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November 14, 2018 Book Reading Events 0

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Observation No. 30: Horne’s View Of Biblical Distortion

Horne explained causes for the presence of the various readings found in the
books of the Bible in chapter eight of volume 2 of his book. He said that there
are basically four causes of distortion, which are as follows:

The First Cause:
As a result of the copier’s mistake or oversight which includes the following
possibilities:
The copier wrote by dictation and at places where he could not understand it
properly neglectfully recorded it according to his own understanding.
The similarity of the Hebrew and Greek letters confused the copier and he
wrote the one in place of the other.
The copier might have mistaken the signs written above the letters for the
letters themselves and included them in the text or misunderstood the
text and wrongly made corrections in it.
In the process of writing, the copier realised his error quite late in the
process. He did not wish to cancel what he had written and now
included what had been omitted without changing what he had already
written.
The copier forgot to write something and then, realising what had happened,
he included what he had omitted earlier, shifting the passage from one
place to another.
The copier overlooked the line he was writing and wrote the next line in its
place thus omitting a portion from the text.
The copier misunderstood an abbreviation and elucidated it according to his
own understanding.
The main cause of the presence of various readings is the ignorance and
carelessness of the copiers who also inserted the marginal notes into
the main text through their ignorance

The Second Cause

The second cause of the variation in readings was the shortcomings and
deficiencies of the original copy from which the copier prepared a new copy.
This too, might have occurred in many forms. For instance, the signs of the
letters might not have been completely legible and could not therefore be
recorded or the letters of one page might have soaked through the page and
become imprinted on another page and then have been taken as part of that
page. Sometimes all omitted sentence was written in the margin without any
sign and the copier, not knowing where to write it, included it in a wrong place
making the text inconsistent.

The Third Cause:

The third cause of various readings of the texts is the correction of certain
words based on the assumptions of the copier. This also might have happened in
many ways. Sometimes the copier misunderstood the correct text as being
defective or grammatically incorrect while it was not wrong being rather the
mistake of the author himself. Sometimes the copier not only corrected the text
grammatically but also refined its language or omitted words that he thought
were not needed or excluded one or more synonyms that, in his opinion, had no
distinct meanings to convey.
The most frequent occurrence is of additions in the text caused by mixing the
text with the sentences written against them in the margin. This kind of
distortion is particularly noted in case of the Gospels and also accounts for the
abundance of additions found in the epistles of Paul, so that the passages he
borrowed from the Old Testament might accord with the Latin translation.
Some people amended the whole New Testament to correspond with the Latin
translation.

The Fourth Cause:

Self-indulgence and egotism have been a main cause of these deliberate
distortions, no matter whether the one responsible for them belonged to the
faithful or to the heretics. No one has been so much reproached and
disapprobated as Marcion among the past heretics. It has also been confirmed
that some deliberate changes in the text were made by those belonging to the
faithful. Later on, these alterations were accepted as preferable either because
they supported some commonly believed conception or because they helped
remove some objection.
Horne provided many specific examples of all the above four causes which
we leave to avoid prolongation. Some examples of the distortions made by the
faithful, however, will be of interest and we include some of them here.
Luke chapter 22 verse 43 133 was deliberately omitted, as the faithful
thought it to be against Christ’s divinity to be strengthened by an angel.
The words “before they came together” have been omitted from Matthew
1:18 134 and the words, “her first born son 135” have been excluded
from chapter 1 verse 25 of the same Gospel, in order to remove any
possible doubt about the Virginity of Mary.

The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 15 verse 5 contained the
word ‘twelve’ 136 which was changed to ‘eleven’ to free Paul from the
accusation of having made a false statement, as Judas Iscariot had died
before it.
Some words have been omitted from the Gospel of Mark chapter 13 verse 32
137 Some priests also rejected them as they thought they supported
Arian thought.
Some words have been added to Luke 1:35 in its Syrian, Greek and
Ethiopian translations 138 Words have also been added in the copies of
many priests in order to refute the Eutychian sect who denied the deistic
nature of Christ.
In short, Horne specified the presence of all the possible forms of distortions
in the texts of the sacred books. The above specific examples prove the fact that
the texts of the biblical books have been changed through additions, omissions
and deliberate alterations by the faithful as well as by heretics. Similarly we
may not be wrong if we claim that Christians, who were deeply committed to
the trinity and no t willing to ignore it for their interest, might have changed
some passages after the appearance of Islam simply because they were in
accordance with Islamic teachings as they had done before against different
sects of Christianity.

Second Contention

The Witness of Christ and his Apostles
Another subterfuge frequently employed by the Christians in their attempt to
uphold their claim of unsullied Divine Revelation for the Bible is their claim
that Christ testified to the truth of the books of the Old Testament and, if they
had truly been distorted by the Jews, Christ would have blamed them for it.

The First Answer

As an answer to this misconception we may be allowed first to point out that
the authenticity of the Old and the New Testament has never been proved through a constant chain of reliable reporters, a fact which we discussed earlier
in this book in sufficient detail. Therefore all these books, in our opinion, are
dubious and uncertain and thus any quotation from these books is not acceptable
unless it can be proved through undeniable sources that a particular statement
really was made by Christ because it is always possible that the verse in
question may be a later addition added by the ‘faithful’ at the end of the second
century or in the third century in order to refute the Ebionites, Marcionites or
the Manichaeans. Or these additions might have been included later on because
they supported some commonly held belief. These sects had rejected all, or at
least most, of the books of the Old Testament as we showed when mentioning
the Marcionites earlier. Bell stated in his history with regard to the belief of the
Marcionites:
This sect believed in the existence of two gods, one, the creator of good,
and the other, the creator of evil. They believed that the books of the Old
Testament were given by the God of evil. They all disbelieve the New
Testament.
Lardner said in this regard on page 486 of vol. 8 of his commentary:
This sect claims that the God of the Jews is not the father of Jesus, and
that Jesus was sent to abolish the Law of Moses, since it was against the
Evangel.
He also said in vol. 3 of his commentary with regard to the Manichaeans:
The historians are in complete agreement that the Manichaeans never
believed in the books of the Old Testament. It is written in the Acts of
Archelaus that it was their belief that Satan deceived the Prophets of the
Jews. It was Satan that spoke with them in the name of God. They derived
their argument for this belief from John. 10:8 where Christ says, “All that
ever came before me are thieves and robbers.”

The Second Answer:

Even if we put aside the question of its being an addition, the claim does not
prove the truth of all the books, because the statement docs not specify the
number and names of the books of the Old Testament. In this case there is no
way to ascertain that the books which were in vogue among the Jews were
thirty-nine in number, as is acknowledged by the Protestants of our time or
forty-six as is acknowledged by the Catholics and in any case these books
include the Book of Daniel which was not acknowledged as authentic by the Jews contemporary with Christ. They do not even accept Daniel as a Prophet,
except Josephus, the historian, who said in his book:
We do not have thousands of books containing contradictory material, we
have only twenty-two which talk of past events and are considered by us as
inspiration. The first five of these are the books of Moses which describe the
events from the beginning of the creation to the death of Moses and there are
thirteen other books that were written by other Prophets, describing the
period after the death of Moses to the time of Ardashir. The remaining four
books consist of prayers and eulogies.
The above witness does not in any way prove the truth of the current books.
According to Josephus the total number of books is seventeen excluding the five
books of the Pentateuch, while according to the Protestants there are thirty-four
books and the Catholics believe that there are forty-one books other than the
Pentateuch. No one knows which of the books were included in the seventeen
books, because this historian ascribed two more books to Ezekiel other than his
famous book. It seems quite logical to believe that these two books, which are
now extinct, were included in the seventeen books in his time.
Apart from this, it has been already shown that Chrysostom and other
Catholic scholars admitted that the Jews had destroyed many sacred books,
some being tom up and other burnt, out of their perversion, The books of the
Old Testament that we are going to enumerate are the part of the Old Testament
which cannot be denied by any of the Catholic and the Protestant scholar in
view of the arguments that follow. It is therefore possible that some of these
books might have been included in the seventeen books referred to by Josephus.

 

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