What Should I Read on New Testament Textual Criticism?

by | Jan 4, 2021 | Textual Criticism | 2 comments

What should you read if you want to learn about New Testament textual criticism? Others have put together some great lists that will point you in the right direction. Here’s one here from my friend Mark Ward. Tommy Wasserman also shares his “Top Ten” here at The Evangelical Textual Criticism Blog. My suggestions below trace my own path of reading from its start in seminary to the present. There are a few comments scattered here and there, but mostly this is just a bibliography. You might find something that interests you. And just because something is missing doesn’t mean it’s not good or important. It’s just one I haven’t read or forgot to include. 

Start Here

You wouldn’t need to read all of these, but I would recommend reading a few to get a broad introduction to the subject.

The Text of the New Testament: It’s Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration

This is the first book I read on the subject. Excellent. 

An Introduction to the Greek New Testament Produces at Tyndale House, Cambridge

This is the first book I would recommend anyone interested in NT textual criticism begin. 

The Story of the New Testament: Movers, Materials, Motives, Methods, and Models

New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide

Short and easy!

Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism

A short intro to the various approaches to the subject. 

The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism

Dated but good. 

Textual Criticism of the Bible: Revised Edition 

This is a good introduction that covers both the Old and New Testaments. 

Important Reads

These aren’t introductory works to textual criticism, but they’re important books to help you continue your learning journey.

Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism

See my review here

A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method

Advanced Reads and Specialized Subjects

These works are more specialized and should be classified as a good third step as you approach textual criticism.

The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research

This is the only Brill book I own, and I didn’t even pay for it. (I received it for working on the Museum of the Bible Greek Paul Project.) This one is a goldmine I keep returning to. 

The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts

Textual Scholarship and the Making of the New Testament

The Textual History of the Greek New Testament: Changing Views in Contemporary Research

Studies in Stemmatology II

Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation Theology

Useful Resources

Feel free to start consulting these once you read an introductory work or two on textual criticism. These are helpful guides to navigating most of the major textual variants you will encounter.

A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament

New Testament Text and Translation Commentary

Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible

This one doesn’t get a lot of press but when it comes to simple notes on textual variation in the Bible (the whole Bible: OT and NT), this is a solid resource. 

What About the Old Testament?

I don’t feel qualified to offer a ton of guidance here, but I can recommend Old Testament Textual Criticism and I really enjoyed The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica



There you have it: a bibliography of books I’ve read and found instructive on the subject of New Testament textual criticism. There are also plenty of good articles out there and I would recommend everyone subscribe to the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.


Featured image by Brent Niedergall.


Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.


  1. Stephen Brown

    For those with a grounding in the basis and an open mind, I’d recommend looking at http://tcgnt.blogspot.com/. This blog covers only the first 7+ chapters of Matthew, and that in reverse order (though there are drop-down menus on the right that can help), but has some material I’ve found very stimulating indeed.

    • Stephen Brown


Brent Niedergall