Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thinking About Textual Criticism

TWH: Some of you might not know, but I am doing a second doctorate under the direction of Antonio Piñero and Luis Gil at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. I'm actually researching the fifth volume of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, attempting to shed some new light on the Greek manuscripts used by Cisneros and his team. Whether or not this will be successful, time will tell. Textual criticism is pretty interesting to me. (It better be, or I'm in trouble!) It really is a privilege to study at the Complutense. And working with these two gentlemen is quite a privilege. The Complutense is without a doubt one of the world's premiere higher-ed institutions.

I want to just point out a couple of textual criticism resources that I think you all might find interesting and useful. While I was working on my doctorate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, I had the privilege to write a chapter in a book with my first Doktorvater and mentor, David Alan Black. That article was published in a festschrift honoring Jesús Peláez. It dealt with a textual issue in Matt. 5:22, specifically whether or not the word εἰκῇ is original. Dave Black had researched and written on this variant in 1988, and together we worked on seeing what the scholars had said about that word in the years since. You can read that article here.

Antonio Piñero and Jesús Peláez have a very detailed discussion on textual criticism in their book The Study of the New Testament: A Comprehensive Introduction (Tools for Biblical Study; trans. David E. Orton and Paul Ellingworth [Leiden, The Netherlands: Deo, 2003], 78-120). On this side of the Atlantic, most people are really familiar with the name Stan Porter. Let me just share with you Stan's words about this book:
"This is an outstanding introduction to the study of the New Testament, and deserves to be widely read. The volume treats most issues of importance in NT exegesis in a depth virtually unknown in introductions to exegesis in English. On top of that the authors have a very balanced view of the issues. This is the best overall discussion that I know." 
You can find the book on Amazon here. It's worth the read. I'm certainly glad that I have it on my shelf.

Textual criticism is important. No one can really question its importance in New Testament studies in particular and philology in general. I've been blogging a lot about this very topic recently on my personal website, asking the question (directed to evangelicals, but open to anyone) when a Bible teacher should talk about textual issues when they teach a passage. Here are a couple of the posts:
When Should A Bible Teacher Talk About Text-Critical Issues? Or Should He (or She)?
So, When Should You Talk About A Textual Variant?

No comments:

Post a Comment