04
Jul
09

Update: Digital Books and Journals

One of the greatest benefits of virtual archives such as Google Books is the renewed availability of resources which remain valuable to many interested readers but which have been long out of print or otherwise unavailable.  With this in mind, I’ve created a page containing links to complete editions of a number of key primary and secondary texts, and will update it as new items become available.  Selected open access journals are also listed.  Those texts available via Google Books may be downloaded and saved in PDF format.  A few especially noteworthy titles:

The two volumes of Tischendorf’s Editio Octava Critica Maior represent one of the landmark editions of the Greek New Testament, incorporating a vast amount of manuscript and patristic evidence.  Even today—more than a century after their publication—they remain useful, providing witnesses and citations other than those given in the current edition of Nestle-Aland’s Novum Testamentum Graece.  Students of koine Greek and New Testament textual criticism cannot afford to remain ignorant of Tischendorf’s valuable work.

Now in its fourth revised edition, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature is one of the most frequently cited advanced grammars in biblical and early Christian studies.  Thanks to Nick Norelli for this link (and also for the link to A. T. Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research).

Students familiar with the traditional chronology of historical Jesus research are aware of the gap between the devastating critiques of the “liberal lives of Jesus” given by Schweitzer in the early twentieth century and the inauguration of the “Second Quest” by Ernst Kasemann and others nearly fifty years later.  However, the assumption that there were no studies of the historical Jesus during this period is erroneous.  Bultmann’s work explores the implications of the then-emerging discipline of form criticism for the scholarly reconstruction of the life of Jesus, all in his familiar erudite style.

Schweitzer’s magnum opus, meticulously researched and beautifully written, has long since become a classic, and is perhaps the one book which every student of the historical Jesus must read.  Its concluding paragraph, expressing Schweitzer’s preference for the recovery of an alien Jesus apart from modern culture and sensibilities, is one of the most evocative in all of scholarly literature: “He [Jesus] comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”  While this early translation is inferior to that of John Bowden published by Augsburg Fortress in 2001, it’s certainly better than nothing!

The prolegomena to Westcott and Hort’s critical edition of the Greek New Testament is still a key component of many courses on textual criticism.  In Bart Ehrman’s judgment, “The writing is dense; not a word is wasted.  The logic is compelling; not an angle has been overlooked.  This is a great book, which in many ways is the classic in the field.  I do not allow my graduate students to go through their studies without mastering it” (Misquoting Jesus, 121-122).

Although Bauer’s monograph was not translated into English until 1971, it has exerted a significant influence on several generations of scholars (e.g., Helmut Koester, James M. Robinson, Bart Ehrman, etc.), and has played a significant role in the construction of new models of early Christian communities in which “heterodox” groups did not diverge from the “orthodox” majority but arose simultaneously and in some areas represented the majority over other parties of believers for some time.

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2 Responses to “Update: Digital Books and Journals”


  1. July 5, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Cool. Thanks for digging these up!

  2. 2 Matthew Burgess
    July 5, 2009 at 3:02 am

    My pleasure. In particular, I’m glad I found that Tischendorf before I spent a ton of money on used copies!


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