For the next couple days I wanted to write concerning the places wherein we agree with our opposing interlocutors. For this series “opposing interlocutor” means those of the Critical Text persuasion and its translational cousin Multiple Versions Only-ism. The reason for marking where we agree is two-fold: 1.) It is important for those who would disagree with us to understand where we have common ground on the topics of the textual issue and the version debate. It is important because an understanding of our common ground should save on ink spilt in make our respective cases. Additionally, it will help focus the conversation on the places of most import, the places where we disagree. 2.) It is equally important for our interlocutors to hear us plainly admit to our points of agreement so that they also may have a point of reference from which to understand out position. That is, if they cannot join us on our side perhaps they can join us at certain common places and from there interpret both these common places and our position with respect to those common places.
The first place of common ground between our two opinions is that we both believe that the original documents written at the hand of Moses or David or Paul or John have been lost to the attrition of time and use.
As a result, the second rhetorical commonality we share is that given the absence of the original documents all that we have at our disposal are copies. Indeed, in most cases we have copies of copies or copies of copies of copies etc.
Third, we mutually recognize that no two of these copies agree in every word. They are all different, some to greater and some to lesser degrees when compared among themselves.
Our fourth place of mutual agreement is that the New Testament in particular has far more manuscripts and far more complete manuscripts attesting to it than any other book of antiquity.
Fifth, we agree with our opposing interlocutors that some form of textual criticism is part of the process of getting the word of God into the hands of God’s people.
So let us start here with these common places.
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will deal with those common places we share with regard to the nature of the Bible and its present power among God’s people.
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