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ISBN/ASIN : 084233484X
Manufacturer : Tyndale House Publishers|
Release data : 01 September, 2000
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As a seminary student, I found this to be a great reference to give short inputs on the different texts and versions of the Bible. While this is a short reference for my use and experience, it is a longer and more detailed discussion than many lay-people need. But, it is not grossly overdone. Dr. Comfort gives detailed accounts describing the history of each of the texts. Chapters 5 and 6 describe the different versions of the Bible ranging from using half a page for some versions to 3-4 pages for other, more important or popular versions. Chapter 7 is dedicated to a more indepth study of John 1 and a comparison of the different versions with this passage. In the last chapter, Dr. Comfort talks about the additions and subtractions of the different versions. This is a very interesting chapter on the history behind the different revisions and why these verses differ so between versions. The book has a glossary and an index, so there is no need to worry if you do not know the difference between a manuscript and an autograph. Each of the words that are in the glossary are in bold.
So, while Dr. Comfort goes into a little more detail than may be deemed necessary for lay-people, he makes it easy for you to understand what he is writing about and why it is important.
For the theological student or Sunday school teacher, this is a great book to give insight on the different versions. It gives enough detailed information to quench most of our thirst for knowledge on the subject.
What it says...Essential (especially for newcomers)
This is a very enjoyable introductory treatment of textual criticism.
If you only have time to read one or two books on textual criticism
then I highly recommend this be one of them. The other should be
FF Bruce's The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?
Which is the all time introductory classic.
This book is well written, and has a good section on questionable
readings in the NT, and then shows you how scholars come up with
their conclusions. He does the same thing with an extended passage
- the Johannine prologue (Jn 1:1-18) - making this book double as a
good commentary as well!
You can't go wrong, buy it. Good clear writing from a man with
a high view of scripture (who by the way, is not afraid to take
some necessary jabs at the buffoonery coming from the KJV only cult).
For some more introductory information, via real audio, check
out James White's website aomin(dot)org. He has some real audio
downloads where he teaches on this topic, for only a couple of
bucks. Worth it, for about 2 hours of teaching.
Invaluable Reference Work
The King James Version Only controversy still rages in many churches throuout the world (as can be seen from some of the reviews of this book). The greatest problem in the debate seems to be that many people do not understand the process by which the eclectic text and the critical text have been assembled. This book is an attempt to clarify this process.
Dr. Comfort's effort to make the finer points of modern textual criticism is a laudable effort, and will serve as a springboard to a more detailed investigatio of this topic. It is not, however, an introductory work, and many readers will have to consult other volumes to fully appreciate what Dr. Comfort states in this text.
Comfort does a good job at providing an overview of the major texts that comprise the critical text that most modern translations are derived from. He also presents a brief history of the 20th century translations, giving an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each. The real value of this book, however, lies in its treatment of the so-called "missing verses" that KJV Only advocates contend have been "removed" from the modern versions. If more people on both sides of the debate were familiar with this material, there would be less misunderstanding and namecalling.
That said, the flag-waving for the New Living Translation is a little annoying. I am not as familiar with this translation as some of the others, but the continual preferance for this version over all other modern versions makes me suspect the author's motivations in writing this book.