Baker Academic

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thomas J. Kraus and Weirdo Text Critics—Chris Keith

Over the course of several years of reading scholarly treatments of ancient Christian book culture, including text-critical studies of the New Testament, I'm really entertained by the funny anecdotes about text critics and their perception in the guild.  Basically, most text critics know that other NT scholars think their work is boring.  In Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism, Thomas J. Kraus has a couple funny ones: 

"For many scholars it [textual criticism] still is a boring and bone-dry discipline for weirdos who are not creative enough to do proper theology."

"For theologians, papyrology and palaeography are still nothing more than arcane disciplines or rather bizarre occupations for strange people."

Hilarious.  If you happen to be one of those people, I'd encourage you to read the classic study of D. C. Parker, The Living Text of the Gospels, Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, or Robert F. Hull's The Story of the New Testament Text.  I'm not saying that Jason Bourne is going to be in any of them, but each of these studies in its own way shows just how fascinating the study of early Christians and their books can be.

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