The Encyclopedia attempts to cover all aspects of New Testament Textual Criticism in an orderly and fair fashion.
This page is not affiliated with the print Encyclopedia, and there is no particular reason to think the articles here will appear in the Encyclopedia should it ever be published. I just thought the idea was so good that I decided to create my own version of some of the articles pending the appearance of the real thing. It should also be noted that I (Robert Waltz) am not a recognized textual critic, and that the information on this page has not been peer reviewed. While I have done all I could to ensure its accuracy, this page probably should not be used as a bibliographic reference.
This page was last updated January 23, 2007. This is, believe it or not, the tenth anniversary of this site. No wonder the updates are getting slower....
In the lists which follow, links in PLAIN TEXT point to major articles. Links shown in italic lead to short definitions.
There are many technical issues associated with this site, mostly relating to fonts and images. For details on how best to use this site, see the page devoted to Technical issues.
A very brief (and inadequate) introduction to textual criticism can be found here.
Go directly to: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X-Y-Z |
Links to other Textual Criticism sites
And you thought nobody cared about textual criticism.
(OK, so maybe you're right....)
Thanks to the folks who have made corrections, suggestions, and additions, including Jean Valentin for photographs; Ulrich Schmid for information on Wachtel; Wieland Willker for proofreading corrections; Ulrich Schmid for information on manuscripts, Michael Holmes and Jimmy Adair for source materials; Ulrich Schmid, Jean Valentin, Christopher Eyton, and Vincent Broman for information on the Fathers; and anyone else whose names I have forgotten.
Send mail to page creator Robert B. Waltz (but please, only e-mail me with suggestions or additional information; I can't answer all your questions, and chances are any answers I know are in here anyway.) If you would like to be added to a list informing you of updates to this page, drop me a line to that effect.
NOTE: If you have any intention of telling me that I am damned for engaging in textual criticism, or not using the King James Bible, please don't bother. I've already been told repeatedly -- as well as being told that science, thought, information, and everything this side of writing is a clear sin.
I have a long, nasty reply I'll send if you do tell me that, but let me make one brief appeal: Whatever the authority of the New Testament text, that authority surely lies in the original text, not the late manuscript copies, let alone a translation made from them. One may disagree over what constitutes the original text. But surely we should use ever tool at our disposal to try to learn what it said.
This site is devoted to relatively scientific criticism -- that based on analysis of data rather than faith. I've had many people tell me in some form or other that textual criticism should be based on faith -- their faith. I would counter-argue that people's faith differs, and if every denomination, or every reader, has a different text, it produces real problems. (To put it mildly.) Scientific criticism is at least relatively repeatable....
In this regard, as in so much else, Fenton John Anthony Hort gives us much wisdom regarding textual criticism: "[In] the highest literature, and notably in the Bible, all readers are peculiarly liable to the fallacy of supposing that they understand the author's reading and purpose because they undertand some part or aspect of it, which they take for the whole, and hence, in judging variants of text, they are led unawares to disparage any word or phrase which owes its selection by the author to those elements of thought present in his mind which they have failed to percieve or to feel." (Introduction [and] Appendix, §27).
I did add one long and controversial article in this revision: About genetics and evolution. I know some will disagree not only with the topic but with its inclusion -- though I did my best to produce an article that's useful even if you don't agree with evolution, and to explain why I did so. But at some point I had to make a decision -- and it appears to me that the insights evolution offers outweigh the risk of controversy it causes. On an issue so controversial, I know others will disagree. Violently. (The whole issue drives me nuts.) Again, I can only request that you not write to me. Unless you have actual science to share (this does not include quotations from Darwin's Black Box or anything involving Irreducible Complexity, which have been comprehensively refuted), let's spare both our blood pressure, OK? If you don't believe in science, then just skip the article. Please?