Erasmus (1466 - 1536) Who He Was.
Why is he important today?
By Jim Searcy
Introduction - Since the following
article first was sent to the GJiGT list about 3 or 4 years ago, thanks be to
God, others have risen in defense of Erasmus. I do not think it is possible to
overstate the importance of the work of Erasmus. This great hero of THE FAITH
remains important to all of us.
BEWARE OF ANYONE DENIGRATING ERASMUS.
As a result of both of his parents
dying of the plague, Desiderius
Erasmus and his brother, were sent to a monastery, at a young age. It
was obvious that Erasmus was a very intelligent boy. He chose to be
an Augustinian because they had the best library at that time. His
behavior was not typical of those in the Augustinian order. Though he
was ordained, he chose never to really function as a priest.
Historically he was one of the most prolific writers of all times. He
was a professor of divinity at Cambridge, and was also offered many
positions of honor and profit in the academic world. He declined all
of them on one pretext or another because he apparently preferred the
less certain rewards of independent literary activity. In addition to
England and France, he lived for different lengths of time in Italy,
Belgium, and Switzerland. Erasmus was ordered by the church to return
to the monastery, and sought and received a dispensation from Pope
Leo X, which granted him the privilege of remaining in the world.
Erasmus was called to use his learning in a purification of the
Christian doctrine. His life effort was that of setting the captives
free of the bondage in the institutions of Christianity. He began as
a scholar, trying to free the methods of scholarship from the
rigidity and formalism of medieval traditions, but was not satisfied
with this. He conceived of himself as, above all else, a preacher of
righteousness. He was convinced that sound doctrine, preaching
righteousness, and having the scriptures available to the common man
and masses, was needed to regenerate Europe. He believed that
Christian principles of the scriptures needed to be applied frankly
and fearlessly to the administration of public affairs in Church and
Erasmus was a marked individual, keeping himself free from all
entangling obligations; yet he was, in a unique true sense, the
center of the literary movement of his time. In his correspondence,
he put himself in touch with more than five hundred men of most
influence and importance in the world of politics and of thought, and
his advice on all kinds of subjects was eagerly sought, and readily
followed. That makes lots of enemies as well as friends.
Erasmus courageously opposed the unlawful practices of the Roman
church. He rebuked and admonished the pope, the priesthood, and
sinful practices of the monks. He constantly attacked sexual sins
within the clergy. He demonstrated exceptional courage speaking out
with boldness against the cruelty with which the Roman Catholic
Church dealt with so called "heretics." His tract "Against the
Barbarians" was directed against the open wickedness of the Roman
He was a constant critic of Pope Julius and the corrupt papal rule
and government. He often compared the crusade leading Pope Julius to
Julius Caesar, with sayings such as "How truly is Julius playing the
part of Julius." A couple more famous quotes are "This monarchy of
the Roman pontiff is the pest of Christendom," and the church
should "get rid of the Roman See." It was fairly common knowledge
that Erasmus anonymously wrote the harshly critical satire, in which
Pope Julius was portrayed as going to Hell. He was offered a
bishopric in hopes that it would silence his criticism, and he flatly
rejected the bribe.
Erasmus published five editions of the New Testament in Greek. They
were brought out in 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527 and 1535. His first two
editions did not contain I John 5:7 although the reading had been
found in MANY non-Greek texts dating back as early as 150 A.D.
Erasmus desired to include the verse but knew the conflict that would
rage if he did so without at least one Greek manuscript for
authority. Following the publication of his second edition, he said
that he would include I John 5:7 in his next edition if just one
Greek manuscript could be found which contained it. Opponents of the
reading today wrongly charge that the two manuscripts found had been
specially produced just to oblige Erasmus's request, but this charge
has never been validated and certainly was not held at the time of
The Roman Catholic Church criticized his works for his refusal to use
Jerome's Latin translation, a translation that he said was
inaccurate. He opposed Jerome's translation in two vital areas.
He had found that the Greek text had been corrupted as early as the
fourth century. He knew that Jerome's translation had been based
solely on the Alexandrian manuscript, Vaticanus, written itself early
in the fourth century. He also differed with Jerome on the
translation of certain passages which were vital to the claimed
authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome translated Matthew
4:17 as: "Do penance, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Erasmus
translated as: "Be penitent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Erasmus was also a strong defender of both Mark 16:9-21 and John 8:1-
12. He had courage, integrity, and faithfulness, which modern day
scholars cannot seem to find. Possibly Erasmus's greatest gift to
mankind was his attitude toward the common man. In the
rigidly "classed" society in which he lived, he was a tireless
advocate of putting the Scripture in the hands of the common man.
While Jerome's Latin had been translated at the bidding of the Roman
hierarchy, Erasmus translated his Latin with the express purpose of
putting it into the hands of the common people of his day. The Roman
Catholic Church knew this could be dangerous to its plan to control
Erasmus is quoted as saying, "Do you think that the Scriptures are
fit only for the perfumed?" He boldly stated that he longed to see
the Bible in the hands of "the farmer, the tailor, the traveler and
the Turk." Later, to the astonishment of his upper classed
colleagues, he added "the prostitutes and the pimps" to that
One of the greatest passions of his life was the desire to see the
Bible in the hands of all of God's people, poor and rich alike. It is
no surprise at all, that God was to use Erasmus's Greek text for the
basis of the English Bible that was translated with the common man in
mind, the King James Version Holy Bible. The KJV Holy Bible is the
promised 7th purification of the word of God, which was promised in
Psalm 12:6-7. Erasmus's Greek "Textus Receptus", AKA the Majority
Text, is the only Greek text which agrees with itself, within itself
100%, without conflicts or discrepancies. By comparison with more
modern Greek texts, by Westcott and Hort, do NOT agree within itself
about 3,000 times in the gospel alone.
The Textus Receptus, or Received Texts which Erasmus translated, was
the first attempt on the part of a competent, independent, scholar
free from all entangling obligations, to ascertain what the writers
of the New Testament had actually said. Erasmus dedicated his work to
Pope Leo X. as a patron of learning. Erasmus himself regarded this
work as his greatest service to the cause of a sound Christianity.
The Latin New Testament based upon the Textus Receptus of Erasmus,
was quickly translated into the common languages of the European
peoples. This very much pleased him that the New Testament was
quickly being put into the language of the peoples of Europe.
Erasmus is said to have laid the egg that Luther hatched. Erasmus
half admitted the truth of the charge, but said he had expected quite
another kind of a bird. The reformers were armed with Erasmus's
Bible, his writings and his attitude of resistance to Roman Catholic
intimidation. Of Luther he said, "I favor Luther as much as I can,
even if my cause is everywhere linked with his." He wrote several
letters on Luther's behalf, and wholeheartedly agreed with him that
salvation was entirely by grace, not works. However, Luther never was
more out gunned by any opponent, of all those Luther ever debated.
While some of his disputes with Luther were white hot, Erasmus
refused pressure by his Roman Catholic superiors to denounce Luther
as a heretic. If Erasmus had turned the power of his pen on Luther,
it would undoubtedly have caused far more damage than the powerless
threats of the pope and his imps. His big disagreement with Luther
regarded Luther's doctrine of predestination. Of their disagreements,
that was the only one which ever caused him to criticize Luther with
pen and ink. Erasmus and Luther had some wall quaking debates.
Erasmus's greatest point of dissension with the Roman Church was over
its doctrine of salvation through works and the dogma of the church,
which clearly departed from the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles.
He taught that salvation was a personal matter between the individual
and God, and was by faith alone. The gospel to which Erasmus referred
is well summarized by this quote. "Our hope is in the mercy of God
and the merits of Christ." Of Jesus Christ he stated, "He ... nailed
our sins to the cross, sealed our redemption with his blood. "
He boldly stated that no rites of the Church were necessary for an
individual's salvation. "The way to enter paradise," he said, "is the
way of the penitent thief, say simply, Thy will be done. The world to
me is crucified and I to the world."
His life was one characterized by LOVE for Truth, and defense of the
truth, regardless of personal risk. He was not an hireling, and could
not be bought. He ranks preeminent among the greatest linguists and
scholars of Greek and Latin. Faith, truth, courage, genuine humility,
private rather than public piety, was the character of his life. He
had uncommon, and almost unique in his time, respect for all men
regardless of wealth or power. While being an example of a GOOD
Catholic, he was NOT the model of an obedient robot Catholic,
whenever the cleric or superior was NOT following Christ.
It seems that not even the pope wanted to attack Erasmus publicly,
though the private attacks were countless. A testimony to Erasmus's
love for TRUTH came twenty-three years after his death. It was by
Pope Paul IV in the zeal of the Roman Catholic reaction against the
Reformation. Erasmus's writings were honored with a distinguished
place on the Index of prohibited books, and his name has generally
had an evil sound in Roman Catholic ears. The extraordinary
popularity of his books, however, has been shown in the immense
number of editions and translations that have appeared from the
sixteenth century until now.
Perhaps if you have been given a different report on this man
Erasmus. That should change as you read the results of his greatest
work and do contine to read it every day.
The key-note of Erasmus's, life, writings, and work is sincerity. The
chief evil of the day, he says, is formalism, a respect for
traditions, a regard for what other people think essential, but never
a thought of what the true teaching of Christ may be. The remedy is
for every man to ask himself at each point: what is the essential
thing? and to do this without fear.
From Chittim, Isa. 23:1,
Shalom & Simcha,
It is necessary in these days of
Strong Delusion that you know
something about a guy named Eusebius. Some will recall a GJiGT list
article last June, which told you about another old timer of
significance in these Last Days, a good guy, by the name of Erasmus.
If you missed that one, you may click it up here:
Eusebius was a bad guy. Talk about going from the sublime to the
ridiculous, that is what we are doing when we speak of Erasmus and
Eusebius in the same breath. It needs to be clear which Eusebius that
we are talking about. The Eusebius we are talking about, is the one
who is greatly loved by the antichrist world of apostates. The
Eusebius we talk about is sometimes called "Father of Church History"
or the "Father of Textual Criticism." Watch out for characters that
this antichrist world embraces with such glowing terms.
In a single word, what to do, when someone speaks well of, or cites
Eusebius as an esteemed expert - RUN, or at least crank up your
spiritual antenna a couple extra notches.
In these days of the great falling away from THE faith, there is
something being done by the religious deceivers that particularly
angers me. There are many so called religious experts these days, who
AT THE SAME time that they denounce the evil and corruption that
Emperor Constantine wrought on the Church, - AT THE SAME TIME - these
same people would dare to praise and hold up Euseibas, as some sort
of highly esteemed church historical expert, and source of truth.
James 3:11-12 Speaks clearly about such things. "Doth a fountain send
forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my
brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain
both yield salt water and fresh."
Eusebius not only enjoyed the special favor of Emperor Constantine
but IN FACT was Constantine's court theologian. Brethren, we can not
allow the religious deceivers, who lure people to their demonic camp
with the truth about what the politician Constantine did to corrupt
the Church, AND AT THE SAME TIME, ALLOW Constantine's court
Theologian to be held up as an esteemed Church historian and source
of truth. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water
If Constantine was bad, then Eusebius had to be worse. Because he was
Constantine's religious court theologian. In fact, Eusebius was
probably the greatest promoter of the Arian heresy of all time. The
Arian heresy is the spiritual cyanide, that denies the biblical
doctrine of the Trinity, and teaches that Jesus was a lesser god, and
IN FACT denies the deity of Messiah.
Eusebius so controlled Constantine's religious court, that whenever
the heat was turn on Eusebius, he could very simply cool it, by
having his opponents executed, or exiled, at his whim. Those who
confronted Eusebius about his antichrist doctrines of Jesus being a
lesser god, and denying that Jesus Christ IS come in the Flesh, and
denying the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, were at least exiled,
if not martyred. Eustathius reproached Eusebus for his promotion of
the Arian heresy and Eusebius had him condemned and deposed.
Athanasius reproached Eusebius for his Araian heresy denial of the
biblical doctrines of the Trinity, and denial of the deity of Christ,
and allegorizing Jesus into a lesser god, and Eusebius had him
condemned and deposed, in Constantines court, in 335. Marcellus of
Ancyra confronted the Arian heresy denial of the deity of Christ and
Eusebius had him deposed.
Eusebius has to be in the top 5 of Satan's all time deceivers, and
destroyers of THE Faith. Eusebius is equal to, or worse, than
Constantine. No one did more destructive work to attack the integrity
of the Word of God. Eusebius may be the single handed reason that it
took the best minds of the church a full 300 years to quell the Arian
heresy. The Arian heresy still survives to this day as the Jehovah's
Witnesses Watchtower, and Christadelphians. The Arian Heresy has
always been spiritual cyanide. It is the Classic Denial of the Faith
of Yeshua The Messiah. It is the classic failure of the "Jesus Christ
IS come in the flesh," test of the spirit, and proof of antichrist
demonic bondage. The Arian heresy is specifically why the Apostle
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who
confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a
deceiver and an antichrist.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which
we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine
of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ,
he hath both the Father and the Son.
2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
2 John 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his
Brethren, this is why you need to be alert to EXIT anyone who would
appeal to Eusebius as a credible authority regarding church history,
truth, or faith.
Eusebius was a greater promoter of the Arian heresy, than Russell &
Rutherford, of JW Watchtower fame. This Arian heresy is NOW exploding
again. This time it is exploding in its most captivating and
destructive form of its ANTICHRIST SUBTLETY EVER. Today, that Arian
heresy, about which the Apostle John, by inspiration of the Holy
Ghost, wrote 2 John 1:7-11, is now being wrapped in Messianic Jewish
terminology. There are literally thousands of Messianic versions of
the JW Watchtower springing up everywhere. People are being
captivated by subtleties of this masterpiece of antichrist religious
deception. Zealous, faithful, people are being seduced by these
antichrist doctrines. It is spiritual cyanide, with instant strong
antichrist demonic principality control.
That is why you need to know about Eusebius. If ever you hear someone
claim or cite Eusebius as a source of anything but DECEPTION, you are
in serious danger. To cite Eusebius as an expert in anything but
antichrist deception, and assault on the integrity of the Word of
God, is beyond ignorance gone to seed. That makes no more sense than
when popes or presidents would say that Christians and Muslims have
the same god. When that old Arian heresy, of the denial of the
biblical doctrine of the Trinity, and that Jesus Christ is a lesser
god, is accepted IN JEWISH, OR GREEK, OR ENGLISH TERMS - the messiah
you end up with, will do you no more good than faith in Harvey the 6
foot Invisible rabbit. This may be the greatest masterpiece of
Satanic deception and subtlety, held in abeyance for these last days
of Strong Delusion. This messianic spin antichrist arian heresy is
EXPLODING now days. Your best defense is to Strongly AFFIRM the
biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Stick up your spiritual antenna a
mile when you hear anyone mention Eusebius.
Shalom & Simcha,
All official documents of the Roman Catholic Church say that Erasmus was a heretic from Rome, even though he died a priest in good standing. Erasmus wrote against Romeís use of images, relics, pilgrimages and Good Friday observances. Erasmus openly challenged and put the light of truth on just about every article of Roman Catholic faith, doctrine, and practice. Erasmus irrefutably wrote AGAINST the mass, against confession, against the primacy of pope, against clerical celibacy, against fasting, against transubstantiation, and against abstinence.
If you want the proof of this from a good Roman Catholic source, I would recommend - Hugh Pope, English Versions of the Bible. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1952. page 105. However a much better source, not from Rome, and a little reference book that should be part of ANY CHURCH Reference Library, and one of the best little books for any home reference library, is Dr. Sam Giffís ANSWER BOOK. You can even freely read or access Dr. Samís book on line at - http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158cont.asp
Erasmus ridiculed prayers to the saints, reverence for relics and prayers to Mary. Yet, Erasmus was so highly regarded as a scholar and so full of the Holy Ghost that not even the pope could stop him, bribe him, or kill him. Erasmus denounced just about every superstition and abuse in the Roman Church and its priestcraft and black witchcraft. Another good source for verification on this would be John Hurst, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2. New York: Eaton and Mains, 1900, from about pages 100-120.
The plain simple truth is that Rome HATES Erasmus. One of the written founding goals of the Jesuit order was to destroy the Erasmus text, what we is commonly called the Textus Receptus, the Received Text, or the Majority texts. Yes, brethren that Greek text is certainly the best, if not the ONLY Greek text from which one may get EVERY Word of God in the New Testament. Westcott and Hortís Greek, upon which EVERY modern English bible other than the KJV has 5,337 deletions. Yes, the Erasmus text, is the same New Testament Greek text of the Authorized Version, the KJV, the King Jesus Version. Erasmus was, in truth, more responsible for the Reformation than Luther or anyone else. It is true, and well said, that Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched. The pope offered to make Erasmus a cardinal if Erasmus would not produce that Textus Receptus. Brethren, at that time, cardinals were more wealthy and powerful than the majority of heads of state, and Erasmus flatly turned down the popeís bribe.
Another common thing the LIARS for HIRE try to do is tell people that Erasmus was a humanist. How can these liars for hire be so ignorant of the reality that the world in Erasmusí time was in something called the Dark Ages of the so-called Holy Roman Empire. All there was that was called Christian, above ground, was Roman Catholic and Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox. Erasmus was committed to putting the Bible into the hands of the common man and for the worldwide translation of the Bible. That caused him to be labled a humanist in that era. That is also something that no pope ever supported, to allow the common man to have the Bible in his own language. Erasmus called, gifted, and chosen by God, empowered by the Holy Ghost, did give the Bible to the whole world to read for itself. It is not an overstatement to say Erasmus was used as much by God to advance and strengthen the Kingdom of God as anyone since the Apostles.
So today most are going to be without excuse. Have you read the KJV Holy Bible the way God said to read it, EVERY Word, Genesis to Revelation, straight through? Would be so careless regarding your soul to sit under the ministry of someone NOT using the KJV Holy Bible to teach you?
Erasmus was the key man used by God to give the truth and facts of Christianity, according to the Word of God recorded by the Apostles Through the work of Erasmus people could directly find Godís truth regarding the persons of Christ and the Apostles, their history, their lives, their teachings. When this was revealed it astonished the world then. The fruit of Erasmusí work continues today by the Holy Ghost, thru the KJV, the Authorized Version, the King Jesus Version, Holy Bible continues to astonish and bless any diligent student who will believe, trust, and obey God rather than the lies of the liars for hire who would dare to presume to teach Godís children when they do not even know the difference between a holy and Profane bible. It is a sad truth that for the first 3 of the last 4 centuries only sin would keep people from Godís book of Truth, the King Jesus Version Holy Bible. Sadly today, there are so-called Christian teachers, scholars, pooh bahs, and Messianic rabbis that are keeping people from the perfect bible that God promised. The KJV Holy Bible allows us to see the real Christianity which converted the world. That is STARKLY different from the Christianity of the antichrist popes and the various religions called Christian or Messianic, with their pooh bahs, rabbis, priests, princes, ecclesiastical courts, and a mythology of lies. Erasmus was used by God to bring the effect of a spiritual earthquake.
I will tell anyone that if they would DARE to stop listening to the liars for hire, and read the KJV Holy Bible the way God said, EVERY Word, in order, Gen 1:1-Rev 22:21, precept upon precept, line upon line, you will find FAITH, REAL EARTHQUAKING FAITH. You will not get that from any liar for hire regardless how much you pay them.
Oh yes, lets make one thing clear, Erasmus was NOT a humanist as the term is understood today. Sadly today, humanism often is used to mean nice atheists, with ethical philosophies, that affirm the dignity and worth of all people. Humanism today is one of the greatest lies and curses of the father of liars. Humanism is a cancer and a great deception upon all humanity. If you have not got a good grip on understanding what humanism, is then I would strongly recommend you read this SHORT link. http://www.moresureword.com/humanism.htm
Let me say it very plainly, Erasmus was NOT a Humanist as people understand the term humanist in the 21st century. In the time in which Erasmus live the word humanist existed. In Erasmusí time the term humanist simply meant someone who studied Latin and Greek languages, would favor and encourage the study of science, philosophy, art and poetry of classical literature. ERASMUS WAS NOT A HUMANIST according to the understanding of the term in our time. Today faithless people are humanists. Humanism is a faithless religion today. Its adhearants believe the whole purpose of man is the happiness of man. Humanism is the self idolatry real purpose of the so-called purpose driven church. Though today, humanism may claim to search for truth and morality through human means in support of human interests, it is a great deception of the father of liars. ERASMUS WAS NOT A HUMANIST. Erasmus was a man of great faith.
You tell me if these words of Erasmus sound like a humanist. He wrote in his Treatise on Preparation for Death: We are assured of victory over death, victory over the flesh, victory over the world and Satan. Christ promises us remission of sins, fruits in this life a hundredfold and therefore life eternal. And for what reason? For the sake of our merit? No indeed, but through the grace of faith which is in Christ Jesus Christ, who only is our justification. I believe there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist, not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial who rest in peace, while many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been buried next to the altar have gone to hell. Flee to His wounds and you will be safe."
I will tell you that at best you are dealing with someone who is VERY IGNORANT when they would want to point out that Erasmus was either a Roman Catholic or a Humanist. Erasmus was a man of GREAT FAITH, and perhaps God has used none since the Apostles, so mightly and profoundly. If a so-called scholar tries to bring up these points, BEWARE. If it is a scholar so denigrating Erasmus, then you are dealing then with someone who is out to destroy your soul. Such an one can not present himself as a scholar to me and use such things to denigrate Erasmus. I will tell him that he is a DAMNED LIAR and all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. That is the only loving thing to say to such scholars, who can NOT plead ignorance regarding the truth about Erasmus.
If you want a good second opinion, and you should regarding Erasmus. The work of Erasmus is so IMPORTANT NOW TODAY tat we will keep full information about Erasmus up on the GJiGT. You will find much more important information and some good work of faithful scholars regarding Erasmus, http://www.moresureword.com/Erasmus.htm
There you will also find an excellent article titled ďIN DEFENSE OF ERASMUSĒ by Dr. John Cereghin
He hath made us kings and priests unto God. As
far as the priestly
duty of separating the Holy from the profane, what could be a more
important priestly duty for all of us, than separating the Holy
Bible from the Profane Bibles? God promised to preserve His word and
even purify it SEVEN times. Therefore FAITHFUL humble believers KNOW
there must be a Holy Bible, because God keeps His promises.
Which "Bible" is the one in which "EVERY WORD" can be claimed to be
the very HOLY word which God promised to preserve and purify seven
times? The Greek? There are 5250 Greek portions of manuscripts? The
Majority Text? Which one? The Textus Receptus? Which one? The
Majority Text and Textus Receptus are reasonably "accurate" and are
in very close agreement, but not identical. The Most "reliable" are
the Testus Receptus texts. They are what the King James was
translated from, but even they are not absolute. There are at least
six Textus Receptus texts Erasmus, Stephanus, Elzevir, Colineaus,
Beza, Scrivener. There are several editions of each, about two dozen
total. They are very close, but not identical.
One with true and honest credentials, who paid an almost
unimaginably great price to tell the truth on the subject, was also
the Co-Founder and Chief-Editor of the New American Standard Bible.
Dr. Frank Logsdon is a greater bible language scholar and of much
higher proven integrity than anyone we are likely to encounter who
would be presuming to impress us with their bible language
scholarship. Here is what Dr. Frank Logsdon said, and consider what
effect this statement has on his royalty payments from the sales of
the NASB, of which he was Co-Founder and Chief Editor.
"You can say the Authorized Version, KJV, is absolutely correct. How
correct? 100%correct!. I believe the Spirit of God led the
translators of the Authorized Version. If you must stand against
everyone else, stand." - Dr. Frank Logsdon, Co-founder NASB
The Septuagint (LXX) was almost certainly written well over a
century AFTER the completion of the New Testament. That statement is
sometimes a great shock to those in heavy bondage to the VANITY
demon. That vanity can even make them so stupid they can not even
see what is wrong with the very idea of different bibles. Sad but
Most faithless, unsaved, modern, seminary professors, who strive to
destroy the faith of incoming would-be preacher boys in training,
are nearly unanimous that LXX was written in 200 B.C. This is no
more true than many of their other fables. There is NO FACTUAL
reason or credible EVIDENCE for believing this date. These same
teachers will just as nearly unanimously agree or concede that the
descriptions that we have for the compilation of the LXX are
mythological. The LXX text evidence indicates the LXX to be a
product of Origen and company, from his infamous school of heretics
and cultists in Alexandria, Egypt.
Who was Origen? Origen attempted to synthesize Christian scriptural
interpretation and belief with Greek philosophy, especially
Neoplatonism and Stoicism. He developed the idea of Christ as the
Logos, or Incarnate Word, who is with the Father from eternity, but
he taught also that the Son is subordinate to the Father in power
and dignity. Origen's Jesus was sort of a lower level or second
class God. Brethren, this is Arian Heresy, classic Synagogue of
Satan theology, as well as antinomian. Origen taught that souls pre-
existed, and that they are engaged in a process, the outcome of
which will be such that even the Devil will be saved. That
particular antinomian heresy is often credited to Origen.
Origen of Alexandria, (185-254 AD), ranks very high on history's all
time list of great HERETICS. Origen is right up there with Eusebius.
So when you ever hear someone who would dare to appeal to the work
of either Origen, or Eusebius, in a positive way, you better watch
out for some lies and/or heresy coming at you. Origen was antinomian
to the bone. Small wonder why he is held in high esteem by the final
batch of antinomian heretics. The study is shallow indeed to
conclude that Origen rivals Eusebius as one of the worst heretics in
Most who would do a little personal study on the TRUE date and
origin of the LXX would pin that tail on Origen and his Alexandrian
heretic and cultist buddies. That is at least 200 AD and NOT BC.
There should be little or no doubt that the LXX was put together by
Origen and his friends from the Alexandrian cult, most likely AFTER
the death of Origen. The earliest possible date for the Septuagent
would be the time of Origen at the very earliest.
According to John Hinton, one of very few, and quite possibly the
only godly man of faith to get a Phd in bible languages from Harvard
in the last 20 years, said, "the text of Origen's Hexapla, from
which the alleged LXX was copied, was itself not copied until half a
century after Origen's death, so it is unlikely that it is an
accurate copy of Origen's text, let alone one from 200 B.C..
Nevertheless, for some strange reason the judgment of seminary
theologians is suspended on the issue of the date of the LXX. "
They just got there BC and AD mixed up, which is very handy for
mixing up lots of other stuff.
Teno Gropi has some good insight as well on Origen. Adamantius was
the name of Origen's heretical allegorical school that was located
in Alexandria, Egypt. The principle Alexandrian texts are spurious
at best, Satanic perversions at worst. Vaticanus was found stuffed
in the Vatican library where it had been for 1500 years. Even the
old Catholics had rejected that text. That was part of the reason it
was found to be in such condition because of lack of use. It had
been quite obviously rejected by its custodians, as clearly seen
from many of the comments written on it.
Sinaiticus was also found in a trash can, where it belonged. Only
about 50 of the 5250 ancient Greek Text portions of ancient
manuscripts are Alexandrian. Yes, brethren, catch this FACT, less
than one percent (1%) of all existing ancient Greek texts are
Alexandrian. The Alexandrian texts, in just the gospels, DISAGREE
within themselves almost 3000 times. If you want another word for
corrupt manuscripts, just say Alexandrian. One is missing
Revelation, both are missing large portions, but add apocryphal
books. Westcott & Hort propagated Origen's corruptions, and
PRIMARILY used the Alexandrian texts for the Greek text which they
assembled. Of course those corrupt texts disagree with the Majority
NOW IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS IT MAY BE GOOD TO SIT DOWN. ALL, yes
ALL, English versions, except ONE, use Alexandrian texts. Even ones
that claim to use the Textus Receptus, actually use the corrupt
Alexandrian tests when they make their changes from the Textus
Receptus. Yes, the NKJV does too, maybe to a lesser extent; but, the
NKJV does still use the corrupt Alexandrian texts. The NKJV also
uses Kittle's Samaritan OT.
Thank God for Antioch where BELIEVERS were FIRST called Christians.
Antioch is also the name of the text stream that you can trust that
is NOT corrupt. Get out your concordance and see that the Word of
God has good things to say about Antioch and bad is what one
generally finds about where Alexandria is located in Egypt. There is
a Big difference between Alexandria and Antioch. ONLY ONE English
Bible comes from the Antioch line, and gold star to you if you
guessed The KJV Holy Bible. There are two lines of Bible texts, one
good (Antioch) one corrupt (Alexandria). Even the modern apostates
would not challenge the Ben Chayim Masoretic texts from which the
old testament portion of the KJV Holy Bible was translated.
If the LXX or Septuagent translation is ever found to be quoted
directly in the KJV New Testament or Old Testament it is simply
because it is the correct translation. Satan has to wrap his lies in
a lot of truth to get them to sell. Satan is pretty good at selling
lies. Just look how many so called preachers, scholars, prophets,
potentates, and poohbahs, have bought those profane corrupt bibles.
Some are so vain and/or ignorant to even use profane bibles in their
pulpits and writings. It is amazing how many otherwise intelligent
men use profane bibles. What might these men be able to teach us if
they were not so stupid to use profane bibles. It is VERY sad when
ANYONE would PRESUME to teach God's children from profane bibles,
and do NOT even recognize the Holy Bible that God promised to His
FAITHFUL humble children. It really is sad how otherwise intelligent
men could be sold on such perversion.
Shalom & Simcha,
IN DEFENSE OF ERASMUS
Dr. John Cereghin
One of the loudest and most insistent criticisms of the Authorized Version of 1611, popularly known as the King James Bible, is that its Greek Text, referred to as the Textus Receptus, is inferior to "modern" Greek texts. The attack upon the Textus Receptus centers on the one Dutch Reformation scholar responsible for publishing it, Desiderius Erasmus. Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament in 1516 (first edition, followed by four others) which was the foundation for our modern Textus Receptus, which underlies the New Testament of the AV.
The assumption of the enemies of God's Word is that, if you can somehow discredit Erasmus or his Greek text, then you can discredit the AV. These men then level their guns at Erasmus, attacking him personally and his Greek text. Then they sit back in smug satisfaction in imagining they have accomplished their goal.
But have they? By no means! Their criticisms have been carefully examined and have been found to be wanting. Every one of their attacks upon Erasmus can be easily answered. Below is an essay I wrote to answer such criticisms that were forwarded to me by an AV opponent by the name of Rick Norris. He wrote me and asked me how I could support Erasmus and his Greek Text seeing he was a humanist, a Roman Catholic and that his text was hastily prepared and fraught with errors? I answered him with the facts that Erasmus was not a good Catholic but a Reformer at heart, that a Reformation humanist was nothing like a modern humanist and his Greek text was a product of careful scholarship and was edited over a 20-year period. I grew weary at the continual stream of propaganda against Erasmus and his Greek text by these men so I decided to do my own research to answer my questions on this matter.
To help you answer these men whose "high calling" is trying to discredit the English Bible, we offer the following replies to the most common attacks based on Erasmus. These attacks are:
These are the standard accusations. Below is the refutation. If you have any additional information or if you spot a mistake, please let me know. My address is c/o Maryland Baptist Bible College, P.O. Box 66, Elkton MD 21922.
1. This material that I will present is by no means new. It is easily and readily available. Yet critics of the TR/AV choose to ignore it and rather parrot old and recycled arguments that they get from each other instead of relying on new research. Examples abound, from the writings of John R. Rice to Robert Sumner's booklet Bible Translations and others. A very recent example is cited by David Cloud in O Timothy, volume 12, issue 6, on pages 19 and 20. Cloud reviews an article published by Bob Jones University in their Biblical Viewpoint (Nov. 1994) by S. E. Schnaiter, in which he simply rehashes arguments he got from someone else. Schnaiter claims that Dean Burgon was not very scholarly in his defense of the AV, that the differences between the majority and minority texts are small and unimportant and that Erasmus edited his Greek text in "great haste" from manuscripts "he happened to have on hand." Now I assume that Schnaiter is no fool, for he could have used the vast BJU library to consult the same books I did. Rather, this material is overlooked and suppressed by enemies of the AV. I would even go as far as to say "conspiracy" and "cover-up." Why do these men ignore and refuse to present this material? If I can find this material, why can't they?
* * *
Why do you use the Textus Receptus when it was translated by a Roman Catholic, Erasmus? Wasn't Erasmus a Roman Catholic? Wouldn't this mean that the Textus Receptus and its resulting Authorized Version is a Roman Catholic translation?
The inference is the TR and hence its subsequent translations are Roman Catholic. Yet the truth is that Erasmus may have been a professing Catholic but was not a practicing Catholic. Was Erasmus a Catholic? Yes, but so was everyone else [except the Baptistic Waldensians (see Question #16)] in this day. Erasmus was clearly a Reformer at heart. Erasmus constantly criticized the doctrinal and practical errors of Rome and its Bible, the Latin Vulgate, which he rejected. Martin Luther, an anti-Romanist, used Erasmus to translate his German New Testament. Would Luther have used a Roman Catholic text to translate a Protestant Bible? Erasmus died among Protestant friends, outside of the Catholic Church. (1)
If Erasmus was so "Catholic" and his text so "Catholic," then who were the enemies of the Roman church? And why was Erasmus' manuscript never adopted by Rome? Why did Luther refer to Erasmus' second edition as "my wife" if Erasmus was so Catholic? (2) Erasmus Greek New Testament was placed on Rome's Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Trent, which meant that it is forbidden for Catholics to even read it without approval from their bishop upon pain of mortal sin. (3)
A Catholic writer, Hugh Pope, under an official Roman Catholic imprimatur and nihil obstat, says Erasmus was a heretic from Rome. He scoffed at images, relics, pilgrimages and Good Friday observances. Pope suggested Erasmus had serious doubts about every article of Catholic faith: the mass, confession, the primacy of the Apostolic See, clerical celibacy, fasting, transubstantiation and abstinence. (4) He also ridiculed invocation of the saints, reverence for relics and prayers to Mary. There was scarcely any superstition or abuse in the Roman Church that Erasmus did not denounce. (5) It is obvious then that Rome certainly has no desire to claim Erasmus. Erasmus was also a vocal opponent of Roman scholastic theology and of the ignorance of the monks. (6) Thus, AV critic, Doug Kutilek, is incorrect when he says "Erasmus did not disapprove of Roman Catholic doctrine." (7) To speak then of the "Roman Catholic Erasmus" and to try to paint him as a loyal Romanist is to speak against the facts and slander Erasmus' name.
Hugh Pope continues regarding Erasmus and Rome: "He seemed to take pleasure in suggesting doubts about almost every article of Catholic teaching . . . Small wonder then that he came to be regarded as the man who paved the way for the Reformation . . ." (8)
The Pope offered to make Erasmus a cardinal but he refused (as did the martyr Savanarola), saying he would not compromise his conscience. (9) Erasmus was committed to putting the Bible into the hands of the common man and for the worldwide translation of the Bible, something no pope ever supported. (10) David Cloud maintains, "It is a historical fact that Erasmus was strong and public in his condemnation of Catholic heresies . . . Rome did brand him as an 'impious heretic' and the Pope forbade Catholics to read his works." (11) "Bigoted Catholics," according to Philip Schaff, reviled him as "Errasmus" because of his errors; "Arasmus" because he plowed up old truths and traditions; and "Erasinus" because he made an *** of himself by his writings. They even called him "Behemoth" and "Antichrist." The Sorbonne condemned 37 articles extracted from his writings in 1527. His books were burned in Spain and long after his death. (12)
The Roman Catholic Diego Lopez Zuniga wrote a 54 page essay against Erasmus entitled Erasmi Roterodami blasphemiae et impietates (The Blasphemies and Impieties of Erasmus of Rotterdam) in 1522. How say ye then that Erasmus was a Roman Catholic? Somebody in Rome didnít think too highly of Erasmus!
This quote from The Life and Letters of Erasmus, edited by J. A. Froude, also demonstrates the animosity between Erasmus and Rome:
"Erasmus had undertaken to give the book to the whole world to read for itself -- the original Greek of the Epistles and Gospel, with a new Latin Translation -- to wake up the intelligence, to show that the words had a real sense . . . It was finished at last, text and translation printed, and the living facts of Christianity, the persons of Christ and the Apostles, their history, their lives, their teachings were revealed to an astonished world. For the first time the laity were able to see, side by side, the Christianity which converted the world, and the Christianity of the Church with a Borgia pope, cardinal princes, ecclesiastical courts, and a mythology of lies. The effect was to be a spiritual earthquake. Erasmus opens with a complaint of the neglect of Scripture (in his preface and notes to each gospel), of a priesthood who thought more of offertory plates than of parchments, and more of gold than of books: of the degradation of spiritual life, and of the vain observances and scandalous practices of the orders specially called religious . . .
"His comments on Mathew 23:27 (on whited sepulchres): 'What would Jerome say could he see the Virgin's milk exhibited for money . . . the miraculous oil; the portions of the true cross, enough if they were collected to freight a later ship? Here we have the hood of St. Francis, there Our Lady's petticoat, or St. Anne's comb, or St. Thomas of Canterbury's shoes . . . and all through the avarice of priests and the hypocrisy of monks playing on the credulity of the people. Even bishops play their parts in these fantastic shows, and approve and dwell on them in their rescripts. (13)
"His comments on Matthew 24:23 (on Lo, here is Christ or there): 'I saw with my own eyes Pope Julius II, at Bologna, and afterwards at Rome, marching at the head of a triumphal procession as if he were Pompey or Caesar. St. Peter subdued the world with faith, not with arms or soldiers or military engines . . .'
"His comments on I Corinthians 14:19 (on unknown tongues): 'They chant nowadays in our churches in what is an unknown tongue and nothing else, while you will not hear a sermon once in six months telling people to amend their lives . . .'
"His comments on I Timothy 3:2 (on the husband of one wife): 'Other qualifications are laid down by St. Paul as required for a bishop's office, a long list of them. But not one at present is held essential, except this one of abstinence from marriage. Homicide, parricide, incest, piracy, sodomy, sacrilege, these can be got over, but marriage is fatal. There are priests now in vast numbers, enormous herds of them, seculars and regulars, and it is notorious that very few of them are chaste. The great proportion fall into lust and incest, and open profligacy.'
"Such are extracts from the reflections upon the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church which were launched upon the world in the notes of the New Testament by Erasmus, some on the first publication, some added as edition followed edition . . . They were deliberate accusations attached to the sacred text, where the religion which was taught by Christ and the Apostles and the degenerate superstition which had taken its place could be contrasted side by side. Nothing was spared; ritual and ceremony, dogmatic theology . . . bishops, seculars, monks were dragged out to judgment, and hung as on a public gibbet, in the light of the pages of the most sacred of all books, published with the leave and approbation of the Pope himself . . . The clergy's skins were tender from long impunity. They shrieked from pulpit and platform . . ." (14)
A.T. Robertson calls these anti-Roman notes in Erasmus text "caustic" and they raised the ire of the priests. (15) The priests saw the danger and instead of attacking the Greek Testament and its translation, they attacked Erasmus! Since they couldn't answer him theologically or critically, they had to resort to their last gasp -- personal attack and insult of Erasmus.
Edward Lee, a staunch papist and later Archbishop of York, organized a league of Englishmen to oppose Erasmus. (16) Erasmus literally had the firebrands of hell and Rome hurled at him. They absolutely hated him because he had dared tamper with the Vulgate.
Erasmus was relatively orthodox in his doctrine, including his soteriology. He wrote in his Treatise on Preparation for Death:
"We are assured of victory over death, victory over the flesh, victory over the world and Satan. Christ promises us remission of sins, fruits in this life a hundredfold and therefore life eternal. And for what reason? For the sake of our merit? No indeed, but through the grace of faith which is in Christ Jesus . . . Christ is our justification . . . I believe there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist, not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial who rest in peace, while many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been buried next to the altar have gone to hell . . . Flee to His wounds and you will be safe." (17)
How "Catholic" is this? A good Catholic would tell you to flee to Mary, the mass or the sacraments, in the hour of death.
Philip Schaff, who was a closet-Catholic, calls Erasmus a "forerunner of the Reformation." He said that Protestants owed Erasmus a debt of gratitude for enabling Luther and Tyndale to make their translations. (18)
Frank Logsdon, who renounced his organizational work on the New American Standard Version, said "How could you speak against a man, claiming that he is a Roman, when he turned down the offer of a cardinalship and campaigned against monasticism, against the liturgy of the Catholic Church, and was detested by the Catholic people? Do you know one of the reasons the Jesuits came into being under Loyola? Their main project was to supplant the Erasmus text . . . Their whole aim . . . is to destroy the Erasmus text, and the Authorized Version, of course, came from the Erasmus text." (19)
Like most other Reformers, Erasmus desired to reform the Church from within. He did not desire to leave the Church. In this, his desire was similar to Luther. Erasmus never did officially leave the Church, desiring to reform it from within, but it cannot be denied that he was not a Romanist at heart.
Staunch Catholics were given to refer to Erasmus as a Lutheran at heart. They considered him and his works subversive. While Erasmus was not a Lutheran, there can be no serious or honest doubt that he was in sympathy with the main points of the Lutheran criticism of the Church. Melanchthon, Luther's right hand man, was quoted once as saying, "Erasmus nobiscum est," or "Erasmus is with us." (20)
Michael Maynard, in his work A History of the Debate Over I John 5:7-8, sees a possible motivation for the spread of the lie and slander about Erasmus being a "good Catholic:"
"The motive behind this . . . view of Erasmus being a 'good Catholic' appears to be an attempt to retaliate (by the editors of the United Bible Society text editors, including the Jesuit Carlo Martini on its editorial board). Since its advocates (of the UBS text) can justify neither the recent (1968) inclusion of the Jesuit Carlo Martini, on the UBS editorial committee, nor their reliance on ecumenical institutes, nor Roman Catholic involvement in UBS translations, they instead attempt to create the impression of a Catholic origin of the printed Received Text . . . Meanwhile, Received Text advocates are still waiting for the fundamentalists minority text advocates to explain why they trust four liberals and a Jesuit, who is in line to become the next pope, with the identity of the New Testament." (21)
The hypocrisy of the UBS defenders (who are anti-TR and AV) then becomes clear. In an attempt to justify their reliance on the work of Jesuit Martini, they try to create a Romanist Erasmus. Their thinking is, "If you can rely on the Catholic Erasmus and his work, then we are allowed to support the work of this Jesuit Martini!" But since Erasmus was a "bad Catholic" at best, their alibi falls flat.
Yet we do recognize that Erasmus never formally left the church. He was a Puritan within Rome rather than a pilgrim from it. He was an enigma. You cannot place him in any niche. David Cloud was quite accurate when he refers to him as "Mr. Facing-Both-Ways." (22) We do not try to turn him into some sort of "saint" that he might not have been. Our desire is simply to present a more balanced picture of his work. We do not seek to justify his outward neutrality nor his person. We are more interested in justifying his Greek text.
* * *
Didnít Erasmus dedicate his Greek text to the pope?
Erasmus did dedicate his first edition Greek New Testament to Pope Leo X, but as a patron of learning and not on a theological basis. (1)
Leo also had done numerous favors for Erasmus, such as freeing him from his monastic vows and removing the disabilities of his bastardy. This Erasmus never forgot. (2)
In this day, it would have been nearly hopeless to think that a Bible or a Greek text could be accepted without the approval of the pope. Another reason why Erasmus dedicated his text to the pope was so that it would be accepted. (3)
* * *
Was Erasmus qualified to edit a Greek Text? Wasn't his Greek education substandard?
There are also attacks upon Erasmus' education and preparation. Without a doubt, Erasmus was the most brilliant of the Reformation-era scholars. Every king wanted him in his court for the intellectual prestige he would bring. Yet charges abound that Erasmus was not very proficient in the Greek. This is not true for Erasmus had the best Greek education that could be had in 16th century Europe. He spent most of 1506 improving his Greek with study in Bologna, Rome, Florence and Padua under the best Greek teacher of the day. (1) In 1505, he edited Valla's Annotations on the New Testament. Some of his Greek learning may have been individual, but not all of it. It is difficult to imagine a man of Erasmus' talents and scholarship, who was dedicated to a study of the Greek classics, being deficient in his knowledge of Greek!
Another attack against Erasmus was that he was not proficient in Hebrew. But this is an unimportant point. Why would he need to be when the was interested in Greek and Latin classics and New Testament manuscripts? Erasmus never tried to translate the Old Testament, so why would he need to study Hebrew?
* * *
Wasn't Erasmus' Greek text "hastily prepared" and "fraught with errors?"
The main complaint against Erasmus' Greek text is that it was prepared "hastily" and that he had only a few late manuscripts to work with. Again, these statements need to be clarified. His first edition was done hastily, but not because Erasmus was careless in his work, but because he had to meet the deadline established by his publisher. (1) He finished the work in about a year, which is a testament to his vast scholarship in that he was able to complete such a project in so short a time.
If Erasmus' first Greek edition was done in haste, the four later editions were not! Erasmus spent the rest of his life (20 years) editing, revising and correcting that "hastily done" first edition. Besides, most first editions have printer's errors and mistakes in them that are corrected in later editions. The errors in Erasmus' first edition were of a minor nature anyway. (2)
Yet on his "errors," Erasmus wrote "I did my best with the New Testament, but it provoked endless quarrels. Edward Lee (Archbishop of York) pretended to have discovered 300 errors. They appointed a commission, which professed to have found bushels of them. Every dinner table rang with the blunders of Erasmus. I required particulars and could not have them." (3)
The point is the first edition may have been somewhat careless, but so what? Nobody used that first edition for any translation purposes and nothing was translated from that first edition. Luther used a corrected and improved second edition to translate his German New Testament, not the first. Let the enemies of the AV name one translation of any importance that was based solely on the first edition of Erasmus.
The Stephanus text, translated by Robert Estienne (Stephanus), third edition, which is part of the TR/AV stream, was translated from Erasmus' 4th and 5h editions, not the first.
Theodore Beza produced 9 editions of the Greek New Testament between 1565 and 1604. The most important are the 1565, 1582, 1588-9 and 1598 editions. Beza's texts differ little from Stephanus' 4th edition of 1551. The AV translators made large use of Beza's editions 1588-9 and 1598. In 1624, the Elzevir brothers published a text based on Beza's 1565 edition. (4)
We thus agree with Dean Burgon, who says, "to describe the haste with which Erasmus produced the first published edition of the NT, to make sport about the copies which he employed, all this kind of thing is the preceding of one who seeks to mislead his readers to throw dust in their eyes, to divert their attention from the problems actually before them." (5) The AV is not affected by that first edition at all. To whine about the first edition and then try to somehow tie the AV in with it is dishonest scholarship and a smokescreen in an attempt to obscure the facts.
* * *
Question # 5
Did Erasmus have access to modern manuscripts as did modern translators? If he did, did he make use of them?
Erasmus had access to most of the same set of manuscripts as did modern translators with the obvious exception of Codex Sinaiticus, which was not rescued from the trash can at St. Catherine's monastery until the mid-19th century.
Robert Sumner, an opponent of the AV, is only partially correct when he states, "Erasmus himself had no knowledge of the Alexandrian manuscripts. The Sinaiticus was not discovered at the monastery of St. Catherine's on Mt Sinai until the mid 19th century (that's true, although Erasmus certainly had access to the Sinaitic-type readings) and the Vaticanus, while in the Vatican library at Rome since about the 15th century, was not available for use by outsiders until the dawn of the 20th century." (1) That's false!
Erasmus did have access to Codex B readings (2) and rejected them because he knew how corrupt they were. After all, B is the Pope's manuscript, and since Erasmus was anti-Catholic, he rejected it. Paulus Bombasius discovered the neglected Codex B in the Vatican library in 1521 and in June of that year sent Erasmus its readings from I John 4:1-3 and I John 5:7. (3)
These same readings of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were very much before the scholars in the 1611 AV as represented in the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus was a personal friend of Leo X (from his earlier days) and had access to every library in Europe (because of his reputation as a scholar), including the Vatican. Erasmus had access to Vaticanus if he wanted it. He didn't need the manuscript itself because Paulus Bombasius, who was in Rome, was sending him B readings. (4) Its readings were then known as early as the 17th century. Sumner is just plain wrong to say that no one had access to B before the 20th century.
Erasmus was furnished with 365 readings of B by Sepulveda, who was in possession of them as early as 1521. (5) Frederick Kenyon points out that the preface and dedication to Ximenes' text state that the text was derived from manuscripts loaned by Leo X from the Vatican library. (6) If Ximenes has these manuscripts made available to him, then certainly must have Erasmus (especially if he was such a "good Catholic" as his enemies claim!)
Again! The controversy over I John 5:7 forced an appeal to Codex B in 1522! (7) So what does Sumner mean when he said no one had access to it at this time? How could it be introduced into a 1522 controversy over I John 5:7 unless people knew of its readings? When Cardinal Ximenes was preparing his Greek New Testament in the mid-1510's, he had access to Codex B. If he had such access then so certainly must have Erasmus. (8)
The AV 1611 translators also had the readings of Codex B before them and rejected them as did Erasmus. Neither was ignorant of them. Erasmus also had access to Codex D, Codex Bezae but also rejected it. The AV translators also had these variant readings and rejected them.
In 1675, John Fell put out a Greek text based on the Elzevir 1633 text with variant readings for Codex B. (9) If "no one had access to Codex B until the 20th century," as Sumner wrongly insists, how did Fell get his B readings?
* * *
Was Erasmus familiar with the critical problems and the variant readings in the manuscripts?
Yes, Erasmus was very well informed concerning the variant readings. Erasmus, in his writings and research, dealt with such problem passages as:
Through his study of Jerome and other Fathers, Erasmus was well-versed in the variant readings. (4) He edited and published works of Jerome, Cyprian, Pseudo-Arnobius, Hilarius, Irenaeus, Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Basil and Origen (5) showing he would have been familiar with their Scriptural quotations. In 1505, he edited Valla's Annotations on the New Testament, which was a pioneer work for Biblical criticism."
* * *
What about Erasmus' spiritual state? Was he a spiritual man?
Erasmus never recorded any profound religious convictions or experience in his own life. (1) Luther saw the weakness and spiritual poverty of Erasmus, but this remark may have been influenced by Luther's opposition to Erasmus' position on the free will of man, over which Luther bitterly attacked Erasmus. (2) But some of Erasmus' writings are highly spiritual. Tyndale thought much of his Enchiridon (Manual of a Christian Soldier) and translated it into English. Enchiridon was a short, handy, Scripture-based call to Christian morality in lay people that was moderately critical of practices of the Church. Tyndale also thought much of Erasmus' Treatise on Preparation for Death. (3)
Erasmus did write an interesting passage in the Preface to his Greek Testament which shows a reverence and love for Scripture that surpasses the average textual critic:
"These holy pages will summon up the living image of His mind. They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word; they will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes." (4)
This passage again reveals the anti-Romanism of Erasmus. No Romanist looks for Christ in the Scriptures. They look for Him in the sacraments or in the rituals of the Church. No Romanist has a high love for Scripture, but Erasmus clearly did.
* * *
Wasn't Erasmus a humanist?
Here is a major attack and a very deceptive one. Was he a humanist? Not by our standards but, in Renaissance meaning, was simply one who studied the classics, classical culture and education. Andrew Brown, of the Trinitarian Bible Society, gives the proper definition of a humanist in this context:
"Erasmus was a thoroughgoing 'Christian humanist' from his youth to his death. The use of the word 'humanist' in the Renaissance and Reformation period does not in any way share the atheistic connotations which that word now has in popular usage. A 'humanist' in that period was simply someone who was interested in classical literature, culture and education, as a means of attaining a higher standard of civilized life. Stephanus, Calvin and Beza were all humanists in this sense, and it is these 'humanist' ideals which have largely shaped Western culture in the succeeding centuries, blended with the teachings of the Christian Gospel." (1)
There is nothing wrong with this kind of humanism! Edward Hills also defines Renaissance humanism:
"The humanistic view was well represented by the writings of Laurentius Valla (1405-57), a famous scholar of the Italian renaissance. Valla emphasized the importance of language. According to him the decline of civilization in the dark ages was due to the decay of the Greek and Latin languages. Hence, it was only though the study of classical literature that the glories of ancient Greece and Rome could be recaptured. Valla also wrote a treatise on the Latin Vulgate, comparing it with certain Greek New Testament manuscripts which he had in his possession. Erasmus, who from his youth had been an admirer of Valla, found a manuscript of Valla's treatise in 1504 and had it printed the following year. In this work, Valla favored the Greek New Testament over the Vulgate. The Latin text often differed from the Greek, he reported. Also, there were omissions and additions in the Latin translation, and the Greek wording was generally better than that of the Latin." (2)
DeLamar Jensen, in his Reformation Europe, defines Christian humanism as "emphasizing historical study and a 'return to sources,' meaning the Bible. They placed more devotion to Scripture than did the Italian humanists." (3)
Renaissance humanism was decidedly anti-Romanist. Europe was still emerging from the Satanic millennium (500-1500) in which Rome ruled Europe with an iron hand. Culture and education had suffered under Rome and the humanists were dedicated to reviving them.
* * *
What translations used the Erasmus text?
Translations from Erasmus:
* * *
Why did Erasmus reject the Vulgate?
That Erasmus rejected the Vulgate is a historical fact. There are several reasons why he rejected it. He detected the 4th century corruption of the Alexandrian manuscripts on which the Vulgate was based, including the Vaticanus. He also opposed the obvious Roman bias in the translation of various passages. (1)
To oppose the Vulgate was a very un-Romanist thing to do in this day. "To question the fidelity of the Vulgate was a crime of the greatest magnitude in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church." (2) A good Catholic of the Reformation era would not have dared to question or tinker with the Vulgate, but Erasmus, the "bad Catholic" did and was condemned for it.
* * *
How many editions did Erasmus' Greek text go through?
I. First Edition -- 1516
II. Second Edition -- 1519
1. Codex Aureus loaned to him by the King of Hungary
2. Two manuscripts from the Austin Priory of Corsidonk
3. A Greek manuscript borrowed from the Monastery at Mt. Saint Agnes. (3)
D. Luther used his second edition for his New Testament, although not exclusively.
III. Third Edition -- 1522
A. Included I John 5:7, due to P61
B. Used by Tyndale
C. The basis for Stephanus' First Edition of 1546.
IV. Fourth Edition -- 1527
V. Fifth Edition -- 1535
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Didn't Erasmus only have a few late manuscripts to work with?
The usual complaint, voice by Doug Kutilek, an opponent of the AV, goes something like this: "Erasmus had the feeblest of manuscripts. He chiefly used one manuscript from the Gospels from the 12th century, and one manuscript of Acts and the Epistles also from the 12th century . . . It was hastily produced . . . There is no ground whatsoever for accepting the Textus Receptus as the ultimate in precisely representing the original text of the New Testament . . . It was in fact the most rudimentary and rustic, at best only a provisional text . . . The Greek texts of Griesbach, Tregelles, Tischendorf, Alford and Westcott and Hort were . . . a great improvement over the text of Erasmus because they more accurately presented the text of the New Testament in the form it came from the pens of the apostles." (1) This is very inaccurate and misleading.
What of the manuscripts he used? Erasmus was ever at work, ever collecting, comparing, publishing. He classified the Greek manuscripts and read the Fathers. By his travels he was brought into contact with all the intellectual currents of his time. (2) He looked for manuscripts everywhere during his travels and he borrowed them from everyone he could. His text was mainly based on the Basel manuscripts, but included readings from others to which he had access. He had collated many Greek manuscripts of the NT and was surrounded by all the commentaries and translations by the writings of Origen, Cyprian, Ambrose, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril, Jerome and Augustine. (3) Erasmus had access to Codex Vaticanus, but rejected its readings that were at variance with the Byzantine text. He also had access to D, Codex Bezae, but also rejected it. (4) The AV translators also had these variant readings and rejected them. (5) The readings of these much boasted manuscripts recently made available are largely those of the Vulgate. The Reformers knew of these readings and rejected them, as well as the Vulgate. (6) The pedigree of Erasmus' "late minuscule manuscripts" thus date back to antiquity. (7) The text Erasmus chose had an outstanding history in the Greek, Syrian and Waldensian churches. (8)
The texts used by Erasmus for his first edition:
Erasmus mainly used 2 and 2ap, occasionally used 1 and 4ap. (11) Erasmus may have had as many as 10 manuscripts at his disposal, 4 from England, 5 at Basle and one loaned to him by John Reuchlin. (12)
Thomas Strouse mentions that the earliest of his manuscripts went back to the 5th century, "advisedly." (13) Bishop Charles John Ellicott, Chairman of the Revision Committee, said about the Received Text:
"The manuscripts which Erasmus used differ, for the most part, only in small and insignificant details from the bulk of the cursive manuscripts. The general character of their text is the same. By this observation the pedigree of the Received Text is carried up beyond the individual manuscripts used by Erasmus . . . That pedigree stretches back to remote antiquity. The first ancestor of the Received Text was at least contemporary with the oldest of our extant manuscripts, if not older than any one of them." (14)
So the question is not, "How old were those manuscripts that Erasmus used?" but rather whether those "late manuscripts" accurately preserve the originals. We state the Erasmus manuscripts were part of that Traditional stream of manuscripts that have always been accepted by God's people. The age of the individual manuscripts is not important, but rather their accuracy in preserving the older manuscripts which contained the very Word of God.
* * *
Did Erasmus do any other translation work?
Yes. In 1505, he made his own Latin translation of the New Testament while at Oxford. (1) In 1524, he published paraphrases and comments on the gospels and epistles which were widely received. (2)
* * *
Why did Erasmus insert I John 5:7,8 into his text? Is there sufficient manuscript evidence to support it?
Yes, there is overwhelming evidence for it. We may say indeed that if anyone doubts whether I John 5:7,8 belongs in Scripture, thy are wholly ignorant of the textual support in favor of it. First John 5:7,8 is an integral part of Scripture.
The earliest references to it would be Tertullian (160-230), Cyprian (200-258), Priscillian (d. 385), Cassiodorus (480-570), Augustine (5th century), Athanasius (4th century) and Jerome (4th century). (1) It appears in the Vulgate. (2) It also appears in Manuscript 61 and Codex Ravianus. Stephanus found it in 9 of his 16 manuscripts. (3)
Its attack and deletion from some manuscripts no doubt arises from the heresies in the early church, especially Arians. Those who oppose the inclusion of I John 5:7 are supporting the Unitarians and Jehovah Witnesses while ignoring the overwhelming mass of manuscript evidence.
Erasmus' role in the debate over these verses had been distorted by enemies of the AV. The standard position that liberals assume reads something as follows, given by AV-critic James White:
"When the first edition of Erasmus' work came out in 1516 . . . (I John 5:7,8) was not in the text for a very simple reason: it was not found in any Greek manuscript of I John that Erasmus had examined. Instead, the phrase was found only in the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus rightly did not include it in the first or second editions. The note in the Annotations simply said, 'In the Greek codex I find only this about the threefold testimony: 'because there are three witnesses, spirit, water and blood.' ' His reliance upon the Greek manuscripts caused quite a stir . . . Since Erasmus had promised, in his response to Edward Lee, to include the passage should a Greek manuscript be found that contained it, he was constrained to insert the phrase in the third edition when presented with an Irish manuscript that contained the disputed phrase." (4)
This is furthered by Stewart Custer of Bob Jones University:
"Now Erasmus made a rash promise. He said, 'If you can show me a Greek manuscript that has the text in it, I will print it there' . . . They went back and summoned their scribes and got them to translate the Latin Vulgate into Greek and put that verse in. (It) came right back to him. The ink was hardly dry on the manuscript . . . those two manuscripts are 61 . . . the date is 16th century, the time of Erasmus. The other one is 629 . . . Those are the only two manuscripts out of those 5000 that have verse 7 in it . . . Told him frankly that if he didn't put that verse in, they'd excommunicate him. He, being a good Roman Catholic, put it in." (5)
Both White and Custer are in error! Now for the facts:
* * *
Why did Erasmus insert some Vulgate readings into his text?
This was done because those readings simply happened to be the correct reading. As corrupt as the Vulgate is, it is not entirely correct. Occasionally it is correct. Edward Hills lists the major Vulgate readings in the Erasmus text as:
1. Matthew 10:8
2. Matthew 27:35
3. John 3:25
4. Acts 8:37
5. Acts 9:5,6
6. Acts 20:28
7. Romans 16:25-27
8. I John 5:7 (1)
This fact is not as damaging as it may sound. These Vulgate readings do not make the TR a Catholic manuscript. After all, the modern Catholic translations (such as the Jerusalem Bible or the New American Bible) often agree with the Authorized Version. Does this make those Catholic translations Protestant? Does it make the AV a Catholic Bible? Of course not. Generally speaking, the various translations will agree among themselves more often than not. The issue is over the places where they disagree against the AV!
* * *
What was Erasmus' attitude toward the Anabaptists, Bohemian Brethren and other Reformation-age Baptistic groups?
Erasmus was a supporter of the Anabaptists, the forerunners of the modern Baptists, who were savagely persecuted by both Catholic and Protestants. (1)
Erasmus was also a supporter of the doctrines and practices of the Bohemian Brethren. They gave Erasmus a copy of their Apologia, or defense of their articles of faith in 1507, and requested that he read it through and give his comments. Erasmus said he saw no error in their doctrines. Erasmus did not come out in public with his support of the Brethren because he feared the consequences. (2)
Editor's Note: Robert Sargent's response to this question is at variance with a number of Erasmus' letters regarding the Anabaptists published in J.A. Froude's Life and Letters of Erasmus (1894). Footnote #1 states: "Gipp, p. 152 and Maynard, p. 86, where he quotes a letter from Erasmus where he professed to have the "highest respect" for the Anabaptists." However, Michael Maynard's volume, A History of the Debate Over I John 5:7-8, appears to mistranslate Erasmus letter dated April 1, 1529 which states:
"This sect (he says) is peculiarly obnoxious because they teach community of goods and will not obey magistrates. They have no churches. They do not aim at power, and do not resist when arrested. They are said to be moral in their conduct, if anything can be moral with so corrupt a faith." (Froude, p.366)
Elsewhere in J.A. Froude's volume, which predates Roland Bainton's Erasmus of Christendom cited by Gipp, are found references to the Anabaptists from the letters of Erasmus:
"Anabaptists must not be tolerated. The Apostles bade their people obey the magistrates, though the magistrates were heathens. Anabaptists will not obey even Christian princes. Community of goods is a chimera. Charity is a duty, but property must be upheld." (Froude, pp. 344-45)
"Lower Germany swarms with Anabaptists; Munster, as you know, is taken; but there has been a dangerous riot in Amsterdam... Munster is taken and the insurgents punished. The Anabaptists are crowding in hither from Holland. I am glad that the Emperor is doing well, wherever he may be; but I wish he had stayed in Germany and saved us from these creatures. These Anabaptists are no joke. They go to work with sword in hand, seize towns, drive their creed down people's throats, set up new kings and queens, and make their own laws. Last winter there were troubles in Paris. Bills were posted threatening the King for persecuting what they called the Word of God. Four-and-twenty of the authors of these writings were executed. Many of the nobles fled. The king has recalled them, and promised them liberty of conscience if they will leave politics alone. Some say he was advised to be moderate by the King of England and by the Pope." (Froude, pp. 428-30)
Please see: Anabaptist chapter from The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages
Also, Watch Unto Prayer report The Semitic New Testament: Part II which deals with the misrepresentation by Fundamentalist scholars of gnostic sects such as the Waldenses, Anabaptists, Cathars, Albigenses and the Bogomils.
* * *
Our faith in the superiority of the Textus Receptus and the Authorized Version remains intact and unshaken. We remain confident that our position for these traditional manuscripts is correct and is the true historical position that ought to be taken. The enemies of the AV have been unable to validate their charges and complaints against the AV and the TR.
Let is be understood that we are fully aware of the problems of Erasmus. He was not perfect. Were he alive today, he probably would not be classified as a "Bible-believing Fundamentalist." But we are more interested in his work, his texts and his contribution to Biblical preservation through his Greek text.
22. David Cloud, For Love of the Bible: The Battle for the King James Version and the Received Text From 1800 to Present. Oak Harbor, WA: Way of Life Publications, 1995, p. 33.
1. McClintock and Strong, Vol. 3, p. 277.
5. Hills, p. 196 and Encyclopedia Britannica, 1949, "Erasmus, Desiderius" in Vol. 8, p. 678.
1. Cited by Sargent, Landmarks of English Bible: Manuscript Evidence, p. 156
Question #16 [See Editor's Note to Question #16]
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