Re: Earliest Manuscripts Comfort

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sat May 22 1999 - 03:58:00 EDT

> If your views are really not fit for public consumption
> (to many expletives) you may send them to me in private.
> Full title:
> Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
> By Philip W. Comfort. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.

Based on the off list responses which I have already received and a
forwarded post from the T-C list archives I would like to make the
following observations.

There seem to be some errors in this book. If the sample which was
reported is representative of the entire work then the level of total
error is beyond what most people expect of a scholarly reference work. I
double checked the errors which were reported and they were real errors.
I checked them against several other reference works and against the
photos of manuscripts where it was possible. Some of the photos are too
hard to read but others are quite readable. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, I am
NOT a textual critic.

This level of error is not necessary. I have looked at every difference
between NA27 and Codex Bezea in the first 17 chapters of Acts comparing
J. H. Ropes edition always against Henry Alford's Greek Testament. One
thing I have discovered in this is that Alford and Ropes agree almost
without exception. I have not found more than one or two real
differences. Alford does not report some of the minor spelling issues
which follow a regular pattern. Apart from this, the level of
agreement is quite amazing. I think Alford relied entirely on
Tischendorf's 7th and 8th editions but I would assume Ropes looked at
the original MSS. I could be wrong about this Alford may have worked
with Beza directly.

I was not totally surprised by the problems with this new book. I
purchased the book having been forewarned by a member of b-greek several
months ago. But since I rarely rely on a single source for answering
text critical issues, I thought the book might be useful errors and

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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