Have the original texts of the Old and New Testaments come down to us pure and uncorrupted? We affirm against the papists.

We come now to one of the more “sensational” statements in Turretin’s Bibliology. It is sensational at least for the current ecclesiastical climate because of where he claims the purity of the Bible resides. Turretin’s argument here is very different than the standard argument for the originals. Take for instance the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy which reads in Article IV,

“We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.”

Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, Article IV

Here the CSI means by original those documents written at the hand of the original penmen [e.g., Moses, David, Luke etc.] by immediate inspiration. This language is in keeping with B.B. Warfield and A.A. Hodge. Looking at Turretin I think you will notice the difference. Turretin says regarding the originals,

“By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and of the apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean their apographs which are so called because they set forth to us the word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology vol. 1, Second Topic, Q. 10, Sec. II.

So then to rephrase the question in the title, Turretin is asking, “Have the copies of the Old and New Testament come down to us pure and uncorrupted.” To which he answers, “Yes.” And why is this? Because the copies, the apographs, “set forth to us the very word of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” So where the CSI speaks of the originals as those written by Moses, the Reformers clearly state above that “we do not mean the autographs.” Instead, Turretin speak of the copies as the originals because they have come down to us in the very words of the inspired penmen. On this point, Richard Muller observes a sundering between the way the Protestant orthodox argue for the originals and they way Warfield, Hodge, and the current evangelical academia argue for it. Muller writes,

“A rather sharp contrast must be drawn, therefore, between the Protestant orthodox arguments concerning the autographa and the view of Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. This issue must be raised because of the tendency in many recent essays to confuse the two views.”

Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Scripture, 414, n. 192.

Muller writes in another place,

“The orthodox do, of course, assume that the text is free of substantive error and, typically, view textual problems as of scribal origin, but they mount their argument for authenticity and infallibility without recourse to a logical device like that employed by Hodge and Warfield.”

Muller, Holy Scripture, 415.

In sum, the Standard Sacred Text position and those like it hold to a different view than the modern critical text evangelical. Where the former claim the original to be the apographa which gives to us the very words of the autographa, the latter claims the original to be the autographa and the autographa alone. We here at StandardSactedText.com hold to the former along with the Protestant church who held to this belief for hundreds of years amidst the rise and fall of critical theories (e.g., JEPD, The Search for the Historical Jesus, Form Criticism, Redaction Criticism, Lower Criticism, CBGM etc.] We are not looking for the original text nor are we looking for the initial text. This is because we believe we have the original in the apographa of the Greek and Hebrew. And from this apographa we get the King James Bible.

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