Textual Criticism studies the differences found in manuscripts, called textual variants, of which there are two types: unintentional changes and intentional changes. This article focuses on the unintentional types of textual variants; a later article will be about intentional textual variants.
In an ideal situation, a professional scribe will have a pristine copy of a book, and smooth blank sheets of parchment...
In my article What are Textual Variants? I described textual variants as being any word or phrase in a manuscript that is different from the standard text. If a word is misspelled, it's a variant. If a scribe accidentally left out a verse, it's a variant. Any change, no matter how small, is considered a variant. I've read about two ways to count textual variants, and they conflict.
Counting Method 1
The first method for counting...
In the second millennium B.C., when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and for the first few hundred years after the Exodus, documents were typically written on papyrus. Papyrus sheets were made from the papyrus plant, which was common among the Nile river. Sheets of papyrus were fragile, and creases in papyrus could tear easily. Typically, documents were made into scrolls rather than books, which would help prevent sharp bends in the sheets.
What is a Manuscript?
The word manuscript comes from the Latin words manu, meaning hand, and scriptus, meaning write. Historically, a manuscript is a handwritten document, or a handwritten copy of a document. In modern times, a manuscript could be made on a typewriter or computer, but then refers to the original document created by the author, as opposed to mass-produced copies of the same document.
Manuscripts are a...
A common claim from people who don't believe the Bible is the word of God is that the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (Constantine I) created the Bible. They'll probably acknowledge some version of the texts existed before Constantine legalized Christianity, but say Constantine dictated what books were to be in the Bible, the ones which fit his personal beliefs. The skeptic may claim the result of this fiddling created Christianity as we know it...
I had planned on
seeing the new documentary Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy
on opening night and writing a review for today's article, but the projector in
the theater wasn't working, so my plans have changed. The Moses Controversy is scheduled to be shown again on
Saturday, March 16th, and Tuesday, March 19th, so hopefully I'll be able to
write a review for next weekend, but by then it will be to late to see it in
This is the last article in a short series that started with the question Who were the Masoretes? and then followed up with Why is the Masoretic Text Important?. This list contains some of the oldest Masoretic Texts and copies which still exist. All of these are more than 1,000 years, and some of them have been in almost continuous use since they were written.