What is the Purpose of Textual Criticism?

The purpose of Textual Criticism is actually quite simple: restore the text to the original form the author wrote (or as close to it as possible). Textual criticism isn't just used in New Testament studies, but also Old Testament studies, and by scholars working on the text of other ancient writers, both religious and secular.

The process of textual criticism, however, can be extremely complicated. There are many manuscripts which have slight...

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Is Textual Criticism an Art or a Science?

My article two weeks ago, How are the Best Textual Readings Determined?, was about the rules textual critics use to decide which reading was most likely original, but performing textual criticism is as much an art as a science.

The word "rules" implies a list of what should and should not be done, with an expected outcome that other people can duplicate. The rules can't take into account every condition that might have occurred when copying...

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What is New Testament Textual Criticism?

I've spent several months researching and writing about Textual Variants (and I spent six months before that researching New Testament manuscripts) to bring me to this point: What is New Testament Textual Criticism? New Testament Textual Criticism (NTTC) is not about criticizing the New Testament, but uses the word criticism in the sense of careful study.

Criticism: the work or activity of making fair, careful judgements...

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Were the Church Fathers Aware of Variations in the New Testament Manuscripts?

Awareness of textual variants in literature goes back at least a few hundred years before Jesus was born, and scholars have constantly been trying to find the original readings. In the series I've been writing, I've been focused on textual variants in the New Testament, but they also exist in the Old Testament and in secular literature.

Secular Literature

The city of Alexandria, Egypt, was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C., and...

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How Careful were Scribes when Copying the Bible?

Some people claim the early Christians believed they were copying letters, history, biographies, and apocalypses, not scripture, so they may not have been as careful while the copying the New Testament as the Jews had been when copying their Bible, and introduced errors into the New Testament. The belief that the Bible has been corrupted over the past 2,000 years contradicts what is actually known about the early church.

The city of Alexandria,...

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