Help with Text Critical Commentary

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Posts 416
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Sep 28 2018 4:16 AM

Hi all, 

I recently discovered Rick Brannan and Israel Loken. The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. 2014. in my Library. It is an interesting commentary and I get the sense it could be useful but I'm not really sure how to deploy it to full effect...

Here are my questions:

1. What use (if at all) is a book like this outside the world of academia?

2. How might one make practical use (if at all) of its text-critical notes in, for example, personal/devotional study; or teaching prep?

This is a new area for me, so those questions are probably very naive, but then if one doesn't ask...

Thanks, Liam

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

Posts 78
Phil Tuften | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 28 2018 1:31 PM

Liam,

The best way of using a text like this is to prioritize it in my library.

If you have read Fee's New Testament Exegesis, he says that considering textual variations is one on the first tasks in establishing your textual unit, that you may be preaching or studying, so as to work out what the unit is saying.  However, some people may consult it as a last step.  Looking at it first, helps you determine what the passage is about.  The beauty of this book is that it does both Testaments.  The other work that is consulted by many, and is in English, is Comfort's book on textual notes, this gives greater explainaion of many textual var; though the Logos one s handy.

Therefore I put this ahead of all other commentaries when looking at the text.  If you read Greek, I prioritize Metzger's similar work on the New Testament at the top of my commentries.  This along with the NA28 or the United Bible Societies Greek new Testament , that give you the actual variations in the text should also help.

I am asuming you have viewed ( or will soon view) Dan Wallaces's excellent videos on u tube about textual criticism of the New Testament.  Dan Wallace may go through the above helps (I have not viewed his stuff in a while).  When I did seminry many moons ago, the little book by Alan Black was considered an introduction to the fielld of Textual Criticism (he has some worked examples to).

Read Fee's book or a similar book on textual criticism (may be in your library), but before this look at Dan Walace's stuff on U tube, it is free.

Leaving you in God's Care and Grace

Phil

Posts 10034
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 28 2018 3:42 PM

Adding to Phil:

Q1: The preface targets outside of academia, somewhere after Comfort, and before mysterious notes in the average Bible. That said, there's maybe a note per chapter, so it's a bit thin for any significant use. In the NT, it seems they picked a few of the Metzgers to english-ize per chapter.

Q2: The NT notes seem to just raise questions (in my view). 'Manuscripts' is pretty who-knows.  But the OT notes can be quite useful. I know our pastor was going thru the OT, and some of the notes would be great for a non-academic explaining.


Posts 28
Dave Palmer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 28 2018 6:08 PM

Another resource that you might find useful is Textual Criticism of the Bible which is one of three books in the Lexham Methods Series. It is very approachable with lots of examples illustrating the concepts of textual criticism.

https://www.logos.com/product/37518/lexham-methods-series-textual-criticism-of-the-bible

Posts 1264
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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 29 2018 11:10 AM

Hi Liam.

LMAM:

I recently discovered Rick Brannan and Israel Loken. The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. 2014. in my Library. It is an interesting commentary and I get the sense it could be useful but I'm not really sure how to deploy it to full effect...

Yay! Israel wrote the OT material, I wrote the NT material and edited the volume.

LMAM:

Here are my questions:

1. What use (if at all) is a book like this outside the world of academia?

2. How might one make practical use (if at all) of its text-critical notes in, for example, personal/devotional study; or teaching prep?

In regard to question 1, this book was targeted outside of academia. Its basic purpose is to acknowledge that there are differences in texts and traditions, and that they shouldn't be ignored. If you use the Exegetical Guide's "Textual Variants" section, the material from the Textual Notes is available (when your passage includes a passage commented on by the Textual Notes) right within the guide.

In regard to question 2, note that the purpose of the Textual Notes is to help the reader become aware that a textual variation is present in the passage, and it also makes plain, in English, what the variations are. It's purpose is basically to help the reader know the alternative exists. The next step is for the reader to ask if they need to look deeper to understand the difference. If so, then one needs to hit other resources, it is not the goal of the Textual Notes to provide manuscript evidence and opinions on which unit is more likely to be original.

As to the material covered, we did an exhaustive evaluation of notes in English Bible translations that made comments of a textual nature and used that evaluation data to arrive at a list of references with textual variations worth commenting on. We pared down the list a bit. In the New Testament, we added references where there are significant variations between the TR and UBS/NA text as well as when there are significant variations between the SBLGNT and the UBS/NA text.

So, how to use this work? If it identifies an area where there are textual variations (OT or NT), read the note. Determine if it is something you'd like to look deeper into. If so, then hit other resources (textual commentaries, academic commentaries, apparatuses) and research as necessary.

In teaching prep, particularly with NT material, the notes will likely identify if there is a difference that would manifest itself in English translations. That is, it might point out a difference between the ESV and the KJV or NKJV. Someone teaching would need to be aware of those differences in case someone asks "Why is my translation different from yours?"

Hope it helps.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 29 2018 11:13 AM

Hi Denise.

Denise:
Q2: The NT notes seem to just raise questions (in my view). 'Manuscripts' is pretty who-knows.  But the OT notes can be quite useful. I know our pastor was going thru the OT, and some of the notes would be great for a non-academic explaining.

The goal was to identify the differences in a non-scary, non-academic way to the English reader — not to prescribe which difference was more likely to be original. So if the NT notes raise questions, I guess I hit my target. Big Smile

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

Posts 10034
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 29 2018 4:37 PM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):

The goal was to identify the differences in a non-scary, non-academic way to the English reader — not to prescribe which difference was more likely to be original. So if the NT notes raise questions, I guess I hit my target. Big Smile

Well, I certainly don't have a good solution. Not downplaying TCC, but if Metzger had added a bit of more english (where greek), he probably could have hit a wider audience.


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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 29 2018 8:29 PM

Denise:
Well, I certainly don't have a good solution. Not downplaying TCC, but if Metzger had added a bit of more english (where greek), he probably could have hit a wider audience.

Omanson's Textual Guide is essentially a rewrite of Metzger targeted to a non-academic audience. If I understand the story correctly, translators had the same issue with Metzger as you indicate, so Omanson tried to rewrite it but target it at translators who know their Bible stuff and some Greek and Hebrew, but not textual criticism. Have you looked at it? 

https://www.logos.com/product/17844/a-textual-guide-to-the-greek-new-testament 

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

Posts 416
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 2 2018 6:01 AM

Hi everyone, 

Thank you so much for all of your helpful replies, comments, links, etc. I'm sorry I can't reply to each of your personally.

This thread has encouraged me to check the textual notes after marking up the passage but before going to the commentaries. I found that a useful approach to take. 

It has also provided the kick in the pants that I needed to get back into trying to learn NT Greek.

Thanks again, Liam

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

Posts 10034
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 2 2018 8:51 AM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):

Omanson's Textual Guide is essentially a rewrite of Metzger targeted to a non-academic audience. If I understand the story correctly, translators had the same issue with Metzger as you indicate, so Omanson tried to rewrite it but target it at translators who know their Bible stuff and some Greek and Hebrew, but not textual criticism. Have you looked at it? 

https://www.logos.com/product/17844/a-textual-guide-to-the-greek-new-testament 

You're right. I had not spent any time with it. I assume, then, the value of TCC is similar to the FL resources; editable, expandable, and royalty-free (a plus for integration).

I am curious why Omanson has been updated, but they don't support the tagging that Metzger has (eg level of confidence, etc). I assume they were putting in some Logos functionality.

Thanks for the info.


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