Monday, May 20, 2024

First John 4:3 - What Did John Write?

 Leaving the Gospels briefly, let's focus today on an interesting textual variant in First John 4:3. The Byzantine text reads  ησουν χριστον ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα, and the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation reads τον  ησουν.  In favor of the non-Byzantine we have A B 322 323 945 1241 (which can be viewed here) and 22989 and, regarding versions, the Vulgate, the Coptic (Bohairic), and where patristic evidence is concerned, Clement Origen Socrates' MSS (as explained in the UBS apparatus), Cyril (4 out of 5 citations), Tertullian (1 out of 2 citations), Lucifer (the Sardician bishop, not the devil), Tyconius (2 out of 3), Ambrose, Augustine, and Fulgentius (1 out of 2).

Neither the Alexandrian text nor the Byzantine text is not uniform at this point. Sinaiticus reads  ησουν χριστον ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα (see the picture) and 1175 reads Ἰησουν κὺριον ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθοτα.  1243 and 1292 and 1844 share another variant (but let's stick to the main readings in the interest of brevity).

As the late professor Bruce Manning Metzger observed, the shorter reading is supported by "good representatives of both Alexandrian and Western types of text."  I agree with Metzger's assessment that later copyists expanded the verse by borrowing language from the previous verse.  This is a benign expansion in the Byzantine text - but an expansion nonetheless.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Breaking News: Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell Teaches Falsely About Mark 16:9-20

My book Authentic:  The Case for Mark 16:9-20 is now in its fourth edition.  That book, along with my book New Testament Textual Analysis, which has two full chapters on the ending of the Gospel of Mark, are available on Amazon.   The 2016 edition of my book focusing on Mark 16:9-20 remains available for 99 cents.   I encapsulated the data about the overwhelming evidence for these twelve verses of sacred Scripture in a recent article at the Text & Canon Institute (in June of 2022).

I am thus at a loss to account for the continued spread of false claims about those twelve verses - but it is plain that Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell has not been paying attention, for he is perpetuating the time-honored tradition of spouting nonsense about the ending of the Gospel of Mark.

In an article posted at Crossway's website, Dr. O'Donnell wrote, "We can state with confidence that verse 8 is the original ending of the Gospel of Mark as Mark 16:9–20 is not found in our most reliable Greek manuscripts of the NT. It is evident that a copyist likely a century or more after the Four Gospels were written thought it necessary to add an ending that features Mary Magdalene seeing Jesus himself."

This claim is of course preposterous.  "A century of more after 
the Four Gospels were written" - positing A.D. 90 as the composition-date for the Gospel of John, the last canonical Gospel to be written - takes us up to the year 190.

Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donell

Before the year 190, we have five patristic witnesses - the author of The Preaching of Peter (as J. D. Adkins has shown), the author of Epistula Apostolorum (as granted by Dr. Robert Stein), Justin Martyr (as I show here), Tatian (in his Diatessaron, as I have demonstrated here, contra Dr. Peter Head) and Irenaeus (in Book 3 of Against Heresiesas I have shown here) - all testify to the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 in their manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.  Even if some scholars insist on employing an arbitrary hermeneutic of suspicion, and jettison the testimony of the author of The Preaching of Peter and that of Justin Martyr (although I consider Justin's testimony sufficiently clear), the other second-century witnesses' testimony is as plain as day:  within the century that passed from the day John finished his gospel, their manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark INCLUDED VERSES 9-20.

I call upon Crossway and upon Dr. Douglas Sean O'Donnell to retract his false claim immediately, or be found guilty of spreading false information.  They have been notified.  They have one week to respond.  

The clock is ticking.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

The Textus Receptus: How Bad Is It?

          The flaws in the Textus Receptus - defined here as the base-text of the English King James Version - are well-know to those who have studied textual criticism.  Due to the limitations of Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza's manuscripts, the Textus Receptus fails to display the majority reading in over a thousand places in Matthew-Jude, and in Revelation 22, the Textus Receptus to this day has non-original readings which Erasmus retro-translated into Greek from Latin.  Although it is generally a sound representative of the Byzantine Text in Matthew-Jude, minority readings pop up in every Gospel, in Acts, and in the epistles - on rare occasions (such as in Acts 9:5-6) readings with no Greek support at all.

          But today is April 28, the day when Billy the Kid escaped custody - so instead of focusing on how bad the TR was, let's put the spotlight today on how GOOD the Textus Receptus is.  (Billy the Kid might not have been a great gunfighter, but he was a good jaibreaker!)  Equipped with a low number of manuscripts, mostly Byzantine, the scholars of the 1500s were able to filter out scribal mistakes and give Tyndale, Luther, and the translators of the KJV a Greek base-text which transmitted (for the most part - allowing for harmonizations, name-spelling, the occasional glitch-reading, etc,) the same message that the original text transmitted in the first century.

          Some may say, "In 2024, we don't need the Textus Receptus anymore."  I agree.  The Byzantine Textform is better.  The Solid Rock GNT is better.  Not only do we have many more Greek manuscripts available than the scholars of the 1500s had, but we also have much wider versional evidence, and much older evidence in both Greek and Latin and Syriac, et al. But is there any case in which the Textus Receptus and the oldest extant manuscript agree, saying the same thing, and the Byzantine Textform, the Majority Text, the SBLGNT, the Nestle-Aland NTG and the UBS GNT disagree?

          There is.  Turn to First Peter 5:8.  "Νήψατε, γρηγορήσατε· ὁ ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν διάβολος, ὡς λέων ὠρυόμενος, περιπατεῖ ζητῶν τίνα καταπίῃ" is the Byzantine form of this verse.  The Textus Receptus is different:  there is an οτί between γρηγορήσατε and ὁ ἀντίδικος which is in neither the Byzantine Text nor in the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilations.     In our earliest Greek witness to the text of this part of First Peter - Papyrus 72 - we also find this οτί!  Which just goes to show you that in the field of New Testament textual criticism, there is no such thing as an unimportant Greek manuscript.  Even the scribes who made the manuscripts upon which the Textus Receptus was based can possess the same scribal tendencies that the scribes of the earliest Greek manuscript had.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

News: Stephen C. Carlson Discovers an Irrelevant (?) Unregistered Manuscript in Paris

Stephen C. Carlson, Associate Professor at

Australian Catholic University (ACU), recently visited Paris (the one in France, not Texas) and discovered at the National Library of France an unregistered folio containing text from the Gospel of Mark!  Specifically, it has text from Mark 10.  The text is difficult to read and it is even more difficult on the opposite side.  There is enough to deduce that it is Byzantine.

And that means, to quote Kurt Aland, whose influence upon the Nestle/Aland compilation was immense, that it must be ignored, along with the vast majority of Greek manuscripts.  Aland's statement can be found on page 142 of The Text of the New Testament which he co-authored with Barbara Aland:  "All of these minuscules exhibit a purely or predominantly Byzantine text.  And this is not a peculiarity of the minuscules, but a characteristic they share with a considerable number of uncials.  They are all irrelevant for textual criticism, at least for establishing the original form of the text and its development in the early centuries."

Not everyone subscribes to the Alands' estimate of the value of Byzantine manuscripts - I certainly do not.  To our colleague Dr. Carlson I say, congratulations!  May such serendipitous events continue to occur. 

Monday, April 1, 2024

What We've Always Wanted: A More Reliable Manuscript-Dating Method

In honor of this special day, and having had no time to prepare a post in honor of the occasion, here is a post from a few years ago about an exciting new method in dating manuscripts.  I must say I am disappointed that I have not heard of any new developments.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Books for Your Bookshelf in 2024

            It's still January 31, 2024, and the following text-critical resources are now available on Amazon.  Anyone who finds the price at Amazon prohibitively high is welcome to request a free digital text copy in the comments below or via an email to .

Reviews welcome on Amazon
$9.99 US digital e-book
$19.50 US paperback

New Testament Textual Analysis.  That's what New Testament textual criticism is, minus the "art" that the dearly departed plagiarist Dr. Bruce Manning Metzger tries to smuggle in.  

            In terms of authority in the Christian church on earth, textual analysts rank second to the men and women who produced the contents of the Bible, for it is through the work of Christian textual analysts that the form of the New Testament books' text written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is recognized, verified, and protected from corruption.
            In this volume, written for adults, James Edward Snapp Jr. (that's me) systematically explains the materials and methods that are used to produce and, for lack of a better term, authenticate the text of the books of the New Testament. He also confronts the flawed reasoning that has, in much of academia, weakened many Christians' confidence in the New Testament's accuracy. He also exposes prominent false teachers both within and without church walls who have spread falsehoods about specific passages in the New Testament. Finally he summons aspiring textual analysts to dedicate themselves to this sacred enterprise using the equitable eclectic approach which he has developed.

This 400-page volume is intended to render superfluous Bart D. Ehrman's strategically titled "The Text of the New Testament - Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration" and is an ideal resource for those who prefer not to have an atheist as their guide through the text of the New Testament.

Reviews on Amazon
Are Welcome

Is It Eclectic?
$12.88 Hardcover
$8.88 digital

Is It Eclectic? is a devastating expose of the "reasoned eclectic" text that has been produced via the "reasoned eclectic" approach which has hypnotized/brainwashed (I don't have a word that's just right so those will have to do) so many American seminarians.  The data in the page of this brief volume speaks for itself but I added some commentary to make sure even Wheaton graduates can't miss the point:  the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation in Matthew-Jude is 99% Alexandrian, and about 1% Byzantine.    
The Greek text that is the basis for the ESV, CSB, NRSV, NIV, NLT and other English versions of the New Testament is marketed as an "eclectic" text. But after textual analyst James Edward Snapp Jr. (that's me) examined it, he concluded that the idea that the results of the compilation-method used by the editors of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece and the UBS Greek New Testament are NOT, by any reasonable definition of the word, eclectic. The empirical evidence that compels this conclusion is presented in this book.

Is It Eclectic? is also available in German, so the folks in Muenster can read it as they wonder why American Christians are beginning to wonder why the Greek base-text of their English Bibles (NIV, CEB, NLT, NRSV, CSB, etc) is being introduced by an ally of secular humanists.  (Yes, in Germany, secular humanism is still a thing.)  

Reviews on Amazon are welcome.
Is It Eclectic?
in German is
$9.80 US
Der Basistext, der die edle deutsche Übersetzung der Heiligen Schriften der 27 Bücher des Neuen Testaments ersetzen wollte, wurde als „eklektische“ Zusammenstellung auf der Grundlage antiker Manuskripte vermarktet.
            Aber wir alle haben schon erlebt, wie alte Fußballspieler von jüngeren Spielern besiegt wurden. Die Qualität des Textes in einem Manuskript hängt nicht vom Alter des Pergaments oder Papyrus ab. Es hängt davon ab, wie gut die Kopisten ihre heilige Pflicht erfüllt haben.
            In diesem Buch untersucht James Edward Schniepf objektiv die neugriechische Zusammenstellung, die als „Nestle-Aland“ und als „Griechisches Neues Testament“ der United Bible Societies beworben wird, und entlarvt ihre Marketingpropaganda als authentische Propaganda. Meister Luther verfügte über jüngere Manuskripte, aber für den größten Teil des Neuen Testaments verfügten sie über einen besseren Text als die „älteren und besten Manuskripte“ als der Text, der wie schlechter Fußball aus Münster stammte. Es lebe der reife Martin Luther und möge seine deutsche Übersetzung wiederbelebt werden und möge auch die gläubige bekennende christliche Kirche in ganz Deutschland wiederbelebt werden.
            Dieses Buch enthält die Daten, die zeigen, dass Münsters „eklektischer Text“ nicht eklektisch ist!

Is It Eclectic? is also available in Portuguese.  Você já ouviu afirmações como essa dos editores do seu novo e moderno Novo Testamento em português? Então você foi enganado. Neste volume, o analista textual James Edward Snapp Jr. oferece uma crítica sincera ao texto base "eclético e fundamentado" sobre o qual vários.

Um exame do texto base "eclético e racional" da Nestlé-Aland do Novo Testamento.

Seu Novo Testamento é baseado no texto grego encontrado em mais de 5.000 manuscritos gregos, todos cuidadosamente considerados pelos maiores especialistas do mundo. Você pode ter certeza de que todas as evidências foram cuidadosamente examinadas antes do início da tradução do seu Novo Testamento em português.

Is It Eclectic? is also available in Indonesian.  (Due in part to a dream I had which involved Indonesian chicken wings.  So delicious.)

            Kompilasi Perjanjian Baru Yunani Nestle-Aland/UBS adalah dasar utama untuk terjemahan Perjanjian Baru di seluruh dunia dan untuk terjemahan bahasa Inggris seperti ESV, NIV, NLT, dan NRSV.
            Ini dipasarkan sebagai kompilasi "eklektik yang beralasan" berdasarkan lebih dari 5.000 manuskrip Yunani.
            Apakah itu deskripsi akurat dari teks Yunani NA/UBS?
Dalam pemeriksaan analitis yang cermat terhadap kompilasi NA/UBS, peneliti James Edward Snapp Jr. menunjukkan bahwa ini BUKAN merupakan deskripsi yang akurat menurut definisi normal istilah "eklektik".

The Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation of the Greek New Testament is the primary basis for translations of the New Testament around the world and for English translations such as the ESV, NIV, NLT, and NRSV.
It is marketed as a "reasoned eclectic" compilation based on over 5,000 Greek manuscripts.
Is that an accurate descriptions of the NA/UBS Greek text?
In this meticulous analytical examination of the NA/UBS compilation, researcher James Edward Snapp Jr. demonstrated that it is NOT an accurate description by any normal definition of the term "eclectic."

Codex Sinaiticus:
Reliable or a Liability?
$8.88 paperback
Reviews on Amazon
are welcome

The World's Oldest Bible:  Reliable or a Liability? is a close (but not exhaustive) look at the message conveyed by the main text of Codex Sinaiticus (called "The World's Oldest Bible" in the title of Dr. D. C. Parker's book "Codex Sinaiticus - The Story of the World's Oldest Bible").  In this concisely worded volume, James Edward Snapp Jr. - citizen of the kingdom of God and specialist in the field of New Testament textual analysis (and definitely NOT a KJV-Onlyist) - tests the claim that the text of one of the "the oldest and best manuscripts" of the Bible means the same thing that a typical medieval Byzantine manuscript of the Gospels means. Collecting 60 translation-affecting variants from Matthew, 60 translation-affecting variants from Mark, 60 translation-impacting variants from Luke, and 100 translation-impacting variants from John, brother James offers an irrefutable answer to the question, "Is Codex Sinaiticus' text as reliable as the Byzantine text in the Gospels?".  James R, White fanboys take note.

A Word to John MacArthur Regarding His False Claims about Mark 16:9-20
is, as the title, suggests, a
 straightforward word to John MacArthur of Grace Community Church (in Sun Valley California USA addressing some of the erroneous claims he has shared (and, as of December 2023) continued to share via the Grace To You organization, pertaining to Mark 16:9-20 - twelve verses of the inspired and inerrant word of God.  This comes in large print so that even someone as blind to the evidence as John MacArthur can easily read the proof that Grace To You has spread, and continues to spread, ridiculous lies (did I say that out loud?) about 12 verses of inspired Scripture.  With the data in this book, the average congregation-member in John MacArthur's congregation will be well-equipped to refute MacArthur's preposterous claims, and to compose a stern rebuke to the Masters Seminary faculty for their failure to inform their boss that he sounded like a braying donkey who has no business attempting to teach textual criticism from the pulpit.

Authentic:  The Case for Mark 16:9-20 (Fourth Edition)
is also available on Amazon in two formats:  digital e-book($9.99) and paperback ($25.00).
You may have read statements like these from trusted scholars:  
"Mark 16:9-20 is not in many of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.”
"Mark 16:9-20 is not found in any manuscript until the 800s."
"Mark 16:9-20 was added over two centuries after the Gospel of Mark began to circulate.”

"Clement of Alexandria and Origen affirm that the Gospel of Mark ended at 16:8."

                STOP TRUSTING THEM.      

                                                                                  Those are all lies.

          In this book James Edward Snapp Jr. identifies some of the liars who have misled American and European readers, students, and congregations about Mark 16:9-20 - twelve verses of sacred Scripture. He also demonstrates the numerous errors committed by "parrot pseudo-scholars" -- individuals who basically paraphrase Bruce Metzger without conducting their own research -- and shows how incompetent and irresponsible (or just plain dense) authors such as James R White, John MacArthur, Craig Evans, James Edwards, N. T. Wright, Norman Geisler, Bart D. Ehrman and the late Bruce Manning Metzger have been in the course of leading astray (knowingly or unknowingly) many readers, students, and congregations about Mark 16:9-20.
            By thoroughly analyzing the evidence in Greek manuscripts, church writings, and more, James E. Snapp Jr. presents a decisive case for retaining Mark 16:9-20 in the Gospel of Mark, and for interpreting it and applying it reasonably to the lives of all believers, as the Christian church has done since the first century of her existence.

More titles and more translations (French, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and more) editions are planned.  If you would like to write a review - just make sure it's honest, favorable or unfavorable - please contact me for a free text file; be sure to name the book you intend to review.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Memo to Mormons: Your Prophet was a Fake

I love the dedication that many members of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" have.  Even though their ridiculous bogus "revelation" given by the phenomenally false prophet and teacher of lies Joseph Smith Jr. has been debunked and demonstrated to be nothing but a tall tale dreamed up on the basis of a dime-store novel back in the early 1800s, they still insist that they can't be wrong because of a "burning in the bosom" they have.  

That "burning in the bosom" might be indigestion, or heartburn, or a psychosomatic semi-euphoria elicited by a person's desire to belong to the elite members of the family of God.  Your mileage may vary, but I suspect that in very many cases, a Mormon's conversion to Mormonism was elicited by peer pressure from family members or friends or a cute Mormon girl whose modesty and promise of eternal faithfulness were enough to push a brother's brain off a cliff.  Oh the things we do for love.

But I digress:  what I wish to point out here is a little textual detail in the Book of Mormon - supposedly translated by Joseph Smith Jr. from golden plates he dug up in New York state - which bear a suspicious resemblance to the King James Version's text of Mark 16:9-20:  Here's the quotation from the Book of Mormon 9:22-25:
"For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude:  Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; And these signs shall follow them that believe - in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth."

This material (which was the focus of an essay by Jeff Lindsay in the Mormon journal Interpreter - A Journal of Mormon Scripture (Vol. 25 - 2017, pp. 283-321, "The Book of Mormon vs. the Consensus of Scholars:  Surprises from the Disputed Ending of Mark, Part 1")) brings to mind Mark 16:15-18, with a little bit of Joseph Smith Jr.'s sanctimonious and-it-came-to-pass blubbering thrown in.   The two passages are so similar when one compared the King James Version's English rendering to what Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to have translated from golden plates - I seriously doubt if that blatant liar and blasphemer had any idea how heavy a golden plate is - that I personally can attest that the prophecy he gave has come true: the nature of all his words is indeed confirmed to me, and I have no doubt about it whatsoever:  JOSEPH SMITH JR. WAS A FALSE PROPHET and the sooner you realize it, the better.

Zoom in on the part of the Book of Mormon chapter 9 where it says "they shall take up serpents."  This would be a perfectly adequate rendering of the Byzantine text, which is basically what the King James Version was translated from (with about 1,005 reading that are not attested by a majority of Greek manuscripts - technically the KJV's base-text is the printed Textus Receptus).  In the first half of Mark 16:18, the King James Version says, "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them."  Well lo and behold:  the Book of Mormon 9:24 aligns perfectly with the English translation that was available to Joseph Smith Jr.  It's almost as if the English text of the Book of Mormon was derived from the King James Version.

And therein lies a problem for the poor gullible Mormons who think Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were authentic prophets instead of lying manipulators who enjoyed taking other men's wives.  There is a little bit of text that is missing from both the Book of Mormon 9:24, and from the KJV's English rendering of Mark 16:18.  In quite a few manuscripts, there is more text:  the Greek equivalent of "and in their hands" belongs in the text after "they shall take up serpents."

The Greek words that are missing in the Byzantine text are "καί ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν."  The editors of the Nestle-Aland/UBS compilation don't seem to have been very sure what to do with this phrase ("And in their hands"); it's in the 27th edition but not in the previous edition.  Perhaps they did not give it much attention and treated it as a matter of trivial importance since they double-bracketed the entire section of Mark 16:9-20.  It wasn't in Griesbach's compilation.    But it is, though not the majority reading (not even close!), very well-attested in the Alexandrian transmission-stream.  

It is super-obvious that Joseph Smith Jr. committed the moral equivalent of plagiarism and fraud when he took the KJV's words and made them part of the narrative of the Book of Mormon.  

More examples of his immoral and dishonest use of the KJV - including the KJV's inaccuracies in its rendering of some fine details in the Hebrew and Greek base-texts - could no doubt be provided; others are welcome to provide them in the comments.  But considering that the only acceptable definition of a true prophet is that all his prophecies come from God, this should serve as a demonstration that Joseph Smith Jr. was not a true prophet.

           (On a pastoral note, watch the video here for more information about the roots of Mormonism.)