A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible presents, in plain language and with ample illustration, an overview of the history and methods, aims and results of textual criticism. In the process, the readers gain an appreciation for the vast work that has been accomplished in preserving the text of Scripture and find a renewed confidence in its reliability.
The Bible has been on a long historical journey since its original composition. Its texts have been copied and recopied. And despite the most careful and painstaking efforts of scribes and publishers down through the centuries, errors of one sort or another have crept in and have been reproduced. Sorting out the errors and determining the original wording is the task of textual criticism.
In fact, the task of textual criticism is so daunting and detailed that it is divided between Old Testament textual critics and New Testament textual critics. That is why nearly every book on the subject focuses on the textual criticism of either the Old or New Testament. But if you are one of those interested in a general understanding of textual criticism, A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible introduces you to textual criticism of the whole Bible—the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament.
Here, at last, is a well-written, succinctly stated, wisely selected history and wonderfully illustrated textual criticism guide that covers both testaments in one volume. Where others have often made this science sound arcane and obtuse, Paul Wegner has skillfully described textual criticism in plain but ample and interesting ways. I highly recommend it to all serious Bible students, but especially to seminary faculty who must juggle book budgets and who up to now have had to order a separate text in this area for each testament.
—Walter C. Kaiser Jr., President and Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
No introductory textbook to textual criticism of the Bible measures up to A Student's Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible. It uniquely combines Old Testament and New Testament textual criticism into one handy, delightfully illustrated volume. Paul Wegner writes for students, successfully guiding them through the text's long and complex journey by his clear style, objectivity and arresting photographs. General readers of the Bible will appreciate this introduction to the textual notes in their Bibles.
—Bruce K. Waltke, Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Emeritus Professor of Old Testament, Regent College
“Briefly stated, textual criticism is the science and art that seeks to determine the most reliable wording of a text.2” (Page 24)
“A variant reading is any difference in wording (e.g., differences in spelling, added or omitted words) that occurs among manuscripts.” (Page 25)
“It is important to underscore two facts near the beginning of our discussion on New Testament textual criticism: (1) the verbal agreement between various New Testament manuscripts is closer than between many English translations of the New Testament, and (2) the percentage of variants in the New Testament is small (approximately 7 percent) and no matter of doctrine hinges on a variant reading.” (Page 231)
“no theological doctrine or issue hinges on a textual variant,8” (Pages 25–26)
“In their zealousness to preserve Scripture, scribes had a tendency to include everything in the text (e.g., glosses, marginal notes, insertions) rather than omit anything; thereby expanding the text in some places. The New Testament appears to have experienced less flexibility in the transmissional process, but it is still plausible that copyists made modification to certain texts.” (Page 51)