INTENTIONAL ERRORS: The necessity of Textual Criticism

A scribe is far more likely to omit a word or phrase mistakenly, as to intentionally adding. The reading that is deemed immediately at odds with the context is preferred if deemed intentional because a scribe is more likely to have smoothed the reading out. The harmonization of passages is likely an intentional change by a copyist, who is seeking to have a passage agree with a similar passage from another book. Examples: Doctrinal Corrections, Liturgical Corrections, Harmonistic Corrections, Historical Corrections, and Linguistic or Rhetorical Corrections.

THE MASORETES AND THE MASORETIC TEXT—A Basic Overview

The Masoretes were groups of Jewish scribe-scholars who worked between the 6th and 10th centuries CE, based primarily in early medieval Palestine in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq. The Masoretic Text[a] (MT or 𝕸) is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 books of Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. It was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries of the Common Era (CE). It is the text behind all of our Bible translations.

FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS

Many good Christian biblical apologists spend a lifetime defending the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Many modern-day textual scholars seem to be apologists of another sort. They seem to be apologists for uncertainty and ambiguity as Daniel Wallace in the Foreword of MYTHS AND MISTAKES in New Testament Textual Criticism (2019) writes, “The new generation of evangelical scholars is far more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty than previous generations.” (Page xii)

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