ORIGINS of MODERN TEXTUAL CRITICISM

 JOHANN JAKOB GRIESBACH (1745-1812) was one of the earliest fathers of modern textual criticism. Marvin R. Vincent says, "With Griesbach, really critical texts may be said to have begun" (A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, 1899, p. 100). As noted earlier, Griesbach was a convinced student of one of the fathers of Modernism, JOHANN SALOMO SEMLER (1725-91). Griesbach was influenced from his undergraduate days by the rising tide of Rationalism sweeping over Germany and "was a foe of orthodox Christianity" (D.A. Thompson, The Controversy Concerning the Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to Mark, p. 40). Both Semler and Griesbach rejected the deity of Jesus Christ and the supernatural infallibility of Holy Scripture.

He says that Semler is "often regarded as the father of German rationalism" and at the same time "made noteworthy contributions to the science of textual criticism" (Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p. 115). That there is a direct connection between German rationalism and modern textual criticism cannot be denied. Semler "was the leader of the reaction in Germany against the traditional views of the canon of Scripture" (Vincent, A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p. 92).

"It was said that Semler 'made use of his chair [as a professor at Halle] and his pen to undermine the very foundations of Christianity.' According to Semler, the whole revelation must be brought to the bar of human reason and the cultured mind must relieve itself of any obligations to believe anything in the Bible that appears 'unreasonable.' Semler's contribution to the destructive criticism of the Bible was his 'accommodation theory,' which declared that our Lord and His Apostles accommodated themselves to the prejudices, the errors and the superstitions of their time" (If the Foundations Be Destroyed. Trinitarian Bible Society Article No. 14, p. 1).

Griesbach was the first to declare Mark 16:9-20 spurious and to omit it from the 1796 edition of his Greek text.

 

KARL LACHMANN (1793-1851), Professor of Classical and German Philology at Berlin, has been described as a German rationalist (Charles Turner, Why the King James Version: The Preservation of the Word of God through the Faithful Churches, p. 7). Yet to "Lachmann belongs the distinction of entirely casting aside the Textus Receptus..." (Vincent, A History of Textual Criticism, p. 110). He produced editions of the N.T. in Berlin in 1842 and 1850, which carried Griesbach's ideas still further afield from the preserved Text. Lachmann did not believe it was possible to reproduce the original text of the New Testament (Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p. 124). His goal was merely to "secure the text in widest use in Jerome's time, leaving it to emendation and conjecture to get behind that" (Alexander Souter, The Text and Canon of the New Testament, 1912, p. 101)

 

Like some of the other fathers of textual criticism, Lachmann was not a theologian, but a philologist "who had distinguished himself by critical editions of Latin and German classics" (Vincent, p. 110). Like Bentley before him, Lachmann was not studying the New Testament as the supernaturally-inspired and divinely preserved Word of God but as a mere book. He was a profane man who treated the Bible like any other book and his textual research was a mere scholarly venture; yet, his work was taken seriously by textual critics because he was furthering their objective of undermining the authority of the Received Text. Lachmann "began to apply to the N.T. Greek text the same rules that he had used in editing texts of the Greek classics, which had been radically altered over the years. ... Lachmann had set up a series of several presuppositions and rules which he used for arriving at the original text of the Greek classics ... He now began with these same presuppositions and rules to correct the N.T. which he also presupposed was hopelessly corrupted.

 

Dr. D.A. Waite, who has examined the writings of Westcott and Hort in great detail, testifies: "Westcott's attack on the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not by any means a direct clash of out-and-and denial, but rather an adroit, skillful, oblique undermining of the bodily resurrection of Christ by means of a re-definition of terms" (Waite, Westcott's Denial of Bodily Resurrection, The Bible for Today, 1983, p. 8). Heresies of Westcott & Hort, by D. A. Waite

 

The apostasy of Westcott and Hort is also evident in their attitude toward a Christ-denying Unitarian who was invited to participate. George Vance Smith, minister of St. Saviour's Gate Unitarian Chapel, York, had equal vote along with the other committee members, although he had plainly and publicly denied the deity of Jesus Christ'.

 

EUGENE NIDA is the father of the heretical dynamic equivalency theory of Bible translation. He believes God's revelation in the Bible "involved limitations" and "is not absolute" and that the words of the Bible "are in a sense nothing in and of themselves" (Nida, Message and Mission, 1960, pp. 222-228). He does not believe the Bible is written "in a Holy Ghost language." He believes the record of Jacob wrestling with the Angel was not a literal event. He denies the substitutionary blood atonement of Christ (Nida, Theory and Practice, 1969, p. 53). He denies that Christ died to satisfy God's justice. He believes the blood of the cross was merely symbolic of Christ's death and is never used in the Bible "in the sense of propitiation."

 

BRUCE METZGER believes Moses did not write the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy was not written until 700 years before Christ, the Old Testament is a mixture of "myth, legend, and history," the record of the worldwide flood of Noah's day is exaggerated, the book of Job is a folktale, the miracle accounts about Elijah and Elisha contain "legendary elements," Isaiah was written by Isaiah plus two or three unknown men who wrote centuries later, the record of Jonah is a "legend," Daniel does not contain supernatural prophecy, Paul did not write the Pastoral Epistles, Peter did not write 2 Peter, etc. All of these unbelieving lies can be found in the notes to the Reader's Digest Condensed Bible, which were written by Metzger, and in the New Oxford Annotated Bible, of which Metzger is a co-editor.

 

KURT ALAND denied the verbal inspiration of the Bible and wanted to see all denominations united into one "body" by the acceptance of a new ecumenical canon of Scripture which would take into account the Catholic apocryphal books (The Problem of the New Testament Canon, pp. 6,7,30-33).

 

Modern version defenders today often claim that there are no doctrinal issues at stake in the textual variances, but the Unitarians and Modernists in the 19th century understood plainly that this is not the case. They understood very well that the theories of modern textual criticism produce a New Testament text that supports their heresies better than the Received Text.

 

Most colleges and seminaries do not teach anything about the defense of the Received Text (apart from a false caricature of it). Thus most men who graduate from these institutions, while assuming they know both sides of the textual debate, only know one side. Most Bible college and seminary graduates today have never read the works of John Burgon, Edward Miller, Edward Hills, Terance Brown, Donald Waite, or other scholarly defenders of the King James Bible and its Received Text.

 

James 3:11-12 "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?"
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."
Matt 7:17 "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."


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TEXTUAL CRITICISM IS DRAWN FROM THE WELLS OF INFIDELITYhttp://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/textualcriticism.htm

David W. Cloud

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