Why you need to read outside the NT corpus

Here’s the shortest case I can make. There are, depending on edition, 138,020 Greek words in the New Testament canon. Here are some comparable English works:


134,462 – The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
134,710 – Schindler’s List, Thomas Keneally
135,420 – A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
138,098 – Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson
138,138 – 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Jules Verne


Would you really trust the interpretive abilities of someone whose entire knowledge of English was limited to reading one of these novels, and who had never read anything in English apart from their selected novel?

4 responses

  1. I really like your analogy but I do see a kind of flaw in that the New Testament was written by many authors with a variety of backgrounds whereas the corpuses you mentioned are all by one author. But otherwise I think your analogy communicates a great point.

    • True, at that point the analogy does not hold. I suppose I could have looked up some novella anthologies instead, but I think it would dilute the main point.

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