I would like your thoughts about the seriously debunked "Lucian Recension theory" on which textual critics (like Westcott and Hort) chose and still choose to justify their stance against the universal text of the "Authorized Version," and likewise the swathe of current designer "versions." Which of your books might address this issue in depth? This is an important issue when it concerns God's Word -- unsullied, nor tampered with to conform to preferred doctrine in these days of dynamic equivalence and inter-faith ecumenism? -- Robert Drummond

I am not so sure mainstream textual criticism has yet been debunked, even if some scholars may reject one or another of its variations. The "universal text" of the AV was a conflation of Greek manuscripts by Erasmus; in short, it never existed. None of my books addresses this issue in depth, and if it did, it would be titled something like An Introduction to Textual Criticism, or perhaps The Search for the Original Text. This is however a subject I am very interested in, as I have studied a lot about textual criticism and have inspected many Greek manuscripts in Europe and North America.

I couldn't agree more that the preservation of God's word is vitally important. There is no perfect translation. I have read perhaps nearly twenty English versions, and many in other languages as well, to protect myself against translation prejudice.

The general reader may want to take a look at my audio series How We Got the Bible. This contains four CDs: The Transmission of the OT Manuscripts; The Transmission of the NT Manuscripts; Canonization; and The Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and The Da Vinci Code. This touches lightly on your question. But I sense you want to go deeper.

For an excellent introduction to the subject at the level of the non-specialist, David Berçot's 2-CD set The Early Christian Writings and the King James Bible will be of great interest to you. Order here. It gives a history of the Textus Receptus, explains how the various King James Versions were translated, and is very lucidly reasoned. The CDs are about 140 minutes in all, and cost just US$9.95 for the set. I think you will be informed, surprised, and equipped to develop a deeper understanding of these issues. (Don't worry -- Bercot, like me, is a strong Bible believer! In fact, he himself reads the NKJV.)

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