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#115 - Erasmus' Textus Receptus - "haphazardly prepared"

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.





You mentioned : "The first edition of Erasmus' text was hastily and haphazardly prepared over the extremely short period of only five months." (ibid., page 106) That edition was based mostly upon two inferior twelfth century Greek manuscripts, which were the only manuscripts available to Erasmus "on the spur of the moment" (ibid., page 99). " Where can I go to get the quote directly from something that Erasmus said and not just what someone else is quoting him. It was also indicated that he stated that this was not a good or the best translation, I would appreciate that source also. I appreciate the help.

The KJV translators most directly relied upon the 1598 Greek text by the Theodore de Beze of Geneva, but it also was virtually identical with Stephanus' 1550 and 1551 Greek texts, which were virtually identical with Erasmus' 1535 Greek text. How can I verify this statement? Is it in the translators to the readers notes of the 1611 KJV ? I am trying to argue your position with someone who will only recognize the source and not quotes form the source.



To the individual "who will only recognize the source not quotes from the source" you might point out that much of correspondence of Erasmus, a Roman Catholic scholar, and of many other learned people of that period was in Latin. English translations of a few early quotes may be found at . It is also worth mentioning that the scholars whose works are quoted on the aforementioned webpage (tr-history.htm) represent a broad cross-section of theological perspectives, including Ray Brown (a Roman Catholic scholar and one of the most highly respected New Testament scholars), F.F. Bruce (arguably the most highly respected Protestant conservative biblical scholar in modern times), and Bruce Metzger (arguably the world's leading scholar on New Testament ancient manuscripts, the Christian canon, and the reconstruction of the original texts).

Another excellent resource on the KJV-only debate is James R. White's book, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1995).

If your conversation is with a person whose faith in God rests on his faith in nothing but the KJV, your efforts may be better spent focusing on fellowship in Christian practice. I recommend focusing on your own living of -- and occasionally discussing with your friend -- the practice of genuine Christianity. KJV bibliolatry can best be countered not only with historical and theological truth but with Christian love -- love that loves because God first loved us. (1Jo 4:19)

(By the way, the theologically significant correction of the KJV in this verse -- removing the "him" that had been later added to the original text of 1Jo 4:19 -- reveals a very important key to the basis for Christian practice. As found in virtually all modern translation, the original text of that verse reads, "We love because He [God] first loved us.")


Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer