Their Authentic Writings

Tertullian, c.180AD:

“Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally.”

Rev. Matthew Winzer on this quote: “There is a question as to whether “authentic writings” refers to the autographs or accurate copies of them.”

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/church-fathers-and-biblical-autographs.92693/, Comment 2

Not a Matter Primarily of Science, But of Faith

Pastor Robert Truelove on the Reformers, the Received Text, and the “problem of variants”:

“To say they didn’t possess the evidence we now have and make anachronistic claims fails to grasp the concerns of our forbears. While it is true they came before the discoveries of the ancient papyri, they were yet aware of the problem of variants (as their writings reveal) and rejected the older uncials they had considering them unreliable (See The Text of the New Testament (second edition), by Kurt and Barbara Aland, P.4). However, it is also clear that they approached the issue with a completely different set of presuppositions. To the 17th century Reformed Scholastics, the text of the Bible was not a matter primarily of science, but faith. God had preserved his word in the Traditional Text that had been in use and preserved in all ages.”

Source: http://www.theauthorizedversion.com/reformed-confessions-of-faith-and-the-traditional-text/

We Deny It

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

I. This question lies between us and the papists who speak against the purity of the sources for the purpose of establishing more easily the authority of their Vulgate version and leading us away to the tribunal of the church.

Il. 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.

Ill. The question is not Are the sources so pure that no fault has crept into the many sacred manuscripts, either through the waste of time, the carelessness of copyists or the malice of the Jews or of heretics? For this is acknowledged on both sides and the various readings which Beza and Robert Stephanus have carefully observed in the Greek (and the Jews in the Hebrew) clearly prove it. Rather the question is have the original texts (or the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) been so corrupted either by copyists through carelessness (or by the Jews and heretics through malice) that they can no longer be regarded as the judge of controversies and the rule to which all the versions must be applied? The papists affirm, we deny it.”

~Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology Vol. 1, p. 106

No Total Corruption of Original Texts

Turretin, Institutes, pp 106ff:

The question is not, are the sources so pure that no fault has crept into the many sacred manuscripts, either through the waste of time, the carelessness of copyists or the malice of the Jews or of heretics? For this is acknowledged on both sides and the various readings which Beza and Robert Stephanus have carefully observed in the Greek (and the Jews in the Hebrew) clearly prove it. Rather the question is have the original texts (or the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) been so corrupted either by copyists through carelessness, or by the Jews or heretics through malice, that they can no longer be regarded as the judge of controversies and the rule to which all the versions must be applied? The papists affirm, we deny it.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog/page2?s=44046e9d6cdf690b09adc0a6cbb223bb, Comment #43 (Logan)

Variants But Not Universal Corruption

Turretin, Institutes, pp 108, 111:

Although various corruptions might have crept into the Hebrew manuscripts through the carelessness of transcribers and the waste of time, they do not cease to be a canon of faith and practice. For besides being in things of small importance and not pertaining to faith and practice (as Bellarmine himself confesses and which, moreover, he holds do not affect the integrity of the Scriptures), they are not universal in all the manuscripts; or they are not such as cannot easily be corrected from a collation of the Scriptures and the various manuscripts.

A corruption differs from a variant reading. We acknowledge that many variant readings occur both in the Old and New Testaments arising from a comparison of different manuscripts, but we deny corruption (at least corruption that is universal).

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog/page2?s=44046e9d6cdf690b09adc0a6cbb223bb, Comment #43 (Logan)

Jerusalem Blade adds the following comments by Turretin to round out his meaning:

“It is one thing to speak of the attempts of the heretics to corrupt some manuscripts (which we readily allow). They gave rise to the complaints of the fathers . . . It is quite a different thing to speak of their success or of entire universal corruption. This we deny, both on account of the providence of God, who would not permit them to carry out their intention, and on account of the diligence of the orthodox fathers, who having in their possession various manuscripts preserved them free from corruptions.” pp111, 112.

Jerusalem Blade also quotes the following from Turretin’s Tenth Question: The Purity of the Sources:

“Have the original texts of the Old and New Testaments come down to us pure and uncorrupted? We affirm against the papists.” p 106

“. . . By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs . . . 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.” [emphasis added] p 106

Re corruptions: “they are not such as cannot easily be corrected from a collation of the Scriptures and the various manuscripts” p 109.

Re variants, p 114: “The various readings which occur do not destroy the authenticity of the Scriptures because they may be easily distinguished and determined, partly by the connection of the passage [I think he means the context -SMR] and partly by a collation with better manuscripts.”

p 115: There is no truth in the assertion that the Hebrew edition of the Old Testament and the Greek edition of the New Testament are said to be mutilated; nor can the arguments used by our opponents prove it. Not in the history of the adulteress (Jn. 8:1-11), for although it is lacking in the Syriac version, it is found in all the Greek manuscripts. Not in 1 Jn. 5:7, for although some formerly called it into question and heretics now do, yet all the Greek copies have it, as Sixtus Senenis acknowledges: “they have been the words of never-doubted truth, and contained in all the Greek copies from the very times of the apostles” (Bibliotheca sancta [1575], 2:298). Not Mk. 16 which may have been wanting in several copies in the time of Jerome (as he asserts); but now it occurs in all, even in the Syriac version, and is clearly necessary to complete the history of the resurrection of Christ.”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog/page2?s=44046e9d6cdf690b09adc0a6cbb223bb, Comment #50

Integrity of Versions and Sources

Richard A. Muller, Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2, Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology, page 437:

The Reformed orthodox insisted on the providential preservation of Scripture in its integrity and the consistent care taken by the church throughout history to care for the text. This assumption of integrity refers, moreover, not to the versions but to the Hebrew and Greek sources on which all versions must be based.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog, Comment #39 (Kent Brandenburg via Jerusalem Blade)

No High Court of Appeal

Edward Leigh (1602–1671), English Puritan and theologian:

If the authority of the authentical copies in Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek fall, then there is no pure Scripture in the Church of God, there is no high court of appeal where controversies (rising upon the diversity of translations, or otherwise) may be ended. The exhortations of having recourse unto the Law and to the Prophets, and of our Saviour Christ asking “How it is written,” and “How readest thou,” is now either of none effect, or not sufficient.”

~Treatise, (London, 1656), Vol I, vi. 102-3

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87658-Dr-Maurice-Robinson-%E2%80%94-Recent-Interview-on-Evangelical-Textual-Criticism-blog, Comment #39 (Jerusalem Blade)