Saturday, January 21, 2012

Muller on Post-Reformation Reformed Views on the Text of Scripture

I recently started reading Richard A. Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology (Baker, 1993). Of special interest is chapter six “The Canon of Scripture and Its Integrity” (pp. 389-463). Muller stresses the difference between how the post-Reformation men approached the text of Scripture, emphasizing its providential preservation in the extant copies (apographa), in contrast with the modern Princetonian emphasis on the elusive inerrant original copies (autographa). This is the kind of book where I find I want to underline just about every sentence. Here, at least, is part of one outstanding paragraph:

By “original and authentic” text, the Protestant orthodox do not mean the autographa which no one can possess but the apographa in the original tongue which are the sources of all versions…. It is important to note that the Reformed orthodox insistence on the identification of the Hebrew and Greek texts as alone authentic does not demand direct reference to the autographa in those languages; the “original and authentic” text of Scripture means, beyond the autograph copies, the legitimate tradition of Hebrew and Greek apographa. The case for Scripture as an infallible rule of faith and practice and the separate arguments of a received text free from major (i.e., non-scribal) errors rests on an examination of the apographa and does not seek infinite regress of the lost autographa as a prop for textual infallibility (p. 433).


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