Certitudo

certitudo: certainty, certitude, surety;

the certainty of knowledge (ceritiudo cognitionis), also termed the certainty of assent or adhesion (certitudo adhaesionis).

Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally From Protestant Scholastics, certitudo.

Muller goes on to explain that according to the Protestant scholastics, certain knowledge occupies at least four spheres:

“(1) Certitudo demonstrativa, or demonstrative certainty, which is an absolute certainty resting on logical demonstration or proof.”

Muller, Dictionary, certitudo.

As Christians, especially in the academic sphere, this is the kind of certainty we are often exposed to. Can you prove X via rational argument or demonstration? This is the kind of certainty employed by textual critics in choosing this or that reading. While this form of certainty can assist the Christian worldview and subsequent arguments it is not the whole of the certainty.

“(2) Certitudo moralis is a nondemonstrative certainty found in ethical decision and resting on probable arguments.”

Muller, Dictionary, certitudo.

This form of certainty as little bearing on our work here in that is speaks to the certainty one has in making moral judgements.

“(3) Certitudo principiorum is the certitude of principles, i.e., the certainty of basic principles known in and through themselves.”

Muller, Dictionary, certitudo.

This is the certainty we here at StandardSacredText.com refer to when we speak of the Scriptures as being the principium cognoscendi. Scripture is certain in and through itself. Thus, the certainty we appeal to is not the same certainty appealed to by the text critic and the evidentialist [i.e., demonstrative certainty]. The self-certainty of Scripture is not demonstrable by some more basic principle. It is only demonstrable by itself via certitudo principiorum. As such, the standard evangelical text critical argument and the dogmatic arguments of the Confessional Text/Ecclesiastical Text/ Standard Sacred Text have not the same principle or aim. But we must go a step further.

“(4) Certitudo theologica, theological certainty, is also termed the certitudo fidei, the certainty of faith. This certainty is not demonstrative, nor does it derive from self-evident principles. Nevertheless, theological certainty is not simply a probable certainty but a certitudo absoluta et infallibilis, an absolute and infallible certainty, resting on divine revelation by faith.”

Muller, Dictionary, certitudo.

So then the Scriptures are certain as the first principle of knowledge and the Christian can be certain via faith. Indeed, the certainty of faith is not demonstrative nor is it derivative [i.e., discursive] nor merely probable. The certainty of faith is absolute and infallible, resting on divine revelation by faith. I hope now you can understand why we hold to our Scriptures so strongly and why we continue to amid the slings and arrows from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I hope you can begin to see why those who hold to the TR or KJV and those who hold to something else are really not aimed at the same thing. The latter seems to aim only at the certainty by demonstration while the former admits that Scripture is self-certain and the Christian can be certain via faith about what he believes regarding his Bible. In this case, he believes his Bible is certain and authoritative down to the very words.

We [the TR and Critical Text sides] simply do not share the same vocabulary. But let’s be clear, it is not the TR side which has abandoned the Protestant orthodox language of certainty and certitude. So, who’s the schismatic now?

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