Introduction: The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge

To have the opportunity to produce an edition of the Greek New Testament is a rare privilege, especially in the context of scholarship where regular publications take precedence over single long-term projects, and collaborative efforts do not give the same kudos as the rugged, individual, (and big!) monographs do.

It is thanks to the vision of Peter J. Williams, the Principal of Tyndale House, that he set me free for many years now to work on this project, and has chipped in by giving months and months of his own precious research time. Over the years many people have contributed to this project, either conceptually, financially, by means of encouragement or giving advice, or in any other way. Some made big contributions, others small, and all of them appreciated. But this is not yet the time to acknowledge these precious folk—this is just an introduction to this blog, a blog that will discuss topics and issues relating to the Greek New Testament as produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

In the Tyndale House edition we aim to provide a text of the Greek New Testament that reflects as closely as possible its earliest recoverable wording. It is unashamedly a documentary text (based on the documents), with a strong bias to using knowledge of scribal behaviour (scribal habits) as the primary way to explain the rise of textual variants.

In coming posts we will explore what such method means in practice at the hand of examples, and also probe the boundaries of such approach. However, in practice the emphasis on scribal behaviour implies that if, in the past, exegetical and theological arguments have been used to address a particular variant unit, we happily ignore these arguments if there is also a perfectly adequate transcriptional explanation.

There is no denying that there is a theological and ecclesiastical context to copying the New Testament, but the way how this context interacts with and affects the copying process may, in most cases, be best explained as mere additions to the pool of risk factors that can interrupt the cognitive copying processes of reading, remembering, and writing rather than as a motivation for incorrect copying.