Have you Heard About the 2 Dirty Little Secrets of Textual Criticism?

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2 “Two Dirty Little Secrets of Textual Criticism”

After discussing Hort’s Conspiracy theory of textual history, I go on to point out…

“The new conspiracy theory—an inside job

Fast-forward to today. After 130 years, the critics have finally quit looking for such a revision. Now everyone agrees that there never was a decree to produce a standard text.
So, today’s textual insiders have come up with a new spin. The text was revised, but this time the culprits were…
People like you.

The culprits are now referred to as “orthodox” people. And just who are

“the orthodox”?
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines orthodox as:

  1. Sound in the Christian faith; believing the genuine doctrines taught in the Scriptures; opposed to heretical; as an orthodox Christian.
  2. According with the doctrines of Scripture; as an orthodox creed or faith.

In short, “the orthodox” were people like you and your friends—well-meaning but misguided believers who were at the core of the conspiracy to “corrupt” (i.e., correct) the Scriptures as originally but faultily given by God.

So, Hort’s fable is still repeated today but with a twist and told as if it were, pardon the expression, “gospel.” It’s kind of goofy, but here goes…

  1. The original but faulty autographs were committed to paper (or parchment or papyri).
  2. Then somewhere down the road “orthodox scribes” orchestrated a vast conspiracy to fix God’s original errors. These pious scribes thus “corrupted” the originals in order to help God out.

Poor God.
He just can’t be relied upon to get his facts straight the first time.

For starters, look at the book titles published by two key players in the field. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture was written by premiere textual critic Dr. Bart Ehrman.
The title tells it all. The orthodox corrupted the Scripture.
Here’s another.
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th edition) by Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman.
Notice that the text was transmitted then corrupted (by Bible believers) and then restored (by textual critics).
It’s finally happened: George Orwell’s 1984 has come to the church.
We’ve entered the age of Newspeak in the church of God.
‘War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, corrupt is correct, error is truth, orthodox is base and unorthodox is noble.’

Hort died in 1892. But his dead hand lives on.
Textual expert E.C. Colwell writes:
‘The dead hand of Fenton John Anthony Hort lies heavy upon us. In the early years of this century Kirsopp Lake [NT scholar] described Hort’s work as a failure, though a glorious one. But Hort did not fail to reach his major goal. He dethroned the Textus Receptus. After Hort, the late medieval Greek Vulgate was not used by serious students, and the text supported by earlier witnesses became the standard text. This was a sensational achievement, an impressive success. Hort’s success in this task and the cogency of his tightly reasoned theory shaped—and still shapes—the thinking of those who approach the textual criticism of the NT through the English language.(Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text, 14; citing E.C. Colwell, “Scribal Habits in

Early Papyri: A Study in the Corruption of the Text,” The Bible in Modern Scholarship, ed. J.P. Hyatt (New York: Abingdon Press, 1965), 370.)
Wilbur Pickering says:

‘And that explains the nature and extent of the common divergence of the modern versions from the AV (King James Version)—they are all based essentially on the W-H theory and text whereas the AV is essentially based on the Textus Receptus.’
This would be nothing more than an amusement had not Christian academics been tricked into believing Hort’s fable and its new incarnation.
Like they say, you can’t just make this stuff up.
Why evangelicals and fundamentalists have “man crushes” on these textual critics is perplexing.
So why don’t your teachers tell you the textual scholars who created the Greek New Testament text that underlies most modern versions of the Bible (i.e., ESV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NASB, NIV, NLT, HCSB, etc.) believe there were errors in the Original Autographs?
They probably don’t even know.
But let’s look at some examples of how the known and acknowledged errors found in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts are preserved today in popular Bible versions.
As you read on, keep this in mind: just because some Christian leaders use the erroneous readings in these infamous manuscripts…
Does that mean the Lord Jesus Christ has to use them?”

Are you sick of getting embarrassed by Bible College and Seminary trained folks who tell you that new versions of the Bible are better because they’re based on better manuscripts?