Concerning the "Caesarean Text"

In recent years many scholars have expressed doubts about the existence of a "Caesarean text." In 1963 Bruce Metzger surveyed the history of investigations up to that time and concluded, "By way of summary, it must be acknowledged that at present the Caesarean text is disintegrating. There still remain several families--such as family 1, family 13, the Armenian and Georgian versions--each of which exhibits certain characteristic features. But it is no longer possible to gather all these several families and individual manuscripts under one vinculum such as the Caesarean text. The evidence of Papyrus 45 clearly demonstrates that henceforth scholars must speak of a pre-Caesarean text as differentiated from the Caesarean text proper. Future investigators must take into account two hitherto neglected studies, namely Ayuso's significant contribution to Biblica in 1935, in which he sets forth fully the compelling reasons for bifurcating the Caesarean text, and Baikie's M. Litt. dissertation in 1936, the implications of which suggest that the Caesarean text is really a textual process." (Chapters in the History of New Testament Textual Criticism [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1963], p. 67.) More recently, Kurt Aland has expressed an even more skeptical opinion. He acknowledges only the Alexandrian and Byzantine text-types. While the "theoretical possibility" of a Caesarean text-type "must be conceded," Aland says that it is "purely hypothetical." He warns that text-critical arguments which are based on the idea of a Caesarean text-type are "based on dubious foundations, and often built completely in the clouds." (The Text of the New Testament [Eerdmans, 1989], pp. 66-7). --M.D.M.