Who axed Acts 8:37?

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John T
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Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by John T » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:04 pm

Does anyone know the history behind why Acts 8:37 is missing (save a footnote) from the ESV, NRSV and most modern translations?

Acts 8:37 "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thous mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."...KJV

Sincerely,

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Ulan
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Ulan » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:34 pm


Stuart
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Stuart » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:00 pm

Side notice:

More evidence much (if not all) of the material in Irenaeus being from much later than his supposed writing, as the earliest manuscripts of this verse are after the 6th century.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Secret Alias
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:03 pm

That's kind of a dumb argument. It is based on some sort of providential notion that a powerful overseer in heaven is in control of the universe. Why couldn't manuscripts have just disappeared?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:25 pm

The verse appears in the Old Latin, one of the Syriacs, the Vulgate, and one of the Coptics.
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John T
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by John T » Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:36 pm

Irenaeus quotes Acts 8:37 in Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 12).

"[Philip declared] that this was Jesus, and that the Scripture was fulfilled in Him; as did also the believing eunuch himself: and, immediately requesting to be baptized, he said, "I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God."...Irenaeus

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103312.htm

So, it was there by 200 CE.
The question remains, who axed Acts 8:37?
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Ulan
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Ulan » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:04 am

Today: those people who don't think the old Latin text and the very few late Greek manuscripts of the Western style where it appears are authoritative. The verse is absent from the oldest surviving manuscripts and from pretty much all Greek manuscripts. That's the reason why it's gone.

It's in the KJV because Erasmus copied it from some textual margin into the Textus Receptus. Most of today's Bible translations simply use the majority text here, which should be a rather uncontroversial method of deciding these matters, at least as long as you are not some KJV-Onlyist. Even the Roman Catholic Church, which uses the Latin text as official, only mentions it in footnotes in today's official translations.

It's one of those cases where it doesn't make much of a difference one way or the other, anyway.

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John T
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by John T » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:27 am

Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:04 am
Today: those people who don't think the old Latin text and the very few late Greek manuscripts of the Western style where it appears are authoritative. The verse is absent from the oldest surviving manuscripts and from pretty much all Greek manuscripts. That's the reason why it's gone.

It's in the KJV because Erasmus copied it from some textual margin into the Textus Receptus. Most of today's Bible translations simply use the majority text here, which should be a rather uncontroversial method of deciding these matters, at least as long as you are not some KJV-Onlyist. Even the Roman Catholic Church, which uses the Latin text as official, only mentions it in footnotes in today's official translations.

It's one of those cases where it doesn't make much of a difference one way or the other, anyway.
Yes, all very good points and I thank you for the wiki-link.
However, I think Acts 8:37 makes a very big difference.

Likewise, it is not about how many manuscripts no longer contain it but when did they stop including it? Was it accidental or deliberate?

Origen of Alexandria, Egypt in the 3rd century testified that manuscripts in Alexandria underwent corruption by way of careless or unfaithful copying. He said: "...the differences among the manuscripts [of the Gospels] have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they lengthen or shorten, as they please."...(Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd ed. (1991), pp. 151-152)...kjvtoday
http://www.kjvtoday.com/home/should-the ... son-of-god

Although I'm not a fan of KJVO (King James Version Only) I think they have a strong argument on this one.

Still, my hunch is, Acts 8:37 was deliberately removed in order to justify the non-scriptural doctrine of baptizing infants.

Perhaps I need to go on a tangent and ask when did the doctrine of baptizing infants begin and by whose authority?

Sincerely,

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

Ulan
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by Ulan » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:44 am

I don't think we need to invoke Origen in order to understand that changing the text of gospels was done deliberately many times. In the beginning, those texts had nothing holy to them. They were just stories. Everyone who thought he understood the matter better than the author before him took the text and "improved" on it. Our three synoptic gospels are surviving examples of this process, and I doubt any of the three is the original source. You can still see the idea behind this at the beginning of our gLuke: the author informs us that he wants to set things straight. That's the reason why he sat down and edited the text, and his version had the luck to become canonical after the church had become more organized and felt the urge to standardize the texts.

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John T
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Re: Who axed Acts 8:37?

Post by John T » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:13 am

Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:44 am
I don't think we need to invoke Origen in order to understand that changing the text of gospels was done deliberately many times. In the beginning, those texts had nothing holy to them. They were just stories.
Stories as in fiction?

How I see it; gMark was the first non-fiction account of the gospel of Jesus and was quickly spread throughout the region. Q was older but little more than a collection of the sayings of Jesus.

The other gospel writers read gMark and saw the need to fill in the left-out details including the life and times of Jesus before his baptism. The other gospels were not intended as stories or fables but an attempt to fill in the gaps with details and yes, a few embellishments here and there crept in. But by in large, the writings were a work of non-fiction, not mythical stories.

By the time of Irenaeus, the basic tenants of the gospels including Acts 8:37 were pretty much established.
So, why remove Acts 8:37?

Erasmus saw the marginal notes of the oldest version of Acts 8:37 and decided to put it back in.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

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