Reasoned Eclecticism (Part 1)
This lecture is 1 of 3 lectures on reasoned eclecticism. Eclecticism is the process of compiling a text from multiple sources, while reasoned eclecticism consists of rectifying the differences and evaluating variants based on both their attestation and intrinsic merit.
1. Internal: Intrinsic probability
What the biblical author was likely to have written
2. Internal: Transcriptional probability
What the scribes were likely to have copied
3. External evidence
Focus on material, manuscripts, versions, Fathers
B. Rigorous Eclecticism
1. Emphasis on internal priority
2. Opposite of Majority Text, which is purely external (Hodges; Robinson)
3. Kilpatrick; Elliott
C. Reasoned Eclecticism
1. Equal emphasis on internal and external
2. Metzger; Fee; Holmes; 90%
II. CRITIQUE OF RIGOROUS ECLECTICISM
A. Most subjective aspect of textual criticism
B. Just because all mss are corrupt doesn’t mean that they are equally corrupt
C. History tends to be disregarded
D. Textual apparatus becomes little more than a pool of variants
III. CRITIQUE OF MAJORITY TEXT THEORY
A. Focus on external evidence is selective
B. When to count?
C. No theological necessity to hold to the majority text view
D. Hort’s critique of Byzantine text
IV. CRITIQUE OF REASONED ECLECTICISM
A. Not always even-handed in its application
B. Frequently strong bias against Byzantine and Western text
C. Doesn’t fully integrate church history into transmission of NT text
D. Yet the most balanced approach
V. INTERNAL EVIDENCE
1. The guiding principle of internal evidence: choose the reading that best explains the rise of the others.
2. The harder reading is to be preferred.
3. The shorter reading is to be preferred.
B. The harder reading
2. Scribes were prone to smooth out the text
3. When is the harder reading not preferred?
4. Illustrations of Harder Readings
a) Matthew 27:16–17
b) Mark 6:31–8:26
c) Mark 1:2
d) Titles of the gospels
C. The shorter reading
1. Only 2% added over 1400 years
2. Why is this preferred?
3. When is the shorter reading not to be preferred (except papyri)?
4. Illustrations of Shorter Readings
a) Mark 6:31–8:26
b) Titles of Gospels
c) But Matt 27:16–17
D. Two divisions of internal evidence
1. Transcriptional probability
2. Intrinsic probability
a) Context (near and broad) — John 14:17
b) Style — Mark 16:9–20
c) General Principle — The more material, the more objective the conclusions
1. Three broad principles
2. Two divisions
VI. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE