Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Goal of NTTC according to Eldon Epp

The second volume of Eldon J. Epp's collected essays and articles, Perspectives on New Testament Textual Criticism (covering 2006–2017) has just been published by Brill. Congratulations to the author who also turned 90 this year!

I have only browsed the volume, so for now I will just draw the attention to an introductory “notes for readers” which is freely accessible here, where Epp offers his own definition of the goal of New Testament Textual Criticism which he admits has varied, but as it stands now it is totally in line with my own view:

The Unitary Goal of New Testament Textual Criticism

New Testament textual criticism, employing aspects of both science and art, studies the transmission of the New Testament text and the manuscripts that facilitate its transmission, with the unitary goal (1) of establishing the earliest attainable text (which serves as a baseline), and at the same time (2) of assessing the textual variants that emerge from the baseline text so as to hear the narratives of early Christian thought and life that inhere in the array of meaningful variants.

Finally, I was also pleased to learn from the introduction “Developing Perspective” (accessible here) that Krister Stendahl from Sweden, then professor at Harvard University, gave the young doctoral student Epp the task to review a book on textual criticism by Fascher for the seminar and then with his other colleagues in the doctoral committee encouraged Epp to pursue a text-critical dissertation – well done! For another glimpse of Stendahl and a student at Harvard working on textual criticism in the 1950s, see here.

Monday, December 21, 2020

4QPsx: A Poorly Copied Manuscript

Several details about the Dead Sea Scrolls are common knowledge. One of these details is that these manuscripts preserve a certain level of textual plurality previously unknown among Hebrew OT manuscripts. Although this detail is a fact, the nature of this textual plurality is mostly unknown by laypeople and scholars alike. We should be aware that common explanations explain most of this textual plurality. One of these explanations is poor copying. (In a previous blog, I discussed that some of this diversity results from scribes normalizing their biblical texts [such as 4QGenk]).

4QPsx is one manuscript, among many, that was copied poorly. Interestingly, some scholars date this manuscript, which preserves portions of Psalm 89, to 175-125 BC. If this is right, this manuscript is our earliest manuscript available that preserves a psalm; yet, it is an unreliable guide to the Psalter's state, and Psalm 89 in particular, during the second century BC. Several details about this manuscript suggest that this scribe was either an unskilled or a beginner scribe. Varying letter size, inconsistent space between lines, curved lines, cancelation dots to erase a mistake, inconsistent use of final letters, and the inability to space words properly are just a few of these details. (See Skehan’s article “Gleanings” for these and other points). 

4QPsx: https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/image/B-473784

Besides these scribal features, we should consider several other material features of this manuscript that call into question its dependability. This manuscript is unruled, and this reality contributes to some of the mistakes listed above. Indeed, the absence of a writing block made it challenging to space the words, and the lack of horizontal lines caused the scribe to write upwards and downwards at times. The fact that this manuscript is unruled is puzzling since most manuscripts at Qumran were (see Tov, Scribal Practices, 57, 104). More puzzling is that this manuscript was stitched before inscribing these words, which, again, is unusual (Scribal Practices, 34-37). This fact is evident since the scribe wrote around the stitching (“Gleanings,” 441). Thus, these two details suggest that this sheet of leather was previously a handle sheet (a protective piece of leather stitched unto inscribed sheets at a manuscript's beginning and/or end).

The scribal habits and the material features of this manuscript cast serious doubt on the text's reliability. Although some might understand this text as an alternative form of Psalm 89, I suggest that it is a recycled handle sheet (like Skehan): perhaps a scribe's school exercise. Overall, this text contributes to the textual plurality preserved at Qumran but provides no evidence to suggest that the OT existed in a state of fluidity during this time (fluidity meaning that the text had not yet reached its final form). Instead, this manuscript suggests that some manuscripts were copied poorly and, perhaps, some manuscripts are mere school exercises. As already noted, this manuscript may be our earliest manuscript preserving a psalm. This reality reminds us of a vital point of textual criticism: the earlier manuscript is not always better.

*For more information about this manuscript, see my dissertation, A Comparison of the Non-Aligned Texts of Qumran to the Masoretic Text. It can be accessed on ProQuest. You may also view the presentation that I gave at the Sacred Words Conference, where I discuss this manuscript in more detail. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Manuscript Hunters – New Website


 Right now I am participating in the launch (via Zoom) of a new website, Manuscript Hunters – the result of a project at the University of Munich with wonderful resources on "manuscript hunters" like Tischendorf, Dunlop-Gibson and Smith-Lewis, Curzon, and many more. There are many fine resources here with timelines, illustrations, bibliographies and other features. The website will be updated continously. 

I have not looked at the website in any detail yet, so I do not know to what degree they have included critical perspectives relating to cultural theft, or (fantastic) discovery stories (see for example Eva Mroczek's article in Marginalia here).

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Two Funded PhDs in NTTC with Garrick Allen


This looks like a great opportunity for someone qualified. Titles are ripe for study. See Tommy’s work on this in the Pastorals. I expect the Gospels will yield the most interesting results with Hebrews a close second. Update 1/8/21: Garrick has one more spot open for this project. See here.

The Titles of the New Testament: A New Approach to Manuscripts and the History of Interpretation (TiNT) project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n° 847428).
  1. The project seeks to digitally edit every form of every title in every non-lectionary Greek manuscript that preserves part of the New Testament, using this data to contribute to new research related to six research questions:
  2. the diachronic development of paratextual traditions (especially titles in all their forms);
  3. the provenance of New Testament works in historical imagination;
  4. the relationship between bibliography and canon;
  5. the design, codicology, and artistic features of manuscripts;
  6. scribal identities and the sociology of textual transmission; and
  7. traditions of textual segmentation.
The data produced by the project will also raise new research questions and be publicly available. The objectives of the project are to rethink the critical value of manuscripts beyond the purely textual concerns of traditional textual criticism and to explore titular traditions as expressive modes of communication and as aspects of reception history.

The Principle Investigator (PI) and team members will work together to produce titular profiles for each manuscript, using this information to inform innovative research on specific research topics.

We invite applications from PhD level researchers who propose to carry out work that addresses one of the the project’s six critical questions and which focuses on manuscripts and paratextuality.

Please submit a CV, as 1–2 page PhD project proposal, a writing sample (no more than 20 pages), and 2 references as your application. Please address informal enquiries to Dr Garrick Allen (Garrick.allen [at] glasgow.ac.uk).

Funding Notes

UK students: Tuition fees and annual stipend at UKRI rate
International/EU students: Tuition fees and bursary
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The scenery in Glasgow doesn’t hurt either.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Final Video: Shah on the Goalpost of New Testament Textual Criticism


The last video from my TC class is now up at YouTube. In it, Dr. Abidan Paul Shah introduces his new book Changing the Goalpost of New Testament Textual Criticism (2020). Despite the trend among some scholars, he argues that we can and should pursue the original text as our goal in textual criticism. Thanks to Abidan for joining us. Again, remember to subscribe for new videos.

Friday, December 11, 2020

More videos: Anderson on Family 1, Hixson on the Tyndale Textual Commentary


Two more videos from my ThM class on textual criticism are now live. In the first, Dr. Amy Anderson gives an overview and update of her work on the textual history of Family 1 in the Gospels. She also gives a helpful overview of the state of the discipline at the start. In the second, Dr. Elijah Hixson introduces the textual commentary being written to accompany the Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

Amy Anderson

Elijah Hixson

Thanks to both my guests for joining my class. You can find all the videos in this series at the Text & Canon Institute YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe if you’re into that sort of thing.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The CBGM of Acts for Download


Greg Paulson of the INTF in Münster has notified me that the CBGM for Acts can now be downloaded here

Greg has also made a tutorial how to install it and a brief introduction to how the CBGM works (very nice red circle in the image, just like the ones I use in my powerpoints, but no speech bubbles though).
In this connection, I would also like to mention Joey McCollum's crash course on the CBGM here and his own “Open CBGM” resource page here
Finally, my and Peter Gurry’s fuller introduction to the CBGM is now available with a 30% discount (code AM2020 at checkout, good to 31 Dec), in paperback ($15.40) or hardback ($25.90).

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Caring about the ‘infinitesimal points’


One of the marks of a good editor of the Greek New Testament is a near-obsessive attention to detail. There are so many decisions to be made about the little things like punctuation, paragraphing, spelling, etc. How (or if!) an editor chooses to handle these small details often says a lot about the overall quality of the work. As a famous man once said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

Because of this, one of the pleasures of working on Westcott and Hort’s correspondence is watching them discuss the tiniest of details, sometimes at great length. Today, I came across this portion of a letter from Westcott to Hort in July 1880. The edition was entering its final phase before publication the next year. Here, Westcott, more often the one to tire of minutiae, is still thinking about the details. 

I have been growing anxious about our text, but I have no doubt that Macmillan will push on the printers. Just lately it has occurred to me (an infinitesimal point) that in Hebrews 6.7 βοτάνην should be uncial. The reference to Genesis 1 really helps the understanding of a very hard passage more than appears at first and I cannot doubt that there is a reference. If you agree and the change can be made, I should like it; but I can be quite satisfied as things are.

Sure enough, βοτάνην was set in regular type in their privately circulated installment of the Pauline epistles. But Westcott got his way. Hort replied, “I am glad you have mentioned βοτάνην in Hebrews 6.7: of course you would add γῆ: not more I fear can be marked. There will be no difficulty.” The final edition prints the two words in “uncials” to mark them as an OT allusion. What’s the allusion? Westcott’s commentary says that βοτάνην means “the simplest natural produce: Gen. 1:11ff. Hence the word is used in a bad sense for wild plants, weeds.” 

Westcott and Hort’s 1875 installment (left) and 1881 final edition (right)

This is the kind of attention to detail that their correspondence reveals in letter after letter. It nearly pushed their publisher to the edge, I should add. But it did not go unnoticed. Another great editor of the Greek New Testament, Eberhard Nestle, told Westcott after its publication that “I never handled a book made up with so much care and thoughtfulness in the smallest details as your edition.”

Monday, November 23, 2020

In lieu of our beloved blog dinner


I was just reminded that today is the day we should be celebrating the highlight of our year here at the ETC blog: the annual dinner. Alas, that will not be happening. We do hope all our readers are well despite the many losses, big and small, that this year has brought with it.

I remember my first blog dinner and being surprised by two things. The first was how big it was. There were well over 30 people in attendance, I think. I’m sure it has only grown since then. The second was how fun it was. I was just a student at the time but I was welcomed into the group straightaway. It’s truly one of the great things about our discipline, how collegial it is, and that is on full display at the dinner.

In lieu of this annual tradition, perhaps our readers could leave a happy note in the comments about (a) something good you read on TC this year; (b) a good joke at the expense of one of our contributors; or (c) a good meal you plan to have tonight instead of our usual fare of burgers at Hard Rock Cafe.

036: A nice looking Oxford late majuscule

The other day in class we were reading Mark 14 and I noticed the variant at Mark 14.61 for the omission of ὁ χριστὸς (in Gamma and k). Gamma (036) is not one of those manuscripts that I am very familiar with, so this became an opportunity to show the class how to look up in the information in Appendix 1 (at the back of NA28). Lo and behold it is a local Oxford manuscript. Here is a nice colour photo from the Digital Bodleian.

And here is an image (from NT.VMR) of the passage under discussion:

Friday, November 20, 2020

Congratulations to Peter Head, CBE


I would like to congratulate our longtime blog editor, Dr. Peter Head, on his recent appointment to the order of Commander of the British Empire (CBE). This is also a good time to recognize his International Award of Merit in Structural Engineering. Congratulations, Peter! You don’t look a day over 73.

H/T: Google Search

Correction: The original title of this post incorrectly identified Peter Head’s appointment in the Order of the British Empire. He is, in fact, in the class of CBE not OBE. We apologize for the mistake.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Interview with Elliott after 43 Years with the IGNTP


A few days ago, in conjunction with the recent meeting of the IGNTP Committtee, Professor J. Keith Elliott stepped down from active service after being on the committtee for 43 years (as editor, secretary and member). That is in fact a record hard to beat. If you look at the historical data on the IGNTP webpage, you can see that Eldon Epp was on the committee for 42 years, Gordon Kilpatrick (Elliott's Doktorvater) for 41 years, and Bruce Metzger and Thomas Pattie "only" for 38 years.

As the current secretary, I took the opportunity to interview Elliott. You will find the interview here. By the way, there is also a link back to our blog (to the post about how Kurt Aland got two votes on the UBS Committee). 

The picture here is of the file with papers that I inherited from Elliott, who served as secretary to the IGNTP Committtee 1987–2010 (I celebrate 10 years as secretary). It is packed with communication, editorial reports, treasurer's reports, and minutes. Nowadays there is a digital archive but we still keep hardcopies of the signed minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Two New Books on the Eusebian Canons

I recently published a very brief review of Matthew Crawford’s book, The Eusebian Canon Tables: Ordering Textual Knowledge in Late Antiquity (OUP, 2019).

Here is the Publisher’s Description:  

One of the books most central to late-antique religious life was the four-gospel codex, containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A common feature in such manuscripts was a marginal cross-referencing system known as the Canon Tables. This reading aid was invented in the early fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea and represented a milestone achievement both in the history of the book and in the scholarly study of the fourfold gospel. In this work, Matthew R. Crawford provides the first book-length treatment of the origins and use of the Canon Tables apparatus in any language. Part one begins by defining the Canon Tables as a paratextual device that orders the textual content of the fourfold gospel. It then considers the relation of the system to the prior work of Ammonius of Alexandria and the hermeneutical implications of reading a four-gospel codex equipped with the marginal apparatus. Part two transitions to the reception of the paratext in subsequent centuries by highlighting four case studies from different cultural and theological traditions, from Augustine of Hippo, who used the Canon Tables to develop the first ever theory of gospel composition, to a Syriac translator in the fifth century, to later monastic scholars in Ireland between the seventh and ninth centuries. Finally, from the eighth century onwards, Armenian commentators used the artistic adornment of the Canon Tables as a basis for contemplative meditation. These four case studies represent four different modes of using the Canon Tables as a paratext and illustrate the potential inherent in the Eusebian apparatus for engaging with the fourfold gospel in a variety of ways, from the philological to the theological to the visual.
PMH: Despite its presence in practically every manuscript of the four canonical gospels and in our standard edition, the Novum Testamentum Graece, for more than a century (from the 7th edition of 1908 through to the 28th edition in 2012), the Eusebian apparatus to the gospels – a paratextual system enabling readers to locate similar or parallel passages across the whole four gospel collection – has remained relatively unexplored by biblical scholars. The system comprises three features: a letter (from Eusebius to Carpianus) in which the system is explained; a set of ten Canon Tables that offer a visual and tabular method of ordering and presenting the relationships between the four gospels; and a running numbering system through each of the four gospels. In this brilliant book Crawford takes the reader on a tour of this complex of information. From its background in late-antique methods of ordering and presenting textual knowledge in tables, and the earlier work of the shadowy and little-known Ammonius – who first created a kind of physical manuscript synopsis of parallels to Matthew’s Gospel; we are introduced to one of Eusebius’ great achievements: ‘a tool that enables the reader to attend simultaneously to what is unique and what is common, without disrupting the integrity of any of the four’ (p. 121). In the second part of the book Crawford traces the reception of Eusebius’ work in Augustine – arguing convincingly that Augustine’s De consensus evangelistarum was written with the aid of the Eusebian system as it was incorporated into Jerome’s Vulgate; the Syriac Peshitta – which incorporated the relevant information at the foot of each page; the Hiberno-Latin exegetical tradition – four case studies of medieval Irish work on the gospels show the impact of the Eusebian apparatus; and the Armenian tradition – wherein medieval Armenian scholars offered a kind of mystical commentary on the artistically decorated canon tables. Beautiful plates of the presence of these features in the manuscripts abound. Some details could be disputed; but this book offers a wonderfully detailed introduction to the development and reception of the Eusebian Canon Tables, and superbly fills a major lacuna in the scholarly study of the fourfold Gospel canon. 

NB. See a previous post on an article that is included as a chapter in this book.

Another new book has recently been published (and is available on Open Access), edited by Alessandro Bausi, Bruno Reudenbach, and Hanna Wimmer: Canones: The Art of Harmony. The Canon Tables of the Four Gospels (de Gruyter, 2020).
Here is the publisher’s summary:
The so-called ‘Canon Tables’ of the Christian Gospels are an absolutely remarkable feature of the early, late antique, and medieval Christian manuscript cultures of East and West, the invention of which is commonly attributed to Eusebius and dated to first decades of the fourth century AD. Intended to host a technical device for structuring, organizing, and navigating the Four Gospels united in a single codex – and, in doing so, building upon and bringing to completion previous endeavours – the Canon Tables were apparently from the beginning a highly complex combination of text, numbers and images, that became an integral and fixed part of all the manuscripts containing the Four Gospels as Sacred Scripture of the Christians and can be seen as exemplary for the formation, development and spreading of a specific Christian manuscript culture across East and West AD 300 and 800.

In the footsteps of Carl Nordenfalk’s masterly publication of 1938 and few following contributions, this book offers an updated overview on the topic of ‘Canon Tables’ in a comparative perspective and with a precise look at their context of origin, their visual appearance, their meaning, function and their usage in different times, domains, and cultures.

PMH: I enjoyed the many many wonderful colour photos spread throughout the book. There is a biographical essay on Carl Nordenfalk (by Ewa Balicka-Witakowska). This is very interesting (his memoirs were published in Swedish – but it is always nice to have English summaries of learned contributions in Swedish!). Matthew Crawford has a chapter focusing on Codex Fuldensis. Jeremiah Coogan has a chapter entitled ‘Transmission and Transformation of the Eusebian Gospel Apparatus in Greek Medieval Manuscripts’. This is interesting as an attempt to evaluate what sort of impact the (acknowledged) tendency to error in reproducing numbers had on the usefulness of the apparatus. He does this by looking at Canon IX in a selection of Greek manuscripts (I’m not sure of the basis for the selection). Other chapters look at Irish Pocket Gospel Books, an Ethiopian example, a discussion of the use of Prefatory Images in early books, Early Medieval Gospel Illumination, the Gospels of Sainte-Croix of Poitiers, and some interesting studies in aspects of the Illuminations used in reproducing Canon tables. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

More on the Legacy Standard Bible


My thanks to William Varner for alerting me to the new website for the Legacy Standard Bible (descendant of the NASB). You can sign up for a sample of Mark and watch a 37-minute video.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

How Many Manuscripts: Election Edition


How many manuscripts of the Greek New Testament exist today?

Jacob Peterson’s chapter, “Math Myths: How Many Manuscripts We Have and Why More Isn’t Always Better” in Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism attempts to shed some light on this question. It’s a complicated question because of double- (and triple-, etc.) counts, lost manuscripts, etc. Here is a summary from the Key Takeaways in his chapter:

Most manuscripts of the New Testament are only manuscripts of part of the New Testament, and providing an exact count of them is a fool’s errand. It is best to say that there are about fifty-three hundred Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence, although fifty-one hundred might be the safer estimate.

Or to provide a comparison that might make it easier to remember (because, as my pastor taught me when I started learning Greek, the weirder the analogy, the more likely it is that you will remember it), there are about half as many Greek New Testament manuscripts as there are people in Tennessee who voted for Kanye West:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Come Study OT Textual Criticism in the Desert


ETC readers may know that Dr. Meade and I direct the recently-founded Text & Canon Institute at Phoenix Seminary. Our mission is to produce academic research and church resources that illuminate the origin of the Bible. We do this through publications, mentoring, academic colloquia, church conferences, and digital resources. 

Today, we are pleased to share that we have made a strategic hire that will help us fulfill that mission. Dr. Peter J. Gentry, whose work needs no introduction here, was already a member of our board of advisors but he will now be joining us as our first Senior Research Fellow. He also been appointed as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Old Testament at the seminary. These positions provide continued teaching opportunity for Dr. Gentry while providing more time for his ongoing research on the text of the Old Testament.

Dr. Gentry will teach courses at both the MDiv and ThM level at Phoenix Seminary. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, he will be especially involved with our TCI Fellows. If you are a student who is interested in a PhD in textual criticism or canon studies or just want to shore up those areas before doing ancillary work, let me encourage you to consider our TCI Fellowship. Applications are open through December 31. Where else can you study with two PJGs?

You can read the official announcement here or watch the video.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Eberhard Nestle on His Revision of Scrivener’s GNT


For some time now, my main church Bible has been a nice hardcover of Scrivener’s 1906 Greek New Testament. It combines several features I like: it’s hardy (mine having been rebound); the text is clear and uncluttered (verse numbers are in the margin); it gives clearly marked differences between the major editions of the GNT and Stephanus 1550; it details differences even in accent; it’s small.

This fourth edition is, however, a revision done by Eberhard Nestle that includes about 500 corrections to the third. I know this number only becasue Teunis van Lopik recently sent me the following note published by Nestle in 1905. Tuenis shared with me that he found it in his copy of Scrivener’s 4th edition which he purchased in 2006. His copy had been owned by the Dutch NT scholar F.W. Grosheide in 1907 according an exlibris signature and owner’s stamp. My thanks to Teunis for sharing this with us. I’ve printed it out to put in my own copy.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Why the Textus Receptus Cannot Be Accepted (Jan Krans)

Here follows a guest post from a colleague and reader of the blog, Jan Krans of the Protestantse Theologische Universiteit (PThU) in Amsterdam, author of Beyond What is Written: Erasmus and Beza as Conjectural Critics of the New Testament, NTTSD 35 (Brill, 2006).

Why the Textus Receptus cannot be accepted

In the discussion on the Textus Receptus two points of view exist that are diametrically opposed. I will first present the two views, and then demonstrate why only one of these can be sustained. 

In favour of the Textus Receptus

According to the first position the Textus Receptus has to be the one and only reliable text of the Greek New Testament. In other words it has to be the text that shows the correct reading at every single place of variation. Important historical-theological reasons are brought forward for this conclusion.

Historically speaking the Textus Receptus was the Greek New Testament text of the Reformation, during which the Bible itself took centre stage. Theologically speaking the Reformation was God-willed and God-given. Hence God himself used the Textus Receptus for his plans, condoned it, and even guided the minds and hands of its editors. In short the Textus Receptus has to be perfect.

There is even a biblical foundation for this view, for numerous Bible verses show that nothing of God’s word shall be lost: God assures that the Bible is transmitted in a pure and unaltered form. This form is the Textus Receptus.

With this position comes the conviction that the entire textual history since the establishment of the Textus Receptus has to be seen as degradation. Every textual change and every critical voice has to be suspect. For this corollary, again, historical-theological grounds can be given. The time since the Reformation, notably the Enlightenment, is marked by gradual alienation from God and detrimental human autonomy. Driven by the Enlightenment spirit, people began to undermine the Textus Receptus. Therefore all later texts and editions have to be rejected as thinly veiled attacks on God’s word.

It will be clear already at this stage that this first position can only be valid for those who share its most important presupposition, namely the special character of the Reformation, although this presupposition itself does not necessarily lead to the unconditional acceptance of the Textus Receptus.

Book Notice: Changing the Goalpost of New Testament Textual Criticism


Congratulations to Dr. Abidan Paul Shah who has just published his dissertation written under the direction of Maurice Robinson. I first met Abidan several years ago at ETS and have had the benefit to see him in action as a pastor. I’m looking forward to getting a copy. Here are the details.

Publisher Description

Changing the Goalpost of New Testament Textual Criticism

Before the 1960s, the goal of New Testament Textual Criticism was singular: to retrieve the “original text” of the New Testament. Since then, the goalpost has incrementally shifted away from the “original text” to retrieving “any text” or “many texts” of the NT. Some scholars have even concluded that the “original text” is hopelessly lost and cannot be retrieved with any confidence or accuracy. Other scholars have gone a step further to claim that the idea of an “original text” itself is a misconception that needs to be abandoned. If this new approach in NTTC is correct, then the authority of Scripture is weakened or no longer valid. It will be shown in this book that such is not the case. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on the need to return to the traditional goalpost of NTTC, i.e., to retrieve the original text. Without a generally definitive text, the door will be left wide open to recreate any desired text of the NT. An unsettled original text will result in an unsettled biblical theology due to a lack of any authoritative and standard text. Consequently, it will lead to an unsettled Christian faith and practice.


“In this much-needed study of New Testament textual criticism, Shah offers far more than careful historical scholarship concerning one of the most vexing questions in this field. While his analysis offers a first-class treatment of the concept of ‘original text,’ he also rediscovers ideas that speak to the current confusion concerning the overriding goal of the discipline of textual criticism. The result of Shah’s work is that rare academic book that is grounded in careful research and yet speaks powerfully to the church today about the proper role and goal of New Testament textual criticism. This is a scintillating book that I believe will prove vital for the church as it seeks to be faithful to its historical documents.”
—David Alan Black, M. O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 

“Shah’s work on this vitally important topic is both thorough and insightful. He is at his best when he is tracing and documenting the major players and ideas in the modern trends of New Testament textual criticism, and even those who might be inclined to disagree with Shah’s conclusions will find much in this work that is of great value to contemporary research in textual criticism.”
—Edward D. Gravely, Professor of Christian Studies, Charleston Southern University 

“The great pioneers of the field of New Testament textual criticism sometimes differed in method but agreed on the goal of the discipline–restoring the original text of the New Testament. Changing the Goalpost shows that some modern textual critics have abandoned this historic quest as unattainable and rightly urges a return to the traditional goal for the sake of both the academy and the church.”
—Charles L. Quarles, Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

TC Journal vol. 25 (2020) is up


The first installment of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism vol. 25 (2020) is complete with two articles and eight reviews. More articles will be uploaded in a second installment, hopefully later this year.