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The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration 3rd Edition

51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195072976
ISBN-10: 0195072979
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Editorial Reviews


"This is the definitive text on New Testament textual criticism."--Jim Hamilton, Southwestern Seminary, TX

"The most readable and important text for introducing students to textual criticism of the New Testament. I've been using it since 1993."--Rollin Grams, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Very helpful update."--J.C. Thomas, Church of God School of Theology

"An extremely helpful and comprehensive companion to the study of textual criticism. Particularly helpful are the notes gleaned by this careful scholar over years of research. Notes such as his reflection on the fortune-telling-like use of the hermeneia texts of John...provide surprising insights to students."--Gerald L. Borchert, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Fills a very noticeable gap in this area of New Testament studies. Metzger is precise, scholarly and up-to-date. I like the way he arranged his material."--Russell R. Fry, The Ring's College

"Comprehensive survey of problems in textual criticism."--James Grier, Yale University

"Professor Bruce M. Metzger...remains the dean of New Testament textual criticism. For more than thirty years his encyclopedic knowledge and prolific pen have kept New Testament scholars current in manuscript studies. The appearance of the third edition of his manual for the study of textual crticism bears testimony to its usefulness and to Metzger's continued leadership in the field....Other manuals in textual criticism are now available, but none is more serviceable than Metzger's."--Southwestern Journal of Theology

"A remarkable book made all the more valuable by the appendix of the third edition. It provides a succinct yet useful survey by this eminent scholar."--U.C. von Wahlde, Loyola University of Chicago

"The best in its field. Indispensable!"--Jarl Fossum, University of Michigan

"The finest work on this subject available."--George W. Knight, III, Knox Theological Seminary

About the Author

Bruce M. Metzger, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (March 12, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195072979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195072976
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As one of the world's best-known scholars on the text of the New Testament, Bruce M. Metzger has taught for many years at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Bennett VINE VOICE on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dr. Metzger has given the reader an invaluable resource for the study of the text of the New Testament. The book is divided into three major parts. Part one begins with a detailed description of the ancient method of bookmaking. Next, Metzger lists the major Greek manuscripts and codices as well as a basic description of each. He also lists the major non-Greek witnesses (e.g. Syriac, Coptic, Latin, etc.) and discusses the role of quotations from the early church Fathers. Part two is devoted to the history of the printed editions of the Greek New Testament from the time of the Complutensian Polyglot and the Textus Receptus (the text used for the KJV) through Westcott and Hort until the present day. Part three is an instruction manual for textual criticism, including the many theories of criticism and the method of conjectural emendation. In this section, Metzger also discusses the many types of errors and deliberate changes made by the scribes. He then gives an analysis of several textually difficult passages (e.g. Mark 16 and Acts 20:28). The book also includes 16 photo plates that show selected manuscripts. A working knowledge of Greek is helpful because Metzger often cites Greek words in the text and footnotes without an English translation. If one wishes to learn the basics (and more) about textual criticism, then this is the book to buy.
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105 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Bost on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a vital tool to use in rebutting the Ex Cathedra heresies of the King James Onlyists. Virtually every page contains important information that the KJOs would rather not discuss. (Or discuss out of context, if they acknowledge it at all.) And while this book isn't devoted to KJVOism per se, it is a great resource for the anyone who actually wants to examine the evidence for himself, rather than relying on the words of Ruckman, Riplinger, Cloud, Waite, Grady, etc...
For example, while Westcott-Hort are condemned by the KJVO crowd, Erasmus is practically placed on a throne and his own heresies are ignored. His tampering with the text is overlooked while Westcott-Hort are branded as every sort of apostate and heretic imaginable. One standard is applied to Westcott-Hort, another is applied to Erasmus.
Was the text perserved? Of course it was. Just not in the manner that some would have you believe. There was no additional "moving" of the Spirit over Erasmus, the KJV translators, or Benjamin Blayney to prevent them from making errors. Let Rome have it's Ex Cathedra doctrine.
A word of warning: This book is deep. It goes into a lot of detail regarding various Greek and Latin manuscripts, as well as early versions and Patristic quotations. It takes time to absorb everything this book contains. But don't give up! To truly understand the implications and details of the whole Bible version controversy, one needs a working knowledge of just how the Bible itself was transmitted down through history.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Collin Garbarino VINE VOICE on March 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the classic work on New Testament textual criticism. It is thorough, clear, and actually entertaining. However, it does need rewriting. The text of the book has not been changed since 1968. The author has just added appendices as new evidence comes to light. This makes the book a little cumbersome at times to read. Rewriting the appendices into the body of the text would make this book even more useful.

UPDATE: This review was written about the 1992 edition. The 2005 edition addresses my criticisms.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Brcheese on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in learning how the New Testament we read today came to be -- read this book. It is a tremendous overview of the sources that have been relied on that, taken together, make up the New Testament as we now understand it. It is fascinating to read about the divergences between different versions of the scriptures and the reasons for these differences, i.e., inattentive scriveners, etc. For those who may feel uncomfortable with this I should point out that Metzger is not seeking to undermine belief in the scriptures, in fact, he is the editor of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. However, he at no point allows his beliefs to interfere with his objective examination of the evidence. Obviously, he believes that such an examination should not undermine belief. As he states, no fundamental tenet of Christianity is impacted by the sometimes divergent readings in ancient manuscripts. Highly recommended.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jordi Vilalta Lopez on May 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
For clearness of exposition and soundness of principles, and even correct if not beautiful typographical appearance, this is the best introduction ever to NT Textual History and Criticism.

OK, the Eberhard NESTLE book of some ninety years ago is again available and is a well thought-of German pedagogical feat of a textbook, glory to it!_ but, truly, it's also painfully outdated.

So, what? It's true that the updating of the third edition isn't done in the best possible way_ but, what do we have to offer? The ALAND and ALAND handbook? Of course, it is a good repository of the latest data in the field, but a good, readable textbook it isn't.

The 4th edn (METZGER, EHRMAN,The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition) OUP) is really an updated and improved revision of METZGER's now classical text, well done and helpful overall. For sheer quantity of raw material the ALANDs still hold the sway, but theirs is in no way a readable or agreeable book.

So, I think it's on the whole better to stick to METZGER, and -for a good updating- to get the EHRMAN, HOLMES bookThe Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. And don't forget the recent book by COMFORT,P.W.Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism
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