Thursday, April 21, 2011
Follow Ups on Recent ESV Dialogue
A few more follow ups on the recent dialogue that took place on this blog relating to the ESV translation.
First, “Nazaroo” has posted a series of three articles on the Pericope de Adultera blog refuting Jamin Hubner’s challenges to the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11): part one, part two, part three. Warning: The tone is, unfortunately, invective.
Second, James Snapp, Jr. offered a post on the “TC-Alternate-list” yahoo group that followed up on my discussion with Hubner relating to the view of the text of Scripture reflected in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. He points out, in particular, that the prooftexts of the Confession cite passages from the traditional text that are omitted in the modern critical text. Here are some excerpts from Snapp’s post:
Then we get to the point: Hubner stated that Riddle was incorrect when he claimed that the London Baptist Confession of Faith "somehow favors the text underlying the KJV ("traditional text" or Byzantine text-type) over the modern texts that underlay the NASB, ESV, etc." The pertinent statement in the Second LBCF (composed in 1689) is in the first section, "On the Holy Scriptures" (in which we cannot get beyond the first paragraph without reading words taken from the KJV, "at sundry times and in divers manners"). Sub-section 8 says, "The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations, being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them." (This is quite similar to a statement in the Westminster Confession, from which it is derived.)
Now it should be noted that in the Preface to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (which can be read at http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/1689lbc/english/1689econtents.htm ) it is stated, "We have also taken care to affix texts of Scripture at the bottom, for the confirmation of each article in our Confession; in which work we have studiously endeavored to select such as are most clear and pertinent for the proof of what is asserted by us; and our earnest desire is that all into whose hands this may come would follow that (never enough commended) example of the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily that they might find out whether the things preached to them were so or not."
With a little bit of exercise it is easy to see what text it is which the authors of the LBCF regarded as the text which God, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages. They were not referring to a text about which they did not know and did not use. They were referring to the text which contains Mark 16:15-16, which is listed as a supportive Scripture reference in Chapter 7 (Of God's Covenant), part 2. It is the text which contains Mark 16:16, which is listed as a supportive Scripture reference in Chapter 29 (On Baptism), part 2. It is the text which contains Mark 16:19, which is listed as a supportive Scripture reference in Chapter 8, part 4. It is the text which contains Acts 8:36-37, which is also listed as a supportive Scripture reference in Chapter 29, part 2. It is the text which, in Romans 9:5, affirms the deity of Christ, as noted in Chapter 8 (Of Christ the Mediator), part 2. It is the text in which John 3:13 and Acts 20:28 illustrate that qualities of Christ that are proper to one nature are sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature, inasmuch as these are the only two passages cited to support this idea in Chapter 8, part 7.
Hubner asks, "Doesn't the text the LBCF talks about also include the preserved texts of Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and papyri fragments?" The answer is, NO. The LBCF does not refer to the preserved texts of Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and papyrus fragments any more than its reference to creation "in the space of six days" refers to theistic evolution over millions of years. One may speculate that IF the composers of the LBCF had known about Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, they would have endorsed their texts. Just as easily, one can speculate that the composers of the LBCF would have endorse evolution, if only they had read Origin of the Species. Whatever Hubner might wish that the LCBF's composers would have done, and whatever he imagines that they might do in an alternate-universe, the fact is that when they referred to the New Testament text that God, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, they were referring to the Textus Receptus.
They were not referring to the Alexandrian Text that dominates and virtually defines the modern critical text of WH and Nestle-Aland. This is unquestionable, inasmuch as the Alexandrian Text lacks verses which the LBCF explicitly cites as authoritative Scripture. Does Hubner imagine that the composers of the LBCF defined Scripture one way in Chapter 2, and different ways in their reference-citations? Most certainly not.
The only way a person can be consistent while (a) subscribing to the LFBC and (b) rejecting the Textus Receptus, is to interpret the wording in the LFBC to mean that the Textus Receptus has been kept pure in the sense that it has been kept free from doctrinal error, rather than that it has been kept free from textual corruption altogether.