The Life Foundations Nexus
SEMINAR ON THE “TRUE TEXT”
LESSON 5 – THE FRANKENSTEIN PRINCIPLE
By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti
NOTE: You will not be able to fully understand this principle by reading this web page alone. We will be providing full instruction as soon as possible.
Before we begin, we would like to explain how this principle came to be named “The Frankeinstein Principle.” As explained on our pages on Biblical Textual Calculus and Biblical Textual Criticism, there was a huge amount of information that had to be processed. Now, on the surface, much of this information seemed to bear no relationship to our goal. Here, for your convenience, is our goal as stated on the two aforementioned pages (see above):
The goal of the “Forty Years Projects: Textual Criticism” was to recover the previously lost knowledge that we have PERFECT copies of the texts of the Bible in the original languages and in the English language. To put it another way, the goal was to recover the previously lost knowledge that the original autographs of the Scriptures and a perfect, English translation of those autographs have in times past been re-created and created, respectively.
In the process of working with the mountains of data and information, it OFTEN seemed like we were headed AWAY from our goal of “PERFECT copies of the texts of the Bible.” It was as if we were trying to create a human body but that we were trying to create it using nonhuman organs. Like the famous Dr. Frankenstein of Mary W. Shelley's novel Frankenstein (and, of course, of the endless, “Frankenstein” movies), it seemed like we were creating a monstrosity…a Frankeinstein. This was especially, even monumentally (that is, in a very, very, very great way), true of work centered on the principle we are about to discuss. Hence, the name “The Frankeinstein Principle.”
THE FRANKENSTEIN PRINCIPLE
The “Frankeinstein Principle” states:
The CONCEPT of “streams of transmission” is flawed but usually produces unflawed results. This makes ALL streams of transmission doubled-edged swords. In other words, the streams of transmission have had an unfavorable as well as a favorable impact on biblical textual criticism. The unfavorable consequence has been the TEMPORARY (technically temporary because it has actually been over 1,000 years) reduction in the number of Golden Verses. The favorable consequence has been the discovery of ADDITIONAL means of identifying the “true text.”
Below, you will find the first twelve verses of the Book of Jude. ALL verses are IDENTICAL in all streams of transmission ONCE THE CONCEPT OF “STREAMS OF TRANSMISSION” HAS BEEN REMOVED. The graphic below provides the “revised” realistic picture of the number of Golden Verses in this passage. Looking at this graphic you would think that we should not have considered any stream of transmission. However, note the following:
1. A Bronze Verse is NOT inferior to either a Golden Verse or a Silver Verse. All verse types are of equal value.
2. The Streams of Transmission required that we treat a number of Golden Verses as Bronze Verses. As a result, these previously hidden Golden Verses now have TRIPLE the scholastic and scientific foundation and proof than they otherwise would have had.
Immediately following the passage from the book of Jude is an explanation of the conventions used in our Greek text. The following graphic takes awhile to load.
This passage from the Book of Jude is taken from a compilation of the Greek New Testament that has variants identified and tagged for reference to source of transmission and schools of emphasis.
For ease of reference, the verse numbering scheme has been made to conform closely to that found in most standard English versions of the New Testament, following the Authorized (King James) Version of 1611. Where considerate verse numbering differences occur, they are added to the text in brackets.
Breathings, Accents, And Diacritical Markings
All breathings, accents, capitalization, punctuation, and diacritical markings have been omitted. These are primarily a product of modern editorship and are lacking in ancient manuscripts.
Book Titles And Colophons
Book titles do not appear. The Greek closing colophons to the epistles that appear in the English of the Authorized Version have been placed in brackets  wherever they occur in the Stephens 1550 edition (only).
Variant Tagging Method
The following tags have been applied to those words peculiar to one stream of transmission or scholarly group that emphasizes a particular variant word. Those words with no tag do not differ in the various printings of the Greek.
T = Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus.
The text used is George Ricker Berry's edition of "The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament." This text is virtually identical to Erasmus 1516, Beza 1598, and the actual Textus Receptus: Elzevir 1633. Berry states, "In the main they are one and the same; and [any] of them may be referred to as the Textus Receptus." (Berry, p. ii)
These early printed Greek New Testaments closely parallel the text of the English King James Authorized Version of 1611, since that version was based closely upon Beza 1598, which differed little from its "Textus Receptus" predecessors. These Textus Receptus editions follow the Byzantine Majority manuscripts, which was predominant during the period of manual copying of Greek New Testament manuscripts.
S = Scrivener 1894 Textus Receptus
The text used is "h Kainh Diaqhkh: The New Testament. The Greek Text underlying the English Authorized Version of 1611" (London: Trinitarian Bible Society, 1977). This is an unchanged reprint of Scrivener's "The New Testament in the Original Greek according to the Text followed in the Authorized Version" (Cambridge: University Press, 1894, 1902).
Scrivener attempted to reconstruct the Greek text underlying the English 1611 KJV for comparison to the 1881 English Revised Version. In those places where the KJV followed the Latin Vulgate (John 10:16), Scrivener inserted the Greek reading, as opposed to back-translating the Latin to Greek--which would have produced a Greek word with no Greek manuscript evidence. Scrivener's work follows the Byzantine Majority texts, and in many places matches the modern Alexandrian-based editions.
B = Byzantine Majority
The text is that identified by Freiherr Von Soden, "Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer altesten erreichbaren Textgestalt" (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1911) and Herman C. Hoskier, "Concerning the Text of the Apocalypse" (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1929). This technique of Byzantine identification and weighting was utilized by Hodges and Farsted in "The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text" (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982; 1985). It was subsequently utilized by Robinson and Pierpont, resulting in 99.75 percent agreement between the two texts.
The Byzantine Majority text is closely identified with the Textus Receptus editions, and well it should with greater than 98% agreement. As Maurice Robinson pointed out in his edition of the Byzantine Majority: "George Ricker Berry correctly noted that 'in the main they are one and the same; and [any] of them may be referred to as the Textus Receptus' (George Ricker Berry, ed., The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament [New York: Hinds & Noble, 1897], p. ii).
A = Alexandrian
(Some of the comments that follow will be confusing to anyone learned in the “Alexandrian dispute.” We will clear up this confusion at a later stage in the “text building” process.) The differences are those identified by the United Bible Society, 3rd edition, and utilized by modern translations such as the NIV and the NASB. While these variants come from manuscripts with less textual evidence than the Byzantine Majority, many of the differences are exactly the same as those identified by the Byzantine Majority and Scrivener. The percentage of variants is quite small and occurs mainly in word placement and spelling. Many of the variations identified are omitted or bracketed words, which is not surprising due to a significantly smaller base of text from this stream of transmission.