Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Notes On The Byzantine Manuscripts

"Many of the versions were translated from Greek at an early date...Almost one hundred extant Latin manuscripts represent this Old Latin translation—and they all attest to the Western texttype. In other words the Greek manuscripts they translated were not Byzantine. The Coptic version also goes back to an early date, probably the second century34—and it was a translation of Alexandrian manuscripts, not Byzantine ones. The earliest forms of the Syriac are also either Western or Alexandrian....

The significance of these early versions is twofold:37 (1) None of the versions produced in the first three centuries was based on the Byzantine text. But if the majority text view is right, then each one of these versions was based on polluted Greek manuscripts—a suggestion that does not augur well for God’s providential care of the New Testament text, as that care is understood by the majority text view.38 But if these versions were based on polluted manuscripts, one would expect them to have come from (and be used in) only one isolated region. This is not the case; the Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, and Syriac versions came from all over the Mediterranean region. In none of these locales was the Byzantine text apparently used. This is strong evidence that the Byzantine text simply did not exist in the first three centuries—anywhere..." (Daniel B. Wallace, Bible.org, "The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?")

"(1) The Byzantine text (i.e., the group of Greek MSS behind the Textus Receptus) was not quoted by any church father before AD 325, while the Alexandrian text was amply represented before that period. (2) The Byzantine text was shown to depend on two earlier traditions, the Alexandrian and Western, in several places. The early editors of the Byzantine text combined (or conflated) the wording of the Alexandrian and Western traditions on occasion, while nowhere could it be shown that the Alexandrian combined Western and Byzantine readings or that the Western combined readings of the Alexandrian and Byzantine.

In a word, evidence. WH’s argument was solid. Interestingly, in WH’s day only one NT papyrus fragment was known. Now, almost 100 have been discovered. These antedate the great uncials by as much as two hundred years! What is most significant about them is that not one is Byzantine. But if the Byzantine text was the original, why did it not show up in either patristic evidence or MS evidence until much later? In fact, for Paul’s letters, the earliest Byzantine MSS belong to the ninth century. The earliest Alexandrian witnesses? Second century." (Daniel B. Wallace, Bible.org, "The Conspiracy Behind the New Bible Translations")

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