A comprehensive text-critical study of ΠΊΣΤΙΣ in the New Testament

Barham, Edward Leslie (2022). A comprehensive text-critical study of ΠΊΣΤΙΣ in the New Testament. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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This thesis is the result of a comprehensive text-critical study of πίστις (“faith”) and lexically related words (πιστεύω/“believe” etc) in the New Testament. It began with the compilation of an (informal) spreadsheet including the more than 700 instances of these words in the NA28 edition of the New Testament, the passages in which they were found, and the critical apparatus for these. This enabled me to identify the verses of particular text-critical interest, and to begin to categorise them. The discussion of the written thesis itself can be described as follows.

First I consider the philosophy of textual criticism in discourse with Yii-Jan Lin’s monograph The Erotic Life of Manuscripts. I argue that, in contrast with Lin’s emphasis on Darwinism as a basis of textual criticism, the mindset of David Hume was more influential, for positive and negative reasons. I also develop a methodology of variant classification, in comparison with categories used by Bart Ehrman in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. Based on historical and psychological considerations, I suggest that vaguer, more “banal” categories (to adapt Sebastiano Timpanaro’s language) than those of Ehrman would account for the broad range of text-critical data. I draw together my methodological conclusions by proposing the concept of “critical-interpretive continuity” between the age of the manuscripts, and the era of modern textual criticism. That is, I acknowledge textual criticism’s precursors in the past, and the interpretive elements of the present. Relatedly, I propose the idea of “variant-equivalents” which continue in the centuries subsequent to those of the manuscripts.

Turning to the πίστις variants themselves, I first assess a number of these according to lexical or grammatical categories, such as the use of the subjunctive in the variant. For the most part, these classifications, despite being technical, turn out to have a theological side to them upon examination of the variants. The themes which begin to emerge reflect human institutionalisation, deflecting attention away from the divine object of faith. Such findings then continue to be confirmed in the examination of variants classified according to more directly theological categories, including anti-Judaism, and works. In the last chapter, I apply the text- critical data to the πίστις Χριστοῦ debate of biblical studies. I conclude that preference for the “faithfulness” side of the debate has subtle historical antecedents among the variants. It also reflects interpretive perspectives of the current day, in contrast with text-critical data supporting the historical objective genitive understanding of faith in Christ. In conclusion, as an alternative to Lin’s proposed motif of the cyborg, I promote the concept of a different combination, that of divine and human. The human side of both text-critical practice and of the variants contrasts with the divine-human connection apparent in the initial πίστις texts.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Stewards Ministries
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12761


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