Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Strengths and weaknesses of evangelical textual criticism
Perhaps we should reapproach the question of what tasks need to be performed by an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of evangelicalism within textual criticism. It seems to me that it is useful to mention weaknesses, since these are the areas that will require research and some problem solving. I'll start with one strength and one weakness. The weakness is variants that are hard to resolve. These present evangelicals with the problem that they claim authority for a text, but they're not sure which text they're claiming authority for. The strength is the converse: the great amount of text for which a massive array of witnesses show no variation. This means that very many copying events have gone on without corruption of the text. This suggests the basic reliability of those transmitting the text. These assertions are a bit short on detail, I admit. But let's leave that to the discussion.