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The Text and Canon of the New Testament by…
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The Text and Canon of the New Testament

by Alexander Souter

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601309,440 (2.5)None
Originally published in 1913. This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas Technologies. All titles scanned cover to cover and pages may include marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume.… (more)

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Too old and too short. That is the tempting verdict. If this book were a basketball player, it would be out of a job.

The subject of New Testament Textual Criticism is a huge one -- thousands of manuscripts, dozens of translations into early languages, an immense number of quotations in early sources. The discussion of the canon of the New Testament is somewhat simpler (only a handful of books were disputed, with most of the arguments settled before Christianity became a legal religion and the number of Christian writings exploded). Put both together and you have something far too complex for a thin little book like this. And it's now more than half a century out of date, as well.

And yet, because textual criticism is so complex, there is no adequate one-volume textbook. There are short little books (e.g. by Black) that are simply too short. There are medium-length books (e.g. by Aland or Metzger) that are too quirky. (As well as some books, such as those by Comfort, that are both too short and too quirky.) There are some long books (e.g. those by Hort and Scrivener) which are simply too old.

Which means that every additional book is of a real help to students, even if it's on the dated side. And this one is at least new enough to use the modern system of symbols. It gives a good description of the problems of textual criticism, even though you'll need more than this to learn all the methods of solution.

Plus it has that section on the canon of the New Testament. Including a lot of useful source documents. For that, it remains a good introductory book. So it's a good book to have on your bookshelf -- as long as you're prepared to make it part of a team and don't ask it to succeed on its own. ( )
  waltzmn | Nov 18, 2013 |
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