2 Stars Out Of 5
Basic, Misleading and Assumptive Wording
December 7, 2017
Overall I would not recommend this book to anyone who has limited, or no experience at all with this subject. Find an objective treatment of the study, one without any prejuduce or an agenda. God has preserved His Word through the years for us to enjoy. He is not concerned with selling any particular English Version over the other, that is the goal of publishing companies. Use the version your pastor teaches from and read, study and know the Word of God. If the Lord leads you to use a particular version over another, then do that. But most importantly, READ! My limited review follows:
First of all, Ive read many of the reviews of this book and realize it is well received. Second, I would like to make clear the fact that I am no scholar or textual critic, I am just a student of the Bible. I have researched this area of biblical study, so I may have above average knowledge.
As I read through the pages of this book, I quickly sensed what seemed an agenda by Lightfoot rather than an objective treatment of the study. There is no reason here to make a lengthly critique of Lightfoots work, but only to state some concerns.
Lightfoot makes clear his overwhelming confidence in the Vatican and Sinaitic Codex. Like many of the so called scholars and textual critics who write on the subject, they hold these two codex in the highest regards, and nearly all of them describe these codex as the oldest, complete Bibles we have. Lightfoot writes,
Very often, as here, if the Vatican and Sinaitic Manuscripts support a particular reading, this is sufficient authority for the reading. This well illustrates the unchallenged supremacy that these two uncials sustain as witnesses on the New Testament text (page 92).
So to Lightfoot and others, these two manuscripts are renderings of the original text of the Bible, as handed down by the authors. There are some very serious problems with this theory. (1) The Vatican and Sinaitic Codex do not contain the same text; they differ from one another significantly. (2) The published Sinaitic Codex is not the same text Tischendorf discovered at St. Catherines Monastery in Sinai. Tischendorf made numerous changes to the text prior to its publication. (3) Neither of these codex are complete Bibles as endlessly touted in books, speeches and commentaries. The truth is, these scholars are only parroting a popular belief they support. It would be good for the reader to research these codex for themselves to find out what they are and contain. (4) There are many scholars, textual critics, bible teachers and commentators who do not hold the views of Lightfoot in considering theses codex to have an unchallenged supremacy.
The last point I would like make is, though Lightfoot may not have intended to do so in propagating his trust in certain manuscripts, he has nevertheless undermined confidence in English translations of the Bible. There are many good translations for English-speaking people to read. What Lightfoot has done (though it be unwittingly or not) is to remove a persons trust of the text before them. He spent significant time undermining the methods of early copyists and how the text of the Bible was translated. But according to Lightfoot, thank God for the textual critic, for without them we would be lost. He writes:
Because textual criticism is a sound science, our text is secure and the textual foundation of our faith remains unshakable (pg. 94).
If not very well studied in the Scriptures, I would be very insecure about the text of the Bible, and my faith would be shaken after having read Lightfoots treatment of the subject. Again, Lightfoot clearly has an agenda and this more than anything else drove his opinion. I did not care at all for his subtle wording, which I found intent on lingering in my mind until a similar point was made later. Lightfoot seemed to try and setup his readers with insignificant points, only to later attemt to tie them into a larger one.