Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 5:2 (Summer 2001) p. 102
The Journey From Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. By Paul D. Wegner. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999. 462 pp., $29.99.
Paul D. Wegner (Ph.D., King’s College, University of London) is Professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. The purpose of his book is to survey the history of the Bible. The book is designed as an undergraduate text, but bibliographies, copious endnotes (many annotated), comprehensive general and scriptural indices, all provide ample guidance for more serious study of many topics. Cursory summaries of various issues and controversies are included also. The book is profusely illustrated, with over125 figures (wood cuts, engravings, artifacts, drawings, etc.), over 100 tables of many kinds, and six maps.
The book is divided into five parts. Part one, “Preliminary Matters regarding the Bible,” deals with essential concepts, terms, historical background of each testament, unity, and structure of the Bible. Two brief appendices are included on Septuagint manuscripts and the Synoptic Problem. Part two, “Canonization of the Bible,” introduces the development of written language, Biblical languages, writing materials, and paleography. A historical survey of canonization and discussions of extra-canonical literature are informative. The canon is seen as a list of authoritative, self-authenticating books that demanded canonization because they were Word of God, rather than an authoritative list canonized by the authority of the church.
Part three, “Transmission of the Bible,” follows the Hebrew and Greek texts from inception to final forms. The discussion of the scribal eras of the Hebrew text is especially good, as are the descriptions of the orthography of Greek New Testament manuscripts. Textual Criticism of each testament is introduced as to its history, objectives, methodology, and sources. The history of the text is traced chronologically and geographically. Part four, “Early Translations of the Bible,” presents the spread of the Bible to other languages, divided into the eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire. The history and prominent characteristics of each translation and the development of early printed editions of the Greek New Testament are presented succinctly.
Part five, “English Translations of the Bible,” is the longest section of the book. The first chapter deals with the historical context of the spread of the gospel to Britain and early translation activity, from Caedmon (ca. 670) to the Catholic Douay- Rheims Bible (1610). The next chapter begins with the Hampton Court Conference (1604) and follows the career of the King James Bible from inception, through all of its heirs to the end of the twentieth century. A third brief append...
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