Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Textual Criticism Reading Suggestions

Someone asked where a good place to start in studying textual critical issues is. Here are my recommendations:

1. "Logical Criticism of Textual Criticism," by Dr. Gordon Clark (link). This is a great introduction piece, and not a major reading assignment. Written by a Reformed philosophy professor who is know with the Lord, this article addresses some serious flaws in the basic assumptions of modern textual criticism.

2. "Textual Criticism of the New Testament," by Prof. B. B. Warfield (link). This is a somewhat legnthier work, designed for the introduction of seminary students to the field of textual criticism. As far as a description of the "science" up to the point when Warfield wrote, it is an excellent work, which fairly describes the work being performed. Warfield is a noted Reformed author, though not the present author's favorite. A weakness of this particular work is its seeming acceptance of textual critical first principles as established matters of scientific fact, rather than assumptions that have been customary in New Testament work.

3. "A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the Use of Biblical Students," by F. H. Scrivener (link). This book comes recommended by Prof. Warfield, and really seems to be perhaps the best way to get thoroughly acquainted with the state of textual cricism immediately prior to the work of Messrs. Wescott and Hort. Scrivener contributed enormously to the field of textual criticism. Reading his work can really give one a feel for many of the pressures and complications involved in the process of textual criticism. This book was apparently designed for student use, and Scrivener includes many interesting anecdotes scattered among the lengthy and thorough discourse.

None of the authors above are KJV-O, nor truly is the following:

4. "The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels," by Dean Burgon. Sadly, none of Dean Burgon's major books have been scanned (or at least the scans have not been made public) by the Google archiving teams, and no other site appears to have performed any similar service. Nevertheless, a summary of the book can be obtained here (link). Whether one is in favor of or opposed to the traditional text, Dean Burgon's writings are worth persual. The Dean Burgon Society seems to have become even more attached (if that is possible) to the traditional text than their namessake, but they are certainly one noted source of counter-argument in the textual critical debate.

5. Finally, I'd be remiss as a Fan of Turretin, to omit mention of this interesting article discussion Textual Criticism as it relates to Prof. Turretin (link). I cannot possibly recommend this article without allegations of improper bias, so I will simply note that the article is available, and includes the writings of one of the Reformation's great authors.

Praise be to God who has preserved the truth over time,



orthodox said...

T: none of Dean Burgon's major books have been scanned (or at least the scans have not been made public)

Actually, a number are available on the web site.

Turretinfan said...


Thanks for exposing my ignorance of the CCEL collection!

Unfortunately, the work I referenced above is not on the list (nor the other main work I would recommend for reading), but its sequel "Causes of Corruption ..." (link).


Damien said...

Thank you for these recommendations!