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Talk:Textual criticism

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Some of the comments criticizing the New Testament's manuscript authority in this article seem extremely spurious to me. The case is often made (McDowell, F.F. Bruce, e.g.) that the New Testament has more manuscript evidence than any other ancient document. Unlike Caesar's History of the Gallic Wars or the History of Thucydides or Aristotle's poetics, all of which are considered authoritative by historians, we are not looking at just 5-10 manuscripts evidencing that they've been reliably recorded, with the earliest dating 1000-1400 years after the originals. The New Testament has over 24,000 manuscripts with some dating less than a century after the original documents, which by historical standards is simply ridiculous. The Dead Sea Scrolls show that the Old Testament in its entirety was reliably preserved until 100-200 B.C. I appreciate the work done on this article, but I am going to edit boldly and change some statements on this page that I do not feel are fair with regard to the Biblical evidence. --Jzyehoshua 17:55, 16 April 2012 (PDT)

Indeed this is all documented from the NT Text criticism article, General reliability method.--Tsommer (Tony) 18:42, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
I checked the General Reliability article, and it didn't include some of the opinionated statements criticizing the New Testament's manuscript evidence that I just removed from this page. As the General Reliability article notes, about 99% of the variants are extremely trivial; perhaps because they are from later manuscripts and not the crucial early ones? The fact that there are 24,000 N.T. manuscripts logically drastically increases the possibility of variants. I've heard it said that 99% of these manuscripts agree word for word. --Jzyehoshua 19:12, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
The statements I removed included: (1) "The situation with the New Testament is arguably worse, in that no agreement has been possible as to which of the many manuscripts of various New Testament books is actually original." (2) "The situation with the New Testament is much less settled, because no checksumming was ever done with any manuscript of any of its books." The following statement is concerning to me as well, but I haven't yet changed or removed it: "The reception of Westcott and Hort's work has varied from cordial to hostile. Many Bible defenders roundly condemn New Testament textual criticism, because they see in it the same kind of compromise of the truth that they decry on the part of the higher critics. This led the writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia, in 1908, to despair of ever having a fully reliable New Testament in the Greek language of its original authorship." I am by the way pretty familiar with Higher Criticism, and wrote much for Citizendium on the Documentary Hypothesis last year:
--Jzyehoshua 19:21, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
Is the lack of Checksumming really even a valid criticism? I'm not sure I've heard of any but the Masoretes ever practicing it. That they did so is of course very admirable, but we don't throw out every other historical document that wasn't preserved with it, which would be ridiculous. --Jzyehoshua 19:23, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
I do think you did a good job with the article as a whole, in giving it a start, but there are a few statements here that I think have some trouble being defended, as they're more based on opinion contrary to the New Testament. The majority of the article should be alright I think though. --Jzyehoshua 19:27, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
I did not write much on the Textual criticism article, but rather the general reliability method article. But I think its great you are cleaning up the textual criticism article :). From what I gather your edits are spot on! Check my user page for my articles if you want.--Tsommer (Tony) 20:03, 16 April 2012 (PDT)
Oh, okay. The General Reliability article looks good. I'm not sure who made the controversial additions criticizing the New Testament, just noticed you'd made a lot of the recent edits. Thanks for the edit approval! I noticed the article needs a lot more about the Bible's manuscript evidence, for both the New and Old Testaments, so trying to get in as much solid data as I can. Feel free to help fine-tune this if you'd like. --Jzyehoshua 07:37, 17 April 2012 (PDT)
Ohhh... I just figured it out. You had used material previously on Wikipedia. I was confused because all previous edits to my own were by you, and I see now your first edit cited Wikipedia as a source:
I guess you used their page as a layout and then built around it, and the biased statements there are actually from the Wikipedia page. I was wondering about that. Sorry if I came off as annoyed, I was just surprised because those statements were pretty obviously not NPOV, and particularly biased against the Bible, but I realize now that they were made originally at Wikipedia and then brought here. Sorry about the misunderstanding, my apologies. --Jzyehoshua 16:06, 18 April 2012 (PDT)

about article

The tables you have laying out the more popular and well-known manuscripts is great work! It is satisfying to have a one-stop reference point for such things, thank you for providing it. Especially how that one table is prior to 300 A.D., that time period is SO substantial and dynamic for informing Christianity today!--Tsommer (Tony) 15:54, 29 April 2012 (PDT)

Thanks! Wouldn't want Wikipedia to be the only reference point for this info. :) Good idea about cleaning up the sources and embedding them so they don't distract, I changed the embed style a bit to make it more clear they are sources, but without affecting the page layout. --Jzyehoshua 11:22, 5 May 2012 (PDT)
Good stuff! Way to go bringing CreationWiki up to another level!--Tsommer (Tony) 11:50, 5 May 2012 (PDT)