In this interesting article Epp discusses the purpose of NT TC as he sees it. He discusses a wide range of issues (in typical Epp style), and proposes a 'Variant-Conscious Edition' of the GNT in which the variants would be more clearly observable ('in your face') than in most editions and produces a sample for the ascension narratives (Luke 24.50-53; Acts 1.1-2, 9-11). As a closing paragraph he proposes the following definition:
- 'New Testament textual criticism, employing aspects of both science and art, studies the transmission of the New Testament text and the manuscripts that facilitate its transmission, with the unitary goal of establishing the earliest attainable text (which serves as a baseline) and, at the same time, of assessing the textual variants that emerge from the baseline text so as to hear the narratives of early Christian thought and life that inhere in the array of meaningful variants.' (p. 308)
It is an interesting article, it will helped me understand Epp's views better, and it has 97 footnotes full of interesting items (not all of them authored by Epp). The project seems worth pursuing, although as with most alternatives to NA, it makes you marvel at what NA packs into not very much space. I think in my current mood I'd rather write: "It's All about Manuscripts: A Manuscript-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism".