The best training
October 15, 2010
I came across some advice in some reading this week offered by K. Aland on doing textual criticism (text criticism deals with evaluating which variant reading in an ancient manuscript is most likely to be the original reading). Aland said:
A constantly maintained familiarity with New Testament manuscripts themselves is the best training for textual criticism. Anyone interested in contributing seriously to textual criticism should have experience of making a complete collation of at least one of the great early papyri, a major uncial, and one of the significant miniscule manuscripts. In textual criticism the pure theoretician has often done more harm than good.
I think his advice applies to more areas than just textual criticism. Whatever we’re dealing with, it seems the best thing is thorough familiarity with primary sources.