Answer: No! Textual criticism is the initial part of philology that is concerned with the identification of textual variance, or different versions, of either manuscript or of printed books, preparing the best version of the text-based on its sources for next philological steps (eg. exegesis) Historically, scribes who were paid to copy documents may have been literate, but many were simply copyists, mimicking the shape of letters without necessarily understanding what they meant. This means that unintentional alterations were common when copying manuscripts by hand. Intentional alterations may have been made as well, for example, the censoring of printed work for political, religious or cultural reasons, but these alterations are marked out of hermeneutics and ideological frame.
The objective of the textual critic’s work is to provide a better understanding of the creation and historical transmission of the text and its variants under a typographic perspective.
Textual criticism applies when the original manuscripts were lost or does not exist anymore.
Example: All original manuscript of the new testament were already gone, what we have are copies of the originals in more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages (including Syriac, Slavic, Ethiopic and Armenian). The manuscripts contain approximately 300,000 textual variants.
In identifying these variants, scholars used one of the approaches in textual criticism which is eclecticism referring to the practice of consulting a wide diversity of witnesses to a particular original, here, scholars sorted witnesses into three major groups, called text-types. Witnesses refer to the thousands of manuscripts written by the scribes copied from the original.
The text- type groups are;
1.) The Alexandrian text-type (also called the “Neutral Text” tradition; less frequently, the “Minority Text”– Products resulted to these group type were: NIV, NAB, NABRE, Douay, JB and NJB (albeit, with some reliance on the Byzantine text-type), TNIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, EBR, NWT, LB, ASV, NC, GNB, CS.
2.) The western text -type– Product Vetus Latina.
3.) The Byzantine text-type; also, Koinē text-type (also called “Majority Text” resulted in KJV, NKJV, Tyndale, Coverdale, Geneva, Bishops’ Bible, OS.
So you see, textual criticism was actually applied in the above versions. In the scholarly study, criticism is the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. These criticisms are bound to happen when you have no original but have too many copies of the said original but with variances. This does not equate to skepticism since it’s already given that there are variances, what scholars are doing now are finding these variances in an attempt to re-create as close as possible to the original
The logic is actually simple:
Suppose, long time ago person A wrote a piece of literary documents, in time, this piece of literary works was copied by Person B, C, D. Unfortunately, it happened that the original was lost and the one retained were the 3 copies. Now, the goal of textual criticism is to re-create the original or at least close to the original at most. This would be easy if all 3 copies are identical but, what if copy B has some wordings that are not or different from copy C or D? If there were only 3 documents, we could simply compare the 3, if copy B deviated from copy C and D. Then, it must be that the copy B was in error.
Now, imagine the above process with more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts, daunting works right?
But, if you are a skeptic, the tendency is to not trust the 3 just because the original does not exist or one copy is different than the other, here, skeptics already made a conclusion that the documents are not reliable which is not an objective process.
For this reason, I think skeptics somehow became who they criticize. Some skeptics would criticize that one is a fanatic of the bible because they can’t accept the criticism not realizing that, he/she too became a fanatic of skepticism since he/she automatically equate criticism to skepticism without really understanding how criticism is used in the context of scholarly study.