The Critical Text and the Alexandrian Family of Revelation -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 119:474 (Apr 1962)
Article: The Critical Text and the Alexandrian Family of Revelation
Author: Zane C. Hodges


The Critical Text and the Alexandrian Family of Revelation

Zane C. Hodges

[Zane C. Hodges is Instructor in New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

[Editor’s Note: Mr. Hodges’ thesis in this article is that the chief Alexandrian manuscripts of the Greek text of Revelation go back to an archetype which is by no means identical with the original text. Modern critical editions of the Greek New Testament have been based largely on this Alexandrian text (cf. Nestle, Kilpatrick, Merk, Westcott and Hort, Bover, etc.). Furthermore, modern English translations, such as the ASV, RSV, and the NEB, have been made from Greek texts based largely upon the text of the Alexandrian family. If this thesis is correct then many readings adopted by the critical editors and modern translations must be re-evaluated. A new critical text, based on a broader representation of the Greek manuscript evidence, would be needed.]

Within the last decade few contributions to New Testament textual criticism have been of more outstanding value than Josef Schmid’s Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Apokalypse-Textes.1 It would be difficult to overestimate the worth of the extensive researches of this capable textual scholar into the problems of the Greek text of Revelation.2 In refreshing contrast to the partial and inadequate textual studies which characterize so much of modern criticism, Schmid’s discussions of textual matters in the Apocalypse are presented against the background of an admirably thorough investigation of the whole manuscript tradition of that book. As a result, his conclusions deserve the most careful consideration and his entire work is worthy of far greater

attention than it has hitherto received in the English-speaking world.3

In one outstanding respect, however, there is room for discussion of one of Schmid’s major conclusions concerning the Greek manuscript tradition of the book of Revelation. Schmid divides this tradition into four major branches or “hauptstämme.”4 Two of these major branches, designated by him as Av and K and consisting chiefly of cursive manuscripts, have come under review in a previous study.5 These two large groups of texts seem fully entitled to the designation of hauptstämme of the Apocalypse. But to these Schmid also adds two other hauptstämme, the first of which is headed by the uncial manuscripts A and C and the cursive 2053 (sai...

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