Excerpt from a question at the end of RJR’s lecture on The First Temptation:  “Stones Bread.”

[Rushdoony] Yes, quite a change, and the reason for these drastic changes is simply this. For centuries, the church has used, every branch of the church, the received text. Now, the received text has been abandoned, and they are going to defective and waste basket manuscript texts for all these new readings. As a result, you can expect almost any kind of reading, very often senseless variations from the text as well as verses left out. These modern translations, because they are uniformly based on anything but the received text, are defective. Now, what is the received text? It is the text that was accepted by the early church, accepted by the orthodox churches and all the eastern churches, or the Roman Catholic church, by the Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Episcopalians, everywhere in Christendom was accepted until the end of the last century, and it was accepted because it was the standard text. It had always been the established text. Behind it also is a question of faith. Do we believe that God, having given us an inspired and infallible word, will not them protect the transmission of that, and the church has believed that. Now, the principle is that anything but this received text.Р In other words, there must be something wrong with this text precisely because the church has accepted it all this time. So we’ve got to go to all these defective manuscripts, and any time they have variation, we can be sure it’s the truth, because the church couldn’t have the truth. The church couldn’t keep it  There’s a diabolical premise in all of this which has to be challenged, and the sad fact is that this diabolical premise now is being incorporated into all the translations used by the church everywhere, and that’s why, for example, you can go to the older translations, whether they are the Dewey or the King James, or any others, and you will find that in all the translations say, before 1870, there is a basic similarity. Occasionally, there will be a difference, but it is a difference that is theological, depending on the ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church, and the way they translate a particular word. They are agreed as to the original. No difference.

For example, the King James translates and the Dewey, penance.They don’t disagree as to what the word is in the Greek. They say it’s this word, identical, but now, of course, they do not agree that there is a text to be translated, so what they are doing is to reconstruct a text and they say, “This is what Mark, or Matthew (although they don’t believe Mark or Matthew wrote those gospels, that’s another point), but this is what the Gospels originally said.” We have reconstructed it on the basis of these defective manuscripts, and on the basis of our thinking and our reasoning. This is substituting something imaginary for something that the church, for 1900 years approximately, and before that, with regard to the Old Testament, for another 2000 years, has accepted, and I say again it is diabolical.


[Audience] Along the same line, would you comment on Martin Luther commenting on alterations of scripture way back in his day. He referred church to the Old Testament alterations, and I believe that it was in, if I remember correctly, his Table Talk.

[Rushdoony] I’ve read Table Talk I don’t recall. that. Table Talk isn’t always accurate, you know, because the Table Talk was made up of notes of various students, and we do know that, very often, they garbled things, because they did not take the notes down at the time. They took them down from memory at a later date, and the thing was a little amusing. Katie was boarding these students, and they were coming there and trying to get free lectures. At the university, they had to pay. So the thing to do was to ask Dr. Luther at the table a question, and get him to talk and get a free lecture that way. Then they would hurry to their room and take notes on it, and sometimes their note-taking was a little garbled. So, whenever we quote anything from the Table Talks, we’ve got to make sure it’s verified by other things elsewhere in Luther’s writings.

[Audience] Along the same lines, some people say, “well, you don’t take the text of the Bible literally, do you?” I wonder if you could comment on that? I would take it literally, except where common sense makes it impossible, in other words,

[Rushdoony] Right. When we say that we accept the literal text of the scripture, we accept it in the sense in which it was intended, and we cannot allow people to say that figures of speech and similes are to be taken in a crudely, literalistic sense. No one does that in their everyday speech. Do you use figures of speech and similes continually? Analogies, and so on? And we do take the text of scripture literally, in the sense in which it was intended. There are no problems in that sense. The problems are in the imagination of the critics.