A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament  -     By: Philip Comfort
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A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament

Kregel Academic / 2014 / Hardcover

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An up-to-date commentary on all the significant manuscripts and textual variants of the New Testament

This small and insightful volume is an essential resource for the committed student of Greek New Testament. Using the same trim size as UBS and NA28 Greek New Testaments, this reference commentary, based on the latest research, is designed to aid the reader in understanding the textual reliability, variants, and translation issues for each passage in the New Testament.

Unlike any other commentary, this volume contains commentary on actual manuscripts rather than a single version of the Greek New Testament. There are nearly 6,000 existing manuscripts, and just as many textual variants, with thousands of manuscripts having been discovered since the time of the King James Version. This commentary is filled with notes on significant textual variants between these manuscripts.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 416
Vendor: Kregel Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 7.38 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0825443407
ISBN-13: 9780825443404

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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Tool for Text-Critical Work
    February 12, 2016
    Jason Gardner
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Ill readily admit that textual criticism of the NT is an area of study I prefer not to travel (during my comps I dreaded it more than the rest!). I say this not because I think the practice is unimportant, but because I dont particularly enjoy the actual work itself. Ill also be the first to champion, however, the importance of textual criticism. After all, before we can interpret the text, we must know what comprises the text, and it is the brave textual critics who saunter down this troublesome path for this most noble cause. So, as with many other disciplines that are entangled in the study of the NT, I appreciate the fruits of others laborious efforts to produce works in areas in which I am adequately skilled to navigate, Comforts work here a prime example.

    I would think any student of the NT who has progressed beyond an introductory course on matters related to the NT have used with great benefit Bruce Metzgers A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. Comforts work could possibly be of equal value to those seeking to wrangle and tame the multitude of textual variants that decorate the many manuscripts behind our NT. I do not wish, however, to suggest that Comforts work is the same as Metzgersnot at allbut that Comfort has provided for students and scholars a work that focuses on a smaller segment of the manuscript population, i.e., the papyri, which as Comfort states are among the most important manuscripts because they get us closer to the autographs (20).

    This volume breaks down into essentially three sections: (1) Introduction to the manuscripts, text, and nomina sacra, (2) an annotated list of all the most important manuscripts of the NT, and (3) commentary on the text, which is divided along traditional lines (e.g., Gospels, Acts, Pauline letters, etc.). The first section orients the reader to the various papyrus collections, e.g., Oxyrhynchus, Bodmer, et al, and to the general process of evaluating manuscripts to determine what weight they might lend to particular readings. Comfort thankfully condenses this information into a few pages and devotes the majority of this opening section to the discussion of the nomina sacra (the abbreviation of a divine name or titlehereafter referred to as n. s.) This was one question that leapt out at me upon perusing the front matterwhy the discussion of the n. s.? Comfort believes that the ubiquity of the n. s. merits attention and dedicates a significant number of pages discussing its various forms, potential provenances, and ultimately the significance (3142, 41943) This discussion is, from what I can recall, largely absent from most intro texts to TC, so Comforts inclusion of it in this volume will likely prove helpful for some. Section two, the manuscript list, is also quite helpful for those wishing to get an idea of a particular manuscripts origin, age, textual affinities, etc. Comfort lists the earliest manuscriptsthe papyriwhich date to pre-300.

    The real meat of this volume, not surprisingly, is section twothe commentary proper. Here Comfort discusses what he thinks is the original wording for particular verses, i.e., those for which there are variants in the papyri. In general, Comfort is fairly conservative in his handling of variants (if the designator conservative is even helpful), but does opt for readings occasionally that deviate from the majority. This section (and book) is most useful (obviously) when read in concert with work one may be doing on a particular variant rather than categorizing Comforts approach as more or less conservativeI only do so to be loosely descriptive. For some of the more prickly TC problems in the NT, Comfort provides decent discussion, such as the question of the ending of Marks Gospel (197206) and the ending of Romans (31216). For other issues, such as Johns Pericope Adulterae (John 7:538:11; pgs. 25859), the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:78; pg. 39697), Eph 1:1 (340), and the number of the beast in Rev 13:18 (41011) all receive decent discussion. For a volume that seeks to address as many variants as it does, the length of comment for these issues is commendable.

    In sum, Comfort has produced an immensely useful and handy guide to aid readers of the NT. While Comforts volume certainly will not supplant Metzgers (not that such is even the aim), but will serve as a welcome companion to a work that is itself perhaps the go-to guide for variant commentary.
  2. Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting
    September 29, 2015
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament, by Philip Wesley Comfort is an interesting and a potentially helpful resource in studying the NT. I appreciate that summaries are given about the various manuscripts that are referred to in the commentary, including their symbols, which are what Comfort uses to refer to the different manuscripts as he comments on the different readings of any particular verse.

    Most of the variants appear to be rather small and do not appear to change the meaning of a verse much, for instance some manuscripts saying 'Jesus Christ' in a certain variant and others reading simply "Christ", whichever reading a Bible translator chooses to use doesn't make a major difference as either way we know to Whom it refers. Comfort mentions a variant of Romans 8:28 which I found interesting, he translates the variant as, "God turns everything to good" which of course is different from "all things work together for good." He says that "this is the original wording according to three early MSS.It is God who turns everything to good; it is not just that everything works out for the good."* But I don't think that that concept is lost by using "all things work together for good" because God's being the One working all things together for good is evidenced by the verses that follow (and by realizing the sovereignty of God that is taught throughout the Bible). It is an interesting variant though.

    Comfort's eschatological views are evidenced in his commentary on the number of the beast in Revelation, "A variant reading is 'his number is 616Either reading could be originalwhichever one John wrote, they both symbolize Caesar Nero" I take it that Mr. Comfort is not premillennial. Also, I disagree with some of his commentary on the variants of 1 Cor. 14:33, " 'For God is not the author of discord but of harmony, as in all the gatherings of the saints.' This reflects the reading of the three earliest MSScontra NAwhich join this phrase with the beginning of 14:34. The difference in meaning is significant: harmony is the rule of God for all the gatherings of the believers"Paul was not saying that women should be silent in all the Christian gatherings, only in Corinth, which must have been experiencing problems with women speaking out of turn during the prophesying." But even if the statement, "as in all the gatherings of the saints" doesn't connect with vs. 34 that doesn't imply that the command about women not speaking in the assembly only applied to the Corinthians church. I don't see that implication at all. Paul says, "It is shameful for a woman to speak in the Church." That sounds like a very general statement that encompasses all church gatherings. Besides, what about Paul's telling Timothy that women shouldn't teach or hold authority over men but should remain quiet while learning (1 Tim 2:11-15)? Was he referring only to the women of the Corinthian church? I think not.

    But, I do like the book overall, and really appreciate Mr. Comfort's work in putting this book together enabling one to learn about the different variants of the NT even if one doesn't agree with all of Mr. Comfort's comments on them.

    Many thanks to Kregel Academic for sending me a free copy of this book to review!

    *I omit certain parts of quotations as they are mostly symbols of various manuscripts referred to that I don't know how to replicate in type.
  3. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Helpful for Pastor and student
    September 6, 2015
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Philip Comfort is well-known for his writings concerning the Greek text. In this latest one he gives a handy aid for anyone who uses the Greek text. It is really a commentary on the variants found in the many New Testament manuscripts, arranged in order of their appearance in the New Testament. However, I found it is more than that. In addition, Comfort has a very helpful introduction. I found it well worth reading. He gives special features of his work:

    He seems to center on 2nd Century manuscripts, although he does not neglect the others. I personally like this emphasis over some of the other textual mythology. Clearly these would be closer to the originals.

    He brings out the nomina sacra (sacred names). These are special markings in the manuscripts that do not appear in any printed Greek text. In the manuscripts they are presented with special calligraphy to distinguish the names as sacred. He points them out in his commentaryclaiming no other commentary does so. He also has a full appendix of the Significance of the Nomina Sacra. This gives this work added value.

    He gives a list of the earliest manuscripts for each chapter of the New Testament (i.e. Matthew 1 = P1).

    He also gives an annotated list of the manuscripts of the New Testament (Chapter 2).

    The heart of the book is the running commentary of the Greek text variantsgiving his view of the correct one and showing the others. Each has the manuscript information in which they are found. Comfort clearly confesses that in some cases the original reading cannot be determined and gives options for the reader. Another feature of this book is that everything is given in English, so one who is not well versed in the Greek text can still gain valuable information from this work.

    This will be a handy reference for any Pastor, student, or a well verse layman who spends time in the study of the Bible. It is compact, organized for quick use, and gives good information in a concise, reader friendly way. Its most valuable contribution is in the area of the Nomina Sacra. It will not likely replace the more standard work of Metzgers textual commentary, but it will be a pleasant supplemental work to it. It is worth having on your bookshelf for quick reference.

    I received this book free from Kregel Publications for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
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