Do Manuscripts Have an Erotic Life, or any Life at all? Reflections on two recent books by Delbert Burkett and Yii-Jan Lin about the Tradition of the New Testament and other Texts

Bengt Alexanderson


On her path to discussing phylogenetic methods in textual tradition and the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) used in editing the New Testament, Lin takes up the story of textual criticism and of underlying theories, especially about relationship in biology and relationship between texts. Lin gives a fair and good overview of the evolution of various methods, but she could have been more critical: in the reviewer’s opinion, phylogenetics and CBGM are of no value for textual criticism. And as for Burkett, who accepts the Q hypothesis, he makes a strong case for the Proto-Mark theory, ruling out the Deutero-Mark hypothesis and the theory of Markan priority. He rightly discards arguments on primitivity of language or theology, starting instead from statistics on perceptible agreements and disagreements between the Synoptics.

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