Over recent years, Ben and Ed have been pursuing part-time doctoral research at ITSEE, with Ben following the distance-learning pathway while serving as Librarian of Concordia Seminary, St Louis in the USA and Ed leading the newly-formed Research Software Engineer team at the University of Birmingham. Following the successful defence of their theses earlier this year, both Ben and Ed graduated this summer. Their dissertations have now been released on the University's etheses portal, as follows.
This study examines Tertullian’s references to the New Testament outside the Gospels, in order to determine whether he was citing from a Greek or Latin copy of these writings. A new collection of these references was undertaken and is explained in the Appendix. The conclusion of the analysis is that Tertullian was quoting the New Testament writings using Greek exemplars but translating on the fly into Latin. Tertullian was one of the first Christians to have undertaken such translation work. It is proposed that Tertullian was participating in and influenced by a broad cultural-linguistic movement called the Second Sophistic. Latin writers like Cicero, Quintilian, Varro, and Apuleius were also participants, and their translation of Greek works into Latin likely formed Tertullian to become a literary translator. A contribution to textual criticism is offered in a textual analysis of selected references. The conclusion that Tertullian’s references are translations rather than copies of an extant Latin text is evidenced by the large proportion of singular readings which match no other known Latin version. Several readings among these references suggest an affiliation with a particular Greek manuscript and thus present a very early form of the Greek text.
The Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior is the first major critical edition of the New Testament for a century, aiming to document the New Testament’s textual history through its first millennium. To date, two of the six volumes have been published. As part of this project the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster has developed the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM), a computer-aided method designed to handle complete sets of textual evidence and to identify their initial text and textual history. The CBGM is widely held to be difficult to understand and its results are treated with scepticism.
Phylogenetics is the study of relationships between groups of organisms and their evolutionary history. Phylogenetics and the CBGM (and wider textual criticism) have many commonalities. This thesis provides a thorough examination of the CBGM using phylogenetics.
Part One documents the literature surrounding the CBGM and includes a worked example of the process. Part Two explores the ECM data for John’s Gospel and identifies appropriate methods for applying phylogenetics to it. Part Three compares the results of phylogenetics and the CBGM. It concludes that the CBGM is producing valid results from the data, but could be improved in a number of ways.