Monday, December 30, 2019

GA 804 Looked Like a Gospels-Manuscript - Except For This!

            In October 2014, I wrote about GA 804, a small Gospels-manuscript from the 1000s with a text that often agrees with K and Π.  This manuscript, housed in Athens at the Hellenic Parliament Library, was digitized by a research-team from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.
            Today, I want to zoom in on the contents of the ten pages in GA 804 that appear after its Eusebian Canon-tables and chapter-list and immediately before the text of Matthew.  These pages (viewable at the CSNTM website) were once part of a different manuscript – a lectionary, containing assorted extracts from various New Testament books.  They contain Galatians 4:4-7 (a Christmastime reading), First Corinthians 9:19-22, First Corinthians 10:1-3 (part of a lection for the ceremonial Blessing of the Water on January 5), Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:5-7 (these two segments from Titus form part of a lection for January 6, Epiphany), Hebrews 7:7-17 (a lection for February 2), and Hebrews 2:11-18 (a lection for Good Friday).  The last page of the lectionary (on which the last part of Hebrews 2:18, after περασθείς, can still be read) was reused to contain an illustration (now badly faded) of the apostle Matthew. 
            Let’s briefly sift through the text, ignoring most of the many itacisms, and looking at its readings especially at points where the Byzantine Textform has a reading different from NA27.  A few other readings are also recorded:

Gal. 4:6 – 804 does not have ὁ Θς before το πνα
Gal. 4:6 – 804 has ημων instead of υμων, agreeing with P46 À A B C
Gal. 4:7 – 804 has αλλ’ instead of αλλα, agreeing with Byz
Gal. 4:7 – 804 has θυ δια χυ, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:20 – 804 has ως υπο νομον, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:21 – 804 has θω, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:21 – 804 has Χω, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:22 – 804 has Και at the beginning of the verse
I Cor. 9:22 – 804 has ως, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:22 – 804 has τα, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:23 – 804 has Τουτο, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 9:24 – 804 has Η before ουκ
I Cor. 9:26 – 804 has δε after Εγω
I Cor. 9:26 – 804 has πϊκτευω instead of πυκτευω
I Cor. 9:27 – 804 has αλλ’ instead of αλλα, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 10:1 – 804 has δε, agreeing with Byz
I Cor. 10:1 – 804 has ηλθον instead of διηλθον, agreeing with 1241s
I Cor. 10:2 – 804 has εβαπτισθησαν, agreeing with NA. 
I Cor. 10:3 – 804 has an h.t. error:  the scribe’s line of sight went from the first occurrence of το αυτο to the second occurrence, skipping the intervening words.  (This indirectly supports the Byzantine reading)
Titus 2:11 – 804 has η σριος, agreeing with Byz
Titus 2:13 – 804 has πρς instead of σωτηρος
Titus 2:13 – 804 has Ιυ Χυ, agreeing with Byz
Titus 2:14 – 804 has εαυτον before λαον, instead of εαυτω
Titus 2:14 – 804 has καλλων instead of καλων
Titus 3:4 – 804 has φιλανια 
Titus 3:5 – 804 has ελειον, agreeing (with itacism) with Byz
Titus 3:5 – 804 has ανακενησεως instead of ανακινώσεως
Titus 3:6 – 804 has γενώμεθα instead of γενηθωμεν
Titus 3:7 (lection-segment concludes at the end of the verse)
Heb. 7:9 – 804 has επως (itacism)
Heb. 7:10 – 804 includes ὁ before Μελχισεδέκ, agreeing with Byz
Heb. 7:11 – 804 has αυτην ενομοθετήτο (agreeing with Byz, sort of)
Heb. 7:11 – 804 has χρειαν instead of χρεια
Heb. 7:11 – 804 has μη instead of ου
Heb. 7:14 – 804 has ουδεν περι ερωσυνης, agreeing (essentially) with Byz
Heb. 7:17 – 804 has μαρτυρειται, agreeing with NA
Heb. 7:17 – 804 does not have οτι
Heb. 7:17 – 804 has ει before ιερευς
Heb. 2:14 – 804 has σαρκός και αιματος, agreeing with Byz

            Thus, we have here the remains of a mostly Byzantine lectionary – with a few readings that stand out:  
● The absence of ὁ Θς in Galatians 4:6 would make this reference to God less explicit.  This shorter reading is supported by B and 1739.
φιλανια in Titus 3:4 is not exactly a textual variant; it is a seldom-seen sacred name contraction; uncontracted, the word is φιλανθρωπία.  (It is featured in the Kacmarcik Codex in a section about nomina sacra contractions.  (Dr. David Calabro tells a little more about the Kacmarcik Codex in this brief video.))
εβαπτισθησαν in I Cor. 10:2 is supported by the formidable array of À A C D (i.e., Claromontanus, not Bezae), Ψ 33 1611 1505.  Yet the usual Byzantine reading, ἐβαπτίσαντο, is supported (with a slight spelling difference) by Papyrus 46 B K et al.  The Tyndale House GNT adopts ἐβαπτίσαντο here, in agreement with a note added by Bruce Metzger in his Textual Commentary, which would mean that those who crossed the Red Sea baptized themselves.
ημων in Galatians 4:6 causes the sentence to refer to our hearts, rather than your hearts.  
● The sacred-name contraction πρς in Titus 2:13 is weird:  uncontracted, this would be Πατρος, “Father” – which does not work very well with Granville Sharp’s Rule in play; a reader of such a sentence might conclude that Paul mean that our God and Father = Jesus Christ.  But this would not be the only instance of a copyist writing the wrong sacred-name contraction.   
μαρτυρειται in Hebrews 7;17 – The Byzantine reading μαρτυρει might have originated in a parableptic error in which the final syllable -ται was accidentally skipped.
ει before ιερευς is not adopted in Hebrews 7:17 in the Nestle-Aland compilation, the Byzantine Text, the Textus Receptus, Pickering’s f35 archetype, or the Tyndale House GNT.  Yet a case could be made for its genuineness:  scribes might naturally insert the equivalent of “are” here, but scribes might just as naturally conform the quotation to the Greek text of Psalm 110 (Psalm 109:4 in the Septuagint) that is being quoted – or omit it accidentally.  The inclusion of ει has early and diverse support from Papyrus 46, K, 1175, and 1739.  

This data should augment and clarify the Informational Document for GA 804 at CSNTM which was drawn up by Daniel B. Wallace.  In addition, the statement “238b–239b: PA; πν is written vertically in red letters between 7.52 and 7.53” should be corrected:  those red letters are not πν; they are υπ, and they are part of the lectionary marginalia instructing the lector to jump (υπερβαλε) ahead to 8:12, where one sees in the margin the instructions for the lector to resume (αρξου).

I do not know if this lectionary has received its own official identification-number.  Perhaps such a step should be delayed until a careful investigation can be made to see if these pages are part of a lectionary which already has an identification-number.



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.

I also invite you to read and contemplate some of the Scriptures in these pages – First Corinthians 10:1-3, Galatians 4:4-7, Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:5-7, Hebrews 2:11-18 – as you celebrate the coming new year 2020!



Saturday, December 28, 2019

Codex Batboy


            Remember BatBoy?  BatBoy was not an assistant at baseball games; he was an imaginary part-human, part-bat creature featured in the tabloid Weekly World News.  From time to time (and especially around Christmastime and Eastertime), stories circulate online about a manuscript which has as much credibility as BatBoy.  I call this manuscript Codex Batboy.  Since 2009, it has occasionally been presented as if it shakes the foundations of Christianity, worries the Pope, vindicates Islam, etc., etc.  Here are a few samples of the sensationalistic headlines of stories mentioning this manuscript:
             What’s this all about? Islamic writers are attempting to publicize a late medieval text known as the Gospel of Barnabas in order to promote their belief (based on Quran 4:157-158) that Jesus was not crucified.  (Those wishing to learn more about the so-called Gospel of Barnabas – not to be confused with the second-century composition known as the Epistle of Barnabas – can read about it at Muslim HopeArabic Bible Outreach MinistryAmina Inloes’ article at Academia.edu, and UnchangingWord.  It is certainly a late medieval forgery.

            The manuscript in the photographs that accompany these stories has not been shown to have any connection to the Gospel of Barnabas, and the Islamic propaganda-writers do not show that the Gospel of Barnabas is contained in the manuscript.  They mention that there is a text called the Gospel of Barnabas, and then they mention that Barnabas was one of the associates of the apostles Paul, apparently hoping that when readers see these statements side by side, they will assume that the historical person known as Barnabas had something to do with the composition of the composition called the Gospel of Barnabas.  The writers must also hope that readers will assume that the manuscript contains the text that they say it contains.
            Only one or two pages of the manuscript are pictured, and then the writers move on to describe the contents of the Gospel of Barnabas; along the way the writers introduce all kinds of ridiculous claims, prefaced with empty phrases such as “It has been reported,” (indeed it has been reported by liars) and “It is believed” (indeed it has been believed by the gullible) and “It is thought” (indeed it is so thought by the uninformed).   

            A report which appeared in the British publication Daily Mail in 2016 spread the claim that the manuscript featured in such reports is a “1,500-year-old book.”  The article went on to include the same Islamic propaganda found in earlier reports, such as the sentence, “It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.”  Setting aside the propaganda, is there anything to the claim that the manuscript in question, whatever it may contain, is 1,500 years old?
            Back in February of 2012, Peter BetBasoo and Ashur Giwargis made some relevant observations about this in an article for the Assyrian International News Agency (also at the PaleoJudaica blog and at OrthoChristian.org).  BetBasoo and Giwargis noted that the inscription in one of the photographs says, b-shimmit maran paish kteewa aha ktawa al idateh d-rabbaneh d-dera illaya b-ninweh b'sheeta d-alpa w-khamshamma d-maran – that is, In the name of our Lord, this book is written on the hands of the monks of the high monastery in Nineveh, in the 1,500th year of our Lord.”  Instead of supporting the idea that this manuscript is 1,500 years old, it contains a colophon which dates its production to the year 1500.  
            BetBasoo and Ashur Giwargis also observed that the colophon uses a word to describe the manuscript that traditionally is not used to describe Biblical texts:  “The bottom sentence uses the word ktawa (“book”) to refer to the book, but in Assyrian the Bible is never referred to as a “book.”  One says awreta (Old Testament), khdatta (New Testament), or ktawa qaddeesha (holy book). Given this, since no one has seen the inside of this “Bible,” we cannot be sure if it is in fact a Bible.”
            The Islamic propaganda masquerading as news-articles about this manuscript, calling it a “1,500-year-old Bible,” is incorrect:  if the colophon is accurate and the manuscript is not a forgery of some kind, the manuscript is only about 500 years old.  

            Also, Syriac specialist Dr. Peter Williams briefly chimed in on this subject at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog in 2012.  Williams expressed his suspicion that the manuscript is a forgery; he also observed that above the colophon there is text from the closing verses of Matthew as they appear in the ordinary Syriac text of the Peshitta translation.  So there is at least a little basis for suspecting that instead of containing the Gospel of Barnabas, this manuscript – if it is not a forged or tampered document – is a damaged copy of the Syriac text of the Gospel of Matthew.

            Codex Batboy is not the only item to recently receive sensationalistic claims.  An entirely different manuscript was reported to have been confiscated by police in Turkey in 2015.  It too, received sensationalistic headlines.  I advise that if you encounter online stories about manuscripts found in Turkey with text written in gold letters, with an abundance of claims but a paucity of evidence, set your belief-o-meter to “Extreme Skepticism.”




Friday, December 20, 2019

Mark Galli Is Incorrect and Wrong


            [This post is not about the text of the Gospels.]
            And now for something completely different:  a response to Mark Galli’s recent editorial in Christianity Today in which he stated that loyalty to God requires that Donald Trump be removed from office.
            Mark Galli is wrong.  Galli is also incorrect:  the impeachment hearings have not presented substantial evidence that Trump “abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”  That simply has not happened.  What has happened is that presumption has been treated as evidence, and the Democrats’ case (and Galli’s argument) is built on that pretense.  Nothing in the transcript-like record of the President’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that President Trump abused his authority.  Nothing in the transcript-like record of the President’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that President Trump betrayed his constitutional oath.  And the rest of the Democrats’ case amounts to hearsay and presumption, as a brief exchange between Representative Mike Turner and Ambassador Gordon Sondland effectively conveys.  The coercement that Galli refers to as an unambiguous fact exists entirely in the world of Galli’s imagination.  It is Mark Galli’s presumption, not a fact. 
            And who is better situated to gauge whether there was a quid-pro-quo (that is, an arrangement of I’ll-give-you-this-if-you-give-me-that):  Mark Galli or Volodymyr Zelensky?  Zelensky is on record stating that there was no quid-pro-quo. 
            Meanwhile Joe Biden is on record casually describing a quid-pro-quo agreement that cause a Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired; his exact words:  “I’m leaving in six hours.  If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.”  Now, it’s entirely possible that the prosecutor deserved to be fired; my point is that at the time, Christianity Today, as far as I can tell, raised no question about whether Joe Biden had abused his authority for personal gain, and about whether Christians who did not advocate for Biden to be punished were being disloyal to God.
            Has it not occurred to Mark Galli that there was a legitimate reason for the Ukrainian government to look into why Biden arranged for Prosecutor Shokin to be fired?  Does it seem absolutely impossible to Galli that President Trump’s entire phone call was just a routine case of Presidents doing their jobs?  Has Galli dismissed as a lie Rudy Giuliani’s explicit statement, “I was not seeking to investigate Joe Biden”?
            Galli sought to give readers the impression that he is just reacting to a crime committed by President Trump the same way Christianity Today reacted to a crime – perjury – committed by President Clinton.  The difference, however, is that no crime has been shown to have been committed in the case of President Trump.  What Galli calls unambiguous facts, I call Mark Galli’s presumption.  Heads of state can make recommendations to other heads of state a dozen times a day without committing bribery and without abusing their authority for personal gain.  And sharing Mark Galli’s evidence-ignoring presumptions is certainly not a matter of loyalty to God.
            Furthermore, Mark Galli exposed his political bias when describing President Trump’s “blackened moral record.”  He failed to mention Trump’s candid admission and apology, and grossly misrepresented the President’s commitment (during his Presidency) to morality, stating that he “has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration.”  He also overlooked Trump’s policies that favor Christianity (and religious freedom on general) so badly that it seems fair to call this a case of ideological blindness on Galli’s part.
            Cards on the table:  early in the Republican Presidential primaries, Donald Trump was certainly not a likely champion of morality in my book; my favorite candidate was Rick Santorum, and after he dropped out of the race, it was Ted Cruz.  Donald Trump was the candidate of last resort.  But in terms of his policies, the net effect of the Trump Presidency has not fit Galli’s portrayal of him as a “morally lost and confused” person.  As Jim Garlow observed in his own reaction (noting that Galli’s editorial is a case of participation in character assassination), and as Franklin Graham has pointed out in a well-worded rebuttal against Galli, Trump has enacted policies to save the lives of pre-born babies, reduce religious persecution, appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court of the United States, frustrate the efforts of Islamic jihadists and their sympathizers, support Christian education, treat the U.S. border like a border, denounce and discourage racism, and build the American economy.    
            Which does not mean that Donald Trump has been an ideal President.  Far from it!  Just last week for example, President Trump declined an opportunity to acknowledge that the Armenian Genocide was indeed genocide, which saddens and disappoints me.  And earlier this week, when Trump raised the possibility that the deceased Representative John Dingell was “looking up” instead of looking down on events on earth, it was crass, and he should apologize for that.
            But put that on a pile of objectionable actions that Donald Trump has committed since becoming President – and throw all of his Tweets on the pile as well – and the whole thing does not amount to a tenth of the objectionable content that a Hillary Clinton Presidency would have produced.  So Mark Galli doesn’t like Trump’s tweets?  Let him take a tour of the house of abortionist Ulrich Klopfer, in which over 2,200 corpses of human pre-born babies were kept, and then imagine him finding another such house in America every day of the year (implying 803,000 abortions annually), and then let him come back and tell me how horrified he is at Trump’s Tweets and his “bent and broken character.”  This is not a case of moral equivalence, and it is an insult to the intelligence of Galli’s readers for him to pretend that it is.
            Christianity Today’s staff may feel free to make their magazine “a place that welcomes Christians from across political spectrum.”  However, hospitality is no excuse for a kind of density that welcomes wolves in sheep’s clothing as if they are sheep, or for a kind of blindness that treats rudeness and sponsorship of mass murder as if they are the same, and a kind of bias that treats accusations as if they are evidence.  Mark Galli and Christianity Today have done a disservice to the kingdom of God.







Monday, December 16, 2019

Abner Kneeland, Forgotten American Translator (and Apostate)

Abner Kneeland

            In Bruce Metzger’s book The Text of the New Testament, which serves as an introduction to the field of New Testament textual criticism, readers will find the names of several pioneering textual critics and translators who conducted research in the period between the publication of the KJV (1611) and the Revised Version (1881):             
           ● There’s John Fell, who issued an edition of the Textus Receptus in 1675, ΤΗΣ ΚΑΙΝΗΣ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗΣ ΑΠΑΝΤΑ, with a textual apparatus that supplied variants from over 100 manuscripts and other ancient sources.
            ● There’s John Mill, whose edition of the Textus Receptus (published in 1707, shortly before Mill’s death) was accompanied by an extensive introduction.  This was re-issued by Ludolph Küster in 1710, 1723, and 1746.
            ● And there’s John (or Johann) Bengel, who developed a method of grouping manuscripts into what would later be called text-types.  He also developed some basic guidelines for judging textual contests.   He issued a Greek New Testament in 1734, in which he expressed his views of what variant has the better claim to be regarded as original in many textual contests.  He also wrote Gnomon Novi Testamenti, a five-volume commentary (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) on the New Testament which includes many text-critical notes.  Bengel was known for his defense of the essential reliability of the New Testament text, and of the veracity of the gospel.     
            The contributions of several other scholars who made an impact on the field are briefly summarized – Bentley, Wettstein, Bowyer, Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann – but one notable name does not appear:  Abner Kneeland (1774-1844). 
            Who was Abner Kneeland?  He was the last man convicted of blasphemy in the United States of America.  As a Unitarian preacher (ordained in 1805), Kneeland received some instruction from Hosea Ballou.  Kneeland demonstrated a visionary attitude regarding the rights of woman, and the equality of all ethnic groups.  He led congregations in New Hampshire, Massaachusetts, New York, and Philadelphia, before breaking away from Christianity altogether in 1829.  By 1830 he was openly advocating pantheism.      
            In 1833, Kneeland published an essay in which he stated, among other things, “Universalists believe in Christ, which I do not; but believe that the whole story concerning him is as much a fable and fiction as that of the god Prometheus.”  As a result, he was arrested in 1834 on the charge of blasphemy, and was found guilty; he appealed the decision, but it was affirmed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1838, and, despite calls for clemency from individuals such as William Ellery Channing, Kneeland served 60 days in jail. 
            In 1839, Kneeland moved to Iowa, intending to start a sort of colony with some of his followers, called Salubria.  (One of Kneeland’s earlier associates, Frances Wright, had attempted something similar in Tennessee, the short-lived Nashoba Commune).  After Kneeland’s death there in 1844, the Salubria colony dissolved.
            And that is that.  But before all the controversy about Kneeland’s departure from Unitarianism, he made an English translation in 1823, based on the text compiled by Johann Jakob Griesbach.  Kneeland used as his model the “Improved Version” made by Thomas Belsham in 1808, which was largely dependent on the 1796 work of Anglican Archbishop William Newcome, An Attempt Toward Revising Our English Translation of the Greek Scriptures. 
            In this translation, Kneeland demonstrated how the adoption of specific variants, combined with his own translational preferences, could yield a New Testament with doctrinal content significantly different from the King James Version, so as to fit his denial of the virgin birth, his denial of the existence of demons and hell, and so forth.  In a brief preface, Kneeland relegated the books of Hebrews, James, Second Peter, Second John, Third John, Jude, and Revelation to a secondary status, calling them “Disputed Books” which are “not to be alleged as affording along sufficient proof of any doctrine.” 
            Theological liberalism was thriving in New England in the early 1800s; Kneeland’s translation shows that its progress occurred side-by-side with an embrace of text-critical revision.  Kneeland’s translation demonstrates this over and over; for example, his translation clearly departs from the Textus Receptus at the following passages:
            ● Matthew 5:44, 6:4, 17:21, 18:11, 19:16, 20:7, 21:44, 23:13-14, 24:26, 27:17 (In addition, Matthew 1:17-2:23 are italicized, on the basis of a theory that they are secondary)
            ● Mark 1:2, 3:29, 9:38, 9:44, 9:46, 14:24, 15:28, 16:9-20 (Kneeland included an erroneous note on Mark 16:9-20, stating, “Many copies omit the twelve verses of this last chapter.”)
            ● Luke 6:45, 9:23, 17:3, 17:36, 20:23, 22:43-44, 23:17, 24:51 (In addition, Luke 1:5-2:52 are italicized, on the basis of a theory that they are secondary)
            ● John 1:28, 3:13, 3:15, 5:3-4, 6:11, 7:53-8:11, 19:16
            ● Acts 3:21, 7:37, 8:37, 13:33, 13:42, 15:24, 15:34, 20:28, 21:25, 22:9, 24:6-8, 24:26.
           
            When one looks over the criticisms that some individuals have made against the NIV and other modern versions, one can very frequently interchange “NIV” and “Abner Kneeland’s 1823 translation” and the sentences will make perfect sense.  This ought to make it perfectly clear that the text-critical issues surrounding this cluster of 45 textual contests (and more in the Epistles) did not suddenly arise when Egyptian papyri were unearthed, or when Westcott and Hort produced their 1881 revision, or when Codex Sinaiticus was discovered.  All these changes to the text were already being proposed in Greek compilations, and were already adopted in Abner Kneeland’s translation in 1823.  
            Likewise, some criticisms made against the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation also apply to some of Kneeland’s renderings; most notably in John 1:1, which Kneeland rendered, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God,” and in Hebrews 1:8a, which Kneeland rendered, “But to the Son he saith, “God is thy throne.”  When we look at Kneeland’s systematic avoidance of the term “hell” in his translation, we see in the New World Translation (and in the NIV to a large extent) the same avoidance.
            As a simple point of history, deviations from the Textus Receptus and deviations from orthodoxy have gone hand in hand; let anyone who says otherwise take a close look at the Unitarian texts, and Unitarian teachings, of the early 1800s in New England, as exemplified by Abner Kneeland’s translation, and his subsequent total apostasy.         
            This does not mean, however, that departures from the Textus Receptus require departures from orthodoxy.  Hundreds of readings, found in the majority of Greek manuscripts, diverge from the Textus Receptus, especially in Revelation (where Erasmus initially had only one Greek manuscript from which to work); it would be difficult to argue that the adoption of these readings – including the non-inclusion of the Comma Johanneum in First John 5:7-8 – elicits a departure from orthodoxy, inasmuch as they were already the normal readings in the Greek text throughout the Middle Ages. 
            But we should not let ourselves pretend that some textual variants cannot be used against orthodox doctrines.  Nor should we let ourselves be blindered by textbooks that fail to mention the Unitarian background of various text-critical scholars and translators in the late 1700s and 1800s (especially if an author of one of those textbooks, like Bruce Metzger, depended heavily on Principles of Textual Criticism written in 1848 by one of those Unitarian scholars, John Scott Porter). There was, and is, a spiritual battle going on.  As the history of Abner Kneeland’s apostasy shows, we would deceive ourselves if we were to imagine that the stakes in textual criticism are always low.



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Christmas Combat: Luke 2:1-18 in Codex Bezae


            It’s time for another round of hand-to-hand combat!  Since it’s almost Christmastime, our combatants will square off in Luke 2:1-18, a passage which contains the accounts of the birth of Christ and the angels’ visit to the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks.  The competitors in today’s contest are the famous Codex Bezae (D, 05) – which nowadays is usually assigned to the early 400s – and GA 2370, a remarkably small minuscule Gospels-manuscript from the late 1000s, one of several Greek New Testament manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum (the manuscript is also known as Walters 522). 
            Before proceeding, let’s consider a few details about 2370:
            ● 2370 is a nearly complete copy of the four Gospels; the last verse on its last (damaged) page is John 21:3.
            ● The story of the adulteress is included (7:53 begins on page-view 521, numbered as fol. 253 at the top and as 248 at the bottom).  However, the pages from 247a (numbered as 242 at the bottom) (beginning in John 6:32) to 261 are secondary; the main copyist’s work resumes on 262a (page-view 539) in Jn. 10:14.  A few of the secondary pages were inserted upside-down.
            ● Each Gospel is accompanied by a picture of the Evangelist, and an icon-like headpiece.  For Mark, the headpiece is a portrait of Christ (with hardly any pigment surviving); for Luke, the headpiece is an icon representing the birth of John the Baptist; Zachariah stands in the margin, and Luke is represented in the initial.  For John, the full-page portrait shows John dictating to Prochorus, and the headpiece is a portrait (fairly intact) of Christ.
            ● A detailed description of 2370 can be found in Georgi R. Parpulov’s Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum, which the author dedicated to the memory of his beloved grandfather, Konstantin Tzitzelkov.

            This contest may provide a convenient test of the idea that the oldest a manuscript is, the better its text tends to be.  If the assigned production-dates for these two manuscripts are correct, then the copyists in the transmission-line of GA 2370 had more than twice as much time as the copyists of in the transmission-line of Codex D to make additions, omissions, and other mistakes in the text.  Let’s compare their contents and see which text is more accurate, using as our standard of comparison the Tyndale House Greek New Testament.
            As in earlier rounds of Hand-to-Hand Combat, a few ground rules are in play.  A point is assigned to each manuscript for each non-original letter in its text, and a point is also assigned to each manuscript for each original letter that is absent from its text.  Transpositions are mentioned, but do not result in any points unless there is an actual loss of a letter or letters.  Nomina sacra (i.e., sacred-name contractions) and other contractions in and of themselves are not considered variants, unless the contraction is of a word that is not in the original text. Movable-nu differences are not noted in this comparison.

Luke 2:1-18 in GA 2370

1 – no variants
2 – has η after αυτη (+1)
3 – has ιδιαν instead of εαυτου (+5, -6)
4 – no variants
5 – has μεμνηστευμένη instead of εμνηστευμενη (+1)
5 – has αυτου instead of αυτω (+2, -1)
5 – has γυναικι before ουση (+7)
5 – has εγκύω instead of ενκύω (+1, -1)
6 – no variants
7 – has τη before φατνη (+2)
8 – no variants
9 – has ιδου before αγγελος (+4)
10 – no variants
11 – no variants
12 – does not have και before κείμενον (-3)
13 – no variants
14 – has ευδοκια instead of ευδοκιας (-1)
15 – has και οι ανθρωποι after αγγελοι (+13)
15 – has ειπον instead of ελάλουν (+5, -7)
16 – has ηλθον instead of ηλθαν (+1, -1)
17 – has διεγνώρισαν instead of εγνώρισαν (+2)
18 – no variants

            Thus, when we look over 2370’s text and compare it to the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament, as if the Tyndale House edition is the original text, 2370’s text of Luke 2:1-18 contains 45 non-original letters, and is missing 20 original letters, for a total of 65 letters’ worth of scribal corruption.  
            Now let’s look at the same passage in Codex Bezae, which is estimated to be at least 500 years older than GA 2370.  In a couple of places, there is a correction in the manuscript; to keep things simple I removed these variants from consideration after making mention of them.

Luke 2:1-18 in Codex Bezae (D, 05)

1 – no variants
2 – transposes to εγενετο απογραφη πρωτη
3 – has πατριδα instead of πολιν (+6, -4)
4 – has Ναζαρεθ instead of Ναζαρετ (+1, -1)
4 – has Ιουδα instead of Ιουδαίαν (-3)
4 – has καλειτε instead of καλειται (+1, -2)
4 – transposes the last phrase of v. 4 and the first phrase of v. 5
5 – has απογράψεσθαι instead of απογράψασθαι (+1, -1)
6 – has ως instead of εγενετο before δε (+2, -7)
6 – has παρεγείνοντο instead of εν τω ειναι αυτους εκει after δε (+12, -19)
6 – has ετελέσθησαν instead of επλήσθησαν (+4, -3)
7 – no variants
8 – has δε after ποιμενες instead of και before ποιμενες (+2, -3)
8 – has χαρα ταυτη instead of χωρα τη αυτη (+1, -2) [correction in MS]
8 – has τας before φυλακας (+3)
9 – has ϊδου before αγγελος (+4)
9 – does not have κυρίου (ΚΥ) after δοξα (-6, or -2 if counted as contracted sacred name)
10 – has υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
10 – has και before εσται (+3)
11 – has υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
12 – has υμειν instead of υμιν (+1)
12 – has εστω after σημειον (+4)
12 – does not have και κείμενον (-11)
13 – has στρατειας instead of στρατιας (+1)  
13 – has αιτουντων instead of αινουντων (+1, -1) [correction in MS]
15 – no variants
15 – moves οι αγγελοι to follow απηλθον
15 – has και οι ανθρωποι before οι ποιμενες (+13)
15 – has ειπον instead of ελάλουν (+5, -7)
15 – has γεγονως instead of γεγονος (+1, -1) [correction in MS]
15 – has ημειν instead of ημιν (+1)
16 – has ηλθον instead of ηλθαν (+1, -1)
16 – has σπευδοντες instead of σπευσαντες (+2, -2)
16 – has ευρον instead of ανευρον (-2)
16 – does not have τε before Μαριαμ (-2)
16 – has Μαριαν instead of Μαριαμ (+1, -1)
17 – does not have τουτου (-6)
18 – has ακουοντες instead of ακουσαντες (+1, -2)
18 – has εθαυμαζον instead of εθαυμασαν (+2, -2)

            Thus, when we look over Codex D’s text of Luke 2:1-18, and compare it to the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament, as if the Tyndale House edition is the original text, D’s text of this passage contains 76 non-original letters, and is missing 86 original letters, for a total of 162 letters’ worth of scribal corruption.  
            Can we make the score – only 65 letters’ worth of corruption in 2370’s transmission-line over 900 years, but 162 letters’ worth of corruption in Codex D’s transmission-line over 350 years! – a little closer by removing trivial spelling-related variants from consideration?  If we overlook the variant-units that involve  the spelling of Ναζαρετ in verse 4, καλειται in verse 4, εγκύω in verse 5, απογράψασθαι in verse 5, the corrected reading in verse 8, υμιν in verses 10, 11, and 12, στρατιας in verse 13, the corrected readings in verses 13 and 15, ημιν in verse 15, ηλθαν in verse 16, Μαριαμ in verse 16, and εθαυμασαν in verse 18, Codex D’s text of Luke 2:1-18 still contains 62 non-original letters, and is still missing 74 original letters, yielding a total of 136 letters’ worth of scribal corruptions.
            Thus we see that 2370, a medieval minuscule that is not mentioned in the textual apparatuses of the Nestle-Aland, UBS, or Tyndale House compilations (or any other textual apparatus that I know of), contains a text of Luke 2:1-18 that is, at minimum, twice as accurate as the text of Luke 2:1-18 in Codex Bezae.

            In addition, in at least four places in this passage, I suspect that the Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament contains a corruption. 
            ● First, the spelling of ενκύω (εγκύω in NA, in Tregelles, in Scholz, in Baljon, in Souter, in Holmes’ SBLGNT, and in Byz) in 2:5:  what justifies the adoption of this anomaly?
            ● Second, there is the contest involving the final word of Luke 2:14.  Regarding this I have offered an analysis previously, vindicating the reading ευδοκια which is the basis for the phrase (and carol-lyric) “Peace on earth, good will to men.” 
            ● Third, in verse 9, ἰδού is broadly attested by A D Κ Θ Byz 157 1424 OL Vulgate Pesh, and should be retained.  Contrary to Metzger’s proposal that it is difficult to imagine why copyists would have omitted “behold,” it is not hard at all to reckon that they felt over-beholden, in light of the recurrence of the same term in v. 10 (and in 1:20, 1:31, 1:36, 1:38, 1:44, 1:48, and in 2:25).  The word ἰδού is omitted in 2:25 by D and N; it is also omitted by D in 6:23, 7:12, and 8:41, 9:39 (where ℵ also omits), 10:25, 23:15, and 24:13.  The same phenomenon is on display at Lk. 17:21 and 19:19 in 157, and at 22:21 in f13, and at 23:29 in P75, D, and f13, and in 24:49 in P75 and D.  (Readers may also compare how the word “Behold” has disappeared from some English versions, even though ἰδού remains in their base-text.)        
            ● Fourth, in verse 15, it is easy to notice that the words καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι are vulnerable to accidental parableptic loss, situated between οἱ ἄγγελοι and οἱ ποιμένες, especially when ἄνθρωποι is written in contracted form (και οι ανθοι οι).  Tregelles included these words in his Greek New Testament, albeit in brackets.  Burgon’s brief comments on this passage (in Causes of Corruption, page 36) remain forceful. 

           
            Finally, especially in light of the approach of the Christmas season, a feature in 2370 draws our attention:  the headpiece for the Gospel of Matthew is a Nativity icon – or what is left of one.   Mary and the baby Jesus are depicted in the center of the picture; when the icon was pristine, the red paint around Mary represented her red bed-mattress. Joseph and other characters are also in the picture.  Above the picture is the heading for the lection assigned to the Sunday before Christmas (for the Holy Fathers).  In the outer margin next to the main picture are representations of Abraham and David.  This small manuscript was apparently used by some very devout readers, whose kisses gradually took away most of the pigment.      



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.  
           


Monday, December 9, 2019

Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions


            Gail Riplinger’s book, New Age Bible Versions: An Exhaustive Documentation Exposing the Message, Men and Manuscripts Moving Mankind to the Antichrist’s One World Religion, covers a very wide variety of subjects which are important but tangential to textual criticism in its first four sections.  Finally at page 464, something like a sustained focus upon New Testament textual criticism begins to materialize.  I intend via this post to test the accuracy of this book’s contents beginning at that point; I have no intention of adding anything here to the author’s critiques of some modern versions, or her warnings against the heresies of Helena P. Blavatsky, the New Age Movement, etc., which can be found in the earlier segment of the book.
            In section 34, “The Majority Text,” the author used quotations from Wilbur Pickering and John Burgon (both of whom, while opposing the 1881 Westcott-Hort compilation, reject some readings in the Textus Receptus, the New Testament base-text of the KJV).  She seems to believe that the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus are the same thing, and readers might be forgiven for drawing such a conclusion in light of sentences such as the one found on page 471:  referring to the Byzantine Text, Riplinger states, “This text type is available today in English in the Authorized Version, or as it is called in the United States, the King James Version.”  That is not 100% true:  when the Byzantine Text (as printed in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform 2005 ed.), representing the contents of most Greek manuscripts, is compared to the Textus Receptus, there are some translatable differences.  With apologies for veering away from my main subject, here are some examples:
            ● Matthew 8:15:  most manuscripts end the verse by stating that Peter’s mother-in-law served “Him” (αὐτω) rather than “them” (αὐτοις), the TR reading.
            Matthew 18:19:  after πάλιν, most manuscripts have ἀμὴν, so as to read “Verily” or “Assuredly.”
            Mark 4:4:  most manuscripts do not have “of the air” (τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).
            Mark 4:9:  most manuscripts do not have “to them” (αὐτοῖς).
            Luke 6:10:  most manuscripts say αὐτῷ (“him”) rather than τῷ ἀνθρώπῷ (“the man”).
            Luke 7:31:  most manuscripts do not have the phrase “And the Lord said” (Ειπεν δε ὁ Κύριος) at the beginning of this verse.
            Luke 8:3:  most manuscripts say that the women ministered “to them” (αὐτοις) instead of “to Him” (αὐτω). 
            Luke 23:25:  most manuscripts do not say that Barabbas was released “to them” (αὐτοις).
            John 2:22:  most manuscripts do not say “to them” (αὐτοῖς).
            John 7:33:  most manuscripts do not say “to them” (αὐτοῖς).
            John 20:29:  most manuscripts do not have Thomas’ name (Θωμᾶ) in this verse.
            Acts 7:37:  most manuscripts do not have the words “him you shall hear” (αὐτοῦ ἀκούσεσθε).
            Acts 9:5-6:  in most manuscripts, there is no base-text for the words, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.’   And he trembling and astonished said, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’  And the Lord said unto him.”  (These words in the KJV appear to have been based on a harmonization to the similar passage in Acts 26:14-16.)
            Acts 10:6:  most manuscripts provide no base-text for the KJV’s phrase “He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”
            Acts 15:11:  most manuscripts do not include the word Χριστου (“Christ”).
            Acts 15:34:  most manuscripts provide no base-text for this entire verse.
            Ephesians 3:9:  most manuscripts read οἰκονομία (“dispensation”) instead of κοινωνια (“fellowship”).
            Philippians 4:3:  most manuscripts read Ναι (“Yes”) instead of Και (“And”) at the beginning of this verse.
            Colossians 1:6:  most manuscripts include the words καὶ αὐξανόμενον (“and growing”), a phrase which would be vulnerable to accidental loss due to its occurrence between the words καρποφορούμενον and καθως.
            Second Timothy 1:18:  most manuscripts do not include μοι (unto me).
            Second Timothy 2:19:  most manuscripts read Κυρίου (“the Lord”) instead of Χριστου (“Christ”) at the end of this verse.
            Titus 2:8:  most manuscripts refer to things said about “us” (μῶν) instead of “you” (ὑμῶν). 
            Hebrews 2:7:  most manuscripts have no base-text for the final phrase, “And did set him over the works of Your hands.”
            Revelation 1:11:  most manuscripts do not include the phrase ταις ἐν Ἀσία (“which are in Asia”).         
            Revelation 2:22:  most manuscripts read αυτης instead of αυτων, so as to refer to repentance from “her” works, rather than “their” works.
            Revelation 4:11:  in most manuscripts, the twenty-four refer to “our Lord and our God” (ὁ Κύριος καὶ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν), instead of referring to Him as “O Lord” (Κύριε).
            Revelation 6:1:  most manuscripts include the word “seven” (ἑπτα) before “seals.”
            Revelation 6:12:  most manuscripts refer to the “whole moon” (σελήνη ὅλη), not just to “the moon.”
            Revelation 8:13:  most manuscripts refer to an eagle (ἀετου) rather than to an angel (ἀγγέλου) here.
            Revelation 15:3:  most manuscripts end the verse with a reference to the King “of the nations” (ἑθνῶν) instead of “of the saints” (ἀγιων).
            (More (but far from all) differences between the Textus Receptus and the majority of manuscripts may be noticed via a consultation of the textual footnotes in the NKJV.)

            Riplinger states (p. 475) that “The variations among the Majority Text are minor.”  However, many such variations, such as the ones I just listed, are translatable, whether interpreters consider them “minor” or not.  The Nestle-Aland compilation disagrees with the Byzantine Text much more, and this tends to justify Riplinger’s description of the Nestle-Aland compilation as a text based on 1% of the extant manuscripts.  But the Textus Receptus still has some readings of its own that have only a small percentage of manuscripts in their favor.
            On page 478-479, Riplinger is almost simultaneously on and off target:  she notes that, as D. A. mentioned, “95% of the manuscripts belong to the Byzantine tradition,” but just one page later, she claims, “the KJV readings represent the earliest known manuscripts (i.e., P66 A.D. 175).”  This latter statement is true of a relatively small number of readings in P66, but it is not true in general; P66 agrees much more frequently with the Alexandrian Text than with the Byzantine Text.

            In section 35, “The Earliest Manuscripts,” Riplinger presents data drawn from the work of Wilbur Pickering, as well as quotations from as assortment of text-critical researchers (including Zuntz, Metzger, and Colwell) in which it is acknowledged that early papyri contain some distinct Byzantine readings – a fact which practically dismantles Hort’s foundational basis for rejecting the Byzantine Text.  There can be no serious denial of the veracity of the simple charts that Riplinger presents on pages 484-485, in which papyrus support is listed for 23 Byzantine readings.
            After critiquing the NASB due to its tendency to favor shorter readings in Luke 24 (an effect of Hort’s theory about “Western Non-interpolations”) – making several strong points in the process – Riplinger oversimplifies the testimony of a few important early versions when she says that the Sinaitic Syriac, the Gothic version, and the Peshitta “agree with the KJV.”  The Gothic version and the Peshitta tend to agree with the Byzantine Text, but this tendency is by no means total; meanwhile the Sinaitic Syriac is certainly not a consistent ally of the Byzantine Text, let alone of the Textus Receptus.  Similarly, Riplinger describes Codex A and Codex W as if they both support the KJV, but while this is true of portions of each manuscript, it is also untrue of other portions of each manuscript.
            Riplinger makes a serious error on page 489.  Small spelling errors – such as referring to Diognetus as “Diognelus” and referring to Macarius Magnes as “Macarius Magnus” – might be overlooked, but the claim, “P66 has predominantly KJV readings” is simply ridiculous; P66 has some readings that agree with the Textus Receptus but this is certainly not a “predominant” characteristic of the text of P66.   
           
            In section 36, Riplinger describes the Nestle-Aland compilation (Novum Testamentum Graece) and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament as if they contain a consistently truncated, shortened form of the text.  Riplinger thus seems to assume that the Textus Receptus ought to be the standard of comparison, as if, when we come to a short reading in the Nestle-Aland compilation where there is a longer reading in the Textus Receptus, we ought to assume that something is missing in the Nestle-Aland compilation, rather than that something has been added to the Textus Receptus.  Hort, Nestle, and most textual critics of the 1900s tended to work from the opposite assumption, generally using “prefer the shorter reading” as a major guideline.  Recent research has shown that copyists tended to make more omissions than additions (thus nullifying what was for generations a common assumption among textual critics) – but it remains precarious to settle contests on the basis of generalizations; there are some cases (for instance, in James 4:12 and Jude v. 25) in which the Alexandrian Text has a reading longer than what is in the TR and the Byzantine Text.
            In her description of the UBS edition, Riplinger makes a strong case for the idea that the UBS Greek New Testament as it is currently printed is largely a Roman Catholic project carried out with an ecumenical agenda.  However, a tint of propaganda blots her point when she refers to the editors’ use of “their Gnostic Vatican manuscript.”  Vaticanus’ text perpetuates a few readings that may reflect the influence of early heretics such as the Gnostics, but their Gnostic-ness is contestable and they are quite rare.
            Next, Riplinger presents 23 passages – all from the Epistles of Paul – which, she proposes, show that in the base-text of the NIV and NASB the compilers have “used random minority text type readings when an opportunity arose to present New Age philosophy or demote God or Christ.”  Here on pages 499-502 we meet something to support the book’s title that is potentially more substantial than stories about a textual critic being bitten by Helena P. Blavatsky’s friend’s daughter’s dog; there is textual evidence to consider.  So let’s consider it.  My purpose here is not to settle every textual contest in the list, but to test Riplinger’s charge that the base-text of the NIV, NASB, etc., promote doctrines of the New Age movement in these verses.
            (1)  I Cor. 7:15:   NA reads ὑμᾶς where the TR, Byz, P46 and B read ἡμᾶς.  What difference has this made in English translations?  KJV:  “God hath called us to peace.”  NASB:  “God has called us to peace.”  NIV:  “God has called us to live in peace.”  CSB:  God has called you to live in peace.” ESV:  “God has called you to peace.”  NASB:  “God has called us to peace,” with a note that means the reading “you.”  Obviously one reading is original and the other one is not, but where is the New Age philosophy in either one? 
            (2)  I Cor. 8:3:  NA and the TR both include τὸν θεόν, which is not included in P46.  What difference has this made in English translations?  KJV:  “But if any man love God.”  NASB:  “But if anyone loves God.”  NIV:  “But whoever loves God.”  ESV:  “But if anyone loves God.”  NASB:  “But if anyone loves God.”  Where is the New Age philosophy supposed to be?     
            (3)  I Cor. 10:9:  NA reads Χριστόν with the TR, Byz, and P46 where the previous edition of NA read Κυριον, with ℵ B C.  This interchange of sacred names causes a difference in meaning in English:  KJV:  “Neither let us tempt Christ.”  NASB:  “Nor let us try the Lord.”  NIV:  We should not test Christ.”  ESV:  We must not put Christ to the test.”  As in the first example, there is an obvious difference, but where is the exchange of a true statement for one which promotes a doctrine of the New Age movement?  It is not as if some papyrus says, “Let us not tempt Zarathustra.”   
            (4)  I Cor. 11:24:  NA does not have the words λάβετε φάγετε (“Take, eat”) and the word κλώμενον (“broken”), which are read in TR and Byz.  The NASB, NIV, CSB, ESV follow the NA and thus do not include “Tale, eat” and “broken” in this verse.  This may echo a difference in local liturgical practice, or (some would argue) incomplete harmonization to Matthew 26:25.  But what New Age doctrine is thus promoted?        
            (5)  I Cor. 13:3:  NA reads κἂν where TR and Byz read καὶ ἐὰν, but that makes no translatable difference; Riplinger must be referring to the textual contest further along in the verse:  TR and Byz read καυθήσωμαι (“to be burned”) where NA, with P46 ℵ B,  reads καυχήσωμαι (“that I may boast”).  Again, there is a difference – CSB:  “in order to boast.” NIV:  “that I may boast” – ESV:  “to be burned” – NASB:  “to be burned” – but does this look like anything other than the effect of an early scribal mistake involving a single letter?     
            (6)  I Cor. 14:38:   Where the TR and Byz read ἀγνοέιτω (“let him be ignorant”), NA reads ἀγνοέιται, and as a result of this one-syllable difference, the NIV reads “they will themselves be ignored,” the NASB reads, “he is not recognized.” The CSB reads “he will be ignored,” and the ESV reads “he is not recognized.”  Again, there is no question that there is a difference in the meaning – but where is the evidence of a devious doctrinal agenda, rather than scribal sloppiness?
            (7) I Cor. 15:49:  TR (Stephanus 1550) reads φορέσομεν, Byz reads φορέσωμεν, Pickering’s f35 text reads φορέσωμεν, and NA reads φορέσομεν.  Here the NA and TR agree with each other while disagreeing with the majority of manuscripts!  The resultant difference in translations:  KJV:  “We shall also bear.”  CSB:  we will also bear.”     NIV:  so shall we bear.” ESV:  we shall also bear.”  NASB:  we will also bear,” with a footnote that mentions the alternative, “let us also bear.”  That alleged New Age conspiracy is starting to look extremely subtle.           
            (8) I Cor. 15:54:  TR, Byz, and NA all read the same; they all read νικος at the end of the verse, rejecting the reading in P46 and Vaticanus, νεικος.  (This reading νεικος was mentioned in the Preface to the 1582 Rheims version, as if it was a reading which Beza was inclined to adopt.)   The KJV, ESV, NIV, CSB, and NASB thus refer to “victory.”
            (9) 2 Cor. 1:10:   The TR and Byz read ῥύεται (“does deliver”) where NA reads ῥύσεται (“will deliver”).  This is why the KJV says “doth deliver” where the CSB, NIV, ESV, and NASB say “will deliver.”   
            (10) 2 Cor. 1:11:  The TR, Byz, and NA all read ἡμῶν at the end of the verse; thus the KJV and other versions refer to “on our behalf.”  Had the reading in P46 (ὑμῶν) been adopted instead, the phrase would say “on your behalf.”  
            (11) 2 Cor. 1:12:  The TR, Byz, and NA all read ἁπλότητι, which means “simplicity” or (in the NIV) “integrity.”  The NASB reflects the alternative reading supported by P46 ℵ* B, ἁγιότητι (adopted in NA previously), which means “holiness.”  Again I find myself asking, “Where is the insidious introduction of New Age philosophy??”       
            (12) 2 Cor. 2:1:  Where TR and Byz read δε, NA reads γαρ; the resultant difference in translations is the difference between “But” and “For” at the beginning of the verse. 
            (13) 2 Cor. 2:17:  TR and Byz and NA read πολλοὶ (“many”), and P46 reads λοιποί (“the rest”).  The CSB, ESV, KJV, NIV, NASB, and NIV read “many.”
            (14) 2 Cor. 3:2:  ℵ reads ὑμῶν where P46, TR, Byz, and NA read ἡμῶν.  This is the same sort of variant seen in 2 Cor. 1:11.   A few English versions had adopted ὑμῶν; this is why the RSV and the Living Bible refer to “your” hearts rather than “our” hearts.     
            (15) 2 Cor. 3:9:  Where the TR, Byz and B read ἡ διακονία, NA, with P46, reads τῇ διακονίᾳ.  This difference seems to have had no effect on English translations.
            (16) 2 Cor. 8:7:  Where the TR and Byz read ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμῖν, NA, with P46 and B, reads ἡμῶν ἐν ὑμῖν.  Thus while the KJV refers to “your love for us,” the ESV refers to “our love for you,” and so does the NRSV.  The CSB’s base-text agrees with Byz, reading “your love for us.” (I suspect that the CBGM, plus common sense, may elicit the adoption of ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμῖν in the future.)  As in other examples of this kind of exchange of pronouns, the difference in the readings looks much more like an effect of scribal sloppiness than an effect of a doctrinal agenda to smuggle New Age doctrines into the text.
            (17) Gal. 1:3:  Where the KJV’s base-text, along with the text in most manuscripts, means “God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,” translations of NA say, instead, “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  In other words, the substance of this textual difference is a matter of where the word “our” (ἡμῶν) belongs.  Where is the New Age doctrine in either reading?
            (18) Gal. 1:8:   TR and Byz include the word ὑμῖν, and thus the KJV reads “to you” in the first reference to preaching, as well as the second reference.  The NA only has this word within brackets.  The NIV lacks the first reference to preaching “to you,” whereas the ESV, NASB, and CSB has it.          
            (19) Gal. 1:15:  the TR and Byz include ὁ θεὀς (“God”), which NA included within brackets; ὁ θεὀς is not there in P46 B Pesh, and an earlier edition of NA did not adopt it.  (Bruce Metzger added a special note in his Textual Commentary emphasizing his view that ὁ θεὀς is secondary here.)  The difference, when the verse is translated into English, is a difference between Paul referring to God directly (as in, “But when it pleased God, who separated me,” in the KJV) or implicitly (as in, “But when he who had set me apart . . .  was pleased” in the ESV).      
            (20) Gal. 4:25:  Where TR and Byz read τὸ γὰρ before Ἅγαρ Σινᾶ, NA reads τὸ δε.  The translation effect of this difference consists of whether or not the sentence begins with “For.”  What New Age teaching is supposed to be supported by this?    
            (21) Gal. 4:28:  Where TR and Byz (and ℵ A C) read ἡμεῖς at the beginning of the verse and ἐσμέν at the end, NA (with P46 and B) read ὑμεῖς and ἐστέ.  Thus while the KJV says “Now you,” most modern translations say, “Now we.”      
            (22) Gal. 6:2:  The one-letter difference between ἀναπληρώσατε in the TR and Byz (and ℵ A C), and ἀναπληρώσετε results in a slightly different meaning; this is why the KJV reads, “fulfil” while the NIV reads, “you will fulfill.” (Interestingly, the ESV and NASB agree with Byz here.)
            (23) Gal. 6:13:   Where Byz reads περιτετμημένοι αὐτοὶ (“those who are submitting to be circumcised,”) TR and NA read περιτεμνόμενοι αὐτοὶ (“Those who are themselves circumcised”).  Either way, the reference is to the same group of people. 

            Not a single one of these textual contests involves a reading which presents New Age philosophy. Not a single one of these textual contests involves a reading which demotes God or Christ.  The tone of Riplinger’s argument in sections 34-36 of her book, to the effect that the NIV and NASB are “New Age Bible versions,” hits a wall when the actual evidence is considered:  the presentation of New Age philosophy is simply absent from the 23 passages she has presented.  This is not to say that the Alexandrian readings in these 23 passages are all correct and original; it is to say that they are doctrinally benign.
            My general impression of New Age Bible Versions – from cover to cover – is that it was written by an author who has taken a valid concern – namely, concern about the many doctrinal errors that were promoted in the late 1800s by Blavatsky and various spiritualists – and transferred it to the text-critical work of B. F. Westcott (an Anglican bishop, and a different person from William Wynn Westcott) and F. J. A. Hort, as if their revision of the Greek New Testament, coming from the same place, and at around the same time, as Theosophy and Spiritualism, must be linked to those heresies in some way.    
            It is easy to claim an association between the New-Age-ism of the era in which Westcott and Hort worked, and their text-critical work itself.  And Hort did himself no favor by attending a séance on one occasion, by insisting on the inclusion of a Unitarian on the committee in charge of producing the Revised Version, or by joining a group of scholars who wished to put spiritualism under the microscope of scientific investigation.  But the strengths and weaknesses of Hort’s text-critical evidence and arguments are strong or weak on their own, and do not depend at all upon the theological integrity of Hort or of their other advocates.  In addition, many renderings which Riplinger finds objectionable are translation-related, and emanate from translators, not from the base-text being translated.   
            Riplinger would have done well to consider Hanlon’s Razor:  do not rush to attribute to malicious motives what can be explained by simple incompetence.  When we set aside Riplinger’s transferred alarm about Blavatsky & Co., and take the time to examine the textual centerpiece of her case – the 23 textual contests she has listed in which Alexandrian readings are supposed to present New Age philosophy – it becomes spectacularly clear that they do nothing of the sort. 



Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.