What Is the Primary Task of the Textual Scholar?

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 100 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

The long-held task of the textual scholar has been to recover the original reading. Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875) stated that the objective “of all textual criticism is to present an ancient work, as far as possible, in the very words and form in which it proceeded from the writer’s own hand. Thus, when applied to the Greek New Testament, the result proposed is to give a text of those writings, as near as can be done on existing evidence, such as they were when originally written in the first century.”[1] B. F. Westcott (1825-1901) and F. J. A. Hort (1828-1892) said it was their goal “to present exactly the original words of the New Testament, so far as they can now be determined from surviving documents.”[2] Throughout the twentieth century, leading textual scholars such as Bruce M. Metzger (1914-2007) and Kurt Aland (1915-1994) had the same goals for textual criticism. By it, Griesbach (1745-1812), Tregelles, Tischendorf (1815-1874), Westcott and Hort, Metzger, Aland, and other prominent textual scholars since the days of Erasmus (1466-1536) all gave their lives to the restoration of the Greek New Testament.

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

However, sadly, “more dominant in text critics’ thinking now is the need to plot the changes in the history of the text.”[3] While Bart Ehrman, David Parker, and J. K. Elliot are correct that we could never restore or establish the original words of the authors of the twenty-seven Greek New Testament books beyond question, it should still remain the goal, as opposed to the pessimistic attitude of late. If we sidestep the traditional goal of textual criticism, we are really abandoning textual criticism itself. While the textual scholar wants to track down the variants to the text through the centuries, this can only be done by realizing there was a beginning, i.e., the twenty-seven original texts. How does one identify an alteration in the text without knowing from what it was altered? While the NA28/UBS5 critical edition cannot be considered a 100% reproduction of the original twenty-seven books, textual scholarship should always work in that direction, or otherwise, what is the purpose? The authors of this publication are in harmony with the words of Paul D. Wegner, who writes, “Textual criticism is foundational to exegesis and interpretation of the text: we need to know what the wording of the text is before we can know what it means.” (Wegner 2006, 230)

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

TEXTUAL CRITICISM is the process of the textual scholar attempting to ascertain the original wording of the original text. – The Primary Task of a Textual Scholar

The sad state of affairs is that textual scholarship as a whole is unwittingly or knowingly moving the goalposts for some unknown reason. In textual criticism, it is now the earliest knowable text, in biblical hermeneutics, it dissecting a text until you no longer have the text, in Bible translation, it is going beyond what the Word of God is in the receptor language (e.g., English, Spanish, German) into what the translator thinks the original author meant. How is it possible for no one to see the danger of what is happening. What has happened right before our eyes are the goal of an early text not the original, Bible books by unknown authors, not the ones bearing their name, with Jesus not saying half of what the Gospels claim he said, in mini-commentary, interpretive translations by translators that are of the biblical criticism mindset.

What Are Textual Variants [Errors] and How Many Are There?

Is It the Original or the Earliest Text of the New Testament?

[1] Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, 174.

[2] Westcott and Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, 1.

[3] J. K. Elliott, “The International Greek New Testament Project’s Volumes on the Gospel of Luke: Prehistory and Aftermath,” NTTRU 7, 17.

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