The next question answered by Sam Gipp is the following:
Who was Dean Burgon?
Gipp’s answer is given here. My response is below:
Gipp claims that John William Burgon was a man of tremendous intellect and this certainly was the case. This does not, however, make him right in his judgments on the textual evidence. Part of the problem is that Burgon did not have all the evidence as a large portion of the earliest manuscripts were discovered decades after his death. Even at the time, he went under the assumption that the Textus Receptus accurately represented the vast majority of manuscripts – something commonly believed at the time but which has since been shown to be quite wrong. Thus many of his conclusions were based upon the limitations of his era and his work is considered to be, at best, outdated.
Similarly outdated is the work of Westcott and Hort. While they were the first to base their understanding upon textual types, their reliance upon two manuscripts (Siniaticus and Vaticanus) also has fallen by the wayside. While their questioning the Textus Receptus and noting the importance of the twwo aforementioned manuscripts has been vindicated, those manuscripts are not the whole story and do not always represent the earliest form of the Alexandrian textual types. It is only when used in conjunction with other earlier pappyri and uncials that a clear picture of the early state of the textual evidence emerges.
One of the problems Gipp and other KJV Onlyists have in their arguments is that they often draw their evaluation of the data from the arguments between Westcott and Hort on one side and Burgon and his allies on the other. Both represent a long outdated state of the argument and cannot be used in current discussions. For exanple, even in the simple case of what is considered to be an “Alexandrian” or “Byzantine” reading and in what represents the “majority text”, the terms mean something different today than they did a century ago given the manuscript discoveries in the succeeding decades.
Gipp at one point claims that Burgon’s defense of the last twelve verses of Mark as authentic has never been answered. In reality, Burgon’s defense was based completely on faulty premises such as an early date for the existing Syriac text where it is not known to have undergone signficant revisions in the early medieval period. Also, the analysis of the Greek used demonstrates it could not have been the same author as the remainder of Mark. Finally, there are two alternative versions of the ending (one shorter and one longer) that show there were mutlitple attempts to add to the text. Again, either Gipp is not completely honest in his characterization of the debate or, owing to his reliance upon the debate as it stood a century ago, he is simply unaware that Burgon’s views have been shown to be wrong.
Gipp also places Burgon among other supposed defenders of the KJV. Ironically, none of those named hold his views. Burgon believed the Greek and Hebrew texts used in the KJV were the most accurate but that the translation in the KJV could be improved upon and suggested some changes. His problem with Westcott and Hort was that they did not do what they were assigned – an improved translation of the traditional Greek and Hebrew text but instead used a completely new text for their translation.
Another scholar he mentions, Robert Dick Wilson, also was not a KJV Onlyist. Wilson has often been cited by KJV Onlyists as supporting their views against modern textual criticism but this is clearly not the case. His opposition was not to the standard textual criticism but to the “higher criticism” that sought to find hidden texts behind the existing ones. In fact, Wilson claimed some readings in ancient translations such as the Septuahgint and the Vulgate might be superior to that found in the KJV.
The third scholar he mentions. Lancelot Andrewes, was one of the KJV translators of 1611 and certainly was in no position to evaluate the manuscript evidence available today. Furthermore, Andrewes was an avid “High Church” partisan who would have found Gipp’s fundamentalist Baptist beliefs to be heretical at best and likely worthy of a stay at the Tower of London.
Overall, Gipp’s reliance upon Burgon demonstrates, as indicated above, that his view of the status of the debate is outdated by at least a century. As already mentioned. Burgon had the excuse of not having access to subsequent discoveries. Yet even his position was not as extreme as Gipp’s and that should tell you how tenuous is Gipp’s grasp of reality when addressing the subject.