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A transcript of an 1897 debate on New Testament textual criticism, in which leading advocates of the traditional (Byzantine) text and advocates of the revision of Westcott & Hort politely discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their views and their theories about the transmission of the New Testament text. The debate did not reach any firm conclusions, but it drew attention to the issue of the date of the Peshitta.
The Prefaces succinctly describe Hort's analysis of the evidence, and Burgon's analysis of the evidence. These are very useful summaries, and may helpfully answer those who might oversimplify or misrepresent one view or the other.
The debate itself is more like a scholarly joust-before-dinner than a sustained debate. Some of its most memorable lines are Miller's "Dr. Hort’s theory is an Inductive Theory without induction," and Sanday's description of the Peshitta as the "sheet-anchor of Mr. Miller's theory," and his statement, "It is all hypothesis."
(And, readers should notice the significance of Headlam's observation about the Peshitta; Headlam argued that the uniformity of the text in early copies of the Peshitta implied that they emanated from a chronologically nearby source. Arthur Voobus' examples of mixture in the early copies of the Peshitta tends to tear apart Headlam's case for the Peshitta's later date.)
(Also, as a sort of sequel to this debate, F.C. Burkitt presented an analysis of quotations of the Gospels in the writings of Ephrem Syrus, attempting to show that that the Peshitta did not exist until the early 400's. But this view has been opposed and rejected more recently by Voobus.)
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The Oxford Debate on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament: Held at New ...
No preview available - 2015