6.25.2008

More Musings on KJV Onlyism 2




I wanted to add some more notes to my blog discussion about the KJV controversy. So, here we are. I subscribe to a Oneness periodical that has a columnist that likes to juxtapose and/or suggest some deviation with other translations besides the KJV. I do wonder if some consider this version to be inspired. If they do I would say they are simply incorrect. We should move far from nuances that imply we believe an inferior translation is indeed "best" or even as is implied "inspired."
In the original 1982 Preface of the NKJV, "the New Testament Text" subsection included the following:

The New King James Version has been based on this Received Text, thus perpetuating the tradition begun by William Tyndale in 1525 and continued by the 1611 translators in rendering the Authorized Version.
In the revised Preface of the NKJV, "the New Testament Text" subsection of The Scofield Study Bible (NY: Oxford University Press, 2002, page xiv) and other Thomas Nelson Publisher reference editions now include the following:

In light of these facts, and also because the New King James Version is the fifth* revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts, the editors decided to retain the traditional text [explained earlier in the Preface as "first publilshed in 1516, and later called the Textus Receptus or Received Text"] in the body of the New Testament and to indicate major Critical and Majority variant readings in the footnotes.
*All five of these translations are historical revisions of the TR.

1. Coverdale Bible (1535) / The Great Bible (1539)
2. Geneva Bible (the Bible of the Pilgrims) (1557-1560)
3. Bishop's Bible (1568)
4. King James Version (Dr. Benjamin Blayney's final revision, 1769)
5. New King James Version (1982)

I think also that translations can serve various purposes and that is why we have multiple translations. I am not advocating all translations either. We are not in short supply that is for sure. The function of a text-base should be to provide an apparatus that can best offer original meaning. Personally, I do not like the picking and choosing of text types, e.g. Byzantine or Alexandrian. I believe all translations should take into consideration all streams of evidence, weighing each mss and using this larger eclectic reading to ascertain variants. Many, by the way, are untranslatable.


The impact of vernacular is important and that is why the KJV was revised, and needed to be revised IMHO. In fact, Daniel Wallace noted some time ago that the KJV had about 300 words that no longer had the same meaning. Not just that they were awkward, but archaic in the sense that the meaning does not translate to the reader properly.

The methodology of translation is different depending on the translation you may have. For example, there is formal/literal, functional/dynamic, and optimal equivalence. The NIV uses dynamic, the NKJV or ESV uses literal and the HCSB, a newer translation, utilizes the optimal. Optimal equivalence is basically a coming together of the aforementioned methodologies. The HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) leaves passages like Mark 16:8ff and 1 John 5:7 in the main text but place them in brackets. This is an evolution of translation.


I am not Wallace but I would imagine there is much truth to that. Dr. Marvin Treece a few years ago, who is also a supporter of the TR, made a good point and I was captured by it. That is that there could be danger in placing the Word of God in such common vernacular and understanding. I am not opposed to the NIV, for sure, but I do see his point and believe we should support and teach a high regard for the Word of God. That is why our church does not use common vernacular versions in regular pulpit or congregational readings, except to make a point within a sermon or lesson.

When the Majority Text was being collected by Hodges and Farstad, William Pickering early on indicated that the Textus Receptus would differ from the Majority Text in 1,000 places. The number actually came to 1,838 places. In many of those places the Minority Text agrees with the Majority Text as it disagrees with the Textus Receptus.

Some verses are Luke 17:36, Acts 8:37, and I John 5:7 from the New Testament. The KJV renders 1 John 5:7:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. KJV
The English translation of the Majority Text of this passage reads:

For there are three that bear witness: EMTV
In addition, as in other other readings, such as Revelations 22:19. The KJV renders it:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. KJV
The English Majority Text Version renders it:

And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of Life, and from the holy city, and from the things having been written in this book. EMTV
It has been said that writers well-versed in textual criticism have abandoned the Textus Receptus as a standard text. J. W. Burgon, "Once for all, we request it may be clearly understood that we do not, by any means, claim perfection for the Received Text. We entertain no extravagant notions on this subject. Again and again we shall have occasion to point out that the Textus Receptus needs correction."

Edward F. Hills was virtually the only 20th Century scholar, who could be called competent, in the mid-20th century writers who defended the supremacy of the Textus Receptus.

There are many arguments that could be presented against the Textus Receptus. It has been said, of Erasmus, to have followed the Latin Vulgate in numerous places and actually puts unique readings into the Greek mss that were are are consequently carried on today. There is also ecclesiastical conspiracy one may consider as well.

As you can see an argument for any particular text type is probably not wise. It is best to consider each mss and weigh that mss accordingly. All of them should be used and considered.

My argument has been that often times we reject various translations or ideas of mss based upon the tradition and preference of a particular translation, e.g. KJV. It has become, to some, an inspired translation. In my mind, men such as Matthew, Luke, the Beloved John, Paul, Peter have such privileges reserved to them.

I believe the KJV is a good translation. In it we can find Gospel truth. None of the variants and errors that we see heralded or alluded to can take away from any doctrine that we hold. Considering the history and additions of new mss evidence I cannot say it is the best.

2 comments:

Praxeas1972 said...

I agree with your last paragraph, but I am not as well versed in this topic as I probably should be and so I do have a question: What do you think are the best 3 or 4 translations available to us today?

James Anderson said...

If I was to chose only 3 or 4. I can't say which would emphatically be "best" but I would say these 4 are better, possibly, than the KJV. Better is also a bit relative so humor me.

NRSV
NKJV
NIV
NET

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)