ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 341-346
David C. Parker, An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts
and Their Texts. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University
Press, 2008. xxx + 368 pages. ISBN 978-0-521-89553-8 (hardback)
and 978-0-521-71989-6 (paperback).
David Parker is exceptionally qualified to write an introduction to New
Testament textual criticism. The author of numerous important books in the
field, notably on the Greek-Latin Gospel manuscript Codex Bezae and on
the textual transmission of the canonical gospels, director of the Institute for
Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) and co-editor of the International Greek New Testament Project (IGNTP), Parker has now given us
his approach to the textual criticism of the New Testament (henceforth NT).1
The title encapsulates Parker's distinct approach. In comparison to the two
best and most used introductions to NT textual criticism available in English,
both entitled The Text of the New Testament, Parker named his book New
Testament Manuscripts and Their Text.2 This emphasis on manuscripts makes
the book also of interest to papyrologists, used to working with manuscripts
in all their facets.
Readers will find a wealth of information in this handbook. In the Introduction, Parker expresses his aim in writing it: "to communicate the excitement of research in this field, the achievements of past and modern scholarship, the beauty and fascination of manuscripts, the intellectual challenges of
textual criticism, the opportunities for research, and the significance of what
we are doing for colleagues working in other fields of NT study, history and
theology, as well as for the criticism of other texts" (2). Indeed, the ensuing
chapters convey Parker's passion and communicate the significance of this
particular field of scholarly inquiry.
1 For instance: Codex Bezae: An Early Christian Manuscript and Its Text (Cambridge
1992), The Living Text of the Gospels (Cambridge 1997), and publications emanating
from the IGNT project: W.J. Elliott and D.C. Parker (eds.), The New Testament in Greek
IV The Gospel According to St John, Edited by the American and British Committees of
the International Greek New Testament Project, vol.: The Papyri (Leiden 1995), and U.B.
Schmid, W.J. Elliott, and D.C. Parker (eds.), The New Testament in Greek IV The Gospel
According to St John, Edited by the American and British Committees of the International
Greek New Testament Project, vol. II: The Majuscules (Leiden 2007).
2 K. Aland and B. Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the
Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism (Grand
Rapids 1987), and B.M. Metzger and B.D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its
Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 4th ed. (New York 2005).