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The Emergence of Local Text Forms

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Lesson

Although questioned by some critics, most TCs acknowledge four major localized forms of the NT text: Alexandrian, Western, Byzantine, and (questionably) Caesarian. These “cross-pollinated” text families have arisen from diverse historical, cultural and socio-political factors, but all serve to strengthen, and not weaken the integrity of the NT text.

Outline

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TRANSMISSION OF THE TEXT: THREE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES

I. THE EARLY COPIES AND THE CAUSES OF CORRUPTION

II. THE EMERGENCE OF CANON CONSCIOUSNESS IN SHAPING THE NT

III. The Emergence of Local Text-forms – Lesson 10

A. Three or four text-types

1. Alexandrian (most faithful)

2. “Western” (widespread but most changes)

3. Byzantine (90%of mss, and 9th century and later)

4. Caesarean (may not be valid, or absorbed by Byzantine)

5. Nomenclature disputed today by some textual critics

B. Definition

1. “A text type is the largest group of manuscripts with shared readings apart from the fact that all manuscripts in some sense are copies of the New Testament.”

2. Example from modern translations

3. No pure ms of any text-form (e.g., Luke 24:53)

C. Complications

1. Numerical superiority does not correlate with the quality of the text

a) Numerical superiority is due to the historical conditions

b) Textual scholars “weigh” mss

2. Text-types and genealogical solidarity

a) Local original can be reconstructed from the extant copies

b) A single MS can represent the archetype

D. Text-types of the NT MSS

1. Alexandrian

a) Early 2nd century

b) Not intentional changes

2. “Western”

a) Early 2nd century

b) Widespread and popular

c) Missionary text (changes; diglots)

3. Byzantine

a) Late 3rd and early 4th century

b) Most uniform

c) Heavily edited because of liturgical usage and influence

4. Caesarean

a) If it actually exists ( rd century), its only in the Gospels

b) Absorbed by the Byzantine

5. Summary

a) Alexandrian is the most faithful

b) “Western” is early but erratic

c) Byzantine is a later, secondary text

d) Caesarean is probably a precursor to Byzantine

E. Emerging Dominance of the Byzantine Text (90% of NT mss)

1. Diocletian persecution (Lucian of Antioch)

2. Constantine and Constantinople

3. Latin is the lingua franca of the West (Jerome)

4. John Chrysostom (d. 407 , Byzantine)

5. African Christianity and the rise of Islam

6. The Invasion of Constantinople (1453)

7. Summary