CRITICISM, TEXTUAL. The critical examination of the text of documents. " One of the most necessary parts of the investigations of historians is to criticise the documents on which their researches are based, in order to be certain that the text which they are using really represents the original writing of the author. This criticism is usually known as Textual criticism, for the obvious reason that it deals with the teat as opposed to the subject-matter. It is less commonly termed the Lower as opposed to the Higher criticism, which deals not with the text as written by the author or editor of the document in question, but with the sources and methods used by him in making the text. Thus Higher criticism approaches the subject at a point higher up the stream of its existence " (K. Lake). The critical study of manuscripts shows that corruptions have often crept into texts. The critic has to try to decide how these corruptions have arisen. In some cases a scribe or copyist has introduced changes on his own account through not understanding his copy. In other cases a text has been deliberately altered or corrupted because it seemed to contain something improper (unorthodox or profane). The Jewish scribes did not hesitate to make such alterations. In yet other cases corruptions are purely the result of accident. A word may be written twice over by mistake (dittography). When two clauses or lines end with the same or similar syllables, a copyist's eye may easily pass from the first to the second (homoioteleuton). Again, the same word may be
written once when it ought to be written twice (haplo graphy). Textual criticism classifies and compares manuscripts, noting their differences. It compares the text as quoted by various writers with the text of the original document. For instance, the quotations of the Old Testament found in the New Testament are carefully compared with the original Hebrew; the quotations of the New Testament in the writings of the Fathers of the Church are carefully compared with the original Greek. Textual criticism also compares the versions or transla tions of a document with the original (or the supposed original). In this way it often appears that the trans lator had before him a text different from the supposed original, and the true original text can be reconstructed. Valuable evidence may also be supplied by the examina tion of Lectionaries and Liturgies. In poetical composi tions, textual criticism may attain important results by a careful study of the metre and its requirements (so, c.g., in the Book of Isaiah). Something may also be gained in prose, as well as in poetical, compositions, by studying the ancient system of measuring books by the line, and the line by syllables (Stichometry). See F. Buhl; M. R. Vincent; K. Lake, The Text of the N.T.