Thursday, June 29, 2017

Précis: “The Papyrus Manuscripts of the Greek New Testament” by Eldon Epp pp. 1-39.

A Précis of
Chapter one of Ehrman, Bart and Michael Holmes, Editors, 2014 The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, Second Edition, Brill.

This volume is an updating and expansion on the first edition of 1995. The volume contains 28 articles to cover the current status of research on many basic areas in NT TC. The first 16 chapters survey the sources of the NT text available to us. The 12 chapters making up the second main part of the book focus on NTTC Theory and Method.

In this first chapter Eldon Jay Epp covers in brief the various groups of discoveries and the historical impact those discoveries had upon the field of NTTC. The Papyri are distinct from other Uncials of
the region and period only by virtue of the writing material. Except in a couple cases, they are not provenanced.  Epp describes the variety of literature in papyri, focusing on those relevant to scribal activity and the text of the NT. The papyri have unseated the theories of regional text types in a couple ways: first, the non-biblical literature testify to how rapid, widespread, and pervasive mail delivery and textual dispersal. Therefore, one can no longer accept the notion of isolated regional texts. Second, the biblical material demonstrates affinities toward all the so-called text types. The papyri have helped demonstrate faulty assumptions and methodologies, for example, while their impact has been gradual, they have as a group greatly confirmed the reliability of the textual transmission of the NT through this medium in the 1st to 3rd centuries in Egypt. They have undercut the textual transmission theories based on notions of isolated regional text types, and in particular K. and B. Alands’ tautological approach of classification [we get it, they really like the NA and believe it’s the best]. Epp summarised the value of the papyri to the Coherence-Basd Genealogical Method devised by Gerd Mink and the significance of the papyri to determining scribal style in the work of J. Royse, P. Head, J. Hernández, Jr., and D. Jongkind. Epp closed with a brief critique of Royse regarding Greisbach and the “shorter reading criterion.”

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