The most recent issue of JETS contains the plenary lectures on the text and canon of OT and NT from last year's ETS conference (see previously here). The NT papers are both excellent. I'll make some comments on one paper here:
Daniel B. Wallace, 'Challenges in New Testament Textual Criticism for the Twenty-First Century' JETS 52 (2009), 79-100.
This is not a technical discussion, and only one or two actual manuscripts or variant readings are mentioned in the paper, which has more the tone of a pep talk for evangelicals to get more acquainted with the issues posed by the discipline. He begins with Bart Ehrman and then
Dan discusses three 'postmodern intrusions into NT TC'.
The first of these is the Ehrman/Epp/Parker redefinition of the goal of NT TC away from determining the wording of the original text, their approach is anchorless, isolationist, and self-defeating, and 'the quest for the wording of the autographa is still worth fighting for' (p. 85).
The second is 'epistemological skepticism' - just because we can't know something certainly (e.g. the date of P52 or the correct text of ancient writers) doesn't mean we can't know anything.
The third is a focus on community/collaboration - which unlike the other two Dan welcomes in terms of various collaborative projects involving lots of acronyms: IGNTP, INTF, UBS, CSNTM.
He then discusses the role of theology in NTTC. Dan notes that theological issues have played a prominent role recently. He makes four points:
First, this blog is a symbol of the importance of theological issues in textual criticism (a good acknowledgement except for the unfortunate fact that he refers to us by the wrong url as www.evangelicaltextualcriticism.com which goes basically nowhere and at the moment doesn't even refer back to here - I guess they'll find us if they really want to).
Second, the prominence of discussion of the orthodoxy of the variants - in Dan's words: "no viable variant affects any cardinal doctrine" (which is commendably cautious).
Third, Dan thinks that those who reject inerrancy because we don't have the autographs are illogical (perhaps here he could have more carefully distinguished between the autographic text and the autographic manuscripts, for more of Dan on this see here).
Fourthly, Dan argues that the incarnation provides a methodological model for historical work in NT TC (not with any explicit reference to Peter Enns [for background see Enns]).
Finally Dan proposes some Desiderata:
Knowledge of documents: we ought to know them better, discover more, make digital photos, collate them and analyse them.
Closing gaps: evangelicals ought to contribute to this field, especially in the versions (like Pete Williams); apologists ought not to make exaggerated statements (as if!); and we ought to teach church members the real facts about the Bible to innoculate them against losing their faith by reading Bart Ehrman (slight paraphrase).
It is a good read, with some interesting details about various things. Most of it I basically agree with. Just a couple of quotes I was not sure about:
1. "Although the second-century MSS are all fragmentary, they attest to most of the NT books and over 40% of the verses of the NT." (p. 87) This figure seems way too high for me. Perhaps a typo for 0.4%. [Up-date: See comments for discussion: it is not a typo, but is not really a serious claim.]
2. The CSNTM has "discovered somewhere between 40 and 50 NT MSS" (p. 96; in fact recently Dan has upped this figure to 75 new mss - WSJ article and Dan on WSJ article). I continue to be fascinated by the number of new mss which the CSNTM claims to have discovered (and which we have often noted with delight on this blog). I might have missed it, but as far as I can tell we are still waiting for a single scholarly publication which actually discusses or demonstrates even one of these new discoveries. Nor, as far as I can see, are any of the images of these 75 mss available on the CSNTM website. Maybe a bunch of you, sworn to secrecy, are even now working away on these new discoveries. Let me know. [Up-date: See comments for discussion: new figure is 77 which is explained by Dan in comments; I was right on no scholarly publications yet, wrong on no images: 2881 and 2882 are on-line at CSNTM and more coming]
3. The CSNTM has "discovered the only biblical majuscule in Constantinople, a fragment of Mark that may be as old as the third century" (p. 96). I seem to recall Dan saying in a comment to this blog that this could be sixth or seventh century.