The Septuagint and Modern Bible Versions, Part 8
Special Note: What a “coincidence” that as we publish this work in which is detailed how the false stream of Bible manuscripts emanates in great part from Egypt—that that nation is now in great turmoil and distress.
Author of this work is unknown. It is edited by Dr. James W. Bruggeman. It is not edited to perfection by any means, but enough time was spent editing to hopefully make it more readable and clear. All underlining is emphasis by JWB. Also, all comments in [brackets] is by JWB, except author’s source references are also in brackets.
Note added February 16, 2010: I am revising this article slightly in that I have discovered that the host for my blogs does not retain the Hebrew and Greek fonts–or at least I have not yet figured out how to do it. The correct Hebrew and Greek fonts were in the article below when I first posted it, but I have just realized they have disappeared. Hence, for the manuscript designated by the scholars by the Hebrew letter “aleph,” I will simply use the word “Aleph.” Ditto with the manuscript designated by the Greek letter “Delta.”
Then again, while we have the testimony of the ages as to who wrote many of the Majority Text manuscripts and documents, in the Alexandrian stream, the origin and history of Codices Alexandrian (A,) Vaticanus (B), Sinaiticus or Aleph and Parisian (C) is largely unknown and remain as conjecture even today. Several early witnesses can be identified by date, such as apostolic age church fathers Clement of Rome (30-100 A.D.), Ignatius (35-107 A.D.) and Polycarp (69-155 A.D.), whose writings testify of the Majority Text, while there are absolutely no comparable Alexandrian church fathers of that period. [Final Authority, page 37]
A third nail in the coffin of this notion of a grand conspiracy to deny the Alexandrian texts its true place in the sun is the fact that there are over 5,000 extant manuscripts, of which 2,143 are lectionaries. These were popular tools used in churches for public reading, whether daily, on the Sabbath or for special occasions. These contained selected portions of scriptures, and they witness to the texts used in different areas. They also disprove Dr. Hort’s pretentious attempt to imply that the Alexandrian stream had been wrongly rejected and suppressed.
The Ante-Nicene church father Tertullian (150-220 A.D.) perhaps said it best when he said:
I hold sure title-deeds from the original owners themselves, to whom the estate belonged. I am the heir of the apostles. Just as they carefully prepared their will and testament … even so do I hold it. [Final Authority, page 40]
While Tertullian certainly had the scriptures and held onto them as dearer than life itself, even some KJV Bibles may be fraught with problems as Nicolaitans such as the vaunted C.I. Scofield by way of his margin notes, calls into question the KJV by using that old refrain, the oldest and best manuscripts don’t have this passage, remark time after time. Yea, hath God said … , is still the favorite tool of these Bible fools. For those with the Old Scofield Bible, you can see it for yourself used in Mark 16:9-20, and in John 7:53ff about the woman taken in adultery and brought before Jesus Christ.
Over a century ago the renowned biblical scholar Dean Burgon wrote a 350-page book affirming the rightful, scriptural place for the longer ending in Mark 16, and cited manuscripts and church fathers who affirmed it. As early as 177 A.D., Irenaeus had written a lengthy paper against this and other heresies, while sadly, close to two millennia later, the Westcott and Hort Alexandrian promoters were still denying its historical accuracy and truth.
[Final Authority, page 45-46]
Now it could be said that even so, this does not detract from the theory that maybe there is a second stream of documents that did not contain this passage of Mark 16:9-20. Let’s look at what the evidence shows. We have 759 pages of Codex Vaticanus (B); they are on fine vellum, each page 10 inches by 10.5 inches in size. On each page there are three columns of 42 lines each.
When each book was finished, the ending column would be left blank from where it stopped to the bottom of the column, and the new book would begin at the top of the page of the next column. In this and only this instance, the writer of B stopped at Mark 16:8 on line 31 and the rest of the column is left blank, but so is the adjoining column of another 42 lines!
This is the only such occurrence in the entire manuscript, a witness by its very absence that it had to be known to the scribe who left it out for some unknown reason. [Final Authority, page 49]
Dean Burgon rightly surmised that the older copy, which B was copied from, had to contain these verses, but the scribe was ordered or chose to leave it out, and did so, yet left the enormous blank spaces for all eternity as a silent witness to this crime!
The purist and apologist for the Alexandrian stream of manuscripts might say that this proves nothing, since Sinaiticus still omits these verses and it is an acknowledged older manuscript deserving of respect. So, let’s look at this venerable document a bit more closely in the same passages. The first of two major oddities is that there is the presence of six leaves unlike any of the other 364 1/2 leaves that comprise this manuscript. These leaves cover Mark 16:2 to Luke 1:56, and the handwriting is exactly like the handwriting for B. It does not match the rest of the manuscript leaves before or after it!
To cover the tracks that the same material is missing in Aleph as in B, the scribe extends the letters and the words, leaving larger gaps between letters so as to occupy the space that a more complete document would occupy, by simply and carefully stretching out what is being said. Dr. Tischendorf [whom, you will recall, was the one who discovered and “rescued” Aleph from the trash heap] also noted this and agreed that this makes one witness of the absence of these verses, not two. [Final Authority, page 32] We therefore have proof that there are not two witnesses, but one, and both manuscripts of the “oldest and best,” show evidence of fraud.
There are really seven tests as to truth in manuscript evidence, they are as follows
[Final Authority, page 60] :
- Antiquity or primitiveness
- Consent or number of witnesses
- Variety of evidence or catholicity (a term meaning broad or extensive)
- Respectability of witnesses or weight
- Continuity or the witness of unbroken tradition
- Evidence of the entire passage or context
- Internal consideration or reasonableness
There are also four basic types of text corruption; they are:
- omissions—leaving out anything from words to verses or even entire books
- additions or interpolations to the text
- changes or substitutions of words whether from misguided choice or scribal carelessness, and
- transpositions—reversing word orders.
Omissions constitute the largest number of textual problems, while additions are the fewest. [Final Authority, page 61]
Unfortunately, corruption is the rule and not the exception, which is why relying upon too few texts, can be a problem, especially in the 100 extant papyrus manuscript fragments. In comparing two of the more famous papyrus manuscripts, the Chester Beatty and the Bodmer papyri, in 70 verses that both have in common, they disagree with each other in 73 places, apart from just simple scribal mistakes! Most papyri manuscripts are to be found in hot, arid climate locations because temperate, wetter climates more swiftly attack and destroy the fibers.
The five old uncials (Aleph, A, B, C, and D) mangle the Lord’s Prayer as given in Luke in no less than 45 words. They manage between them to form six different combinations in their departure from the Traditional Text [Majority Text], and they don’t agree in any reading, but two of them do agree in omitting an article. In 32 out of the 45 words, they stand alone as unique in how they read. In the book of Mark 2:1-12 they have 60 variations in reading, so they cannot be the depository of tradition, whether Western or Eastern, because they are so wholly inconsistent. [Final Authority, page 63] More indicting is the statement of one who championed these ancient texts, the good Dr. Hort, who has this to relate, which is ever so interesting:
The confusion introduced by these several cross currents is so great that of the seven principal manuscripts, A, B,C, D, L, Aleph and Delta, no two have the same text in all four gospels.
[Final Authority, page 64]
Being that this is the case, why would anyone want to rely upon these texts as the basis for their principal or only modernized version of the Holy Bible? In adding further insult to injury, a leading Gnostic heretic named Marcion in the Alexandrian community at the same time that Tertullian lived, was stoutly denounced by him. Tertullian said that Marcion took a knife to excise the scriptures, rather than a pen as suited his own subject matter. A sharp exchange is recorded by Eusebius when Marcion and Polycarp met, with Marcion saying to Polycarp, “acknowledge us,” with Polycarp replying acidly, “I acknowledge the firstborn of Satan.” [Final Authority, page 66] Other church fathers, such as Polycarp’s pupil, Irenaeus, and a second century church father named Gaius, among others, also recorded and denounced the mutilations of whole swaths of scripture in the Alexandrian church, and said that they practiced a lawless and impious doctrine. Gaius denounced many in the Alexandrian church for fearlessly laying their hands on the scriptures and boldly perverting them. [Final Authority, page 66-67]
I could go on for a long time with many such instances recorded and documented in detail, but constraints on time—for this is a paper and not a book—lead us now to examine a bigger picture. Alexandria was the busiest city in the Western world. Of its 800,000 inhabitants, over 40 percent were Jewish and the Grand Synagogue was so large that flag bearers were posted on its vast walls so that worshippers could worship and recite in unison, or else sheer babble and bedlam would result. The book of Hebrews presents Egypt as a type of this world. Joseph’s bones were not permitted to remain there (Exodus 13:19). God called His nation and Son from there (Matthew 2:15), and leaders were not even to multiply horses to themselves as in Egypt (Deut 17: 16). The book of Acts records no missionary activity to Egypt, and while Genesis 1:1 begins recording life being created by God, the book of Genesis ends with “a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:26b). Egypt is a land of many coffins and a great number of them are stone coffins which we call pyramids and sarcophaguses; it is reflective of the world, which is death.
The first Alexandrians mentioned in the Bible helped stone Stephen to death (Acts 6:9); while the sole representative of the Alexandrian ministry is Apollos, who arrived in ignorance (Acts 18:25) and departed in arrogance (1 Corinthians 6: 12). The only other direct reference to Alexandria is to the two ships that helped take Paul to his martyrdom, and one of these sank! [Final Authority, page 76-77] Will Durant, in the marvelous study of civilization which he wrote with his wife, Ariel, records that the Alexandrians worshipped money, and anything could be had there, except snow. The world famous Alexandrian library had over 700,000 books, a claim to fame that was not to be equaled or eclipsed for another thousand years. The author, H.G. Wells, says of the intelligentsia of Alexandria, that wisdom passed away and left pedantry, with the use of books being substituted by the worship of books. He says further:
… Alexandria was familiar with a new type of human being; shy, eccentric, unpractical, incapable of essentials, strangely fierce upon trivialities of literary detail, as bitterly jealous of the colleague within as of the unlearned without—the Scholarly Man. He was as intolerant as a priest, though he had no altar; as obscurantist as a magician, though he had no cave …. He was a sort of by-product of the intellectual process of mankind. For many precious generations the new-lit fires of the human intelligence were to be seriously banked down by this by-product. [Final Authority, page 77]
By 415 A.D. Alexandria had become largely Roman Catholic [i.e., Christian, but under the influence of the bishop of Rome. The Roman Catholic was then merely in its infancy, the papacy as a Roman Catholic institution not yet having arisen. [See my recent lecture, The 4th Empire Extended: Papal Rome, for details.] In that year, the illustrious Archbishop Cyril
allegedly put out a contract on Hypatia, a female philosopher. A mob of monks, led by one of his staff members caught Hypatia in her carriage, dragged her out of it and into a church, where she was stripped naked and flayed alive with clam shells. Her corpse was then torn to pieces and barbarically burned in a fury of ruthlessly cruel power. Cyril also rallied and led the Christian community in defending themselves from attacks by Jewish mobs, finally throwing them out of the city. [Encyclopedia Encarta, Scholars Edition, © 2004]
About this same time, Codex Alexandrinus (A) was written. When the Muslims took the city in 641 A.D., they took the scrolls and parchments from the great library to fuel the furnaces of Alexandria’s 4,000 baths. It took six months to burn them all so that the shelves could be occupied by just one book, the Moslem Koran. The majestic, 500 foot-tall marble lighthouse, whose light could be seen thirty miles at sea, and was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, collapsed during an earthquake in 1324 A.D. [Final Authority, page 80] Today much of the old city lies underwater, being slowly explored by scuba diving archaeologists while the sea erodes the ruins and people take what is left.
But according to Westcott and Hort, God had selected this city and its scholars to preserve the New Testament text. Codex A contains the four books of Maccabees, Baruch, letter of Jeremiah, Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Esdras, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach, 1 and 2 Clement, Psalm 151, and the Psalms of Solomon, but its virtue, per the sage, Dr. Scrivener, is that it is less corrupt than Codex B. [Final Authority, page 84]
How corrupt are the most ancient Alexandrian authorities? A man named Herman Hoskier wrote a 924-page book detailing where they disagree in the four Gospels alone. They totaled 3,036 differences. Sinaiticus [Aleph] has 1,460 readings not found in any other manuscript affecting 2,640 words, as compared to Vaticanus (B) readings affecting 858 words not found elsewhere. Dean Burgon notes 2,877 words have been excised, and by Codex Aleph alone, 3,455 words are utterly gone in these same four Gospels. [Final Authority, page 98-99] While Codex Aleph has evidence of at least ten correctors making a muddled mess of it through the centuries, it has earned the title of the most corrupt manuscript extant. Codex B, too, has errors on every page.
While Tischendorf affirms that parts of B and Aleph were written by the same hand, and when comparing it to the KJV as the recognized standard, in the four Gospels alone, Burgon says that Codex B omits at least 2,877 words, adds 536, substitutes 935, transposes 2,098 and modifies 1,132, for a total of 7,578 changes. The corresponding numbers for Aleph are as follows: 3,455 omissions, 839 additions, 1,114 substitutions, 2,299 transpositions, and 1,265 modifications for a total of 8,972 changes …. It is easier to find two consecutive verses where B and Aleph differ from one another in the Gospels, than where they entirely agree with each other. [Final Authority, page 106] If these two “oldest and best” are the foundation and standard that your modern Bible is based upon, it is built upon shifting sands! (End of part 8. To be continued.)