Having thought about the basics, the manuscripts and the possible errors, the final step in the text-critical process is making a decision as to which variant you think is most likely to be original. There are a number of factors and processes that experts use to guide their thinking here.
The evidence for making TC decisions is usually classed as internal or external.
Given what I said about TC in the first post, the key to the whole discipline is all about the manuscripts. If you have ever picked up a critical edition of the Greek New Testament (whether NA or UBS) you will have seen the strangely garbled code at the bottom of the page. These are all reference to which manuscripts contain which variations and which ones the editors think carries more weight.
Primarily for my own benefit and revision, there’ll be some posts over the next few weeks covering the basics of textual criticism (TC). This is the first one.
Paul Wegner defines textual criticism as:
the science and art that seeks to determine the most reliable wording of a text (p24 of “A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible”)
Read John 5:18 this morning:
διὰ τοῦτο οὖν μᾶλλον ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀποκτεῖναι,
ὅτι οὐ μόνον ἔλυεν τὸ σάββατον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν θεὸν ἴσον ἑαυτὸν ποιῶν τῷ θεῷ.
(John 5:18 GNT)