Re: Numbers

From: Peter Ruest (
Date: Sat Mar 01 2003 - 15:17:44 EST

  • Next message: Iain Strachan \(asa\): "Re: Numbers"

    Don Winterstein wrote:
    > Iain Strachan wrote:
    > > We're not dealing with translations here, only the agreed Hebrew and =
    > Greek
    > > texts. It is harder to do this on the Greek text, where there are =
    > more
    > > variations, than on the Hebrew. But also if the original spelling was
    > > different (i.e. when the author wrote it down), I don't think that
    > > invalidates the phenomenon, or makes God incompetent. If a spelling
    > change
    > > made the patterns appear, then that rules out the idea that the =
    > original
    > > human writer did it deliberately.
    > Surely a precise rendering of the original is a major issue if you think =
    > God
    > might have been behind these numerical peculiarities. Or is God also =
    > behind all the scribal modifications? And if so, does that mean he =
    > wasn't able to get it right the first time? If one looks into the
    > matter, one finds that the original Hebrew text (OT) is known with far =
    > less certainty than
    > the original Greek (NT). Differences between the Masoretic
    > version and the Septuagint hint at deep problems lurking but now glossed =
    > over; and there are many reasons for textual uncertainty in the =
    > Masoretic besides those differences. Talk about weak rods to lean on! =20
    > The Muslims were smarter about this. They got rid of all variations at =
    > a really early stage, so now they can worship their Quran with =
    > confidence. =20
    > Don

    According to the Greek New Testament (ed. Nestle), there are no variants
    in John 1:1, i.e. all existing manuscripts are identical. According to
    the Hebrew Bible (ed. Kittel), there are no variants in the consonants
    of Gen. 1:1. And that certainly without any Quran-type manipulations,
    smart or not. (Vowels were added later; they don't count as part of the
    text proper and are ignored in the number calculations.) Of course, we
    don't worship the bible, but God who inspired it.

    According to Robert C. Newman, "The Biblical Narratives of Easter Week:
    Are They Trustworthy?" (IBRI RR 1, 1985), there are over 5000 full or
    partial Greek NT manuscripts. Hort estimates that substantial variants
    make up only about 1/1000 of the text (B.F. Westcott & F.J.A. Hort,
    eds., "The New Testament in the Original Greek" (New York: Harper &
    Brothers, 1882)). Sir Frederic Kenyon, "Our Bible and the Ancient
    Manuscripts" (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941), summarizes the
    situation: "The number of manuscripts of the New Testament... is so
    large that it is practically certain that the true reading of every
    doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient
    authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world. -
    Scholars are satisfied that they possess substantially the true text of
    the principal Greek and Roman writers whose works have come down to us,
    of Sophocles, of Thucydides, or Cicero, or Virgil; yet our knowledge
    depends on a mere handful of manuscripts, whereas the manuscripts of the
    New Testament are counted by hundreds and even thousands."


    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Mar 01 2003 - 15:15:02 EST