Monday, July 06, 2020

New Testament Textual Commentaries

I’ve been casually compiling a list of New Testament textual commentaries for several months. There is a lot more than just Metzger. I thought it might be helpful to post them here. This wasn’t an exhaustive attempt at getting every single last one of them, so I’m almost certain I’m missing some. I’ll try to keep an eye on the comments in case any readers think of any I missed. I make no judgments on the value of any of these; some are no doubt better than others. There will eventually be a textual commentary to accompany the Tyndale House Greek New Testament, but because it is still in the preparation stages and is not yet published, I leave it off the list.

I am excluding articles, chapters and monographs written on individual variants, and in general commentaries that happen to deal with variants (though Aune's Revelation WBC is an exception). That being said, I do include a few things here that are not primarily textual commentaries but contain interesting or valuable text-critical discussions.

I have arranged the following first in canonical order, then alphabetical by author, then finally by date (earliest first).

Update (8 July 2020): I added a few entries based on feedback from readers. I admit that I'm inconsistent in the way that I have cited sections of books—sometimes as a book section (e.g. Scrivener) and sometimes just mentioning the book itself (e.g. Westcott and Hort). Either way, there should be enough information here to track these works down. Thanks to readers who suggested additions: Jan Krans-Plaisier, Thomas Kraus, Teunis Van Lopik, M.M.R., and Mark Ward.

Update (14-15 July 2020): I added a few links and some more readers' suggestions.

Update (6 January 2021): I added the three published volumes of Andrew Brown's editions of Erasmus' text in the ASD series. See note for explanation.

Update (5 July 2021): I added a link to Edwards' PhD thesis and an entry for Victor's article (see Matthew's Gospel).

Update (26 November 2021): I added entries for ECM Mark, Hirunuma and Stanojević.

Update (21 June 2022): I added an entry for Pierpont's unpublished textual commentary.

Update (2 July 2022)I added an entry for Tasker.

Update (11 Aug 2022)
: I added some links.

Update (1 Dec 2022): I added an entry for McGrath's textual commentary on the TR.

Whole New Testament

Bengel, Johann Albrecht. Η Καινη Διαθηκη. Novum Testamentum Graecum Ita Adornatum Ut Textus Probatarum Editionum Medullam Margo Variantium Lectionum in Suas Classes Distributarum Locorumque Parallelorum Delectum Apparatus Subiunctus Criseos Sacrae Millianae Praesertim Compendium, Limam, Supplementum Ac Fructum Exhibeat Inserviente Jo. Alberto Bengelio. Tübingen: Cotta, 1734.
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. Apparatus Criticus Ad Novum Testamentum Criseos Sacrae Compendium, Limam, Supplementum Ac Fructum Exhibens. Editio Secunda Curis B. Auctoris Posterioribus Aucta et Emendata, Copiosoque Indice Instructa. Edited by Philipp David Burk. Tübingen: Cotta, 1763.
Brown, Andrew J., ed. Novum Testamentum ab Erasmo recognitum II: Evangelium secundum Iohannem et Acta Apostolorum. ASD VI-2. Leiden: Brill, 2001. Note on these three volumes by Brown: These volumes are Andrew Brown's annotated editions of Erasmus' Greek text. However, in Brown's discussions throughout of variants and readings in manuscripts Erasmus used (which themselves make Brown's volumes interesting and valuable), Brown often provides his own text-critical analysis.
Brown, Andrew J., ed. Novum Testamentum ab Erasmo recognitum III: Epistolae apostolicae (prima pars). ASD VI-4. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Brown, Andrew J., ed. Novum Testamentum ab Erasmo recognitum IV: Epistolae apostolicae (secunda pars) et Apocalypsis Iohannis. ASD VI-4. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
Comfort, Philip W. New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations. Carol Stream, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2008.
Comfort, Philip W. A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2015.
Comfort, Philip W. A Commentary on Textual Additions to the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2017.
Doedes, Jacobus Izaak. Verhandeling over de tekstkritiek des Nieuwen Verbonds. Haarlem: Bohn, 1844.
Donaldson, Amy M. “Explicit References to New Testament Variant Readings Among Greek and Latin Church Fathers.” PhD thesis, University of Notre Dame, 2009. Available here: Note: If you haven’t been reading Amy Donaldson’s work, what have you been doing with your life? It’s not really a textual commentary, but it contains a kind of anthology of patristic text-critical discussions.
Loken, Israel P., and Rick Brannan. Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. Lexham Press, 2014. Note from publisher’s website: “For comparison, these notes are more than one might find as a footnote in a modern Bible translation, but less than what one would find in a textual commentary such as those by Metzger, Comfort, or Alford.”
Lucas, Franciscus. Notationes in Sacra Biblia: quibus, variantia discrepantibus exemplaribus loca summo studio discutiuntur. Antwerp: Plantin, 1580. Available here.
Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. London: United Bible Societies, 1971.
Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 1st ed., corrected. Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975. Note: I haven’t checked what the corrections are or what differences there are between these two editions.
Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Biblegesellschaft, 1994.

Nestle, Eberhard. “Textkritische Bemerkungen zu einzelnen Stellen des NT.s.” In Einführung in das Griechische Neue Testament, 2nd ed., 208–265. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1899.
Published in English as:

Nestle, Eberhard. “Critical Notes on Various Passages of the New Testament.” In Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, edited by Allan Menzies, translated by William Edie, 247–335. London: Williams and Norgate, 1901.

New English Translation - Novum Testamentum Graece New Testament. Stuttgart/Dallas: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft/NET Bible Press, 2004. Note: There are some text-critical notes that accompany the NET Bible. I cite the NET+NA27 edition here simply because it was the edition I found at Tyndale House when I made this update to the list.
Omanson, Roger L. A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament. Stuttgart: Deutsche Biblegesellschaft, 2006. Note: I am not sure if this book does much more than simplify/expand/explain Metzger’s Textual Commentary. I admit I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with it, but when I have consulted it, it’s usually just been Metzger re-worded and explained.
Pierpont, William G. An Examination of the Conspicuous Differences between the Traditional Text of the New Testament and the Alexandrian. Unpublished paper. Undated [though additional research may be able to arrive at a date]. A scan of this work to be kept in CSNTM's digital archives.
Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose. “Application of the Foregoing Materials and Principles to the Criticism of Select Passages of the New Testament.” In A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students, edited by Edward Miller, 4th ed., 2:321–412. London: George Bell & Sons, 1894. Available here.
Tasker, R. V. G. "Appendix: Notes on Variant Readings." In The Greek New Testament, Being the Text Translated in the New English Bible 1961, pp. 411–445. Oxford: Oxford University Press/Cambridge University Press, 1964.
Westcott, B. F., and F. J. A. Hort. “Appendix I. Notes on Select Readings,” in Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882. Note: I’m not sure if this section could be said to be Westcott and Hort or just Hort. On p. 18 of the book, we find the following statement: “For the principles, arguments, and conclusions set forth in the Introduction and Appendix both editors are alike responsible. It was however for various reasons expedient that their exposition and illustration should proceed throughout from a single hand ; and the writing of this volume and the other accompaniments of the text has devolved on Dr Hort.” Update: Resolved (see comments below by Peter Gurry).


Multiple Gospels
Lucas, Franciscus. “Notarum ad varias lectiones in quatuor Evangeliis occurrentes libellus duplex: Quorum uno graecae, altero latinae varietates explicantur.” In In sacrosanta quatuor Jesu Christi Evangelia, 1019–1092. Antwerp: Plantin, 1606. Available here.
McGrath, Gavin. A Textual Commentary on the Greek Received Text of the New Testament. Multiple volumes. Sydney, NSW, 2008–. Available online at This is a multi-volume series that as of the date of this writing [1 Dec 2022], only volumes on Matthew and Mark have appeared.
Weiss, Bernhard. Textkritik der vier Evangelien. TUGAL NF 4.2. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1899. Available here.
Wheeler, Frank. “Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem: A Textual Commentary on the Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke Against Mark.” PhD diss., Baylor University, 1985.
Willker, Wieland. “An Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels (12th Edition),” 2015.


Blass, Friedrich. Textkritische Bemerkungen zu Matthäus (BFCT 4.4; Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1900). Note from Jan Krans-Plasier:To be consulted together with Friedrich Blass, Euangelium secundum Matthaeum cum variae lectionis delectu (Leipzig: Teubner, 1901). There is more by Blass, e.g. his editions of Luke, John, Acts, and Hebrews.”
Borland, Jonathan C., Mike Arcieri, and Maurice A. Robinson. “A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament,” 2010–2017. Note: Takes a Byzantine priority position but only covers Matt. 1:5–8:4 (as of 5 July 2020).
Hirunuma, Toshio. The Praxis of New Testament Textual Studies: How to Use Apparatus Chriticus. Matthew. Nishinomiya: Shin-Yaku-Kenkyu-Sha, 1981. (Apologies if I have gotten something wrong here; I think there might also be a Mark volume.).
Miller, Edward. A Textual Commentary upon the Holy Gospels, Part 1-14. London: George Bell & Sons, 1899. Note: This work defends a ‘traditional text,’ but I admit I haven’t read it enough to know if it simply defends the textus receptus at every point by any means necessary, if it usually defends the textus receptus but occasionally breaks from it in favour of majority text readings, etc. Available here.
Victor, Ulrich. “Textkritischer Kommentar zu ausgewählten Stellen des Matthäusevangeliums.” In Filología Neotestamentaria 22 (2009): 55–90.


Blass, Friedrich. Textkritische Bemerkungen zu Markus (BFCT 3.3; Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1899).
Elliott, J. K. “An Eclectic Textual Commentary on the Greek Text of Mark’s Gospel.” In New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis. Essays in Honour of Bruce M. Metzger, edited by Eldon J. Epp and Gordon D. Fee, 47–60. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.
Reprinted as:
Elliott, J. K. “An Eclectic Textual Commentary on the Greek Text of Mark’s Gospel.” In Essays and Studies in New Testament Textual Criticism, 159–170. Estudios de Filologia Neotestamentaria 3. Cordoba: Ediciones el Almendro, 1992.
Elliott, J. K. “An Eclectic Textual Commentary on the Greek Text of Mark’s Gospel.” In The Language and Style of the Gospel of Mark: An Edition of C. H. Turner’s “Notes on Marcan Usage” Together with Other Comparable Studies, 189–201. NovTSup 71. Leiden: Brill, 1993.
Greeven, Heinrich, and Eberhard Güting. Textkritik Des Markusevangeliums. Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2005.
Haelewyck, Jean-Claude. “The Healing of a Leper (Mark 1,40-45):  A Textual Commentary.” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 89.1 (2013): 15–36. Available here (with institutional access).
Strutwolf, Holger, Gregory S. Paulson, and Klaus Wachtel. “Text-Critical Commentary.” In Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior: I Die synoptischen Evangelien / The Synoptic Gospels. 2: Das Markusevangelium / The Gospel According to Mark. Teil 3: Studien / Part 3: Studies, edited by Holger Strutwolf, Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Marie-Louise Lakmann, Gregory S. Paulson, and Klaus Wachtel, 8–34. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2021.
Turner, C. H. “A Textual Commentary on Mark I.” JTS (o.s.) 28.2 (1927): 145–58.

Luke 9:51–19:46
Wasserman, Tommy. “A Short Textual Commentary on the Lucan Travel Narrative (Luke 9:51–19:46).” In Getting Into the Text: New Testament Essays in Honor of David Alan Black, edited by Daniel L. Akin and Thomas W. Hudgins, 90–115. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2017.

Acts + Catholic Epistles

Wachtel, Klaus. “Text-Critical Commentary.” In Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior: III Die Apostelgeschichte / Acts of the Apostles. Teil 3: Studien / Part 3: Studies, edited by Holger Strutwolf, Georg Gäbel, Annette Hüffmeier, Gerd Mink, and Klaus Wachtel, 1–38. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2017.
Rius-Camps, Josep, and Jenny Read-Heimerdinger. The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the Alexandrian Tradition. 4 vols. JSNTSup/LNTS. London: Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark, 2004–2009. Note: I mention this 4-volume set simply because of its idiosyncratic emphasis on a particular strand of the manuscript tradition.
Weiss, Bernhard. Die Apostelgeschichte: Textkritische Untersuchungen und Textherstellung. TUGAL, 9.3/4. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1893. Available here.

Catholic Epistles
Stanojević, Jovan. Orthodox New Testament Textual Scholarship: Antoniades, Lectionaries and the Catholic Epistles. T&S 3rd series 26. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2021. Contains a "Commentary on the Selected Variation Passages" on pp. 154–170.
Wachtel, Klaus. Der byzantinische Text der katholischen Briefe: eine Untersuchung zur Entstehung der Koine des Neuen Testaments. ANTF 24. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1995. Note: The textual commentary section of this work concerns the Teststellen used in the Text und Textwert volumes. Available here (if you have institutional access).
Weiss, Bernhard. Die katholischen Briefe: Textkritische Untersuchungen und Textherstellung. TUGAL, 8.3. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1892. Available here.

Albin, Carl Axel. Judasbrevet: traditionen, texten, tolkningen. Stockholm: Natur och kultur, 1962. Note: Thanks to Thomas Kraus for directing me to this one.
Landon, Charles. A Text-Critical Study of the Epistle to Jude. JSNTSup 135. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.
Wasserman, Tommy. The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission. ConBNT 43. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2006.

Paul (Including Hebrews)

More than one letter
Erasmus, Desiderius. Annotations on Galatians and Ephesians. Edited and translated by Reimer A. Faber. Collected Works of Erasmus 58. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. Note: I include Erasmus’ Annotations for historical value even though they are really more like a category I have rejected—commentaries that address variants. Additionally, I only include here the volumes currently available in English translation; the rest are, of course, available in Latin. Buy it (or use institutional access if you have it to download it) here.
Weiss, Bernhard. Textkritik der paulinischen Briefe. TUGAL 14.3. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1896. Available here.

Erasmus, Desiderius. Annotations on Romans. Translated by John B. Payne, Albert Rabil Jr., Robert D. Sider, and Warren S. Smith Jr. Collected Works of Erasmus 56. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. Available here.

1 Corinthians
Kloha, Jeffrey. “A Textual Commentary on Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.” PhD thesis, University of Leeds, 2006. (Four volumes!). Available here.

Carlson, Stephen C. The Text of Galatians and Its History. WUNT 2.385. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015.
The published version of:
Carlson, Stephen C., The Text of Galatians and Its History.” PhD. diss., Duke University, 2012. Available here.
Wasserman, Tommy. “A Short Textual Commentary on Galatians.” In Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Michael W. Holmes On the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, edited by Daniel M. Gurtner, Juan Hernández Jr., and Paul Foster, 345–371. NTTSD 50. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
Zimmer, Friedrich. “Zur Textkritik des Galaterbriefes.” Zeitschrift für Wissenschafliche Theologie 24 (1881): 481-494.  Note: Thanks to Jan Kran-Plaisier for pointing out this article and Zimmer's other Galatians studies to me. Available here.
Zimmer, Friedrich. “Zur Textkritik des Galaterbriefes.” Zeitschrift für Wissenschafliche Theologie 25 (1882): 327-342. Note: I have not yet been able to verify the title/pages of this one or the 1883 article myself, but I am happy to take Jan's word for it.
Zimmer, Friedrich. “Zur Textkritik des Galaterbriefes.” Zeitschrift für Wissenschafliche Theologie 26 (1883): 294-308.

Price, James D. “A Computer-Aided Textual Commentary on the Book of Philippians.” Grace Theological Journal 8.2 (1987): 253–290. Available here.
Rodgers, Peter R. “A Textual Commentary on Philippians 2.5–11.” In Text and Community: Essays in Memory of Bruce M. Metzger, Volume 1, edited by J. Harold Ellens, 187–195. New Testament Monographs 19. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007.

2 Thessalonians
Edwards, Grant G. “The Text and Transmission of 2 Thessalonians.” PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, 2019. Note: The thesis is defended but not available yet, but I’ve seen the Table of Contents, and one of the chapters is a textual commentary. I imagine it will probably be part of a published version eventually, but I mention it here as the PhD thesis because it hasn’t been published yet. Update: thesis available here.
Zimmer, Friedrich. Der Text der Thessalonicherbriefe: samt textkritischem Apparat und Kommentar. Quedlinburg: Chr. Friedr. Viewegs, 1893. Note: This work is different from Zimmer’s earlier work listed below, and this one is hard to describe. There’s an introduction on text-critical method, discussions of manuscripts, etc, and a critical text with an apparatus that blends things together—the manuscript witnesses like a normal apparatus and also bits of commentary mixed in.
Zimmer, Friedrich. “Zur Textkritik des zweiten Thessalonicherbriefes.” Zeitschrift für Wissenschafliche Theologie 31 (1888): 322–342. Note: No shame in admitting that I only know about Zimmer because of Grant. Available here.

The Pastorals
Elliott, J. K. The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. Studies and Documents 26. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1968.
A slight revision of:
Elliott, J. K. “An Examination of the Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.” DPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 1967. UPDATE: Two of the three volumes of this thesis available here.

Solomon, S. Matthew. “The Textual History of Philemon.” PhD diss., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 2014. Note: The majority of this work consists of an extensive edition of Philemon with all variants in all known manuscripts (up to 2014; P139 had not been published yet), but it contains a textual commentary section at the end.

Bruce, F. F. “Textual Problems in the Epistle to the Hebrews.” In Scribes and Scripture: New Testament Essays in Honor of J. Harold Greenlee, edited by David Alan Black, 27–39. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1992. Note: It was by reading Bruce that I learned that John Calvin (and Erasmus before him) advocated a conjectural emendation at Hebrews 11:37. Calvin rejected the textus receptus there, writing, “The words they were temptedseem superfluous, and I have no doubt that the likeness of the two words επρίσθησαν and έπειράσθησαν was the reason why the second gradually crept into the text being added erroneously by some ignorant scribe, as Erasmus conjectures“ (p. 184 of Johnston’s 1963 translation). On this conjecture, see its entry in the Amsterdam Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendation:


Aune, David E. Revelation. 3 Volumes. Word Biblical Commentary 52a–52c. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998.
Elliott, J. K. “A Short Textual Commentary on the Book of Revelation and the ‘New’ Nestle.” NovT 56.1 (2014): 68–100.
Schmid, Josef. Studies in the History of the Greek Text of the Apocalypse: The Ancient Stems. Translated and edited by Juan Hernández, Jr., Garrick V. Allen, and Darius Müller. Text-Critical Studies 11. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2018.
Originally published as:
Schmid, Josef. Die alten Stämme, vol. 2 of Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Apokalypse-Textes. MThS 2. Munich: Zink, 1955.
Weiss, Bernhard. Die Johannes-Apokalypse: Textkritische Untersuchungen und Textherstellung. TUGAL, 7.1. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1891. Available here.


Finally (things that I add here for fun)

I’d like to point readers to Drew Longacre’s list of Old Testament text-critical resources, which includes a section on the “Text-Critical Commentaries, Monographs, and Lists of Variants” that are available online.

Also, this one caught me by surprise, because it is completely outside of the circles I travel in. Royal Skousen has written what looks to me like a textual commentary on textual variants in the Book of Mormon, and it’s available online, here.


  1. Outstanding, Elijah! The first edition (1971) of Metzger's commentary should not be neglected simply for the second (1994). Both are necessary. As the Preface to the Second Edition states, the second edition includes comments on 284 variants that were not included in the first edition of the commentary (based on earlier editions of the UBS GNT)... BUT the first edition of the commentary includes comments on 273 variants that were no longer included in UBS4 or the second edition of the commentary. I thank Mike Holmes for bringing this to my attention when I couldn't figure out why Metzger's comments on Mark 7:6 in the first edition were now absent in the second edition.

    1. from Alexander Thomson.

      Hail Wikgren's courage on insisting that his minority note on John 1:18 be included: and hail Metzger's diplomacy on so including it!

    2. This is a good reminder, Jeff. I had forgotten there were different variants. I also regularly forget that Metzger's commentaries discuss more variants than are in UBS.

  2. Thanks for this great list Elijah.

    What is your reasoning for including Aune's Revelation commentary? True, it does address textual matters a fair amount, and for a book where it could be argued that this is needed more than most. But I wouldn't say it has much more of a text critical emphasis than many other academic commentaries on NT books (at least of those commentaries that are noteworthy for having high quality discussion of text critical matters). Or maybe there's something in it I missed or am forgetting.

    1. Eric, good question, especially since I explicitly admit to excluding commentaries in general. For one, it's the Revelation commentary that made it to the list on Peter Head's post about commentaries that handle text-critical matters well ( For two, as I was working though Revelation recently, I noticed several times that I would look for a second opinion in some of the other sources, and if I found anything it was not always helpful/not always much more than I already had. However, when I turned to Aune, he often had something helpful, even if it wasn't much more than a nice, clean way of organizing the data (though it often was much more than that). I'm sure there are other commentaries that also do a good job for text-critical matters especially for other NT books, but as I worked through other parts of the New Testament, I didn't find myself looking to commentaries for second opinions nearly as much as I did with Aune in Revelation. Part of it may also be that textual criticism of Revelation is a bit different than textual criticism elsewhere in the NT with regard to what kinds of variants we see (read: what kinds of variants are in the THGNT apparatus) and how the manuscripts divide.

  3. This is a most excellent list. I've added it to the resources page.

    Re: Westcott and Hort, Hort does say that he penned the introduction but he was intent that it reflected them both. This is clear in the intro but even more so in their personal correspondence where the issue of royalties came up.

    1. Thanks! So who penned the Notes on Select Readings? Hort, Westcott and Hort, or Hort but cite as Westcott and Hort?

    2. Hort but cite them both.

  4. Great work, and much appreciated!

  5. The Lexham Textual Notes is a lay-level textual commentary covering the whole Bible. Worth inclusion?

    1. Thanks for this. I thought about it when a friend pointed out the NET Bible notes as well. I might add them.

  6. Is Philip Comfort taken seriously in the guild of textual criticism? Is his work more geared to non-specialists?

    1. I would not advise quoting Dr. Comfort without further verification;--especially when dealing with his critical apparatus data.

    2. Stephen,
      Comfort is actually a reliable source, except he has a tendency to argue for earliest dates for manuscripts.

      Is your disdain for Comfort based on your CT views?

    3. Timothy,

      I expressed no "disdain" for Comfort, only a lack of trust in his documentation of critical apparatus data (as well as some other interesting blunders).

      What do you mean by "CT views?

      One more honest question, you stated: "Only a TT guy would see this as a difference with meaning!"

      Could you please explain what is meant here? Are you under the impression that there is no meaningful difference between the 'Traditional Text' of Burgon and the TR? Thanks -MMR

    4. I haven't kept up with Comfort's work. But earlier editions of his and Barrett's transcripts of the earliest NT manuscripts were criticized for having a lot of errors (see here: ).

      I don't know if this criticism still applies to his more recent works.

    5. The 2001 edition of TENTGM was a vast improvement on the 1999 edition. However the new ones released last year are a massive step backward.

      Gone from the transcriptions are all the under-dots to note subjective/hard-to-read letters, and more than a few times I've noted brackets the wrong way round thus giving a reader of the transcriptions the wrong idea as to what is or isn't extant. Essentially if the have the 2001 edition, don't bother with the new one. If you have the 1999 edition, get the 2001 version and ignore the latest.

      Whether this pertains at all to whether his text-critical works are worth quoting is anyone's guess. Nevertheless verifying what one person says or not should be applied to all people, not just Prof. Comfort.

    6. Eric Rowe: "I don't know if this criticism still applies to his more recent works."

      --- Unfortunately it does. I have come across several knowledgeable people who've complained about running into errors within his recently published volumes:

      Comfort, Philip W. A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2015.

      Comfort, Philip W. A Commentary on Textual Additions to the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2017.

      I'm much more familiar with the latter work and I regret to say that I personally encounter mistakes (generally apparatus citations) quite often.

      Stewalch: "Whether this pertains at all to whether his text-critical works are worth quoting is anyone's guess. Nevertheless verifying what one person says or not should be applied to all people, not just Prof. Comfort."

      ---Very true, but common transcriptional errors and botched apparatus citations should not be a condition that a Text critical work suffers from. I mean, how often does one have to double check a transcription or critical apparatus entry in NA27/28, UBS3/4/5 or Swanson? It's basically understood that 9,999 times out of 10,000 they're good to go. This is not the case with Dr. Comfort, for whatever reason.

    7. Thanks! Super helpful. I’m no fan of Bart Ehrman, but I think I read him speaking disparagingly of Dr. Comfort. I personally really like his Textual Commentary, but I wondered how scholars in the field viewed it!

  7. Helpful post, thank you Elijah!

    You may want to add Scrivener's "Plain Intro." to your •Whole New Testament• section. He gives textual commentary on approximately one hundred passages in two locations, i.e., "APPENDIX TO CHAPTER X, Illustrative Passages/Readings", (vol.ii pgs. 302-11 4th Ed.; in which over forty variant readings are touched on,) and "CHAPTER XII, Application of Principles" (vol.ii pgs. 321-412 4th Ed.; and here we have fifty-five more passages commented on). I would think that a hundred passages covered in the space of one hundred pages (by one of the greatest NT textual critics of the nineteenth century) within one volume should meet your criteria.

    You write:

    "Miller, Edward. A Textual Commentary upon the Holy Gospels, Part 1-14. London: George Bell & Sons, 1899."

    ----This work is (technically) more of an annotated critical apparatus than a 'textual commentary.'----

    and again:

    "Note: This work defends a ‘traditional text,’ but I admit I haven’t read it enough to know if it simply defends the textus receptus at every point by any means necessary, if it usually defends the textus receptus but occasionally breaks from it in favour of majority text readings, etc."

    ---"etc."--would be correct. Miller (as Burgon before him) cannot be understood as one who: "simply defends the textus receptus at every point by any means necessary." As far as Miller/Burgon goes, think more (much more!) Maurice A. Robinson and James Snapp Jr.,--and *far less* run-of-the-mill 'TR defender.'

    1. from Alexander Thomson.

      MMR, Thank you for reminding us that Burgon (et al.) defended not the Received Text but the Traditional Text. Burgon was very clear and explicit about this - see pages 21 and 107 of his book, "The Revision Revised", 1883. How does it come about, therefore, that , even in his own day, and ever since, including in our day, even famous textual critics and scholars have chosen to misrepresent him? Their prejudice is palpable, I'm afraid.

    2. Only a TT guy would see this as a difference with meaning!

    3. from Alexander Thomson.

      Timothy, I think possibly the best ever TT comment was from Dr Martin LLoyd-Jones. It is said, denied, re-asserted that during one of his Friday evening sessions on expounding "Romans", he commented on the punctuation at Romans 5:1 (KJV), imploring them to consider the significance of the placing of the comma! (Actually, he was right - the meaning is changed if the comma is placed earlier! Many a true word spoken in jest?)

  8. Great list, thank you.

    I can offer some additions:

    Eberhard Nestle, Einführung in das Griechische Neue Testament. Zweite, vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1899). See pp. 208–265 for “Textkritische Bemerkungen zu einzelnen Stellen des NT.s.” This section is not in the first edition (1897) and was omitted in the third (1909), I believe because Nestle wanted to expand it and publish it separately, but that never happened.

    Bengel (if you are willing to accept something in Latin):
    Johann Albrecht Bengel, Η Καινη Διαθηκη. Novum Testamentum Graecum ita adornatum ut textus probatarum editionum medullam margo variantium lectionum in suas classes distributarum locorumque parallelorum delectum apparatus subiunctus criseos sacrae Millianae praesertim compendium, limam, supplementum ac fructum exhibeat inserviente Jo. Alberto Bengelio (Tübingen: Cotta, 1734). The “apparatus criticus” offers a lot of information, and sometimes discussions of variants. There is a second edition, with updates: Johann Albrecht Bengel, Apparatus criticus ad Novum Testamentum criseos sacrae compendium, limam, supplementum ac fructum exhibens. Editio secunda curis B. auctoris posterioribus aucta et emendata, copiosoque indice instructa (ed. Philipp David Burk; Tübingen: Cotta, 1763).

    Friedrich Blass, Textkritische Bemerkungen zu Markus (BFCT 3.3; Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1899).
    Friedrich Blass, Textkritische Bemerkungen zu Matthäus (BFCT 4.4; Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1900). To be consulted together with Friedrich Blass, Euangelium secundum Matthaeum cum variae lectionis delectu (Leipzig: Teubner, 1901).
    There is more by Blass, e.g. his editions of Luke, John, Acts, and Hebrews.

  9. Thank you for this list, Elijah.
    I propose to add: J.I. Doedes, Verhandeling over de tekstkritiek des Nieuwen Verbonds. Haarlem: Bohn, 1844.
    The pp. 387-481 contain a specimen ("proeve") of a textual critical commentary.

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  11. Not only are there differences between the 1st and 2nd editions of Metzger in relation to the variants dealt with in the apparatuses of the 3rd and 4th editions of the UBS text, there is also discussion in both of them on variants that are not included in the apparatuses. If you were not aware of those discussions, you would miss out. I took both of the editions of Metzger and made notes in the margins of my UBS4 text where he discussed other variants not included in the apparatus. Took some time, but well worth it! I did this for all of the NT except for Acts. Too much to put in the margins!

  12. I have been asked to set down the Bible’s and related materials that were used in the UK from yon time to 1963, “the watershed year” of Anglo-American Christian/ised culture. The emphasis is on what was available to, and used by, the “ordinary” working man who was intelligent and studious, but who had no opportunity to go to a university. But, in Scotland, Northern Ireland, parts of the North of England, and parts of Wales, Bible literacy was high; and there were early links with sympathetic academics. In particular, the Brethren movement (Tregelles, Stuart, Darby, Newberry, etc.) were all promoters of sound Greek text and textual criticism.

    Already prepared are : two pages of the thirteen printed Greek New Testaments most widely used in the UK from 1707 to 1963; and three pages of just under forty books widely used in the UK from 1852 to 1963. Would these be of general interest here? If not, would they be of interest to some individual(s) here? The pages are in pdf format : is it possible to send such format here, or does another format have to be used? Subject to the rules here, I am quite willing to send the pdf’s as email,attachments.

    These pages can be regarded as drafts, as I should greatly welcome observations, comments, suggestions, etc.. My main objective is to pass on (I am in my seventy-fourth year) to another generation the knowledge of generations gone, who were diligent in their study of the Scriptures, “The past is another country : they do things differently there”.

  13. from Alexander Thomson.

    For clarification, the forty or so books are on NT textual criticism.

    1. Perhaps you could put the links up on your blogger profile. It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out. That way everyone can see and access the information without the hassle of email exchange.

    2. from Alexander Thomson.

      This blog and its comments have been of particular interest to me.

      For some years, in my retirement, I have been running formal and informal courses and seminars on the Greek New Testament. These started off with teaching folk to learn to read their GNT and then to read it more deeply. Then I was asked to add something about textual variants. By this stage, the students had each acquired : NA27/28, UBS4/5, Metzger’s Textual Commentary 1st and 2nd editions, and Omason’s Textual Gulde. Just earlier this year, I was asked to advance things by adding Comfort’s books. The students actually bought me these books by Comfort : 2005-Encountering the Manuscripts, 2008-NT T&T Commentary, 2015-Commentary Manuscripts Text NT, 2017-Commentary Textual Additions NT (all these appear in the opening list here), and 2019-Text Earliest NT Greek Manuscripts. The students will now have bought or be buying their own copies of these books. I have advised them to halt for the moment. We were going to start our studies after Easter this year, but we all know what wrecked that plan! Now, we plan to start as soon as possible after the end of August. So, what do I do about Comfort? Are there no corrective notes anywhere, or even a list of errors? Should I still use them but cautiously, and more generally and less particularly?

      Finally, does anyone have any recommended additions for working men and women and young folk, all of whom can and are eager to read and study their Greek New Testament, and who now wish to get to grips with deciding among competing variant readings?

      Many thanks!


    3. from Alexander Thomson.

      Anonymous, Thank you for that wonderful advice! I’m afraid I’m a techno fumbler in my seventy-fourth year. I need to get my Google problem sorted, as I am posting also as Anonymous, though I put my name at the top! I shall now try to sort out things and implement your sensible suggestion! Again, many thanks!

    4. Have your students read an introductory book that explains the theory and practice of textual criticism yet? Any of these commentaries would be more useful if they are approached with that background. The Metzger and Ehrman's, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th ed.), is perhaps the one to go with for your purposes.

    5. from Alexander Thomson.


      Thank you for your quick response! As usual, you are most helpful!

      Yes, the students have read something about NT textual criticism. I gave them the following list, some of the books in it already having been read by some of the students, and all of the students having perused all (and borrowed some!) of my own copies : 1-1989-Aland, 2-1993-Greenlee, 3-1994-Black, 4-2003-Metzger, 5-2005-Metzger+Ehrman, 6-2008-Greenlee, 7-2008-Vaganay+Amphoux : and, as a past and continuing debate, I 8-Black-Rethinking NT Textual Criticism. Would you delete any of, or/and add to, this list?

  14. Anyone able to recommend articles in Bible Dictionaries or Handbooks or similar, Study Bibles, etc., etc., - is, not separate books - which have good material, from beginners to advanced, on NT textual criticism? Many thanks?

  15. from Alexander Thomson to ADMIN.

    This is sent from my iPad. But, when I try to send from my pc, I keep being told, “ refused to connect”. Never seen this before! Problem at your end op mine?

    1. testing whether is allowing traffic

  16. Ok! traffic now allowed!

    I received late this afternoon by delivery the gift of a copy of a book, Amy Anderson and Wendy Widder, "Textual criticism of the Bible", 2018, revised edition, Lexham Press, ISBN 9781577996637. On the back cover, Peter Gentry and Tommy Wasserman separately recommend it - so I'll not ask if it's to be recommended to students(!), but I shall simply add it to my list above, as 9-2002-Anderson+Wedder. It looks to be quite a solid introduction to both OT and NT textual criticism, with good footnotes and references; and it has an extensive bibliography. Has anyone her used it, with whom, and with what results? Is it a set or recommended book in college/university/seminary? Many thanks!

    1. Dear Mr. Thomson,

      I - myself a non-professional - liked Jack Finegan "Encountering New Testament Manuscripts. A Working Introduction to Textual Criticism". He takes a few Mss, a few Verses and leads you step-by-step to the point of deciding which variant(s) to be choosen.
      Less Theory, more practical!

      Jean Putmans

    2. Dear Jean,

      Many thanks for reminding me of this treasure! I had a copy but lost it in a fire some years ago! Your message has prompted me two buy two copies for just over £10 from are a few copies left (around £10)!

      Every blessing,


  17. When Erasmus is added to the list, I dare to propose Franciscus Lucas' "Libellus duplex" of 1606. For the commentary on the Greek text of the Gospels, see , pp. 1025-1055.

    Elijah, when you add this, I also nominate the "Notationes" of 1580. See Lucas' self-reference on p. 1024 of the "Libellus duplex". This said Lagarde: "[Notationes] ist eins der seltensten und nützlichsten bücher, die ich kenne, für die kritik der lateinischen bibelübersetzungen geradezu untentbehrlich."

  18. Thank you for this list!
    Another to consider adding: "A Student's Guide to New Testament Textual Variants" -
    As the title indicates, it's geared at a simpler level for students, and it is not comprehensive of the whole NT.
    Though it is not a commentary on the texts, another site I point students to for background info is: "The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism" -

  19. Zimmer also wrote on Galatians, namely three articles “Zur Textkritik des Galaterbriefs” in Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, 24 (1881): 481–494; 25 (1882): 327–343; 26 (1883): 294–308.

  20. In STEVENS, Chris S. History of the Pauline Corpus in Texts, Transmissions and Trajectories A Textual Analysis of Manuscripts from the Second to the Fifth Century. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study, Brill, 2020. there are a textual commentary of all Pauline Corpus.

  21. This is an excelent post!
    You should keep updating this really useful list of textual commentaries.

  22. Whitney, S. W., "The Revisers' Greek Text: A Critical Examination of Certain Readings, Textual and Marginal, in the Original Greek of the New Testament Adopted by the Late Anglo-American Revisers," in two volumes, 1892. [ is currently down(?).] [Only vol. II.]

    Ross, J. M., "Further Unnoticed Points in the Text of the New Testament," Novum Testamentum, Vol. 45, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 209-221, Brill.

    You may want to list these as well, Elijah.