Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why do modern Academics opt for the W/H Text?

We already know why non-Christian academics opt for the W/H text. We can sum it up as follows:
(1) Non-Religious scholars believe that the Bible is just like any other book. It is not 'magically' protected from the normal historical and mechanical forces at work for ordinary books hand-copied from antiquity. It follows that the Biblical texts were vulnerable to corruption in the copying process.

(2) Non-Religious scholars believe that the Biblical books were indeed exposed to the same corrupting forces in the copying process, and so need significant restoration of their texts.

(3) Non-Religious scholars believe that the Bible has not been exposed to any 'special forces' or circumstances that cannot be handled by the normal methods of restoration in use for secular and other religious books.

(4) Non-Religious scholars believe that the Bible has not been protected by God or supernatural powers, and so they have no reason to believe that it has escaped the same kind of significant corruption that other books have suffered in the hand-copying process.

(5) Non-Religious scholars believe that ordinary text-critical methods are perfectly valid and effective, as currently developed, for restoring the text of all books hand-copied in antiquity.

Together these five points form the viewpoint of modern academia on the Biblical text, and all other texts.

The question is, how valid really are each of these planks in the modern position, and what happens when some of them become questionable under examination, or turn out to be unreliable? How much of the total modern secular view collapses, and what does the true picture become?

A second question is, why do so many modern Christian academics so easily absorb and embrace the modern secular viewpoint? And as far as they do embrace this position, how can they be trusted or relied upon for guidance in matters of faith and doctrine?

Christian academics seem helpless to confront the modern secular position on the Bible. It all appears natural enough and reasonable to them, and even logically impeccable. Basically, they surrender on all five points, and find themselves with an uninspired, unprotected, unpreserved Biblical text (the "inerrancy" is restricted to the original autographs, now lost).

As a result, they accept the critically reconstructed text of textual critics over the traditional text plainly used by the majority of Christians for the last thousand years. This is no exaggeration, for the Byzantine and Latin Vulgate texts together constituted the Bible for virtually the whole Christian world from about 400 to 1400 A.D.

In order to rationalize, justify, or excuse this position, modern Christian academics offer a lame apology along the following lines:
(1) No important Christian doctrine is affected in the editing of the Bible text.

(2) The edited critical text is as good as the traditional text for salvation etc.

(3) The critical text is sufficient for all religious and doctrinal matters.

(4) The critical text is closer to the original autographs than the traditional text.

(5) Adopting the critical text makes no difference, for all practical purposes.

Examples of Christian scholars who hold this view are:

(a) Daniel Wallace, "Whatever the evangelical doctrine -- it is not compromised by these new translations or the MSS behind them”, and

(b) Ben Witherington, "we are closer now today to the original text of the GNT than any time in history since about the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. ..."

Of course, the central doctrines of Divine Preservation and Inerrancy (rather important to some christians) are conveniently left out of the "important doctrines" not affected by adopting the modern position on the Biblical text.


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