Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Ride on the Hindenburg:
KJV Only Arguments Crashing and Burning.

In my blog entry entitled Nachimson's Nasty Name-calling, I began to take up a response to a negative article written against me by King James only Ruckmanite, Jeffrey Nachimson. His article is called Butler's Bumbling Bunk (now accentuated with a lovely picture of a donkey) and is his interpretative spin on a private email exchange we had with one another earlier this year.

I primarily wanted to point out with my first entry in response to Mr. Jeffrey, the main tactic of meaningless ad hominem utilized by KJV onlyists. Woven through their publications defending KJV onlyism is a thread of personal animosity towards any person who would dare to either question, or heaven forbid, change the translation of the King James Bible. This animosity reveals itself as a Tourette's syndrome like flurry of ridicule and scornful heckling designed to belittle and discredit the non-KJV individual as a critic of KJV onlyism, while at the same time providing the KJV defender with an appearance of true, righteous zeal for God's Word. It is my contention that this type of mockery is only characteristic of a lack of genuine spirituality on the part of a good number of KJV only defenders, as well as a clear indication of the serious deficiency in their overall apologetic for KJV onlyism.

With this entry, I wanted to move onto addressing some specific charges leveled by Mr. Jeffrey against my convictions and understanding of God's Word, the Holy Bible. I liken Mr. Jeffrey's arguments to an old fashioned zeppelin filled with volatile gas, so that when the sparks of truth and fact come into contact with them, they ignite in a flash, causing his entire KJV only balloon to come crashing and burning to the ground.

I am not going to provide a detailed exposition with the entire article; his errors are so pronounced and wide spread that neither do I have the time, nor would the reader have the patience to deal with all of them. I have plans to address KJV onlyism as a whole and in full with some forthcoming entries. Here, I wish to be selective and answer what I believe to be the more important portions of Mr. Jeffrey's screed against me. Even though this entire episode between Mr. Jeffrey and my self is more along personal lines, I do hope what I address can be generally helpful to the readers if and when they are forced to confront the bogus presuppositions of KJV onlyists.

First, let us consider the claims Mr. Jeffrey makes for his final authority. Throughout his article, he insists I have no final authority as it were, but that he in turn does in the A.V. 1611, and so he believes he is provided with some higher ground in this debate. In other words, because I believe God's Word is fully and completely contained in other English (and I would also include non-English, too) translations both pre-KJV and post-KJV, according to Mr. Jeffrey, I have no final authority. Is his claim true? Does he maintain a preeminent view of scripture I could never obtain as long as I read anything but the KJV? I will show that his claim is both phony and hypocritical.

To begin, you will note how he makes a big deal out of me stating in our email correspondence that God's Word is found in any reputable translation. Mr. Jeffrey implies that with my use of the term reputable translation I am engaged with deception, because in his mind the term reputable translation is not specific enough for his tastes. Apparently, Mr. Jeffrey believes a young, unlearned Christian could become confused upon hearing the term reputable translation and unwittingly pick up a Jehovah's Witnesses, New World Translation, thinking it was the Word of God. I, however, have a greater confidence in my fellow believer to distinguish between a cultic translation and a reputable translation sold at a typical, run of the mill, Bible bookstore. Moreover, I believe Mr. Jeffrey knows exactly what I mean, but is desperately groping about for some billy club to lay his hands upon so as to hit me over the head.

But, what of Mr. Jeffrey's claim of his final authority being found only in the A.V. 1611? The reader needs to pause a moment a truly ponder that assertion. I do not believe the bulk of the KJV only advocates have genuinely ponder this assertion, for if they have, then they would quickly see the problematic inconsistencies springing forth with this claim.

Think over the statement, "the A.V. 1611 (the KJV) is the Christian's final authority." That means the English translation published in 1611 is it. The Christian's Bible is only contained in a Bible printed in an old, gothic lettering font, in old English spelling style - "f" for our modern "s" for example - with a dictionary's worth of outdated, antiquated words no one has used in nearly a century. Now, I realize Mr. Jeffrey makes mention of these antiquated words being supposedly used today in word lists all high school graduates ought to know, but who is he kidding? Honestly, what graduate today uses words like "anon," "avouched," "listeth," and "surfeiting?" Moreover, if these words are easy and in common use, what is the point of KJV advocates like D.A. Waite publishing word dictionaries in their KJV editions to help the reader define the words?

More importantly, if it is true the A.V. 1611 is the Christian's final authority, what was the final authority before 1611? Am I to believe no Christian had God's final authority in his or her hands until 1611? That Christians were unsure as to what was the final authority and had to guess at finding it until the specially anointed KJV translators rendered it perfect and complete in 1611? Like many KJV onlyists, I don't believe Mr. Jeffrey has thought through the ramifications of his claim, "the A.V. 1611 is the Christian's final authority."

Yet, despite these difficulties in and of themselves, this claim burns completely to the ground when one realizes that Mr. Jeffrey is being dishonest with his supporters. I would be willing to wager a hearty bowl of salmon bisque from Robin's Cafe in Cambria, CA, that Mr. Jeffrey himself doesn't use the actual A.V. 1611. In point of fact, Mr. Jeffrey is misapplying the very title "A.V. 1611" to what is really the A.V .1769 edition. Because you see, beginning in the very next year, 1612, and following in just the 30 years or so after the initial publishing of the 1611 edition, the KJV went through some 182 editions, each one being slightly different each time. KJV advocates attempt to down play this sniggling little detail, but the reality is that each edition would update the spelling of words, re-write sentences to sound clearer, and try to get translations of certain passages closer to the original languages.

Additionally, the Apocrypha was published with the text of the OT and NT in the KJV beginning in 1611 and for many years following. Hence, that is evidence of further hypocrisy on Mr. Jeffrey's part, because I would be willing to add to that bisque, a chocolate dipped ice cream bar rolled in roasted almonds from Costco that his copy of the A.V. 1611 does not contain the Apocrypha, nor does he consider it to be part of the final authority. So, that supposed final authority of the A.V. 1611 really doesn't exist in mass and a person would have to special order it and settle for a photographic re-print of the original book.

Well, let me move on to other areas of interest in Mr. Jeffrey's article, particularly his assertion we have no originals because they all have been lost. Some may remember I addressed this assertion in the inaugural month of my blog. The interesting difference was my opponent was a Unitarian named Steve who denied the inerrancy of the scripture. I won't rehash the articles here, but bring it up simply to point out that Mr. Jeffrey has much in common with a Unitarian Bible critic. That is, both appeal to this notion of lost originals and the idea no one can really know what those originals truly said. Read my two articles interacting with Steve the Unitarian (here and here) to get a fuller understanding of how this claim is bogus and easily answered. In short, the KJV onlyists view of the originals exposes a naked ignorance that is so misinformed about textual criticism and the state of the biblical manuscripts they can never argue intelligently in defense of their make believe convictions.

KJV onlyists appeal to wild, imaginative conspiracy theories of heretical groups of satanically inspired men who intentionally alter biblical manuscripts, introducing oh so slightly, New Age doctrines meant to draw men's hearts from Christ. Such was the reason behind Mr. Jeffrey concocting such a fanciful interpretation of Genesis 3 with the devil adding to and taking away from God's Word. However, any sensible person will note the devil did not physically alter any manuscripts to deceive Eve, but merely re-interpreted what God said to fit his purposes. That is exactly what the great majority of cults do. With the rare exception of the JWs, cultists don't alter the physical text of the Bible, but re-interpret what is already written to fit their preconceived heresies. Guess what text Mormons still insist on using? The RSV? NASB? Nope. The good old fashioned A.V. 1611, Mr. Jeffrey's "final authority." The same goes for Seventh Day Adventists and most Oneness Pentecostal groups.

One final thought along these lines before moving on, Mr. Jeffrey ridiculed my use of 2 Peter 1:21, holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, etc., by stating I didn't read what the verse says, because it is talking about something that was spoken, not written (as if that mattered anyways).Thus, there is no reference to the "original autographs" or "copies." I find it amusingly odd how this is the same thing Steve the Unitarian said, but with out the tone of sarcasm. If Mr. Jeffrey would read the entire passage, however, which also includes the previous verse 20, it reads, Knowing this first, no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (KJV). Correct me if I am wrong, but scripture is something that is written. The Greek word is grapheis, which means "written word." Who has the poor reading skills here?

Mr. Jeffrey also mocked my insistence that the name Cainan as found in Luke 3:36 is not a part of Luke's original gospel. I refer everyone to my longer article on the subject found at FBT. In short, the name Cainan is not to be found in any of the four major OT post-flood genealogies of the Hebrew Masoretic text. The name is, however, found in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT.

That means either one of two things:

Either Luke used the LXX as the source for his genealogies in Luke 3, or well intentioned Christians, who would have used the LXX as their OT text, inserted what was already an erroneous copying mistake in the LXX, into Luke's genealogy, thus causing an unintentional, but erroneous addition.

Neither one of these explanations is acceptable for Mr. Jeffery, or any other KJV advocate for that matter, because it would mean Luke was cool with the idea of using a translation that contained some copying errors and is not absolutely perfect by KJV only standards. Moreover, KJV onlyists embrace a delusional idea promoted by Peter Ruckman that Origen, the 3rd century Church Father, totally invented the LXX for heretical purposes. Hence, there really was no pre-Christ LXX that Jesus and His apostles would quote from. This fairy tale is easily refuted by genuine historic scholarship, but KJV onlyists tend not to care about real scholarship, assigning such discipline to the category of the demonic if it cuts against their KJV only convictions.

None the less, for my purposes here, I just wish to point out Mr. Jeffrey's mistaken use of scholarship, if one were to call it that. Mr. Jeffrey writes, "While appealing to its exclusion from P75, Mr. Butler didn't bother to tell his reading audience that the critical sign of Nestle's shows that the verse in question is vid, which means that is a questionable reading in that passage in the manuscript."

Simply put, this is his pseudo-intellectual attempt to ridicule my knowledge of textual criticism. For those not in the know, what Mr. Jeffrey is hoping to utilize in his defense is a critical mark used by textual critics alerting readers to the value of a particular variant reading. The little mark vid, that Mr. Jeffrey only halfway defines, basically means a particular variant reading is questionable because it is found in a document difficult to read due to the physical preservation of that document. In most cases with difficult variants, the vid implies the reading may possibly be genuine (that is important to keep in mind), but it is uncertain to know for sure. So, in other words, because Nestle and Aland's 27 edition of their critical Greek text place a vid mark next to this reading, some how Mr. Jeffrey believes the elaborate Bible studies he and his KJV only buddies conjure up in defense of the name Cainan being inserted here (see my previously mentioned article to know what I mean) are now vindicated.

But, Mr. Jeffrey still has a twofold problem. First, no serious scholar researching variants in Luke's gospel believes this one little name should belong in the text. There is solid, historic precedent for its exclusion. Despite the vid marking, anyone familiar with the papyrus and manuscripts in question omitting the name believe is wasn't there to begin with. Then second, the KJV advocate still needs to adequately explain why, if the name is a genuine part of the official genealogical record of the OT Hebrew text, why God failed to preserve the name in - count them - four major OT genealogies! Luke, then, would be the only known record containing this name, and that further begs the question of, where did Luke obtain the genealogy he copies in his Gospel that has the name Cainan in it?

One final note before closing this off, Mr. Jeffrey calls my adherence to the Doctrines of Grace "the heretical, deceptive doctrine of Calvinism." I have always found it to be mystifying that advocates defending the KJV as the so-called perfect, final authority as Mr. Jeffrey here does, would at the same time despise with venomous hatred the doctrines known as Calvinism. Truly, it is one of the more perplexing conundrums I have ever encountered. Here we have a group of advocates defending the KJV as the only Bible a Christian should read, translated by men who for the most part adhered to Calvinism, who were translating from a Greek text that was primarily forged in Geneva by Calvinists, and whose English text was preached by great Calvinistic men like the Puritans, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainard, and Charles Spurgeon, just to name a small, small few. Yet, these same advocates hate with blind fury the very Calvinistic doctrines that are at the heart of the KJV as a grand, English translation. Talk about weird irony.

I could say much more, but I want to save it all for forthcoming entries. Besides, I imagine I am wearing on the patience of my faithful readers.

What I believe I have shown so far, by interacting with Jeffrey Nachimson, is how the mixture of inaccurate textual information, bogus appeals to pseudo-history, strawman arguments, unbridled zeal, and failure at comedic sarcasm, can create a system of unstable apologetics, so that when it comes into contact with truth, the ensuing fire scorches a person's face. How I do pray folks will exit the zeppelin before it is too late and they are caught in a fiery disaster.



Blogger Fred Butler said...

[Sorry David, I forgot to turn on the comments before I posted. I moved your post here - FB]

Here I go, breaking rule number 6. I wanted to comment on your Hindenburg: KJV article, but comments are closed there - probably a good idea. Even there, my comment would be tangential.

I am not a KJVonlyist, but I am a big fan of old translations, especially the Geneva and 1611KJV. My point is perhaps a picky one, but I want to correct a common misconception.

What you, and many others, have mistaken for an f is really an ſ (long s). You may have to look closely to see the difference. It is used at the beginning (except capitals) and in the middle of words, but never at the end. In some documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, ss is rendered ſs.

Isn't that fascinating? No? Okay. Anyway, I agree with the rest of the article.


5:25 AM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger Praxaluh said...

Hi Fred,

You base your Cainan argument on .. "The name is, however, found in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT."

-- However, you don't mention that this is NOT true for the earliest Greek OT --

As John Gill says on your page
"but was not originally there",
as I understand that refers to the earliest Greek OT, at least Vaticanus, maybe others.

And to a number of commentators, including Josephus and Christian commenators, who would be expected to have the Greek OT, writhing before 350 AD.

So we don't have any manuscripts with Cainan in the OT until the 6th century, and this is incredibly strong evidence of a Greek OT 'smoothing' to match the NT.

As Henry Morris concluded in his commentary on Genesis: “[I] t is altogether possible that later copiers of the Septuagint (who were not as meticulous as those who copied the Hebrew text) inserted Cainan into their manuscripts on the basis of certain copies of Luke’s Gospel to which they then had access” (Morris, 1976, p. 282).

"Cainan is omitted from all of the following ancient versions of the Old Testament: the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, the Targum (Aramaic translations of the Old Testament), and the Vulgate (a Latin translation of the Bible completed sometime between A.D. 382 and 405) [see Hasel, 1980, pp. 23-37].
Cainan’s name is absent from Flavius Josephus’ patriarchal listing in his historical work, Antiquities of the Jews (see Book 6, Chapter 1, Sections 4-5).
The third-century Christian historian, Julius Africanus, also omitted Cainan’s name from his chronology of the patriarchs, and yet he had copies of both the gospels of Luke and Matthew (see his Epistle to Aristides, chapter 3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers)."

Note that this is written by a textual liberal, Eric Lyons, who has no problem taking 'scribal error' views.


Of course you might also want also to link to one of the pages that gives the alternate understanding(s) of why the NT has Cainan when the Tanach does not. One of the most intersting pages is by an Aussie fellow, Colin Heath

So to say that Cainan is found in the Greek OT is very misleading.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

3:24 PM, December 02, 2005  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Greetings Steve,
Thanks for the comments.

(You write)
You base your Cainan argument on .. "The name is, however, found in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT." However, you don't mention that this is NOT true for the earliest Greek OT . As John Gill says on your page
"but was not originally there", as I understand that refers to the earliest Greek OT, at least Vaticanus, maybe others.

The LXX is the only Greek translation of the OT that was produced between the closing of the OT and the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry. Gill's position is that later Christians matched the LXX to the errantly copied edition of Luke's gospel. In his opinion, a mis-copied edition of Luke's gospel is the source for the name Cainan in the LXX. I don't necessarily have a problem with Gill's suggestion. My point is that Cainan is neither found in the OT, nor in the NT. I don't believe Luke wrote the name originally, because Cainan was never a part of the original geneaologies. Hence, the KJV and any other English translation which keeps the name in Luke 3:36, are promoting an error. It is not a grevious error, but an error none the less.

(You continue) So we don't have any manuscripts with Cainan in the OT until the 6th century, and this is incredibly strong evidence of a Greek OT 'smoothing' to match the NT.

(Fred) It could also strong evidence to of a later copyist of Luke's gospel to match the OT rendering in the LXX. A case could be made for certain editions of the LXX being the source of the error as well.

6:00 AM, December 05, 2005  
Blogger Cari Shumway said...

I am doing a special study on the word "thigh" in its greek translation. I am looking for the significance of that word as it is used in Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. It seems that it holds some type of sacrificial significance. According to your title and reference to "burning" would you know anything about this. Please feel free to email me carishumway@gmail.com. I would really appreciate it!

7:00 AM, February 21, 2009  

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