An Analysis of Dr. D.A. Waite’s King James Only Seminar, Slides #48-66: More Guilt by Association and Double Standards, too

Section IV (con’t.) – Slides #48-66

Waite points out Westcott and Hort’s reliance on Codex Vaticanus (B) scrap-paperin guiding their textual choices. Therefore, he tries to slander this manuscript as untrustworthy, heretical, and corrupt. It is true that the two clergymen did hold B in very high esteem, but as I noted before, most modern textual scholars and editors find that the theories of Westcott and Hort are outdated. They have been updated and tweaked to the point that what the two Englishmen believed is almost irrelevant (though their theories do provide the basic foundation for modern textual theory). Since Westcott and Hort’s time, more evidence has been discovered to add credibility to the older manuscripts.

Of course, Waite doesn’t mention that. Rather, he repeats some of the tired arguments against B that contribute little to the debate. In speaking of the age of B (4th century), he said, “its words are early, but the material is not.” Honestly, and this is probably just ignorance on my part, I have no clue as to what that was supposed to mean. He then said, “it was preserved because it was in a library in Rome.” True, the Vatican library where it was housed is the reason behind its name. But scholars disagree as to it origin. It wasn’t discovered in the Vatican library until about the 15th century, and Rome, Caesarea, and Alexandria have all been proposed as its original source. But this all leads to Waite’s continued use of guilt-by-association. Slides #49-51 all have the title, “The ‘Deviant’ Origin of Westcott & Hort’s ‘B’ Text.”

Why is it called “Wetcott & Hort’s”? They obviously didn’t create the text. They consulted it. And if consulting Vaticanus is wrong, then the Textus Receptus can’t be trusted. Erasmus consulted B when considering the Comma Johannuem by way of a letter to his friend Paulus Bombasius in Rome. Of course, that wasn’t mentioned, either.

Furthermore, Dr. Waite, a scholarly gentleman with credentials that would suggest he knows much better, repeats the same old “garbage can” lie about the origins of Sinaiticus. It’s one thing for overzealous and undereducated pastors to stand up and say “that Bible was found in a trash can!” but when a man with the academic credibility of Waite repeats it, it’s a shame. And it also reveals the brains behind all the falsehood that is so flippantly proclaimed from pulpits in recent years. 

Honest research of the issue will reveal the truth. Constantin von Tischendorf, the man who discovered the codex, was led to it after seeing scraps of the Septuagint in a basket ready to be burned. These scraps led him to inquire more about what the monastery at Mt. Sinai had in its possession, and he was shown codex Sinaiticus, which was decently preserved, certainly not in a waste basket. Much more has been written on the issue, but it is dishonest, or at least a terrible oversight not to give the whole story.

Waite continues his guilt-by-association argument by documenting the evidence for heresy in Alexandria, Egypt during the time these codices were probably produced. Though Waite makes the claim that this means the manuscripts themselves are heretical, he doesn’t back it up. Of course, one reason why is that there is no heresy contained in these documents. That’s strange. Also, the New Testament was written in a pretty godless and anti-Christian culture. What does that prove? Furthermore, Antioch, the place that King James Onlyists insist is the pure origin for all Greek manuscripts, was full of  Arians. Athanasius fought for the biblical concept of the Trinity against the Arians. Arius was influenced by Lucius of Antioch. Athanasius was from Alexandria. See how I can use the evidence to teach the exact opposite of Waite’s proposition?

In the next few slides, Dr. Waite proves that the modern texts build upon Westcott and Hort and differ little from their work. This is true depending on degree, of course. Earlier, Waite said, “in geometry, things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.” But his attempt to prove this similarity is halted by a quote in slide #60 by Bruce Metzger:

“WE TOOK AS OUR BASE AT THE BEGINNING THE TEXT OF WESTCOTT AND HORT (1881) and introduced changes as seemed necessary on the basis on MSS evidence.” (Emphasis Waite)

Now this is odd. The caps lock shows us that the base for modern texts is Westcott and Hort, but conveniently the quote goes back to a normal size where Metzger says changes were introduced based on evidence. If I take the KJVO mantra, “things that are different are not the same”, I can only conclude that these modern texts are not the same as Westcott and Hort.

Slides #61-66 reproduce Dean Burgon’s evidence for the inclusion of the longer ending of the gospel according to Mark. Burgon’s list of manuscript evidence, old version evidence, and church fathers evidence is actually very compelling. I admit I have still not fully understood all the issues surrounding this, one of the largest variants in the entire New Testament. I have no problem admitting I don’t know. If Mark 16 were to be included, however, it wouldn’t score a point for the King James Only position. In fact, it may do the opposite. 

Burgon was not a KJVO. He would be what we call today a Majority Text supporter. He has been well documented in saying that the Textus Receptus needed revision and is not perfect. He was no friend to Westcott and Hort’s text, either. But on what ground did Burgon argue against Westcott and Hort? Guilt-by-association? Slandering them as liberal occultists? No, he engaged them on textual-critical grounds.

During Burgon’s time, the only known support for a shorter reading was aleph and B. The evidence has since increased, though not by much. He cites manuscripts, versions, and fathers in order to prove the validity of Mark’s longer ending. But all of this sounds exactly like the external evidence used in textual criticism! Waite shoots himself in the foot by including Burgon’s defense here, because he could not possible employ the same evidence for other uniquely TR readings. Here lies a KJVO double standard: external evidence can only be used when it supports King James Onlyism; otherwise it is called unbelieving scholarship.

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3 comments so far

  1. fundyreformed on

    Great article, two points were especially good:

    Furthermore, Antioch, the place that King James Onlyists insist is the pure origin for all Greek manuscripts, was full of Arians. Athanasius fought for the biblical concept of the Trinity against the Arians. Arius was influenced by Lucius of Antioch. Athanasius was from Alexandria. See how I can use the evidence to teach the exact opposite of Waite’s proposition?

    Actual evidence supports Antioch as being at least as heretical as Alexandria. Great point.

    He cites manuscripts, versions, and fathers in order to prove the validity of Mark’s longer ending. But all of this sounds exactly like the external evidence used in textual criticism! Waite shoots himself in the foot by including Burgon’s defense here, because he could not possible employ the same evidence for other uniquely TR readings. Here lies a KJVO double standard: external evidence can only be used when it supports King James Onlyism; otherwise it is called unbelieving scholarship.

    This is a great line of reasoning too. You can’t have it both ways. Either textual research is important or its not. Either its unbelieving or not.

  2. Cezar on

    D.A. Waite has been around a long time and you come along and magically know more than he does?

    I have to be the messenger that bursts your bubble.
    D.A. Waite is correct and you’re assumptions are incorrect.

  3. Damien T Garofalo on

    thanks for bursting my bubble. I love your in-depth analysis showing me where I was wrong. You’re obviously well-studied.


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