Is the Original Text of the New Testament Lost? Rethinking Our Access to the Autographs

One of the standard challenges for New Testament textual criticism is whether we can work our way back to the original text.  Some scholars are notoriously skeptical in this regard.  Since we only have later copies, it is argued, we cannot be sure that the text was not substantially changed in the time period that pre-dates those copies.

Helmut Koester and Bart Ehrman are examples of this skeptical approach.  Koester has argued that the text of the New Testament in the earliest stages was notoriously unstable. Most major changes, he argues, would have taken place in the first couple centuries.

Ehrman makes a similar case. Since we don’t have the …

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The New Reformation Study Bible is Out–and It Looks Great

This past week I was at The Gospel Coalition national conference and was walking through the book area.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a display featuring the new Reformation Study Bible, edited by R.C. Sproul, and published by Reformation Trust/Ligonier.

Then, in the back of my mind, I thought, “Didn’t I write something for this study Bible?” (Yes, I have sadly arrived at the point where I don’t remember what I have written!). I flipped through the index and it turns out that I did write something.

The kind folks at the display assured me that my copy would be arriving in the mail soon.  …

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Do We Have the Original Text? Some Optimism in Textual Criticism

Over the last few decades, the world of textual criticism has had a less than an optimistic feel about it.  While the central purpose of textual criticism has traditionally been the recovery of the “original” text (regardless of whether one is dealing with the New Testament or any ancient text), some are now suggesting that it should not necessarily be the goal of the discipline.

Bart Ehrman, commenting on the attempts to recover the original text, declares, “It is by no means self-evident that this ought to be the goal of the discipline…there may indeed be scant reason to privilege the ‘original’ text over forms of the text that developed …

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“The Early Text of the New Testament” is Now in Paperback

In 2012, Oxford University Press published The Early Text of the New Testament, edited by myself and my friend Chuck Hill.  The volume was designed to assess the most primitive state of the NT text available from our sources.  It covered three main subject areas: (1) The textual and scribal culture of early Christianity; (2) The manuscript tradition itself; and (3) Citations of the NT in early Christian writings.

Contributors included Tjitze Baarda, Jeff Bingham, Juan Chapa, Scott Charlesworth, Carl Cosaert, J.K. Elliott, Paul Foster, Harry Gamble, Peter Head, Juan Hernandez, Larry Hurtado, Tobias Nicklas, Stan Porter, Dieter Roth, James Royse, Billy Todd, Christopher Tuckett, Joseph Verheyden, Tommy Wasserman, …

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TGC Panel Discussion on the Authority of Scripture

Back in April, I participated in a panel discussion at The Gospel Coalition national conference, moderated by Justin Taylor. The topic was the authority and reliability of Scripture, and included a number of RTS professors such as John Currid, Chuck Hill, and Bruce Baugus.

Below I have included the video of this discussion. I think it is a stimulating and wide-ranging discussion covering a variety of issues such as archaeology, manuscripts, and textual criticism. Enjoy!

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Having Confidence in the Scriptures – Gospel Coalition 2013 – April 8, 2013 from RTS Orlando on Vimeo.…

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