After following the University's distance-learning part-time doctoral pathway over the last six years, ITSEE student Grant Edwards has successfully qualified for the degree of PhD. Grant's thesis is entitled "The Text and Transmission of 2 Thessalonians" and it includes a complete collation of 138 Greek manuscripts of this epistle made on the basis of full electronic transcriptions, as well as a full textual commentary. Grant's proposed reconstruction of the earliest text of 2 Thessalonians differs in five places from the editorial text of Nestle-Aland 28, but his thesis demonstrates the overall textual stability of this short epistle.

During his time as a student at Birmingham, Grant also created "The Collaborative Database of Datable Greek Bookhands", an online resource of images of Greek manuscripts copied in the first nine centuries CE which was released last year. He presented his doctoral research at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Editio Critica Maior editorial meeting held in Thessaloniki in 2018. Grant has also been involved in editing biblical papyri, and was recently accepted as an editor for an unpublished New Testament fragment in a forthcoming volume of the Oxyrhynchus papyri.

Grant with his supervisors and examiners in ITSEE after his viva


Grant's doctoral supervisors were Professor Hugh Houghton and Dr Catherine Smith of ITSEE. His viva voce examination was held in February. His examiners were Professor Holger Strutwolf, who joined by video link as heavy snow prevented travel from Germany that day, and Professor David Parker. Grant's full thesis will be made available on the Birmingham eTheses site following the formal conferring of his doctorate. The abstract is as follows:

The text and transmission of 2 Thessalonians has not received serious scholarly attention in more than a century. This ancient Christian letter survives in Greek in more than 600 manuscripts, but prior editions have not been based on a comprehensive and systematic selection of the extant evidence. This thesis examines the Greek manuscript tradition of 2 Thessalonians using the Teststellen method to identify the manuscripts most important for the early history of the text. Based on these manuscripts, a critical text and apparatus is presented in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 offers a textual commentary which details the rationale for the selected readings and discusses the most relevant textual variants. In Chapter 4, the genealogical relationships between the manuscripts are analyzed to ascertain what can be detected about the textual transmission of 2 Thessalonians. Chapter 5 catalogues and examines the various paratextual features of the manuscripts included in this study.

This thesis provides, to date, the most comprehensive account of the most significant manuscripts of 2 Thessalonians. It also includes the most extensive genealogical data available for the epistle’s textual tradition. Its new assessment of the data results in five differences from the standard critical edition (NA28). In addition to numerous genealogical and paratextual findings, the thesis demonstrates the stability of the extant tradition of 2 Thessalonians.