Skip to main content

A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament







A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament by Philip Wesley Comfort

Longtime scholar of ancient biblical manuscripts, Dr. Comfort has been an authority on textual manuscript traditions for many years.  Here, in this updated edition, his A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament is a welcome addition to the growing field of textual studies.  What do you find in such a commentary?  For one, Comfort introduces the reader to the extant papyrus manuscripts we have of the New Testament, namely the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, the Chester Beatty Papyri, and the Bodmer Papyri.  Also, Comfort reasons that the earliest manuscript evidence is generally followed, “documentary evidence has pride of place (31).”

One of the most significant sections of the book for me was Comfort’s elucidation concerning nomina sacra in the NT. Comfort writes, “The earliest copies of the New Testament writings (perhaps some of the autographs themselves) included these specially inscripted forms for the sacred names…some writers and/or scribes used the first letter and the last letter of the name; others used the first two letters and the last letter.  Thus, for example XPICTOC (Christ) was written as XP (line over it, very rare form), XPC (line over it), or XC line over it (the most common form).  In whatever form, XPICTOC (Christ) was always written as a nomen sacrum (37-38).”  In the LXX, the Greek Old Testament, these nomina sacra were not used, the only similarity is in the divine name of Yahweh (it would often be a Hebrew contracted form).  In some of the very earliest copies of the NT, we find other words that are deemed nomina sacra, cross and crucify are some of those examples (stauros and stauromai).  One of the reasons why a bar would be over a significant word, a nomen sacrum, was to desecularize the term, giving is sacred status (40).  Lectors and readers of liturgy would also know as a result of the nomina sacra where to provide more emphasis when reading a text, thereby giving it more weight as its heard.

The rest of the text is a careful analysis of the textual variants and commentary on the textual tradition in the various books of the NT.  Comfort pays careful attention to the very earliest manuscript and papyri traditions. 

This book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on textual analysis.  Comfort helpfully gives us a background on the text families and the most important things to look for in textual analysis.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…