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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography
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Great intro to Greek paleography with numerous examples. Although restricted to biblical Greek paleo this is a very good intro the methods of paleography in general. The Bible being probably the most studied of any ancient document. Metzger was arguably the last of the grand professors of the subject. Obscure for most people, recommended highly along with his other works on Biblical transmission and textual corruption. His bibliographies here and in his other books offer additional avenues for further study. Paleographical methods are not just limited to biblical research, but can be applied to other areas of literacy.
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on January 24, 2006
The book itself is very good; unfortunately the current printing being sold is a poor quality reprint by Oxford. The pages look like xerox copies (actually my own cheap personal copier makes better quality copies than Oxford made here). As a result, many of the plates are very hard or impossible to decipher. Very disappointing for an Oxford book: For $70+ the purchaser expects much better quality.

The original 1981 (uncorrected) printing (tan-colored binding) appears to be the best - the print quality of the plates is much better.

The early printings of the 1991-corrected reprint (tan-colored binding with dark-blue dust jacket) appear to be okay. The plates aren't as high resolution printing as the original 1981 edition, but they're much better than the latest (dark-blue binding, no dust jacket) 1991-corrected reprint.

The book itself I give 5 stars. The current reprint I give 1 star, after having the opportunity to compare it side-by-side with the two earlier printings.
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on September 18, 2004
MANSCRIPTS OF THE GREEK BIBLE: An Introduction to Greek Paleography is a enlightening overview of how the Bible has come down to us written by noted New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger. It is, however, a work whose information goes beyond the New Testament, and the subtitle might as well be interchanged with the title, as with this work one can understand how many secular works in Greek were preserved to the modern day.

Metzger begins with a presentation of the Greek alphabet and its various styles. He gives a necessary explanation of Greek sounds, as a few later manuscript writers erroneously wrote some words based on their modern pronunciation instead of their ancient spelling. The idiosyncracies of the manuscript tradition, with its abundance of abbreviations, artistic colouring, glosses, and punctuation are spelled out in depth. I found Metzger's book most useful as I finally learned how publishers of the New Testament came to agreement on the division into chapters and verses. Of course, nearly all of this information is useful not only for people interested in the New Testament, but also for those who wonder how monks preserved other Greek-language works like, say, the plays of Aristophanes or the dialogues of Plato.

The core of Metzger's work is only 48 of the book's 140 pages. The remainder is a series of useful appendecies concerning dating of manuscripts, how to collate a manuscript, and various statistics. However, most entertaining is a series of 45 plates of manuscript pages with detailed analysis. The utter variety of version gives the reader an appreciation of scholars like Nestle and Aland who strived to create the best standard text.

I wasn't too happy with the book's folio format which, though it allows some of the plates to be reproduced closer to their original size, makes the book unwieldy and inconsistent with most of OUP's output. Nonetheless, MANUSCRIPTS OF THE GREEK BIBLE is quite a enjoyable introduction to the work of paleographym, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in New Testament textual issues as well as budding classicists.
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on December 24, 2009
This book shows the beauty and love that went behind the manuscripts that the Church preserved and compiled! Although the price is quite steep for such a short read(you can finish it in one sitting!), it's a very valuable resource. Inside you will find valuable images of Biblical manuscripts, lectionaries, and a great introduction and in depth look at Greek palaeograpy. Metzger is to be commended at such a fair treatment in this book. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the Biblical manuscripts, in information as to how they came down to us, and to find out just how marvelously the early Church has preserved these deposits of our faith.
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on August 14, 2013
Even for those who are not particularly interested in the Greek Bible, this is the best intro to paleography, textual studies, and book production in the ancient world. The illustrations cover the period from the second century BC to the 15th century AD. However do yourself a favor and buy a used copy of the original edition. The current reprint (as usual) is poor.
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