Review: The Latin New Testament

26721149H.A.G. Houghton is Reader in New Testament Textual Scholarship at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, where he also serves as Deputy Director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing. Houghton is author of several books, including Augustine’s Text of John: Patristic Citations and Latin Gospel Manuscripts (Oxford University Press, 2008), Early Readers, Scholars and Editors of the New Testament (Gorgias Press, 2014), and Commentaries, Catenae and Biblical Tradition (Gorgias Press, 2016). Recently, Houghton produced a landmark work of New Testament textual scholarship worthy of shelf space for any serious student of New Testament textual studies.

The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts is divided into three major sections following the content outline of the subtitle: (1) history, (2) texts, and (3) manuscripts. The initial section on the history of the Latin New Testament comprises the bulk of the book. Houghton carefully guides the reader from earliest known records of Latin in the books of the New Testament to later part of the tenth century and beyond. The reader will discover this section to be both informative and detailed, as Houghton exhibits an unnatural familiarity with the subject matter. This section is easily unparalleled in print today. The second section of the book is essentially a guide to current resources available for research into the history and text of the Latin New Testament, followed by a more detailed look at the textual veracity of the Latin text (Gospels, Pauline Epistles, Acts of the Apostles, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation). This section is arguably the most informative and useful in the entire book. The third section of the book is focused on the Latin manuscript evidence, including features of the manuscripts (i.e. material and format, decoration, script, etc.) and a catalogue of manuscripts. Like section two, this section will likely be utilized more frequently than the first. Houghton rounds out the volume with three appendices outlining manuscript sigla, additional manuscripts cited in Vetus Latina editions, and additional gospel manuscripts.

Those familiar and interested in the textual study of the New Testament should recognize the importance of The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts without hesitation. This is a volume of significant scholarship, comprehensive scope, invaluable usefulness, and unparalleled content. As mentioned above, the latter two sections of the book will likely be more relevant for most readers than the former. But, the initial section of the book builds an important foundation for those interested in the transmission of the New Testament. There is certainly something here for every reader. However, it should be noted that even some of the introductory matters may require at least a surface level familiarity with the ongoing dialogue. That said, if you are looking for a resource regarding the Latin Bible (especially that of the Latin New Testament), The Latin New Testament by H.A.G. Houghton should be at the top of the reading list. Moreover, if you are interested in the development and transmission of the New Testament, I cannot think of a resource worthier of becoming the next addition to your library. It comes highly recommended and will be consulted often!

One thought on “Review: The Latin New Testament

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s