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A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (Resources for Biblical Study 80) Paperback – November 17, 2017
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"For anybody who cares about the text of the New Testament, there will be few books published in biblical studies over the next decade that will be more important than this one. Tommy Wasserman and Peter Gurry describe some of the tectonic shifts that are currently occurring in the way that New Testament text critics are reconstructing the earliest recoverable form of the Greek text of the New Testament. With great care and clarity, the authors explain the intricacies of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in ways that both scholars and non-specialists can readily understand. For anybody who wishes to know how the text of latest printed scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament has been determined, and why it differs from earlier editions then this is the book to read."
--Prof. Paul Foster
Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity
School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh
"This book is essential reading for everyone who wants to understand how contemporary research is changing our understanding of the text of the New Testament or the significance of this new method for all textual scholarship. It is a clear and perceptive explanation of the methodology behind the new editions of the Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Societies Greek New Testaments, as well as the major edition on which they are based. With a historical overview and suggestions for further reading, it contains a step-by-step guide and examples that shed new light on such difficult passages as the first verse of Mark's Gospel. The authors, who have practiced the methodology and studied it in detail, are ideally placed to offer this simple but thought-provoking guide."
Professor of Digital Philology and Director of the Institute for the Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE)
University of Birmingham
"Wasserman and Gurry have together written an extremely useful book. They introduce and explain in detail the history and inner workings of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, a method that has become extremely important to the textual criticism of the Greek New Testament through its foundational role in determining the Initial text for the Editio Critica Maior and, in consequence, the printed text in the current (28th) and future (projected) editions of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. All students of the Greek New Testament ... are in their debt for writing such a helpful and informed account. It kept me awake almost the whole way through."
--Peter M. Head
New Testament Tutor
Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford
"A New Approach to Textual Criticism is a clear introduction to a complex method, the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method. It reflects the transition of textual criticism into the digital age, by showing a new path to deal with the multiplicity of the New Testament manuscripts, leaving behind the categorization of text-types."
Head of Digital Enhanced Learning
SIBSwiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Lausanne
"This book will be of great service in helping scholars and serious students of the New Testament to grasp what the CBGM is. To this point it has largely been a "black box" for many.The explanations are clear, and the examples will be particularly helpful in showing what the CBGM offers and how to make use of the online access to it."
--Larry W. Hurtado, PhD, FRSE
Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology
University of Edinburgh
About the Author
Tommy Wasserman is Professor of Biblical Studies at Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole, Kristiansand, Norway. He is secretary of the International Greek New Testament Project, serves on the board of the Centre for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, and has started projects on manuscript transcription and manuscript forgeries for the Museum of the Bible. He is Associate Editor of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism. Wasserman has authored and edited several books including The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission (2006) and Studies in Isaiah: History, Theology and Reception (2017).
Peter J. Gurry (PhD, University of Cambridge) is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary. He has worked with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and the Museum of the Bible to preserve and publish New Testament manuscripts. He has written several articles on textual criticism and is the author of A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism (Brill, 2017).
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In fact, the material is presented in a fresh and readable manner (it only took me two days of casual reading to get through it) and the content is fascinating. It is a scholarly and even sometimes entertaining resource. Helpful examples abound, the footnotes are excellent and often point the reader to key sources for further reading, key terms are explained clearly, and the glossary is a bonus.
Regarding presentation, unfortunately the actual printing of this book isn’t the best. Some of the letters lack sharpness and ink. Some of the figures are tough to make out too (4.2 and those in the appendix are very poor). At the same time, the abundance of figures and tables are most welcome and contribute greatly to assisting the reader’s understanding of the material. Only two typos stood out: an unwelcome capitalized word on p. 40 and an oversized superscripted “20” on p. 46. Additionally, BDAG and LSJ were omitted from the list of abbreviations.
To say that this book was intellectually taxing for a semi-layperson such as myself, may be understatement! Lol. It only took the other reviewer two days to read, whereas it took me almost two weeks (and many headaches!) to absorb and to finish. He may have had more exposure to the field than myself. I came to this book having only read Aland's Text of the NT, Comfort's Encountering the Manuscripts, Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Porter's How We Got the NT and Fundamentals of NT Text Criticism, and a couple chapters of Gordon Fee and Eldon Epp's Theory and Method of Textual Criticism (TC).... plus a few others.
In a review of one of David Parker's books, William Varner says that he does not know what all the fuss is about with the CBGM (this was said in 2014 where the method may not have been presented as clearly as in this book- so his mind may have changed). The CBGM is now the method that will underline the Nestle-Aland text. So if one want's to be a responsible user of that text, they will need to be familiar with the CBGM. The fuss is that this is a method that WILL be utilized in TC. It is not going to go away. It is that computers must be utilized in Text-Critical scholarship. Yes there are and may be methodological weaknesses and kinks that need to be worked out, but that does not disqualify CBGM from TC, anymore than rejecting Byzantine-priority disqualifies all Byzantine witnesses. (I assume that Gurry address these issues in his other book titled "A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method")
All we can do is be thankful to those who have pioneered a new way for us to approach Textual Criticism. Yes they have taken the Genealogical method... but this is indeed a new approach and a new tool. All I can do is stand in amazement.
Thanks to Wasserman and Gurry for the excellent content and format of this book- that although the content took time to absorb, the format made it much easier to follow the points being made. The book is wonderful to hold, easy on the eyes, and outright outstanding