Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Someone who claims to understand textual criticism, and yet does not know what is a “critical text.”

This is my reply to the fatuous response by PuritanReformed:

Original discussion here. Words by Puritanreformed Daniel Chew in red.

1) LOL. How did you pass your reading comprehension in English language in the first place? I was talking about the irrationality of the creature which has nothing to do with the ability of language (an impersonal tool) to convey truths/thoughts perfectly. Talk about faulting the tool for the ineptness of the person yielding it.

>PR doesn’t seem to get it: the end result is – language CANNOT convey propositions PERFECTLY to man (be it the irrationality of the person, the inadequacy of the language etc). And he had previously (and confidently) claimed that regenerate man has a noetic structure that can enable him to understand the Bible perfectly well.

2) I gave him a valid example and asked, "Do those two sentences - “Great!” - mean the same thing?"

PR wrote: “No, becuase they are two different sentences! Go brush up your logic!

How can two sentences with exactly the same words – “great!”- be TWO DIFFERENT SENTENCES? (see my comments above)

HOW DESPERATE CAN ONE GETS? Who needs to “brush up [his] logic?”

3) Like the heretic Karl Barth, and all the postmodern deconstructionists? Why am I NOT convinced they are the right authority to appeal to?

>See how he jumps from one irrelevant authority to another (red herring)? I asked him to check with a logician; he claims that I asked him to check with Karl Barth.

Desperate fellow. And he resorts to ad hominem - Karl Barth is now classified as a heretic.

4) So what makes you so sure that that 1% or around there of imperfectness does not cause your message to be somehow lost or distorted? You may NOT argue from the fact that I understand you because that can be used to support my case.

>The existence of communication does not presuppose the existence of PERFECT communication. See how illogical a Clarkian gets when he is cornered?

He claims that he doesn’t understand me; but he insists on getting his feet wet with mud by posting such irrelevant and illogical replies. Seems that he is proving my point: language simply cannot perfectly convey my message to him.

5) I asked, "Oh, please enlighten me. What is “fully” preserved? How is that different from “perfectly” preserved?"

PR answered, “Fully preserved means that the very words of Scripture is preserved for us (which could include being preserved in the plurality of manuscripts). Perfectly preserved refers to any varient of the perfect bible theory which states that God has preserved the very words of Scripture in any single manuscript or tradition.

>So you believe in perfect preservation of the autographs in the extant apographs. But how do you know which word – presuming that you are correct with the preservation theory you propound – is the “correct” word from the autograph from the thousands of extant apographs we have today?

So when you exegete “scripture,” how do you know whether you are exegeting genuine scripture or erroreous scripture (or even exegeting nonsense)?

Wishful thinking perhaps?

6) So now you know how to read my own words better than me? I think not!

>Proves my point: language cannot communicate proposition/information perfectly to Man.

7) I asked him the “official” meaning of the word “Church.”

PR said, “So? The meaning of a word as used in CONTEXT is only one, not the meaning of a word divorced from any context.

>But you haven’t answered my question. You claim that there is an OFFICIAL meaning for every word. Which is it for the word “church?”

Secondly, even if you claim that context helps to interpret the meaning of each word, CONTEXT NEEDS INTERPRETATION AS WELL. So how do you interpret the context IN WHICH A PARTICULAR WORD APPEARS? Remember that “context” in language is ALSO MADE UP OF WORDS.

So which is the “official” meaning of a particular context? Infinite regress here?

8a) I asked, "So is preservation of Scripture perfect OR imperfect?"

PR says: Preservation of Scripture is 'perfect' in the sense that it is fully preserved.

>Wishful thinking. You claim that it is fully preserved in extant manuscripts (bare assertion), but where is the proof?

Even if you claim that the Bible says so, isn’t this circular reasoning? How can you say that the “bible” says so if you do not have the original words of the Bible in the first place?

Circular reasoning:

a) The imperfect bible (which imperfect bible are you talking about?) says that the Words are perfectly preserved.

b) The words are perfectly preserved because I have faith in my imperfect bible (not the autographs) that it contains the words of the autographs, and since it says so.

c) And where does it say so? In the imperfect bible – which is believed to be the same as the autographs, but we don’t have the autographs, and we don’t really know which are the words of the autographs.

d) My ESV is not exactly the same as the autographs, but I use it for my imperfect “bible” studies, and of course, it may not be the same as the autographs, although I believe it to be the “words” of God – knowing that we do not really have the words of God which is in the mass of extant manuscripts. And I know that the words are in the mass of extant manuscripts because my imperfect bible – which is not really the exact words of God – says so.

8b) PR says: It is not perfect however in the sense that it is preserved in any ONE single manuscript or scribal tradition.

>So we don’t really have IN OUR HANDS/USAGE any perfect “bible.” So your “perfect” preservation is only theoretical. In reality, there is no such “bible” for us to exegete from.

So how do you know if you are not exegeting nonsense?

9) I said, "No, that’s not a straw man; I was ASKING a question. How can a question be a straw man? It’s not even a proposition. Know the difference between a proposition and a question?"

PR said, “Oh, so that wasn't a rhetorical question? Perhaps you may care to phrase your questions as questions and not insinuations.

>Proves my point AGAIN: language cannot communicate proposition/information perfectly to Man. He now blames my “phrasing,” but I really feel the phrasing was perfect.

Circular reasoning again:

1) Since language is perfect as a tool for communication, it must be the phrasing that was bad.

2) Since it was the phrasing that was bad, it still remains that language is perfect as a tool for communication.

10) I asked, "Let me clarify: Is regenerate Man always perfect in his intellect/noetic structure when understanding Scripture, with no negative noetic effects whatsoever from the Fall after his regeneration?"

PR said, “Irrelevant. The topic is on the instrument of language, NOT on the person, as I have mentioned already earlier. The ability of language is the one YOU are attacking, not the capability of the person using the instrument of language.

>Ah, it seems that according to PR, language can communicate APART from the person.

Propositions are understood with minds; language is able to communicate anything solely because of the existence of minds (humans in this case). So how is that irrelevant? You don’t seem to even understand the very basics of the philosophy of language.

11) I asked, "My question: So are all KJV/NKJV/TNIV users using those versions because they had studied the issues and come to a conclusion?"

PR said - Irrelevant.

>Bare assertion, isn’t it?

12) I asked, "And you haven’t answered, “What are the underlying Greek texts used to translate the ESV? What critical theory are these texts based on?”
And you CLAIMED that you do not support the WH theory of textual criticism"

PR insists, “Absolute non-sequitur. There is absolutely no logical correspondence between the WH theory of textual criticism and the usage of the critical texts. The critical texts were present even if Westcort [sic] and Hort did not examine them.

>The ESV is translated from the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament 4th ed. and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. Both are eclectic texts.

PR, you mean that these eclectic texts were already collated before Westcott and Hort?

PR, please do your homework before making a fool of yourself.

Furthermore, both the UBSGNT 4th edition and the NTG were all derived solely via WH theory. Have you studied this issue before? Seems like you use the ESV out of ignorance, my friend!

13) I said, "But the critical text is based upon the WH theory"

PR insists, “Nonsense! Is the Majority text based upon the textual theory of Desiderius Erasmus, or of Theodore Beza or Stephanus? One is a theory; the other is a physical text.

PR doesn’t even know what a “critical text” is. In the case of the ESV, the critical texts used in translation were eclectic texts derived using the WH theory. They contain more than 1 family of Greek texts.

Wikipedia says, “The critical text is an eclectic text compiled by a committee that examines a large number of manuscripts in order to weigh which reading is thought closest to the lost original.”

For example, I purchase my critical texts online from Logos.

Quoting Logos, “What about the NA26 and UBS3? The NA27/UBS4 is only the latest "critical" edition of the Greek text. Prior to the release of this text, the critical text was the NA26/UBS3 text. Thus, the old Logos Library System had the NA26 text (NA26.lsf/NA26.lix). The NA26 is to the UBS3 as the NA27 is to the UBS4 text. So what changed between NA26 and 27 or between UBS 3 and 4? Not the main Greek text. The body of NA26 is the same as that of NA27. Likewise for UBS3 and UBS4. The difference between NA26 and NA27 is in the apparatus (see below). The difference between UBS3 and UBS4 is similar. That is, the changes are all in the apparatus, not the main body of Greek text. The apparatus changes in both editions are significant.”

Know what is a “critical text” now?

14) I said, "It’s almost like saying, “I trust the works of Jacques Derrida on language, but that doesn’t mean that I trust his theory of deconstruction.”"

PR again insists, “False analogy! Unless you are saying that WH created the Critical Text ex nihilo? Anybody who is willing to take the time and effort and expenditure can look up the original texts ie Sinaticus and copies of Vaticanus, Aleph etc and bypass WH altogether.

>PR, I don’t know what to say to you! I’m talking about YOUR ESV here!

Your ESV is based upon the critical texts, which are derived using the WH theory. You are not reading A, B etc per se! As a reminder, your ESV is based upon eclectic texts - the critical editions of UBSGNT and the NTG.

Now I know you are really ignorant.

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