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Nestle-Aland 28 Has Appeared

October 9, 2012

Last Friday I gratefully received a copy of the 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graecae, the standard, scholarly hand-edition of the Greek NT.  For the moment, other pressing duties (including writing a slew of reference letters for former PhD students) prevent me from much more than a quick persusal of the Introduction.  But anytime there is a new Nestle-Aland, it’s news for NT scholars (and especially textual-critic geeks such as me).  So, for now, a brief notice of some of the things new in this edition.

The major change is that the text of the Catholic Epistles reflects the textual decisions arising from the Editio Critica Maior (ECM) project, based in the Muenster Institute for Text-Critical Research.  Thus far, the ECM project has completed work on the Catholic Epistles only, aiming to complete the rest of the NT over the next decade or so.  So, for this edition, the rest of the NT remains essentially the text found in the 27th edition of Nestle-Aland. 

Compared to N-A 27, there are different variants preferred at the following locations in the Catholic Epistles:  James 1:20; 2:3, 4, 15; 4:10 (now preferring μερει); 1 Peter 1:6, 16; 2:5, 25; 4:16; 5:1, 9, 10; 2 Peter 2:6, 11, 15, 18, 20; 3:6, 10 (preferring ουξ ευρεθησεται), 16, 18; 1 John 1:7; 3:7; 5:10, 18; 2 John 5, 12; 3 John 4; Jude 5 (preferring Ιησους), 18.

But this 28th edition also reflects a number of other changes, especially in the textual apparatus and related matters.  The apparatus has been “rearranged . . . for more tightness and clarity,” and it does have a less cramped look, making it markedly easier to read.  (Now, if only NT scholars more widely would learn to do so!)  Here are some further changes:

  • All manuscripts cited “consistently” in a given NT writing will be listed for all variation-units, whatever variant they support, producing a “positive” apparatus.  So, if a given manuscript doesn’t appear in a given variation-unit, it means that at that point either there is a lacuna or it is illegible.
  • Conjectures are no longer cited in the apparatus, the editors judging that citation without bibliographical reference to where the conjecture was offered is “unsatisfactory”. (An index of all conjectures in previous N-A editions has been produced by the “New Testament Conjectoral Emendation” project at the Free University, Amsterdam.)
  • Latin abbreviations used in the apparatus “are kept as simple as possible” and a list of translations of them appears in Appendix IV.
  • The numerous cross-references in the outer margins have been “thoroughly revised”.
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6 Comments
  1. Jeremy permalink

    Larry,
    Curious if you know why Hendrickson is publishing the text (nothing to object to it). I haven’t seen any announcement of a GBS print edition.

    • Dear Jeremy,
      The publisher shown for N-A28 on Amazon is the German Bible Society. I’m not aware that Hendrickson has anything to do with it.

  2. Donald Jacobs permalink

    I like the UBS text. That’s the one that gives readings a rating from A to D on how reliable they are isn’t it?

    • Dear Donald,
      The UBS text may be fit for its intended purpose, which was to provide Bible translators with an edition giving the Nestle-Aland text and a simplified apparatus showing selected variants deemed of significance for translation purposes. But this means that lots of other variants aren’t noted. Also, the ratings scheme has come in for a lot of criticism, especially in light of the marked shift in ratings of variants across the several editions of the UBS text, and without any explanation.

  3. Is it really true that NT scholars do not use the NT critical apparatus as much as they should? I find that a bit surprising, as that is one of the first things I check when investigating an NT verse. In fact, in my book, I did a side by side comparison of over 80 NT quotations with the LXX, and I listed numerous NT variant readings. So much so I felt the need to also add a complete list of NT manuscripts to the book for reference. I would have done the same for the LXX, but locating a critical apparatus for the LXX was unproductive. I did however come across a PDF version of Swete’s 1909 LXX with a critical apparatus, but I was already done by then.

    • It is sadly true that quite a number of today’s NT scholars have an inadequate acquaintance with NT textual criticism (which has often been treated as some arcane and obscure topic fit only for geeks), and have scarcely even a good acquaintance with the Nestle-Aland Greek NT. Indeed, I’ve seen a number using (and openly preferring) the UBS Greek NT, precisely because the N-A apparatus is a difficulty for them.

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