Keith Hunt - Attack on the KJV - Page Thirteen   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

300 Years Attack

The Textus Receptus under fire!

                      AUTHORIZED BIBLE VINDICATED #13


CHAPTER VII


Three Hundred Years of Attack on the King Janles Bible


"Wherever the so-called Counter-Reformation, started by the
Jesuits, gained hold of the people, the vernacular was suppressed
and the Bible kept from the laity. So eager were the Jesuits to
destroy the authority of the Bible - the paper pope of the
Protestants as they contemptuously called it - that they even did
not refain from criticizing its genuineness and historical value"
(Debschutz "The Influence of the Bible," p.136).

     THE opponents of the noble work of 1611 like to tell the
story of how the great printing plants which publish the King
James Bible have been obliged to go over it repeatedly to
eliminate flaws of printing, to eliminate words which in time
have changed in their meaning, or errors which have crept in
through the years because of careless editing by different
printing houses. They offer this as an evidence of the
fallibility of the Authorized Version. They seem to overlook the
fact that this labor of necessity is an argument for, rather than
against the dependability of the translations. Had each word
of the Bible been set in a cement cast incapable of the slightest
flexibility and been kept so throughout the ages, there could
have been no adaptability to the ever-changing structure of human
language. The artificiality of such a plan would have eliminated
the living action of the Holy Spirit and would accuse both man
and the Holy Spirit of being without an intelligent care for the
divine treasure.
     On this point the scholars of the Reformation made their
position clear under three different aspects. 
     First, they claimed that the Holy Scriptures had come down
to them unimpaired throughout the centuries. 
     Second, they recognized that to reform any manifest
oversight was not placing human hands on a divine work and was
not contrary to the mind of the Lord. Dr.Fulke says
"Nevertheless, whereinsoever Luther, Beza, or the English
translators, have reformed any of their former oversights, the
matter is not so great, that it can make an heresy."
     And lastly, they contended that the Received Text, both in
Hebrew and in Greek, as they had it in their day would so
continue unto the end of time.

     In fact, a testimony no less can be drawn from the opponents
of the Received Text. The higher critics, who have constructed
such elaborate scaffolding, and who have built such great engines
of war as their apparatus criticus, are obliged to describe the
greatness and strength of the walls they are attacking in order
to justify their war machine. On the Hebrew Old Testament, one of
a group of the latest and most radical critics says:
"DeLagarde would trace all manuscripts back to a single archetype
which he attributed to Rabbi Aquiba, who died in A.D.135. Whether
this hypothesis is a true one or not will probably never be
known; it certainly represents the fact that from about his
day variations of the consonantal text ceased almost entirely."
     While of the Greek New Testament, Dr.Hort, who was an
opponent of the Received Text and who dominated the English New
Testament Revision Committee, says:
"An overwhelming proportion of the text in all known cursive
manuscripts except a few is, as a matter of fact, identical."
     Thus strong testimonies can be given not only to the
Received Text, but also to the phenomenal ability of the
manuscript scribes writing in different countries and in
different ages to preserve an identical Bible in the overwhelming
mass of manuscripts.

     The large number of conflicting readings which higher
critics have gathered must come from only a few manuscripts,
since the overwhelming mass of manuscripts is identical.
     The phenomenon presented by this situation is so striking
that we are pressed in spirit to inquire, Who are these who are
so interested in urging on the world the finds of their
criticism? All lawyers understand how necessary for a lawsuit it
is to find some one "to press the case." Thousands of wills
bequeath property which is distributed in a way different from
the wishes of the testator because there are none interested
enough to "press the case." The King James Bible had hardly begun
its career before enemies commenced to fall upon it. Though it
has been with us for three hundred years in splendid leadership -
a striking phenomenon - nevertheless, as the years increase, the
attacks become more furious. If the book were a dangerous
document, a source of corrupting influence and a nuisance, we
would wonder why it has been necessary to assail it since it
would naturally die of its own weakness. But when it is a divine
blessing of great worth, a faultless power of transforming
influence, who can it be who are so stirred up as to deliver
against it one assault after another? Great theological
seminaries, in many lands, led by accepted teachers of learning,
are laboring constantly to tear it to pieces. Point us out
anywhere, any situation similar concerning the sacred books of
any other religion, or even of Shakespeare, or of any other work
of literature. Especially since 1814 when the Jesuits were
restored by the order of the Pope - if they needed restoration -
have the attacks by Catholic scholars on the Bible, and by other
scholars who are Protestants in name, become bitter.
"For it must be said that the Roman Catholic or the Jesuitical
system of argument - the work of the Jesuits from the sixteenth
century to the present day - evinces an amount of learning and
dexterity, a subtility of reasoning, a sophistry, a plausibility
combined, of which ordinary Christians have but little idea. .
Those who do so (tale the trouble to investigating) find that, if
tried by the rules of right reasoning, the argument is 
defective, assuming points which should be proved; that it is
logically false, being grounded in sophisms; that it rests in
many cases on guotations which are not genuine ... on passages
which, when collated with the original, are proved to be wholly
inefficacious as proofs."

     As time went on, this wave of higher criticism mounted
higher and higher until it became an ocean surge inundating
France, Germany, England, Scotland, the Scandinavian nations, and
even Russia. When the Privy Council of England handed down in
1864 its decision, breathlessly awaited everywhere, permitting
those seven Church of England clergymen to retain their
positions, who had ruthlessly attached the inspiration of the
Bible, a cry of horror went up from Protestant England; but "the
whole Catholic Church," said Dean Stanley, "is: as we have seen,
with the Privy Council and against the modern dogmatists." By
modern dogmatists, he meant those who believe "the Bible and the
Bible only."
     The tide of higher criticism was soon seen to change its
appearance and to menace the whole framework of fundamentalist
thinking. The demand for revision became the order of the day.
The crest was seen about 1470 in France, Germany, England, mid
the Scandinavian countries. Time-honored Bibles in these
countries were radically overhauled and a new meaning was read
into words of Inspiration.
     Three lines of results are strongly discernible as features
ofthe movement. 
     First, "collation" became the watchward. Manuscripts were
laid alongside of manuscripts to detect various readings and to
justify that reading which the critic chose as the right one.
With the majority of workers, especially those whose ideas have
stamped the revision, it was astonishing to see how they turned
away from the overwhelming mass of MSS and invested with
tyrannical superiority a certain few documents, some of them
of a questionable character. 
     Second, this wave of revision was soon seen to be hostile to
the Reformation. There is something startlingly in common to be
found in the modernist who denies the element of the miraculous
in the Scriptures, and the Catholic Church which invests
tradition with an inspiration equal to the Bible. As a result, it
seems a desperately hard task to get justice done to the
Reformers or their product. As Dr.Demaus says:
"For many of the facts of Tyndale's life have been disputed or
distorted, through carelessness, through prejudice, and through
the malice of that school of writers in whose eyes the
Reformation was a mistake, if not a crime, and who conceive it to
be their mission to revive all the old calumnies that have ever
been circulated against the Reformers, supplementing them by new
accusations of their own invention." 
     A third result of this tide of revision is that when our
time-honored Bibles are revised, the changes are generally in
favor of Rome. We are told that Bible revision is a step forward;
that new MSS have been made available and advance has been made
in archaeology, philology, geography, and the apparatus of
criticism. How does it come then that we have been revised back
into the arms of Rome? If my conclusion is true, this so-called
Bible revision has become one of the deadliest of weapons in the
hands of those who glorify the Dark Ages and who seek to bring
western nations back to the theological thinking which prevailed
before the Reformation.


THE FOUNDERS OF TEXTUAL CRITICISM 

     The founders of this critical movement were Catholics. One
authority pointing out two Catholic schorars, says:
"Meanwhile two great contributions to criticism and knowledge
were made in France: Richard Simon, the Oratorian, published
between 1689 and 1695 a series of four books on the text, the
versions, and the principal commentators of the New Testament,
which may be said to have laid the foundation of modern critical
inquiry: Pierre Sabatier, the Benedictine, collected the whole of
the pre-Vulgate Latin evidence for the text of the Bible." 
     So says a modernist of the latest type and held in high
repute as a scholar.
     Dr.Hort tells us that the writings of Simon had a large
share in the movement to discredit the Textus Receptus class of
MSS and Bibles. While of him and other outstanding Catholic
scholars in this field, the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
"A French priest, Richard Simon (1638-1712), was the first who
subjected the general questions concerning the Bible to a
treatment which was at once comprehensive in scope and
scientific in method. Simon is the forerunner of modern
Biblical criticism ... The use of internal evidence by which
Simon arrived at it entitles him to be called the father of
Biblical criticism."
"In 1753 Jean Astruc, a French Catholic physician of considerable
note, published a little book, 'Conjectures sur les memoires
originaux dont il parait quo Mosee s'est servi pour composer le
livre de la Genese,' in which he conjectured, from the
alternating use of two names of God in the Hebrew Genesis, that
Moses had incorporated therein two pre-existing documents, one of
which employed Elohim and the other Jehovah. The idea attracted
little attention till it was taken up by a German scholar, who,
however, claims to have made the discovery independently. This
was Johann Gottfried Eichhorn ... Eichhorn greatly developed
Astruc's hypothesis."
"Yet it was a Catholic priest of Scottish origin, Alexander
Geddes (1737-1802), who broached a theory of the origin of the
Five Books (to which he attached Josue) exceeding in boldness
either Simon's or Eichhorn's. This was the well-known
'Fragment' hypothesis, which reduced the Pentateuch to a
collection of fragmentary sections partly of Mosaicc origin, but
put together in the reign of Solomon. Geddes' opinion was
introduced into Germany in 1805 by Vater." 
     Some of the earliest critics in the field of collecting
variant readings of the New Testament in Greek, were Mill and
Bengel. We have Dr.Kenrick, Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia in
1849, as authority that they and others had examined these
manuscripts recently exalted as superior, such as the Vaticanus,
Alexandrinus, Beza, and Ephraem, and had pronounced in favor of
the Vulgate, the Catholic Bible.
     Simon, Astruc, and Geddes, with those German critics,
Eichhorn, Semler, and DeWitte, who carried their work on further
and deeper, stand forth as leaders and representatives in the
period which stretches from the date of the King James (1611) to
the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789). Simon and Eichhorn
were co-authors of a Hebrew Dictionary. These outstanding six, -
two French, one Scotch, and three German, with others of perhaps
not equal prominence, began the work of discrediting the Received
Text, both in the Hebrew and in the Greek, and of calling in
question the generally accepted beliefs respecting the Bible
which had prevailed in Protestant countries since the birth of
the Reformation. There was not much to do in France, since it was
not a Protestant country and the majority had not far to go to
change their belief; there was not much done in England or
Scotland because there a contrary mentality prevailed. The
greatest inroads were made in Germany. Thus matters stood when in
1773, European nations arose and demanded that the Pope suppress
the order of the Jesuits. It was too late, however, to smother
the fury which sixteen years later broke forth in the French
Revolution.
     The upheaval which followed engaged the attention of all
mankind for a quarter of a century. It was the period of
indignation foreseen by the prophet Daniel. As the armies of
the Revolution and of Napoleon marched and counter-marched over
the territories of Continental Europe, the foundations of the
ancient regime were broken up. Even from the Vatican the cry
arose, "Religion is destroyed." And when in 1812 Napoleon was
taken prisoner, and the deluge had passed, men looked out upon a
changed Europe. England had escaped invasion, although she had
taken a leading part in the overthrow of Napoleon. France
restored her Catholic monarchs, the Bourbons who "never learned
anything and never forgot anything." In 1814 the Pope promptly
restored the Jesuits.
     Then followed in the Protestant world two outstanding
currents of thought: first, on the part of many, a stronger
expression of faith in the Holy Scriptures, especially in the
great prophecies which seemed to be on the eve of fulfillment
where they predict the coming of a new dispensation. The other
current took the form of a reaction, a growing disbelief in the
leadership of accepted Bible doctrines whose uselessness seemed
proved by their apparent impotence in not preventing the French
Revolution. And, as in the days before that outbreak. Germany,
which had suffered the most, seemed to be fertile soil for a
strong and rapid growth of higher criticism.


GRIESBACH AND MOHLER

     Among the foremost of those who tore the Received Text to
pieces in the Old Testament stand the Hollander, Kuehnen, and the
German scholars; Ewald and Wellhausen. Their findings, however,
were confined to scholarly circles. The public were not moved by
them, as their work appeared to be only negative. The two German
critics who brought the hour of revision much nearer were the
Protestant Griesbach, and the Catholic Mohler. Mohler (1796-1838)
did not spend his efforts on the text as did Griesbach, but he
handled the points of difference in doctrine between the
Protestants and the Catholics in such a way as to win over the
Catholic mind to higher criticism, and to throw open the door for
Protestants who either loved higher criticism, or who, being
disturbed by it, found in Catholicism, a haven of refuge. Of him
Hagenbach says:
"Whatever vigorous vitality is possessed by the most recent
Catholic theological science is due to the labors of this man." 
While Kurtz says:
"He sent rays of his spirit deep into the hearts and minds of
hundreds of his enthusiastic pupils by his writings, addresses,
and by his intercourses with them; and what the Roman Catholic
Church of the present possesses of living scientific impulse and
feeling was implanted, or at least revived and excited by him. 
... In fact, long as was the opposition which existed between
both churches, no work from the camp of the Roman Catholics
produced as much agitation and excitement in the camp of the
Protestants as this." 
     Or, as Maurice writes concerning Ward, one of the powerful
leaders of the Oxford Movement:
"Ward's notion of Lutheranism is taken, I feel pretty sure, from
Mohler's very gross misrepresentations." 
     Griesbach (1745-1812) attacked the Received Text of the New
Testament in a new way. He did not stop at bringing to light and
emphasizing the variant readings of the Greek manuscripts; he
classified readings into three groups, and put all manuscripts
under these groupings, giving them the names of
"Constantinopolitan," or those of the "Received Text," the
"Alexandrian," and the "Western." While Griesbach used the
Received Text as his measuring rod, nevertheless, the new Greek
New Testament he brought forth by this measuring rod followed the
Alexandrian manuscripts or, - Origen. His classification of the
manuscripts was so novel and the result of such prodigious
labors, that critics everywhere hailed his Greek New Testament as
the final word. It was not long, however, before other scholars
took Griesbach's own theory of classification and proved him
wrong.


ROMANTICISM AND SIR WALTER SCOTT

     The effective manner in which other currents appeared during
this period, which, working together, contributed toward one
central point, may be seen in the unusual factors which arose to
call the thoughts of men back to the Middle Ages. All that
contributed to the glamour and the romanticism of the ages of
chivalry seemed to start forth with a new freshness of life. The
Gothic architecture, which may be seen in the cathedrals erected
while St.Louis of France and Thomas A.Beckett of England were
medieval heroes, again became the fashion. Religious works
appeared whose authors glorified the saints and the princes of
the days of the crusades. Sir Walter Scott is generally esteemed
by everyone as being the outstanding force which led the minds of
fiction readers to the highest enthusiasm over the exploits of
Catholic heroes and papal armies.
     Many forces were at work, mysterious in the unexpected way
they appeared and arousing public interest in the years which
preceded the Reformation. Painters of England, France, and
Germany, there were, who gave to Medieval scenes a romance, and
so aroused in them new interest.


WINER

     Winer (1789-1858), a brilliant student in theology, but
especially in Biblical Greek, was destined to transmit through
modern rules affecting New Testament Greek, the results of the
research and speculations produced by the higher critics,and
German theologians who had gone before him and were working
contemporaneously with him. Dean Farrar calls Winer, "The highest
authority in Hellenistic Grammar." Griesbach had blazed a new
trail, when by his classification of manuscripts, he cast
reflection upon the authority of the Received Text. Mohler and
Gorres had so revivified and exalted Catholic theology that the
world of scholars was prepared to receive some new devices which
they called rules, in handling the grammatical elements of the
New Testament Greek. These rules differed greatly in viewpoint
from those of the scholars of the Reformation. Winer was that man
who provided such rules.
     In order to understand what Winer did, we must ask ourselves
the question: In the Bible, is the Greek New Testament joined to
a Hebrew Old Testament, or to a group of Greek writings? Or in
other words: Will the language of the Greek New Testament be
influenced by the molds of pagan thought coming from the Greek
world into the books of the New Testament, or will it be molded
by the Hebrew idioms and phrases of the Old Testament directly
inspired of God? The Reformers said that the Greek of the New Te
stament was cast in Hebrew forms of thought, and translated
freely; the Revisers literally. The Revisers followed Winer. We
see the results of their decision in the Revised New Testament.
To understand this a little more clearly, we need to remember
that the Hebrew language was either deficient in adjectives, or
dearly liked to make a noun serve in place of an adjective. The
Hebrews often did not say a "strong man;" they said a "man of
strength." They did not always say an "old woman;" they said
a "woman of age." In English we would use the latter expression
only about once where we would use the former many times.   
     Finding these Hebrew methods of handling New Testament
Greek, the Reformers translated them into the idiom of the
English language, understanding that that was what the Lord
intended. Those who differed from the Reformers claimed that
these expressions should be carried over literally, or what is
known as transliteration.
     Therefore the Revisers did not translate; they
transliterated and gloried in their extreme literalism. Let us
illustrate the results of this new method.


HEBRAISMS

King James (Reformers) 
Matt.5:22 "hell fire"
Revised (Winer) "hell of fire" 
Titus 2:13 "the glorious appearing" 
Revised
"the appearing of the glory" 
Phil. 3:21 "His glorious body"  
Revised
"the body of His glory" 

     The first means Christ's glorified body, the second might
mean good deeds.
     Dr. Vance Smith, Unitarian scholar on the Revision
Committee, said that "hell of fire" opened the way for the other
hells of pagan mythology.


THE ARTICLE (ITS NEW RULES)

Matt.11:2 "Christ" ....................."the Christ" 
Heb. 9:27 "the judgment"............... "judgment" 
     Dean Farrar in his defense of the Revised Version says that,
in omitting the article in Hebrews 9:27, the Revisers changed the
meaning from the great and final judgment, to judgments in the
intermediate state (such as purgatory, limbo, etc.), thus proving
the intermediate state. From the growing favor in which the
doctrine of purgatory is held, we believe the learned Dean had
this in mind. Pages of other examples could be given of how the
new rules can be used as a weapon against the King James.
     
     So the modern rules which they apparently followed when it
suited their theology, on the "article," the "tenses," - aorists
and perfect, - the "pronoun," the "preposition," the "intensive,"
"Hebraisms," and "parallelisms," pave the way for new and
anti-Protestant doctrines concerning the "Person of Christ,"
"Satan," "Inspiration of the Bible," "The Second Coming of
Christ," and other topics dealt with later.
     On this point the Edinburgh Review, July, 1881, says:
"Our Revisers have subjected their original to the most
exhaustive grammatical analysis, every chapter testifies
to the fear of Winer that was before their eyes, and their
familiarity with the intricacies of modern verbal crititicism"


THE MOULTON FAMILY

     Let me now introduce Professor W.F.Moulton of Cambridge,
England; his brother, Professor R.G.Moulton, of Chicago
University; and his son, Dr.J.H.Moulton of several colleges
and universities.
     Professor W.F.Moulton of Leys College, Cambridge, England,
was a member of the English New Testament Revision Committee. To
him we owe, because of his great admiration for it, the
translation into English of Winer's Grammar of New Testament
Greek. It went through a number of editions, had a wide
circulation, and exercised a dominant influence upon the thinking
of modern Greek scholars.
     Professor W.F.Moulton had a very strong part in the
selecting of the members who should serve on the English New
Testament Revision Committee. Of this, his son, Professor James
H.Moulton says regarding Bishop Ellicott, leading promoter of
revision, and chairman of the New Testament Revision Committee
"Doctor Ellicott had been in correspondence on Biblical
matters with the young Assistant Tutor ... His estimate of his
powers was shown first by the proposal as to Winer, and not long
after by the Bishop's large use of my father's advice in
selecting new members of the Revision Company. Mr.Moulton took
his place in the Jerusalem Clamber in 1870, the youngest member
of the Company: and in the same year his edition of Winer
ap-peared."

     Of Professor Moulton's work, Bishop Ellicott writes:
"Their (the Revisers') knowledge of New Testament Greek was
distinctly influenced by the grammatical views of Professor
Winer, of whose valuable grammar of the Greek Testament one of
our company ... had been a well-known and successful
translator."

     Professor W.F.Moulton, a Revisionist, also wrote a book on
the "History of the Bible." In this book he glorifies the Jesuit
Bible of 1582 as agreeing "with the best critical editions of the
present day." "Hence," he says, "we may expect to find that the
Rhemish New Testament (Jesuit Bible of 1582) frequently
anticipates the judgment of later scholars as to the presence or
absence of certain words, clauses, or even verses." And again,
"On the whole, the influence of the use of the Vulgate would, in
the New Testament, be more frequently for good than for harm in
respect of text."  With respect to the use of the article, he
says, "As the Latin language has no definite article, it might
well be supposed that of all English versions, the Rhemish would
be least accurate in this point of translation. The very reverse
is actually the case. There are many instances (a comparatively
hasty search has discovered more than forty) in which, of all
versions, from Tyndale's to the Authorized inclusive, this alone
is correct in regard to the article."  All this tended to
belittle the King James and create a demand for a different
English Bible.
     You will be interested to know that his brother, Professor
R.G.Moulton, believes the book of Job to be a drama.  He says
"But the great majority of readers will take these chapters to be
part of the parable into which the history of Job has been worked
up. The incidents in heaven, like the incidents of the prodigal
son, they will understand to be spiritually imagined, not
historically narrated."
     Since "Get thee behind me, Satan" has been struck out in the
Revised in Luke 4:8, and the same phrase now applied only to
Peter (Matt.16:23), it is necessary, since Peter is called Satan
by Christ, to use modern rules and exalt Satan.
         
"Among the sons of God," R.G.Moulton further tells us, "it is
said comes from 'theSatan' It is best to use the artile and speak
of 'the satan'; or as the margin gives it, 'the Adversary': that
is, the Adversary of THE saints ... Here (as in the similar
passage of Zechariah) the Satan is an official in the Court of
Heaven ... The Roman Church has exactly caught this conceotion in
its 'Advocatus Diaboli': such an advocate may be in fact a pious
and kindly ecclesiastic, but he has the function assigned him of
searching out all possible evil that can be alleged against a
candidate for canonization, lest the honors of the church might
be given without due enquiry."

     From the study which you have had of Winer and the Moultons,
I think it will be easy to see the trend of German higher
criticism as it has been translated into English literature and
into the revised edition of the Bible.


CARDINAL WISEMAN (1802-1865)

     The new birth of Catholicism in the English world can be
credited to no one more than to that English youth later to
become a cardinal - who pursued at Rome his Oriental studies.
There under the trained eye of Cardinal Mai, the editor of the
Vatican Manuscript, Wiseman early secured an influential
leadership among higher critics by his researches and theories on
the earliest texts. "Without this training," he said later, "I
should not have thrown myself into the Puseyite controversy at a
later period." He was thrilled over the Cathohc reaction taking
place everywhere on the Continent, and, being English, he longed
to have a share in bringing about the same in England. He was
visited in Rome by Gladstone, by Archbishop Trench, a promoter of
revision and later a member of the English New Testament Revision
Committee; also by Newman, Froude, and Manning;" by the leaders
of the Catholic reaction in Germany,-- Bunsen, Gorres, and
Overbeck; and by the leaders of the same in France,--
Montalembert, Lacordaire, and Lamennais.

     Wiseman's theories on the Old Latin Manuscripts - later to
be disproved - gave a decided impetus to the campaign against the
Received Text. Scrivener, generally well-balanced, was affected
by his conclusions "Even in our day such writers as Mr.
Scrivener; Bishop Westcott, and Tregelles, as well as German and
Italian scholars, have made liberal use of his arguments and
researches." "Wiseman has made out a case," says Scrivener,
"which all who have followed him, Lachmann, Tischendorf,
Davidson, and Tregelles, accept as irresistible."  Some of the
most distinguished men of Europe attended his lectures upon the
reconciliation of science and religion. The story of how he was
sent to England, founded the Dublin Review, and working on the
outside of Oxford with the remnants of Catholicism in England
and with the Catholics of the Continent, while Newman on the
inside of Oxford, as a Church of England clergyman, worked to
Romanize that University and that Church; of how Wiseman
organized again the Catholic hierarchy in Great Britain, a step
which convulsed England from end to end, will be subjects for
later consideration. Suffice it now to say that Wiseman lived
long enough to exult openly that the King James Version had been
thrust aside and the preeminence of the Vulgate reestablished by
the influence of his attacks and those of other textual critics.


THE GNOSTICISM OF GERMAN THEOLOGY INVADES ENGLAND

COLERIDGE, THIRWALL, STANLEY, WESTCOTT

     By 1833 the issue was becoming clearly defined. It was
Premillenarianism, that is, belief in the return of Christ before
the millennium, or Liberalism; it was with regard to the
Scriptures, literalism or allegorism. As Cadman says of the
Evangelicals of that day:

"Their fatalism inclined many of them to Premillenarianism as a
refuge from the approaching catastrophes of the present
dispensation ... Famous divines strengthened and adorned the
wider ranks of Evangelicalism, but few such were found within the
pale of the Establishment. Robert Hall, John Foster. William Jay
of Bath, Edward Irving, the eccentric genius, and in Scotland,
Thomas Chalmer, represented the vigor and fearlessness of an
earlier day and maintained the excellence of Evangelical
preaching."

     How deeply the conviction, that the great prophecies which
predicted the approaching end of the ago, had gripped the public
mind can be seen in the great crowds which assembled to hear
Edward Irvine. They were so immense that he was constantly
compelled to secure larger auditoriums. Even Carlyle could 
relate of his own father in 1832:

"I have heard him say in late years with an impressiveness 
which all his perceptions carried with them, that the lot of a
poor man was growing worse and worse; that the world would not
and could not last as it was; that mighty changes of which none
saw the end were on the way. To him, as one about to take his
departure, the whole was but of secondary moment. He was looking
toward 'a city that had foundations.'"

     Here was a faith in the Second Coming of Christ, at once
Protestant and evangelical, which would resist any effort so to
revue the Scriptures as to rendor them colorless, giving to them
nothing more than a literary endorsement of plans of betterment,
merely social or political. This faith was soon to be called upon
to face a theology of an entirely different spirit. German
religious thinkingg at that moment was taking on an aggressive
attitude. Schleiermacher had captured the imagination of the age
and would soon mold the theology of Oxford and Cambridge.
Though he openly confessed himself a Protestant, nevertheless,
like Origen of old, he sat at the feet of Clement, the old
Alexandrian teacher of 190 A.D. Clement's passion for
allegorizing Scripture offered an easy escape from
those obligations imposed upon the soul by a plain message of the
Bible. Schleiermacher modernized Clement's philosophy and made it
beautiful to the parlor philosophers of the day by imaginary
analysis of the realm of spirit. 
     It was the old Gnosticism revived, and would surely dissolve
Protestantism wherever accepted and would introduce such terms
into the Bible, if revision could be secured, as to rob the
trumpet of a certain sound. The great prophecies of the Bible
would become mere literary addresses to the people of bygone
days, and unless counter-checked by the noble Scriptures of the
Reformers, the result would be either atheism or papal
infallibility.
     If Schleiermacher did more to captivate and enthrall the
religious thinking of the nineteenth century than any other one
scholar, Coleridge, his contemporary, did as much to give
aggressive motion to the thinking of England's youth of his day,
who, hardly without exception, drank enthusiastically of his
teachings. He had been to Germany and returned a ferven devotee
of its theology and textual criticism. At Cambridge University he
became the star around which grouped a constellation of leaders
in thought. Thirwall, Westcott, Hort, Moulton, Milligan, who were
all later members of the English Revision Committees and whose
writings betray the voice of the master, felt the impact of his
doctrines.

"His influence upon his own age, and especially upon its younger
men of genius, was greater than that of any other Englishman ...
Coleridgeans may be found now among every class of English
divines, from the Broad Church to the highest Puseyites," says
McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia.
     The same article speaks of Coleridge as "Unitarian,"
"Metaphysical," a "Theologian," "Pantheistic," and says that "he
identifies reason with the divine Logos," and that he holds
"views of inspiration as low as the rationalists," and also holds
views of the Trinity "no better than a refined, Platonized
Sabellianism."


LACHMANN, TISCHENDORF, AND TREGELLES

     We have seen above how Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles
fell under the influence of Cardinal Wiseman's theories. There
are more recent scholars of textual criticism who pass over these
three and leap from Griesbach to Westcott and Hort, claiming that
the two latter simply carried out the beginnings of
classification made by the former. Nevertheless, since many
writers bid us over and over again to look to Lachmann,
Tischendorf, and Tregelles.--until we hear of them morning, noon,
and night, we would seek to give these laborious scholars all
the praise justly due them, while we remember that there is a
limit to all good things.

     Lachmann's (1793-1851) bold determination to throw aside the
Received Text and to construct a new Greek Testament from such
manuscripts as he endorsed according to his own rules, has been
the thing which endeared him to all who give no weight to the
tremendous testimony of 1500 years of use of the Received Text.
Yet Lachmann's canon of criticism has been deserted both by
Bishop Ellicott, and by Dr.Hort. Ellicott says, "Lachmann's text
is really one based on little more than four manuscripts, and so
is really more of a critical recension than a critical text." And
again, "A text composed on the narrowest and most exclusive
principles." While Dr.Hort says:
"Not again, in dealing with so various and complex a body of
documentary attestation, is there any real advantage in
attempting, with Lachmann, to allow the distributions of a very
small number of the most ancient existing documents to construct
for themselves a provisional text."

     Tischendorf's (1815-1874) outstanding claim upon history is
his discovery of the Sinaitic Manuscript in the convent
at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Mankind is indebted to this prodigious
worker for having published manuscripts not accessible to the
average reader. Nevertheless, his discovery of Codex Aleph 
toppled over his judgment. Previous to that he had brought out
seven different Greek New Testaments, declaring that the seventh
was perfect and could not be superseded. Then, to the scandal of
textual criticism, after he had found the Sinaitic Manuscript, he
brought out his eighth Greek New Testament, which was different
from his seventh in 3572 places.  Moreover, he demonstrated how
textual critics can artificially bring out Greek New Testaments
when, at the request of a French Publishing house, Firmin Didot,
he edited an edition of the Greek Testament for Catholics,
conforming it to the Latin Vulgate.

     Tregelles (1813-1875) followed Lachmann's principles by
going back to what he considered the ancient manuscripts and,
like him, he ignored the Received Text and the great mass of
cursive manuscripts. Of him, Ellicott says, "His critical
principles, especially his general principles of estimating and
regarding modern manuscripts, are now, perhaps justly, called in
question by many competent scholars," and that his text "is rigid
and mechanical, and sometimes fails to disclose that critical
instinct and peculiar scholarly sagacity which is so much needed
in the great and responsible work of constructing a critical text
of the Greek Testament." 

     In his splendid work which convinced Gladstone that the
Revised Version was a failure, Sir Edmund Beckett says of the
principles which controlled such men as Lachmann, Tischendorf,
Tregelles, Westcott, and Hort in their modern canons of criticism
"If two, or two-thirds of two dozen men steeped in Greek declare
that they believe that he (John) ever wrote that he saw in a
vision seven angels clothed in stone with golden girdles, which
is the only honest translation of their Greek, and defend it with
such arguments as these, I ... distrust their judgment on the
'prepon-derance of evidence' for new readings altogether, and all
their modern canons of criticism, which profess to settle the
relative value of manuscripts, with such results as this and many
others." 

     Such were the antecedent conditions preparing the way to
draw England into entangling alliances, to de-Protestantize her
national church and to advocate at a dangerous hour the necessity
of revising the King James Bible. The Earl of Shaftesbury,
foreseeing the dark future of such an attempt, said in May, 1856:
"When you are confused or perplexed by a variety of versions, you
would be obliged to go to some learned pundit in whom you reposed
confidence, and ask him which version he recommended; and when
you had taken his version, you must be bound by his opinion. I
hold this to be the greatest danger that now threatens us. It is
a danger pressed upon us from Germany, and pressed upon us by the
neogolical spirit of the age. I hold it to be far more dangerous
than Tractarianism or Popery, both of which I abhor from the
bottom of my heart. This evil is tenfold more dangerous, tenfold
more subtle than either of these, because you would be ten times
more incapable of dealing with the gigantic mischief that would
stand before you," 


THE POLYCHROME BIBLE AND THE SHORTER BIBLE 

     The results of this rising tide of higher criticism were the
rejection of the Received Text and the mania for revision. It
gave us, among other bizarre versions, the "Polychrome" and also
the "Shorter Bible." The Polychome Bible is generally an edition
of the separate books of the Scriptures, each book having every
page colored many times to represent the different writers.
Any one who will take the pains to secure a copy of the "Shorter
Bible" in the New Testament, will recognize that about four
thousand of the nearly eight thousand verses in that Scripture
have been entirely blotted out. We offer the following quotation
from the United Presbyterian of December 22, 1921, as a
description of the "Shorter Bible."

"The preface further informs us that only about onethird of the
Old Testament and two-thirds of the New Testament are possessed
of this 'vital interest and practical value.' The Old Testament
ritual and sacrificial system, with their deep lessons and their
forward look to the atonement through the death of Christ are
gone. As a result of this, the New Testament references to Christ
as the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifices are omitted.
Such verses as, 'Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin
of the world,' are gone. Whole books of the Old Testament are
gone.  Some of the richest portions of the books of the prophets
are missing. From the New Testament they have omitted 4,000
verses. Other verses are cut in two, and a fragment left us, for
which we are duly thankful. The great commission recorded in
Matthew; the epistles of Titus, Jude, First and Second John, are
entirely omitted, and but twenty-five verses of the second
epistle of Timothy remain. The part of the third chapter of
Romans which treats of human depravity, being 'of no practical
value to the present age,' is omitted. Only one verse remains
from the fourth chapter. The twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew and
other passages upon which the premillenarians base their theory,
are missing. All the passages which teach the atonement through
the death of Christ are gone."

     The campaigns of nearly three centuries against the Received
Text did their work. The Greek New Testament of the Reformation
was dethroned and with it the Versions translated from it,
whether English, German, French, or of any other language. It had
been predicted that if the Revised Version were not of sufficient
merit to be authorized and so displace the King James, confusion
and division would be multiplied by a crop of unauthorized and
sectarian translations. The Polychrome, the Shorter Bible, and a
large output of hetero-geneous Bibles verify the prediction. No
competitor has yet appeared able to create a standard comparable
to the text which has held sway for 1800 years in the original
tongue, and for 300 years in its Engiish translation, the King
James.
                         ........................


To be continued


  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help