Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition: Evidence of the Influence of Apologetic Interests on the Text of the Canonical Gospels
by Wayne C. Kannaday
Atlanta: SBL, 2004
274 pagesLink to AmazonOne of Ehrman's students! Blurb:
"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."Short review:
by Peter Oakes in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2005, 27, p. 153
"Kannaday’s study provides an interesting new angle into text-critical issues. Instead of
beginning from study of the set of variants in a particular text and moving to consider
the possible reasons for scribal change in each, he begins from a major, very early factor
that was likely to motivate scribal alterations, namely, the pressure from pagan critics
and the consequent Christian preference for variants that helped the apologetic task.
Kannaday begins with a substantial critical survey of the work of text-critics on scribal
intentionality. He then surveys the sources for evidence, first, of pagan criticism of
Christians, from Pliny to Porphyry, then of the apologetic response. This leads him to
see four key themes in polemical discourse between pagans and Christians. Each of
these provides the topic for a chapter in which Kannaday discusses a number of variants
that may relate to that theme. The themes are: antiquity, harmony and consistency; the
depiction of Jesus; the make-up of the Christian congregations; politically sensitive
issues. To take an example from the last of these chapters, Kannaday discusses the
frequent scribal tendency to modify the unqualified term ‘kingdom’ in Luke.
This book is a potentially valuable contribution both to scholarship and to teaching.
It is difficult to find books on specific aspects of textual criticism whose lines of argument
are fairly easily accessible to students. Kannaday’s work gives a good basis for
discussion, from the classroom to the broader forum of scholarship."