Biblical Manuscripts

Josheb

Well-known member
That depends... are you talking about these particular questionable texts or scribal interventions generally?
Ask the op.

We're not actually discussing the veracity of the two passages in question, are we? What the op is actually about isn't the actual content but the premise it was added to scripture. What we're supposedly discussing is the answer to the question, "What do we do with the texts the evidence indicates was added?" but in actuality the question being discussed is "How should we consider the premise (fact?) additions were made?" because until we handle the latter we cannot address the former in any way different than that which already exists.

I have in fact answered the question asked in the op.

What should we do about passages like Mark 16:9-20 and John 8?

Mark them in the Bible as possible or likely additions. Not that complicated. Not very difficult.

I suspect as time passes and evidence mounts the questionable passages will be removed as consensus warrants and God leads. He is the one ultimately responsible for His own Word.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
And as I stated it is irrelevant to the op.
So you cannot or will not document what Ehrman actually claimed so I can redirect my correction? Very well... my criticism of your post stands and since you inflated the thread to include the entire Bible through that claim, textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible is (now) relevant to the discussion...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Ask the op.
LOL. I'm asking you since you are the one who asked: "Anyone disputing that?" in reference to the assertion "The germane point was the suspected additions do not in any way compromise the whole of the Bible." Well, I pointed out how they do as it relates to the inability of text-critical scholars to reconstruct the putative original texts... if you don't want to engage this counterpoint, that's your prerogative, but I can then only conclude you have no cogent rebuttal or you're simply here to troll...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
John 8 is written in the style of Luke and fits beautifully after Luke 21:38 where it is found in just a few manuscripts. I find it very authentic and inspired, but think it was authored by Luke.
I would concur that there are a few Lukan elements in the disputed John 8 pericope, but would argue that these owe to its author (not Luke) cribbing the story together from his knowledge of Luke. I don't see that it "fits beautifully" after Luke 21:38 at all, particularly since Luke has gone out of his way to eliminate Jesus' movements in and out of the temple as found in his primary sources for this section (ie. Mark and Matthew) and bracketing all of Jesus' temple teaching between similarly-worded notices (19:47a; 21:37). The placement of the disputed John 8 pericope after Luke 21:38 is a clumsy add on that overlooks Luke's own redactional aims. Also, how do you explain its removal from the vast majority of manuscripts of Luke and its reinsertion in four different places in the Johnnine text tradition?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Where are you getting this from? I apologize if I'm missing something but I don't see this at all. On the contrary, right before the hypothetical insertion, we have Luke doing the exact opposite of your claim, and reinforcing the fact that Jesus was in fact going back and forth from the temple.

37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.
38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him. (Luk 21:37-38 NKJ)

And I wouldn't really be convinced that Mark and Matthew were "primary sources" for Luke. What was the point you were trying to make, I don't get it?
The two points are interconnected...

Mark has Jesus enter the temple after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, look around and leave (11:11b), the following morning he returns to the temple and "cleanses" it, then leaves again (11:15-19), on the next day he returns to the temple and gets involved in various disputes interspersed with his teaching of the people (11:27-12:44), he then leaves the temple and on the Mount of Olives launches into his apocalyptic discourse (13:1-37).

As for Matthew, he has Jesus enter the temple after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and immediately "cleanse" it, heal some people and then leave (21:12-17), the following morning he returns to the temple and gets involved in the same aforementioned disputes interspersed with teaching (21:18-23:39), then he leaves the temple and on the Mount of Olives launches into his apocalyptic discourse (24:1-46).

There is a discrepancy between Mark and Matthew as to when Jesus "cleanses" the temple... does it occur on the day after the triumphal entry (Mark) or the day of the triumphal entry (Matthew)? Related to this chronological problem is the matter of the fig tree cursed upon the return to Jerusalem in both these gospels the morning of the second day... does it wither by the next day (Mark) or immediately (Matthew)? Furthermore, does the bulk of the teaching begin on Tuesday (Mark) or Monday (Matthew)?

Faced with the above conflicts in these two sources and precisely because of them, Luke has Jesus enter the temple after the triumphal entry, "cleanse" it, teach and deliver the apocalyptic discourse without once narrating that Jesus has left the building... this is what I meant by saying that Luke goes out of his way to eliminate Jesus' movements in and out of the temple vis-à-vis his sources. Jesus' teaching and interrelated disputes are all bracketed between the aforementioned notices about Jesus teaching daily in the temple, which infers movement but does not narrate it so as to leave the chronology ambiguous and compatible with either gospel.

Now, to return to the John 8 pericope found after Luke 21:38 in the Ferrer group manuscripts, it emerges as a clumsy add on because it is at cross-purposes with the aforementioned redactional work that Luke has done. If the story was authentically Lukan, 7:53-8:2a would not be there at all and the core (8:2b-11) would be found somewhere between the two notices, not afterward.

Hope this helps clarify...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Assuming it somehow fell out...
You'll have to be more specific than "somehow" in order to make your case a persuasive one. For example, here is how I argue for the authenticity of Luke 23:34 and make a case for why it was removed from a number of manuscripts (content taken from my post in another thread from last year):

[The verse] is unstable in the manuscript tradition, presented in NA28 within double square brackets. It is missing from a number of key Greek witnesses such as Papyrus 75, Codices Vaticanus, Washingtonianus and Koridethi, as well as the Sinaitic Syriac and numerous Coptic manuscripts. It was originally absent in Codices Sinaiticus and Bezae, but added by correctors in both cases.

Its presence or absence probably hinges on who the 'them' is understood to be. If one follows the text beginning at 23:13 through to the passage in question (23:34), the agents of the crucifixion are not Roman soldiers, but the chief priests, leaders and the people. There is no explicit change of subject at the critical juncture in 23:25-26 --- Pilate hands Jesus over to their will and they lead him away, they place the cross on Simon of Cyrene, they crucify Jesus and the two criminals upon arriving at the place of execution. Soldiers are not introduced into the text until 23:36. At best Luke is ambiguous about their involvement, the real culprits in his gospel are the Jewish leaders and the mob. This is consistent with the indictment found in Acts 3:15 when Peter, addressing Israelite men, is narrated to say "you killed the author of life" and adds later that they and their leaders acted out of ignorance (3:17). It is important to note, in light of the OP's claim that those for whom Jesus' petitions for forgiveness are unrepentant, that Luke narrates that some of those listening believed Peter's preaching and were added to the number of believers (4:4), presumably repenting of their involvement in Jesus' death.

Returning to the disputed passage, my position is that it is original to Luke's gospel and was removed by scribes working in the second and third centuries during the time that the schism between Jews and Christians intensified, the deletions being part of the period's anti-Jewish polemics.


You would need to make a similar case for the disappearance of the John 8 pericope from the entire manuscript tradition of Luke except for one family of manuscripts based on scribal habits or something theologically objectionable about the story. I'm certainly open to considering any case you'd like to make, but I think you have a very difficult task ahead of you...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Well it's always nice to have a theory or explanation but the manuscripts are too ancient to need a theory for every variant or missing text to believe the possibility that text could be missing. The only proof we need is that things fell in and out of ancient manuscripts, we have examples of it, without needing to know the Scribe sneezed as he was compiling or something.
This last comment in particular trivializes the entire matter. The presence or absence of particular passages proves only that they are unstable in the manuscript tradition, it cannot be used as proof of which direction -- removed or added -- is most likely. If you think that the pericope in question is original to Luke, you need to build a compelling case for it... instead, you've absolved yourself of any obligation to do so. That may be convincing to you, but to few others...

Your ideas about Luke 23 were interesting. My personal theory is Jesus was in fact talking about the Roman soldiers (his speech is not obligated to logically fit an overarching narrative), because they were ignorant of who he was, unlike the Pharisees.
You are welcome to your personal opinion, but as I've already pointed out from both the immediate context and from what Luke goes on to write in Acts that he is talking about the ignorance of the mob and their leaders. Incidentally, the Pharisees are not named by Luke as being amongst those responsible for plotting to kill Jesus or carrying through with these lethal intentions... they drop out of the narrative after Jesus arrives at Jerusalem (19:39).

Thank you for explaining it to me. You make some interesting points, and I appreciate the thoroughness that went into it.
You're welcome.

I'm still not completely convinced though... Luke may have smooshed all the back and forth stuff into one temple sitting as may fit his narrative style, but that does not mean he wouldn't go on to have Jesus leave eventually, especially because in tacking on "Jesus went back and forth" to the end, the assumption is made that all that stuff may have actually been compiled after all. Where is disharmony in the theory that they brought the woman in to disrupt his temple teaching seminars, which of course they would love to do?
The disharmony is in its placement outside the parameters Luke himself establishes for Jesus' temple teaching.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

JT2913

New Member
Bart Ehrman once said something to the effect of not one single core Christian doctrine would be compromised if all the questionable passages were removed from the Bible. Additionally, it has long been understood that one of the most effective measures for discerning what belonged in the canon and what didn't is its compatibility with the whole of scripture (this one of the reasons the apocryphal writings are considered apocryphal ;)). I'm also inclined to believe God is the one ultimately responsible for His word and all the suspected changes, whether they be in the Pentateuch, the prophets, or the gospels may well be there by providence. This is akin to understand the leading of the Spirit: the Spirit never contradicts the written word; rhema never contradicts logos. So if hypothetic logos contradicts established logos then it is neither hypothetical or logos and should be discarded.

The two texts cited work.

So they remain.


Do you find there is some inconsistency with other scripture?
I haven't found a contradiction. I'm just wondering whether or not these passages, if they are indeed scribal additions, can be justified as being Holy Scripture. I know in Proverbs that Agur warns against adding to Scripture, and the Apostle John warned against editing Revelation. With these passages in mind, how are we to treat the longer ending of Mark 16 and a large portion of John 8, if the possibility of them being later additions is plausible?
 

JT2913

New Member
Greetings all. What should we do about passages like Mark 16:9-20 and John 8? These passages have little manuscript evidence backing them. If ther are to be taken as scribal errors or additions, should we read them as Scripture or even have them in the Bible?
Gentlemen, let us turn the tension down a bit. Let us have a cordial discussion on an important matter, letting the perfect bond of love covering our words. Thank you.
 

Josheb

Well-known member
So you cannot or will not document what Ehrman actually claimed so I can redirect my correction? Very well... my criticism of your post stands and since you inflated the thread to include the entire Bible through that claim, textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible is (now) relevant to the discussion...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
Not for posters who don't know how to stay on topic and find irrelevant problems where none exist.

LOL. I'm asking you since you are the one who asked: "Anyone disputing that?" in reference to the assertion "The germane point was the suspected additions do not in any way compromise the whole of the Bible." Well, I pointed out how they do as it relates to the inability of text-critical scholars to reconstruct the putative original texts...
Which has absolutely nothing to do with the Mark and John texts cited in the op. As far as trolls go, you might look first at your own conduct, Jonathon. I don't dispute your concern, only its relevance to this op and I would encourage you to consider how and why it is you feel the need to bring up OT problems that are substantively different to the one specified in this op. You certainly have the ability to post the larger (and legitimate) concerns in another op of your own design without hijacking this one. If others wish to discuss with you the Hebrew texts that is their prerogative. I prefer to stick with that specified by the op. Not every op a NT text's veracity is an opportunity for you to bring up Hebrew texts.

And it is completely inappropriate to suggest I'm a troll simply because I wish to my set boundaries for my own participation. That is trolling.
 

Josheb

Well-known member
I haven't found a contradiction. I'm just wondering whether or not these passages, if they are indeed scribal additions, can be justified as being Holy Scripture. I know in Proverbs that Agur warns against adding to Scripture, and the Apostle John warned against editing Revelation. With these passages in mind, how are we to treat the longer ending of Mark 16 and a large portion of John 8, if the possibility of them being later additions is plausible?
I think the operational word there is "if". We have evidence; we don't have proof. I suspect we all agree removing passages from the Bible absent definitive proof is a problem. Conversely, one of the historical means of justifying canonicity is a given text's consistency with the whole, which in the two cases cited is not a problem. Canonicity is not a guarantee of divine inspiration but there's a certain irony and paradox to that problem because none of us are inspired in power or authority to remove the questionable text(s). 😮

How are we to treat them?

Exactly as they are being treated: included in the canon but footnoted as possible additions and treated as such. This can be done because they are not inconsistent with the whole.
 

Theophilos

Active member
Greetings all. What should we do about passages like Mark 16:9-20 and John 8? These passages have little manuscript evidence backing them. If ther are to be taken as scribal errors or additions, should we read them as Scripture or even have them in the Bible?

FYI, here is a report of the new revisions to John 8 in China:

In every authentically translated version of scripture, Jesus responds, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” These words disperse the angry crowd, and Jesus tells the woman, “Go, and from now on sin no more” (ESV).

The Chinese Communist Party’s version takes a different turn. In this telling, the crowd leaves, but Jesus tells the woman, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.” Then Jesus proceeds to stone the woman.

Christians who keep the old version are likely to face severe persecution.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Not for posters who don't know how to stay on topic and find irrelevant problems where none exist.


Which has absolutely nothing to do with the Mark and John texts cited in the op. As far as trolls go, you might look first at your own conduct, Jonathon. I don't dispute your concern, only its relevance to this op and I would encourage you to consider how and why it is you feel the need to bring up OT problems that are substantively different to the one specified in this op. You certainly have the ability to post the larger (and legitimate) concerns in another op of your own design without hijacking this one. If others wish to discuss with you the Hebrew texts that is their prerogative. I prefer to stick with that specified by the op. Not every op a NT text's veracity is an opportunity for you to bring up Hebrew texts.

And it is completely inappropriate to suggest I'm a troll simply because I wish to my set boundaries for my own participation. That is trolling.
Perhaps you're not trolling after all, but simply have no idea how discussion boards and threads work. They often meander, sometimes into fruitful avenues, sometimes not... in no case does the simple dynamic of thread growth require policing from you or anyone else. It can also not be said that text-critical issues related to the Hebrew Bible have wandered far, if at all, from a thread titled Biblical (not specifically New Testament) Manuscripts and whose opening poster made reference to the Bible (not specifically the New Testament even if the two examples happened to be from this section). As I've already pointed out, it was you who introduced the Hebrew Bible to this thread, not me, and in your very first response to it no less... you there talk about the suspected changes not only in the gospels, but also in the Pentateuch and the Prophets. Later in the thread you asked a question, to which I responded, and you first directed me to the opening poster and now you seem to think it's not even on topic. How you think my answer to your ostensibly on-topic question is off topic is anybody's guess. Please spell my name correctly moving forward, though if you make no comments pertinent to my (on-topic) engagements with the subject of biblical manuscripts, I will not be responding to you...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Theophilos

Active member
This is very interesting. Thank you for this!
I suspect something similar may have happened with John 8 and with the extended ending to Mark.

In the first century publicly proclaiming the divinity of Christ risked persecution by both Roman and Jewish authorities. The ending to Mark may have remained as an oral tradition rather than writing it down to reduce the risk of persecution.

Likewise many people may have been scandalized by Jesus forgiving the woman caught in adultery. Jesus forgives her even though she makes no proclamation of faith or remorse. Many early texts may not have included the story for this reason.

Luke explicitly states that his account is based on oral tradition from "eye witnesses and servants of the word":
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Luke 1:1-2
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
In the first century publicly proclaiming the divinity of Christ risked persecution by both Roman and Jewish authorities. The ending to Mark may have remained as an oral tradition rather than writing it down to reduce the risk of persecution.
Insofar as the (longer) ending of Mark is primarily cribbed together from other pertinent texts within the New Testament, this hypothesis would not seem to hold, particularly in light of far more explicit proclamations of Jesus' divinity elsewhere in the New Testament that do not have such an unstable status in the manuscript tradition. I would further point out that the Greco-Roman world was polytheistic and its (non-Jewish) citizens could care less whether Christians worshipped a deity named Jesus... the problem was not this, but rather than they did so to the exclusion of the local deities who were thought to extend or withhold their blessings to the citizenry based on the devotion or not that was given to them. When things went wrong, Christians were easy scapegoats because of their refusal to participate in pagan religious rituals...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Theophilos

Active member
Insofar as the (longer) ending of Mark is primarily cribbed together from other pertinent texts within the New Testament, this hypothesis would not seem to hold, particularly in light of far more explicit proclamations of Jesus' divinity elsewhere in the New Testament that do not have such an unstable status in the manuscript tradition. I would further point out that the Greco-Roman world was polytheistic and its (non-Jewish) citizens could care less whether Christians worshipped a deity named Jesus... the problem was not this, but rather than they did so to the exclusion of the local deities who were thought to extend or withhold their blessings to the citizenry based on the devotion or not that was given to them. When things went wrong, Christians were easy scapegoats because of their refusal to participate in pagan religious rituals...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
Jews were exempted from sacrifices to the emperor but they had to pay a special tax. Until the destruction of the temple, Christians generally worshipped in Jewish synagogues and were considered a Jewish sect.

As time went on Christians who openly professed the divinity of Christ were expelled from the synagogues. Romans no longer considered them a Jewish sect so failure to sacrifice to the emperor was a capital offense but enforcement depended on the whims of local officials.

There were good reasons not to write down the ending for the Gospel of Mark.
 
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