the unique elements of Revelation textually - Jack Moorman

Steven Avery

Jack Moorman

CHAPTER 4THE BOOK OF REVELATION IN THE HFAND RPEDITIONSWhen we c o me to the Bo o k o f Rev elation, HFand RPturn fro m v o n So den to the far mo re sec ure gro und o f H. C.Ho skier. Y et there will no t be muc h joy in this fo r tho se o f us who ho ld to the A utho rized V ersio n, fo r in the c ase o f the HFeditio n fully o ne-third o f the 1 80 0 alteratio ns whic h the edito rs make are fro m the A po c aly pse, and based o n Ho skier's data! The situatio n appears to be appro x imately the same fo r RP.Herman C. Ho skier is generally a friend o f the Traditio nal Text o f the NT. His famous wo rk Co dex B and Its A lliesis a dev astating indic tment against the so-c alled "pillars" o f the A lex andrian Tex t. He is amo ng that triumv irate o f sc ho lars, with Burgo n and Sc riv ener, who sto o d against the stampede to ward the Rev ised Tex t. Ho skier's sc ho larship and firsthand kno wledge o f the MSS c o mmand respec t, and o ften fro m tho se who are o ppo nents in tex tual matters.J. Nev ille Birdsall is an ex ample:But pride of place belongs to two more recent students who have devoted themselves solely to the problems of text. First to be named is Herman C. Hoskier, who made many valuable contributions to the textual cirticism of the New Testament as a whole, and in regard to the Revelation gave thirty years to the task of collating all the available manuscripts of the book. The result of this task are to be found in the two massive volumes of his, Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse. Hoskier as a theoretician of textual criticism was exceedingly eccentric nor was he gifted with a very felicitous style of English; but as a collator he was, as Kirsopp Lake testified, preternaturally accurate, so that all his works are valuable as repositories of raw material...for the Greek text of the Apocalypse his work stands as a kteme eis aei[an eternal possession] (“The Text of the Revelation of Saint John”, The Evangelical Quarterly, 33-1961, pp. 228,229 emphasis mine).At the outset, Bible believers will find reassuring Hoskier’s basic conclusion concerning the 20 0 plus MSS he c o llated fo r Rev elatio n:I may state that if Erasmushad striven to found a text on the largest number of existing MSS in the world of one type, he could not have succeeded better, since his famiIy-MSS occupy the front rank in point of actual numbers, the family numbering over 20 MSS, beside its allies (TheJohn Rylands Bulletin19-1922/23. p. 118).So , what went wro ng? Why this who lesale departure by HFand RPfro m the Rec eiv ed Tex t in the Bo o k o f Rev elatio n? Unlike v o n So den, we c anno t argue that Ho skier lo o ked at o nly a mino rity o f the MSS o r that his wo rk was c harac terized by lo w perc entage c o llatio n, o r that it was "ho ney c ombed with erro r". In fac t, his wo rk was v ery ac c urate and dealt with mo st o f the ex tant MSS c o ntaining Revelation. So again, ho w c an we ac c ount fo r his material being used to intro duc eso many departures fro m the Rec eiv ed Tex t? The answer is basic ally two-fold:

1.Bo th HFand RPc ho se to base their tex t in Rev elatio n o n a large gro up o f MSS whic h generally align with the 1 0thc entury unc ial MS 0 46. RPcalls this group “Q”; we will call it

31WHEN THE KJV DEPARTS FROM THE “MAJORITY” TEXT0 46. Ho skier did no t indic ate a preference fo r 0 46 but merely c ited the data. The KJV /TR adheres to an equally large gro up o f MSS asso c iated with (and o ften c o ntaining) an influential c o mmentary o n Rev elation by A ndreas, Bisho p o f Caesarea in Cappado c ia. This c o mmentary is said by RPto hav e been written in the 4thc entury (RPPrefac e, p. x ii). 2.The sec o nd major error is that the HFedito rs did no t allo t to the A ndreas gro up all the MSS due to it. Thus, the 0 46 gro up is made in their editio n to lo ok largerthan the A ndreas. The RPedito rs do no t explain their procedures to the ex tent o f HF, and tho ugh their resultant tex t differs so mewhat, they are c lear in stating that they fo llo wed the 0 46 gro up. These two basic pro cedures led to the many c hanges which the HFedito rs readily admit:Additionally, the number of disagreements with the Oxford Textus Receptus was much greater than in the other books of the New Testament (HFIntroduction, p xl).They also say :Here also, as in the John passage, the results are presented as provisionaland remains for the community of New Testament scholars to weigh these data in the light of the projected stemma (p. xxxiii emphasis mine).Befo re ex amining the two majo r MSS gro upings in Rev elatio n (A ndreas and 0 46) we sho uld no te at the o utset:

THE UNIQUE POSITION OF REVELATION IN THE MANUSCRIPT HISTORYIt is no t surprising that this bo o k whic h so mightily tells o f Christ's Sec o nd Co ming and Satan's defeat, sho uld itself be the c hief o bject o f Satan's attac k. The "o ffic ial" c hurc h, bo th East and West, but espec ially East, was slo w to ac c ept the bo o k as c ano nic al. The rebukes to the sev en c hurches in A sia may hav e c ome to o c lose to the bone. "Wo rdswo rth c onjectures that the rebukes o f Lao dic ea in Rev elatio n influenc ed the c o unc il o f Lao dic ea [4thc entury ] to o mit Rev elation fro m its list o f bo o ks to be read publicly" (JFB Co mmentary, V ol. V I, p. lx ii).There was also a stro ng bias against the bo o k's millennial do c trine. A s there also is to day !Further, Greek MSS co ntaining Rev elatio n are no t nearly as plentiful as in the rest o f the NT. Many o f the ex tant MSS (Ho skier say s 40 ) are bo und up with writings o ther than the NT. Rev elatio n was no t used in the lec tio nary serv ic es o f the Eastern Churc h, and therefo re, the lec tio nary MSS do no t c o ntain it.In passing, it is interesting to no te that while ex tant MSS o f the Sy riac Peshitta do no t hav e Rev elation, yet earlier editions must have c ontained it. Fo r Ephrem Sy rus (died 37 3), who was c o nsidered the greatest father in the Sy rian c hurch, quo tes Revelation repeatedly in Sy riac. He did no t kno w Greek! (See The Greek New Testament, Henry A lfo rd, v o l. IV , p. 20 2)But whatev er the po sitio n may have been in the o ffic ial c hurch, the c ommon peo ple heard him gladly(Mark 1 2:37 ). A nd Go d has preserved this bo ok whic h c o nc ludes o ur Bible thro ugh the priestho o d o f believ ers.


Unlike the rest o f the NT in whic h the KJV /TR ty pe o f MSS to tally do minate the field numeric ally , the same is no t the c ase with Rev elatio n. A mo ng the 25 6 (just abo v e 30 0 no w) MSS whic h Ho skier c o llated, it is two rather than o ne gro up that are seen to do minate. Zane Ho dges presented an ex c ellent study o n this tex tual pheno mena:The cursive evidence does not reveala single type of textdecisively dominating the field. Instead of this, there is a most striking bifurcation of the cursive witnesses as revealed by the surviving manuscripts. On the one hand is found the uncial 046 standing at the head of a large band ofcursive manuscripts, the hard core of which is about eighty strong. On the other hand stands another large group, approximately equal in size, whose text is connected with that used by Andreas of Caesarea [in Cappadocia, Asia Minor]...Most of the remaining cursives, with the exception of a few which are related to the uncials A and C, are found to be texts which have experienced mixture of these two basic types.But this cleavage In the cursive testimony is rendered even more striking because it is found to be remarkably sharp. To prove this, if one works his way carefully through Hoskier’s second volume, he wiII find that on page after page of the apparatus these two cursive groups stand apart from each other and render conflIcting testimony where there are significant variants. What is even more, the uncial manuscripts on which modern editors have placed such great reliance are discovered to vacillate surprisingly from side to side.(“The Ecclesiastical Text of Revelation,” Bibllotheca Sacra, April 1961, p 115).Again, s noted, the Andrean MSS will often contain Andreas’ commentary along with the tex t.CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANDREAS AND 046 MSS1.A s to whic h wo uld rec eiv e mo re suppo rt fro m the unc ials, Ho dges say s:On the whole the Andreas group receives stronger uncial support throughout the book than does the 046 coterie, but Aleph and A and C and P47 disagree frequently among themselves ...Although belonging to the same basic Egyptian family, the elder uncials along with P47 exhibit exceptional fluidity...Butwhile P47 and Aleph seem more inclined to go with 046, and A and C tend to favor Andreas, the groupings by no means consistently follow these lines (“Ecclesiastical Text”, p. 115, 120).This v ac illatio n o f the o ld unc ials between A ndreas and 0 46 indic atesthat their c harac teristic readings are in fac t o lder than the early unc ials. Ho dges ex plains:One inference from all this is obvious. There is nothing here to suggest that the fundamental cleavage between Andreas and 046 was of late origin.Indeed, the uncertainty which the leading ancient manuscripts exhibit hints strongly that the two major cursive streams can only meet back, perhaps far back, of the fourth century. Aleph, generally assigned to that era, shows the most pronounced signs of wavering between the two cursive groups...

33WHEN THE KJV DEPARTS FROM THE “MAJORITY” TEXTThe confusion among the uncials is profound, and there is not wanting in this a hint that the editors of the uncials themselves or of their ancestral exemplars exercised their critical faculties extensively in adjudicating the rival claims of the Andreas and 046 branches of the tradition, and that no panacea for doing so was known to any of them. Hence they strike out in differing directions repeatedly...No text prevailed in the Byzantine Church. Instead, two forms of text were usedand copied—often side by side in the same monastery—down through the Middle Ages ( pp. 120, 121).Here we hav e a go o d ex ample o f ho w a large gro up o f late MSS c an giv e a far c learer pic ture o f the o riginal auto graphs than the early unc ials.2.Regarding the c o mparativ e age o f the two streams, Ho skier presents a so mewhat different v iew than the abo v e and sho ws the A ndrean to be muc h o lder:...the B [046] revision, which was made in the 7th century and has so largely influenced one-half or one-third of the cursive MSS (Text Apocalypse, vol. I, p.xxvii).As to the 1 family [Adreas, Erasmian]... The large group 119-123-144-148-158 is also independent, and through its Syriac strain going back to a very ancient substratum (p xxxiii)....theleading problem is the B (046) recension. Strange that,as in the other books, the great Vatican codex B occupies the most prominent position among the materia critica, so here another MS also designated B should seem to hold the key to the position of the fortress we are trying to penetrate (p xxxv)!119-123 further emphasize the great age of the Erasmian or 1 group (p. 12).HFagrees, the A ndrean tex t is v ery o ld:There Is no reason why the parental exemplar of the Andreas text-type could not go back well into the second century (HFIntroduction, p.xxxvi).3.Regarding the all-impo rtant questio n o f whic h o f the two gro ups aligns mo re c lo sely with theprinted Rec eiv ed Tex t underly ing the A utho rized V ersio n, Ho dges say s:...the Textus Receptus much more closely approximates Andreas than 046-in fact, hardly resembles the latter group at all (“Ecclesiastical Text,” p. 121 emphasis mine).To this questio n Ho skier likewise leav es us in no do ubt:We trace the origin of the B (046) group not further back than 8th or possibly 7th century. Now many many cursives are identified with this famiIy group, whereas in the main our Textus Receptus is not, and has at any rate avoided the bulk of this revision (Text ApocaIypse, p. xxxvii)....This is what we mean when we say it Is dangerous to tamper with the oldest readings of the TR (p. xii).This may be the proper place to emphasize why the Textus Receptus of the Apocalypse is intrinsically good. Apoc.#1, on which It was founded, is an old text. See how it comes


Albert Hembd has also written on this on the Facebook forums.
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