Published on February 26, 2018 by Olivia Halverson  

Bill Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a Feb. 19-20 lecture series at Samford University about ancient manuscripts and the relevance they have today. 

Warren presented the series in two parts, titled “Letting Ancient Manuscripts Speak: Insights, Resources, and Student Opportunitiesand “Bringing Ancient Manuscripts to Life: How Textual Criticism helps Exegesis.” 

He began his first lecture by discussing themes of the current age. “We live in changing times,” Warren said. Advancements in technology have enabled textual scholars like himself to share the ancient texts with contemporary readers. 

Today, the resources for ancient textual studies are endless. In his presentation, Warren detailed a list of websites, databases and apps for the exegetically-inclined. 

“We are in an age of discovery for biblical manuscripts,” Warren said. “It’s a great time for us to let the ancient manuscripts speak afresh.” 

In Warren’s second lecture, he spoke on the relationship between textual criticism and exegesis. Warren explained that the characteristics of a text’s original draft can provide important context for the text and facilitate a more thorough exegesis.   

The community of textual scholars recognizes that it is nearly impossible to guarantee which piece of ancient text is the original. Therefore, it is the ultimate goal of textual scholars to study the earliest attainable text. Most early texts are from approximately A.D. 200. 

Warren concluded by encouraging everyone to consult the original ancient texts along with translated variants of the texts. While the ultimate goal is to understand texts in their earliest form, scholars also benefit from the interpretations and clarifications offered through text translations.  

Olivia Halverson is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.