“The Text of the New Testament”: A Review Article -- By: Daniel B. Wallace

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 09:2 (Fall 1988)
Article: “The Text of the New Testament”: A Review Article
Author: Daniel B. Wallace

“The Text of the New Testament”:
A Review Article

Daniel B. Wallace


The Text of the New Testament, by Kurt and Barbara Aland. Translated by Erroll F. Rhodes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans/Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1987. Pp. xviii + 338. $29.95. Cloth.

With the long-awaited translation of Der Text des Neuen Testaments (1982), English-speaking students may now share in the debt of gratitude owed to the well-known German scholars, Kurt and Barbara Aland. The five-year delay, due to a number of complications, has resulted in more than a translation; the English edition “represents a revision of the original German edition of 1982” (translator’s preface, viii).

Though modeled after Würthwein’s Der Text des Alten Testaments (ET: The Text of the Old Testament [1979]), the NT counterpart tends to be more practical since a follow-up volume by Kurt Aland for advanced students is in the present time (Überlieferung und Text des Neuen Testaments: Handbuch der modernen Textkritik). Nevertheless, the advanced student and scholar alike can profit from this volume: the computer-generated/assisted tables, charts, and collations are, by themselves, worth the price of the book, representing the equivalent of countless thousands of man-hours. This could only have been produced at the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Munster.

Besides sixty-five plates (all but three of various NT manuscripts), eight tables and six charts (including one two-sided detached fold-out), the Alands have provided the essentials for a thorough introduction to textual criticism: an overview of the history of the printed NT text—from Erasmus to Nestle-Aland26 (=UBSGNT3); a discussion of the interrelation of early church history and NT textual criticism (our appetites are barely whet, however, in the twenty-four pages on this topic); a description of the extant Greek manuscripts, as well as Greek patristic evidence (it should be noted here that readers of Metzger’s Text of the New Testament2 will find this chapter to be

quite complementary: whereas Metzger describes in greater detail a few of the more important MSS, the Alands treat us to a seemingly exhaustive list of MSS—though giving only the cold, hard facts in each case); a brief presentation of the versional evidence (and non-Greek patristic evidence); expansions and clarifications of the introductions in UBSGNT3, Kurt Aland’s two synopses,3 and especially NA26; res...

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