In doing the research that led up to my book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, I came to see that the variations of our manuscripts were important not only because they could tell us what the original writers said in the books that later became the New Testament, but also because they could tell us about what was influencing the anonymous and otherwise unknown scribes who produced the copies of these books in later times.
As I pointed out in a previous post, scholars have long thought – with good reason – that most of the intentional changes of the text (that is, the alterations that scribes made on purpose – at least apparently on purpose – as opposed to simple scribal mistakes) were made sometime in the first two hundred years of copying. If these changes were indeed made intentionally, then the scribes who made them must have had a reason for wanting to make them. They were consciously changing their texts in places.
They weren’t doing that in millions of places, but in a few, here and there. Sometimes they made changes for fairly obvious reasons, among which are the following (these have long, long been noted by textual scholars):
- If the text scribes were copying appeared to contain a contradiction with another text in the Bible, they would often “correct” it.
- If the text had…
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