Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2001)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2001)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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.
Monday, August 24, 2009
"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.
Friday, August 21, 2009
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.
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!
[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
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 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.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
"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
Friday, August 14, 2009
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
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
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 aCompare 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.
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."
And again, this is only a sample!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
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]