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Greek New Testaments: Spoiled for Choice!

November 8, 2017

Those who want to read the New Testament writings in Greek are now spoiled for choice, with several recent editions published.  Most recently, there is the edition just published mentioned earlier this week here, a project based in Tyndale House (Cambridge), edited by Dirk Jongkind.  A few years back now, there appeared the edition prepared under the auspices of the Society of Biblical Literature (edited by Michael Holmes, my posting on that edition here).  And, of course, there is also the most recent (28th) edition of what has become the standard hand-edition, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (my posting here, and the edition’s home page here).

As indicated briefly in my earlier postings, each edition has its own character, layout, editorial policies, and intended uses.  The SBL edition and the brand-new Tyndale House edition both offer free digital forms.  The Nestle-Aland 28th edition can be read online here.  For those of us keen on taking account of text-critical questions, Nestle-Aland offers the fullest apparatus.  Also, it’s actually available for your tablet or smartphone from (and it includes the apparatus).

They sometimes reflect different textual judgments.  For example, at Mark 1:1, the SBL edition judges “son of God” secondary, whereas the Tyndale edition treats the variant as part of the assured text, and the Nestle-Aland 28th edition includes the words but puts them in square brackets, indicating that the editors accept the variant but acknowledge serious uncertainty.

But these different features and different judgments make these editions all the more valuable to serious students of the NT writings.  We can only be grateful to all involved in producing them.

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  1. If you would, could you recommend a (some?) New Testament translations that is closest to the Greek, allowing for all that the discussion that that involves? Much as I’d like to, I am unlikely to have the time to learn the language.

    • All translations involve a number of decisions and adjustments between being “faithful” to the source text and meaningful/clear to the target audience. And the target audience can vary, from children to adults, from people familiar with the Bible to those not, from one educational level to another. Every scholar will find any translation problematic here or there. The New Revised Standard Version is pretty good overall.

  2. Mike,

    Given your student, Roger Omanson’s adaptation of Metzger’s Textual Commentary may be useful. It covers the same variants as Metzger, but the verbiage is simplified, and the Greek is translated (not transliterated). It is also, conveniently, the same size as the UBS Reader’s Edition.

  3. Mike Koncsics permalink

    Though not an edition for detailed study, the UBS Reader’s Edition with Textual Notes is great for teaching and learning the language and for quick perusal. It is well bound, strong enough to endure the High School students that I teach. But I don’t think there is a digital edition.

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