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Epp on NTTC in HTR 100.3 (2007)

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  • Jan Krans
    Dear listers, You may all like to be informed that the latest issue of Harvard Theological Review has an article by Eldon Jay Epp, It s All about Variants: A
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 2, 2007
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      Dear listers,

      You may all like to be informed that the latest issue of Harvard
      Theological Review has an article by Eldon Jay Epp, "It's All about
      Variants: A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual
      Criticism" (HTR 100 (2007), pp. 275-308). From the abstract it would
      seem to be a somewhat introductory article, but my university does not
      have access to the most recent PDF's, so maybe someone who has (or who
      sees a "hard" copy!) can enlighten us more.

      The abstract itself: "The goal of New Testament textual criticism would
      appear to be simple enough: to restore the original text written by each
      author of the New Testament books. Upon examination, however, the notion
      of simplicity vanishes immediately and each of the key terms
      here—“restore,” “original,” “text,” and “author”—has its problematic
      aspects, but more importantly the simply stated goal itself turns out to
      be inadequate. Grist for the text-critical mill consists of textual
      readings or variants, which for the relatively small collection of
      writings called the New Testament are not merely in the hundreds or
      thousands, or even the tens of thousands, but run to perhaps a third of
      a million. They stem from the nearly 5,500 Greek manuscripts, some
      10,000 versional manuscripts, and innumerable patristic citations of New
      Testament passages."

      Greetings,
      Jan Krans
      VU University, Amsterdam
    • Peter M. Head
      Thanks for drawing attention to this Jan, Firstly the cited abstract is actually the first paragraph and not an abstract of the whole article, which is not as
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 2, 2007
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        Thanks for drawing attention to this Jan,

        Firstly the cited abstract is actually the first
        paragraph and not an abstract of the whole
        article, which is not as 'introductory' as it
        would seem. It is definitely worth reading.
        Secondly, it includes a detailed discussion of
        the purpose of NT TC, developing somewhat Epp's
        earlier article on The Multivalence of the term
        'Original Text' (HTR 92 (1999), 245-281) and
        discussing 'original text' and 'Ausgangstext'
        ideas (as well as other things that Eldon has worked on over the years).
        Thirdly, he proposes (I'm not sure how seriously)
        a 'Variant-Conscious Edition' of the GNT and
        produces a sample for Luke 24.50-53; Acts 1.1-2, 9-11.
        Fourthly (as a closing paragraph), he states as a definition of NT TC:
        'New Testament textual criticism, employing
        aspects of both science and art, studies the
        transmission of the New Testament text and the
        manuscripts that facilitate its transmission,
        with the unitary goal of establishing the
        earliest attainable text (which serves as a
        baseline) and, at the same time, of assessing the
        textual variants that emerge from the baseline
        text so as to hear the narratives of early
        Christian thought and life that inhere in the
        array of meaningful variants.' (p. 308)


        At 08:40 02/08/2007, you wrote:
        >Dear listers,
        >
        >You may all like to be informed that the latest issue of Harvard
        >Theological Review has an article by Eldon Jay Epp, "It's All about
        >Variants: A Variant-Conscious Approach to New Testament Textual
        >Criticism" (HTR 100 (2007), pp. 275-308). From the abstract it would
        >seem to be a somewhat introductory article, but my university does not
        >have access to the most recent PDF's, so maybe someone who has (or who
        >sees a "hard" copy!) can enlighten us more.
        >
        >The abstract itself: "The goal of New Testament textual criticism would
        >appear to be simple enough: to restore the original text written by each
        >author of the New Testament books. Upon examination, however, the notion
        >of simplicity vanishes immediately and each of the key terms
        >here—“restore,” “original,” “text,”
        >and “author”—has its problematic
        >c
        >aspects, but more importantly the simply stated goal itself turns out to
        >be inadequate. Grist for the text-critical mill consists of textual
        >readings or variants, which for the relatively small collection of
        >writings called the New Testament are not merely in the hundreds or
        >thousands, or even the tens of thousands, but run to perhaps a third of
        >a million. They stem from the nearly 5,500 Greek manuscripts, some
        >10,000 versional manuscripts, and innumerable patristic citations of New
        >Testament passages."
        >
        >Greetings,
        >Jan Krans
        >VU University, Amsterdam
        >
        >
        >

        Peter M. Head, PhD
        Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament
        Tyndale House
        36 Selwyn Gardens
        Cambridge CB3 9BA
        01223 566601
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