Friday, June 18, 2021

Erasmian Myths

In debates and discussions about Bible versions, Greek manuscripts, and such like, sometimes certain tall tales about Erasmus come up. Perhaps there are some tall tales that should be told about Erasmus. However, the tallest Pinocchio-nosed tales most often contributed are resurrections of tales that have long since been debunked. Like a bad penny, they keep coming back!

Chris Thomas, an Administrator at Confessional Bibliology, has compiled a four-part series on the four most persistent “Erasmian Myths.” It is worth the read.
  • Erasmian Myths: The Comma Wager -- “In conclusion, whenever you hear someone repeating the story that Erasmus only included the Comma Johanneum as part of a “rash wager” and was presented with a “made to order text” by a Froy or Roy, keep in mind that it has no foundation in the writings of Erasmus himself, nor his opponents such as Edward Lee, nor in men who criticized the inclusion of 1 John 5:7 such as the Roman Catholic Priest Richard Simon or the writings of John Mills who also specifically dealt with the Comma Johanneum.”
  • Erasmian Myths: Codex Vaticanus -- “...we see that not only did Erasmus have access to readings of Vaticanus, but through his correspondence with Bombasius he could have requested readings of any portion of the codex. And we see that Erasmus did not consider Codex Vaticanus equal to the texts with which he worked, but instead considered the codex inferior because he believed it had been back-translated in portions and because it did not follow the Scripture citations of the orthodox church fathers.”
  • Erasmian Myths: The Rush to Print -- “One of the more pernicious myths circulating about Erasmus concerns the quality of his Greek New Testament. The story goes that it was filled with errors because Erasmus was rushing to print. This myth was decimated by the eminent scholar Dr. M. A. Screech back in 1986 in his introduction to the Annotations of Erasmus.”
  • Erasmian Myths: Revelation Back Translated from the Vulgate? -- “One of the more notorious myths about Erasmus is that he backtranslated the last 6 verses of the book of Revelation. There are many articles on the internet purporting to prove conclusively that Erasmus did in fact back translate from the Latin Vulgate the last few verses of Revelation.”
In addition to the blogs by Thomas, Jeffrey T. Riddle deals with the rash wager and rush to print in Erasmus Anecdotes, Puritan Reformed Journal Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 2017): 101-112. You probably have to have an account to access it.

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