It is commonly acknowledged that the “original” manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not survive the exigencies of history. What modern readers refer to as the canonical Gospels are in fact compositions reconstructed from copies transmitted by usually anonymous scribes. Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition examines an important facet of the fascinating but seldom-reported story of the interests that shaped the formation of the text of the New Testament. With an informed awareness of the dynamic discourse between pagan critics and early defenders of early Christianity, and careful scrutiny of more than one hundred variant readings located in the literary tradition of the New Testament text, the author drafts a compelling case that some scribes occasionally modified the text of the Gospels under the influence of apologetic interests.
Wayne C. Kannaday is Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina.