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Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism


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Since the unexpected popularity of Bart Ehrman’s bestselling Misquoting Jesus, textual criticism has become a staple of Christian apologetics.

Ehrman’s skepticism about recovering the original and inerrant text of the New Testament does deserve a response. However, this renewed apologetic interest in textual criticism has created fresh problems for evangelicals. An unfortunate proliferation of myths, mistakes, and misinformation has arisen about this technical area of biblical studies.

In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists and Christian students even as it offers a self-corrective to evangelical excesses.

Resource Experts
  • Addresses recent interest in skeptical and critical scholarship
  • Provides answers to common questions and objections
  • Proposes a fresh apologetic outlook on the topic
  • Introduction
  • Myths about Autographs: What They Were and How Long They May Have Survived
  • Math Myths: How Many Manuscripts We Have and Why More Isn’t Always Better
  • Myths about Classical Literature: Responsibly Comparing the New Testament to Ancient Works
  • Dating Myths 1: How We Determine the Ages of Manuscripts
  • Dating Myths 2: How Later Manuscripts Can Be Better Manuscripts
  • Myths about Copyists: the Scribes Who Copied Our Earliest Manuscripts
  • Myths about Copying: the Mistakes and Corrections Scribes Made
  • Myths about Transmission: The Text of Philemon from Beginning to End
  • Myths about Variants: Why Most Variants Are Insignificant and Why Some Can't Be Ignored
  • Myths about Orthodox Corruption: Were Scribes Influenced by Theology and How Can We Tell?
  • Myths about Patristics: What the Church Fathers Thought about Textual Variation
  • Myths about Canon: What the Codex Can and Can’t Tell Us
  • Myths about Early Translations: Their Number, Importance, and Limitations
  • Myths About Modern Translations: Variants, Verdicts, and Versions


  • Timothy N. Mitchell
  • Jacob W. Peterson
  • James B. Prothro
  • Elijah Hixson
  • Gregory R. Lanier
  • Zachary J. Cole
  • Peter Malik
  • S. Matthew Solomon
  • Peter J. Gurry
  • Robert D. Marcello
  • Andrew Blaski
  • John D. Meade
  • Jeremiah Coogan
  • Edgar Battad Ebojo
The authors in this book offer a necessary corrective to decades of overly exuberant apologetic arguments—arguments that have actually hurt the Christian faith. The writers are refreshingly honest, and they do not pull their punches. They observe poignantly that apologetic works on the reliability of the New Testament text have been drifting away from a proper, well-researched, accurately documented scholarship that is anchored to actual data. Apologists have had a tendency to regurgitate other apologetic works, which in turn are based on other apologetic works. Meanwhile, the scholarship that is supposedly behind the popular declarations in many an evangelical trade book is out-of-date, misunderstood, or simply ignored. These young scholars have something to say—not only to Christian speakers and writers but to non-Christian speakers and writers and even to New Testament scholars of all stripes. I was happily stunned to see the depth of discussion, the candid examination, and the up-to-date bibliography in each chapter. Although Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism is written in clear, user-friendly prose, the contents are well-grounded and perspicacious. I intend to utilize this volume unapologetically in my introduction as a primary source for several analyses.

—From the foreword by Daniel B. Wallace, Dallas Theological Seminary and Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

Early in my work as an apologist, I made an embarrassing number of mistakes when it came to comments about textual criticism. In almost every instance, a book like this one would have provided the broader perspective that I needed to speak the truth with greater precision. What Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry have provided in this handbook is a tool that every would-be defender of the Christian faith should purchase and regularly consult. Sloppy defenses of the truth always end up diminishing the truth instead of exalting the truth. Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism will equip you to leave behind sloppy defenses of Scripture when it comes to textual criticism.

—Timothy Paul Jones, C. Edwin Gheens Endowed Chair of Christian Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Packed with reliable data, Christian-friendly apologetics, but also critical of exaggerations and inaccuracies of some apologists, this rich multiauthor volume is a valuable resource. Practically every aspect of New Testament textual criticism is addressed competently and clearly. Highly recommended!

—L. W. Hurtado, Emeritus Professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, University of Edinburgh

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Elijah Hixson (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is junior research associate in New Testament Text and Language at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and author of Scribal Habits in Sixth-Century Greek Purple Codices. He has served as a tutor in biblical studies at the University of Edinburgh and as a research assistant in Greek manuscripts at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and has written articles for Journal of Theological Studies, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Lexham Bible Dictionary.

Peter J. Gurry (PhD, University of Cambridge) is assistant professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary. His books include A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in the New Testament and A New Approach to Textual Criticism (with Tommy Wasserman).

Gurry has been an expedition team member for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) in Dallas, Athens, Bucharest, Florence, and Dublin, and he previously served as a preacher and children’s Sunday school teacher at Christ Church, Cambridge. He has published articles in New Testament Studies, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and The Lexham Bible Dictionary.


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  1. Doug Smith

    Doug Smith


    A very helpful collection of essays with sound advice on issues and methods, especially where textual criticism intersects apologetics.

  2. Paul Gibson

    Paul Gibson


    I’ll preface this review of Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism by stating I have no training in textual criticism, or even Greek. I write a blog about the Bible and I’m trying to learn a bit about textual criticism (and Biblical manuscripts in general) for a series of articles I’m working on. This is the eighth book I’ve read on textual criticism in the past six months. The book deserves 5 stars because it is very informative. I will state it didn’t hold my attention, but I suspect that has more to do with an overload of textual criticism studying on my part, rather than the quality of the writing. None of the myths presented were surprising to me, and quite a few of them I was at least vaguely aware of. The opinions presented seemed to be more consistent with other books I’ve read which were published recently. Where it conflicted with what I’d read previously, I believe it was with older books. I’m not surprised these areas are called myths, as some of the conflicting ideas have likely been taught for decades. I can recommend reading this book, but it’s not for everyone. I would not recommend it for someone who just wants some introductory knowledge in textual criticism (Wegner, Paul D. A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods and Results and Black, David Alan. New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide are good introductions). This book assumes the reader knows why TC is done, and how it’s done, so it’s for a more advanced audience who want to improve their understanding and skills.


Digital list price: $35.99
Save $8.00 (22%)