Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dan Wallace's TC Quiz for Students

Over at the Parchment and Pen Blog, Dan Wallace provides a TC quiz.

1. The first published Greek New Testament was:
a. UBS1
b. Complutensian Polyglot
c. Novum Instrumentum
d. Textus Receptus

2. How many of the original New Testament books still exist?
a. all of them
b. Paul’s letters
c. just the Gospel of John
d. none of them

3. How many manuscript copies of the Greek New Testament are known to exist today?
a. less than 50
b. approximately 2000
c. approximately 3000
d. more than 5000

4. A textual variant is:
a. the wording of a verse or passage found in one or more manuscripts
b. a word or phrase found in at least one manuscript that differs from the wording of the text printed by the editor(s) of a Greek New Testament
c. any place where the original wording of a document is in doubt or is not uniform among the manuscripts
d. a manuscript that contains a particular wording

5. The prevailing theory of textual criticism held today among scholars is known as:
a. reasoned eclecticism
b. majority text view
c. rigorous eclecticism
d. independent texttypes view
e. providential view

6. The oldest complete New Testament known to exist today is:
a. P52 (also known as Rylands 457)
b. Vaticanus (B)
c. Sinaiticus (a or Aleph)
d. Chester Beatty Papyri

7. Westcott and Hort were:
a. British scholars who developed a theory of textual criticism that is followed today in liberal seminaries
b. Theological liberals whose text-critical views can be entirely dismissed because these men were theological liberals and thus biased against the Bible
c. All of the above
d. None of the above

8. The long ending to Mark’s Gospel (Mark 16.9-20) is not found in:
a. Aleph and B
b. most ancient MSS
c. the Alexandrian texttype
d. the Caesarean witnesses

9. The total number of textual variants among the Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic commentaries on the New Testament is:
a. ten
b. between 1000 and 1500
c. approximately 100,000
d. approximately 300,000 to 400,000

10. The most important rule for textual critics to follow when deciding on the wording of a particular textual problem is:
a. the harder reading is to be preferred
b. the shorter reading is to be preferred
c. the reading that best explains the others is to be preferred
d. the reading that most clearly affirms inerrancy is to be preferred


  1. I always like a quiz and again it amazes me how difficult it is to make them fool-proof.

    1) The first published Greek New Testament. The correct answer is not in the list, unless we read published as printed.

    2) How many original NT books still exist? May be a trick question. I can defend the option "All of them" and "None of them". As the question mentions books rather than documents or manuscripts I would go for "All of them".

    4) A textual variant is: I would not be a very good student, as my preferred option would be "None of the above." But then, perhaps my English lets me down here. Option c) comes close ("wording in doubt or not uniform") but I am not prepared to call a conjectural emendation in a place where the text is uniform a textual variant.

    5) Prevailing theory Something tells me that the expected answer is "Reasoned eclecticism". However, the caveat is the among scholars. Who would allow the title "scholar" to anyone who disagrees fundamentally with me? They are not scholars but charlatans! So the correct answer is determined by the identity of the person who is correcting this quiz.

    7) Westcott & Hort Well, if we allow for the possibility that "reasoned eclecticism" is more or less a modern way of saying that one is following W&H, than a) is correct: their theory is followed in liberal seminaries. OK, not exclusively in liberal seminaries, and they are not liberal because they are following W&H (I guess), but still. The second option "theological liberals etc." has an interesting internal logic, but entirely dismissing someone is impolite and must be morally wrong.

    8) Longer ending of Mark Must be a trick question again. Alef and B are the only ancient witnesses (i.e. manuscripts, unless one wants to include all sorts of other evidence) that cover this bit of Mark, all other mss. are of a later date and post-classical, that is, early Middle Ages (which, in this view on history start in the fifth century). That gives potentially two correct answers a) and b).

    10) Most important rule This is a mean question, but I think the correct answer is not in the list. Upon consideration d) "The one that supports inerrancy" comes closest to what I think is the most wide-spread practice ("and the majority is always right", said the lemming): "The most important rule is to choose that reading which is socially the most advantageous for me" (whether to appear interesting, controversial, orthodox, liberal, all depending on one's context.)

    Well, most of you may understand by now why I haven't made it very far in life...

  2. 1. E (unknown)
    2. A
    3. A
    4. E (none of these are satisfactory)
    5. F (none of these)
    6. D (although I am not sure what 'known to exist today' conveys.)
    7. A
    8. B
    9. E (unknown)
    10. E (The most important rule is to know that there is no universal rule.)

  3. Dirk,
    you did that so nicely.

    I would have 'missed' #2, choosing 'd' because of the question's "original". But you are right, we have all of the original NT books. We just need to agree on whose canon list we first accept for the label "original NT". I must be candid here, I find the Epistle of Barnabas offensively anti-Christian, especially if the church in Jerusalem had still been in existence. And whichever list we accept, we do have the book.

    On 3, you are correct. none of the above, since one can use any base, handwritten or printed from which to label 'variants'. Your English is fine and c is out. However, one must commit to the best among givens, so b. Such is multiple choice.

    10. I love your #10:
    "The most important rule is to choose that reading which is socially the most advantageous for me" (whether to appear interesting, controversial, orthodox, liberal, all depending on one's context.)

    This is of course, within the methodology of 'c'.

  4. Dirk, actually, I don't think the first printed NT is in the list either, unless the term Textus Receptus is used rather broadly.

  5. Actually, scratch my last comment. If I follow the dates I can find correctly, then the Complutensian Polyglot NT was the first one printed (1514), but not the first printed one to be published (published 1522). The edition of Erasmus was the first printed NT to be published (1516). The Textus Receptus, published by Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir in 1624, was none of the above. Of course the New Testament had been published on handmade copies for many centuries prior to any of these printed editions.

  6. I don't see the problem with number one. Erasmus' Novum Instrumentum was the first published (available for distribution) Greek New Testament. The Complutensian Polyglot was the first printed Greek New Testament, though not published (distributed) until after Erasmus' Novum Instrumentum.

  7. Oh ok. I wasn't aware that Novum Instrumentum was the title for Erasmus' NT.

    Nevertheless, published editions of the NT had already been around for 14 centuries at that time, albeit only on handmade copies.

  8. Dan has posted the "answers" now (
    I'm afraid that I scored 0/10 (according to Dirk who calculated my score).

  9. I took the test, then graded myself with the anwers he provided.

    1)d. I got that one wrong, not because I was unaware that Textum Receptum was a label first applied by the Elziver brothers, but because I was a little rusty on my Latin and forgot that Novum Instrumentum was Erasmus' title.

    I plead oversimplification of the right answer on this one because in to my cyberfacsimile the original title was
    frumentù omne, diligener ab ERASMO ROTTERDAMO/
    recognitum & emendatum, noñ folum ad græcam ueritatem, ue-/ (and so on for another 20 lines)

    2) I was able to peer into Dan Wallace's brain deeply enough to correctly divine the answer as (d). This assumes that the books we have were originally written as books. But given that all the answers related to books as we now have them, this was a safe assumption.

    3) I failed to perceive that Dan Wallace defines "manuscript copy of the Greek New Testament" as "running script Greek Scripture on parchment or papyrus," and chose (a). I was wrong anyway, because the number is now over 50, as several more complete GNT mss have been produced since Erasmus. Very tricky! This just illustrates the pitfalls of trying to outsmart the test maker.

    4) I originally chose (c), but after input from Dirk and Randall, I changed it to (b). We now have enough of a variety of GNT's that, at least for some books, this is now the case.

    5) I chose (a). Obviously, this being Dan's position, he would impute it to the majority of those he considers scholars.

    6) I chose (c) under protest, it being answer that made the most sense, given the other options. But having virtually defined "Greek New Testament" as any fragment thereof, Dan makes a huge leap to limit "oldest complete NT" to one of two roughly contemporaneous mss, both of which are defective.

    Vaticanus, as a manuscript, holds just as much claim to completion as Sinaiticus does. Inasmuch as the end of the manuscript is assigned a different Gregory Number (1957), however, the reader is expected to think of Vaticanus as a truncated New Testament. By this reasoning, has erred in calling their $400,000 Coverdale Bible "the very first complete Bible printed in English," it being in fact not a complete Bible, inasmuch as the OT portion consisted of Tyndale's incompleted translation, with a supplement from a different textual base.

    But more. Sinaiticus is by no means complete, in the words of one textual critic:

    "On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. . . while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament.”

    If any of the test questions should have had "none of the above" added, it was this one.

    (7) (a) was my initial guess, until I read it more carefully. W & H are still greatly revered by textual scholars, but their overriding theory (that 01 & 03 represented the 'neutral text' that had been overturned in the Lucian recension) has long bit the dust. So it had to be (d). But I wonder at the logic that admits W & H to be less than orthodox, but not liberal. The term for that is___? "Heretical" is the only one that comes to my mind.

    (8) (a) is the obvious answer. It is the height of arrogance (or maybe just ignorance) to impute the absence of Mark's LE to "most ancient mss" just because it is missing in the two that we do have--given that both of them show significant evidence of textual tampering at this very spot.

    (9) (d) was an easy guess, given that (c) was the latest estimate just for the Greek ms corpus alone.

    (10) (c) was the obvious choice here, although it has its shortcomings too.

    So how did I score--eight out of ten. I could have gotten a ten had this been an open book test. But I'm not saying I would have.