Yesterday a brother sent me an e-mail in which he linked to this website and pointed out the quotation of Erasmus about 60% down the page, that, at least at the present, reads as follows:
These holy pages (KJB) will summon up the living image of His mind.
They will give you Christ himself, talking, healing, dying,
rising the whole Christ in a word.
They will give Him to you in an intimacy so close
that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes. – Erasmus
Now, I immediately began chuckling, since, obviously, Erasmus died July 12, 1536, and the King James did not even begin the process of translation until 1604, appearing in 1611. So the patent absurdity of the inserted “(KJB)” is worth a good chuckle. I looked up the citation and found that it comes from his introduction to his Greek New Testament. I am uncertain which edition it was originally attached to, but since every one of his five editions differs in at least minor details from the textual choices of the King James translators, I likewise found the citation even more humorous. The citation is provided by a King James Only hyper-dispensationalist (just check out one other quotation on the front page, “2. Paul’s writings ONLY, Romans to Philemon are written TO us – Gentiles and Church of God and should be read, studied and applied in our daily lives.”) by the name of Mike Paulson. I took a moment to drop Mr. Paulson a note to ask him about the citation of Erasmus, just to see if maybe we might get an, “Ooops, sorry about that, will make the correction! Thanks!” type of reply, or, whether I would get the standard KJV Only style rebuff. So I sent an e-mail with the citation and then asked:
Now, this quote is from Erasmus’ introduction to his Novum Instrumentum. I haven’t taken the time to check each edition, but it could be as early as 1516, and as late as 1535, depending on whether it was in his first through fifth editions. But in any case, you do realize, don’t you, that the KJV was not in existence during Erasmus’ lifetime, and that hence to insert (KJB) into his words is a gross anachronism? He was speaking of reading the Greek New Testament, not the King James. Is there a reason why you have inserted such a glaring anachronism into his quote?
Now, I probably should have left off my name or something, because I am rather well known in KJV Only circles (though I doubt Mr. Paulson has actually read my book). But the response I received was classic KJV Onlyist rhetoric:
Yes there is, but it is more than obvious you have no clue – and your hatred towards the KJB tells me not to waste my time with you. I have read enough stuff to know that you don’t listen anyway. Surely you have been called to correct His words, so I will let you continue your ministry… too bad it is for another Jesus, though.
To which I replied,
All that bluster aside, can you answer the question? It is a fact that Erasmus wrote those words about the Greek New Testament (which, I might point out, contained variations from what would become the KJV a century later). He did not know about the KJV, since it did not exist. So, you have grossly misrepresented him. Do you have an answer for this misrepresentation outside of bluster and accusation? Just wondering.
To which he had a one line reply:
Keep wondering – you’d never understand it anyway.
Yes, I am sure it is far beyond my capacity to understand how Erasmus could have been talking about the King James Bible nearly a century before it appeared. Only those “inside the group” could possibly understand.