Thursday, November 09, 2017

SBL Sale on A New Approach to Textual Criticism

The SBL has just launched their annual meeting book sale for SBL members, and even our new book, A New Approach to Textual Criticism is included. The discount price is $13.97 for the paperback (−30%) and $24.47 (−40%) for the hardback (I recommend the latter). To receive the discount, download the order form here and follow the instructions on the last page.

The discount price for SBL members is of course also valid at the meeting in Boston which starts next week. At the meeting, Peter and I will be happy to sign the book for anyone who wishes. The easiest way is to ask us after any NTTC session.

The book has received a number of endorsements by David Parker, Larry Hurtado, Claire Clivaz, Peter Head, Paul Foster and Dan Wallace, but a few days ago, the first customer review on Amazon appeared here, by a “Brent” which delighted Peter and me (on Amazon you can also look inside the book here):
Required Reading for Pastors, Students, and Scholars
This book provides a concise and intelligent overview of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). While Wasserman and Gurry’s chosen topic may sound esoteric and inaccessible, the CBGM has become a foundational tool for establishing the text of the Greek New Testament (GNT). Anyone preaching or teaching is using some text; therefore, the methodology for establishing the text is paramount. Every pastor and scholar working with the GNT will benefit from reading this important work. The stated intent of this book is to introduce beginning students and trained scholars to the CBGM—and it certainly meets that goal. Admittedly, some chapters may require rereading, but the content and presentation are excellent. 
In fact, the material is presented in a fresh and readable manner (it only took me two days of casual reading to get through it) and the content is fascinating. It is a scholarly and even sometimes entertaining resource. Helpful examples abound, the footnotes are excellent and often point the reader to key sources for further reading, key terms are explained clearly, and the glossary is a bonus. 
Regarding presentation, unfortunately the actual printing of this book isn’t the best. Some of the letters lack sharpness and ink. Some of the figures are tough to make out too (4.2 and those in the appendix are very poor). At the same time, the abundance of figures and tables are most welcome and contribute greatly to assisting the reader’s understanding of the material. Only two typos stood out: an unwelcome capitalized word on p. 40 and an oversized superscripted “20” on p. 46. Additionally, BDAG and LSJ were omitted from the list of abbreviations.


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  2. Drs. Wasserman & Gurry,
    Thank you for this work. I have been through it several times now and have a much clearer understanding of the CBGM. I really believe that this is the best explanation so far. Certainly, it helps if one has read the articles written by the various advocates and those with doubts beforehand.
    Pre-genealogical Coherence appears to be extremely helpful, especially when the coherence is so clear, like in Mark 1:1. I do wonder what Dr. W. Thinks about the variant in Jude 5 where he accepted Lord as the original reading in ‘The Epistle of Jude: It’s Text and Transmission’ now that the CBGM has led the editors of the NA/GNT to Jesus as the original reading.
    On the other hand, I still have many questions about Genealogical Coherence. First, assuming I correctly understand what was written, it appears that since the direction of the text is based on the editors decisions at each variant, leading to the local stemmatta, that such information is only as valuable for determining the ausgangstext as my trust in the editors making the initial decision. In other words, the only reason to accept the conclusion that the Majority Text represents the ausgangstext more often then previously thought is because these editors chose variants initially more frequently based on MT and then subsequently after realizing this, went back and relooked and made different decisions about variants then they did originally in favor of the MT. It appears, again I grant I could still misunderstand, that other editors could come to radically different initial conclusions and the resulting Coherence be different.
    The examples in the book are extremely helpful and highlight some significant questions about the decisions of the editors of the NA/GNT as regards the ausgangstext. The decision to go with a text that is not found in any Greek manuscript, 2 Pet 3:10, cannot be attributed to the CBGM since the Coherence is not so clear and the accepted texts closest potential ancestor is a Text with a different reading which happens to have the same text as the earliest manuscripts.

    Thanks again for this book, I look forward to reading it again and getting even better understanding of the CBGM.


    1. Tim, I so glad you found it helpful. On your very good question about the relationship of the editors' decisions to genealogical coherence, I gave a paper at SBL this year showing that pre-genealogical coherence actually plays a more important role in the resulting genealogical coherencies than do the editors' decisions. That's not to say that the editors' decisions don't affect it, but just that it is much less than I would have expected. I do touch on this in my dissertation too. But that book's not so cheap as this one.

    2. PG,
      Thanks, I am intrigued enough to get both!