Resources on Textual Criticism (for WSB students)

On Thursday nights, I’m teaching an 8-week course on the Gospels at Willingdon School of the Bible. This past week we were examining the ending of Mark which began a discussion on textual criticism and the reliability of the New Testament manuscripts. I thought I’d list a few good introductory resources for those students (or others) who want to do  a little more reading on the subject of textual criticism.


1. ESV Study Bible
Turns out, the first resource is one you may already have. There is a great introductory article on textual criticism in the appendix of the ESV Study Bible called “The Reliability of Bible Manuscripts” (pp.2585-2589)


2. Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ
Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ is a decent introductory book to apologetics. In it, there’s a great chapter on the text of the New Testament called “The Documentary Evidence: Were Jesus’ Biographies Reliably Preserved for Us?”. This chapter features an interview with world renowned textual scholar Bruce Metzger (who died in 2007). Strobel’s chapter is a nice 25 page into to the topic.


3. F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
This classic was first published in 1943 by the legendary New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce. This is a fairly short book that deals with more than just textual criticism


4. Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
This book is a full-length treatment on the subject (400 pages). In addition to textual criticism, Blomberg deals with the possibility of miracles, the synoptic problem, alleged contradictions between the gospels, and modern critical methods.

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