Why We Cannot Trust the Greek Manuscripts

The Bible is the most accurately transmitted book from the ancient world. No other ancient book has as many, as early, or more accurately copied manuscripts. – Norman L. Geisler, Apologetics Study Bible, p.468

The Church, when talking about the authenticity of the New Testament text, has always shown pride in the large number of existing manuscripts, but unfortunately, it overvalues the worth of these manuscripts when presented in a milieu devoid of scholarship. The Church does not go beyond the numbers to discuss the problems and the imperfections of the manuscripts when used by scholars to reconstruct the so-called original text or even to construct a critical text.

Most of the apologetic books that do try to prove the integrity of the text of the New Testament go no further than exposing two things: the huge number of manuscripts of the New Testament that exist, and a comparison of that number with the number of extant manuscripts of other ancient books, such as the Iliad (an epic poem written around the eighth century B.C.).[1] Few of the apologists tend toward proof that we can reconstruct the original text through the earliest manuscripts.

We will scrutinize the apologists’ claims, with the exception of the comparison made between the New Testament manuscripts and the other books’ manuscripts, because it is nonsensical to use books for whose texts no one can vouchsafe complete integrity to prove the faithful transmission of the New Testament. This is true without even having to mention the fact that modern day scholars have doubts as to whether some of these books, as is the case for the Iliad,[2] were written by the authors to whom they have been attributed.

We need to study the value of the manuscripts of the New Testament pragmatically, by checking to see if they can really lead us to the text written by the original authors. Moreover, we need to do this after giving the scholars who claim that these manuscripts can lead us to the autograph a chance to exhibit the way they think the original text can be restored, given their dissimilar textual criticism methods.

Numbers Deception

Almost all of the apologetic books that preach the good news of the authenticity of the New Testament mention that we possess around 5500 New Testament manuscripts. Surely, this number is great and impressive, but can it back up the claim of the Church that it unequivocally still preserves the true word of the authors of the New Testament? The persistent answer made by the apologists is, as Michael W. Holmes tells us, “misleading,” because this “bare statement does not reveal the circumstance that approximately eighty-five percent of those manuscripts were copied in the eleventh century or later, over a millennium after the writing of the New Testament. With regard to the fifteen percent or so of manuscripts that do date from the first millennium of the text’s existence, the closer one gets in time of the origins of the New Testament, the more scarce the manuscript evidence becomes. Indeed, for the first century or more after its composition, from roughly the late first century to the beginning of the third, we have very little manuscript evidence for any of the New Testament documents, and for some books the gap extends toward two centuries or more.” [3]

Fifteen percent of those manuscripts go back to the first millennium, only a third of them were copied before 800 A.D.,[4] and most of them are just small scraps that contain only a few chapters or only a few verses. Only fifty-nine manuscripts contain the entire New Testament, and most of these are very late.[5] The closer we move toward the date of composition, the smaller are the manuscripts in size and the fewer in number (fewer than 2.5 percent are from the first five centuries).[6]

Can the Majority Text Method lead us to the original text? Or, if we extend the sphere to include all the manuscripts, can we say, with the Alands,[7] that the original text exists without a doubt in the extant manuscripts,[8] even if its verses are dispersed, because, historically speaking, it is illogical to imagine that across the centuries, our manuscripts have retained corrupted texts and lost the original wording?

The Majority Text Method faces an overwhelming rejection in academic circles, even being refuted by some scholars who are the foremost advocates of the Bible, like Daniel B. Wallace (who started his career as a Majority Text proponent).

The “Majority” or “Byzantine” text is made up of some eighty to ninety percent of all the known manuscripts,[9] but it is a majority only in the late centuries because it was a minority before the ninth century.[10] So the extant manuscripts are proof of the late transmission of the New Testament manuscripts. Through them we know the shape of the text in Christendom during the second millennium. As a matter of fact, the label “Majority” is misleading because it does not cover our research for the text before it was copied for distribution. The label is deluding us in our search for the text in its virgin state.

Pragmatically, we will face a problem with the claim of majority when we start looking for the majority reading. In hundreds of instances[11], it is not possible to put our finger on a majority variant because the scriptures are divided so much that it is not possible to talk about majority versus minority(ies). Sometimes the plethora of variant readings demonstrates that there was a serious dispute over the original reading from the earlier time to the recent centuries before the printing of the Bible.

Hypothetically speaking, numbers mean nothing. Colwell remarked, “Suppose that there are only ten copies of a document and that nine are all copied from one; then the majority can be safely rejected. Or suppose that the nine are copied from a lost manuscript and that this lost manuscript and the other one were both copied from the original; then the vote of the majority would not outweigh that of the minority.”[12]

This text is an apparent corruption of the earlier texts; it “has all the appearance of being a careful attempt to supersede the chaos of rival texts by a judicious selection from them all.”[13] It differs from the modern critical text in about 6,500 places,[14] and by consequence it cannot be reconciled with the best witnesses of the best attainable text of the New Testament.

Most modern advocates of the Majority Text are motivated by religious belief, not scientific truth; they think that God would not have allowed a corrupt text to be found in the majority of manuscripts.[15] It is a nebulous theory that cannot be reinforced by the best and the earliest manuscripts, and it also lacks support from early versions and early patristic citations. [16] It does not belong to the world of the earliest centuries. It came into being through a late-emerging impetus. It reflects the late Christian theological tendencies, not an early stable holy text.

To sum up, the Byzantine text is a late corrupted text that stemmed from the second half of the fourth century and left (almost) no trace before that.[17] To derive the best reading, we need to consider many internal and external pieces of evidence that need to be appraised. Scholars define this concept in a New Testament textual principle: “manuscripts must be weighed, not merely counted.[18]

The Alands’ assumption cannot offer plausible answers for the serious challenging questions; it is a hyperoptimistic view that refuses to discuss the roots of the copied text and ignores the problematic details. The Alands’ claim should be rejected for many reasons.

  1. It has plainly failed to draw a visible history of the autograph. The best that it can claim is that it brings the text to the third century. Due to the time gap between the autograph and the extant manuscripts, we are unable to have a full picture of the history of the text.
  2. Scholars today agree that theological tendencies were behind part of the scribal alterations of the text of the New Testament starting from the end of the second century[19], and in consequence, we can declare that there is no historical logic to denying any possible change in the text during the period the New Testament documents were infrequently in circulation.
  3. We can find traces of lost original readings in the course of the search for the original/best readings. This is what scholars call “conjectural emendation,” which is the proposal of a reading not found in any surviving witness.[20] We can perceive some of the “lost originals” in the UBS comments.
  • At Mark 6:22, Metzger defends the choice of the UBS Committee by saying, “It is very difficult to decide which reading is the least unsatisfactory.”[21]
  • At Acts 16:12, the United Bible Societies Editorial Committee says, “dissatisfied for various reasons with all these readings in Greek witnesses, a majority of the Committee preferred to adopt the conjecture proposed by a number of scholars from Le Clerc to Blass and Turner, namely to read πρώτης for πρώτη τῆς, with the resultant meaning, “a city of the first district of Macedonia.”[22]
  • At Acts 16:13, the Committee described “the difficulties presented by this verse” as “well-nigh baffling,” and in the end adopted what it termed “the least unsatisfactory reading.”[23]
  • At 1 Cor. 6: 5, the text as found in all extant Greek manuscripts reads, “διακριναι ανα μεσον του αδελφου αυτου” (“to judge between his brother”), which is an impossible phrase in Greek that makes no more sense than it does in English, if we were to say something like “traveling between Minneapolis.” It is, as Zunts notes, the result of a homoeoteleuton error (an unintentional error of eyesight committed when copying the biblical text, due to words or lines that end similarly)[24] in the archetype from which all surviving manuscripts descend.[25]

Westcott and Hort applied emendation in their edition of the Greek New Testament in sixty-five places where they thought that the readings we know cannot be accepted as part of the autograph.[26]

Even though he is not sympathetic with the “conjectural emendation” practice, D. A. Black admits that “anyone familiar with recent literature will have detected an increasing tendency to reject all the forms in which a passage has been preserved in the MS tradition and to resort to conjectural emendation to supply what is believed to be a more correct, or at least a less unsatisfactory, reading.”[27]

Origen, from the first decades of the third century, could not resist opting several times for readings not found in any manuscripts in his time,[28] which makes it clear that scholars of the first centuries knew well the deficiency of the work of the scribes and were aware that the early copies did not assure us that we were actually reading the original authors’ words. After noting many variant readings mentioned by the Church Fathers which are absent from today’s critical apparatus, Amy M. Donaldson concluded that “these examples of rare variants, along with their suspicion that original readings were lost early in transmission, both contribute to the notion that for all the readings extant today, there are still some readings that have been lost—perhaps even some readings that were original.”[29]

The famous scholar J.K. Elliott says of transcriptional probabilities (the likelihood of a copyist, in transmission, doing one thing over another [e.g., a type of mistake], which provides a basis for text-critical decisions)[30], “By using criteria such as the above the critic may reach a conclusion in discussing textual variants and be able to say which variant is the original reading. However, it is legitimate to ask: can a reading be accepted as genuine if it is supported by only one ms.? There is no reason why an original reading should not have been preserved in only one ms. but obviously a reading can be accepted with greater confidence, when it has stronger support.”[31] Kurt Aland, even though his textual method is based on external evidence, wrote: “Theoretically, the original readings can be hidden in a single ms. thus standing alone against the rest of tradition.”[32] It is certainly legitimate to ask: What is the real difference between one manuscript among thousands, and no manuscripts at all? If the original reading can be found in a sole manuscript, why not imagine that it can be absent even from that lonely manuscript?! Claiming that authentic passages cannot be lost in the chaos of variants has no historical basis, because we lack totally details of the early history of the text, and we have positive proof of a vanished original.

4. The pessimism of Kurt Aland in describing his success in reaching the ultimate goal for the textual criticism discipline in his defense on NA26 reveals his acknowledgement that reaching the exact original text is impossible. He said, “A hundred years after Westcott-Hort, the goal of an edition of the New Testament ‘in the original Greek’ seems to have been reached.[…] The desired goal appears now to have been attained: to offer the writings of the New Testament in the form of the text that comes nearest to that which, from the hand of their authors or redactors, they set out on their journey in the Church of the first and second centuries.”[33]

Barbara Aland stated, in an essay written a few years ago when talking about the viewpoint of the well-known Institute for New Testament Textual Research, founded by Kurt Aland and later directed by her, regarding the goals of New Testament textual criticism, “Although we cannot claim ever to have established the New Testament text in its original Ur-Text form, our goal was to get as close to this Ur-Text form as was humanly possible.”[34] She pointed out a difference between “the original text” written by the author, which is “lost and cannot be reconstructed”[35] and “the initial text,” which is “the form of a text that stands at the beginning of the textual tradition.”[36] The second “text” is the target of the textual critic discipline, while the first one is out of reach. So the Alands succeed in getting close to the “original text,” which is “the desired goal,” but fail to reach that text because it is out of reach and is not part of the possible goals.

What About the Earliest Manuscripts?

In his book The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, Philip W. Comfort declares that we can restore the original text of New Testament through the earliest surviving manuscripts found in Egypt.[37] It is the only conservative book that deals “seriously” with this problematic matter; and it needs to be answered. Comfort’s claim is the most “straightforward” challenge based on the trustworthiness of the early manuscripts, but at first it was refuted by eminent scholars, and then ignored, since it does not answer the challenging questions, because of its self-contradictory claims. Following is a summary of our objections to Comfort’s claim:

  1. Comfort failed to present a reasonable reading of the history of the text; he could not shed light on the obscure zone that starts from the writing of the autograph to the end of the second century.
  2. The period of the papyri is the confused stage of the text that “can never be known”[38] as a whole, as was avowed by the textual critic Frederic George Kenyon, who was a zealous defender of the authenticity of the New Testament text.
  3. When Comfort exposes the details, he starts arguing against his own theory. For instance, he says about the Gospel of Mark, which is the earliest canonical Gospel and a direct source for Matthew and Luke: “Ironically, the earliest Gospel, Mark (written 65-70), has not been preserved in very many early manuscripts. And to add to the irony (and mystery), Mark was supposed to have taken his gospel with him to Egypt (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 2: 16: 1), and yet there are hardly any early extant copies of Mark among the many discoveries of manuscripts in Egypt. The earliest copy of Mark is preserved in P45, but it is not a very faithful copy. In the book of Mark especially, the scribe of P45 exerted many personal liberties in making a text that replicated more the thought of his exemplar than the actual words. As is well known, P45 has marked affinities with the fifth-century manuscript W. The more “normal” text of Mark is preserved in one early fourth-century manuscript, P88 and two later fourth-century manuscripts,א and B. Until there are more discoveries of early Marcan manuscripts, it is difficult to reconstruct the early history of the text.”[39] Comfort’s claim is grossly inconsistent. How can we access the original text of the New Testament through the earliest manuscripts while knowing that we do not have enough faithful early manuscripts to reconstruct the original text of the most important book in the New Testament?!
  4. Comfort’s dating of the earliest papyri has no support from the majority of scholars. Maurice A. Robinson harshly criticized Comfort in his review of Comfort and Barrett’s book The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, where he stated that they “appear to apply their own palaeographical criteria in dating various manuscripts and tend to claim an earlier date for many manuscripts included in their volume than might be allowed by other palaeographers.”[40] As mentioned by Kurt and Barbara Aland, the only manuscripts we possess that can be dated to the second century are P52, which includes a few words from John 18: 31-33, 37-37, and P90, which includes only John 18: 36-19: 7. [41]That’s almost nothing.
    It is unreasonable to believe that we can reconstruct the original text through a few scattered pieces. Due to this insufficient number of manuscripts, we cannot recover the history of the text.[42] Logically, we can say too, as Bowers stated before, that “The possibility exists that the extant copies (when few) do not accurately represent the original proportion.”[43]
  5. Comfort believes that the papyri of the early centuries preserved the original text, but scholars already revealed that the manuscripts of the first three centuries are witnesses for the three text-types: the Alexandrian, the Western (P29, P38, P48, and P69) and the Caesarean (P45),[44] (maybe also a scarce number of Byzantine readings).
    J. H. Petzer concluded his essay “The papyri and New Testament Textual Criticism, Clarity or Confusion?” by declaring that the huge number of the unearthed papyri discovered throughout the last century did not pave the way straight to the final goal of New Testament textual criticism, for instead of bringing greater clarity, they have brought greater confusion.[45] These old copies added more confusion to the scholars’ perception of the history of the text.
  6. Comfort himself could not deny the awful truth: “the oxyrhynchus New Testament has variegated textual characters” [46] and that “the few manuscripts[47] that do have overlap are P5 and P22, and P52 and P90. The first pair is strikingly dissimilar.” [48]
  7. Comfort does not adopt the eclectic method; he thinks that “any early papyrus-supported reading (also having witness from other early manuscripts) is a viable testimony to the original text,”[49] but he was forced to be eclectic when he faced variants in the papyri.
  8. Kenneth W. Clark concluded in his study on the P75 that this papyrus (early third century) “vividly portrays a fluid state of the text at about A. D. 200.” And that “such a scribal freedom suggests that the Gospel text was little more stable than the oral tradition, and that we may be pursuing the retreating mirage of the “original text.”[50] Colwell portrays the situation of the early transmission of the text by declaring that the manuscript tradition of the New Testament progressed from being relatively uncontrolled to being rigorously controlled. He states that “The general nature of the text in the earliest period (to A.D. 300) has long been recognized as “wild,” “uncontrolled,” “unedited.”[51] J. K. Elliot, despite his reliance on the Alexandrian scribes’ integrity, stated in his review of Comfort’s book that “The Alexandrians may have been copying accurately, but the exemplars they were working from were already flawed.”[52] The papyrus stage was the period in which the textual problems came into being,[53] so it is a witness for a varied text, not a single pure one.
  9. In his review of Comfort’s book Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament, Michael W. Holmes, despite his appreciation of the book’s method, mentioned that some early papyri used by Comfort are practically “of no significance,” because they were poorly copied, while others, which are later witnesses, are excluded because of their age, despite their importance as direct copies of very early good manuscripts.[54] One of the aspects of Comfort’s simplistic method in using the papyri to reconstruct the “original text” is his disregard of the evaluation of each papyrus as an independent unit. The papyri, as a matter of fact, should be classified as good and bad papyri, not to be accepted as a whole trustworthy set.
  10. Comfort acknowledges that some books of the New Testament were corrupted (redacted) too early (e.g. Acts, most of the Pauline epistles …)[55] , so we cannot get access to the pre-redacted text because our manuscripts do not allow us to go beyond the second century.
  11. Comfort states that the early manuscripts found in Egypt should be seen as pure text because the scribes were following the rigid system of copying the manuscripts as had already been established in the pagan library of Alexandria. He claimed that “the Alexandrians were concerned with preserving the original text of literary works.” [56] I think that it is impossible to convince modern scholars with this argument, because, although they agree that Origen, head of the Alexandrian school, was a pioneer in textual criticism of the New Testament, they note, too, that his method leaves the modern scholar “disappointed” in him as a textual critic.[57] Metzger commented on Origen’s treatment of the variant readings, which he mentioned in his extant writings, that it “is most unsatisfactory from the standpoint of modern textual criticism. He combines a remarkable indifference to what are now regarded as important aspects of textual criticism with a quite uncritical method of dealing with them.”[58] Origen himself was enraged by the scribal habits of his time. He declared furiously: “it is a recognized fact that there is much diversity in our copies, whether by the carelessness of certain scribes, or by some culpable rashness in the correction of the text, or by some people making arbitrary additions or omissions in their corrections.”[59] James R. Royse finds it easy to conclude that “substantial early papyri show just as clearly that as a rule early scribes did not exercise the care evidenced in later transcriptions.”[60] In a study made by him of the six extensive papyri from before the fourth century (P45, P46, P47, P66, P72, and P75), he offers the following number of corrupted texts and words:[61]






















    Net words lost







    Significant singulars[62]







    Words lost per significant singular







  12. The majority of textual critics today adopt the eclectic method in the hunt for the original/earliest possible text, which shows that the oldest manuscripts do not give us an easy or pure text.
    The situation is complicated to the point that many[63] of the verses preferred in the UBS4/NA27 (The twenty-seventh edition of the Greek New Testament text named after its primary editors, Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland) are not available in any extant manuscripts. Maurice Robinson offers us the following examples:
    – Matthew 20:23 contains seven variant units, only three of which (the first, second, and sixth) are sufficient to leave the resultant text of NA27/UBS4 with no support.
    -Luke 6:26 contains five variant units, which together leave the NA27 text without support.
    – Mark 11:3 contains but two variant units, in which the witnesses to the NA27/UBS4 text are mutually exclusive (variant 1, text = B D 2427 pc; variant 2, text = א D L 579 892 1241 pc).
    – John 6:23, with four variant units, needs but the second and third to produce a NA27/UBS4 verse with no support.[64] William L. Petersen, in his review of Comfort’s book, gave it the kiss of death when he declared that “This volume cannot be recommended, for it is riddled with defects of every sort […] In short, Comfort’s acquaintance with both the literature of textual criticism and its issues is utterly inadequate. […] This book, with its Abfall Theorie of textual origins (a view as discredited in textual matters as it is in issues of Church history), serves as an example of a particular genre of pseudo-scholarship, which finds its way into certain schools and churches and then into students. This is unfortunate, for the unlearning of this volume’s half-truths and outright untruths will be a painful experience for the student and an unwarranted waste of time for the professor. The publisher and external reviewers are to be rebuked for allowing such nonsense into print.”[65]


A close look at the real condition of the manuscripts will help us understand better that the satisfactory quantity of the manuscripts cannot veil the deficiency of their quality, and that without a plausible quality, we will be forever distant from the lost autograph.


    1. See Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979, 1/41-3; Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007, p.84
    2. Homer’s life: “Much of this information [about Homer’s life] is recognizably fantastic and nearly all of it is probably worthless.” (G. S. Kirk, The Iliad: a commentary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, 1/2). When was the Iliad first written down? “Here, as nowhere else, we enter the realms of speculation and controversy.” (Michael Silk, Homer, the Iliad, second edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, p.8). Many doubts were expressed concerning the early history of the Iliad.
    3. Michael W. Holmes, “Text and Transmission in the Second Century,” in Robert B. Stewart, ed. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart Ehrman and Daniel Wallace in Dialogue, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011, p.61 [italics mine].
    4. See Michael W. Holmes, “Reconstructing the Text of the New Testament,” p.80
    5. Ibid.
    6. The Alands are not pro-Majority text.
    7. See Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, tr. Erroll F. Rhodes. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1995, p.296
    8. Michael W. Holmes, “The ‘Majority Text Debate’: New Form of an Old Issue,” Themelios 8.2 (January, 1983), p.15. Gordon D. Fee, “Textual Criticism of the New Testament,” in Eldon J. Epp and Gordon D. Fee, eds. Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1993, p.8
    9. See Daniel B. Wallace, “The Majority-Text Theory: History, Methods and Critique,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 37, 1994, p.202
    10. Daniel B. Wallace, Inspiration, Preservation, and New Testament Textual Criticismhttp://bible.org/article/inspiration-preservation-and-new-testament-textual-criticism (12/5/2011)
    11. Ernest. C. Colwell, “Genealogical Method: Its Achievements and Its Limitations,” in Studies in Methodology in Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Leiden: Brill, 1969, p. 65
    12. Brooke Foss Westcott, Fenton John Anthony Hort, The New Testament in The Original Greek, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881, pp.549-50
    13. See Daniel B. Wallace, The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?, http://bible.org/article/majority-text-and-original-text-are-they-identical#note_3 (3/9/2011)
    14. See Philip W. Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography and Textual Criticism, Nashville: Broadman & Holman,2005, p.98
    15. See Daniel B. Wallace, The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?; Gordon Fee, “A Critique of W. N. Pickering’s The Identity of the New Testament Text,” in Westminster Theological Journal, 41 (1979), pp. 397-423
    16. Some scholars do believe the existence of a very few Byzantine readings in early papyri, See Daniel B. Wallace critic on Sturz’s exaggeration, in The Majority-Text Theory: History, Methods and Critique, p.207
    17. See Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, pp.280-81
    18. See Bart Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament, New York: Oxford University Press US, 1996
    19. D. A. Black, New Testament Textual Criticism: A concise guide, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994, p. 24
    20. Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2000, p.77
    21. Ibid., pp.394-95
    22. See ibid., pp.395-96
    23. M. S. DeMoss, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek, p.68
    24. Michael W. Holmes, “Text and Transmission in the Second Century,” p.67
    25. See B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek. 2, Introduction, Cambridge: Macmillan, 1881, pp.279-82
    26. David Alan Black, “Conjectural Emendations in the Gospel of Matthew,” in Novum Testamentum, Vol. 31, Fasc. 1 (Jan., 1989), p.1
    27. See Amy Donaldson, Explicit References to New Testament Variant Readings Among Greek and Latin Church Fathers, 1/262
    28. Ibid., 1/319 [italics mine].
    29. M. S. DeMoss, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek, p.124
    30. J. K. Elliott, The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, ed. Jacob Geerlings, Studies and Documents, XXXVI, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1968, pp.10-1
    31. K. Aland, “The Significance of the Papyri for Progress in New Testament Research,” in J.P. Hyatt, ed. The Bible in Modern Scholarship, New York: Abingdon Press, 1965, p. 340
    32. Kurt Aland, “The Twentieth-Century Interlude in New Testament Textual Criticism,” in Ernest Best and Robert M. Wilson, eds. Text and Interpretation: Studies in New Testament Presented to Matthew Black, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979, p.14 [italics mine].
    33. Barbara Aland, “New Testament Textual Research, Its Methods and Its Goals,” in Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda, eds. Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009, pp. 16-7
    34. Ibid., p.17
    35. Ibid.
    36. “The manuscripts discovered in Egypt are the ones from which we can reconstruct the original text of the Greek New Testament,” p.38
    37. See Frederic George Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, London: Macmillan, 1901, p.35
    38. Philip W. Comfort, The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, p.107 [italics mine].
    39. Maurice A. Robinson, “Review: Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett, eds., The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts: A Corrected, Enlarged Edition of The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts,” in TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism; 2001, Vol. 6
    40. See Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, p.82
    41. See J. H. Petzer, “The Papyri and New Testament Textual Criticism, Clarity or Confusion?” p. 23
    42. Fredson Bowers, Bibliography and Textual Criticism, Oxford: Clarendon, 1964, p. 75
    43. See Kenyon, The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, Descriptions and Texts of Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible. Fasciculus II, The Gospels and Acts (Text), London: E. Walker, 1933
    44. J. H. Petzer, “The Papyri and New Testament Textual Criticism, Clarity or Confusion?” p.29
    45. Philip W. Comfort, The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, p.68
    46. The one produced in Oxyrhynchus (a city in Upper Egypt).
    47. Ibid., p.67 [italics mine].
    48. Philip W. Comfort, The Quest, p.127
    49. Kenneth W. Clark, “The Theological Relevance of Textual Variation in Current Criticism of the Greek New Testament,“ in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 85, No. 1 (Mar., 1966), p.15
    50. Colwell, “Hort Redivivus: A Plea and a Program,” in Studies in Methodology, Leiden: Brill, 1969, p.164
    51. J. K. Elliott, Reviewed work(s): “The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament” by Philip Wesley Comfort, in Novum Testamentum, Vol. 36, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1994), p.285
    52. See Frederic George Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p.35
    53. See Michael W. Holmes, Reviewed work(s): “Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament by Philip W. Comfort,” in The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 56, No. 1, Celebrating and Examining W. F. Albright (Mar., 1993), p.49
    54. See Philip W. Comfort, The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, pp.19-20
    55. Ibid., p. 22
    56. L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974, p.94
    57. Bruce M. Metzger, “Explicit References in the Works of Origen to Variant Readings in New Testament Manuscripts,” in J. N. Birdsall and R. W. Thomson, eds. Biblical and Patristic Studies: In Memory of Robert Pierce, New York: Herder, 1963, pp.93-4
    58. Origen, Comm. Matt. 15.14
    59. James R. Royse, “Scribal Tendencies in the Transmission of the Text,” in Bart Ehrman and Michael Holmes, eds. The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, Essays on the Status Quaestionis, p.248
    60. Ibid., p.246
    61. “These are defined as those singular readings that remain after exclusion of nonsense readings and orthographic variants.”
    62. When interviewed by David Alan Black (2006), Maurice Robinson said that in a forthcoming essay, he would provide “105 whole verses of NA27/UBS4 which, when tabulated as wholeverse units, lack support from any ms, version, or Church Father within transmissional history.”http://www.daveblackonline.com/interview_with_maurice_robinson2.htm (8/13/2011)
    63. Maurice A. Robinson, “The Case for Byzantine Priority,” p.536
    64. William L. Petersen, Review: “The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament,” by Philip Wesley Comfort, in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp.530-31 [italics mine] .

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