Article

Textual Criticism of the New Testament

James Keith Elliott

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0124
Textual Criticism of the New Testament

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Textual criticism is concerned with documents written by hand. It is both a science and an art. As a science, it is involved in the discovery and reading of manuscripts, cataloguing their contents, and, for literary works, collating the readings in them against other copies of the text. In New Testament studies, textual critics are mainly concerned with Greek manuscripts and traditionally with trying to establish, and publish, the earliest recoverable writings of the New Testament. The art of the discipline is in classifying the differing text-types into which manuscripts are said to fall, in evaluating the textual variation in manuscripts, and in establishing a critical text, usually furnished with an apparatus criticus, typically as footnotes displaying a selection of alternative readings. More recently, many text critics have also been concerned to understand the significance and literary or theological importance of distinctive readings. Translations of the scriptures into Latin, Coptic, and Syriac, as well as other versions in early Christian languages such as Gothic, Georgian, and Armenian, also occupy text critics. The biblical citations and allusions found in the writings of the Church Fathers also belong to New Testament textual criticism. Paleography, codicology, and papyrology are studies that interest many in the field. Although primarily concerned with the manuscript tradition or the establishing of new critical editions, textual critics inevitably concern themselves also with the history of the printed editions of the New Testament in Greek.

Article.  15462 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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