Textual Transmission and Versions of the New Testament

J. N. Birdsall

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199237777
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Textual Transmission and Versions of the New Testament

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This article argues that the transmission of scripture has been the work of those who were primarily Christians, and must be seen in the context of their concern for the clear and true statement of the faith. They did their best to preserve the text, but saw the task in part as ensuring too that its message was comprehended. They could also make mistakes, and these were not always completely removed. It is the effects of the desire for absolute clarity, and especially for expressions that left no room for erroneous interpretation, considered useful in their day, which are today seen by a majority as hindrances to our perception of the pristine documents. However, many variant readings are early, some being errors, but others indicative of early tradition or exegesis. There is much valuable data latent in the critical apparatus as well as in the text of our modern critical editions.

Keywords: scripture; Christians; New Testament; faith

Article.  6120 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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