Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 1a: Inauthentic, Corrupted, Original Content Unknown for each NT Document

Before I demonstrate the corruption and poor preservation of the New Testament documents and the IMPOSSIBLE task of ever reconstructing the original autograph wording (based on current data [NT Manuscripts]), I must first ask all the Christians: WHY WOULD THERE BE A NEED FOR TEXTUAL CRITICAL SCHOLARS IF THE ORIGINAL “INSPIRED” WORDING HAD ALL READY BEEN RECOVERED? NOTE: An important note – The corruption does not refer to corruption of the ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH. However, it refers to corruption in regards to the earliest attainable text which NT scholars have constructed. As you will see the EARLIEST ATTAINABLE TEXT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH READING.

Now… before I begin demonstrating the corrupted and poorly preserved New Testament documents. I will first like to get some quick points out of the way. Just to go along with Christian tradition, I will assume TRADITIONAL AUTHORSHIP of the New Testament Documents (Yes- even the book of Hebrews). I will ASSUME ORIGINAL ASSUME THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FOR EACH NT DOCUMENT AS KOINE GREEK. YES, I KNOW THERE ARE THEORIES OUT THERE PROPOSING THE NT DOCUMENTS WERE ORIGINALLY ARAMAIC OR THE EARLY CHURCH FATHER PAPIAS’S ASSERTION THAT THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW WAS WRITTEN IN HEBREW. Yes, and lastly let’s assume original gospel authors’ were “inspired” and the new testament documents are AS ACCORDING TO CHRISTIANS the Word of “TRIUNE YAHWEH”.

Okay then that leaves the BIG QUESTION FOR CHRISTIANITY:

What did these AUTHOR’S REALLY WRITE? WHAT IS THE ORIGINAL CONTENT that the Authors of each of the New Testament documents write? What are the “inspired” words for each NT document? Many evangelicals BELIEVE that the original autographs were “inerrant” – So what is the content of those original autographs?

Claim: We do not know what these authors who were allegedly “inspired by a non-human intelligence” wrote. It is impossible to LOCATE the words that originate from an “inspired” super-natural force that were found in the original autograph documents.

Tangent, I am NOT claiming the scribes who copied the New Testament documents had evil intentions when they edited the text that came to them. However, the summation of multiple scribes editing has led to an inability for NT Scholars to figure out the original autographs’ words. Now some Christians may argue – Well only the Message matters. That’s irrelevant to this discussion. Rather – SINCE IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS ARE INAUTHENTIC, CORRUPTED (not necessarily by evil intentions), that the content Christians read today CANNOT BE VIEWED as written by the Traditional Authorship associated with each NT document.

Analogy of why this discussion is important: Let’s say You (the reader) wrote a book.  You wrote a sentence in that book that said “mixing blue dye in water will produce flavored water”. Someone copying your book wrote “mixing dye in water will produce flavored water”. Of course the message is the same – Adding dye to water makes flavored water. However the visual true reality of what you wrote (the readers)  is much different than someone reading the copy. They reader of the copy could easily add  say “red, green, yellow, etc  dye”.  {I will work on making an easier analogy}. How does this analogy compare specifically to the new testament documents.  Two specific examples that this analogy applies to  is the variant reading in Mark 1:41 and Hebrews 2:9. In Mark 1:41 was Jesus indignant or compassionate changes the image, perception of Jesus as a healer.  Or another example is the variant found in Hebrews 2:9 – http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2006/05/evidence-in-hebrews-29.html which changes the ENTIRE THEOLOGY of the text.

Proofs:

A)     New Testament Textual Critics AUTHORITIES even claim that the earliest attainable text is NOT EQUIVALENT to the original autograph reading.  The earliest attainable text (constructed by New Testament textual critics) CANNOT BE DETERMINED TO BE the original autograph reading. Pause and re-read the statements above before I begin citing major authorities.

  1. The Publishers of the Nestle Aland 28th Edition have even shifted there assumptions from the earliest attainable text as equivalent to the original autograph reading. Here is a commentary explaining this point:
    “Third, this edition reflects a shift in assumptions about what the evidence allows one to reconstruct. Where previous generations, emboldened by a confidence in science which was possible only in the Enlightenment, claimed to be able to reproduce the “New Testament in the Original Greek,” late twentieth century scholars have known that extant evidence reaches only back to the second century, and that for only a scattering of passages. There may be nearly 150 years between the original writing/delivery of a New Testament text and the now-preserved manuscripts. Given the strong dependence on a genealogical method, this edition claims only to reconstruct the “Ausgangstext,” or the “Initial Text,” defined as follows:

“The initial text is the form of a text that stands at the beginning of a textual tradition. The constructed text of an edition represents the hypothetical reconstruction of the initial text.” (ECM 2 Peter, 23)

This edition helpfully acknowledges that reproducing an “autograph” of any New Testament writing is an impossible task, given available evidence. This also leads to a perhaps surprising move by the editors: the removal of any reference to a conjecture in the apparatus. Since the editors claim to reconstruct only the hypothetical text that stands at the head of the manuscript tradition (and not the “autograph”), conjectures are not part of their project. So, for example, the conjecture that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 is a post-Pauline interpolation has been deleted from the apparatus.”  http://concordiatheology.org/2012/10/a-new-edition-of-the-greek-new-testament/

————————–

  1. “(Michael) Holmes (New Testament Textual Critic) writes that while he once understood the purpose of textual criticism to be the reconstruction of the original text of a document, he no longer holds to this persuasion. He explains that there are at least two major reasons for this. First, “the study of the history of the transmission of the text is no longer viewed only or primarily as a means to the recovery of the original, but rather as a legitimate goal in its own right” (p. 367). Rather than treating many of the textual variants of the NT as “detritus littering the path to the original text” (p. 637), Holmes suggests that scholars should recognize the value of textual variants for what they reveal about the world of the early church. The existence of textual variants, Holmes notes, provide “possible sources of insight into the history and cultural context of the individuals and communities that transmitted (and, occasionally, created) them” (p. 367–68). But why dismiss the task of reconstructing the original text? Might it be possible to work towards a reconstruction of the text of the original writings of the NT while also recognizing that textual variants may occasionally reveal further insight into the various theological controversies which took place in early Christianity?

Second, Holmes suggests that the task of reconstructing the text of the original autographs of the NT writings is fraught with difficulties. As he argues, the original autographs would have contained “not merely the text as a sequence of words, but also the precise layout, spelling, and form of the words” that “generally are not recoverable from the surviving manuscripts copies of the New Testament writings” (pp. 668–69). However, even if these relatively minor characteristics of the autographs are not the primary focus, Holmes insists that discerning an “original” text remains problematic because of the ambiguity of the term. Because the NT writings were often composed with the assistance of a secretary (see the example of Tertius in Rom 16:22), the term “original text” is often used in reference to different stages in the compositional process. For most scholars, however, the term “original text” is used to describe the text that was dispatched to a writer’s original audience. Rather than seeking to reconstruct the “original” text—in whatever form one envisions—Holmes argues that textual critics should seek to uncover, so much as the extant witnesses allow, what he has described as the initial text, that is, “the form(s) of text in which an early Christian writing first began to circulate and be copied” (p. 638). In other words, rather than seeking to reconstruct the text of the original autographs in the state in which they were originally dispatched, Holmes argues that textual critics must instead seek to establish “the textual form(s) (archetypes) from which the extant evidence derives” (p. 680).

Ehrman’s essay also discusses some of his objections to a primary focus on the reestablishment of the original text. He argues that while textual critics have “enjoyed reasonable [Listen to Ehrman in his debate with Evangelical Dr. Daniel Wallace and he clearly states the EARLIEST ATTAINABLE TEXT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH] success at establishing, to the best of their abilities, the original text of the New Testament” (p. 825), this narrow focus overlooks the significant insights that the various textual witnesses reveal about the social world in which the NT was written and transmitted. “An exclusive concentration on the autographs is myopic,” Ehrman concludes, because “it overlooks the value of variant forms of the text for historians interested in matters other than exegesis” (p. 803). Other notable textual critics have argued similarly in recent years, perhaps most notably Eldon Epp and David Parker.”

http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/review/the_text_of_the_new_testament_in_contemporary_research_essays

The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Questions. Second Edition (New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents) http://www.amazon.com/dp/900423604X/?tag=thegospcoal-20

———————————————-

  1. William L Petersen: “For all researches in the New Testaament, but especially textual critics, it is of the utmost importance to remember that whatever sort of text (or oral tradition) early (pre-180) Christian writers were accessing, it was very different from the text we now find in our critical editions (such as Nestle Aland or ever the Greeven Synopse) and, of course, different from the textual backbone of these critical editions, MSS and B.
    To be brutally frank, we know next to nothing about the shape of the “autograph” gospels; indeed, it is questionable if one can even speak of such a thing. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the text in our critical editions today is acutally a text which dates from no earlier that about 180 CE, at the earliest. Our critical editions do not present us with the text that was current in 150, 120, or 100 – much less in 80 CE. This fundament fact of of textual criticism is often ignored, overlooked, or even denied. The reasons are diverse, but not hard to discern. For some, of course, the theological consequences of such a fact are unpalatable: they threaten the “reliability” of the “word of  God”. For others, the fact that our modern critical text takes us back no earlier than 180 would short-circuit their research efforts at the outset – and hence, it is easier to ignore the issue. It is clear, for example that one cannot hope to come close to solving the “synoptic problem” when the text of the gospels did not reach a state of textual entropy until 180 or so.” Page 62 – William L. Petersen – “Genesis of the Gospels”.

New Testament Textual Criticism and Exegesis: Festschrift J. Delobel edited by Adelbert Denaux, Joël Delobel.

http://books.google.com/books?id=HuqgadCCrvMC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=nestle+aland+original+autograph+impossible&source=bl&ots=HeMrNMppct&sig=PFdtY81Ml-zWZ90ZYIxk68Z_04U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BGNiU4n0Hoa2yASMsYGQCw&ved=0CFsQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=nestle%20aland%20original%20autograph%20impossible&f=false

—————————————————————–

  1. Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism Paperback by David Alan Black

http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-New-Testament-Textual-Criticism/dp/0801022800

——————————————————————-

A)     WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THESE AUTHORITIES VIEWS  “The earliest attainable text (by new testament textual critics) CANNOT BE DETERMINED TO BE the original autograph reading”

  1. New Testament Scholars cannot even come up with a UNIVERSAL DEFINITION OF WHAT THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENTS ARE. Since New Testament Scholars CANNOT even come up with a universal definition of how the original autograph documents looked like: THEN WHAT EXACTLY ARE NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICS RECONSTRUCTING BACK TO? Examples:

i.      What is the original version of the Book of Acts (the Alexandrian or Western Text Type – 10% different)?

Bruce Metzger on the “Western Text” of the Book of Acts

“The text of the book of the Acts of the Apostles circulated in the early church in two quite distinct forms, commonly called the Alexandrian and the Western. The former, which has been traditionally regarded as the authentic text of Acts, is represented by p45 p74 א A B C Ψ 33 81 104 326 and 1175. The other form is represented chiefly by D and the fragmentary papyri p29 , p38 , and p48, by the readings marked with an asterisk or standing in the margin of the Harclean Syriac version (syrh with *, syrh mg), by the African Old Latin ms. h (a fifth or sixth century fragmentary palimpsest that preserves about 203 of the 1007 verses of Acts), and by the citations of Acts made by Cyprian and Augustine. These, which are the primary witnesses to the Western text in Acts, are sometimes joined by others that present mixed texts with a relatively high proportion of Western elements. Among such are the Armenian version of the commentary on Acts by Ephraem Syrus, the Old Georgian version of Acts, several mixed Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts, and a few Greek minuscule manuscripts that were included by von Soden in his I-group. More recent discoveries of witnesses with decided Western affiliations include a Palestinian Syriac fragment (syrms K) from the Kastellion Monastery at Khirbet Mird, dating from the sixth century, and a Coptic manuscript (copG67) written in the Middle Egyptian dialect and dated by its editor in the late fourth or early fifth century.

The two forms of text differ in character as well as length. The Western text is nearly one-tenth longer than the Alexandrian text, and is generally more picturesque and circumstantial, whereas the shorter text is generally more colorless and in places more obscure.

The relationship between the two forms of Acts has been the subject of much discussion; the chief theories that have been proposed are the following.

(1) Both forms of text proceed from the author, who produced two editions of his work. The first to make this suggestion appears to have been Jean Leclerc, who, however, later rejected his own hypothesis. In more modern times Bishop J. B. Lightfoot took a rather favorable view of this theory, and it was subsequently adopted and developed with much learning by the German professor of classics, Friedrich Blass. According to Blass, Luke, having made a rough draft of his history of the primitive church, perhaps on the back of some previous manuscript, desired to present a handsome copy of his work to his distinguished friend Theophilus. Not being rich enough to employ a professional scribe to make the copy, Luke had to make it himself; naturally, instead of slavishly following his first draft, he exercised the freedom that an author can lawfully take with a work of his own, in altering phraseology and deleting superfluities. From both forms of Acts, according to Blass, copies were made; the text current in most manuscripts represents the polished, second edition prepared for Theophilus, while copies were also made from the original (longer) draft, which Blass supposed was treasured and preserved in the Roman church.

Nothing in this theory is inherently unreasonable, and it attracted the support of a number of other scholars, including Theodor Zahn, Eberhard Nestle, J. M. Wilson, and A.J. Wensinck. Other scholars, however, found it difficult to understand the motives of the author in choosing to omit certain details found in the presumed earlier account; the gain in space is small and the loss in information and descriptiveness is sometimes great. Is it plausible that the author would have omitted a clause from the decrees of the Jerusalem council (15.20, 29), or have altered the language of the letter of Claudius Lysias (23.26–30) or Festus’s speech to Agrippa concerning Paul’s culpability (25.24–25)? Furthermore, sometimes the shorter form contradicts the longer form. For example, having described (in the first person plural) a break in the journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem at the house of Mnason (so the Western text of 21.16), the author would not be likely to alter it so as to suggest that Mnason lived in Jerusalem (as is implied in the shorter text).

It has also been pointed out that in many cases the text that Blass regarded as the earlier, unrevised form of Acts exhibits the clear characteristics of later additions. Thus, for example, in a devastating review of Blass’s edition, another classical scholar, T. E. Page, assembled numerous examples where the Western text heightens or exaggerates the emphasis of the passage, where it introduces religious formulae and substitutes for the simpler and natural names of Jesus fuller and more elaborate theological titles, and where it emphasizes words and actions as inspired by the Spirit.

For these and other reasons many scholars today are reluctant to adopt Blass’s theory of two editions of Acts

(2) Soon after Blass popularized the theory of two editions of Acts, an Irish scholar, George Salmon, offered an alternative explanation to account for the textual phenomena of Acts. He suggested that “Luke may have continued to reside at Rome after the expiration of Paul’s two years [of Roman imprisonment], and may there have given readings of his work; and explanatory statements which he then made were preserved in the West.” Although it is possible to point to examples of authors in antiquity who gave public readings of their literary works, it is difficult to imagine the historical circumstances that would account for the preservation in written form of the oral comments made by Luke.

(3) Other scholars explain the distinctive form of the Western text as due to interpolation. It is maintained that in the early ages of the church the text of the New Testament was not looked upon as sacred, and therefore scribes felt at liberty to modify the form as well as to incorporate from oral tradition all kinds of additional details. Thus the Western text, according to this explanation, represents a wild and uncontrolled growth of the text during the first and second centuries.

This view has been widely held by scholars of various backgrounds, such as Westcott and Hort, W. H. P. Hatch, F. G. Kenyon, and Martin Dibelius.

Still others have held that one of the rival texts is derived from the other, not merely by a haphazard accumulation of glosses added over the years by numerous scribes, but by a deliberate revision made early in the second century by someone who was not satisfied with the existing form of the book. The problem is to determine which form was primary and which was secondary. The following two theories give diametrically opposing answers to the problem.

(4) The view that in general the Alexandrian text preserves more accurately the work of the original author and that the Western text reflects the work of a reviser was set forth with great learning by James Hardy Ropes in his edition of the text of Acts, and has been championed more recently by R. P. C. Hanson, who, however, instead of referring to a Western reviser, prefers to speak of a Western interpolator.

An interesting hypothesis that Ropes threw out for further discussion is the suggestion that “the preparation of the ‘Western’ text, which took place early in the second century, perhaps at Antioch, was incidental to the work of forming a collection of Christian writings for general Church use which ultimately, somewhat enlarged, became the New Testament; in a word, the ‘Western’ text was the text of the primitive ‘canon’ (if the term may be pardoned in referring to so early a date), and was expressly created for that purpose.”

(5) The opposite point of view, namely that the Western text of Acts is primary and the Alexandrian is a deliberate modification of it, was championed by Albert C. Clark, Corpus Professor of Latin in the University of Oxford. In his earlier publications Clark explained the shortened form as being the result of a scribe’s accidentally missing here and there one or more lines of his exemplar. Since, however, accidental omissions would not account for the regular correspondence of the omissions with breaks in the sense, nor does the theory explain the numerous differences in wording where no omission is involved, in a subsequent publication Clark practically abandoned the theory of accidental omission and revived the theory of a deliberate editorial shortening of the Western text. The Alexandrian abbreviator, he thinks, excised passages throughout the book for a variety of reasons; in some cases we can deduce that he eliminated what he considered to be otiose, but in other cases the excisions, Clark admits, show a singular want of taste.

Still other theories of a linguistic sort have been proposed over the years to account for the unusual phenomena of codex Bezae.

(6) J. Rendel Harris revived the theory of Mill, Wettstein, Middleton, and other eighteenth century scholars that “the whole of the Greek text of Codex Bezae from the beginning of Matthew to the end of Acts is a re-adjustment of an earlier text to the Latin version.” The theory finds little or no support among present-day scholars.

(7) The view that codex Bezae embodies an appreciable amount of Semitic coloring has been examined and adopted in various forms by several scholars. Frederic Henry Chase sought to prove that the Bezan text of Acts is the result of assimilation of a Greek text to a Syriac text that antedated the Peshitta version. In the case of the Gospels, Julius Wellhausen frequently argued for the primitive nature of the readings in codex D. This point of view was discussed further by A. J. Wensinck in a study entitled, “The Semitisms of Codex Bezae and their Relation to the Non-Western Text of the Gospel of Saint Luke,” and particularly by Matthew Black in his volume An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, in which he gathers, classifies, and carefully evaluates a large amount of relevant material. According to Black, “The Bezan text in all the Synoptic Gospels, if less so in some respects in Mark, is more frequently stained with Aramaic constructions and idiom than the B א text.” A somewhat similar conclusion concerning the Western text of Acts was also reached by Max Wilcox in his monograph (originally a doctoral dissertation written under the guidance of Black) entitled The Semitisms of Acts.

Another hypothesis that seeks to account for Semitisms in codex Bezae was proposed by a specialist in the Semitic languages, C. C. Torrey. After having published several monographs on details of Aramaic coloring in the Gospels and the first half of the book of Acts, Torrey advanced the theory that the Gospels and Acts were translated from Greek into an Aramaic “Targum” towards the end of the first century, and that this “Targum,” being mistaken for the original Semitic text of these books, was very soon afterwards retranslated into Greek with constant reference to the existing Greek text. This retranslation, Torrey held, was the basis of the Western text in the Gospels and Acts.

Although F. F. Bruce described Torrey’s hypothesis as “very plausible … [for] it seems to satisfy many of the linguistic phenomena better than any other,” most other scholars have rejected it as too complicated to be probable. …

After surveying the chief theories that have been offered to explain the origin of the Western text, one is impressed by the wide diversity of hypotheses and the lack of any generally accepted explanation. A failing common to many of the theories is the attempt to account for the Western text by concentrating upon only one aspect of the problem. The complex phenomena, however, that characterize the Western text in relation to the Alexandrian text include, as Haenchen points out in a brief but incisive discussion, at least three kinds or levels of variant readings. There are, first, not only for Acts but for the Gospels and the Pauline corpus as well, a great number of minor variants that seek to clarify and explain the text and make it smooth. Occasionally pious phrases are introduced. This form of text, widely current in the early church and used by Marcion, Tatian, Irenaeus, and others, cannot be regarded as a “recension,” for it is not and never was a unity.

Secondly, there are variants of another kind, peculiar to the Western text of Acts. These include many additions, long and short, of a substantive nature that reveal the hand of a reviser. Working upon a copy of the “Western” text in the first sense, the reviser, who was obviously a meticulous and well-informed scholar, eliminated seams and gaps and added historical, biographical, and geographical details. Apparently the reviser did his work at an early date, before the text of Acts had come to be generally regarded as a sacred text that must be preserved inviolate.

Thirdly, there are still other variants which are not to be associated with the Western text as such, nor with its reviser, but which belong to a particular manuscript, namely codex Bezae. This witness, copied, according to Haenchen, about A.D. 500, exhibits a variety of scribal idiosyncrasies, some of which, though suggesting Aramaisms, are nothing more than errors of a scribe, or possibly two successive scribes. It follows, in the words of Haenchen’s conclusion, that “in none of the three cases does the ‘Western’ text of Acts preserve for us the ‘original’ text of that book; this is the lesson that we are gradually beginning to learn.”

Since no hypothesis thus far proposed to explain the relation of the Western and the Alexandrian texts of Acts has gained anything like general assent, in its work on that book the Bible Societies’ Committee proceeded in an eclectic fashion, holding that neither the Alexandrian nor the Western group of witnesses always preserves the original text, but that in order to attain the earliest text one must compare the two divergent traditions point by point and in each case select the reading that commends itself in the light of transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities.

In reviewing the work of the Committee on the book of Acts as a whole, one observes that more often than not the shorter, Alexandrian text was preferred. At the same time the Committee judged that some of the information incorporated in certain Western expansions may well be factually accurate, though not deriving from the original author of Acts.”

Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975), pp. 259-72. http://www.bible-researcher.com/bezae-acts2.html

ii.      Is the Prologue and Epilogue part of the original autograph of the gospel of John?

Here is a commentary of an evangelical just to show the dispute in action – and that NT Scholars can’t determine a definition of the gospel of John’s prologue: http://journalofappliedtheology.com/Journal/Articles_files/John’s%20Prologue.pdf

iii.      Is Chapter 1 and 2 part of the Original Gospel of Luke

iv.      How many letters went into making 2nd Corinthians?

———————–

2. The Second Reason it is ILLOGICAL to make the claim that the earliest attainable text equals the original autograph reading is based on the Current Greek Manuscript Tradition. The late attestations for the current collection of greek manuscripts is far removed from the original autograph dating (remember it is impossible to know when the original autographs were dated with any preciseness so even the dating of the current NT manuscripts contain significant variation):

Here is a list of all the current Greek New Testament Manuscripts:
a) http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/Mss/

Pay attention to how many manuscripts and number of verses actually come from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Majority of the 5800+ manuscripts come from after the 8th century. So yes Christians have an idea of how the new testament looked like during that period and afterwards BUT NO WAY IN THE 1st century or 2nd Century. [I will provide more details in this regard in later edition].

————————-

Here are a few debates/lectures I suggest people wanting to learn about the New Testament corruption and inauthenticity should watch:

a)      Is the Original New Testament Lost? Sponsored by the Ehrman Project: 

“The public debate that I had with Dan – who has himself remained a committed evangelical Christian over all these years – was about the former question. It was not over whether the words of the New Testament were inspired by God. It was over whether we can know with relatively complete confidence what these words are.

It is not surprising that Dan thinks we can know what they are. It would make little sense to say the words were inspired if in fact we don’t have the words. What good would it have been for God to inspire words that are now lost? I on the other hand have come to realize that despite our best efforts, we will never be able to know what those words were in many instances. We simply don’t have the kinds of evidence that are needed to be confident that our reconstructed texts – based on copies that are all full of mistakes from hundreds of years later – are exactly what the authors wrote.” (Bart Ehrman leading NT textual critic) http://ehrmanblog.org/first-century-copy-of-mark-part-1/

PAUSE AND READ WHAT WAS SAID SLOWLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

b)      Bible Corrupted by the iERA – 

c)       

 (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CROSS EXAMINATION BETWEEN a lay evangelical and NT Textual Scholar in regards to the poor preservation and inauthenticity of the New Testament documents)

d) 

    Even the most evangelical Textual Scholar (Daniel Wallace) from 8:48-10:00 Admits that “it is impossible to have absolute certainty of what the original words of the Bible are” Actually he wants Christians to avoid absolute certainty like the plague. His claim that parts of the original autograph have been recovered is an illogical claim based on the previous evidence. But even if we ASSUME Dr. Daniel Wallace is correct, there are still significant proofs the New Testament documents have been corrupted which will be highlighted in the part 1b in the next article. Furthermore his open admission that “(christians) we do not have absolute certainty what the original words of the bible are is light way of saying that all the words the new testament scholars have constructed still have doubt to their authenticity. By associating probabilities (qualitative) to what the original readings COULD have been is just a masking with flowery deception. Pretty much there is ALWAYS UNCERTAINTY as to how the earliest attainable text relates to the original autograph. Furthermore, the authenticity of the reconstructed words by New Testament scholars is ALWAYS IN JEOPARDY because earlier manuscripts finds can easily deem the reconstructed verses and words as CORRUPTED.

————————————————————————

Conclusion: Ask any christian how the [A] reading in the UBS greek new testament or Nestle Aland’s  “reading” relates to the original autograph reading, and all THEY WILL ADMIT is it is a probability game. A probability game as to what the original words of the bible are? Yes just another way to say there is an INHERENT DOUBT always associated with the authenticity of the verses New Testament Textual Critics reconstruct.

Is this probability editors use numerical… NO it’s purely qualitative. They have no way of demonstrating that the [A] variant reading corresponds to the original autograph text.

SingularFocus5156

Before I demonstrate the corruption and poor preservation of the New Testament documents and the IMPOSSIBLE task of ever reconstructing the original autograph wording (based on current data [NT Manuscripts]), I must first ask all the Christians: WHY WOULD THERE BE A NEED FOR TEXTUAL CRITICAL SCHOLARS IF THE ORIGINAL “INSPIRED” WORDING HAD ALL READY BEEN RECOVERED?

Now… before I begin demonstrating the corrupted and poorly preserved New Testament documents. I will first like to get some quick points out of the way. Just to go along with Christian tradition, I will assume TRADITIONAL AUTHORSHIP of the New Testament Documents (Yes- even the book of Hebrews). I will ASSUME ORIGINAL ASSUME THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FOR EACH NT DOCUMENT AS KOINE GREEK. YES, I KNOW THERE ARE THEORIES OUT THERE PROPOSING THE NT DOCUMENTS WERE ORIGINALLY ARAMAIC OR THE EARLY CHURCH FATHER PAPIAS’S ASSERTION THAT THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW WAS WRITTEN…

View original post 4,826 more words

An Outline on how to Expose Christianty’s Falsehood

Christianity is based on an event [death and resurrection of a palestinian jew named Jesus born to a virgin Mary] that never occurred in the PAST. Any human beings’ efforts, energies, money, resources, and time used to advance this ideology are fruitless. Why would any human being continue to believe in a lie? Although many Christians will claim they have some subjective un-examinable, non-testable experience that convinces them, IN REALITY there are four “proofs” [tangible evidences] that keep “thinking” human beings believing in an false ideology.

Before I begin my dissection of christianity’s “proofs” for truth, I will quote a verse from the manuscript tradition associated with 1 Peter (unknown author) “…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Introduction: The 4 Observable Proofs for Christianendom.

  1. The authenticity of the new testament documents.
  2. The Hebrew Bible (Old testament) “prophecizes” the coming of a Christian concept of messiah. And teaches a triune godhead nature of Yahweh.
  3. Historical reliability of the gospel accounts
  4. And the classic inference to the best explanation hypothesis for the “resurrection event”

Interestingly for each of these points Christianity scholars to this day are unable to develop a unanimous understanding on any of these points. There are extremes and opposing views within Christian scholarship. I hope to present some information of these opposing views and provide reasons that counter each of these points.

I will present a brief outline of responses to each of these claims by Christians. Hopefully by studying and analyzing these outlines, any human being will realize how Christianity is based on blind irrational faith in an unreal/fictious event.

1)    The New Testament documents original content is unknown.

i)      Claim: The New Testament Documents are poorly preserved, inauthentic, and corrupted with the addition of scribal manipulations of the text and shouldn’t be used to determine the theology or life of the historical jesus.

  1. The ideology [Christiantiy] is based on primarily 4 canonical gospel accounts and the alleged Paulian letters. Without the New Testament documents spread the ideology [Christianity] would not exist in today’s reality. Furthermore, if we ASSUME the original authors for any of these new testament documents like the gospels were “inspired’ by a non-human intelligence “god”, then where are the “inspired” words. It is impossible for Christians to select the “inspired” words from the non-“inspired” words. And, Christians are incapable to establishing the [A] variant reading in a UBS Greek new testament or any variant reading in any Greek New Testament correlates to the original “inspired” autograph wording. Since Christians are incapable of doing so, they cannot claim their text is from a non-human intelligence – hence (even with the ASSUMPTION the original authors for each NT document were receiving “inspiration) the Christian do not have access to this text with any absolute certainty (which is equivalent to saying there will always be doubt in authenticity and origin of the verses they read).

ii)      How one can demonstrate the inauthentic, poorly preserved, inauthentic nature of the new testament documents.

  1. A field called New Testament textual criticism goal is to recover to the original autograph wording of each NT document. However this is an impossible goal based on the current manuscript tradition and inability for NT textual scholars to define unanimous definitions of the NT original autograph documents.

i.    New Testament textual scholars are unable to agree on a unanimous definition of how the original new testament documents looked like (i.e. the Western or Alexandrian text type)

  1. This makes it IMPOSSIBLE to even know what new testament scholars text reconstructing back to. Are new testament scholars reconstructing back to the original autograph reading or some later edited copy of a NT document.
  2. Even NT scholars and publishers of Greek New Testament’s like the Nestle Aland are today claiming that the Earliest Attainable Text is not EQUAL to the original autograph wording. NT scholars are shifting from this perspective.

ii.    The manuscript data for the New Testament documents are poor, far removed from the original autographs such that it makes it difficult for NT textual scholars to get back to the original wording.

  1. The continuous editions of the new testament documents with removal of verses in either Critical New Testament edition or translations makes the authenticity of any verse in the current manuscripts in jeopardy with earlier finds of manuscripts. Here are a few examples of verses that that have been considered inauthentic/corruption by current new testament scholars: 1 John 5:7, John 7:53-8:11, Mark 16-9:20. Furthermore there are more variants found that change the meaning of certain sentences or text such as the Mark 1:41 or Hebrew 2:9 variant.
  2. The authors are unknown for the gospel document as well as 6 of the 13 letters that were formerly attributed to Paul. If we do not know who the authors then how do we know what the intentions of these authors were in writing these documents. How do we know what genre these documents are? Are they midrash or ancient biographies? We do not know the competency of these authors and their abilities recording history from the oral tradition.

iii)    Lastly, language of the New Testament Documents:

  1.     There are numerous theories proposing the original language what the gospels were originally. But the greatest point is: We do not know what language Jesus really spoke or how many. Most likely Jesus spoke Aramaic so all the content we have today in Koine Greek is one entire language removed and we do not know how much the authors contracted, mistranslated, misunderstood, the words of Jesus. Why don’t we have any of the originals words of Jesus?

i.    Christian scholars like to use the terms ipsissima verba and ipsissima vox to throw away the simple fact that the Gospel of John’s anonymous author clearly forged words into the historical jesus’s mouth. So we do not know exactly what the real historical jesus’s life contained based on the false information in the gospel accounts.

2.)  Really what drives Christians over the top with “proofs” of their Religion is that the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) “prophecizes” the Christian concept of messiah and teaches the triune godhead. However, most of these “prophecies” Christians find in the Old Testament are merely Old Testament Hebrew taken out of context, mistranslated, and circular reasoning. Christians will all ready presuppose Christianity is true and then look for passes that support their claims. Ironically many Christian Scholars and Jews agree on the interpretations of the old testament like Isaiah 53’s suffering servant being Israel.

a. Just to demonstrate the DOUBT and Instability of this these Old testament “prophecies”. We do not know the actual authors for many of these Old testament documents and if these authors are really “prophets”. What is the evidence? That the authors are “prophets”. Also, even if they are prophets do we have their original content (How many people wrote the book of Isaiah?). But let’s assume we do have the content of these “prophets”, then which interpretation of these texts are correct. Since there are two at minimum or three interpretations of the Hebrew text of the Old testament, then which interpretation is correct? It’s a probability game. It’s 50-50 chance, a guess? If we apply this logic then why not just blindly pick a religion and guess what is the truth and stick with it.

iii) The New Testament documents alone are not historically reliable in providing true historical details of Jesus’s life or theology Jesus believed.

a. History is not the true absolute past. Historians only construct a theory about what occurred in the past. Historical facts cannot be tested like mathematic/scientific fact. So any source a historian uses to determine historical “facts” needs to be assessed critically. Even if a historians claims for something to be a historical fact it is not testable and should not be trusted at face value. Again if we were to read the New Testament documents at face value and trust them then why not read any other book and do the same.

b. This is a brilliant 9 minute presentation of the historical unreliability of the new testament documents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bxPPZztGC4

 

4) Lastly, the bogus “inference to the best hypothesis” defense used by apologists to demonstrate the “death and resurrection” actually occurred..

a. Each of the “historical facts” used by Christian apologist themselves cannot be shown to be really true in the PAST. We will demonstrate the flaws in their assumption in these “facts” i.e. the “500” visions never occurred or the “empty tomb” never existed. But for arguments sake let’s ASSUME that all of these events and details really are true to the past.

Do these details really demonstrate that Triune Yahweh really resurrected on person of itself by another person of itself? For all we know devils could be deceiving people with visions. So regardless of a person’s sincere intention of belief: we do not know the origin of these assumed visions. Jews to this day cite Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and Zechariah 13:6 as proof the Christian messiah concept of not true.

b. There is an assumption that eyewitness testimony actually exist in the New Testament documents. However even if we ASSUME eyewitness testimony exist -How reliable is eyewitness testimony?  The effort of the InnocenceProject and Elizabeth Loftus should be examined:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCswq5JDTaw Eyewitness testimony as a means of acquiring knowledge is unstable and unreliable.

 

c. The last and greatest point for Christian apologist. Christian apologist never discuss the existence of Yahweh from the Old testament. Yes Christians love to discuss the existence of “God”, but what is the proof Yahweh is real from the Hebrew bible. Anyone can write a statement “GodXYZ is the creator of everything” or claim to be “God”. Does this make GodXYZ real or the person claiming to be “God” real? No. Even if Christians can demonstrate there is an Intelligent Designer to this Universe that does not mean the Intelligent Designer has made contact with the human species. Usually Christians retroject their theology of “God” onto the intelligent Designer. Any religion can do that. And also they assume the supernatural or unseen realm favors their theology. Any religion can do that, what is the evidence.

 

Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 4: Oral Tradition Corruption

The canonical gospels receive there information from the oral tradition decades after Jesus’s disappearance from earth.

if the oral tradition was highly well preserved then there would not be such a great discrepancy between the synoptic gospel presentation and the gospel of john of the historical presentation.

Christian scholars try to avoid the discrepancy by creating a theory called “ipsissma verba and ipsissma vox”.

However, we do not know exactly what language did Jesus speak with absolute certainty. Most likely he spoke Aramaic. If this is the case, then the ipsissma verba theory does not hold in regards to Jesus’s sayings because we do not know how proficient the anonymous gospel authors were in translating, understanding Jesus’s sayings.

However for argument’s sake let’s ASSUME that Jesus spoke koine greek only. Then the gospel of John’s anonymous author clearly places words in Jesus’s mouth that Jesus never said – according to the Ipsissma Vox theory – in the historical true reality according to even evangelical scholars. Really the anonymous author of the gospel of john is MISQUOTING and Forging FALSE WORDS Jesus never said into his speech.

Claim: Oral tradition was corrupted based on the difference in presentation between the gospel of john and the synoptic gospel historical presentation of Jesus.

Assume that Jesus spoke KOINE GREEK. Then the ENORMOUS differences in historical presentation of the gospel of john and the synoptic gospels indicates that the oral tradition was in constant flux and different understanding and teachings of Jesus were being passed around. Which oral tradition accurately transmitted the historical Jesus’s life then? the Gospel of John or the Synoptic Gospels?

Proof:

Here is an evangelical christian’s frustration with evangelical scholars from the Dallas Theological Seminary who are compromising the “word of ‘god'”. This article tries to appeal to a “Holy Ghost” as a defense but for the lay audience I suggest you read the abstract, introduction, and conclusion to get the jist:

1) http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj12d.pdf

2) Here is an excerpt from a ultra-extreme evangelical who shows disapproval of the leading evangelical scholars at Dallas Theological Seminary.

“We need the Bible for all our doctrines. I’m going after uncertainty regarding the Words of Scripture with a diligence that is at least matched by conservative evangelicals reproof of emergents regarding uncertainty of the meaning of Scripture. I think both are important, but the Words themselves are more fundamental than the meaning.

Wallace and Vox

I’ve written some things about Wallace’s view of inerrancy. Myself and others have issues with his position. As you read the breadth of his bibliological materials, you see troubles in every aspect of his position. For instance, Wallace takes the ipsissima vox position relating to the Words of Jesus in the Gospels. In his “An Apologia for a Broad View of Ipsissima Vox,” paper presented to the 51st Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Danvers, Mass., November 1999, he wrote:

[T]he concepts go back to Jesus, but the words do not—at least, not exactly as recorded.

His colleague, Darrell Bock, wrote a chapter in Jesus Under Fire [ed. Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995):73-99], defending the vox position, entitled, “The Words of Jesus in the Gospels: Live, Jive, or Memorex.” Bock’s chapter tries to defend the historical reliability of the Gospel writing of Jesus’ Words from the destructive criticism of the Jesus Seminar. He writes, “The Gospels give us the true gist of his teaching and the central thrust of his message,” but “we do not have ‘his very words’ in the strictest sense of the term.” In his ownvox article, Daniel Wallace states that Bock there represents “the best of evangelical scholarship when it comes to describing ipsissima vox.”

I think you can see what the vox view does to both the doctrine of inspiration and of inerrancy. When Scripture says, “Jesus said,” as it does at least 65 times, to them it doesn’t actually mean Jesus said those Words. Wallace and Bock approach Jesus’ Words in the Gospels from a naturalistic viewpoint.”
http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2008/09/criticizing-professor-wallace-part.html

Conclusion:

The oral tradition was compromised based on the contrast of sayings and teachings of Jesus presented in the synoptic gospels and the gospel of John.

Even if we ASSUME Jesus spoke koine greek and the gospel authors and the gospel authors verbatim wrote down Jesus’s sayings – THEN WHY IS THERE SUCH A CONTRAST BETWEEN the gospel of john sayings and the synoptic gospels.

However, scholars today acknowledge the concepts of Ipsissma Vox and Ipsissma Verba. However, to put if bluntly they acknowledge the gospel of john author MISQUOTED and put WORDS into Jesus’s mouth which he never said.

Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 3: Authorship Unknown

Discussion:

The traditional authorship of the Gospels are given the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. However, this is an empty claim with no hard evidence. Same goes with the Paulian letters. Scholars unanimously agree that 7 of the 13 letters are attributed to Paul however there is discussion on this as well.

I will focus specifically on the discussion of the gospels. Why? The Gospels contain the information on Jesus.

Tangent – I dismiss that Paul was an apostle of Jesus for a simple reason – how do we know Paul really saw the historical Jesus besides his claim of seeing the historical Jesus. Paul never met the historical Jesus when he was alive and for all we know he could have seen a hallucination, a devil, or nothing, etc.  What is our evidence he was truthful? Again if we were to take on blind faith Paul’s testimony then we should take all religious figures on blind faith.

Why is this important? If we do not even know who wrote the gospels, then why should we even read them. I mean if we do not have any information on who the authors were then how do we know what there credibility was for transmitting the truthful depiction of the historical Jesus? Now many evangelical christians like to claim the gospels were a genre of ancient biographies to give credibility to the gospels but again this is another conjecture.

We do not know how the theology of these anonymous gospel authors correlated with the true Jesus’s theology. What did these anonymous authors believe and what was there source of their theology? We know they believed in a dying and rising Jesus (which never occurred in the true historical past) but why what was there reasons?

Here is an analogy to help understand the reasoning: Let’s say that you received a copy of the Great Gatsby but never knew who the author was. Now you could argue that this may be a real historical event or not. However, if you know the author for the Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), then you could examine the author’s reasoning for writing the content. And we know that the Great Gatsby is a fictitious narration. I could have easily applied to analogy to more far-fetch science-fiction, fantasy, etc books.
Claim:

The gospel authors are anonymous. And we cannot claim they contain any information from the apostles.

Reason:

1) The gospels are formally anonymous. The gospels do not state that they were written by the authors who are assigned to them.

2) We do not know what exactly what language(s) the apostles spoke. The apostles “most likely” spoke Aramaic but this is circumstantial. The reason behind this evidence is that apostles were from rural Galleli.

 

Proof: Here are multiple scholars who address these issues but in my humble opinion

a) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FszDfiERnhk

NT Wright pretty much sums it in the opening minutes of his presentation in 30 seconds. Realize NT Wright has written a voluminous commentary on a fictious non-historical event to defend christianity.

b) Dr. Ehrman sums it pretty nicely in this debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhM5lbVBgkk

Here are some evangelical perspectives that discuss their view:

a) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHo_TuWqIcQ&noredirect=1 (Listen from 5:17- 6:02) – [We don’t know for sure (for sure =Doubts) who wrote the gospels…] But please listen to it in its entirety]

b) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqyA_NVwsTA [Flaw: He cites that there were no contradictory claims to the tradition] However, apostolic authority for the gospel of matthew was given by papias. And if we also take up Papias claims as true than the original gospel of matthew was written in hebrew not koine greek.

c) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g5cnpO3p8Y (Describes the evangelical perspective pretty well)

Conclusion:

We do not know with 100% (meaning there is doubt) about the authorship of the gospels. Both evangelicals and non-evangelical scholars will admit to this position. As shown above with some premiere scholars as stated above.  Even the evangelical works to do damage control they will openly confess they do not know for sure (meaning there is doubt to their tradition). Evangelicals assume there church tradition was meticulous and careful but this is a bogus assumption. What is there proof?

Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 1b: Proof of Corrupted New Testament Documents

In part 1a – We demonstrated that the earliest attainable text that New Testament textual scholars construct does not equate to the original autograph readings of the NT documents. If Christians are INCAPABLE of even determining what the original autograph readings contained with 100% absolute certainty, then why exactly are they concerned about reading what the content says. So Christians prefer reading FORGERIES (we will provide examples) OVER THE ORIGINAL CONTENT.

Now in this section, we will provide evidence of corruption committed by scribes. Again we must repeat, the Christian scribes editing the copies they received and passing them does not mean the Christian scribes  had evil intentions. However the scribes’ intentions are irrelevant but the evidence in manuscript tradition speaks for itself. We will discuss why it is important to pay attention to the EDITORIAL versions of the New Testament documents released by the Christian New Testament scholars.
a) The King James Only versus Modern Translations.

Why it is important? Christian scholars continue to search for earlier manuscripts to construct a more accurate New Testament. However , earlier manuscript finds have shown that numerous verses Christians use to hold as “inspired” text in the King James new testament are now considered corrupted/inauthentic verses (John 7:53-8:11) or variants (616 vs 666). These earlier manuscript finds always present a threat to the authenticity of the current verses found in the new testament documents.

Tangent- Let us start by stating that Christian generally like to throw out the “satan” tactic when anything disagrees with their opinion.

Here is a series sponsored by evangelical chrisitans in which they debate over which new testament contains more “authentic” content: the king james or modern versions (NIV, New King James, RSV, etc). The Ankerberg channel: Do modern translations of have satanic or new age ideas? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNjwPkUoZFo   – Gail Ripplinger is the main catalyst for King James Onlyism and other advocates are Sam Gipp (who has a 5 part series on youtube: Whats the Big Deal about the KJV? – Sam Gipp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIOUN6GJlJI )  and Peter Ruckman.

b) Well the lay human population may not know this but New Testament scholars who construct translations for the new testament documents in the English speaking world ARE WELL AWARE that there are numerous passages that should not be in the current EDITIONS. Here we will cite a few examples. But first tangent – Notice that we are using the word English speaking world because certain corrupted verses like 1 John 5:7 never afflicted German Christians. Here are a few examples that critical Greek editions/modern translations remove by leaving blank spaces of chopping up verses before and after to fill in the spaces.

1.1 Matthew 17:21

1.2 Matthew 18:11

1.3 Matthew 23:14

1.4 Mark 7:16

1.5 Mark 9:44/Mark 9:46

1.6 Mark 11:26

1.7 Mark 15:28

1.8 Mark 16:9–20

1.9 Luke 17:36

1.10 Luke 23:17

1.11 John 5:3–4

1.12 Acts 8:37

1.13 Acts 15:34

1.14 Acts 24:6p–7

1.15 Acts 28:29

1.16 Romans 16:24

When you go to the modern translations you will see blanks paces that indicate an omission in these latest editions (which causes Gail Ripplinger to have a fit).  Here is one example for matthew 17:21 – http://biblehub.com/matthew/17-21.htm

c) Here are three classic verses/passages that will shock the lay Christians if they find out these are corrupted/inauthentic passages in the current editions.

 

Actually evangelical Christian Scholars on the Ankerberg show have mounted a DAMAGE CONTROL  to keep their flock/followers blind and not concerned

Watch Daniel Wallace in action  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cobVbGs5yXM&list=PLA32896A38AAA4310&index=12 (52 second long clip on THE WOMAN IN ADULTERY”).
1) 1 John 5:7 – This is an English speaking Christians favorite verse to quote as proof for the “triune godhead Yahweh”.Well it’s a corruption/forgery to earliest attainable text of the gospel of john. Now why would a Christian want to insert such a verse. If the new testament was explicit and clear about the trinity – then why create a verse  in the FIRST place??? Mmmm…

2) John 7:53-8:11. The woman caught in adultery. How many lay Christians preach this in sermons or create this ‘scene’ in movies (even though it’s a false event).

Here is one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIiN3F9bdhk ( I didn’t watch it because it’s pointless to preach a forgery to the gospel of John regardless of how “nice” the story is)

Even you can find this scene in the Christian movies that are out today like “son of “god””. I do not recommend watching it but it just goes to show how disconnected Christians are from their New Testament document authenticity and textual criticism. Should Christians know who and how their new testaments are made for them.

3) Last and probably my favorite corrupted/inauthentic passage is the Last 12 verses of Mark. Now most Christians today don’t read their new testament so are not familiar with it. But there are some as the famous Jamie Coots death shows that take the new testament as the literal word of “god”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFAUhWJEHtc

Now I find this amusing that Christians will LIE to so many extents which is just evident with a pastor debating the Sheikh Ahmad Deedat: Go to 2:39:40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on8GxYqnWj4
Now this pastor could easily have said the last 12 verses of Mark are corruptions or inauthentic but no probably did not even know.

Furthermore, the last 12 verses show that the scribes had great liberty in making up words (koine Greek not Jesus’s most likely native tongue (Aramaic) and (possibly actions) attributing them to Jesus. I mean the gospel of Mark doesn’t even contain an actual mention of a “resurrected jesus”… even though some claim that other verses made it clear the author of the gospel of Mark knew about it (and how authentic are those verses? – will a find of an earlier NT manuscript lead them to be inauthentic – Who knows?)

And think about christians admission of Ipsissima Vox in regards to the Gospel of John. That is an open admission for the permission of Christian scribes/authors to make up words and insert them into Jesus mouth which he never said.

 

Conclusion:
We really can’t say what verses are authentic or inauthentic/corruptions. It’s all a probability game in regards to the authenticity of the NT verses (which basically means there is always doubt in authenticity)

Here’s a classic example that may demonstrate the severe impact of having an inauthentic/corrupted text: There are two number  616 or 666 variants in regards to the “mark of the beast”. Now how many apocalyptic literature has been written on the number 666 by Christians. How many Christians try to use 666 as a way to insult other religions??? And now a possible variant 616 may be more authentic. If more finds show that 616 was more authentic, then this will throw all those 666-based ideas to  the trash? Extrapolate this concept to all Christian scholarship. How many verses are Christian scholarship based on that are forgeries???? We don’t know.

[Here is a wiki article that summarizes the two variants 616 and 666: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_beast#616
“Although Irenaeus (2nd century AD) affirmed the number to be 666 and reported several scribal errors of the number, there is still a minority of theologians who have doubt about the original reading[10]because of the figure 616 being given in Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (C; Paris), one of the four great uncial codices, as well as by the Latin version of Tyconius (DCXVI, ed. Souter in the Journal of Theology, SE, April 1913), and by an ancient Armenian version (ed. Conybaere, 1907). Irenaeus knew about the 616 reading, but did not adopt it (Haer. v.30,3). However, several centuries later, correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Vetus Latina,Jerome left it in. (De Monogramm., ed. Dom G Morin in the Rev. Benedictine, 1903). “The number 666 has been substituted for 616 either by analogy with 888, the [Greek] number of Jesus (Deissmann), or because it is a triangular number, the sum of the first 36 numbers (1+2+3+4+5+6…+36 = 666)”[11]

Around 2005, a fragment from Papyrus 115, taken from the Oxyrhynchus site, was discovered at theOxford University’s Ashmolean Museum. It gave the beast’s number as 616. This fragment happens to be the oldest manuscript (about 1,700 years old) of Revelation 13 to date.[12][13]

Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, known before the P115 finding but dating to after it, has 616 written in full:ἑξακόσιοιδέκαἕξ, hexakosioi deka hex (lit. “six hundred and sixteen”).[14]

Papyrus 115 and Ephraemi Rescriptus has led some scholars to conclude that 616 is the original number of the beast]

  1.  Anderson, Tom (1 May 2005). “Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it’s a devilish 616)”The Independent (London). Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  2. Jump up^ Paul Lewes, A Key to Christian Origins (Watts & Co., London, 1932, p. 140
  3. Jump up^ Stewart 2011, pp. 40–1
  4. Jump up^ “Papyrus Reveals New Clues to Ancient World”. News.nationalgeographic.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-10. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  5. Jump up^ Hoskier, Herman C. (1929). Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse: A complete conspectus of all authorities (vol. 2 ed.). p. 364.

 

 

 

 

 

Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 1a: Inauthentic, Corrupted, Original Content Unknown for each NT Document

Before I demonstrate the corruption and poor preservation of the New Testament documents and the IMPOSSIBLE task of ever reconstructing the original autograph wording (based on current data [NT Manuscripts]), I must first ask all the Christians: WHY WOULD THERE BE A NEED FOR TEXTUAL CRITICAL SCHOLARS IF THE ORIGINAL “INSPIRED” WORDING HAD ALL READY BEEN RECOVERED?

Now… before I begin demonstrating the corrupted and poorly preserved New Testament documents. I will first like to get some quick points out of the way. Just to go along with Christian tradition, I will assume TRADITIONAL AUTHORSHIP of the New Testament Documents (Yes- even the book of Hebrews). I will ASSUME ORIGINAL ASSUME THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FOR EACH NT DOCUMENT AS KOINE GREEK. YES, I KNOW THERE ARE THEORIES OUT THERE PROPOSING THE NT DOCUMENTS WERE ORIGINALLY ARAMAIC OR THE EARLY CHURCH FATHER PAPIAS’S ASSERTION THAT THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW WAS WRITTEN IN HEBREW. Yes, and lastly let’s assume original gospel authors’ were “inspired” and the new testament documents are AS ACCORDING TO CHRISTIANS the Word of “TRIUNE YAHWEH”.

Okay then that leaves the BIG QUESTION FOR CHRISTIANITY:

What did these AUTHOR’S REALLY WRITE? WHAT IS THE ORIGINAL CONTENT that the Authors of each of the New Testament documents write? What are the “inspired” words for each NT document? Many evangelicals BELIEVE that the original autographs were “inerrant” – So what is the content of those original autographs?

Claim: We do not know what these authors who were allegedly “inspired by a non-human intelligence” wrote. It is impossible to LOCATE the words that originate from an “inspired” super-natural force that were found in the original autograph documents.

Tangent, I am NOT claiming the scribes who copied the New Testament documents had evil intentions when they edited the text that came to them. However, the summation of multiple scribes editing has led to an inability for NT Scholars to figure out the original autographs’ words. Now some Christians may argue – Well only the Message matters. That’s irrelevant to this discussion. Rather – SINCE IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS ARE INAUTHENTIC, CORRUPTED (not necessarily by evil intentions), that the content Christians read today CANNOT BE VIEWED as written by the Traditional Authorship associated with each NT document.

Analogy of why this discussion is important: Let’s say You (the reader) wrote a book.  You wrote a sentence in that book that said “mixing blue dye in water will produce flavored water”. Someone copying your book wrote “mixing dye in water will produce flavored water”. Of course the message is the same – Adding dye to water makes flavored water. However the visual true reality of what you wrote (the readers)  is much different than someone reading the copy. They reader of the copy could easily add  say “red, green, yellow, etc  dye”.  {I will work on making an easier analogy}. How does this analogy compare specifically to the new testament documents.  Two specific examples that this analogy applies to  is the variant reading in Mark 1:41 and Hebrews 2:9. In Mark 1:41 was Jesus indignant or compassionate changes the image, perception of Jesus as a healer.  Or another example is the variant found in Hebrews 2:9 – http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2006/05/evidence-in-hebrews-29.html which changes the ENTIRE THEOLOGY of the text.

Proofs:

A)     New Testament Textual Critics AUTHORITIES even claim that the earliest attainable text is NOT EQUIVALENT to the original autograph reading.  The earliest attainable text (constructed by New Testament textual critics) CANNOT BE DETERMINED TO BE the original autograph reading. Pause and re-read the statements above before I begin citing major authorities.

  1. The Publishers of the Nestle Aland 28th Edition have even shifted there assumptions from the earliest attainable text as equivalent to the original autograph reading. Here is a commentary explaining this point:
    “Third, this edition reflects a shift in assumptions about what the evidence allows one to reconstruct. Where previous generations, emboldened by a confidence in science which was possible only in the Enlightenment, claimed to be able to reproduce the “New Testament in the Original Greek,” late twentieth century scholars have known that extant evidence reaches only back to the second century, and that for only a scattering of passages. There may be nearly 150 years between the original writing/delivery of a New Testament text and the now-preserved manuscripts. Given the strong dependence on a genealogical method, this edition claims only to reconstruct the “Ausgangstext,” or the “Initial Text,” defined as follows:

“The initial text is the form of a text that stands at the beginning of a textual tradition. The constructed text of an edition represents the hypothetical reconstruction of the initial text.” (ECM 2 Peter, 23)

This edition helpfully acknowledges that reproducing an “autograph” of any New Testament writing is an impossible task, given available evidence. This also leads to a perhaps surprising move by the editors: the removal of any reference to a conjecture in the apparatus. Since the editors claim to reconstruct only the hypothetical text that stands at the head of the manuscript tradition (and not the “autograph”), conjectures are not part of their project. So, for example, the conjecture that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 is a post-Pauline interpolation has been deleted from the apparatus.”  http://concordiatheology.org/2012/10/a-new-edition-of-the-greek-new-testament/

————————–

  1. “(Michael) Holmes (New Testament Textual Critic) writes that while he once understood the purpose of textual criticism to be the reconstruction of the original text of a document, he no longer holds to this persuasion. He explains that there are at least two major reasons for this. First, “the study of the history of the transmission of the text is no longer viewed only or primarily as a means to the recovery of the original, but rather as a legitimate goal in its own right” (p. 367). Rather than treating many of the textual variants of the NT as “detritus littering the path to the original text” (p. 637), Holmes suggests that scholars should recognize the value of textual variants for what they reveal about the world of the early church. The existence of textual variants, Holmes notes, provide “possible sources of insight into the history and cultural context of the individuals and communities that transmitted (and, occasionally, created) them” (p. 367–68). But why dismiss the task of reconstructing the original text? Might it be possible to work towards a reconstruction of the text of the original writings of the NT while also recognizing that textual variants may occasionally reveal further insight into the various theological controversies which took place in early Christianity?

Second, Holmes suggests that the task of reconstructing the text of the original autographs of the NT writings is fraught with difficulties. As he argues, the original autographs would have contained “not merely the text as a sequence of words, but also the precise layout, spelling, and form of the words” that “generally are not recoverable from the surviving manuscripts copies of the New Testament writings” (pp. 668–69). However, even if these relatively minor characteristics of the autographs are not the primary focus, Holmes insists that discerning an “original” text remains problematic because of the ambiguity of the term. Because the NT writings were often composed with the assistance of a secretary (see the example of Tertius in Rom 16:22), the term “original text” is often used in reference to different stages in the compositional process. For most scholars, however, the term “original text” is used to describe the text that was dispatched to a writer’s original audience. Rather than seeking to reconstruct the “original” text—in whatever form one envisions—Holmes argues that textual critics should seek to uncover, so much as the extant witnesses allow, what he has described as the initial text, that is, “the form(s) of text in which an early Christian writing first began to circulate and be copied” (p. 638). In other words, rather than seeking to reconstruct the text of the original autographs in the state in which they were originally dispatched, Holmes argues that textual critics must instead seek to establish “the textual form(s) (archetypes) from which the extant evidence derives” (p. 680).

Ehrman’s essay also discusses some of his objections to a primary focus on the reestablishment of the original text. He argues that while textual critics have “enjoyed reasonable [Listen to Ehrman in his debate with Evangelical Dr. Daniel Wallace and he clearly states the EARLIEST ATTAINABLE TEXT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH] success at establishing, to the best of their abilities, the original text of the New Testament” (p. 825), this narrow focus overlooks the significant insights that the various textual witnesses reveal about the social world in which the NT was written and transmitted. “An exclusive concentration on the autographs is myopic,” Ehrman concludes, because “it overlooks the value of variant forms of the text for historians interested in matters other than exegesis” (p. 803). Other notable textual critics have argued similarly in recent years, perhaps most notably Eldon Epp and David Parker.”

http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/review/the_text_of_the_new_testament_in_contemporary_research_essays

The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Questions. Second Edition (New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents) http://www.amazon.com/dp/900423604X/?tag=thegospcoal-20

———————————————-

  1. William L Petersen: “For all researches in the New Testaament, but especially textual critics, it is of the utmost importance to remember that whatever sort of text (or oral tradition) early (pre-180) Christian writers were accessing, it was very different from the text we now find in our critical editions (such as Nestle Aland or ever the Greeven Synopse) and, of course, different from the textual backbone of these critical editions, MSS and B.
    To be brutally frank, we know next to nothing about the shape of the “autograph” gospels; indeed, it is questionable if one can even speak of such a thing. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the text in our critical editions today is acutally a text which dates from no earlier that about 180 CE, at the earliest. Our critical editions do not present us with the text that was current in 150, 120, or 100 – much less in 80 CE. This fundament fact of of textual criticism is often ignored, overlooked, or even denied. The reasons are diverse, but not hard to discern. For some, of course, the theological consequences of such a fact are unpalatable: they threaten the “reliability” of the “word of  God”. For others, the fact that our modern critical text takes us back no earlier than 180 would short-circuit their research efforts at the outset – and hence, it is easier to ignore the issue. It is clear, for example that one cannot hope to come close to solving the “synoptic problem” when the text of the gospels did not reach a state of textual entropy until 180 or so.” Page 62 – William L. Petersen – “Genesis of the Gospels”.

New Testament Textual Criticism and Exegesis: Festschrift J. Delobel edited by Adelbert Denaux, Joël Delobel.

http://books.google.com/books?id=HuqgadCCrvMC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=nestle+aland+original+autograph+impossible&source=bl&ots=HeMrNMppct&sig=PFdtY81Ml-zWZ90ZYIxk68Z_04U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BGNiU4n0Hoa2yASMsYGQCw&ved=0CFsQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=nestle%20aland%20original%20autograph%20impossible&f=false

—————————————————————–

  1. Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism Paperback by David Alan Black

http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-New-Testament-Textual-Criticism/dp/0801022800

——————————————————————-

A)     WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THESE AUTHORITIES VIEWS  “The earliest attainable text (by new testament textual critics) CANNOT BE DETERMINED TO BE the original autograph reading”

  1. New Testament Scholars cannot even come up with a UNIVERSAL DEFINITION OF WHAT THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENTS ARE. Since New Testament Scholars CANNOT even come up with a universal definition of how the original autograph documents looked like: THEN WHAT EXACTLY ARE NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL CRITICS RECONSTRUCTING BACK TO? Examples:

i.      What is the original version of the Book of Acts (the Alexandrian or Western Text Type – 10% different)?

Bruce Metzger on the “Western Text” of the Book of Acts

“The text of the book of the Acts of the Apostles circulated in the early church in two quite distinct forms, commonly called the Alexandrian and the Western. The former, which has been traditionally regarded as the authentic text of Acts, is represented by p45 p74 א A B C Ψ 33 81 104 326 and 1175. The other form is represented chiefly by D and the fragmentary papyri p29 , p38 , and p48, by the readings marked with an asterisk or standing in the margin of the Harclean Syriac version (syrh with *, syrh mg), by the African Old Latin ms. h (a fifth or sixth century fragmentary palimpsest that preserves about 203 of the 1007 verses of Acts), and by the citations of Acts made by Cyprian and Augustine. These, which are the primary witnesses to the Western text in Acts, are sometimes joined by others that present mixed texts with a relatively high proportion of Western elements. Among such are the Armenian version of the commentary on Acts by Ephraem Syrus, the Old Georgian version of Acts, several mixed Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts, and a few Greek minuscule manuscripts that were included by von Soden in his I-group. More recent discoveries of witnesses with decided Western affiliations include a Palestinian Syriac fragment (syrms K) from the Kastellion Monastery at Khirbet Mird, dating from the sixth century, and a Coptic manuscript (copG67) written in the Middle Egyptian dialect and dated by its editor in the late fourth or early fifth century.

The two forms of text differ in character as well as length. The Western text is nearly one-tenth longer than the Alexandrian text, and is generally more picturesque and circumstantial, whereas the shorter text is generally more colorless and in places more obscure.

The relationship between the two forms of Acts has been the subject of much discussion; the chief theories that have been proposed are the following.

(1) Both forms of text proceed from the author, who produced two editions of his work. The first to make this suggestion appears to have been Jean Leclerc, who, however, later rejected his own hypothesis. In more modern times Bishop J. B. Lightfoot took a rather favorable view of this theory, and it was subsequently adopted and developed with much learning by the German professor of classics, Friedrich Blass. According to Blass, Luke, having made a rough draft of his history of the primitive church, perhaps on the back of some previous manuscript, desired to present a handsome copy of his work to his distinguished friend Theophilus. Not being rich enough to employ a professional scribe to make the copy, Luke had to make it himself; naturally, instead of slavishly following his first draft, he exercised the freedom that an author can lawfully take with a work of his own, in altering phraseology and deleting superfluities. From both forms of Acts, according to Blass, copies were made; the text current in most manuscripts represents the polished, second edition prepared for Theophilus, while copies were also made from the original (longer) draft, which Blass supposed was treasured and preserved in the Roman church.

Nothing in this theory is inherently unreasonable, and it attracted the support of a number of other scholars, including Theodor Zahn, Eberhard Nestle, J. M. Wilson, and A.J. Wensinck. Other scholars, however, found it difficult to understand the motives of the author in choosing to omit certain details found in the presumed earlier account; the gain in space is small and the loss in information and descriptiveness is sometimes great. Is it plausible that the author would have omitted a clause from the decrees of the Jerusalem council (15.20, 29), or have altered the language of the letter of Claudius Lysias (23.26–30) or Festus’s speech to Agrippa concerning Paul’s culpability (25.24–25)? Furthermore, sometimes the shorter form contradicts the longer form. For example, having described (in the first person plural) a break in the journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem at the house of Mnason (so the Western text of 21.16), the author would not be likely to alter it so as to suggest that Mnason lived in Jerusalem (as is implied in the shorter text).

It has also been pointed out that in many cases the text that Blass regarded as the earlier, unrevised form of Acts exhibits the clear characteristics of later additions. Thus, for example, in a devastating review of Blass’s edition, another classical scholar, T. E. Page, assembled numerous examples where the Western text heightens or exaggerates the emphasis of the passage, where it introduces religious formulae and substitutes for the simpler and natural names of Jesus fuller and more elaborate theological titles, and where it emphasizes words and actions as inspired by the Spirit.

For these and other reasons many scholars today are reluctant to adopt Blass’s theory of two editions of Acts

(2) Soon after Blass popularized the theory of two editions of Acts, an Irish scholar, George Salmon, offered an alternative explanation to account for the textual phenomena of Acts. He suggested that “Luke may have continued to reside at Rome after the expiration of Paul’s two years [of Roman imprisonment], and may there have given readings of his work; and explanatory statements which he then made were preserved in the West.” Although it is possible to point to examples of authors in antiquity who gave public readings of their literary works, it is difficult to imagine the historical circumstances that would account for the preservation in written form of the oral comments made by Luke.

(3) Other scholars explain the distinctive form of the Western text as due to interpolation. It is maintained that in the early ages of the church the text of the New Testament was not looked upon as sacred, and therefore scribes felt at liberty to modify the form as well as to incorporate from oral tradition all kinds of additional details. Thus the Western text, according to this explanation, represents a wild and uncontrolled growth of the text during the first and second centuries.

This view has been widely held by scholars of various backgrounds, such as Westcott and Hort, W. H. P. Hatch, F. G. Kenyon, and Martin Dibelius.

Still others have held that one of the rival texts is derived from the other, not merely by a haphazard accumulation of glosses added over the years by numerous scribes, but by a deliberate revision made early in the second century by someone who was not satisfied with the existing form of the book. The problem is to determine which form was primary and which was secondary. The following two theories give diametrically opposing answers to the problem.

(4) The view that in general the Alexandrian text preserves more accurately the work of the original author and that the Western text reflects the work of a reviser was set forth with great learning by James Hardy Ropes in his edition of the text of Acts, and has been championed more recently by R. P. C. Hanson, who, however, instead of referring to a Western reviser, prefers to speak of a Western interpolator.

An interesting hypothesis that Ropes threw out for further discussion is the suggestion that “the preparation of the ‘Western’ text, which took place early in the second century, perhaps at Antioch, was incidental to the work of forming a collection of Christian writings for general Church use which ultimately, somewhat enlarged, became the New Testament; in a word, the ‘Western’ text was the text of the primitive ‘canon’ (if the term may be pardoned in referring to so early a date), and was expressly created for that purpose.”

(5) The opposite point of view, namely that the Western text of Acts is primary and the Alexandrian is a deliberate modification of it, was championed by Albert C. Clark, Corpus Professor of Latin in the University of Oxford. In his earlier publications Clark explained the shortened form as being the result of a scribe’s accidentally missing here and there one or more lines of his exemplar. Since, however, accidental omissions would not account for the regular correspondence of the omissions with breaks in the sense, nor does the theory explain the numerous differences in wording where no omission is involved, in a subsequent publication Clark practically abandoned the theory of accidental omission and revived the theory of a deliberate editorial shortening of the Western text. The Alexandrian abbreviator, he thinks, excised passages throughout the book for a variety of reasons; in some cases we can deduce that he eliminated what he considered to be otiose, but in other cases the excisions, Clark admits, show a singular want of taste.

Still other theories of a linguistic sort have been proposed over the years to account for the unusual phenomena of codex Bezae.

(6) J. Rendel Harris revived the theory of Mill, Wettstein, Middleton, and other eighteenth century scholars that “the whole of the Greek text of Codex Bezae from the beginning of Matthew to the end of Acts is a re-adjustment of an earlier text to the Latin version.” The theory finds little or no support among present-day scholars.

(7) The view that codex Bezae embodies an appreciable amount of Semitic coloring has been examined and adopted in various forms by several scholars. Frederic Henry Chase sought to prove that the Bezan text of Acts is the result of assimilation of a Greek text to a Syriac text that antedated the Peshitta version. In the case of the Gospels, Julius Wellhausen frequently argued for the primitive nature of the readings in codex D. This point of view was discussed further by A. J. Wensinck in a study entitled, “The Semitisms of Codex Bezae and their Relation to the Non-Western Text of the Gospel of Saint Luke,” and particularly by Matthew Black in his volume An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts, in which he gathers, classifies, and carefully evaluates a large amount of relevant material. According to Black, “The Bezan text in all the Synoptic Gospels, if less so in some respects in Mark, is more frequently stained with Aramaic constructions and idiom than the B א text.” A somewhat similar conclusion concerning the Western text of Acts was also reached by Max Wilcox in his monograph (originally a doctoral dissertation written under the guidance of Black) entitled The Semitisms of Acts.

Another hypothesis that seeks to account for Semitisms in codex Bezae was proposed by a specialist in the Semitic languages, C. C. Torrey. After having published several monographs on details of Aramaic coloring in the Gospels and the first half of the book of Acts, Torrey advanced the theory that the Gospels and Acts were translated from Greek into an Aramaic “Targum” towards the end of the first century, and that this “Targum,” being mistaken for the original Semitic text of these books, was very soon afterwards retranslated into Greek with constant reference to the existing Greek text. This retranslation, Torrey held, was the basis of the Western text in the Gospels and Acts.

Although F. F. Bruce described Torrey’s hypothesis as “very plausible … [for] it seems to satisfy many of the linguistic phenomena better than any other,” most other scholars have rejected it as too complicated to be probable. …

After surveying the chief theories that have been offered to explain the origin of the Western text, one is impressed by the wide diversity of hypotheses and the lack of any generally accepted explanation. A failing common to many of the theories is the attempt to account for the Western text by concentrating upon only one aspect of the problem. The complex phenomena, however, that characterize the Western text in relation to the Alexandrian text include, as Haenchen points out in a brief but incisive discussion, at least three kinds or levels of variant readings. There are, first, not only for Acts but for the Gospels and the Pauline corpus as well, a great number of minor variants that seek to clarify and explain the text and make it smooth. Occasionally pious phrases are introduced. This form of text, widely current in the early church and used by Marcion, Tatian, Irenaeus, and others, cannot be regarded as a “recension,” for it is not and never was a unity.

Secondly, there are variants of another kind, peculiar to the Western text of Acts. These include many additions, long and short, of a substantive nature that reveal the hand of a reviser. Working upon a copy of the “Western” text in the first sense, the reviser, who was obviously a meticulous and well-informed scholar, eliminated seams and gaps and added historical, biographical, and geographical details. Apparently the reviser did his work at an early date, before the text of Acts had come to be generally regarded as a sacred text that must be preserved inviolate.

Thirdly, there are still other variants which are not to be associated with the Western text as such, nor with its reviser, but which belong to a particular manuscript, namely codex Bezae. This witness, copied, according to Haenchen, about A.D. 500, exhibits a variety of scribal idiosyncrasies, some of which, though suggesting Aramaisms, are nothing more than errors of a scribe, or possibly two successive scribes. It follows, in the words of Haenchen’s conclusion, that “in none of the three cases does the ‘Western’ text of Acts preserve for us the ‘original’ text of that book; this is the lesson that we are gradually beginning to learn.”

Since no hypothesis thus far proposed to explain the relation of the Western and the Alexandrian texts of Acts has gained anything like general assent, in its work on that book the Bible Societies’ Committee proceeded in an eclectic fashion, holding that neither the Alexandrian nor the Western group of witnesses always preserves the original text, but that in order to attain the earliest text one must compare the two divergent traditions point by point and in each case select the reading that commends itself in the light of transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities.

In reviewing the work of the Committee on the book of Acts as a whole, one observes that more often than not the shorter, Alexandrian text was preferred. At the same time the Committee judged that some of the information incorporated in certain Western expansions may well be factually accurate, though not deriving from the original author of Acts.”

Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975), pp. 259-72. http://www.bible-researcher.com/bezae-acts2.html

ii.      Is the Prologue and Epilogue part of the original autograph of the gospel of John?

Here is a commentary of an evangelical just to show the dispute in action – and that NT Scholars can’t determine a definition of the gospel of John’s prologue: http://journalofappliedtheology.com/Journal/Articles_files/John’s%20Prologue.pdf

iii.      Is Chapter 1 and 2 part of the Original Gospel of Luke

iv.      How many letters went into making 2nd Corinthians?

———————–

2. The Second Reason it is ILLOGICAL to make the claim that the earliest attainable text equals the original autograph reading is based on the Current Greek Manuscript Tradition. The late attestations for the current collection of greek manuscripts is far removed from the original autograph dating (remember it is impossible to know when the original autographs were dated with any preciseness so even the dating of the current NT manuscripts contain significant variation):

Here is a list of all the current Greek New Testament Manuscripts:
a) http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/Mss/

Pay attention to how many manuscripts and number of verses actually come from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Majority of the 5800+ manuscripts come from after the 8th century. So yes Christians have an idea of how the new testament looked like during that period and afterwards BUT NO WAY IN THE 1st century or 2nd Century. [I will provide more details in this regard in later edition].

————————-

Here are a few debates/lectures I suggest people wanting to learn about the New Testament corruption and inauthenticity should watch:

a)      Is the Original New Testament Lost? Sponsored by the Ehrman Project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg-dJA3SnTA

b)      Bible Corrupted by the iERA – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlGZdiSnuxU

c)       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2Mp4v8VQwQ (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CROSS EXAMINATION BETWEEN a lay evangelical and NT Textual Scholar in regards to the poor preservation and inauthenticity of the New Testament documents)

d) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-RMdX0zi-Q    Even the most evangelical Textual Scholar (Daniel Wallace) from 8:48-10:00 Admits that “it is impossible to have absolute certainty of what the original words of the Bible are” Actually he wants Christians to avoid absolute certainty like the plague. His claim that parts of the original autograph have been recovered is an illogical claim based on the previous evidence. But even if we ASSUME Dr. Daniel Wallace is correct, there are still significant proofs the New Testament documents have been corrupted which will be highlighted in the part 1b in the next article. Furthermore his open admission that “(christians) we do not have absolute certainty what the original words of the bible are is light way of saying that all the words the new testament scholars have constructed still have doubt to their authenticity. By associating probabilities (qualitative) to what the original readings COULD have been is just a masking with flowery deception. Pretty much there is ALWAYS UNCERTAINTY as to how the earliest attainable text relates to the original autograph. Furthermore, the authenticity of the reconstructed words by New Testament scholars is ALWAYS IN JEOPARDY because earlier manuscripts finds can easily deem the reconstructed verses and words as CORRUPTED.

————————————————————————

Conclusion: Ask any christian how the [A] reading in the UBS greek new testament or Nestle Aland’s  “reading” relates to the original autograph reading, and all THEY WILL ADMIT is it is a probability game. A probability game as to what the original words of the bible are? Yes just another way to say there is an INHERENT DOUBT always associated with the authenticity of the verses New Testament Textual Critics reconstruct.

Is this probability editors use numerical… NO it’s purely qualitative. They have no way of demonstrating that the [A] variant reading corresponds to the original autograph text.

Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 2: Which Canon is “Inspired”?

The ideology of Christianity is based on the New Testament Canon.

Problems with defining the Word of “God” [Different New Testament Canons]:

To this day, Christians have not been able to develop one unified Canon of Books that represent the Word of “God”. What New Testament Canon is “inspired by the Holy Ghost”? Which Christian sect contains the “Holy Ghost inspired Scriptures”? Who determines what is the absolute right canon that the “Holy Ghost is “guiding””?

Proofs:

a) Yale Course: From Stories to the Canon by Dr. Dale Martin:

b) Canon Of  Bible [The NEW TESTAMENT] by http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/Canon/

One of the more incontrovertible issues confronting any serious study of the Bible is the glaring historical vacuum of consensus over what constitutes a legitimate canon. Much like the early theological controversies, the Church was plagued from its very infancy with heated debates over what precisely qualified as “scripture”. Indeed, the widespread division over the most basic elements of Christian faith led each of the major doctrinal factions to champion their own versions of an “inspired scripture”.

The extent of this disagreement was only to intensify with the coming of the Reformation. The ensuing secession by Protestant Christians (themselves later to explode into literally tens of doctrinally distinct denominations) ensured that these major divisions would remain into perpetuity.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this less than flattering problem of multiple canons is conveniently exempted from the literature of missionary Christianity. The reasons for this range from humble ignorance (itself admittedly less humble in proportion) to the more subtle means of diplomatic guile so perfected by missionary propagandists. It is our aim to fill this factual void with a few helpful resources. Honest readers will conclude that it requires no stretch of the imagination nor any excercise of lofty reasoning to acknowledge some very serious problems in what Christians call “The Word of God”.

It is our aim here to educate the Muslims about the evolution of Biblical Canon and to show that in the absence of any agreed set of books as “inspired” and the reasons of why they can be considered as “inspired”, there is simply no reason to believe they are “inspired”. Putting it quite succintly: one man’s scripture is another man’s apocrypha.

1. Early Lists Of The Books Of The New Testament

Below are the lists of the books drawn that were drawn by various Church authorities showing, in their opinion, what constituted the extent of New Testament. The list is till the end of 4th century.

The Muratorian Canon

The Canon Of Origen (A.D. c. 185 – 254)

The Canon Of Eusebius Of Caesarea (A.D. 265 – 340)

A Canon Of Uncertain Date And Provenance Inserted in Codex Claromontanus

The Canon Of Cyril Of Jerusalem (c. A.D. 350)

The Cheltenham Canon (c. A.D. 360)

The Canon Approved By The Synod Of Laodicea (c. A.D. 363)

The Canon Of Athanasius (A.D. 367)

The Canon Approved By The ‘Apostolic Canons’ (c. A.D. 380)

The Canon Of Gregory Of Nazianzus (A.D. 329 – 89)

The Canon Of Amphilochius Of Iconium (d. 394)

The Canon Approved By The Third Synod Of Carthage (A.D. 397)

The Canons Of The Old Testament & The New Testament Through The Ages

A comprehensive collection of biblical canons throughout the history from the time of Jesus to the modern day critical editions.

The Formation And Closure Of Biblical Canons: A Multifaceted Development

Has there been a uniform canon of the Bible from apostolic times or has there been a uniform misrepresentation of the historical processes relating to the conception, formation and closure of the biblical canons? A critical appraisal of evangelical, missionary and apologist claims regarding the history, formation and closure of the biblical canons, especially the twenty-seven book canon of the New Testament, is provided.

2. To Every Church A Canon…

 Anglican Church: The canon of the Anglican falls between the Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations by accepting only the Jewish canon and the New Testament as authoritative, but also by accepting segments of the apocryphal writings in the lectionary and liturgy. At one time all copies of the King James Version of 1611 included the Apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments.

The Origin And Authority Of The Biblical Canon In The Anglican Church, H. W. Howorth, Journal Of Theological Studies, 1906, Volume 29, pp. 1-40.

As the name of the article suggests, it deals with the origins of the Canon of the Anglican Church. The author shows that the Anglican Canon originated as a result of a strange and confused mixture between the past and the present and obviously it was something that never existed before!

 Armenian Church: The noteworthy features of the Armenian version of the Bible was the inclusion of certain books that elsewhere was regarded as apocryphal. The Old Testament included the History of Joseph and Asenath and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the New Testament included the Epistle of Corinthians to Paul and a Third Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.

Armenian Canon Lists IV – The List Of Gregory Of Tatʿew (14th Century), Michael E. Stone, Harvard Theological Review, 1979, Volume 72, No. 3-4, pp. 237-244.

This is the list of Old Testament books in the Armenian Canon according to Gregory of Tatʿew. It is interesting to note that Gregory calls the Old Testament books rejected by Protestants as the “inspired” scriptures.

Canons & Recensions Of The Armenian Bible.

A listing of “accepted” books in the Armenian canons and recensions.

 Coptic Church: Athanasius issued his Thirty-Ninth Festal Epistle not only in the Greek but also in Coptic, in a slightly different form – though the list of the twenty seven books of the New Testament is the same in both languages. How far, however the list remained authoritative for the Copts is problematical. The Coptic (Bohairic) translation of the collection knowns as the Eighty-Five Apostlic Canons concludes with a different sequence of the books of the New Testament and is enlarged by the addition of two others: the four Gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen Epistles of Paul (not mentioned individually); two Epistles of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; the Apocalypse of John; the two Epistles of Clement.

 Ethiopic (Abyssinian) Church: This Church has the largest Bible of all, and and distinguishes different canons, the “narrower” and the “broader” according to the extent of the New Testament. The Ethiopic Old Testament comprises the books of the Hebrew Bible as well as all of the deuterocanonical books listed above, along with Jubilees, I Enoch, and Joseph ben Gorion’s (Josippon’s) medieval history of the Jews and other nations. The New Testament in what is referred to as the “broader” canon is made up of thirty-five books, joining to the usual twenty-seven books eight additional texts, namely four sections of church order from a compilation called Sinodos, two sections from the Ethiopic Book of the Covenant, Ethiopic Clement, and Ethiopic Didascalia. When the “narrower” New Testament canon is followed, it is made up of only the familiar twenty-seven books, but then the Old Testament books are divided differently so that they make up 54 books instead of 46. In both the narrower and broader canon, the total number of books comes to 81.

The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopic Orthodox Church Today, R. W. Cowley,Ostkirchliche Studien, 1974, Volume 23, pp. 318-323.

The article discusses the Biblical Canon of the Ethiopic Orthodox Church as seen today. This canon consists of a “broader” and a “narrower” canon.

 Greek Orthodox Church: The Bible of the Greek Orthodox church comprises all of the books accepted by the Roman Catholic church, plus I Esdras, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees. The Slavonic canon adds 2 Esdras, but designates I and 2 Esdras as 2 and 3 Esdras. Other Eastern churches have 4 Maccabees as well.

 Protestant Church: Historically, Protestant churches have recognized the Hebrew canon as their Old Testament, although differently ordered, and with some books divided so that the total number of books is thirty-nine. These books, as arranged in the traditional English Bible, fall into three types of literature: seventeen historical books (Genesis to Esther), five poetical books (Job to Song of Solomon), and seventeen prophetical books. With the addition of another twenty-seven books (the four Gospels, Acts, twenty-one letters, and the book of Revelation), called the New Testament, the Christian scriptures are complete.

On The Textual Sources Of The New International Version (NIV) Bible.

What are the textual sources of the NIV Bible? Can these textual sources be considered “inspired” or “original”? Such issues are dealt with in this article. It should be added that the arguments made against the “inspiration” or “originality” of textual sources of the NIV Bible are also valid for RSV, NASV and other Bibles. Please note that the article is not about translations of the Bible; it is about their textual sources.

Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), The Patristic Citations Of The Ante-Nicene Church Fathers And The Search For Eleven Missing Verses Of The New Testament

Based on a narrative whose source is alleged to have been the renowned Scottish Judge Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), it is frequently asserted that the entire New Testament can be reconstructed from the citations of the Church Fathers of the first three centuries, with the exception of only eleven verses. Going back to the original documents, something which none of the authors have attempted to study, it is shown that the data in them clearly disproves this claim – repeated in numerous missionary and apologetical publications for a period of more than 165 years.

Biblia Hebraica Quinta and the Making of Critical Editions of the Hebrew Bible, Richard D. Weis, TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, 2002, Volume 7.

Weis explains the current situation with regards the critical editions of the Hebrew Bible, namely, Biblia Hebraica Quinta, Biblia Hebraica & Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Hebrew University Bible and Oxford Hebrew Bible. We know that some of these critical texts are the basis of modern day translation of the Bibles. Are the modern day editions of the Bibles based on editorial judgment or are they the “inerrant”, “infallible” and “eternal” word of God? You read and decide!

“Biblical Inspiration” & Modern Day Textual Criticism.

It is well-known that the modern day Bibles are based on eclectic texts. The Christians make a theological statement about the Bible’s ‘inspiration’ on the basis of an uninspired eclectically reconstructed biblical text, which is nothing but a product of judgment of committee of scholars. Such a position gives rise to an interesting paradox.

Luther And “New Testament Apocrypha”, A. Wikgren in R. H. Fischer’s A Tribute To Arthur Vööbus: Studies In Early Christian Literature, 1977, © University of Chicago Press, pp. 379-390.

Luther’s treatment of four New Testament books (Hebrews, James, Jude, Revelation) reflected his early doubts about their full canonicity. This created a huge impact for over two centuries, in certain printed editions of the Bible. These four books were either printed as “apocrypha” or sometimes they were eliminated altogether from the printed editions!

An Early Protestant Bible Containing The Third Book Of Maccabees: With A List Of Editions And Translations Of Third Maccabees, B. Metzger in M. Brecht’sText – Wort – Glaube Studien Zur Überlieferung, Interpretation Und Autorisierung Biblischer Texte, 1980, pp. 123-133., © Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin.

This Protestant Bible comes with the Third Book of Maccabees, a book that is now demoted to the status of apocrypha.

 Roman Catholic Church: The Protestant canon took shape by rejecting a number of books and parts of books that had for centuries been part of the Old Testament in the Greek Septuagint and in the Latin Vulgate, and had gained wide acceptance within the Roman Catholic church. In response to the Protestant Reformation, at the Council of Trent (1546) the Catholic church accepted, as deuterocanonical, Tobit, Judith, the Greek additions to Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, three Greek additions to Daniel (the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon), and I and 2 Maccabees. These books, together with those in the Jewish canon and the New Testament, constitute the total of seventy three books accepted by the Roman Catholic church.

Lost Books Of The Bible?, A. C. Cotter, Theological Studies, 1945, Volume 6, pp. 206-228.

An interesting discussion about the “lost books” of the Bible and its implications on the Catholic and Protestant canons.

 Syriac Church: Syriac Churches used the Diatesseron, the four-in-one Gospel, introduced by Tatian, and was read in the Syriac Churches for quite some time before it was replaced by Peshitta. Peshitta has again a different number of Books in the New Testament. This represents for the New Testament an accomodation of the canon of the Syrians with that of the Greeks. Third Corinthians was rejected, and, in addition to the fourteen Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews, following Philemon), three longer Catholic Epistles (James, 1 Peter, and 1 John) were included. The four shorter Catholic Epistles (2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude) and the Apocalypse are absent from the Peshitta Syriac version, and thus the Syriac canon of the New Testament contained but twenty-two writings. For a large part of the Syrian Church this constituted the closing of the canon, for after the Council of Ephesus (431 CE) the East Syrians separated themselves as Nestorians from the Great Church.]

 

C) The Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Canon [Clearly different than the Protestant New Testament Canon]:
“The Holy Scriptures are one of the two great foundations of the faith and here is what our church holds and teaches concerning it. The word of God is not contained in the Bible alone, it is to be found in tradition as well. The Sacred Scriptures are the written word of God who is the author of the Old and New Testaments containing nothing but perfect truth in faith and morals. But God’s word is not contained only in them, there is an unwritten word of God also, which we call apostolic tradition. We receive the one and other with equal veneration.

 

The canon of the Ethiopic Bible differs both in the Old and New Testament from that of any other churches.
List all books. As a whole, books written in the Geez language and on parchment are numerous. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 46 books of the Old Testament and 35 books of the New Testament that will bring the total of canonized books of the Bible to 81.”

http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html

 

 

Grade: Moderate.