A discussion from Facebook, CARM and various spots over the years.
Facebook - The Received Text - Nov, 2018
Can folks here help clarify the difference between the "textual criticism" done by Erasmus and Beza with the textual criticism done by moderns? As I'm discussing TR v. CT with guys, most of us having been trained to prefer the Critical Text, multiple guys have argued, "Erasmus and Beza used textual critical methods. So you can't consistently argue that it is an epistemological problem."
1) They didn't assume the Scriptures were corrupt and needed to be restored. They didn't consider scribal errors corruption.
2) They weighed the received and orthodox readings and testimony of the church much higher than modern textual criticism does.
3) They didn't prefer the shorter and more difficult readings because they didn't share the same assumptions that one would have to have to think these would be good principles to go by.
4) They didn't think that older is necessarily better because of their doctrine of preservation, widespread use and doctrinal consistency was more important for a reading.
5) They didn't have a recension theory like Westcott and Hort did about the Byzantine text.
6) For the Old Testament, on doctrinal grounds, they didn't think it appropriate to substitute LXX, Vulgate, or other versional readings in for the Hebrew.
"Erasmus (and Stephanus and Beza and the AV) practiced textual criticism"
(refrain of James White, et al.)
Facebook - Pure Bible - August, 2015
I've written on this occasionally, that the skills and methods were qualitatively very different, often opposite, what is today called textual criticism. And to use "textual criticism" about the Reformation Bible (Received Text) methods is a severe anachronism.
Note this by Richard Alfred Muller (b. 1948):
Richard Muller and the History of the Preservation of Scripture pt. 1
Kent Brandenburg - April 2010
At the very end of the book on p. 541, Muller makes this very interesting statement that is tell-tale for today:
"All too much discussion of the Reformers' methods has attempted to turn them into precursors of the modern critical method, when in fact, the developments of exegesis and hermeneutics in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries both precede and, frequently conflict with (as well as occasionally adumbrate) the methods of the modern era."
I especially include the last quote because of the common extrapolation that the 16th and 17th century theologians were actually involved in textual criticism. This is sheer revisionist history.
Didn't Erasmus and the Reformation Editors Use Textual Criticism?
http://libertyparkusafd.org/Burgon/reports/Didn't Erasmus and the Reformation Editors Use Textual Criticism.htm
Generally an excellent article.
===============================Steven Avery - July 2015 (my summary)
Actually the Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza faith-consistent textual analysis was extensive and far superior to what is today called "textual criticism". (Which used to be under the umbrella of "sacred criticism" before it became largely an unbeliever's endeavor).
The reason is that "textual criticism" as defined today is based on demonstrably false concepts. And ones that are also faith-inconsistent (i.e. the dissonance between "textual criticism" and Bible evangelicism and fundamentalism is not only palpable, it involves a core-level contradiction.)
Thus, since "textual criticism" is definitionally and conceptually interlinked with the current false paradigms,which are totally different than the 1500s methodology, to use the term "textual criticism" for the Reformation Bible studies involves a severe anachronism.