The Myth of the Scrivener 1894 AV Greek text as a pro-AV text - actually it was 1881 for the decrepit Revision

Steven Avery

THE MYTH OF PRO-AV SUPERIORITY MOTIVES IN THE "1894 Scrivener" - which is actually the 1881 Scrivener edition

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"1894 Scrivener" - actually the 1881 Scrivener edition


Referring to this as an 1894 edition is quite confusing.

First Scrivener passed in 1891.

This text was published first in 1881, and I believe should be referred to as Scrivener 1881. Granted, this might make the connection with the decrepit Revision more obvious.

The New Testament in the original Greek: according to the text followed in the Authorized version, together with the variations adopted in the Revised version (1881)

Followed by many editions.

The purpose was to support the Revised Version by showing the variations.

"The Cambridge Press has therefore judged it best to set the readings actually adopted by the Revisers at the side of the page, and to keep the continuous text consistent throughout by making it so far as was possible uniformly representative of the Authorised Version."

Notice that Scrivener wrote with some equivocation.

There is nothing special about the 1894 edition, the text is identical (unless one or the other had a typo.)

In this edition it has not been thought necessary to indicate variations from Beza by the mark * the Appendix, which is retained, sufficiently shewing the passages in question; moreover in lieu of using thicker type to indicate readings which have not been used by the Revisers, spaced type has been adopted.
Christmas, 1893.


Timothy Berg actually gets this right.

"This Greek text was first printed in 1881 by Cambridge University Press as a companion volume to the 1881 Revised Version, the official revision of the 1611 KJV, or Authorized Version (AV). In order that the Revisers might comply with their instructions about presenting the textual variations of their text from the text of the AV, they had provided CUP with a list of places they had chosen to differ from the Greek text presumed to underlie the AV. This list had been kept by Scrivener, who was on the Revision Committee, and who was appointed the task by the Committee. The University Presses decided that rather than clutter the margins of the RV, the best way to present this list and comply with the instruction was to actually separately print the Greek text of the AV, a text which had not been printed before, and set out in the apparatus at the foot of the page the alternative readings adopted in the RV."

And discusses the origin of the 1894 myth.

"Unfortunately, some groups later reprinted the text itself, from the 1894 edition, (including an edition in a beautiful calfskin leather) not noting that it had existed before that date. They strangely omitted Scrivener's preface explaining the origins of the text, and omitted the apparatus which was the express purpose of the creation of the text; a purpose expressed in the very title of the original work. This was the edition used as the base text at my alma mater which professes that this text preserves, "the very words [God] inspired" (which had the unfortunate result of insulating students from reading the Preface and understanding the history of the text). .... Nor did he have any intention in publishing it to disassociate himself from the RV; his volume was published as a companion volume to the RV."

While Berg has the editions as:
First Edition 1881
Reprinted 1881 (twice), 1883, 1884, 1886, 1890, 1894, 1908.

It looks to me that this omits a number of reprint editions.

Grantley McDonald got this all wrong, as well, and added the idea that this was a project that Scrivener was working on until he passed.


Raising the Ghost of Arius - p. 298

The work of F. H. A. Scrivener illustrates the powerful gravitational pull of the Authorised Version. His expertise in biblical studies was considerable, and he did valuable work on important early manuscripts like the Codex Bezae. The last years of his life were devoted to a reconstruction of the Greek text underlying the Authorised Version, a composite of readings from a number of early printed editions. Scrivener’s edition of this Greek text, published posthumously in 1894 and reprinted unchanged to the present, remains the authorised Greek text of groups such as the Trinitarian Bible Society, even though it is as much the product of critical artifice as the eclectic Nestle-Aland text that conservatives deplore.5

5, accessed 5 March, 2010


The "product of critical artifice" comment is simply a junque aside, typical Critical Text claptrap.

No reference was given, so I wonder where Grantley got this "last years of his life" idea, whether it was his own deduction, or a blunder picked up from some writer without giving the refeernce.

Grantley gives this url
Accessed March 6, 2010

Which leads to

The Greek Text: The Society uses the form of the Greek text of the New Testament known as the Textus Receptus or Received Text. This is the text which underlies the New Testament of the Authorised Version and the other Reformation translations. It is a faithful representation of the text which the church in different parts of the world has used for centuries. It is the result of the textual studies of conservative scholars during the years both before and after the Reformation, and represents for the most part over 5,000 available Greek manuscripts. The Society believes this text is superior to the texts used by the United Bible Societies and other Bible publishers, which texts have as their basis a relatively few seriously defective manuscripts from the 4th century and which have been compiled using 20th century rationalistic principles of scholarship.

Which does not answer our question.

Steven Avery

Timothy Berg did unravel a lot of this, and Maurice Robinson has excellent comments going back to 1995!.

I'll plan on adding this additional information shortly, I just wanted to get some basics onto the PBF.