Second Lecture: What is a New Testament Manuscript?

David C. Parker

in Textual Scholarship and the Making of the New Testament

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199657810
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744860 | DOI:
Second Lecture: What is a New Testament Manuscript?

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This chapter asks the question ‘What is a New Testament manuscript”. It discusses papyrus copies, including amulets, ones with sentences for fortune-telling. Parchment majuscule manuscripts are discussed, and three other classifications, amulets, ostraca, and lapidary inscriptions. Next discussed are minuscules, in particular commentary (catena) manuscripts, their format, contents, the inconsistency with which they have been listed as copies of New Testament works, and their textual significance. Discussion then moves on to liturgical and lectionary manuscripts, paratext, and non-textual elements. It is concluded that, while traditional catalogues required that a manuscript be simply either included or excluded from a list of New Testament manuscripts, the use of databases with multiple fields abolishes the need to make the distinction. It is argued that there is no such thing as a New Testament manuscript, and that the concept of a canon functions only at the level of the collection of works.

Keywords: papyri; amulets; ostraca; lapidary inscriptions; minuscules; commentary manuscripts; catena manuscripts; liturgical manuscripts; lectionary manuscripts; paratext; canon

Chapter.  9613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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