26 April 2019
WATCH NOW: “Can we trust the New Testament? A history of how the NT came to us”
Dr Dirk Jongkind gave a public lecture at Laidlaw’s Henderson campus on 10 April 2019 on the reliability of the text of the New Testament. Dirk is Academic Vice Principal at Tyndale House in Cambridge, UK, a fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge University and a world expert on Codex Sinaiticus – one of the oldest complete Greek Bibles surviving today. Dirk has also overseen the production of a new edition of the New Testament in Greek (The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge, published by Cambridge University Press and Crossway in 2017) and his team is currently working on a companion textual commentary.
In his lecture, Dirk demonstrated that changes in the transmission of the text of the New Testament are no secret, and that even within a century or so of the writing of certain New Testament books Christians were aware of the difference in quality of the manuscripts available. He engaged with the writings of Bart Ehrman and took the audience through several examples where footnotes in our modern English translations alert us to differences in Greek manuscripts. Dirk explained how such textual variants (differences) came about and talked through the processes involved in copying a text by hand. Even though we no longer have the original documents, he made the case for the reliability of the New Testament text. Finally, he offered theological reflections on the transmission of the New Testament and the fact that God chose not to preserve the original manuscripts and to use normal people to transmit his word.
Dirk presented with humour, clarity and enthusiasm, helping us to understand a complex and important issue.