Over at the Books as a Glance website, our one-time (corr: two-time) ETC blogger, John Meade, has a detailed review of the new updated edition of Ellis Brotzman’s Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction. John concludes:
As an introduction to textual criticism, this volume has heuristic value in that it orients the reader to the discourse and practice of textual criticism. As an introduction to textual criticism, the volume is not as helpful as it could have been. The discussion on the text history of the Old Testament is not current. The information on the Greek versions was incomplete and mistaken in places. The volume appeared to follow other chief works in the field such as Tov’s and as a result it lacked fresh analysis and presentation of the immensely important subject matter. The field of textual criticism is already challenging enough to the novice, but when there are mistakes and discussions are presented in an incomplete and stale manner, the authors make it harder for the student to learn this skill than necessary.
Brotzman’s new co-author, Eric Tully, thinks John missed the aim of the book as an introduction and gives a lengthy response as a result.
I will say that writing an introduction is tough. It requires a real mastery of the field in question but also a good sense of what students need and how they will be able to digest it. Moreover, it needs to introduce students both to the history of the discipline but also to the current “state of play.” For a long time, my personal favorite in this genre has been Jobes’ and Silva’s introduction to the Septuagint. It’s a great model in this. I haven’t seen the 2nd edition yet but I understand it keeps the same basic structure of the original edition.
As an addendum, I think we can all agree that John Meade needs to blog more for us here at ETC. Besides benefiting all of us with his OTTC expertise, it would make up for the fact that he roots for the Denver Broncos.
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