«Τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες, ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται.»
"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture may be of one's own interpretation." -2 Peter 1.20
01. Introduction and the original Hebrew Scriptures
For just shy of five hundred years, since its invention at the hands of Martin Luther, Sola Scruptura has laid the foundation and shaped every Western sect of Christianity apart from the See of Rome. The entire basis of this relatively new dogma relies on the firm belief that these scriptures are the sole infallible source of doctrine, but how have the texts reached us today and do they truly preserve the words of the prophets to whom authorship is ascribed?
I am pleased to present the results of a great deal of research and textual criticism I have performed over the course of two years in conjunction with that of modern scholars and ancient scholars alike; an in-depth look at the history of the bible, or rather, bibles. The countless versions of bibles have long purported to be accurate, and sometimes even divinely inspired, representations of the original Hebrew scriptures as they have traditionally been understood as authored by Moses, David, and all the rest of the Prophets as well as the gospels and epistles of the New Testament. But the original texts are long lost to us, so it is only through an historical analysis that we can even determine if we truly have anything of semblance to the original scriptures.
It is beyond the scope of this writing to question the authorship of the original texts of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures primarily because traditional attributions have stood now for nearly two thousand years and the absence of the original texts leaves no evidence to challenge these views. Instead, I shall discuss the individuals and groups involved in the bible's transmission, various factors that impacted the approaches and methods used, and the implications of all these, stretching so far as to gravely undermine the authority of the ever-so-popular King James Version...
The genesis of the bible was with the writing of the Pentateuch, believed to have been written in the 15th century BC. This, of course, was followed by the writings of King David and his heir around the 11th century, and the prophets of the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities around the 6th and 7th centuries. While their release from captivity was long awaited, the Hebrews freedom and self-rule was short-lived. They were soon to be swept up in the reshaping of the Known World and torn from their nomadic way of life to be immersed in a brand-new era!
02. The Hellenistic Period
By 329 BC, Alexander the Great had conquered the Balkans, Aegypt, and the entirety of the Middle East, including Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), the Levant/Palestine, and Persia as far east as the Indus valley. The word 'barbarian' derives from the Greek word βάρβαρος, specifically indicating those who do not speak Greek. To civilize his subjects, Alexander enacted a strict policy of Hellenization, requiring Greek to be spoken in all places of commerce and government and building temples establishing the worship of Greek gods as the official religion across his empire. His enforced Hellenization was so effective that within a couple centuries few even knew their cultural mother tongue, and Greek continued to be the lingua franca throughout the Roman Empire until the 5th century AD. It was said one could travel from Massalia (modern-day Marseilles in southern France) to the Indus Valley speaking Greek the entire way and all would be able to understand.
There was also resistance, sometimes violent, to this Hellenization. The most notable example was that of the Maccabean Revolt from 167 to 160 BC, where the Hebraic family of the Maccabees refused to sacrifice to Greek gods and led bloody raids on Hellenized Jewish cities. In fact, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah celebrates one of the victories of this revolt and four separate historians or witnesses to the campaigns documented the wars in the biblical books of I, II, III, and IV Maccabees, which have since been omitted from the Hebrew texts currently held sacred in the Jewish community, and so also from protestant bibles.
Now, following Alexander's death, war broke out between his generals and the empire became divided among the three victors, with Ptolemy inheriting Aegypt. Ptolemy decided he was going to make Alexandria into the greatest city in the world and the centre for academia. He built the Lighthouse of Alexandria which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and began construction on the famed Library of Alexandria, but died before its completion.
Fortunately, his son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, shared in his vision and worked to have the Library of Alexandria become the greatest library in the world. In order for it to claim such prestige, it needed to hold all the most important texts from each nation, each translated into Greek. As per the advice of Demetrius Phalereus, this included the Hebrew Scriptures.
Prior to 285 BC, Ptolemy II purchased the freedom of over 100,000 Jewish captives and requested the Jewish high-priest provide six rabbi from each of the tribes of Israel, for a total of seventy-two translators to render the original Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. This translation is now known as the Septuagint, Latin for 'the seventy'. As Greek became the most commonly used language even in Jewish households and Hebrew fell into disuse except in the synagogues, copies of the Septuagint, abbreviated as LXX, began to circulate throughout the majority of Jewish communities.
The entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures were not translated at once; the Pentateuch was translated first, with the chronicles and the prophets following next. The last books to be included into the LXX were the last three books of the Maccabees and Wisdom of Sirach (another book which is now omitted from the standardized modern Hebrew scriptures and protestant bibles) around 130 BC, a point where Hebrew had fallen into such disuse that these scriptures were even originally written in Greek.
03. Christ and the New Testament
The life, teaching, and death of Christ has resulted in the most profound impact on the way scriptures would come to be viewed and copied by Jewish scribes. At the time of Christ's teaching, the LXX was, by far, the most readily available text of the Scriptures which suggests, along with textual criticism which I will discuss later in this writing, that Christ taught in Greek, contrary to current popular belief.
Following His death and Resurrection, a flurry of events took place; St Mark wrote his gospel, largely relying on St Peter's teaching along with his own personal experience, in Greek, between 65-69 AD based on the context of his writing, commonly viewed as the first to do so. At the request of Jewish converts in Jerusalem, St Matthew wrote his gospel very shortly after Mark's was written, and it should be noted for the sake of textual criticism that he did not have a strong grasp on the Greek language as the other New Testament authors had, which also reflected in his quotations of the Old Testament.
St John the Theologian's gospel was written sometime between 75-80, with his epistles being written about the same time. St John wrote his Apocalypse (Revelation) near the end of his life while in exile on the island of Patmos in 85, recording a dream in which he witnessed the cosmic Liturgy which is celebrated each Sunday in both the early Church and in today's Eastern Orthodox Church, which itself has been subjected to limited alteration since its previous celebration in the Jewish Old Temple.
The Greek physician St Luke provided the latest offering to the gospels combined with the Acts of the Apostles documenting his own travels and evangelism with St Paul. The date for these is believed to be around 80-100 while St Paul's epistles are the earliest writings in the NT, composed between 48-67, the bulk of them from the fifties.
04. The new Old Testament
Also during this period was a markedly high degree of civil strife between the Israelites and the Roman Empire. Hostilities began in 66 but were put on hold while the Roman Capital faced its own civil unrest under Nero, but the military campaign resumed in 69. The Roman general Titus encircled Jerusalem and had it besieged for seven months, but finally broke the Jewish defenses in the summer of 70. He then burned the Temple of Jerusalem to the ground and Christ had prophecied in Matthew 24.2 and Mark 13.2, destroying the Original Hebrew Scriptures, which were traditionally stored within the Temple sanctuary (Deuteronomy 31.26, II Maccabees 2.13-14), with it (thus showing any claims that any modern bibles are based on these to be false).
And so the most recent Jewish Diaspora began with a mass exodus of now homeless Jewish families who were to spread across Europe. Throughout the growing Christian Church, the use of the Septuagint saw widespread use and was highly valued for the prophesies it contained that served as proof that Christ was the long-awaited Messiah. Anti-Christian sentiments fueled Jewish attempts to then undermine the authority of prophecies which specifically pertained to Christ and his works. But without the Original Hebrew Texts, all that was available was the Septuagint and scattered fragments of Hebrew and Aramaic texts, the most well preserved today being the Dead Sea Scrolls which were produced by the Ebionites who resided at Qumran.
The earliest effort was that of Aquila in 126, a Hebrew who set to work translating these fragmented Hebrew texts into Greek and supplying the missing texts with his translation of the Septuagint back into Hebrew only for him to retranslate back into Greek. His method involved translating the Hebrew words back into Greek with as much variance with the Septuagint as he could muster. A complication of Hebrew at the time is that its entire language consists of consonants, hence words spelled like 'YHWH' where the vowels are implied. However, there are plenty of examples of Hebrew words that share the same consonants and the only way to determine which word is used is through context. In this way, and through the forcing of alternate translations of words, along with a slavish dedication to a literal rendering of each word, Aquila authored a Greek text with almost none of the prophecies pertaining to Christ preserved, which brought it much popularity within the Jewish communities, even though his translation method sacrificed Greek grammar so thoroughly that much of the text was nonsensical.
In the same century similar efforts were undertaken separately by Symachus and Theodotion who were both Ebionites, a semi-Christian sect often considered identical with the Nazarenes. Their teaching is that Christ is the Messiah but not the Son of God, while stressing the need to follow Jewish law. A group of them resided at Qumran and either wrote or collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. Both Symachus' and Theodotion's versions were less servile to the Hebrew texts they translated and so their versions largely resembled the original Septuagint.
Even with the textual alterations available, the Jewish community saw the need for more marked variance from the original prophecies and adopted the tradition of Midrash, a practice still held sacred in modern synagogues. This practice allows copyists to alter their text to clarify or change verses to reflect their understanding of the meaning. Midrashic changes were then applied to copies of Hebrew texts and translations of the Septuagint for centuries. Among the variety of texts to arise from the Midrash of this period are the two parts of the Talmud, the first dating to the 3rd century and the second dating to the 6th.
Even early scholars became wary and set to textual and historical criticism of the wide variety of scriptures. One of the earliest was Origen, born in Alexandria around 185, who was known for his Hexapla and Tetrapla. In the Hexapla, Origen created a manuscript using six columns to compare various versions of the scriptures side-by-side. The first column contained one of the Hebrew texts newly available, the second was this Hebrew text written in Greek characters, third was Aquila's text, fourth was that of Symmachus, fifth was the text of the Septuagint, and sixth was Theodotion. His Tetrapla contained only the last four columns.
05. Gnosticism, Arianism, and Christianity
The Hebrew texts are not the only ones to have seen alternate versions arise out of contention between various sects. Within the matter of only a couple centuries, four variations of the New Testament (NT) arose; the Byzantine, Western, Alexandrian, and Caesarean Text-types. Much modern scholarship on this matter with opposition to common protestant preconceptions has been brought to light by Maurice Robinson and William Pierpont. Surviving manuscripts show the propagation of both human error and of bias on the part of copyists ranging from the disappearance of a wide range of verses inconsistently omitted in the Alexandrian text to the heavily modified gospels and even the addition of entirely new gospels of the Western manuscripts.
Consensus of the early Church Fathers, as well as the research of Robinson and Pierpont among a host of Orthodox, Roman, and pro-KJV scholars, indicate the Byzantine Textform to accurately reflect the autographs, or original gospels and epistles. Over 80% of surviving manuscripts reflect the Greek as preserved in the Byzantine tradition, however surviving Greek manuscripts of this tradition are largely dated after the writing of those earliest surviving Greek manuscripts reflecting the Alexandrian Textform, whose authorship I shall discuss below.
The Western Textform arose in the 2nd century and is associated with the Gnostic sects in Rome. Their teaching is that the created world is lesser and evil and was so made by an evil god unique from a good god, with whom each individual can only join through secret knowledge. It was a largely pagan movement which began to pick up particular Christian teachings even during Paul's evangelism. It was largely esoteric with numerous authors who, apart their own writings, scribed their own gospels, which was permitted only those who had attained the highest level of «γνῶσις» (gnosis), or knowledge. Most of the apocrypha of the NT were authored by Gnostics, including the gospels of Judas, Basilides, Thomas, Marcion, and Mary. As well, the Western NT reflects a tradition of free additions and even alterations to the autographs, one example being the extension of Mark following its Byzantine ending at 16.20 and Alexandrian ending at 16.8.
The Alexandrian Textform is shown on manuscripts dated as early as the 4th century and is included with certain Septuagint texts such as Codexes Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus which have been preserved in Aegypt. Its authorship was undertaken with reductionist methodology by a largely Arian scholarship as it attempted to edit out the additions and alterations of the Western texts. Unfortunately, this process resulted in a text in which many original readings were omitted alongside Western additions while still leaving a good number of Western alterations. Despite this, the Alexandrian Text is currently used for the bulk of modern protestant bibles.
Anti-Trinitarian Arianism spread and thrived in both the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Constantinople by the time Christianity was first legalized within the Roman Empire in 313. Arius' teaching was that the Word of God was begotten, and therefore had a beginning, and therefore was not God, much like modern Jehovah's Witness theology. It found widespread support from the end of the 3rd century and even in the royal family, where Emperor Constantine's son was an Arian. The controversy over the godhood of Christ created such a rift within the Church that Constantine called the First Ecumenical Council in 325, which declared Arian doctrine heretical. This did not end the controversy, which lasted in the East until the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. For almost a century, the copying of scriptures was influenced by Arian doctrine, leading to such omissions as that of the Johannine Comma, which is widely accepted by Western scholars as a 5th century addition despite quotations of it dating back to the 2nd century, as well as textual support from both Vulgate and Byzantine manuscripts.
The Caesarean Textform is found in manuscripts unique to Caesarea, a Roman city in Palestine northwest of Jerusalem. Many of its manuscripts appear to be copies made of Alexandrian recentions with Byzantine reinsertions by more Orthodox scribes and this textform is only notable for its use by Origen when he settled there in 232. Today, it is dismissed by virtually all scholars, Eastern and Western.
Quite early in the Church's history, various gospels and epistles had been generated out of the Gnostic Western Textform while many of the texts authored by the Apostles contained therein where heavily modified, mutilated, or altogether omitted. Near 145, Marcion, often described as Gnostic for his dualism and docetism (though he rejects salvation through knowledge), set forth his own canon, consisting of his Gospel of the Lord (a heavily modified version of Luke) along with ten Pauline epistles. From this point, the whole of the Church published its own canon according to the budding Byzantine manuscript tradition, declaring as heretical the many gospels and epistles authored by post-apostolic Gnostics.
06. The Bible Today
While Eastern Churches used the Septuagint along with the Byzantine NT, Latin finally came into regular use in the West in the mid-4th century. The Old Latin translation of the Septuagint had been available for almost two centuries, but St Jerome was comissioned by Patriarch Damasus I to revise the Old Latin gospels. After being forced from Rome to settle in Bethlehem, Jerome gained access to Origen's Hexapla and began to translate the entirety of the OT into Latin. He translated the bulk of his OT from contemporary Palestinian Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts and translated the Psalms from the LXX. In 404, he completed his Latin translation of the original Roman Catholic Vulgate. This text was the first example of a Christian Scripture to omit entire books, namely the books of III and IV Maccabees, but later also Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. Over the course of the next millenium, Vulgate manuscripts regularly saw reinsertion of Old Latin readings which more closely resembled both the Septuagint as well as the NT. This continued until the Clementine Vulgate was published in 1592.
In the 7th century, a group of Jewish masons known as the Masoretes traveled throughout Europe working construction. They noted, as they passed through the interspersed Jewish communities, that each group used a unique version of the Hebrew scriptures, with wide variances seen. Over 400 years of Midrashic tradition had set each text apart and even left each community with different teachings. So the Masoretes began the two century long task of collecting copies of the manuscripts and creating a median version between them, the resulting text now known as the Masoretic Text (MT).
Aside from its marked variance in the content of the books of the MT from the LXX, a considerable number of books and portions of books have been omitted entirely. These include the books of Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon), Ecclesiasticus (or Wisdom of Sirach), Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, the Prayer of Manasseh (mentioned in II Chronicles 33.18), and all four Maccabees. Also omitted are large portions of Esther and Daniel, including the Song of the Three Children, the story of Susanna, and the story of Bel and the Dragon.
From this period forward there was little innovation in scriptural texts until the invention of the printing press and the Protestant Reformation. In 1455, Johan Gutenberg published the Gutenberg bible, an edition of the Latin Vulgate based on the Mazarin manuscript. Vulgate manuscripts varied widely through their various reintroductions of Old Latin LXX readings until Pope Sixtus V was commissioned to standardize the text, which was not completed until after his death. With enormous variation in at least 2000 instances from the text developed under Sixtus, Pope Clement VIII published his new Clementine Vulgate edition in 1592.
07. Sola Scriptura
But when Martin Luther delivered his Ninety-Five Theses, he started a massive series of events which would completely change the face of Chistendom and the West's understanding of Christianity. The most permeating belief and tradition introduced in the period is that of Sola Scriptura, the conception that the Bible is the only infallible source of Christian doctrine, refuting the Church Fathers, the Oecumenical Councils, and Holy Tradition as a whole. This has led to the false notion that Christianity is based upon the Bible, where the history I have laid out so far proves that the opposite is the case.
With his NT translation published in 1522, Martin Luther completed the German Luther Bible in 1534. It was translated from the Vulgate but shows a number of variances from the Latin text in that Luther added words so the reading would reflect his anti-papal theology. For example, in Romans 3.28, after "faith" he added "alone" where the reading was "arbitramur enim iustificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis" where the Latin accurately reflects the original Greek, «λογιζόμεθα οὖν πίστει δικαιοῦσθαι ἄνθρωπον χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου.» While Luther's bible certainly influenced many in the Reformation, his alterations are not commonly seen in other versions.
There was a strong and sometimes violent counter-movement to the Reformation, which included the publishing of the Douay-Rheims bible in 1610, a remarkably literal English translation of Vulgate manuscripts later edited according to the Clementine Vulgate. In an attempt to preserve exactly the sense portrayed in original scriptures, many words without English equivalents remained in Latin, such as "adulterate", "character", "cooperate", and "victim", which have all come to be assimilated into regular English. Despite the strictly pro-Roman marginal notes, this edition came to be massively influential on later English translations.
Of course, the most historic literary work of this period is the King James Bible, which many today, both protestants and Roman Catholics, hail as the greatest English bible to-date. Published in 1611, this translation was undertaken as a reaction to criticism levied by Puritans at the two previous English translations along with a newfound notion that the Hebrew Masoretic Texts more accurately reflected the Original Hebrew than the Latin Vulgate or even the eleven-century-older Septuagint, a notion which has since spread beyond Puritanism to the whole of Protestantism. Interestingly, this work owes about a quarter of its changes from the 1572 Bishops' bible to the Douay-Rheims, even retaining largely Latin readings.
The KJV OT was translated from the Hebrew MT and the NT from an eclectic compilation of the Greek Byzantine Textform, Erasmus' Textus Receptus; throughout this work, the translation reflects the theology of the Puritans in the English words deemed as acceptable translations from the Greek and Hebrew, which I shall provide examples of in my textual criticism below. Since its publication, the KJV has seen the most widespread use throughout the English-speaking world and has even been used as the basis for numerous bible versions, both as a guide for modern translation, and as the source text of certain bibles.
The publication of the KJV, which spread rapidly thanks to the printing press, set a precedent followed by protestant biblical translators which was followed without any change until 1881 with the publication of the Revised Standard Version. The RSV followed a new line of protestant scholarship which questioned the authority of the Byzantine NT (BNT) on the grounds of the age of its oldest surviving manuscripts, which date back to the 5th century. From this point forward, protestant New Testaments would be translated from a critically reconstructed Alexandrian Textform (ANT), which has allowed a number of Gnostic and Arian alterations to reemerge within Protestantism.
The use of the ANT is not without its critics. Maurice Robinson and William Pierpont have spearheaded the support for the reliance on the Byzantine NT and have provided evidence showing its authenticity, ranging from quotes by the 1st and 2nd century Church Fathers, early translations of the NT into languages outside of Greek, along with the fact that none of the autographs were sent to Alexandria or the rest of Aegypt and few to Palestine. Most of Paul's letters were sent to the churches in Europe, where the climate is not favourable to the preservation of manuscripts, unlike the Aegyptian hot and arid climate.
08. Sifting for Truth
While the LXX vs MT and BNT vs ANT debate has led to a wide variety of different translations, mistranslation and misinterpretation has led to an even wider number of versions, many unique to specific protestant sects. An example is that of the New World Translation, the bible published by the Watchtower Society which produces the literature for the Jehovah's Witnesses. While Watchtower claims their bible was translated from the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT, they do not indicate which texts they specifically used nor are the translators familiar with Greek or Hebrew. When examining the text, it appears to be an amalgam of a couple older English translations with a vast number of alterations which reflect Jehovah's Witnesses theology but not any existing Greek or Hebrew manuscript except those later published by Watchtower.
While the Alexandrian NT has come to be the standard and preferred text for protestant NTs and used for all translations since 1881, it has only begun to see widespread use with the New American Standard bible published in 1978 due to the predominance of the KJV. The Latin Vulgate remains the Roman Catholic Church's official bible and its most popular authorized English translation is the Douay-Rheims bible, editions of which have been published since 1582.
Despite pressure by protestant evangelists to adopt more modern texts, the Eastern Orthodox Church continues to use the Septuagint with the Byzantine Textform, with Old Slavonic translations still in use across the Balkans, eastern Europe, and Russia translated from the Greek texts by Saints Cyril and Methodios in 885. Translations into modern languages have been commenced by the local Patriarchates for each region, with the Moscow Patriarchate publishing the Russian Synodal Version in 1876. There is, as yet, still no complete English translation of the LXX/BNT, but this version is currently underway by the publishers who recently released the first Orthodox fresh English translation of the BNT of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Orthodox Study Bible is merely an edited version of the NKJV with added pro-Orthodox footnotes.
There are, however, English translations of the Septuagint minus the NT. The first English LXX was translated by Charles Thomson, a contemporary and friend of Benjamin Franklin and secretary of the Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War, in 1808. Sir Lancelot Brenton published his translation in 1851 in a dual column format, with the original Greek of Codex Vaticanus in one column and his English translation in the other. As interest in the LXX is being rekindled in the West and as Eastern Orthodoxy is gaining a greater prevalence in English-speaking countries, more translators are setting to the task of making the Septuagint readily available to the English-speaking world.
The reinvestment of interest in the LXX, even among protestant scholars, lies in the reliance upon it by the authors of the New Testament. Throughout the hundreds of OT quotes in the NT, the use of the Septuagint is strongly attested in the vast variations and even contradictions between the New Testament and the Masoretic Texts. Fortunately, evidence of this is readily available, as most English bibles will indicate where and what is quoted, and comparison between the text Christ and St Paul had available and the Masoretic Text reveals an OT edited to contradict Christian theology.
We also see much of this alteration to have found its way into the Roman Catholic Clementine Vulgate, published 1592. The Douay-Rheims bible, popular today among English-speaking Catholics, initially translated and published it's NT in 1582 from available Latin manuscripts but was revised according to the Clementine Vulgate before its completion in 1610. While modern editions are largely based upon the revisions of Richard Challoner to bring the language much closer to the KJV, which, being a protestant convert to the Roman Church, he was far more accustomed to, it largely shares the same variance from the LXX as the original.
09. Textual Criticism: Septuagint versus Masoretic Text
When applying textual criticism to the original texts and translations, we find the majority of OT quotes in the NT are identical to the text of the LXX. Luke, almost unfalteringly, was dependent on the Septuagint, and understandably so as he was a Greek Gentile by birth and used perfect Koine Greek in his writings. Nearly all quotes in John, as well, follow the LXX exactly. In Mark we see the occasional deviance, but Matthew seems to use a different text which sometimes varies from the LXX, but when he records the words of Christ there is no deviance from the LXX. There are some who have suggested that Matthew used an OT that was in Aramaic that may have been Ebionite in nature, but his quotations of Christ shows that Jesus did not use this text. Paul's adherence to the LXX is similar to Luke's as would be expected from their travels together.
In Matthew 21.16, according to the KJV, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" we see Christ quoting Psalm 8.2 which reads in the KJV as "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength." The BNT reads, «ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον;» with the LXX reading, «ἐκ στόματος νηπίων καὶ θηλαζόντων κατηρτίσω αἶνον.» There is no variance between the LXX and the words of Christ. We also see the Vulgate's preservation of the Psalms through the original 1610 Douay-Rheims in, "Out of the mouth of infantes and sucklinges, thou hast perfected praise..." However, the Latin treatment of the Psalms appears to be the exception, while the majority of its OT follows the or proto-MT Hebrew texts of St Jerome's time.
Luke 3.5 quotes Isaiah 40.5 and mentions specifically the "salvation of God." The KJV reads, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." We see the KJV OT read, "and all flesh shall see it together:" BNT: «καὶ ὄψεται πᾶσα σὰρξ τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ Θεοῦ.» Compared to LXX: «καὶ ὄψεται πᾶσα σάρξ τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ Θεοῦ,» again showing no variance between the Septuagint and the Gospel beyond the accentuation of the word for 'flesh', yet the MT has been altered to deny the teaching that salvation is for all people. 1610 Douay-Rheims: "and al flesh together shal see..."
In Matthew 12, the prophecy of Isaiah is quoted in regards to the miracles performed by Christ and in his ministry to the Gentiles. The KJV Matthew 12.21 reads, "And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." But when we turn to the KJV Isaiah 42, we see verses 1-4 bearing only a semblance with multiple variances from the text Matthew quotes, and the verse in KJV Matthew 12.21 reading, "And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." is omitted entirely, replaced by "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law." Here we see the MT omission of prophecy regarding the Gentiles, as Matthew originally wrote in Greek, «καὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ ἔθνη ἐλπιοῦσι.» and we can see where the OT he used shows some deviation from the LXX, but not as profoundly as the MT, where it reads, «ἀναλάμψει καὶ οὐ θραυσθήσεται, ἕως ἄνθῇ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς κρίσιν· καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ ἔθνη ἐλπιοῦσιν.» Brenton translates this as "He shall shine out, and shall not be discouraged, until he have set judgement on the earth: and in his name shall the Gentiles trust." While the LXX bears text not found in Matthew's OT quote, there are no omissions and the last part of the LXX verse matches almost identically with Matthew. 1610 Douay-Rheims translates Isaiah as, "He shal not be sad, nor turbulent, til he set iudgement in the earth: and the ilands shal expect his law."
Uniformity is far more prevalent across the Epistles with the LXX. For example, in Romans 11.26 reads in the KJV, "There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" We see the anti-Christian theology in the KJV translation of Isaiah 59.20 in the MT with, "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob," The LXX accurately reflects the sense Paul expressed, where he wrote, «ἥξει ἐκ Σιὼν ὁ ρυόμενος καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβ·» compared to, «ἥξει ἕνεκεν Σιὼν ὁ ρυόμενος καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ ᾿Ιακώβ.» According to Brenton, "the deliverer shall come for Sion’s sake, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." 1610 Douay-Rheims follows the MT here: "and there shal come a redemer to Sion, and to them, that returne from inquitie in Iacob..."
In Hebrews 1.6, Paul writes, as translated in the KJV, "And let all the angels of God worship him." While impossible to determine based on the MT/KJV, this is actually a quote from Deuteronomy 32.43, which in Brenton's LXX reads, "and let all the angels of God worship him;" while this is entirely omitted from the Masoretic Text.
Isaiah 53.9 is quoted in I Peter 2.22, again with the MT altered to undermine the prophecies surrounding Christ. The KJV NT reads, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:" in contrast the the OT, "he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." Peter's original words were, «ὃς ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ·» with no notable difference from the LXX, «ὅτι ἀνομίαν οὐκ ἐποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη δόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ.» «ἁμαρτίαν» translates to "sin" while «ἀνομίαν» is "lawlessness," both markedly different from "violence." 1610 Douay-Rheims actually more closely resembles the LXX here with, "because he hath not done iniquitie, neither was there guile in his mouth."
An especially notable example is that of Luke 4.18-19, where Christ reads directly from the Scripture in the synagogue from Isaiah 61.1. The KJV NT reads, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." When compared to the KJV OT, we see, " The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD," with the original Douay-Rheims reading, "The spirit of the Lord vpon me, because the Lord hath annoynted me: to preach to the milde he sent me, that I should heale the contrite of hart, and preach indulgence to the captiues, and deliuerance to them that are shut vp. That I should preach the placable yeare to the Lord..."
The Greek BNT reads, «Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέ με, εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέ με, ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν, κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει, κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν.» And LXX Isaiah reads «Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέ με· εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέ με, ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμένους τὴν καρδίαν, κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτὸν» Here we see an uncommon deviation from the LXX in the manuscript at the synagogue where it contains, literally, "to send those downtrodden in freedom." Many scholars find this indicative of an omission to have occurred at some point in the transmission of the LXX as the rest of the text reads identically save the use of «κηρῦξαι», "to proclaim," versus «καλέσαι», "to name."
10. Theology of the Alexandrian New Testament
So while evidence of the quite thorough inaccuracy and anti-Christian nature of the Masoretic Text Old Testament is readily available in each protestant bible, the question of the accuracy of New Testament translations remains. Publications of the Novum Testamentum Graecum reflect the eclectic Alexandrian based Greek text from which nearly all, excluding the NKJV, protestant bibles have been translated since 1881. Alternately, publications of the New Testament of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as well as the Byzantine Textform reflect the Byzantine text used in the East which has been translated in the Latin Vulgate. Multiple Byzantine manuscripts were used to create the eclectic text from which the King James Version was translated.
As the ANT was largely reductionist, it's most notable variance from the BNT is the omission of a number of verses, including Mark 16.9-20, Luke 22.43-44, John 7.53-8.11, and an explicit reference to the Trinity in I John 5.7-8. More moderate, yet vastly more numerous, differences are in the specific wording of verses, in which ANT manuscripts differ from each other almost as much as from BNT manuscripts, while the BNT manuscripts vary minimally with each other. While noting the differences in these texts, we should understand that the authors themselves had various versions of texts before them, and these scribes intentionally chose to omit the readings as they did in the below passages.
While I've laid out the history for the Alexandrian texts, it is also important to understand the mindset, even the overarching theology of the scribes. While the ANT was itself written by the thriving 4th century Arian communities of Aegypt, they chose to base their texts upon the Gnostic Western Textform, which varies widely from itself even. This decision is understandable in that Gnostics saw the physical embodiment of the source of Good as impossible in the evil state of the cosmos.
Gnosticism itself arose from the contact of Graeco-Roman and Aegyptian pagan traditions, such as worshipers of Apollo and Thoth, Zoroastrianism, and Hellenized esoteric Jewish sects. The most widely adopted belief was that of dualism, that the physical world was the dominion of the Demiurge, the Cosmokrator, the lesser, evil god eternally antagonistic of the unknowable source of good, the divine god. While certain variations were common among different sects, it was believed that God could not become human, and so the body of Christ did not physically exist, but appeared as a phantasm to those who should be "enlightened." Thus, any scripture which attested to the physical humanity of Christ was contradictory and prime candidate for omission or alteration.
Gnostic sects thrived in Aegypt and Alexandria in the centuries before the legalization and adoption of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Each had unique definitions of Christ and wrote many of their own gospels while also rewriting the existing gospels to produce the Western Textform, and many of the alterations in these texts were favoured by the anti-Trinitarian Arians. In fact, the Gnostic doctrines varied so widely even between sects existing in the same locale at the same time period that I can only give a brief overview as to how each has affected the texts produced.
While Marcion is one of the earliest teachers to teach the common Gnostic dualism (born circa 85), he spread his teachings in Rome and the Pontus of Anatolia (modern day Turkey). His theology revolved around the idea that the Old Testament God was just, merciless, and often outright malicious. In contrast, the God that sent Jesus was merciful and loving, yet unkown and foreign to creation until Christ's coming. A popular belief across Gnostic sects, docetism was integral to the Marcionites, the belief that Christ's physical form had no physical substance but was merely an illusion or phantasm. Marcion is responsible for producing his own canon consisting of heavily modified versions of the Gospel of Luke and the epistles of St Paul, selected for Paul's teachings on the severance of the Old Covenant as proof of the need to abandon the Old Testament God.
While not as widely known as Marcion, the Gnostic Basilides of Alexandria, who taught between 117 and 138, is responsible for authoring a gospel which bears his name, as well as writing a biblical exegesis, some odes, and revisions of the four canonical Gospels. Notable among his teachings were that righteous and sinful actions together were irrelevant to salvation, since all actions are performed by the material body, which is evil, upon something else in the evil material world, making all actions evil beyond the acquisition of knowledge. Those not elected by the transcendent God would suffer transmigration, or reincarnation, in which one yet again suffers the evils of the material world.
The Gnostic heavyweight is recognized by Church Fathers and modern scholars as Valentinus. Born in Middle Aegypt circa 100, Valentinus was recognized as a man of extraordinary genius and charisma, gathering massive followings in both Alexandria, then again in Rome. He invented a theological system largely based upon sexual pairing, in other words, the male God, who was referred to by Valentinus as Depth, through coupling with the female Silence, emanated the Logos, Christ, through whom all other pairs (Knowledge and Truth, Word and Life, Man and Church, et cetera), numbering 15 pairs of "Aeons" total, which form the foundation of the cosmos, exist. Valentinus taught that the final Aeon, Wisdom, gave birth to the evil Demiurge when failing in her attempt to understand God, thus causing the typical Gnostic split between the evil material world and pure spiritual world. Many writings are attributed to Valentinus and his scribally active following which emphasized a Christ Who united Himself with the man Jesus, thus stressing two unique and only temporarily united persons.
11. Textual Criticism: Byzantine New Testament versus Alexandrian
Thus we see Gnostic theologically based omissions specifically target assertions that Christ had a physical body and that He was the man Jesus and in unity with the loving Father, this latter alteration favoured by the Arians as early as a century after the text was produced by Gnostic scribes. A preeminent example shows itself at Luke 22.43-44, where Byzantine manuscripts are reflected in the KJV; "And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." This text remained in Codex Sinaiticus (circa 350AD) yet was omitted in Codices Vaticanus (circa 300AD) and Alexandrinus (circa 400AD) while being found in the vast majority of Byzantine manuscripts and reflected by 2nd century patristic witnesses as quoted in their voluminous writings.
A sizable omission found in Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, yet remains present without any note in Codex Alexandrinus, is the ending of Mark 16.9-20. There is actually wide variance between ANT manuscripts on this text, where some omit these verses, some include them without any notation, in the same form as the BNT does, such as Codex Alexandrinus, some include them but mark them off or leave notes, and some include them along with a "short ending" that is today only found alone in one Latin manuscript, Codex Bobbiensis, dated around the 4th and 5th centuries. The "short ending" is translated in the New American Standard, a Masoretic OT/Alexandrian NT based bible; "And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation." While no patristic evidence is available for this shorter ending, we find St Justin Martyr quoted Mark 16.20 as early as 160, St Irenaeus quoted 16.19 around 184, and numerous other witnesses cite from the longer ending as found in the BNT, translated quite well in the KJV.
Virtually all ANT manuscripts either omit the "Pericope Adulterae," which is John 7.53-8.11, or they mark it off as questionable with asterisks or obeli. Though only preserved in BNT manuscripts, modern scholars have been hesitant to remove the body of verses which contain and provide the context for the memorable, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Most modern ANT based bibles will place the verse in brackets and leave a footnote: "Not found in the oldest manuscripts." Yet despite the "oldest manuscripts," the Alexandrian codices mentioned above, we have more ancient witness in the Church Fathers and their writings, where we find Papias, allegedly a disciple of St John himself, referring to the Pericope in the early 2nd century. It's addressed by St Didymus the Blind around 350, St Ambrose around 375, and St Jerome included it in his Vulgate prior to 400. We even find St Augustine accusing scribes of deliberately removing it from manuscripts produced during his own lifetime.
One of the most heavily debated verses is referred to as the Johannine Comma, the portion of text starting in I John 5.7 and beginning verse 8. It is debated even within the circle of BNT textual scholars due to limited survival of texts which included the Comma, yet despite the significant numbers of manuscripts which exclude it nearly all of them were scribed during the same time-frame as the Comma-included manuscripts. The Comma is included in the Vulgate and so also in the Douay-Rheims, in Erasmus' Textus Receptus and so in KJV, and has been deemed authentic by the monks and scribes of Mount Athos who produced the official Patriarchal Greek NT. We find the Comma within the Clementine Vulgate as per St Jerome's Vulgate, where his commentary on I John states, "Just as these are properly understood and so translated faithfully by interpreters into Latin without leaving ambiguity for the readers nor [allowing] the variety of genres to conflict, especially in that text where we read the unity of the trinity is placed in the first letter of John, where much error has occurred at the hands of unfaithful translators contrary to the truth of faith, who have kept just the three words water, blood and spirit in this edition omitting mention of Father, Word and Spirit in which especially the catholic faith is strengthened and the unity of substance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is attested," as per the preface by Jerome included in Vulgate manuscripts, even in ones where the comma has been deleted.
The KJV translates I John 5.7-8 from Erasmus Textus Receptus as, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The perceived difficulty here is that the vast majority of manuscripts, ANT and BNT alike, include simply, as per the NAS, "For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." The overwhelming number of Comma deleted manuscripts has even led BNT scholars to exclude the reading from their eclectic texts such as Robinson and Pierpont's BNT, but there is yet considerable evidence for its authenticity. Foremost is of course witness from the early Church Fathers, where we find Athenagorus referring to the Comma around 177 in his Plea for the Christians addressed to the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. No more than 30 years later, we find Tertullian citing the Comma, and around 250 Cyprian directly quotes the text. Several other Church Fathers have quoted it and there have been those to comment on its removal from texts, Jerome as cited above not in the least.
Early commentators on the removal of the Comma have also noted the grammatical inconsistency which follows; where the Comma is deleted, the Greek refers to "three witnesses" in «ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες» where we must note that the word for three, «τρεῖς», is in its masculine form. As is the case in the Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French), Greek adjectives must share the same gender as the nouns they describe. The three witnesses which remain in Comma deleted manuscripts, «τὸ Πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα,» are each neuter, which would necessitate the use of the neuter form of "three" or «τρία.» While errors of this sort may be typical of authors like St Matthew, St John was well educated and no slouch in Greek, as no confusion of gender arises in any of his work. For the reasons above, as well as the explicit reference to the Trinity standing as an affront to the very core of Arianism, we can see how the Comma stands as a prime candidate for removal from the Arian Alexandrian manuscripts.
12. The Words of the Lord
In consideration of the history behind ancient manuscripts and their textual traditions alongside textual criticism and investigation of the variations between writings, we have before us a considerable case on behalf of the Septuagint as most accurately reflecting the original Hebrew Scriptures and the Byzantine Textform most accurately reflecting the words as penned by the Apostles. These are both readily available to the student of biblical Koine Greek, but this ancient dialect is difficult even to modern Greeks. Thus, it is important to be able to identify accurately translated English bibles based upon the most authoritative texts in order to grasp as much as God intended from His prophets.
A movement which has been gaining momentum within Protestantism has been the "King James Only" movement where the majority of its members accuse the authors of the modern English bibles, such as the NRSV, NAS, NIV, and all others in print today where their NT is not translated from Erasmus' Textus Receptus, of deliberate mutilation of the text for political purposes while holding the KJV as the "oldest and best," the very argument which is used by ANT scholars against the BNT upon which the Textus Receptus is based. While the KJV NT is indeed translated from a text which usually accurately reflects the original gospels and epistles, the book suffers from a moderate number of fatal flaws. Its OT is translated from the anti-Christian Masoretic Text, which is proven above to certainly not be the Scriptures with which Christ and His apostles were acquainted, a fact further emphasized by review of even the Ebionite Dead Sea Scrolls.
While the KJV OT is not the authentic Hebrew Scripture, its NT does certainly bear weight, but its translation has been impacted by the theology of the then-influential Puritan movement. Such influence can be seen in the translation of I Corinthians 13, where the KJV consistently uses "charity" where St Paul writes «ἀγάπη» which is typically the first Greek word learned by non-native speakers to strictly mean "love." This runs in contrast to nearly all instances of «ἀγάπη» elsewhere where the KJV justly translates it as "love," exempli gratia I Corinthians 4.21, where Paul even uses the word in the very same context as in chapter 13. Contrary to the bulk of this word's instances, the authors chose to use the word given by the Douay-Rheims, which is not translated from the Greek but from the Latin "caritatem," itself meaning "love" or "charitable love," yet nonetheless unique from modern English's "charity" which finds its root in the Greek «χάρις» for "grace" or "gift."
Another stumbling stone to the modern English reader is the antiquated language of the KJV, which at times adds to the beauty of the text, yet at others serves to confound. There are hundreds of examples of words used which today hold an entirely different meaning than they did in 16th-17th century England. KJV "carriage" actually means "baggage," "prevent" means "precede," and "conversation" is "manner of living." Furthermore, there are words now entirely alien to English, such that "assayed" means "attempted," "bewray" is "betray," "minish" is "diminish," "murrain" is "pestilence," "sith" is "since," and "wist" means "knew." The KJV does however prove valuable so long as it can be held in comparison with another translation or the original Greek.
While still suffering from an inaccurate Masoretic OT, especially since it is not actually a new translation but simply a revised KJV, the Third Millenium Bible (NAV) provides a more readable and arguably no less poetic NT. This version has not revised the Puritan-favoured "charity" found in I Corinthians 13, but it has replaced the Deuterocanonical books found in the Vulgate and Douay-Rheims which the Puritans had removed from the final edition of the KJV over 400 years ago, making it the most notable of protestant bibles, certainly over the NKJV edition to follow the KJV. The NKJV is not a revision but a new translation of the same texts from which the KJV have come, yet it frequently uses language favoured by ANT based bibles, sometimes more accurate, and often less, than its predecessor.
Another version which bears more weight than the KJV is the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims. The original version was so thoroughly riddled by Latinisms to the point where it would be largely incomprehensible today without some familiarity with Latin, but since Richard Challoner revised it in 1752 it has come to bear strikingly similar language to the KJV. While its OT is not translated from the MT but from the Vulgate, St Jerome himself used a largely proto-Masoretic text for his edition completed in 404 all except for the Deuterocanonical books and the Psalms, which he used the Septuagint for. This gives the Douay-Rheims an advantage in a large portion of the OT, if not in the prophets themselves, and the Vulgate NT from which it is translated is perfectly reflective of the BNT.
We are currently in the unfortunate circumstance where there is no complete OT/NT bible published in English where we have the Septuagint alongside the Byzantine NT. Recently the Orthodox Study Bible has been published as a revision of the NKJV. The OT therein is not truly a translation of the LXX, but rather a hybrid of LXX/MT readings, and its NT is fully the unedited text of the NKJV NT. It has been given the harshest criticism by Orthodox biblical scholars, who point out citations given of the footnotes taken from Nestorian writings even, one such being Theodoret's commentary on Leviticus 16.8 where he attempts to differentiate Jesus the man from Christ the God.
Within this circumstance we are left with the only option to possess the LXX OT being as a standalone book separate from the NT. The number of English LXX editions available is heavily limited, but Sir Lancelot Brenton's LXX which includes the Greek text of Codex Vaticanus in a column alongside the English is very accurate. It exclusively relies upon the text of Codex Vaticanus and notes variation from Alexandrinus, but the differences between these are minor and this text largely reflects modern Greek Orthodox publications of the original LXX. Charles Thomson's earlier translation often bears some notable inaccuracies, such as translating the word for "blessed," «μακάριος» as "happy" among other problems. A similar issue is found in the New English Translation of the Septuagint, where even in Genesis 3, instead of using "seed" for «σπέρματος» we find "offspring" is used, which does not correctly reflect the Greek.
The most recent LXX translation may also be one of the most notable, carried out by Michael Asser, a British Orthodox layman. He has taken the time to not only translate from the Greek Orthodox publications of the LXX, but to conform the text according to the Jacobean style of English used in the KJV. Unfortunately, this version is remarkably difficult to find in print, but it is available in full for free at the website of St John's Orthodox Church in Colchester, England:
Finding a truly accurate version of the NT is no less a strenuous task. While the bulk of the Textus Receptus is quite close to the Patriarchal NT and modern Byzantine NT editions, it still has numerous variations, largely within St John's Revelation. This coupled with the translational issues of the KJV leave us with nearly as many options as available for the LXX. At least here we seem to be left with the Third Millennium Bible, or New Authorized Version, as the very best protestant offering, with the Douay-Rheims still standing, over 400 years later, as the best Roman Catholic version of the NT.
However, the issues with these bibles have been addressed above, and both can be found to vary from the Greek manuscripts. While there exist lectionaries based upon the Patriarchal text, nearly all of these are revisions of one protestant NT or another. To date, the only complete, new translation of the original Greek per the Patriarchal text is Fr Laurent Cleenewerck's EOB, the Eastern/Greek Orthodox NT. Fr Cleenewerck's commentary on readings focus on the textual criticism end where he adopts an unmotivated attitude towards defending readings within the source text, but the English translation is nearly perfect nonetheless.
At times, the volume of different texts and different versions of the bible can seem overwhelming to the point where one is tempted to dismiss them all as a response to the widespread corruption of the words of the Lord. But with a study of the history and the evidence for the authentic Scriptures we see that the very words have been preserved, regardless of how unpopular the book in which they are contained. The Holy Bible is a vital component of Holy Tradition, which itself is vital to Christ's Church, of which our Lord Himself promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
«Τὰ λόγια Κυρίου λόγια ἁγνά, ἀργύριον πεπυρωμένον, δοκίμιον τῇ γῇ κεκαθαρισμένον ἑπταπλασίως. Σύ, Κύριε, φυλάξαις ἡμᾶς καὶ διατηρήσαις ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.»
"The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in the fire, proved in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou, O Lord, shalt keep us, and shalt preserve us, from this generation, and to eternity." -Psalm 11.6-7 (Psalms 12.6-7 MT)
Edited by Μιχάλης Βρ, 04 August 2015 - 12:08 AM.