The first work of its kind in English, John Scott Porter's Principles of Textual Criticism stands at the beginning of a long tradition of text critical handbooks that extends to B. B. Warfield, A. T. Robertson, and Bruce Metzger. But while most textual criticism handbooks tend to focus on the New Testament, Porter's volume covers both the Old and New Testaments, thus providing the student with a much broader picture of textual criticism and showing how the same principles are applied to different texts.
Providing a complete introduction to textual criticism, Porter' volume begins with a summary of the goals of textual criticism and helpful discussion of why textual criticism should be viewed as a benefit to the Christian faith rather than a danger, followed by a discussion of general principles. These include discussions of the external and internal evidence, methods for determining the value of manuscripts and versions, and the classification of variant readings.
The publication of Scott Porter's Principles of Textual Criticism (1848) came, indeed, at the opening of a new era in British textual studies. . . . and it first made accessible to the public the essentials for a knowledge of the true methods of critical research.
—The Christian Life, Vol. 10
The distinguishing characteristic of Mr. Porter's mind was its clearness, directness, and decision.
—Belfast Literary Society