Major Premise
(3)  Data Speaking Against the Major Premise is Abundant and Powerful.

     It is assumed that the reader will thank me for providing only the 
briefest outline of the data standing against the major premise of Westcott 
and Hort.  This is justified in that their case is so weak, and the evidence 
against it so abundant, that the interested reader may occupy the rest of his 
life with nothing more than studying the data which Westcott and Hort ignored.  
The purpose of this section is to introduce the reader to the vast body of 
data that Westcott and Hort, and most modern liberal text critics are 
willingly ignorant of (In addition to God's Word 2 Pet 3:5).

(a)  Data from Church History Shows the Major Premise is False.

     Of primary importance in refuting their major premise is the data from 
church history that stands against any motive, means or opportunity ever being 
established for such a conspiracy theory.  Consider the main features of the 
church as it existed in ancient Rome before 350 A.D. [7]  In this period there 
was no hierarchy, but only local congregations led by pastors.  There was no 
central control which could be diverted.  Prior to 311, every 20 years or so 
there was a violent persecution of Christians in which they would be fed to 
the lions or tortured to death.  One of the chief controversies of the age was 
caused because one bishop, after an ebb in the wave of persecution, refused to 
readmit those to the church who had refused martyrdom.  These are the people 
who are said to have willingly ignored their Lord's word and accepted some 
unknown church authority!  In about 311, Constantine the Great ended the 
persecutions by legalizing Christianity.  At this point, there were nearly as 
many Christians in the Roman Empire as there were pagans.  How could such a 
large, diverse populace be made to succumb to butchering their Word of Life 
when they suffered torture and death rather than verbally recant their status 
as Christian?  How could this be done without a single recorded protest in 
history?  How could someone elevate himself in popularity to such an authority 
status that everyone would accept his judgment without leaving a single 
historical fact that attests to his authority?

(b)  Data that Substantiates the Traditional Text 

     Shows that the Major Premise is False.
     Of secondary importance in refuting their major premise is the data that 
substantiates the authenticity of the traditional text.  This is of secondary 
importance because it is impossible for them to show the motive, means or 
opportunity for their major premise from an historical standpoint.  

     A Christian should know that the text has been preserved according to 
the promise of God in scripture (Jn 10:35, 2 Pet. 1:19, Mt 5:17-18, Jn 5:37-
47, Rom 4:21, Is 46:10-11).  Indeed the scoffing apostasy of Westcott and Hort 
does nothing but confirm the trustworthiness of God's Word because He foretold 
it. [2 Pet 3:1-10]  Since Westcott and Hort don't claim to have God's Word 
preserved, they don't have an alternative for a Christian.

     The old man, the scoffing modern scholars, and any unbeliever, is acting 
contrary to evidence and reason if he fails to recognize the traditional text 
as the one which the Holy Ghost breathed and preserved.  This is evidenced by 
(i) the translations, (ii) the witness of the fathers, (iii) the witness of 
the lectionaries, and (iv) the witness of the later copies

 (i)  The Translations Witness Against the Major Premise.

      One problem with the theory that a conspiracy suppressed the true Greek 
text in the fourth century (or even the third century) is that the Bible was 
translated into other languages at a very early date.  This evidence is very 
abundant, over 15,000 copies exist of various translations. [9, p. 40].  Since 
Westcott and Hort reject the unanimous testimony of the Christian Church in 
the fourth century, they would also explain away the manuscripts of 
translations that were made after 400 A.D. into Gothic, Georgian, Ethiopic and 
Nubian.  They would, no doubt, say these were dupes of the conspiracy.  They 
would dismiss the translations into Syrian:  Palestinian (5th century), 
Philoxenian (508), and Harkleian (616).  They would dismiss the Egyptian 
translations: Bohairic (4th Century) and Middle Egyptian (5th century).  They 
would likewise dismiss all copies of Jerome's translation into Latin that was 
completed in 384, demanding more ancient evidence.  But there is an 
inconsistency in this.  What is to compel me to accept the witness of two 
heretical doctors of divinity from the nineteenth century above the witness of 
fourth and fifth century translators?  Their criterion of ancient is better 
means that I must accept the witness of those nearer the event than those 
later.  The burden of proof laid upon Westcott, Hort, and their modern allies 
grows to a crushing mountain when it is considered that every New Testament 
translator between 300 and 1881 must be shown to be a traitor or a dupe to a 
conspiracy to suppress the true text.

     Even if we irrationally accept their demand for a witness before the 
fourth century, they fare no better.  The Peshitta (a translation into Syrian) 
was produced early in the second century.  It is possible that this 
translation was in the hands of Saint John.  There are 350 copies extant of 
this translation, and they support the traditional text.  The old Latin 
translation that was in use when Jerome prepared the Vulgate was translated 
much earlier than 300 A.D. because 50 copies are still extant dated between 
300 and 400 A.D.  This translation is also a witness, prior to the fourth 
century, that testifies to the authenticity of the traditional text.

(ii)  The Church Fathers Witness Against the Major Premise.

     Even if all copies of the Greek manuscripts and translations were lost 
to us, the Bible is such a heavily quoted book in history that it is possible 
to reconstruct nearly the entire New Testament from quotes scattered about in 
the early church fathers.  Sir David Dalrymple established that the entire New 
Testament could be assembled from quotes of the fathers of the second and 
third century except 11 verses. [9, p. 51]  The mass of this evidence is 
demonstrated in the index of New Testament citations of the Church Fathers of 
Antiquity by the Dean John Burgon who is also the author of the authoritative 
critique of Westcott and Hort's theory [3].  This index consists of 16 thick 
volumes and contains 86,489 quotations. [9, p. 52]
     How this data may be used to certify the authenticity of the traditional 
text is illustrated by Dr. Burgon as follows.  He considers 15 verses (Mk 
10:17-31) copied by Clement of Alexandria in 183 A.D.  Alexandria was a hotbed 
of Gnosticism during this period, and Clement was not completely free of 
Gnostic taint.  Because of this, the witness of Clement against Westcott and 
Hort is more credible because it shows that no matter how sympathetic one is 
when choosing witnesses, the traditional text is supported.  

     When compared to the traditional text Clement differs in 38% of it.  But 
when Clement is compared to Westcott and Hort, he differs by 44%.  The reader 
may well ask how such a corrupt copy could possibly be of use to us at the 
present time.  Since Clement's text evidently is more corrupt than Westcott 
and Hort, how can his testimony be of any use?  Let Clement be considered an 
impartial witness who lived before any of this controversy arose, and let him 
weigh in on the proposed changes of Westcott and Hort.  Of the 15 changes 
proposed by Westcott and Hort, 12 of them are rejected by Clement who 
testifies to the authenticity of the traditional text. [3, p. 327-331]  This 
testimony is 150 years older than the favored manuscripts of Westcott and 
Hort, and it comes from the area that is most likely to agree with the 
doctrinal bias of Westcott and Hort.

     The authenticity of the traditional text is verified by the fact that 
the ancient fathers quoted it.  If it were welded together in the fourth 
century, how could someone substantiate it's wording 150 years earlier?  To 
believe such a thing is to turn history on it's head.
(iii)  The Lectionaries Witness Against the Major Premise.

     There are at least 2143 lectionaries extant.  Lectionaries are portions 
of the New Testament books arranged according to a fixed order for reading in 
the churches at worship.  This system developed at a very early date in the 
church (probably the first century), because the practice of assembling the 
scriptures in this way was taken over from Judaism.  This being the case, the 
text of the lectionaries represents a very reliable transmission medium since 
the lectionaries saw such limited use and were publicly read.  The 
lectionaries support the reading of the traditional text over against the 
proposed changes of Westcott and Hort.

(iv)  The Later Copies Witness Against the Major Premise.

     There are about 3000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that were 
copied by handwriting.  Most of these copies are dated after 800 A.D.  The 
class of manuscripts dated after 800 A.D. is known as the "later copies" in 
this section.  It is the contention of Westcott and Hort that since there was 
a conspiracy that fabricated the traditional text, all later copies may be 
collapsed into a single fabricated copy of the fourth century which may be 
ignored.  But since they did not show that there was such a conspiracy, the 
witness of the church in the fourth century is in reality a consensus of 
independent witnesses to the authenticity of the traditional text.  Westcott 
and Hort don't believe there were any errors due to transmission between the 
fourth century and the later copies that couldn't be corrected through a 
majority consensus of the manuscripts.  Since they did not prove the fourth 
century text to be a fabrication, a procedure that corrects the errors in the 
later copies establishes the authentic text.

     The rate that errors formed in transmission by handwriting may be 
observed by considering how many times Codices A and C mentioned above differ 
from the traditional text in the book of Luke.  This gives about one word 
being affected in 90 over the course of 400 years.  Estimate the New Testament 
to contain approximately 140,000 words.  There are 2000 copies that existed 
less than 1200 years from the autographs.  If the transmission rate was 
basically the same until the middle ages, and no corrections were made, it may 
be concluded that the average error rates of the later copies is about 1 word 
in 30.  

     Even if all early copies were destroyed, the original text could be 
recovered from the later copies through error correction.  The error 
correction procedure is to take an odd number of manuscripts and form the 
corrected text by adopting the words supported by the majority.  This recipe 
of correction is hardly novel, it has intuitive appeal as a reasonable 
correction algorithm where independent, equally credible witnesses are 

     One modern text critic objects that this method is irrational because 
the later copies are "too homogeneous" for this model [12, p. 207].  This 
difficulty may not exist, because this author does not quantify his claim;  to 
a liberal text critic, one error in thirty may be considered homogeneous.  
Even if the error rate is lower than one word in thirty, it is easily 
explainable in that a majority vote process may have been employed by many 
independent witnesses in the course of document transmission, and thus the 
errors corrected through independent observation.  It is significant that no 
mechanism has ever been put forward by these critics to account for how an 
archetype would be universally enforced in the monasteries of the middle ages.  
This is a large difficulty because hand-writing had to be the mechanism of 
transmitting and enforcing the archetype.  Logistically this is a very large 
task.  How could it be executed without evidence is a puzzling mystery.

     If it is pessimistically assumed that no copyists in the middle ages 
employed error correction, it would still only take 7 independent manuscripts 
with an error rate of 1 word in 30 to establish the New Testament text with 
only 1 error.  If 21 manuscripts are used then the probability of a single 
error in the new testament is less than 1 part in one hundred thousand.  
Before the final edition of Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament, he had 
considered at least 17 Greek manuscripts, and 10 Latin manuscripts on a first-
hand basis.  Many more manuscripts were consulted by those who reviewed or 
commented on his publication, including codex B whose variants are mentioned 
in the margin of the second and 5th editions and accurately characterized as 
corrupt.  In addition to this Erasmus compared two other contemporary Greek 
editions:  the Aldine, and the Complutensian.  With this large, diverse body 
of manuscripts consulted, it is more likely that the original autographs were 
re-assembled by Erasmus than to think that they were not. [13, p. 35-42]

     The later copies are sometimes wrongly thought to be the strongest 
evidence against the theories of Westcott and Hort.  Those who argue from the 
later copies are accused of trusting only the later copies instead of the 
ancient.  All the opponents of Westcott and Hort attempt to do with this 
argument, however, is show that it is unreasonable to think that there are any 
uncorrected errors in the New Testament caused by transmission through 
writing.  The later copies show that Westcott and Hort's theory is wrong 
because there was no conspiracy in the fourth century.  It is unreasonable in 
the face of historical evidence to believe that the ancient Christian church 
accepted a fabrication, and so the later copies establish the original autographs.

     It is usually claimed that the text type of the later copies isn't 
represented very strongly in the earlier centuries by remaining manuscripts.  
This difficulty has not been proved to exist because the "text type" 
categories have never been precisely defined.  (See section II B, and D.)  
Even if this difficulty exists, it is no serious problem to the traditional 
view, because the more popular and reliable a manuscript is, the more likely 
it is that ancient copies would have worn out and no longer be available.  One 
author who has the courage to mention this argument in a scholarly paper [12, 
p. 206] raised the related difficulty that if this applies to the copies 
before 800 A.D. why does it not apply to those after 800 A.D.  The reason is 
simple.  Movable type was invented in the early 1400's, and manuscripts didn't 
see the same use that they did prior to it's invention.

     When movable type was invented the mechanism for text preservation was 
changed.  Without movable type a reliable manuscript had to be handled at 
least once, and probably many times for each copy that was produced.  With 
movable type, copies could be produced by the thousand with little more 
manuscript handling than it previously took to produce one copy.  It is no 
wonder that the Gutenburg Bible is the first book of this period known to be 
printed in movable type.  By 1500, there were more than 1,000 printer shops in 
Europe.  Erasmus, who assembled a Greek edition for printing, lamented the 
idleness and carelessness of copyists in 1522 "such are the customs of the 
clergy, who care more about plates than pages and are interested more in money 
than manuscripts." [13, p. 41]  

     In the later copies we have a snapshot of the reliable manuscripts that 
were employed to preserve the text through transmission by handwriting.  As 
you go back in time before the invention of movable type, the more reliable 
manuscripts gradually taper away until none are available before 800.  This 
same phenomenon is observed in other works that were preserved by transmission 
through handwriting.  The following list gives the title and date of the 
earliest extant copy of 14 works whose earliest extant copy is later than 800:  
Caesar (900 A.D.), Plato Tetralogies (900 A.D.), Tacitus Annals (1100 A.D.), 
Tacitus minor works (1000 A.D.), Pliny the Younger History (850 A.D.), 
Thucydides History (900 A.D.), Suetonius De Vita Caesarum (950 A.D.), 
Herodotus History (900 A.D.), Sophocles (1000 A.D.), Catullus (1550 A.D.), 
Euripides (1100 A.D.), Demosthenes (1100 A.D.), Aristotle (1100 A.D.), 
Aristophanes (900 A.D.). [9, p. 42]  The Bible has much support before 800 
A.D. by manuscripts that were not used regularly by professional scribes, but 
this evidence is inferior to that of the later copies because the breadth of 
evidence more than compensates for the time span from the original {see also 
section II B. point (2) comment (c)}  If this is not reasonable to you, then 
can you tell where so many homogeneous copies would have appeared from if not 
from an abundance of similar copies that existed in previous centuries but 
were worn out?
(c)  Recent Papyri Finds Prove the Major Premise False

     When Westcott and Hort published their Greek Text in 1881, all but one 
of the more than 200 early Egyptian Papyri were yet to be discovered.  
According to their view, none of these Papyri (dated between 100 and 300 A.D.)
should support the readings that are included in the traditional text but 
not in ALEPH, B, or D.  They believe their major premise (that the traditional 
text was fabricated in the fourth century). Sturz [14] has collected lists of readings
found in Papyri dated between 100 and 300 A.D. that contradict the major premise of
Westcott and Hort.  His first list gives 150 different readings of the traditional text,
that Westcott and Hort rejected because they were found in neither ALEPH, nor B, nor D.  
This evidence is extremely damning to the major premise because it is 50 times 
longer than the list Westcott and Hort offer for proof of conflation.  A 
second list of Sturz contains 170 readings found in the traditional text that 
were confirmed by early Papyri, but were rejected by Westcott and Hort because 
they were not found in ALEPH or B but were found in D.  A third list contains 
80 readings found in the traditional text that were confirmed by early Papyri, 
but were rejected by Westcott and Hort because either ALEPH, or B, or D did 
not contain the reading.


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