An Independent Baptist ministry student who is also a dear friend of mine showed me a new book he’s begun reading. It’s new to him, although I’ve known about it for quite some time. The book is Gail Riplinger’s massive In Awe of Thy Word: Understanding the King James Bible, It’s Mystery and History Letter by Letter. No, I haven’t read the book yet, but knowing the track record of inaccurate documentation Gail and most KJV-onlyists like her have, I decided to give her a pop quiz of sorts.
Ever heard of lucky-dipping? That’s what R. C. Sproul calls the practice of opening the Bible and picking a verse at random, expecting God to have a message for you. Well, I decided that in order to conduct this quiz on Mrs. Riplinger, I’d pick the first piece of documentation that I saw that was used in an attempt to legitimize any of the fallacious Ruckmanite, extreme KJV-only claims that she may have catalogued in her book.
The “lucky” footnote happened to be found on page 788 of her book. Now, I had neither the time nor the opportunity to transcribe the passage in question, but I took a few notes on a few sentences and will attempt to reconstruct the gist of what I saw on the page in relation to Riplinger’s attempt to disprove the supposed “myth” that John Wycliffe translated St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate in his effort to make the Word of God accessible to the common people, as he knew it was for the first century recipients of the New Testament.
First, Riplinger attempts to document that “Wycliffe had access to Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts which were in ‘complete agreement’ with the Old Latin [purportedly followed by] Wycliffe” (In Awe of Thy Word, p. 788).
Then Riplinger claims that Wycliffe refers to manuscripts being “corrected according to the Greek exemplar.” “Once Jerome’s text was corrected,” writes Riplinger, “there was ‘complete agreement’ of his translation [Wycliffe’s] with Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.” (ibid)
Riplinger’s citations offered to “document” the claim that Wycliffe “corrected” the Latin Vulgate in order to bring it into “complete agreement” with the Hebrew and Greek manuscript evidence before translating it come from pages 143 and 157 of whichever edition Riplinger owns of Wycliffe’s 1378 work entitled, On the Truth of Holy Scripture. Unfortunately, I have yet to locate the text of Wycliffe’s book online, and have not yet gone to the library to request a copy of it through the interlibrary loan process, which is about as speedy as applying for a job with the federal government. Well, perhaps a little more expeditious than that. If any of my readers are able to locate the online text yourself, I’d appreciate the link.
Undeterred, I thought today to look at less radical KJV-Onlyist, Dr. David Cloud’s Way of Life Literature website and see if he ever reviewed the book. His review of New Age Bible Versions was excellent, and is part of the reason I had the audacity to assume that her bad scholarship is so pervasive that it would be statistically likely that I find a sample of documented misinformation on the first try. Although Dr. Cloud hadn’t bothered to do as extensive of a review of this book as he did for NAVB, he did write a page length treatment of the very question I’m attempting to examine!
In Dr. Cloud’s “Friday Church News Notes” dated August 12, 2005 (vol. 6, issue 32), under the title, “WHAT ABOUT GAIL RIPLINGER’S NEW BOOK?” he writes, “Her newest book again contains many good things in defense of the KJV but it is interspersed with serious mistakes so that it is impossible to have confidence in her research or conclusions at any point. For example, in chapter 22 she claims that John Wycliffe did not use the Latin Vulgate as the basis for his translation but that he used Hebrew, Greek and Old Latin sources. She says it is a “myth” to say that Wycliffe used the Latin Vulgate. As a matter of fact, a careful comparison of the Wycliffe Bible with the Latin Vulgate and the Old Latin demonstrates that Wycliffe consistently used the Vulgate, with only a very few exceptions. I have done extensive research into the textual basis of the Wycliffe New Testament and it contains most of the textual corruptions found in the Vulgate. For example, the Wycliffe Bible omits “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” in Mat. 6:13, “to repentance” in Mat. 9:13 and Mk. 2:17, “spoken by Daniel the prophet” in Mk. 13:14, “get thee behind me Satan” in Lk. 4:8, “the Lord” from 1 Cor. 15:47, “in Christ” in Gal. 3:17, and “God” in 1 Timothy 3:16, to mention only a few of its textual errors. In most of these instances, these things are omitted in the Wycliffe and the Latin Vulgate but are NOT omitted in the Old Latin, so that it is obvious that Wycliffe was indeed following the Vulgate rather than the Traditional Greek Text or the Old Latin. Mrs. Riplinger gives so much seeming documentation that the average reader is convinced that her scholarship is sound, not being in a position to see that she frequently misuses her quotes and reaches conclusions not supported by the facts given in the documents that she cites as her authority.”
Boy, can I call ’em, or what? Thanks to the Lord for sending me to the right note, and thanks to Dr. Cloud for doing more homework than the average IFBx KJV-Onlyist!