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Tuesday
Sep232014

Theological Term of the Week

text criticism
“[T]he careful study of the ancient texts in an effort to establish what the original manuscripts of the Bible said”;1also called textual criticism.

  • From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer:
    We have historical records of extensive text criticism from at least as far back as Origen (A.D. 185-254), but the modern flowering of the discipline followed the introduction of the printing press in Europe (1454) and the revival of scholars’ knowledge of Greek and Hebrew at the time of the Reformation. Text criticism has flourished especially in the last two hundred years, with the many discoveries of ancient manuscripts and a growing scholarly consensus on methods. 
  • From The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:
    Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.
  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:
    [T]he study of textual variants has not left us in confusion about what the original manuscripts said. Is has rather brought us extremely close to the content of those original manuscripts. For most practical purposes, then, the current published scholarly texts of the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament are the same as the original manuscripts. Thus, when we say that the original manuscripts were inerrant, we are also implying that over 99 percent of the words in our present manuscripts are inerrant, for they are exact copies of the originals. Furthermore, we know where the uncertain readings are (for where there are no textual variants we have no reason to expect faulty copying of the originals). Thus, our present manuscripts are for most purposes the same as the originals manuscripts….

Learn more:

  1. Michael Patton: Text Criticism in a Nutshel
  2. Michael Kruger: The Difference Between Original Autographs and Original Texts
  3. Daniel Wallace: Inspiration, Preservation, and New Textament Textual Criticism
  4. Michael Marlowe: Textual Criticism Is Nothing New
  5. Bible Researcher: List of Textual Criticism Resources
  6. Jeff Spry: Textual Criticism 101 - A General Introduction (audio), Textual Criticism 201 - The Textual Apparatus (audio) (Sample pages of NA27 & UBS4 (pdf) (referenced in previous lecture) and Textual Criticism 301 - An Examination of Passages (audio).
  7. Daniel Wallace: Textual Criticism Series (video)

Related terms:

Filed under Scripture

1From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer, page 299.

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