Textual Criticism

Theology Thursday - Reasoned Eclecticism & the New Testament Text (Part 2)

Can textual criticism actually help us figure out what the original reading was? How does this work, on a practical level? In this short video, Dan Wallace explains why he believes it does work: 1

Now, Dan Wallace concludes his discussion about the reasoned eclectic approach to New Testament textual criticism:[2]

External Evidence

There are three pieces of external evidence that textual critics use to determine which variant is more likely to reflect the original wording: date and character, genealogical solidarity, and geographical distribution.

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Theology Thursday - Reasoned Eclecticism & the New Testament Text

Daniel Wallace is a scholar who advocates a reasoned eclectic approach to New Testament textual criticism. Here, in this short video, he briefly explains this approach:1

In this short excerpt from his discussion of New Testament textual criticism from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, Dan Wallace explains the nuts and bolts of the reasoned eclectic approach to textual criticism:2

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Theology Thursday - Principles of External Evidence

Here, Maurice Robinson concludes his brief case for the Byzantine platform for the Greek text of the New Testament. Read on, and learn why he believes “modern eclecticism leaves an atmosphere of general uncertainty and despair regarding the possible recovery of the original text of the New Testament.” Should you despair? Should you move the Byzantine text up a notch or two in your BibleWorks program?

Principles of External Evidence1

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Theology Thursday - Byzantine Priority & the "Phantom" Eclectic Text (Part 1)

In an appendix to his The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Platform, Maurice Robinson explained the Textus Receptus and the Byzantine platform are, in fact, quite different. For him, the crux of the issue is the dominance of the Byzantine text:1

From the beginning of the modern critical era in the nineteenth century the Byzantine Textform has had a questionable reputation. Associated as it was with the faulty Textus Receptus editions which stemmed from Erasmus’ or Ximenes’ uncritical selection of a small number of late manuscripts (hereafter MSS), scholars in general have tended to label the Byzantine form of text “late and secondary,” due both to the relative age of the extant witnesses which provide the majority of its known support and to the internal quality of its readings as subjectively perceived.

Yet even though the numerical base of the Byzantine Textform rests primarily among the late minuscules and uncials of the ninth century and later, the antiquity of that text reaches at least as far back as its predecessor exemplars of the late fourth and early fifth century, as reflected in MSS A/02 and W/032.

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The Textual History of the New Testament and the Bible Translator

Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 3)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Returning to the specific texts, Westcott-Hort vs. the textus receptus: in truth, both texts necessarily fall short of presenting the true original. Obviously, those readings in the textus receptus which are without any Greek manuscript support cannot possibly be original. Additionally, in a number of places, the textus receptus reading is found in a limited number of late manuscripts, with little or no support from ancient translations.

One of these readings is the famous I John 5:7. Such readings as these are also presumptively not original. And if one holds to the “majority rules” theory of textual criticism, i.e., whatever the reading found in a numerical majority of surviving Greek manuscripts is to be accepted as original, then the textus receptus falls short in the 1,838 readings where it does not follow the majority text.

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Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 2)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1.

The question remains to be resolved: how shall we define textus receptus? It has been customary in England to employ the 1550 text of Stephanus as the exemplar of the textus receptus (just as an Elzevir text was so adopted on the continent of Europe), and so we will follow this custom. For our purposes here, the term textus receptus means the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament published by Robertus Stephanus.

The Westcott and Hort text is much simpler to define. This is the Greek New Testament edited by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and first published in 1881, with numerous reprints in the century since. It is probably the single most famous of the so-called critical texts, perhaps because of the scholarly eminence of its editors, perhaps because it was issued the same year as the English Revised Version which followed a text rather like the Westcott-Hort text.

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