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New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide Paperback – Bargain Price, April 1, 1994


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About the Author

David Alan Black (DTheol, University of Basel) is professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (April 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801010748
  • ASIN: B006TQZCHK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Neal Stublen on January 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
What is textual criticism? Why is it necessary? How should it be done? At eighty pages (of large type), Black's introduction to New Testament textual criticism can be read in a single sitting and provides answers to these questions.
Black introduces the reader (any reader) to the various manuscripts underlying the New Testament and presents the different perspectives on textual criticism. As stated in the preface, "this volume attempts to make the findings of scholarship accessible to a wide readership. Nothing in this book is taken for granted. Every term, every problem, is explained clearly, concisely, and 'from scratch'." I certainly found this to be true. The first two chapters discuss the need for textual criticism and the different approaches to the task. The final chapter provides a few examples to help the reader understand some of the issues faced by textual critics as they try to determine the original Greek text behind the New Testament. The bibliography gives you a number of additional reading suggestions to move beyond "A Concise Guide".
If you are simply a lay person as I am, reading this book will allow you to have a better understanding of why some Bibles occassionally offer footnotes containing alternate translations. Black's book will also give you a better understanding of the history behind the New Testament scriptures and how they have been preserved from the apostles' time to our own. If there is a drawback to the book, it would probably be that you may find the price to be a bit high for such a short book.
If you don't want to go any further than an introductory understanding of textual criticism, then this is probably a great book for you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Currie on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide, written by David Alan Black, is indeed what the title details. Written compactly and with little frivolous information, David Black gives not only the experienced, but also the novice greek student a solid foundation upon which to base a practice of textual criticism. A unique feature in this remarkably short work, the material given is contained as much in appendixed form and bibliographical information as in traditional text. A wonderful guide for further scholarship, the author entices the reader to further explore the original text of the New Testament.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Flannery O’Connor on September 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to get a very basic idea of how the New Testament translators and scholars do their job, this is the perfect book. It is brief and very clear and gives you a great picture of what goes on behind the text of whatever translation you use. It explains how the original Greek text is put together, agreed (or disagreed upon) and what kind of discussions are still going on. It also gives some pointers if you want to start doing some textual criticism of your own. Instead of dumping information on you to make you feel stupid and never want to learn more again, it gets your feet wet just enough as to want to try it on your own. A great resource to start with. It also recommends some great resources for further reading which will be useful if you decide to do more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brother Zhu on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This first thing about this book is that it is really short! I read it in a day while riding the subway. The author gives a very concise overview of just about everything that goes into textual criticism of Biblical texts and does his best to give unbiased explanations.
I particularly like his emphasis on the important role of textual criticism in interpreting the Bible (that's the whole reason for me getting into it in the first place). Anyone who is teaching the Bible to others needs to know why the Bible translation they use says what it does should be aware of the variants in whatever passages they are teaching, in order to come to their own conclusions about which reading is the best.
What's also nice is that the 3rd (and last) chapter gives the reader the opportunity to see textual criticism at work with a few examples from the New Testament. I was overjoyed to see that the author didn't just blindly follow the UBS/Nestle-Aland decisions for which texts to use, but gave valid reasons to support different variants if suitable. This is particularly refreshing in a world where the church at large seems to take at face value anything from the Alands, Fee, Metzger, and the rest of that camp without questioning their decisions in selecting certain texts over others. The appendices are very helpful for future study and the bibliography provides the reader with the next steps for anyone who wants to go deeper.
My only complaint is that book was a bit pricey considering how small it is and the large font used. It's a very easy read for those who aren't scholarly inclined and can also serve as a "reality check" to bring back to basics those who have gotten themselves buried too deep in scholarly wonderland.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bellizzi on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
The operative word here is "concise." In less than 80 pages of large print, the author leads the person with no previous knowledge to a basic understanding. Black gives attention to such matters as writing in the ancient world, the various witnesses to the text of the New Testament, principles of textual criticism, and the differing modern approaches to the task. Also included are sections on how to read the technical apparatuses in the two most popular editions of the Greek New Testament (United Bible Society and Nestle-Aland), and a worksheet for making text-critical decisions. This is likely the best book available for introducing students of the Greek New Testament to the basics of textual criticism. Advanced students can use it to quickly brush up on their knowledge and skill, and ministers can recommend it to people who ask about marginal readings and "missing verses" in their Bibles. This is a first-rate guidebook that deserves five stars.
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