Evangelical Textual Criticism

Monday, May 28, 2007

Collating for Dummies

Tony Chartrand-Burke offers a wonderful little booklet, Collating for Dummies, which is a step-by-step guide for collating MSS. (The focus is on apocryphal/patristic texts but many things are useful for collators of NT MSS.) Tony prepared this guide when he was working on his dissertation—an edition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas—as a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. The dissertation "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: The Text, its Origins, and its Transmission" is available here.


  1. Despite the useful info and bibliography the one thing this didn't tell me is how to collate a manuscript. Or have I missed something?

  2. There's a brief description of how to collate on p. 5, in a section entitled "Organizing Your Witnesses."

  3. thanks Stephen,

    I looked again, but the method he outlines in about one sentence, then proceeds to criticise it as having limited utility, being time-consuming, and only applicable for small numbers of mss. And having read his description I agree!

    So to all this useful information I would advise students to look at J.H. Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964, with reprints), 135-141 which provides some reasons for collating manuscripts, the method of recording a collation (which TCB is lacking), and some comments on the use of collations.

    This will at least help people understand how text critics used to operate.

  4. PMH:

    "...this didn't tell me is how to collate a manuscript."

    Perhaps not so much on the technical details, although it gives a general overview of broad issues, and a good bibliography as you point out. (And it was "for dummies" not for smart Heads :-))