More on Rethinking the Textual Transmission of the Gospels

Larry Hurtado's Blog

In earlier postings, I’ve questioned the paradigm/model of an early “wild” period of textual transmission of the Gospels and a subsequent/later period of textual stability (here, here, and here). The model may seem intuitively credible, but the manuscript evidence doesn’t seem to support it.  To cite one thing, the manuscript evidence suggests that significant textual variants continued to appear, or at least first became widely accepted, well into the Byzantine and early Medieval periods.  Here are some examples.

Take the sizeable variant known as the pericope of the adulteress.[1]  The passage first appears in the extant manuscripts in the fifth century (e.g., Codex Bezae), and not in earlier manuscripts (e.g., P66, P75, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, as well as a number of somewhat later manuscripts).  But thereafter the passage became a regular part of the Gospel of John at 7:53-8:11.  So, the “success” of this…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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