SBL Greek New Testament
The Society of Biblical Literature, in cooperation with Logos Bible Software, has recently published a new edition of the Greek New Testament, edited by Professor Michael W. Holmes, a senior respected figure in NT textual criticism.
This new edition is available to download free from the SBL web site: http://www.sblgnt.com/. This is a real boon to teachers and students, including especially many in coutnries in the “global south”. It is a further boon that the text is Unicode-compliant, which means that it can be used across various hardware platforms and software environments, and users don’t need to purchase a proprietary Greek font. Print/hardbound copies can be purchased via the SBL (see the link from the SBL home page: www.sbl-site.org).
Essentially, Holmes was charged with creating an edition by drawing primarily upon four previous editions: (1) the Westcott-Hort 1881 edition; (2) S. P. Tregelles’ edition (1857-79); (3) the Greek text lying behind the NIV; and (4) the Robinson/Pierpont edition of the “Byzantine Textform” (2005). The SBL edition notes 6,928 variation-units in the apparatus (which records variants supported by the various editions used). At these variation-units, the variant preferred by Holmes in the SBL edition is supported by Westcott-Hort 6,049 times, by Tregelles 5,701 times, by the NIV text 6,312 times, and by the “Byzantine/Majority Text” edition 969 times. At 56 variation-units, Holmes preferred a reading not supported by any of the four primary editions used. These tend to be variants shown as marginal alternatives by Westcott-Hort (30x), Tregelles (2x) and/or Nestle-Aland (10x).
The apparatus and the symbols used to mark variation-units are both simplified in comparison with the Nestle-Aland text, and should be easy to follow, even by readers unaccustomed to such matters.
I’ve not yet had time for a more detailed perusal of the text, and this isn’t the place for a detailed discussion of it. But my initial impressions are that it is a very useful contribution to the study of the Greek New Testament, and to the awareness of textual variation in the transmission of the New Testament writings.