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The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible
Paul Wegner

0801027993 Retail Price: $40.00
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Format: Paperback, 464pp.
ISBN: 9780801027994
Publisher: Baker Academic
Pub. Date: August 2004

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Reader's Index
About the Author
Table of Contents
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From The Publisher:

Although it was written thousands of years ago, the Bible continues to fascinate and guide readers today. The Journey from Text to Translations explains how the Bible that we use came to be in its present form. In five parts, author Paul Wegner introduces the Bible and its arrangement, describes how the various books were collected into a single canon, examines how the Bible was passed on from one generation to the next, explores how and why early versions were produced, and discusses the myriad of English translations.

This comprehensive volume fills the pressing need for a thorough, accessible, and up-to-date general introduction to the Bible. Paul Wegner's work will familiarize students with the many significant issues involved in the writing, collection, canonization, transmission, and translation of the Scriptures. Keeping in mind the needs of the introductory-level student and lay reader, Wegner admirably avoids or defines the sometimes difficult language and terminology that limit the usefulness of more technical studies.

The work is divided into sections that are logically and clearly arranged, tracing the development of both the Old and New Testaments. Throughout the book the author addresses fundamental questions relevant to all serious readers of the Bible. Part 1 considers the doctrines of revelation and inspiration, the general contents of the two Testaments, and the relationship between the old and new covenants. In Part 2, Wegner deals with the historical processes behind the gathering of the texts and considers the factors that influenced both the Jewish and Christian communities as they settled the question of canonicity. Part 3 considers the practical issues involved in the transmission of the biblical text and provides a basic introduction to textual criticism and the comparing of manuscripts with divergent readings. Part 4 surveys early translations of the Hebrew and Greek texts, such as early Syriac, Coptic, and Latin versions of the Bible. Part 5 presents a detailed study of English versions, including the many translations and paraphrases that have been produced in recent years. This final section will be particularly helpful to students trying to make sense of the sometimes heated debates over modern translations that have divided evangelical Christians and will help them make informed decisions about which Bible version is best for them.

Throughout the book students will find useful charts that summarize the material, compare divergent positions on disputed questions, or reinforce significant points. Numerous historical and archaeological photos and illustrations enrich the text. Each chapter concludes with a bibliography to guide the reader to more detailed studies of specific topics. Wegner's volume will be particularly useful for college and introductory-level seminary classes that introduce students to the history and transmission of the Scriptures, but it is also a work that interested lay readers will find accessible and educational.


Although many people read the Bible, very few people know the history of its making. Wegner's book, The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible, takes you on a journey from the original texts to the most recent English versions. This journey begins with the ancient Hebrew texts of the Old Testament and Greek of both testaments (including the exciting Dead Sea Scroll discoveries at Qumran and New Testament discoveries in Egypt), to the making of many translations—especially in English. Take the journey; Wegner's book is an excellent travel guide.
—Philip W. Comfort, professor of Greek and New Testament at Trinity Episcopal Seminary, visiting professor at Wheaton College, and senior editor of Bible reference at Tyndale House Publishers

When it comes to books on the Bible, students are often forced to choose between technical systematic theology or detailed commentaries; a good book on the Bible as Bible is hard to find. Further, what students often look for are 'facts' about the Bible (how it came into being, how books were selected, how the manuscripts fared, and how the translations were undertaken) and this book admirably provides the kind of facts students need. Charts are abundant, tables everywhere, and the text clearly written and clarifyingly illustrated. This is a delightful book which will serve generations to come.
—Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

Have you ever wondered about the origins of your Bible or how it relates to other Bibles out there in the marketplace? Have you ever raised the questions why our Bible contains the books it does? Paul Wegner's The Journey from Texts to Translations is a virtual treasure trove of information on these and similar questions. He is an expert guide through the maze of information on Bible origins and development.
—Tremper Longman, Professor of Old Testament, Westamont College

"This is the best and most readable discussion of the origins of the Bible I have ever seen anywhere. . . . It is hard for me to overemphasize the value and significance of this book. It is a wonderful reference as well as an excellent textbook for a course in the history of the Bible."
—Paul C. Boling, Christian Library Journal

"This excellent survey of English translations will serve readers of many levels and interests as a useful reference."
—Michael W. Holmes, Religious Studies Review


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About the Author

Paul Wegner (Ph.D., King's College, University of London) is professor of Bible at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

Table of Contents

1The Bible As the Word of God21
Part 1Preliminary Matters Regarding the Bible
2Description of the Bible27
3The Old Testament39
4The New Testament51
5Unity of the Two Covenants69
Part 2The Canonization of the Bible
6Prerequisites to the Bible75
7Canonization of the Old Testament101
8The Old Testament Extracanonical Books119
9Canonization of the New Testament131
10New Testament Extracanonical Literature153
Part 3Transmission of the Bible
11Transmission of the Old Testament165
12Sources for Old Testament Textual Criticism185
13Transmission of the New Testament207
14Sources for New Testament Textual Criticism235
Part 4Early Translations of the Bible
15Early Versions243
16The First Printed Greek Bibles263
Part 5English Translations of the Bible
17English Bibles Prior to 1611273
18The Authorized Version of 1611 and Its Revisions307
19Modern English Bible Up to 1950341
20Modern Translations from 1950357
21Why So Many Translations?399
General Index433
Scripture Index451

Customer Reviews

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Brilliant book with one small glitch February 12, 2009
Reviewer: Russell Tasker from Australia

This book by Paul D. Wegner is absolutely brilliant. It is well laid out, thorough and very interesting. However, i found just one small glitch - on pages 174 &175 he talks about Chapter and Verse divisions and incorrectly quotes Stephen Langton as making his chapter divisions while riding his horse when in fact it was Robert Estienne/Stephanus/Stephens who is alleged by his son that he made the verse divisions while on horse back. Apart from that - a fantastic book to add to your library.

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