Friday, August 28, 2009

'In The Beginning'

Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2001)

2001 saw a trio of books on the market telling the story of the AV. I have already addressed two of them, and in this post I hope to address the third. Alister McGrath is no stranger to modern readers, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, he is one of very few Calvinists teaching within the British establishment. His writing style is excellent, and even more importantly, he is a meticulous researcher. This book does not disappoint.

In form it is more like Bobrick than Nicolson, tracing the history of the English Bible back to before the days of Wycliffe, and even tracing the rise of English as a literary language and the relationship between English and Englishness. He traces the major movements in English religion and relates them to Bible versions, King James only appears on the scene on P. 135! This is a rich book that explains how the King James Bible came to be the way it is, with factors including politics as well as religion - and of course religious politics! The fact that all of the translators came from the southeast of England also had an effect on the final product - if it had been translated in the Province of York it would have sounded very different!

McGrath gives us an excellent chapter dealing with the challenges of transaltion, and discusses such questions as why the AV's language was antiquated when it came out. The answer is that it was never intended as a brand-new translation from scratch, and was a revision of the Bishops' Bible, which was itself a revision of Coverdale, which incorporated Tyndale - who wrote in the 1540s, and in the language of the 1540s.

It may come as a shock to some that the AV was not instantly accepted, but there were good reasons. Firstly, the Geneva Bible was actually cheaper and usually of a better quality (the first edition of the AV was riddled with errors), and secondly people are always wary of a new Bible version. Also the AV was produced by a committee that included some of the worst persecutors of the Puritans. It was an Anglican Bible, and the Puritans were not prepared to buy it. But decades of promotion in the Church of England (and laws attempting to ban the Geneva Bible), followed by the restoration of the monarchy and the fall of the Puritans, led to the AV finally achieving its place as the English Bible.

Finally he deals with the influence the AV has had, and continues to have, on the English language, how Hebraisms and Grecianisms have become part of how we speak English because of the AV.

This is a different book again from the last two reviewed, and all three could be read with profit by anyone wanting to know more about the AV and how we got it. Only McGrath really deals with events after the Publication of the AV, while Nicolson tells us the most about the translators. I enjoyed all three books greatly.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Playing with Numbers Can Prove Anything...

... And therefore nothing. This article, which I do not commend for anything it contains and present merely as an example, shows that weird occultic numerology proves nothing.

Plus, some say that Westcott and Hort were occultists, and thus changed the Bible, the bloke quoted here says that as they were occultists they never would have changed the Bible. Some say Bible codes prove the AV, the bloke here says they prove Westcott and Hort were right.

In fact, of course, it's all rather silly, and all wrong. 'Bible codes' are occultic and utterly subjective. As witness:

"The amazing design of numeric features or facts discovered in the structure of the Greek text used by Wescott and Hort definitely settles the question concerning the correct reading of the last verse in the Bible. The numerical facts prove that they are right in ending the New Testament with the word saints ."

Riplinger says numerics proves the King James is inspired, Panin says it proves the Westcott and Hort text. The truth? They're both wrong. Christians do not need silly Bible codes to prove that the Bible's inspired, because those codes do nothing of the kind. They're totally subjective, and can be manufactured to 'prove' whatever you want them to.

This also proves that Westcott and Hort Text-Onlyism may actually exist!!! Help!!!

See criticism of Panin here if you're in danger of being converted to W&H Onlyism. [NOTE: The site linked to also promotes serious weirdness, including the insane conspiracy theory that the Knights Templar were actually Merovingian Jews (I know, the Merovingians weren't Jews), and they initiated the crusades (again, I know, the Knights Templar came into being AFTER the First crusade) as a vast piece of Zionist black propaganda, to commit genocide and then blame it all on the Christians. All of which merely has to be stated to show how absurd it is. I hope.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Good Books on the King James Bible

How did we get the King James Bible (as the Authorised Version is generally known outside of the United Kingdom)? While there are some who seem to think it was let down on a string from heaven, the real story is far more interesting. A number of books have been published detailing this history, but two excellent volumes are Benson Bobrick's The Making of the English Bible (London, Phoenix, 2003), and Adam Nicolson's God's Secretaries (New York, Harper Perennial, 2003). Bobrick's book, as the title indicates, covers a wider field than Nicolson, who concentrates entirely on the AV. Bobrick covers the history of the Bible in English from Wycliffe's Bible to the AV, including the Jesuit Douay-Rheims Bible. This is a helpful treatment, as it is well known that the King James translators did not issue an entirely new translation, but drew on the existing translations, even the Douay-Rheims in places, although of course the Douay-Rheims is translated (barely) from the Latin Vulgate. On this subject, Bobrick notes how the Douay-Rheims translators were forced to retain at least 99 Latin words (P. 194), thus having "dominator" for 'sovereign' and "rationale" for 'breast-plate'. Thus Bobrick gives the 'pedigree' of the King James as well as the history of its actual making.

Nicolson, on the other hand, gives what he professes to, the story of "The making of the King James Bible." His English prose is excellent, probably influenced by the AV, and he is a professed admirer of the AV. What he gives is the political, religious and social background to the King James Bible, in glorious detail. We have potted biographies of the more exciting translators, such as the incomparable Lancelot Andrewes and the amazingly gifted Hadrian รก Saravia, half-Dutch, half-Spanish, of whom it was said that he could be translator-general on the Judgement Day. Their faults are not ignored, but nor are their excellencies and abilities. King James Only folks may be a little uncomfortable when they learn that the translation committee of the King James was made up entirely of Calvinists and Anglo-Catholics. Thus those who were not Calvinist were Anglo-Catholic, and those who were not Anglo-Catholic were Calvinists. Bishop Miles Smith (yes, seven of the King James translators were Anglican Bishops), a strict Calvinist, once left a boring sermon to go to the pub. It was probably a very bad sermon, and an hour or so down the pub with Miles Smith was undoubtedly a time of edifying conversation.

We meet here King James, a deeply insecure man (the natural result of his mother and her lover having had his father blown up, and his then being raised by a committee of Presbyterian ministers) who wanted to unite England and Scotland politically and economically - the first modern scheme for a single currency, perhaps? There were questions asked about his 'Union' currency as well. James also fancied himself as a theologian, and it was this that led to the Hampton Court Conference, at which the plan for the AV was adopted.

In his treatment of the English Bible after the AV, Nicolson notes the failure of three subsequent English versions. The first is the rather funny 18th century version by Edward Harwood. Those interested in why it failed can read it here. Second is the Revised Version, which was accused by one of its own committee members of "impoverishing the English language". It also, Nicolson points out, was written in cod-Jacobean prose, a further barrier to its being an improvement on the AV, at least stylistically, especially as it actually introduced a number of archaic words the were not in the King James! Then he deals with the New English Bible, which had a combination of the problems of Harwood with vulgarity and flatness of prose.

These books are both excellently researched, and will enlighten the reader as to how we got the King James Bible, and why it reads as it does in places. Neither is written by an Evangelical Christian, and Bobrick in particular sounds rather liberal in places. The Christian will note those places and ignore them.

A book by a Reformed Christian on the subject is Alister McGrath's In the Beginning. Undoubtedly this is a well-written and researched book, but I haven't read it, so I won't comment on it until I have.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What really happened on the RV committees.

According to Gail Riplinger, the Revised Version was a Luciferian plot, and merely being on the RV committee lays a man open to all sort of aspersions. But what was it really like? First of all, we must remember that not all members of the committee agreed with Westcott and Hort. Among them were some of the most conservative Bible scholars of the period, some of whom produced a 'minority report' charging Westcott and Hort with going far beyond the remit of the committee.

According to Riplinger, the RV committee were determined to Let me quote to you Prof. David Brown, one of Westcott and Hort's critics on the RV committee. In 'The Expository Times' Vol. 4, P. 63 he recounts how a change was introduced in Matt. 2. 2:
"The wise men of the East ask: 'Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.' The question here is, What kind of worship is here meant? Is it the homage due to a superior among ourselves (as in Luke 14.10) or is it religious worship? The former, it was thought by one member, was the meaning intended, and therefore proper to be expressed. But, as it was belived by one member that verse 11 would throw light on this question, the Company agreed to wait until they reached that verse. On which it was stated that the phrase here rendered, 'they presented gifts' is one used several hundred times in the LXX., and always in the sense of religious offerings made in worship to God; and the only question here was, Is the phrase used in that sense in the New Testament? And the six passages besides this one in which it is found in the New Testament are admittedly used in this sense. Hence (it was argued), it ought to be so understood there; and therefore in verse 2 'worship' should be retained, and in verse 11, instead of 'presented unto Him gifts,' etc., we should render it 'they offered unto Him,' etc. This was accordingly done, if not unanimously, certainly without objection." (David Brown, 'Is the Revised Version a Failure?' Pp. 63-5, The Expository Times Vol. 4 (Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1892) P. 63.

Note that Brown did regard the RV as a failure. Elsewhere in the article he condemns it stylistically, and he is well known to have felt Westcott and Hort relied too much on the two Uncials Vaticanus and Sinaiaticus. That is not my concern here. My concern is to show that the RV committees did not sit in a smoke-filled room gleefully tearing out the deity of Christ from the New Testament, and that in fact in several places they strengthened the testimony to the deity of Christ.

It is interesting that while Riplinger piles abuse on Liddell of Liddell-Scott, she says nothing about Scott. Well, Scott was actually on the RV Committee! David Brown had something to say about this man that rather indicates why Riplinger may have been silent about him. Brown's biographer recounts how In Roman 6.1 one of the company, Dr. Kennedy, argued for the translation 'God who is over all be blessed for ever,' (thus replacing the ambiguous AV reading with one that is confessedly opposed to the deity of Christ) declaring that the only reason anyone disagreed with him was theology. Dean Scott (of the Liddell Scott Lexicon), replied, "No, sir, we stand upon Greek. The verse won't translate but, as in the Authorised Version, according to the Septuagint and New Testament Greek." Thus the R.V. (following the Geneva Bible, which here as in other places is much stronger than the AV) DOES describe Christ as 'God over all, blessed for ever.' Hardly an enemy of the deity of Christ, I think!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bad ways to argue against Roman Catholicism

When the Da Vinci Code was coming out, I met with an evangelical who declared that he was surprised I was arguing against the movie because "it was against Roman Catholicism." I replied that, while it was true that the book contained criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, those criticisms were in fact mostly arguments against all Christianity. I expect that the majority of readers know that the Da Vinci Code contains the claim (repeats the claim might be a better way of putting it) that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a child. Parrotting such strange fantasies as The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Dan Brown's book claimed that the early Church believed that Jesus was just a man, and that the deity of Christ was a doctrine imposed on the Church by Constantine at the Council of Nicea in the 4th century.

I told him so, and he went on his way. But a recent e-mail to Fighting for the Faith has set me thinking, and starting Gail Riplinger's original New Age Bible Versions (Ararat, VA, AV Publications Corp, 1995) has confirmed the need to say something about this. There are, sadly, a lot of Protestants who think that as long as they have an argument against Roman Catholicism, it must be valid. As a result they do not consider however the wider implications of the argument and the reasoning behind it.

The example of this referred to by the correspondent was The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, which she recommended enthusiastically. As Hislop was writing in the 1850s, we don't want to treat him too harshly. After all, he was a minister in the Scottish Highlands in the mid-19th century, and not an achaeologist, historian or anthropologist. The state of knowledge about the ancient world was sketchy at the time, and it takes time for information to travel from London and Edinburgh to Arbroath. The fact of the matter is, however, that the book is far more a work of the imagination than an account of the realities of Babylonian mythology. Hislop's vivid imagination constructed a complex web of connections between the ancient Babylonian religion and the worship of the Roman Catholic Church. The book seemed very convincing to many at the time, and is still accepted as such by many Protestants today.

Sadly, the fact is that there is no informed scholar today who would describe the Babylonian religion the way Hislop does. I'm not an archaeologist, but I know a bit about the subject from reading widely, and I know an archaeology student at one of England's top universities. I have read somewhat in the mythology of the pagan world, including Egypt and the Middle East. A lot has been learned since Hislop's death, remember! The genetic fallacy and the fallacy of false etymology are committed often by Hislop. Scottish words are derived from Chaldean roots, and pagan gods from widely separated cultures identified with one another where there is no connection. In fact, if Hislop is to be believed, practically all pagan gods are Nimrod, and practically all goddesses his wife Semiramis (in fact there is no evidence that Nimrod and Semiramis were around at the same period in history, let alone that they were married). Hislop wrongly dated the rise of the Mystery Religions to pre-Christian times when most modern scholars would date them to after the time of Christ, and thus brings in ceremonies that post-date Christ as coming from Babylon.

Hislop is a source of the argument that the letters 'IHS' stand for the Egyptian triad of Isis, Horus and Set. There are two problems with this. First of all, Isis and Horus are associated with Osiris, whose brother Set was, secondly, Set (or Sutekh), is the evil god who murdered Osiris, but his body up, and usurped his throne. As anyone with any knowledge of Egyptian mythology (or the Doctor Who story 'Pyramids of Mars') knows. It seems Hislop had to hunt around for an Egyptian god whose name begins with 'S'!

In the course of his argument, Hislop proposed that Constantine had merged the official Roman paganism with Christianity. Now, he was an orthodox Presbyterian and held to the Westminster Confession. But his arguments, that the religion of the Roman Catholic Church was mostly derived from paganism, and that Constantine corrupted Christianity, have been picked up on to attack not Roman Catholicism, but the Church of Jesus Christ. Writers hostile to all Christianity followed Hislop's lead, and used his method to attack Christianity itself and to argue that nothing in Christianity is original - which leads us right back to Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code. Intending to attack the Church of Rome, Hislop has made a rod for Protestant backs. As a reviewer (Quoted in Woodrow The Babylon Connection? P. 20), wrote in 1859: "Mr. Hislop's argument proves too much. He finds not only the corruptions of Popery, but the fundamental articles of the Christian Faith, in his hypothetic Babylonian system". Others have seen just that - and acted accordingly!

Ralph Woodrow, once a supporter of the Hislop hypothesis, wrote an excellent book refuting it called The Babylon Connection? (Palm Springs, CA, Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association, 1997). Woodrow's original book, Babylon Mystery Religion was extremely popular, and is cited by Gail Riplinger in NABV. I recommend The Babylon Connection? to anyone who wants an in-depth analysis of what's wrong with Hislop.

[NOTE: I am NOT a supporter of Roman Catholicism, and I think it seriously flawed and unbiblical. I just don't think that it's a mythical 'Babylonian Mystery Religion' that never existed in reality'. I would point to books such as James White's The Roman Catholic Controversy; Mary, Another Redeemer?; McCarthy's The Gospel According to Rome, Svedsen's excellent Evangelical Answers. And for the voice of the Church of Rome, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But I am also a believer in the importance of truthfulness, and the use of good arguments.]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Her Hazardous Materials

This is it, the review of G.A. Riplinger's Hazardous Materials (Ararat VA, AV Publications) Pp. 1200

We have all of us been annoyed at times by the young preacher who says in a sermon 'the Greek really means...', especially those of us who know that the Greek means nothing of the sort in context. A good rule is that if no English Bible has that translation, there's a reason for it, so keep that 'nugget of wisdom' to yourself. Gail Riplinger, however, goes further. This reliance on the Greek, she thinks, is the result of an Occult plot, and she has published a book to share this with the world.

This is a great brick of a book that purports to expose the dark secrets lurking in Greek and Hebrew study, a study that the authoress believes is equivalent to showing pornography to Bible college students. It is full of innuendo, logical fallacies, and wide-eyed conspiratorial ravings. The only use a sane person might have for it is to read excerpts to a dinner party to gales of laughter. In sharing the contents of this book with good conservative Christian friends, I have universally been greeted with loud laughter and incredulity that anyone could believe this stuff. She lambasts all Greek and Hebrew learning as springing from Catholic and Occultic sources, and asks why anyione would want to learn Greek when we have a Holy Bible. She manages the amazing feat of brining in the Titanic, the Knights Templar, the Freemasons, the Rothschilds, Jack the Ripper, and Alice in Wonderland (after I had told a friend that it included the first five he asked "does it bring in Alice in Wonderland too?" The affirmative answer prompted loud laughter). In all the long and honoured history of nonsense, I doubt there has ever been a book this bad.

She spends literally hundreds of pages detailing facts about the lexicons most commonly used today. Quotations from lexicographers and Greek scholars are given in which they state that most modern lexicons are inadequate. Yet from this Riplinger does not conclude, with the lexicographers themselves, that new, better lexicons are needed, but that Lexicons obscure the tecahings of the Bible, and we ought to do away with them as polluted by the study of Classical Greek and secular Greek. Since God is not the author of confusion, she says, He must be the authour of the one inspired English Bible today - the King James Bible. Time and again Gail Riplinger commits the logical fallacy of Non sequitur. The conclusion just does not follow from the argument. The conclusion is that we need more Greek study, not less.

For those interested, Riplinger does not even attempt to direct her readers to any Greek and Hebrew lexicons, past or present, that do not contain the problems she identifies. These problems are: use of classical Greek literature and post-Classical Greek documents to understand Biblical Greek, and the use of cognate languages to shed light on the Hebrew. In fact all Greek study since the Rformation has used non-Biblical literature in the teaching of Greek and the interpretation of Biblical languages, and William Bedwell, an AV translator, actually argued that you had to know Arabic to understand Hebrew texts, a position concerning the cohnate languages far more extreme than any held by modern scholars! She cannot tell us where God has preserved the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, even quoting favourably a writer who arges that God has not done so at all. Where does that differ from this slightly doctored quotation: "[The King James Bible] is truer than the [common] Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other [English] translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places, where they disagree"? Yet this is taken from the preface to the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible! The original reads: "It [the Latin Vulgate] is truer than the vulgar Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places, where they disagree."

And she does not simply point out the inadequacies in the lexicons and modern Bible versions. As she did in New Age Bible Versions, she argues that the moral and spiritual failings of the men involved with a work affects the character of the work itself. Moreover, the moral character of those associated with those associated with a work is also important. And thus we are hurled into rambling rabbit-trails of speculation that are finally to very little point. There is really no necessary connection between Cecil Rhodes using the Liddell-Scott Greek lexicon and his imperialist ambitions. The ad hominem fallacy looms large in this book. Rather than arguing against the materials themselves, she spends most of her time attacking the men involved. One suspects this to be because she simply lacks the ability in the original languages to argue any other way.

In fact we have to admit that a Bible translator's moral character must, at least to some extent, be less important than his or her scholarly credentials. Why is this? Simply because otherwise the King James Version itself would have to be rejected. Several men on the King James committee were actively involved in the persecution of Puritans, for example Bishop Overall of Norwich and Thomas Ravis. Hadrian a Savaria, another King James translator, was forced to flee Holland after engaging in political intrigue, and Richard Thompson was a drunken Arminian. These are only four men, and others could have been referred to. Taking Riplinger's separatistic Baptist position, we would further have to condemn the AV for being traslated entirely by paedobaptist Anglican clergymen, seven of whom became Bishops, three of whom actively attacked non-episcopalian government, and most of whom were Calvinists. The engineer is hoist with her own petard. But God who could speak by Balaam and by Caiaphas can also make use of wicked scribes and translators to merely convey His Word.
The point is urged through the use of very dirty arguments, for example B.F. Westcott is made the target of some of the vilest innuendo I have ever read in any book, Christian or otherwise, and all without a sliver of evidence. C.D. Ginsburg is made the subject of an offhand accusation of murder, again without evidence, and Riplinger repeats the worn-out suggestion that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) was Jack the Ripper, an accusation that is not taken seriously by the online source that she cites. Even when a man has true moral failings, she has to over-egg the pudding and pull in arguments that have no relation to the real world, as evidenced in her bringing in the Knights Templar in relation to C.J. Vaughan, passing from truth (Vaughan allegedly had homosexual relationships with sixth-formers when headmaster at Harrow School) to the realms of pure fantasy. There is very little discrimination here, and everywhere the marks of an obsession with the infiltration of the occult, for she sees the occult everywhere, esepcially where it is not.
Riplinger's research is an odd mix of the accurate and the inaccurate, using modern sources and outdated sources. She is also unable to discriminate between reliable and unreliable sources, and as a result presents 'facts' to her readers that are nothing of the sort, as I have already shown in the posts preliminary to this review.

The book is meant to defend the King James Bible. In fact what it defends is the Fundamentalist deviation that proclaims the AV to have been inspired of God, and that in a bizzarre scheme which I have christened IVOr, the theory of Inspired Vernacular Originals, given by God in Acts 2. Since none of the New Testament had been written at that date, to give vernacular New Testaments then would have been a source of endless confusion ("Look, Peter, here's two letters you're going to write! And who's this Paul fellow?"). This interpretation of the Gift of Tongues is unknown until the modern age, as is the idea that the AV is God's final word in English. The teaching that the originals of the New Testament books might not all have been in Greek (for example she suggests that Romans was originally in Latin) is not a development that any historic Bible-believing Christian would welcome, and the suggestion that the English and Latin can trump the Greek at times is truly disturbing.

This is one of the worst books I have ever read. If you need something to cheer up a party, buy one and read out selected passages to entertain your friends. If you actually want to obtain factual information, don't bother. There is fact in this book, but so mixed with myth and misrepresentation that you will be disappointed.

Gail Riplinger's English style is affected, and her use of rhyming couplets in prose has already been commented on. This is hardly surprising in one who lambasts the reading of imaginitive literature, and views Shakespeare as Satan's pawn to distract people from the King James Bible. I kid you not. Finally the book has no index, an extremely irritating feature in a work this size.

In conclusion, to those who wish to defend the exclusive use of the King James Bible (please note the word exclusive), I would say: get yourselves a better champion. The woman is quite unreliable as a source of factual information. I have discovered that she has a devoted following who will jump down your throat if you dare to say anything against her, but will in no wise object to her making the foulest of accusations against others. This ought not to be so, my friends. Despite her own claims, Gail Riplinger is not an inspired prophet of God, she is a fallible human being, and a very dirty writer. I do not believe in burning books, but if I did, I should burn this one first.

[Note: It has recently come to my attention that Riplinger is probably wrong to say that Liddell-Scott is the first Greek-English lexicon. Postings here indicate the prior existence of at least four Greek-English lexicons before Liddell-Scott. One poster indicates that Pickering, one of these old lexicons, can be traced back to Stephanus' lexicon, which would have been used by the AV translators. Also of interest is the fact that the AV translators actually used lexicons that referenced the classical Greek literature and in Hebrew other Semitic languages - features Riplinger attacks modern lexicons for. Thus once again we are faced with the problem that Riplinger's methods end up falling on the AV!]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What the Puritans thought about Bible translations

What was the Puritan view of Scripture? William Ames' Marrow of Theology was a standard Puritan textbook in systematic theology Ames lived from 1576-1633 and was actually forced to leave England due to persecution. He taught in Holland, where he gave a series of theological lectures that became the Marrow. It was first published in Latin in 1623, and remained in use until the 20th century in Reformed seminaries. Quotations are from the 1997 Baker edition.

"In all those things made known by supernatural inspiration, whether matters of right or fact, God inspired not only the subjects to be written about but dictated and suggested the very words in which they should be set forth. But this was done with a subtle tempering so that every writer might use the manner of speaking which most suited his person and condition." P. 186

"Among interpreters, neither the seventy who turned them into Greek, nor Jerome, nor any other such held the office of a prophet; they were not free from errors in interpretation." - p. 188

From these human versions all those things may be known which are absolutely necessary, provided they agree with the sources in essentials. Hence all the versions accepted by the Churches usually agree, although they may be defective at several minor points." - P. 189

"We must not rest forever in any accepted version, but faitfully see to it that a pure and faultless interpretation is given to the Church." - p.189

Note that in the first quotation Ames states that, while God inspired thewords, yet the style is that of the author. This is to say that the words in the Bible are both the words of God and of the human writers. To deny one or the other is a species of rationalism.

By 'Interpreters' in the second quotation is meant 'translators', and thus 'interpretation' means 'translation'.

Ames and the Puritans were not bothered by differences between translations as long as the translations agreed with the original texts in essentials. So I am in good company, then! I'd much rather agree with Ames than Riplinger, even though Ames did come from Ipswich. Ames was, incidentally, a student of some of the AV translators at Cambridge.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A lighter post

Well, actually a reference to someone else's post. At, there is an old post on the Trail of Blood that actually says some important things about the fable of Baptist successionism. I'm not a Roman Catholic, I'm not going to be tricked into acting like one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Heretical Calvinism"

Gail Riplinger has a lot to say about everyone she disagrees with, even engaging in the vilest innuendo (see P. 829 for one that I am not going to repeat because of its vileness). But there is one theological view that she always describes as "heretical", and it is Calvinism. Now never mind that the majority of the translators of the AV were Calvinists, Riplinger is determined that Calvinism is a heresy!

George Abbott was one of the translators of the AV, a godly man and a gifted preacher, he was one of the best men ever to occupy the See of Canterbury, as well as a learned Bible scholar. Today his two chief monuments are his library, preserved in Lambeth Palace, and Abbott's Hospital in Guildford, a splendid set of almshouses for the poor of the town. Learning and charity sum up his life. When he accidentally shot a gamekeeper while out hunting, Abbott was stricken with grief, and settled an pension on the man's widow. She married again, but Abbott still paid the pension to her. He was also a Calvinist. Indeed all of the best men on the AV committee were Calvinists, as I have already said.

Time and again Riplinger refers to Calvinism as 'heresy' Some examples I have noted are to be found on P. 528, P. 529, P.685 (Theodore Beza), P. 686 ("one of the most unscriptural heresies imaginable - Five Point Calvinism"), P.712, P. 798, P. 821, P. 823. On P. 824 she states that John 3.16 has "little meaning for Calvinists." Really? So why is it the verse from the Bible I quote most often in preaching? P. 1150, Warfield and Barth equated as if they taught the same thing, which they do not; P. 1153, B.B. Warfield a heretical Calvinist; 1155, ditto; P. 1175, C.A. Strong, P. 1173: "Calvinists spend their time writing theology books, instead of evangelizing". I would have found more if Riplinger had an index to this book, which she doesn't.

"Beza's text, like any other one-man exercise, must be examined with caution in the minutiae, particularly because of his rabid Calvinism," she writes (P. 685). At this point I have a question for Riplinger's doughty defenders - where is the Textus Receptus to be found today?

Pp. 687-9 contain a feeble attack on Calvinism. Riplinger is apparently a 'Once-saved-always-saved' Arminian. She holds that the will of man is freely able to choose God, and that depravity does not extend to the human will, thus agreeing with the Roman Church. She holds to election of a class only, falsely claiming that Calvinists "skip around Romans 9, ignoring the words 'having done any good or evil' (that is, good works and evil works) and ignore the words 'not of works'" (Pp.687-8). What she means here I really don't know, as Calvinists insist on those very words. "When God said, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,' he means he chooses the means; he chose to have mercy on those who will belive on the Lord Jesus Christ." Where is this in Romans 9? She belives Jesus died equally for the sins of everyone who ever lived and ever will live. She believes God draws all men to Christ, and some refuse to come. She needs to read John 6 again. The verses she quotes to support her own position are nothing to the purpose, being John 5.40, Acts 7.51, Proverbs 1.24, and Titus 1.11, not one of which states that men resist the saving grace of God successfully. Finally she gives the usual carping criticism of the phrase 'Perseverence of the saints', "God will preserve his saints; they are eternally secure. However their word 'perseverence' has a connotation of works. Their word is actually only used once in the Bible in the context of unceasing prayer, not salvation (Eph 6.18)" (Pp. 688-9). The word 'Trinity' is not in the Bible at all, theology, like ay other branch of human knowledge, has its own vocabulary. The existence of heresy requires Biblical ideas to be expressed in words other than those of the Bible. For example, both Arius and Athanasius were willing to say that Jesus is God, but they meant rather different things when they said it.

"Beza's lack of scriptural understanding, which would allow him to misunderstand all of the above verses, gives me little confidence in his choice of Greek words... Though Beza's Greek text was generally that which came down from the first century, evidently God saw at least 139 small errors in it, to which he alerted the KJB translators" (P. 689) Though not to Beza's conjectural emendation in Revelation 11.17, where all Greek manuscripts read, 'who was and is, O Holy One', which Beza 'corrected' to 'who is to come', a phrase which is in the AV, but was in no Greek text before Beza. See Comfort: New Testament Text and Translation Commentary for details.

On the basis of this attack on Calvinism, why would any Calvinist use Riplinger's works? After all, she believes that Calvinists hold to "one of the most unscriptural heresies imaginable!" Are you a Calvinist? Riplinger says you're a heretic. What is more, as I have shown, Riplinger's latest book is riddled with bad arguments, errors in fact and logical fallacies. This book does indeed contain Hazardous Materials. So if you want a Calvinist defence of the Textus Receptus, go and contact the Trinitarian Bible Society. I know several members of the Society personally, and they are sane and reasonable men.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's wrong with Riplinger's main thesis

In Hazardous Materials as well as in New Age Bible Versions, the main argument Riplinger employs is to focus on the moral failings and spiritual errors of those associated with the works she is attacking. In some cases these are 'errors' and 'heresies' that are only considered such in her own narrow corner of American Fundamentalism, such as Calvinism, a Spiritual view of the Lord's Supper, and the baptism of infants. In terms of moral failings, firstly this is easy, as we are all sinners, and secondly she sometimes makes those up - such as the unmentionable accusation against B.F. Westcott.

The trouble with this method is that, if followed consistently, it rebounds on the user, because all Bible versions are translated by sinners. Not only were the texts commonly called the Textus Receptus compiled by the Roman Catholic Erasmus and the Calvinists Beza and Stephanus (remember that it is Riplinger's position that is being engaged with), but the AV itself was produced by a committee of sinners.

From Benson Bobrick's The Making of the English Bible (London, Phoenix, 2001), we find that:

1). All but one of the AV translators were Anglican clergymen (P. 223), and thus also paedobaptists.

2). Lancelot Andrewes was a one-time Puritan turned Anglo-Catholic (P. 226)

3). Hadrian Saravia "a terrible high churchman", turned Anglican from Presbyterianism and wrote a book upholding episcopacy (P. 228)

4). William Bedwell was a lexicographer who wrote a book "which argued that a knowledge of Arabic was indispensible for an understanding of ancient Hebrew texts," a position Riplinger condemns modern lexicographers for holding to (P. 229).

5). Bishop Overall "knew Greek, but was primarily known as a Latinist and was so fluent in that language that he once admitted it was sometimes difficult for him to speak English at any length" (P. 229). Overall had marital problems (P. 230).

6). Richard Thompson "was an urbane, worldly, and cosmopolitan man who 'seldom went to bed sober', and was notoriously partial to racy epigrams" (P. 231).

7). Edward Lively had serious debt problems (P. 232).

8). John Reynolds, though a Puritan in other ways, accepted the doctrine of Apostolic Succession (P. 235). As a student he played a girl in a collge play.

9). Thomas Holland was a student of the Church Fathers and the Medieval Scholastic theologians, people Riplinger condemns others for studying (P. 237).

10). Samuel Ward (not to be confused with the Puritan of the same name) was a Pluralist, that is to say a man who held several Church posts at the same time, including pastorates hundreds of miles apart (P. 239)

11). Thomas Ravis was a persecutor of Calvinists (P. 241)

12). Sir Henry Savil was the editor of an edition of the Works of John Chrysostom, and spent so much time at his scholarly pursuits that his wife wished she was a book so that he would spend more time with her (Pp. 241-2).

13). Archbishop George Abbott not only was a Calvinist who killed a gamekeeper while out hunting, but he also had 140 students thrown in prison for sitting with their hats on in St. Mary's Church when he was preaching (Pp. 242-3).

14). Most of the translators were Calvinists. Laurence Chaderton was desinherited by his Roman Catholic father for embracing Calvinism (P. 233).

15). Seven of the AV translators became Anglican bishops.

Now Riplinger's defenders will argue that these are all minor matters, but the point I am making is that Riplinger's thesis that all modern versions are tainted by the errors of their translators must, if applied consistently, apply also to the AV. If the lexical tools available today are flawed because they reference Attic Greek and the Greek classics, then the same goes for all Greek tools throughout history, including those used by the AV translators. If Hebrew scholars who appeal to the Arabic are condemned with their works - then so is the AV, with William Bedwell's lexicon and grammar.

One may arge cogently and coherently for the primacy of the Greek and Hebrew texts underlying the AV, and for the competence of the translation, but Riplinger's method only muddies the waters. For all its size, Hazardous Materials is a shallow book that can only be accepted by those who already hold the position of the author.

Once again let me point out that to disagree with Gail Riplinger is not to attack the AV, nor is this post an attack on the AV. The Authorized Version is a masterpiece of translation, and that is not in the least affected by the fact that one of its translators was a drunkard. I am a Calvinist myself, and so I do not view the fact that a man is a Calvinist as a bad thing - remember, my target is Gail Riplinger. My worry is that Riplinger, while intending to uphold the AV, may in fact be, all unawares, undermining it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Riplinger Weirdness.

There are some passges in Riplinger that, while they cannot be cited as errors, are just really weird. Some defy comment.

On P. 51 she says of Greek professors: "The professor may just as well have shown the students pornography..." I was apalled at the comparison, but this is by the same woman who uses filthy innuendo that I do not consider suitable for publication (see P. 829 and P. 841 if you must). This is part of an introduction that makes little sense. Riplinger's use of rhyming couplets in prose is also very distracting. Examples of those will follow.

On P. 56 she tells us in a note: "Hermeneutics... is named after the pagan Greek god Hermes..." What is this supposed to do? Make us all stop interpreting the Bible? There would be an end to sermons if we did that. Perhaps we should just sit and listen to someone read Gail Riplinger instead?

On P. 91 she equates the works of Homer with the magic books burned in Acts 19. Throughout the book she condemns study of ancient Greek literature as degrading and wicked. In a private communication a representative of Riplinger said much the same about Shakespeare.

On P. 113 she states "It is absolute blasphemy for an undergraduate Bible school student to make a translation of a chapter from the Bible."

On P. 115 we read the following gem: "Anyone who suggests that a translation cannot be inspired knows little of the wide and wild theological heresies which have been generated using the Greek words which are common to all Greek texts." What about the wild heresies that have been generated by (ab)using the AV?

On P. 133 we find that she thinks that New Testament Greek is a special 'holy' dialect of Greek.

On P. 148 she writes: "Have men become sorcerers by being asked to give an 'interpretation' of God's words?"

On P. 194 she heads a section about German influences in McClintlock and Strong "Nazi", despite the fact that the work was published between 1867 and 1881, long before the Nazi party existed. Like some schoolboys, she seems to think 'German' and 'Nazi' are synonymns.

She insists that Heb 4.18 refers to the pre-incarnate Jesus (P. 201), not to Joshua.

On P. 208 she lambasts the drinking habits of Henry Liddell and his fellow students for their drinking alcohol. Yet she goes on that "The ten members [of a club Liddell was a member of] 'consumed, in four nights, less than four bottles of wine.'" I make that about a glass a night, per person. Hardly an example of drunken debauchery!

On P. 213 we are gravely warned of the occult dangers of the game of football. In a glaring example of "fanciful etymology" we are told that the word 'ball' comes from "the pagan god Baal," when in fact it is derived from the Greek ballo, to throw. Baal means 'lord' or 'master' or 'husband'.

On P. 217 she quotes Dean Henry Liddell, "'I kneeled this day before the Bishop,' and hoped God would 'so exalt my being while I am left here.' He echoes Lucifer, who said, 'I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.'" Is this fair? Liddel hoped God would exalt him, Lucifer wanted to exalt himself. There is all the difference between heaven and hell between these two statements!

One of her sillier rhying couplets in prose is found on P. 227, "a referee with no eyes, where religious squabbles end in ties." She may think this enlivens her style, it does not.

We are asked (P. 243) to believe that Liddell's Greek Lexicon was responsible for the corruption of Cecil Rhodes, as opposed to Rhodes' own evil heart.

On P. 307 we read: "Alcoholic beverages are called 'spirits' for a reason. They numb the mind, leaing it an 'empty' host for evil 'spirits' who seek bodies to work out their evil desires."

A statement at the bottom of P. 37 seems to condemn all universities, despite the fact that every one of the AV translators ad a university education.

On P. 393 she writes in criticism of Trench's rendering of James 3.5: "Christians need no warning against pyromania, but being a 'busybody in other men's matters is a problem (1 Peter 4.15; James 3.8). In James 3 in the KJB 'memb-ber' corresponds with 'mat-ter.' The cross-references and corresponding sounds in the KJB [she doesn't hold the centre -column to be inspired as well, does she?] are God's means of 'comparing spiritual things with spiritual.'" Apparently missing the figure of speech James is using.

Riplinger cannot keep her story straight as regards the Greek manuscripts. One page (e.g. 437)she will cite the "5300" Greek manuscripts we have, and a few hundred pages later she will rubbish all of those Manuscripts as the product of apostate Greek Orthodox monks (P. 741).

"We know God is not the author of confusion. Therefore He must be the author of today's one perfectly translated English Holy Bible, the King James Bible" (P. 454). This is an example of the logical fallacy non sequitur.

"We love pizza and puppies, not Jesus Christ, according to Vine" (p. 464). I have no idea where she got the pizza and puppies from either, though I'd hazard the local petshop and pizza parlour.

"John did not write the book of John, God did" (P. 520). In fact both statements are true, denial of one or the other is a species of rationalism.

On P. 593 she links Scrivener with occultism on the basis of his capitalizing the word 'Truth', then admits that there is in fact no connection, "He is not an occultist, but he is talking like one."

Riplinger's AV Publications supplies Greek and Hebrew texts "with the caveat that [they] not be used for study or translation" (P. 631).

"All Englishmen will be judged by the same English Bible" (P. 711). What about Americans, Australians and Scotsmen? Will all Welshmen, including those who do not speak Welsh, be judged by the Welsh Bible?

She quotes approvingly Jack Moorman when he writes: "It would seem far more honouring towards God's promises of preservation to believe that the Greek and not the English had strayed from the original" (P. 734).

On P. 745 Riplinger abuses 1 Corinthians 1.23, chopping up the quotation to read "the Greeks foolishness". Her reason for doing this is beyond me, but it shows a cavalier disregard for the actual meaning of the Bible.

On P. 792 she writes: "Ancient Greek was for ancient Greeks."

On P. 811 she lambasts Zodhiates for having 1 John 2.23 missing from his text. This is because he is using a Byzantine text, and the Byzantine tradition commonly omits this verse.

The vilest sins result from "focus on the Greek language and Greek mythology" (P. 841)

On P. 962 we read "Hebrew word study has become virtually impossible, outside of the King James Bible." How you can study Hebrew in an English translation is beyond me. After six months in a bilingual country, I am very aware that different languages have different idioms. For example, what in English is called a 'Tourist information centre' is literally a 'welcome centre' in Welsh.

"James Price, the NJKV Old Testament editor, is sinking in the sea of his personal opinion, in the battle using a rattle instead of a paddle" (P. 977). Some may accuse me of mocking Riplinger (partly guilty), but they give her a free pass to use this sort of childish mockery.

One of the charges against C.D. Ginsburg is "Ginsburg was a member of 'The National Liberal Club'" (P. 1007). Riplinger thinks this means 'theological liberal', when in fact it means a member of the Liberal Party, which was the party of the majority of British Nonconformists at the time. C.H. Spurgeon was a Liberal supporter as well.

The charges of occultism against C.D. Ginsburg are backed up with quotations from his book on the Kabbalah. However, without examining the book it is impossible to tell if Ginsburg is promoting the teaching of the Kabbalah or simply reporting it. In New Age Bible Versions Riplinger adopted this procedure with quotations, and so she may well be doing the same here. The fact that a man reports a position does not mean he holds to it. Ginsburg was a professing Christian, and a professing Christian could not possibly have held to the theology of the Kabbalah (see P. 1042-5). It is telling that not one of the quotes from Ginsburg are in the first person, plural or singular.

She strongly suggests that Ginsburg was a murderer, despite the fact that this is based on pure speculation on her part (P. 1057). This is the second man whom Riplinger accuses of murder in this book. If you disagree with her, she may suggest that you are a murderer or a practitioner of wickedness too filthy for me to mention here.

"The two chains of Greek and Hebrew study tugged on the Reformers, who still clung to a few of their other Catholic doctrines..." (P. 1077)

"Why can't the English Holy Bible be translated into any language, as needed?" (P. 1105) In answer I point to the fact the the idioms of languages differ, and when a writing is pulled from one language to another, and then from the second language to a third, things get changed. Consult the Book of Common Prayer version of the Psalms if you don't belive me. The psalms in the BCP were translated into English from the Latin Vulgate, which had in turn been translated from the Greek, which had been translated from Hebrew. Psalm 2 in the BCP reads:
"WHY do the heathen so furiously rage together : and why do the people imagine a
vain thing?2. The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel
together : against the Lord, and against his Anointed.3. Let us break their
bonds asunder : and cast away their cords from us.4. He that dwelleth in heaven
shall laugh them to scorn : the Lord shall have them in derision.5. Then shall
he speak unto them in his wrath : and vex them in his sore displeasure.6. Yet
have I set my King : upon my holy hill of Sion.7. I will preach the law, whereof
the Lord hath said unto me : Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.8.
Desire of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance: and the
utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.9. Thou shalt bruise them with a
rod of iron : and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.10. Be wise now
therefore, O ye kings : be learned, ye that are judges of the earth.11. Serve
the Lord in fear : and rejoice unto him with reverence.12. Kiss the Son, lest he
be angry, and so ye perish from the right way : if his wrath be kindled, (yea,
but a little,) blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
Compare this with your Bible! This is not a result of evil Catholics putting words in, but of translating from one language to another via two more languages. It would be like translating 'Tourist Information centre' into Spanish via Welsh. The Welsh is Canolfan Croeso, put this into Spanish and you get Eje Agradable. But 'Agradable' translates into English as 'agreeable', and Eje is 'hub'. So we put our twice-translated word back into English, and we get 'agreeable hub'. Silly example, but it shows that as a phrase is moved from one language to another shades of meaning can be lost, and if it is then further translated into a third languagem then a fourth (in our example back into the original language), shades of meaning may have been introduced that are not in the original. Extra words may be added, or words needed in the original language but not the first receptor language removed. This is why it is always safer to translate directly from the original language of a document to the receptor language, and why all modern translations into languages which have never had Bibles are made directly from the original language. Where a Bible translation already exists it is only sensible to revise that version if it needs to be revised. Which is why the AV is basically a revision of the Bishops' Bible, by the way.

And again, this is only a sample!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Riplinger does this in 'Hazardous Materials' as well

This recorded exchange is Riplinger, on the radio, doing what she does all the time in Hazardous Materials. Enjoy. Video is from Dr. James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and remains his property.

A Pot-Pourri of Riplinger errors!

Hazardous Materials is so full of errors that I cannot hope to cover them all. I do not want to cumber a review with so much material, so I will present some in summary form, citing page references. Off we go!
1). P. 103. Readability is determined not only by the number of syllables in a word, but also by vocabulary. A book or essay with a large and unfamiliar vocabulary may use only short-syllable words, but it will be less easy to read than a work that has a smaller, more familiar vocabulary with longer words.

2). On Pp. 164-5 we have a picture of Philip Schaff with his hand inside his waistcoat (American 'vest'). Facing it are 11 pictures, two from Masonic handbooks. We are gravely told that these images prove that Schaff is making an occult hand signal. How they do so is beyond me, as the hands are in different postions in each image, and even which hand is making the alleged signal varies.
3). Her charts of ommissions usually lack chapter and verse references, making it all but impossible to check some of the references.
4). In the chart on P. 178 it is Riplinger herself who has omitted the reference to "In Jesus Christ" from Galatians 5.6 in the American Standard Version and "The name of the Son of God" from the ASV rendering of 1 John 5.13. The actual text of the ASV contains the words she insists are omitted. Now why has she done this?
5). On P.181 she states that new version contain "Identical corruptions" to the ASV in Acts 20.28. They do not. The NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT, NKJV, HCSB, and TNIV all read as does the AV here. Interestingly this is a place where the ASV departs from Westcott and Hort, for the ASV gives the reading "The Church of the Lord", while Westcott and Hort's Appendix to the Greek New Testament states: "Tou Theou is assuredly genuine." (P. 99). No major modern version follows the ASV reading.
6). Riplinger on P. 191 describes the fanatical Anabaptists of Munster as "These good Anabaptists", although they initiated a reign of anarchy and polygamy, and have been disowned by all good Baptists from that day to this.Not that I am saying Riplinger approves of Polygamy, but that here she has no idea what she is talking about. Her view of Church history is a naive 'Trail of Blood' position that still holds to the pre-19th century idea that the term 'Anabaptist' describes a single movement rather than a disparate group of movements that had little in common beyond the rejection of the Papacy and the rejection of infant baptism. The Anabaptists of Munster were bad Anabaptists, it was men like Menno Simons who were the good ones, and they rejected the excesses of the Munsterites.
7). Riplinger insists that the word 'Godhead' in the AV always refers to the Trinity (P. 336). If we take this position we are left with the startling (and heretical) proposition that the whole Trinity became incarnate in Jesus of Nazreth, for in Colossians 2.9 we read that "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." This verse is used by Oneness Pentecostals and other anti-Trinitarians to back up their position!
8). Archbishop Trench's badge of office as the Archbishop of Dublin, a medallion bearing the cros of St. Patrick, is described as a masonic medallion.
9). On. P.362 we read that "Schaff had worked with the Luciferian Theosophical Society in directing the Parliament of World Religions on 1893." In context, as the passage is refering to 1869, this should read "Shaff would work with..."
10). On P.394 Trench is described as "Archbishop of Ireland, Church of England." Of course this ought to read "Archbishop of Dublin, Church of Ireland."
11). She attacks the use of fermented wine (-gasp!-) at the Lord's Table (see P. 485 for example), ignorant of the fact that until the 19th century all denominations used wine at communion. She is horrified that anyone should dare to say that Jesus actually turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana. She desribes alcohol (P. 770) as "God-forbidden". Where in the Bible is alcohol consumption forbidden? Drunkenness is forbidden, but the two are not the same!
12). Oddly she claims that "Any man who was walking in the spirit [sic.]" can be described as "a being having divine attributes." (P. 495). Where in the Bible are Christians ever described as having divine attributes?
13). Wuest is dismissed as a Bible-attacker for saying "We do not claim inspiration for any translation." (P. 496)
14). On P. 527 there is an amusing misprint, where we read: "Milligan, William: Commentary on John Schaff's Popular Commentary. New York, 1883."
15). On p. 623 Riplinger evidences that she thinks the very Chapter and verse numbers in the AV are inspired. On p.625 she cites the fact that the Bible in Acts 13.33 refers to "The second Psalm" as evidence for this, despite the fact that the Psalms are independent compositions, while the chapters of Genesis, Isaiah, Matthew and Acts are not.
16). She constantly refers to Scrivener's method in producing his 'TR' as "Back-translation" (e.g. P. 637), a misleading term, as it implies that he took an AV and translated it into Greek, when in fact he merely chose readings from Greek manuscripts that corresponded with the readings in the AV. Riplinger herself agrees with a correspondent quoted on P. 670 that the AV translators "may not have followed an extant GREEK text or manuscript." at times.
17). On P. 700 she tells us that Berry's Interlinear "omits the Lord". I have no idea what she means by this, but the word 'Lord' is applied to God and Jesus in it.
18). On P. 712 she writes "Calvin promoted burning men at the stake." This is total nonsense. I have spent many months studying the life of Calvin, and every reputable biography of Calvin states that he opposed burning Servetus at the stake. See my upcoming article on Calvin in Peace and Truth for more details.
19). On P. 731 she tells us that the "Greek Bogamiles [sic.] [and] Paulicians" were real Christians. The fact that she persistantly mis-spells Bogomils shows her source is a extremely outdated work in the 'Trail of Blood' tradition (from 1922 actually). This tradition of a Baptist succession is, like the Roman view of 'Apostolic Succession', "a fable which no man can prove" (John Wesley). In fact the Bogomils and Paulicians were Gnostic and Dualistic heretics. Without any evidence at all she tells us on P. 759 that "The Greek Bogamiles, Paulicians and others had the true Greek text which included the pure readings."
20). Riplinger condemns all views of the Lord's Supper other than her own bare memorialism as heresy on Pp. 770-771. While I do not hold to a local presence of Christ in the bread and wine, like Mr. Spurgeon I hold that Christ is really and Spiritually present among us at the Table.
21). On P. 775 she states that Mary was "the mother of the human body which Christ took on," a statement that lays her open to the charge of Appolinarianism (the heresy that Christ had only a human body and no human soul).
22). She accuses the Greek Orthodox Church of being 'Nicolaitans' (P. 740), committing a textbook example of the etymological fallacy. While it is true that 'Nicolaitans' etymologically means 'conquerors of the laity', in fact it is derived from the name 'Nicholas' and means 'the party of Nicholas.' What heresy Nicholas taught is a matter of debate.
23) On P. 843 she tells us that "As the 'Master,' Vaughan became the 'Dean' or 'Bishop' of the Temple Church." Of course he did nothing of the sort. He was dean of Llandaff Cathedral in Wales (which is why he is commonly called 'Dean Vaughan'), but the title 'Master of the Temple' refers to the man who is the minister of the Temple Church. 'Dean' and 'Bishop' are entirely separate ecclesiastical titles.
24). She goes on (P. 843) "The title 'Master of the Temple' is 'originally the official title of the Grand Master of the Templars.'" Of course the official title of the Grand Master of the Templars was 'Grand Master'.
25) She refers to the Knights Templar in the present tense when the order was dissolved in 1307, stating (p. 483) that the Temple Church in London "is used for their initiation ceremonies." On P. 850 we have a thoroughly fanciful interpretation of a Medieval funerary effigy. The whole Templar section is an essay in the absurd.
26). On P. 851 she refers to Westminster Abbey as a "cathedral", it is not. A cathedral is so-called because it contains the cathedra or seat of a Bishop, which Westminster Abbey does not. A good clue as to whether or not a large Church is a cathedral is its name. For example, Llandaff Cathedral is a Cathedral, Wrexham Church, is not. Beverly Minster is not.
27). On P. 882 her 'expert witness' states Westminster Abbey is one of two Royal Peculiar Institutions in England". It is in fact one of no fewer than nine, the others being All Saints' Chapel, Windsor, St. George's Chapel, Windsor, the Chapel Royal, St. James' Palace, the Quenn's Chapel, St. James' Palace, the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, the Queen's Chapel at the Savoy, and the Chapels of St. John and St. Peter-ad-vincular in the Tower of London.
28). The plot in which C. A. Briggs joined with Roman Catholics is persistently described (Pp. 939-948) as a "Catholic Plot." In fact it is best described as a "Modernist plot", in which Roman Catholic and Protestant modernists joined forces in a combined attack on both Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches.
29). In the section on "The Occult and Catholic Origin of Greek & Hebrew Focus" (Pp. 1064-2), she persistently confuses Roman Catholics and true Christians. In one citation on P. 1071 she adds the explanatory note "true Christians" when the people described can only be pre-Reformation Roman Catholics! This is not to say that she is a closet Romanist, but that she is possessed of a colossal ignorance of true history.
30). While constantly lambasting others for quoting 'dodgy' sources, she herself will quote those same sources to back up her position! And indeed sources of a far greater dodginess, as witness the Templar section. Were we to use her standard to judge her, we would have to conclude that she is a closet Romanist and New Ager, a conclusion that is self-evidently absurd.
Well, that's a lot of errors, and the list is by no means complete! More to come.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The passage that disturbed the poor folk in Victoria Coach Station

"I could write an entire book on the letter X. An aerial view of the Egyptian pyraminds is an x inside of a square. The word pyramid comes from pryo (fire) and mid (in the middle). Within the pyramid two sticks (crossed feverishly in an X shape) create a spark and hence a fire upon which a human sacrifice was made." - Hazardous Materials P. 996

Now I ask you, what in the world does this passage actually mean? It is notorious that the Egyptian pyramids were not temples for human sacrifice, but gigantic cenotaphs for the Pharaohs. She is either following some nonsensical New Age text here, outdated pseudo-scholarship, insane conspiratorial gibberings, or just confusing the Egyptian and Central American pyramids, stuctures that look similar but are for quite different purposes. She has also been misled by the etymological fallacy, a fallacy she elsewhere shows some understanding of, as she lambasts the lexicons that are her target for their use of doubtful derivations. Put simply, the Etymological Fallacy is that the meaning of a word is taken from its etymology, its derivation, not its usage. In fact the meaning of a word is taken from its usage in context. Thus, even if this etmology of 'Pyramid' is valid, it does not define the meaning of the word 'pyramid' let alone describe the pyramids of Egypt.
In fact there is no agreement on the etymology of 'Pyramid', some saying that it is a latinization of a Greek rendering of the Egyptian 'Pimar', a Pyramid (which leaves us back where we started), and no source I have located gives her etymology. On P. 531 she criticizes Vincent of Vincent's Word Studies, saying "The derivation is not absolute, merely presumed," yet here she is definite in a most doubtful derivation! On P. 396 she cites another authors declaration that there is some "fanciful etymology" in Trench. And in Ripinger too!Physician, heal thyself!
The first sentence, "I could write a whole book on the letter X," provoked the immediate reaction 'No! Anything but that!'
The removal of passages like this side-splitting gem of nonsense would make Hazardous Materials far shorter, but far less entertaining!
More to come, God willing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Trench's 'Luciferian' Symbolism Exposed!

On Pp.367-375 of Hazardous Materials Gail Riplinger spends the best part of eight pages discussing the sinister occult implications of the symbol of a snake swallowing its own tail surrounding a lamp found on the title page of Trench's On the Authorized version of the New Testament as published in America in 1858. Apart from a full-page facsimile of the said sinister title page (she refers to it elsewhere, but as the book has 1200 pages and no index, I can't find it right now), the pages are taken up with speculation as to what led Trench to "Place a serpent on the title page of the book" (P.368). The section is titled "Trench Puts a Serpent on His Title Page!" "Trench's Serpent" is referred to on P. 381, where he is called "the Serpent's Scribe." Sinister, huh?
Sadly she has apperently not even considered the true reason, the reason that first came to my mind as I gazed upon the facsimile title page (not the one illustrated, though the layout is the same). It's the publisher's logo!!!
Yes, the publisher's logo. The publisher was Redfield of New York, whose books from the period all bear the same emblem on the title page, as you can see from my facsimile! A simple google search, well within Ms. Riplinger's ability, confirmed this fact in less time than it takes to go to the John. Check the digital texts found here for confirmation.
Yes, Trench did not select the symbol at all, any more than Shakespeare or any of the other authors published by the Redfield firm. So Riplinger spends pages of speculation and kills more trees in vain. Apparently in all her researches the true solution did not suggest itself, despite the fact that the image is in the usual place for publishers' logos. We might question the religious convictions of Mr. Redfield, but Trench at least is cleared from the accusation of placing an occult symbol on his title page.
Publishers' logos are often interesting things. SCM Press has a burning torch for its logo. Bryntirion Press in Wales has a cross rising from an open Bible. But Redfield was a general publisher, as the volume shown illustrates. Other general publishers with odd logos include Cassell and Co. (Diana the huntress, not to be confused with Diana of the Ephesians), Hutchinson's horned bull's head and the column of Little, Brown. Authors do not choose their publisher's logo.

And this is why I bring up this example. Were it alone it would be bad enough, but it is an example of her determination to put everything she finds in as bad a light as possible, even when there is a perfectly rational and non-sinister explation that does not involve the occult. Like the lead character in Conspiracy Theory, she welds everything she meets with together into a complex web of intrigue and occultism. Like the Templar section (Pp. 843-51), it is a completely irrelevant excusion into fantastic realms (she opens the Templar section with the words, "The movie, the Da Vinci Code, reveals the occult nature and background of Vaughan's Temple," [P.843] by the way). It is this tactic of smearing people with baseless accusations that should never have been made in the first place that earns Riplinger the condemnation that she is a "very dirty writer" to quote John Wesley's condemnation of one of his critics.
[I have now finished reading the book, which caused me, while reading a passage about pyramids on P.996, to burst into gales of laughter in Victoria Coach Station in London. I am sending AV publications details of the publisher's logo business to save embarrassment in any second edition, which I hope will not happen]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meet IVOr, Gail Riplinger's friend

I have given some of my impressions of Riplinger's book already. Although it was supposed to be a 'first impressions' post, it has been treated as if it were the whole of my answer to Hazardous Materials. It is not. Nor is this.

The majority of the 1200-odd pages of Riplinger's book are occupied with the tactic of 'Guilt by association', of which she is a master. It is her determination to include as much material as possible to smear those connected with the modern Bible versions and Greek tools that swells the book to its rather brick-like size. These accusations range from the true to the laughable to the irrelevant. The Knights Templar example already given is from the 'irrelevant', as it related to CJ Vaughan, who was Master of the Temple Church in the latter part of the 19th century, when the Templars were disbanded in 1307. Under 'true' is probably the fact that Vaughan was removed from his post at Harrow for gross immorality. Under 'laughable' is her regular citation against Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) of the fantastical claim that he may have been Jack the Ripper. As regards the Ripper claims, first of all many people have been suspected of being the Ripper (up to and including Queen Victoria, we are informed). The website she cites found Dodgson the least likely of 22 'suspects' (for which read suggestions) to have carried out the crimes, and contains an essay explaining why. There is also a great deal of innuendo taking the place of fact.

To attempt to answer those pages would be difficult, and probably finally irrelevant, as it is not so much this material that is in error, but the conclusions drawn from it.

For it is not until the end of the book, Part VI (Pp.1094-1203), that we are treated to the Riplinger thesis, the conclusion into which all this ‘evidence’ has been forced to fit, namely that the original languages are completely irrelevant, and do not need to be studied. Instead we are to rely on “Inspired vernacular Bibles” (P. 1095), given during the Apostolic age via the gift of tongues (she cites Acts 2 and 1 Cor, 14.21). She denies unequivocally the “primacy and exclusivity of the Greek language” for the New Testament documents (P. 1101). She goes on: “The original Latin and Gothic Bibles from Acts 2 carried Christ to Europe. As languages continued to be confounded by divergent dialects, God gave each of these languages his words [Riplinger, following the King James, does not capitalize ‘him’ for God, and insists it is a “Catholic perversion” to do so], ‘forever settled in heaven,’ which would judge people in the last day (John 12.48). As language changed, Holy Bibles were ‘given’ and ‘purified’ (2 Tim. 3.16, Psalm 12.6, 7) to fit the linguistic need. The Italic, Gallic, Celtic, and Old Saxon editions came forth. As will be demonstrated, new New Testaments have usually been birthed from previous vernacular New Testaments” (P. 1105). This I have christened the theory of Inspired Vernacular Originals (IVOr). Going on, she declares, “Why use a text that needs its own translation before it can be accessed? We have a holy translation of it already” (P. 1128). “We have no solid Scriptural evidence that the originals were written in Greek alone, at least not solid enough evidence to base everything that we do on Greek” (P. 1128 again). Now we know why she insists of referring to 'the originall Greeke' rather than 'original Greek', because according to her 'originall Greeke' does not mean an original written in Greek!

Studying Greek and Hebrew, we are told, is dangerous, for it has Catholic and occult roots, and leads people into occultism and Catholicism. Better stick with the inspired King James. That is the Riplinger thesis. It is condemned by the Reformed Confessions. The Westminster Confession says that the final appeal in all controversies is to the original languages of Hebrew and Greek (chap. 1.8), but to Riplinger the final appeal is to the ‘Inspired vernacular translations.” The Greek and Hebrew are nullities now that we have the King James, it seems!

[Note: By 'Inspired', Riplinger means the Biblical definition, not a secular definition (one of the reasons she condemns lexicons is that they use secular sources to define the Biblical words). This is defined in 2 Timothy 3.16 and 2 Peter 1.21. This is a note made during the reading of the book, and not a final review]