Text, Transmission, and Translation

Text, Transmission, and Translation:  This is a useful paradigm.  I first saw it as the subtitle to Stanley Porter’s How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation.

Among other things, this framework helps us see that 1) the apostles wrote texts, 2) those texts had to be copied, and 3) those texts have to be translated before most of us can read them.  Therefore, copyists and translators (we can call both “scribes”) stand between us and what the apostles wrote.  We are therefore dependent on the scribes and the quality of their work.

For this reason, God gave us voluminous writings through His prophets and apostles that we might not be dependent on just a few texts which the scribes might fail.  In the multitude of writings, we are insulated from scribal errors that might send us astray.  The truths most important to our lives are repeated by God “in many portions and many ways.”

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