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I do not, however, wish to conclude this article with financial issues, which are certainly essential. I wish to do so with a theological remark.
The Church has journeyed through history for twenty centuries, producing theology and creating civilisation with important works of art. It confronted heresies on the one hand, while on the other it nourished its members with hymns, rituals of worship, and teachings, leading them to holiness. All these have been accomplished despite any kind of differences among biblical manuscripts, despite the omissions and imperfections of copyists, and despite the errors occurring later in printed editions.
As the word of God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), sustaining the consequences of human nature (albeit “without sin”, according to Hebrews 4:15), in this way also the words of the Son and Logos of God taking the form of human language and being written down in manuscripts sustained the consequences of human weakness. The frequently tired copyists of the manuscripts (monks or people living in the world) sometimes made errors unconsciously, while at other times they consciously “improved” the text on the basis of their own philological knowledge.
Nevertheless, the above theological position towards the imperfections of the manuscripts neither excuses nor justifies the negligence or indifference of contemporary editors of the New Testament. Neither does it constitute a reason for us today to avoid a serious occupation with the publication of a carefully studied text of the Holy Scriptures with its variant readings which constitute a part of the ecclesiastical tradition. A critical edition of the ecclesiastical text is not useless scholasticism, but it is an expression of our love for the word of God.