What are the churches from which the four text types of the Greek New
Testament (Alexandrine, Western, Caesarean and Byzantine) circulated?


The Western text type will have circulated in the West. Generally, the
Western churches are taken to mean North Africa, Spain, Gaul and Italy.
The North African churches were very strongly influenced by Tertullian
and later by Augustine. They were much more strongly aligned with Rome
than Alexandria. Obviously, the Alexandrian text type was associated with
Alexandria, which means it was associated with Egypt. We can assume that
this text type also influenced the church in Abyssinia/Ethiopia (which
eventually became the Coptic Church). The Caesarean text type was
associated with Caesarea, which meant Palestine. I am going to assume
that this also meant the churches of the East, such as in Syria and the
churches in Asia Minor (such as Ephesus). The Byzantine text type is
associated with Byzantium, obviously. Because this is a later text type,
it eventually came to dominate anywhere that the Byzantine/Greek Orthodox
church ruled. Therefore, it eventually dominated areas which formerly
included the Caesarean and even the Alexandrian text type. It is not as
simple as just marking off a map and saying which territory used which
text, because time is a factor. The Alexandrian text line has an older
history. I believe you can even assume that at the founding of
Constantinople/Byzantium, it was the dominant text type in Byzantium
itself. The Byzantine text type rose up later. Eventually, it “took
over” territory where the Alexandrian had formerly been dominant.

I think you ought to be careful against proving one line of transmission
or another as “false.” The differences between these texts do not, in
general, involve matters which would separate a true Christian from a
false one. I am sure that a faithful disciple of Jesus could have read
from any of these New Testament Greek texts without having any significant
error in life or doctrine. I caution you against trying to prove one or
the other as being anti-Christian or non-Christian based on the text type
they were reading from. The bottom line for us is not to prove anyone
wrong or evil. Our job is to understand the history and even the reasons
that editors chose to make small changes in the text, but most importantly
of all, to try to restore a Greek New Testament as close as we can to the

Arguing over text types is a little like arguing over the various English
Bible translations. I am sure that some of the versions are better than
others. I think the New American Standard is significantly more accurate
than the Living Bible as a translation. The New World Translation and the
King James are significantly less accurate than the New International
Version (although for very different reasons). Despite this, I believe
one can be a true Christian using any of these translations; even the New
World Translation!

John Oakes, PhD

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