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The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism

(and I think he's right). Until the boundaries of the type are established, it's not all
that useful.
The cases for the “Western” and “Cæsarean” texts are still less certain. There is
certainly a D-F-G text of Paul. But is this the same as the text of Codex Bezae in
the Gospels and Acts? Is Codex Bezae a representative member of whatever
type it does belong to? The answers, to this point, are largely assumptions; there
is no proof. The evidence, if anything, says that Bezae is edited (the obvious
evidence being the use of Matthew's genealogy of Jesus in Luke); great care
must be used when trying to prove anything from Bezae.
The doubts about the “Cæsarean” text are so well-known that we will not
document them here.
4. The dates of most manuscripts. We tend to treat manuscript colophons as a
guarantee of dates, and paleography as nearly certain as well. But colophons
can be faked; Colwell, for instance, documented the errors in the colophon of
1505. For undated manuscripts, the situation is worse, because our only
evidence is based on the dated colophons we have. And even then, it is
inaccurate. It is not uncommon to see two scholars examine a manuscript
independently and offer dates two centuries apart. And that's for minuscules,
where dated samples are common! Take a manuscript like B. Everyone dates it
to the fourth century. Why? Based on documents with similar writing styles, which
we believe to be contemporary, and which we date based primarily on their
contents. In other words, we're making multiple assumptions here: First, we're
dating the other writings based on their contents. Second, we're assuming that
the date of B corresponds to the dates of those documents. This is a chancy
assumption — those other documents are mostly secular, and generally of?cial.
Can it be assured that those scribes were trained in the same way as the scribes
of Christian manuscripts? It's quite possible that Christian scribes would adopt an
archaic style.
Chances are that our paleographic results are generally correct. But they are not
assured. One cannot treat them as a guarantee of anything.
The original copy of a writing, presumably in the author's own handwriting. Almost no
ancient autographs exist; what we have is copies. Recovering the text of the autograph
is the ultimate goal of textual criticism. See Archetypes and Autographs.
The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism