The importance of this book cannot be underestimated. There is no one book that exposes Westcott and Hort's false Greek Text and false Greek theory behind that text any more thoroughly and convincingly than The Revision Revised. Dean Burgon defends the traditional text of the New Testament. He shows clearly the defects in both manuscript "B" (Vaticanus) and manuscript "Aleph" (Sinaiticus). It is very important to see the arguments contained in this historic volume because virtually the same Greek text of Westcott and Hort (1881) FORMS THE BASIS OF ALMOST ALL OF THE MODERN VERSIONS AND PERVERSIONS. See the Appendix, pages 2-3.
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[This selection is from Article 2--The New English Version.] Whatever may be urged in favour of Biblical Revision, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous risk. Our Authorized Version is the one religious link which at present binds together ninety millions of English-speaking men scattered over he earth's surface. Is it reasonable that so unutterably precious, so sacred a bond should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,--here and there translating a tense with greater precision, getting rid of a few archaisms?
It may be confidently assumed that no 'Revision' of our Authorized Version, however judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place in public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the Translators of 1611,--the noblest literary work in the Anglo-Saxon language. We shall in fact never have another 'Authorized Version.' And this single consideration may be thought absolutely fatal to the project, except in a greatly modified form.
To be brief,--As a companion in study and for private edification: as a book of reference for critical purposes, especially in respect of difficult and controverted passages:--we hold that a revised edition of the Authorized Version of our English Bible, (if executed with consummate ability and learning,) would at any time be a work of inestimable value. The method of such a performance, whether by marginal Notes or in some other way, we forbear to determine. But certainly only as a handmaid is it to be desired. As something intended to supersede our present English Bible, we are thoroughly convinced that the project of rival Translation is not to be entertained for a moment. For ourselves, we deprecate it entirely.
On the other hand, who could have possibly foresee what has actually come to pass since the Convocation of the Southern Province (in Feb. 1870) declared itself favourable to 'a Revision of the Authorized Version,' and appointed a Committee of Divines to undertake the work? Who was to suppose that the Instructions given to the Revisionists would be by them systematically disregarded?
Who was to imagine that an utterly untrustworthy 'new Greek Text,' constructed on mistaken principles,--(say rather, or on no principles at all,)--would be the fatal result? To speak more truly,--Who could have anticipated that the opportunity would have been adroitly seized to inflict upon the Church the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort, in all its essential features,--a text which, as will be found elsewhere largely explained, we hold to be the most vicious Recension of the original Greek in existence?
Above all,--Who was to foresee that instead of removing 'plain and clear errors' from our Version, the Revisionists,--(besides systematically removing out of sight so many of the genuine utterances of the SPIRIT,)--would themselves introduce a countless number of blemishes, unknown to it before?
Lastly, how was it to have been believed that the Revisionists would show themselves industrious in sowing broadcast over four continents doubts as to the Truth of Scripture, which it will never be in their power either to remove or to recall? "Nescit vox missa reverti."
For, the ill-advised practice of recording, in the margin of an English Bible, certain of the blunders--(such things cannot by any stretch of courtesy be styled 'Various Readings')--which disfigure 'some' or 'many' 'ancient authorities,' can only result in hopelessly unsettling the faith of millions.
It can not be defended on the plea of candour,--the candour which is determined that men shall 'know the worst.' 'The worst' has NOT been told: and it were dishonesty to insinuate that it has. If all the cases were faithfully exhibited where a 'few,' or 'some,' or 'many ancient authorities' read differently from what is exhibited in the actual Text, not only would the margin prove insufficient to contain to the record, but the very page itself would not nearly suffice . . . . It is the gross one-sidedness, the patent unfairness, in a critical point of view, of this work, (which professes to be nothing else but a Revision of the English Verses of 1611,)--which chiefly shocks and offends us.
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