The Bible as a Book: The Transmission of the Greek Text

By Scot McKendrick and Orlaith O’Sullivan
Oak Knoll Press. 310 Delaware St.. New Castle, DE 19720.
2003. 260 PP. $60.00. ISBN 1-58456-082-7

This is the final volume in a 5-volume set. The previous volumes have all been reviewed in these columns (vol. 1 and 2 in Jan.-Mar. 2001; 3 in Apr.-June 2001; and 4 in July-Sept. 2003).

This volume covers a wide range of topics that bear on the science and the art of the textual criticism of the Greek Bible. The subjects covered here include: the relationship between the Jewish scribal culture and early Christian literary practices; Greek Biblical texts uncovered in the Judean Desert; the New Testament miniscule tradition: and New Testament Biblical papyri.

Fresh studies are presented of Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Codex Bezae. From the use of the Church Fathers in New Testament criticism to the work of Eberhard Nestle in the 19th century, “this volume holds something for everyone,” says the jacket blurb. But for the benefit of what this reviewer believes may he the case for the majority of Bible students/collectors who are members of this Society, these volumes will be quite technical.

This is, however, not to in any way diminish the high qualifications of the group of Biblical scholars whose contributions are featured here. These for this volume include Bruce M. Metzger, John Scot Wevers, and Emanuel Tov, plus an additional dozen others representing universities of Canada, England, and the United States.

These chapters not only reflect and build on the accomplishments of the past, but suggest future directions in Biblical textual criticism. They are based on the proceedings of the annual Hereford Conferences sponsored by The Scriptorium: Center for Christian Antiquities.

Editors McKendrick and O’Sullivan are respectively the Curator of Classical, Byzantine and Biblical Manuscripts at The British Library, and the former Cataloguer of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books at The Scriptorium.

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