Textual criticism is in a period of change, as it seeks to account for an ever-growing body of textual data as well as the development of new methodologies. Since the older methodologies cannot simply be modified to meet our present needs, Multiple Originals seeks to build bridges between methods of traditional textual criticism and those of orality and formulaic analysis. Examining practices of textual criticism across a wide range of texts and disciplines, this book challenges the assumption that there can be only one correct reading and argues for the presence of multivalences of both meaning and text. It demonstrates that in some cases multivalences were intended by the composer, while in other cases, during the periods from which our earliest extant manuscripts derive, they fell within the limits of variability acceptable to those who valued and transmitted those texts.
Gary D. Martin is Lecturer of Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.