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Three-Way Discussion: MT vs. CT

Part One

This discussion began on an AOL message board between "GettSmartt" and "Rev Neal." It was then continued between them via e-mail. GettSmartt then e-mailed me their discussion and asked me what I thought of it. I then provided my responses to Rev Neal’s comments and sent them to GettSmartt and asked for them to be forward to Rev Neal.

With the permission of both GettSmartt and Rev Neal, this whole discussion is being posted her. GettSmartt’s comments are in purple and enclosed in double "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. Rev Neal’s comments are in black and enclosed in single "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

>> Hi Gary, If you have the time and energy I would love to know what you think of this exchange on Bible Versions.<<

I will address my comments to "Rev Neal." After you read this, please forward it to him.

>> GettSmartt wrote:
I read that the TR was based on about 20 manuscripts.<<

> Rev Neal writes:
It depends entirely upon which edition of the "TR" you're speaking of. The Textus Receptus is part of the Byzantine Text Type, or Majority Text, "family." It represents a late and very narrow (and, as your correctly stated, a very SMALL [20 is TINY]) selection of Manuscripts OF the Byzantine Family.

Erasmus used 6 manuscripts when he first produced his critical text. The last edition of his critical text had only 7. Over the subsequent century the various editors who worked on Erasmus' Critical New Testament tended to bring a handful of additional manuscripts into the editing process, but the total number of copies which went into its production never went beyond 25 -- even in the Beza and Stephanus editions. That's a TINY sampling ... and a VERY NARROW sampling ... from the last generation of Byzantine Greek manuscripts.<

I would basically agree with your comments here. I address the question of which Greek text is actually referred to by the term "Textus Receptus" on the following page on my site: Questions on Greek Texts.

>> GettSmartt wrote:
But how do you feel about the Majority text?? It is based on over 5,000 manuscripts!!<<

> Rev Neal writes:
Indeed it is. And for that reason, alone, I have a greater respect for the Majority Text. However, there are problems with it. Serious problems. Any desire to side with the Majority text should deal with the demonstrated fact that the later generations of the Majority Text have evolved, over time, from the earliest generations of the Majority text (found best expressed in the Gospel section of Codex Alexandranus). There are MANY examples of later Majority readings that were NOT in the earlier generations of the Majority Text, AND MANY of these can be traced to their introduction -- often as marginal corrections/additions which, in later copy-generations, got added to the body-text.<

To be clear, there are two published MT Greek texts:

Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad. The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1985.

Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont. The New Testament in the Original Greek According to the Byzantine/ Majority Textform. Atlanta: Original Word Publishers, 1991.

I will use the abbreviations H&F and R&P throughout my comments for these texts respectively. The lengthy introductions to these texts describe their methods. The former is available from: The Majority Text Society ~ PO Box 141289 ~ Dallas, TX 75214-1289.

The latter should be available from the first two Christian book companies listed on the following page on my site: Christian Books & Software Sites.

I describe these two published Greek MTs and mention the various methods that are used in producing them on the following page on my site: Meaning of "Majority Text."

Now, I am not sure about your claims about the MT "evolving." Those who have developed the two published MTs would disagree. For instance, H&F states about the MT, "The relative uniformity within this text shows clearly that its transmissional history has been stable and regular to a very large degree" (p.xi).

Moreover, even if it were true, your claim would only have weight if the MT was based solely on the number of manuscripts. This is one important criteria; but the editors of both published MTs specifically disavow that their texts are based on "mere numerical ‘nose-counting’" (R&P, p.liii).

>> GettSmartt wrote:
"The NKJV Greek English Interlinear New Testament" contains the Majority text with a word-for-word interlinear English and the NKJV (TR) in the side columns. It's very good.<<

> Rev Neal writes:
Yes, it is. Since the Majority Text and the Nestle-Aland agree on a HUGE percentage of the Greek Text, I most definitely agree with you.<

Yes, the MT (either edition) and Nestle-Aland would agree in the vast majority of their texts. The reason is, of course, that the NT is the best attested document of antiquity. And though there are many variants, the numbers are few in comparison with the size of the document as a whole. R&P state, "over 85% of the text found in ALL manuscripts is identical" (p.xlii, emphasis in original).

Furthermore, out of the remaining 15% of the text with variants, more often than not, it is very easy, on either principle of textual criticism, to determine which reading is a "mistake" and which is correct.

When there are disagreements on variants, more often than not, the differences are minor, often not even showing on in translation. But there are some significant variants. And it is these that generate the controversy.

I discuss these issues in more detail in the chapter "Introduction to Textual Criticism" in My Differences Between Bible Versions book.

>> GettSmartt wrote:
The NKJV also notes for the reader the differences in the Critical Text, Majority Text and Textus Receptus. Here's a comment on the Alexandrian Text from this book:

Since the 1880's most contemporary translations of the New Testament have relied upon a relatively few manuscripts discovered chiefly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Such translations depend especially on two manuscripts, Codex Vaticanus and Codes Sinaiticus, because of their great age (fourth century). The Greek text obtained by using these sources and the related papyri (our most ancient manuscripts) is known as the Alexandrian Text. However, some scholars have grounds for doubting the faithfulness of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, since they often disagree with one another, and Sinaiticus exhibits excessive omission.<<

> Rev Neal writes:
That is essentially correct, except that it is both oversimplified and out of date. Most of the more recent New Testament Translations have been made based upon the Nestle-Aland critical edition of the Greek New Testament. The Nestle-Aland uses the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus Manuscripts, but it also uses several hundred other manuscripts from several different manuscript traditions, including especially the earliest generation of the Byzantine (or so-called "Majority") text.<

On my Web site, for the Critical Text (CT) I utilize the United Bible Societies third edition (corrected). This was the text we used at seminary. For textual variants, I consult the textual apparatus in its footnotes. I also have Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the NT. So I also consult his comments as to why the UBS committee made the decisions that it did.

In addition, I have both published MTs. Now the one by R&P does not have a textual apparatus (it does however put questionable readings within brackets). The text by H&F does have a simple textual apparatus. So I also consult it. In addition, I have a few other books with textual information that I consult.

Now, I do not have Nestle-Aland’s text. So I cannot comment on it specifically. However, I do know that the fourth edition of the UBS and the 27th edition of Nestle-Aland’s text are identical. And I doubt very much there were major changes from the UBS third edition (corrected) [kind of like a version 3.1 in software) and the fourth edition (version 4.0?). And I would assume the same is true for the 26th edition to the 27th edition of Nestle-Aland.

All of that is to say, although I do not specifically have Nestle-Aland’s text I am pretty sure that I basically know what readings are in it. Now, it is true, that the CT scholars today do not rely as heavily on Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as Wescott and Hort did for producing their texts. However, they still do put a lot of weight on them.

In my textual studies, it is very apparent in the UBS text, that if these two manuscripts agree, that is the reading which is adopted, even if there is very little other textual evidence to support their readings. In fact, at seminary, this was basically what we were taught, when these two manuscripts agree, you can be pretty sure it is the correct reading.

I discuss this phenomena with examples in the chapter "Significant Textual Variants: MT vs. CT" in my Bible versions book.

Moreover, H&F write about the UBS and Nestle-Aland texts:
Although eclectic, both rely heavily on a relatively small number of ancient manuscripts that derive mainly from Egypt. Among these, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are the most famous uncial (large letter) manuscripts. The most important papyrus witnesses in this group of texts are the Chester Beatty papyri (p 45, 46, 467) and the Bodmer papyri (p66, 75). The text which results from dependence on such manuscripts as these may fairly be described as Egyptian. Its existence in early times outside of Egypt is unproven (p.ix).

So it would seem that H&F agree with my assessment. The CT is based on a relatively small number of manuscripts, and these localized in one place.

>> GettSmartt continued to quote:

Majority Text. A third viewpoint of New Testament scholarship favors a text based on the consensus of the majority of existing Greek manuscripts. This text is called the Majority Text. Most of these manuscripts are in substantial agreement. Even though many are late, and none is earlier than the fifth century, usually their readings are verified by some papyri, ancient versions, quotations from the early church fathers, or a combination of these. The Majority Text is similar to the Textus Receptus, but it corrects those readings which have little or (occasionally) no support in the Greek manuscript tradition...<<

> Rev Neal writes:
There is nothing wrong with the Majority Text type that a little bit of common sense and critical judgement won't fix. A great number of manuscripts is wonderful, but what do we do if so very many of these manuscripts are copies of each other or of ealier, extant, manuscripts? And what do we do if we find that all the later generations have perpetuated a textual mistake that was in their parent manuscript?<

Again, your comments would only be significant IF the MT was based solely on "number." But it is not. R&P write, "No procedures are utilized which rely upon mere numerical ‘nose-counting,’ nor are hypothetical stemmatic or genealogical principles employed. The leading criteria for textual selection have been [John] Burgeon’s seven canons of textual criticism, carefully applied …" (p.liii).

Burgeons’ seven canons for textual restoration are: Antiquity, Number, Variety, Continuity, Respectability of Witnesses, Context, and Internal Reasonableness (p.ix).

Now to look at a one specific points you mention. You state, "what do we do if so very many of these manuscripts are copies of each other or of earlier, extant, manuscripts?"

In this regard, Wm. David McBrayer writes in the "Preface" to R&P’s text: The editors affirm the general INDEPENDENCE of the various Byzantine manuscripts. These manuscripts, though sharing essentially the same Textform, differ markedly among themselves…. Manuscript readings vary not only from book to book, but even within sections of a single book" (p.x; emphasis in original).

R&P then state themselves:
An important consideration is that, except for a few small "family" relationships which have been established, the bulk of the Byzantine-era documents are not closely related in any genealogical sense. A presumption, therefore, is toward their relative INDEPENDENCE from each other rather than their dependence upon each other. This makes the Byzantine majority of manuscripts highly individualistic witnesses which cannot be summarily lumped together as one ‘mere’ texttype, to be played off against other competing texttypes. This relative autonomy has great significance (p.xix).

So there are enough differences between the minuscules that it is doubtful that the bulk of them are simply copies of each other. More likely, they are copies of a variety of much earlier uncials.

Also, note that R&P indicate in this and their quote above that "genealogical relationships" between the bulk of the Byzantine manuscripts are "hypothetical" at best or simply cannot be established. This relates back to your claim about being able to "trace" the "evolution" of the MT readings. If a genealogy cannot truly be established, than such an evolution cannot be traced.

Going back to the point at hand, R&P write about the "copying revolution" that occurred after the ninth century:
… scribes apparently destroyed UNCIAL exemplars as they converted the Greek text into the then standard MINUSCULE format. Thus, the apparently unrelated mass of later minuscules may in fact stem from long-lost uncial sources far older than the date of the minuscules containing them. this in itself adds a significant weight to the testimony of the minuscule mass, ESPECIALLY those copied in the ninth and tenth centuries, at the height of the copying revolution (pp.xxxix-xl; emphases in original).

So the large number of MT minuscules simply cannot be easily dismissed. As for whether they have simply "perpetuated a textual mistake" - the question of how to determine what is a "mistake" and which is the correct reading is the question being addressed in this discussion. So to write off a large number of minuscules as simply copies of the same "mistake" is begging the question.

> Let me give you an example. At the Church I pastor we made 350 copies of our worship bulletin for last Sunday. In each there was a typo for one of the hymn numbers. The name was right, the number was wrong. Because there are 350 copies of "Because He Lives" as being assigned to No. 463 instead of No. 364, does that mean that those 350 copies are correct and our Hymnal, which has "Because He Lives" at 364, is wrong?<

This analogy is rather irrelevant to the transmission of the NT text. In your case, the original (the master for the bulletin) was corrupted. As such, of course all copies from it were corrupted. But in the case of the NT, the autographs most definitely were not corrupted!

Now, you might want to say that the hymnal is the original and the master for the bulletin is a copy. Then the 350 copies would then be copies of copies. However, the analogy would still not apply.

In your example, only one first-generation copy of the original was made. Then all second-generation copies were made from this one first-generation copy. In this case, since the first copy had a mistake, then all subsequent copies of course also had the mistake. Moreover, all of these copies, I assume, were done on a copy machine of some sorts. Thus they were made in matter of minutes, with all the copies being identical.

This situation is vastly different from the case of the NT. The autographs for the various NT books and epistles were written on papyri. This material lasts for several decades. Given the extreme importance of these documents (much more so than your bulletin!), over this period of time, I would guess that dozens if not hundreds of first-generation copies were made. Furthermore, each of these copies would have been done by hand, individually, and probably by many different scribes.

Now mistakes might have been made in these first copies; but not the same one in every one! In fact, I doubt very much if more than one or two had the same mistake. So when copies of these copies were made, the vast majority of these second generation copies would not have had the same particular mistake. So the reading in the majority of the second-generation copies would be the accurate one.

As third-generation copies were the same situation would prevail. Mistakes would be made but they would not be transmitted in the majority of the copies. So the reading found in the vast majority of copies would still most likely be the original.

It is for this reason that H&F write:
Any reading overwhelmingly attested by the manuscript tradition is more likely to be the original than its rival(s). This observation arises from the very nature of manuscript transmission. In any tradition where there are not major disruptions in the transmissional history, the individual reading which has the earliest beginning is the one most likely to survive in a majority of documents. And the earliest reading of all is the original one…. (pp.xi-xii).

However, unfortunately, we do not actually have first, or even second-generation manuscripts. The earliest papyri we do have are somewhat further removed from the autographs.

H&F write in this regard:
It should be kept in mind that by the time the major extant papyrus texts were copied, the New Testament was well over a century old. A reading attested by such a witness, and found only in a small number of other manuscripts, is not at all likely to be a survival from the autograph. On the contrary, it is probably only an idiosyncrasy of a narrow strand of the tradition (p.xi).

This point relates back my previous quote from H&F about the CT being based on a handful of Egyptian manuscripts. There singular locality argues for them being "an idiosyncrasy" and not representative of the autographs.

Furthermore, the early copyists were not machines. It takes much time and effort to copy documents by hand. So before a scribe would make a copy he most likely would be sure his "master" was reliable. Also, he most likely had more than on manuscript in front of him when did his copy (as evidenced by the textual notes often seen in manuscripts). And there is evidence that the scribes knew which manuscripts were reliable and which were corrupted.

R&P write:
Heretical tampering did occur, as witnessed by the work of Tatian and Marcion, but the church as a whole, and especially its leaders and theologians, were keen watchdogs against such deliberately-perverted manuscripts. It is not without significance that today we know of Marcion’s heretical text only from citations in the Church Fathers, and the heretic Tatian’s Diatessaron is seen in but one Greek manuscript fragment, despite its early widespread popularity among the orthodox (p.xxxvii).

So the scribes "weeded out" corrupted manuscripts and only copied known reliable ones. As such, if a reading is only found in one or very few manuscripts it could be because the scribes knew it was corrupt and did not copy it. but readings found in the vast majority of manuscripts do so because the scribes were reproducing known reliable manuscripts.

Going back to your analogy, if it had taken weeks to produce the copies of your bulletin, and part-way through you noticed the mistake, I doubt very much you would have continued to make copies. You would have gone back and corrected the mistake and made copies from the corrected original. If you then latter needed to make more copies, I also doubt very much you would have used one of the "corrupted" copies to make copies from. You would have used the reliable copies. So the number of reliable copies would far outnumber the number of ones with the mistake.

For a far better analogy of the transmission process, see the following article (this one is not on my site but on the site of an "Internet friend" of mine): A Simple Argument Against Consensus Scholarship.

> Numbers of copies -- LATE copies, at that -- don't matter nearly as much as many KJV Only Advocates like to think.<

Let me state for the record, I am NOT a "KJV Only Advocate." I make this point very clear on my site. See the items listed under "KJV Only-ism" and "KJV vs. NKJV" on the following page on my site: Bible Versions Controversy.

You also might want to check out the following article so you can better understand where I am coming from: My Bible Versions Experiences.

> 4000 copies of a mistake are still a mistake.<

4,000 copies of a particular reading indicate that up to 4,000 different scribes considered that particular reading to be reliable. OTOH, zero copies of an alternate reading indicate that no scribe considered that reading reliable. Now, of course, the situation is not general this extreme. But still, if a reading is only attested by a handful of manuscripts, that means only a handful of scribes believe that reading was reliable. Meanwhile, hundreds of copies of another reading indicate that hundreds of scribes considered that particular reading reliable.

Moreover, since we are talking about the Word of God, I personally do not believe it is illegitimate to mention the providence of God. I know that God’s providence can often be difficult to discern. But still, I find it hard to believe that God would allow His Word to only be preserved in a handful of manuscripts that for the most part were "lost" for centuries while allowing a corrupted version of His Word to proliferate through the centuries into thousands of copies.

> Antiquity combined with geographical and text-type distribution of witness, DOES matter ... and matter greatly.<

As indicated above, "Antiquity" is one of the "canons" utilized by R&P. "Variety" was another, which would probably include "geographical and text-type distribution."

> Let us say (for ease of argument -- in the end the numbers end up the same!) that 1000 manuscripts support a particular TR reading, while only 29 support the Nestle-Aland reading. If you're a manuscript counter, that looks pretty bad for the Nestle-Aland, correct? However, IF you take a look at the NATURE and ORIGIN of those 1000 manuscripts, a different picture develops.<

Again, I must emphasis that both H&F and R&P are not simply "manuscript counters." In fact, R&P do not appear to particularly like the term "Majority Text." they call it a "misnomer" (p.xviii). Hence why the title of their text is not simply "Majority Text" but more expansive.

> Of those 1000 manuscripts which support the TR, 820 will be late-generation minuscules, 158 will be earliest-generation minuscules, and 22 will consist of Uncials: 17 late uncials, 4 middle uncials, and 1 earlier uncial.

Of the 4 middle and 17 late uncials, almost all are clearly copies of that earliest uncial, some of the 17 late uncials were directly copied from that earliest uncial, and hence are equal in terms of textual witness with the 4 middle uncials, but most of the 17 late uncials are copies of the 4 middle uncials which, in turn, were copied form the earliest.

Of the 156 early minuscules, the vast majority were copied from the late uncials, although *some* are clearly copies of the 4 middle uncials and a VERY *few* are copies of the earliest uncial. Hence, in the earliest generation of minuscules, those rare exemplars that are DIRECT copies of the earliest uncial share a fairly equal textual status to those 4 middle-generation uncials; those copied from the 4 middle-generation uncials share a fairly equal textual status to those of the late uncials. The majority, however, are clearly copies of the late uncials, and hence these are the weakest, thus far.

The VAST MAJORITY of the 820 late minuscules were copied from the early- generation minuscules. The VAST MAJORITY of those so-copied were copied from minuscules which, themselves, were copies of late uncials which were copies of middle uncials which were copies of the earliest extant uncial. That means that the VAST MAJORITY of the late minuscules are at least 4 generations removed from the oldest extant uncial copy.

HOWEVER, a small number of those 820 late minuscules were copied from late-generation uncials. An even SMALLER number of the 820 late minuscules were copied from one of the 4 middle-generation uncials. And an extremely TINY number of the 820 late minuscules were copied from the earliest uncial we have. HENCE, EVEN IN THE LATEST GENERATION OF MINISCULE COPIES, there are a

VERY VERY SMALL NUMBER of copies (less than 10) that reflect an equality of textual authority with the 4 middle generation of uncials! AND, THEREFORE, OLDEST IS NOT ALWAYS BEST! However, oldest is NOT ALWAYS best ONLY when a later copy is copied from the eldest we have! Hence, the principle is coherent ... the fewest number of copy-generations possible is the aim here.

Now ... where do we stand? We have 1000 manuscripts, of which 22 are uncials, 158 are early minuscules, and 820 are later minuscules. Of the 820 later minuscules, let us say a total of 15 share textual quality with the 22 uncials because these minuscules were copied off of the oldest uncial or one of the 4 middle uncials, and hence are at least equal in strength with the late uncials. THUS, by taking into account the FACT that most of the 1000 manuscripts are, in reality, copy-products of the earliest generations of those 1000 manuscripts, we have correctly reduced this huge, and impressive looking, 1000 manuscripts, to a more realistic and represenative 37.<

Your whole theory here in reducing 1000 manuscripts to only 37 is exactly what my quotes from R&P explicitly disavowed. Genealogical relationships like you proudly claim to be able to find are not in fact easily discernable. The reason is, there is a great degree of "individuality" among the Byzantine manuscripts. As such, large numbers of them cannot be "lumped" together and declared to "realistically" only represent a few witnesses.

> 37 to 29 still gives the TR witness greater strength ... or so it looks. Let's look at the 29 manuscripts which support the Nestle-Aland and see what they're made of:

Of the 29 copies supporting the Nestle-Aland, 4 would most likely be Papyri (2-3rd century) 3 are early uncials, 3 are middle uncials, 5 are late uncials, and 11 are minuscules. We have a similar situation in these minuscules as we had in the minuscules of the Byzantine Text Type, although the actual figures tend to indicate that most of the minuscules which support the Nestle-Aland readings are early generation minuscules, and are themselves copies of either the uncials or, at times, of the papyri. To make it simple, we'll be generous and guess that only 2 minuscules share equality with the uncials ... 1 because it was copied from a first or a second generation uncial, and the other because it was copied from an early papyrus. HENCE, we have reduced the Nestle-Aland support from 29 to 17.

37 to 17 looks even WORSE for the Nestle-Aland, doesn't it? ONLY if all we're doing is trying to count manuscripts. But not ALL of those 37 are equal in generational/ textual quality to ALL of the 17, are they? No, they're not. Some of them are significantly further removed, in terms of numbers of copy-generations, than the 17.

Of the 17 which support he Nestle-Aland, there are 4 papyri and 3 earliest generation uncials. These EARLY witnesses outweigh, in terms of NUMBERS, the earliest uncial of the Byzantine Text Type. 7 to 1 in favor of the Nestle-Aland, in fact. EVEN if we toss in the middle generation of Uncials which support the TR, the TR is still lacking in numbers: 7 to 5.<

But the question now would be, what about the other "canons’ such as "Variety." Do all, or most of these Nestle-Aland manuscripts come from one geographical area? Since your whole discussion here is hypothetical, it would be hard to answer such a question. But in actual textual studies, it can be.

> As can be seen, when the fluff of numbers is removed, and equal terms are established (as well they should be), the TR support in the earliest generation available to it is weaker than the support of the Nestle-Aland in the SAME generation, AND the Nestle-Aland has even earlier numbers which further support it.<

Considering "number" as one criteria is not "fluff" as I have tried to explain above. And again, the MT is not based solely on number. Also again, your "equal terms" are established by lumping together manuscripts genealogies; a practice that I have also tried to explain is unwarranted.

As R&P emphasize about their text, "… no stemmatic approach is utilized in this edition, nor is "Number" a sole or necessarily a primary criterion" (p.xli).

>> GettSmartt continued to quote:

How should scholars reconstruct the original wording of the Greek New Testament? Should they assume that the manuscripts of an earlier date, which are fewer in number, more likely represent the original text precisely because they are earlier? Or should they assume that the majority of manuscripts, which are larger in number but of a later date, more likely represent the original text because they are in the majority?...It may be possible that the Majority Text readings appear in the majority of surviving manuscripts because those same readings were predominant in the ancient world, as well. If the "majority" is the result of a normal process of copying the New Testament manuscripts, the Majority Text is a Greek text worth considering."<<

> Rev Neal concludes:
If the Majority Text were represenative of a large diversity of geographical locations AND a large diversity of temporal locations, your argument would carry more weight. Unfortunately, the Majority Text is mostly from the last 500 years of the Byzantine tradition.<

500 years? R&P state, "The 'Byzantine Textform' (otherwise called the "Majority" or "Traditional Text") predominated throughout the greatest period of manual copying of Greek New Testament manuscripts - a period of over 1000 years (ca. AD 350 to AD 1516). It was without doubt the dominant text used both liturgically and popularly by the Greek-speaking Christian community" (p.xviii).

Furthermore, R&P explain that the MT is represented by "diversity of geographical locations" being found in Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine witnesses (p. xxxv).

To close, I have quoted at length from H&F and R&P introductions to their Greek texts. But I have quoted much more so from the latter. There are two reasons for this: First, R&P’s introduction is much longer so it provides information.

Second, I tend to agree with R&P’s methods more so than H&F’s. So at this point, the best I could do is recommend you attain a copy of their text and read the introduction for yourself. They provide many additional ideas, some too complex to explain here.

But I should qualify that by saying that the bulk of their book is, of course, the actual Greek text. So unless you do know Greek, it would not be of much use to you. If you do know Greek, then I would highly recommend it to you for the Greek text itself. It is rather "unique" from other published Greek texts in that it is "designed to resemble an ancient Greek manuscript" (p.xliii).

More specifically, it looks basically like a minuscule: no capital letters, punctuation points, breathing marks, or the like. These are omitted as they reflect "editorial preference" and a true translator would want to make these decisions for himself. It makes translating from it somewhat more difficult but more realistic as such decisions need to be made for yourself. The text is, however, divided into standard chapter and verses.

Lastly, I would like to post this whole discussion on my Web site. I think it would be helpful to readers of my site to be able to read both sides of this controversial subject. But I first need your permission to do so.

This discussion is continued at: Three-Way Discussion: MT vs. CT - Part Two.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above discussion was posted on this Web site June 17, 1998.

Bible Versions Controversy: Greek Text Types
Bible Versions Controversy

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