Evangelical Textual Criticism

Sunday, May 30, 2010

James Edwards on Chapter Divisions in the Gospel Manuscripts

In the latest issue of New Testament Studies is an article by James R. Edwards entitled, "The Hermeneutical Significance of Chapter Divisions in Ancient Gospel Manuscripts". The abstract reads:

The study commences with the five major ways of dividing the gospels in Christian history, after which the focus falls on the hermeneutical significance of the Old Greek Divisions. The most defining characteristic of the Divisions is their tendency to demarcate chapters on the basis of the miracles and parables of Jesus. In lieu of miracles or parables, major units of Jesus' teaching also determine Old Greek Divisions. The Synoptic passion narratives, and particularly Matthew's, display the greatest precision and organization among the Divisions. Titles of divisions aided in locating specific passages, identified corresponding material in the gospels by the same title, and when read or memorized in sequence offered an overview of the gospel narratives.

5 comments:

  1. Have you considered how the pericopes of Q line up with the ancient gospel divisions (if they do), and what hermaneutical significance they might have?

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  2. personally, I don't even believe in the necessity of the two source hypothesis. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I disagree with Dan Wallace on this point.

    Everyone has probably read his "The Synopic Problem" article
    http://bible.org/article/synoptic-problem

    I find this highly inductive conjecture and see no *valid* reason for the existence of Q.

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  3. I found it (the article) quite an interesting discussion. It doesn't get a long way, but that is probably fair enough. I would have liked a table or two with all the data laid out.

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  4. The whole question of chapter divisions and other meta-textual elements in ancient texts seems to be under-investigated, as far as I can tell. There was a colloqium in Chantilly in 1994 which contained many interesting papers, but emphasised how much remained to be done.

    I'm not sure whether conclusions reached from study of the NT independently is the right way to attack this issue.

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  5. Cf. also an earlier article covering some similar ground: http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2009/12/kephalaia-in-alexandrinus.html

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