Saturday, January 19, 2008

Evangelical Textual Criticism: Review of the Digital Textual Commentary of Metzger

There is an interesting post on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog reviewing how one might use the digital version of Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. The reviewer, Tommy Wasserman, used the version available within Accordance. (A responder compared the results with the implementation in Logos, and it took a little figuring out how they match up, but it turns out to be rather similar.)
Wasserman looked at how many references were made to each NT book. He also looked at the "English Content" and in particular he provided some fascinating insights into instances where piety or theology were thought to have influenced a reading and how the committee decisions worked. He also drew out data about the mss. referenced and also the instances reflecting varying degrees of certainty.
You will want to read the whole post, but here is a part of his conclusion:

The digital version of Metzger's Textual Commentary will not only save time for many students and scholars, but it is also likely to lead to new ways of using this standard reference work. The search capacity of the digital version does not allow any detailed studies of the textual affiliation of the witnesses since the commentary due to its nature is highly selective. Nevertheless, it does allow a more detailed exploration of various aspects relating to the work of the committee. Moreover, the digital version will be particularly useful when scholars want to find representative examples of various textual phenomena.

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