two lines - two streams - two trees ( from Benjamin Wilkinson )

Steven Avery

This will be the spot for a single thread on this question of a popular AV apologetics presentation.

There is a myth-buster element involved.
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Steven Avery

First, some earlier writings.

KJV Bible Forums
Streams of Bibles, the Reformation Bible & KJB Defense



Alexandrian Cult - I agree that the blind allegiance of many today to the modern version probability-possibililty critical text (based on two corrupt manuscripts) is irrational .. not understandable logically, and "Alexandrian cult" is one reasonable explanation. Many people simply do not want there to be a final authority, so they are attracted to theories that allow them to reject the one pure Bible and tangible inspiration and preservation. A smorgasbord approach is preferred.

(After all, even James White says he prefers the KJB text of 1 Timothy 3:16 .. those who have the Alexandrian cult mentality do not really believe their text is the pure word of God, it is simply a possible starting point for thoughts and redactions and rejections and changes and the person's own decisions. And they never want to state clearly their actual "probability" that a verse they are reading is the word of God rather than the tampering of man. They will simply tell you what they are "comfortable with" .. a recent response I received .. and they are comfortable with not knowing God's word from man's tampering. No verse is sure. )

However the modern versions today, full of errors and corruptions and omissions, do not represent any "stream of Bibles" at all. No known Greek or Latin or Syriac Bible churches and communities from 400 AD to 1881 were ever reading such corrupt versions as are put out today from the "Critical Text", nothing even remotely close.

Over the period from 400 AD to today, many were reading the Latin Vulgate, yet the Latin Vulgate is not remotely as corrupt as the Critical Text today, e.g. it has the resurrection account of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, the Pericope Adultera, the heavenly witnesses, Acts 8:37, John 1:18 correct and more. While also having many corruptions as in 1 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:22 , and also a number of poor translations from Greek to Latin.

The difficulty of talking about streams of Bibles is something like this, working with a purity quotient.


KJB - 100%
TR - Reformation Bible - 99% (some editions have corruptions like Luke 2:22)
Greek Byzantine MSS - 85 %
Peshitta 75%
Old Latin 55% (variable by manuscript)
Vulgate 50%
Critical Text - 5% (W-H, or NA-27)
Vaticanus - Sinaiticus - 1% (Bezae is similar).

Numbers are my estimates, based on research and studies.

The Reformation Bible was developed in a providential manner, see REFORMATION BIBLE DYNAMIC below, which is why it is exceedingly pure.

Returning to STREAMS OF BIBLES -- > the Critical Text and Vaticanus-Sinaiticus simply have no significant historical attestation. They represent a certain amount of limited usage in the 4th century (since there is a connection to the Constantine 50 Bibles). By the fifth century the Greek world was working with the pure Byzantine Text and the Latin world was working with the fair Vulgate and Old Latin lines, the alexandrian corruption manuscripts were of little note. A few Greek extant manuscripts over the next 1000 years show a mild affinity to the alexandrian mss (perhaps up to 10 more manuscripts, less than 1%, are said to have some affinity, yet these often agree with our Byzantine text and will not have many of the alexandrian corruptions in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus). We know of no church which utilized these texts, east or west, after whoever used the Constantine-Eusebius-published Bible in the 300s and its small lineage.


The problem with talking of "streams of Bibles" is that it tends to underplay the significance of the abject corruption in the modern versions, which corruption, hundreds of blunders, errors, omissions .. simply has no significant historical ecclesiastical or textual support. No stream of Bibles is reflected. No churches in Antioch or Rome or Greece or Spain or Constaninople or England or Carthage was reading a Bible that was corrupt in the manner of the modern GNT or the even worse underlying manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

Remember the English translations fudge a lot of issues (keeping the reader guessing) by including text in special print or location or footnote that their own GNT actually claims is not original scripture, in their normal "we are not really sure" fashion. And this is after the Critical Text GNT ignores hundreds of obvious blunders in its own underlying proof-texts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. See e.g. the Tischendorf offhand reference to "many obvious blunders" or the Dean John Burgon analysis, or the verses given by Scrivener and Hoskier.

Thus a fabricated text (first secretly foisted in 1871 by Westcott and Hort upon the revision committee with no public or peer review and analysis and discussion) was created that has about 200 verses (Professor Maurice Robinson, precise number unsure) with no exemplar in any language whatsoever. This is because within one verse a dubious word can be taken from Vaticanus here and a phrase from Sinaitcus there, creating a unique textual hybrid hopeful monster. Which then becomes a modern version "Bible".

Also the Stream of Bible argument tends to be unfair to the Vulgate, which is downgraded to an equivalence to the ultra-corrupt modern versions as an "Alexandrian cult" text. Also it tends to lift up the Old Latin too much, as if this was clearly a distinct and major improvement over the Vulgate texts.


And by making the Vulgate the textual enemy, the KJB defender has to work awkwardly around the fascinating and powerful Reformation Bible dynamic, which actually incorporated together the preservation from the Greek fountainhead and the Vulgate and Old Latin, with excellent reference to and support from early church writers and internal evidences. Thus the lacks in the Greek text that were correct in the Latin (often simply omissions, the most trivial scribal error, like the heavenly witnesses and minority textual representation for Acts 8:37) were easily seen to be pure scripture by the solid combination of textual considerations. This was done by the Bible textual giants of Erasmus unto Stephanus unto Beza .. with a providential process of correction and purification unto 1611.


Not understanding these issues fully has led to two competing defective KJB positions. On one side, the Dean John Burgon society folks, and some others, try to fudge the actual development process of the Textus Receptus and mix it up with the Greek Byzantine Text (a major component in development, but a different text), a major conceptual error. This can be seen clearly in a recent Kirk DiVietro interview.

As a side-error the DBS claims that they are essentially "TR Only" (no inspiration for you, AV) that they support by trying to work around the clear words of the AV in 2 Timothy 3:16 that scripture is present-tense ie. today. This is a terrible inconsistency, since they claim to affirm the English KJB words on one hand, and then try to "correct" them by Greek twirling, simply to try to separate the AV from inspired scripture. A real scholastic travesty, almost humorous in its transparent inconsistency.

Also the DBS struggles with the simple fact they have no one TR text, that the TR was a process of textual correction and purification. Trying to affirm the Scrivener 1881 text, derivative from the KJB, is clearly logically futile. And in fact the King James Bible actually represents the apex of purity and perfection of the Received Text development and dynamic.

The other defective position is given by Gail Riplinger who seeks to emphasize the northern European "vernacular versions" (e.g. Gothic, Gaellic, Celtic, Old Saxon) as a supposed significant element of development of the King James Bible, which is a sidestep around the providential Reformation Bible. This emphasis simply lacks historical and textual support. Those European vernaculars were usually Old Latin and Vulgate derivative, the Gothic is Greek-derivative, their texts were of minimal textual import from 1500 to 1611 to today, except to help corroborate specific readings (e.g. Gothic Codex Argentus supports the Mark ending yet not the Pericope Adultera).

Aware King James Bible defenders, I would suggest, should avoid both ditches. In a certain sense the DBS ditch is more conceptually serious, since it involves the very definitions of scripture and inspiration and which text is the pure and perfect word of God. Yet the Riplinger diversion to a non-relevant issue away from the Reformation Bible can only hinder our defense of the pure Bible. We should simply want our exposition to be on a sound basis.

Here is Edward Hills on the providential element of the Reformation Bible.

"the formation of the Textus Receptus was guided by the special providence of God. There were three ways in which the editors of the Textus Receptus Erasmus. Stephanus. Beza. and the Elzevirs, were providentially guided. In the first place, they were guided by the manuscripts which God in His providence had made available to them. In the second place, they were guided by the providential circumstances in which they found themselves. Then in the third place, and most of all. they were guided by the common faith. Long before the Protestant Reformation, the God-guided usage of the Church had produced throughout Western Christendom a common faith concerning the New Testament text, namely, a general belief that the currently received New Testament text, primarily the Greek text and secondarily the Latin text, was the True New Testament Text which had been preserved by God's special providence. It was this common faith that guided Erasmus and the other early editors of the Textus Receptus." - Edward Hills
This is a good starting point for a more balanced understanding, as long was we continue that providential element unto the Authorized Version !

(follow-up post at the url on top.)

Facebook - King James Bible Debate - Nov 9, 2014
The key error in these charts is simple, it is the false dichotomy created in the Latin lines. In point of fact, the Old Latin and the Vulgate with the ECW that used those latin Bibles, all contributed to the excellence of the Reformation Bible.

The error here is from the heritage of Benjamin Wilkinson mangling Frederick Nolan, in order to paint the Vulgate as the bad Bible against the Waldensian good Bible. In point of fact, the people of the hills likely loved the sound and rhythm of their Bibles and resisted ... at some times, yet not fully ... the Vulgate. If so, and it is not easily demonstrable, this was more cultural and linguistic, the community of faith expressed, than textual.

All charts and expositions that put the Old Latin and the Vulgate on opposite sides of the Bible divide are not aligned with the textual truth. Jerome updated the existing Old Latin mss, rather faithfully. And it is hard to tell what Greek ms he used, since the updates were small and we don't have the 400 AD Vulgate extant. And the problem overall is not a small problem, because it then becomes necessary to fog up the excellent use of the Greek fountainhead and Latin traditional Bibles by the learned men who gave us the Reformation Bible.

See Edward Freer Hills as an AV defender who acknowledged this contributions. This fogging is done by many. Gail Riplinger, as one example, attempts to squeeze in vernacular versions -- as the replacement for the true history that would acknowledge the Latin contribution to our Bibles. However the basic problem came decades before Gail Riplinger.

The rcc even supported the fine scholarship of the Complutensian and of Erasmus, against the Latin Bible cultrual primacy as late as the early 1500s. It was only the counter-reformation of Trent around 1546, against the pure Received Text, where they went wildly astray. Then in the 1900s they supported the ultra-corrupt Westcott-Hort recension, going even more astray. Perhaps they angled for that as a plan B, as in the two meetings with Tischendorf, in one of which the pope virtually kissed his ring.


Textually, the Old Latin and the Vulgate are about equal, in fact the Old Latin has some wildness in readings where the Vulgate is more attune to the pure Bible.

Hope this helps, I know many AV defenders have found the simplified two lines charts to be colorful, largely accurate, and effective.

** And there are two major Greek lines, that can be described as Antiochan and Alexandrian. **
However, a chart like the one above shoots for a lot more, and can wound you in the foot.
CARM 2014 (purged)
The two streams charts are oversimplified, and have some major problems.

The biggest single problem can be seen by looking at the Latin mss, the Old Latin, which on the left is "Latin Bibles" and the Vulgate, which is put as Jerome 382. (Actual year is 383 for the Gospels, later for the rest.)

These two lines often intermixed in the manuscript lines. They both often support the pure Bible readings, having contributed to the Received Text. And often support the corruptions in the Vaticanus Alexandrian text (both are fine on the two 12-verse major omissions.) Thus, they are somewhere in the middle, however that is not what the chart is looking for. And the great majority of the time the Old Latin Bibles and the Vulgate agree (which is not surprising, since the Vulgate was an update of the Old Latin.)

If you have specific questions about any blocks in the chart, or how the ideas behind the chart developed, or the claims of MartialApologist above, or what is a better conceptual way to look at the development of the pure Reformation Bible, I would be happy to address any such specifics. #27 In this case, even Steven Avery admits that the two-streams argument does not hold up and is not sound.

There is nothing to "admit". It is a happy acknowledgement, and I never used two streams theory. As the proper understanding shows that the Reformation Bible drew from the fountainhead Greek and historic Latin lines. The two streams theory fudges that history.

By cleaning up the problems in the two streams theory (whether it is maintained in a modified form or not) it becomes much easier to understand the superb textual work of Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza, that brought forth pure English Bibles like the Tyndale and Geneva, and then the most excellent, the AV.

Facebook - Textus Receptus Defense - June, 2015{tn%3AR0}

While the colors are nice, and the theory is interesting, the facts simply do not match up. Trying to put the Old Latin and the Vulgate on opposite sides of a divide simply does not match the evidences. The Vulgate made a solid contribution to the Reformation Bible. The Vaticanus text is far more corrupt than the Vulgate or Old Latin. The so-called Old Syriac is ultra-corrupt, the Peshitta is the better Syriac text. The Ethiopic is Alexandrian. The Bohemian is essentially from the Vulgate.

The basic problem, the textual paradigm is wrong, it was passed down from Benjamin Wilkinson, it is flawed, it has elements of truth and large elements of error when so presented, and overall, is better discarded. The alternatives is really understanding the dynamic of the development of the Reformation Bible and its purity, excellence and majesty, (As well as the Westcott-Hort Vaticanus primacy critical text corruption.) It is true that the rcc has embraced that textus corruptus now as its plan B, after the Reformation Bible defeated the Vulgate in the 1500s-->1700 Battle of the Bible.

Active discussion here:

King James Bible Debate May, 2017{"tn":"R"}
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Steven Avery

Wilkinson - "Fundamentally, there are only two streams of Bibles."

Some historical references.
The starting point of two lines theory.

Authorized Bible Vindicated (1930)
Benjamin G. Wilkinson

“Fundamentally, there are only two streams of Bibles."

Next, how he mangled Frederick Nolan.
Others who followed this lead, directly or through Fuller.

Dr. Nolan, who had already acquired fame for his Greek and Latin scholarship, and researches into Egyptian chronology, and was a lecturer of note, spent twenty-eight years to trace back the Received Text to its apostolic origin. He was powerfully impressed to examine the history of the Waldensian Bible. He felt certain that researches in this direction would demonstrate that the Italic New Testament, or the New Testament of those primitive Christians of northern Italy whose lineal descendants the Waldenses were, would turn out to be the Received Text. He says:

"The author perceived, without any labor of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contradistinguished from the Roman. This is a supposition, which receives a sufficient confirmation from the fact, that the principal copies of that version have been preserved in that diocese, the metropolitan church of which was situated in Milan. The circumstance is at present mentioned, as the author thence formed a hope, that some remains of the primitive Italick version might be found in the early translations made by the Waldenses, who were the lineal descendants of the Italick Church; and who have asserted their independence against the usurpation of the Church of Rome, and have ever enjoyed the free use of the Scriptures. In the search to which these considerations have led the author, his fondest expectations have been fully realized. It has furnished him with abundant proof on that point to which his inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the modern Vulgate."f52
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Steven Avery

more on the Benjamin Wilkinson errors

PureBible - Facebook - Jan 20, 2018


Gene Kim repeats the common AV defender error that the Old Latin was the good Bible and the Latin Vulgate was the bad Bible. This error has tainted King James Bible defense, since it came forth from Benjamin Wilkinson in 1930, in Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, who wrote of:

"Fundamentally, there are only two streams of Bibles."
And thus Wilkinson placed the Gallic, the Celtic and the Waldensian Bibles (as examples of the Old Latin line) as being Received Text Bibles. This was done with a fallacy of the false dichotomy:

since the Old Latin Bibles had some distinctions from the Vulgate and
since there were only two lines (note the circular reasoning) thus
the Old Latin Bibles had to be Received Text Bibles.

Note that this was NOT determined by any checking of verses and variants. which would have shown huge differences from ALL our extant Old Latin Bibles and the Received Text.

Plus, the Received Text was to a large extent a Greek and Latin preservation / reconstruction text, and the learned men of the 1500s, Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza especially, were pleased to use the Vulgate as a major part of that effort.

Correcting the Latin from the Greek, yet also correcting the Greek from the Latin.

Even while we appreciate and uplift the memory of those faithful Christian men and woman who read, loved, memorized and sang from their Old Latin Bibles, even while we appreciate the sincerity, tenor and "charm" (Wilkinson) of their Bibles, we have to be truthful and accurate to the textual realities.

This idea that these Bibles were themselves "Received Text" (from the second century to 1500, after Erasmus they would be influenced by the Reformation Bible corrections) is simply wrong. Textually, they were far closer to the Vulgate. The Old Latin and the Vulgate remained as sister texts for over 1,000 years, with many mss being hybrids.

In fact, the Vulgate's history was that of an updating of the Old Latin, generally keeping its text, eliminating some oddball phrases that had crept in. There really is no historical indication that the nascent roman catholic establishment (the Gospel part of the text was presented to Damasus, the bishop of Rome) had influence upon Jerome's textual decisions. And we can not easily determine the Greek texts that were used by Jerome, but it definitely was not simply a "Vaticanus-P75" Alexandrian text.

Trying to taint the Vulgate as the bad Bible is similar to those who try to taint the Received Text because it was (before the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation emphasis, and when being developed by Erasmus and the scholarly Spanish crew of the Complutensian Polyglot) to a certain extent an RCC-approved enterprise. Later disowned, with Trent and the Index of Forbidden Books being the breaking point.

There is simply too much anachronism involved in both attacks, upon Jerome and upon Erasmus.

** A false exposition or attack does not gain credence and truth by good intention and purpose.**

Incidentally, Jerome was the key figure in the early church who uplifted the Hebrew Bible. against great opposition, an excellent position that was the forerunner of the superb Old Testament Hebrew Bible "Received Text" decisions.


One more point on Wilkinson.

Wilkinson tried to buttress his position by an appeal to the learned works of Frederick Nolan (1784-1864). You can see a quote given here, where Wilkinson tries to sound like Nolan equates the Waldensian text with the Received Text, which might give a leg for the two lines theory.


"the Italic New Testament, or the New Testament of those primitive Christians of northern Italy whose lineal descendants the Waldenses were, would turn out to be the Received Text. He (Nolan) says:

"The author perceived, without any labor of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contradistinguished from the Roman.... abundant proof on that point to which his inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the modern Vulgate."

However, Nolan is not saying they were using the Received Text, simply that the heavenly witnesses was in the Old Latin, and there were some important points of confluence.

This is true, and important, and Jerome affirmed the same excellence of the heavenly witnesses in his Vulgate Prologue, and Nolan himself properly says:

"I assert the disputed prologue to be his genuine composition."
So the Old Latin and the Vulgate agreed.


Wilkinson's textual theories were to some extent a reflection of the SDA embrace of the Waldensians against the papacy, which is anti-Christ in their historicist eschatology. You can see this Wilkinson emphasis, which draws much of its perspective from the writings of Ellen G. White, in his 1944 book, Truth Triumphant.

The Church in the Wilderness
by Benjamin George Wilkinson, Ph. D.

Yet, even if we have strong sympathies with that analysis, it does not change the Bible textual "facts on the ground".

There really is no indication that the Old Latin is a "Received Text" Bible, and there is barely any indication that it is superior, textually, than the Vulgate.

If Old Latin Bibles had a great superiority over the Vulgate, it was in the charm and lyricism and heart with which the Bibles were embraced by the groups that were persecuted by the rcc. They actually believed their Bibles. The Bible was not a secretive springboard for an oppressive ecclesiastical clique, those precious Bibles were the word of God in the hands of Christian believers.


Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

two streams theory - the early years 1930-1970

Here I raised the question on a Baptist forum in 2010.

KJV Bible Forums - Sept, 2010
Streams of Bibles, the Reformation Bible & KJB Defense

And I started making a point of showing this more directly, in response to charts and various presentations, at least by November, 2014. (These next two Facebook posts, a little below, are also mentioned above.)


The contra writer, Rick Norris, has extracted a number of the quotes from AV defenders (without offering any sensible overall Bible position.) Often his quotes are out-of-context, in this case, I have not seen any real problems with the quotes themselves, and they do represent the lineage of how the over-simplified two-streams theory was passed down. Rick likely drew from the Doug Kutilek earlier writings that discussed the Waldensian Bible theories.

The Truth About the Waldensian Bible and the Old Latin Version (1991)
Doug Kutilek

I'll plan on placing at least a url to one of the Norris quote-snippet fests here as well.

Kutilek also ripped the handling of Wilkinson by Fuller:

The Great Which Bible? Fraud
[Originally published in Baptist Biblical Heritage, Summer 1990, Vol 1, No. 2]
by Doug Kutilek

David Cloud may have a response to this, although the "facts on the ground" are not comfortable for the Fuller-Cloud positions.

Keep in mind, though, that all this is only peripheral to our examination. We are concerned with the "two streams" theory, not so much the historical Fuller-Wilkinson referencing history.

Like any good stopped clock, these gentlemen will be right twice a day, and much of what they wrote on this topic is sensible, they are pointing out weaknesses in a traditional AV position.


King James Bible Debate - Nov, 2014

"The key error in these charts is simple, it is the false dichotomy created in the Latin lines."
We still have this one from 2015.

Textus Receptus Defence - June 6, 2015{tn:R0}

While the colors are nice, and the theory is interesting, the facts simply do not match up. Trying to put the Old Latin and the Vulgate on opposite sides of a divide simply does not match the evidences. The Vulgate made a solid contribution to the Reformation Bible. The Vaticanus text is far more corrupt than the Vulgate or Old Latin. The so-called Old Syriac is ultra-corrupt, the Peshitta is the better Syriac text. The Ethiopic is Alexandrian. The Bohemian is essentially from the Vulgate.
The basic problem, the textual paradigm is wrong, it was passed down from Benjamin Wilkinson, it is flawed, it has elements of truth and large elements of error when so presented, and overall, is better discarded. The alternatives is really understanding the dynamic of the development of the Reformation Bible and its purity, excellence and majesty, (As well as the Westcott-Hort Vaticanus primacy critical text corruption.) It is true that the rcc has embraced that textus corruptus now as its plan B, after the Reformation Bible defeated the Vulgate in the 1500s-->1700 Battle of the Bible.
From the 1930s and Benjamin Wilkinson the Two Streams theory went to his writing in the David Otis Fuller book, Which Bible?, c. 1970. Fuller had a section from Wilkinson, but kept his identity as an Adventist hidden. Here are the chapters of the Fuller book, although Wilkinson had extracts from ten of his sixteen chapters, edited by Fuller.

Why This Book - David Otis Fuller

The Learned Men - Terence H. Brown

The Greek Text of the King James Version - Zane C. Hodges

The Incomparable Wilson: The Man Who Mastered Forty-Five Languages and Dialects - Henry W. Coray

The Magnificent Burgon, Doughty Champion and Defender of the Byzantine Text - Edward F. Hills

In Defense of the Textus Receptus - Selections by David Otis Fuller

The Codex Vaticanus and Its Allies - Herman C. Hoskier

About the Author of "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated" - David Otis Fuller

Our Authorized Bible Vindicated - Benjamin C. Wilkinson

The Principle and Tendency of the Revision Examined - George Sayles Bishop

The Bible and Modern Criticism - Sir Robert Anderson

A Critical Examination of the Westcott-Hort Textual Theory - Alfred Martin

And I am going to conjecture that the idea of quoting Ray, as in the tract below, came later, and this worked as a way around the fact that the Baptists do not want to be quoting Adventists. However, Ray had plagiarized Wilklinson, as shown below in the Gary Hudson article.

A possible exercise is to go through a section, like the one below, Ray on two streams, and see precisely how bad was the plagiarism (unlike Fuller, Ray does not even reference Wilkinson.)

God Wrote Only One Bible, (1955)
Jasper James Ray

Chapter Two

A correlated historical summary of textual criticism reveals that only two streams of Bibles have come to us. These are tne products of two separate religious systens. First, the true Christian religion puts the inspired Word of God above everything else. The other system puts something above the Bible, or places human tradition in a chair of equal authority with it. At the council of Trent, (1546) 53 prelates made a decree declaring that the Apocryphal books, together with unwritten tradition are of God, and are to be received and venerated as the Word of God. (1) See foot-note.

1. H. S. Miller, General Biblical Introduction, p. 308.

At first the only scriptures in existance were those given by inspiration of God, (2 Peter 1:21) These messages were put into writing, and when placed into book form they became Bible number one, the true Word of God. This stream has come to us crystal clear, through the divine providence of God's omniscience. It's pure, life-giving water of God's inspired Word has power to produce saving faith, (Romans 10:17).

The other Bibles have come to us in a stream whose waters are clouded with the "Mud" of philosophic, scholastic textual criticism, and seems in part to be based upon the reasonings of the "natural man, "(1 Corinthians 2:14). The source of this stream is uncertain, hypothetical, and untrustworthy. It has produced a multiplicity of Bible versions which differ so much from each other that the result is faith repelling confusion.

If pollution can be found at the source of any stream, the whole will be permeated with contamination. Right here is the answer to most of the questions being asked today, regarding the Bible version mystery. Faith destroying contamination exists at the source of this stream. Read on and you will find plenty of evidence to satisfy an honest heart.




Above, in the words of the Bible, we have a description of the beginning of the stream of corrupted Bible manuscripts, wh:ch are evidently used as the basis for many contradicting and confusing Bible versions now being widely emphasized. "Even before the death of the apostles, there was a strong disposition on the part of the great out-lying world, to destroy the new religion. "(1)

Within the first hundred years after the death of the apostles, Irenaeus said concerning Marcion, the agnostic: "Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all; and curtailing the gospel according to Luke; and the epistles of Paul they assert that these alone are authentic, which they themselves shortened. "(2) "The attack on Christianity dealt largely with the Scriptures.'(3) Epiphanius in his treatise the "Panarion" describes not less than eighty heretical parties(4) In this way each party planned to further their own ends.

1. Hurst, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, p. 149.
2. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, pp. 434-435.
3. Hurst, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, p. 187.
4. G. P. Fisher, History of Christian Doctrine, p. 19.

"The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed. The African Fathers, and the whole western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Erasmus, or Stephens thirteen centuries later when molding the TEXTUS RECEPTUS" (1). Those who were corrupting Bible Manuscripts said that they were correcting them. Corrupted copies were so prevalent that agreement between them was hopeless (2).

Somewhere around the year 175 A.D.,Tatian wrote a harmony of the four gospels which was called the Diatessaron. This was so notoriously corrupt that a bishop of Syria was compelled to throw out of his churches two hundred copies because church members were taking it for the true gospel (3).

1. Encyclopedia, Tatian.
2. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, Chap. 28.
3. Encyclopedia, Tatian.


A potential condition of peace was brought about, and these warring sects were consolidated under the iron hand of Constantine around the year 331 A. D. This was accomplished, by adopting a Bible which combined pure scripture with a number of conflicting Revised Versions in such a way as to give sanction to both Chris -tain and pagan religions. (Like our modem Ecumenical Movement).

Origen, one of the world's foremost theologians, (185-254 A.D.), taught that the "Logos" is "ktisma, " meaning the Lord Jesus Christ is a created being, who did not have eternal existence as God. (See pages 900-902, Vol. 16, 1936 edition Encyclopedia Britannica). Eusebius was a great admirer of Origen, and a student of his philosophy. He had just edited the fifth column of the Hexapla which was Origen's Bible. Constantine chose this, and asked Eusebius to prepare 50 copies for him. Dr. Ira M. Price refers to this as follows: "Euaebius of Caesarea (260 - 340) the first church historian, assisted by Pamphillus or vice versa, issued with all it's critical remarks the fifth column of the Hexapla, with alternative readings from the other columns, for use in Palestine. The Emperor Constantine gave orders that 50 copies of this edition should be prepared for use in the churches" (4).'Sir Robert Anderson,L.C.B. ,L L.D ., page 48, The Church and the Bible, says "Constantine, the wolf of paganism openly assumed the sheep's clothing of the Christian religion."

Several textual authorities believe that the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts are two extant copies of the 50 Greek scriptures copied for Constantine by Eusebius in 331 A.D., (notes 1-7) In the minds of those who are well informed; the Latin Vulgate; the Vaticanus; the Sinaiticus; the Hexapla; Jerome; Eusebius; and Origin; are terms which are inseparable. "Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other."

Eusebius, besides making copious use of the gospels, did not hesitate to introduce material from the Apocryphal writings, traditions and all other available sources. He even incorporated without change much of the legendary matter of Hegesippus (8). This is the declaration of history which describes the character of the man reputed to be the author of the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts.

1. Burgon and Miller, The Traditional Text, p. 163.
2. Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 86.
3. Gregory, The Canon and Text of the New Testament, p. 345.
4. Dr. Ira M. Price, Ancestry of the English Bible, p. 70.
5. A. T. Robertson, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 80.
6. Dr. Philip Schaff, Companion to Greek Testament, p. 115.
7. Dr. Scrivener, Introduction to New Testament, Vol. 2, p. 270.
8. Hurst, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, pp. 36-37.

Peter Ruckman in the 1960s:
The Bible Babel:A Critical and Practical Survey of the Motives, Sources, and Methods of 20th Century Translations and Translators

If one of our readers has the early material from Peter Ruckman, it would be interesting to see how he handles "two stream" theory.

And I will try to add more detail and precision about this period of c. 1950 - 1970, however this is online and is helpful.

God Wrote Only ONE Bible
by David Otis Fuller, D.D. (1903 to 1988)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
E. L. Bynum, Pastor

The following are a few of the salient facts as recorded by Mr. Ray in his remarkable book. "A correlated historical summary of textual criticism reveals that only two streams of Bibles have come to us. These are the products of two separate systems. First, the true Christian Faith puts the Inspired Word of God above everything else. The other system puts something above the Bible, or places human traditions in a chair of equal authority with it. At the Council of Trent, called by the Catholic Church in 1546, A.D., 53 prelates made a decree declaring that the Apocryphal books, together with unwritten tradition, are of God, and are to be received and venerated as the Word of God."

"Somewhere around the year 175 A.D. Tatian wrote a harmony of the four Gospels which was called the Diatessaron. This was so notoriously corrupt that a bishop of Syria was compelled to throw out of his churches two hundred copies because church members were taking it for the true Gospel." (This was one of the many forerunners of our modern day counterfeit RSV.)

"An indication that Arianism (the denial of Christ's Deity) is with us today is to be found in the footnote of the ASV (American Standard Version) at John 9:38. In verse 35 the Lord Jesus asks the man born blind if he believes on the Son of God. In verse 38 he replies, "Lord, I believe, and he worshipped Him". In this footnote the translators plainly reveal the fact that they do not believe in the Deity of Christ but refer to Him as a mere creature of Adam's race. Turn to this in your American Standard Version and see for yourself. Referring to the word "worship" the note reads; 'The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a creature (AS HERE) or to the creator.' Consider this when you hear Bible teachers say; 'This is the best version!'" (And the ASV was published some 50 years before the RSV!)

"A version is that which is translated, or rendered from one language to another. The Textus Receptus is NOT a version. It is composed of basic manuscript copies from which the King James Version was made. The Greek text of Westcott and Hort changed the reading of the Textus Receptus in 5,337 places. The Revision of 1881, the American Standard Version of 1901, and the Revised Standard Version Bibles, are in no true sense a revision of the King James of 1611. If they were, they would follow the same Greek text, the Textus Receptus, and thus would contain the same verses.

"Textus Receptus is the Latin for the Received Text. This is the Greek manuscript used as a basis for the translation of the King James Bible in 1611. However, this collection of canonical manuscripts, written in the Greek language, did not receive the name 'Textus Receptus' until the days of the Elziver brothers in 1633. In the preface of their Greek New Testament they printed the following words translated into English, 'Therefore thou hast the text (textum) now received (receptum) by all, in which we give nothing altered or corrupt'."

"A number of textual authorities state that the Bible of the Syrian Church, the Peshitta, was translated from the Greek Vulgate into Syrian about 150 A.D. . . . This Peshitta version is admired by Syriac scholars as a careful, faithful, simple, direct, literal version, clear and forceful in style. These characteristics have given it the title 'The Queen of the Versions'."

Antioch was the capital of Syria where the early believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). In a few years the Syrian believers could be numbered by the thousands. Their Bible, the Peshitta, even today generally follows the Received Text (Textus Receptus). This is another proof that the foundation for the King James Bible is older and more reliable than the Codex Vaticanus which was elevated to the chair of authority by Westcott and Hort.

Dr. Nolan, who acquired fame for his Greek and Latin scholarship, spent 28 years in tracing the Received Text (Textus Receptus) back to its apostolic origin. His searching led him to investigate the Bible texts of the Waldenses who were the lineal descendants of the Italic Church. This being done, Dr. Nolan says, "It has supplied me with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolic branch of the primitive church." This means that the Textus Receptus, the basis for the King James Version, has been proven to be in harmony with translations which go back to the second century. It is important to note here that the Sinaitic and Vatican MSS were not brought into existence for many years following the Textus Receptus, when Eusebius copied them for Constantine.
Notice how the Frederick Nolan quote loses the context of the heavenly witnesses and now is given a new spin by putting it in the context of a Benjamin Wilkinson style analysis.

Thus, the Standish brothers wrote in a smilar SDA-mode, although they tried to keep it simple, possibly aware that they were on shaky ground in the oversimplified analysis.

Modern Bible Translations Unmasked (1993)
Chapter 1
A Brief History of Bible Manuscripts and Translations
Russell R. Standish and Colin D. Standish

From these two copyist perspectives, two quite different streams of Greek manuscripts emerged. The Eastern stream, which became centered on Syria and Constantinople, remained true to the original writings of the apostles, while the Western stream, centered on Alexandria and Rome, was markedly flawed by both deliberate and careless alterations.
Now the list of AV defenders, mostly Baptist, a couple SDA, some others, who have followed with this two streams argument, passed down from Wilkinson, is quite long. It includes Sam Gipp, Mickey Carter, Jack Moorman, James Sightler, David L. Brown, David Sorenson, Vance Ferrell, Alan O'Reilly and others.


Incidentally, above Fuller is quoting J. J. Ray. Ray, however, simply plagiarized material from Benjamin Wilkinson, as shown in a 1991 article by Gary Hudson.

THE REAL EYE OPENER: J. J. Ray's Plagiarism Of Benjamin G. Wilkinson
[Originally printed in Baptist Biblical Heritage, Spring, 1991]

Ray’s book attempts to trace what he terms “two streams of Bibles” back through a highly subjective (and often inaccurate) history of New Testament manuscripts, one line being “corrupt” and the other “the Bible God wrote.” The one “God wrote” is, according to Ray, the “Textus Receptus” Greek of the KJV... On page 71, Ray has a chart of the “corrupt” line of Bibles which includes Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of 382 A. D. and the Douay version of 1582. Then on page 109, Ray includes the Wycliff translation of 1382 in his “pure stream” that allegedly descends from the “Original Textus Receptus.” Ray has not done his homework. A smattering of knowledge on the history of the English Bible would reveal to anyone that Wycliff’s Bible was translated directly from the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate, as was the Douay. Such carelessness on basic information is inexcusable.
The contras can easily show the falsity of the "two streams" oversimplified construct by looking at the Latin lines.


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Steven Avery

Wilkinson attempts to answer objections

Here is a longer section from Wilkinson, given in a response and analysis piece, that is itself uneven, but again, is helpful on this topic. Barbara Aho (if she is the writer) seems to be pro-TR but contra the AV perfection position. Offhand, I am not sure if this article worked with Doug Kutilek material.

The quotes are generally available online directly in Wilkinson's book (later edition, different page numbers.)

Our Authorized Bible Vindicated
Benjamin Wilkinson

Watch Unto Prayer
Section III - The Real History of "King James Onlyism"
Chapter XII - Origin of "King James Onlyism"


A good portion of Wilkinson’s book is devoted to portraying the medieval Waldenses as the “true Christians” who preserved the Textus Receptus during the Dark Ages.

“Anyone who is interested enough to read the vast volume of literature on this subject, will agree that down through the centuries there were only two streams of manuscripts.

The first stream which carried the Received Text in Hebrew and Greek, began with the apostolic churches, and reappearing at intervals down the Christian Era among enlightened believers, was protected by the wisdom and scholarship of the pure church in her different phases; by such as the church at Pella in Palestine where Christians fled, when in 70 A. D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalem; by the Syrian Church of Antioch which produced eminent scholarship; by the Italic Church in northern Italy; and also at the same time by the Gallic Church in southern France and by the Celtic Church in Great Britain; by the pre-Waldensian, the Waldensian. and the churches of the Reformation.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 12)

Our Authorized Bible Vindicated

“For nine hundred years, we are told, the first Latin translations held their own after the Vulgate appeared. The Vulgate was bom about 380 A.D. Nine hundred years later brings us to about 1280 A.D. This accords well with the fact that at the famous Council of Toulouse, 1229 A.D., the Pope gave orders for the most terrible crusade to be waged against the simple Christians of southern France and northern Italy who would not bow to his power. Cruel, relentless, devastating, this war was waged, destroying the Bibles, books, and every vestige of documents to tell the story of the Waldenses and Albigenses.

“Since then, some authorities speak of the Waldenses as having as their Bible, the Vulgate. We regret to dispute these claims. But when we consider that the Waldenses were, so to speak, in their mountain fastnesses, on an island in the midst of a sea of nations using the Vulgate, without doubt they knew and possessed the Vulgate; but the Italic, the earlier Latin, was their own Bible, the one for which they lived and suffered and died.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 28)

Our Authorized Bible Vindicated

“It is evident that the so-called Christian Emperor gave to the Papacy his endorsement of the Eusebio-Origen Bible. It was from this type of manuscript that Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate which became the authorized Catholic Bible for all time.

The Latin Vulgate, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, the Hexapla, Jerome, Eusebius, and Origen, are terms for ideas that are inseparable in the minds of those who know. The type of Bible selected by Constantine has held the dominating influence at all times in the history of the Catholic Church. This Bible was different from the Bible of the Waldenses. and, as a result of this difference, the Waldenses were the object of hatred and cruel persecution, as we shall now show. In studying this history, we shall see how it was possible for the pure manuscripts, not only to live, but actually to gain the ascendance in the face of powerful opposition.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 22)

The article then goes into its refutation and positions. There are weaknesses in what is expressed, but the basic position that Benjamin Wilkinson had misrepresented the Waldensian Bible issues, and thus the "two streams" concepts, is correct.

However, some AV defenders have dug themselves into this presentation deeply. In a sense, it is almost like our version of the "deeply entrenched scholarship" that has blinded the Sinaiticus issue from the Critical Text Westcott-Hort recension folks. So, I believe I am impelled by the Holy Spirit to take this issue public. And to even quote from people whose overall positions are wrong, if they are mostly right on this question. Some AV defenders have properly avoided using this argument, and this can be complimented, but there still is a hesitation to say:

"oops, that chart, that argument, is not really right"


Wilkinson received a lot of flack in Adventist circles, as in this Review.

A Review of “Our Authorized Bible Vindicated,” by B. G. Wilkinson

An Epitome of the Findings of This Section ...
5. The author’s arbitrarily created “two parallel streams of Bibles” is shown not to rest upon historical authority, and the “changes” between the A.V. and A.R.V. are shown to be but minor deviations of what is substantially one identical, fundamental text

The criticism is rather feeble, and wrong. The changes are huge. However, the real weaknesses in the "two streams" theory is not addressed, instead it is pretended that the Westcott-Hort recension is only "minor deviations"!

Wilkinson tried to address this:

Our Authorized Bible: Answers to Objections
Benjamin George Wilkinson

(Note: I hope to go through this interesting section as well.)

This may go back to 1930 or 31, (and republished in 1989 by Leaves of Autumn press) right after publication, if it is the same as:

A reply to the "Review" of my book, "Our Authorized Bible vindicated"

While often the criticisms were unfair and wrong, we are focusing here on one area where Wilkinson was in fact way off.

I. The Parallel Streams of Bibles.
My Reviewers claim, (Section I, p. 9) that the “two parallel streams of Bible” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 43) is arbitrarily created and does not rest upon historical authority. In my book, however, I proved conclusively that both the Textus Receptus and the Vaticanus MSS were already in existence in the days of Constantine; rivals to one another and constituting opposing Bibles. I also proved, historically, in the same chapter, that the Waldensian Bible was from the Textus Receptus. Now the Spirit of Prophecy says that the Waldensian Bible was of apostolic origin, uncorrupted, entire, and teaching apostolic Christianity. The Reformation adopted the Textus Receptus; the Jesuit counter-Reformation adopted the Vaticanus. Both these facts I proved soundly and completely in my book. If, therefore, the Textus Receptus and Vaticanus were rivals in the days of Constantine, the Textus Receptus being of apostolic origin, and the Vaticanus being a corruption of the Textus Receptus, then the Old Latin Bible of the Waldenses from the Textus Receptus was and we proved it so, historically, the rival of the Vulgate taken from manuscripts of the Vaticanus type.

The Spirit of Prophecy endorses this line of reasoning. I gave in my book (p. 42) that quotation from Sister White which shows that the Waldenses possessed a Bible which came from apostolic days, was entire, was unadulterated and was ever sought by the fury of the papists to be corrupted. The Spirit of Prophecy, however, tells us that angels restrained their malignant hatred and their efforts to bury the Waldensian Bible under a mass of error and superstition.

The Spirit of Prophecy further tells us that the Bible of Wycliffe was from the Latin (Vulgate) and contained many errors, but the Vulgate was a Catholic Bible. On the other hand, the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the Greek Text of Erasmus corrected these errors, but the Greek text of Erasmus was the Textus Receptus. Therefore, the Waldenses had a pure Bible from the beginning, based on the Textus Receptus or in harmony with it. The reasoning then goes thus: (a) The Waldenses endorsed what was the apostolic Bible; (b) The Reformers endorsed what was the Waldensian Bible; (c) Sister White endorsed the Bible of the Reformation and the Waldensian Bible; (d) the Waldenses could not have guarded the Vulgate because it contained many errors.

Note the following testimonies from authorities showing how these two parallel streams rivaled one another at different epochs in history:

1. (a) In the first place Dr. Hort states definitely (“introduction” pp. 137, 138) Jerome’s antagonism to Antioch’s theology as he (Hort) declares Antioch to be the home of the Textus Receptus in 350 A.D.; and then (“Introduction,” p. 276) Dr. Hort places in opposition to this (Antioch’s) Textus Receptus the text formed from Vaticanus and Sinaiticus types of MSS as being true apostolic text. Here is rivalry and opposition of the two Bibles in Constantine’s time.

(b) Dr. Schaff (“Companion,” etc. p. 113) says the Codex A or Alexandrinus occupies “an intermediate position between the oldest uncial (Vaticanus type) and the later cursive (Textus Receptus) text.” Here again are the two streams at the earliest dates of their rivalry, Constantine’s time.

(c) Dr. Kenyon proves—as I previously showed—that the Latin reproduction of the Vaticanus type was simply the Itala or the Latin Textus Receptus type with the variant Textus Receptus readings removed.

(d) Dr. Nolan (“Integrity,” pp. 432, 434) declared that Origen’s fabricated Greek Bible (Vaticanus type) tended to weaken the authority of the Authorized Greek Bible (Textus Receptus) in the Old as well as in the New Testament.

(e) And finally Dr. Swete shows that in the days of Constantine the Textus Receptus and the Eusebio-Origin Bible were rivals and opposing versions. He also mentions a third version, the Hosychian, or African Bible. This ceased to be a line of its own, came to an end, and is not represented in modern versions.

2. We proved from Dr. Jacobus that the Old Latin opposed the Vulgate for 1,000 years.

3. We proved from the preface of the Jesuit Bible that the Waldensian Bible was the opponent of the Vulgate, the Jesuits called it the “false” heretical translation” of the Waldenses, and Sister White says that the Waldenses kept the truth uncorrupted for 1,000 years.

4. We proved that the final split between the Catholics and Protestants came at the Council of Trent (1545-1563). My Reviewers made no attempt to notice or to answer the first four resolutions of that Council which I gave in my book, decreeing the Vulgate the authoritative Bible of the Papacy. Moreover, to have a Greek Manuscript in which to base authoritatively the Vulgate, the learned fathers of the Counsel of Trent, after searching through all the libraries of Italy, shrewdly understood the Vaticanus to be the manuscript.

5. Dr. Fulke, when writing to the Queen of England in the preface of his book, just about the very time that the Council of Trent Fathers chose the Vaticanus, said:

“In which, that I speak nothing of their insincere purpose in leaving the pure fountain of the original verity, to follow the crooked stream of their barbarous vulgar Latin translation, which (beside all other manifest corruptions) is found defective in more than an hundred places, as your majesty, according to the excellent knowledge in both the tongues wherewith God has blessed you, is very well able to judge.” p. 5 (Emphasis mine).
6. Later in my book I presented the struggle between the Jesuit Bible of 1582 in English, and the Tyndale and Geneva Versions.

7. I presented very clearly the great struggles that were on around the Revision table for ten years between Dr. Hort and Dr. Scrivener, the one standing for the Textus Receptus and the other for the Vaticanus. Of These scenes, Bishop Ellicott, president of the committee says. “It was often a kind of critical duel between Dr. Hort and Dr. Scrivener, in which everything that could be urged on either side was placed before the Company.” “Addresses,” p. 61.

8. And finally, Hastings says:
“The ordinary English student of the Bible is able readily to appreciate the points at issue in the controversy between the Alpha (Textus Receptus) and Beta (WH) texts, because they are substantially represented to him by the differences (so far as they are differences in text, and not merely in rendering) between the AV and the RV.” “Dictionary of the Bible,” p. 927 (Emphasis mine).

On the quotation of the eclipse of the sun at the death of Christ, Dr. Frederick Fields says that the manuscripts began to divide on this point at the time of Origcn (Field’s Notes, p. 79).

I would also recall here that Erasmus divided all Greek manuscripts into two classes; one which agreed with the Textus Receptus and the other which agreed with the Vaticanus. My Reviewers revived the old grouping made by Griesbach, into three classes, but exploded by Archbishop Lawrence. I gave these conclusions in my book. Everything which the Reviewers brought in counter argument, confirmed, but did not shake these conclusions.

I think now that I have given evidence abundant enough for this short document, and amply backed by authorities to show the two parallel streams of Bibles

Even putting aside the appeals to Ellen G. White (what they call the "Spirit of Prophecy") this muddle-mess contains a boat-load of fallacies and errant claims. Basically, Wilkinson has ignored all the fundamental problems of his two streams theory, and given a grab-bag of quotes and arguments that are interesting, but worthless to the actual point.


Oh, notice how neither Wilkinson publication gives what would be the proof of the pudding. A list of the dozens of major variants where (supposedly, theoretically) the Old Latin manuscripts agree with the Received Text, while the Vulgate has the Alexandrian-Vaticanus-Westcott/Hort recension reading. Wilkinson gives not dozens, not 10, not 5, not 1. The Wilkinson Old Latin good line, Vulgate bad line, theory is simply worthless. It is, however, a fine example of building a theory on hopeful reading and twisting, conjecture and sand. And, in the Wilkinson iteration, a misplaced faith in “The Spirit of Prophecy.”


Wilkinson's material is often good. He did solid research on many issues, like the Council of Trent and the decrepit Revision. His SDA background usually does not get in the way, and the Adventists have their own ups and downs on the pure Bible issues. However, the "two streams" doctrine was enthusiastically embraced by AV defenders, and in many ways it is simply a scholastic embarrassment. There are ways it can have an element of truth, but really, the paradigm is wrong. The Alexandrian corruptions of the abbreviated text of Vaticanus barely qualify as a stream, more like a trickle. The real issue is the pure Reformation Bible, from superb Greek and Latin and church writer and textual scholarship, compared to the ultra-corruption text of Vaticanus and a small number of allies. The modern scholarship is still blinded by the Westcott-Hort recension pseudo-scholarship, which is total nonsense.


Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

Edward Freer Hills directly refutes the Wilkinson SDA textual error

The contras posted an exchange involving Ted Letis and Edward Freer Hills that reinforces some of the material above.
The first comment in the post about Waite being inconsistent is silly, but the rest is interesting for historical backdrop.

And I have highlighted the quotes from Edward Hills that shows his basic correct understanding that the Latin Vulgate was a part of the Received Text preservation. (In fact, he mildly understates its helpful influence.)


Why Ted Letis could not associate with the "Dean Burgon" Society - Bible Versions Disc Board

The Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text and the Claims of the Anabaptist--Revisited
Theodore P. Letis, 2004

As a young undergraduate I recall how excited I was to receive an invitation in the mail to attend the founding of a new organization to be called: “The Dean Burgon Society.” Earlier I had borrowed a copy of Burgon’s Revision Revised all the way from the Evangelical Library in England, and was an immediate disciple. When I contacted Edward Hills with this exciting news, another Burgonian and author of the book that began the 20th century revival of interest in Burgon with his 1956 publication: The King James Version Defended (it was he who would also eventually became my mentor), his reply was rather deprecating: he said that he, too, had received this invitation but would not be going. When I asked why not he said the following to me in a personal letter:

October 3, 1978
Dear Ted,

I heard about the proposed meeting of the Burgon Society in August. In fact, I received an invitation by way of the same form letter. I was thinking of going, but I have not decided it would be worth the expense involved…. This Burgon society seems to be started by Don Waite for his own glorification. He sent me a nervy questionnaire which everyone who attends the meeting is supposed to fill out. When were you saved and where. Your age, wife’s age, children, schools attended beginning with high school, positions held, church affiliation, why you want to join the Burgon society, etc., etc. Some people “have more crust than a pie factory.” You would think that Don Waite had some $75,000 job to offer me…. They ought to call the society the Wilkerson Society.

Most of them are following Wilkinson’s 7th Day Adventist approach, [i.e.] the true text was corrupted by Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church. The true text was preserved by the Bogomiles, the Albigensians, and the Waldensians. But this 7th Day Adventist approach does not agree with the fact that the King James Version is a translation of the Textus Receptus which is the text preserved by the medieval Greek Church plus a few readings from the Latin Vulgate which is the text preserved by the medieval Roman Church.

Hence, when Baptists try to defend the King James Version, they are up a tree, scholastically speaking…. In short, these Baptist defenders of the KJV are terribly confused. Sometimes they follow Wilkinson, sometimes Burgon, sometimes they follow [Zane] Hodges, who ignores the special providence of God altogether. If I went to the meeting, I would probably try to straighten these Baptists out and make enemies. So I will just keep quiet and try to uncurl their crooked thinking with my books…
Edward F. Hills

As I read these words I, of course, thought he was just being overly crusty and aloof. I soon learned that he was using incisive insight and wisdom in not associating with what turned out to be a debacle. He went on in another letter to give his personal opinion of the real significance of this society:

Nov. 16 1978
Dear Ted,

Congratulations on your making the trek to Philadelphia [to attend the founding meeting of the Dean Burgon Society]….If I had been present, I would have probably tried to straighten everybody out and would have made enemies. I can’t bear to see everyone so mixed up…. It is odd that they called the Society the John William Burgon Society. Burgon had little use for Baptists. He regarded them as “sectarians,” and was angry when they were admitted as students at Oxford and Cambridge…. In short, Baptists are very good at getting crowds of common people and organizing, but when it comes to coherent thinking they are a little weak…
Edward F. Hills

Soon after I returned from the founding of the society, basking in my new found status as a founding committee member of a society--I thought--dedicated to promoting the ideas of the High Church Anglican, John William Burgon, I received a phone call from D.A. Waite. He requested that I either change my church membership from the very conservative, Evangelical “Wesleyan Church” (an old holiness denomination founded in the 19th century against the practice of slavery), to being a Baptist, or resign my seat on the founding committee. Another conservative Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Don Miller, pastor of an Orthodox Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian denomination founded by the conservative champion of the modernist/fundamentalist battle in America in the 1930s, and founder of the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, J. Gresham Machen), was also asked to resign his pastorate and become a Baptist, or else resign his seat as well. It seems Don and I were the only two who actually had any knowledge of the Biblical languages, besides Waite, that is. Hence, we were both forced to resign; but not until after we delivered to Waite our respective mailing lists for the benefit of the mass mailing list of the Society.

I recently made contact with Don Miller and asked him to write a brief summary of his experience for a matter of historical record. The following is what he wrote:

Subj: Re: New Email Address
Date: 8/10/02 12:08:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Dr. Donald R. Miller


I can't remember the date or year but it was in the [late] 1970s that I heard of a constituting meeting of what would become the "Dean Burgon Society." I did not hesitate to sign up for that meeting and actually attended it when it convened in Philadelphia near the airport.

I was very excited about being in the company of those who honored the Sacred Text enough to shed the notions of higher text criticism and embrace what is known now as the Ecclesiastical Text.

It was at this meeting that I met you for the first time. But soon after the meeting I found out that both of us had been dropped as constituting members for the flimsiest of reasons. I can't remember why you we're dropped but I was dropped because I was an Orthodox Presbyterian and, therefore, part of a church that was a member of the Reformed Ecumenical Synod. I think it was because of their understanding, or the lack thereof, of the use of "ecumenical."

Ever since then I have remained true to my conviction that the shift in text criticism occasioned by the RV of 1881 was grossly in error and that the honoring of those old rags, Aleph and Vaticanus, borders on insanity.

I stand ready to bear witness at the judgment to both the frivolous treatment of us by Dr. Waite and to all those who have bought into the text criticism of our day and who have been so critical of us.

Let us be found doing His will when He comes.

Rev. Dr. Donald R. Miller
Pastor, Emmanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church
184 Hadfield Road
Minot ME 04258

Only later would I learn of Waite’s virulent hatred for Calvinistic Christianity, as I would read his tirades against Calvinism in his other newsletter, The Bible For Today.

My own letter of resignation followed shortly after my phone conversation with Waite and is rather self-explanatory:

Letter of Resignation from the
Dean Burgon Society
February 27, 1979

Dear Executive Committee Members,

I regret that I was unable to attend your last executive committee meeting, primarily because I missed your fellowship, but also I was not able to address myself to the issue of being in association with apostate organizations. I am not only concerned because decisions reached affected me personally; nor am I concerned only because these decisions affect good men who stand only for the Traditional Greek text of whom there are few and far between, Brothers De Jonge and Miller; but I am especially concerned because we have appeared to be defeating our own purpose, in our defining what constitutes an apostate group, or what constitutes being in agreement, or association with them. Do you realize by our own separatist definitions, the very man whom the organization is named after could not, if he were alive, qualify for an executive seat? This is lunacy!

I will go further by saying the greatest living defenders of the Traditional Greek text could not be on the executive committee of an organization whose purpose is to defend the Traditional Greek text if they cared to be, namely Terrence H. Brown and Edward F. Hills. How could we look to these men (and we all do for leadership) in our understanding of the text, if they are not fit to hold executive seats in the Dean Burgon Society, Dean Burgon included?

I believe we have lost sight of the fact that we must be the salt in the church to restore the correct teaching concerning the text starting with our own denominational constituencies. We have not joined together to prove to the Baptist world that we understand what it means to be separate. I will say it very clearly, THIS IS NOT A BAPTIST CAUSE, it is the cause of every Christian in the world whatever his church tradition (Burgon and Hoskier were Anglicans, Wilkinson was a Seventh Day Adventist) whoever would adhere to an inerrant Bible. If I have to drop my church membership to retain my status on the executive committee of the Dean Burgon Society, I will do so only because my conviction on the text supersedes all other convictions including my church membership.

Let me put a thought to you. Suppose the majority of the men on the executive committee including the office holders were Anglican or Presbyterian and they decided that only those who recognize apostolic succession or paedobaptism could defend the traditional text in the capacity of an executive committee member; or let us suppose that they said anyone could be, except for those who are members of a Baptist Church. How many of you would discontinue your membership in order to play a key role in defending the Traditional text in that capacity? If I have to tell my pastor that I must discontinue my membership because of my association with the Dean Burgon Society, which news would also reach the headquarters of my denomination, how will I ever get them to see what that society stands for without them confusing it with other secondary issues such as Baptist separation?

Please reconsider re-evaluating this decision. The Dean Burgon Society is not a local church. It is a society formed to re-educate the Christian world about the true text. But as it stands now John William Burgon could never be an executive member of that society which nevertheless saw fit to use his name.

In the Love of Christ,
Theodore P. Letis

This had only one effect and it was to inspire one of the DBS board members by the name of Hollowood, to write me a letter and inform me that were Burgon alive today, he would surely be a fundamentalist Baptist…

Hills was not surprised at these tactics and his wisdom in keeping his distance was impeccable. He ruminated on these doings in another letter to me:

Feb. 22, 1979
Dear Ted,

I was interested to get your letter and hear about your short-lived officialdom in the Dean Burgon Society….Dean Burgon would never have recognized them. As I said, Burgon was a high Anglican. He would recognize only the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church as true churches. All other denominations he regarded as sects because they did not have the “apostolic succession,” the laying on of hands by previous bishops of the Greek Church…. I can’t understand the logic of putting you fellows out, however. For on the same principle they would have to put Dean Burgon out, because he not only believed in infant baptism but also baptismal regeneration.

In short, the Dean Burgon Society is ridiculous in every way…. These Baptists have their heart in the right place. The trouble is with their heads. My plan is not to argue with them about the Bogomiles and Waldensians but simply through my books teach the true, biblical view that the N.T. text was preserved during the medieval period by true believers in the Greek (and to a lesser degree the Roman) Church….

Edward F. Hills

When once the so-called Dean Burgon Society put out its first newsletter, Hills had some pungent remarks about this as well:

May 9 1979
Dear Ted,

I have been getting the bulletin of the John Burgon Society. I don’t like the way in which they wrote up the doings. They seem to be making the effort to obliterate all memory of you and Bill De Jonge. They don’t even mention the fact that you were invited originally. I told you not to go and that the whole thing was organized for one purpose, namely, the glorification of Don Waite. But you wouldn’t believe me. Don Waite has cleared the deck for himself, but he still hasn’t done any textual criticism. The reason being that he knows little about the subject. All he does is fill his little paper with quotes from Dean Burgon…. But I hope to see you before long, and then we can talk of this and also other things.
Edward F. Hills

Finally, as the society got rolling Hills acknowledged why he was not going public with his reflections about this society dedicated to a man on whom Hills was the greatest living authority, and yet of which Hills wisely chose to keep his distance. His dismay, as well as his restraint are reflected in this final letter on the topic:

May 24, 1979
Dear Ted,

…. Have you received the latest Burgon Society Bulletin? The glorification of Don Waite. He does all the writing. In fact, this Bulletin is no different from his other bulletin called The Bible for Today. He even includes the same boyhood picture of himself. If he didn’t want you and De Jonge [De Jonge was a layman in the OPC, also dismissed] in his organization, why did he invite you in the first place? Hope to see you in September, if not sooner.
Edward F. Hills

Hills was not the only disappointed Burgonian at such a public sham. Dr. David Otis Fuller, who was Vice-President of the Burgon Society, wrote the following letter to me shortly after my forced resignation:

February 2, 1979
Dear Ted,

I appreciate receiving your letter concerning our action on Bill DeJonge and Don Miller. It could be that we had not had time to think this thing through and I do hope there will be time on the agenda the next time we meet as a committee to discuss this more thoroughly.

The points you have brought up [in my letter of resignation] should be considered carefully. I agree with you, this is NOT a Baptist cause. It involves all born again believers of whatever persuasion to stand together as ONE in this WAR, not a battle, against the floodtides of apostasy that swirl around us.

I thank God for your attitude, that you place this first and foremost in your thinking. It is indeed a life or death matter for IF, Ted, we do not have an infallible…inspired Book to rest our weary souls upon for Time and Eternity our salvation is worthless and we have but one option: let’s eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die and go to hell….

I would be glad if we could review this action at our next meeting. In fact, I wish I had been another one who abstained from voting. We did it too quickly. Had I thought in time I certainly would have tried to put off final action until our next meeting. God bless you Ted. I surely hope you can be with us at our next meeting. Keep up the GREAT work…
David Otis Fuller

Fuller’s personal sentiments to me were no mere smoothing-over, political gesture. By 1986, seven years after he wrote this letter and after I had graduated from college and earned my master’s from Emory, he invited me to write a book for a new branch of his organization I helped create, called, “The Institute for Biblical Textual Studies.” The book was titled The Majority Text: Essays and Reviews in the Continuing Debate. I dedicated it to the man who had given me my life’s endeavor in these studies, Edward F. Hills (1912-1981), over whose funeral I was privileged to provide the eulogy.

Theodore P. Letis
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Steven Avery

From a Facebook discussion of the Wycliffe Bible, responding to a position of John M. Asquith.

King James Bible Debate - Aug, 2018
Is the Wycliffe Bible a Jerome Text?{"tn":"R"}

And I understand that the popular Wycliffe text from Forshall & Madden was not early enough, and included later manuscript revisions towards the Latin Vulgate.

However, the basic theory that this might vindicate the idea that the Old Latin text is the good one, and the Latin Vulgate is the bad one, is very difficult. Thus we do not see specific variants mentioned where the Old Latin is actually == Received Text contra the Vulgate.

Without such Bible verse specifics, the theory really does not go anywhere.

This was a Benjamin Wilkinson theory that was designed to be in harmony with the SDA emphasis on the Waldensian church, and sister churches, as the true church in the medieval period. Since they were the true church, they must have the pure Bible. However, Wilkinson never actually showed the superiority of their Bible, nor did he discuss variants and manuscripts. He did mangle the theories from c. 1815 from the learned Frederick Nolan as his basic argument.

And I go into a lot of this on the posts here, and I added a post tonight where you can easily see how Edward Freer Hills, in discussion with Ted Letis, properly rejected this theory.

two lines - two streams - two trees

Hills does mention the distinction between the Reformation Bible (versions from the Received Text) being not a direct preservational text, but a restoration of the pure apostolic Bible (my words here.) The theory that preservation requires a singular perfect text from the first century continuously on is attractive conceptually, but not at all a necessity, and falls to the "facts on the ground". The great Reformation Bible enterprise combined the preservation in the Greek and Latin Bibles, with augmenting superb scholarship on the early church writers and faith-based textual understandings.

As an aside, both the Old Latin and the Vulgate are not by any means monolithic in variant support. And one element of Jerome's Vulgate was the elimination of non-scriptural additions that had come into (corrupted) the Old Latin line!

From my studies, the scholarship of Jerome was quite strong. Look, e.g. at the note of the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles where he specifically discusses the heavenly witnesses as a verse that had been subject to improper omission by unfaithful translators (in context, scribes in general.)

The actual lyrical element of affection and use in reading and worship of the Old Latin Bible may have been a major element of the faith of the Waldensian groups of Christian believers. They truly loved and believed their Bibles, and would labour to have them in the vernacular languages, like the Tepl Old German rather than simply Latin. However their Bible, in terms of the text, was comparable to, and often greatly influenced by, the Vulgate of Jerome. Their faith wonderfulness (which itself varies) was not the result of the great textual superiority of their Bibles.

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

Helvidius the textual hero of Wilkinson and many AV defenders

[KJBD] Helvidius the textual hero of Wilkinson and many AV defenders

Hi Folks,

Here is a simple example of a Benjamin Wilkinson - Waldensian error in understanding textual history of the AV.
This is passed through to AV writers like Floyd Nolen Jones.



Chaper 3 The Reformers Reject the Bible of the Papacy
In preparing the Latin Bible, Jerome would gladly have gone all the way in transmitting to us the corruptions in the text of Eusebius, but he did not dare. Great scholars of the West were already exposing him and the corrupted Greek manuscripts.(10) Jerome especially mentions Luke 2:33 (where the Received Text read: "And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him," while Jerome's text read: "His father and his mother marvelled," etc.) to say that the great scholar Helvidius, who from the circumstances of the case was probably a Vaudois, accused him of using corrupted Greek manuscripts.(11)

(10) W.H. Green, The Text of the O.T., p. 116, and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 338
(11) Jerome against Helvidius

Another version of Wilkinson from Standish

You will see by this that Helvidius. the great scholar of the Italic Church, which was the predecessor of the Waldensian or the pre-Waldensian Church, accuses Jerome of using Luke 2:33 just as we find it now in the American Revised Version from corrupt Greek MSS. It is clear that Helvidius had the pure Greek MSS. which were older than the corrupt Greek MSS used by Jerome. The pure Greek MSS read Luke 2:33 as we now read it in the King James Version; so on this one text the present battle between the King James and the American Revised Versions is the centuries-old battle fought between the pre-Waldensian Church and the growing Roman Catholic Church. B. G. Wilkinson.

Here is more from Wilkinson

Truth Triumphant: The Church in the Wilderness
B. G. Wilkinson
As for Helvidius, all that was written by him and for him has been destroyed. Though he lived a century and a half after Justin Martyr and more than a century after Tertullian. Cyprian, Origen, and Clement, their writings have been preserved, while his were destroyed. Helvidius belonged to the church which strove to hand down the doctrines of the Bible in the pure form. He is famous for his exposure of Jerome for using corrupted Greek manuscripts in bringing out the Vulgate, the Latin Bible of the papacy. If the thunders of Jerome had not been turned against Helvidius, we would know less concerning him.

"Helvidius, a so-called heresiarch of the fourth century, a layman who opposed the growing superstitions of the church----He was a pupil of Auxentius, bishop of Milan, and the precursor of Jovinian." Duchesne points out that Auxentius. for twenty years at the head of the diocese of Milan, was from Asia Minor and impressed on these regions the Syrian leadership in Christianity. Daring in his scholarship, Helvidius accused Jerome, as Jerome himself admits, of using corrupt Greek manuscripts.

Sounds impressive.



Which Version is the Bible (1999)
Floyd Nolen Jones
Chapter 5 p. 108
Helvidius, a great orthodox scholar of the fourth century and a contemporary of Jerome's, accused Jerome of using corrupted Greek manuscripts. Remember. Jerome was using Origen's work and from that he produced the Latin Vulgate. Likewise. Aleph and "B" have their roots in Origen. Thus Helvidius condemns them all for even in his day that "fountain" was known to be corrupt.
Chapter 7 p. 167
Remember that Helvidius, a great scholar of northern Italy and contemporary of Jerome, accused Jerome of using corrupt Greek manuscripts in producing a new Latin Bible for the Pope. This would have been a meaningless accusation from Helvidius if he
could not have produced the pure original readings either!

The Waldenses and the Bible
Elder Robert L. Webb
In the fourth century, Helvidius, a great scholar of northern Italy, accused Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, with using corrupt Greek manuscripts. (Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, p. 338.) How could Helvidius have accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek MSS. if Helvidius had not had the pure Greek manuscripts?

And so learned and so powerful in writing and teaching was Jovinian, the pupil of Helvidius, that it demanded three of Rome's most famous fathers - Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose - to unite in opposing Jovinian's influence. Even then, it needed the condemnation of the Pope and the banishment of the Emperor to prevail. But Jovinian's followers lived on and made the way easier for Luther.

many more.



Now I never heard of Helvidius as a great textual scholar .. In fact, all we know of Helvidius is from Jerome's writing against him on the perpetual virginity issue. Technically Helvidius was right, against the perpetual virginity of Mary, Jerome was wrong. However, what did Helvidius say about the Greek or Latin manuscripts ?

This story is everywhere, about the good manuscripts of Helvidius versus the junque of Jerome.


Luke 2:33
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

corruption : his father


Note the excellent Old Latin support for the pure Bible.
Also the Greek is strong, but not as much for as the Old Latin.

John Hurt - GNT



Modern Bible Translations Unmasked (1996)
Russell R. Standish, Celia Standish
As early as about the turn of the fifth century. Helvidius condemned the Latin Vulgate, then only recently translated by Jerome, in the most strident terms. You cannot for shame say Joseph did not know of them,

for Luke tells us (Luke 2:33)
"His father and His mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning Him."

And yet you with marvelous effrontery contend that the reading of the Greek MS is corrupt, although it is that which nearly all the Greek writers have left in their books, and not only these, but several of the Latin writers have taken the words of the same way.

Jerome, "Against Helvidius," from The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Scribner's Edition, vol. vi, 338

So we have a small quote.
Here is the fuller sections.



The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary
Against Helvidius.
You cannot for shame say Joseph did not know of them, for Luke tells us, "His father and mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning Him." And yet you with marvellous effrontery contend that the reading of the Greek manuscripts is corrupt, although it is that which nearly all the Greek writers have left us in their books, and not only so, but several of the Latin writers have taken the words the same way. Nor need we now consider the variations in the copies, since the whole record both of the Old and New Testament has since that time been
(28) translated into Latin, and we must believe that the water of the fountain flows purer than that of the stream.

Helvidius will answer, "What you say, is in my opinion mere trifling. Your arguments are so much waste of time, and the discussion shows more subtlety than truth. Why could not Scripture say, as it said of Thamar and Judah, `And he took his wife, and knew her again no more'? Could not Matthew find words to express his meaning? `He knew her not,' he says, `until she brought forth a son.' He did then, after her delivery, know her, whom he had refrained from knowing until she was delivered."

(28) The allusion is to the Old Latin, the Versio Itala. The quotations which follow stand differently in Jerome's Vulgate, made subsequently (391-404). The argument is that, since the copies of the Latin version substantially agree in the present case, it is futile to suppose variations in the original.

The Evangelist himself relates that His father and His mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning Him, and there are similar passages which we have already quoted in which Joseph and Mary are called his parents. Seeing that you have been foolish enough to persuade yourself that the Greek manuscripts are corrupt, you will perhaps plead the diversity of readings. I therefore come to the Gospel of John, and there it is plainly written, "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."


So we have, for one verse, Jerome saying that Helvidius might say that the Greek manuscripts are corrupt. In this hypothetical Helviticus is likely simply appealing to his Old Latin manuscripts. He studied in Milan, Italy, where Latin would be the language.

In the real scholarship of the time, I could find no reference to Helvidius and Greek manuscripts. All we have is Jerome conjecturing that Helvidius might call his Greek mss corrupt. Also Helvidius might point out that a reading was not sure "diversity of readings".

This is magnified into a wholesale attack on the Latin Vulgate and a proposed different ancient Greek text with Helvidius. Out of nothing. Also, Helvidius does not particularly informed on manuscripts. He was very good on the doctrinal issues of Mary.


Basically, a wild extrapolation, conjectural, without any base. No indication that Helvidius even read Greek manuscripts.

You will find this whole story quoted in many of the Baptist AV defenders.

The origin goes back to a more nuanced approach of Frederick Nolan.

An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek vulgate, or received text of the New Testament (1815)
Frederick Nolan
This method of correcting the Latin version seems liable but to the one objection which it is my main object to establish; that the text of Eusebius, by which St. Jerome in some places modelled his translation, possessed not authority equal to that of the Old Italick version. And we consequently find, that this very objection was made to the Greek text by Hilary the Deacon; and to St. Jerome, by Helvidius, who accused him of following copies that had been corrupted.

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

Placed on Facebook:

The Received Text{"tn":"R3"}

When I recently looked at the book by Floyd Nolen Jones, which I have recommended in the past, I saw this quote on p.83 of the 2010 version.


Which Version is the Bible? (2010)
Floyd Nolen Jones

The Alexandrian manuscript (Codex "A") arrived in London in 1627. Consequently, we often hear how unfortunate that was for the King James translators as it arrived sixteen years too late for their use. (1) Being untrue, this serves as an example of the unreliable manner in which most of the history concerning the Authorized Version is reported. In the first place, Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus Aleph (2) were well known not only to translators of the King James but to Erasmus. The Old Testament portion of Vaticanus was printed in 1587 so the King James translators in 1604 knew all about Vaticanus insofar as the Old Testament was concerned.

Thus the men working on the 1611 publication of the King James Bible knew the variant readings in Vaticanus B and since they knew about B, they already knew about Sinaiticus and its variant readings even though the first portion of it was not discovered until 1844 (the remainder in 1859) as the two of them read so similarly. In fact, the translators of 1611 had available all the variant readings of those vaunted manuscripts – and they rejected them! They also knew the readings of the codices of Alexandrinus A, B, C and D (the "old uncials"), where they differed from the Received Text and they denounced them all. How can this be so? The readings of those much boasted manuscripts recently made available are essentially the same as Jerome's Latin Vulgate (3) which finds its foundation in the works of Origen. The Reformers knew all about the variant readings of the Vulgate and they rejected them which is the same thing as rejecting Origen. In rejecting Origen, they rejected Codex Vaticanus as it was copied from his work. Thus, the Reformers had all the material necessary for the task at their disposal. (4)

1 Benjamin C. Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, (Washington, DC: n.p., 1930),
pp. 78-83.

2 4th century uncial MSS closely akin to Vaticanus (see p. 107).

3 Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, op. cit., pp. 81-83; completed around A.D. 405, Jerome's Vulgate contains a revision of the Latin New Testament.

4 Ibid., pp. 83-85; also Hills, The King James Version Defended, op. cit., pp. 198-199.


This I can not see as scholarship.
It is a mass of distortion, confusion, anachronism and error, with a little truth shining around.

Caveat emptor. (even when free)

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Steven Avery

A bit more on Wilkinson and Nolan

Our friend Bryan Ross offered some quotes that might help Wilkinson's use of Nolan.

Facebook discussion

Bryan Ross
I am questioning if Wilkinson mangled Nolan as badly as you have asserted. Nolan does seem to arguing for the superiority of the Byzantine Text based upon the "Old Italic version" or "the original version of the Latin Church" which had "retained its integrity uncorrupted, until the time of Pope Julius." Nolan does seem to be arguing that the "original version of the Latin" answered to the Byzantine Text and was corrupted by Jerome. See pages 138-190.
The Buchanan piece from 1915 the you shared last month (Oct.) discusses the "Fleury Palimpsest" which dates from the 6th century (500s). How sure are we that the "Fleury Palimpsest" is emblematic of the state of the "Old Italic version" before the time of Jerome?

At the very least, the matter does not appear to be clear cut. Wilkinson may have seized upon a section from Nolan's "Preface" to advance his position but it does not appear that Wilkinson wholly misunderstood Nolan's main argument. As always, I am open to hearing what you have to say on the matter.
The Fleury quote from Buchanan is more general in relation to Old Latin and Vulgate mss.

Facebook - Pure Bible Forum - tweaked a bit here.{"tn":"R1"}
AV Defender Myth-Busters - Vulgate and Old Latin

And here is an example to show the myth:

** (Vulgate bad, Old Latin, good) ** being false.


Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 72 (1915)
Edgar Simmons Buchanan (1872-1932)


While engaged in copying the Fragments of the Acts from the Fleury Palimpsest in the National Library in Paris in the year 1904, I was struck by the immense disparity between that Old-Latin text and the Vulgate of Jerome. On consulting the Received Greek text I saw that the Vulgate was closely allied to the Greek, and that in all the important variants exhibited by the Palimpsest the Vulgate and the Received Greek text were combined against the Old-Latin.

A reference to the Codex Bezae established the fact that the Codex Bezae occupied a midway position between the Fleury Palimpsest text and the Vulgate. In fundamental text there was the same tradition in both the Palimpsest and the Codex Bezae; but the Codex Bezae had been revised and partially brought into agreement with the Vulgate. Where the Codex Bezae was found opposing the Vulgate, it was nearly always supported by the Fleury Palimpsest.


While this is a limited section, the basic idea that the Vulgate corrected many somewhat loose and wild Old Latin readings is definitely true.

ADDED: Generally the Vulgate and Old Latin mss agree. It would be a good check to look at about 25 variants, which give the specific mss, as in LaParola. The statement from Buchanan thus is a bit surprising.
When Nolan talks of Old Latin mss, his good guy, closest to the Byzantine Greek, is the Brescia ms (which he equates as close to the Moscow and Harleian ms.)

Codex Brixianus - Wikipedia
The Codex Brixianus (Brescia, Biblioteca Civica Queriniana, s.n.), designated by f, is a 6th-century Latin Gospel Book which was probably produced in Italy. The manuscript contains 419 folios. The text, written on purple dyed vellum in silver ink, is a version of the old Latin translation which seems to have been a source for the Gothic translation of Ulfilas. At the base of each page is an arcade very similar to that found in the Codex Argenteus.
It has some lacunae (Matt. 8:16-26; Mark 12:5-13:32; 14:53-62; 14:70-16:20).[1][2]
It was named Brixianus after Brescia, place of its housing.
Extracts from Nolan
Of Class III.
That the Moscow and Harleian manuscripts, which form the exemplars of the Third Class, contain the text which St. Jerome attributes to Lucianus, and refers to Constantinople, is sufficiently established by the following considerations.
1. It is no where disputed that those manuscripts contain the text, which uniformly exists in the manuscripts brought from Constantinople. These manuscripts, which far exceed in number those containing the Egyptian and Palestine text, contain the Vulgar Greek, which constitutes the Received Text, and exists in our printed editions. Such however were the characteristick marks of the Byzantine edition in the age of St. Jerome: in that age, a Lucianus, (as the copies of the edition revised by that learned person were termed) contained the Greek Vulgate 36 and possessed the text which was current at Constantinople 37. As the priority of the text of our printed editions to that age is evinced by the coincidence which it possesses with the old Italick version 38; the circumstance of this text being still the Greek Vulgate, and still found at Constantinople, very decidedly proves, that it is identical with that which St. Jerome ascribes to the same region, and assigns to Lucianus. (continues) p. 88-89

quote from Jerome, there is a common problem of taking quotes of his about the OT Greek and Latin texts and trying to morph them over to the NT

breviter illud admoneo, ut sciatis, aliam esse editionem quam Origines et Caesariensis Eusebius omnesqu Graeciae tractatores (Grk) id est communem appellant atque Vulgatam, et a plerisque nunc (Grk); dicitur; aliam Septunginta interpretum, quae et in (Grk); codicibus reperitur, et a nobis in Latinuin sermonem fideliter versa est, et Hierosolymae atque in Orientis ecclesiis decantatur.”

This I mention so that you know that there are different editions, the edition that Origen and Eusebius from Caesarea and other writers call the koine, that is. the common one. which by most is now called the Lucianic; and the Septuagint that is also found in the Hexapla codices and that by us has been faithfully translated into Latin and that is recited (lit.: sung) in Jerusalem and in the churches of the East.

The Bible in Greek: Translation, Transmission, and Theology of the Septuagint
Old Greek. Kaige and the Trifaria Varietas; A New Perspective on Jerome's Statement.
Siegfried Kreuzer

it must be at least admitted, that, as the testimony of the Brescia manuscript enables us to trace the tradition of the Byzantine text to a period as remote as the year 393 20; 20 Vid. supr. p. 70. n.36. - p. 121
p. 70
The Vulgate must be clearly referred to that period, as it was then formed by St. Jerome 36; in its bare existence of course the correspondent antiquity of the Greek text with which it agrees, is directly established. This version is, however, obviously less antient than that of the Verceli or Brescia manuscript ; as they are of the old Italick translation, while it properly constitutes the new.
36 This period is antedated by St. Jerome, to the fourteenth year of the emperor Theodosius; A. D. 393. S. Hieron. Catalog. Scriptt. Ecclesiass. sub. fin. Tom. J. p. 132. “ Usque in pnesentetn annum, id est, Theodosii decimum qaartum haccscrips!----Novum Testamentum Grcecafulei reddidi, Vetus jux-tallebraicara traostuli.” (not cleaned up)

If the text 101 of the Brescia manuscript has been altered, it must have been consequently corrected previously to the age of Eusebius 102.

102 This expression must be strictly taken, as applied to the whole body of the text; for the Brescia manuscript has suffered some mutilations. It thus wants Luke xxii. 43, 44. Joh. v. 4. viii. 1—11. vid. Garbel. ap. Blanchin. Prolegg. pp. 19, 22, 23. We must evidently ascribe these corrections to the influence of “ the rectified copies” which are mentioned by St. Epiphanius, vid. infr. p. 93. n. *c3. and which prevailed towards the close of the fourth century. But while these corrections clearly support the claims of the text to an antiquity as remote as this period, they do not affect the arguments by which it may be proved to be more antient; since it evidently required no reference to the Greek to make those omissions, nor more than a knowledge of the fact, that they were made in the rectified copies.
There seems to be circular component in Nolan's argumentation, in that the Old Latin and/or Alexandrian corruptions that are in the Brescia are given special pleading treatment.

The idea that it-f is strongly Byzantine Greek equivalent in text, I do not believe will hold up to close scrutiny. At best it would slightly superior to the other Old Latin mss. LaParola often makes it possible to see how the individual manuscript handle specific variants.
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Steven Avery

"integrity uncorrupted"

So, can we read much into this quote to rehabilitate Wilkenson?
At least, from the charge that he mangled Nolan?

That the original version of the Latin Church had retained its integrity uncorrupted, until the times of Pope Julius and St. Eusebius of Vercelli is evident: from the external testimony of Hilary ; from the circumstances in which the Western Church was placed; and from the internal evidence of the version in question. It is Hilary’s express declaration that many of the copies of this version retained their purity untainted, even to his own times ; having been preserved not merely by the integrity of the earliest ages, but by their very inability to pervert or correct the primitive translation 78. And this declaration is completely confirmed by the history of the Eastern and Western Churches, neither of which were sufficiently instructed in the languages spoken by both to undertake a revisal79. But what renders this fact of importance, is, that however the copies of the Latin version vary among themselves, they preserve a conformity to some edition of the Greek original: The first considerable variety in these copies must be of course dated from the first revisal of the text by St. Eusebius, of Verceli; since before him, there was not a person sufficiently informed, to undertake the correction of the Italick translation.p. 141

Hilary Latin on p. 57
Constat autem quosdam Latinos porro olim de veteribus Graecis translatos codicibus, quos ineorruptos simplicitas temporum servavit et probat ...

In fact, Hilary was basically saying that the Latin mss were fine, we don't need to use the Greek for correction or improvement. (Here the words are ascribed to Ambrosiaster)

But what follows in Ambrosiaster is of even greater interest. He has a strong feeling against those, whose cry is ‘back to the Greek manuscripts.’ His standpoint is, therefore, quite different from Jerome’s, though at the time his words were written Jerome had not yet begun to write. ... The authors point of view is briefly this. Those readings which appear both in the Latin bible of his day and in the old authors, Tertullian, Victorious and Cyprian, are correct. They are so, because the Latin translations used by these authors were made from Greek manuscripts which had not been corrupted, as the later Greek manuscripts were, for doctrinal or other purposes. There is of course much that is true in this view, and the labour which Rönsch spent on the study of Tertullian’s Bible and Dr Sanday and Mr Turner are spending on that of Cyprian, is of the highest value for the attainment of the original text.

Texts and Studies: Contributions to Biblical and Patristic Literature, Volume 7 (1901)
A Study of Ambrosiaster by Alexander Souter
His Biblical Text
section starts at
The short answer is no.

First, the statement by the Latin writer Hilary of Potiers c. 350 AD is not in the context of comparing with either the Byzantine Greek or Received Text. It is simply saying that we like the Latin texts. (However, the Latin texts, as well as the Greek, had suffered some corruption, they were not translated from pristine Greek texts.)

Second, it is not an affirmation of any specific ms. as being uncorrupted.

And most importantly, it is not a claim that the unspecified uncorrupted mss. were transmitted pristinely to the Waldensians. We know of no such Waldensian manuscript (== to the Received Text or Byzantine Text) available.

And that is the purpose for which Wilkinson mangled Nolan.


From above:

The first considerable variety in these copies must be of course dated from the first revisal of the text by St. Eusebius, of Verceli; since before him, there was not a person sufficiently informed, to undertake the correction of the Italick translation.
Be careful when some one says "of course", because often it is "off course".

There is lots of variety in Latin texts simply because there were many Latin translation editions in the 100s and 200s. (A point made by Augustine and/or Jerome.)

e.g. Look at the vorlage behind Codex Bezae.


Nolan barely mentions the Waldensians, and that is in p. xvii, xiii and xix

...the authour thence formed a hope, that some remains of the primitive Italick version might be found in the early translations made by the Waldenses, who were the lineal descendants of the Italick Church; and who have asserted their independence against the usurpations of tlie Church of Rome, and have ever enjoyed the free use of the Scriptures. In the search to which these considerations have led the authour, his fondest expectations have been fully realized. It has furnished him with abundant proof on that point to which his Inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the modern Vulgate1.
Notice the key "some remains".

In the text, Nolan emphasizes the heavenly witnesses, Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:16, Luke 2:33, and the Pericope Adulterae. (Where in fact both the Brescia ms and the Vulgate are uneven.) He never does a general survey.

On p. xviii he does have a footnote discussing the heavenly witnesses in a 1521 Waldensian version, which is a fine example of "some remains".

"the peculiar reading of this text, which is found in the French Version ... has been thus remotely adopted from St Cyprian"


Wilkinson does quote from that section, and of course he does not mention "some remains".
Above I had his mangling:

Dr. Nolan, who had already acquired fame for his Greek and Latin scholarship, and researches into Egyptian chronology, and was a lecturer of note, spent twenty-eight years to trace back the Received Text to its apostolic origin. He was powerfully impressed to examine the history of the Waldensian Bible. He felt certain that researches in this direction would demonstrate that the Italic New Testament, or the New Testament of those primitive Christians of northern Italy whose lineal descendants the Waldenses were, would turn out to be the Received Text.

The part in bold is Wilkinson, not Nolan.
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Steven Avery

Vercelli and Brescia - Old Italick
Bezae - New Italick

One of the biggest problems is Nolan using the quote on p. 72 to support the three classes in the eyes of Jerome:
beginning with:
"Si Septuaginta"
It can not be stretched to apply to NT Greek and Latin mss.
See the next post.
When Nolan talks of the Old Latin manuscripts, he divides them into

First Class - Alexandrian (Egypt) - Cambridge Manuscript - (Codex Bezae-Cantagrigiensis) Jerome/Hesychius
lectionary marks on Samaritan woman and walking on water p. 73
p. 55 - Sahadick with Bezae and Clermont and Vulgate
coincides with Coptic and Sahadic
New Italick p. 71
The conformity of the Codex Cantabrigiensis to those versions consequently proves, that this manuscript contains the text, which in St. Jerome’s age, when the Sahidick version was apparently formed46, was generally prevalent in Egypt. p. 75
3. In the extraordinary coincidence of the Cambridge manuscript with the old Italick version preserved in the manuscript of Verceli, we have a further proof, which establishes the same conclusion. This version was corrected by St. Eusebius of Verceli47, who was exiled in the Thebais, where the Sahidick dialect is spoken, during the period that the Christian church was under the dominion of the Arians. p. 75-76

In the Nolan idea,


Vatican Manuscript - Palestine - Oldest Copies of Jerusalem

That the Vatican manuscript which forms the exemplar of the Second Class, contains the text which St. Jerome refers to Palestine, and ascribes to Eusebius ... P 79-80

the affinity which the Vatican manuscript ... possesses the text of Eusebius and of Palestine67. P. 83

3. The striking coincidence of the Greek of the Vatican manuscript with the Latin of the Vulgate6*


Third Class (p. 88) Byzantine - Brescia (Constantinople - Lucianus)

it must be at least admitted, that, as the testimony of the Brescia manuscript enables us to trace the tradition of the Byzantine text to a period as remote as the year 393 p. 121


Jerome ... bears witness to the existence of three editions of the sacred text, in his own age, which he refers to Egypt, Palestine, and Constantinople37. This testimony is the rather deserving of attention, as it confirms, in an extraordinary manner, the previous assumption relative to the existence of three classes of text: and, as on the same broad distinction of the country where they are found,38, the Greek manuscripts have been distinguished, by modem criticks into three different classes, two of which are referred to Egypt and Constantinople.

... the three classes of text, which are discoverable in the Greek manuscripts, are nearly identical with the three editions, which existed in the age of St. Jerome: with which they are identified by their coincidence with the Latin translation, which existed in the age of that Christian father.
p. 71-72
Nolan makes an assumption that belies fundamental differences in the Greek and Latin transmission:

A few general observations will suffice on the subject of those different classes of manuscripts in the Greek and Latin, as preliminary to further deductions.

That the manuscripts in both languages possess the same text, though evidently of different classes, must be evident on the most casual inspection ; they respectively possess that identity in the choice of terms and arrangement of the language, which is irreconcilable with the notion of their having descended from different archetypes. And though these classes, in either language, vary among themselves, yet, as the translation follows the varieties of the original, the Greek and Latin consequently afford each other mutual confirmation. The different classes of text in the Greek and Latin translation, as thus coinciding, may be regarded as the conspiring testimony, of those Churches which were appointed the witnesses and keepers of Holy Writ, to the existence of three species of text in the original and the translation
.p. 70
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Steven Avery

Jerome quote on p. 72

37 S. Hier. Praef. in Paralipomm. Tom. III. p. 343. "Si Septuaginta interpretum pura, et ut ab eis in Graecum versa est, permaneret; superflue me, Chromati, Episcoporum sanctissime, atque doctissime, impelleres, ut Hebraea volumina Latino sermone transferrem.—Nunc vero, cum pro varietate regionum, diversa ferantur exemplaria; et germana ilia antiquaque translatio corrupta sit atque violata: nostri arbitrii putas, aut e pluribus judicare quid verum sit; aut novum opus In veteri opere cudere, illudentibusque Judaeis, cornicum, ut dicitur, oculos confingere. Alexandria et AEgyptus in septuaginta suis Hesychium laudat auctorem. Constantinopolis usque ad Antiochiam Luciani martyris exemplaria probat. Mediae inter has provincial Palaestinos codices legunt, quos ab Origine elaborates Eusebius et Pamphilus vulgaverunt. Totusque orbis hac inter se trifaria varietate compugnat." Conf. p. 11. n. 14

p. 72.jpg

If the Septuagint version of the pure, and has been turned over to him by those translated into Greek, remained immutable; it is superfluous to me, that the chromatic tetrachord, the bishops' Most Holy, and the most learned, impellers, in order that his Latin Language addressed transferrem.-Now, however, the volumes of the Hebrew, was on behalf of a variety of the regions, different seeding are the models; the violation of an authentic body should be still and she, to her old, and the transfer of corruption is in them: our own masters, do you think, to judge what is true or that result from many; We are informed by the work of the work, or hammer out a new, illudentibusque to the Jews, of crows, as it is said, his eyes, even to invent. Alexandria, Egypt, in the seventy Hesychium praise their Creator. Constance as far as Lucy Martyr samples tested. They read the books of the Medes, between the first two provincial people of Palestine, Eusebius and Pamphilus the deal, which they suffered from the Origin of elaborates. And the whole world that are trijaria ensure variety. "
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Steven Avery

John Henry brings forth the full Wilkinson section{tn:R}

Our Authorized Bible Vindicated
Benjamin Wilkinson
The Bible Adopted by Constantine and the Pure Bible of the Waldenses

Two pics and then

John Henry
December 8 at 5:14 AM

By Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Ph.D., 1930
(From "Which Bible" by Fuller, pp.194-215)

The Bible Adopted by Constantine and the Pure Bible of the Waldenses

Constantine became emperor of Rome in 312 A.D. A little later he embraced the Christian faith for himself and for his empire. As this so-called first Christian emperor took the reins of the civil and spiritual world to bring about the amalgamation of paganism and Christianity, he found three types of manuscripts, or Bibles, vying for supremacy: the Textus Receptus1 or Constantinopolitan, the Palestinian or Eusebio-Origen, and the Egyptian or Hesychian.2 The adherents of each claimed superiority for their manuscript. Particularly was there earnest contention between the advocates of the Textus Receptus and those of the Eusebio-Origen text.3 The defenders of the Textus Receptus were of the humbler class who earnestly sought to follow the early church. The Eusebio-Origen text was the product of the intermingling of the pure Word of God and Greek philosophy in the mind of Origen. It might be called the adaptation of the Word of God to Gnosticism.

As the Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, it became necessary for him to choose which of these Bibles he would sanction. Quite naturally he preferred the one edited by Eusebius and written by Origen, the outstanding intellectual figure that had combined Christianity with Gnosticism in his philosophy, even as Constantine himself was the political genius that was seeking to unite Christianity with pagan Rome. Constantine regarded himself as the director and guardian of this anomalous world church, and as such he was responsible for selecting the Bible for the great Christian centers. His predilection was for the type of Bible whose readings would give him a basis for his imperialistic ideas of the great state church, with ritualistic ostentation and unlimited central power. The philosophy of Origen was well suited to serve Constantine’s religio-political theocracy.

It is evident that the so-called Christian Emperor gave to the Papacy his endorsement of the Eusebio-Origen Bible. It was from this type of manuscript that Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate which became the authorized Catholic Bible for all time.

The Latin Vulgate, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, the Hexapla, Jerome, Eusebius, and Origen, are terms for ideas that are inseparable in the minds of those who know. The type of Bible selected by Constantine has held the dominating influence at all times in the history of the Catholic Church. This Bible was different from the Bible of the Waldenses, and, as a result of this difference, the Waldenses were the object of hatred and cruel persecution, as we shall now show. In studying this history, we shall see how it was possible for the pure manuscripts, not only to live, but actually to gain the ascendancy in the face of powerful opposition.

A Channel of Communication from the Churches in Judea Carried Pure Manuscripts to the Primitive Christians in Western Lands

Attentive observers have repeatedly been astonished at the unusual phenomenon exhibited in the meteoric history of the Bible adopted by Constantine. Written in Greek, it was disseminated at a time when Bibles were scarce, owing to the unbridled fury of the pagan emperor, Diocletian. We should naturally think that it would therefore continue long. Such was not the case.

The echo of Diocletian’s warfare against the Christians had hardly subsided, when Constantine assumed the imperial purple. Even as far as Great Britain, that far had the rage of Diocletian penetrated. One would naturally suppose that the Bible which had received the promotion of Constantine, especially when disseminated by that who was the first to show favor to that religion of Jesus, would rapidly have spread everywhere in those days when imperial favor meant everything. The truth is, the opposite was the outcome. It flourished for a short space. The span of one generation sufficed to see it disappear from popular use as if it had been struck by some invisible and withering blast. We turn with amazement to discover the reason for this phenomenon.

This chapter will show that the Textus Receptus was the Bible in use in the Greek Empire, in the countries of Syrian Christianity, in northern Italy, in southern France, and in the British Isles in the second century. This was a full century and more before the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus saw the light of day.4 When the apostles of the Roman Catholic Church entered these countries in later centuries they found the people using the Textus Receptus; and it was not without difficulty and a struggle that they were able to displace it with their Latin Vulgate. This chapter will likewise show that the Textus Receptus belongs to the type of these early apostolic manuscripts that were brought from Judea, and its claim to priority over the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus will be established.

Early Greek Christianity – Which Bible?

First of all, the Textus Receptus was the Bible of early Eastern Christianity. Later it was adopted as the official text of the Greek Catholic Church. There were local reasons which contributed to this result. But, probably, far greater reasons will be found in the fact that the Received Text had authority enough to become, either in itself or by its translation, the Bible of the great Syrian Church; of the Waldensian Church of northern Italy; of the Gallic Church in southern France; and of the Celtic Church in Scotland and Ireland; as well as the official Bible of the Greek Catholic Church. All these churches, some earlier, some later, were in opposition to the Church of Rome and at a time when the Received Text and these Bibles of the Constantine type were rivals. They, as represented in their descendants, are rivals to this day. The Church of Rome built on the Eusebio-Origen type of Bible; these others built on the Received Text. Therefore, because they themselves believed that the Received Text was the true apostolic Bible, and further, because the Church of Rome arrogated to itself the power to choose a Bible which bore the marks of systematic depravation, we have the testimony of these five churches to the authenticity and the apostolicity of the Received Text. The following quotation from Dr. Hort is to prove that the Received Text was the Greek New Testament of the East. Note that Dr. Hort always calls it the Constantinopolitan or Antiochian text:

"It is no wonder that the traditional Constantinopolitan text, whether formally official or not, was the Antiochian text of the fourth century. It was equally natural that the text recognized at Constantinople should eventually become in practice the standard New Testament of the East."5

Early Syrian Christianity – Which Bible?

It was at Antioch, capital of Syria, that the believers were first called Christians. And as time rolled on, the Syrian-speaking Christians could be numbered by the thousands. It is generally admitted that the Bible was translated from the original languages into Syrian about 150 A.D.6 This version is known as the Peshitto (the correct or simple). This Bible even today generally follows the Received Text.7

One authority tells us this – "The Peshitto in our days is found in use amongst the Nestorians, who have always kept it, by the Monophysites on the plains of Syria, the Christians of St. Thomas in Malabar, and by the Maronites, on the mountain terraces of Lebanon.8

Having presented the fact that the Bible of early Greek Christianity and early Syrian Christianity was not of the Eusebio-Origen or Vaticanus type, but the Received Text, we shall now show that the early Bible of northern Italy, of southern France, and of Great Britain was also the Received Text.

The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain.9 The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. And the Greek New Testament, the Received Text they brought with them, or its translation was of the type from which the Protestant Bibles, such as the King James in English, and the Lutheran in German, were translated. We shall presently see that it differed greatly from the Eusebio-Origen Greek New Testament.

Early England – Which Bible

Onward then pushed those heroic bands of evangelists to England, to southern France, and northern Italy. The Mediterranean was like the trunk of a tree with branches running out to these parts, the roots of the tree being in Judea or Asia Minor, from whence the sap flowed westward to fertilize the distant lands. History does not possess any record of heroism superior to the sacrifices and sufferings of the early Christians in the pagan West. The first believers of ancient Britain nobly held their ground when the pagan Anglo-Saxons descended on the land like a flood. Dean Stanley holds it against Augustine, the missionary sent by the Pope in 596 A.D. to convert England, that he treated with contempt the early Christian Britons.10 Yes, more, he connived with the Anglo-Saxons in their frightful extermination of that pious people. And after Augustine’s death, when those same pagan Anglo-Saxons so terrified the papal leaders in England that they fled back to Rome, it was the British Christians of Scotland who occupied the forsaken fields. It is evident from this that British Christianity did not come from Rome. Furthermore, Dr. Adam Clarke claims that the examination of Irish customs reveals that they have elements which were imported into Ireland from Asia Minor by early Christians.11

Since Italy, France, and Great Britain were once provinces of the Roman Empire, the first translations of the Bible by the early Christians in those parts were made into Latin. The early Latin translations were very dear to the hearts of these primitive churches, and as Rome did not send any missionaries toward the West before 250 A.D., the early Latin Bibles were well established before these churches came into conflict with Rome. Not only were such translations in existence long before the Vulgate was adopted by the Papacy, and well established, but the people for centuries refused to supplant their old Latin Bibles by the Vulgate. "The old Latin versions were used longest by the western Christians who would not bow to the authority of Rome – e.g., the Donatists; the Irish in Ireland, Britain, and the Continent; the Albigenses, etc."12

God in His wisdom had invented these Latin versions by His Providence with a charm that outweighed the learned artificiality of Jerome’s Vulgate. This is why they persisted through the centuries. A characteristic often overlooked in considering versions, and one that cannot be too greatly emphasized, needs to be pointed out in comparing the Latin Bible of the Waldenses, of the Gauls, and of the Celts with the later Vulgate. To bring before you the unusual charm of those Latin Bibles, I quote from the Forum of June, 1887:

"The old Italic version into the rude Low Latin of the second century held its own as long as Latin continued to be the language of the people. The critical version of Jerome never displaced it, and only replaced when the Latin ceased to be a living language, and became the language of the learned. The Gothic version of Ulfilas, in the same way, held its own until the tongue in which it was written ceased to exist. Luther’s Bible was the first genuine beginning of modern German literature. In Germany, as in England, many critical translations have been made, but they have fallen stillborn from the press. The reason of these facts seems to be this: that the languages into which these versions were made, were almost perfectly adapted to express the broad, generic simplicity of the original text. Microscopic accuracy of phrase and classical nicety of expression may be very well for the student in his closet, but they do not represent the human and Divine simplicity of the Scriptures to the man of those for whom the Scriptures were written. To render that, the translator needs not only a simplicity of mind rarely to be found in companies of learned critics, but also a language possessing in some large measure that broad, simple, and generic character which we have seen to belong to the Hebrew and to the Greek of the New Testament. It was partly because the Low Latin of the second century, and the Gothic of Ulfilas, and the rude, strong German of Luther had that character in a remarkable degree, that they were capable of rendering the Scriptures with a faithfulness which guaranteed their permanence."13

For nine hundred years, we are told, the first Latin translations held their own after the Vulgate appeared.14 The Vulgate was born about 380 A.D. Nine hundred years later brings us to about 1280 A.D. This accords well with the fact that at the famous Council of Toulouse, 1229 A.D., the Pope gave orders for the most terrible crusade to be waged against the simple Christians of southern France and northern Italy who would not bow to his power. Cruel, relentless, devastating, this war was waged, destroying the Bibles, books, and every vestige of documents telling the story of the Waldenses and Albigenses.

Since then, some authorities speak of the Waldenses as having their Bible, the Vulgate. We regret to dispute these claims. When we consider that the Waldenses were, so to speak, in their mountain fastnesses, on an island in the midst of a sea of nations using the Vulgate, it is no wonder that they knew and possessed the Vulgate. But the Italic, the earlier Latin, was their own Bible, the one for which they lived and suffered and died. Moreover, to the east was Constantinople, the center of Greek Catholicism, whose Bible was the Received Text; while a little farther east was the noble Syrian Church which also had the Received Text. In touch with these, northern Italy could easily verify her text.

It is clearly evident that the Latin Bible of early British Christianity was not the Latin Bible (Vulgate) of the Papacy. Furthermore, it was at such variance with the Vulgate as to engender strife. The following quotation from Dr. Von Dobschutz will verify these two facts: "When Pope Gregory found some Anglo-Saxon youths at the slave market of Rome and perceived that in the North there was still a pagan nation to be baptized, he sent one of his monks to England, and this monk, who was Saint Augustine, took with him the Bible and introduced it to the Anglo-Saxons, and one of his followers brought with him from Rome pictures showing the Biblical history, and decorated the walls of the church in the monastery of Wearmouth. We do not enter here into the difficult question of the relations between this newly founded Anglo-Saxon church and the old Iro-Scottish church. Differences of Bible text had something to do with the pitiful struggles which arose between the churches and ended in the devastation of the older one."15

Famous in history among all centers of Bible knowledge and Bible Christianity was Iona, on the little island of Hy, off the northwest coast of Scotland. Its most historic figure was Columba. Upon this island rock, God breathed out His Holy Spirit and from this center, to the tribes of northern Europe. When Rome awoke to the necessity of sending out missionaries to extend her power, she found Great Britain and northern Europe already professing a Christianity whose origin could be traced back through Iona to Asia minor. About 600 A.D. Rome sent missionaries to England and to Germany, to bring these simple Bible Christians under her dominion, as much as to subdue the pagans. D'Aubigne has furnished us this picture of Iona and her missions:

"D’Aubigne says that Columba esteemed the cross of Christ higher than the royal blood which flowed in his veins, and that precious manuscripts were brought to Iona, where a theological school was founded and the Word was studied. ‘Ere long a missionary spirit breathed over this ocean rock, so justly named "the light of the Western world." ‘ British missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, yea, even into Italy, and did more for the conversion of central Europe than the half-enslaved Roman Church."16

Early France – Which Bible?

In southern France, when in 177 A.D. the Gallic Christians were frightfully massacred by the heathen, a record of their suffering was drawn up by the survivors and sent, not to the Pope of Rome, but to their brethren in Asia Minor.17 Milman claims that the French received their Christianity from Asia Minor.

These apostolic Christians in southern France were undoubtedly those who gave effective help I carrying the Gospel to Great Britain.18 And as we have seen above, there was a long and bitter struggle between the Bible of the British Christians and the Bible which was brought later to England by the missionaries of Rome. And as there were really only two Bible – the official version of Rome, and the Received Text – we may safely conclude that the Gallic (or French) Bible, as well as the Celtic (or British), were translations based on the Received Text. Neander claims as follows, that the first Christianity in England, came not from Rome, but from Asia Minor, probably through France:

"But the peculiarity of the later British church is evidence against its origin from Rome; for in many ritual matters it departed from the usage of the Romish Church, and agreed much more nearly with the churches of Asia Minor. It withstood, for a log time, the authority of the Romish Papacy. This circumstance would seem to indicate that the Britons had received their Christianity, either immediately, or through Gaul, from Asia Minor – a thing quite possible and easy, by means of the commercial intercourse. The later Anglo-Saxons, who opposed the spirit of ecclesiastical independence among the Britons, and endeavored to establish the church supremacy of Rome, were uniformly inclined to trace back the church establishments to a Roman origin; from which effort many false legends as well as this might have arisen.19

The Waldenses in Northern Italy – Which Bible?

That the messengers of God who carried manuscripts from the churches of Judea to the churches of northern Italy and on, brought to the forerunners of the Waldenses a Bible different from the Bible of Roman Catholicism, I quote the following:

"The method which Allix has pursued, in his History of the Churches of Piedmont, is to show that in the ecclesiastical history of every century, from the fourth century, which he considers a period early enough for the enquirer after apostolical purity of doctrine, there are clear proofs that doctrines, unlike those which the Romish Church holds, and conformable to the belief of the Waldensian and Reformed Churches, were maintained by theologians of the north of Italy down to the period when the Waldenses first came into notice. Consequently the opinions of the Waldenses were not new to Europe in the eleventh or twelfth centuries, and there is nothing improbably in the tradition, that the Subalpine Church persevered in its integrity in an uninterrupted course from the first preaching of the Gospel in the valleys."20

There are many earlier historians who agree with this view (Allix, Leger, Gilly, Comba, Nolan). It is held that the pre-Waldensian Christians of northern Italy could not have had doctrines purer than Rome unless their Bible was purer than Rome’s; that is, their Bible was not of Rome’s falsified manuscripts.21

It is inspiring to bring to life again the outstanding history of an authority on this point. I mean Leger. This noble scholar of Waldensian blood was the apostle of his people in the terrible massacres of 1655, and labored intelligently to preserve their ancient records. His book, the General History of the Evangelical Churches of the Piedmontese Valleys, published in French in 1669, and called "scarce" in 1825, is the prized object of scholarly searchers. It is my good fortune to have that very book before me. Leger, when he calls Olivetan’s French Bible of 1537 "entire and pure," says:

"I say ‘pure’ because all the ancient exemplars, which formerly were found among the Papists, were full of falsifications, which caused Beza to say in his book o Illustrious Men, in the chapter on the Vaudois, that one must confess it was by means of the Vaudois of the Valleys that France today has the Bible in her own language. This godly man, Olivetan, in the preface of his Bible, recognizes with thanks to God, that since the time of the apostles, or their immediate successors, the torch of the gospel has been lit among the Vaudois (or the dwellers in the Valleys of the Alps, two terms which mean the same), and has never since been extinguished."22

The Waldenses of northern Italy were foremost among the primitive Christians of Europe in their resistance of the Papacy. They not only sustained the weight of Rome’s oppression but also they were successful in retaining the torch of truth until the Reformation took it from their hands and held it aloft to the world. Veritably they illustrated the prophecy of Revelation concerning the church which fled into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God (Revelation 12:6, 14). They rejected the mysterious doctrines, the hierarchal priesthood and the worldly titles of Rome, while they clung to the simplicity of the Bible.

The agents of the Papacy have done their utmost to calumniate their character, to destroy the records of their noble past, and to leave no trace of the cruel persecution they underwent. They went even further – they made use of words written against ancient heresies to strike out the name of the heretics and fill the blank space by inserting the name of the Waldenses. Just as if, in a book, written to record the lawless deeds of some bandit, like Jesse James, his name should be stricken out and the name of Abraham Lincoln substituted. The Jesuit Gretser in a book written against the heretics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries put the name Waldenses at the point where he struck out the name of these heretics.23

In the fourth century, Helvidius, a great scholar of northern Italy, accused Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, with using corrupt Greek manuscripts. How could Helvidius have accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek manuscripts if Helvidius had not had the pure Greek manuscripts? And so learned and so powerful in writing and teaching was Jovinian, the pupil of Helvidius, that it demanded three of Rome’s most famous fathers – Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose – to unite in opposing Jovinian’s influence. Even then, it needed the condemnation of the Pope and the banishment of the Emperor to prevail. But Jovinian’s followers lived on and made the way easier for Luther.

History does not afford a record of cruelty greater than that manifested by Rome toward the Waldenses. It is impossible to write fully the inspiring history of this persecuted people, whose origin goes back to apostolic days and whose history is ornamented with stories of gripping interest. Rome has obliterated the records. Dr. DeSanctis, many years a Catholic official at Rome, some time official Censor of the Inquisition and later a convert to Protestantism, thus reports the conversation of a Waldensian scholar as he points out to others the ruins of Palatine Hill, Rome:

" ‘See,’ said the Waldensian, ‘a beautiful monument of ecclesiastical antiquity. These rough materials are the ruins of the two great Palatine libraries, one Greek and the other Latin, where the precious manuscripts of our ancestors were collected, and which Pope Gregory I, called the Great, caused to be burned.’ "24

The destruction of Waldensian records beginning about 600 A.D. by Gregory I, was carried through with thoroughness by the secret agents of the Papacy.

"It is a singular thing," says Gilly, "that the destruction or rapine, which has been so fatal to Waldensian documents, should have pursued them even to the place of security, to which all, that remained, were consigned by Morland, in 1658, to the library of the University of Cambridge. The most ancient of these relics were ticketed in seven packets, distinguished by letters of the alphabet, from A to G. The whole of these was missing when I made inquiry for them in 1823. "25

The Italic Church in Northern Italy were predecessors of the Waldenses. Their Bible was of the family of the renowned Itala. It was that translation into Latin which represents the Received Text. Its very name "Itala" is derived from the Italic district, the regions of the Vaudois. Of the purity and reliability of this version, Augustine, speaking of different Latin Bibles (about 400 A.D.) says:

Ancient Documents of the Waldenses

There are modern writers who attempt to fix the beginning of the Waldenses from Peter Waldo, who began his work about 1175. This is a mistake. The historical name of this people as properly derived from the valleys where they lived, is Vaudois. Their enemies, however, ever sought to date their origin from Waldo. Waldo was an agent, evidently raised up of God to combat the errors of Rome. Gilly, who made extensive research concerning the Waldenses, pictures Waldo in his study at Lyon, France, with associates, a committee, "like the translators of our own Authorized Version."26 Nevertheless the history of the Waldenses, or Vaudois, begins centuries before the days of Waldo.

There remains to us in the ancient Waldensian language, "The Noble Lesson" (La Nobla Leycon), written about the year 1100 A.D. which assigns the first opposition of the Waldenses to the Church of Rome to the days of Constantine the Great, when Sylvester was Pope. This may be gathered from the following extract:

"All the popes, which have been from Sylvester to the present time."27

Thus when Christianity, emerging from the long persecutions of pagan Rome, was raised to imperial favor by the Emperor Constantine, the Italic Church in northern Italy –later, the Waldenses – is seen standing in opposition to papal Rome. Their Bible was of the family of the renowned Itala. It was that translation into Latin which represents the Received Text. Its very name, ""Itala," is derived from the Italic district, the regions of the Vaudois. Of the purity and reliability of this version, Augustine, speaking of different Latin Bibles (about 400 A.D.) says:

"Now among translations themselves the Italian (Itala) is to be preferred to the others, for it keeps closer to the words without prejudice to clearness of expression."28

The old Waldensian liturgy which they used in their services down through the centuries contained "texts of Scripture of the ancient Version called the Italick."29

The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 A.D., from which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they received from the apostles.30 The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from the Greek not later than 157 A.D.31 We are indebted to Beza, the renowned associate of Calvin, for the statement that the Italic Church dates from 120 A.D. From the illustrious group of scholars which gathered round Beza, 1590 A.D., we may understand how the Received Text was the bond of union between great historic churches.

As the sixteenth century is closing, we see in the beautiful Swiss city of Geneva, Beza, an outstanding champion of Protestantism, the scholar Cyril Lucar, later to become the head of the Greek Catholic Church, and Diodati, also a foremost scholar. As Beza astonishes and confounds the world by restoring manuscripts of that Greek New Testament from which the King James is translated, Diodati takes the same and translates into Italian a new and famous edition, adopted and circulated by the Waldenses.32

Leger, the Waldensian historian of his people, studied under Diodati at Geneva. He returned as pastor to the Waldenses and led them in their flight from the terrible massacre of 1655.33 He prized as his choicest treasure the Diodati Bible, the only worldly possession he was able to preserve. Cyril Lucar hastened to Alexandria where Codex A, the Alexandrian Manuscript,34 was lying, and laid down his life to introduce the Reformation and the Reformers’ pure light regarding the books of the Bible.

At the same time another group of scholars, bitterly hostile to the first group, were gathered at Rheims, France. There the Jesuits, assisted by Rome and backed by all the power of Spain, brought forth an English translation of the Vulgate. In its preface they expressly declared that the Vulgate had been translated in 1300 into Italian and in 1400 into French, "the sooner to shake out of the deceived people’s hands, the false heretical translations of a sect called Waldenses." This proves that Waldensian Versions existed in 1300 and 1400. So the Vulgate was Rome’s corrupt Scriptures against the Received Text; but the Received Text the New Testament of the apostles, of the Waldenses, and of the Reformers.

That Rome in early days corrupted the manuscripts while the Italic Church handed them down in their apostolic purity, Allix, the renowned scholar, testifies. He reports the following as Italic articles of faith: "They receive only, saith he, what is written in the Old and New Testament. They say, that the Popes of Rome, and other priests, have depraved the Scriptures by their doctrines and glosses."35

It is recognized that the Itala was translated from the Received Text (Syrian, Hort calls it); that the Vulgate is the Itala with the readings of the Received Text removed.36

Waldensian Bibles

Four Bibles produced under Waldensian influence touched the history of Calvin: namely, a Greek, a Waldensian vernacular, a French and an Italian. Calvin himself was led to his great work by Olivetan, a Waldensian. Thus was the Reformation brought to Calvin, that brilliant student of the Paris University. Farel, also a Waldensian, besought him to come to Geneva and open up a work there. Calvin felt that he should labor in Paris. According to Leger, Calvin recognized a relationship to the Calvins of the Valley of St. Martin, one of the Waldensian Valleys.37

Finally, persecution at Paris and the solicitation of Farel caused Calvin to settle at Geneva, where, with Beza, he brought out an edition of the Textus Receptus – the one the author now used in his college class rooms, as edited by Scrivener. Of Beza, Dr. Edgar says that he "astonished and confounded the world" with the Greek manuscripts he unearthed. This later edition of the Received Text is in reality a Greek New Testament brought out under Waldensian influence. Unquestionably, the leaders of the Reformation – German, French, and English – were convinced that the Received Text was the genuine New Testament, not only by its own irresistible history and internal evidence, but also because it matched with the Received Text which in Waldensian form came down from the days of the apostles.

The other three Bibles of Waldensian connection were due to three men who were at Geneva with Calvin, or when he died, with Beza, his successor, namely, Olivetan, Leger, and Diodati. How readily the two streams of descent of the Received Text, through the Greek East and the Waldensian West, ran together, is illustrated by the meeting of the Olivetan Bible and the Received Text. Olivetan, one of the most illustrious pastors of the Waldensian Valleys, a relative of Calvin, according to Leger,38 ad a splendid student, translated the New Testament into French. Leger bore testimony that the Olivetan Bible, which accorded with the Textus Receptus, was unlike the old manuscripts of the Papists, because they were full of falsification. Later, Calvin edited a second edition of the Olivetan Bible. The Olivetan in turn became the basis of the Geneva Bible39 in English which was the leading version in England in 1611 when the King James appeared.

Diodati, who succeeded Beza in the chair of Theology at Geneva, translated the Received Text into Italian. This version was adopted by the Waldenses, although there was in use at that time a Waldensian Bible in their own peculiar language. This we know because Sir Samuel Morland, under the protection of Oliver Cromwell, received from Leger the Waldensian New Testament40 which now lies in the Cambridge University library. After the devastating massacre of the Waldenses in 1655, Leger felt that he should collect and give into the hands of Sir Samuel Morland as many pieces of the ancient Waldensian literature as were available.

It is interesting to trace back the Waldensian Bible which Luther had before him when he translated the New Testament. Luther used the Tepl Bible, named from Tepl, Bohemia. This Tepl manuscript represented a translation of the Waldensian Bible into the German which was spoken before the days of the Reformation.41 Of this remarkable manuscript, Comba says:

"When the manuscript of Tepl appeared, the attention of the learned was aroused by the fact that the text it presents corresponds word for word with that of the first three editions of the ancient German Bible. Then Louis Keller, an original writer, with the decided opinions of a layman and versed in the history of the sects of the Middle Ages, declared the Tepl manuscript to be Waldensian. Another writer, Hermann Haupt, who belongs to the old Catholic party, supported his opinion vigorously."42

From Comba we also learn that the Tepl manuscript has an origin different from the version adopted by the Church of Rome; that it seems to agree rather with the Latin versions anterior to Jerome, the author of the Vulgate; and that Luther followed it in his translation, which probably is the reason why the Catholic Church reproved Luther for following the Waldenses.43 Another peculiarity is its small size, which seems to single it out as one of those little books which the Waldensian evangelists carried with them hidden under their rough cloaks.44 We have, therefore, an indication of how much the Reformation under Luther as well as Luther’s Bible owed to the Waldenses.

Waldensian influence, both from the Waldensian Bibles and from Waldensian relationships, entered into the King James translation of 1611. Referring to the King James translators, one author speaks thus of a Waldensian Bible they used: "It is known that among modern versions they consulted was an Italian, and though no name is mentioned, there cannot be room for doubt that it was the elegant translation made with great ability from the original Scriptures by Giovanni Diodati, which had only recently (1607) appeared at Geneva."45

It is therefore evident that the translators of 1611 had before them four Bibles which and come under Waldensian influences: the Diodati in Italian, the Olivetan in French, the Lutheran in German, and the Genevan in English. We have every reason to believe that they had access to at least six Waldensian Bibles written in the old Waldensian vernacular.46

Dr. Nolan, who had already acquired fame for his Greek and Latin scholarship and researches into Egyptian chronology, and was a lecturer of note, spent twenty-eight years to trace back the Received Text to its apostolic origin. He was powerfully impressed to examine the history of the Waldensian Bible. He felt certain that researches in this direction would demonstrate that the Italic New Testament, or the New Testament of those primitive Christians of northern Italy whose lineal descendants the Waldenses were, would turn out to be the Received Text. He says:

"The author perceived, without any labor of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contra-distinguished from the Roman. This is a supposition, which receives a sufficient confirmation from the fact, - that the principal copies of that version have been preserved in that diocese, the metropolitan church of which was situated in Milan. The circumstance is at present mentioned, as the author thence formed a hope, that some remains of the primitive Italick version might be found in the early translations made by the Waldenses, who were the lineal descendants of the Italick Church; and who have asserted their independence against the usurpations of the Church of Rome, and have ever enjoyed the free use of the Scriptures."

"In the search to which these considerations have led the author, his fondest expectations have been fully realized. It has furnished him with abundant proof on that point to which his inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses47 was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the modern Vulgate."48

How the Bible Adopted by Constantine Was Set Aside

Where did this Vaudois Church amid the rugged peaks of the Alps secure these uncorrupted manuscripts? In the silent watches of the night, along the lonely paths of Asia Minor where robbers and wild beasts lurked, might have been seen the noble missionaries carrying manuscripts, and verifying documents from the churches in Judea to encourage their struggling brethren under the iron heel of the Papacy. The sacrificing labors of the apostle Paul were bearing fruit. His wise plan to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the churches of Judea provided the channel of communications which defeated continually and finally the bewildering pressure of the Papacy. Or, as the learned Scrivener has beautifully put it:

"Wide as is the region which separates Syria from Gaul, there must have been in very early times some remote communication by which the stream of Eastern testimony, or tradition, like another Alpheus, rose up again with fresh strength to irrigate the regions of the distant West."49

We have it now revealed how Constantine’s Hexapla Bible was successfully met. A powerful chain of churches, few in number compared with the manifold congregations of an apostate Christianity, but enriched with the eternal conviction of truth and with able scholars, stretched from Palestine to Scotland. If Rome in her own land was unable to beat down the testimony of apostolic Scriptures, how could she hope, in the Greek-speaking world of the distant and hostile East, to maintain the supremacy of her Greek Bible?

The scriptures of the apostle John and his associates, the traditional text – the Textus Receptus, if you please – arose from the place of humiliation forced on it by Origen’s Bible in the hands of Constantine and became the Received Text of Greek Christianity. And when the Greek East for one thousand years was completely shut off from the Latin West, the noble Waldenses in northern Italy still possessed in Latin the Received Text.

To Christians such as these, preserving apostolic Christianity, the world owes gratitude for the true text of the Bible. It is not true, as the Roman Church claims, that she gave the Bible to the world. What she gave was an impure text, a text with thousands of verses so changed as to make way for her unscriptural doctrines. While upon those who possessed the veritable Word of God, she poured out through long centuries her stream of cruel persecution. Or, in the words of another writer:

"The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution.… Here for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith…. In a most wonderful manner it (the Word of Truth) was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness."

The struggle against the Bible adopted by Constantine was won. But another warfare, another plan to deluge the Latin West with a corrupt Latin Bible was preparing. We hasten to see how the world was saved from Jerome and his Origenism.

The two great families of Greek Bibles are well illustrated in the work of that outstanding scholar, Erasmus. Before he gave to the Reformation the New Testament in Greek, he divided all Greek manuscripts into two classes: those which agreed with the Received Text and those which agreed with the Vaticanus manuscript.50

The King James from the Received Text has been the Bible of the English-speaking world for 300 years. This has given the Received Text, and the Bibles translated from it into other tongues, standing and authority. At the same time, it neutralized the dangers of the Catholic manuscripts and the Bibles in other tongues translated from them.


1 The title "Textus Receptus" was first given to the Traditional Text by Elzevir in 1633. In these chapters the name is given to the whole body of documents which preserve substantially the same kind of text.

2 H.B.Swete, Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, pp. 76-86

3 Hort, Introduction, p. 138.

4 Burgon, The Revision Revised, p. 27.

5 Hort, Introduction, p. 143. See also Burgon, Revision Revised., p. 134

6 Ibid. P. 27, note.
7 Ibid.

8 Burgon and Miller, The Traditional Text. p. 128.

9 T. V. Moore, The Culdee Church, Chapters 3 and 4

10 Stanley, Historic Memorials of Canterbury, pp. 33, 34; quoted in Cathcart, Ancient British and Irish Churches, p. 12.

11 Clarke, Commentary on Matthew, 1:18.

12 Jacobus, Catholic and Protestant Bibles Compared, p. 200, n. 15.

13 Fulton, Forum, June, 1887.

14 Jacobus, Catholic and Protestant Bibles, p. 4

15 Von Dobschutz, The Influence of the Bible on Civilization, pp. 61, 62.

16 J. N. Andrews and L. R. Conradi, History of the Sabbath, pp. 581, 582.

17 See Cathcart, Ancient British and Irish Churches, p. 16.
18 Ibid. p. 17.

19 Neander, History of the Christian Religion and Church, Vol. 1, pp. 85, 86.

20 Gilly, Waldensian Researches, pp. 118, 119.

21 Comba, The Waldenses of Italy, p. 188.

22 Leger, General History of the Vaudois Churches, p. 165.

23 Gilly, Waldensian Researches, p. 8, note.

24 DeSanctis, Popery, Puseyism, Jesuitism, p. 53.

25 Gilly, Waldensian Researches, p. 80.

26 Comba, The Waldenses of Italy, p. 169, note 596.

27 "Que tuit li papa, que foron de Silvestre en tro en aquest." Gilly, Excursions to the Piedmont, Appendix II, p. 10.

28 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Christian Lit. Ed., Vol. II, p. 542

29 Allix, Churches of Piedmont, 1690, p. 37.
30 Ibid., p. 177.

31 Scrivener, Introduction, Vol. II, p. 43.

32 "Waldenses," McClintock and Strong, Encyclopedia.

33 Gilly, Waldensian Researches, pp. 79, 80.

34 Cyril Lucar presented this manuscript to King Charles I of England in 1628. Because of his devotion to the Reformed Faith Lucar was hounded by the Jesuits, who brought about his death in 1638.

35 Allix, Churches of Piedmont, pp. 288, 11.

36 Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, pp. 169, 170.

37 Leger, History of the Vaudois, p. 167.
38 Ibid.

39 The Geneva New Testament in English appeared in 1557, and the complete Bible in 1560.

40 A copy was presented to the Pope at the Lateran Council of 1179. The Council of Toulouse condemned the version in 1229, and many copies were destroyed. The copy given to Morland was one of the few to survive. In many places this Romaunt version agrees with the old Italic against the Vulgate.

41 Comba, The Waldenses of Italy, p. 191.
42 Ibid., p. 190.
43 Ibid., p. 192.

44 Ibid., p. 191, note 679.

45 Benjamin Warfield, Collections of Opinions and Reviews, Vol. II, p. 99.

46 Including Dublin MS A4. No. 13, once the property of Archbishop Ussher, presented by King Charles II of England to the University of Dublin.

47 I John 5:7.

48 Frederick Nolan, Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, pp. xvii, xviii.

49 Scrivener, Introduction, Vol. II, pp. 299, 300.

50 Nolan, Inquiry, p. 413.
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Steven Avery

CARM - 2021

If you talk to the King James Bible and Reformation Bible/Confessional defenders on Facebook, pretty much all are aware that the Old Latin is not very special as a source. This myth developed out of the writings of Benjamin Wilkinson starting in 1930, then to David Otis Fuller and hung on till the last decade or two. Since it was in so many books, you can still find it repeated occasionally.

Wilkinson as an Adventist had a special simpatico with the Waldensians, and tried to work with some writings from Frederick Nolan (which he mangled) to place them with a pristine Old Latin Bible.

It is true that the Waldensians had a true love for their Bibles, which was very different than the RCC approach, but textually there was a lot of similarity and overlap in the actual texts. The Vulgate was a major source for Waldensian Bibles, yet even if some of their Bibles they were more on the Old Latin line, that would not make them a superior text and would not make them closer to the Received Text.

There are many places, like the heavenly witnesses and Acts 8:37, where the Latin evidences concur in supporting the TR text. That would include the Old Latin mss., the Vulgate and the references by the early church writers. Similarly with the Mark ending and the Pericope Adulterae.

Doug Kutilek helped with this scholarship in his writings starting around 1990. While on many topics Kutilek is a disaster, he gets praise for emphasizing this point. Rick Norris should give him credit for opening up the issue, but with Rick you even have true and false quotes mixed together, so it is a ball of confusion.

Wilkinson's Incredible Errors
by Doug Kutilek
[Originally published in Baptist Biblical Heritage, Vol. I, No. 3; Fall, 1990]

Wilkinson repeatedly asserts that the Old Latin translation is Byzantine in text, and that the Bible of the medieval Waldenses was made from the Old Latin instead of the Vulgate. Neither of these assertions is true. ... [See also the article, “The Truth About the Waldensian Bible and the Old Latin Version,” by Doug Kutilek].

Steven Avery

The Truth about the Waldensian Bible and the Old Latin Version
Doug Kutilek

[Reprinted from Baptist Biblical Heritage 2:2, Summer, 1991; revised June, 2002; revised once again January 2012. We recently received a letter inquiring about whether or not the Old Latin versions were strong supporters of the textus receptus at an early date, as some claim. Since we had already addressed the matter decades ago, we decided to re-issue our study here]
We demonstrated in earlier issues of Baptist Biblical Heritage that the current "King James only" error had its origin in the mind of Seventh‑day Adventist missionary, professor, and college president Benjamin G. Wilkinson (1872‑1968) [For a more extended study of the origin and history of KJVOism, see my chapter, “The Background and Origin of the Version Debate,” chapter 1, pp. 27-56, in One Bible Only?, edited by Roy E. Beacham and Kevin T. Bauder. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2001]. Wilkinson propagated his highly erroneous views in his book Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, published by the Adventists in 1930. Little noted in its day, this trove of misinformation and error was embraced by J. J. Ray and partly reproduced (via plagiarism) in his 1955 book God Wrote Only One Bible; it was also largely reprinted in D. O Fuller's popular compilation, Which Bible? (1st edition, 1970; 5th edition, 1975. The 5th edition will be used here). Neither Ray nor Fuller informed his readers of Wilkinson's cult connection, and Fuller in particular specifically and deliberately sought to conceal this information from those who read Which Bible? Besides KJV‑onlyism, with its denigration of the Scripture text in the original languages, Wilkinson's writing has led many to adopt a completely false interpretation of Psalm 12:6, 7, one that assumes these verses refer to the providential preservation of Scripture (specifically the KJV), rather than its true sense and meaning, namely the preservation of the persecuted saints of v. 5 (see the commentaries of John Gill and Franz Delitzsch on this text, or the Reina-Valera Spanish version). Other particular errors that many have picked up directly or indirectly from Adventist Wilkinson are a completely erroneous view of the Old Latin translation(s) of the New Testament, and the nature of the Bible of the medieval Waldensians. It is these two errors which I wish to address now.

When treating the medieval Waldensians and their vernacular translation of the Bible, Wilkinson was driven by a desire to demonstrate their "orthodoxy" (according to his Adventist standard) in all particulars. In an attempt at their own brand of apostolic succession or Landmarkism, the Adventists have claimed the Waldensians as their spiritual ancestors, imputing to them such Adventist views as adherence to the standard of the law for righteousness, seventh day Sabbath, and other matters (see Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy , Pacific Press, 1971 edition, pp. 58‑72).

Since Wilkinson viewed the so‑called received Greek text as the only pure text, he tried to impute to the Waldensians the use of this same Greek text. "It was the Vulgate, Rome's corrupt Scriptures against the Received Text‑‑the New Testament of the apostles, of the Waldensians, and of the Reformers." (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated [henceforth OABV], p.36; and imprecisely quoted by Fuller in Which Bible? [henceforth WB], p.209).

(There is a monstrous anachronism here and throughout Wilkinson which we will note in passing. The term "received text" is properly used of the printed Greek texts issued by Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, the Elzevirs, et al. between 1516 and 1641; this precise form of text did not exist before Erasmus, and therefore could not have been the New Testament of the apostles and Waldensians, though it was of the Reformers. The correct term or terms for the text Wilkinson wrote about is Byzantine, Syrian (in Hort’s terminology), traditional, or majority text, which text differs from the received text in over 1,800 places, many involving whole verses or clauses. It would be most helpful if authors would simply use correct terminology in discussing these matters. Unfortunately, Wilkinson and Fuller rarely did).
Wilkinson claimed also that the Received Text had authority enough to become, either in itself or by its translation, "the Bible of . . . the Waldensian Church of northern Italy," (OABV, p.24; WB, p.197). "The noble Waldenses in northern Italy still possessed in Latin the Received Text," (OABV, p.42; WB, p.214). "The Latin Vulgate . . . was different from the Bible of the Waldenses," (OABV, p.22; WB, p.195). This received text supposedly possessed by the Waldensians was alleged to be in the form of a Latin translation, the Old Latin or Itala version, which predates the Vulgate: "They [i.e., the Waldenses] knew and possessed the Vulgate. But the Italic, the earlier Latin, was their own Bible, the one for which they lived and suffered and died," (OABV, p.28; WB, p.201).
Wilkinson summarily said, "Some authorities speak of the Waldenses as having as their Bible, the Vulgate. We regret to dispute these claims," (OABV, p.28; WB, p.201). And well should Wilkinson have regrets, for his disputation is utterly groundless!
In the above‑quoted claims, Wilkinson was guilty of two errors: first, identifying the Old Latin Itala version as Byzantine in text (anachronistically called the received text); and, second, affirming that the Waldensian Bible was based on the Itala and not on the Vulgate. We shall demonstrate that both these claims are false.
First, by no stretch of the imagination could the Old Latin version or versions, in its various Italic, African, or European forms, be honestly identified as Byzantine in text. In a very extensive and detailed chapter, "The Latin Versions," in his surpassingly excellent volume, The Early Versions (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), Bruce M. Metzger wrote: "The textual affinities of the Old Latin versions are unmistakably with the Western type of text. Not infrequently noteworthy Old Latin readings agree with the Greek text of codex Bezae and the Old Syriac. On the whole the African form of the Old Latin presents the larger divergences from the generally received text, and the European the smaller," (p.325).

To illustrate the often wide departure of the Old Latin from the received text. I submit the following examples:
Matthew 1:7,8--5 of 8 Old Latin manuscripts (OL mss.) read "Asaph" instead of the received text's "Asa."
Matthew 1:10--5 of 8 OL mss. read "Amos" for "Amon."

Matthew 1:18--all 10 OL mss. lack "Jesus."

Matthew 6:13--7 of 11 OL mss. lack the doxology, and only 1 of the remaining 4 reads precisely as the received text.

Matthew 6:15--8 of 11 OL mss. lack "their trespasses."

Matthew 23:19--9 of 11 OL mss. lack "fools and."

Mark 1:2--all 9 OL mss. read "Isaiah the prophet," instead of "the prophets."

Luke 2:14--all 12 OL mss. read "of good pleasure," with the Vulgate and the Vaticanus Greek manuscript (along with other support), against the received text.

Luke 24:3--7 of 11 OL mss. lack "of the Lord Jesus."

Luke 24:6--7 of 11 OL mss. lack "he is not here but was raised."

Luke 24:9--8 of 11 OL mss. lack "from the tomb."

Luke 24:36--all 10 OL mss. either add "it is I; do not be afraid" to the phrase "and he said to them, peace be unto you," (3 of 10), or else they lack the entire clause (the other 7).

Luke 24:52--6 of 9 OL mss. lack "him."

John 5:32--5 of 8 OL mss. read "you" instead of "I."

Romans 6:11--9 of 10 OL mss. lack "our Lord."

Romans 8:1--all 10 OL mss. lack "but after the spirit;" in addition, 2 of these mss. also lack the clause "who walk not after the flesh."

I Corinthians 6:20--none of the 11 OL mss. have the Byzantine addition, "and in your spirit, which are God's."

I Corinthians 7:5--all 10 OL mss. lack "fasting and."

-I Timothy 3:16--all 10 OL mss. have a relative pronoun, quod ["that which"] instead of the Byzantine reading "God."

Hebrews 10:38--7 of 8 OL mss. add "my."

James 2:20--8 of 9 OL mss. read "idle" instead of "dead."

James 4:4--all 9 OL mss. lack "adulterers and."

James 5:20--all 8 OL mss. add "his" to "soul."

I Peter 3:15--all 7 OL mss. read "Christ" instead of "God."

I John 3:1--all 7 OL mss. add "and we are," as do the Vulgate, Vaticanus, and many other authorities.

I John 3:5--all 7 OL mss. lack "our."

These 26 examples (gleaned practically at random from the apparatus of The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition, 1975, published by the United Bible Societies), represent only a small fraction of the Old Latin departures from the received text (as well as from the Byzantine text). Very many more could be listed, but surely these are enough to refute the false claim that the Old Latin in any of its forms is Byzantine in text type. I recently read through the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) in an edition of Nestle’s Greek New Testament, giving close attention to the variant readings of the Old Latin manuscripts, and report that in these Gospels alone, the OL departures from the textus receptus must number in the hundreds, and would estimate for the whole New Testament that there must be at least a thousand disparities between the OL and the textus receptus.
And in this context, it is worth noting how some writers include the Old Latin versions in their list of "good guy" translations (meaning those agreeing with the received text), even though they depart frequently and substantially from that Greek text. J. J. Ray in ignorance does this on p.109 of God Wrote Only One Bible (1970 edition), as does Peter S. Ruckman on p. VI in the back of The Bible Babel (1964). It comes as no surprise to discover that both also include Wycliffe's version‑‑which was translated directly from the Latin Vulgate‑‑among the dependable versions, though they unhesitatingly reject the Vulgate itself as corrupt!

It also needs to be pointed out that the first full paragraph on p.188 of Which Bible? (5th edition), which softens the claims of a Byzantine text for the Old Latin, is the work of Fuller, not Wilkinson. In that paragraph, Fuller engaged in another of his "back and fill" operations to rescue Wilkinson from the twilight zone of gross error he frequently ventured into, and Fuller did not entirely succeed. Fuller did correctly note that the Old Latin evidence is not always favorable to the received text (an impression the reader would never have gotten from Wilkinson), but was in error when he declared that much of the Old Latin is favorable to the received text, and that the received text has a place in the Old Latin evidence. No Old Latin manuscript could be described as typically Byzantine by any reasonable use of the term.

As for the claim that the Waldensians used the Old Latin as the base for their vernacular translation, numerous historians clearly contradict Wilkinson's dubious assertion. I will quote these historians in approximately chronological order.

After quoting Robert Robertson's remark about Peter Waldo's having "procured a translation of the four gospels from Latin into French" (Ecclesiastical Researches, 1792, pp.462‑3), William Jones added: "The Latin Vulgate Bible was the only edition of the Scriptures at that time in Europe; but that language was inaccessible to all, except one in an hundred of its inhabitants. Happily for Waldo, his situation in life enabled him to surmount that obstacle . . . .[H]e either himself translated, or procured some one else to translate the four Gospels into French," (History of the Christian Church , vol. II, pp.7, 9, 10; 5th edition, 1826).
Noted church historian Augustus Neander wrote regarding Waldo: "[H]e gave to two ecclesiastics, one Stephen de Ansa, a man of some learning, the other Bernard Ydros, who was a practiced writer, a certain sum of money, on condition they would prepare for him a translation of the gospels and other portions of the Bible into the Romance language, which one was to dictate, the other write down," (General History of the Christian Religion and Church , vol. IV, pp. 606‑7, 2nd ed., 1853).

The Waldensians having procured this translation, "sent delegates from their body to pope Alexander the Third, transmitting to him a copy of their Romance version of the Bible, and soliciting his approbation as well of that as of their spiritual society," (Ibid., p.608). It is highly unlikely that the Waldensians would have submitted such a version to the pope for approval if it were not Vulgate‑based.
Baptist historian Thomas Armitage records: "He [Waldo] employed Stephen of Ansa and Bernard Ydross to translate the Gospels from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome into the Romance dialect for the common people," (History of the Baptists , p.295).
J.J. Herzog, in his extensive article, "Waldenses," reports: "A very natural desire to know what the lectiones, the recitals from the Vulgate, really contained, led him [Waldo] to procure a translation of them into the vernacular tongue, the Roumant, a Provencal dialect; and as he felt the great use of a guide in studying the Bible, the translation of the Bible, or of parts of it, was followed by translations of extracts from the Fathers," (A Religious Encyclopedia, edited by Philip Schaff, vol. IV, p.2471, 3rd edition, 1891).

While not as detailed or full in their comments regarding the Roumant or Waldensian translation of the Bible as we would like, all these authorities (and an extensive search has failed to turn up any that contradict these findings) unite in their testimony that the translation made at the behest of Peter Waldo and used by the Waldensians was directly made from the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome. One additional writer, fortunately, does give a fuller accounting of the subject, as we now will see.
Mr. J. A. Wylie, in his book, History of the Waldenses (1870, 4th ed.), reported, "The 'Lingua Romana,' or Roumant tongue, was the common language of the south of Europe from the eighth to the fourteenth century . . . . Into this tongue‑‑the Roumant‑‑was the first translation of the whole of the New Testament made so early as the twelfth century. This fact Dr. Gilly has been at great pains to prove in his work, The Roumant Version of the Gospel according to John [1848]. The sum of what Dr. Gilly, by a patient investigation into the facts, and a great array of historic documents, maintains, is that all the books of the New Testament were translated from the Latin Vulgate [emphasis added] into the Roumant, that this was the first literal version since the fall of the empire, that it was made in the twelfth century, and was the first translation available for popular use . . . .it was made, as Dr. Gilly, by a chain of proofs, shows, most probably under the superintendence and at the expense of Peter Waldo of Lyons, not later than 1180," (pp. 12, 13).

Here, then, is the conclusion of the acknowledged expert in the field: the Waldensian Bible was made from the Vulgate. An examination of Gilly's work directly provides a little more detail to the picture. Gilly plainly states about the translators of the Roumant version that, "They used the Vulgate of Jerome for their text" (p. xcix), while at the same time he points out that that Vulgate text was of an occasionally mixed character. At certain points, the Roumant version will agree now with one, now with another of the Old Latin manuscripts. Gilly notes seven such agreements in John with OL ms. "a," six with "b," five with "f," and three with "d" (p. c). Consulting Gilly's notes on pp. 93‑114 reveals that these Old Latin manuscript agreements with the Roumant against the Vulgate are nearly always exceedingly minute‑‑a matter of punctuation, the spelling of a proper name, occasionally the deletion of a clause (e.g., "who is over all," John 3:31; "for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans," John 4:9). In many of these cases, there are OL mss. on both sides of the reading, and in apparently none of the cases does the OL reading agree with the received Greek text against the Vulgate, while in several cases, the OL reading corresponds with the Vaticanus Greek manuscript, the chief witness in the Gospels to the Alexandrian text. The late F. F. Bruce briefly alluded to these occasional Old Latin readings in the Waldensian Bible, and characterized these readings as Western (not Byzantine; see The Books and the Parchments, pp. 217, 218, 3rd edition, 1963).
It is not in the least surprising to discover that medieval Vulgate manuscripts used by the Waldensians would display a mixed text with infrequent readings of minor import corresponding to some Old Latin manuscripts. Indeed, a chief characteristic of medieval Vulgate manuscripts is the incredible amount of mixture in the texts. However, the presence of a few Old Latin readings (and of a non‑Byzantine sort) in the Waldensian Bible in no way makes theirs an Old Latin Bible, any more than the presence of a few Byzantine readings in the Sinaiticus makes it a typically Byzantine manuscript, or the presence of some 60 Latin Vulgate readings in the King James Version New Testament makes it a non‑Byzantine‑based translation. The Waldensian Bible was in all essential points a translation of the Latin Vulgate of Jerome, as was the later English translation of John Wycliffe. Wilkinson's wishing otherwise does not make it so.
Let us hear then the conclusion of the matter: once again Wilkinson has been exposed as exceedingly unreliable and inaccurate in his writing on the text/translation issue. He is completely wrong in his claim that the Old Latin version is a Latin translation corresponding closely to the received Greek text. And he is greatly mistaken in his bold but unfounded assertion that the Bible of the medieval Waldensians was made from the Old Latin, rather than the Latin Vulgate. It must also once again be pointed out that J. J. Ray and David Otis Fuller adopted without foundation the false views of Wilkinson, and, what is worse, helped spread Wilkinson's misinformation through their republication of his work.