The Process of Attempting to Ascertain the Original Wording of the Original Texts of the New Testament

Confronted by a mass of conflicting readings, editors must decide which variants deserve to be included in the text and which should be relegated to the apparatus. Although at first, it may seem to be a hopeless task amid so many thousands of variant readings to sort out those that should be regarded as original, textual scholars have developed certain generally acknowledged criteria of evaluation.

History of the Transmission of the New Testament Text

In the earliest days of the Christian church, after an apostolic letter was sent to a congregation or an individual, or after a gospel was written to meet the needs of a particular reading public, copies would be made in order to extend its influence and to enable others to profit from it as well. It was inevitable that such handwritten copies would contain a greater or lesser number of differences in wording from the original.

NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL STUDIES: Important Uncial Manuscripts

The manuscripts typically classified as “uncial” are so designated to differentiate them from papyrus manuscripts. In a sense, this is a misnomer because the real difference has to do with the material they are written on—vellum (treated animal hide) as compared to papyrus—not the kind of letters used. Indeed, the papyri are also written in uncials (capital letters), but the term “uncial” typically describes the majuscule lettering that was prominent in fourth-century biblical texts, such as in א, A, B, C.

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