Johann Albretcht Bengel as the father of textual criticism - per the Alands

Steven Avery

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The Father of Textual Criticism - Johann Albrecht Bengel .

Modern version cornfuseniks want to confound and mish-a-mosh the modern textual criticism errors with the superb textual analysis of Erasmus, Stephanus and Bezae unto the Reformation Bible editions.

(Sidenote: the actual term "textual criticism" began to be used in around 1800. Especially, in English, by Richard Laurence in responding to the Griesbach conceptual errors.) .

However, Kurt Aland says that Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) is the "father of textual criticism."

K. Aland, “Bibel und Bibeltext bei August Hermann Francke und Johann Albrecht Bengel,” in Pietismus und Bibel Herausgegeben von Kurt Aland, (Arbeiten Zur Gershichte der Pietismus 9; Witten: Luther Verlag, 1970, p. 136) - reference given in the Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters, 1998, by Donald K. McKim.p. 291 .

Similarly the London Quarterly used the exact phrase back in 1864.
https://books.google.com/books?id=us05AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA496 .

Bengel actually came after the writing of Gerhard Von Maestricht (1639-1721) who had a list of textual canons. However, since Maestricht was a bit rambling in his presentation, and generally acting as a defender of the pure Bible against the long lists of variant reading, he is off the modern version radar. .

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So do the contras think that Bengel fathered the Reformation Bible?

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It really is an anachronism fallacy (false definition) to write of Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza as doing textual criticism. Since their value were in general opposite those of the Griesbach to Hort to Metzger to Wallace confusions. The Reformation Bible experts based themselves on mostly the mass of Greek and Latin mss and the ECW with some faith-consistent logical and grammatical type of internal evidence considerations. e.g. Essentially, the opposite of "textual criticism" as used today.

Unbelieving scholars like Jan Krans go through hoops to try to find any references in the Reformation Bible experts to what they consider the sound textual criticism ideas, including "lectio difficilior", in their writing. However, lectio difficilior as applied today is simply the means to justify blatant corruptions and errors. (Discussed elsewhere.) In fact, all the fundamentals of textual criticism used today were either so far in left field that they were not considered (e.g. changing thee Bible to Vaticanus) or completely rejected by the learned men's writing and praxis. .

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A bit ironically, Jean Morin (1591-1659) is sometimes referred to as the textual criticism father, because of his work trying to add in "LXX" corruptions to modify the Old Testament. The irony is that in the New Testament "textual criticism" is focused on a narrowing of the field to a few mss., sidestepping the mass of Greek and Latin mss and the ECW as unimportant, only to be used when they can be referenced to try to give some support to the Vaticanus-primacy corruption.

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Note: Aland has more on Bengel in the text of the New Testament. He does not specifically use the "father of textual criticism" phrase but de facto this comes out.

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From The Text of the New Testament, 1995, p. 9-11
Kurt and Barbara Aland
https://books.google.com/books?id=RtcUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA9

Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752) admittedly reprinted the Textus Receptus in his edition of 1734 (he did not base his work solely on a single edition as did most scholars who preceded or followed him, but rather drew on numerous editions, selecting the readings he considered superior). But he classified each reading in the apparatus by a system in which the first two classes amounted to a virtual revision of the Textus Receptus (a = the original reading, with full certainty; β= a reading superior to the Textus Receptus. though with less than absolute certainty). ... It is true that Griesbach altered the Textus Receptus, but hardly enough to challenge seriously the record of Bengel's proposed changes in his first two classes of readings (even Wettstein, who placed his preferred readings between the Textus Receptus which he printed and its apparatus, proposed fewer changes than Bengel). The essential principles of textual criticism which have retained their validity to the present were already formulated by Bengel.15 To him is due the laurel for the eighteenth century.16 .

15. Although in elaboration of views proposed by Gerhard von Maestricht in 1711.

16. Just as to Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort for the nineteenth century, although they were surpassed by Constantin von Tischendorf in the use of manuscripts, just as Bengel was by Wettstein. .

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Let us note that Bengel did properly defend the heavenly witnesses as authentic, although in an awkward manner that wanted to flip the position of the two verses of the heavenly and earthly witnesses.

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Steven Avery

Followed by:

It should be pointed out there was no one science of textual criticism in the 1800s, leading to the Westcott-Hort recension. The texts of Lachman, Alford, Wordsworth, Tischendorf (two radically different texts before and after Sinaiticus) and others were all over the map. It was a scholastic disaster. The "rules" changed, the applications of the rules changed, Thus there was no real direction or competition to the pure Reformation Bible editions.

What the Westcott-Hort duplicity and text accomplished was to give those driven and buffeted in opposition to the pure Bible one banner to go under. They could circle the horses.

The "rules" were not really relevant to W-H anyway, they were simply making up new theories with convoluted illogic to proclaim a Vaticanus-primacy text (plus the equally absurd Western non-interpolations.)

It might be a decent exercise to have a chart and description of the wildly differing 1800s texts up to the W-H recension, working with 10 major variants.

Steven Avery

And more: (after a short skip looking at Bill Brown nonsense:

Note I did specifically give the secondary source which relates that Aland in his German does use the phrase "father of textual criticism" for Bengel. Will I look for the primary source? Maybe . We can start with McKim.

"mixed genders" - have no idea what is the reference

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Theodore Letis refers to textual criticism, not recognizing the anachronism, with a chapter:
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"Theodore Beza as Text Critic: A View Into the 16th Century Approach to New Testament Text Criticism?".
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Lots of people make this error of trying to superimpose modern textual criticism on a different age of faith and textual perspective. Letis has lots of fine stuff, and lots of error.
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From Aland: "
John Fell, then dean of Christ Church and later bishop of Oxford, used more than one hundred manuscripts and also all the versions of the London Polyglot for his 1675 edition of the Greek New Testament, further supplementing them with the Coptic and Gothic versions.12 But this indirect criticism of the Textus Receptus failed to produce any changes in it. Its authority only increased. As early as 1672 Prof. Johann Saubert of Helmstedt13 began collecting variant readings, but the direct implications of this for the Textus Receptus did not become apparent until the eighteenth century. Then the readings found in the manuscripts and versions were not only compiled in increasingly comprehensive critical apparatuses but at times a particular reading was identified as superior to that of the text or even introduced into the text to correct the Textus Receptus. The
English were the first to explore this direction: John Mill's edition of 1707, Richard Bentley's proposals of 1720. Edward Wells* and Daniel Mace's editions of 1709-1719 and 1729 (which made substitutions in the Textus Receptus in a whole group of passages).
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13. The first German to engage in discussion of specific problems of textual criticism with Dutch and English scholars.
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Johannes Saubert (1638-1688) is a nice tidbit often missed, but nobody ever calls him the father of textual criticism. As a note, he is a good addition to heavenly witnesses defenders.
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When the young Bengel (1687-1752) in 1713 wrote contra Gerhard von Maestricht (Mästricht has multiple English spellings, Michael Marlowe has Maestricht, Maastricht is an alternative), Maestricht (1639-1721) was 74, and lived a few more years.
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Unless the elderly Maestricht responded to Bengel, Bengel clearly did come after Maestricht in textual writings.
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Edward Miller has a quote:
""With respect to the origin of B and Aleph, which will be of course Neutral documents, I believe both came from Origen, who was the first textual critic. (Miller, 1897: 14)"
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Rather far afield
🙂
. Surely Origen and Jerome and others CAN be called a "textual critic" .. but it is a poor anachronistic usage, superimposing a modern unbelieving deficient discipline on totally different times and views.
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"What Maurice Robinson does as a Byzantine priority advocate is EVERY BIT AS MUCH textual criticism as what Dan Wallace, Bart Ehrman, or Michael Holmes do."
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I've written a lot on the "Greek Byzantine priority" one-dimensional attempts elsewhere.
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"There was also the inconvenient little truth you're avoiding - MANUSCRIPT DISCOVERIES!!!! That tends to change and overthrow assumptions quite easily."
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This is the modern confusion that says "don't really believe you have the pure word of God. We may change it tomorrow. "
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A perspective that is funny, sad and sick. You can see how that appeals to the pride of life of the one who feels they should change the word of God.
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Some irrelevant stuff about Bengel and Revelation. I leave out something totally unimportant with a "..." and the contras go into paroxysms over nothing.
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There were a couple of spots pointed out where the grammar of the OP can be improved.
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Overall, more substance than usually comes from Bill Brown. Probably the only real changes to the OP are a spot of grammar and maybe getting the Aland primary source. The fuzz and buzz now can encourage me to make this into a more full-orbed article, except time is a bit lacking at the moment!
🙂

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If a article for wider viewing, I might spend a little time discussing stuff like the misuse by Letis and others and the desire of Maurice Robinson to be accepted under the "textual criticism" umbrella .. where he actually does the discipline a favor as a type of "controlled opposition" so they can say "look, we are not all with the hortian text".
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