Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh if only the seminaries and pastors would read Dean Burgon's Revision Revised.

I wonder how the seminaries teach the Bible versions history, what books top their reading list for the course. Clearly it is taught in most seminaries in such a way as to recommend the modern versions. But how much do they teach of the other side?

There's an online site by a Michael Marlowe who calls himself The Bible Researcher, who is very informative on many things. He has some degree of seminary training as I recall. He was one of my sources for the understanding of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 as requiring women to cover our heads in church now as well as in Paul's day. But on the subject of the Bible versions he has capitulated to the establishment point of view. I was very disappointed to discover this. He dismisses Dean Burgon as simply overstating his case. He probably represents the majority of the scholarly Christian community.

I deeply wish that Dean Burgon's book were taught in the seminaries at great length. I think if the book were studied in the seminaries and also by pastors in the churches, before they set about teaching on the subject of the versions, it might well revolutionize things, it might well lead to a complete rethinking of the subject. Even if it didn't persuade all or even many, some honest souls would just have to recognize the superiority of his reasoning, his excellent knowledge, his thoroughly mustered evidence.

And he's SO funny too. His sarcasm in dismissing the ridiculous excuse for scholarship he finds in the work of Westcott and Hort is priceless. I still want to assemble some of the best quotes from him, especially in answer to James White, but I can't just toss it off, I'm going to have to work to put it together well. Meanwhile, I just had to say this much. Anyone who wants to read the book online will find it at David Cloud's site, and D A Waite's site sells it as well as hosting the Dean Burgon Society.

Lord, won't You have mercy on the church and open the eyes of many of her leaders on this subject among others?

KJOs need to be a LOT more careful than this!

Well, a Christian commentator whose talks on a variety of last-days issues I've appreciated pretty much for a few months now, despite some lapses, has gone over the edge this time. He's reading a text that would have us revere all the misspellings of the original KJV as God's own inspired word:

Believers Beware of Counterfeit King James Bibles.

Of course there were misspellings in the 1611 KJV -- it was one of the many sorts of errors, or was it merely inconsistent spellings -- corrected between then and the 1869Cambridge edition, misprints, typos, misspellings, inconsistent spellings and whatnot. Or if they were all merely inconsistent and not misspellings for that reason, what difference does it really make? (I'm answering someone who has taken me to task for this in the comments section).

On the list of words the writer thinks have been mistakenly altered in some new editions of the King James is the word "ought" which later editions have replaced with "aught." He INSISTS that "aught" is wrong. "Ought has been changed to aught," he complains, and in a Bible quote at the top of the page he emphasizes what he believes to be the correct spelling:

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. [his emphasis].

It takes someone ignorant of the English language to prefer this spelling in this place.

The reader of this tract on counterfeit King James Bibles also happened to recommend the 1828 Webster's Dictionary in this same talk, obviously unaware that Webster himself disagrees with his source about the spelling "ought:"

Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

Aught, the true orthography.

AUGHT, n. ...
This word should not be written ought.
[my emphasis]

1. Any thing, indefinitely. But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting.
2. Any part, the smallest; a jot or tittle.
There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken. Josh. 21.

I didn't check all the words our anxious adviser listed to be held as pure and untouchable, but one I recall is the old spelling asswaged as opposed to assuaged, so I did check the Webster's 1828 again, and found:

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

ASSWA'GE, See Assuage.

Is the old Webster's the authority or not?

Another King James Bible purist on this subject accepts changes in spelling up to the 1869 Cambridge edition but is adamant that that edition is the zenith of perfection and equivalent to God-breathed scripture, in which no one should dare change one dot or semi-colon:

Really, if we have to accept typos and misspellings and inconsistent spellings and archaic terminology as the ordained perfect word of God not to be tampered with we'll drive ourselves stark raving bonkers. We have to leave SOME room for human error and natural change over time in this enterprise. The first English Bibles were not perfect. This is acknowledged by all. Yet they were God's word nevertheless. It is only the King James that has been decreed perfection. The King James translators themselves do not seem to have held this opinion of their work; I have to agree with James White about that much. They assured their readers that they had only the intention of making a good translation better. According to the judgment of the next two and a half centuries they succeeded admirably. Nevertheless that 1611 translation underwent a number of editions with corrections and changes (by whom I'm not clear). And still, by the mid-19th century there were apparently reasonable voices raised -- I suppose they were reasonable -- Dean Burgon seems eminently reasonable -- advocating some further minor changes in the Authorized Version, which eventually led to the convening of the Convocation of the Southern Province of the Church of England for this purpose. Had they done what they were charged to do, we'd have a slightly different King James Bible now that had the status of THE Authorized Version, and we would not have the hundreds of other versions. But this gathering of scholars issued after many years in The New Greek Text produced by Westcott and Hort, by the best opinion (in my opinion) a desecration of the word of God, yet it is now the foundation of the vast majority of the Bibles in the English-speaking world, and even beyond as they are also the basis for translations into other languages.

I have not seen any opinion from that time that the King James was perfect exactly as is. I may be wrong but I haven't yet seen it. That opinion seems to have sprung up in the 20th century. Correct me if I'm wrong please. [8/28: I recall that the Northern branch of the Anglican church refused to be involved in revising the Authorized Version. I suppose it might be possible to find some statements from them].


The commentator whose reading of the Bible Counterfeits page at the Biblebelievers site I'm commenting on also seemed to be saying that any use of the lower case "s" when referring to the Spirit or spirit of God shows tampering with the text. The page he read does not say that, but he seemed to be saying that. In answer to him it has to be pointed out that the original 1611 King James has it that way, and all the Bibles since then have it both ways but unfortunately all do not agree on which should be where. I do not know whether the 1611's choices are acceptable to those who object to the misuse or not:

Ge 1:2 And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face of the waters.
Ge 6:3 And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not alwayes striue with man; for that hee also is flesh: yet his dayes shalbe an hundred and twenty yeeres.
Ge 41:38 And Pharaoh said vnto his seruants, Can we find such a one, as this is, a man in whom the spirit of God is?

The point is that he is wrong if he thinks ANY use of the lower-case "s" is a case of "leaven" (the introduction of false teaching among the words of truth)! Comparing the original with the current KJV on my Swordsearcher Bible program I do see that the usage is not the same between them. But the point is that lower case "s" is sometimes correct. It depends on the context which should be lower case and which upper case, so you have to understand the reasoning for each choice. I'm not up on this, except that some of them are clearly referring to the Holy Spirit of the Trinity and others are referring to God's spirit in something like the sense of the human spirit, the spirit of God Himself. But again, the point is that there ARE valid uses of the lower case "s" in relation to God. Bible Protector explains this somewhere. This is really an issue for the experts. This guy at biblebelievers who wrote the text is setting himself up as the judge of things he doesn't know enough about!

And double please! BRITISH SPELLINGS are not God-ordained over American spellings! "Saviour" is no more God-ordained than "Savior!"

No, no, no! This is myopia and superstition!


I agree that too many Bibles are changed by publishers who have no business doing it. But that doesn't mean that some changes are not needed from time to time, only that the right people should be doing them. It should be a very serious undertaking done by true Bible-believing experts, scholars in the relevant language, appointed by some body of church authorities who share the same basic theology. Changes were made to many editions of the 1611 up to the time of the 1869 Cambridge. Who made them? Why do we accept them but not later ones? This is a serious question. Who is it that decreed that Check List on Biblebeliever's site and why should I trust THEM?

(I have had to rewrite this post a few times before getting it more or less clear. I hope I have finally succeeded. Sorry if I have confused all one and a half persons who might have visited during the reconstruction process.)