Hernández, Scribal habits

Hernández, Juan, Jr. Scribal Habits and Theological Influences in the Apocalypse: The Singular Readings of Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Ephraemi . Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, Series 2, 218. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006. xv + 241 pp.

Text-critical studies are rare, especially on this scale. This volume is originally presented as a Ph.D.-thesis at Emory University in 2006.

According to the publisher, the discussion of Hernández is “Modelled on the respective studies of Ernest C. Colwell and James R. Royse”.

“Juan Hernández Jr. offers a fresh and comprehensive discussion of the Apocalypse’s singular readings in Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Ephraemi. Moreover, the singular readings of the Apocalypse are also assessed in light of the work’s reception history in the early church.

“The author shows that the scribes of these three manuscripts omitted more often than they added to their texts, were prone to harmonizing, and, in the case of at least one scribe, made significant theological changes to the fourth century text of the Apocalypse.

“The author also attempts to integrate the findings of the most recent text-critical research of the Apocalypse with studies of its reception history in the early church.

“His book is the first systematic study of scribal habits on the Apocalypse that takes seriously the claim that some scribes were making changes to the text of the Apocalypse for theological reasons.”

Future contributions, not least from the text-critical specialists, will help to assess the particular conclusions of this study of Hernández. See

  • Paul Foster, The Expository Times 118 (2007): 463-464
  • Darrell Hannah, Journal for the Study of the NT 29.5 (2007): 152-153

However, the prolegomena and the History of Search of the Greek text of the Apocalypse (chs. 1 and 2) as well as the observations made will be useful, irrespective of how one might evaluate the conclusions drawn by Hernández.

Google Books provides access to (parts) of this volume here.


  1. For those who might be interested, I am aware of three additional reviews that have surfaced:

    M. Labahn in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 83 (2007) 499-502.

    E. Randolph Richards in Bulletin for Biblical Research 18.2 (2008) 345-346.

    Thomas Kraus in TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism 13 (2008) (electronic journal at: http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/vol13/Hernandez2008rev.pdf)

  2. Thanks to Adamsen for drawing attention to the ETC blog discussion. For those who are interested, two more reviews of the work have appeared since the last posting.

    Keith Elliott in Novum Testamentum 51 no. 3 (June 2009) 302-306.

    Jan Dochhorn, Theologische Literaturzeitung 134 (2009), S. 688-690.

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