Textual criticism is a branch of textual scholarship, philology, and
literary criticism that is concerned with the identification of
textual variants in either manuscripts or printed books.
make alterations when copying manuscripts by hand. Given a
manuscript copy, several or many copies, but not the original
document, the textual critic might seek to reconstruct the original
text (the archetype or autograph) as closely as possible. The same
processes can be used to attempt to reconstruct intermediate versions,
or recensions, of a document's transcription history. The objective
of the textual critic's work is a better understanding of the creation
and historical transmission of texts. This understanding may lead to
the production of a "critical edition" containing a scholarly curated
There are many approaches to textual criticism, notably eclecticism,
stemmatics, and copy-text editing. Quantitative techniques are also
used to determine the relationships between witnesses to a text, with
methods from evolutionary biology (Phylogenetics) appearing effective
on a range of traditions.
In some domains (religious and classical text editing) the phrase
"lower criticism" is used to describe the contrast between textual
criticism and "higher criticism", which is the endeavor to establish
the authorship, date, and place of composition of the original text.
2 Basic notions and objectives
4.1 External evidence
4.2 Internal evidence
4.3 Canons of textual criticism
4.4 Limitations of eclecticism
5.3 Limitations and criticism
6 Best-text editing
7 Copy-text editing
7.1 McKerrow's concept of copy-text
7.2 W. W. Greg's rationale of copy-text
7.3.1 Application to works of all periods
7.3.2 Uninfluenced final authorial intention
7.3.3 Format for apparatus
7.3.4 The MLA's CEAA and CSE
8 Application to religious documents
Book of Mormon
8.3 Hebrew Bible
Bible as referenced by the Old Testament
8.4 New Testament
9 Classical texts
10 Legal protection
11 Digital textual scholarship
12 See also
12.2 Critical editions
15 Further reading
16 External links
Textual criticism has been practiced for over two thousand
years. Early textual critics, especially the
librarians of Hellenistic Alexandria in the last two centuries BC,
were concerned with preserving the works of antiquity, and this
continued through the medieval period into early modern times and the
invention of the printing press.
Textual criticism was an important
aspect of the work of many Renaissance Humanists, such as Desiderius
Erasmus, who edited the Greek New Testament. In Italy, scholars such
Poggio Bracciolini collected and edited many Latin
manuscripts, while a new spirit of critical enquiry was boosted by the
attention to textual states, for example in the work of Lorenzo Valla
on the purported Donation of Constantine.
Many ancient works, such as the
Bible and the Greek
tragedies, survive in hundreds of copies, and the
relationship of each copy to the original may be unclear. Textual
scholars have debated for centuries which sources are most closely
derived from the original, hence which readings in those sources are
correct. Although biblical books that are letters,
like Greek plays, presumably had one original, the question of whether
some biblical books, like the Gospels, ever had just one original has
been discussed. Interest in applying textual criticism to the
Qur'an has also developed after the discovery of the Sana'a
manuscripts in 1972, which possibly date back to the 7–8th
In the English language, the works of
Shakespeare have been a
particularly fertile ground for textual criticism—both because the
texts, as transmitted, contain a considerable amount of variation, and
because the effort and expense of producing superior editions of his
works have always been widely viewed as worthwhile. The principles
of textual criticism, although originally developed and refined for
works of antiquity and the Bible, and, for Anglo-American Copy-Text
editing, Shakespeare, have been applied to many works, from
(near-)contemporary texts to the earliest known written documents.
Ranging from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt to the twentieth century,
textual criticism covers a period of about five millennia.
Basic notions and objectives
The basic problem, as described by Paul Maas, is as follows:
We have no autograph [handwritten by the original author] manuscripts
of the Greek and Roman classical writers and no copies which have been
collated with the originals; the manuscripts we possess derive from
the originals through an unknown number of intermediate copies, and
are consequently of questionable trustworthiness. The business of
textual criticism is to produce a text as close as possible to the
original (constitutio textus).
Maas comments further that "A dictation revised by the author must be
regarded as equivalent to an autograph manuscript". The lack of
autograph manuscripts applies to many cultures other than Greek and
Roman. In such a situation, a key objective becomes the identification
of the first exemplar before any split in the tradition. That exemplar
is known as the archetype. "If we succeed in establishing the text of
[the archetype], the constitutio (reconstruction of the original) is
The textual critic's ultimate objective is the production of a
"critical edition". This contains the text that the
author has determined most closely approximates the original, and is
accompanied by an apparatus criticus or critical apparatus. The
critical apparatus presents the author's work in three parts: first, a
list or description of the evidence that the editor used (names of
manuscripts, or abbreviations called sigla); second, the editor's
analysis of that evidence (sometimes a simple likelihood
rating),; and third, a record of rejected variants of
the text (often in order of preference).
Folio from Papyrus 46, containing
2 Corinthians 11:33–12:9
Before mechanical printing, literature was copied by hand, and many
variations were introduced by copyists. The age of printing made the
scribal profession effectively redundant. Printed editions, while less
susceptible to the proliferation of variations likely to arise during
manual transmission, are nonetheless not immune to introducing
variations from an author's autograph. Instead of a scribe miscopying
his source, a compositor or a printing shop may read or typeset a work
in a way that differs from the autograph. Since each scribe or
printer commits different errors, reconstruction of the lost original
is often aided by a selection of readings taken from many sources. An
edited text that draws from multiple sources is said to be eclectic.
In contrast to this approach, some textual critics prefer to identify
the single best surviving text, and not to combine readings from
When comparing different documents, or "witnesses", of a single,
original text, the observed differences are called variant readings,
or simply variants or readings. It is not always apparent which single
variant represents the author's original work. The process of textual
criticism seeks to explain how each variant may have entered the text,
either by accident (duplication or omission) or intention
(harmonization or censorship), as scribes or supervisors transmitted
the original author's text by copying it. The textual critic's task,
therefore, is to sort through the variants, eliminating those most
likely to be un-original, hence establishing a "critical text", or
critical edition, that is intended to best approximate the original.
At the same time, the critical text should document variant readings,
so the relation of extant witnesses to the reconstructed original is
apparent to a reader of the critical edition. In establishing the
critical text, the textual critic considers both "external" evidence
(the age, provenance, and affiliation of each witness) and "internal"
or "physical" considerations (what the author and scribes, or
printers, were likely to have done).
The collation of all known variants of a text is referred to as a
variorum, namely a work of textual criticism whereby all variations
and emendations are set side by side so that a reader can track how
textual decisions have been made in the preparation of a text for
Bible and the works of William
often been the subjects of variorum editions, although the same
techniques have been applied with less frequency to many other works,
such as Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and the prose writings of
Eclecticism refers to the practice of consulting a wide diversity of
witnesses to a particular original. The practice is based on the
principle that the more independent transmission histories there are,
the less likely they will be to reproduce the same errors. What one
omits, the others may retain; what one adds, the others are unlikely
Eclecticism allows inferences to be drawn regarding the
original text, based on the evidence of contrasts between witnesses.
Eclectic readings also normally give an impression of the number of
witnesses to each available reading. Although a reading supported by
the majority of witnesses is frequently preferred, this does not
follow automatically. For example, a second edition of a Shakespeare
play may include an addition alluding to an event known to have
happened between the two editions. Although nearly all subsequent
manuscripts may have included the addition, textual critics may
reconstruct the original without the addition.
The result of the process is a text with readings drawn from many
witnesses. It is not a copy of any particular manuscript, and may
deviate from the majority of existing manuscripts. In a purely
eclectic approach, no single witness is theoretically favored.
Instead, the critic forms opinions about individual witnesses, relying
on both external and internal evidence.
Since the mid-19th century, eclecticism, in which there is no a priori
bias to a single manuscript, has been the dominant method of editing
the Greek text of the
New Testament (currently, the United Bible
Society, 5th ed. and Nestle-Aland, 28th ed.). Even so, the oldest
manuscripts, being of the Alexandrian text-type, are the most favored,
and the critical text has an Alexandrian disposition.
External evidence is evidence of each physical witness, its date,
source, and relationship to other known witnesses. Critics will often
prefer the readings supported by the oldest witnesses. Since errors
tend to accumulate, older manuscripts should have fewer errors.
Readings supported by a majority of witnesses are also usually
preferred, since these are less likely to reflect accidents or
individual biases. For the same reasons, the most geographically
diverse witnesses are preferred. Some manuscripts show evidence that
particular care was taken in their composition, for example, by
including alternative readings in their margins, demonstrating that
more than one prior copy (exemplar) was consulted in producing the
current one. Other factors being equal, these are the best witnesses.
The role of the textual critic is necessary when these basic criteria
are in conflict. For instance, there will typically be fewer early
copies, and a larger number of later copies. The textual critic will
attempt to balance these criteria, to determine the original text.
There are many other more sophisticated considerations. For example,
readings that depart from the known practice of a scribe or a given
period may be deemed more reliable, since a scribe is unlikely on his
own initiative to have departed from the usual practice.
Internal evidence is evidence that comes from the text itself,
independent of the physical characteristics of the document. Various
considerations can be used to decide which reading is the most likely
to be original. Sometimes these considerations can be in conflict.
Two common considerations have the
Latin names lectio brevior (shorter
reading) and lectio difficilior (more difficult reading). The first is
the general observation that scribes tended to add words, for
clarification or out of habit, more often than they removed them. The
second, lectio difficilior potior (the harder reading is stronger),
recognizes the tendency for harmonization—resolving apparent
inconsistencies in the text. Applying this principle leads to taking
the more difficult (unharmonized) reading as being more likely to be
the original. Such cases also include scribes simplifying and
smoothing texts they did not fully understand.
Another scribal tendency is called homoioteleuton, meaning "same
Homoioteleuton occurs when two words/phrases/lines end with
the same sequence of letters. The scribe, having finished copying the
first, skips to the second, omitting all intervening words. Homeoarchy
refers to eye-skip when the beginnings of two lines are similar.
The critic may also examine the other writings of the author to decide
what words and grammatical constructions match his style. The
evaluation of internal evidence also provides the critic with
information that helps him evaluate the reliability of individual
manuscripts. Thus, the consideration of internal and external evidence
is related.
After considering all relevant factors, the textual critic seeks the
reading that best explains how the other readings would arise. That
reading is then the most likely candidate to have been
Canons of textual criticism
Luke 11:2 in Codex Sinaiticus
Various scholars have developed guidelines, or canons of textual
criticism, to guide the exercise of the critic's judgment in
determining the best readings of a text. One of the earliest was
Johann Albrecht Bengel
Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687–1752), who in 1734 produced an edition
of the Greek New Testament. In his commentary, he established the rule
Proclivi scriptioni praestat ardua, ("the harder reading is to be
Johann Jakob Griesbach
Johann Jakob Griesbach (1745–1812) published several editions of the
New Testament. In his 1796 edition, he established fifteen
critical rules. Among them was a variant of Bengel's rule, Lectio
difficilior potior, "the harder reading is better." Another was Lectio
brevior praeferenda, "the shorter reading is better", based on the
idea that scribes were more likely to add than to delete. This
rule cannot be applied uncritically, as scribes may omit material
Brooke Foss Westcott
Brooke Foss Westcott (1825–1901) and
Fenton Hort (1828–1892)
published an edition of the
New Testament in Greek in 1881. They
proposed nine critical rules, including a version of Bengel's rule,
"The reading is less likely to be original that shows a disposition to
smooth away difficulties." They also argued that "Readings are
approved or rejected by reason of the quality, and not the number, of
their supporting witnesses", and that "The reading is to be preferred
that most fitly explains the existence of the others."
Many of these rules, although originally developed for biblical
textual criticism, have wide applicability to any text susceptible to
errors of transmission.
Limitations of eclecticism
Since the canons of criticism are highly susceptible to
interpretation, and at times even contradict each other, they may be
employed to justify a result that fits the textual critic's aesthetic
or theological agenda. Starting in the 19th century, scholars sought
more rigorous methods to guide editorial judgment. Stemmatics and
copy-text editing – while both eclectic, in that they permit
the editor to select readings from multiple sources – sought to
reduce subjectivity by establishing one or a few witnesses presumably
as being favored by "objective" criteria. The citing
of sources used, and alternate readings, and the use of original text
and images helps readers and other critics determine to an extent the
depth of research of the critic, and to independently verify their
Scheme of descent of the manuscripts of
Pseudo-Apuleius Herbarius by
Henry E. Sigerist
Henry E. Sigerist (1927)
Stemmatics or stemmatology is a rigorous approach to textual
Karl Lachmann (1793–1851) greatly contributed to making
this method famous, even though he did not invent it. The method
takes its name from the word stemma. The
Ancient Greek word
στέμματα and its loanword in classical Latin
stemmata may refer to "family trees". This specific
meaning shows the relationships of the surviving witnesses (the first
known example of such a stemma, albeit with the name, dates from
1827). The family tree is also referred to as a cladogram. The
method works from the principle that "community of error implies
community of origin." That is, if two witnesses have a number of
errors in common, it may be presumed that they were derived from a
common intermediate source, called a hyparchetype. Relations between
the lost intermediates are determined by the same process, placing all
extant manuscripts in a family tree or stemma codicum descended from a
single archetype. The process of constructing the stemma is called
recension, or the
Having completed the stemma, the critic proceeds to the next step,
called selection or selectio, where the text of the archetype is
determined by examining variants from the closest hyparchetypes to the
archetype and selecting the best ones. If one reading occurs more
often than another at the same level of the tree, then the dominant
reading is selected. If two competing readings occur equally often,
then the editor uses judgment to select the correct reading.
After selectio, the text may still contain errors, since there may be
passages where no source preserves the correct reading. The step of
examination, or examinatio is applied to find corruptions. Where the
editor concludes that the text is corrupt, it is corrected by a
process called "emendation", or emendatio (also sometimes called
divinatio). Emendations not supported by any known source are
sometimes called conjectural emendations.
The process of selectio resembles eclectic textual criticism, but
applied to a restricted set of hypothetical hyparchetypes. The steps
of examinatio and emendatio resemble copy-text editing. In fact, the
other techniques can be seen as special cases of stemmatics in which a
rigorous family history of the text cannot be determined but only
approximated. If it seems that one manuscript is by far the best text,
then copy text editing is appropriate, and if it seems that a group of
manuscripts are good, then eclecticism on that group would be
The Hodges–Farstad edition of the Greek
New Testament attempts to
use stemmatics for some portions.
Canterbury Tales, Woodcut 1484
Phylogenetics is a technique borrowed from biology, where it was
originally named phylogenetic systematics by Willi Hennig. In biology,
the technique is used to determine the evolutionary relationships
between different species. In its application in textual
criticism, the text of a number of different witnesses may be entered
into a computer, which records all the differences between them, or
derived from an existing apparatus. The manuscripts are then grouped
according to their shared characteristics. The difference between
phylogenetics and more traditional forms of statistical analysis is
that, rather than simply arranging the manuscripts into rough
groupings according to their overall similarity, phylogenetics assumes
that they are part of a branching family tree and uses that assumption
to derive relationships between them. This makes it more like an
automated approach to stemmatics. However, where there is a
difference, the computer does not attempt to decide which reading is
closer to the original text, and so does not indicate which branch of
the tree is the "root"—which manuscript tradition is closest to the
original. Other types of evidence must be used for that purpose.
Phylogenetics faces the same difficulty as textual criticism: the
appearance of characteristics in descendants of an ancestor other than
by direct copying (or miscopying) of the ancestor, for example where a
scribe combines readings from two or more different manuscripts
("contamination"). The same phenomenon is widely present among living
organisms, as instances of horizontal gene transfer (or lateral gene
transfer) and genetic recombination, particularly among bacteria.
Further exploration of the applicability of the different methods for
coping with these problems across both living organisms and textual
traditions is a promising area of study.
Software developed for use in biology has been applied successfully to
textual criticism; for example, it is being used by the Canterbury
Tales Project to determine the relationship between the 84
surviving manuscripts and four early printed editions of The
Canterbury Tales. Shaw's edition of Dante's Commedia uses phylogenetic
and traditional methods alongside each other in a comprehensive
exploration of relations among seven early witnesses to Dante's
Limitations and criticism
The stemmatic method assumes that each witness is derived from one,
and only one, predecessor. If a scribe refers to more than one source
when creating his copy, then the new copy will not clearly fall into a
single branch of the family tree. In the stemmatic method, a
manuscript that is derived from more than one source is said to be
The method also assumes that scribes only make new errors—they do
not attempt to correct the errors of their predecessors. When a text
has been improved by the scribe, it is said to be sophisticated, but
"sophistication" impairs the method by obscuring a document's
relationship to other witnesses, and making it more difficult to place
the manuscript correctly in the stemma.
The stemmatic method requires the textual critic to group manuscripts
by commonality of error. It is required, therefore, that the critic
can distinguish erroneous readings from correct ones. This assumption
has often come under attack.
W. W. Greg noted, "That if a scribe makes
a mistake he will inevitably produce nonsense is the tacit and wholly
Franz Anton Knittel
Franz Anton Knittel defended the traditional point of view in theology
and was against the modern textual criticism. He defended an
authenticity of the Pericopa Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11), Comma
Johanneum (1 John 5:7), and Testimonium Flavianum. According to him
Erasmus in his
Novum Instrumentum omne
Novum Instrumentum omne did not incorporate the Comma
from Codex Montfortianus, because of grammar differences, but used
Complutensian Polyglotta. According to him the Comma was known for
The stemmatic method's final step is emendatio, also sometimes
referred to as "conjectural emendation". But in fact, the critic
employs conjecture at every step of the process. Some of the method's
rules that are designed to reduce the exercise of editorial judgment
do not necessarily produce the correct result. For example, where
there are more than two witnesses at the same level of the tree,
normally the critic will select the dominant reading. However, it may
be no more than fortuitous that more witnesses have survived that
present a particular reading. A plausible reading that occurs less
often may, nevertheless, be the correct one.
Lastly, the stemmatic method assumes that every extant witness is
derived, however remotely, from a single source. It does not account
for the possibility that the original author may have revised his
work, and that the text could have existed at different times in more
than one authoritative version.
Joseph Bédier (1864–1938), who had worked with
stemmatics, launched an attack on that method in 1928. He surveyed
editions of medieval French texts that were produced with the
stemmatic method, and found that textual critics tended overwhelmingly
to produce bifid trees, divided into just two branches. He concluded
that this outcome was unlikely to have occurred by chance, and that
therefore, the method was tending to produce bipartite stemmas
regardless of the actual history of the witnesses. He suspected that
editors tended to favor trees with two branches, as this would
maximize the opportunities for editorial judgment (as there would be
no third branch to "break the tie" whenever the witnesses disagreed).
He also noted that, for many works, more than one reasonable stemma
could be postulated, suggesting that the method was not as rigorous or
as scientific as its proponents had claimed.
Bédier's doubts about the stemmatic method led him to consider
whether it could be dropped altogether. As an alternative to
stemmatics, Bédier proposed a Best-text editing method, in which a
single textual witness, judged to be of a 'good' textual state by the
editor, is emended as lightly as possible for manifest transmission
mistakes, but left otherwise unchanged. This makes a Best-text edition
essentially a documentary edition. For an example one may refer to
Eugene Vinaver's edition of the Winchester Manuscript of Malory's Le
A page from
Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209
Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 shows a medieval scribe (the
marginal note between columns one and two) criticizing a predecessor
for changing the text: "Fool and knave, leave the old reading, don't
When copy-text editing, the scholar fixes errors in a base text, often
with the help of other witnesses. Often, the base text is selected
from the oldest manuscript of the text, but in the early days of
printing, the copy text was often a manuscript that was at hand.
Using the copy-text method, the critic examines the base text and
makes corrections (called emendations) in places where the base text
appears wrong to the critic. This can be done by looking for places in
the base text that do not make sense or by looking at the text of
other witnesses for a superior reading. Close-call decisions are
usually resolved in favor of the copy-text.
The first published, printed edition of the Greek
New Testament was
produced by this method. Erasmus, the editor, selected a manuscript
from the local Dominican monastery in Basle and corrected its obvious
errors by consulting other local manuscripts. The Westcott and Hort
text, which was the basis for the
Revised Version of the English
bible, also used the copy-text method, using the
Codex Vaticanus as
the base manuscript.
McKerrow's concept of copy-text
Ronald B. McKerrow introduced the term copy-text in
his 1904 edition of the works of Thomas Nashe, defining it as "the
text used in each particular case as the basis of mine." McKerrow was
aware of the limitations of the stemmatic method, and believed it was
more prudent to choose one particular text that was thought to be
particularly reliable, and then to emend it only where the text was
obviously corrupt. The French critic
Joseph Bédier likewise became
disenchanted with the stemmatic method, and concluded that the editor
should choose the best available text, and emend it as little as
In McKerrow's method as originally introduced, the copy-text was not
necessarily the earliest text. In some cases, McKerrow would choose a
later witness, noting that "if an editor has reason to suppose that a
certain text embodies later corrections than any other, and at the
same time has no ground for disbelieving that these corrections, or
some of them at least, are the work of the author, he has no choice
but to make that text the basis of his reprint."
By 1939, in his Prolegomena for the Oxford Shakespeare, McKerrow had
changed his mind about this approach, as he feared that a later
edition—even if it contained authorial corrections—would "deviate
more widely than the earliest print from the author's original
manuscript." He therefore concluded that the correct procedure would
be "produced by using the earliest "good" print as copy-text and
inserting into it, from the first edition which contains them, such
corrections as appear to us to be derived from the author." But,
fearing the arbitrary exercise of editorial judgment, McKerrow stated
that, having concluded that a later edition had substantive revisions
attributable to the author, "we must accept all the alterations of
that edition, saving any which seem obvious blunders or
W. W. Greg's rationale of copy-text
Anglo-American textual criticism in the last half of the 20th century
came to be dominated by a landmark 1950 essay by Sir Walter W. Greg,
"The Rationale of Copy-Text". Greg proposed:
[A] distinction between the significant, or as I shall call them
'substantive', readings of the text, those namely that affect the
author's meaning or the essence of his expression, and others, such in
general as spelling, punctuation, word-division, and the like,
affecting mainly its formal presentation, which may be regarded as the
accidents, or as I shall call them 'accidentals', of the text.
Greg observed that compositors at printing shops tended to follow the
"substantive" readings of their copy faithfully, except when they
deviated unintentionally; but that "as regards accidentals they will
normally follow their own habits or inclination, though they may, for
various reasons and to varying degrees, be influenced by their
The true theory is, I contend, that the copy-text should govern
(generally) in the matter of accidentals, but that the choice between
substantive readings belongs to the general theory of textual
criticism and lies altogether beyond the narrow principle of the
copy-text. Thus it may happen that in a critical edition the text
rightly chosen as copy may not by any means be the one that supplies
most substantive readings in cases of variation. The failure to make
this distinction and to apply this principle has naturally led to too
close and too general a reliance upon the text chosen as basis for an
edition, and there has arisen what may be called the tyranny of the
copy-text, a tyranny that has, in my opinion, vitiated much of the
best editorial work of the past generation.
Greg's view, in short, was that the "copy-text can be allowed no
over-riding or even preponderant authority so far as substantive
readings are concerned." The choice between reasonable competing
readings, he said:
[W]ill be determined partly by the opinion the editor may form
respecting the nature of the copy from which each substantive edition
was printed, which is a matter of external authority; partly by the
intrinsic authority of the several texts as judged by the relative
frequency of manifest errors therein; and partly by the editor's
judgment of the intrinsic claims of individual readings to
originality—in other words their intrinsic merit, so long as by
'merit' we mean the likelihood of their being what the author wrote
rather than their appeal to the individual taste of the editor.
Although Greg argued that an editor should be free to use his judgment
to choose between competing substantive readings, he suggested that an
editor should defer to the copy-text when "the claims of two
readings ... appear to be exactly balanced. ... In such
a case, while there can be no logical reason for giving preference to
the copy-text, in practice, if there is no reason for altering its
reading, the obvious thing seems to be to let it stand." The
"exactly balanced" variants are said to be indifferent.
Editors who follow Greg's rationale produce eclectic editions, in that
the authority for the "accidentals" is derived from one particular
source (usually the earliest one) that the editor considers to be
authoritative, but the authority for the "substantives" is determined
in each individual case according to the editor's judgment. The
resulting text, except for the accidentals, is constructed without
relying predominantly on any one witness.
W. W. Greg did not live long enough to apply his rationale of
copy-text to any actual editions of works. His rationale was adopted
and significantly expanded by
Fredson Bowers (1905–1991). Starting
in the 1970s,
G. Thomas Tanselle vigorously took up the method's
defense and added significant contributions of his own. Greg's
rationale as practiced by Bowers and Tanselle has come to be known as
the "Greg–Bowers" or the "Greg–Bowers–Tanselle" method.
Application to works of all periods
A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream (First Folio)
In his 1964 essay, "Some Principles for Scholarly Editions of
Nineteenth-Century American Authors", Bowers said that "the theory of
copy-text proposed by Sir Walter Greg rules supreme". Bowers's
assertion of "supremacy" was in contrast to Greg's more modest claim
that "My desire is rather to provoke discussion than to lay down the
Whereas Greg had limited his illustrative examples to English
Renaissance drama, where his expertise lay, Bowers argued that the
rationale was "the most workable editorial principle yet contrived to
produce a critical text that is authoritative in the maximum of its
details whether the author be Shakespeare, Dryden, Fielding, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, or Stephen Crane. The principle is sound without regard for
the literary period." For works where an author's manuscript
survived—a case Greg had not considered—Bowers concluded that the
manuscript should generally serve as copy-text. Citing the example of
Nathaniel Hawthorne, he noted:
When an author's manuscript is preserved, this has paramount
authority, of course. Yet the fallacy is still maintained that since
the first edition was proofread by the author, it must represent his
final intentions and hence should be chosen as copy-text. Practical
experience shows the contrary. When one collates the manuscript of The
House of the Seven Gables against the first printed edition, one finds
an average of ten to fifteen differences per page between the
manuscript and the print, many of them consistent alterations from the
manuscript system of punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and
word-division. It would be ridiculous to argue that Hawthorne made
approximately three to four thousand small changes in proof, and then
wrote the manuscript of
The Blithedale Romance according to the same
system as the manuscript of the Seven Gables, a system that he had
rejected in proof.
Following Greg, the editor would then replace any of the manuscript
readings with substantives from printed editions that could be
reliably attributed to the author: "Obviously, an editor cannot simply
reprint the manuscript, and he must substitute for its readings any
words that he believes Hawthorne changed in proof."
Uninfluenced final authorial intention
McKerrow had articulated textual criticism's goal in terms of "our
ideal of an author's fair copy of his work in its final state".
Bowers asserted that editions founded on Greg's method would
"represent the nearest approximation in every respect of the author's
final intentions." Bowers stated similarly that the editor's task
is to "approximate as nearly as possible an inferential authorial fair
copy." Tanselle notes that, "Textual criticism ... has
generally been undertaken with a view to reconstructing, as accurately
as possible, the text finally intended by the author".
Bowers and Tanselle argue for rejecting textual variants that an
author inserted at the suggestion of others. Bowers said that his
edition of Stephen Crane's first novel, Maggie, presented "the
author's final and uninfluenced artistic intentions." In his
writings, Tanselle refers to "unconstrained authorial intention" or
"an author's uninfluenced intentions." This marks a departure from
Greg, who had merely suggested that the editor inquire whether a later
reading "is one that the author can reasonably be supposed to have
substituted for the former", not implying any further inquiry as
to why the author had made the change.
Tanselle discusses the example of Herman Melville's Typee. After the
novel's initial publication, Melville's publisher asked him to soften
the novel's criticisms of missionaries in the South Seas. Although
Melville pronounced the changes an improvement, Tanselle rejected them
in his edition, concluding that "there is no evidence, internal or
external, to suggest that they are the kinds of changes Melville would
have made without pressure from someone else."
Bowers confronted a similar problem in his edition of Maggie. Crane
originally printed the novel privately in 1893. To secure commercial
publication in 1896, Crane agreed to remove profanity, but he also
made stylistic revisions. Bowers's approach was to preserve the
stylistic and literary changes of 1896, but to revert to the 1893
readings where he believed that Crane was fulfilling the publisher's
intention rather than his own. There were, however, intermediate cases
that could reasonably have been attributed to either intention, and
some of Bowers's choices came under fire—both as to his judgment,
and as to the wisdom of conflating readings from the two different
versions of Maggie.
Hans Zeller argued that it is impossible to tease apart the changes
Crane made for literary reasons and those made at the publisher's
Firstly, in anticipation of the character of the expected censorship,
Crane could be led to undertake alterations which also had literary
value in the context of the new version. Secondly, because of the
systematic character of the work, purely censorial alterations sparked
off further alterations, determined at this stage by literary
considerations. Again in consequence of the systemic character of the
work, the contamination of the two historical versions in the edited
text gives rise to a third version. Though the editor may indeed give
a rational account of his decision at each point on the basis of the
documents, nevertheless to aim to produce the ideal text which Crane
would have produced in 1896 if the publisher had left him complete
freedom is to my mind just as unhistorical as the question of how the
first World War or the history of the United States would have
developed if Germany had not caused the USA to enter the war in 1917
by unlimited submarine combat. The nonspecific form of censorship
described above is one of the historical conditions under which Crane
wrote the second version of Maggie and made it function. From the text
which arose in this way it is not possible to subtract these forces
and influences, in order to obtain a text of the author's own. Indeed
I regard the "uninfluenced artistic intentions" of the author as
something which exists only in terms of aesthetic abstraction. Between
influences on the author and influences on the text are all manner of
Bowers and Tanselle recognize that texts often exist in more than one
authoritative version. Tanselle argues that:
[T]wo types of revision must be distinguished: that which aims at
altering the purpose, direction, or character of a work, thus
attempting to make a different sort of work out of it; and that which
aims at intensifying, refining, or improving the work as then
conceived (whether or not it succeeds in doing so), thus altering the
work in degree but not in kind. If one may think of a work in terms of
a spatial metaphor, the first might be labeled "vertical revision,"
because it moves the work to a different plane, and the second
"horizontal revision," because it involves alterations within the same
plane. Both produce local changes in active intention; but revisions
of the first type appear to be in fulfillment of an altered
programmatic intention or to reflect an altered active intention in
the work as a whole, whereas those of the second do not.
He suggests that where a revision is "horizontal" (i.e., aimed at
improving the work as originally conceived), then the editor should
adopt the author's later version. But where a revision is "vertical"
(i.e., fundamentally altering the work's intention as a whole), then
the revision should be treated as a new work, and edited separately on
its own terms.
Format for apparatus
Bowers was also influential in defining the form of critical apparatus
that should accompany a scholarly edition. In addition to the content
of the apparatus, Bowers led a movement to relegate editorial matter
to appendices, leaving the critically established text "in the clear",
that is, free of any signs of editorial intervention. Tanselle
explained the rationale for this approach:
In the first place, an editor's primary responsibility is to establish
a text; whether his goal is to reconstruct that form of the text which
represents the author's final intention or some other form of the
text, his essential task is to produce a reliable text according to
some set of principles. Relegating all editorial matter to an appendix
and allowing the text to stand by itself serves to emphasize the
primacy of the text and permits the reader to confront the literary
work without the distraction of editorial comment and to read the work
with ease. A second advantage of a clear text is that it is easier to
quote from or to reprint. Although no device can insure accuracy of
quotation, the insertion of symbols (or even footnote numbers) into a
text places additional difficulties in the way of the quoter.
Furthermore, most quotations appear in contexts where symbols are
inappropriate; thus when it is necessary to quote from a text which
has not been kept clear of apparatus, the burden of producing a clear
text of the passage is placed on the quoter. Even footnotes at the
bottom of the text pages are open to the same objection, when the
question of a photographic reprint arises.
Some critics believe that a clear-text edition gives the edited text
too great a prominence, relegating textual variants to appendices that
are difficult to use, and suggesting a greater sense of certainty
about the established text than it deserves. As Shillingsburg notes,
"English scholarly editions have tended to use notes at the foot of
the text page, indicating, tacitly, a greater modesty about the
"established" text and drawing attention more forcibly to at least
some of the alternative forms of the text".
The MLA's CEAA and CSE
In 1963, the
Modern Language Association
Modern Language Association of America (MLA) established
the Center for Editions of American Authors (CEAA). The CEAA's
Statement of Editorial Principles and Procedures, first published in
1967, adopted the Greg–Bowers rationale in full. A CEAA examiner
would inspect each edition, and only those meeting the requirements
would receive a seal denoting "An Approved Text."
Between 1966 and 1975, the Center allocated more than
$1.5 million in funding from the National Endowment for the
Humanities to various scholarly editing projects, which were required
to follow the guidelines (including the structure of editorial
apparatus) as Bowers had defined them. According to Davis, the
funds coordinated by the CEAA over the same period were more than
$6 million, counting funding from universities, university
presses, and other bodies.
The Center for Scholarly Editions (CSE) replaced the CEAA in 1976. The
change of name indicated the shift to a broader agenda than just
American authors. The Center also ceased its role in the allocation of
funds. The Center's latest guidelines (2003) no longer prescribe a
particular editorial procedure.
Application to religious documents
All texts are subject to investigation and systematic criticism where
the original verified first document is not available. Believers in
sacred texts and scriptures sometimes are reluctant to accept any form
of challenge to what they believe to be divine revelation. Some
opponents and polemicists may look for any way to find fault with a
particular religious text. Legitimate textual criticism may be
resisted by both believers and skeptics.
Main article: Textual Criticism and Qur'ān Manuscripts
See also: Origin and development of the
Qur'an and Corpus Coranicum
Textual criticism of the
Qur'an is a beginning area of study,
as Muslims have historically disapproved of higher criticism being
applied to the Qur'an. In some countries textual criticism can be
seen as apostasy.
Muslims consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation,
revealed to Muhammad from AD 610 to his death in 632. In Islamic
Qur'an was memorised and written down by Muhammad's
companions and copied as needed. However, it is well known to scholars
that: "written versions vary enormously in materials, format and
In the 1970s, 14,000 fragments of
Qur'an were discovered in the Great
Mosque of Sana'a, the
Sana'a manuscripts. About 12,000 fragments
belonged to 926 copies of the Qur'an, the other 2,000 were loose
fragments. The oldest known copy of the
Qur'an so far belongs to this
collection: it dates to the end of the 7th–8th centuries. The
important find uncovered many textual variants not known from the
canonical 7 (or 10 or 14) texts.
The examination by Gerd R. Puin, who led the restoration project,
revealed "unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations,
and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment." Recent
authors have also proposed that the
Qur'an may have been written in
Book of Mormon
See also: Historicity of the
Book of Mormon
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) includes
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon as a foundational reference. LDS members typically
believe the book to be a literal historical record.
Although some earlier unpublished studies had been prepared, not until
the early 1970s was true textual criticism applied to the
Mormon. At that time BYU Professor Ellis Rasmussen and his associates
were asked by the
LDS Church to begin preparation for a new edition of
the Holy Scriptures. One aspect of that effort entailed digitizing the
text and preparing appropriate footnotes, another aspect required
establishing the most dependable text. To that latter end, Stanley R.
Larson (a Rasmussen graduate student) set about applying modern text
critical standards to the manuscripts and early editions of the Book
of Mormon as his thesis project—which he completed in 1974. To that
end, Larson carefully examined the Original Manuscript (the one
Joseph Smith to his scribes) and the Printer's Manuscript
Oliver Cowdery prepared for the Printer in 1829–1830), and
compared them with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of the
Mormon to determine what sort of changes had occurred over time and to
make judgments as to which readings were the most original. Larson
proceeded to publish a useful set of well-argued articles on the
phenomena which he had discovered. Many of his observations were
included as improvements in the 1981 LDS edition of the
By 1979, with the establishment of the Foundation for Ancient Research
and Mormon Studies (FARMS) as a California non-profit research
institution, an effort led by Robert F. Smith began to take full
account of Larson's work and to publish a Critical Text of the
Mormon. Thus was born the
FARMS Critical Text Project which published
the first volume of the 3-volume
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Critical Text in 1984.
The third volume of that first edition was published in 1987, but was
already being superseded by a second, revised edition of the entire
work, greatly aided through the advice and assistance of then Yale
doctoral candidate Grant Hardy, Dr. Gordon C. Thomasson, Professor
John W. Welch (the head of FARMS), Professor Royal Skousen, and others
too numerous to mention here. However, these were merely preliminary
steps to a far more exacting and all-encompassing project.
In 1988, with that preliminary phase of the project completed,
Professor Skousen took over as editor and head of the
Text of the
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Project and proceeded to gather still
scattered fragments of the Original Manuscript of the
Book of Mormon
and to have advanced photographic techniques applied to obtain fine
readings from otherwise unreadable pages and fragments. He also
closely examined the Printer's Manuscript (owned by the Community of
LDS Church in Independence, Missouri) for differences in
types of ink or pencil, in order to determine when and by whom they
were made. He also collated the various editions of the
Book of Mormon
down to the present to see what sorts of changes have been made
Thus far, Professor Skousen has published complete transcripts of the
Original and Printer's Manuscripts, as well as a six-volume
analysis of textual variants. Still in preparation are a history
of the text, and a complete electronic collation of editions and
manuscripts (volumes 3 and 5 of the Project, respectively). Yale
University has in the meantime published an edition of the
Mormon which incorporates all aspects of Skousen's research.
Main article: Documentary hypothesis
11th-century manuscript of the Hebrew
Bible with Targum
A page from the Aleppo Codex, Deuteronomy.
Textual criticism of the Hebrew
Bible compares manuscript versions of
the following sources (dates refer to the oldest extant manuscripts in
Date of Composition
Dead Sea Scrolls
Tanakh at Qumran
Hebrew, Paleo Hebrew and Greek(Septuagint)
c. 150 BCE – 70 CE
c. 150 BCE – 70 CE
Codex Sinaiticus and other earlier papyri
2nd century BCE(fragments)
4th century CE(complete)
early 5th century CE
early 5th century CE
Leningrad Codex and other incomplete mss
ca. 100 CE
10th century CE
Abisha Scroll of Nabus
Hebrew in Samaritan alphabet
Oldest extant mss c.11th century CE, oldest mss available to scholars
16th century CE, only Torah contained
5th century CE
As in the New Testament, changes, corruptions, and erasures have been
found, particularly in the
Masoretic texts. This is ascribed to the
fact that early soferim (scribes) did not treat copy errors in the
same manner later on.
There are three separate new editions of the Hebrew
Bible currently in
development: Biblia Hebraica Quinta, the Hebrew University Bible, and
the Oxford Hebrew Bible.
Biblia Hebraica Quinta
Biblia Hebraica Quinta is a diplomatic
edition based on the Leningrad Codex. The Hebrew University
also diplomatic, but based on the Aleppo Codex. The Oxford Hebrew
Bible is an eclectic edition.
Bible as referenced by the Old Testament
As far as the Hebrew
Bible referenced by the Old Testament is
concerned, almost all of the textual variants are fairly insignificant
and hardly affect any doctrine. Professor Douglas Stuart states: "It
is fair to say that the verses, chapters, and books of the
read largely the same, and would leave the same impression with the
reader, even if one adopted virtually every possible alternative
reading to those now serving as the basis for current English
Textual criticism of the New Testament
New Testament texts include more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts,
Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other
ancient languages (including Syriac, Slavic,
Ethiopic and Armenian).
The manuscripts contain approximately 300,000 textual variants, most
of them involving changes of word order and other comparative
trivialities.[need quotation to verify] Thus, for over 250
New Testament scholars have argued that no textual variant
affects any doctrine. Professor
D. A. Carson states: "nothing we
believe to be doctrinally true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is
in any way jeopardized by the variants. This is true for any textual
tradition. The interpretation of individual passages may well be
called in question; but never is a doctrine affected."
The sheer number of witnesses presents unique difficulties, chiefly in
that it makes stemmatics in many cases impossible, because many
writers used two or more different manuscripts as sources.
New Testament textual critics have adopted eclecticism
after sorting the witnesses into three major groups, called
text-types. As of 2017[update] the most common division distinguishes:
The Alexandrian text-type
(also called the "Neutral Text" tradition; less frequently, the
2nd–4th centuries CE
This family constitutes a group of early and well-regarded texts,
Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Most representatives
of this tradition appear to come from around
Alexandria, Egypt and
from the Alexandrian Church. It contains readings that are often
terse, shorter, somewhat rough, less harmonised, and generally more
difficult. The family was once[when?] thought[by whom?] to result from
a very carefully edited 3rd-century recension, but now is believed to
be merely the result of a carefully controlled and supervised process
of copying and transmission. It underlies most translations of the New
Testament produced since 1900.
NIV, NAB, NABRE, Douay, JB and NJB (albeit, with some reliance on the
Byzantine text-type), TNIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, EBR, NWT, LB, ASV, NC, GNB
The Western text-type
3rd–9th centuries CE
Also a very early tradition, which comes from a wide geographical area
stretching from North Africa to Italy and from
Gaul to Syria. It
occurs in Greek manuscripts and in the
Latin translations used by the
Western church. It is much less controlled than the Alexandrian family
and its witnesses are seen to be more prone to paraphrase and other
corruptions. It is sometimes called the Caesarean text-type. Some New
Testament scholars would argue that the Caesarean constitutes a
distinct text-type of its own.
The Byzantine text-type; also, Koinē text-type
(also called "Majority Text")
5th–16th centuries CE
This group comprises around 95% of all the manuscripts, the majority
of which are comparatively very late in the tradition. It had become
Constantinople from the 5th century on and was used
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire. It
contains the most harmonistic readings, paraphrasing and significant
additions, most of which are believed[by whom?] to be secondary
readings. It underlies the
Textus Receptus used for most
Reformation-era translations of the New Testament.
KJV, NKJV, Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, Bishops' Bible, OSB
Textual criticism of the Talmud has a long pre-history but has become
a separate discipline from Talmudic study only recently. Much of
the research is in Hebrew and German language periodicals.
While textual criticism developed into a discipline of thorough
analysis of the Bible — both the Hebrew
Bible and the New
Testament — scholars also use it to determine the original
content of classic texts, such as Plato's Republic. There are far
fewer witnesses to classical texts than to the Bible, so scholars can
use stemmatics and, in some cases, copy text editing. However, unlike
New Testament where the earliest witnesses are within
200 years of the original, the earliest existing manuscripts of
most classical texts were written about a millennium after their
composition. All things being equal, textual scholars expect that a
larger time gap between an original and a manuscript means more
changes in the text.
Scientific and critical editions can be protected by copyright as
works of authorship if enough creativity/originality is provided. The
mere addition of a word, or substitution of a term with another one
believed to be more correct, usually does not achieve such level of
originality/creativity. All the notes accounting for the analysis and
why and how such changes have been made represent a different work
autonomously copyrightable if the other requirements are satisfied. In
the European Union critical and scientific editions may be protected
also by the relevant neighboring right that protects critical and
scientific publications of public domain works as made possible by
art. 5 of the Copyright Term Directive. Not all EU member States have
transposed art. 5 into national law.
Digital textual scholarship
Digital textual criticism is a relatively new branch of textual
criticism working with digital tools to establish a critical edition.
The development of digital editing tools has allowed editors to
transcribe, archive and process documents much faster than before.
Some scholars claim digital editing has radically changed the nature
of textual criticism; but others believe the editing process has
remained fundamentally the same, and digital tools have simply made
aspects of it more efficient.
From its beginnings, digital scholarly editing involved developing a
system for displaying both a newly "typeset" text and a history of
variations in the text under review. Until about halfway through the
first decade of the twenty-first century, digital archives relied
almost entirely on manual transcriptions of texts. However, over the
course of this decade, image files became much faster and cheaper, and
storage space and upload times ceased to be significant issues. The
next step in digital scholarly editing was the wholesale introduction
of images of historical texts, particularly high-definition images of
manuscripts, formally offered only in samples.
In view of the need to represent historical texts primarily through
transcription, and because transcriptions required encoding for every
aspect of text that could not be recorded by a single keystroke on the
QWERTY keyboard, encoding was invented.
Text Encoding Initiative
Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
uses encoding for the same purpose, although its particulars were
designed for scholarly uses in order to offer some hope that scholarly
work on digital texts had a good chance of migrating from aging
operating systems and/or digital platforms to new ones, and the hope
that standardization would lead to easy interchange of data among
Several computer programs and standards exist to support the work of
the editors of critical editions. These include
The Text Encoding Initiative. The Guidelines of the TEI provide much
detailed analysis of the procedures of critical editing, including
recommendations about how to mark up a computer file containing a text
with critical apparatus. See especially the following chapters of the
Guidelines: 10. Manuscript Description, 11. Representation of Primary
Sources, and 12. Critical Apparatus.
Juxta is an open-source tool for comparing and collating multiple
witnesses to a single textual work. It was designed to aid scholars
and editors examine the history of a text from manuscript to print
versions. Juxta provides collation for multiple versions of texts that
are marked up in plain text or TEI/XML format.
The EDMAC macro package for Plain
TeX is a set of macros originally
developed by John Lavagnino and Dominik Wujastyk for typesetting
critical editions. "EDMAC" stands for "EDition" "MACros." EDMAC is in
The ledmac package is a development of EDMAC by Peter R. Wilson for
typesetting critical editions with LaTeX. ledmac is in maintenance
The eledmac package is a further development of ledmac by Maïeul
Rouquette that adds more sophisticated features and solves more
advanced problems. eledmac was forked from ledmac when it became clear
that it needed to develop in ways that would compromise
backward-compatibility. eledmac is maintenance mode.
The reledmac package is a further development of eledmac by Maïeul
Rouquette that rewrittes many part of the code in order to allow more
robust developments in the future. In 2015, it is in active
ednotes, written by Christian Tapp and Uwe Lück is another package
for typesetting critical editions using LaTeX.
Classical Text Editor is a word-processor for critical editions,
commentaries and parallel texts written by Stefan Hagel. CTE is
designed for use on the Windows operating system, but has been
successfully run on Linux and OS/X using Wine. CTE can export files in
TEI format. CTE is currently (2014) in active development.
Critical Edition Typesetter by Bernt Karasch is a system for
typesetting critical editions starting from input into a
word-processor, and ending up with typesetting with
TeX and EDMAC.
Development opf CET seems to have stopped in 2004.
A Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture
Authority (textual criticism)
Bible version debate
New Testament manuscripts
Dean Burgon Society
Kaozheng (Chinese textual criticism)
Bible verses not included in modern translations
Tablet theory, dating the book of Genesis.
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Critical Text –
FARMS 2nd edition
Bible and Old Testament
Complutensian polyglot (based on now-lost manuscripts)
Septuaginta – Rahlfs' 2nd edition
Septuagint (Vetus Testamentum Graecum: Auctoritate Academiae
Scientiarum Gottingensis editum): in progress
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia – 4th edition
Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition – an ongoing product which is
designed to be different from Biblia Hebraica by producing an eclectic
Editio octava critica maior – Tischendorf edition
New Testament According to the Majority Text – Hodges
& Farstad edition
New Testament in the Original Greek – Westcott & Hort
Novum Testamentum Graece
Novum Testamentum Graece Nestle-Aland 28th edition (NA28)
Bible Society's Greek
New Testament UBS 4th edition (UBS4)
Novum Testamentum Graece
Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine – Merk edition
Editio Critica Maior – German
Bible Society edition
The Comprehensive New Testament – standardized Nestle-Aland 27
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls Bible – with textual mapping to Masoretic,
Dead Sea Scrolls, and
New English Translation of the Septuagint, a critical translation from
the completed parts of the Göttingen Septuagint, with the remainder
from Rahlf's manual edition
New Testament papyri
New Testament uncials
List of manuscripts
List of Biblical commentaries
Textual variants in the New Testament
List of major textual variants in the New Testament
^ Ehrman 2005, p. 46.
^ Vincent. A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament
"... that process which it sought to determine the original text of a
document or a collection of documents, and to exhibit, freed from all
the errors, corruptions, and variations which may have been
accumulated in the course of its transcription by successive copying."
^ a b Tanselle, (1989) A Rationale of Textual Criticism
^ Jarvis 1995, pp. 1–17
^ Montgomery 1997
^ Maas P. 1958. Textual criticism. Oxford. p1
^ Maas 1958, p2–3.
^ "The apparatus criticus is placed underneath the text simply on
account of bookprinting conditions and in particular of the format of
modern books. The practice in ancient and medieval manuscripts of
using the outer margin for this purpose makes for far greater
clarity." Maas 1958, pp. 22–3.
^ Gaskell, 1978.
^ Greetham 1999, p. 40.
"Tanselle thus combines an Aristotelian praktike, a rigorous account
of the phenomenology of text, with a deep Platonic suspicion of this
phenomenology, and of the concrete world of experience (see my '
Materiality' for further discussion). For him—and, I would contend,
for the idealist, or 'eclectic' editing with which he and Greg-Bowers
are often identified, whereby an idealist 'text that never was' is
constructed out of the corrupt states of extant documents—ontology
is only immanent, never assuredly present in historical,
particularized text, for it can be achieved only at the unattainable
level of nous rather than phenomenon. Thus, even the high aims of
eclectic (or, as it is sometimes known, 'critical') editing can be
called into question, because of the unsure phenomenological status of
the documentary and historical."
^ McGann 1992, p. xviiii
^ Bradley 1990
^ Bentham, Gosse 1902
^ Comfort, Comfort 2005, p. 383
^ Aland, B. 1994, p. 138
^ a b Hartin, Petzer, Mannig 2001, pp. 47–53
^ Aland K., Aland, B. 1987, p. 276
^ "Critical Rules of Johann Albrecht Bengel". Bible-researcher.com.
^ J.J. Griesbach, Novum Testamentum Graece
^ "Critical Rules of Johann Albrecht Bengel". Bible-researcher.com.
"Brevior lectio, nisi testium vetustorum et gravium auctoritate
penitus destituatur, praeferenda est verbosiori. Librarii enim multo
proniores ad addendum fuerunt, quam ad omittendum."
^ "Theories of Westcott and Hort". Bible-researcher.com. Retrieved
"The reading is to be preferred that makes the best sense, that is,
that best conforms to the grammar and is most congruous with the
purport of the rest of the sentence and of the larger context." (2.20)
^ Sebastian Timpanaro, The Genesis of Lachmann's Method, ed. and
trans. by Glenn W. Most (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005)
[trans. from Genesi del metodo del Lachmann (Liviana Editrice, 1981)].
^ a b Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R. (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon.
revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the
assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
^ Lewis, C.T. & Short, C. (1879). A
Latin dictionary founded on
Andrews' edition of Freund's
Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon
^ Saalfeld, G.A.E.A. (1884). Tensaurus Italograecus. Ausführliches
historisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Griechischen Lehn- und
Fremdwörter im Lateinischen. Wien: Druck und Verlag von Carl Gerold's
Sohn, Buchhändler der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wissenschaften.
^ Collín, H. S. and C. J. Schlyter (eds), Corpus iuris Sueo-Gotorum
antiqui: Samling af Sweriges gamla lagar, på Kongl. Maj:ts. nådigste
befallning, 13 vols (Stockholm: Haeggström, 1827–77), vol. 1, table
3; the volume is available at  but the scan unfortunately omits the
stemma. William Robins, `
Editing and Evolution', Literature Compass 4
(2007): 89–120, at pp. 93–94,
^ Mulken & van Pieter 1996, p. 84
^ Wilson and Reynolds 1974, p. 186
^ Roseman 1999, p. 73
^ McCarter 1986, p. 62
^ A Comparative Study on Method in Exploring Textual Genealogy
^ Critical Editions of the
New Testament at the Encyclopaedia of
^ Schuh 2000, p. 7
^  Wendy J. Phillips-Rodriguez*, Christopher J. Howe, Heather F.
Windram "Chi-Squares and the Phenomenon of 'Change of Exemplar' in the
Dyutaparvan", Sanskrit Computational Linguistics, First and Second
International Symposia Rocquencourt, France, October 29–31, 2007
Providence, RI, U, May 15–17, 2008 Revised Selected and Invited
Papers; Windram, H. F., Howe, C. J., Spencer M.: "The identification
of exemplar change in the Wife of Bath's Prologue using the maximum
chi-squared method". Literary and Linguistic Computing 20, 189–-204
Canterbury Tales Project, Official Website
^ Commedia Shaw edition, 2010
^ Greg 1950, p. 20
^ Knittel, Neue Kritiken über den berühmten Sprych: Drey sind, die
da zeugen im Himmel, der Vater, das Wort, und der heilige Geist, und
diese drei sind eins Braunschweig 1785
^ Tov 2001, pp. 351–68
^ Ehrman 2005, p. 44. See also .
^ Aland, Kurt; Barbara Aland (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An
Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice
of Modern Textual Criticism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company. p. 236. ISBN 0-8028-4098-1.
^ Quoted in Greg 1950, pp. 23–24
^ McKerrow 1939. pp. 17–18, quoted in Greg 1950, p. 25
^ Greg 1950, p. 21
^ Greg 1950, p. 22
^ Greg 1950, p. 26
^ Greg 1950, p. 29
^ Greg 1950, p. 31
^ Bowers 1964, p. 224
^ Greg 1950, p. 36
^ Bowers 1973, p. 86
^ a b Bowers 1964, p. 226
^ McKerrow 1939, pp. 17–8, quoted in Bowers 1974, p. 82, n. 4
^ Bowers 1964, p. 227
^ quoted in Tanselle 1976, p. 168
^ Tanselle 1995, p. 16
^ quoted in Zeller 1975, p. 247
^ Tanselle 1986, p. 19
^ Greg 1950, p. 32
^ Tanselle 1976, p. 194
^ Davis 1977, pp. 2–3
^ Zeller 1975, pp. 247–248
^ Tanselle 1976, p. 193
^ Tanselle 1972, pp. 45–6
^ Shillingsburg 1989, p. 56, n. 8
^ Tanselle 1975, pp. 167–8
^ Davis 1977, p. 61
^ "Aims and Services of the Committee on Scholarly Editions". The
Committee on Scholarly Editions, Indiana University Purdue University
Indianapolis. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
"The editorial standards that form the criteria for the award of the
CSE "Approved Edition" emblem can be stated here in only the most
general terms, since the range of editorial work that comes within the
committee's purview makes it impossible to set forth a detailed,
step-by-step editorial procedure."
^ Christian-Muslim relations: yesterday, today, tomorrow Munawar Ahmad
Anees, Ziauddin Sardar, Syed Z. Abedin – 1991 For instance, a
Christian critic engaging in textual criticism of the Quran from a
biblical perspective will surely miss the essence of the quranic
message. Just one example would clarify this point.
^ Studies on Islam Merlin L. Swartz – 1981 One will find a more
complete bibliographical review of the recent studies of the textual
criticism of the Quran in the valuable article by Jeffery, "The
Present Status of Qur'anic Studies," Report on Current Research on the
^ Religions of the world Lewis M. Hopfe – 1979 "Some Muslims
have suggested and practiced textual criticism of the Quran in a
manner similar to that practiced by Christians and Jews on their
bibles. No one has yet suggested the higher criticism of the Quran."
^ Egypt's culture wars: politics and practice – Page 278 Samia
Mehrez – 2008 Middle East report: Issues 218–222; Issues
224–225 Middle East Research & Information Project, JSTOR
(Organization) – 2001 Shahine filed to divorce Abu Zayd from
his wife, on the grounds that Abu Zayd's textual criticism of the
Quran made him an apostate, and hence unfit to marry a Muslim. Abu
Zayd and his wife eventually relocated to the Netherlands
^ Journal of Qur'anic Studies. Volume 10, Page 72–97
doi:10.3366/E1465359109000242, e-ISSN 1465-3591
^ Transcribing God's Word:
Qur'an Codices in Context –
Edinburgh University Press
^ ^ a b Lester, Toby (1999) "What is the Koran?" Atlantic Monthly
^ The Syro-
Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the
Decoding of the Language of the Koran by Christoph Luxenberg
^ Stanley R. Larson, “A Study of Some Textual Variations in the Book
of Mormon, Comparing the Original and Printer's MSS., and Comparing
the 1830, 1837, and 1840 Editions,” unpublished master's thesis
(Provo: BYU, 1974).
^ Stanley Larson, “Early
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Texts: Textual Changes to
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon in 1837 and 1840,” Sunstone, 1/4 (Fall 1976),
44–55; Larson, “Textual Variants in the
Book of Mormon
Manuscripts,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 10/4 (Autumn
1977), 8–30 [
FARMS Reprint LAR-77]; Larson, “Conjectural
Emendation and the Text of the
Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies, 18
(Summer 1978), 563–569 [
FARMS Reprint LAR-78].
^ Robert F. Smith, ed.,
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Critical Text, 2nd ed., 3 vols.
(Provo: FARMS, 1986–1987).
^ The Original Manuscript of the
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon (Provo: FARMS, 2001);
The Printer's Manuscript of the
Book of Mormon, 2 vols. (FARMS, 2001).
^ Analysis of Textual Variants of the
Book of Mormon, 6 vols. (Provo:
^ Skousen, ed., The
Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text (Yale Univ.
^ Tov 2001, p. 9
^ Hendel, R., "The Oxford Hebrew Bible: Prologue to a New Critical
Edition", Vetus Testamentum, vol. 58, no. 3 (2008). pp. 325–326
^ Kaiser, Walter (2001). The Old Testament Documents: Are They
Reliable & Relevant?. InterVarsity Press. p. 48.
^ a b Wallace, Daniel. "The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are
They Identical?". Retrieved 23 November 2013.
^ Westcott and Hort (1896). The
New Testament in The Original Greek:
Introduction Appendix. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
^ Beacham, Roy E.; Bauder, Kevin T. One
Bible Only?: Examining
Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible. Kregel Publications.
^ Economic analysis in Talmudic literature: rabbinic thought in the
.Roman A. Ohrenstein, Barry Gordon.. Page 9 2009 "In fact, textual
criticism of the Talmud is as old as the Talmud itself. In modern
times, however, it became a separate scholarly concern, where
scientific method is applied to correct corrupt and incomprehensible
^ The treatise Ta'anit of the Babylonian Talmud: Henry Malter –
1978 It goes without saying that the writings of modern authors
dealing with textual criticism of the Talmud, many of which are
scattered in Hebrew and German periodicals, are likewise to be
utilized for the purpose.
^ Habib 2005, p. 239
^ Margoni, Thomas; Mark Perry (2011). "Scientific and Critical
Editions of Public Domain Works: An Example of European Copyright Law
(Dis)Harmonization". Canadian Intellectual Property Review. 27 (1):
157–170. SSRN 1961535 .
^ a b Shillingsburg, Peter, "Literary Documents, Texts, and Works
Represented Digitally" (2013). Center for Textual Studies and Digital
Humanities Publications. 3. http://ecommons.luc.edu/ctsdh_pubs/3
^ See further the useful guidelines offered by Dekker, D-J.
Typesetting Critical Editions with LaTeX: ledmac, ledpar and
ledarab". Retrieved 14 May 2014.
^ Novum Testamentum Graece, German
^ UBS Greek New Testament, German
Aland, Kurt, Aland, Barbara (1987). The Text of the New Testament.
Brill. ISBN 90-04-08367-7. CS1 maint: Multiple names:
authors list (link)
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New Testament Textual Criticism, Exegesis and
Church History. Peeters Publishers. ISBN 90-390-0105-7.
Bentham, George, Gosse, Edmund. The
Variorum and Definitive Edition of
the Poetical and Prose Writings of Edward Fitzgerald, (1902),
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of Copy-Text". Library, Fifth Series. XXVII (2): 81–115.
Bradley, Sculley, Leaves of Grass: A Textual
Variorum of the Printed
Poems, (1980), NYU Press, ISBN 0-8147-9444-0
Comfort, Philip Wesley (2005). Encountering the Manuscripts: An
New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism.
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Davis, Tom (1977). "The CEAA and Modern Textual Editing". Library,
Fifth Series. XXXII (32): 61–74.
Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed
Bible and Why. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4.
Ehrman, Bart D. (2006). Whose Word Is It?. Continuum International
Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-9129-4.
Gaskell, Philip (1978). From Writer to Reader: Studies in Editorial
Method. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Greetham, D. C. (1999). Theories of the text. Oxford [Oxfordshire]:
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Bibliography. 3: 19–36. Retrieved 2006-06-04.
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the present. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Pub.
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(1991), BRILL, ISBN 90-04-09401-6
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and Representations of Scholarly Labour, 1725–1765, Oxford
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McCarter, Peter Kyle Jr (1986). Textual criticism: recovering the text
of the Hebrew Bible. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.
McGann, Jerome J. (1992). A critique of modern textual criticism.
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
McKerrow, R. B. (1939). Prolegomena for the Oxford Shakespeare.
Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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Jowett, John (1997). William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. New
York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-31667-X.
Parker, D.C. (2008). An Introduction to the
New Testament Manuscripts
and Their Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
von Reenen, Pieter; Margot van Mulken, eds. (1996). Studies in
Stemmatology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Rosemann, Philipp (1999). Understanding scholastic thought with
Foucault. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 73.
Schuh, Randall T. (2000). Biological systematics: principles and
applications. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.
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55–78. Retrieved 2006-06-07.
Tanselle, G. Thomas (1972). "Some Principles for Editorial Apparatus".
Studies in Bibliography. 25: 41–88. Retrieved 2006-06-04.
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Editing of American Literature". Studies in Bibliography. 28:
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Studies in Bibliography. 39: 1–46. Retrieved 2006-06-04.
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D. C. Greetham. Scholarly Editing: A Guide to Research. New York: The
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survey. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
Tov, Emanuel (2001).
Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
Minneapolis: Fortress. ISBN 90-232-3715-3.
Van Mulken, Margot ; Van Reenen, Pieter Th van. (1996). Studies
in Stemmatology. John Benjamins
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Vincent, Marvin Richardson (1899). A History of the Textual Criticism
of the New Testament. Macmillan. Original from Harvard University.
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Scribes and scholars: a guide
to the transmission of Greek and
Latin literature. Oxford: Clarendon
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Zeller, Hans (1975). "A New Approach to the Critical Constitution of
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Dabney, Robert L. (1871). "The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New
Testament Greek", Southern Presbyterian Review, April 1871,
Epp, Eldon J., The Eclectic Method in
New Testament Textual Criticism:
Solution or Symptom?, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 69, No. 3/4
(July–October 1976), pp. 211–257
Hagen, Kenneth, The
Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians
Interpret the Scriptures, Marquette Studies in Theology, Vol 4;
Marquette University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-87462-628-5
Hodges, Zane C. and Farstad, Arthur L. The Greek New Testament
According to the Majority Text with Apparatus, Thomas Nelson; 2nd ed
edition (January 1, 1985), ISBN 0-8407-4963-5
Housman, A. E. (1922). "The Application of Thought to Textual
Criticism". Proceedings of the Classical Association. 18: 67–84.
Love, Harold (1993). "section III". Scribal Publication in
Seventeenth-Century England. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Kittel, F. A. (1785). Neue Kritiken über den berühmten Sprych: Drey
sind, die da zeugen in Himmel, der Vater, das Wort, und der heilge
Geist, und diese drein sind eins. Eine synodalische Vorlesung.
Braunschweig, Deutschland: John. Chr. Meyer.
Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace, (2006), Reinventing Jesus, Kregel
Publications, 2006, ISBN 978-0-8254-2982-8
Metzger & Bart Ehrman, (2005), The Text of the New Testament, OUP,
Schiffman, Lawrence H., Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History
of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library of
Qumran; Jewish Publication Society, 1st ed. 1994,
Soulen, Richard N. and Soulen, R. Kendall, Handbook of Biblical
Criticism; Westminster John Knox Press; 3 edition (October 2001),
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