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Products>How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology)

How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology)

ISBN: 9781441257512

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Stanley Porter, one of the world’s foremost experts in New Testament language and literature, offers a historical understanding of the writing, transmission, and translation of the New Testament and provides cutting-edge insights into how we got the New Testament in its ancient Greek and modern English forms. In part responding to those who question the New Testament’s reliability, Porter rigorously defends the traditional goal of textual criticism: to establish the original text. He reveals fascinating details about the earliest New Testament manuscripts and shows that the textual evidence supports an early date for the New Testament’s formation. He also explores the vital role translation plays in how Christians understand the Bible and evaluates various translation theories. The book offers a student-level summary of a vast amount of historical and textual information.

Resource Experts
  • Exploratory research on the writing of the New Testament from a leading scholar in the field
  • Discussion of both Greek and English forms of the New Testament
  • Helpful analysis of Bible translation theories

Top Highlights

“62.9 percent of the verses of the Greek New Testament show no variants.” (Page 24)

“The most important observation is that the number of variants being investigated by Ehrman and others with respect to their theological influences, when compared to the entirety of the New Testament, is fairly small, despite sometimes sensationalist claims to the contrary. We now have somewhere over 5,800 New Testament Greek manuscripts in part (mostly) and in whole, ranging from the second century to the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries.” (Page 23)

“If the above indicators are correct, the number of passages for theological dispute is relatively and proportionately small. There are three relatively major passages that recur in the discussion: the longer ending of Mark, the pericope of the woman caught in adultery, and the relation in Acts of the Western tradition, especially as found in Codex Bezae (05 D), to the Alexandrian tradition.” (Page 25)

“The traditional opinion of the purpose of textual criticism of the Greek New Testament is, ideally, to find the original autograph that the author wrote.” (Pages 12–13)

“According to the estimates of Aland and Aland, when one compares the two major text-types for the Greek New Testament—the Byzantine and the Alexandrian50—they ‘actually exhibit a remarkable degree of agreement, perhaps as much as 80 percent!” (Page 24)

Misinformation abounds among both the general public and even some scholars about how carefully the text of the New Testament has been preserved, copied, and translated. Stanley Porter sets the record straight. All three processes have been undertaken with a remarkable degree of care and accuracy. Yet this book is no mere rehash of traditional positions. It is completely up-to-date with the very latest of cutting-edge scholarship in all three areas and offers distinctive proposals for furthering the progress of scholarship as well. It is a book to be read slowly, digested in detail, and thoughtfully appropriated. Highly recommended.

—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

Not your typical study of the formation of the New Testament, this book takes the reader on a personal, guided tour of the documents and the methods used by scholars, by which we arrive at our present-day copies of the New Testament. Stanley Porter is one of the most prolific scholars working on the manuscripts, language, linguistics, and translation of the New Testament writings. In this book readers will learn how we gather from the multitude of individual manuscripts the texts printed, read, and preached from today. Notable here is Porter's defense of the traditional search for the original text in the face of the current trend to deny its feasibility or diminish its relevance. Going beyond attention to the ancient texts, Porter also argues for the importance of closely considering matters of translation since most of us encounter the New Testament most frequently in translated form. He offers informed evaluations of modern English translations and then introduces some of his extensive work on current translation theory and method. The result is a unique presentation that will greatly benefit both novice and expert alike.

—Charles E. Hill, professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

With his typical breadth of knowledge, Stanley Porter offers us another helpful volume to frame our understanding of the background of the New Testament. This succinct text on complicated topics is unique in bringing together an introductory discussion of three related but distinct NT topics--textual criticism, early manuscript transmission (with some discussion of canon formation), and translation theory and practice. This is a solid resource for the educated layperson and a good introductory textbook for the college and seminary classroom.

—Jonathan T. Pennington, associate professor of New Testament interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Stanley E. Porter

Stanley E. Porter, PhD, University of Sheffield, has taught for more than 30 years in post-secondary institutions in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He is a Greek and New Testament expert, and, since 2001, has been the president, dean, and professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College. He's best known for his works on verbal aspects in New Testament Greek, is actively involved in OpenText.org and the Linguistics Institute of Ancient and Biblical Greek, and is a regular columnist for Christian Week.

Porter is the author or editor of numerous New Testament and Greek studies, including Idioms of the Greek New Testament, Discourse Analysis and the New Testament: Approaches and Results, and Dictionary of New Testament Background. He has edited over 80 volumes and authored 28 books on various New Testament and related topics, including How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation, and The Gospel of John in Modern Interpretation. Plus, he's published more than 450 journal articles, chapters in books, and dictionary entries and regularly speaks at major conferences and other venues around the world.

His interests include Greek language and linguistics, hermeneutics and various methods of interpretation, and a range of New Testament studies from the Gospels to John to Acts to Paul. He is also a papyrological and text-oriented research specialist and is interested in the wider Greco-Roman world. Outside of academia, Stanley has served in young adult ministry and has assisted in developing a lay training institute for the local church.

The Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology series, sponsored by Acadia Divinity College, offers critical assessments of the major issues that the church faces in the twenty-first century. Authored by leading authorities in the field, these studies provide readers with requisite orientation and fresh understanding to enable them to take part meaningfully in discussion and debate.


3 ratings

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  1. L. Jared Garcia

    L. Jared Garcia


    Does anyone know how this monograph is different from Porter's other work "Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism" that he co-authored with Andrew Pitts? The description above and the "see inside" does not include the table of contents.
  2. Joel



  3. Martin Williams
  4. DAL



  5. Jeremy Lewis

    Jeremy Lewis


    I think it's already discounted: "41% OFF" is listed under the $12.95 price tag.
  6. Faithlife User
    Is there a coupon code I'm missing? I got an email saying this (and other books) were 40% off for the next two weeks --- however, I don't see a discount. And I wasn't given a discount code.