Textual Criticism


Textual Criticism Resources

The books recommended under textual criticism are broken down into two categories:  Orthodox & Heterodox/Heretical.

ORTHODOX:

The Revision Revised by Dean John William Burgon

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Dean John William BurgonThe importance of this book cannot be underestimated. There is no one book that exposes Westcott and Hort’s false Greek Text and false Greek theory behind that text any more thoroughly and convincingly than The Revision Revised. Dean Burgon defends the traditional text of the New Testament. He shows clearly the defects in both manuscript “B” (Vaticanus) and manuscript “Aleph” (Sinaiticus). It is very important to see the arguments contained in this historic volume because virtually the same Greek text of Westcott and Hort (1881)

The Last Twelve Verses of Mark by Dean John William Burgon

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Dean John William BurgonDean Burgon demonstrates that the methodology of modern textual criticism fails to hold up when examined against the last twelve verses of Mark. The entire system of textual critics must be rejected. He shows that Bishop B. F. Westcott and Professor F. J. A. Hort and their followers are categorically wrong in their approach to the text of the New Testament. Dean Burgon’s book is a fatal blow to the manuscripts “B” and “Aleph,” which are the favorite manuscripts of the modern textual critics.

The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels Vindicated & Established by Dean John William Burgon

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Dean John William BurgonThere is a battle over the Bible that is raging in liberal, neo-evangelical, and even many fundamental churches, schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries. One of the most recurring falsehoods that is used by the enemies of the Greek Traditional Text or Received Text is the almost unbelievable falsehood that the Greek text was not in existence until 1516 A.D. with Erasmus. This volume thunders out an effective reply to the serious errors of this false position. It proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Traditional Text was in the hands of the churches in a continuous time line from the original Apostolic times down to the present.

The Cause of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospel by Dean John William Burgon

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Dean John William Burgon[This selection is from Chapter 8–Corruption by Heretics.] The Corruptions of the Sacred Text which we have been hitherto considering, however diverse the causes from which they may have resulted, have yet all agreed in this: viz. That they have all been of a lawful nature. My meaning is, that apparently, at no stage of the business has there been ‘mala fides’ in any quarter.

We are prepared to make the utmost allowance for careless, even for licentious transcription; and we can invent excuses for the mistaken zeal, the officiousness if men prefer to call it so, which has occasionally not scrupled to adopt conjectural emendations of the Text.

To be brief, so long as an honest reason is discoverable for a corrupt reading, we gladly adopt the plea. It has been shewn with sufficient clearness, I trust, in the course of the forgoing chapters, that the number of distinct causes to which various readings may reasonably be attributed is even extraordinary.

But there remains after all an alarmingly large assortment of textural perturbations which absolutely refuse to fall under any of the heads of classification already enumerated. They are not to be accounted for on any ordinary principle. And this residuum of cases it is, which occasions our present embarrassment.

They are in truth so exceedingly numerous; they are often so very considerable; they are, as a rule, so very licentious; they transgress to such and extent all regulations; they usurp so persistently the office of truth and faithfulness, that we really know not what to think about them. Sometimes we are presented with gross interpolations,–apocryphal stories: more often with systematic lacerations of the text, or transformations as from an angel of light.

We are constrained to inquire, How all this can possibly have come about? Have there even been persons who made it their business of set purpose to corrupt the [sacred deposit of Holy Scripture entrusted t the Church for the perpetual illumination of all ages till the Lord should come?]

At this stage of the inquiry, we are reminded that it is even notorious that in the earliest age of all, the New Testament Scriptures were subjected to such influences. In the age which immediately succeeded the Apostolic there were heretical teachers not a few, who finding their tenets refuted by the plain Word of GOD bent themselves against the written Word with all their power.

From seeking to evacuate its teaching, it was but a single step to seeking to falsify its testimony. Profane literature has never been exposed to such hostility. I make the remark in order also to remind the reader of one more point of [dissimilarity between the two classes of writings. The inestimable value of the New Testament entailed greater dangers, as well as secured superior safeguards. Strange, that a later age should try to discard the latter].

The Majority Text:  Essays & Reviews in the Continuing Debate by Dr. Theodore P. Letis

Reviewed by Louis F. DeBoer

Dr. Theodore P. LetisThe “majority text” position is a mediating position between the traditional view that embraces the Textus Receptus and the critical view that remains in search of the true text of the Greek New Testament, while confessing that it believes the search to be hopeless as to ever settling the issue with any finality. Like the defenders of the Textus Receptus they believe in divine preservation of the text, but reject the Textus Receptus as the text that God has providentially preserved. Rather they view the true text as being that which is supported in every reading by a majority of all the extent manuscripts and authorities. Hence the position is logically termed the Majority Text position. Since the vast majority  of the texts are of the Byzantine family, of which the Textus Receptus is a particular example, they are therefore proposing a text that is very similar to the traditional or received text and are therefore allies against the critical text forces. However, like the critical text people,  they are in search of a text, and on a quest to develop a text that truly is the “Majority Text.”  This is an ongoing quest whose resolution is not nearly as simple as it may seem, and will engage in devotees in many years of what else, except of course ongoing “textual criticism.” If they were therefore ever to achieve the ascendancy and dominate the Bible publishing industry we could probably continue to look for an ongoing series of Bible translations based on ever improved (?) versions of what purports to represent the true majority text. Therefore although such Bibles would be much purer representatives of God’s inspired word, having rejected the horrible corruptions of the critical texts, they would not necessarily resolve the confusion of what precisely is the word of God nor terminate the instability that currently plagues the Bible publishing industry.

The Ecclesiastical Text by Dr. Theodore P. Letis

Dr. Theodore P. LetisThis is a collection of essays written by the Director of the Institute over a period between 1987-1997 and published in journals both popular and academic, while he was a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Some are popular, most are rather technical studies treating translation philosophy, text criticism, the Protestant orthodox dogmatic traditions of the seventeenth-century. It also contains four important books reviews and two appendices. Some of these essays first appeared in the early series of the Bulletin.

Table of Contents
Essays
I.B.B. Warfield, Common-Sense Philosophy and Biblical Criticism.
II.The Protestant Dogmaticians and the Late Princeton School on the Status of the Sacred Apographa.
III.The Language of Biblical Authority: From Protestant Orthodoxy to Evangelical Equivocation.
IV.Brevard Childs and the Protestant Dogmaticians: A Window to a New Paradigm.
V.John 1:18 and the Egyptian Manuscripts: A Case Study in the Canonical Approach.
VI.The Protestant Reformation and the Philosophy of Bible Translations.
VII.The Ecclesiastical Text Redivivus?
VIII.The Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text and the Claims of the Anabaptists.

Heterodox/Heretical

The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament by Dr. Bart Ehrman

Dr. Bart EhrmanVictors not only write history: they also reproduce the texts. Bart Ehrman explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, examining how early struggles between Christian “heresy” and “orthodoxy” affected the transmission of the documents over which many of the debates were waged. He makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced. This edition includes a new afterword surveying research in biblical interpretation over the past twenty years.

The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition) – Dr. Bruce Metzger

Drs. Bruce Metzger & Bart EhrmanThis thoroughly revised edition of Bruce M. Metzger’s classic work is the most up-to-date manual available for the textual criticism of the New Testament. The Text of the New Testament, Fourth Edition, has been invigorated by the addition of Bart D. Ehrman–author of numerous best-selling books on the New Testament–as a coauthor. This revision brings the discussion of such important matters as the early Greek manuscripts and methods of textual criticism up to date, integrating recent research findings and approaches into the body of the text (as opposed to previous revisions, which compiled new material and notes into appendices). The authors also examine new areas of interest, including the use of computers in the collection and evaluation of manuscript evidence and the effects that social and ideological influences had upon the work of scribes. The standard text for courses in biblical studies and the history of Christianity since its first publication in 1964, The Text of the New Testament is poised to become a definitive resource for a whole new generation of students.

LINKS

The Ehrman Project

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