Is Letter Perfect Recovery Possible?
With Acts 4, word level changes, and the reality of whole cloth additions, can the text ever be perfectly recovered, letter by letter? Matthew 13 is one passage that suggests so. We think we know how, and are working on the problem.
The instructor in a class we took years ago taught us much about the history of letter level changes that are known to have happened in the text across the centuries. Two systems are known to have been employed to keep the text current to changes in pronunciation.
We know from the timeline, and Wikipedia, that the whole Roman world went through a series of pronunciation changes in the late first and second centuries. This was a timed prophetic event, replaying the spoken language changes last seen at the time of the Tower/Roll of Babel. It was a curse, for having received Ananias' edited New Testament.
Manuscripts important enough to be kept current across that era underwent spelling changes as needed to keep up with pronunciation.
Our instructor did not see these manuscript spelling changes as a malicious act. We now think those changes did provide cover for changes to inspired intent.
In any case, we were taught what had to be ignored when understanding the meaning of words. This includes all vowel pointing. It also meant we had to learn to spot, and ignore, added vowels.
So taking our Testimony work, which explains roughly which 1/5th of the Bible to start with, and using the known history of spelling changes, we have a starting point for letter by letter recovery.
But, there is more. The inspired text was written with a system functionally similar to the parity and check sum systems used in computer communications. Using such systems allow receivers of defective messages to identify certain types of defects and reconstruct the perfect message without requesting a retransmission from the sender.
In the case of the inspired text, this was an in-band system, hidden in the letter patterns themselves, it was not out-of-band as used by modern computers. So the original process of inspiration was so letter perfect as to include an error detection and correction system within the inspiration itself.
The system used appears able to correct errors across as many as maybe 12 defective letters. So changes of whole words, say the divine name, appear recoverable at the letter level.
This letter perfect Manuscript Recovery project is ongoing for us. The Spice Bible project is our critical edition text that we are building as the input to the computerized recovery process. We will report more on this aspect of our work when we have more to share.