Biblical and Theological Studies Faculty Works

Title

Reasoned Eclecticism in New Testament Textual Criticism

Document Type

Book Chapter

Abstract

New Testament textual critics work with two categories of evidence, conventionally designated as “external” (provided by the manuscripts themselves, including relative age, geographic distribution, and relative weight of the witnesses) and as “internal” (dealing with scribal habits and practice, on the one hand, and authorial style and vocabulary, on the other). To do justice to both sorts of evidence, nearly all contemporary textual critics utilize a methodological approach generally known as “reasoned eclecticism.” In this approach, one fundamental guideline governs all other considerations: at any given point of variation, the variant most likely to represent the initial text is the one that best accounts for the existence of the others. It is important to emphasize that “best accounts for” is to be understood as encompassing both internal and external considerations. It is precisely on this point of encompassing all the evidence that competing approaches such as “thoroughgoing eclecticism” (which privileges internal evidence almost exclusively) and a “historical documentary” approach (which emphasizes more strongly external evidence) fall short, in that each argues for the priority of variants on the basis of only part of the total available evidence or considerations.

Department(s)

Biblical and Theological Studies

Publication Title

The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research

Volume

42

First Page

771

Last Page

802

Publication Date

1-1-2013

DOI

10.1163/9789004236554_024

ISSN

00778842

ISBN

9789004236042

Comments

Part of the New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents Series

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS