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.” 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.” 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.
However, sadly, “more dominant in text critics’ thinking now is the need to plot the changes in the history of the text.” 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 twenty-seven original 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)
TEXTUAL CRITICISM is the textual scholar’s attempt to ascertain the original wording of the original texts. – 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 is dissecting a text until you no longer have the Word of God, but rather the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In Bible translation, it is no longer literal translation philosophy. It is now going beyond the literal Word of God in the receptor language (e.g., English, Spanish, German) into what the translator thinks the original author meant and then giving us his interpretive translation. The most current move by textual scholarship is the paleographers and papyrologists redating the early New Testament papyri manuscripts from many decades later to centuries later. And they do this with almost no evidence and in the face of a dozen world-renowned paleographers and papyrologists since the 1930s. How is it possible for no one to see the danger of what is happening? What has happened right before our eyes is that we now have the pathetic goal of an early text, not the original. We have Bible books of unknown authors, not the ones of the New Testament authors, which is what liberal-moderate scholarship is peddling. They also tell us that Jesus did not say half of what the Gospels claim he said. They have given us what they call a Bible translation that is nothing more than a mini-commentary, interpretive translation by translators that are of the biblical criticism mindset.
 Tregelles, An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, 174.
 Westcott and Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, 1.
 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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