Listen student, it would be a lot easier (and more interesting) if you would just read my refutation and then respond to what I have written. As it is, I'm just repeating myself because you have yet to inform yourself of that which you are opposing.
Given the overwhelming evidence that the actual historical documents exhibit nothing like the uniform sequence that Martin suggested in his second paragraph, we could wonder if he was simply ignorant of the evidence, or if perhaps his zeal had caused him to accidentally overstate his case in that one instance. Unfortunately, neither provides a viable solution to the enigma of his error
. We know he did not "accidentally" overstate his case because the thesis of his entire book is that the order he advocates is the one and only "proper manuscript order."
Indeed, he uses the phrase "proper manuscript order" or its equivalent ten times in chapter one to refer to his prefered sequence. A typical example is found in the eleventh paragraph of chapter one [my emphasis]:
The ignorant might be impressed
Almost all the Greek-speaking ecclesiastical authorities from the areas of Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece refer to the books of the New Testament and they do so in the proper manuscript arrangement
. Note in all cases that they position the seven 'Catholic Epistles' (from James to Jude) before
those of the apostle Paul.
... [here he cited five witnesses that agree with him] ...
Further names could be cited in support of this prevalent view among eastern churchmen. These included Cassiodorus, Nicephorus and also the Syrian Peshitta Version of the New Testament.11 -- RTOB, chapter 1
by these eight witnesses, but those familiar with textual criticism recognize them as a small minority cherry-picked from a much larger set containing many variations. That Martin was aware of these facts is evident from his footnote numbered 11 which cites page 14 of James Moffatt's Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament,
(3rd ed. T&T Clark Ltd, 1981) where Moffatt presented a table listing a few of the more prominent variations in the manuscript sequences. The abreviation "Evv" stands for Evanglia (Gospels). Column "B" lists a few of the dominant documents with the traditional sequence of Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation, denoted "Evv, Acts, Paul, Cath, Apoc." This is the pattern we see in all modern Bibles. Martin's prefered order is presented in column "E":
Martin cited information from this table, so we know he was not ignorant of the wide variations in the manuscript order.
for Moffett's Table of the various orders of early NT Manuscripts (or read online
How then did he support his assertion that his was the one and only "proper" sequence? The answer is as simple as it is disturbing. Martin attributed the primary variation from his "proper" order to Jerome who "willfully devised" an alternate sequence "to exalt the so-called 'Gentile' epistles of the New Testament into a primal position over those which had 'Jewish' characteristics.'" He repeated this charge over and over and over again throughout his first chapter without ever producing any documentary evidence whatsoever.
Here is an example from the seventh paragraph of chapter one [Martin's italics, my underlining]:
From a scholastic point of view, Martin's errors are simply incomprehensible.
This new arrangement of Jerome
had the advantage in Jerome's eyes and to some western theologians of exalting the position of Paul (the apostle to the Gentiles) to a primal authority of rank above
the Jewish apostles who were commissioned to go to the Jews. Jerome's new and radical placement
of Paul’s epistles before
the seven "Catholic Epistles" in his Latin Vulgate also placed the Book of Romans and the city of Rome (the city to whom the first epistle of Paul's collection of books was sent) into a first rank position ahead of the Jewish apostles who once had Jerusalem for their top rank position. This rearrangement by Jerome
(to exalt the Gentile section of the Christian Church, and the city of Rome in particular) does not have the slightest justification when one consults the majority of the early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. -- RTOB, chapter 1
He cited no documentary evidence for any of his assertions about Jerome's motivations. He seems to be pretending to be some kind of "psychic archeologist" who can read the undocumented secret motivations hidden in the hearts of men long dead.