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The Living Text of the Gospels Paperback – August 28, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521599511 ISBN-10: 0521599512

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521599512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521599511
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[Parker's] discussions are clear, entertaining, even at times amusing forays into a complicated field." Richard A. Vinson, Journal of Biblical Literature

"...the book is an important and fascinating contribution to the interpretation of the Gospels." Dwight . Peterson, Pro Ecclesia

Book Description

This book represents an important new departure in New Testament textual criticism. Parker offers a different way of reading the Gospels which treats seriously the fact that they first existed as manuscripts. He argues that the search for an original text of the Gospels is a misunderstanding of the way in which the early church passed down its traditions. All serious New Testament scholars will have to read this book, but it can also be used a primer of New Testament textual criticism as it does not assume any prior knowledge of the subject.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By peter12345 on November 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
D.C.Parker has an established reputation in textual criticism, but this book is for laymen.

Over and above fascinating chapters focussed on each of the following:

the Our Father, the divorce sayings, the woman taken in adultery, parables are/not secrets,
the ending(s) of Mark, the last 3 chapters of Luke, the ending of John,

his main message is that since the invention of printing we assume there was one written
'original' of each inspired Gospel, that we can either find physically, or create by deduction,
(ie. a static model) .

But textual criticism shows us that each early Christian center possessed a variety of traditions,
(oral and/or written) all focussed on the same Jesus/Christ-event,
(ie a dynamic or Spirit-authorized model).

So if exegetes only study textual criticism's nearest approximation to the 'original' of
each Gospel, ignoring the contents of the many 'alternate versions', they miss the living
breathing reality of early Christianity, they are studying a modern abstraction.

Exegetes must themselves remain aware of all the alternate versions,
they cannot delegate this responsibility to professional textual critics.
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