Monday, February 12, 2007

Arlandson on NT TC

As noticed by Matthijs den Dulk, James Arlandson (@ American Thinker) has started a series on NT TC.


  1. Mostly fairly typical stuff here. Not really worth looking at except to see the sort of thing that third-hand summaries tend to emphasise. E.g.:
    a) the vast majority of variants are tiny accidents and only very few are significant/theological/deliberate;
    b) use percentages to describe the accuracy of manuscripts and the whole textual tradition;
    c) offer several reassuring quotations from Kenyon.

  2. I agree with Peter. Not worth it. I also disagree with the percentages given. There are still major questions without answers in NT TC (as Epp has pointed out). If we were to reconstruct the second century text, it would't have a 97-98% agreement with NA27 (IMHO, I bet :))

  3. 'it would't have a 97-98% agreement with NA27'

    The use of numbers seems to appeal to the general public (and to WH, K. Aland, Ehrman, etc.), but the percentages vary depending on whether we are talking about variation by letters, by words, and by whether there is some evaluation of the significance of differences. I think that apologists who wish to use numbers (and I think that they probably need to in order to give substance to their narrative) should give several sets:

    1) letters affected
    2) words affected
    3) word identifications affected
    4) meanings affected
    5) translatable differences

    In addition they should provide a narrative evaluating the significance of differences.

    Of course, it would help if evangelicals who work 'first' rather than 'third' hand had compiled such material in the first place so that the apologists could then have a reliable source.

    Of course, it must be said at the outset that any such statistics depend on initial assumptions. Within a WH framework or NA framework greater certainty can be achieved than within an Eppian one.

    The report thus needs to be structured:

    1) Overall textual theory
    2) Numerical boundaries of variation
    3) Narrative interpreting 2)