Friday, May 18, 2007

A fallen seraph

***QUOTE***

The Triablogue’ers have been engaging, of late, in some critical Ortho-bashing. One of their recent examples is their: Show me your Bible. In it they apparently attempt to demonstrate that the Orthodox biblical canon is a mass of chaos and as a result seem to be attempting to show that Orthodox really have no Bible, since they do not have a standardized critical set of texts of canonical Scriptures.

I say apparently, because the post is just simply three large cites without any commentary from the Triablogue’ers–and the ensuing comments to the post are about something else altogether. But if what appears to be the Triablogue’ers “argument” is indeed their “argument,” then it is sophomoric in the extreme. Indeed it is nothing more than a non sequitor.

http://benedictseraphim.wordpress.com/2007/05/18/show-me-your-bible/

***END-QUOTE***

It's funny how some men react when I simply quote someone without any editorial commentary on my part.

When they take exception to the quotes, they first have to draw certain negative conclusions for their own position from the cited material, then try to refute the conclusions they themselves had to draw for purposes of criticizing the post. So I can just sit back and watch them do my job for me.

Notice that our fallen seraph doesn’t challenge the substance of the quotes. Indeed, he admits as much. All he can do is to challenge their relevance, and he does so in a very concessive manner.

“First of all it begs the question of a need for a standard critical edition of the set of books that are the Orthodox canon of Scripture.”

I’m not begging any question. Rather, I’m simply pointing out (albeit implicitly) that certain consequences flow from certain facts.

Whether or not these consequences are acceptable to our fallen seraph is beside the point.

If he admits that the Orthodox have no official canon of Scripture, or official edition of the text, then, indeed, the Orthodox cannot be sure of what constitutes their Bible.

“Critical editions of texts are a uniquely modernist development based on Enlightenment epistemological presuppositions not shared by either Jesus or the Apostles.”

Several problems:

i) He’s a little shaky on his grasp of relative chronology. For example, does he think the Massoretes represent “a uniquely modernist development based on Enlightenment epistemological presuppositions”?

ii) In addition, such concerns also go back to the Renaissance, not the Enlightenment. Remember Lorenzo Valla (15C) on the False Decretals?

“To be sure, Origen’s Hexapla and Jerome’s Vulgate are something of precursors to modern text criticism, but the two efforts (Origen/Jerome over against modern text critics) are not the same, and Origen’s and Jerome’s texts (assuming Origen’s could be recovered) would fail most text critical standards today.”

The fact that Origen’s textual criticism “would fail most text critical standards today” is irrelevant to the fact that both are concerned with recovering the Urtext.

“It also presupposes and imposes on the biblical canon an understanding of accuracy that is predicated upon the original texts and the individual words and particles of that text.”

How does what is predicated on the original text thereby *impose* on the biblical canon?

“The non sequitor, of course, is that absent a standardized text critical edition of the Scripture that utilizes modernist presuppositions about accuracy of the text, no group can claim a canon of Scriptural texts.”

i) Even if this were so, our fallen seraph is missing the point. For in that event, Orthodoxy has no epistemic advantage over Evangelicals.

Indeed, it’s at a disadvantage because it also rejects (according to him) modern textual criticism.

ii) At the same time, his comments are also out of step with the examples of Orthodox textual criticism that I’ve quoted in the past from standard reference works on Orthodox and Eastern Christianity.

“That is to say it the other way around, simply because one cannot bring forth a standardized (according to modernist mores) text of, say, Jeremiah (which is a mess in the LXX), or of Mark (shorter, longer or middle?), that one does not have a canonical text of Jeremiah or Mark.”

If the long ending of Mark is a scribal postscript, then that is not, or ought not be, the canonical text of Mark.

“It presupposes that a canon necessitates strict verbal identity between manuscripts, or at least a recoverable approximation of the autograph.”

Once again, he misses the point. The question at issue is whether the Orthodox Church enjoys an epistemic advantage over the Protestant rule of faith. Can the Orthodox be certain of their canon? Can they be certain of their text?

“The Old Testament canon is, seemingly, a bit more so [i.e. problematic]. Are 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151 in or not? What about the ‘additions’ to Esther? And so on?”

Good question! And what’s the answer?

“Unlike Protestants, Orthodox do not believe that Scripture alone establishes doctrine and Tradition.”

Yes, we understand that. But saying that there is more to the Orthodox rule of faith in Scripture doesn’t allow you to escape the issue of where to find the Orthodox Bible. To take his own example, did Jesus say the things attributed to him in the long ending of Mark? Or is that an apocryphal interpolation?

“Of course, looking at Orthodoxy from the lense of Protestantism further assumes that Protestantism is the standard by which the historical Church is to be judged. “

The T-bloggers make no such *assumption*. Rather, we *argue* for our standard of comparison.

“And when you add the lense of modernism that the Triablogue’ers to a man also ubiquitously use, well, the resultant view is distorted in the extreme.”

To the contrary, our disputant’s anachronistic grasp of textual criticism creates a myopic view of sola Scriptura. He needs to schedule an eye examine with a good ophthalmologist like John Calvin or Benjamin Warfield to correct for his astigmatism, lest he mistake his wife for a hat.

35 comments:

  1. >It's funny how some men react when I simply quote
    >someone without any editorial commentary on my
    >part.
    >When they take exception to the quotes, they first
    >have to draw certain negative conclusions for their
    >own position from the cited material, then try to
    >refute the conclusions they themselves had to draw
    >for purposes of criticizing the post. So I can just sit
    >back and watch them do my job for me.

    ROFLOL. Like when I quoted James 2 here without commentary! But you didn't see the funny side that time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. >If the long ending of Mark is a scribal postscript,
    >then that is not, or ought not be, the canonical text
    >of Mark.

    Uh, how do you know?

    Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), pp. 269-270.

    ... we may find it instructive to consider the attitude of Church Fathers toward variant readings in the text of the New Testament. On the one hand, as far as certain readings involve sensitive points of doctrine, the Fathers customarily alleged that heretics had tampered with the accuracy of the text. On the other hand, however, the question of the canonicity of a document apparently did not arise in connection with discussion of such variant readings, even though they might involve quite considerable sections of text. Today we know that the last twelve verses of the Gospel according to Mark (xvi. 9-20) are absent from the oldest Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian manuscripts, and that in other manuscripts asterisks or obeli mark the verses as doubtful or spurious. Eusebius and Jerome, well aware of such variation in the witnesses, discussed which form of text was to be preferred. It is noteworthy, however, that neither Father suggested that one form was canonical and the other was not. Furthermore, the perception that the canon was basically closed did not lead to a slavish fixing of the text of the canonical books. Thus, the category of 'canonical' appears to have been broad enough to include all variant readings (as well as variant renderings in early versions) that emerged during the course of the transmission of the New Testament documents while apostolic tradition was still a living entity, with an intermingling of written and oral forms of that tradition. Already in the second century, for example, the so-called long ending of Mark was known to Justin Martyr and to Tatian, who incorporated it into his Diatesseron. There seems to be good reason, therefore, to conclude that, though external and internal evidence is conclusive against the authenticity of the last twelve verses as coming from the same pen as the rest of the Gospel, the passage ought to be accepted as part of the canonical text of Mark."

    Steve has no criteria for decidiing what would be canonical. If he did, it would be extra-scriptural and thus contrary to sola scriptura. And even then, he would not be able to prove that this scribal addition (if it were so) was not approved by an apostle.

    Sola scriptura fails again.

    ReplyDelete
  3. >To take his own example, did Jesus say the things
    >attributed to him in the long ending of Mark? Or is
    >that an apocryphal interpolation?

    One thing is certain: You cannot know for sure. And lacking a framework of Tradition from which to interpret scripture and understand the Church and its life, we find some people drinking poison. And who can blame them? Scripture says it is a sign of believers. A sola scriptura rule of faith would lead you there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ROFLOL. Like when I quoted James 2 here without commentary! But you didn't see the funny side that time.

    How about when you blatantly drew a direct line between Paul's usage of "justify" and that of James? Orthodox is trading in historical revisionism.

    Orthodox continues to trade in a false definition of Sola Scriptura.

    And lacking a framework of Tradition from which to interpret scripture and understand the Church and its life, we find some people drinking poison.

    Is this really true? When the Reformers of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions were writing long treatises and drawing on the Church Fathers, were they "lacking a framework of Tradition from which to interpret Scripture"? Has Orthodox ever bothered to read the body of work by Calvin, Bullinger, Musculus, Zanchius, Turretin, et.al.? When I read them, I find not only a long exegetical tradition, but a long list of references in detail to the Church Fathers. This is hardly a lack of framework of tradition. For that matter, for at least the seventh time, the definition of Sola Scriptura does not exclude tradition. It simply states that Scripture alone is infallible, while tradition is ancillary and fallible. Orthodox continues to trade in this straw man, despite being corrected.

    And notice that its Orthodox who has himself told us he does not need a majority of theologians in Orthodoxy to agree when we point out that there are sometimes vast inconsistencies in Orthodoxy between their own theologians within Holy Tradition. This is even acknowledged by Orthodoxy's own scholarship. So, it's not as if Orthodox is in a position that is any better than the evangelical Protestant. All Orthodox has is his fideism.

    ReplyDelete
  5. >How about when you blatantly drew a direct line
    >between Paul's usage of "justify" and that of James?
    >Orthodox is trading in historical revisionism.

    I didn't do that. Everyone assumed a-priori, that justification MUST mean Paul. To assume it could be James is a protestant heresy.

    >>And lacking a framework of Tradition from
    >>which to interpret scripture and understand the
    >>Church and its life, we find some people
    >>drinking poison.
    >
    >Is this really true?

    Yes it is true. The fact that your favourite reformers didn't make that mistake doesn't avoid the fact that they set up people down the road for that fall.

    >Has Orthodox ever bothered to read the body of
    >work by Calvin, Bullinger, Musculus, Zanchius,
    >Turretin, et.al.? When I read them, I find not only
    >a long exegetical tradition, but a long list of
    >references in detail to the Church Fathers. This is
    >hardly a lack of framework of tradition.

    But it's not an authoritative framework. It's just a body of theories from which they pick and choose what they like. But being ready to abandon the fathers if their whim or interpretation takes them there, they set up people to make grosser and grosser errors in the name of sola scriptura.

    >For that matter, for at least the seventh time, the
    >definition of Sola Scriptura does not exclude
    >tradition. It simply states that Scripture alone is
    >infallible, while tradition is ancillary and fallible.

    Once protestants went down that road it was a race to the bottom, with every tradition a superfluous obstacle standing in the way of the protestant idea of true faith.

    >And notice that its Orthodox who has himself
    >told us he does not need a majority of
    >theologians in Orthodoxy to agree when we
    >point out that there are sometimes vast
    >inconsistencies in Orthodoxy between their own
    >theologians within Holy Tradition. This is even
    >acknowledged by Orthodoxy's own scholarship.
    >So, it's not as if Orthodox is in a position that is
    >any better than the evangelical Protestant.

    This has been refuted here upteen times, and hardly needs doing again.

    ReplyDelete
  6. “Steve has no criteria for decidiing what would be canonical”

    i) All that Orthodox has established by his quote from Metzger is that some of the church fathers may have had a “broader” concept of canonicity, which was inclusive of “all variant readings (as well as variant renderings in early versions).”

    That’s irrelevant to my own position, since I never said I was committed to patristic criteria. The church fathers are not my rule of faith.

    ii) Do contemporary Eastern Orthodox editions of the NT “include all variant readings (as well as variant renderings in early versions),” as canonical?

    iii) I have often stated my own criteria.

    “If he did, it would be extra-scriptural and thus contrary to sola scriptura.”

    Gene, Jason, and I have frequently corrected Orthodox on his caricature of sola scriptura. The fact that he continues to attack a straw man is fine with me. It goes to show that he can’t lay a glove on what we actually believe.

    “And even then, he would not be able to prove that this scribal addition (if it were so) was not approved by an apostle.”

    Notice his backwards burden of proof, as if the onus were on me to disprove something for which we have no evidence. But I am under no obligation to disprove nonexistent evidence, and such a burden of proof would be irrational. For example, I’m under no obligation to disprove the hypothetical that Jesus was really an E.T.

    “One thing is certain: You cannot know for sure.”

    Even if this were true, so what? God doesn’t demand certainty in the internalist or apodictic sense. When Elisha told Naaman to wash in the Jordan river seven times, could Naaman know for sure where the Jordan river was?

    How did he know his map wasn’t wrong? Maybe he got bad directions. Maybe the river was a mirage. Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe he lost count.

    When Jesus told Peter and John to prepare the upper room (Lk 22:7-13), how could they know for sure that the man with the water jug was the right man? After all, there might be more than one man with a water jug. Did “Tradition” enable them to identify the right man with the water jug?

    “And lacking a framework of Tradition from which to interpret scripture and understand the Church and its life, we find some people drinking poison.”

    And how does Orthodox “know for sure” where to find “Tradition”? He never says.

    “And who can blame them? Scripture says it is a sign of believers.”

    i) No, “Scripture” doesn’t say that. What says that is an apocryphal postscript.

    ii) Does Orthodox regard the long ending of Mark as canonical? If so, does he drink poison and play with venomous snakes?

    Or does he regard the long ending as spurious? Do traditional, Eastern Orthodox editions of the NT include the long ending? Do contemporary, Eastern Orthodox editions of the NT include the long ending?

    If so, then why doesn't Orthodox drink poison or play with venomous snakes?

    ReplyDelete
  7. >>I didn't do that. Everyone assumed a-priori, that justification MUST mean Paul. To assume it could be James is a protestant heresy.

    No, what you did was equate James and Paul. This is just more historical revisionism from you. What you did was refuted by an exegesis of Paul and James and a lesson in the difference between dogmatic language and exegetical language, so it is hardly "assumed." Those with whom you interacted pointed out that the dogmatic term "justification" is from Pauline theology, but not without an exegetical foundation. We do not negate James in the process. James uses the term "justify," but this does not mean he even has a doctrine of justification in his book. You asserted otherwise, and you failed to demonstrate it more than one time. I'm not simply referring to the thread with Evan May either, I'm referring to multiple instances over time. Your memory is as short as your argumentation.


    >>Yes it is true. The fact that your favourite reformers didn't make that mistake doesn't avoid the fact that they set up people down the road for that fall.

    No, it isn't true. Has Orthodox not bothered to look into a standard Protestant work on these issues? Likely not, since in the Reformed tradition and the non-Reformed traditions, our theologians and text critics continue to quote those persons. All Orthodox has now done is advertise his ignorance of what Protestant writings contain, but this shouldn't surprise us, since he simply waves his hand and dismisses their work. Why should he bother to, you know, read it?

    See too how his original position shifts from this:

    And lacking a framework of Tradition from which to interpret scripture and understand the Church and its life.

    To exempting "your favorite Reformers." Yet when I read theologians up to the present day, I see our theologians following the same lines of argument, much of the same exegesis, and much of the same citations of the Church Fathers, just as these he has now exempted did. I have monographs on historical theology from the present day in my own library that delve into the Fathers, and I have books on Christian living as well that do the same thing. There are even some very, very well known Patristic scholars in the Reformed tradition as well as the Wesleyan tradtion. Does Orthodox even know who they are?

    >>But it's not an authoritative framework. It's just a body of theories from which they pick and choose what they like. But being ready to abandon the fathers if their whim or interpretation takes them there, they set up people to make grosser and grosser errors in the name of sola scriptura.

    A. Not authoritative? There is a difference between not having any authority and being of ancillary authority.

    B. Upon what basis do you adjudicate difference between the Fathers? You are in no position to make this argument since you're the one who claimed you don't need a majority of Orthodoxy's theologians to agree with your views and you can't tell us where to find this "tradition." What are its standards for determining which theologians to accept and reject, and where can we find an authoritative list of those standards?

    C. Do the fathers not have to be interpreted as well? If Scripture isn't enough and isn't clear enough, then how is adding layer upon layer of "tradition" any more clear?

    >>Once protestants went down that road it was a race to the bottom, with every tradition a superfluous obstacle standing in the way of the protestant idea of true faith.

    A. Went down what road? Since you can't get the definition of Sola Scriptura right its hard to know what you're talking about. Are you talking about Appalachian snake handlers going down that road or are you talking about going down the road of Sola Scriptura? Or are you talking about your own handling of snakes and drinking of poisons while the rest of us abstain?

    B. What exactly is the Protestant idea of "the true faith?" The Lutherans are the only ones who have ever said there can be no errors in the confessions of the churches. The Reformed and their descendants have always coalesced around what is essential and clear and what is not, and we have a mechanism for determining what is a damnable error and what is not as a result. See, once again, the last chapter of Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics by Richard Muller, Volume 1, where this is covered in great detail...or will you be too lazy to bother to read yet another resource to which we point you?


    >>This has been refuted here upteen times, and hardly needs doing again.

    a. What, that you have only your fideism? You're the one who keeps changing the goalposts telling us that the EO is the one true church without demonstrating it. So, you've not refuted that, we have.

    b. What, that you don't need a majority of Orthodoxy to agree with your views? You said that you only need a small percentage. That's your own standard of measurement that you provided, so if it's been refuted by you, it would only be a consequence of your own contradictions of yourself. I keep throwing it up in your face, because it is blatant proof that you "pick and choose your favorite theologians." So, you really aren't in a position any better than the evangelical Protestant. The only difference is your fideistic claim to be part of the one true church, a claim you can't substantiate without assuming what you must prove in the process.

    ReplyDelete
  8. >Notice his backwards burden of proof, as if the
    >onus were on me to disprove something for which
    >we have no evidence. But I am under no obligation
    >to disprove nonexistent evidence, and such a
    >burden of proof would be irrational.

    No evidence? There is no evidence that a part of Mark contained in virtually every Greek manuscript is actually part of Mark? If that is "no evidence", I guess there is no evidence for any scripture.

    >1) No, “Scripture” doesn’t say that. What says
    >that is an apocryphal postscript.

    Steve apparently knows for certain what 2000 years of Church history did not know for sure.

    We have found a new pope!

    >Ii) Does Orthodox regard the long ending of
    >Mark as canonical? If so, does he drink poison
    >and play with venomous snakes?

    Yes and no respectively. Because I don't determine the canon, nor do I decide how it is applied in the Church.

    And you've obfuscated your way out again of telling us how you know what the criteria for canon is. Metzger, the hero of your modern textual criticism thinks it is canonical.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ORTHODOX SAID:

    >Notice his backwards burden of proof, as if the _>onus were on me to disprove something for which _>we have no evidence. But I am under no obligation _>to disprove nonexistent evidence, and such a _>burden of proof would be irrational.

    “No evidence? There is no evidence that a part of Mark contained in virtually every Greek manuscript is actually part of Mark? If that is ‘no evidence’, I guess there is no evidence for any scripture.”

    i) Poor little Orthodox can’t keep track of his own argument. This was what he was originally referring to:

    “And even then, he would not be able to prove that this scribal addition (if it were so) was not approved by an apostle.”

    Do all those MSS tell us that the long ending of Mark was approved by an apostle? Do any of those MSS tell us that the long ending of Mark was approved by an apostle?

    Show us the specific evidence for your specific contention.

    >1) No, “Scripture” doesn’t say that. What says _>that is an apocryphal postscript. __

    “Steve apparently knows for certain what 2000 years of Church history did not know for sure.”

    Is that what the church knew all along?

    “Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Ammonius show now knowledge of the existence of these verses; other Church fathers state that the section is absent from Greek copies of Mark known to them (e.g., Jerome, Epist. cxx.3, To Hebidia, ‘Almost all the Greek copies do not have this concluding portion’). The original form of the Eusebian sections makes no provision for numbering sections after 16:8. Not a few Manuscripts that contain the passage have scholia stating that older Greek copies lack it (e.g., MM. 1,20,22) and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional sigla used by scribes to indicate a spurious addition to a literary document,” B. Metzger & B. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament (Oxford 2005), 322-23.

    So notice how extremely selective and extremely inaccurate Orthodox is in his appeal to the church history, the church fathers, and MSS evidence.

    >Ii) Does Orthodox regard the long ending of _>Mark as canonical? If so, does he drink poison _>and play with venomous snakes?

    “Yes and no respectively. Because I don't determine the canon, nor do I decide how it is applied in the Church.”

    But Orthodox previously said: “we find some people drinking poison. And who can blame them? Scripture says it is a sign of believers.”

    So if the conduct of Appalachian snake-handlers is blameless since scripture says it is a sign of believers, then why doesn’t Orthodox submit to this scriptural sign of believers?

    “Metzger, the hero of your modern textual criticism thinks it is canonical.”

    I’ve never said that Metzger determines what is canonical. Rather, he helps to determine the authentic text. I attribute canonicity to the authentic text, not an apocryphal interpolation which you yourself are too cowardly to honor in practice even though you say it’s genuine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. >Do all those MSS tell us that the long ending of
    >Mark was approved by an apostle? Do any of those
    >MSS tell us that the long ending of Mark was
    >approved by an apostle?

    Do those MSS or ECFs say anything specifically about Mark 1? What about Mark 2? Mark 3 through 15?

    >So notice how extremely selective and extremely
    >inaccurate Orthodox is in his appeal to the church
    >history, the church fathers, and MSS evidence.

    None of this information proves that anybody was sure of what you claim to be sure of.

    Almost everyone admits that copies have lost the ending. The matter of dispute is whether the ending we have is the original ending. Pointing to Clement of Alexandria or Origen only shows what everyone knows: that copies existed that lost the ending. It doesn't prove that anyone knew with certainty that the ending we have is not the original ending.

    >But Orthodox previously said: “we find some
    >people drinking poison. And who can blame
    >them? Scripture says it is a sign of believers.”
    >
    >So if the conduct of Appalachian snake-handlers
    >is blameless since scripture says it is a sign of
    >believers, then why doesn’t Orthodox submit to
    >this scriptural sign of believers?

    Because I'm not a sola scriptura-ist. I don't determine how to apply scripture in the church.

    >I’ve never said that Metzger determines what is
    >canonical. Rather, he helps to determine the
    >authentic text.

    But you protestants, you and Metzger, can't agree on the criteria for canonicity. What does that tell us about your rule of faith?

    >I attribute canonicity to the authentic text,

    Authentic? Who is to say that additions to books can't be authentic? Anyway, if it isn't an authentic part of Mark, that just tells you it isn't part of Mark. It doesn't tell you if it isn't an authentic piece of scripture. Like the periscope of the adulteress on John. Knowing it wasn't originally part of that book doesn't tell you if it is authentic scripture.

    >not an apocryphal interpolation which you
    >yourself are too cowardly to honor in practice
    >even though you say it’s genuine.

    Honor in practice? I'll bet if we sat down and compared notes we'd find what you are not honoring in scripture. Do you have prophets and interpreters in your Church for example? Let's see if you are a hypocrite.

    ReplyDelete
  11. ORTHODOX SAID:

    Orthodox keeps changing his position every time it’s challenged. He should run for political office.

    To recap:

    Me: “Notice his backwards burden of proof, as if the onus were on me to disprove something for which we have no evidence. But I am under no obligation to disprove nonexistent evidence, and such a burden of proof would be irrational.”

    Him: “No evidence? There is no evidence that a part of Mark contained in virtually every Greek manuscript is actually part of Mark? If that is ‘no evidence’, I guess there is no evidence for any scripture.”

    Me: “Poor little Orthodox can’t keep track of his own argument. This was what he was originally referring to:

    ‘And even then, he would not be able to prove that this scribal addition (if it were so) was not approved by an apostle.’

    Do all those MSS tell us that the long ending of Mark was approved by an apostle? Do any of those MSS tell us that the long ending of Mark was approved by an apostle? Show us the specific evidence for your specific contention.

    Him: “Do those MSS or ECFs say anything specifically about Mark 1? What about Mark 2? Mark 3 through 15?”

    Whenever you challenge him on his own grounds, he shifts ground and tries to punt the objection. He changes his objections is often as J-Lo changes her husbands.

    Continuing:

    “None of this information proves that anybody was sure of what you claim to be sure of. Almost everyone admits that copies have lost the ending. The matter of dispute is whether the ending we have is the original ending. Pointing to Clement of Alexandria or Origen only shows what everyone knows: that copies existed that lost the ending. It doesn't prove that anyone knew with certainty that the ending we have is not the original ending.”

    Once again, he’s abandoned his original argument, which was:

    ““No evidence? There is no evidence that a part of Mark contained in virtually every Greek manuscript is actually part of Mark? If that is ‘no evidence’, I guess there is no evidence for any scripture.”

    I then pointed to the counterevidence:

    “Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Ammonius show now knowledge of the existence of these verses; other Church fathers state that the section is absent from Greek copies of Mark known to them (e.g., Jerome, Epist. cxx.3, To Hebidia, ‘Almost all the Greek copies do not have this concluding portion’). The original form of the Eusebian sections makes no provision for numbering sections after 16:8. Not a few Manuscripts that contain the passage have scholia stating that older Greek copies lack it (e.g., MM. 1,20,22) and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional sigla used by scribes to indicate a spurious addition to a literary document,” B. Metzger & B. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament (Oxford 2005), 322-23.”

    Now he’s trying to account for the *absence* of the long ending from the MSS record. That’s the polar opposite of his original argument, which appealed to the *presence* of the long ending in the MSS record.

    Orthodox is more double-tongued than a snake.

    “But you protestants, you and Metzger, can't agree on the criteria for canonicity. What does that tell us about your rule of faith?”

    Let’s see. It tells you that Scripture rather than Metzger is my rule of faith.

    We consult experts like Metzger for their information. What we do with that information is a value-judgment.

    “Because I'm not a sola scriptura-ist. I don't determine how to apply scripture in the church.”

    This is not a question of how the passage *applies*. The passage makes certain factual claims about the future: these signs “will” accompany believers: exorcisms, healings, speaking in tongues, immunity to poison.

    It isn’t optional. So, if these are the authentic words of Jesus, and the Orthodox don’t manifest these signs, one and all, then the Orthodox are hellbound reprobates.

    “Authentic? Who is to say that additions to books can't be authentic? Anyway, if it isn't an authentic part of Mark, that just tells you it isn't part of Mark.”

    In which case we should excise the spurious long ending of Mark from the Gospel of Mark.

    You’re welcome to stick it onto the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Judas to complete your open canon of Scripture.

    “It doesn't tell you if it isn't an authentic piece of scripture. Like the periscope of the adulteress on John.”

    Now you’re using one spurious interpolation to prop up another spurious interpolation.

    “Knowing it wasn't originally part of that book doesn't tell you if it is authentic scripture.”

    If it’s authentic Scripture, then you and your fellow Orthodox are damned since you fail to manifest the signs of a true believer, as predicted by Jesus (Mk 16:17-18).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Why Steve must I restrain myself to one argument?

    >Now he’s trying to account for the *absence* of the
    >long ending from the MSS record. That’s the polar
    >opposite of his original argument, which appealed
    >to the *presence* of the long ending in the MSS
    >record.

    ????

    The presence of something in the historical record, IS something well worth bringing up and appealing to.

    And if you want to then bring up where it is absent the historical record, I reserve the right to respond to that, ok? Or did you expect to win this one by fiat?

    >Let’s see. It tells you that Scripture rather than
    >Metzger is my rule of faith.

    No it tells me that you have no rule of faith on this, you are just making it up as you go along, just like Metzger is making it up. And you come to different conclusions, surprise, surprise, because your rule of faith is not in scripture or anywhere else but your own imagination.

    >This is not a question of how the passage
    >*applies*. The passage makes certain factual
    >claims about the future: these signs “will”
    >accompany believers: exorcisms, healings,
    >speaking in tongues, immunity to poison.

    Uh huh. Does that mean ALL believers? Does it mean I should go out of my way to drink poison to test it out? Do we need one of the signs or all of them? Like any sola scriptura interpretation, this one could go a lot of ways.

    >In which case we should excise the spurious long
    >ending of Mark from the Gospel of Mark.

    Why? Where did God say that one person must write one book of scripture? Where does God say that in such a case one part is "authentic" and the other part is not?

    >Now you’re using one spurious interpolation to
    >prop up another spurious interpolation.

    I await your proof that no apostle wrote the periscope.

    Didn't you just finish lecturing me that the early church had clear knowledge about what was apostolic? So why would the early church with its so clear knowledge of these things be corrupting the gospel of Mark on such a wide basis with something non-apostolic?

    Try and grow a modicum of consistency. Either you trust the early church's knowledge of what was apostolic and to preserve the distinction, or you do not.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Orthodox wrote:

    “I await your proof that no apostle wrote the periscope.”

    If we aren’t being given any reason to accept it as apostolic, then why would we need “proof that no apostle wrote it” in order to not accept it as apostolic?

    You write:

    “So why would the early church with its so clear knowledge of these things be corrupting the gospel of Mark on such a wide basis with something non-apostolic?”

    You need to document that alleged “wide basis”. Steve has already cited the comments of Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman on this subject, including their citation of Jerome’s comment that “almost all” Greek manuscripts lacked the passage in his day. Why don’t you interact with that evidence?

    You write:

    “Try and grow a modicum of consistency.”

    Among the people posting in this forum, you’re probably the least qualified to make such a comment.

    You write:

    “Either you trust the early church's knowledge of what was apostolic and to preserve the distinction, or you do not.”

    As Steve’s citation of Metzger and Ehrman illustrates, the evidence suggests that the early church agreed with Steve in rejecting the ending to Mark’s gospel that we’re discussing. Steve is siding with the early church. You’re the one who’s opposing the early church, as you’ve done on other matters.

    We’ve discussed these issues with you many times in the past, and you’ve repeatedly ignored or distorted what we’ve said and have left the discussions. As we’ve told you many times, there’s more involved in making judgments about such subjects than what “the early church” said. And different sources within what you’re calling “the early church” have different degrees of credibility in different contexts. We’ve been over these issues with you many times, and we’ve given you multiple illustrations to make these points, but you keep ignoring what you’re told and keep making false and misleading claims that have already been corrected.

    You ought to keep in mind that you’re going to be accountable to Jesus Christ for how you behave in this forum. You have a lot to answer for. Your carelessness isn’t without consequence.

    ReplyDelete
  14. hostus twinkius5/22/2007 10:21 AM

    This guy doesn't stick to one argument and then wants to charge Steve with inconsistency? Are Orthodox and Touchstone related or something? I think this kind of intellectual acumen has to be genetic...

    ReplyDelete
  15. >If we aren’t being given any reason to accept it as
    >apostolic, then why would we need “proof that no
    >apostle wrote it” in order to not accept it as
    >apostolic?

    Prove that Esther was written by a prophet. About the only reason you could offer is that the people of God were using the book as scripture. The exact same proof ought to be all you need here to be consistent.

    >You need to document that alleged “wide basis”.
    >Steve has already cited the comments of Bruce
    >Metzger and Bart Ehrman on this subject,
    >including their citation of Jerome’s comment that
    >“almost all” Greek manuscripts lacked the
    >passage in his day. Why don’t you interact with
    >that evidence?

    Why do you want me to interact with it? Aren't you already familiar with the counter arguments?

    Dean Burgon demonstrated that what Eusebius said "is palpably untrue"

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/burgon/mark.iv.v.html

    and that in any case, Jerome is merely repeating what Eusebius said who was probably referencing something Origen said.

    So do you want to refute everything Burgon says?

    Or do you want to admit now that it is a my scholar can whup your scholar situation and that you have no canon other than that you imagine in your own mind?

    Furthermore, it's hard to avoid observing that if Mark 16 is not the correct ending, then your version of Mark is incomplete, and thus you lack the full canon. Either way your canon is wrong.

    It's also hard to avoid observing that pretty much all protestant bibles include these passages, and a few other snippets that folks like Metzger think were certainly not part of the original such as Luke 22:44. Apparently your theoretical idea of what is canonical has a major problem where it intersects with reality.

    >the evidence suggests that the early church
    >agreed with Steve in rejecting the ending to
    >Mark’s gospel that we’re discussing. Steve is
    >siding with the early church.

    Nonsense. Anyone such as yourself who is pretending to know something about canonicity should know that most ancient of evidence such as the old latin and Cyprian attests to the passage. What you really mean is your selective beliefs about the early church.

    >You ought to keep in mind that you’re going to
    >be accountable to Jesus Christ for how you
    >behave in this forum. You have a lot to answer
    >for. Your carelessness isn’t without
    >consequence.

    What a lot of hypocrisy. If you wanted to pretend that you yourself are not "careless" in the manner you define carelessness, you would have to be coming here and quoting the evidence both for AND against your position. But you don't do that because being "careful" is not your stock in trade, rather polemics is your stock in trade, and selectively quoting what supports your position.

    Of course if you stopped doing this, it would become starkly obvious that you have no canon and no authority but your own opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Orthodox wrote:

    "Prove that Esther was written by a prophet."

    Prove that it would have to be written by a prophet.

    You write:

    "About the only reason you could offer is that the people of God were using the book as scripture. The exact same proof ought to be all you need here to be consistent."

    If the people who used the passage as scripture did so after it was widely not viewed as scripture prior to that time, then why should we think that the later acceptance of the passage is to be followed rather than the earlier rejection of it?

    You write:

    "Dean Burgon demonstrated that what Eusebius said 'is palpably untrue'"

    Burgon lived more than a century ago, prior to many of the textual advances of modern times. There are a lot of problems with his work. See, for example:

    http://www.etsjets.org/jets/journal/38/38-04/38-4-pp519-530_JETS.pdf

    Bruce Metzger refers to "the extraordinary errors of fact" found in the work of Burgon you linked us to (The Text Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992], p. 259).

    Concerning Burgon's treatment of Mark 16 in particular, see the following article by James Kelhoffer, a scholar who has specialized in the study of the ending of Mark's gospel:

    http://www.degruyter.de/journals/znw/2001/pdf/92_078.pdf

    Kelhoffer writes:

    "Unpersuasive, however, is the way in which J. Burgon dismisses the testimony of the first answer [attributed to Eusebius], which denies the Longer Ending’s authenticity: 'The exaggeration' that most MSS do not contain the Longer Ending 'is so gross that it refutes itself' (Verses [see n. 6], 49). Burgon argues this point on two grounds. First, the perspective of this answer does not fit with other church fathers and many other MSS. Second, since the early church fathers were generally 'but very children in the Science of Textual Criticism,' the testimony of ad Marinum I.a [attributed to Eusebius] cannot be reliable (49). Such an a priori dismissal of a primary source is unwarranted. Although the practice of ‘textual criticism’ in the early church does not compare with modern standards, this cannot stop the historian from making judicious use of all relevant pieces of evidence....observations like those in the ad Marinum [of Eusebius] on the textual history of the Second Gospel and of Mark 16,9-20 appear in a number of other Christian writings and manuscripts....The early and medieval patristic and manuscript evidence discussed in this section supports the conclusion that, despite intense pressures from a variety of areas to resolve problems concerning the end of the Gospel of Mark, such difficulties continued to be recognized throughout the early and medieval periods." (n. 78 on p. 97, pp. 98, 108)

    Elsewhere, Kelhoffer refers to Burgon's "dubious" inferences in interpreting sources like Jerome (n. 85 on p. 100).

    You write:

    "Jerome is merely repeating what Eusebius said who was probably referencing something Origen said."

    As Kelhoffer notes, Jerome wouldn't be likely to repeat what Eusebius said unless there were many manuscripts that didn't contain the ending in question. And if Eusebius was relying on an earlier source, like Origen, then placing the claim even earlier hurts your case rather than helping it. Kelhoffer also notes that not all of the sources who make comments similar to those of Eusebius can be said to have been relying on Eusebius as their source. You aren't giving us any evidence comparable to or better than the testimony of these sources, and you're ignoring some of the evidence cited by Metzger and Ehrman.

    You write:

    "Or do you want to admit now that it is a my scholar can whup your scholar situation and that you have no canon other than that you imagine in your own mind?"

    Since the scholars give reasons for why they reach their conclusions, then we can judge the quality of the evidence cited. The large majority of modern scholars reject Burgon's argument, and for good reason.

    If you're going to make a claim about what text the ancient Christians used, that's a historical claim. You can't avoid examining the historical evidence, including Biblical manuscripts, patristic documents, and other material discovered, translated, compiled, etc. by scholars. Would you tell us how you allegedly analyze the historical circumstances surrounding the ending of Mark's gospel without relying on scholarship?

    You write:

    "Furthermore, it's hard to avoid observing that if Mark 16 is not the correct ending, then your version of Mark is incomplete, and thus you lack the full canon."

    Where did I argue that Mark 16:8 "is not the correct ending"? I didn't.

    You write:

    "Either way your canon is wrong."

    You've made some false claims about Mark 16 that you've failed to justify. If I don't have the original ending of Mark's gospel, because it's been lost, then there's nothing "wrong" about my not following an ending that isn't extant. Arguing that I may not have the original ending to Mark does nothing to prove that I'm wrong in not accepting anything beyond Mark 16:8 or that your earlier claims about Mark 16 are correct.

    You write:

    "If you wanted to pretend that you yourself are not 'careless' in the manner you define carelessness, you would have to be coming here and quoting the evidence both for AND against your position."

    Where did I define "carelessness" as you do above? I didn't. I've documented many examples of your carelessness, and I don't need to define carelessness as you do above in order to document those examples.

    ReplyDelete
  17. >>Prove that Esther was written by a prophet."
    >
    >Prove that it would have to be written by a prophet.

    Prove that the ending of Mark would have to be written by an apostle.

    >If the people who used the passage as scripture
    >did so after it was widely not viewed as scripture
    >prior to that time, then why should we think that
    >the later acceptance of the passage is to be
    >followed rather than the earlier rejection of it?

    Prove that the periscope of the adulteress was ever "rejected". Show us your quotes that say "I reject this passage".

    >Burgon lived more than a century ago

    Oh dear, and yet Burgon had far more information than the previous thousand years or more. I guess the truth depends on what age you live in and how good your scholarly resources are. No doubt we could weed out more rubbish from the OT with the application of more "scholarship". See Metzger's other works for help there.

    >There are a lot of problems with his work. See,
    >for example

    This wasn't a cue for a general attack on Burgon. You've cited Metzger both approvingly and disparagingly. If you want to actually interact with what actual early evidence cited about Mark, e.g. Cyprian, the Old Latin, Irenaeus, Diatessaron, then go ahead.

    >Bruce Metzger refers to "the extraordinary errors
    >of fact" found in the work of Burgon you linked
    >us to

    I'm aware already of problems in what he wrote, but it doesn't refute what he wrote that isn't refuted. i.e. that Mark 16 is so early that Metzger can't even argue with its canonicity, despite him holding a view it isn't original.

    >And if Eusebius was relying on an earlier source,
    >like Origen, then placing the claim even earlier
    >hurts your case rather than helping it.

    Not really, because I don't know anybody who doubts that the problem of manuscripts missing the section is a very early one. That one father in one church is the source for saying it was missing, that doesn't tell us much we didn't know. What you are doing is assuming that just because an early source lacks it, it must not be original. There's no cause for assuming that.

    >Such an a priori dismissal of a primary source is
    >unwarranted. Although the practice of ‘textual
    >criticism’ in the early church does not compare
    >with modern standards, this cannot stop the
    >historian from making judicious use of all
    >relevant pieces of evidence.

    But the argument is about whether it really is a primary source, or in reality a secondary source. And the presence of the passage in such early and widespread places really does cause us to wonder about the accuracy of such an exagerated claim.

    James White makes the argument about the Comma Johanneum, "we are forced to conclude that entire passages can disappear from the Greek manuscript tradition without leaving a single trace" and arguing for it "destroys the very basis upon which we can have confidence that we still have the very words of Paul or John".

    Well, this is pretty close to the situation with the ending of Mark. Only two manuscripts lack it, and those show that they knew about it and left space for it as if to show uncertainty. One might throw the same argument back about this.

    >Jerome wouldn't be likely to repeat what
    >Eusebius said unless there were many
    >manuscripts that didn't contain the ending in
    >question.

    Which is fine. But the issue for dispute isn't whether quite a few manuscripts lacked them, it is whether "almost all" of them lacked them, or whether this is just Origen's local situation. And when it comes to Jerome we can't ignore what he actually put in the Vulgate.

    >Kelhoffer also notes that not all of the sources
    >who make comments similar to those of
    >Eusebius can be said to have been relying on
    >Eusebius as their source

    Similar? How similar? Remember, no one is disputing that there were quite a number in circulation without the ending.

    >You aren't giving us any evidence comparable to
    >or better than the testimony of these sources,
    >and you're ignoring some of the evidence cited
    >by Metzger and Ehrman.

    It seems funny to me that I am supposed to be on the backfoot if I want to defend pretty much the entire Greek and Latin manuscript tradition against something from Eusebius. I mean, if we want to go down that road we might just as well throw out Matthew 28:19 in favor of Eusebius' version lacking the trinitarian formula. There's people wanting to make claims about that as well. It kinda depends I guess whether you want to have any respect for what the people of God have preserved in the overall Church.

    >Would you tell us how you allegedly analyze the
    >historical circumstances surrounding the ending
    >of Mark's gospel without relying on scholarship?

    The question is why I would want to examine the historical circumstances. If I'm merely curious I can use scholarship all day long. But if I want to overturn the judgment of the Church, I'm wasting my time. There is no telling where the madness ends down that track. You've got Metzger saying that the pastoral epistles are pseudo-Pauline. And that's only the beginning of the madness from what I've heard of his other writings.

    >Where did I argue that Mark 16:8 "is not the
    >correct ending"? I didn't.

    Oh, so you're one of those who argues that v8 is the original ending? I could now trot out all the scholarship saying how unlikely it is for a book to end in v8, but you know all that already right? You're just being "careless" in not citing it, for which you will "be accountable to Jesus Christ for how you behave in this forum".

    >Arguing that I may not have the original ending
    >to Mark does nothing to prove that I'm wrong in
    >not accepting anything beyond Mark 16:8 or that
    >your earlier claims about Mark 16 are correct.

    For an athiest, it might not prove anything. For someone who has a higher view of God's providence, it proves a great deal.

    >Where did I define "carelessness" as you do
    >above? I didn't. I've documented many examples
    >of your carelessness, and I don't need to define
    >carelessness as you do above in order to
    >document those examples.

    ROFLOL. No, what you really mean is that anyone who disagrees with you is careless. You called me careless straight after claiming that you are the one agreeing with the early church about Mark. But you've ignored Cyprian, the old latin, Irenaeus and the Diatessron as counter arguments. Just another case of where you are not only your own pope, but you pontificate to make the cartoon complete.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Orthodox writes:

    "Prove that the ending of Mark would have to be written by an apostle."

    I didn't argue that it would have to be. Now that your irrelevant response has been addressed, will you address what I asked you about Esther?

    I've already argued for my position that Mark had apostolic approval, and I've already argued for the scriptural status of apostolic documents. You left those discussions without interacting with what I had said.

    You, on the other hand, acknowledge that you haven't made a case for the authority you attribute to Eastern Orthodoxy. You've told us that this forum isn't the place for you to make such a case. If you aren't willing to make a case for the authority you're attributing to Eastern Orthodoxy, then you're not giving us any reason to accept something like the longer ending to Mark's gospel on the basis of the alleged acceptance of that longer ending by Eastern Orthodoxy. If we have reason to accept Mark as originally written, but don't have reason to accept later additions to the document, then it makes sense to accept the document only as it was originally written. If you want us to accept more, then you have to make a case for the alleged authority of the entity giving us something more. You haven't done that.

    You write:

    "Prove that the periscope of the adulteress was ever 'rejected'. Show us your quotes that say 'I reject this passage'."

    The same principles I discussed with regard to Mark 16 apply here. If the evidence suggests that the passage in question wasn't part of the original gospel of John, as is the case, then we would need an additional argument for accepting that passage. And you've acknowledged that you haven't made a case for the authority claims of Eastern Orthodoxy. If the passage in question isn't part of the original gospel of John, and you haven't given us any reason to accept it on the basis of Eastern Orthodox authority, then on what basis are we supposed to accept it?

    You write:

    "I guess the truth depends on what age you live in and how good your scholarly resources are."

    You've been corrected on that distortion many times in the past. Humans are finite and fallible. Our knowledge of the truth can change without the truth having changed.

    And while you keep criticizing scholarship, you've repeatedly appealed to it when you've thought that it would go your way. You appealed to Burgon in this thread, and you've appealed to lexicons and the Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, elsewhere. As I've explained to you many times, you rely on Bibles translated by scholars, patristic documents compiled by scholars, etc. Your comment quoted above is inconsistent with your own behavior.

    You write:

    "No doubt we could weed out more rubbish from the OT with the application of more 'scholarship'. See Metzger's other works for help there."

    Tell us specifically which works of Metzger you're referring to.

    You write:

    "If you want to actually interact with what actual early evidence cited about Mark, e.g. Cyprian, the Old Latin, Irenaeus, Diatessaron, then go ahead."

    The issue isn't whether some sources were familiar with the longer ending. The issue is how widespread it was. That's why the comments of sources like Eusebius and Jerome are more relevant than what you're referring to.

    You write:

    "That one father in one church is the source for saying it was missing, that doesn't tell us much we didn't know. What you are doing is assuming that just because an early source lacks it, it must not be original. There's no cause for assuming that."

    You're misrepresenting the evidence. As I said in my last post, the issue isn't what one source believed, but rather the state of the manuscripts referred to by multiple sources, and not all of them can be said to have been repeating what they read in Eusebius. As I also explained in my last post, even if a source like Jerome was repeating something he read in Eusebius, it doesn't therefore follow that Jerome didn't have sufficient reason to agree with Eusebius. Jerome was in a position to be well informed about such an issue. You haven't given us any evidence comparable to what Steve and I have cited. Instead, you've mentioned some early sources who use the passage and the passage's later popularity. Both types of evidence (use by some early sources and later popularity) are less significant than the contrary data, as James Kelhoffer explains in the article I linked to.

    You initially claimed that "virtually every Greek manuscript" includes the longer ending to Mark. You need to explain how such a situation would lead to multiple patristic sources saying, instead, that the large majority of manuscripts excluded the passage. You also need to explain why so many later manuscripts that include it do so with marks indicating that the passage is dubious. How does acceptance of the passage in "virtually every Greek manuscript" produce such a scenario?

    You write:

    "Well, this is pretty close to the situation with the ending of Mark. Only two manuscripts lack it, and those show that they knew about it and left space for it as if to show uncertainty."

    You're ignoring what sources like Eusebius and Jerome reported about the manuscripts at a time when they had access to more of the earlier manuscripts than we do. And you're ignoring other relevant factors. As Bruce Metzger explains:

    "Today we know that the last twelve verses of the Gospel according to Mark (xvi. 9-20) are absent from the oldest Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian manuscripts, and that in other manuscripts asterisks or obeli mark the verses as doubtful or spurious." (The Canon Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997], p. 269)

    As Metzger explains elsewhere, we also have to consider the inclusion of a different additional ending in other manuscripts. It's unlikely that people who had access to a manuscript with verses 9-20 would include instead the briefer alternative ending we find in some manuscripts. Thus, the manuscripts with that briefer added ending should be taken as further evidence for the ending of the gospel at verse 8.

    You're ignoring large portions of the evidence against your position. And the evidence you're citing in support of the longer ending isn't as significant as the evidence I've cited against it. You've given us no reason to doubt the testimony of Eusebius, Jerome, and the other sources who agreed with them, and you've made misleading claims about the manuscript record.

    You write:

    "But the issue for dispute isn't whether quite a few manuscripts lacked them, it is whether 'almost all' of them lacked them, or whether this is just Origen's local situation."

    You haven't shown that Origen was the source of the evaluation of the manuscript record I'm referring to, and you've given us no reason to conclude that the source, whoever he was, was limiting his comments to one region. The comments of men like Eusebius and Jerome don't make sense if those comments are limited to one region. And the manuscripts that lack the longer ending of Mark aren't limited to one region. They're widespread.

    You write:

    "And when it comes to Jerome we can't ignore what he actually put in the Vulgate."

    As Kelhoffer explains in the article I linked to, Jerome repeatedly included material in the Vulgate that he didn't accept as scripture. We've already discussed the example of the additions to the book of Daniel, and you conceded that I was correct about that example. The inclusion of the longer ending of Mark in the Vulgate doesn't overturn what Jerome reported about the passage's being absent in the large majority of the manuscripts.

    You write:

    "Similar? How similar?"

    Read the article I linked to.

    You write:

    "The question is why I would want to examine the historical circumstances. If I'm merely curious I can use scholarship all day long. But if I want to overturn the judgment of the Church, I'm wasting my time."

    How do you identify "the church" in history and identify what that church taught in the past without relying on scholarship? Who translated the historical documents you read, for example?

    You write:

    "Oh, so you're one of those who argues that v8 is the original ending? I could now trot out all the scholarship saying how unlikely it is for a book to end in v8, but you know all that already right?"

    The scholars who argue for a different original ending aren't claiming that we have that original ending. They aren't saying that I'm wrong to accept nothing beyond verse 8.

    ReplyDelete
  19. >I didn't argue that it would have to be.

    Now if you are saying authorship is irrelevant, you've got not basis for rejecting the ending of Mark.

    >Now that
    >your irrelevant response has been addressed, will
    >you address what I asked you about Esther?

    Well Peter wrote that prophets wrote scripture as they are carried along by the Spirit. I would take it then that Esther must be written by a prophet to be scripture.

    >I've already argued for my position that Mark had
    >apostolic approval, and I've already argued for
    >the scriptural status of apostolic documents. You
    >left those discussions without interacting with
    >what I had said.

    What is there to interact with? You've accepted the Orthodox Catholic canon of the NT and rejected the Oriental Orthodox canon of the NT, and you've justified your tradition in your own mind. But there's no compelling reason to assume that you historically got everything right and they didn't.

    >You've told us that this forum isn't the place for
    >you to make such a case.

    What I said is that you are several steps removed from realising there is a true church, and there is no point arguing which one it is till you realise that.

    >If you aren't willing to make a case for the
    >authority you're attributing to Eastern
    >Orthodoxy, then you're not giving us any reason
    >to accept something like the longer ending to
    >Mark's gospel on the basis of the alleged
    >acceptance of that longer ending by Eastern
    >Orthodoxy.

    Except that all protestant bibles contain the passages too. The John passage in particular is quite a favourite with all, protestants included. This is where your grandiose theories crash and burn when they run into reality.

    So may I take it that you differ with Svendsen that the people of God were led into truth about the canon? Or is it just intellectuals like yourself who are the true church?

    >If we have reason to accept Mark as originally
    >written, but don't have reason to accept later
    >additions to the document, then it makes sense
    >to accept the document only as it was originally
    >written.

    Are there two Jason Engwers? Weren't you lecturing me not long ago that you too can believe that God's providential hand led the Church to the correct canon? And yet when the rubber hits the road all that is out the window and you're back to your historical speculations. What exactly is the difference between this and rejecting the pastoral epistles? Both are using modern scholarship to overturn the long standing canon.

    >Humans are finite and fallible. Our knowledge of
    >the truth can change without the truth having
    >changed.

    Where is God in all of this? Weren't you telling me the people of God were led into knowledge of the canon? Now you are arguing they were falsely led into the wrong canon.

    >And while you keep criticizing scholarship,
    >you've repeatedly appealed to it when you've
    >thought that it would go your way.

    I quote scholarship to you, because that is the only authority you accept at this time. That doesn't mean it is a rule of faith for me, like it is for you.

    >>"No doubt we could weed out more rubbish
    >>from the OT with the application of more
    >>'scholarship'. See Metzger's other works for
    >>help there."
    >
    >Tell us specifically which works of Metzger you're
    >referring to.

    Like the Reader's digest condensed bible where he says "Genesis: "Nearly all modern scholars agree that, like the other books of the Pentateuch, [Genesis] is a composite of several sources, embodying traditions that go back in some cases to Moses."

    So according to Metzger all scholars agree that Genesis as we have it isn't as it was penned. Applying your theory that we reject the bits of Mark or John that aren't penned by the first author, we could really go to town on Genesis.

    Exodus: "As with Genesis, several strands of literary tradition, some very ancient, some as late as the sixth century B.C., were combined in the makeup of the books" (Introduction to Exodus).

    Deuteronomy: "It’s compilation is generally assigned to the seventh century B.C., though it rests upon much older tradition, some of it from Moses’ time."

    John: "Whether the book was written directly by John, or indirectly (his teachings may have been edited by another), the church has accepted it as an authoritative supplement to the story of Jesus’ ministry given by the other evangelists."

    Metzger seems to have no idea who wrote John anyway. That kinda makes it moot who wrote the additions.

    1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus: "Judging by differences in style and vocabulary from Paul’s other letters, many modern scholars think that the Pastorals were not written by Paul."

    2 Peter: "Because the author refers to the letters of Paul as ‘scripture,’ a term apparently not applied to them until long after Paul’s death, most modern scholars think that this letter was drawn up in Peter’s name sometime between A.D. 100 and 150."

    Lot's of material there for you to get the old scissors working. Or perhaps you are a cleverer, smarter and better researched scholar than Metzger?

    >The issue isn't whether some sources were
    >familiar with the longer ending. The issue is how
    >widespread it was.

    If Irenaeus, Tatian, Cyprian, Justin Martyr and people using the old latin were using it, then it must have been reasonably widespread. This is why Burgon's argument can't be dismissed. But again, whether it was missing in 10%, 50% or 90% of manuscripts, doesn't actually tell you which portion was correct.

    >You also need to explain why so many later
    >manuscripts that include it do so with marks
    >indicating that the passage is dubious. How does
    >acceptance of the passage in "virtually every
    >Greek manuscript" produce such a scenario?

    No one is disputing that there were a number of manuscripts with it missing. Since this was known by scribes, it accounts for critical marks. None of this proves whether the omission or the addition is in error.

    >You're ignoring what sources like Eusebius and
    >Jerome reported about the manuscripts at a time
    >when they had access to more of the earlier
    >manuscripts than we do.

    I'm not ignoring it, I'm just pointing you to the alternative interpretation of the facts, that Eusebius and Jerome are parroting Origen and that what Jerome actually did in the Vulgate, not to mention other early versions, the old latin, the diatessron, cause us to doubt how much weight to put on it.

    Aka, my scholar can whup your scholar. I understand the weight of the argument you put forward. What I'm saying is that it is not the only conclusion one can reasonably come to. Leaving you again without a canon, unless you think everyone is out of the church who doesn't agree with you.

    >"Today we know that the last twelve verses of the
    >Gospel according to Mark (xvi. 9-20) are absent
    >from the oldest Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and
    >Armenian manuscripts, and that in other
    >manuscripts asterisks or obeli mark the verses
    >as doubtful or spurious." (The Canon Of The New
    >Testament

    Of course the way he phrases this makes it sound more significant than it is. One old latin manuscript lacks it. Ok, but what about all those that contain it? Yes two old Greek manuscripts lack it, but these two indicate that the scribes knew of the passage and weren't sure whether to include it. Furthermore these two manuscripts show evidence of coming from the same scribe or scriptorium, and thus can't be said to be more than one witness. Furthermore, many scholars think they are the work of Eusebius, which would mean that these two manuscripts plus Eusebius' comment would only amount to one witness. That cuts down the weight considerably.

    Of course then Metzger goes on to list Justin Martyr as another supporter of Mk 16.

    >As Metzger explains elsewhere, we also have to
    >consider the inclusion of a different additional
    >ending in other manuscripts. It's unlikely that
    >people who had access to a manuscript with
    >verses 9-20 would include instead the briefer
    >alternative ending we find in some manuscripts.
    >Thus, the manuscripts with that briefer added
    >ending should be taken as further evidence for
    >the ending of the gospel at verse 8.

    Again, no one is denying that a number of manuscipts lacked anything after v8. You're trying to prove what no one is disputing.

    >And the evidence you're citing in support of the
    >longer ending isn't as significant as the evidence
    >I've cited against it.

    So you claim. But Eusebius and Jerome are well known characters in history. People have had 2000 years to read what they said and come to your conclusion. They didn't do so until relatively recently. What you are in fact doing is ignoring the witness of what the scribes of several thousand other manuscripts, many of them quite early, many of them perhaps in a position to know more about what was going on that you, decided from the evidence they had when they included it. And even the scribes of the two oldest Greek manuscripts were waivering by leaving space for the passage. If THEY were waivering, how can YOU be sure? The honest answer is you can't know.

    >And the manuscripts that lack the longer ending
    >of Mark aren't limited to one region. They're
    >widespread.

    They are widespread, but you can't know if their being in the "vast majority" is widespread. If the original loss occured in Alexandria, then there would be a greater proportion in that area with the problem.

    >As Kelhoffer explains in the article I linked to,
    >Jerome repeatedly included material in the
    >Vulgate that he didn't accept as scripture.

    I don't know that you can compare the rather large sections of the OT compared to a paragraph in the NT. I know of no other case in the NT where he included something that he likely considered not original. Jerome himself said that there was another verse of the traditional ending circulating (as preserved in codex Washingtoniansus), but he chose not to include that. If his modus operandi was to include any material that some people were using, he could have included much more material.

    >How do you identify "the church" in history and
    >identify what that church taught in the past
    >without relying on scholarship?

    As I've said before, but you don't seem to be listening, historical information can have value as an apologetic, but it isn't a rule of faith. To equate the use of scholarship as an apologetic with its use as a rule of faith is a gross mistake. Rules of faith need to be infallible and derived from infallible sources because they are rules and binding on the conscience. Furthermore, while scholarship might perhaps lead someone into the church, it can never, due to its nature, lead to unity in the church, being as it is always disputed, argued and generally resulting in different opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Orthodox said:

    "Now if you are saying authorship is irrelevant, you've got not basis for rejecting the ending of Mark."

    As I explained to you before, apostolic approval doesn't require apostolic authorship. And since there's no reason to believe that the longer ending of Mark that we're discussing had apostolic approval, I do have a basis for not accepting it.

    You write:

    "Well Peter wrote that prophets wrote scripture as they are carried along by the Spirit. I would take it then that Esther must be written by a prophet to be scripture."

    2 Peter 1 is addressing prophecy, so prophets are involved. It doesn't therefore follow that all authors of scripture must be prophets, much less that we must have extant historical evidence to that effect.

    You write:

    "What I said is that you are several steps removed from realising there is a true church, and there is no point arguing which one it is till you realise that."

    That's not what you originally said. You initially attempted to make a case for Eastern Orthodoxy. When your attempts failed, you then began arguing that this forum isn't the place for such a discussion. But now you're saying that this forum is an acceptable place, but that I'm not ready for the discussion yet.

    As I said before, if you want us to believe you, then why not prove your assertion? Prove that you could make a case for Eastern Orthodoxy. Give us your argument. There are non-Protestants who read this forum, such as Roman Catholics, and some of the Protestants who read it might be closer to your position than I am. Instead of claiming that I'm not ready for your case for Eastern Orthodoxy, why don't you prove that you can make such a case by making it?

    You write:

    "Except that all protestant bibles contain the passages too. The John passage in particular is quite a favourite with all, protestants included. This is where your grandiose theories crash and burn when they run into reality."

    What Protestant Bibles commonly do is utilize something like brackets or italics to mark the passage as doubtful. I have an Updated New American Standard Bible on the desk in front of me. That Bible not only includes the ending of Mark that you're defending, but also includes an alternate longer ending. Both are presented differently than Mark 16:8, with italics and brackets. Much the same occurs in many of the older manuscripts of Mark's gospel that contain the longer endings. It doesn't therefore follow that the people who included such texts considered them Divinely inspired scripture. Your argument is ridiculous, and it reflects your carelessness that I referred to earlier.

    You write:

    "Weren't you lecturing me not long ago that you too can believe that God's providential hand led the Church to the correct canon?"

    Here we have another example of your carelessness. The canon and the text are two different issues. That's why a council like Hippo or Carthage can pass a ruling on the canon without defining what words should be used in every passage of those books. We have the precedent of Jesus and the apostles accepting the Jewish canonical consensus without accepting any one text.

    Are you suggesting that we don't have a canon if we don't have a settled text as well? Earlier, you acknowledged that you have no infallible text for all books of scripture, ecumenical councils, etc. Does it therefore follow that Eastern Orthodox have no canon for their rule of faith? How can you say that I "too" believe in God's providence regarding the canon if you aren't affirming the same concept? And if you can affirm that concept without having an infallible text for your Eastern Orthodox canon, then why can't I accept a canonical consensus without an infallible text?

    You write:

    "What exactly is the difference between this and rejecting the pastoral epistles? Both are using modern scholarship to overturn the long standing canon."

    The difference is that the historical evidence supports the Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles, whereas it doesn't support the ending for Mark that you're advocating. For example, while Eusebius refers to the majority of copies of Mark as not having the longer ending in question, he refers to the Pauline authorship of the pastorals as universally accepted.

    You write:

    "I quote scholarship to you, because that is the only authority you accept at this time."

    I've never said that scholarship is "the only authority I accept". But if you want to make an objective case for your view of historical Christianity in a forum such as this one, then you have to appeal to historical evidence, which involves some dependence on scholarship. In my last post, I asked you how you would go about arguing for Eastern Orthodoxy without any reliance on scholarship, and, predictably, you haven't given us an answer.

    You write:

    "Like the Reader's digest condensed bible where he says"

    Metzger was a textual scholar, and I cited him on textual issues. You've quoted what was written about modern scholarly views of authorship issues in a Bible that Metzger was associated with. The comments you've quoted, which you got from a King James Only web site, are largely statements about modern scholarly opinion. Whether Metzger agrees with those views would have to be judged case-by-case. Where Metzger was wrong on an issue like the authorship of a book, I can disagree with him, much as you cite the Catholic Encyclopedia or a King James Only web site without agreeing with such sources on every other issue.

    You write:

    "If Irenaeus, Tatian, Cyprian, Justin Martyr and people using the old latin were using it, then it must have been reasonably widespread."

    You're being careless again. Whether something was used is a different issue than whether it was considered part of the original gospel of Mark. James Kelhoffer discusses the significance of that distinction in the article I linked to earlier.

    You write:

    "But again, whether it was missing in 10%, 50% or 90% of manuscripts, doesn't actually tell you which portion was correct."

    It is a major factor in judging correctness, however. And correctness isn't the only issue on the table. We've also been discussing whether your claim to be agreeing with the earliest Christians on this subject is accurate. If something like 90% of the manuscripts didn't have the longer ending of Mark, then your initial claim on this subject is false.

    You write:

    "I'm not ignoring it, I'm just pointing you to the alternative interpretation of the facts, that Eusebius and Jerome are parroting Origen and that what Jerome actually did in the Vulgate, not to mention other early versions, the old latin, the diatessron, cause us to doubt how much weight to put on it."

    I've already addressed your appeal to the Vulgate, you haven't explained or documented what you mean by your appeal to "the Old Latin", and I haven't denied that some sources used the longer ending, like the Diatessaron. But use of the longer ending doesn't prove a belief that it was part of the original document, and sources like Eusebius and Jerome were commenting on the manuscript record in general, not just one source. You can't put the use of the longer ending of Mark by one source in the same category as the comments about the whole manuscript record by somebody like Eusebius. The fact that somebody like Irenaeus used the longer ending of Mark isn't as significant as what somebody like Jerome said about the manuscript record in general.

    And your dismissal of sources like Eusebius and Jerome is gratuitous and ignores contrary data I and my sources have cited. You're assuming dependence on Origen without arguing for it, you're assuming that Origen was wrong, you're assuming that men like Eusebius and Jerome would repeat Origen's error without realizing that it was false (highly false, if your view is correct), and you're ignoring the other sources who agreed with Eusebius and Jerome (discussed by Kelhoffer).

    You write:

    "Of course the way he phrases this makes it sound more significant than it is. One old latin manuscript lacks it. Ok, but what about all those that contain it? Yes two old Greek manuscripts lack it, but these two indicate that the scribes knew of the passage and weren't sure whether to include it. Furthermore these two manuscripts show evidence of coming from the same scribe or scriptorium, and thus can't be said to be more than one witness. Furthermore, many scholars think they are the work of Eusebius, which would mean that these two manuscripts plus Eusebius' comment would only amount to one witness."

    You keep making assertions without offering any documentation. I'll wait for you to document each of those claims before interacting with them.

    You write:

    "But Eusebius and Jerome are well known characters in history. People have had 2000 years to read what they said and come to your conclusion. They didn't do so until relatively recently. What you are in fact doing is ignoring the witness of what the scribes of several thousand other manuscripts, many of them quite early, many of them perhaps in a position to know more about what was going on that you, decided from the evidence they had when they included it."

    Again, the fact that a passage is included in manuscripts doesn't prove that it was considered part of the original document. I've given you the example of the additions to Daniel in the Vulgate, which Jerome didn't consider authentic, even though he included them. As James Kelhoffer explains in the article I linked to, it was common practice for copies of the Bible to include disputed passages, just as they do today. Different readers would have held different opinions. Once a passage is included in Bibles for a long time, then the opinions of less informed people can be influenced by such an inclusion, but it doesn't therefore follow that a later misinformed acceptance of a passage proves that the passage was never commonly rejected. The later popularity of false endings of Mark doesn't prove that sources like Eusebius and Jerome were wrong about an earlier rejection of those endings. It is possible for a false text to gradually become popularly accepted. It's happened many times, and not just with the Bible. Textual scholars reject the sort of simplistic reasoning you're putting forward, and for good reason. Are you saying that any textual detail of scripture that ever became popularly accepted for a while must be received by us as infallible?

    You write:

    "I don't know that you can compare the rather large sections of the OT compared to a paragraph in the NT. I know of no other case in the NT where he included something that he likely considered not original."

    Why would the size of the passages change the applicability of the principle? If Jerome included sections of the Old Testament in the Vulgate that we know he rejected as inauthentic, then he could do the same in the New Testament. And he specifically tells us that the large majority of manuscripts of Mark didn't include the longer ending you're advocating. His inclusion of the longer ending in the Vulgate doesn't prove that his comment about the Markan manuscripts was wrong or that he accepted the longer ending.

    You write:

    "If his modus operandi was to include any material that some people were using, he could have included much more material."

    He doesn't have to include "any material that some people were using" in order to include some material he didn't consider part of the original documents in question. Again, you've already agreed with me that he included additions to Daniel that he considered inauthentic. And his including the longer ending of Mark doesn't change the fact that he referred to the large majority of manuscripts as not containing it.

    You write:

    "As I've said before, but you don't seem to be listening, historical information can have value as an apologetic, but it isn't a rule of faith. To equate the use of scholarship as an apologetic with its use as a rule of faith is a gross mistake."

    You're the one who's not listening. I've never argued that historical information is a rule of faith, nor have I argued that scholarship is a rule of faith. Using such things to identify scripture or to make a historical case for scripture isn't equivalent to believing that historical information or scholarship is my rule of faith.

    You write:

    "Rules of faith need to be infallible and derived from infallible sources because they are rules and binding on the conscience."

    What do you mean by "derived from infallible sources"? If you're referring to God as the source of revelation, then I've never denied that God is the source of scripture.

    If, on the other hand, you're saying that we can't identify or interpret scripture by means of a fallible source, then why should we believe that? If you can identify and interpret your rule of faith by means of fallible sources such as Tertullian and lexicons, then why can't I do the same with my rule of faith?

    You write:

    "Furthermore, while scholarship might perhaps lead someone into the church, it can never, due to its nature, lead to unity in the church, being as it is always disputed, argued and generally resulting in different opinions."

    You're changing the subject. I wasn't addressing unity, nor was I claiming that "scholarship", defined as all scholarly work without distinction, brings about unity.

    ReplyDelete
  21. >And since there's no reason to believe that the
    >longer ending of Mark that we're discussing had
    >apostolic approval, I do have a basis for not
    >accepting it.

    Of course there's a reason for believing it. And that reason is that it could be the original, or even an original ending by Mark. That it is found in 99% of Greek manuscripts is one good reason for believing that.

    >2 Peter 1 is addressing prophecy, so prophets
    >are involved. It doesn't therefore follow that all
    >authors of scripture must be prophets, much
    >less that we must have extant historical evidence
    >to that effect.

    I see. So only the prophesies in scripture are not of private interpretation, the rest of it may be.

    >As I said before, if you want us to believe you,
    >then why not prove your assertion? Prove that
    >you could make a case for Eastern Orthodoxy.
    >Give us your argument. There are non-
    >Protestants who read this forum, such as Roman
    >Catholics, and some of the Protestants who read
    >it might be closer to your position than I am.

    I'm preparing a debate with a Roman Catholic friend of mine, that should get started in the next few weeks if all goes well. If you like I will drop a link here when it gets started.

    >What Protestant Bibles commonly do is utilize
    >something like brackets or italics to mark the
    >passage as doubtful.

    Firstly, only SOME protestant bibles do.

    Secondly, if we transported ourselves back in time 150 years NO protestant bibles do.

    Thirdly, what people presume about bibles is that they print in the text the text that they think divinely inspired. We're not generally talking about Mk 16 being printed as a footnote, it's printed as the main text. If bracketed text means we are to assume it is not inspired, what on earth are these publishers doing? If your point is that footnotes indicate its doubtfulness, I say so what? Every page of a modern day bible has footnotes expressing doubtfulness. Does that mean protestants are generally in a state of doubt?

    Fourthly, I've yet to see a protestant who won't preach on John 8 because it is doubtful. I'm sure such people exist, but 99.9% of protestants are not aware they aren't supposed to regard it as scripture.

    So I stand by my statement that your grandiose theory crashed when it hit protestant reality.

    >Your argument is ridiculous, and it reflects your
    >carelessness that I referred to earlier.

    Sounds like these protestant publishers are the ones you should be accusing of carelessness.

    >Here we have another example of your >carelessness. The canon and the text are two
    >different issues.

    Didn't you or someone here just finish lecturing that they are two highly related issues?

    We are not talking here about a word here and there in the text, we are talking about an entire periscope about what Jesus did. Or doesn't God lead his people down to that level of detail? So maybe all those bits of Jeremiah that the Jews don't have are really canonical, but since God doesn't lead his people down to that level, they got dropped out of the Hebrew?

    And where is the division between text and canon anyway, given that the Jews count 22 books? I guess as long as we still count 22, we can cram as much stuff in there as we like and it's all just the minor issue of text?

    And I suppose it's open slather for higher criticism now too. We can take our scissors out and go to town as long we still have 27 books.

    >We have the precedent of Jesus and the apostles
    >accepting the Jewish canonical consensus
    >without accepting any one text.

    Oh ok, so the ending of Mark IS canonical, because Jesus and the apostles put their stamp of approval on multiple texts.

    >Are you suggesting that we don't have a canon if
    >we don't have a settled text as well?

    What I'm suggesting is, every time you take a step away from the Church's consensus as an authority and towards some new fangled scholarly notion, you are one more step towards the madness of raving liberalism. To say that you think Mark 16 may not have been by Mark is one thing. To then use it as a rule of faith is another. If any part of the text is agreed on in the church, for a long period of time, it is just as authoritative whether it happens to be the original text, or not. So is any text that is agreed on in the whole church, such as the faith expressed by the liturgy.

    >The difference is that the historical evidence
    >supports the Pauline authorship of the pastoral
    >epistles, whereas it doesn't support the ending
    >for Mark that you're advocating. For example,
    >while Eusebius refers to the majority of copies of
    >Mark as not having the longer ending in
    >question, he refers to the Pauline authorship of
    >the pastorals as universally accepted.

    Then we could go back to 2 Peter which many rejected. It is the same as that.

    >Metzger was a textual scholar, and I cited him on
    >textual issues. You've quoted what was written
    >about modern scholarly views of authorship
    >issues in a Bible that Metzger was associated
    >with.

    Your objection to Mark IS an issue of authorship.

    And Metzger's comments on Genesis etc ARE textual in that he points to evidence that parts are not "original". The same type of thinking and analysis he did on Mark, he would have done on these other books to make these conclusions.

    >Where Metzger was wrong on an issue like the
    >authorship of a book, I can disagree with him

    Which is fine, but the point is, the path you are on where everything is up for grabs if scholarship has some evidence is not the way of faith, it leads to madness.

    >You're being careless again. Whether something
    >was used is a different issue than whether it was
    >considered part of the original gospel of Mark.

    So ECFs are quoting something they DIDN'T think was part of Mark? Puhlease. This careless accusation is getting old.

    >>But again, whether it was missing in 10%, 50% or
    >>90% of manuscripts, doesn't actually tell you
    >which portion was correct."
    >
    >It is a major factor in judging correctness,
    >however.

    When the section in question was lost at a time very close to the autograph, I have to ask why it should be a major factor. If the second person to get a copy was the one who lost the last page, we would expect most copies to lack the page. That doesn't prove lacking the page is original.

    And again, many of the people who think it isn't original, still believe the real last page is missing. In which case it isn't a question of whether it was lost close to the original, that would be agreed by both sides of the argument. The question remaining is whether the page we have is the original.

    >If something like 90% of the manuscripts didn't
    >have the longer ending of Mark, then your initial
    >claim on this subject is false.

    If, if, if. I don't feel constrained to argue only one possibility.

    >You keep making assertions without offering any
    >documentation. I'll wait for you to document
    >each of those claims before interacting with
    >them.

    "It is reasonable to assume that both codices have been written in the same scriptorium or at least the same place at arround the same time."

    http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/general.html

    "Some are even inclined to regard Codex Sinaiticus as one of the fifty manuscripts which Constantine bade Eusebius of Caesarea to have prepared in 331 for the churches of Constantinople"

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04085a.htm

    "it was common practice for copies of the Bible to include disputed passages, just as they do today."

    Presumably, bibles only contain passages that plausibly are canonical. If everyone then considered it plausible, it's highly doubtful you can be sure 1500 years later about something that was unsure back then.

    >It is possible for a false text to gradually become
    >popularly accepted.

    Say it isn't so! But then 2 Peter is up for grabs all over again, right?

    >Are you saying that any textual detail of
    >scripture that ever became popularly accepted
    >for a while must be received by us as infallible?

    I think I answered this above.

    >Using such things to identify scripture or to
    >make a historical case for scripture isn't
    >equivalent to believing that historical information
    >or scholarship is my rule of faith.

    Is or is not the canon part of your rule of faith? If it is, tell us where it is in scripture, since you claim sola scriptura. If it's not in scripture then part of your rule of faith is extra scriptural.

    >What do you mean by "derived from infallible
    >sources"?

    I mean an infallible link transporting the infallible information between the ultimate infallible source (God) and you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Orthodox wrote:

    "That it is found in 99% of Greek manuscripts is one good reason for believing that."

    You keep making such assertions without any accompanying documentation. Which manuscripts are you referring to? How early are they? Do they include marks indicating that the passage is doubtful, such as modern Bibles often do? Do they include the longer ending you're advocating, another longer ending, or both? You keep failing to document your claims and keep failing to make relevant distinctions like the ones I just mentioned.

    You write:

    "So only the prophesies in scripture are not of private interpretation, the rest of it may be."

    You can't deny that 2 Peter 1 tells us that prophecy is being addressed. You're trying to avoid what the text says by suggesting that some unacceptable implication would follow from the text if it has the meaning I described. But objecting to an implication of the text doesn't change the text. You need to address what the passage says, not what you want it to say.

    And if 2 Peter 1 does only address prophecy, why should we think that it's unacceptable for 2 Peter 1 to only be condemning something related to prophecy? It wouldn't therefore follow that what's condemned in the context of prophecy is acceptable in other contexts, nor is there any reason why we should expect 2 Peter 1 to address all of scripture if it's going to address any portion of scripture. The fact that you'd prefer for 2 Peter to be addressing a wider topic does nothing to prove that it is addressing a wider topic.

    You write:

    "I'm preparing a debate with a Roman Catholic friend of mine, that should get started in the next few weeks if all goes well. If you like I will drop a link here when it gets started."

    Yes, link to it. Meanwhile, however, you've been spending months here making appeals to church authority, and you've never justified that appeal. You just keep giving us unpaid I.O.U.'s.

    You write:

    "Every page of a modern day bible has footnotes expressing doubtfulness. Does that mean protestants are generally in a state of doubt?"

    Again, it's not just modern Bibles. See what I cited earlier from Bruce Metzger regarding marks in ancient manuscripts. Even when there weren't marks, people were aware of canonical and textual disputes, such as we see with Jerome's inclusion of some additions to the book of Daniel. People were aware that some books or passages were disputed. As I explained earlier, some readers might not be aware of such disputes, which is one of the reasons why Bibles often include something like brackets or footnotes. But if some readers are unaware of such issues, it doesn't therefore follow that all readers are unaware of them or that the producers of the Bible in question were unaware of them.

    You write:

    "Fourthly, I've yet to see a protestant who won't preach on John 8 because it is doubtful. I'm sure such people exist, but 99.9% of protestants are not aware they aren't supposed to regard it as scripture."

    You're not giving us any reason to accept your estimation of how many people believe that the passage is scripture. Millions of Bibles mark passages like John 8 with something like brackets or a footnote. Your undocumented assertion that "99.9%" accept the passage isn't convincing. And if such a large number of modern people did accept the passage, what about the many manuscripts of earlier centuries that didn't include the passage at all? Do we ignore the passage's lesser acceptance earlier in church history and go along with its wider acceptance later? If so, then why? You're not giving us any reason to do so. What if the later wider acceptance of the passage changes under the influence of Bibles with brackets, footnotes, and such? On what basis do you isolate the passage's popularity at one point in time, ignore its lesser acceptance earlier and its unknown future status, and claim that we should all therefore accept it as scripture?

    You write:

    "We are not talking here about a word here and there in the text, we are talking about an entire periscope about what Jesus did. Or doesn't God lead his people down to that level of detail?"

    You're giving us no reason for thinking that people can be wrong about the text of smaller passages of scripture, but not about the text of larger passages. You'll need to justify that claim rather than just asserting it.

    And while you object to thinking that God might not guide His people regarding "an entire pericope", you've argued in the past that it's acceptable for God to have not guided the Eastern Orthodox to agreement about entire books of scripture. You not only don't have an infallible text of scripture, but you also don't have agreement among yourselves about what books should be in your Bible. You also disagree with each other about what is Tradition and what isn't. Yet, you claim that you believe that God has guided Eastern Orthodox in their canonical beliefs. Why is such textual fallibility and canonical disagreement acceptable among Eastern Orthodox, whereas textual fallibility among Protestants who agree about the canon is an unacceptable situation?

    You write:

    "So maybe all those bits of Jeremiah that the Jews don't have are really canonical, but since God doesn't lead his people down to that level, they got dropped out of the Hebrew?"

    Your example supports my argument rather than yours. We know that Jesus and the apostles accepted Jeremiah as scripture. Our judgment about what text of Jeremiah is correct doesn't have the same sort of Divine approval. If you want to assert that you have Divine approval for your textual judgments, then you need to produce evidence to that effect rather than just repeating the assertion.

    You write:

    "Oh ok, so the ending of Mark IS canonical, because Jesus and the apostles put their stamp of approval on multiple texts."

    No, what we do is make a judgment about what the correct text is. To use your Jeremiah example, the fact that Jesus and the apostles accepted Jeremiah as scripture without giving us an infallible text for Jeremiah doesn't lead us to the conclusion that all texts of Jeremiah are equally credible. We can still make distinctions based on probability judgments. That's what Eastern Orthodox do as well, both with scripture and with other documents, such as the rulings of ecumenical councils. You've already acknowledged that you don't have infallible texts for scripture or for something like an ecumenical council. You have to rely on probability judgments, like everybody else.

    You write:

    "If any part of the text is agreed on in the church, for a long period of time, it is just as authoritative whether it happens to be the original text, or not."

    That's an assertion you've never justified. And if a passage like your longer ending of Mark was initially widely rejected, as sources like Eusebius and Jerome indicate, why should we think that a later wide acceptance is to be followed instead? What if the passage becomes widely rejected again? How do you measure acceptance of a passage? Since Bibles often include texts that not everybody agrees about, how can the inclusion of that text in Bibles prove that everybody using those Bibles accepts the text as authentic? You keep making assumptions that you never justify.

    You write:

    "Then we could go back to 2 Peter which many rejected. It is the same as that."

    No, Eusebius refers to 2 Peter as one of the books accepted by the majority, but disputed. He refers to the longer ending of Mark, on the other hand, as absent in the large majority of manuscripts. There are other relevant differences as well. See the article by James Kelhoffer that I linked to earlier. As Kelhoffer explains, many ancient Christians believed in including questionable texts in their editions of the Bible, even when they knew that they were questionable. Issues of the canonicity of books weren't treated in the same manner. That's why such a widespread consensus over the 27-book New Testament canon developed, whereas widespread disagreements about the text of those 27 books continued.

    You write:

    "Which is fine, but the point is, the path you are on where everything is up for grabs if scholarship has some evidence is not the way of faith, it leads to madness."

    What do you mean by "has some evidence"? If you're referring to the concept that a book or text should be rejected if any argument is raised against it, then I've never advocated that concept. But if a good argument can be raised against a book or text, then why would we ignore that argument? Your appeal to "the way of faith" seems to be an appeal to fideism. As I've told you before, any Roman Catholic, Muslim, King James Onlyist, or Mormon could make the same sort of appeal to fideism that you're making. Why should we prefer Eastern Orthodox fideism to some other variety of fideism?

    You write:

    "So ECFs are quoting something they DIDN'T think was part of Mark? Puhlease."

    Saying "puhlease" does nothing to refute what I said. The church fathers often cite something that they consider to be a useful document or tradition without considering that document or tradition Divinely inspired scripture. I've given you examples from Clement of Alexandria and Jerome, for instance. The fact that a source quotes from the longer ending of Mark or uses it in some other manner doesn't prove that the source considered that longer ending to be Divinely inspired scripture. If you want us to believe otherwise, you'll need to do more than saying "puhlease".

    You write:

    "When the section in question was lost at a time very close to the autograph, I have to ask why it should be a major factor. If the second person to get a copy was the one who lost the last page, we would expect most copies to lack the page. That doesn't prove lacking the page is original."

    Why are we supposed to believe that the longer ending of Mark you're advocating was lost in some later copies rather than having been added in some later copies (as other longer endings were added to Mark)? Telling us that it's possible doesn't give us any reason to think that it's probable.

    You write:

    "I don't feel constrained to argue only one possibility."

    But the possibility you argued for earlier is contradicted by the data we have from sources like Eusebius and Jerome. If we assume that something like 90% of the earlier manuscripts of Mark didn't have the longer ending to Mark that you're advocating, then your initial argument on this subject is false. Telling us that you don't limit yourself to that one argument doesn't do anything to defend your earlier use of that argument.

    You write:

    "'It is reasonable to assume that both codices have been written in the same scriptorium or at least the same place at arround the same time.' http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/general.html 'Some are even inclined to regard Codex Sinaiticus as one of the fifty manuscripts which Constantine bade Eusebius of Caesarea to have prepared in 331 for the churches of Constantinople' http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04085a.htm"

    You're only attempting to document some portions of what you asserted, and the documentation you're now offering doesn't establish your earlier claims. What's "reasonable to assume" or what "some are even inclined" to believe doesn't establish either point you're trying to establish, nor does it establish your other assertions.

    You write:

    "Presumably, bibles only contain passages that plausibly are canonical. If everyone then considered it plausible, it's highly doubtful you can be sure 1500 years later about something that was unsure back then."

    Again, sources like Eusebius and Jerome tell us that most early copies of Mark didn't include the longer ending you're advocating. And, as I also told you earlier, my Updated New American Standard Bible contains both your longer ending of Mark and another longer ending. Does it therefore follow that we should accept both as scripture or that people using that Bible accept both as scripture?

    You write:

    "Is or is not the canon part of your rule of faith? If it is, tell us where it is in scripture, since you claim sola scriptura."

    Scripture doesn't have to contain a list of all books of scripture in order for the principles leading to such a list to be present. When we've asked you for a list of all Eastern Orthodox Traditions, you haven't been able to produce one. Not only does your rule of faith not list its own canon, but you don't even have a canon you're willing to list. Eastern Orthodox disagree with each other about what is Tradition and what isn't. Your argument is self-defeating.

    You write:

    "I mean an infallible link transporting the infallible information between the ultimate infallible source (God) and you."

    I've already addressed that issue, repeatedly. You've never demonstrated that we need that sort of "infallible link", and you don't have one either. You've acknowledged that you identify and interpret your rule of faith by means of fallible sources like Tertullian and lexicons. If you can rely on such fallible means, then why can't Protestants?

    ReplyDelete
  23. >>"That it is found in 99% of Greek manuscripts is
    >>one good reason for believing that."
    >
    >You keep making such assertions without any
    >accompanying documentation.

    NA27 lists 3 manuscripts that omit the text, which means all the others include it. Burgon says there are over 600 extant manuscripts. That makes 99.5%.

    >Which manuscripts are you referring to? How
    >early are they?

    Uh, ALL of them apart from those three, however early they may happen to be. NA27 does not arrange things to make it easy to extract that information. None of these issues you raise alter the basic fact that when 99% of manuscripts read a certain way, that is a good reason on the side of accepting the text.

    >>"So only the prophesies in scripture are not of
    >>private interpretation, the rest of it may be."
    >
    >You can't deny that 2 Peter 1 tells us that
    >prophecy is being addressed.

    I can deny it. The Greek word isn't restricted to prophesying the future, it can mean any inspired speach.

    >Again, it's not just modern Bibles. Even when
    >there weren't marks, people were aware of
    >canonical and textual disputes, such as we see
    >with Jerome's inclusion of some additions to the
    >book of Daniel.

    How many people were aware? With the number of manuscripts in the thousands and Christians in the millions, most people were reliant on the scriptures being read out. Come the printing press all bibles were based on the TR and again nobody was aware of any issues. The number of Christians in history who even knew there was some kind of problem was a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. Even in todays age with NIV footnotes, the number of Christians who take these warnings as any more than a historical curiousity is very thin. This is where grandiose theory fails when it hits reality.

    >You're not giving us any reason to accept your
    >estimation of how many people believe that the
    >passage is scripture.

    I've seen an NIV using pastor rebuke someone for daring to read the footnote and question the Mark passage.

    I think the profit motive of the publishers is proof enough. They know what side their bread is buttered on, and if there were lots of people not considering them scripture, they would be publishing bibles without them.

    >Do we ignore the passage's lesser acceptance
    >earlier in church history and go along with its
    >wider acceptance later?

    If we are determining canon, then yes we do.

    >If so, then why?

    Because the canon grows, not shrinks. You don't go back and second guess Esther because you think you have a better insight than your predecessors.

    >What if the later wider acceptance of the passage
    >changes under the influence of Bibles with
    >brackets, footnotes, and such?

    The Christian faith is not a revolving door. Once it's in, it's in.

    >You're giving us no reason for thinking that
    >people can be wrong about the text of smaller
    >passages of scripture, but not about the text of
    >larger passages.

    Well, you don't give us a reason for thinking that people can be wrong about large chunks of scripture but are infallibly led into the truth concerning the canon. You'll need to justify that claim rather than just asserting it.

    And remember, I don't think the Church as a whole is ever "wrong" about any section of scripture when it agrees. Even if it is wrong by your criteria, it is still right by mine.

    >And while you object to thinking that God might
    >not guide His people regarding "an entire
    >pericope", you've argued in the past that it's
    >acceptable for God to have not guided the
    >Eastern Orthodox to agreement about entire
    >books of scripture.

    Nope, it's a different situation. In my book, "not guiding" means "no consensus yet". But what you are claiming is there can be consensus and yet God is not guiding. By your criteria you can never distinguish between God guiding and God not guiding because they look exactly the same. That being the case, you just blew away your argument that we can look to God's providence of guiding his people to the correct scriptures. You can't know that anymore because consensus could be a consensus of error.

    >You've already acknowledged that you don't have
    >infallible texts for scripture or for something like
    >an ecumenical council.

    I acknowleded I don't have infallible scripture??!?!

    I think not. We do have infallible scripture and infallible ecumenical councils, and this is the case regardless of how much textual corruption there may be.

    >"If any part of the text is agreed on in the
    >church, for a long period of time, it is just as
    >authoritative whether it happens to be the
    >original text, or not."
    >
    >That's an assertion you've never justified.

    It's pretty obvious. Jesus and the apostles used scripture separated by thousands of years from the autograph. They used both Greek and Hebrew text that differ considerably in both vorlage and translation. And yet there was no quetion that it wasn't authoritative because of differences to the original. In fact some quotes only seem to make sense from the Greek.

    >How do you measure acceptance of a passage?
    >Since Bibles often include texts that not
    >everybody agrees about, how can the inclusion
    >of that text in Bibles prove that everybody using
    >those Bibles accepts the text as authentic? You
    >keep making assumptions that you never justify.

    Apparently if Eusebius says most people accepted 2 Peter, he knew what he was talking about. But if I make observations from my experience about a passage, suddenly I can't prove anything.

    Yes folks, we can see the hypocrisy.

    >Why are we supposed to believe that the longer
    >ending of Mark you're advocating was lost in
    >some later copies rather than having been added
    >in some later copies (as other longer endings
    >were added to Mark)? Telling us that it's possible
    >doesn't give us any reason to think that it's
    >probable.

    I throw the exact some question in reverse back at you. If a page is lost very early in the distribution of a book, it is statistically pot luck whether most manuscripts end up with or without a passage. If in the first generation of copies a prolific copier gets the bad copy, and someone who makes only a couple of copies gets the good one, then most copies will end up "bad". So with such an early anomoly, any argument about numbers is nearly worthless.

    >If we assume that something like 90% of the
    >earlier manuscripts of Mark didn't have the
    >longer ending to Mark that you're advocating,
    >then your initial argument on this subject is
    >false.

    If, if, if we ASSUME. Not a great foundation for an argument.

    >You're only attempting to document some
    >portions of what you asserted

    What else do you want documented, that Aleph and B's scribes knew of the section? See Burgon for documentation of B's gap at the end of Mark, the only one in the manuscript. For Sinaitius, the leaf here is not the original one, and it appears the second scribe stretched out the replacement to fill a pre-existing gap. So there's two doubts here, the lack of the original leaf, and the previous gap indicating knowledge of the passage.

    >the documentation you're now offering doesn't
    >establish your earlier claims.

    Yes it does. I too was skeptical at one point, but if you look at the colophons, there are subtlties there that are just too close unless the same person worked on both manuscripts.

    >my Updated New American Standard Bible
    >contains both your longer ending of Mark and
    >another longer ending. Does it therefore follow
    >that we should accept both as scripture or that
    >people using that Bible accept both as scripture?

    Obviously I don't advocate accepting something as scripture because the NASB prints it. Does it mean people using the bible accept it as scripture? Given that it's printed in a different font AND a big footnote that refers to "late" mss AND that it differs from every other bible in the world, possibly not. But that isn't the overall situation for Mk 16.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Orthodox,
    could you please clarify what you wrote-

    "I think not. We do have infallible scripture and infallible ecumenical councils, and this is the case regardless of how much textual corruption there may be."

    Does this mean that there are corruptions in the text of infallible scriptures and infallible ecumenical councils, or that the EO Church has distilled the infallible text from the corrupted text for us?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Orthodox writes:

    "NA27 lists 3 manuscripts that omit the text, which means all the others include it. Burgon says there are over 600 extant manuscripts. That makes 99.5%....None of these issues you raise alter the basic fact that when 99% of manuscripts read a certain way, that is a good reason on the side of accepting the text."

    Then why do the large majority of textual scholars reject the passage? Because many other factors are involved, factors that you keep distorting or ignoring. R.T. France refers to my position as "the virtually unanimous verdict of modern textual scholarship" (The Gospel Of Mark [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002], p. 685).

    Again, we don't have copies of the end of Mark's gospel from the earliest generations of Christianity. What we have, instead, is a series of descriptions of the earlier manuscripts by sources like Eusebius and Jerome. And they tell us that the earlier manuscript evidence is against the longer ending you're arguing for. The earliest Greek manuscripts we have support what sources like Eusebius and Jerome reported, and the later Greek manuscripts that you keep citing don't overturn that earlier data.

    Furthermore, as I keep reminding you, the inclusion of the longer ending in Markan manuscripts doesn't prove that the people who produced or used those manuscripts considered the passage authentic. As Bruce Metzger said in my earlier citation, many of the manuscripts that include the longer ending of Mark include markings indicating that the passage is questionable. Other manuscripts include multiple longer endings, meaning that such manuscripts weren't intended to endorse any one ending by including it. And other manuscripts include a longer ending other than the one you're advocating, which is evidence for my position, as I explained earlier.

    You've dismissed without any good reason the testimony of Eusebius, Jerome, and other sources who tell us about the earlier manuscripts that are no longer extant. You've emphasized, instead, later manuscripts, and you've assumed without any good reason that inclusion of the longer ending of Mark in later manuscripts is equivalent to belief in the passage's authenticity. To get your misleading manuscript numbers up higher, you've ignored the presence of markings indicating that your longer ending of Mark was considered questionable in many of these later manuscripts, and you've ignored the presence of other longer endings in some of the manuscripts. There are good reasons why almost every textual scholar in the world, liberal or conservative or otherwise, disagrees with you.

    You write:

    "The Greek word isn't restricted to prophesying the future, it can mean any inspired speach."

    There isn't just one word involved in making the judgment. Peter repeatedly refers to "prophets" and refers to how what they wrote is "made more certain" by means of Christ's coming. The context is prophecy, not "any inspired speech". That's why translations commonly use the word "prophecy" (Douay-Rheims, New International, New King James, New Revised Standard, New American Standard, New Living, etc.). And even if we were to accept your claim about how "the Greek word isn't restricted to prophesying the future", it doesn't therefore follow that your interpretation and the implications you've drawn from it are probable. You're the one who made the assertion about a supposed need to show that the Biblical authors were all prophets. You need to prove that assertion rather than just telling us that "the Greek word isn't restricted".

    You write:

    "With the number of manuscripts in the thousands and Christians in the millions, most people were reliant on the scriptures being read out. Come the printing press all bibles were based on the TR and again nobody was aware of any issues. The number of Christians in history who even knew there was some kind of problem was a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. Even in todays age with NIV footnotes, the number of Christians who take these warnings as any more than a historical curiousity is very thin. This is where grandiose theory fails when it hits reality."

    You keep making assertions without any accompanying evidence. As sources like Eusebius and Jerome indicate, most of the Christians in the earliest generations probably were using copies of Mark that didn't have your ending. And how could you know what was read out loud by people who used manuscripts in which your longer ending was included with markings indicating that the ending is questionable? How do you supposedly know that "the number of Christians who take these warnings as any more than a historical curiousity is very thin"?

    If you want to appeal to what's been popular in recent centuries, then are you saying that you accept every text of scripture that's been popularly used in recent times? What about the canon? Since the large majority of professing Christians who have lived throughout church history haven't had 3 Maccabees in their Bible, for example, should we conclude that the acceptance of that book by many Eastern Orthodox is wrong?

    You write:

    "I've seen an NIV using pastor rebuke someone for daring to read the footnote and question the Mark passage. I think the profit motive of the publishers is proof enough. They know what side their bread is buttered on, and if there were lots of people not considering them scripture, they would be publishing bibles without them."

    Your NIV anecdote doesn't prove your assertions about the general population. And the inclusion of your longer ending of Mark in modern Bibles doesn't prove that as many people accept the passage as you've claimed. Bible producers would have reasons for including such a passage without the passage being as widely accepted as you claim it is. That's why some Bibles also include another of the longer endings, not just the one you accept, as I explained earlier. Even if only a minority of people accepted the ending you're advocating, accommodating those people could be seen as reason enough to include the passage with some sort of explanatory note. The number of people who reject the passage wouldn't have to be "very thin", as you put it, in order for Bible producers to include it in some form. And you still haven't demonstrated that we should accept a text just because it became popular at some point in time.

    You write:

    "Because the canon grows, not shrinks. You don't go back and second guess Esther because you think you have a better insight than your predecessors."

    You're not giving us any reason to agree with you. You're just making assertions. Rejecting false endings for Mark's gospel doesn't "shrink" the canon unless we assume that it was canonical to begin with. You've given us no reason to believe that it was.

    Again, the evidence suggests that the earliest Christians didn't include your longer ending in Mark's gospel. Why should we believe that we can dismiss their view, whereas the later popularity of your ending can't be dismissed? If popular opinion was wrong early on, why are we supposed to believe that it was correct later?

    You write:

    "The Christian faith is not a revolving door. Once it's in, it's in."

    If "the Christian faith is not a revolving door", then the early rejection of your longer ending can't be reversed.

    You write:

    "Well, you don't give us a reason for thinking that people can be wrong about large chunks of scripture but are infallibly led into the truth concerning the canon."

    Yes, I did give you reasons, and you've ignored them again. And since you've acknowledged that Eastern Orthodoxy hasn't produced an infallible text of scripture (or ecumenical councils, etc.), you aren't being consistent with your own professed standards. You don't apply your reasoning regarding Mark 16 to the rest of what you consider scripture. Your earlier admission that you don't have an infallible text contradicts your present claim that the church is led to an infallible text.

    You write:

    "And remember, I don't think the Church as a whole is ever 'wrong' about any section of scripture when it agrees."

    Then the earliest Christians' agreement that Mark ends at 16:8 must be correct.

    As long as we're discussing popular opinion, what about the agreement among the large majority of modern professing Christians that Eastern Orthodoxy is not the one true church? Is that popular opinion wrong? It's a popular opinion agreed upon by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Methodists, and many other groups who, when combined, far outnumber Eastern Orthodox.

    What about Trinitarian doctrine? Should we take a poll of modern professing Christians and accept whatever view of God is popular among them, even if it's different from something like the Chalcedonian view?

    What about salvation? If most professing Christians today think that God will allow people into Heaven if they're good people by common human standards, then should we accept such a view of salvation?

    How do you keep up with the latest popular opinions? Given that there are billions of alleged Christians in the world today, do you have some method of finding out what's popular among them so that you can determine what your theology should be?

    You write:

    "Even if it is wrong by your criteria, it is still right by mine."

    But, as you've admitted, you haven't yet given us a justification for your criteria. Now you're telling us to wait for a debate you're supposed to have with a Catholic in the future, where you'll supposedly justify your claims about your Eastern Orthodox system of authority.

    You write:

    "But what you are claiming is there can be consensus and yet God is not guiding. By your criteria you can never distinguish between God guiding and God not guiding because they look exactly the same. That being the case, you just blew away your argument that we can look to God's providence of guiding his people to the correct scriptures. You can't know that anymore because consensus could be a consensus of error."

    As I explained before, God wouldn't have to guide people on every issue in order to guide them on some. We have Old Testament precedent for accepting a canonical consensus, and we know that a similar consensus was reached on the New Testament. The same can't be said of the text of scripture. There was no infallible text of scripture among the ancient Jews, and widespread textual disagreements have continued among Christians long after a New Testament canonical consensus was reached. That's why you acknowledged earlier that you don't have an infallible text. Your suggestion that God couldn't have guided His people to a canonical consensus unless He also guided them to a consensus on the text of Mark 16 is ridiculous. The fact that God led the people of Israel on some issues doesn't change the fact that He allowed widespread error on other issues (2 Kings 22:8-13, Nehemiah 8:13-17). We have to make judgments case-by-case. We have reason to think that there was Divine guidance in the New Testament canonical consensus, whereas the lack of an infallible text of scripture among the ancient Jews and the ongoing widespread textual disagreements among Christians suggest that we don't have comparable reason to expect Divine guidance toward an infallible text.

    You write:

    "I acknowleded I don't have infallible scripture??!?! I think not. We do have infallible scripture and infallible ecumenical councils, and this is the case regardless of how much textual corruption there may be."

    You're distorting what I said. I referred to "infallible texts for scripture", and you've responded by referring to "infallible scripture". You then go on to acknowledge that you have "textual corruption", which is what I was referring to, so nothing you've said refutes what I argued. Again, if you don't have infallible texts for scripture, ecumenical councils, etc., then why should we believe that your church is led to an infallible text by God?

    You write:

    "Apparently if Eusebius says most people accepted 2 Peter, he knew what he was talking about. But if I make observations from my experience about a passage, suddenly I can't prove anything."

    You aren't in a situation comparable to that of Eusebius. We have no reason to doubt what Eusebius reported about acceptance of 2 Peter. To the contrary, the book's widespread acceptance among sources living just after Eusebius' time suggests that he was correct. Eusebius lived at a time far removed from our own, so it makes sense to consult him for information on that timeframe. In contrast, why would any of us consult you for information on the timeframe in which we live? Since we live in this timeframe also and have access to many other people who live in our timeframe, what would be the sense of our consulting you for information about the time in which we live?

    You write:

    "If a page is lost very early in the distribution of a book, it is statistically pot luck whether most manuscripts end up with or without a passage. If in the first generation of copies a prolific copier gets the bad copy, and someone who makes only a couple of copies gets the good one, then most copies will end up 'bad'. So with such an early anomoly, any argument about numbers is nearly worthless."

    Again, the issue is probability, not possibility. Assuming that "a prolific copier" got a bad copy of Mark isn't the best explanation for the widespread existence of early manuscripts without your ending. Mark and his contemporaries would have been alive to recognize any early widespread corruption of the text. And any later corruption would have to overcome the earlier manuscripts already in existence. Your ability to imagine such a scenario doesn't make it the best explanation of the data. And even if we ignored the early manuscript evidence for my position, the internal evidence discussed in Bruce Metzger and the other sources I've cited would support my conclusion.

    You write:

    "See Burgon for documentation of B's gap at the end of Mark, the only one in the manuscript. For Sinaitius, the leaf here is not the original one, and it appears the second scribe stretched out the replacement to fill a pre-existing gap."

    How do "gaps" support your position? And I'd prefer a source other than Burgon. Earlier, I cited Metzger's comment about the "extraordinary errors of fact" in Burgon's work. Metzger was specifically discussing Burgon's analysis of the two manuscripts you're addressing above.

    You write:

    "I too was skeptical at one point, but if you look at the colophons, there are subtlties there that are just too close unless the same person worked on both manuscripts."

    I doubt that you're qualified to make that judgment.

    You write:

    "Obviously I don't advocate accepting something as scripture because the NASB prints it. Does it mean people using the bible accept it as scripture? Given that it's printed in a different font AND a big footnote that refers to 'late' mss AND that it differs from every other bible in the world, possibly not."

    Earlier, you dismissed features such as font and footnotes, and you assumed that people would just accept something as scripture as long as it's in their Bible. But now you're suggesting that people would take things like font and footnotes seriously and would compare their Bible to other Bibles in order to be confident that they have the right text. When a Bible includes something you approve of, you assume that people reading that Bible accept it without giving the issue much thought. But when a Bible includes something you disapprove of, you suggest that people reading that Bible might consult and follow the guidance of fonts and footnotes and compare the texts of multiple versions.

    ReplyDelete
  26. >Then why do the large majority of textual scholars
    >reject the passage? Because many other factors are
    >involved, factors that you keep distorting or
    >ignoring. R.T. France refers to my position as "the
    >virtually unanimous verdict of modern textual
    >scholarship" (The Gospel Of Mark [Grand Rapids,
    >Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002], p. 685).

    Modern scholarship again. Look back up above in this thread to see what "most modern scholars" tell us:

    "most modern scholars think that this letter was drawn up in Peter’s name sometime between A.D. 100 and 150."

    There you go, there is the end game when modern scholarship is your rule of faith.

    >There are good reasons why almost every textual
    >scholar in the world, liberal or conservative or
    >otherwise, disagrees with you.

    You exagerate. There are many textual scholars who are much more cautious than you.

    http://bible.ovc.edu/tc/lay05mrk.htm

    "A close examination of style, however, reveals that it is not so different in style from the rest of Mark as is sometimes claimed. "

    http://web.ovc.edu/terry/articles/mkendsty.htm

    "it is not correct to state that this long ending is not in Mark's style."

    http://sharinginthelife.blogspot.com/2007/04/last-twelve-verses-of-mark-conference.html

    "My biggest issue with accepting this position is that it seems to place too much weight on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus."

    >And even if we were to accept your claim about
    >how "the Greek word isn't restricted to
    >prophesying the future", it doesn't therefore
    >follow that your interpretation and the
    >implications you've drawn from it are probable.
    >You're the one who made the assertion about a
    >supposed need to show that the Biblical authors
    >were all prophets.

    Firstly, I don't know where you are going to draw a line between supposed prophetic and non-prophetic books since the apostles didn't seem to have any hesitation in finding prophesy in scripture that one wouldn't otherwise assume was prophesy.

    Secondly, if we run with your claim that writers of scripture don't have to be prophets, it makes it all the more worse for your theory that scripture must be approved by the apostles. Apparently then the qualifications are not so stringent.

    >You keep making assertions without any
    >accompanying evidence. As sources like
    >Eusebius and Jerome indicate, most of the
    >Christians in the earliest generations probably
    >were using copies of Mark that didn't have your
    >ending.

    Even if that were so, your theory still crashes out for the next 1400 years.

    >And how could you know what was read out loud
    >by people who used manuscripts in which your
    >longer ending was included with markings
    >indicating that the ending is questionable?

    Burgon did his own survey of manuscripts with markings and came to different conclusions. In particular, manuscripts with markings and comments seem to be exclusively writing to assert support for the verses. That indicates to me that the consensus was not people assuming any problem with the text here.

    >How do you supposedly know that "the number
    >of Christians who take these warnings as any
    >more than a historical curiousity is very thin"?

    >How do you supposedly know that "the number
    >of Christians who take these warnings as any
    >more than a historical curiousity is very thin"?

    How many Christians are there in the world? How many copies of NA27, UBS4, Metzger's commentary and whatever other books you think people would buy who take these issues seriously would buy. Divide it out and do the math. Most Christian shops I've seen wouldn't even stock ANY book that discusses textual variants. That tells you something about its common popularity.

    >If you want to appeal to what's been popular in
    >recent centuries, then are you saying that you
    >accept every text of scripture that's been
    >popularly used in recent times? What about the
    >canon? Since the large majority of professing
    >Christians who have lived throughout church
    >history haven't had 3 Maccabees in their Bible,
    >for example, should we conclude that the
    >acceptance of that book by many Eastern
    >Orthodox is wrong?

    If they are not in the Church of Christ, their opinion is not of much consequence.

    >You're not giving us any reason to agree with
    >you. You're just making assertions. Rejecting
    >false endings for Mark's gospel doesn't "shrink"
    >the canon unless we assume that it was
    >canonical to begin with. You've given us no
    >reason to believe that it was.

    Why do you believe Esther was "canonical in the first place"? Because the people of God used it? So the people of God using it is all the reason you need. If throwing up a few doubts about its early history is a deal killer then there's PLENTY of early doubt about Esther.

    >Again, the evidence suggests that the earliest
    >Christians didn't include your longer ending in
    >Mark's gospel. Why should we believe that we
    >can dismiss their view, whereas the later
    >popularity of your ending can't be dismissed?

    Abraham didn't even accept Genesis as scripture. But we've moved on since then.

    >If "the Christian faith is not a revolving door",
    >then the early rejection of your longer ending
    >can't be reversed.

    You havn't come up with a SINGLE quote from anybody who "rejected" the ending. Silence is not rejection.

    >Then the earliest Christians' agreement that
    >Mark ends at 16:8 must be correct.

    You're talking crazy stuff now. There was no early Christian agreement that Mark ends at 16:8. Have you forgotten so soon?

    >As long as we're discussing popular opinion,
    >what about the agreement among the large
    >majority of modern professing Christians that
    >Eastern Orthodoxy is not the one true church? Is
    >that popular opinion wrong?

    Yes it is wrong, they are not in the church. You can poll till the cows come home what protestants and Roman Catholics think and it is irrelevant.

    >we know that a similar consensus was reached
    >on the New Testament

    No, wrong. There was no consensus on the NT canon. The Non Chalcedonian churchs have and always had a different NT canon. You coming from a church that is a child of Rome conveniently ignore this.

    >We have Old Testament precedent for accepting
    >a canonical consensus

    That, if true, is an extra-scriptural question. Scripture doesn't say they had a consensus.

    >We have reason to think that there was Divine
    >guidance in the New Testament canonical
    >consensus,

    Now that you're educated that there is no NT consensus, perhaps you can come up with a new theory?

    >You then go on to acknowledge that you have
    >"textual corruption", which is what I was
    >referring to, so nothing you've said refutes what I
    >argued. Again, if you don't have infallible texts
    >for scripture, ecumenical councils, etc., then why
    >should we believe that your church is led to an
    >infallible text by God?

    You're still not getting it. Our church text is infallible AND it has textual "corruption" (in the technical sense of that word). The latter is not harmful to the former.

    >You aren't in a situation comparable to that of
    >Eusebius.

    How convenient. Pray tell how Eusebius can be better informed about the world with 1st C communications, and I don't know what's going on in the world now.

    >In contrast, why would any of us consult you for
    >information on the timeframe in which we live?

    Whether anyone chooses to consult me doesn't get you out of a fundamental inconsistency in trusting Eusebius' anecdotal observations but questioning mine.

    >Mark and his contemporaries would have been
    >alive to recognize any early widespread
    >corruption of the text.

    How do you know? Some people have the theory that Mark died while actually writing the gospel. I find that unlikely but I don't find it unlikely that he died in between writing it and the time when recipients had the opportunity to compare notes.

    >And any later corruption would have to overcome
    >the earlier manuscripts already in existence.

    You're ignoring what I said. If the corruption happened in the first few copies, this doesn't apply. Furthermore, copying and distribution is not an evenhanded statistical affair. Futhermore, books like Metzger's commentary in quite a few places make reference to errors that must have been so primitive and early in the tradition as to be inexplicable from extant manuscripts. That means you are at odds with "scholarship" in claiming that no corruption can happen prior to widespread distribution.

    >And even if we ignored the early manuscript
    >evidence for my position, the internal evidence
    >discussed in Bruce Metzger and the other
    >sources I've cited would support my conclusion.

    See the links above for contrary opinions about the internal evidence.

    It's back again to my scholar can whup your scholar, and you have no canon.

    >How do "gaps" support your position?

    [sigh]

    When the entire manuscript contains just one gap without any other explanation and it happens to be just the right size for the missing verses, I think it's obvious.

    >And I'd prefer a source other than Burgon. >Earlier, I cited Metzger's comment about the
    >"extraordinary errors of fact" in Burgon's work.

    You're too harsh on Burgon. If we started listing errors in Metzger, we'd have a long list indeed.

    ""Wallace had dismissed the gap as being something that happens in Vaticanus anyway, but Elliot had a quick response ..." And not only are Dr. Elliott's explanations correct"

    http://ntstudent.blogspot.com/2007/04/last-twelve-verses-in-mark-conference_14.html

    >I doubt that you're qualified to make that
    >judgment.

    Look for yourself, it is very obvious. And I'm not the only one to make this observation.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Orthodox said:

    "Look back up above in this thread to see what 'most modern scholars' tell us"

    You're ignoring the context and content of what I said. I didn't just refer to a majority of scholars. I referred to a "virtually unanimous" view, as R.T. France puts it, a view accepted by both liberal and conservative textual scholars. I then went on to repeat what I'd said before about the evidence that supports their conclusion. And I was responding to what you had said about how textual research ought to be done. If you're going to tell us how we should analyze the textual record, it's relevant for me to point out that textual scholarship is "virtually unanimous" in disagreeing with you. And it's not just modern scholarship that disagrees with you. The earliest manuscripts, as described for us by sources like Eusebius and Jerome, disagree with you as well.

    In contrast, there was widespread acceptance of Petrine authorship of 2 Peter when Eusebius and Jerome wrote, and more modern scholars accept Petrine authorship of 2 Peter than accept your view of the ending of Mark. That's why Evangelical scholars make a historical case for Petrine authorship of 2 Peter, whereas your case for your ending of Mark is an unargued appeal to the alleged infallibility of a later popular opinion that's contradicted by earlier popular opinion.

    You write:

    "You exagerate. There are many textual scholars who are much more cautious than you. http://bible.ovc.edu/tc/lay05mrk.htm"

    Bruce Metzger, one of the foremost textual scholars of our day, refers to my position as accepted by "almost all textual studies and critical commentaries" (The Text Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992], n. 2 on p. 228). R.T. France, quoted above, who recently completed a commentary on the Greek text of Mark, refers to textual scholars as "virtually unanimous" in accepting my position. Men like Metzger and France have been in a better position to judge this issue than you are.

    You tell us that "many" textual scholars agree with you, but you go on to cite just two examples. I don't know what the credentials of your first source are related to textual issues, but how is saying that the style of verses 9-20 "is not so different in style from the rest of Mark as is sometimes claimed" equivalent to agreeing with your position? It isn't. The second quote you provided was from Theron Stancil, a blogger. Why are you identifying him as a textual scholar? Here's what he writes about himself at his blog:

    "First and foremost, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The relationship that I have with Him is the most important relationship in my life. I am also the husband of a godly, loving woman who has been sharing life with me for 9 years. I also spend time working as an IT operations manager for a college." (http://sharinginthelife.blogspot.com/2005/11/welcome.html)

    He goes on to mention textual issues as one of his interests, but I'm not aware of any evidence that he's a textual scholar.

    You write:

    "Firstly, I don't know where you are going to draw a line between supposed prophetic and non-prophetic books since the apostles didn't seem to have any hesitation in finding prophesy in scripture that one wouldn't otherwise assume was prophesy."

    Why do you so frequently change the subject in the middle of a discussion? The issue isn't whether the apostles saw prophetic foreshadowings of Christ in many portions of the Old Testament. Rather, the issue is whether every Biblical author would have to be shown to be a prophet in the sense you referred to earlier. Nothing you've said so far supports your initial claim.

    You write:

    "Secondly, if we run with your claim that writers of scripture don't have to be prophets, it makes it all the more worse for your theory that scripture must be approved by the apostles. Apparently then the qualifications are not so stringent."

    You're not doing anything to defend your initial claim and your interpretation of 2 Peter 1. The fact that you keep shifting your arguments is an indication that you recognize that your previous positions were untenable.

    And when did I say that "scripture must be approved by the apostles"? I didn't. I said that using the standard of apostolicity is one means of arriving at a canon, but a book like Genesis or Isaiah would have been identifiable as scripture prior to the apostles without apostolic approval.

    You'll have to explain what you mean by "the qualifications are not so stringent". How is that comment supposed to refute anything I said?

    You write:

    "Even if that were so, your theory still crashes out for the next 1400 years."

    As I've explained to you many times, manuscripts of Mark continued to exclude the longer ending or to mark off the longer ending as questionable for hundreds of years beyond the time of Eusebius and the other sources I cited. As James Kelhoffer explains in the article I linked to earlier, we find such questioning of the longer ending well past the time of Eusebius and Jerome (and the other sources Kelhoffer discusses), even into the second millennium.

    But even if my view of Mark had been absent in the manner you erroneously suggest above, how would it therefore follow that I must be wrong? Either the earliest Christians were wrong or the later ones you're appealing to were wrong. They couldn't have both been right. I'm siding with the earlier Christians. What's wrong with that? Sometimes an error is widely accepted (2 Kings 22:8-13, Nehemiah 8:13-17).

    You write:

    "Burgon did his own survey of manuscripts with markings and came to different conclusions."

    Again, Burgon died more than a century ago. He didn't have access to some of the manuscripts and other textual advances we've had since then.

    You write:

    "In particular, manuscripts with markings and comments seem to be exclusively writing to assert support for the verses."

    You're mistaken. Here are some of Kelhoffer's comments from the article I linked to earlier:

    "Theophylactus of Ochrida (ca. 1055/56-1107/08 or 1125/26 C. E.) still recognizes a disparity among MSS of Mark and advocates caution in the interpretation of the Longer Ending...[beginning of quote of Theophylactus] Some of the interpreters say that the Gospel according to Mark is finished here [i. e., at 16,8], and that the [words] that follow are a subsequent addition. It is necessary to interpret this [passage; i. e., 16,9-20] without doing any harm to the truth. [end of quote]...The early and medieval patristic and manuscript evidence discussed in this section supports the conclusion that, despite intense pressures from a variety of areas to resolve problems concerning the end of the Gospel of Mark, such difficulties continued to be recognized throughout the early and medieval periods. Moreover, just as passages like Mark 16,9-20 were preserved because they were known to be ancient, so perhaps also were notices concerning the original conclusion to Mark passed along because they too had become part of the tradition." (http://www.degruyter.de/journals/znw/2001/pdf/92_078.pdf, pp. 106, 108-109)

    Notice that Theophylactus refers to multiple people ("some of the interpreters") who reject the longer ending of Mark. Rather than telling his readers that the current popularity of the passage proves its Divine approval, Theophylactus advises his readers to exercise caution. As Metzger notes, "Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scholia stating that older Greek copies lack it (so, for example, MSS. 1, 20, 22, &c.), and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional siglia used by scribes to indicate a spurious addition to a literary document." (The Text Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992], p. 226) Earlier, you argued that Bibles without such markings are supportive of your position. But now you're acting as if manuscripts with such markings aren't a problem for your position. If the text was considered scripture because of its popularity, then why would people keep including notes with it, as well as "conventional siglia used by scribes to indicate a spurious addition to a literary document"?

    You write:

    "How many Christians are there in the world? How many copies of NA27, UBS4, Metzger's commentary and whatever other books you think people would buy who take these issues seriously would buy. Divide it out and do the math. Most Christian shops I've seen wouldn't even stock ANY book that discusses textual variants."

    Your reference to "most Christian shops" is misleading, since you don't include the Bible translations that have the notes I was referring to. The longer ending of Mark that you're advocating is marked off with brackets or notes or is marked off in some other manner in Bibles that are widely used.

    You write:

    "If they are not in the Church of Christ, their opinion is not of much consequence."

    Then you'll have to document your definition of "the Church of Christ", document who's part of it, document that they've popularly accepted 3 Maccabees as scripture, and document that their popular acceptance of that book proves its canonicity. It's not enough for you to keep making these assertions without evidence. You need to make more of an effort to document your claims.

    And if only Eastern Orthodox are to be considered in this discussion, then why have you been including Biblical manuscripts that can't be identified as Eastern Orthodox? Some of the manuscripts we have, which you've included in your claims about manuscript numbers and the contents of the manuscripts, come from Western churches following the doctrine of the papacy, for example. Why should we think that such manuscripts are Eastern Orthodox? If you're going to limit the relevant sources to Eastern Orthodoxy, then you'll need to document that the manuscripts you're citing come from Eastern Orthodox sources. You have a lot of work to do. You'd better get started.

    You write:

    "Why do you believe Esther was 'canonical in the first place'? Because the people of God used it? So the people of God using it is all the reason you need."

    No, that's not what I've argued about Esther or any other book. You keep distorting what I've said, even after being corrected repeatedly. Again, the issue is the acceptance of a canonical consensus by Jesus and the apostles. If they accept a Jewish canonical consensus, it doesn't therefore follow that every consensus on every issue among "the people of God" is correct.

    You write:

    "Abraham didn't even accept Genesis as scripture. But we've moved on since then."

    The book of Genesis didn't exist when Abraham was living. Abraham's non-acceptance of a non-existent book isn't in the same category as the early church's acceptance of an edition of the gospel of Mark that ended at 16:8. And the longer ending you're advocating was circulating during the ante-Nicene era. Yet, sources like Eusebius and Jerome tell us that the ante-Nicene manuscript evidence is against that longer ending. In other words, the early Christians not only didn't include your longer ending, but they also resisted including it at a time when it was circulating.

    You write:

    "You havn't come up with a SINGLE quote from anybody who 'rejected' the ending. Silence is not rejection."

    The ending in question is the ending to something that began. That's why it's called an "ending". What is it an ending to? The gospel of Mark. If the earliest Christians accepted that ending to Mark, why would they leave it out of their copies of Mark and put it somewhere else instead?

    If you now want to argue that the earliest Christians accepted it as an independent document instead, then you're changing your argument (as you often do), and you'll need to give us evidence supporting your new position. For example, if the issue in the early church was the acceptance of a document independent of Mark, then why is the acceptance of the verses in question treated as a matter pertaining to the text of Mark's gospel by the early sources who comment on the subject?

    When Eusebius and Jerome addressed this longer ending of Mark, they did so in the context of discussing alleged contradictions among the gospels. They both argue that it's acceptable to explain the alleged contradictions by saying that the verses in question aren't part of Mark's gospel and thus can contain errors. Such a position, which Eusebius and Jerome considered acceptable for a Christian, is a rejection of the passage as scripture.

    You write:

    "Yes it is wrong, they are not in the church. You can poll till the cows come home what protestants and Roman Catholics think and it is irrelevant."

    You'll need to document that assertion. You keep trying to avoid making a case for your assertions about the authority of Eastern Orthodoxy, but until you prove your assertions, you're not giving us any reason to agree with you.

    And you said earlier that Roman Catholics are Christians. Can a person be a Christian without being part of the church?

    John Behr, an Eastern Orthodox priest and patristic scholar, disagrees with you:

    "As Fr. Georges Florovsky commented (in his article 'The Boundaries of the Church'), St. Cyprian was right to affirm that salvation resides only within the Church, but 'he defined this in too hastily and too narrowly.' The designation of such people as 'schismatics' clearly indicates that this situation is not considered normal, and that their reunion with the bishop is desired; but that St. Basil can affirm that they are 'of the Church' is an important reminder that the Church is broader than those united with the bishop, and includes all those baptized in the right faith (even if schismatic)." (http://www.svots.edu/Faculty/Fr_John_Behr_Category/2006-oneinchrist/)

    You've told us, in the past, that Protestants don't have unity with one another unless they agree with each other about which other people they are and aren't in unity with. Since you disagree with other Eastern Orthodox about who is and who isn't part of the church, should we conclude that you don't have unity with those other Eastern Orthodox? Do you have unity with John Behr? Does John Behr have unity with Cyprian?

    You write:

    "No, wrong. There was no consensus on the NT canon. The Non Chalcedonian churchs have and always had a different NT canon. You coming from a church that is a child of Rome conveniently ignore this."

    You're referring to a small percentage of professing Christians. Why would I need their support in order to have a canonical consensus?

    You write:

    "That, if true, is an extra-scriptural question. Scripture doesn't say they had a consensus."

    I've already addressed that issue. As you so often do, you're ignoring what I've said. Again, scripture doesn't have to state something explicitly in order to imply it.

    You write:

    "Our church text is infallible AND it has textual 'corruption' (in the technical sense of that word)."

    Where is that infallible text? And why do Eastern Orthodox keep using different texts of scripture, as Steve Hays has documented (for example, http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/evangelical-innovations.html), if they have an infallible text? Why would people keep producing and using fallible texts if they possess an infallible text?

    You write:

    "Pray tell how Eusebius can be better informed about the world with 1st C communications, and I don't know what's going on in the world now."

    First of all, I doubt that you know much about communications in Eusebius' day. Second, Eusebius was a prominent church leader and was in close contact with relevant sources more than you are. Third, we have no reason to think that Eusebius was as careless and dishonest as you are. Fourth, as I said earlier, other data confirm what Eusebius reported on the issue in question, whereas we keep finding more and more reasons to distrust you. Fifth, whatever faults Eusebius had, he's one of the relatively small number of sources available to us in the relevant context, whereas we have far more sources of information on the modern world other than you. You aren't as valuable to us for information on the modern world as Eusebius is to us for information on the ancient world. Why do such things need to be explained to you?

    You said:

    "Some people have the theory that Mark died while actually writing the gospel. I find that unlikely but I don't find it unlikely that he died in between writing it and the time when recipients had the opportunity to compare notes."

    You're making a series of unwarranted assumptions in an attempt to arrive at your desired conclusion. First you have to assume that Mark died shortly after the gospel was completed, which isn't something we have reason to believe. Second, you have to assume that one or more recipients of the gospel lost several verses at the end without realizing it, which is also something we have no reason to assume. Third, you have to assume that the person or people with the shorter edition of Mark did "prolific copying", as you put it earlier, while the person or people with the longer Mark didn't. You have to assume that the differences in copying between the two versions of Mark were so significant as to lead to the large discrepancy referred to by sources like Eusebius and Jerome. That, too, is something we have no reason to assume. Fourth, you have to assume that the person or people with the longer Mark and/or knowledge of it did nothing or didn't do enough to correct the error made by the other person or people with the shorter version. Again, we have no reason to make such an assumption. To the contrary, it seems unlikely that a "prolific" copying of an errant shorter version of Mark wouldn't have been noticed and corrected by the people who knew of the longer original version. There surely would have been decades of time when such initial recipients of the gospel and contemporaries of Mark were still alive. The sort of widespread error you're suggesting seems unlikely.

    The fact that you can dismiss the ante-Nicene textual transmission of Mark by making a series of gratuitous and unlikely assumptions isn't a convincing argument for your case. The same sort of reasoning you're using could be used to dismiss other documents as well. We could dismiss patristic documents, for example, if we made a series of gratuitous and unlikely assumptions about widespread accidents, misunderstandings, apathy, etc. when the documents were originally copied.

    You write:

    "Futhermore, books like Metzger's commentary in quite a few places make reference to errors that must have been so primitive and early in the tradition as to be inexplicable from extant manuscripts. That means you are at odds with 'scholarship' in claiming that no corruption can happen prior to widespread distribution."

    You keep missing the point. I didn't refer to what "can happen". To the contrary, I specifically made a distinction between what's possible and what's probable. The fact that something generally unlikely sometimes happens doesn't justify an assumption that the unlikely did occur. A probability isn't a certainty, but it's better than a possibility. You're rejecting the probable reading of the manuscript record for Mark in favor of a highly unlikely possibility.

    You write:

    "When the entire manuscript contains just one gap without any other explanation and it happens to be just the right size for the missing verses, I think it's obvious."

    There are gaps elsewhere as well, even when no additional ending to a document would be under consideration. How could you possibly know what the gap is for in a case such as this one? What if space was left for the inclusion of your longer ending of Mark, as you've suggested, but a final decision was made that the ending ought to be left out? How would that support your position? It wouldn't. How do you know what markings or notes would have been included if your longer ending had been included? A gap isn't proof of acceptance of your longer ending.

    You write:

    "You're too harsh on Burgon. If we started listing errors in Metzger, we'd have a long list indeed."

    As if you're in a position to make such a judgment or to compare the two men in a reasonable manner.

    ReplyDelete
  28. >In contrast, there was widespread acceptance of
    >Petrine authorship of 2 Peter when Eusebius and
    >Jerome wrote,

    You're comparing apples to oranges because we neither have evidence that Jerome or Eusebius rejected the canonicity of Mark 16, nor do we have testimony from Jerome or Eusebius that purports to have evidence of the authorship of 2 Peter.

    >and more modern scholars accept Petrine
    >authorship of 2 Peter than accept your view of
    >the ending of Mark.

    "More modern scholars". So when "most" scholars disagree with you, it's ok, but when slighty more allegedly disagree with me, it's no good. Wow.

    >That's why Evangelical scholars make a historical
    >case for Petrine authorship of 2 Peter, whereas
    >your case for your ending of Mark is an
    >unargued appeal to the alleged infallibility of a
    >later popular opinion that's contradicted by
    >earlier popular opinion.

    Don't fool yourself. The case for 2 Peter is "popular opinion" in your parlance. (or Holy Tradition in mine).

    >Men like Metzger and France have been in a
    >better position to judge this issue than you are.

    Yet you ignore references to textual scholars who do disagree. Interesting. You ought to know I could quote more. The various majority text folks for a start. I tried to quote folks that are more or less in your own camp.

    The real facts are that people like Metgzer have set up a closed club of whose opinions they care about, and rule out by fiat anybody who disagrees as not being "textual scholars".

    >I don't know what the credentials of your first
    >source are related to textual issues,

    Uh huh, because you've never hung out among people who discuss textual issues.

    >but how is saying that the style of verses 9-20
    >"is not so different in style from the rest of Mark
    >as is sometimes claimed" equivalent to agreeing
    >with your position? It isn't.

    Oh yes it is. This textual commentary is not generally afraid to recommend a decision one way of the other, but here it makes no decision and instead gives a relatively positive comment on the passage. It then goes on to to list variants within the passage. My position is that there isn't any quick and easy answer to be found from scholarship about the history of this passage, and I've argued that by taking the contrary view to you. The situation isn't certain as you are trying to make out.

    >The second quote you provided was from Theron
    >Stancil, a blogger. Why are you identifying him as
    >a textual scholar?

    [yawn]

    I'm not identifying him as a scholar. I'm quoting his recounting of events of a conference attended by some well known textual scholars. You've heard of some of those scholars, right?

    >Either the earliest Christians were wrong or the
    >later ones you're appealing to were wrong

    Firstly, you are taking ambiguous evidence and assuming your interpretation is correct.

    Secondly, you havn't cited a single Christian from the early period who said that Mark 16 is spurious. So to say one is wrong and the other must be right is assuming what you have yet to prove.

    Thirdly, we KNOW that Christians in the early period were quoting the passage. So it's not a black and white they were right, I am wrong situation.

    >Again, Burgon died more than a century ago. He
    >didn't have access to some of the manuscripts
    >and other textual advances we've had since then.

    Poor old Burgon knew nothiing because his scholarship was a century ago.

    Please document for us the manuscripts that Burgon didn't have access to that are conclusive for Mark 16.

    >Theophylactus of Ochrida (ca. 1055/56-1107/08
    >or 1125/26 C. E.) still recognizes a disparity
    >among MSS of Mark

    No, that is misleading, he says nothing of knowing any disparity among his MSS. What he says is he is aware of commentaries saying that Mark ends here, but that we must interpret the passage anyway. Why must he interpret the passage? This is a witness for what I'm saying. People were occasionally aware of texual issues, but chose to use it anyway.

    >Moreover, just as passages like Mark 16,9-20
    >were preserved because they were known to be
    >ancient, so perhaps also were notices concerning
    >the original conclusion to Mark passed along
    >because they too had become part of the
    >tradition."

    Isn't this exactly what I've been saying? Notices were in the manuscripts said the verses were original and correct and this was considered part of the tradition.

    >Theophylactus advises his readers to exercise
    >caution.

    He said no such thing.

    >But now you're acting as if manuscripts with
    >such markings aren't a problem for your
    >position. If the text was considered scripture
    >because of its popularity, then why would people
    >keep including notes with it, as well as
    >"conventional siglia used by scribes to indicate a
    >spurious addition to a literary document"?

    See Burgon. What markings mean isn't as clear cut as you make out and many of the markings refer to notes SUPPORTIVE of the text.

    >Your reference to "most Christian shops" is
    >misleading, since you don't include the Bible t
    >ranslations that have the notes I was referring to.
    >The longer ending of Mark that you're
    >advocating is marked off with brackets or notes
    >or is marked off in some other manner in Bibles
    >that are widely used.

    If people took the cryptic footnotes in bibles with any seriousness, we would expect books that go into some detail on these issues to be good sellers. You've presented no evidence that many people take them seriously. You're also extrapolating the situation in America to elsewhere. How many languages if any is Metzger's textual commentary translated into?

    >Then you'll have to document your definition of
    >"the Church of Christ", document who's part of

    The Orthodox Church

    >it, document that they've popularly accepted 3
    >Maccabees as scripture,

    Again?

    >and document that their popular acceptance of
    >that book proves its canonicity.

    Why is Esther scripture?

    >And if only Eastern Orthodox are to be
    >considered in this discussion, then why have you
    >been including Biblical manuscripts that can't be
    >identified as Eastern Orthodox? Some of the
    >manuscripts we have, which you've included in
    >your claims about manuscript numbers and the
    >contents of the manuscripts, come from Western
    >churches following the doctrine of the papacy,
    >for example. Why should we think that such
    >manuscripts are Eastern Orthodox?

    Not Eastern Orthodox, just Orthodox is fine. And I don't recall citing any manuscript that is not from the Orthodox church.

    >Again, the issue is the acceptance of a canonical
    >consensus by Jesus and the apostles. If they
    >accept a Jewish canonical consensus,

    So 99.5% of manuscripts is not "consensus". But Esther is, despite the wide range of people who excluded it from the canon.

    Sorry, but your arguments totally lack any consistency.

    >Abraham's non-acceptance of a non-existent
    >book isn't in the same category as the early
    >church's acceptance of an edition of the gospel
    >of Mark that ended at 16:8.

    Assuming it is an addition, how exactly is it different?

    >>"You havn't come up with a SINGLE quote from
    >>anybody who 'rejected' the ending. Silence is
    >>not rejection."
    >
    >The ending in question is the ending to
    >something that began. That's why it's called an
    >"ending". What is it an ending to? The gospel of
    >Mark. If the earliest Christians accepted that
    >ending to Mark, why would they leave it out of
    >their copies of Mark and put it somewhere else
    >instead?

    Oh wow. So when I talk about Irenaeus quoting Mark 16 your response is that maybe he didn't think it was scripture. But when we talk about manuscripts lacking it, you assume the opposite.

    Well obviously, people who lacked the ending either weren't aware of it or didn't have it in their exemplars when they came to copy it, or otherwise were confused about what to do. Does that mean they rejected it? Of course not.

    >If you now want to argue that the earliest
    >Christians accepted it as an independent
    >document instead, then you're changing your
    >argument

    No I'm not arguing that, but it seems this is what you argue for when you imply that people like Irenaeus were quoting it, but not as scripture.

    >Such a position, which Eusebius and Jerome
    >considered acceptable for a Christian, is a
    >rejection of the passage as scripture.

    Eusebius also implied it was acceptable to reject 2 Peter, since not everyone accepted it. Do you feel the same? Would you have any objections if someone in your church rejected 2 Peter? Would you be quite unconcerned if someone in a bible study set forth their position that they weren't prepared to accept correction from this book?

    >you said earlier that Roman Catholics are
    >Christians. Can a person be a Christian without
    >being part of the church?

    Yes. Do you disagree? Tell me how the biblical passages on the church apply to a believer who doesn't meet any Christians.

    >John Behr, an Eastern Orthodox priest and
    >patristic scholar, disagrees with you:
    >St. Basil can affirm that they are 'of the Church' is
    >an important reminder that the Church is
    >broader than those united with the bishop, and
    >includes all those baptized in the right faith

    There is much truth in this, but protestants and Rome are not "baptized in the right faith". You are quoting a document that is addressing a completely different problem.

    >You've told us, in the past, that Protestants don't
    >have unity with one another unless they agree
    >with each other about which other people they
    >are and aren't in unity with. Since you disagree
    >with other Eastern Orthodox about who is and
    >who isn't part of the church, should we conclude
    >that you don't have unity with those other
    >Eastern Orthodox? Do you have unity with John
    >Behr? Does John Behr have unity with Cyprian?

    The difference, if any, between Behr and Cyprian is purely theoretical, and didn't result in a real difference of opinion of who is in the church. If I define the church as all those who attend Orthodox parishes, and someone else defines the church as all those who hold the true faith, and we are not aware of anybody who is in one category, but not in the other, then they are functionally the same.

    >>"No, wrong. There was no consensus on the NT
    >>canon. The Non Chalcedonian churchs have and
    >>always had a different NT canon. You coming
    >>from a church that is a child of Rome
    >>conveniently ignore this."
    >
    >You're referring to a small percentage of
    >professing Christians. Why would I need their
    >support in order to have a canonical consensus?

    There's a lot of problems in this statement if we break it down. Firstly, why do you refer to "professing" Christians? Is professing Christians your rule of faith? I guess it has to be since you consider the 4th century and later church as "corrupt" right? So anybody who claims to be a Christian makes the rule of canon?

    But in that case, great questions come up about the protestants who decided on the shorter canon and how small they were in comparison to their opposition.

    Furthermore, you don't justify in your supposed sola scriptura faith why it is mere "professing" Christians who we need to consult. If the church was corrupt, do you believe that God leads those who are not his people, and yet the biggest group who are not his people into the truth?

    You don't give us any reason to believe why taking your canon from a corrupt Rome would be any more correct than taking it from a corrupt Oriental Orthodoxy.

    >>"That, if true, is an extra-scriptural question.
    >>Scripture doesn't say they had a consensus."
    >
    >I've already addressed that issue. As you so often
    >do, you're ignoring what I've said. Again,
    >scripture doesn't have to state something
    >explicitly in order to imply it.

    Again, you are arguing against the historical position. The ECFs, not to mention common protestant wisdom had traditionally taught that the Saducees had a different canon, and that this is supported by Jesus' interaction with them.

    But according to you we can't know how to even start putting together a canon without your viewpoint on consensus. Which unfortunately the Church never knew about until now.

    >Why would people keep producing and using
    >fallible texts if they possess an infallible text?

    Assuming anyone is using a "fallible" text, which is a claim not in evidence (are you assuming there is just one?), the reason would be the difficulties of doing a from-scratch Orthodox translation.

    >we have no reason to think that Eusebius was as
    >careless and dishonest as you are.

    So I'm dishonest am I? How uncharitable of you.

    And Eusebius wasn't "careless". So apparently a non-careless person can find Arianism in scripture, and a careless person, such as myself is a trinitarian. I guess there goes out the window sola scriptura as a viable ecclesiology.

    >First you have to assume that Mark died shortly
    >after the gospel was completed, which isn't
    >something we have reason to believe.

    I don't have to assume any such thing. My view is it would take quite some decades for the recipients of copies to be able to compare notes.

    >Second, you have to assume that one or more
    >recipients of the gospel lost several verses at the
    >end without realizing it

    Firstly, half of the "not original" camp also believe that verses were lost, so this is hardly a big deal. Secondly, whether they were "aware" of it hardly matters. Once a variant is in the textual stream, it is too late.

    >Third, you have to assume that the person or
    >people with the shorter edition of Mark did
    >"prolific copying", as you put it earlier, while the
    >person or people with the longer Mark didn't.

    Copying rates are very uneven. You ought to know that.

    >You have to assume that the differences in
    >copying between the two versions of Mark were
    >so significant as to lead to the large discrepancy
    >referred to by sources like Eusebius and Jerome.
    >That, too, is something we have no reason to
    >assume.

    There is nothing unlikely about it. If the person who had the bad copy happened to be the one who took it on himself to send copies to the major pillar churches, that's it, the damage is done.

    And furthermore, you will never find evidence this far back that can shed light on this one way or the other, so waffling on about "no reason to assume" is sillyness. There is no reason to assume anything either way, that is the whole point.

    >The fact that you can dismiss the ante-Nicene
    >textual transmission of Mark by making a series
    >of gratuitous and unlikely assumptions isn't a
    >convincing argument for your case.

    You have not done a thing to prove that it is inherently more likely that the manuscripts without the material are original.

    >The same sort of reasoning you're using could
    >be used to dismiss other documents as well. We
    >could dismiss patristic documents, for example,
    >if we made a series of gratuitous and unlikely
    >assumptions about widespread accidents,
    >misunderstandings, apathy, etc. when the
    >documents were originally copied.

    You're talking nonsense.

    >You keep missing the point. I didn't refer to what
    >"can happen". To the contrary, I specifically made
    >a distinction between what's possible and what's
    >probable.

    And yet your claim that it is improbable that a copy with a lost ending could enter the stream is at odds with a large portion of modern scholarship who think the real ending was lost. Looks like there is dissent among the scholars about probability.

    >You're rejecting the probable reading of the
    >manuscript record for Mark in favor of a highly
    >unlikely possibility.

    Yeah right, it is improbable that 99.5% of manuscripts are correct. Whatever.

    >There are gaps elsewhere as well, even when no
    >additional ending to a document would be under
    >consideration.

    There are something like two other gaps which both have very good explanations.

    >How could you possibly know what the gap is for
    >in a case such as this one?

    Hello? PROBABILITY? Ground control calling inconsistent Jason.

    >What if space was left for the inclusion of your
    >longer ending of Mark, as you've suggested, but
    >a final decision was made that the ending ought
    >to be left out? How would that support your
    >position?

    It would support it in that the original scribes didn't know what to do, and if they didn't know back then, you can hardly know now.

    Also there is evidence here about Vaticanus and Sinaiticus having the same text in the colophon. I seriously think if you look into this you will realise that that these two manuscripts were worked on by some of the same people. And they refer to people who were associates of Eusebius. This is pretty good evidence that Eusebius, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus can only be considered one witness.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05617b.htm
    2) At the end of the Book of Esdras, in the codex Sinaiticus, there is the following note:—

    It was compared with a very ancient copy that had been corrected by the hand of the blessed martyr Pamphilus to which is appended in his own hand this subscription: "It was transcribed and corrected according to the Hexapla of Origen, Antoninus compared, I, Pamphilus, corrected." (Swete, vol. II, p. 212.)
    (3) The same codex and also the Vatican and Alexandrine quote a colophon like the above, with the difference that Antoninus has become a confessor, and Pamphilus is in prison — "Antoninus the confessor compared, Pamphilus corrected".

    >>You're too harsh on Burgon. If we started
    >>listing errors in Metzger, we'd have a long list
    >>indeed."
    >
    >As if you're in a position to make such a
    >judgment or to compare the two men in a
    >reasonable manner.

    All hail to Metzger. Let's accept everything he tells us. He's the big boy scholar, little old me shouldn't question what he tells me.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Orthodox writes:

    "You're comparing apples to oranges because we neither have evidence that Jerome or Eusebius rejected the canonicity of Mark 16, nor do we have testimony from Jerome or Eusebius that purports to have evidence of the authorship of 2 Peter."

    You keep wasting everybody's time with irrelevancies. I was addressing whether the longer ending of Mark in question was part of the original Mark. As I've told you many times, if some people accept the longer ending on some other basis, then an argument would have to be made for that other basis. Suggesting that men like Eusebius and Jerome might have accepted the passage on some other basis doesn't refute what I've argued.

    We do know, however, as I've explained to you, that Eusebius and Jerome considered it acceptable for people to reject the ending to Mark as something non-scriptural. They considered it a matter of freedom.

    And your last comment above about whether Eusebius and Jerome "have evidence of the authorship of 2 Peter" needs to be explained further. What, specifically, do you have in mind, and what's its relevance to what we've been discussing?

    You write:

    "So when 'most' scholars disagree with you, it's ok, but when slighty more allegedly disagree with me, it's no good. Wow."

    I didn't suggest that scholarly support is the only issue to be considered. What I said is that as far as scholarly support is going to be taken into consideration, it's better to have more of it than less of it. There's more scholarly support for Petrine authorship of 2 Peter than there is for Mark's authorship of the longer ending of Mark that we're discussing.

    You write:

    "The case for 2 Peter is 'popular opinion' in your parlance."

    No, it isn't. We've given you citations of multiple scholars who argue for Petrine authorship of 2 Peter on the basis of both internal and external evidence, not just "popular opinion". And even as far as "popular opinion" is taken into consideration as a factor, it's not a later popular opinion contradicted by an earlier one. There is no widespread early rejection of 2 Peter's authorship that's comparable to the widespread early absence of your longer ending in the gospel of Mark.

    You write:

    "I'm not identifying him as a scholar. I'm quoting his recounting of events of a conference attended by some well known textual scholars. You've heard of some of those scholars, right?"

    What's the significance of quoting a non-textual-scholar who attended a conference at which some scholars (not all textual scholars) spoke? And you didn't quote "his recounting of events of a conference". You quoted him stating his opinion about the use of some manuscripts. You quoted him just after you quoted another man who you've identified as a textual scholar. You made no attempt to distinguish between the two, and you didn't include then the qualifiers you include now in your comments quoted above.

    You write:

    "Poor old Burgon knew nothiing because his scholarship was a century ago."

    I didn't say that he "knew nothing".

    You write:

    "Please document for us the manuscripts that Burgon didn't have access to that are conclusive for Mark 16."

    The issue under consideration here is one of probability. No one manuscript or group of them has to be "conclusive" in order to be relevant.

    You write:

    "No, that is misleading, he says nothing of knowing any disparity among his MSS. What he says is he is aware of commentaries saying that Mark ends here, but that we must interpret the passage anyway. This is a witness for what I'm saying."

    He says nothing about accepting the passage. He inserts a note to tell the readers that some people think the gospel ends at 16:8. He then refers to how the reader must proceed with caution. How is Theophylactus "a witness for what you're saying"?

    You write:

    "Isn't this exactly what I've been saying? Notices were in the manuscripts said the verses were original and correct and this was considered part of the tradition."

    You're distorting what Kelhoffer said. He didn't say that the notes in question "said the verses were original and correct". Rather, he said that your longer ending of Mark was preserved along with accounts of how the original gospel ended at 16:8. Kelhoffer isn't claiming that the ending was considered original or scripture in every place where it was preserved. You seem to be assuming that the preserving of the passage is equivalent to belief in its originality and/or scriptural status. That's incorrect. Many modern Bibles preserve the longer ending without taking a position on either its originality or its scriptural status.

    You write:

    "See Burgon. What markings mean isn't as clear cut as you make out and many of the markings refer to notes SUPPORTIVE of the text."

    I gave you specific quotes and page references for Metzger's comments. If you want us to "see Burgon", then tell us specifically what you have in mind. When I gave examples of Burgon's errors earlier, you told us that you only partially agree with him. You need to stop being so vague in your references to his work. Tell us specifically what you have in mind.

    Furthermore, your "many" qualifier isn't sufficient. Earlier, you argued that all markings were supportive of the ending you're advocating. If you now want to argue that "many" were supportive, then you're changing your argument. Which is it? You can't have it both ways.

    You write:

    "If people took the cryptic footnotes in bibles with any seriousness, we would expect books that go into some detail on these issues to be good sellers."

    Why would people have to consult such books? If they think that the notes are sufficient, or they consult a pastor, library, or some other source without purchasing the books you refer to in order to get more information about the subject, then book sales aren't going to reflect that situation.

    You write:

    "You've presented no evidence that many people take them seriously."

    I don't need to. You're the one arguing for the scriptural status of a passage based on popularity later in church history. And you've argued that even a large majority of people, such as 90%, can be wrong. If even a small percentage of people who have read Mark's gospel over the centuries haven't accepted the longer ending you're referring to, then how do you supposedly know that the popular acceptance of it is sufficient to prove the passage's scriptural status? You keep making assumptions about popular acceptance, assumptions you've never justified. Yet, you act as if it's my responsibility to prove that your assumptions are wrong. That's not my responsibility. As long as your assumptions are unjustified, you aren't giving me any reason to accept them.

    You write:

    "Not Eastern Orthodox, just Orthodox is fine. And I don't recall citing any manuscript that is not from the Orthodox church."

    You've appealed to sources like Burgon and Metzger regarding what's contained in manuscripts and regarding figures like the inclusion of your ending of Mark in something like 99% of the manuscripts. Neither man limited himself to Eastern Orthodox manuscripts in arriving at such conclusions. You've claimed that all Christians were Eastern Orthodox during the first millennium of church history, but people like Burgon and Metzger don't limit their analysis of the textual record to the first millennium. And even among the first millennium manuscripts, how could you know that they all came from Eastern Orthodox sources? There's no way for you to know that.

    And your distinction between "Eastern Orthodox" and "Orthodox" is misleading, as I explained to you before. I wasn't using "Eastern Orthodox" in the sense of people in your denomination living in the East, as distinguished from people in your denomination living elsewhere. Rather, I was referring to your denomination as a whole, regardless of what region of the world they've lived in. If only Eastern Orthodox (regardless of the region of the world) manuscripts are to be taken into consideration, then you need to demonstrate that all of the manuscripts you've been citing are Eastern Orthodox. You haven't done that, and you can't do it. Your current claim that only Eastern Orthodox sources are to be taken into consideration is a contradiction of what you argued earlier.

    You write:

    "So 99.5% of manuscripts is not 'consensus'. But Esther is, despite the wide range of people who excluded it from the canon."

    You're either highly careless or highly dishonest. Again, I didn't deny that 99.5% would be a consensus. Rather, I denied that text and canon are the same thing. We can have reason to follow one consensus without having reason to follow another. I also denied that a later textual consensus on the ending of Mark should be followed while the earlier textual consensus against it is rejected. Why should we favor the later consensus over the earlier one?

    You write:

    "So when I talk about Irenaeus quoting Mark 16 your response is that maybe he didn't think it was scripture. But when we talk about manuscripts lacking it, you assume the opposite."

    I didn't make such a comment about Irenaeus in particular. And I've already explained why the lack of the passage in the earlier manuscripts is significant. Again, I don't deny that a person could theoretically accept the passage in question as scripture on some basis other than its inclusion in the original Mark. But if such a second basis is going to be proposed, then we would need a justification for following that second basis. And you've repeatedly refused to provide such a justification. Instead, you tell us that you might present us with an argument for Eastern Orthodox authority in a debate you're supposed to have with a Roman Catholic in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you've been appealing to Eastern Orthodox authority in this forum for months, and we're still waiting for a justification of it.

    You write:

    "No I'm not arguing that, but it seems this is what you argue for when you imply that people like Irenaeus were quoting it, but not as scripture."

    If you're not arguing that the earliest Christians accepted the passage in question as an independent document, then why didn't they include it in their copies of Mark? If they didn't consider it an independent document, and they didn't include it with the gospel of Mark, then why are we supposed to think that they considered it scripture? Are you suggesting that they considered it part of the gospel of Mark, yet repeatedly left it out of their copies of Mark? Why would they do that? That's surely not the most natural interpretation of the evidence.

    You write:

    "Eusebius also implied it was acceptable to reject 2 Peter, since not everyone accepted it."

    At the same time that he referred to most people as accepting it. Again, Eusebius refers to a majority as accepting 2 Peter, while he refers to your ending of Mark as not being part of the majority of manuscripts.

    You write:

    "Yes. Do you disagree? Tell me how the biblical passages on the church apply to a believer who doesn't meet any Christians."

    Inclusion in the church is defined by the saving work of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit, for example, as we see in passages like 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and Ephesians 2:13-22. You don't become a member of the church by joining a denomination. Show us where Jesus and the apostles taught that the church is Eastern Orthodoxy, and that non-Eastern-Orthodox can become Christians without being part of the church.

    Do you disagree with the many church fathers who said that there's no salvation outside the church? Irenaeus, whom you've cited regarding the ending of Mark's gospel, wrote:

    "'For in the Church,' it is said, 'God has set apostles, prophets, teachers,' and all the other means through which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse opinions and infamous behaviour. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother's breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves broken cisterns out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed." (Against Heresies, 3:24:1)

    If the church is wherever the Spirit of God is, as Irenaeus says, then are you arguing that some people are Christians without having the Spirit? That would contradict what scripture teaches (Romans 8:9).

    You write:

    "The difference, if any, between Behr and Cyprian is purely theoretical, and didn't result in a real difference of opinion of who is in the church. If I define the church as all those who attend Orthodox parishes, and someone else defines the church as all those who hold the true faith, and we are not aware of anybody who is in one category, but not in the other, then they are functionally the same."

    You're mistaken. Cyprian was addressing historical individuals who were schismatics, not just the theoretical possibility of schismatics. Behr is saying that Cyprian was wrong about such people. Thus, Cyprian and Behr disagree about who was and wasn't part of the unity they allegedly share as Eastern Orthodox. By your own standards, then, Eastern Orthodox don't have unity with each other, since they disagree with each other regarding which people they do and don't have unity with.

    And the distinction you're now making regarding theoretical and non-theoretical disagreements is a distinction you didn't make earlier. You previously criticized Protestants for not agreeing about principles of unity, not just the people involved in unity. But now you tell us that disagreements over principle are acceptable, as long as there's agreement about the people involved.

    You write:

    "But in that case, great questions come up about the protestants who decided on the shorter canon and how small they were in comparison to their opposition."

    How many times have you been corrected on this point? I don't claim that the shorter Old Testament canon is determined by a Protestant consensus. Rather, I appeal to a Jewish consensus.

    You write:

    "If the church was corrupt, do you believe that God leads those who are not his people, and yet the biggest group who are not his people into the truth?"

    That distinction would be relevant in this context only if the two groups disagreed about the canon. But even if I limited my sources to people whose status as Christians I'm confident about, we'd have the same 27-book New Testament consensus. Even groups you would dismiss as schismatic or heretical accepted the 27-book canon. It was so widely accepted as to intersect with a large variety of definitions of orthodoxy (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc.).

    You write:

    "You don't give us any reason to believe why taking your canon from a corrupt Rome would be any more correct than taking it from a corrupt Oriental Orthodoxy."

    I don't think that the earliest Christians were "corrupt Rome". Just as men like Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, and Augustine weren't Eastern Orthodox or Protestant, they weren't Roman Catholic either.

    You write:

    "And Eusebius wasn't 'careless'. So apparently a non-careless person can find Arianism in scripture, and a careless person, such as myself is a trinitarian."

    I didn't say that Eusebius wasn't careless. I said that we don't have reason to think that he was as careless as you. You've given us no reason to distrust what he reported on the issues we were discussing. And I doubt that Eusebius' errors on Christology were a result of his being as careless as you are. The fact that you're correct on some issues Eusebius was wrong about doesn't give us sufficient reason to think that you're equally or more careful in general. I've personally seen you reach wrong conclusions on issues that are easy to understand even after being corrected explicitly and on multiple occasions and by multiple people. I find it hard to believe that Eusebius would have been as unreasonable as you are.

    You write:

    "My view is it would take quite some decades for the recipients of copies to be able to compare notes."

    The early church was highly networked, and members of one church would often visit another, as we see reflected in the writings of Paul, for example. Why should we think that it's probable that it would take "quite some decades" for people familiar with the longer Mark to recognize that a shorter Mark was being "copied prolifically"?

    You write:

    "Firstly, half of the 'not original' camp also believe that verses were lost, so this is hardly a big deal."

    If we assume your "half" estimate, then how would you justify your conclusion to the other half?

    You write:

    "Secondly, whether they were 'aware' of it hardly matters. Once a variant is in the textual stream, it is too late."

    I was referring to how the shorter Mark would have come into existence. Are you suggesting that somebody was aware that Mark was supposed to have your longer ending, but removed that ending? What would the motive be? Why should we think that such a scenario is probable?

    You write:

    "Copying rates are very uneven. You ought to know that."

    The unevenness of copying rates doesn't justify an assumption that a bad copy was reproduced at a far higher rate than a good copy. You ought to know that.

    You write:

    "If the person who had the bad copy happened to be the one who took it on himself to send copies to the major pillar churches, that's it, the damage is done."

    Why are we supposed to assume such an "if"? Again, the issue here is probability, not possibility. The fact that you can imagine a scenario in which the ante-Nicene manuscripts were relying on a bad copy doesn't prove that we should assume such a scenario.

    You write:

    "There is no reason to assume anything either way, that is the whole point."

    If one scenario is generally less common than another, then it doesn't make sense to repeatedly assume that the less common scenario occurred. What you're doing is stringing together a series of unlikely scenarios in order to come up with a theory about how the ante-Nicene manuscripts might be unreliable.

    As I said (and your only response was the non-responsive "You're talking nonsense."), your reasoning about Mark could be applied to other documents in order to dismiss them as well. If you're willing to assume that an early source got a bad copy of a document, that he copied that bad edition far more than the good copies were reproduced, that nobody with the good copies early on recognized the error, etc., then you can dismiss other documents in the same manner. Why should we limit your reasoning to Mark's gospel?

    You write:

    "And yet your claim that it is improbable that a copy with a lost ending could enter the stream is at odds with a large portion of modern scholarship who think the real ending was lost. Looks like there is dissent among the scholars about probability."

    The scholars who argue that the ending of Mark isn't extant do so on the basis of evidence in the immediate context, such as internal evidence and how comparable documents were composed in antiquity. You're not offering us any comparable data to justify your assumptions about your longer ending of Mark. You appeal to the later popularity of the longer ending, but the scholars who argue for a lost ending of Mark don't make their argument on that basis. The two situations aren't comparable. The scholars who think that the original ending to Mark is lost don't deny that it would be unusual for a document to lose its ending. What they argue is that other considerations outweigh that initial improbability. You aren't giving us any other considerations that carry enough weight to lead us to your conclusion.

    You write:

    "Yeah right, it is improbable that 99.5% of manuscripts are correct."

    Again, if only Eastern Orthodox sources are to be considered, then you'll need to demonstrate that every one of the manuscripts making up that 99.5% are from Eastern Orthodox sources.

    And since we don't have the end of Mark's gospel in manuscripts of the earliest centuries, your 99.5% figure is misleading. Sources like Eusebius and Jerome tell us that the majority of the earliest manuscripts don't include your ending. Why is it unreasonable for me to think that the early manuscripts probably were correct?

    You write:

    "It would support it in that the original scribes didn't know what to do, and if they didn't know back then, you can hardly know now."

    They didn't know what to do about what? Again, if what they were unsure of was whether to include your longer ending with notes indicating its doubtful status, as we see with other manuscripts, then how would such uncertainty support your position? It wouldn't.

    And the fact remains that the manuscripts in question don't include your ending. Arguing that they were considering including it doesn't change their final judgment. That final judgment supports my position rather than yours.

    You write:

    "All hail to Metzger. Let's accept everything he tells us. He's the big boy scholar, little old me shouldn't question what he tells me."

    If you can cite Burgon without viewing him as you describe above, then why can't I cite Metzger without viewing him in such a manner?

    ReplyDelete
  30. >You keep wasting everybody's time with
    >irrelevancies. I was addressing whether the longer
    >ending of Mark in question was part of the original
    >Mark. As I've told you many times, if some people
    >accept the longer ending on some other basis, then
    >an argument would have to be made for that other
    >basis. Suggesting that men like Eusebius and
    >Jerome might have accepted the passage on some
    >other basis doesn't refute what I've argued.

    No, you keep missing the point. People like Eusebius accepted 2 Peter, but not because they had any specific insight into its authorship. And they made references to the manuscript situation of Mark without expressing their own opinion as to its authorship. So Mark 16 and 2 Peter are really in the same situation as far as what specific evidence you have about authorship.

    >What I said is that as far as scholarly support is
    >going to be taken into consideration, it's better
    >to have more of it than less of it. There's more
    >scholarly support for Petrine authorship of 2
    >Peter than there is for Mark's authorship of the
    >longer ending of Mark that we're discussing.

    If it's better to have more than less, those who dispute 2 Peter are the winners in this race.

    >And even as far as "popular opinion" is taken
    >into consideration as a factor, it's not a later
    >popular opinion contradicted by an earlier one.

    Uh, yes it is as far as the extant evidence is concerned (which is your argument about Mark).

    >There is no widespread early rejection of 2
    >Peter's authorship that's comparable to the
    >widespread early absence of your longer ending
    >in the gospel of Mark.

    Yes there is, there's an early absence of 2 Peter in the historical record.

    >"Please document for us the manuscripts that >Burgon didn't have access to that are conclusive >for Mark 16."
    >
    >The issue under consideration here is one of
    >probability. No one manuscript or group of them
    >has to be "conclusive" in order to be relevant.

    Did I ask for "one" manuscript or "one group" ?? No I didn't. Cough up the manuscripts, however many, that would reverse Burgon's poor century old information.

    >He says nothing about accepting the passage. He
    >inserts a note to tell the readers that some
    >people think the gospel ends at 16:8. He then
    >refers to how the reader must proceed with
    >caution. How is Theophylactus "a witness for
    >what you're saying"?

    ??? He doesn't say to be cautious, he says to ignore these exegetes and interpret the passage anyway.

    >Rather, he said that your longer ending of Mark
    >was preserved along with accounts of how the
    >original gospel ended at 16:8.

    If you say so, but he would wrong. See burgon that what was preserved was accounts of how they were correct.

    >I gave you specific quotes and page references
    >for Metzger's comments. If you want us to "see
    >Burgon", then tell us specifically what you have
    >in mind. When I gave examples of Burgon's
    >errors earlier, you told us that you only partially
    >agree with him. You need to stop being so vague
    >in your references to his work. Tell us specifically
    >what you have in mind.

    Come on, have you read Burgon? He wrote a chapter specifically addressing scribal notes and marks.

    >Earlier, you argued that all markings were
    >supportive of the ending you're advocating.

    No I didn't.

    >Why would people have to consult such books? If
    >they think that the notes are sufficient, or they
    >consult a pastor, library, or some other source
    >without purchasing the books you refer to in
    >order to get more information about the subject,
    >then book sales aren't going to reflect that
    >situation.

    If they were consulting pastors or libraries for information, the book shops would be bankrupt. There is no reason to assume people are more or less likely to consult these sources any more for this topic and not the miriad of other obscure topics which Christian book shops sell books on.

    >If even a small percentage of people who have
    >read Mark's gospel over the centuries haven't
    >accepted the longer ending you're referring to,
    >then how do you supposedly know that the
    >popular acceptance of it is sufficient to prove the
    >passage's scriptural status?

    Firstly, I find the thesis that any measurable number of the millions of Christians during the centuries ever doubted the passage. Secondly, even if we just consider the period after the printing press when manuscripts were no longer used, it was at least 4 centuries of Christianity which there were no bibles expressing doubt. 4 centuries is a long time.

    >You've appealed to sources like Burgon and
    >Metzger regarding what's contained in
    >manuscripts and regarding figures like the
    >inclusion of your ending of Mark in something
    >like 99% of the manuscripts. Neither man limited
    >himself to Eastern Orthodox manuscripts in
    >arriving at such conclusions.

    Are you listening? Eastern Orthodoxy isn't the issue. Orthodoxy is the issue. There is a Western Orthodoxy too.

    >but people like Burgon and Metzger don't limit
    >their analysis of the textual record to the first
    >millennium. And even among the first
    >millennium manuscripts, how could you know
    >that they all came from Eastern Orthodox
    >sources? There's no way for you to know that.

    I can't think of any manuscript I have referred to which didn't come from the Orthodox Church. Only if I had referred to coptic or possibly peshitta manuscripts, depending on dating, might you claim that.

    >Rather, I denied that text and canon are the
    >same thing.

    Another arbitrary deliniation that is outside of sola scriptura.

    >We can have reason to follow one consensus
    >without having reason to follow another.

    No you don't. It is completely arbitrary.

    >Why should we favor the later consensus over
    >the earlier one?

    THERE IS NO EARLIER CONSENSUS! How many times need I cite Justin Martyr or Irenaeus? And even if there was earlier consensus, there was earlier consensus to exclude Revelation for the cause it didn't exist yet. You can't cite silence as a consensus against a book. Books work their way into the canon over time.

    >Again, I don't deny that a person could
    >theoretically accept the passage in question as
    >scripture on some basis other than its inclusion
    >in the original Mark. But if such a second basis is
    >going to be proposed, then we would need a
    >justification for following that second basis.

    Look to the basis of the canon in the early church. Apostolicity was only one criterion. Use in the church was a primary criterion. By changing the basis of canon from the early church you open the way to changing the canon itself, either because the criteria leads to a different canon, or because the limited extant evidence can't support the full canon.

    >If you're not arguing that the earliest Christians
    >accepted the passage in question as an
    >independent document, then why didn't they
    >include it in their copies of Mark? If they didn't
    >consider it an independent document, and they
    >didn't include it with the gospel of Mark, then
    >why are we supposed to think that they
    >considered it scripture?

    ????

    THey did include it with the gospel of Mark. How many times must I cite Cyprian, Irenaeus etc?

    >At the same time that he referred to most people
    >as accepting it.

    You won't answer the question. Is it ok with you to reject it like Eusebius said was acceptable?

    >Inclusion in the church is defined by the saving
    >work of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit,
    >for example, as we see in passages like 1
    >Corinthians 12:12-13 and Ephesians 2:13-22.

    Paul has addressed his letters to the Church, so naturally his readers are assumed to be in the Church. That doesn't mean people can't leave the Church.

    The bible speaks of the church of Antioch, the Church at Corinth etc etc. It doesn't talk about some ephemeral church that is in no city, that never meets, that you can't see who is in it.

    In Acts 15:22 it talks about "the whole church" doing something. Not "that part of the church who still bothers to attend". In Acts 18:21 they greeted the church. They didn't just greet the parts of the church who made themselves known out of the ephemeral invisible church.

    >You don't become a member of the church by
    >joining a denomination.

    Denomination is anachronistic. You become a member of the Church by joining [drum roll] the Church!

    >Show us where Jesus and the apostles taught
    >that the church is Eastern Orthodoxy, and that
    >non-Eastern-Orthodox can become Christians
    >without being part of the church.

    Christian is just a word that is used something like 4 times in the bible, usually by non-Christians. Arguing over the word is a waste of time.

    >Do you disagree with the many church fathers
    >who said that there's no salvation outside the
    >church?

    There is no certain salvation outside the Church. I don't think Irenaeus actually said "no salvation".

    >If the church is wherever the Spirit of God is, as
    >Irenaeus says, then are you arguing that some
    >people are Christians without having the Spirit?
    >That would contradict what scripture teaches
    >(Romans 8:9).

    In Acts 19:2 Paul comes upon some believers who do not have the Holy Spirit. I don't think it's necessary to believe they wouldn't be saved.

    >You're mistaken. Cyprian was addressing
    >historical individuals who were schismatics, not
    >just the theoretical possibility of schismatics.
    >Behr is saying that Cyprian was wrong about
    >such people.

    I don't think Behr is saying that. I think he's saying that Cyprian made the right decision, but partially for the wrong reasons. In any case, who is in unity is not decided by scholars, it is decided by the presiding bishop. Scholars can only comment on principles, but they don't define practice, which the bishop has authority to do as he wills.

    >You previously criticized Protestants for not
    >agreeing about principles of unity, not just the
    >people involved in unity. But now you tell us that
    >disagreements over principle are acceptable, as
    >long as there's agreement about the people
    >involved.

    There is no distinction in protestantism, where you are your own pope, between theory and practice. If you think you have unity, you do. Orthodoxy is different. We have formal excommunication and formal communion.

    >I don't claim that the shorter Old Testament
    >canon is determined by a Protestant consensus.
    >Rather, I appeal to a Jewish consensus.

    You have an incredibly limited cross-section of witnesses to be claiming consensus. Josephus does not a consensus make (even if he listed the books, which he didn't!). You're ignoring all the Jews of the diaspora using the LXX.

    >But even if I limited my sources to people whose
    >status as Christians I'm confident about,, we'd >have the same 27-book New Testament
    >consensus.

    What do you mean "even if" ? DO you so limit or not?

    And also, please list these Christians you are confident about so we can check them out.

    Oh, and the ones you list had better have recorded their canon, because we can't just assume it, what with all the early differences.

    Oh and they'd better be a lot of them, because the standard you set is consensus.

    Oh, and they'd better not be the icon venerating Orthodox like Athanasius (very tough for you since Athanasius is the first to list the 27 book canon)

    And also tell us how much investigation you have done into the Oriental Orthodox and their predecessors to find out how many of them "you can be confident about", but have a different canon.

    YOU'VE GOT A VERY TOUGH JOB TO PROVE THE ABOVE. This ought to be good.

    >>"You don't give us any reason to believe why
    >>taking your canon from a corrupt Rome would
    >>be any more correct than taking it from a
    >>corrupt Oriental Orthodoxy."
    >
    >I don't think that the earliest Christians were
    >"corrupt Rome".

    Like it or not, you got your canon from corrupt Rome, and then took a shot at retroactively justifying it. And you havn't answered the question about what you think of the Oriental Orthodox fathers.

    >I didn't say that Eusebius wasn't careless. I said
    >that we don't have reason to think that he was as
    >careless as you.

    Oh, so he's careless enough to be an Arian, very careless apparently. But because he isn't as careless as me, you trust him to define your text. Now what was that answer to who are the true Christians you let define the text? Or was it the corrupt ones too?

    >The early church was highly networked, and
    >members of one church would often visit
    >another, as we see reflected in the writings of
    >Paul, for example.

    If your thesis had merit there would never have been disagreements about 2 Peter.

    >>"Firstly, half of the 'not original' camp also
    >>believe that verses were lost, so this is hardly a >>big deal."
    >
    >If we assume your "half" estimate, then how
    >would you justify your conclusion to the other
    >half?

    LOL, so much for the certainty of scholarship.

    I would point out the existance of the other half to this half to show how subjective all this speculation has become and implore both halves to join the Church to get some certainty.

    >>"Secondly, whether they were 'aware' of it
    >>hardly matters. Once a variant is in the textual
    >>stream, it is too late."
    >
    >I was referring to how the shorter Mark would
    >have come into existence. Are you suggesting
    >that somebody was aware that Mark was
    >supposed to have your longer ending, but
    >removed that ending?

    No, I'm saying that by the time you find out that your copy was bad, but you've already made a copy, someone else has made a copy of a copy of a copy, and correcting your copy is no longer going to help.

    >>"Copying rates are very uneven. You ought to
    >>know that."
    >
    >The unevenness of copying rates doesn't justify
    >an assumption that a bad copy was reproduced
    >at a far higher rate than a good copy. You ought
    >to know that.

    Unevenless of copying doesn't justify ANY assumptions. It's a crap shoot. That is the point.

    >What you're doing is stringing together a series
    >of unlikely scenarios in order to come up with a
    >theory about how the ante-Nicene manuscripts
    >might be unreliable.

    All the proposed scenarios are inherently unlikely. That's why we've got scholars proposing things like Mark dying the middle of writing it. If there was a likely scenario, we wouldn't have all the rampant speculation.

    >If you're willing to assume that an early source
    >got a bad copy of a document, that he copied
    >that bad edition far more than the good copies
    >were reproduced, that nobody with the good
    >copies early on recognized the error, etc., then
    >you can dismiss other documents in the same
    >manner.

    You'd have to propose a parallel scenario to comment.

    >The scholars who argue that the ending of Mark
    >isn't extant do so on the basis of evidence in the
    >immediate context, such as internal evidence

    Which is also hotly disputed. See above.

    >You're not offering us any comparable data to
    >justify your assumptions about your longer
    >ending of Mark.

    Internal evidence? Already cited above.

    >You appeal to the later popularity of the longer
    >ending, but the scholars who argue for a lost
    >ending of Mark don't make their argument on
    >that basis.

    That's because scholars do scholarly things, theologians do theology things. Do you want a secular view or a theological view of the canon?

    >The scholars who think that the original ending
    >to Mark is lost don't deny that it would be
    >unusual for a document to lose its ending. What
    >they argue is that other considerations outweigh
    >that initial improbability.

    Scholars don't deny that Peter could have written a book. That the argue is that other considerations outweigh that initial possibility.

    Yeah right, it is improbable that 99.5% of manuscripts are correct."

    >Again, if only Eastern Orthodox sources are to be
    >considered, then you'll need to demonstrate that
    >every one of the manuscripts making up that
    >99.5% are from Eastern Orthodox sources.

    LOL. If we started excluding some of the Greek manuscripts the ratio could only go up to 100% if Aleph and B dropped out.

    >Why is it unreasonable for me to think that the
    >early manuscripts probably were correct?

    I didn't say it is unreasonable in and of itself. What I said was that your level of certainty leveled against 99.5% of manuscripts is unwarranted.

    >>"It would support it in that the original scribes
    >>didn't know what to do, and if they didn't know
    >>back then, you can hardly know now."
    >

    >They didn't know what to do about what?

    Whether to include Mark 16.

    >Again, if what they were unsure of was whether
    >to include your longer ending with notes
    >indicating its doubtful status, as we see with
    >other manuscripts, then how would such
    >uncertainty support your position? It wouldn't.

    [sigh]

    ARE YOU LISTENING?

    If they didn't include it, but left space, or if they had included it, but expressed doubt, BOTH CASES ARE DOUBT. And what they were doubtful about 1600 years ago, you cannot be certain about on a purely historical basis 1600 years later. You can't be certain of what they weren't certain of.

    >That final judgment supports my position rather
    >than yours.

    Assuming that any final judgment was made. An uncertain judgment PLUS 99.5% of manuscripts in which a final judgment was made AGAINST you, does not a compelling case make.

    >>"All hail to Metzger. Let's accept everything he
    >>tells us. He's the big boy scholar, little old me
    >>shouldn't question what he tells me."
    >
    >If you can cite Burgon without viewing him as
    >you describe above, then why can't I cite Metzger
    >without viewing him in such a manner?


    You told me I can't evaluate if Metzger makes an error. So I guess little old me can't possibly make judgments about Orthodoxy versus protestantism, because I can't refute anything Metzger says. I should just give up and become a liberal protestant since Metzger is beyond my means to refute.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Orthodox writes:

    "People like Eusebius accepted 2 Peter, but not because they had any specific insight into its authorship....Uh, yes it is as far as the extant evidence is concerned (which is your argument about Mark)."

    You keep making false claims about church history, because you're so ignorant of it. Eusebius didn't accept 2 Peter. And 2 Peter was accepted by the majority, even though it was disputed. The same can't be said for your longer ending of Mark in the earliest centuries.

    You write:

    "Did I ask for 'one' manuscript or 'one group' ?? No I didn't. Cough up the manuscripts, however many, that would reverse Burgon's poor century old information."

    New manuscripts aren't the only relevant advances that have occurred since Burgon wrote. I've already referred to the errors in Burgon's analysis of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which were documented after he wrote. And other scholars, like Kelhoffer, addressed his errors after he wrote, so you won't find their corrections of Burgon by consulting Burgon. There are good reasons why his conclusions are rejected by the large majority of textual scholars.

    You write:

    "He doesn't say to be cautious, he says to ignore these exegetes and interpret the passage anyway."

    No, that's not what he said. The reference to interpretation doesn't specify that people should "ignore these exegetes". You're reading that concept into the text.

    You write:

    "No I didn't."

    You're mistaken. Here's what you said earlier:

    "In particular, manuscripts with markings and comments seem to be exclusively writing to assert support for the verses."

    But now you're claiming:

    "What markings mean isn't as clear cut as you make out and many of the markings refer to notes SUPPORTIVE of the text."

    You've changed your argument from "exclusively" to "many". You're contradicting yourself, as you often do.

    You write:

    "I can't think of any manuscript I have referred to which didn't come from the Orthodox Church. Only if I had referred to coptic or possibly peshitta manuscripts, depending on dating, might you claim that."

    Here we have another example of your ignorance. As I explained to you before, we don't know who made all of the manuscripts, so you can't possibly know that they're all Eastern Orthodox. And the figures that scholars like Metzger use with regard to the large majority of manuscripts containing the longer ending of Mark are figures based on the entirety of the manuscript record, including manuscripts postdating the first millennium. You need to document that your manuscripts are Eastern Orthodox. Your vague comments above aren't sufficient.

    You write:

    "THERE IS NO EARLIER CONSENSUS! How many times need I cite Justin Martyr or Irenaeus?"

    A consensus doesn't require unanimity.

    You write:

    "And even if there was earlier consensus, there was earlier consensus to exclude Revelation for the cause it didn't exist yet. You can't cite silence as a consensus against a book. Books work their way into the canon over time."

    Nobody expects books to be accepted before they exist. But your longer ending of Mark was rejected from the large majority of manuscripts at a time when that longer ending was in existence and circulating.

    You write:

    "THey did include it with the gospel of Mark. How many times must I cite Cyprian, Irenaeus etc?"

    It seems that you're either being highly careless or highly dishonest. Citing a minority source like Irenaeus doesn't change the fact that sources like Eusebius refer to the majority of manuscripts as not including the passage.

    You write:

    "Paul has addressed his letters to the Church, so naturally his readers are assumed to be in the Church. That doesn't mean people can't leave the Church....In Acts 15:22 it talks about 'the whole church' doing something. Not 'that part of the church who still bothers to attend'. In Acts 18:21 they greeted the church. They didn't just greet the parts of the church who made themselves known out of the ephemeral invisible church."

    The term "church" is used differently in different contexts. The fact that the church I referred to isn't the one being addressed in the passages from Acts that you cite above does nothing to prove that the church I referred to doesn't exist. You've failed to interact with the passages I cited. Telling us that people can "leave the church" doesn't change what the passages I cited say about the nature of inclusion in the church in the first place.

    You write:

    "Denomination is anachronistic."

    You were the one who first applied the term to Eastern Orthodoxy as it allegedly existed in the first millennium. See here:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/03/garden-hose-table-talk.html

    You write:

    "In Acts 19:2 Paul comes upon some believers who do not have the Holy Spirit. I don't think it's necessary to believe they wouldn't be saved."

    Paul's question in Acts 19:2 assumes the normativity of receiving the Spirit at the time of faith, as Paul teaches in his writings. There's no reason to think that Acts 19 is applicable to non-Eastern Orthodox who are saved.

    You write:

    "I don't think Behr is saying that. I think he's saying that Cyprian made the right decision, but partially for the wrong reasons. In any case, who is in unity is not decided by scholars, it is decided by the presiding bishop."

    Behr is Eastern Orthodox. Whether he's a bishop is irrelevant in this context. If Protestants can't have unity with each other if they disagree about standards of unity, then the same is true of Eastern Orthodox. You're trying to avoid applying your own professed standards to your own belief system.

    You write:

    "And also, please list these Christians you are confident about so we can check them out."

    How about if I do so after you address the many questions I've asked you that you've ignored?

    I've repeatedly addressed your suggestion that I need to produce such a list. For example:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/03/pre-reformation-disunity.html

    You write:

    "If your thesis had merit there would never have been disagreements about 2 Peter."

    The earliest source who comments on the acceptance of 2 Peter refers to it as accepted by a majority. How would acceptance by a majority be inconsistent with the networking that existed in the early church? People living after the time of the apostles could raise doubts about a book on the basis of internal evidence, for example, even if Petrine authorship of the letter had been reported widely earlier. You're not doing anything to refute my citation of the networking evidenced in Paul. You need to interact with that data. As Craig Keener notes regarding the gospel of John:

    "Suggesting that the Fourth Gospel is not directly dependent on the Synoptics need not imply that John did not know of the existence of the Synoptics; even if (as is unlikely) Johannine Christianity were as isolated from other circles of Christianity as some have proposed, other gospels must have been known if travelers afforded any contact at all among Christian communities. That travelers did so may be regarded as virtually certain. Urban Christians traveled (1 Cor 16:10, 12, 17; Phil 2:30; 4:18), carried letters (Rom 16:1-2; Phil 2:25), relocated to other places (Rom 16:3, 5; perhaps 16:6-15), and sent greetings to other churches (Rom 16:21-23; 1 Cor 16:19; Phil 4:22; Col 4:10-15). In the first century many churches knew what was happening with churches in other cities (Rom 1:8; 1 Cor 11:16; 14:33; 1 Thess 1:7-9), and even shared letters (Col 4:16). Missionaries could speak of some churches to others (Rom 15:26; 2 Cor 8:1-5; 9:2-4; Phil 4:16; 1 Thess 2:14-16; cf. 3 John 5-12) and send personal news by other workers (Eph 6:21-22; Col 4:7-9). Although we need not suppose connections among churches as pervasive as Ignatius’ letters suggest perhaps two decades later, neither need we imagine that such connections emerged ex nihilo in the altogether brief silence between John’s Gospel and the ‘postapostolic’ period. No one familiar with the urban society of the eastern empire will be impressed with the isolation Gospel scholars often attribute to the Gospel ‘communities.’” (The Gospel Of John: A Commentary, Vol. 1 [Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003], pp. 41-42)

    Since you've said that you consider 2 Peter to have been written by Peter, you also have to address this sort of evidence. Why do you keep using self-defeating arguments?

    You write:

    "No, I'm saying that by the time you find out that your copy was bad, but you've already made a copy, someone else has made a copy of a copy of a copy, and correcting your copy is no longer going to help."

    Once people were made aware that the ending in one of the editions is wrong, that information could be brought to other people as well. It's not as if only one person could be told.

    You write:

    "Unevenless of copying doesn't justify ANY assumptions. It's a crap shoot. That is the point."

    Your theory has to assume a large discrepancy in the copying of one and the copying of the other.

    You write:

    "All the proposed scenarios are inherently unlikely."

    That's an assertion, not an argument. And if every scenario were inherently unlikely, there would still be degrees of unlikelihood. What you're proposing is more inherently unlikely than what I'm proposing. That's probably why the large majority of textual scholars agree with me in concluding that your longer ending is unoriginal.

    You write:

    "If they didn't include it, but left space, or if they had included it, but expressed doubt, BOTH CASES ARE DOUBT. And what they were doubtful about 1600 years ago, you cannot be certain about on a purely historical basis 1600 years later. You can't be certain of what they weren't certain of."

    Again, the issue is probability, not certainty. The earliest manuscripts, as Eusebius and other sources tell us, don't include your ending. The people who produced such manuscripts don't have to have been certain in order to have considered an ending at 16:8 probable. I'm following what they considered probable.

    ReplyDelete
  32. >You keep making false claims about church history,
    >because you're so ignorant of it.

    You can never resist a bit of ad hominem huh?

    >Eusebius didn't accept 2 Peter. And 2 Peter was
    >accepted by the majority, even though it was
    >disputed. The same can't be said for your longer
    >ending of Mark in the earliest centuries.

    So with all Eusebius' knowledge, that you apparently trust so much it overturns 99.5% of manuscripts, possibly 100% when we ignore the manuscripts that Eusebius was involved in, judging by scribal notes, yet with all his knowledge, he didn't know that 2 Peter was authentic. The most he could add to the discussion is that most churches used it.

    Yet some centuries later, not most but 99% of manuscripts contain Mark 16. So how trustworthy is this "most" criterion for the historian?

    >New manuscripts aren't the only relevant
    >advances that have occurred since Burgon wrote.
    >I've already referred to the errors in Burgon's
    >analysis of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which were
    >documented after he wrote.

    So it's nothing at all to do with Burgon being a century old. You are withdrawing this claim?

    >No, that's not what he said. The reference to
    >interpretation doesn't specify that people should
    >"ignore these exegetes". You're reading that
    >concept into the text.

    How seriously is he taking them when he advises to interpret the text?

    >"No I didn't."
    >
    >You're mistaken. Here's what you said earlier:
    >
    >"In particular, manuscripts with markings and
    >comments seem to be exclusively writing to
    >assert support for the verses."
    >
    >But now you're claiming:
    >
    >"What markings mean isn't as clear cut as you
    >make out and many of the markings refer to
    >notes SUPPORTIVE of the text."
    >
    >You've changed your argument from
    >"exclusively" to "many". You're contradicting
    >yourself, as you often do.

    Manuscripts with markings AND COMMENTS seem to be exclusively supportive.

    You don't read carefully enough, and then pretend a contradiction, as you often do.

    >And the figures that scholars like Metzger use
    >with regard to the large majority of manuscripts
    >containing the longer ending of Mark are figures
    >based on the entirety of the manuscript record,
    >including manuscripts postdating the first
    >millennium. You need to document that your
    >manuscripts are Eastern Orthodox. Your vague
    >comments above aren't sufficient.

    Pretty much ALL Greek manuscripts after the 1st millenium are as Eastern Orthodox as one can get.

    About the only Greek mss with much doubt are papyrus dug up in Egypt, and I'm not aware of any of them off hand that contain Mark 15/16.

    What are you on about?

    >"THERE IS NO EARLIER CONSENSUS! How many
    >times need I cite Justin Martyr or Irenaeus?"
    >
    >A consensus doesn't require unanimity.

    It would have to be close to it, but you are nowhere near it with a number of ECFs quoting it.

    >Nobody expects books to be accepted before
    >they exist.

    Nor can you expect people to accept something before they have a copy. So to cite people as rejecting the ending of Mark, you have to prove they got a copy but then rejected it.

    >Citing a minority source like Irenaeus doesn't
    >change the fact that sources like Eusebius refer
    >to the majority of manuscripts as not including
    >the passage.

    Majority where? Majority in Caesaria? But in the West, judging by Cyprian, Irenaeus, Augustine, Justin Martyr, it may have been a majority. If later that majority disappeared due to a movement to Latin, how would that overturn a previous majority? Can you trust that what is a majority in one place in one time can be extrapolated back to all places at all times?

    >You've failed to interact with the passages I
    >cited. Telling us that people can "leave the
    >church" doesn't change what the passages I cited
    >say about the nature of inclusion in the church in
    >the first place.

    I don't need to interact with your passages, because Paul is speaking to the visible church. You have a great burden of proof to prove the existance of some invisible church. The fact that people enter into a visible church through faith and baptism etc etc, does not prove that there is a corresponding invisible church that people enter into by faith, but is unknown by the visible church. This is called eisegesis to prove your pre-existing theology. Paul has no notion of some ephemeral people of God that are "our there somewhere". The OT people of God were visible, and so too are the NT people of God.

    >Denomination is anachronistic."
    >
    >You were the one who first applied the term to
    >Eastern Orthodoxy as it allegedly existed in the
    >first millennium. See here:

    Whatever, you're into points scoring mode and ignoring the point. Paul never mentions the possibility of joining the church without actually joining the visible church. To make up arbitrarily this mystical notion is completely outside the text.

    >Paul's question in Acts 19:2 assumes the
    >normativity of receiving the Spirit at the time of
    >faith, as Paul teaches in his writings.

    I don't know how you can assume it is normative, since they were believers and yet didn't receive the spirit. In fact they were then baptised into Christ by an Apostle and STILL they didn't receive the spirit. That's a bit tough for your normative theory when you can be a believer, baptised by an apostle, and still not have the spirit.

    >There's no reason to think that Acts 19 is
    >applicable to non-Eastern Orthodox who are
    >saved.

    Yes, there ARE reasons to believe, whether you accept those reasons or not. Non-Orthodox "Christians" have not had hands laid upon them by a successor of the apostles.

    As Tertullian said: "After emerging from the baptismal font, we are anointed with a blessed oil just like the ancients were anointed for priesthood with the oil from the horn."

    The OT practice was to annoint with oil of myrrh to give special gifts:

    "Moreover the Lord said to Moses, Take the finest spices; of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred and fifty, and of aromatic cone two hundred and fifty, and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary and of olive oil , a hin; and of these you shall make a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumes, a holy anointing oil it shall be...and you shall anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests, and you shall say to the people of Israel, This shall be my holy an anointing oil throughout your generation." (Exodus 30; 22-30)

    Saint Cyril of Jerusalem explains, "Take care not to imagine that this Myron is anything ordinary...(but) after the epiclesis, but the charism of Christ, made efficacious of the Holy Spirit by the presence of His Divinity." The sacred scriptures further clarify the significance of this oil as the very essence and presence of Christ Our God, "Your name is ointment poured upon me."

    >Behr is Eastern Orthodox. Whether he's a bishop
    >is irrelevant in this context. If Protestants can't
    >have unity with each other if they disagree about
    >standards of unity, then the same is true of
    >Eastern Orthodox. You're trying to avoid
    >applying your own professed standards to your
    >own belief system.

    No, I'm applying the standards of my belief system to my belief system and the standards of yours, to yours.

    In Orthodoxy the PRESIDING BISHOP gets to say who is in unity. A scholar can know every last canon of the church inside out, but he doesn't get to decide who is in unity.

    >>"And also, please list these Christians you are
    >>confident about so we can check them out."
    >
    >How about if I do so after you address the many
    >questions I've asked you that you've ignored?

    I have no idea what questions you refer to. I think you've been well and truely caught on this one, and this is your desperate escape hatch.

    >I've repeatedly addressed your suggestion that I
    >need to produce such a list. For example:

    No mention of a list of early Christians here that I can see. Looks like desperation has set in.

    And you won't even answer the question of whether and why you do or don't need a list. This whole question of finding the canon in the people of God, and you identifying them has really got you stumped.

    >The earliest source who comments on the
    >acceptance of 2 Peter refers to it as accepted by
    >a majority. How would acceptance by a majority
    >be inconsistent with the networking that existed
    >in the early church?

    Your claim was networking was so good that Mark is unlikely to die in between distribution and fixing a problem. That means problems must be fixed in the worst case in a matter of years. But here we have 2 Peter a mere "majority" in Eusebius' time. Not a very decisive majority judging by Chrysostom's not using it etc. and all those eastern churches. So how good is this networking that can't resolve an issue after 400 years when you need it to be so efficient it resolves things in a mere few years.

    >You're not doing anything to refute my citation
    >of the networking evidenced in Paul. You need to
    >interact with that data.

    You make a lot of assumptions about the fine details, like how many of these people were carrying manuscripts, and whether travels to main centres can be extrapolated to all outlying areas, and what the church could or would have been able to do with information from travellers by. Basicly you put a lot of weight on some anecdotal evidence compared to the actual facts of what occured with manuscripts.

    >Once people were made aware that the ending in
    >one of the editions is wrong, that information
    >could be brought to other people as well. It's not
    >as if only one person could be told.

    Even assuming that the person who knew a person who knew a person who knew a person could still be located (a doubtful assumption to begin with), that person still has to be convinced (a) that the secondary information is correct (b) to go out and buy more papyrus, (c) to go tell all the people he gave copies to, to do the same thing. In short, there are a lot of "ifs" there, and judging by the state of the extant manuscripts of other books, once an error got into the stream, it often stayed in the stream, no matter how good the case against it.

    >"Unevenless of copying doesn't justify ANY >assumptions. It's a crap shoot. That is the point."
    >
    >Your theory has to assume a large discrepancy in
    >the copying of one and the copying of the other

    Uh huh. What do you do about the Byzantine text? Do you assume that the manuscripts of the 9th century had even copying back to the 3rd century?

    "All the proposed scenarios are inherently unlikely."

    >That's an assertion, not an argument. And if
    >every scenario were inherently unlikely, there
    >would still be degrees of unlikelihood. What
    >you're proposing is more inherently unlikely than
    >what I'm proposing. That's probably why the
    >large majority of textual scholars agree with me
    >in concluding that your longer ending is
    >unoriginal.

    Your claims about probability are pure assertion with no argument. But what you claim as the "unlikely" part is held by half the people in your "not original" camp.

    >The earliest manuscripts, as Eusebius and other
    >sources tell us, don't include your ending.

    No, Eusebius makes no mention of "earliest manuscripts". To claim that Eusebius would know of manuscripts earlier than Justin Martyr would be a bold claim.

    >The people who produced such manuscripts
    >don't have to have been certain in order to have
    >considered an ending at 16:8 probable.

    How certain were they when they are leaving a gap? You're not that certain at all when you half expect you may have to fill the text in at a later point when you get clarification. In fact we don't know if they actually thought it most probable the text WAS meant to be there, but awaited further guidance from their bishop, which for one reason or another got forgotten.

    >I'm following what they considered probable.

    No, you are into rampant speculation mode about what they were thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Orthodox writes:

    "So with all Eusebius' knowledge, that you apparently trust so much it overturns 99.5% of manuscripts, possibly 100% when we ignore the manuscripts that Eusebius was involved in, judging by scribal notes, yet with all his knowledge, he didn't know that 2 Peter was authentic. The most he could add to the discussion is that most churches used it."

    I don't have reasons to distrust what Eusebius reported about the manuscript record comparable to the reasons I have to distrust his judgment about 2 Peter's authorship. And his comments about the manuscript record are supported by other sources, as James Kelhoffer demonstrates in the article I linked to earlier.

    The 99% figure you keep using is misleading, for reasons I've explained already. That figure is a reversal of a majority against your position among the earlier manuscripts. And the 99% figure is arrived at by means of including many manuscripts that contain markings and comments indicating that the passage is disputed. And since you've told us that only Eastern Orthodox sources are to be consulted, yet you haven't documented that all of these manuscripts came from Eastern Orthodox sources, you've failed to even justify the inclusion of all of these manuscripts to begin with.

    Your "possibly 100%" comment is another reflection of your carelessness. As I've told you repeatedly, many of the manuscripts contain a different longer ending than yours or contain indications that there was some doubt about the passage, for example. It's not as if Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are the only extant manuscripts that differ from your position. Thus, Ben Witherington, in his discussion of Mark's ending, mentions Greek manuscript 304 and some uncial Greek manuscripts, for example, that differ from your version of Mark (The Gospel Of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2001], n. 3 on pp. 412-413). I've already linked you to James Kelhoffer's discussion of much of the relevant evidence. He mentions, for example, another category of manuscripts, ones that have your longer ending, but with later handwriting (p. 106). And since you're now appealing to non-Greek manuscripts, not just Greek ones, we need to keep in mind that there are non-Greek manuscripts that differ from your version of Mark:

    "Today we know that the last twelve verses of the Gospel according to Mark (xvi. 9-20) are absent from the oldest Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian manuscripts, and that in other manuscripts asterisks or obeli mark the verses as doubtful or spurious." (Bruce Metzger, The Canon Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997], p. 269)

    As James Kelhoffer mentions in the article I linked to earlier, Victor of Antioch comments around the beginning of the sixth century that "what follows afterward in the Gospel according to Mark,
    does not occur in most copies, with the result that some people think it to be spurious" (http://www.degruyter.de/journals/znw/2001/pdf/92_078.pdf, p. 104). Thus, people were still disputing the passage long after Eusebius and Jerome had died. You keep trying to cast doubt on the manuscript markings and notes that indicate doubts about the longer ending, as if they might be consistent with the consensus you've argued for, but we know that some people continued to dispute the passage. You've given us no reason to doubt Metzger and Kelhoffer's conclusion that there was ongoing doubt about the passage, even as it became more widely accepted, and that such doubt is reflected in some of the later manuscripts.

    I've also warned you, repeatedly, that advances have been made in textual studies since the time of Burgon. I don't know specifically where in Burgon you're drawing all of your conclusions, since you keep making vague references to Burgon without giving more specific references, but he didn't have access to all of the manuscripts that we have access to today. And later scholars have criticized him for misjudging some of the evidence he did have access to.

    As far as Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are concerned, you cited the following from the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04085a.htm):

    "Some are even inclined to regard Codex Sinaiticus as one of the fifty manuscripts which Constantine bade Eusebius of Caesarea to have prepared in 331 for the churches of Constantinople"

    Yet, your own source only refers to "some", not a majority or all, and here's what your own source goes on to say just after what you quoted:

    "but there is no sign of its having been at Constantinople. Nothing is known of its later history till its discovery by Tischendorf."

    Bruce Metzger points out that while we could expect there to be some similarities between the texts of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus and the Bibles that Eusebius produced for Constantine, "There are, however, one or two indications which point to Egypt as the place of origin of codex Vaticanus, and the type of text found in both codices is unlike that used by Eusebius." (The Text Of The New Testament [New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992], pp. 7-8)

    You write:

    "Manuscripts with markings AND COMMENTS seem to be exclusively supportive. You don't read carefully enough, and then pretend a contradiction, as you often do."

    Your original comment about markings and notes was written in response to what I had said about markings, without any mention of notes. I didn't limit myself to markings combined with notes. If you were responding to something other than what I said, then you're the one who hasn't been "reading carefully". And your claim about markings combined with notes remains unproven. You haven't documented it, and the article by James Kelhoffer that I linked to discusses some examples of manuscripts that include notes that mention the textual dispute without taking a side. Your claim that all of the notes are supportive of the longer ending is false.

    You write:

    "Pretty much ALL Greek manuscripts after the 1st millenium are as Eastern Orthodox as one can get."

    You'll need to document that claim. And if you want us to believe that the Christians of the first millennium were Eastern Orthodox, as you've claimed before, you'll need to document that assertion also.

    You write:

    "Nor can you expect people to accept something before they have a copy. So to cite people as rejecting the ending of Mark, you have to prove they got a copy but then rejected it."

    As I've said before, the issue the early sources were considering was whether the longer ending was part of Mark's gospel. You've told us that you aren't arguing that the earliest Christians accepted it as an independent document. If the earliest Christians didn't include your ending in their copies of Mark, then the implication is that they weren't aware of any reason to include anything beyond 16:8. If you think that some reason they were unaware of would justify the addition of your ending, then you need to make a case for that reason that they supposedly were unaware of. You haven't done so. You've just asserted, without justification, that a later consensus to accept the longer ending must be correct.

    And given the fact that men like Irenaeus and Eusebius were aware of the longer ending and wrote about it (though they responded to it in different ways), how likely is it that there was widespread ignorance of it, particularly given that Eusebius considered it an issue people were discussing and would want to see addressed? An early opponent of Christianity, perhaps Porphyry, who lived in the late third and early fourth centuries, was aware of the passage and criticized it (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/macarius_apocriticus.htm, 3:16). You've argued that the people who produced Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were aware of the longer ending, though they didn't include it. You've also suggested that sources like Justin Martyr and Cyprian were aware of it. The more ante-Nicene sources you suggest as being aware of the longer ending, the less credible it becomes to suggest that the people who rejected that longer ending weren't aware of its existence.

    You write:

    "Majority where? Majority in Caesaria? But in the West, judging by Cyprian, Irenaeus, Augustine, Justin Martyr, it may have been a majority."

    Augustine postdates the timeframe Eusebius is referring to. And you'll need to document your claims about the other sources, except Irenaeus, whom we've already discussed. Tell me specifically what you have in mind in the other sources. What I've seen from Justin Martyr doesn't suggest to me that he accepted your longer ending as part of Mark's gospel, given how little data there is and Justin's use of non-canonical sources elsewhere. I've already explained why it makes no sense to read Eusebius as referring only to a local situation, and the same is true of the other relevant sources, like Jerome and Hesychius. To limit their comments to a local situation, given the issue they were addressing and the language they used, doesn't make sense.

    And in addition to the early manuscripts and some later manuscripts that support what sources like Eusebius and Jerome reported, we have corroboration from other sources that are even earlier. See, for example, the comments Steve cited previously by Bruce Metzger regarding Ammonius. James Edwards further notes that, "The apocryphal Gospel of Peter does not contain the longer ending, and concludes as does Mark 16:8, with the fear of the women." (The Gospel According To Mark [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002], p. 497)

    You write:

    "I don't need to interact with your passages, because Paul is speaking to the visible church. You have a great burden of proof to prove the existance of some invisible church. The fact that people enter into a visible church through faith and baptism etc etc, does not prove that there is a corresponding invisible church that people enter into by faith, but is unknown by the visible church."

    Would you tell me where I've argued that the church is invisible in the sense that it can't include historical individuals like the believers Paul wrote to? I never made such an argument. Paul can write to an assembly in Corinth or an assembly in Ephesus without thereby denying that there's a larger church not limited to a local assembly. The believers in Corinth and Ephesus would be included in that larger church, but so would others.

    You still haven't addressed the passages I cited. If people are placed into the church as a result of Christ's atoning work and the other factors Paul mentions in those passages, then why should we believe that the church is a worldwide Eastern Orthodox denomination that includes both believers and unbelievers, with some believers who have had Christ's atoning work applied to them not becoming part of the church? Paul refers to a church that has every member contributing to it positively, in which each member is joined to Christ and is nourished and cherished by Christ (Ephesians 4:16, 5:29-30). That doesn't sound like a description of a denomination containing both believers and unbelievers. Ephesians 2:16 refers to the placing of the redeemed within the body, the church, as one of the objectives of the cross. Your suggestion that Christ saves a Protestant or Roman Catholic, but doesn't place him in the church, undermines Paul's argument, is never suggested by Jesus and the apostles, and is contradicted by the church fathers.

    You write:

    "The OT people of God were visible, and so too are the NT people of God."

    As I've demonstrated, your appeal to a parallel with the Old Testament is problematic for your position. That's why you previously cited Ezekiel 11 to argue for discontinuity between the Old Testament era and the New Testament era. The Old Testament people of God were visible in varying ways and to varying degrees. There are some periods of Old Testament history for which we have no record of anybody faithfully following God. There is no unbroken succession of one denomination that you can trace from the time of Adam to the time of Christ. Even after Israel came into existence, there were times of unfaithfulness, widespread rejection of God's revelation (2 Kings 22:8-13, Nehemiah 8:13-17), the Babylonian captivity, etc. If you want to look to the Old Testament era for guidance, then your position on this issue ought to be rejected. There isn't any Old Testament entity comparable to what you're claiming for Eastern Orthodoxy. Why do you keep using self-defeating arguments? If I have to produce a list of believers from church history, then why don't you document an unbroken succession of your sort of visible denomination throughout the Old Testament era?

    You write:

    "I don't know how you can assume it is normative, since they were believers and yet didn't receive the spirit."

    We know what's normative because of what Paul expected to happen, which is reflected in the question he asked in Acts 19:2. We also know what's normative because of what we see in Acts 10:44-48, which Peter describes elsewhere as normative (Acts 11:15-18, 15:7-11), and because of what Paul teaches in his writings (Galatians 3:2-5, Ephesians 1:13-14).

    You write:

    "Yes, there ARE reasons to believe, whether you accept those reasons or not. Non-Orthodox 'Christians' have not had hands laid upon them by a successor of the apostles....The OT practice was to annoint with oil of myrrh to give special gifts"

    You quote two patristic sources, beginning with Tertullian. But you give us no reason to think that such a belief is apostolic. There were multiple views on these subjects in the patristic era, including an absence of postbaptismal anointing in some places (Thomas Finn, in Everett Ferguson, ed., Encyclopedia Of Early Christianity [New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1999], p. 57).

    Though you keep suggesting that there are Christians who don't have the Spirit, Irenaeus wrote:

    "Those then, as many as they be, who have not that which saves and forms us into life eternal, shall be, and shall be called, mere flesh and blood; for these are they who have not the Spirit of God in themselves. Wherefore men of this stamp are spoken of by the Lord as 'dead;' for, says He, 'Let the dead bury their dead,' because they have not the Spirit which quickens man. On the other hand, as many as fear God and trust in His Son's advent, and who through faith do establish the Spirit of God in their hearts,—such men as these shall be properly called both 'pure,' and 'spiritual,' and 'those living to God,' because they possess the Spirit of the Father, who purifies man, and raises him up to the life of God....For when the infirmity of the flesh is absorbed, it exhibits the Spirit as powerful; and again, when the Spirit absorbs the weakness of the flesh, it possesses the flesh as an inheritance in itself, and from both of these is formed a living man,—living, indeed, because he partakes of the Spirit, but man, because of the substance of flesh. The flesh, therefore, when destitute of the Spirit of God, is dead, not having life, and cannot possess the kingdom of God: it is as irrational blood, like water poured out upon the ground. And therefore he says, 'As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy.' But where the Spirit of the Father is, there is a living man; there is the rational blood preserved by God for the avenging of those that shed it; there is the flesh possessed by the Spirit, forgetful indeed of what belongs to it, and adopting the quality of the Spirit, being made conformable to the Word of God....Inasmuch, therefore, as without the Spirit of God we cannot be saved, the apostle exhorts us through faith and chaste conversation to preserve the Spirit of God, lest, having become non-participators of the Divine Spirit, we lose the kingdom of heaven" (Against Heresies, 5:9:1-3)

    You write:

    "In Orthodoxy the PRESIDING BISHOP gets to say who is in unity. A scholar can know every last canon of the church inside out, but he doesn't get to decide who is in unity."

    Saying that John Behr doesn't have the authority of a bishop doesn't change the fact that he disagrees with you about the standards of unity. And it doesn't change the fact that he refers to two bishops, Cyprian and Basil, who disagreed about unity. You've told us that Protestants don't have unity with each other if they disagree about standards of unity or which people they do and don't have unity with. Thus, by your own criteria, Eastern Orthodox don't have unity with each other.

    ReplyDelete
  34. >I don't have reasons to distrust what Eusebius
    >reported about the manuscript record comparable
    >to the reasons I have to distrust his judgment about
    >2 Peter's authorship.

    Ignoring the point again. For all Eusebius' learning, and this could be said of any of the Fathers, the most they could say about the authenticity of 2 Peter is to mention how many manuscripts had it. Not great evidence when you believe Mark 16 went from zero to 99.5% of manuscripts.

    >He mentions, for example, another category of
    >manuscripts, ones that have your longer ending,
    >but with later handwriting (p. 106).

    Which doesn't in itself point to anything we didn't already know. But you wanted to hang your hat on the idea that God's people were led into the truth about the canon. If some had to correct their bibles with Mark 16 or 2 Peter, presumably this would still be led into all truth. But you weasel around making arbitrary distinctions and special pleading so that you can believe whatever it is you want to believe.

    >And since you're now appealing to non-Greek
    >manuscripts, not just Greek ones, we need to
    >keep in mind that there are non-Greek >manuscripts that differ from your version of

    "Oldest Latin" from memory means one old latin manuscript. With 10,000 latin manuscripts, that doesn't sound like God's people being led into the truth.

    >I've also warned you, repeatedly, that advances
    >have been made in textual studies since the time
    >of Burgon.

    No, you're rebuilding your argument yet again after it fell apart. Your previous argument is that Burgon's 100 year old evidence was not sufficient. Now apparently Burgon's problem is simply that he is old and lacks ephemeral "advances".

    >I don't know specifically where in Burgon you're
    >drawing all of your conclusions,

    When I cite Burgon, I state specifically the point I want to make. I didn't cite any of Burgon's errors, and I know what they are. Simply because I cited some things from Burgon, your hope now seems to be if you can make Burgon look bad, you've won.

    >he didn't have access to all of the manuscripts >that we have access to today

    You've been challenged repeatedly to document what manuscripts he didn't have access to which change the overall landscape.

    >"Some are even inclined to regard Codex
    >Sinaiticus as one of the fifty manuscripts which
    >Constantine bade Eusebius of Caesarea to have
    >prepared in 331 for the churches of >Constantinople"
    >
    >Yet, your own source only refers to "some", not a
    >majority or all,

    Why do you ignore the further evidence that is cited? Both manuscripts refer to being checked by the same people: people who are contemporaries of Eusebius. Whether they are part of the 50 Constantinian manuscripts is irrelevant compared to the issue that they are linked to Eusebius.

    >"There are, however, one or two indications
    >which point to Egypt as the place of origin of
    >codex Vaticanus, and the type of text found in
    >both codices is unlike that used by
    >Eusebius." (The Text Of The New Testament

    Despite the clear evidence that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were worked on by some of the same people, their text is quite different. So apparently differing texts is no impediment to being related to each other, neither should they be an impediment to being associated to Eusebius. And whatever vague signs Metzger speaks of, does not trump the written references in the mss themselves referring to associates of Eusebius.

    >Your original comment about markings and
    >notes was written in response to what I had said
    >about markings, without any mention of notes. I
    >didn't limit myself to markings combined with
    >notes. If you were responding to something
    >other than what I said, then you're the one who
    >hasn't been "reading carefully"

    Utter nonsense. I'm perfectly justified in referring to the situation where markings are accompanied by notes in order to make the point that what you think markings indicate is not the clear cut situation you make out. That does NOT mean I said what you are claiming I said, that markings exclusively mean approval of the text. You lack the humility as usual to admit you made an error.

    >"Pretty much ALL Greek manuscripts after the 1st >millenium are as Eastern Orthodox as one can >get."
    >
    >You'll need to document that claim.

    How ridiculous. Why don't you point us to what churches were using Greek and were NOT Orthodox. You continually ask me to document the most blatently obvious.

    >If the earliest Christians didn't include your
    >ending in their copies of Mark, then the
    >implication is that they weren't aware of any
    >reason to include anything beyond 16:8.

    Again, at the very least some, if not many early Christians DID include the material. Given your belief in wildly shifting proportions of readings, going from you claim 0% to 99.5%, why should we put much stock in any percentage, since you think they vary over the entire spectrum at different times?

    > If you think that some reason they were unaware
    >of would justify the addition of your ending, then
    >you need to make a case for that reason that
    >they supposedly were unaware of.

    You claim Christians are led into the truth concerning the bible. But you make completely arbitrary distinctions and claims which you can't back up about when you should apply it.

    >particularly given that Eusebius considered it an
    >issue people were discussing and would want to
    >see addressed?

    The issue people wanted addressed was the interpretation of the text, not whether to include it. If the passage was as rare as you seem to think he implies, one wonders why there are people clamouring to know what the text means, when supposedly hardly any manuscripts contain it, and why Eusebius would feel a need to try and interpret it, if the evidence was so clear.

    >An early opponent of Christianity, perhaps
    >Porphyry, who lived in the late third and early
    >fourth centuries, was aware of the passage and
    >criticized it

    And this helps your case how? Just another witness FOR the passage.

    >The more ante-Nicene sources you suggest as
    >being aware of the longer ending, the less
    >credible it becomes to suggest that the people
    >who rejected that longer ending weren't aware of
    >its existence.

    I never said they weren't aware of it. What I said was is that there are a number of reasons why people may not have included it, only ONE of which is lack of knowledge of the passage itself. Other reasons are lack of knowledge about its authenticity (just like 2 Peter), lack of the text in the exemplar of the scribe, and others.

    >What I've seen from Justin Martyr doesn't suggest
    >to me that he accepted your longer ending

    More with the warring "probability" rule of faith among scholars.

    On P227 of Metzger's Text of the New Testament he says that it is "probable" that Justin Martyr knew the passage. You follow the probabilities right?

    >To limit their comments to a local situation,
    >given the issue they were addressing and the >language they used, doesn't make sense.

    No, to extend it beyond a local situation when we have so many other references to the passage doesn't make sense.

    >we have corroboration from other sources that
    >are even earlier. See, for example, the comments
    >Steve cited previously by Bruce Metzger
    >regarding Ammonius

    Which adds precisely nothing to our existing knowledge that many copies lacked the ending.

    >Would you tell me where I've argued that the
    >church is invisible in the sense that it can't
    >include historical individuals like the believers
    >Paul wrote to?

    Would you tell me where I've argued that you've argued that the church is invisible in the sense that it can't include historical individuals like the believers Paul wrote to?

    But the issue is not whether we can find individuals who might be in the church, the issue is how Paul refers to the concept of Church itself, not whether he knows where individuals are.

    >You still haven't addressed the passages I cited.

    Yes I have, but you ignored it.

    >If people are placed into the church as a result of
    >Christ's atoning work and the other factors Paul .
    >mentions in those passages, then why should we
    >believe that the church is a worldwide Eastern
    >Orthodox denomination that includes both
    >believers and unbelievers, with some believers
    >who have had Christ's atoning work applied to >them not becoming part of the church?

    Because the bible teaches it. Christ says that the wheat grows up with the tares. In 3 John 10 he accuses someone of wrongly puting brethren out of the church.

    Always in scripture it is assumed that the church is the identifiable body, not some invisible thing that you have to individually figure out who is in and out. In Mt 18:17 Jesus says to "take it to the church". By your reckoning, everybody has their own opinion on who is in the church, so nobody can agree who is in the church anyway. And if you take it to the church, the person convicted can just say you are not in the church and kick you out, or make their own church. You go through all the verses mentioning Church, and they all assume that you can know where it is in a canonical way.

    >Paul refers to a church that has every member
    >contributing to it positively, in which each
    >member is joined to Christ and is nourished and
    >cherished by Christ

    Thankyou for making my point for me. If the church is invisible there are some regenerate folks sitting at home, not participating or attending.

    > That doesn't sound like a description of a
    >denomination containing both believers and
    >unbelievers.

    How is an invisible body "fitted together and held together according to proper working and love"? There can't be love among the whole body when you can't even tell where the body might be.

    >Ephesians 2:16 refers to the placing of the
    >redeemed within the body, the church, as one of
    >the objectives of the cross.

    Of course it is the objective.

    >Your suggestion that Christ saves a Protestant or >Roman Catholic, but doesn't place him in the >church, undermines Paul's argument, is never >suggested by Jesus and the apostles, and is >contradicted by the church fathers.

    You've got an absurd, laughable and ridiculous notion of "church" when you believe that a Christian with his bible under a tree, with no attendance or interaction with the body, is in the "church". Go look up ekklesia in the LXX and tell me if it includes individuals with no connection to the body.

    >As I've demonstrated, your appeal to a parallel
    >with the Old Testament is problematic for your
    >position.

    So the meaning of ekklesia completely changes with the advent of the NT. Riiiighht.

    >There are some periods of Old Testament history
    >for which we have no record of anybody
    >faithfully following God.

    And yet Israel remained the people of God!!!!

    >There is no unbroken succession of one >denomination that you can trace from the time >of Adam to the time of Christ.

    There is from Abraham at least.

    > Even after Israel came into existence, there were >times of unfaithfulness, widespread rejection of >God's revelation (2 Kings 22:8-13, Nehemiah >8:13-17), the Babylonian captivity, etc.

    Yep, but they remained God's people!

    >Why do you keep using self-defeating
    >arguments?

    Why do you?

    >If I have to produce a list of believers from >church history, then why don't you document an >unbroken succession of your sort of visible >denomination throughout the Old Testament era?

    Read your bible. Look up the geneologies. They are the parallel to apostolic succession among God's people.

    >We know what's normative because of what Paul >expected to happen, which is reflected in the >question he asked in Acts 19:2.

    He didn't say he expected it to happen. His question *might* indicate that he considered it possible. That is all.

    >We also know what's normative because of what
    >we see in Acts 10:44-48

    Is a visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit complete with speaking in tongues normative?

    >We also know what's normative because of what
    >we see in Acts 10:44-48, which Peter describes
    >elsewhere as normative (Acts 11:15-18,
    >15:7-11)

    Just a description of what happened previously. No statement that it is forevermore normative.

    >because of what Paul teaches in his writings
    >(Galatians 3:2-5, Ephesians 1:13-14).

    You can't take what Paul said outside the context of the broader gospel. For example, Peter's promise, Acts 2:38 is "repent and be baptized and you will receive the Spirit". In Acts 8:19 the promise is that whoever Peter lays his hands on receives the gift of the Spirit. In 2 Tim 1:6, the "gift of God in you" is given by laying on of hands.

    >You quote two patristic sources, beginning with
    >Tertullian. But you give us no reason to think
    >that such a belief is apostolic.

    Amazing. You'll point to a majority of people in the 4th century using Peter as good evidence it is apostolic. But when I refer to a practice going back to Exodus, practiced by the apostles, practiced by the earliest of the earliest church fathers all the way through to the 21st century, you have "no reason" to believe it is apostolic. Apparently "good reason" and "no reason" is really whatever it is you want to justify at the time. Whatever you believe today, is what you retroactively assign probability.

    And I note you've ceased again to cite primary sources.

    >Though you keep suggesting that there are
    >Christians who don't have the Spirit, Irenaeus
    >wrote:

    What I said was, "Christian" is just a word, and arguing over that particular definition is fruitless.

    Irenaeus also said:

    "And when we come to refute them, we shall show in its fitting-place, that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith...For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins".

    Protestants are modern day gnostics who deny the grace of the baptism of God. So yes, there is a real worry for people outside the Church. I can't say for sure what their status is.

    >Saying that John Behr doesn't have the authority
    >of a bishop doesn't change the fact that he
    >disagrees with you about the standards of unity.

    Irrelevant for reasons already cited.

    >And it doesn't change the fact that he refers to
    >two bishops, Cyprian and Basil, who disagreed
    >about unity.

    No, they didn't disagree about who was in unity, only about what standards bishops should use. Just because protestants have no judges for unity, thus the standard and the execution are the same, doesn't mean we have that problem.

    >You've told us that Protestants don't have unity
    >with each other if they disagree about standards
    >of unity or which people they do and don't have
    >unity with. Thus, by your own criteria, Eastern
    >Orthodox don't have unity with each other.

    Wrong again, because each protestant decides themselves who is in unity, thus their standard is the only reality.

    In Orthodoxy, even if two churches have completely identical standards of unity, the bishop has the charisma of binding and loosing to bend the rules. The bishop decides who is in unity, and that is the only unity that counts.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Orthodox wrote:

    "For all Eusebius' learning, and this could be said of any of the Fathers, the most they could say about the authenticity of 2 Peter is to mention how many manuscripts had it. Not great evidence when you believe Mark 16 went from zero to 99.5% of manuscripts."

    That's another example of how ignorant you are of so many of the issues we discuss. I wasn't referring to comments Eusebius made about manuscripts of 2 Peter. I was addressing what he said about Christians' views regarding who wrote the document.

    You write:

    "Which doesn't in itself point to anything we didn't already know."

    If you already knew that there were more manuscripts supporting my view and opposed to your view, then why did you deny it in your last post?

    You write:

    "Your previous argument is that Burgon's 100 year old evidence was not sufficient. Now apparently Burgon's problem is simply that he is old and lacks ephemeral 'advances'."

    I've been referring to textual advances since early in this thread. If you didn't notice it until now, then that's your problem, not mine. And I documented examples of Burgon's problems from multiple sources (Mark Heuer, James Kelhoffer, Bruce Metzger, etc.).

    You write:

    "Both manuscripts refer to being checked by the same people: people who are contemporaries of Eusebius."

    Earlier, you referred to manuscripts "Eusebius was involved in". Now you're referring to "contemporaries of Eusebius". You keep changing your arguments.

    You write:

    "And whatever vague signs Metzger speaks of, does not trump the written references in the mss themselves referring to associates of Eusebius."

    How do you know that they were associates of Eusebius of Caesarea?

    You write:

    "Why don't you point us to what churches were using Greek and were NOT Orthodox. You continually ask me to document the most blatently obvious."

    First of all, how can you possibly know that every manuscript came from a church? And it's not my responsibility to document that these manuscripts didn't come from Eastern Orthodox churches. You're the one who chose to limit the sources we consult to Eastern Orthodox sources. We don't just assume that every manuscript came from an Eastern Orthodox source as our default position.

    You write:

    "Given your belief in wildly shifting proportions of readings, going from you claim 0% to 99.5%, why should we put much stock in any percentage, since you think they vary over the entire spectrum at different times?"

    Because the majority of manuscripts I'm appealing to is from an earlier period, one closer to the original document.

    You write:

    "The issue people wanted addressed was the interpretation of the text, not whether to include it."

    If whether to include the passage wasn't on the table, then I doubt that Eusebius would have treated it as one of the issues under consideration. Eusebius is addressing difficulties in the accounts of Jesus' resurrection. He suggests two possible responses to an apparent contradiction between the accounts, and the first response is to not attempt a harmonization, since the longer ending to Mark is "spurious".

    You write:

    "Other reasons are lack of knowledge about its authenticity (just like 2 Peter), lack of the text in the exemplar of the scribe, and others."

    Again, Eusebius refers to 2 Peter as accepted by the majority at a time when your ending to Mark was absent in the large majority of manuscripts. Why should we think that the large majority of the earliest manuscripts about which we have information were mistaken?

    You write:

    "On P227 of Metzger's Text of the New Testament he says that it is 'probable' that Justin Martyr knew the passage. You follow the probabilities right?"

    As I explained earlier, Justin also knew of other non-canonical sources. Knowing of a text isn't equivalent to considering it scripture. And you aren't telling us why you think it's probable that Justin knew of the passage, much less why we should think that he considered it scripture.

    You write:

    "No, to extend it beyond a local situation when we have so many other references to the passage doesn't make sense."

    How would the comments of men like Eusebius and Jerome make sense if they were only addressing a local situation? Both men were writing to other people. If those other people lived close by, why didn't they just speak to them rather than writing? Jerome was writing to a woman living in Gaul. And how would a local manuscript situation settle a textual dispute? Are we to believe that all of the five men James Kelhoffer discusses just happened to live in regions where your version of Mark was less popular, whereas it was more popular elsewhere? As Kelhoffer mentions, this work of Eusebius seems to have circulated widely, and the section we're discussing was picked up on by other sources, so it's doubtful that people in so many different places would find the work and this section in it useful if Eusebius was only addressing a local situation. Victor of Antioch specifically mentions some manuscripts outside of his region, so any suggestion that he was only addressing a regional situation is untenable. Your assumption of a local situation for all five of the sources in question is ridiculous.

    You write:

    "Christ says that the wheat grows up with the tares."

    And He's addressing what happens in the world (Matthew 13:38). Why should we assume that the church is in view when Jesus says nothing of the church in this context? Even if Matthew 13 was referring to a church, how would it therefore follow that there can't be a church consisting only of believers as well? The term "church" doesn't just have one meaning. Sometimes it refers to a local assembly, but it would be ridiculous to assume that every use of the term "church" must therefore have a local assembly in view. You've given us no reason to accept your interpretation of Matthew 13, and even if we did accept it, an exclusion of the church I've referred to wouldn't follow.

    You write:

    "In 3 John 10 he accuses someone of wrongly puting brethren out of the church."

    I haven't denied that local assemblies are called "churches" and that people can be removed from local assemblies, so what's the relevance of 3 John 10?

    You write:

    "By your reckoning, everybody has their own opinion on who is in the church, so nobody can agree who is in the church anyway."

    How does the fact that each person makes his own judgment prove that "nobody can agree"? Each Eastern Orthodox makes his own judgment about following Eastern Orthodoxy. Does it therefore follow that "nobody can agree" about following Eastern Orthodoxy?

    And I've documented that Eastern Orthodox disagree with each other about who is and isn't part of the church. See my earlier citation of John Behr and the discussion that followed it.

    You write:

    "How is an invisible body 'fitted together and held together according to proper working and love'? There can't be love among the whole body when you can't even tell where the body might be."

    You don't have to know who every Christian is in order to know who some of them are and to contribute to the life of the church. Similarly, you've acknowledged that you don't know which people in the world today are Eastern Orthodox and which aren't. You trust church leaders to make such judgments, and you don't know what those leaders are doing from hour to hour or day to day. Somebody who was part of your denomination yesterday might not be today, and you don't know it. If you can contribute to your denomination without knowing who all is and isn't part of it, then why can't the same be true of the church Paul refers to in Ephesians 5 and elsewhere?

    You write:

    "So the meaning of ekklesia completely changes with the advent of the NT. Riiiighht."

    That's not what I said. You're giving us another example of your carelessness. Something doesn't have to change "completely" in order to change to some extent.

    You write:

    "And yet Israel remained the people of God!!!!"

    And God can have people in this New Testament era who aren't part of the extant historical record.

    And the Old Testament era didn't begin with Israel.

    You write:

    "There is from Abraham at least."

    That's not enough. That doesn't cover the entire Old Testament era.

    And where was the denomination Abraham attended that was comparable to your concept of Eastern Orthodoxy?

    You write:

    "Read your bible. Look up the geneologies. They are the parallel to apostolic succession among God's people."

    That's an assertion, not an argument. The genealogies predate Abraham, and they aren't limited to believers or some organization comparable to Eastern Orthodoxy.

    You write:

    "He didn't say he expected it to happen. His question *might* indicate that he considered it possible. That is all."

    Why would Paul ask a question based on a possibility? It would make more sense to ask a question based on a probability.

    You write:

    "Is a visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit complete with speaking in tongues normative?"

    Did you read the passages I cited? Apparently not. Acts 10:47, 11:15-16, and 15:8 refer to the receiving of the Holy Spirit as the shared experience, without mention of the other events involved, such as the speaking in tongues.

    You write:

    "Just a description of what happened previously. No statement that it is forevermore normative."

    Acts 15 is addressing, in part, how people in general are saved (Acts 15:1). If the people in Acts 10:44-48 were saved in an abnormal manner, why would Peter cite them as an illustration of how people in general are saved (Acts 15:8-9)?

    You write:

    "For example, Peter's promise, Acts 2:38 is 'repent and be baptized and you will receive the Spirit'. In Acts 8:19 the promise is that whoever Peter lays his hands on receives the gift of the Spirit. In 2 Tim 1:6, the 'gift of God in you' is given by laying on of hands."

    Acts 2:38 says nothing of the timing of the receiving of the Spirit relevant to the events mentioned, and it says nothing about the laying of hands. Acts 8:19 is not a "promise". 2 Timothy 1:6 is about a spiritual gift. It says nothing about the reception of the Holy Spirit. And you haven't addressed the passages I cited in Galatians 3 and Ephesians 1.

    You write:

    "Protestants are modern day gnostics who deny the grace of the baptism of God. So yes, there is a real worry for people outside the Church. I can't say for sure what their status is."

    You call us Gnostics, then go on to say that you "can't say for sure what our status is". You argue that non-Eastern-Orthodox can be Christians, but don't have the Holy Spirit. When I document Irenaeus contradicting that position, you ignore what I documented and tell us that you "can't say for sure what their status is". But you did comment on their status earlier. And Irenaeus contradicts what you claimed about their status.

    You write:

    "No, they didn't disagree about who was in unity, only about what standards bishops should use."

    Standards for what? They disagreed about standards of unity.

    You write:

    "In Orthodoxy, even if two churches have completely identical standards of unity, the bishop has the charisma of binding and loosing to bend the rules."

    In other words, you're contradicting what you argued earlier. Previously, you claimed that there must be one standard of unity that all agree about. But now you tell us that different bishops can "bend" the standards in different ways. Now you tell us that different Eastern Orthodox can have different standards of unity, as long as bishops are the ones who make the decisions that lead to those differing standards. That's not what you argued earlier.

    You write:

    "The bishop decides who is in unity, and that is the only unity that counts."

    If the unity defined by a bishop is "the only unity that counts", then what about the unity Paul seeks in Philippians 4:2-3? Did that unity "not count", since it was of a more personal nature? If one individual is reconciled to another after one sins against another, for example, then that unity "doesn't count", since it wasn't decided by their bishop? What about the unity mentioned in Ephesians 4:13? Paul refers to it as something to seek to attain, even though the people he was writing to were already part of a local assembly and part of the larger Christian church. If there's only one type of unity, and it's what "the bishop decides", then what is Paul referring to in Ephesians 4:13? You aren't giving us any reason to accept your definition of unity. You just assert it.

    And where has Eastern Orthodoxy taught your concept of unity? Document it.

    ReplyDelete