J.I. Packer on the sacred language of the Book of Common Prayer

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by Stalwart, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Our Bible and liturgical texts should be set a part and reflect a higher degree of talking and writing. After all this is God we are dealing with not your best friend on a Friday night.
     
  2. Ananias

    Ananias Active Member Anglican

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    Honestly I think it's just about the money, and branding. (That "True North", "optimal equivalence" stuff is really cringe-worthy.) The Bible market is really saturated right now, and publishers of copyrighted translations (which is nearly all of them) need ways to push their stuff into churches. Did you notice the huge uptick in Evangelical churches using the 2017 CSB? Look a bit deeper and you find out that the publisher was giving churches sweetheart deals on bulk buys.

    I've got nothing against the CSB. It's a fine translation, and I have a copy on my shelf. But this commodifying of God's word just feels...sleazy. I've always appreciated the Trinitarian Bible Society's no-nonsense business model, and I wish other publishers/booksellers would emulate them.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The key here is that the older text is presumed to be more accurate. But this is an assumption that does not necessarily follow. One should ask what was the level of accuracy and faithfulness in scribal copying, for this will affect accuracy more than age. Moreover, the alleged older text might not actually be older!

    Some facts about Sinaiticus:
    1. Tischendorf had an audience with the Pope, and thereafter he seemed to make a beeline for St. Catherine's monastery.
    2. He claimed to have found the folios (this portion which he brought back from his initial trip is known as "Friderico Augustanus,") in a 'burn basket' for use in lighting fires. But it was written on parchment (animal skins) and is to this day snowy white in color. Parchment does not burn well and it stinks when burned. Moreover, parchment was too valuable to be destroyed; normal practice would have been to erase unwanted writing and re-use the parchment for another document Tischendorf's story doesn't make sense. Was he lying about the source of the discovery?
    3. Tischendorf made a second trip to retrieve the remainder of Sinaiticus, after which he spent 2 months in Cairo before bringing the codex to Europe. When he brought it, the codex was yellowed (presumably with age) but the yellowing was (and is) rather uneven and streaky. Since Tischendorf lingered in Cairo for a couple months with this codex before taking ship, could he have utilized this time to apply an aging agent like lemon juice to make his 'discovery' appear more ancient?
    4. Tischendorf never had a chance to get his hands back on the first portion (Friderico Augustanus), which to this day is white and shows no sign of yellowing. No one could readily make this comparison until recently, but both portions have been photographed (using color bars to calibrate the photos) and posted at www.codexsinaiticus.org where anyone may see this difference between the two portions.
    5. If viewing these photographic copies, one may observe that the document contains extensive erasures, write-overs, corrections, errors, margin additions, and so on. It exhibits signs of having been sloppily or hurriedly done.
    6. Moreover, Sinaiticus is woefully incomplete. It is missing all but 4 chapters of Genesis, all of Exodus, all but 3 chapters of Leviticus, all but 12 chapters of Numbers, all but 5 chapters of Deuteronomy, most of Joshua and Judges, all of Ruth & 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel & 1st & 2nd Kings... but it does have parts of 1 Chronicles twice. In one particular spot of Sinaiticus, the copying of 1 Chronicles actually leaves off at Chapter 19, verse 17... then the very next words on the parchment are from Ezra 9:9 (in the middle of a sentence!) which it continues (in Ezra) as if everything were fine and normal! (But Sinaiticus does include something of note that would have gratified the RCC: Sinaiticus contains the Apocrypha.) All signs point to the codex having been a second-rate copy job, and certainly not something we should rely on or give great credence.
    7. For some reason, the parchment and ink of this codex have never been tested to determine its age. Testing was planned in 2015, then suddenly and inexplicably canceled.

    Who benefitted the most from the existence of these folios? The discovery of Sinaiticus and allegations about its antiquity helped bolster the perceived reliability of Vaticanus, because the two tend to agree with one another textually. This was very useful to the Roman church in the 1800s. And the discovery influenced (indeed it dominated) the work of Westcott and Hort, which in turn led to a huge boom in new Bible editions ever since (a boom which seems bent upon supplanting the KJV).

    Sinaiticus is in the family of "Alexandrian" text types. The KJV was translated from the Syriac or "Byzantine" group of texts. The number of extant ancient Byzantine manuscripts and fragments exceeds the number of Alexandrian MSS and fragments by about ninefold (if I recall the numbers correctly). Yet if one counts up the number of deviations and variations (the number of copyists' changes for whatever reason), the Alexandrian ones contain far more alterations/errors than the Byzantine ones. Byzantine MSS are much more uniform, even though there were 9 times as many opportunities for errors to be made.

    Alexandria was a hotbed for new theological ideas. Origen and others in that region came up with some odd concepts. Is it possible that some scribes, influenced by the novel ideas of their teachers, took it upon themselves to alter a phrase here, delete a word there, and so on? Or was it just carelessness? We can only guess.

    As far as age goes, the Syriac Peshitta and the northern Italy Old Latin (used by the Vaudois) both align most closely with the Byzantine texts. And the Peshitta and Old Latin translations were made in the mid-2nd Century, which suggests greater accuracy in the Byzantine Greek family of texts than those from south of the Mediterranean.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A quick example... an image of Sinaticus, Quire 36, Folio 4, Recto. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? :)
    [​IMG]

    Addition, corrections, deletions all over the page. When preserving the word of God, scribes would want to give it their very best. Was this their best work? (If a student turned in homework that looked this bad, he'd get an F!) Is this a document scholars should rely on for accuracy and sound doctrine?
     
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  5. Ananias

    Ananias Active Member Anglican

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    @Rexlion If you think that's bad, you should see the ephraemi rescriptus manuscript! It was a palimpsest over which had been written works from St. Ephrem the Syrian (hence the name). The biblical text had to be painstakingly worked out by reading the faint traces under the later writing. It's now one of the fundamental manuscripts underpinning the Critical Text.

    Tischendorf may have been something of a dodgy character, but his text-critical skills were top notch. Even Dan Wallace admits as much. (I read somewhere that the Indiana Jones character was based on Tischendorf. I don't know if that's actually true or not.)

    I actually take it as a sign of Divine providence that we have been left so many Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Scholars of Homer, Aristotle, Herodotus, Livy, et. al. would kill for our bounty. God wants us to receive his Holy Word, and he will see to it that his Word is transmitted accurately. I leave the rest to experts whose heads are far wiser than mine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  6. Andrew Evans

    Andrew Evans New Member

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    I agree. Although we are to “come boldly to the throne of grace”, we need to pause reverently at the threshold.
     
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