Talk:Textual criticism

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Former good article Textual criticism was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 4, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
June 5, 2008 Featured article candidate Not promoted
August 9, 2009 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

list for comma johanneum etc[edit]

I'd like there to be a list that includes comma johanneum, Mark 16, John 21, etc. Then each of those pages can have the list in its See Also, and someone looking up one can easily find the others. What would the list be called, and what would be on it? "List of New Testament Variations"? Or maybe it ought to be a page, so a reader can get a summary of all of them at once. "New Testament textual variations"? Leadwind (talk) 17:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Mark 16 and John 8 are the only large sections of the NT believed not to have been part of the original documents. John 8 (if it was not original) was added very early because it appears in early, just not the earliest, mss. Mark 16 seems to be a later addition since it appears only in somewhat later mss, there is also considerable variation in the various forms that were copied.
The comma johanneum is also late. The single Greek witness is widely believed to be a 15th century forgery.
These facts are printed in almost every major English Bible translation of the 20th century, they are very old news.
These and many other small variations are used by Christians debating other Christians about the value of the King James Version (KJV). Some Christians still argue the KJV is inerrant, even in translation! Other Christians believe it only makes sense to think of the originals as "the Bible" and so demand (and pay for) scholarship and publication of the best text criticism possible -- high technology scans of original manuscripts, computer modelling of incomplete letters and documentation of any uncertainty, lest unreliable readings creep into text that is considered vitally important.
The best summary of all the variations of the New Testament mss are in Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27) and The Greek New Testament (UBS3). NA27 is the prefered scholastic standard because it thoroughly documents minor changes (but does draw the line at spelling differences, and at naming insignificant mss that support the various readings).
UBS3 is much more practical for preachers checking texts or students learning NT Greek. It limits consideration of variations to only those of a more substantial nature (but often names more evidence for each reading than NA27 does). There is so much evidence about the NT text, that selection must be made about variations. Christians exactly like any one else (maybe even more so) are concerned about the biggest differences. They don't want to use biased texts in their Bibles.
I think what you want to see Leadwind is something like this. This is a book that explains every single decision made by UBS when compiling their version of the New Testament in Greek. They came up with exactly the same text as NA27. This is not magic, or from God, it's because some scholars were common to both projects, and because they were all using the same basic methods of text criticism.
You would find the book very boring. It explains, for example, why we or you was accepted in various places. These words vary by one Greek letter, and sometimes we can't be sure if the original NT would have had we love God or you love God. It's kind of important, but it's kind of not important. More interesting examples are that many manuscripts do not have Jesus saying at the cross, "Father forgive them", others do not have Jesus using a whip in John 2.
The book is not an argument for a reliable NT, it simply looks at each set of variations and explains why it thinks one of them is better than the others. It actually rates each decision for likelihood of being correct. Some decisions are easy, others are hard. Generally, the hardest ones are those that are least important. Important variations usually have predictable biases and it is easy to pick the unbiased version.
The book is extremely common. Any Bible college or seminary will have a copy and it takes about 5 minutes to see how it works, though the arguments won't make sense unless you know Greek and Christian theology. Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians all use the same books for this. They sometimes disagree violently about how to understand the words of the NT, but they nearly always agree what the words of the NT actually were.
This is extremely good news for people who don't believe the Bible. If the text of the Bible were uncertain, Christians could always escape from being wrong by saying, "Ah! But that's probably an error in copying, not an error in the Bible." No such luck, I'm afraid, the scribes made plenty of mistakes and also made biased edits at times, however, there were just too many of them in too many different locations to actually rewrite the Bible once copies had already spread everywhere, like a virus. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:18, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Textual Criticism of the New Testament[edit]

Should an article called something like "Textual Criticism of the New Testament" be split off from this one? I think it would be a good idea. This article is about 56k long, and a split like this would cut it signicantly. Peter Ballard (talk) 10:29, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think this is a good idea. Textual Criticism should be the parent article, and should not be dominated by discussing the New Testament. On the other hand, secondary literature about TC of the NT is so massively abundant that it cannot adequately be covered in a short section. Additionally, TC of the NT involves a number of important related issues because of the nature of its content matter.
The more I think about it, the more I think I should probably draft something when I have time. It'll save me having to write it into talk pages all the time. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 03:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. This is too focussed on religious texts. I have altered the introduction to remove some of the focus on religious texts. There are also various misconceptions about phylogenetics (misnamed "cladistics") which I have also correct Peterrr73 (talk) 08:29, 16 May 2017 (UTC) (Peter Robinson, working as part of the KU Leuven Text Schol group)

More copies than any other ancient work?[edit]

"The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,300 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Ethiopic and Armenian. This compares to less than 700 manuscripts for Homer's Iliad, the next most well-documented work from antiquity". It's a common claim, but is it true? No citation is provided, and IIRC there are about 250,000 extant ancient copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and presumably there are a lot of copies of the Koran around. --Robert Stevens (talk) 12:03, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Josh McDowell, "More than a Carpenter" (Tyndale, 1987), p.48. (Not saying he's right, just giving a cite). I've always assumed that the Qur'an doesn't qualify because it isn't sufficiently old (though one could argue that the line is just drawn at a convenient place). It's hard to imagine it not exceeding the 700 MSS of Homer's Iliad. The 250k extand copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead sounds awful high to me, I'd like to see a cite on that. Peter Ballard (talk) 12:45, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Oops, my apologies, that should have been 25,000. I'll check the preface to my copy (if I can find it), I probably got the number from there.). But McDowell is a highly unreliable source, and presumably he's counting all the copies made throughout the Middle Ages, which isn't specifically relevant. And most of those would be later than Islam: as you say, the cutoff date was probably chosen for "convenience". I'll snip the hyperbole (not relevant to the article anyhow), but leave the number-of-copies info for the NT (dubious though it may be). --Robert Stevens (talk) 14:42, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
This is a quote from Bart Ehrman's The New Testament which is a college level introductory text (also, Ehrman is an actual, notable scholar, not an apologist like McDowell): "if we count up all of the New Testament manuscripts that have been discovered, the number is impressive. We currently know of some 5,400 Greek copies of all or part of the New Testament, ranging from tiny scraps of a verse or two that could fit in the palm of your hand to massive tomes containing all twenty-seven books bound together. These copies range in date, roughly from the second century down tot he invention of the printing press int he fifteenth century. As a result the New Testament is preserved in far more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity. There are, for example, fewer than 700 copies of Homer's Iliad, fewer than 350 copies of the plays of Euripides, and only one copy of the first six books of the Annals of Tacitus." -Andrew c [talk] 14:52, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
This link has some more sources here. However, there clearly is a POV being pushed, and some of the quotes are selective and we probably cannot use the webpage as a reliable source here. But it does contain references to actual scholarly works that may be helpful.-Andrew c [talk] 14:56, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I really like that source, and I only know of it because I've seen you using it Andrew. It's ideal to have a source biased against another source, because it gives a good indicator of the "limits of distortion". Even critics of X say ... is a good boundary of reliability.

I've added a reference here that explains why Egyptian Book of the Dead doesn't compare. This is not a Book really, it is the name of a literary genre, very numerously attested to be sure, and including much common material, but not a unified work. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Comments in passing[edit]

Jossi left a note asking if I'd be interested in copyediting this article. I've had a brief look through (no time for more than that, I'm afraid) and had the following comments:

  • "a branch of philology or bibliography" - I find the "or" confusing. Is it a branch of philology, bibliography or both? The "higher criticism" article introduces itself as "a branch of literary analysis". Would it be right to say that textual criticism is "literary analysis", or is it more akin to linguistic analysis?
Fixed ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The linking of the three sub-disciplines to sections later in the article is understandable, but confusing. I find it annoying in the extreme to click on these links and then realise I am in the same article. I personally think it is better not to link at all, or to put in italics or something.
  • Overview - this section should be the lead, shouldn't it? See WP:LEAD. The lead section needs to be able to stand alone, and the overview section would do nicely here.
  • "Early textual critics were concerned with preserving the works of antiquity, and later with medieval and early modern manuscript writings" - I realise that this article can't provide too many examples, but a few more than just the Bible, Shakespeare and Plato. Medieval French manuscripts are mentioned at some point. Some Anglo-Saxon mauscripts could be mentioned as well. List of manuscripts (which is mentioned at the end) would be a good starting point. Just to give people some more context and to leaven the dry technical stuff. I suppose another way of putting this is that the current article probably says too much on Biblical and Shakespearean examples, and more on other examples would be good, if possible.
  • The "Books of the Bible" template doesn't really belong in this article. That is more for an article about Biblical textual criticism. Incidentally, some people may think of this as textual analysis, which appears to be something else entirely.
fixed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Material and sources added ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  • We have an article on Johann Jakob Griesbach, so this article should link to it (sorry, I know I should fix this myself).
Fixed myself. :-) Carcharoth (talk) 14:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Not strictly related, but I think that in some small way, part of what was done with the manuscripts of J. R. R. Tolkien was in some form a type of textual criticism. Sometimes, his literary executor (his son Christopher Tolkien) would base his analysis on the age (sometimes presumed) of various manuscripts, and there have also been some publications approaching a variorum (see J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography). If you want a modern example, that might be helpful!

Sorry I didn't have time to add more comments - I did enjoy reading the article. Carcharoth (talk) 19:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Excellent points, Carcharoth. Thank you. I will work on these in the next day or so. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:30, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I concur with the "good read" above Jossi, well done, but I also concur that literary criticism is the parent category, not philology. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:55, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Sure! Do the honors... : ) ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)

Various tidbits[edit]

While following up my linking of Johann Jakob Griesbach, I created the redirect textual critic to point here. I presume that this is the right phrase to use. From what links here I found authorial intentionality, which might be something that should be linked from this article and made consistent with what is said here (or vice versa). I also found some redlinks at User:The Anome/Moby nouns/T that might be relevant: Text edition, Text hand, Textuaries and Textuary (none are linked from anywhere else other than that pages and now this talk page). Could someone please explain these in the context of textual criticism if they are relevant? Thanks. Carcharoth (talk) 14:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Blogosphere textual criticism[edit]

Just a forward thinking comment.

The internet is just ripe for textual criticism. Websites often edit text continuously, some of which is accessed and cited at different times. Archives of previous text are not always kept. If it has not happened already, I think it may only be a matter of time before reconstructions of edit histories of web publications become commonplace.

Think Wiki. Wiki talk pages and edit histories are the text critic's dream world—precise documentation of every change, all the way back to an original text. More than attempted transcription is involved in each step, of course, however, where articles are genuine attempts to neutrally synthesize reliable sources, this is a conceptual transcription. Editor's attempts to harmonize Wiki text with reliable sources are sometimes a fascinating process to observe.

Other textual critical issues in cyberspace include urban myths and neologisms that circulate the web. Tracing the evolution or etymology of these is certainly widely discussed already.

Text criticism of ancient documents is like the internet on speed. Perhaps there is already a journal article somewhere about this. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 12:23, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Added sections to other articles[edit]

I've added a Manuscript evidence section to Comma Johanneum, Pericope Adulterae, John 21 and will add a similar section for the long ending of Mark at some stage. A generous Polish contributor has provided articles on many of the key manuscripts. Wikipedia makes NT text criticism verifiable in an extraordinarily efficient way. Alastair Haines (talk) 04:55, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Summary of manuscript evidence now added at the bottom of the very long Mark 16 article. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Early textual critic, Wilhelm Canter[edit]

If appropriate, consider adding reference to Wilhelm Canter (1542-75). Reynolds says "He also wrote a short manual on textual criticism, Syntagma de ratione emendandi scriptores Graecos, appended to his Latin translation of the different types of error in Greek texts, brought under such headings as the confusion of certain letters, wrong word-division, omissions, additions and transpositions, errors arising from assimilation or the misunderstanding of abbreviations, and illustrated with examples taken almost exclusively from Aristides."[1] Robert B. Waltz in a non peer-reviewed, online text entitled The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism call Syntagma de ratione emendandi scriptores Graecos "the first real study of textual criticism from the modern standpoint".[2] Jodi.a.schneider (talk) 15:35, 23 November 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ Reynolds, L. D (1974). Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature (2nd ed ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 161-2.  More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help)
  2. ^

moved scary label[edit]

I'm moving the citation to the top of the notes section. I think it's ridiculous to post such a label without explaining on the Talk page when the article is as developed and brainy as this one, whatever points remain to be resolved. It gives the first-time visitor the impression that the article lacks credibility, but compared to most articles on literary topics, this one has intellectual heft. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:47, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

The article is well-sourced. Since there are no specifics challenges to the sources on the Talk page, I think the citation should be removed. Lamorak (talk) 16:00, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

please comment[edit]

On this AfD (an article on someone claiming to be competent in research in textual criticism) Slrubenstein | Talk 20:32, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Lower Criticism? The term is grotesque. A textual critic must interpret the text in the broadest and most precise senses of the word. Every word he allows to stand, every letter he introduces, must be backed up by an interpretation, even though his interpretation could only be expressed in a full commentary, which he is not necessarily obliged to produce in order to publish a critical text and apparatus. The idea that the textual critic is a lower form of "working-class" scholar who then turns over the text to an "upper-class" literary critic is wrong, and shows a complete failure to understand the role of the textual critic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. It's a philological disgrace to let that outdated and absurd distinction stand here. Someone should rewrite the opening and take that out. Also, is Paul Maas mentioned anywhere here?--Log37 (talk) 21:57, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

moved paragraph from intro[edit]

I moved a paragraph from the intro (where it had been the last paragraph) to the New Testament section. It's the paragraph beginning "§ It is also worthy to note that various groups of Highly Conservative Christians believe" etc. (The purpose of § eludes me.) The paragraph distorted the focus of the article, which seeks to cover the full range of textual criticism. I'm also a little skeptical of the claim that textual criticism as it pertains to the recovery of classical texts simply grew out of biblical studies, even though this claim is sourced to Habib. At any rate, since I regularly link to this article for the purpose of illuminating the history and problematic status of classical texts, I don't think the intro should imply that this is the sole province of biblical studies. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:55, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I propose to introduce[edit]

I propose to introduce which is dedicated to textual criticism. Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Textual criticism/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

Starting GA reassessment as part of the GA Sweeps process. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:10, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

Symbol unsupport vote.svg In order to uphold the quality of Wikipedia:Good articles, all articles listed as Good articles are being reviewed against the GA criteria as part of the GA project quality task force. While all the hard work that has gone into this article is appreciated, unfortunately, as of August 9, 2009, this article fails to satisfy the criteria, as detailed below. For that reason, the article has been delisted from WP:GA. However, if improvements are made bringing the article up to standards, the article may be nominated at WP:GAN. If you feel this decision has been made in error, you may seek remediation at WP:GAR.

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose):
    b (MoS):
    • There is an excessive number of External links and See also items. I removed the columns from See also as these do not display correctly in all browsers. See WP:External links and WP:ALSO. The Lede does not fully summarize the latter parts of the article. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:34, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references):
    • There are a number of outstanding citation needed tags, some dating from December 2008. I have added more. There are large number of paragraphs without any sourcing. I have fixed a couple of redirects to external links. Some citations are not properly formatted. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
    b (citations to reliable sources):
    • Sources used appear reliable. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
    c (OR):
    • Uncertain until article is fully referenced. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
  3. It is broad in its scope.
    a (major aspects):
    b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales):
    b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    • On hold for seven days for issues above to be fixed. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:37, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
    • OK - nothing seems to have happened in seven days, there have been some minor formatting edits. I am de-listing this article. It can be brought back to WP:GAN when improved. Jezhotwells (talk) 14:53, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Embedded citations[edit]

Embedded links should not be used in place of footnotes. In its early years Wikipedia allowed this as a form of citation—for example by adding a link after a sentence, like this [1], which looks like this. [1] This is no longer permitted. Embedded links should also not be used to place external links to websites in the body of an article. For example, do not spam links to company websites in article text, like this: "Apple, Inc. announced their latest product..." InterWikimedia links may be appropriate in the body of an article; see Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects.WP:CITE. This article has a number of embedded citations which appear to be against policy.-Civilizededucationtalk 16:31, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm not seeing external links in the body, except for a couple that link to Bible verses, and one very oddly formatted one under "Other disputed NT Passages." I've frequently seen this with Bible verses, as they link to a look-up page where you can find the verse in a great number of versions and translations. I'm not sure how or why this convention arose with Bible verses. I assume what you're saying is that this link should be moved to a footnote even when it's appropriate to cite chapter and verse within the body of the article. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:59, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Yup, that's what I am trying to say. The one under the section "Other disputed NT Passages" is odd as you say.The Antioch Bible Society <> ,... and there are others, eg.Johann Jakob Griesbach (1745–1812) published several editions of the New Testament. In his 1796 edition, he established fifteen critical rules.....-Civilizededucationtalk 18:02, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Time to break out holy text section?[edit]

Seems that this article is too detailed on the NT and yet not detailed enough in the other sections. Suggest summarize and break out:

pages: In ictu oculi (talk) 03:18, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

I fully support the proposal. Textual criticism can apply to Homer or Shakespeare too - I think it is contrived to but all these in one article because they happen to be sacred texts (why not textual criticism of the Bhagavad Ghita)? This is a long article and it should be broken up. To the proposal I would only add that we ned a general and generic article on textual criticism that introduces the topic and the basic methods. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:09, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with this in general; however, there does need to be an article called "textual criticism" that explains what it is, its methodologies and aims (primarily to arrive at a text, and secondarily involving interpretation). The separate articles would deal with the application of textual criticism in various fields and the specific kinds of questions it can address. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:07, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The german article de:Textkritik des Neuen Testaments might be an example how the articles can develop. There is a gap in the en:wikipedia on this subject. There is so much more to be said about. --Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 17:21, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Now i found two articles with many redundancies: List_of_major_textual_variants_in_the_New_Testament and Textual variants in the New Testament. The two existing articles should be merged into one and no redundancy to the new article . --Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 19:09, 21 October 2012 (UTC)


It seems Studies in Stemmatology" (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company) is listed twice in the references. There are two volumes for SiS. Perhaps they should be specified? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)


Have the methods of TC ever been subjected to a validation process that would verify them as correct? Are the results of TC studies considered to be objectively valid or are they subjective best-guesses to be accepted or rejected by the reader? Virgil H. Soule (talk) 17:36, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

The methods have been validated many times, however the results remain uncertain to a small level, depending on the quality of the surviving texts. How can it be validated? For example you have three manuskripts of 14th and 15th century of different origins, that differ in many details. You can use the method to find out which variants are older. In some cases you have other manuskripts of 8th century or a translation of 2nd century and can check if the results of TC are correct and in most cases the resulting text of TC is identical or very close to the older manuscripts.--Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 07:03, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Percentage of accuracy NT[edit]

There have been added two sections about percentage of accuracy which are absolutely wrong in this isolated form. As everyone can see in the latest editions of Nestle-Aland, there is almost no sentence without variants. You can claim that high percentage only by neglecting "minor" errors. Now look at this sentence in the source Most of the differences are completely inconsequential--spelling errors, inverted phrases and the like. A side by side comparison between the two main text families (the Majority Text and the modern critical text) shows agreement a full 98% of the time. You can get this figure only by the fact, that the critical text has already sorted out most of the variants. The critical text excludes all variants of spelling errors, they will not even be mentioned so non of the spelling errors is included in this 98% figure. The critical text also has to choose from the remaining variants. Many variants don´t affect the sense of the text such as differing order of the words but they still are variants and just ignored by this percentage. Very often it excludes the variants of the western text, so the variants of the western text are not included in this figure. Most of the time the variants of the caesarean text is excluded, so it will not show up in the percentage. If you compare only two forms of texts you of course get less dissagreement than when you compare all texts. The excluded variants don´t cease to exist just because they are not recognised as authentic by the critical editions. Have a look on Nestle-Aland and you will find, there is allmost no sentence that hasn´t two or more variants, some verses have 10 variant readings in different parts of the verse. However just one of this variants is compared to the majority text and the other nine are not counted. This figures are a cheat.--Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 16:17, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Compare what is written here: Novum_Testamentum_Graece#Accuracy_of_the_New_Testament--Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 01:51, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
thank you for the correction. you're right. sorry about that - i'll be more careful to use the accurate wording in the next edit. nevertheless, i wouldn't call the figure a cheat, however. the above quote means that the raw texts differ in inconsequential manners, and when we compare the two texts (Alexandrian and Byzantine) after they have gone through textual criticism, they are 98% in agreement with each other despite their vastly different backgrounds. in any case, i botched it with my poor wording and carelessness. once again, my apologies. (talk) 04:44, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
There is another source of trouble: The critical text contains some passages that are marked with double square brackets. This indicates passages which for sure are not part of the original text. This passages include Mark 16:9-19, John 7:53-11 and some other minor passages. If you compare it with the byzantine text, you´d have to omit this passages. The sources you have chosen have an apologetic aim. We should stick to sources of scientific value if ever possible. On the other hand different readings should not be accounted only as flaws. Variant readings are something that enriches the tradition and they are a kind of interpretation of the text, a part of the solution of the hermeneutical problem. Variant readings are a response to difficult parts of the bible and represent the way the writer(s) understands their sources. Many variants are deliberate changes to present the text more clearly, so we should consider it as a help towards a better understandig. The text glows in different colours, but it is still bright light. There "is" a reason, why the mentioned passages have found their way into the bibles. --Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 20:17, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Old Testament[edit]

Textual criticism of the OT is remarkably different to other literature. We have quite a few manuskripts of the masoretic text. There are no significant differences between the masoretic manuskripts. You can take any of these and each of them may contain maybe 20 to 30 minor changes like a jod instead of waw or plene instead of defective writing or occasionaly an omitted letter, that don´t affect the sense in any way. It makes allmost no difference if you take the aleppo codex or codex leningradensis. Surely any modern edition of the bible contains more errors than these manuscripts. However there are siginificant differences to the version of the septuagint and to the samaritic pentateuch, there are also differences to the manuscripts of Qumran. Some of the manuscripts of Qumran are related to the septuagint, some are similar to the samaritic pentateuch, some are near to the masoretic text so the other sources represent also dffferent valuable versions of their own right. Whenever it comes to textual criticism the other versions and the Qumran scrolls may not be omitted.--Giftzwerg 88 (talk) 12:24, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that, despite what this article currently claims, the original urtext of the Hebrew Bible (assuming any such text ever existed in the case of, say, the Pentateuch) were almost all written hundreds of years before the Dead Sea Scrolls were copied. The Masoretic text itself contains more variation from the Dead Sea Scrolls than within itself, and neither of them can tell us anything about consistency with the "original" from centuries before our earliest extant copies... Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:16, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Giftzwerg 88, what are you saying, in terms of how the article should be written? PiCo (talk) 14:00, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Whaaaaaaat??? "Textual criticism is ...the identification and removal of transcription errors in texts, both manuscripts and printed books." No it's not! Find a good RS and get a definition from there! PiCo (talk) 14:03, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

"Ehrman 2006"?[edit]

Whose Word Is It? is just the UK title for Misquoting Jesus, originally published in 2005. Citing these as though they were two separate books is confusing. I think we should replace all citations of Ehrman 2006 with Ehrman 2005. The problem is that without copies of both editions I can't check the page numbers... Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:07, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

My article split[edit]

There are objections voiced against my split of Textual criticism of the New Testament out of this one, according to my understanding of Wikipedia:Summary style. and per suggestion voiced years ago: #Time to break out holy text section? Please comment. - üser:Altenmann >t 16:54, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

pre-printing secular text crit[edit]

Presently reads:

"However, the application of textual criticism to non-religious works does not antedate the invention of printing."

This is nonsense, can someone who has a minute fix this?

For example

the Alexandria Library  “stimulated an intensive editorial program that spawned the development of critical editions, textual exegesis — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

History of Textual Criticism: separate page?[edit]

The early history of textual criticism, up to and including Lachmann, say - now very summarily covered on this page - may merit a separate page, as it covers large parts of humanistic endeavours from the Library of Alexandria via the humanists (Filelfo, Valla, Petrarch, Bracciolini, etc.) up to the Altertumswissenschaft and the folklorists of Late 18th early 19th Germany. Wikiproject Textual Scholarship Mountainmists (talk) 08:54, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Bias towards textual criticism of religious texts.[edit]

This article is biased towards biblical textual criticism. There should be a separate article entitled "Biblical Textual Criticism," while this article should refocus to be more general. The Wikiproject Textual Scholarship (KU Leuven) is working to improve the neutrality of the article and on the inclusion of new developments within the field. Bordalejo (talk) 08:54, 16 May 2017 (UTC)