versions are primarily revenue driven, I am not prepared to accept that legitimate textual criticism / Biblical translation / Biblical scholarship stopped cold in the 1600-1700s (depending on which KJB you're endorsing, of course) because humans accepted 'enlightenment scholarship'. I'm not even sure what you mean by 'enlightenment scholarship'.

I feel as though your position leaves you with at least one major hole - the development and canonization of Scripture prior to the KJB, especially in the early church age (let's say anywhere from the formulation of the canon to the early 1600's). You argue that every version after the KJB has been...(I guess I should say) perverted because of that, but all you do is state a blanket assertion and then proceed from that basis. You do not explain the development of the texts or translations preceding the KJB at all, and that leaves a gap of nearly 1200-1400 years in your argument that needs to be addressed. After all, how do we know that Bible translations were not corrupted by, say, Grecian and Roman philosophy, from roughly 100 to 400 AD?

Peter can't answer these questions without breaking his textual philosophy / worldview. He can't explain why his text is the best other than to say the others are corrupted (against his preferred text). He can't explain that there may be a new and re-provided Bible for Christians in 500 years because then he has to argue for some kind of double inspiration view, which is not only contrary to the DS, but unscriptural and heretical. Finally, he can't provide any kind of objective criteria to recognize the re-provided text if it even is provided because his worldview won't allow for a re-provided text or he has to believe in some kind of double inspiration view. Now, he says he's provided answers to those questions, but at the end of the day, his position is based on little more than doubt...Doubt that we can actually know what God has said and provided to us and therefore we MUST pick one text family and use that exclusively. It is very similar to the first question posed in the Bible in Genesis 3:1 - "Did God actually say..." and then proceeds from there.

The reason why I asked those questions wasn't necessarily for him to answer...it was to point out how utterly illogical and insufficient his view is to people that might be reading this forum topic. That's why I asked them.

"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

DavidO's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
The letter b. is most consistent with Scripture if you exchange “know” for “believe” and through our belief we know. If we were talking about the Iliad I would use words closer to yours Brother Blumer, but the Bible is of a difference substance than all other books.

That's kind of weird talk. The Scriptures are paper/papyrus/vellum/whatever and ink. The words are those of human language. They may be those of a Supremely Unique Speaker and Source, but I think it's too much to say they are of another substance.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

DavidO wrote:
Aaron Blumer wrote:
It's not a weakness for a view to face reality honestly.

I use weakness in the sense that it presents an opening for attack. In the following ways:

1. We are painted as rank evidentialists vs. them as noble people of faith.
A. We can be made to appear capricious about when faith is our basis for reality vs empirical evidence-- Evolution, never! Some of God's words lost or unidentified? Probably.)
B. The fact that it would have been just as easy for God to preserve all the words as opposed to a sufficient word.
2. There are Biblical promises many people read as extending preservation to the crossing of "t"s, as it were.
3. Our attempt to reconstruct the original text is entirely a device of man, the product of which is unverifiable against a higher authority.

These too are realities we must face (and be prepared to counter).


Yes, I agree that these are the main areas of challenge.

I think they are not all that difficult to handle though. But the list is inspiring. I think it may form a nice outline for a future essay... maybe Preservation: What and How, Part 5.

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 wrote:
I believe we have come to a place of fundamental origin.
Aaron wrote:
we'd all love to have 100% certainty that we have, in our edition of the Hebrew and Greek texts, every single word God inspired (and no more). But the situation is what it is.

...All Brother Blumer has to offer is aspiration. He does not offer truth. He does not offer certainty.

Truth: uncertainty exists
Truth: there is no wisdom or truth in claiming certainty falsely
Truth: the MSS differ

Sometimes uncertainty is truth.

Peter wrote:
Variants in mss limit his faith in the word of God. God's word says it is pure on earth,

Feel free to support this claim if you can.
(Though actually I agree--with less than full certainty--that the word is pure on earth. I just disbelieve--with far more certainty--that there is any one version of the text we can point to and say "That's the pure (as in word perfect) one.")

Peter wrote:
  • I believe that when the Bible is talking about itself it is talking about a real text in the hand of real people on earth.
  • From, this point I address, manuscript errors, variants etc. I start from a position of faith seeking knowledge, not the other way around.


Peter, you still haven't answered my earlier question: Is the Bible talking abut a real text in the hand of real people when it says in Ps119 that God's word is settled forever in heaven?
If you say yes,you've got a tough proposition to prove.
If you say no, you've conceded that sometimes the Bible talking about itself is not talking about a real text in hand.

Peter wrote:
  • Brother Blumer and company appear to reason in a different order.
  • Brother Blumer appears to allow the difficulties of what he sees, to inform his faith, rather than his faith informing the difficulties he sees.

His reasoning perhaps looks something like this, "The Bible can't mean that it is pure because look at all this evidence that contradicts the Bible's claim of purity." "The Bible must be speaking about something else when it says 'pure', because the evidence is so powerful." "The Bible must be talking about a Bible in Heaven."


Close, but not quite.

Actually, I don't think you can prove what order I've been reasoning in. But I'll tell you.
I start with what the Bible actually claims and does not claim, then look at the data. This is the sequence I followed in my preservation essays.
But the reasoning produces the same result regardless of what order you do it in. The Book does not say what it does not say.

And let's not overlook the fact that what you describe here as your "faith informing the difficulties" is really a position that fails to explain the difficulties.
At the end of the day, your view still fails to deal with inescapable facts. Are the differing MS an illusion?

Also, I wonder if you'd be willing to take the sequence of faith and reasoning you claim and use it in reference to the shape of the earth and its place in the solar system? Should we start with a superficial reading of Scripture where it speaks of the sun moving etc. and have "faith" that it means the world is flat and unmoving, then insist that what "science" has figured out is false?

Or is it reasonable to take what's clear in observation and interpret the Scriptures more thoughtfully, on the conviction that all real truth is consistent with all real truth (per Augustine and Aquinas, not the Enlightenment philosophers).
(This is not the same as science trumping faith, because the question is not "Does Science prove the Bible wrong?" but rather "What does the Bible actually reveal?")

Peter wrote:
Fault me for it if you like, but when I engage in a discussion of the state of Scripture I start from the stand point of faith and Scripture and deal with variants through that lens.

I would not fault anyone for this. It is, in fact, what I am doing.

Is anybody besides me noticing the growing heap of arguments and counterarguments Peter is now ignoring? It's quite a backlog.
I just showed a post ago (admittedly very briefly) that both his view and mine are views of faith but that the central proposition of my view is supported in Scripture while the central proposition of his is not.

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
At its root, Peter's view is a commitment to Certainty Above All.

No, Scripture above all which gives me certainty above all.

Peter, we are not entitled to be certain of what it does not teach. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ means taking even our sense of certainty captive. We must yield our love of certainty to the limits of what He has revealed.
(Note, dear reader, that there is both a claim and support here. Note by contrast how often Peter makes a claim and does not support it.)

Peter wrote:
Aaron wrote:
So the question is, which of these points of faith is best supported by Scripture?
a. God has preserved a sufficient word for us.
b. God has preserved His word in the form of a text we know is word perfect.
It's pretty easy to support the first idea biblically.

The letter b. is most consistent with Scripture if you exchange “know” for “believe” and through our belief we know.

We are not entitled, as Christians to arbitrarily decide what we know, then read it into Scripture. As I said at the beginning of Part 4 of my preservation series, "biblical doctrine is doctrine derived from Scripture."
(While it's good and proper to know via revelation then use what we know to know more revelation, we do not get to say "I think I should have certainty on this point so I'm just going to decide I know it." Then use that as a basis for "knowing" more.)

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.

Jay's picture

Here's yet another illustration of what I was talking about above:

Peter wrote:

* Brother Blumer and company appear to reason in a different order.
* Brother Blumer appears to allow the difficulties of what he sees, to inform his faith, rather than his faith informing the difficulties he sees.

His (Aaron's) reasoning perhaps looks something like this,
"The Bible can't mean that it is pure because look at all this evidence that contradicts the Bible's claim of purity."
"The Bible must be speaking about something else when it says 'pure', because the evidence is so powerful."
"The Bible must be talking about a Bible in Heaven."


In every case, Peter is arguing from his presupposition that his preferred MSS / text family / bible version (depending on what he's talking about at the time) is the one that is "pure", but he has yet to demonstrate how anyone else can be objectively certain that it is his preferred version that is "pure"...how some believer six hundred years from now can know that God has chosen his version/text as THE version to use. In every argument Peter makes, his version or text is pure...because he says it is.

Brothers and Sisters, is that really the position that God puts His Children in?

"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

Jay's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
Quote:
Brother Blumer said,

We have thousands of MSS now and they differ widely.

We had thousands at the time of the King James Bible. What advances have there been since them. Name me substantive MSS after 1800.


This question has been bugging me, and I finally realized why. I don't know if this will count for Peter, but the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_scrolls ]Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in early 1947 and were not fully recovered until 1956. A complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah, among other things, were excavated and recovered in that dig.

As to how old the actual scrolls were, http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls-2.htm this website says:

Quote:
As far as dating, it appears that pieces of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1Qls-a) have been carbon-14 dated at least four times, including a study at the University of Arizona in 1995 and a study at ETH-zurich in 1990-91. The four studies produced calibrated date ranges between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC. There have also been numerous paleographic and scribal dating studies conducted that place 1Qls-a at a date range of approximately 150-100 BC. (See Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1996; Eisenman & Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, 1994; Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, 1995; Wise, Abegg & Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, 1999.)

I'd call that a pretty significant find in the last 60 years alone.

"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

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Work is crazy right now, so all I'm doing is reading your posts. I am thinking of taking another approach as well. I hope for things to calm down and to have something by the end of the weekend.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

... does that mean I win? Wink

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

No, Brother Blumer you did not win, largely because you are trying to play football with a curling stone. Smile I will have my post up tomorrow Lord willing.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

...I'm looking forward to it. (Recommend well-padded helmet when playing football w/a guy using a curling stone)

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

Before I proceed I wanted to address a couple of things: 1.) I am a firm believer that theology must be a benefit to the believing community if it is to serve its purpose. That said, the following has perhaps more Latin in it then most are comfortable with, if you have any questions and you do not want to post on the forums my e-mail is pnsvankleeck@gmail.com. You can send any questions there. 2.) For the nay-sayers out there I would hope that for the sake of clarity that you would also present a like summary so that the readers of this post might for themselves match position for position in order to observe the similarities and differences. If you do not know your position well enough to offer a summary then please do not assault mine seeing you probably don't know mine that well either. If you are too afraid to post a summary of your position then please do not snipe at someone who has the courage to do so. If you just want an intellectual brawl, because you are a fighter in your soul, then come to N. VA and we can sit down over a cup of coffee or soda and slug it out. In short, don't attack unless you first fortify your own city by presenting a summary of your position worthy of criticism. Furthermore, if what I present below is too elementary or brief that it is not worthy of a nay-sayer's summary, then it has not risen to a place of worthiness to receive their comments or questions either.

A Summary of the Standard Sacred Text position with regard to Bibiliology

Sources:

[1985 A.D. ] Richard Muller's Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (1985: Kindle Edition) - This book will serve to provide normative definitions and context to the Latin terms discussed below.

[2003 A.D. ] Richard Muller's Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics vol. 2. Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology (2003) - Muller's work is regarded as one the finest examples of "nuance, learning, and sophistication" with regard to church historical research. (Carl Trueman's [Church History Professor at Westminster East ] assessment of Muller's work.)

[1623-1687A.D. ] Francis Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology vol. 1-3 (1992) - Turretin's Institutes are considered to be one of the most comprehensive and thorough representations of Protestant Scholasticism and orthodoxy so that these volumes were used from 1623 through 1872 where they were the standard Systematic Theology at Princeton in Latin. For this summary they will serve as the position of the believing community of that time.

Here is a crash course on how we get from the Middle Ages to the 21st century in the doctrine of Bibliology. John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion represents the ongoing tradition from the Middle Ages. William Whitaker's

Quote:
Disputations on Holy Scripture
represents the continuity between Calvin and the Westminster Confession of Faith [WCF ]. The WCF is a sort of summary of Turretin's High Scholastic work in his Institutes of Elenctic Theology which takes us to 1872. Then there is Muller who continues to report and maintain this orthodoxy in the 21st century. So the summary of the Standard Sacred Text position I am about to present can be traced at least as far back as the Middle Ages.

Purpose:

The purpose of this presentation is to offer a summary of the Standard Sacred Text position regarding Bibliology. That is to say that Pneumatology and Ecclesiology are not the central thrust of the summary. It will not by any means be a comprehensive assessment of the position but will serve as a foil at which contrary opinions may engage with like force, which I believe will be ineffective. The content of the summary will be done through the interrelationship of God's word [exegesis ] and God's people [history and theology ].

Presuppositions:

God exists. God has revealed himself in propositions [a combination of words equaling sentences ].

Historical Considerations:

Most of the quoted material in this presentation is taken from a time when the believing community was in a struggle for the truth and for their lives against the Roman Catholic church.

Rome had an authoritative standard text in the Latin. (Turretin, vol. 1. pp. 131-134)

Protestantism had an authoritative standard text in the Greek and Hebrew in the apographa. (Muller, Dictionary, p. 298)

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

I. What Holy Scripture says concerning itself:

A. Every word of God is pure indeed very pure. (Ps. 12:6; Ps. 119:140; Pro. 30:5)

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psalm 119:140 140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Proverbs 30:5 5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

B. God's word is more sure then that of a prophet. (2 Pet. 1:19)

2 Peter 1:19 9 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

C. God's word is established in Heaven. (Ps. 119:89)

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

D. God's words will not pass away. (Matt 5:18; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)

Mark 13:31 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

E. God's word is inspired. (II Tim. 3:16)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

II. The tradition's use of the above texts regarding what Scripture has said concerning itself.

A. Concerning the purity of God's words:

Turretin, in treating the use of the law with regard to the actions of man, divides the use of the law into absolute and relative. By "absolute" Turretin means, "the rule of things to be done and avoided." (Turretin, vol. 1 p. 137) Under subcategory "Proof of its [the Law's ] perfection" number 5 "From its holiness" Turretin writes,

"From its holiness, because it is a most clear image of God...this further appears both from the end of the law ...and its efficacious instrument of holiness. Hence the word of God is said to be 'very pure' (tsrvphh m'dh, Ps. 119:140) and 'the commandment of Jehovah' is said to 'be pure' (Ps. 19:8)."

When we get to Ps. 119:89 note that it is the orthodox position to hold that the Bible of Ps. 119:89 and 140 are not referring to some other-worldly heavenly text, but the inspired word of God which we daily access that we may grow in holiness. More plainly, Turretin could not have a 22nd question about the use of the Law if the Law were in some inaccessible heavenly realm.

B. Concerning the surety of God's words:

In order to buttress point "A" consider 2 Peter 1:19 and the phrase "more sure word of prophecy". According to Turretin, this passage is "proof that the Old Testament is canonical to Christians" in that "it cannot be objected that a limitation is added by Peter, that this applies only until the time of the New Testament." (Turretin, vol. 1 p. 99) Furthermore, Turretin argues under subsection "Reason is not the principle of faith." that "the Holy Spirit directs us to the word alone (Dt. 4:1; Is. 8:20; Jn. 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16; 2 Pet. 1:19)." (Turretin vol. 1 p. 25) In addition, Turretin writes concerning the 20th question

" Whether the Scriptures (or God speaking in them) are the supreme and infallible judge of controversies and the interpreter of Scripture" these words, "Peter compares the word to a heavenly vision, as a more sure word (logon bebaioteron), whereunto we do well to take heed (2 Pet. 1:19), nothing at all being said about his own privilege or of papal infallibility." (Turretin, vol. 1 pp. 154 and 156)

Note: The OT and NT are equally God's word, thus what is said of the nature of the former is true of the latter and vice versa. Note the Holy Spirit directs us to the word alone. Reason alone does not direct us to the word. Note that Scripture is the interpreter of Scripture, so if you want to know what Scripture is, then look to Scripture to find out.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

C. Concerning Abraham's admonition to the rich man:

"Christ does not say they have the priests and scribes (who cannot err), but they have Moses and the prophets (viz., in their writings), implying that they are abundantly sufficient for full instruction and that their authority must be acquiesced in." (Turretin vol. 1 p. 155) I offer this quote up for this reason: the orthodox maintained that Abraham's admonition to the rich man and ultimately our Lord's because He is the one telling the story, directed the rich man's attention and those listening to Christ to the very words of Moses and the prophets, not something that closely resembled Moses and the prophets. Furthermore it is absurd to postulate that the Son of God would direct his listeners to a text that was corrupted or had errors in it.

D. Concerning the place of God's words:

It is not in dispute among the orthodox that the Old Testament and New Testament bear the same authority in that they are equally God's word to God's people. That is to say that the Old Testament is no less God's word than the New Testament. With that in mind, Turretin writes in vol. 2 of his Institutes concerning the use of the law and under its use he discusses its immutability.

"From its immutability, because it remains forever nor ever will be destroyed (Ps. 119:89; Mt. 5:18)...he [God ] so arranged his laws to embrace all cases and circumstances." (Turretin vol. 2 p. 138) Because God "foresees all circumstances most contingent and all which can occur", His law [and by extrapolation the entire Scripture ] "embraces all cases and circumstances."

As such God word is present and immutable and does not require "variation of laws" as men's words do. (Turretin, vol. 2 p. 138). Turretin with regard to this verse does not treat the Scripture as some heavenly inaccessible volume but as the volume that "embraces all cases and circumstances" here on earth, both real and contingent.

E. Concerning the perfection of God's words:

Concerning whether or not the orthodox took Christ's words of "jot and tittle" literally I offer this quote. Under the 7th question, "Has any canonical book perished? we deny" Turretin writes,

"Proof is derived: (1) from the testimony of Christ - 'it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, then one tittle of the law to fail' (Lk 16:17; cf. Mt. 5:18). But if not even one tittle (or the smallest letter) could fail, how could several canonical books perish?" (Turretin, vol. 1 p. 96)

Turretin gives no hint that the "jot and tittle" were to be received as anything other than literally. Furthermore is would be unreasonable to speak of a figurative "jot and tittle" but literal "canonical books". Once again, a "heavenly Bible" is not in view here but a real and literal Bible.

F. Concerning the inspiration of God's words:

Turretin concerning the 11th question "Are the Hebrew version of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament the only authentic versions? We affirm against the papists." wrote of the reasons for affirmation this way,

"The reasons are: (1) because the sources alone are inspired of God both as to the things and words (2 Tim. 3:16); hence they alone can be authentic. For whatever the men of God wrote, they wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21), who, to keep them from error, dictated not only the matter but also the words, which cannot be said of any version. (2) They are the standard and rule to which all the versions should be applied, just as the copy (ektypon) should answer to the pattern (archetypon)." (Turretin, vol. 1 p. 114)

Once again the tradition is not concerned with the idea of an incomplete text, or a text that has errors, or a text that is so heavenly that it is out of the reach of God's people, but rather a text that is in the hands of the believing community and is the pattern from which all versions [Latin, German, English etc ] should be copied.

H. Conclusions:

It is the orthodox approach to understand the passages of section "I" as referring to the Greek and Hebrew texts held by the Church of that time. It is the orthodox position to refrain from speaking of a perfect Scripture in Heaven and faulty incomplete Scripture on Earth. As a result the Greek and Hebrew is regarded by historic orthodoxy as pure, holy, certain, sure, perfect, authentic, according to its matter and words as a preserved copy of those documents written by the apostles and prophets because the Bible says so. Please note that the above material is about the original languages not versions [Latin, German, English etc. ]. For now let the above material refer only to the Greek and Hebrew text of the believing community. The treatment of versions will be had when the difference between doctrina and verba are addressed in the following section. Ultimately, it is the approach of historic orthodoxy to speak of the Greek and Hebrew Bible in their hand in terms given from the Bible says about itself.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

III. The Systematic Theology derived from what Holy Scripture says about itself.

A. The definition and roll of autographa.

Muller defines the autographa as "autographs or originals; specifically, the original autograph copies of the books of the Bible as they came from the hands of the inspired authors." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 53) In other words these were the texts written at the hands of the prophets and the apostles, which neither Christ and the apostles had in the first century, nor we in the twenty-first century. Just as Christ and the apostles had copies of the Old Testament so do we. Muller goes on to say, "The Protestant scholastics do not press the point made by their nineteenth-century followers [Mine: Warfield and Hodge ] that the infallibility of Scripture and the freedom of Scripture from error reside absolutely in the autographa and only in a derivative sense in the apographa [Mine: copies ]; rather, the scholastics argue positively that the apographa preserve intact the true words of the prophets and the apostles and that the God-breathed (theopneustos, q.v.) character of Scripture is manifest in the apographa as well as in the autographa." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 53)

The best example of this is found in Turretin's Institutes when he writes, “II. By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and of the apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean their apographs [Mine: copies ] which are so called because they set forth to us the word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 106; See also Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 413[ a near identical statement ]) It is the historic orthodox position to maintain that the Greek and Hebrew in the hand of the believing community at that time was indeed equal to the autographa. To diverge from this principle is to diverge from the historic orthodoxy. Historic orthodoxy did not fixate on autographical absolutism, but rather held the copy - the apographa - to be equal to the autograph. Ultimately, the reason for this is because the historic orthodox held to the supposition that the Scripture spoke about itself in Scripture, not about a Scripture whose parts had been lost or were only accessible to beatific saints. We hold to the Holy Scriptures in this way because the Scriptures command us to. That said we move onto a brief discussion of the apographa.

B. The definition and roll of apographa.

Once again we turn to Muller's Latin and Greek Dictionary to define "apographa". Muller defines apographa as, "copies of an original; specifically, the scribal copies of the original autographa (q.v.) of Scripture." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 40) It is certain that the orthodox were aware of textual variants at that time. Muller comments, "And as the seventeenth century dawned, the linguistic field broadened considerably: whereas the early Reformers could easily accept the Masoretic text of the Old Testament and Erasmus' Greek New Testament as definitive, with little or no argument, later generations of Protestants became acquainted with textual problems in both of these sources." (Muller, Post-Reformed, p. 397) This lead to "doctrinal problems inasmuch as they could become barriers to the early dogmatic assertion of the Greek New Testament and of the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament as the authentic and therefore absolutely authoritative text of inspired Scripture." (Muller, Post-Reformed, p. 397) Muller goes on, "The method of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Post-Reformation-era text critic, moreover, echoes the fundamental Protestant hermeneutic: the collation and comparison of texts."(Muller, Post-Reformed, p. 398) As was said above this of course leads to certain doctrinal problems concerning the "authentic edition of the scriptures", because it opened the door to the Roman Catholic church to reintroduce the Apocrypha and the Latin Vulgate as the authentic text rather than the Greek and Hebrew.

Furthermore it solidified Rome's position that the decision of what is the Bible and what is not should be left to the religious elite. (See Muller, Post-Reformation, pp. 400-402) Because the believing community had not needed to address the inundation of Greek and Hebrew texts during the Renaissance, there was no formal theological treatment of this issue and as a result the Protestant response to Rome started as a "multitude of tracts and treatises, the arguments of which were ultimately incorporated into the fully-developed orthodox dogmatic system." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 402) The polemics between Protestantism and Rome became so vociferous that Muller reports, "From the vantage point of a Protestant church founded radically on the text of Scripture, the problem of the ancient versions became a theological issue of almost equal weight with the problem of the canon." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 402)

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Jay's picture

Quote:
When we get to Ps. 119:89 note that it is the orthodox position to hold that the Bible of Ps. 119:89 and 140 are not referring to some other-worldly heavenly text, but the inspired word of God which we daily access that we may grow in holiness. More plainly, Turretin could not have a 22nd question about the use of the Law if the Law were in some inaccessible heavenly realm.

And your point is...?

Your latest argument is again dependent upon 'Scripture=King James Bible'. The NIV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NKJV, and many other translations all have these verses. Are you prepared to argue that they are testifying to their own inspiration and authority? If not, then what separates them from the KJB, and how are we to know the difference between the two? Also, what happens if the believing church decides to use the NASB instead of the KJB. Then what?

It's been a while since I read Turretin, but I think I'd remember it if his arguments for the veracity of Scripture depended on one specific text type or manuscript family. Maybe someone else here will have a copy of his works on Theology and can confirm that for me.

Are you sure you don't hold to a double-inspiration position? You said that you don't, but then you make claims that sound like you do.

"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

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

So then when faced with "corruptions" or "errors" it is in the historical tradition to begin with what Scripture says about itself, then examine the differences according to the language arts and the self-authenticating words of Scripture will manifest themselves to God's people, but never deny the purity of Scripture throughout the process. In short, the language of "corruptions" or "errors" did not change the language of purity, certainty, and authority to, "Well we would like to have certainty, but that's just not the way it is." as has been espoused here on SI by Brother Blumer. Brother Blumer's lack of certainty is not found in the literature concerning historic Bibliology, but still Brother Blumer claims to know the difference between orthodox and heterodox in matters of Bibliology. Consider this from Turretin, "Have the original texts of the Old and New Testaments come down to us pure and uncorrupted? We affirm against the papists." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 106) Note that it is the position of the Roman Catholic church at this time to maintain that the OT and NT in Greek and Hebrew have not "come down to us pure and uncorrupted". Rome needed to argue this because without it they could not maintain the Latin Vulgate as equal or superior to the Greek and Hebrew.

On final note, Muller writes on the definition of "textus receptus", this title "was adopted as a standard usage only after the period of orthodoxy, although it does refer to the text supported by the Protestant scholastics as the authentic text." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 298) "Authentic" meaning "authoritative" which can be seen in Muller's treatment of authoritas Scripturae. Under this definition Muller writes,

"The arguments on which this category of authoritas rests are distinguished by the scholastics into internal, intrinsic proofs and external, extrinsic proofs. The former, which argue in authentia intrinseca, or intrinsic authenticity, include the material simplicity, dignity, and gravity of the text together with formal attributes of perfect holiness (sanctitas perfecta), truth of statement without admixture of error (veritas assertionum sine ad-mixtis erroribus), and the sufficiency of the scriptural revelation for salvation (suffucuetia ad solutem)." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 52)

Furthermore, Turretin defines an "authentic writing" as "one in which all things are abundantly sufficient to inspire confidence; one to which the fullest credit is due in its own kind; one of which we can be entirely sure that it has proceeded from the author whose name bears it; one in which everything is written just as he himself wished." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 113)

This is the way in which the Standard Sacred Text position holds the authority and infallibility of God's word in the Greek and Hebrew. On the issue of "corruptions" the Syriac, Latin, and LXX were considered inferior to the Greek and Hebrew and where the Greek and Hebrew mss differed, comparisons were made between them and the present Scripture, the product of which was Holy Scripture "written just as he himself [i.e. God ] wished" not "Well most of it is there, and that should be good enough for now." The believing community had no problem espousing certainty in Holy Scripture because of their faith in what the Scripture says about itself.

C. The definition and roll of substantia verba or quoad verba.

Muller offers a definition of verba here in these words under his treatment of the authoritas divina duplex, "the authoritas verborum, or authority of the words of Scripture, arising from the accidens scriptionis, the accident of the writing [Mine: i.e. the shape of the letters of one language as distinct form the shape of the letters of another ]" (Muller, Dictionary, p. 51) This is the way in which the orthodox argued for the infallibility of the apographa [copies ] of the autographa [originals ]. The Greek and Hebrew text of the historic orthodox position was argued to be infallible in both the res/doctrine and the verba. That is to say that God's word is to be considered infallible both in what is says and in the shape of the letters because they are the shapes of the Greek and Hebrew. No version, including the King James Bible can participate in the substantia verba aspect of the Greek and Hebrew simply because God did not give His word by inspiration to Paul in English, but that is not to say that the English text is now free to be called less than infallible, rather it remains infallible as to the meaning of the words so long as they are in accordance with the pattern - the apographa. Furthermore, it was the historic position to speak of the authority of verba [words ] not ideas. Muller writes concerning res, "Thus, the Protestant scholastics can distinguish between scriptural authority quoad verba, according to the words, and quoad res, according to the things or issues signified by the words." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 263) It is in these two meanings [verba/res ] that the word of God in Greek and Hebrew is infallible.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

D. The definition and roll of substantia doctrina or quoad res.

For a definition Muller offers this under his treatment of the authoritas divina duplex (twofold divine authority), "the authoritas rerum, or authority of the things [Mine: res ] of Scripture, the substantia doctinae (substance of doctrine)." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 51) Follow with me now through Turretin's argument on this point. "Hence we gather what the authority of the versions is. Although their utility is great for the instruction of believers, yet no version either can or ought to be put on an equality with the original, much less be preferred to it." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 125) That is to say that the version is not to be considered equal to or greater than the Greek and Hebrew, "nevertheless all authority must not be denied to versions. Here we must carefully distinguish a twofold divine authority: one of things, [Mine: res ] the other of words [Mine: verba ]." As a result, the version is only as authoritative as it is consistent with its authoritative source/pattern. The Greek and Hebrew source/pattern in the apographa as it is maintained by the Protestant orthodox is considered as the very words of the apostles and prophets. That said, while the version cannot be the source/pattern it can be inspired with regard to res. Turretin writes, "The source has both, being God-inspired (theopneustos) both as to the words and things; but the version have only the first, [Mine: God-inspired as to things ] being expressed in human and not in divine words." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 126)

Note, the words of the source are considered divine words not human words and the words of the version that of human words. We have come along way when those here on SI deny that the words of God as recorded in Scripture of a different substance than those written by men, and then claim themselves to be orthodox. Furthermore, the version is said to be written in human words because for the orthodox, inspiration is concerned with both the shape of the words being Greek and Hebrew as well as the res of the words because the words and letters of a version do not have the shape of the Greek and Hebrew they are said to be human words.

Continuing, Turretin writes concerning the conformity of a version,

"The certainty of the conformity of the versions with the original is twofold: the one merely grammatical and of human knowledge apprehending the conformity of the words in the versions with the original (this belongs to the learned, who know the languages); the other spiritual and of divine faith, relating to the agreement of things and doctrines (belonging to each believer according to the measure of the gift of Christ, as he himself says, 'My sheep hear my voice," Jn. 10:27; and Paul, 'he that is spiritual discerneth all things,' 1 Cor. 2:15)." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 126)

A few things of note here: 1.) the apprehension of the grammatical and conformity of words is an issue of human knowledge. That is, some know the Greek and Hebrew and are able to discern and other are not, but regardless it is a discernment man by the reason alone. 2.) the certainty of the conformity of the version also rests in the spiritual through divine faith. That is when a version is put before a saint of God, and through the spectacles of faith, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, the saint hears the voice of Christ because the saint is spiritually discerning. [God's people>God's word>God's Spirit paradigm ] So there is the technical grammatical work but that is not of the Spirit but of human knowledge. The self-authenticating character of Scripture is of the Spirit working in God's people through God's words with regard to its authenticity, not just its content. Turretin continues, " Although a private person may be ignorant of the languages, he does not cease to gather the fidelity of a version as to the things themselves from the analogy of faith and the connection of the doctrines." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 126)

In sum, the words of the Greek and Hebrew are inspired as to words and things and the version is inspired as to things so long as it is consistent with the pattern/source which is the Greek and Hebrew. Therefore, for the orthodox it is the infallibility of the source that makes infallibility for the version possible. Conversely, if the source is not infallible which Blumer and company maintain, then their version(s) are not infallible. Admittance that the source and version is not nor can be at this time infallible is contrary to the orthodox tradition. Blumer and company gladly accept the human knowledge portion of the process from source to version, but they flatly reject or ignore the spiritual component of, as Turretin puts it, gathering the "fidelity of a version...from the analogy of faith" and certainty of version conformity "by faith". Brother Blumer, next time you run into a guy working on the next version of the Bible ask him where faith comes in to assess the fidelity of his version with the source.

E. The definition and roll of certitudo.

Certitudo simply defined means "certainty, certitude, surety; specifically the certainty of knowledge (certitudo cognitionis), also termed the certainty of assent or adhesion (certitudo adhaesionis)." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 64) Under the topic of certitudo there are four types of certainty: Demonstrative/Mathematical certainty, Moral/Ethical certainty, Probable certainty, and Theological certainty or the certainty of faith. (Muller, Dictionary, p. 64) For our present purposes we are concerned with the fourth type of certainty. The certainty of faith is "not demonstrative, nor does it derive from self-evident principles. Nevertheless, theological certainty is not simply a probable certainty but a certitudo absoluta et infallibilis, an absolute and infallible certainty, resting on divine revelation by faith." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 64) This is how the believing community knows with certainty that the Scripture they have is indeed the self-attesting, self-authenticating, and self-interpreting (autopistos) infallible word of God. The believing community possesses a unique and transcendent certitude based in God's word through faith. So you ask me how do you know with certitude, how does the believing community know with certitude, that the word of God is pure, inspired, and infallible? The answer, through the revelation of God's words by faith. As soon as you say the word of God is not pure, that is a statement directed toward God's word that is faithless and wrong.

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Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

F. The definition and roll of autopistos.

Turretin defines autopistos as "self-credible" (autopiston) (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 126). Muller offers this definition, "trustworthy in and of itself; specifically, a term used by the Protestant scholastics to denote the self-authenticating character of Scriptural authority." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 54) Furthermore, "If Scripture is trustworthy in and of itself (in se and per se), no external authority, whether church or tradition [Mine: or text critical paradigm ], need be invoked in order to ratify Scripture as the norm of faith and practice." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 54) Since the word of God is autopistos (i.e. self-credible; trustworthy in and of itself) then external attestation is irrelevant. External authentication is irrelevant. External interpretation is irrelevant. Why? Because the Scripture does all of this in and of itself. In addition Muller writes axiopistos, "axiopistos: trustworthy, worthy of faith; an attribute of Scripture frequently paired with autopistos (q.v.)." So according to the orthodox the words of Scripture were both trustworthy in and of themselves and as such are worthy of faith. Once again the Protestant scholastics are here talking about the unique substance of God's words. The words of the Iliad are not trustworthy in and of themselves and are therefore not worthy of faith. Brother Blumer and company have yet to reference autopistos or axiopistos to support their argumentation. Coupled with their fixation on continual revision, it makes one believe that they do not believe their Bibles to be trustworthy in and of themselves. Still, they claim the terminology and position of historic orthodoxy and call the orthodoxy of others into question (e.g. Brother Pittman).

G. The definition and roll of theopneustos.

"Theopneustos: God-breathed, inspired; a term used to describe both the human authors of Scripture as acted upon by the Spirit in their work of writing and the character of the resulting written text as Word of God." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 304) The Latin inspiratio is defined as

"inspiratio; a term used to describe the role of the Spirit in composition of Scripture. Since spiratio, spiration [Mine: breath ], is the activity of the Spirit, inspiratio is an apt term for the in-working of the Spirit. The inspiration of human authors, and hence of the text written by them, in no way deprives them even momentarily of their reason, their usual forms of expression, or the thought-patterns typical of their time in history and specific culture." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 155)

Still Turretin writes, "For whatever the men of God wrote, they wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21), who, to keep them from error, dictated not only the matter but also the words." (Turretin, vol. 1, p. 114) What we have in dictation and freedom of personality is God dictating the words of Scripture within the limitations of the penmen's freedom. That is to say, the Holy Spirit did not make Peter take on the language and style of Paul but rather the Holy Spirit directed the instrument within its limits, as dictation is to an amanuensis. Muller in quoting Poole's commentary on 2 Pet. 1:21 writes, the penmen of Scripture "'are here called holy, not only because of their lives...but because they were instruments of the Holy Ghost, who sanctified them to the work of preaching, and penning what he dictated to them." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 245) It is in this way that the very words of God are given by the Holy Spirit and the limitations of the penmen remain intact. Even then, if you would like to study further look into the use of "illumination" with regard to the penmen of Scripture and you will find the idea of elevated human capacity at the moment of inspiration. (See Muller, Post-Reformation, pp. 245-248)

Another term used by Protestant scholastics was veritas which meant, "God-breathed truth; inspired truth; a ground of the historical authoritas Scripture (q.v.) or authentia historiae (q.v.) of Scripture." (Muller, Dictionary, p. 325) With regard to veritas Muller notes the rise of duplex veritas as espoused by Daniel Hoffman in an attempt to delineate between the truth of Scripture as true truth and the truth of philosophy as false truth. The reason for the delineation is because the Bible asks us to receive certain truths on the basis of faith even when our reason demands otherwise (e.g. the Trinity, virgin birth, 6 day creation, etc) but "Protestant scholasticism generally argued, against the duplex veritas, that theology never contradicts reason directly but frequently supplies truths of revelation that transcend the powers of reason."(Muller, Dictionary, p. 98) I cite this discussion about veritas duplex for the purpose of demonstration, that to believe there are words in a book that are divine in nature, sure, certain in and of themselves, being breathed by God is an act of faith, transcending the power of reason. Reason cannot reveal the character and nature of Scripture. To believe that there are words in this same book that are not from God is not an act of faith, thus there are certain words in Scripture that the Brother Blumer types do not accept by faith because they regard those words as in error (i.e. men's words). As a result, the Brother Blumer types have both faith and not faith in the object of faith, which makes the Scripture look like a fountain that yields both salt water and fresh. My brethren these things ought not so to be. (James 3:10-12)

One final note on inspiration, because the Author of Holy Scripture is God is was the standard orthodox approach to attribute certain divine qualities analogically to Holy Scripture. Muller writes,

"The Protestant orthodox understand these properties of Scripture both formally and analogically: the list of properties indicates on the one hand, the formal causes of Scripture and, on the other, as a catalogue of formal causes, it presents the marks of the divine architect of the scriptural revelation as they are evidenced in the text." (Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 298)

So then the attributes discussed above [certain, infallible, authoritative, inspired etc ] are to be considered the marks of the Divine Architect of Holy Scripture, God in the person of the Holy Spirit. These marks are only perceived by the gift of faith, and as such only a believer is able to receive them. This is yet another facet of the self-attesting words of God manifesting themselves to be autopistos by the marks of the Divine Author on His work.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Peter Van Kleeck Jr.'s picture

Final Conclusions:

  • The words of Scripture are the ground and foundation of the historic orthodox positions on certainty, authority, infallibility, etc.
  • The historic orthodox position is not to filter all the Scriptures about purity, goodness, certainty, inspiration etc through one verse that says God's word is settled in Heaven. On the contrary, the verses which speak of the attributes of Scripture have been historically held to speak about a real tangible text on Earth.
  • Only the Greek and Hebrew are authentia with regard to words and things. The version, so long as it is faithful to the pattern set by the Greek and Hebrew, is authentia with regard to things derived from words, not ideas.
  • Certainty with regard to Scripture is most certainly a part of orthodox terminology, and Brother Blumer denies its existence both in the source and the version as noted in his post to Brother Charlie.
  • Because God is the Prime Author of Holy Scripture "the attributes of Scripture have an analogical relationship to some of the communicable attributes of God."(Muller, Post-Reformation, p. 299) So then God's word is rightfully spoken of as certain, authoritative, and infallible because it came from God.
  • The issue of text types as you can see does not factor into the theological discussion. Ultimately, all that matters is which words are autopistos. It does not matter where they are from.
  • Who is the believing community? From the material above, they are believers who submit themselves to the teaching of Scritpure and in this case what Scriptrue says about itself.
  • The orthodox were aware of textual variants but that did not lead to an abandonment of the doctrine of a real, pure, infallible, inspired text. Furthermore, what "text critical" work was done with Scripture and orthodox doctrine in mind, rather than the "Well the Bible does not say anything about how to handle textual variants" mentality of the modern era.
  • When the process of evaluating these variants is done, the orthodox never conclude with, "Well this is the best we got. I guess it will have to do." Rather is was the position of historic orthodoxy to maintain the Greek and Hebrew in their hand as the inspired, infallible word of God. In other words, variants in manuscripts were not enough to trump the faith of the believing community.
  • There is a difference between acknowledging that the above is representative of the historic position and disagreeing with the historic position. I hope there is enough quotes to give a glimpse into the historic position, now the question is do you agree with the history provided in that glimpse? If yes, then you are what we call in the 21st century a Standard Sacred Text guy. If no, then you are a modern text critical guy or an MVO [Multiple Version Only ] guy, and have diverged from traditional Bibliology.
  • Given the above summary, the Standard Sacred Text position is demonstrated to be the historic orthodox position and the modern position of “purity only in the autographs”, “God’s word is only settled in Heaven”, “shortest, hardest, and oldest readings are best”, “faith gets in the way of evaluating mss”, and “close enough is good enough” is an abiblical ahistorical contrivance of past 100 or so years = not historically orthodox.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Larry's picture

Moderator

Seriously? Took all this time to write this and I can't get any answer to the simple questions I have asked? My questions won't take seven posts to answer. It might not even take seven paragraphs.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Classic case of argumentum verbosium fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
Instead of making a clear, concise argument, dump a boatload of text, some 90% of which is is either irrelevant or not in dispute (or both).

The whole question is really much simpler than all this, Peter.
1. Either the Bible teaches that God will preserve it in a certainly-identifiable, word perfect form on the earth, or it does not. (I showed that it does not http://sharperiron.org/article/preservation-how-and-what-part-4 ]in this series )
2. Either observation of the data supports consistent maintainence of a word perfect text, or it doesn't.
3. (A much weaker question, but I include for the sake of being more thorough) Either historical theology teaches that God will preserve a certainly-identifiable, word perfect text on the earth or it does not.

To get back to the OP...
4. Either the Bible teaches that the believing community will not err when making copies/will always be able to tell--through the Spirit--which copies are correct, or it does not.
5. Either "scientific" means "a method that cannot be conducted by believers in a manner consistent with Scripture and with the aid of the Spirit" or it does not.

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 JayC: Take the time and read the post. The TR was held by the Protestant Scholastics to be the authoritative text from which the KJB came. Not my words. Not even the words of a KJB guy.

Brother Larry: You demand a yes or no for your complex question. You will not get one. Don't ask again, because you will not get one. You question demands several propositions which I have offered. But for a little fun I offer this question. If it is not answer with a simple "yes" or "no" then I will forever consider the question unanswered by you. "Did God die on the cross?"

Brother Blumer: First of all I cannot help but smile when people link to wikipedia for their source and content. I offer Muller and Turretin and Brother Blumer offers the wikipedia. Sometimes I think you guys are hopeless. You claim my content is irrelevant but you offer no position from which to state such a claim, well except for the wikipedia. How do you know it is irrelevant? Ahhhh...I know, the wikipedia. Furthermore, you argue that certain portions are not in dispute but once again that is merely your opinion fired off from some position which you have yet to clearly articulate. You then sum up the "whole question" in 3 points, man I wish you existed back in the time of the Reformation. I mean your ability to take hundreds of thousands of pages down to three points would have been an amazing asset to the believing community of the past [and I would not have needed to read as much in Seminary Smile ]. Your insights are so profound and concise that in my opinion you should be teaching at Duke and Harvard. I am in awe of your mental capacity in this regard. For the rest of us peons like Turretin, Leigh, and Muller, the topic is too complex and as a result we need a few more propositions than three.

My suppositions are derived from an expanded form of the above summary. It is by the Scripture and Theology of the above summary that text criticism should be bound. You on the other hand have yet to reveal to any of us the summary from which your suppositions arise. I once was on the political staff of a man running for State House in MI, and the one thing we knew was extremely important was that we did not allow our opponents to define us, rather we must define ourselves in the minds of the voters. You, Brother Blumer, have not defined yourself but still you wish to dispute. You are like a pirate trying to fire his cannons in the middle of the ocean without a ship. Or maybe if I search your name in the wikipedia I might find your position there. I'll get back to you on that one.

But in the spirit of helping you define yourself I offer this. You are right. I don't have the Bible and you don't have the Bible. When we go to church we all admit that the Bible in our hand is only a greater or lesser portion of the Bible. Jesus Christ never had the Bible in the copies of the OT as He walked this earth and neither did his disciples. Seeing there is no evidence to support the existence of a 66 book canon during the time of the autographs and since we are in basic agreement that the autographs were lost somewhere before the 2nd century [give or take a 100 years ] then it is fair to say that no one has ever had the whole Bible from the time of Christ until now because all we are dealing with now are corrupted copies. Now lets go get a cup of coffee and celebrate our agreement that no saint ever in the history of the Church has held the whole Bible in his or her hand.

Finally, for the OP, I find you guys are horrible at following my directions for discussion. Take some time my brothers, grow a summary, and share it with us. It seems the best place to start would be the wikipedia, ask Brother Blumer.

Ontology Precedes Epistemology.

StandardSacredText.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

This is increasingly a waste of time. It's been fun but I probably need to do other things.

Quote:
Brother JayC: Take the time and read the post. The TR was held by the Protestant Scholastics to be the authoritative text from which the KJB came. Not my words. Not even the words of a KJB guy.

Nobody is disputing that the traditional text is, well, traditional... i.e., it was recognized as authoritative. I recognize it as authoritative myself. My pulpit Bible is an NKJV and at least half of my church members use KJV. I have no problem with that. Why?
1. I'm not interested in rejecting the traditional text. My beef is with the claim that it is less Christian and less biblical to prefer the eclectic text.
2. I prefer eclectic texts generally, but that doesn't mean I see traditional text as not authoritative. The reasoning that says "this text differs from that one so one is the word of God and one isn't" is not my reasoning.

Edit: I hasten to add that this reasoning was not the view of the KJV translators either. From the Preface...

KJV Translators wrote:
Now to the latter we answer, that we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God....

Quote:
Brother Larry: You demand a yes or no for your complex question. You will not get one. Don't ask again, because you will not get one. You question demands several propositions which I have offered. But for a little fun I offer this question. If it is not answer with a simple "yes" or "no" then I will forever consider the question unanswered by you. "Did God die on the cross?"

Yes.

Peter wrote:
Brother Blumer: First of all I cannot help but smile when people link to wikipedia for their source and content. I offer Muller and Turretin and Brother Blumer offers the wikipedia.

You're going to Muller and Turretin for theology. I'm going to Wikipedia to give folks a free and easy place to get very general information about logical fallacies.
At least folks can access Wikipedia themselves--which few can do with Turretin or Muller without buying a pile of books or visiting the library.
I'm aiming to make it very easy for people to verify what I'm talking about.
Smile all you like.

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.

DavidO's picture

I suggest this be pursued in a limited format between brothers Van Kleeck and Blumer, a la the Brandenburg/Turk debate. I'd like to see definite answers to questions on both sides but with word limits and rules.

Just a thought.

Jay's picture

Peter Van Kleeck Jr. wrote:
Brother JayC: Take the time and read the post. The TR was held by the Protestant Scholastics to be the authoritative text from which the KJB came. Not my words. Not even the words of a KJB guy.

Peter, I understand your position. I completely reject all of the presuppositions that you must make in order to get to your position. I also completely reject your theological position as incomplete, unsustainable and contrary to Scripture. That's why I write the posts I do, and I find it fascinating that you can not or will not respond to the many objections raised without writing tomes. My questions are simple and easy to answer.

I've read Turretin, and he does not argue the things that you want him to. End of story.

Quote:
...Finally, for the OP, I find you guys are horrible at following my directions for discussion. Take some time my brothers, grow a summary, and share it with us. It seems the best place to start would be the wikipedia, ask Brother Blumer.

Peter, this is a discussion board, not a seminary class. All forum participants are welcome to jump in and out of conversation as they see fit; if you have questions about that, you can read the policies listed at " http://sharperiron.org/about-si ]About SI ". You do not get to start a conversation and then give directions as to who or how they should respond. If you want to demonstrate your education, lecture the rest of us on the SST position, or argue against the so-called "MSTC position" without interruption or questions, start a blog and link to it in your signature here.

"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

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