Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Theses in Textual Criticism

In this post I would like to collect information about doctoral theses in New Testament textual criticism. My plan is to continuously update the post to become a useful resource, to which there will be a link in the right sidebar under "advice and resources" (we will see if we can update the other resources there too). Therefore I invite collaboration in the comment section to this post (which will help me edit this post in the future).

So I am looking for information about (1) ongoing dissertation work; (2) completed theses in New Testament textual criticism (priority to more recent ones, e.g., from the 90's and onwards); (3) availability (preferably with links). If this is successful, we will end up with a "Virtual Thesis Room" for textual criticism.

In the first "release" of the post I would like to bring the attention to British theses online. It is important to bear in mind the specific character of this thesis system, where the subsequent publication of a thesis is usually in a vastly-improved version taking into account the comments and suggestions of various qualified readers and editors, correcting errors and making the thesis much more considered, readable and accurate. From this aspect, it is not desirable to go back to the original thesis. On the other hand, I can think of several advantages of accessing the original thesis:

1) It may be available online free of charge and so widen the access to research considerably (whereas the published version may be very expensive);

2) It may be identical to the published version (not so usual, but it happens);

3) It may contain much more material, not entirely necessary for the argument, but yet very valuable for other purposes;

4) It may take many years before the thesis is published (e.g., James Royse's work, where the very signficant thesis was published after 25 years).

EThOS – British Theses Online
Already last year ("Freebies Online") I mentioned EThOs, a service from the British Library providing access to British theses online. There are several interesting theses in New Testament textual criticism available for immediate download (after registration). These include:

"The contribution of discourse analysis to textual criticism : a study of the Bezan text of acts."
Author Heimerdinger, J G.
Awarding Institution
University of Wales.Bangor,
Year of Award 1994

"The New Testament Text of St. Cyril of Alexandria"
Author Cunningham, Arthur
Awarding Institution
The University of Manchester
Year of Award 1995

"Codex 1582 and Family 1 of the gospels : the Gospel of Matthew"
Author Anderson, Amy Sue.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 1999

"Codex Sinaiticus, its correctors, and the Caesarean text of the Gospels"
Author Myshrall, Amy Catherine.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 2005

"A textual commentary on Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians"
Author Kloha, Jeffrey John.
Awarding Institution
University of Leeds
Year of Award 2006

"Augustine's citations and text of the Gospel according to John"
Author Houghton, H. A. G.
Awarding Institution
University of Birmingham
Year of Award 2006

eTheses Birmingham
The theses from Birmingham are also available from the eTheses Repository of Birmingham University (e.g., Houghton's dissertation here, where the theses are introduced with a more elaborate title page than EThOS).

Edinburgh Research Archive
Theses from Edinburg University are available in Edinburgh Research Archive. For example:

"Jesus Began to Write: Literacy, the Pericope Adulterae, and the Gospel of John"
Author: Keith, Chris
Issue Date: 2008

In this archive you can also find several online articles and essays in New Testament textual criticism by Larry Hurtado.

Thanks to Hugh Houghton for valuable advice on this post.


  1. Edinburgh has an online repository, e.g. http://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/2595

  2. Thanks, I have updated the post!

  3. Thanks! This is already useful.

  4. Well, if you're looking for ongoing dissertation work, my own should (hopefully) be complete this month. Working with John Kloppenborg at the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, my dissertation is on the use of conjectural emendation in New Testament textual criticism.
    The first and largest chapter gives an introduction to the method and its theory, surveys the history of its use and reception, demonstrates how the majority of modern NT scholars either reject or limit the use of the method, investigates the most common reasons why that is so, and then gives my own evaluation of those reasons. Subsequent chapters explore several test cases from the text of James. These chapters are designed both to advance a specific conjectural proposal for that text, as well as use that example to better explain and illustrate some of the ideas advanced in chapter one. The texts I deal with are James 3:1, 4:2, 4:5, and I close with a two-for-one deal on 1:1 & 2:1.

    Hopefully when I'm done and defended, it will gain some level of online availability.

  5. Another ongoing dissertation: I am a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh working under Paul Foster and Larry Hurtado. I plan to submit and defend this Fall. My dissertation is a study of the singular readings found in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi, Bezae, and Washingtonianus in the Gospel of Matthew.

    I chose these particular 5 manuscripts because they have enough extant text in common in one book, Matthew (unlike the papyri and Alexandrinus in Matthew), to provide a substantial base text for a study and comparison of scribal habits.

    There is still much work to be done, and seeing as how it is a research led study as opposed to hypothesis led, I'll wait until I submit the dissertation to share the final results.

    Gregory S. Paulson

  6. Ryan, thank you very much. I will include the information in my next update (perhaps on American dissertation work ...). What will be the title of your work?

  7. Gregory, thank you so much. And it was very nice to meet you in Edinburgh last year. I will include your information too in a future update of this post!

  8. "From my iPad"?


    (PMH is getting techie)

  9. Just kidding. I did it from an ipad I was playing with in the Apple Store. Impressive piece of kit - even the typing was much better than I thought. But I didn't actually buy it!

  10. Aha, but what are you doing in an Apple Store playing around with toys during work hours?

  11. Murdoch University in Australia


    Kenneth Panten
    A history of research on Codex Bezae, with special reference to the Acts of the Apostles: evaluation and future directions

    This one may also be interesting (I haven't read it yet).

    Chan Chim Yuk
    The Relationship between Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Question - A study based on the Passion Narrative


  12. For Australian theses generally try: http://adt.caul.edu.au/ (the Australasian Digital Theses Program). Through this you can find and download theses (good for searching, not so good for browsing by subject).

  13. There is an online catalogue of Cambridge dissertations since 1970 (http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/manuscripts/dissertations.html), but this does not lead to an online version of the dissertation itself, only an entry in the catalogue which says you can order the work in the manuscript room.

  14. Amy Donaldson's thesis: http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-12112009-152813/

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  16. This should be a great resource. I have added a link to this blog/discussion on my website's online resources page.