Text-Critical Methodology and the Pre-Caesarean Text: Codex W in the Gospel of Mark is a detailed examination of the textual characteristics and relationships of important early Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark (chiefly Codex Washingtonianus [W], and also Family 13 and P45), and challenges the generally-accepted view that these manuscripts are witnesses to an early stage of the Caesarean text-type.
The study begins with a discussion and critique of previous studies on the Caesarean text-type, showing the methodological weaknesses that demand a fresh analysis of the data and emphasizing the crucial importance of Codex W for the whole question of the textual history of Mark. Then a methodological approach is set forth, involving both careful quantitative measurement of manuscript agreements and detailed analysis of variants in the interest of determining both the textual relationships and textual character of manuscripts.
When this more sophisticated approach is applied to the chief witnesses to the so-called “pre-Caesarean” text of Mark, it is confirmed that W and P45 is a weaker member of the same group. However, the commonly-held view that these witnesses reflect the early stage of the Caesarean text-type is shown to be erroneous. In addition to clarifying the textual relationships of the witnesses, the study defines more accurately their textual character, showing the scribal purposes reflected in the variants that characterize these manuscripts and adding considerably to our knowledge of the forces affecting the early transmission of the text of Mark.
This is the first detailed examination of the Markan text of Codex W since the publication of the manuscript over 65 years ago, and the first published book-length study dealing with the Caesarean text of Mark since the initial work of Kirsopp Lake and his colleagues Blake and New. This work not only addresses a major issue in the textual history of Mark, but offers methodological suggestions for the continuing investigation of the textual history of the New Testament.