Sunday, November 3, 2013

De Texto Critico Novi Testamenti Graeci 1

The Nestle-Aland notes all the important variant readings; including the TR's.

ὃς καὶ ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους καινῆς διαθήκης, οὐ γράμματος ἀλλὰ πνεύματος• τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ.
2 Cor 3:62

For most of last month, I was in Canada visiting my 81-year old father for the very last time3. While I was there, I purchased a copy of the 28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, the standard critical text of the Greek New Testament (NA28). Since my conversion from the TR Supremacy position that I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve wanted a copy of this remarkable book.

The eclectic text of the Nestle Aland NT is its most important feature, certainly, but the critical apparatus accompanying the text has to be its defining feature. The listing of all the important variants, using an ingenious system of symbols and sigla, is the reason these editions of the critical text have become the standard Greek New Testaments for students and exegetes around the world.

The following video was made by Dr. James R. White, the director of Alpha & Omega Ministries, which Wikipedia describes as “an evangelical Reformed Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona”. Dr White is the foremost Christian Apologist in the United States today. What he has to say about the release of NA28 in particular, and textual criticism in general, is well worth hearing.

One of the main take home facts for me from this video is that, when a new edition of the NA comes out, nothing is lost. Even though the text is updated, no important readings from the previous versions have been left out of the NA28’s critical apparatus. In this sense then, the NA28 is technically not new, but better.

It is also important to realise that these important readings in the older versions have always including those of the Textus Receptus—a Majority Text type and the basis for the KJV. Every disputed word, verse or pericope that ties the critics of the modern Bible versions into knots is listed there. That’s because the editors of the NA have always considered the Majority Text to be a “consistently cited witness of the first order”; they could never ignore it.


1. Translation: On the Critical Text of the Greek New Testament. I am currently learning Latin, using the 7th edition of Wheelock’s Latin along with multiple online resources. Putting my blog titles in Latin is pure self-indulgence—īgnōsce mē!

2. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text is taken from the ESV2011 (the English Standard Version, 2011). Greek text is from NA28 (28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece).

3. He had just been diagnosed with terminal and aggressive small-cell cancer—with tumours in his lungs, liver, bones, et al, which were expected to spread quickly to his brain—and so I’d returned to see him whilst he was still “himself”. I was there for three weeks and in that short time he went from being fit and active, to being confused, bed-ridden and barely conscious. As I was touching down at Auckland airport, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. In all, from the day of diagnosis until the end, he lasted exactly five weeks. And, alas, he died unsaved.

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