Textual Criticism: Sad Confessions

Why Critical Greek NTs
are still Stuck on Hort

Excerpt from: J. Epp & G. D. Fee,
Studies in the Theory and Method of NT Textual Criticism, (1993)

Return to Index

Why are We Still
Stuck with Hort?


Taken from: From Epp and Fee's
Studies in the Theory and Method of
New Testament Textual Criticism
, chapter 5,
"The 20th Century Interlude in NT Textual Criticism".

"One response to the fact that our popular critical texts are still so close to that of WH might be that the kind of text arrived at by them and supported so widely by subsequent criticism is in fact and without question the best attainable NT text; yet every textual critic knows that this similarity of text indicates, rather, that we have made little progress in textual theory since Westcott-Hort; that we simply do not know how to make a definitive determination as to what the best text is; that we do not have a clear picture of the transmission and alteration of the text in the first few centuries; and, accordingly, that the Westcott-Hort kind of text has maintained its dominant position largely by default. Günther Zuntz enforces the point in a slightly different way when he says that

“the agreement between our modern editions does not mean that we have recovered the original text. It is due to the simple fact that their editors … follow one narrow section of the evidence, namely, the non-Western Old Uncials”. 1

From: Epp, E. J., & Fee, G. D.
Studies in the theory and method
of NT textual criticism
(Eerdmans, 1993). p.87

Original Footnotes:

1. The quote from Zuntz is from:
The Text of the Epistles: A Disquisition Upon the Corpus Paulinum:
The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy (1946).

Return to Top