The Early Versions of the New Testament by Bruce M Metzger (Okford University Press £10)
This book deals with the origin, transmission and limitations of all the translations of the New Testament made before the year 1000. it is clearly immensely important for the Church historian, the theologian and for all those concerned with the textual criticism of the New Testament.
The first part deals with the early Eastern versions of the New Testament. The author writes: "The Syriac versions have raised more problems and provoked more controversies among modern scholars than any of the others".
He introduces the section with a chapter on the introduction of Christianity into Syria. This is followed by the various Eastern verslims, starting with the two earliest, "Tatian's Diatessaron" and "The Old Syriac Version".
After them come "The Coptic Versions", "The Armenian Version", "The Georgian Version" "The Ethiopic Version" and "Minor Eastern Versions". Each is preceded by an account of how Christianity was introduced into the country.
Part Tsso of the book is concerned with the early Western versions of the New Testament "The Vulgate'', "The Gothic Version". "The Old Slavonic Version" and "Minor Western Versions".
The writer stresses the tremendous importance of the influence of the l.atin versions of the Bible, especially that of St Jerome. He also outlines the history of textual criticism as reflected in printed editions of the Greek testament.
Maurice Nassan, Si