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Alessandro Magno e il libro di Daniele

Alessandro Magno e il libro biblico del profeta Daniele di Giuseppe Guarino

Qualunque sia l’approccio al libro biblico di Daniele, oggetto come pochi di controversie fra studiosi di varie fazioni, un solo dettaglio non è sfuggito a nessun commentatore: il fatto che il libro parli di Alessandro Magno. Lo fa in diversi punti e con descrizioni di sicuro interesse sia per lo studioso dei testi sacri sia per quello di documenti storici.

Nell’esame delle parole utilizzate da Daniele si rimane in bilico tra una possibile percezione del profetico nello storico e dello storico nel profetico. Vediamo perché.

Daniele visse fra la fine del settimo secolo a.C. e per quasi tutto il sesto secolo a.C. Ancora giovanissimo venne deportato in Babilonia in una delle scorrerie del re babilonese Nabucodonosor. Venne quindi inserito nell’apparato statale babilonese con un certo successo, che gli permise di continuare nelle importanti cariche ricoperte persino dopo la conquista persiana.

Secondo il testo biblico che tramanda le vicende di questo profeta, egli possedeva un dono simile a quello di un suo illustre predecessore, Giuseppe, quello cioè di poter interpretare i sogni. Un dono che si trovò molto presto a dover manifestare per il re babilonese.

Un sogno che turbò Nabucodonosor lo spinse a cercare chi lo potesse interpretare. Nessuno vi riusciva. Fu un giovane – probabilmente ancora adolescente – di stirpe ebraica ad ardire di stare alla presenza del re, dirgli cosa aveva sognato e darne l’interpretazione.

Nei suoi tormentati sogni notturni il re babilonese aveva visto una gigantesca figura umana, composta da diversi materiali. Daniele li elenca e interpreta al re il significato simbolico di ciò che vede.

Daniele 2:37, 38: “Tu, o re, sei il re dei re, a cui il Dio del cielo ha dato il regno, la potenza, la forza e la gloria; e ha messo nelle tue mani, tutti i luoghi in cui abitano gli uomini, le bestie della campagna e gli uccelli del cielo, e ti ha fatto dominare sopra tutti loro: la testa d’oro sei tu.

Il capo della statua in oro simboleggia Nabucodonosor e il suo regno.

Daniele 2:39:  “Dopo di te sorgerà un altro regno, inferiore al tuo”.

All’impero neobabilonese succederà sulla scena mondiale quello medo-persiano di Ciro. Il quale rimarrà per molto tempo a predominare la scena mondiale.

poi un terzo regno, di bronzo, che dominerà sulla terra”.

Ecco qui che compare il regno greco-macedone di Alessandro Magno. Subito colpisce la descrizione, davvero molto pertinente: “dominerà su tutta la terra”. Inarrestabile, il macedone riuscì a conquistare tutto il mondo allora conosciuto e  la leggenda dice che pianse perché non vi erano più terre da conquistare.

Daniele 2:40:  “poi vi sarà un quarto regno, forte come il ferro; poiché, come il ferro spezza e abbatte ogni cosa, così, pari al ferro che tutto frantuma, esso spezzerà ogni cosa”.

Daniele vede anche l’ascesa della potenza romana, riportando un dettaglio caratteristico di questo impero: la sua forza e inarrestabile avanzata.

Aver interpretato il sogno al re babilonese permetterà a Daniele, come fu per Giuseppe, di occupare presto un posto di tutto rilievo all’interno della corte.

Più avanti, nello stesso libro, sono descritte altre due visioni che completano la prima, arricchendola di dettagli che entusiasmano gli esegeti biblici, ma non meno gli storici.

Al capitolo 7 Daniele vede i medesimi quattro regni del sogno del re, ma stavolta nel simbolismo rappresentato da quattro diversi animali.

Il leone è Babilonia. L’impero persiano un orso. Il regno di Alessandro è visto come un leopardo.

Daniele 7:6: “Dopo questo, io guardavo e vidi un’altra bestia simile a un leopardo con quattro ali d’uccello sul dorso; aveva quattro teste e le fu dato il dominio”.

Sebbene con tipici connotati da vaticinio, la descrizione del regno di Alessandro e dei suoi successori è qui straordinariamente pertinente. Le ali d’uccello, infatti, descrivono la rapidità della inarrestabile conquista alessandrina: in soltanto dieci anni tutto il mondo era stato vinto. Le quattro teste il repentino smembrarsi dell’impero alla morte di Alessandro.

L’attenzione di questa seconda profezia di cui Daniele è ancora quasi passivamente depositario è, però, il quarto regno, quello di Roma. È invece nei capitoli che seguono, da 8 a 11 che il profeta si sofferma interamente sull’ascesa greca, dalla stessa figura di Alessandro, fino alle vicende delle monarchie elleniche che seguono, perché avranno un ruolo fondamentale per il destino di Israele, che si troverà proprio a metà strada fra due regni e le loro ambizioni, quelle dei tolomei e dei seleucidi. Ma di questo ne parleremo, a Dio piacendo, in un secondo articolo.

 

Qui di seguito il libro che ho pubblicato anni fa su Daniele.

IL LIBRO DI DANIELE – Commentario  storico-profetico – di Giuseppe Guarino

Lo studio del libro del profeta Daniele è essenziale per una corretta comprensione delle profezie messianiche sia della prima venuta del Messia sia del suo ritorno. Il commentario raccoglie informazioni storiche che attestano l’affidabilità del testo biblico, prove patristiche dell’antichità dell’interpretazione dei brani messianici e collegamenti con le profezie del Nuovo Testamento.

libro: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B08735HDFR

ebook: www.amazon.com/dp/B086MNFXT5

 

 




Amore per la Verità

AMORE PER LA LIBERTA’ di Giuseppe Guarino

Quanto amiamo la Verità? L’amiamo a sufficienza da essere pronti a sopportare le conseguenze che essa spesso porta con sé?

Gesù non ci ha mai mentito. Non ha detto che la verità ci avrebbe reso ricchi e nemmeno felici, ma liberi. Gesù dice sempre la verità, a chi lo ascolta, a chi lo vuole seguire. Anche a costo di perdere questo o quel discepolo.

Noi esseri umani raramente diciamo tutta la verità e spesso per paura di perdere i nostri amici o persone care. Per non metterci in aperto contrasto con chi la pensa diversamente. La verità la perdoniamo solo quando viene dalla bocca dei bambini. Spesso se qualcuno ci dice le cose come stanno, anche se sappiamo in fondo in fondo che quella persona ha ragione, storciamo il naso e forse ci sentiamo addirittura offesi.

Essere pronti ad accettare la Verità significa essere pronti ad accettarne le conseguenze. La libertà, poi, da che mondo è mondo, ha comunque un prezzo.

Nell’antichità lo schiavo poteva pagare per la sua libertà, letteralmente acquistarla.

Per questo la Scrittura ci dice: “sapendo che non con cose corruttibili, come argento od oro, siete stati riscattati dal vostro vano modo di vivere tramandatovi dai padri, ma col prezioso sangue di Cristo, come di Agnello senza difetto e senza macchia” (1 Pietro 1: 18-19). Come vediamo è proprio con in mente il possibile riscatto dello schiavo che Pietro spiega il prezzo che Cristo  ha pagato per liberarci dalla schiavitù del peccato e per essere liberi di servire Dio.

Gesù stesso l’ha detto chiaramente: “Gesù rispose loro: «In verità, in verità vi dico: Chi fa il peccato è schiavo del peccato”.

Non facilmente l’uomo si accorge di essere schiavo del peccato. La più efficace catena è, infatti, quella che non si vede; e la più grande schiavitù è quella che riesce a darti l’illusione di essere libero.

Tempo fa uscì uno dei miei film preferiti, Matrix. Non so quante volte l’ho visto! Anzi, molto probabilmente, adesso lo andrò a rivedere. Una cosa che mi colpì furono i tanti riferimenti biblici, troppi per essere casuali. Riferimenti evidenti nei nomi dei protagonisti e non solo, ma anche meno evidenti nella narrazione stessa: un po’ una parabola della falsa libertà nella quale l’uomo odierno si vanta di vivere.

Il protagonista della storia a un certo punto incontra Morpheus che gli offre due opzioni: la pillola rossa o la pillola blu.

Sapere la verità ha un prezzo: rendersi conto che tutto ciò che fino a quel momento si pensava fosse vero, reale e libertà era invece soltanto una messa in scena, una schiavitù – a volte piacevole, ma pur sempre schiavitù.

In inglese c’è un detto: “Ignorance is bliss”. Noi in italiano diciamo: “beata ignoranza”. Ma in inglese è più incisivo: ignoranza è beatitudine.

In un certo senso lo conferma anche la Bibbia. Salomone fu un uomo saggio e sapeva: “Poiché dove c’è molta sapienza c’è molto affanno e chi aumenta la conoscenza, aumenta il dolore”. (Ecclesiaste 1:18)

Per questo dicevo all’inizio che bisogna amare la libertà per essere disposti a pagare il prezzo che comporta riconoscerla e accettarla.

Ma esiste UNA Verità? E, per essere ancora più diretti: esiste LA verità?

Pilato ebbe un dialogo con Gesù davvero significativo. Mi ha sempre affascinato e assume un ruolo non secondario nel Vangelo di Giovanni. Pilato aveva una mentalità “greca”, dipendente, come quella dei nostri giorni, da un sincretismo quasi necessario per adattarsi alla realtà multiforme che ci circonda. Eppure, sono convinto, che allora come oggi il nostro spirito in un certo senso si rifiuta di sentirsi acquietato dalla nostra razionalità e lotta per la ricerca di una Verità, insinuando sempre il dubbio che la Verità esista e sia conoscibile.

Pilato in tutta la drammaticità del rincorrersi degli eventi che seguono l’arresto di Gesù decide di avere un colloquio privato con lui. Lo interroga. “Per questo sono io nato, e per questo son venuto nel mondo, per testimoniar della verità; chiunque è della verità ascolta la mia voce”.[1]

Molto probabilmente questo dialogo si è svolto in greco ed è proprio la forza espressiva del greco che lo rende così intenso.

Pilato infatti chiede: “Cos’è Verità?” [2]

Gesù afferma di essere venuto nel mondo per testimoniare della Verità. La domanda di Pilato sembra mettere in dubbio che vi sia, che vi possa essere “una” Verità. Una maniera davvero attualissima di confrontare le affermazioni del Signore. Anche oggi, in un mondo intriso di sentimenti sincretisti e razionalità, la pretesa di Gesù e del cristianesimo viene mal vista. Eppure Gesù ebbe ad affermare con chiarezza: “Io sono la Via, la Verità e la Vita” (Giovanni 14:6), una frase che non sconvolgeva allora meno di quanto non sconvolga oggi.

Mi vanto di avere scoperto Egle Mirabella come scrittrice. Lo era prima di incontrarmi, sicuramente; ma non lo sapeva. Abbiamo studiato insieme un po’ di greco e quello che dice sulla Verità nel suo ultimo libro è davvero istruttivo: “La parola greca Aletheia greca è formata dalla “a” privativo e “Lethe” la dea del oblio, della dimenticanza”.[3]

(Il linguaggio di Egle è più complesso del mio. Lo spirito greco che guida la sua indagine è invece in me pragmatismo ebraico, mitigato da un universalismo greco che è l’espressione del mio desiderio di essere compreso e dal bisogno di rendere il messaggio evangelico il più comprensibile possibile.)

La parola greca “verità” ha in sé i due latenti significati: è qualcosa che ci priva dell’oblio. Ciò ci riconduce a quanto abbiamo detto all’inizio. Ma allo stesso tempo Egle ci segnala una cosa in più, la Verità ci fa ricordare chi siamo davvero, da dove proveniamo. La Verità ci riporta, ha in sé la forza di riportarci allo stato di libertà di cui godevano in quel primordiale giardino, quando Dio camminava con noi e nulla turbava il nostro stato di comunione con lui.

Gesù quindi disse in maniera lapidaria: “Conoscerete la Verità e la Verità vi renderà liberi” (Giovanni 8:32).

Quanto è grande il nostro amore per la verità? Lo è al punto di essere pronti ad affrontare le spiacevoli conseguenze che il sapere potrebbe comportare?

_______________________________________________________________

NOTE

[1] “ἐγὼ εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἐλήλυθα εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ἵνα μαρτυρήσω τῇ ἀληθείᾳ. πᾶς ὁ ὢν ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας ἀκούει μου τῆς φωνῆς”.

[2] τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

[3] Egle Mirabella, Veritas, Aletheia, Apokalipsis, p. 112, Infinity Books, 2021.

 

 




Vangelo di Matteo – Capitolo 1

Note di Giuseppe Guarino

Questo il primo capitolo di Matteo, con le note al testo a seguire. Il Vangelo va letto con attenzione  e il commento è soltanto un aiuto e la comprensione la dobbiamo principalmente allo Spirito Santo e al suo perfetto ministero.

Capitolo 1

Genealogia di Gesù

 1 Libro[1] della genealogia di Gesù Cristo, figlio di Davide, figlio di Abrahamo[2].

 2 Abrahamo generò Isacco; Isacco generò Giacobbe; Giacobbe; generò Giuda e i suoi fratelli.

3 Giuda generò Fares e Zara da Tamar; Fares generò Esrom; Esrom generò Aram;

4 Aram generò Aminadab, Aminadab generò Naasson; Naasson generò Salmon,

5 Salmon generò Booz da Rahab; Booz generò Obed da Ruth; Obed generò Iesse.

6 Iesse generò il re Davide; il re Davide generò Salomone da quella che era stata la moglie di Uria.

7 Salomone generò Roboamo; Roboamo generò Abia; Abia generò Asa

8 Asa generò Giosafat; Giosafat generò Ioram; Ioram generò Ozia.

9 Ozia generò Ioatam; Ioatam generò Acaz; Acaz generò Ezechia.

10 Ezechia generò Manasse; Manasse generò Amon; Amon generò Iosia.

11 Iosia generò Ieconia e i suoi fratelli al tempo della deportazione in Babilonia.

12 Dopo la deportazione in Babilonia, Ieconia generò Salatiel; Salatiel generò Zorobabel.

13 Zorobabel generò Abiud; Abiud generò Eliakim; Eliakim generò Azor.

14 Azor generò Sadok; Sadok generò Achim; Achim generò Eliud.

15 Eliud generò Eleazar; Eleazar generò Matthan; Matthan generò Giacobbe.

16 Giacobbe generò Giuseppe, il marito di Maria, dalla quale nacque Gesù, che è chiamato Cristo.

17 Così, tutte le generazioni da Abrahamo fino a Davide sono quattordici generazioni; e da Davide fino alla deportazione in Babilonia, quattordici generazioni; e dalla deportazione in Babilonia fino a Cristo, quattordici generazioni[3].

Nascita di Gesù

18 Or la nascita di Gesù Cristo avvenne in questo modo. Maria, sua madre, era stata promessa in matrimonio a Giuseppe, ma prima che iniziassero a stare insieme, si trovò incinta per opera dello Spirito Santo[4].

19 Allora Giuseppe, suo sposo, che era uomo giusto e non voleva esporla ad infamia, deliberò di lasciarla segretamente[5].

20 Ma, mentre rifletteva su queste cose, ecco che un angelo del Signore gli apparve in sogno, dicendo: “Giuseppe, figlio[6] di Davide, non temere di prendere con te Maria come tua moglie, perché ciò che è stato concepito in lei è opera dello Spirito Santo.

21 Ed ella partorirà un figlio e tu gli porrai nome Gesù, perché egli salverà il suo popolo dai loro peccati”.

22 Or tutto ciò avvenne affinché si adempisse quello che era stato detto dal Signore, per mezzo del profeta che dice:

23 “Ecco, la vergine sarà incinta e partorirà un figlio, il quale sarà chiamato Emmanuele che, interpretato, vuol dire: “Dio con noi”[7].

24 E Giuseppe, destatosi dal sonno, fece come l’angelo del Signore gli aveva comandato e prese con sé sua moglie;

25 ma egli non la conobbe, finché ella ebbe partorito il suo figlio primogenito[8], al quale pose nome Gesù[9].

NOTE

[1] Non è singolare che Matteo cominci la sua narrazione parlando di un “libro” della genealogia di Gesù, quasi che abbia inserito un documento indipendente all’inizio del suo resoconto sulla vita di Gesù. Non può essere una coincidenza che una simile affermazione a quella di Matteo la troviamo nel libro della Genesi quando viene elencata la genealogia – Genesi 5:1 – del “primo” Adamo. L’inizio di questo vangelo è quindi subito marcatamente ebraico.

[2] Gesù è “figlio” in senso ampio; noi oggi diremmo “discendente”. La precisazione dell’evangelista ha uno scopo ben preciso: Gesù porta a compimento le promesse fatte ad Abramo e quelle fatte a Davide, cioè per le loro progenie. Vi è un significato ancora più profondo. Essendo figlio di Abramo, egli è il sacrificio che Dio promise ad Abramo in sostituzione per il figlio che in un primo momento gli aveva chiesto di offrire. Ciò è già avvenuto durante la sua prima apparizione, ormai oltre duemila anni fa, quando Gesù offrì se stesso sulla croce quale perfetto sacrificio per la redenzione dell’umanità.

In quanto discendente di Davide, egli avvererà tutte le promesse fatte a quel grande re circa il suo trono, al suo glorioso ritorno come giudice e re.

Che Matteo intendesse esattamente questo quando quasi premettesse che Gesù è sia figlio di Abrahamo che di Davide è evidente dagli sviluppi della sua narrazione.

[3] Le tre divisioni della genealogia in gruppi di quattordici ci dà un totale di 42. Questo numero nella Scrittura lo ritroviamo riferito ai mesi della grande tribolazione e non è escluso che possa voler intendere il travaglio dell’umanità fino all’arrivo di Gesù, il Salvatore. Quattordici comunque è anche il numero del nome del re Davide in lingua ebraica, dove ogni lettera dell’alfabeto ha un valore numerico.

[4] La promessa di matrimonio ebraica era allora vincolante a tal punto che subito l’evangelista parla di Giuseppe come “sposo” di Maria. Potremmo paragonare la “promessa di matrimonio” qui citata ad un compromesso che precede un atto di vendita, dove sussistono tutti gli obblighi di legge per le parti senza che vi sia stata ancora la vendita vera e propria. L’inadempienza ad un compromesso provoca la risoluzione dello stesso con l’obbligo del risarcimento per la parte inadempiente. Quanto qui era successo a Maria era motivo sufficiente perché la promessa di matrimonio non si potesse perfezionare in un matrimonio vero e proprio. Ma quanto cresceva nel ventre di Maria non era opera di nessun uomo, bensì di Dio stesso, dello Spirito Santo che aveva concepito in lei il futuro re di Israele.

[5] La Legge di Mosè permetteva a Giuseppe, in questo caso parte offesa, di far valere ogni sua ragione. Ma Giuseppe, forse perché incredulo e quindi comunque convinto che qualcosa di nefasto potesse essere accaduto alla ragazza, voleva agire con discrezione.

[6] Anche qui “figlio” va inteso come “discendente”.

[7] La citazione è da Isaia 7:14. Uno dei motivi per i quali prediligo la Nuova Diodati come versione è la rispondenza in questa fra questa citazione che troviamo nel Nuovo Testamento con il verso citato di Isaia nell’Antico Testamento. Ciò non accade in altre versioni, quali la Riveduta e la Nuova Riveduta. Ma nel tradurre Isaia 7:14 non sarebbe saggio ritenere affidabile sia la lezione della versione greca dei LXX (Settanta) che l’interpretazione apostolica del brano, dove, nella parola ebraica originale, che è “giovane”, il senso è quello dell’età legata allo stato di purezza fisica? Ritengo la coerenza con l’insegnamento apostolico di gran lunga più importante delle critiche mosse da studiosi razionalisti e anticristiani.

[8] La parola “primogenito” manca in alcuni manoscritti, ma era certamente parte del testo originale di questo brano della Scrittura. La sua omissione è infatti facilmente motivata dall’eccessivo zelo di quegli scribi che immaginando che la parola implicasse che altri figli furono partoriti da Maria dopo Gesù, pensarono bene di toglierla dal testo eliminando ogni fraintendimento.

[9] In questo punto la vecchia Diodati offre una lettura piuttosto singolare: “ella gli pose nome Gesù”. La Nuova Diodati recupera nella sua versione di questo passo, in accordo con tutte le altre versioni, la lettura corretta.

 

 




Struttura del Vangelo di Matteo

Struttura del Vangelo di Matteo di Giuseppe Guarino

L’opera di Matteo segue una struttura precisa e lo si coglie molto bene nello schema che segue. Uno sguardo d’insieme infatti rivelerà l’intento di questo vangelo: dimostrare che Gesù è il Messia promesso a Israele.

E’ importante afferrare il senso della sequenza degli eventi descritti in questo meraviglioso scritto per carpire il profondo significato che hanno all’interno dell’economia della salvezza.

Una nota importante riguarda la cronologia. Noi occidentali del XXI secolo siamo ossessionati dalla cronologia. Ciò è visibile anche nell’uso dei nostri verbi, nella loro struttura – che finisce per influenzarci più di quanto non pensiamo. Nella cultura ebraica, e comunque per meglio dire, quella biblica, non è esattamente così. Gli scritti di Geremia, ad esempio, o di Daniele, per citare due casi, mettono avanti il senso degli eventi rispetto a quando questi si sono verificati. Lo stesso fenomeno accade in Matteo: non è una limitazione, ma stile.

 

 




In the Beginning… Amazing Bible Stories for Children

In the Beginning… Amazing Bible Stories for Children by Costantino and Giuseppe Guarino.

A collection of Bible stories from the Old and the New Testament told by a son and a father together to bless both young and old.

Buy it on Amazon:

Softcover: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NVBKNMS

Hardcover: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NZ5M94Y

e-book: www.amazon.com/dp/B09P6T1RRQ

PREFACE (from the book)

The Bible is an amazing book full of amazing stories. It is intended for adults, so it is our task as parents to teach our children the ways of God, introducing the Word of God in an appropriate way.

This is why I chose to write this book with the precious assistance of my younger son, Costantino. He helped me understand how the subject should be presented to a young mind. His contribution was so vital that his name had to be on the cover next to mine.

Some children will be attracted by David. Others by Samson. All the characters in the Bible teach us something, whether good or bad. Yet, it must be made clear that Jesus is the most important character and the subject of the entire Scriptures. This is why He is on the cover of this books. This is why His victory over death and sin ends this book. It is a message of Hope that our children need to learn from a very young age.

Jesus is our Lord – their Lord.

Jesus is our Savior – their Savior.

Jesus is our Hope – their Hope.

May God bless this book as it helps you parents in the most difficult task we are being confronted with, parenthood.

Giuseppe Guarino

June 23rd, 2021

 




The book of Daniel, the Prophet

The book of Daniel is a fascinating piece of evidence of the divine inspiration of the Word of God.

In our Bibles it is found after Ezekiel, between the major and the minor prophets. But it is not like any of  the other prophetic books of the Old Testament. No wonder the Jewish Canon lists it among the Writings.

Daniel’s prophecies speak both of the first and of the second coming of the Messiah. The kingdom of heaven proclaimed in the first pages of our Gospels is a direct quotation of a concept found in Daniel 2. Jesus himself refers to this wonderful book and its author in his prophetic sermon aiming at his second coming. If we are interested in end-times prophecies, Daniel is the book we need to start with.

My commentary will be both prophetical and historical.

The attacks against the authenticity and historical accuracy of Daniel by the liberals are outdated and untenable when considered in the light of archeological findings of the XX century – though some still turn a deaf ear to evidence and continue to rely on obsolete theories to discredit this wonderful book.

The truth is very simple and scary for some: in Daniel we find a powerful witness of the inspiration of Scriptures!

I pray this book will be a blessing to many and strengthen their faith as we see the day of his return so evidently near – nearer than ever!

You can buy the book on Amazon

Softcover: www.amazon.com/dp/1522735917

Hardcover

e-book: www.amazon.com/dp/B08CS3RTYS

 

from the book

DANIEL CHAPTER ONE

Daniel was a prophet, a true prophet of God.

He was born a Jew, from a noble or even royal family. His life of ease radically changed when, probably still a teen ager, in circa 606 BC, he was taken captive to Babylon by the great king of the empire, Nebuchadnezzar, to be trained and become a part of the State Administration of that great and ancient nation. He must have been chosen because of his qualities, that met the requirements for the Babylonian court. We know then that Daniel was quick to understand and gifted in all wisdom. Being faithful to God was another of his qualities. In fact, though in a foreign land, captive, Daniel did not forget about the God of his fathers and made up his mind to remain obedient to the Law of Moses, ready to face all the consequences.

The scared hostages were probably taken in procession through the city by the conquering king, along with the treasures looted in the temple of Jerusalem.

Daniel was not alone. Others were led captive with him. Children of rich, educated families; healthy, strong, good looking – the Babylonians would only take the best of everything back to their home. Three of his companions are mentioned: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

The first thing to do with the captives was to introduce them to the Babylonian culture and language. First of all: their names needed to be changed, probably to be more easily pronounced in the dialect of their new home. “ … Daniel, Belteshazzar; and Hananiah, Shadrach; and Mishael, Meshach; and Azariah, Abednego.

The change was also intended to glorify the pagan gods worshipped by the Babylonians. However, this and other attempts could not change the character of Daniel. He was immovable in his decision to follow God, his God, no matter what would happen to him. Then the three young Jewish men made up their mind they would not contaminate themselves with foods forbidden by the law, since it had been offered to idols. Daniel showed himself to be very wise too. He acted with sharp intelligence and convinced the chief of the eunuchs, Ashpenaz, that the king’s diet was not necessary for him and his friends.

Life has always been hard when you want to do right. Just like when you make up your mind to serve God and everyone else seems to want to test you, to see how far your faithfulness – and patience – can go.

Daniel is a great example for Christians. If a kid could make it, lost in a foreign country where he had been carried a prisoner, taking the risk of his own life to obey the Law of his God, Christians should have no right to complain. If he made it, with God’s help we can make it too, we can stay faithful when the trial comes.

We do not know what God has in store for us until we prove to be faithful servants. I am surely not the only one who would like to know in advance what the reward will be if I “do right.” Well, it does not work like this with God. And it makes sense, just as Jesus said: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10). As a matter of fact, it usually works like this both in everyday life as well as in the Kingdom.

Daniel was thus introduced to the Babylonian king and court. It was only the beginning of a long career. In fact, Daniel  continued to be (in the state administration) until the times of Cyrus, the Persian king.

The first chapter of Daniel always amazed me with the historical information it provides. It is evident how the vivid descriptions, the narrative, accurate to the smallest details, dates, people’s names, etc. can only be the result of personal experience. Those who fall victim to the deniers of this book’s authenticity need to know that increasing knowledge of the history of the time has always proven the case for Daniel.

Some believe there is a discrepancy between the dating of Daniel and that Jeremiah concerning the first siege of Jerusalem. It is called into question when referring to Daniel 1:1-2. The simple truth is that Jeremiah follows the Egyptian dating methods – because before Judah fell into the Babylonians’ influence, it was subdued by the Egyptians. And, as one would expect, Daniel follows the Babylonian calendar. No mistakes, no discrepancies.

 

 




Westcott and Hort: Their Theory and Text Today

by Giuseppe Guarino

Westcott and Hort

Their theory and text today

If we want to state in one sentence the meaning of the work of the two great scholars Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, some could say that “they gave the final blow to the Textus Receptus.”

The Textus Receptus is the name with which the Greek critical text published by Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1516 is commonly known and referred to. It was used as an original for the main versions of the New Testament up to the year 1881. In that year Westcott and Hort published their critical edition of the original Greek text of the New Testament. They explained their method and motivated the choices made with great skill and eloquence. Although for years the Textus Receptus had not been well regarded by the world of textual scholars, no one had previously managed to produce a theory that could so easily satisfy the scientific world on the one hand, and convince the average reader of the reliability of the new text on the other. Undoubtedly, they succeeded.

There are several points in favor of the two scholars. Their basic preparation, of course. Historical circumstances also played an important role in the success of their work.

The most significant argument in favor of their thesis, in fact, was provided by the two Codes dating back to the fourth century BC, the Vatican (abbreviated B) and Sinaitic (ℵ, Aleph, first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) manuscripts which became available in that period. These were two extraordinary witness to the Greek text of the New Testament that, given their unique characteristics of completeness and antiquity, jumped to the center of scholars’ attention. Presenting the testimony of B and ℵ already made Westcott and Hort’s text attractive enough.

Since believing that “older” corresponds to “the best” or “more faithful” is an easy concept to support and defend, the theories underlying the new Greek text convinced both scholars and the public. On the one hand, the enthusiasm of the believers was motivated by the fact that a text of the New Testament was finally presented based on documents old enough to silence the criticisms that had been attracted by the relatively late age of the manuscripts on which the Textus Receptus was based. Of course, the community of scholars was quite pleased to attend the funeral of the Textus Receptus .

Westcott and Hort’s claim to have traced a “neutral” text of the Greek New Testament is very convenient to accept. Yet, although their work was intended to be definitive and the two scholars were convinced that they had obtained the closest Greek text to the original that it was possible to retrace, unfortunately this was not the case.

It is my belief that a set of more or less fortuitous circumstances, sometimes only competing with objective merits, are at the basis of the fortune of some ideas and of the individuals who have promoted them.

The exposition of Westcott and Hort is truly captivating: the theories of the scholars are proposed in a convincing, clear, cultured, attentive way, with the right words and the right arguments.

Anyway, sometimes objective truths can be presented in a mediocre way and fail to be sufficiently incisive. But I believe more attention should be paid to substance than to form. When the gospel narratives were introduced to the sophisticated and educated Greek world, they seemed to be too simple and crude to be considered worthy of any consideration – literarily speaking.

Unfortunately, some erroneous theories manage to be well received thanks to the fame and reputation of those who promote them.

Even today the names of Westcott and Hort shine in the firmament of the history of textual criticism, eclipsing far greater scholars than them, less fortunate and less sensationalistic. Their theories are still studied and evaluated with admiration today although it is now clear that very little of what they maintained was based on objective evidence.

There are actually two merits of Westcott and Hort’s work. The first, I have already mentioned, having dethroned the Textus Receptus – if that can truly be called a merit. The second is to have brought to life the Alexandrian text of the New Testament, which was in circulation in Egypt from the second to the fourth century.

I shortly evaluate here some of the conclusions that led them to boldly present to the public the critical edition of the Greek text they published in 1881.

The fourth century official revision of the Greek New Testament. 

They supposed that in the fourth century an official revision of the Greek text must have given life to the “type of text” present in most of the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. Such presumption was essential in order to be able to nullify the testimony of all the enemies of the text of the oldest manuscripts.

Unfortunately there was and there is no historical evidence for such a revision.

Judging from the objective data of the differences in the text, from the fundamental absence of uniformity in the majority of the manuscripts of the New Testament, although this corresponds to a certain affinity and homogeneity, it is very difficult if not impossible to suppose that these manuscripts are all the result of a deliberate textual revision which took place in Antioch and from there, it was imposed to all Christianity.

To prove their conviction Westcott and Hort isolated eight passages in the New Testament – 8 passages only! – and marked them as the product of a deliberate process which they termed Conflation. These eight readings, are, in their opinion, evidence that the fourth century revisers of the Greek text took two short readings, one belonging to the Western text and another to the Alexandrian and combined them, giving life to a longer reading. The eight passages in question are Mark 6:33, 8:26, 9:38, 9:49; Luke 9:10, 11:54, 12:18, 24:53. Let’s see in practice what we are talking about by examining at least one case.

“And they were always in the temple, blessing God.” (Luke 24:53 – New Revision)

“And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:53 – New International Edition)

According to Westcott and Hort, the short text “blessing”, found in manuscripts P75, Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Sinaiticus (ℵ), the uncial L, would be the original one. The supposed fourth century revision must have altered the original reading adding the other short reading of the Western text “”praising.” Doing so, the revisers gave rise to the Majority text,  Byzantine/TR reading that we find today in most manuscripts.

That a handful of manuscripts, evidently coming from one single tradition, that is, closely related with each other, may be right against the rest of the New Testament handwritten evidence is a paradox that is difficult to prove by virtue of any theory. The simple reality of the facts is that the long, original reading must have been independently abbreviated to give birth the two short versions of it found in the Alexandrian and Western manuscripts respectively. How can the latter statement be made? Simply because such official, phantomatic revision has left no trace in history and no actual, real evidence exists that it ever took place.

The discovery of several Papyri manuscripts (P45, P46, P66, P75) not available in the nineteenth century, forced twentieth century textual critics of the biblical text to revise some paradigms. These Papiry, which were older than ℵ and B, surprisingly showed traces of Byzantine readings at a time when, according to Westcott and Hort’s theory, they should not have existed.

Let’s see an example,

Luke 12:31

TR (KJV): “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”

According to the witness of ℵ and B the reading was changed to,

“Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.” (Revised Standard Version)

“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided to you.” (New American Standard Bible)

The supposed late, fourth century Majority/Byzantine/TR reading was later found in the newly discovered P45. It was also in A, W, 33 and other witnesses. That is why the traditional reading has been restored in newer editions of the New Testament.

Let us have a closer look at the manuscript evidence.

– Seek the kingdom – P75.

– Look for his kingdom – B and ℵ.

P45 significantly agrees with the Majority text. Bruce Metzger adds the testimony of P75 in favor of the Alexandrian reading, because “the scribe of P75 has a tendency to omit personal pronouns.” But he might as well have omitted “of God”, we can’t say for sure.

External, objective evidence is by far in favor of the traditional reading. The certainties in Bruce Metzger’s mind, with all due respect, are not convincing enough: “It is more likely that ‘his’ has been replaced by ‘God’s.’” Objective evidence cannot be discarded in force of personal considerations. Metzger supposes the traditional text is a harmonization of Luke with Matthew 6:33. However, in the Nestle Aland the words “of God”, are questioned and put within square brackets, because, as the note of the same scholar explains, the short reading, which is found in ℵ and B, “Explains better the origin of the others”. Using Rhetoric we can support any view or idea and sound convincing, but suppositions must leave the scene when evidence comes in, and in this case evidence is for the Byzantine reading.

There is another passage that had sufficient evidence during the days of Westcott and Hort, but that the two scholars failed to correctly evaluated because of their blind love for the two fourth century codex.

Matthew 6:33

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” (WH – NASB)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (WH – NIV)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (TR – NKJV)

Westcott and Hort’s reading is not the original one. It would be supported by ℵ and B were it not for the fact that at this point the two manuscripts do not agree on the same reading; therefore in reality the short reading is found only in the first of the two. This should have suggested the two scholars the simple fact that conflicting witnesses are not reliable.

Against the hypothesis of Westcott and Hort that the Byzantine text originated through revision, as I already mentioned, the fact that second-third century papyri P45, P66 and P75 show a good number of “Byzantine” readings, which, if the English scholars were actually right, could not have existed in the second and third century – long before the revision they imagine, describe, but cannot prove with objective, historical evidence. Today, it is clear enough: it never took place!

I looked in the Nestle-Aland and checked the critical apparatus concerning the Gospel of John.

In John 5:17, “Jesus” is omitted from P75, B, ℵ and of course not found in the Westcott and Hort text. But it is in P66, the oldest and most complete manuscript of John.

In John 5:19 the Greek word ὰν is the Vatican and Sinaitic reading and is therefore adopted by Hort. But the reading of the Majority text εὰν, is now also found in P66 and P75!

In John 5:29 the choice is between:

– οι – P66c, B. It is the reading adopted by Westcott and Hort.

– οι δε  – P75, ℵ. As with the previous reading, in the light of the new evidence, the reading of the Majority text made its way in the Nestle-Aland.

– καὶ οι – P66, W.

Wilbur Pickering collects a series of interesting observations in his book The Identity of the New Testament Text.

Observing 51 variants in the text, this is a table of the times they agree with ℵ, B, and the TR.

ℵ          B          TR

P45               21        25        33

P66               16        32        38

P75               11        36        33

If P45, P66 and P75 had been discovered in the nineteen century, quite probably there would have been no Westcott and Hort theory as we know it.

Even the name “Byzantine” conceived probably to  discredit the witness of the vast majority of Greek New Testament manuscripts, has been replaced today by the more appropriate – and neutral – adjective “Majority” (acknowledged today by all scholars).

Westcott and Hort were wrong, there was no official revision that gave birth to the text found in most of the New Testament manuscripts. The assumption that allowed them to set aside 90% of the handwritten evidence to make room for the supremacy of their Neutral Text mirage was mistaken and must be abandoned.

The Genealogical method applied to the text of the New Testament.

Having set aside the Majority text witness, Westcott and Hort applied the so called genealogical method in order to determine which was the original among the variant readings found in ancient manuscripts. In order for this method to actually give reliable results, some conditions had to occur. A major one is that the manuscripts at our disposal must be so closely related to each other as to allow us to trace the original text through the copying errors made. Furthermore, the text of the manuscripts should not have been polluted by voluntary variations.

The genealogical method is therefore inapplicable to the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament and has never actually been applied. Colwell affirms it and Aland reiterates it.

Deliberate changes to the text are one of the main reasons for most of the variant readings we find in manuscripts, or, to say it more politely, it was an excess of self-esteem of the scribes that gave rise to many changes introduced into the text of the New Testament. The differences among the manuscripts belonging to the Alexandrian- Egyptian tradition are clear evidence of this fact.

Since trying to apply this method to New Testament textual criticism is no longer considered possible, it is not necessary to say more about it. Another fundamental practice behind the creation of the Neutral Text has been proved to be wrong, and if not wrong in itself, inapplicable to the Greek text of the New Testament.

Yet, Westcott and Hort’s fame has been left untouched and the results of their conclusions never radically questioned by the main stream of textual critics, who, basically, follow in their footsteps.

Text Types

For the sake of convenience, I often speak of types of text myself: Alexandrian, Western, Majority. But it is an artificial construction that does not correspond to the reality of the facts. In fact, the manuscripts of the Greek New Testament cannot, in a definite and scientific way, be placed within such artificial categories as what we define “text types.”

The truth is that, for the Greek New Testament we have too much manuscript evidence and that it is too heterogeneous to allow such a rigid classification. The text that Westcott and Hort imagined to have brought back to light was what they termed Neutral, the purest form, closest to the originals, that could be found in the manuscripts available. Hort stated: “We are convinced that (1) the readings of ℵ and B must be accepted as authentic as long as valid internal evidence proves the opposite, and that (2) no reading of ℵ and B can be definitively rejected…”

The theory of these two scholars is convenient. It would be easy to embrace and defend it for the plausibility it brings with it and which makes it seductive both for the believer and for the scholar: the oldest manuscripts are the most reliable, just follow them and we will have the original text. Unfortunately, the evidence and the love of textual truth cannot make right the wrong.

Let me be a bit more radical. There is just one text type, and that is the Majority Text. It is the result of the faithful copying tradition of the autographs down to the invention of moving type printing. All the other manuscripts which do not belong to this category, are simply editions, revisions and deviations from the reliable line of transmission of the text of the New Testament.

Western Non-Interpolations.

The Western Non-Interpolations are nine New Testament passages considered spurious by Westcott and Hort. They are omitted only by some manuscripts cataloged as witnesses of the “Western Text” but present in the rest of the New Testament manuscripts. They are Matthew 27:49, Luke 22:19b-20, 24:3, 6, 12, 36, 40, 51, 52.

This detail of the W-H theory and text is absurd. It shows how the two scholars overestimated their personal judgment as much as the (isolated) scribes who deliberately dared to manipulate the text of the Gospels. Supposing that a few, otherwise considered inferior manuscripts altogether, are the only recipient of the truth of the Gospel means to invalidate the reliability of the Greek New Testament manuscript evidence itself and goes beyond the boundaries of sound, objective textual criticism.

“…scholars have been critical of the apparently arbitrary way in which Westcott and Hort isolated nine passages… whereas they did not give similar treatment to other readings that also are absent from Western witnesses.” Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition, p. 165.

Westcott and Hort is not “apparently”, but totally arbitrary and the same remark can be made concerning their theory in general.

There are no signs of voluntary alteration of the text.

This is another false assumption on which the Westcott and Hort’s theory stands.

Objective evidence, coming from various patristic writings, but also by observing the variant readings of some manuscripts show that deliberate changes to the text are a fact the textual critic must seriously evaluate among the other causes behind the birth of differences among manuscripts.

But, we wonder: why did the two scholars come up with such a principle? Because if it is believed that there have been attempts to deliberately alter the biblical text, the genealogical method is no longer applicable to the New Testament and their whole theory falls apart.

The main reason for voluntary changes are doctrinal. What may seem absurd to one’s mind must have looked as necessary to another. The case of Origen, the famous father of the Church, is a clear example of this. He believed that Jesus could have never said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23) and that therefore there must have been a primitive error in the manuscripts with this reading – which is, all! Origen was a textual critic too: would he not erase such phrase from the manuscripts he would copy?

There are also open accusations of early believers who write of heretics of corrupting the Scriptures in order to substantiate their wrong doctrines. The so called Western non-interpolations must have originated because of the beliefs of gnostics following the famous heretic Marcion, who did not believe in Jesus being a true man and actually suffering on the cross.

There are traces of peculiar attempts to alter the text in the manuscripts themselves.

P45 is a very ancient manuscript, but not so reliable. For reasons that we do not know the scribe of this papyrus shortened the text by removing here and there whatever he thought unnecessary, keeping, anyway, the readability of the text.

Intentional variations to the text introduce elements that disturb the practice of textual criticism, because they present us with modifications due to circumstances that we probably ignore. However, neglecting this possibility exposes you to trivial errors.

Colwell said it plainly, “Most of the variant readings in the New Testament were created for theological or dogmatic reasons… In the New Testament manuscripts most of the variations, I am convinced, were deliberately introduced.”

Conclusions

Nothing to argue about the objective merits of Westcott and Hort, their credentials and academic achievements. But time and new discoveries have proved the inconsistency of their textual theories for the Greek New Testament.

Their contribution still remains in history as the most glamorous and popular result of textual criticism. Yet, it is doubtful that their results meant a real progress in the search for the original text of Scripture. Much more correct were the observations of those who, already at the time of Westcott and Hort, less popular, defended the text of the majority of manuscripts. Pillars like Burgon, Scrivener, Miller are ignored and falsely accused of being blind defenders of the Textus Receptus in the academic circles.

The truth is that Westcott and Hort dethroned the Textus Receptus only to revive a less reliable “type” of text, a text fabricated in Egypt, influenced by the school of Alexandria. Their theory has fallen miserably against the weight of evidence, but their fame and, more important, their text still remains standing. It is a wrong that sound textual criticism of today’s many scholars who support the Majority Text (Robinson, Pierpont, Pickering, Farstad, Hodges) will, in time, I am sure, correct, giving new assurance of the reliability and accountability of the Greek text so well and miraculously preserved to both the average Bible reader and the diligent student of the Word.

 

This article is taken from my book on the Majority Text.

 

 

 

 




The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible

THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES’ BIBLE An Evaluation of the Text of the New World Translation by Giuseppe Guarino

The book can be bought on Amazon

Softcover edition: www.amazon.com/dp/1070132063

Hardcover edition: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NR9XVR1

e-book edition: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NZS79PS

 

INTRODUCTION (from the book)

The New World Translation (NWT) is the official translation of the Bible released by the Watch Tower, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Directive Body. The first English edition was presented to the public in 1950. The latest updated edition is the 2013’s, now available online.

It is a very peculiar version of the Bible.

In this book I will direct the readers’ attention to the evident mistakes that make of the NWT a unique literary phenomenon among the various attempts of translating the Bible. These mistakes are so many and so misleading on certain specific doctrines that I cannot help but wonder if we are looking instead of a translation at a deliberate attempt to manipulate the text of the Scripture. This the readers will judge by themselves.

In the first part of the book I  will focus my attention on the New Testament passages where the Deity of Jesus has been removed or made obscure, considering as simply as I can the grammar of the original Greek text of the New Testament.

In the second and fourth part I will discuss the critical text adopted by the NWT and its choice to include the name of God, Jehovah, in the New Testament.

The third part will be a quick look at passages in the NWT which still bear witness to the deity of Jesus.

My goal is to make this work a quick reference book and a tool in the hands of the believer whenever Jehovah’s Witnesses will knock on their doors so that he or she will be able to answer to their false pretenses on the New World Translation reliability.

The info I collected and used here comes from the very good official website that the Watch Tower has built, www.jw.org, which is absolutely very useful for quick access to information that in the past was very hard to collect.

May God help us not to be arguers only, but good witnesses of His grace.

 

INTRODUCING THE PROBLEM

In this first section I will discuss of those Bible passages which clearly teach that Jesus is God in the original Greek but that the Watch Tower has not translated accurately, altering the simple truth they reveal, in order to better substantiate their unscriptural position on the person of Jesus.

I will evaluate these passages in the light of my experience on the original text of the New Testament, quoting, when necessary, from grammars and manuals.

The critical text that I will use as a reference is the The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text edited by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville. Anyway, most of the passages I quote in this study are the same with the prestigious Nestle-Aland text, which the JW seem to be so fond of.

For the English text I will use the New King James Version as a constant reference, but honestly, concerning the Deity of Jesus, I might use any other Bible translation, both old and new.

One important detail is that, up until now, the Watch Tower has not released an official grammar for the New Testament Greek. This is why, absurd as it may seem,  they quote from grammars and texts that ultimately contradict or do not share their views.

It is incredible how they extensively quote Harner in a passage where, if read all, he affirms the divinity of the Son of God. Just like they quote Howard to motivate their inclusion of Jehovah in the New Testament – notwithstanding the fact that he has openly asked the Watch Tower to stop misusing his studies.

 

 




The Majority Text

The Majority Text of the Greek New Testament is the very first book I wrote in English. I published it in 2014.

When I wrote my first paper, I mailed it to Dr. Wilbur Pickering who, to my surprise, wrote back to me shortly to tell me he liked my work. This gave me the excitement I needed to continue in my studies and writing about them. This book was written straight into English. The Italian edition of the book came later.

The above is the 2021 edition.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon – softcover edition: www.amazon.com/dp/1708744711

Click here to buy the book on Amazon – softcover COLOR edition: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NRJT9VR

Click here to buy the book on Amazon – hardcover edition: www.amazon.com/dp/B09GJRRS5W

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Introduction

from the book

The Old Testament was entrusted to the Jewish nation. Abundant evidence shows that they did an excellent job. Paul himself witnessed to that: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of the circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2).

The witness of the Jewish historian Josephus is also worth notice. He writes: “… and how firmly we have given credit to those books of our own nation, is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, willingly die for them.” Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, 8.42.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the eleven Qumran caves started in 1947 has proved the case for the faithfulness of the Jewish nation in preserving the Old Testament text. Before that discovery, the earliest complete Old Testament manuscripts available dated from the tenth and the eleventh century. It was easy for the attackers of the authenticity of the Bible to dismiss the witness of the Masoretic Text as unreliable, since objectively too many centuries separated that from the autographs.

Among the Qumran manuscripts was the so called Great Isaiah Scroll, which dates 100 BC. When compared to the Masoretic text, it showed that: “Despite of the fact that the Isaiah scroll was about a thousand years older than the Masoretic version of Isaiah, the two were nearly identical … The results obtained from comparative studies of this kind have been repeated for many other scriptural books represented at Qumran. The large majority of the new scrolls do belong to the same textual tradition as the Masoretic text. They are, however, centuries older and thus demonstrate in a forceful way how carefully Jewish scribes transmitted that text across the years.” James C. Vanderkam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, page 126.

Brotzman quotes Millar Burrows as he technically discusses the same witness, “The conspicuous differences in spelling and grammatical forms between the St. Mark’s manuscript and the Masoretic text makes their substantial agreement in the words of the text all the more remarkable… It is a matter for wonder that through something like a thousand years the text underwent so little alteration. As I said in my first article on the scroll, “Herein lies its chief importance, supporting the fidelity of the Masoretic tradition.” Ellis R. Brotzman, Old Testament Textual Criticism, A Practical Introduction, page 95.

The conclusion as far as Old Testament textual criticism is concerned is well represented in a simple fact stated as follows: “90% or more of the text … exists without variation…”, Ellis R. Brotzman, Old Testament Textual Criticism, A Practical Introduction, page 23.

In this book we will focus our attention of the textual transmission of the New Testament text.

By the time the temple and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed (70 AD) the Jews who believed in Christ were a minority in the Church compared to the large number of Gentiles who became Christians. All the apostles died in the first century and the dawn of the second century saw Christianity as a definite, separate entity from the Jewish nation, which, through its leaders, reiterated the rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah.

“knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle is soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will also be diligent to cause you to always have memory of these things after my departure. For not having followed fables having been cunningly devised, but becoming eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ, we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:14-16)

The apostles themselves must have instructed as to how the Gentile Church should preserve the New Testament Scriptures. This must have given rise to what Pickering calls “the beginnings of a ‘majority text’.” Wilbur N. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text IV, p. 93.

Multiple, faithful copies, of Paul’s epistles, of the Gospels, and other New Testament books must have been made by the recipients of the writings themselves.

Paul openly wrote to the church in Thessalonica: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). He also wrote: “Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16).

These statements and other similar found in the New Testament imply that an active work of multiplying and spreading of trustworthy copies took place at an early age in the Gentile Church too and that such activity was under apostolic supervision.

Even the New Testament made mention that heretics were many from the beginning. The Church of the first centuries was even more attacked by heretics than the Church of the centuries to follow.

Since faithful copies could not be used for their purposes, some heretics began to try to corrupt the text of the Greek Scriptures in order to be able to show copies that proved the case for their beliefs. Some would even dare write gospel accounts or other writings falsely attributing them to the apostles Peter, Thomas, James and even Judas.

Notwithstanding these vile attempts, the witness of the surviving Greek New Testament manuscripts shows evidence of the faithful hands of honest servants of God who produced faithful copies of the apostolic Scriptures down to the times of the invention of print.

Honestly, if evidence of the preservation of the Holy Scriptures is not seen in the wonderful agreement found in more than ninety-five per cent of the existing manuscript evidence, where else can we hope to find it?

On the other hand, we can’t fail to see the traces left by the heretics, as they attempted to corrupt the Scriptures, in the small number of manuscripts which disagree not only with the majority but even among themselves. We maintain that this is the reason that gave rise to the so called Alexandrian text, supposedly produced in Egypt, survived in some early, conflicting manuscripts and acclaimed today by scholars as the most reliable witness to the Greek New Testament.

On the other hand, the so called Majority text, found in the agreeing witness of the largest number of Greek New Testament manuscripts is there for all to see how God preserved the apostolic Scriptures through the Gentile believers as well as He preserved the Old Testament through the Jewish nation.

The goal of this book is not controversy, but at the same time truth must be stated. In fact, we firmly believe that Bible believing Christians need to know that not only God inspired His Word, He also preserved it and such thing is quite evident especially in the Majority Text.

I hope the readers, whatever their opinions about this subject may be, will understand my work as an effort in the direction of communicating confidence in the supernatural way God gave His Word to the man of the twenty-first century.

Please bear with me. Not being a native speaker I know my English is far from perfect. Please judge intentions and ideas more than language accuracy.

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

 

 




VANGELO DI GIOVANNI 1:1-14. TRADUZIONE E NOTE.

VANGELO DI GIOVANNI 1:1-14. TRADUZIONE E NOTE di Giuseppe Guarino

Cominciamo la traduzione di questo vangelo con un inno cristologico che per millenni ha suscitato grandi entusiasmi e grandi polemiche. La Chiesa ha da sempre compreso la Divinità di Cristo, ed essa è chiaramente visibile qui, insieme al meraviglioso ruolo di Creatore, Signore, Salvatore, perfetto rivelatore del Padre e della Sua volontà. Le varie eresie sono deviazioni temporanee e limitate di una fedele lettura che ha caratterizzato studenti della Parola e lettori, teologi e semplici credenti.

DIO SI RIVELA TRAMITE LA SUA PAROLA

Capitolo 1

1In principio era il Logos,[1]

il Logos era presso Dio

ed il Logos era Dio. 2

Egli era in principio presso Dio:3

tutto è venuto all’esistenza per mezzo di lui,

e senza di lui nulla esisterebbe di ciò che invece è.[2]

4In lui era la vita

e la vita era la luce degli uomini.

5La luce splende nelle tenebre,

ma le tenebre non l’hanno ricevuta.

TESTIMONIANZA DI GIOVANNI BATTISTA

6Venne un uomo mandato da Dio, il suo nome era Giovanni. 7Egli venne come testimone, affinché testimoniasse della luce, perché tutti credessero per mezzo di lui.

8Egli non era la luce, ma testimone della luce.

DIO SI RIVELA AL MONDO, A OGNI UOMO

9La luce vera, quella che illumina ogni uomo venuto al mondo, era.

10Egli era nel mondo,

il mondo è stato fatto per mezzo di lui,

MA IL MONDO NON LO HA CONOSCIUTO

e il mondo non lo ha conosciuto.

DIO SI E’ RIVELATO AL SUO POPOLO

11È andato alla sua gente,

IL SUO POPOLO NON LO HA RICEVUTO

ma i suoi non l’hanno ricevuto.

DIO ESTENDE IL SUO INVITO AD OGNI UOMO

12A quanti, però, l’hanno ricevuto,[3] Egli ha dato loro l’autorità di diventare figli di Dio: a quelli cioè che credono nel suo nome, 13i quali non da sangue, né per volontà di carne, né per volontà d’uomo, ma sono nati da Dio.

DIO SI MANIFESTA VISIBILMENTE IN GESU’

14E il Logos si è fatto carne[4] ed ha dimorato fra noi. E noi[5] abbiamo visto la sua gloria, gloria come dell’Unigenito dal Padre, pieno di grazia e di verità.

__________________________

NOTE

[1] Essendo questa una versione annotata e di studio, mi permetto di ritenere il vocabolo Logos in originale. Esso ha un significato più ampio dei termini di solito utilizzati per tradurlo, cioè Parola o Verbo, quest’ultimo termine essendo palesemente dipendente dalla versione latina di Giovanni. Logos è sia Ragione che Parola, così come il Figlio di Dio è sia Parola di Dio sia Dio stesso col Padre. Le polemiche antitrinitarie finiscono quando Giovanni 1.1 è ben compreso. Il Logos è Dio, ma è distinto dal Padre.

[2] Troviamo qui uno stupendo esempio del parallelismo ebraico, dove, come spesso accade per alcuni detti di Gesù, l’affermazione di un fatto viene seguita dalla negazione del fatto contrario.

[3] Dal verso 10 assistiamo ad un meraviglioso crescendo. L’uomo ha i mezzi per riconoscere l’esistenza di Dio, ma non lo riconosce. Dio si è poi manifestato ai suoi, al suo popolo, Israele; ma anche questi non lo hanno riconosciuto. E quindi adesso l’invito è universale, riguarda ogni uomo, v.12, tutti coloro che vogliono ricevere il Figlio di Dio, credendo in Lui, loro, generati nello spirito da Dio, diventano figli di Dio, entrano il quel rapporto speciale di Figliolanza con Dio per mezzo dell’adozione in Gesù Cristo.

[4] La forza dell’affermazione di Giovanni è necessaria contro coloro che negano la reale incarnazione, umanità, del Figlio di Dio. Nelle sue epistole e anche in altri punti del suo Vangelo questa importante verità è ribadita.

[5] Qui si fa avanti l’apostolo Giovanni, testimone oculare della persona e maestà di Gesù Cristo! Egli non era un profeta, un semplice uomo, bensì l’Unigenito Figlio di Dio.