I've shared my lecture here a few years ago dealing with problems with typical arguments for the Byzantine Text Type. As a "Critical Text guy" I have found one of the chief difficulties for my textual position is explaining the genesis of the Byzantine Text. The fact that the Byzantine Text appears dominant from the 4th -5th Centuries on a wide geological scale, I must admit, poses a real conundrum. All parties seem to agree that the Byzantine Text is at least around 1 century older than it's oldest exemplars for a number of reasons (ex. uniformity and geographic distribution). The primary argument from Textual Criticism is that the Byzantine Text form is demonstrably secondary. This is an argument derived by applying the principles of Textual Criticism to the manuscripts. In trying to explain HOW the Byzantine Text came into being, arguments are made from this methodology. Scribes are found guilty of... 1. Smoothing out difficult readings. 2. Conflating readings 3. Making general copy mistakes 4. "Correcting" readings to make them more orthodox 5. etc. These sorts of arguments are conjectures. Sometimes criticism is made at this very point. However, arguments in favor of the Byzantine Text are also conjectures. Without having the original manuscripts (which do not exist for any work of antiquity) or a proven genealogical chart (this manuscript was copied from this manuscript, which was copied from this manuscript, etc.), the methodology of Textual Criticism will always be based upon conjecture (regardless of one's position). I find the arguments on these points to be logical (for the most part) but where they utterly fail is explaining how, under these kinds of circumstances, Byzantine Text exemplars are found broadly distributed (geographically speaking) early on in their history. There are 3 typical explanations... 1. Hort's Lucian Recension Theory 2. The gradual effect of official scriptoriums introduced at the time of Constantine 3. The Byzantine Text form is not secondary Due to lack of historical evidence, the Lucian Recension Theory isn't widely held to today. (Even though, there is rather substantial proof within the manuscripts themselves that some sort of systematic recension did indeed take place.) The argument from the scriptoriums seems to be more prevalent today. This argument is fraught with its own problems. If the scriptorium argument were true, we would expect to see exemplars of the text in transition; an evolutionary progression. We do not see this. Rather, we see the Byzantine Text appear rather abruptly on the scene. Even allowing for a century of copying in the scriptoriums before our oldest Byzantine exemplars, it is hard for me to reconcile the uniformity of Byzantine Text with non-recensional scribal practices. Finally, the Byzantine proponents answer this conundrum by stating that this is proof the Byzantine Text was not the product of a recension or corruption by scribes. Rather, it is the most faithful witness to the original. The lack of earlier Byzantine exemplars makes such a position inconclusive and has the opposite problem of explaining the genesis of the other textual families as corrupted forms of the Byzantine. The "heretic" argument doesn't work for me but I have spoken on that elsewhere. I think we need to back up and give more thought to the idea that the Byzantine Text is the product of an early recension. A 3rd-4th Century recension of the Greek New Testament best explains the exemplars. Perhaps something like the Lucian Recension Theory is not a "trip into cloudland" at all? I'm not saying it had to be done under Lucian. It could have been systematic recension coordinated in the early scriptoriums. If the evidence reveals that the Byzantine Text is indeed the product of an early recension of the Greek New Testament, this presents profound implications for the study of Textual Criticism. Hort already used this argument to displace the Byzantine Text but I think this was done too quickly. A few considerations... If the Byzantine Text was an early recension, there are some points that could be advanced in its favor... 1. It would be the first "critical text". 2. Assuming those involved did their work well, the result was a critical text based upon potentially hundreds of 1st and 2nd century manuscripts that are no longer extant. This opposed to modern textual criticism which is primarily based upon a small handful of manuscripts, many of which are fragments. 3. The fact that there is no "outcry" recorded in history over this recension is evidence that the resulting text was not so alien to what the Christians of the time were familiar. Could it be that the silence in history regarding protests testify to the integrity of this recension? Thoughts?