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Patristic Biblical Quotations and Method: Four Changes to Lightfoot's Edition of Second Clement

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This study examines the putative New Testament parallels in Second Clement, especially as found in the enormously influential edition of J. B. Lightfoot. Such putative parallels are important not just for the Patristic text itself, but also for the establishment of the text of the New Testament. Additionally, they shed light on the probable date and provenance of the document. Close textual examination suggests there are four places where the text of Lightfoot's edition should be changed (three of these instances apply to all later editions, as well). Investigating how Lightfoot (and later editors) came to their textual decisions exposes serious flaws in their commonly-employed methodology, which we label "normative." The "normative" method is based on the anachronistic use of texts, flawed logic, and special pleading. An alternative to this "normative" method will be presented; it avoids these pitfalls, and produces more reliable results. We label this alternative method "non-normative." The implications for the editing of Patristic and apocryphal texts, as well as for producing critical editions of the New Testament, are significant.


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