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Issues in the Interrelation of New Testament Textual Criticism and Canon

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Chapter Summary

This chapter exposes ways in which manuscripts that preserve those writings were factors in or reveal aspects of that process, but also explores "canonical" issues that arise from the very fact of textual variation in and among these "New Testament (NT)" manuscripts, whether they were transcribed before or after the canon had been resolved. NT textual criticism and canon have long been placed in juxtaposition in introductions to the NT and elsewhere, but not always with good reason. A clearer rationale for analyzing their interrelation has appeared in recent times, and the primary difference stems from the ever-increasing number and importance of the "NT" papyri over the past century. Lacking was second- and third-century evidence on the early codex, especially its Christian use, and on the contents and order of writings in these Christian books up to the turn of the third/fourth century.

Keywords: canon; early codex; New Testament (NT) textual criticism; NT manuscripts; textual variation



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