SBL Greek New Testament

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Posts 140
Gary Shogren | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Nov 26 2010 4:02 PM

I used the new SBL GNT, comparing it with NA 27, just to take a look at it. It left me with some questions as to methodology. The SBL website didn't reassure me any.

From the "Introduction" - The SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT) is a new edition of the Greek New Testament, established with the help of earlier editions. In particular, four editions of the Greek New Testament were utilized as primary resources in the process of establishing the SBLGNT (Westcott-Hort; Tregelles; A Reader’s Greek New Testament; and the Byzantine Textform 2005).

Frankly, I don't follow it. It seems as if the philosophy was, each of the four editions got one vote, and the text was established by a majority. "Where all four editions agreed, the text was tentatively accepted as the text of the SBL edition..."

I'm badly over-simplifying, nevertheless - WH didn't have the MS information that is available today, so is it right that they should have a full vote? Same with Tregelles. The Byzantine text represents a different school of thought, right or wrong, from the critical text, so their textual decisions are based on different criteria.

In other words, if someone accepts the premises of a critical text, then shouldn't Nestle-Aland 27 have the final say over at least WH, Tregelles and the Byzantine Textform? Why compare...well, it's not even apples and oranges, it's an apple and an orange and also a couple of really old apples.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 26 2010 4:21 PM

There's a following blog post (and particularly the comments) may help you better understand the reasoning behind methodology. The apparatus is unusual in that it lists the other critical editions rather than the manuscripts. As I understand it, Holmes came to his own conclusions regarding the text, and in doing so used previous critical editions as an aid. That's what all scholars do, isn't it? There's certainly no sense of 'votes' here. Indeed there are 56 occasions where Holmes takes a view contrary to all of the other four editions.

Peter Head makes very similar points to your own, so look out for those, and for Michael Holmes' responses.

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2010/10/sbl-and-logos-bible-software-announce.html

http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2010/11/sbl-gnt-three-questions-and-replies.html

 

Posts 140
Gary Shogren | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 26 2010 6:33 PM

Thanks, Mark.

You write: As I understand it, Holmes came to his own conclusions regarding the text, and in doing so used previous critical editions as an aid. That's what all scholars do, isn't it?

I know new editions to some extent bounce off of older ones; nevertheless, this didn't seem to be how Holmes was describing his method. It seemed the other way around, using one as a base and then - for the most part - allowing that base to stand if the other three were in agreement. This strikes me as backwards thinking.

Holmes wrote, re: the Byzantine Text: I’m convinced that at points, only the Byzantine tradition preserves the original reading, and so it had to be represented in the mix.  Very good, that's entirely fair, but in that case you collate the Byzantine MSS, you don't just take the 1 option that the Byzantine Text (RP).

Also, he chose the NIV reconstructed Greek text over NA, because of copyright concerns; and the WH because it's available in digital form.

BTW, I'm working on the text of 1 Thess 2:7, and Holmes chose ηπιοι ("we were gentle") rather than νηπιοι ("we were infants") because NIV and the RP agreed. Yet that reading was chosen by NIV despite the fact that νηπιοι is the better attested reading. And by RP, because the Majority Text approach doesn't give weight to the earlier MSS, including the earliest, p65, which has νηπιοι. NA 26/27 have νηπιοι. I'm left feeling unsatisfied, and wish he would have worked more from scratch. Maybe I'm being naive, but the text of the NT is so vitally important, it's establishment should be a massive enterprise.

Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 26 2010 6:59 PM

Gary Shogren:
that case you collate the Byzantine MSS, you don't just take the 1 option that the Byzantine Text (RP)

Gary Shogren:
Holmes chose ηπιοι ("we were gentle") rather than νηπιοι ("we were infants") because NIV and the RP agreed

Gary Shogren:
I'm left feeling unsatisfied, and wish he would have worked more from scratch.

I'm really not sure that this is fair. In the second post I referred to above, Holmes explicitly says, "In short, the entire SBL text was decided on in light of the manuscript evidence (not on the basis of the editions)".

The point is that although the apparatus lists only editions, not manuscripts, the text itself was constructed from the manuscripts.

 

Posts 1
Michael W. Holmes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 26 2010 9:38 PM

Hi, Gary,

Thanks for your comments; I appreciate your interest in getting a clear understanding of the new text. Mark Barnes has hit the key issues pretty  well in his responses. Permit me to emphasize one point in particular: in fact, I systematically went through the entire text of the NT in light of the manuscript evidence, not only where one or more of the four differed, but also where all four were in agreement (and at several places, I did adopt a reading not found in any one of the four). In short, the entire SBL text was decided on in light of the manuscript evidence (not on the basis of the editions). No readings were decided by any vote between editions; their contribution is limited largely to the apparatus.

As for the one specific example you mention, 1 Thess 2:7, take a look at the NIV Application Commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians, p. 64 note 14, for the reasons why I preferred ηπιοι  rather than νηπιοι; I think, in light of all the considerations, that the former more likely represents what Paul wrote. But given the nature of the evidence, I'm not inclined to be dogmatic in a case such as this.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Nov 26 2010 10:52 PM

Michael W. Holmes:

As for the one specific example you mention, 1 Thess 2:7, take a look at the NIV Application Commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians, p. 64 note 14, for the reasons why I preferred ηπιοι  rather than νηπιοι; I think, in light of all the considerations, that the former more likely represents what Paul wrote. But given the nature of the evidence, I'm not inclined to be dogmatic in a case such as this.

It would seem that you have probably made a good choice in this particular instance, but I do think that there is a problem for those who do not have access to the mss evidence available from a source such as Tischendorf.  I therefore attach Tischendorf's entry regarding this:

ηπιοι *** אcACbDcEKLP 17. cattxt al longe plu syrutr sah basm arm Clem319 Or3,724 etcat cor 84 Basregg 370 eteth 279 Chr Euthalcod Thdrt Dam ad h. l. (sedparall 511 etparis om hanc vocem) Thphyl. Ita enim Chr505 exponit: τουτέστιν οὐδεν φορτικὸν οὐδὲ ἐπαχθες οὐδὲ βάρυ οὐδὲ κόμπον ἔχον ἀπεδειξαμεθα. Similiter Oec. Item Thdrt: ἔδειξε V 2, p 753 διὰ τῆς εἰκόνος καὶ τὴν ἠπιότητα καὶ τὴν κηδεμονίαν. Thphyl vero: ἤπιοι, τουτέστιν πρᾷοι, ἀβαρεῖς. Addit vero etiam: ἢ καὶ νήπιοι ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν, τουτέστιν ἀκέραιοι, ἀφιλόδοξοι τὸ γὰρ νήπιον οὐδὲν τοιοῦτον λογίζεται ……. Ln νηπιοι *** א*BC*D*FG 5. 23. 26. 31* 37. 39** 74. 87. 109** 114. 115. 137. 219* ascr d e f g vg (hi Latini parvuli, nec aliter Aug Hier Ambrst etc) cop aeth Clem109 cdd 2 (quam codicum lectionem confirmat contextus; pergit enim: ἤπιος οὖν ὁ νήπιος) Or3,662 etint 3,116. 878 Cyrthes 289. Scribit autem Or3,662 in h. l. sic: καὶ παῦλος δὲ ὡς ἐπιστάμενος τό τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, δυνάμενος ἐν βάρει εἶναι ὡς χριστοῦ ἀπόστολος, ἐγένετο νήπιος καὶ παραπλήσιος τροφῷ θαλπούσῃ τὸ ἑαυτῆς παιδίον καὶ λαλούσῃ λόγους ὡς παιδίον διὰ τὸ παιδίον. Lcbrug adnotat: "Interpres vertit parvuli, quod alii lenes." :: potior a testibus auctoritas sine dubio est lectioni νηπιος. At illa quidem parum convenit verbis quae sequuntur: ως εαν τροφος θαλπη etc, quamvis non offenderint Origenem. Accedit quod θημενηπιοι scriptura continua facile in θημεννηπιοι depravari poterat.

AC 17. εμμεσω

Not being sure of the capabilities of the forum regarding the use of fonts, I hope this appears in a readable fashion.  One thing that I should additionally note is that in your edition there must be a mistake in the morphological tagging since it brings up the BDAG entry for νήπιος rather than ἤπιος.

One other point I discovered after posting this is that I once again got scrambled text.  I have edited it in the hopes of correcting it.  Let's hope it works.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 533
Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 27 2010 4:15 AM

Latest edit reads fine to me George, thanks.

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Posts 13399
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 27 2010 1:42 PM

Michael W. Holmes:
As for the one specific example you mention, 1 Thess 2:7, take a look at the NIV Application Commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians, p. 64 note 14,

In case others don't have access to that, here it is in full:

There is a much-debated textual variant in 2:7. While a small number of manuscripts read “gentle” (epioi), a substantial majority read “infants” (nepioi). The single-letter difference between the two readings, however, is so slight in Greek (which was written in all capitals with no spaces between words: ΗΜΕΝΗΠΙΟΙ vs. ΗΜΕΝΝΗΠΙΟΙ) that either reading could be explained as a scribal slip for the other one. Thus the manuscript evidence is of little help in this instance, and a decision must be reached on other grounds. The most decisive consideration is the basic structure of 2:5–8, specifically the fundamental contrast between the negative behaviors listed in 2:5–6a and the positive behaviors listed in 2:7–8. The three negatives in 2:5–6a (no flattery, no greed, no looking for praise) have to do with means (“how”) or motive (“why”), as do the last two of the three positives in 2:7–8 (like a nurse, 2:7; because they loved them, 2:8). This strongly suggests that the first item in 2:7–8 will also deal with either means or motive, a consideration that clearly favors “gentle” (NIV, NRSV) over “infants.”

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 27 2010 2:22 PM

[NB: I didn't see that Michael Holmes had already responded above; apologies for the duplicating response. — Rick]

Hi Gary.

Gary Shogren:
BTW, I'm working on the text of 1 Thess 2:7, and Holmes chose ηπιοι ("we were gentle") rather than νηπιοι ("we were infants") because NIV and the RP agreed. Yet that reading was chosen by NIV despite the fact that νηπιοι is the better attested reading. And by RP, because the Majority Text approach doesn't give weight to the earlier MSS, including the earliest, p65, which has νηπιοι. NA 26/27 have νηπιοι. I'm left feeling unsatisfied, and wish he would have worked more from scratch. Maybe I'm being naive, but the text of the NT is so vitally important, it's establishment should be a massive enterprise.

Actually, Michael Holmes has written a commentary on 1&2 Thess; I'm sure his reasons for the decision in this case are listed there. It's in the NIV Application commentary series, I believe. You may want to check it out. In any case, I can confidently say that he didn't go with ηπιοι in 1Th 2.7 simply "because NIV and the RP agreed". He went with that because, based on the textual evidence as he sees it, he agrees with the reading of NIV and RP. I'm guessing his commentary discusses this instance in more detail; he was very conscious about making sure he didn't contradict his previously published material (assuming he still agreed with the previously published reading).

To equate the bottom-of-page apparatus with Holmes' decision making evidence is an error. The SBLGNT is definitely not a "consensus" or "majority rules" (like the first 11 or 12 editions of Nestle were). Holmes reviewed the whole text of the NT. Differences in editions were used as a starting point, not an ending point. These differences isolated nearly 7000 areas of disagreement; Holmes reviewed the entire text (paying attention to MSS evidence, critical editions, commentaries, technical articles, and the like along the way). There are instances where all four of the original comparison texts agreed, yet Holmes chose to edit the text based on his knowledge (35 years worth) of text-critical study and application. There are cases of 3 vs. 1 where Holmes went with the 1, and even instances where he followed the RP (Byzantine) for the one.

If you're curious about Holmes' method, he provides a citation in a footnote in the introduction to a larger article describing his overall text-critical method:

For a brief overview of the editor’s methodological and historical perspectives with regard to the practice of New Testament textual criticism, see Michael W. Holmes, Reconstructing the Text of the New Testament, in The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament (ed. David E. Aune; Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 77–89.

The apparatus simply lists the evidence (with agreements and disagreements) of the original comparisons. We think it is useful not because it is the sum total of evidence Holmes used in making textual decisions, but because it gives a quick view of many of the variations that one would encounter represented in many different print editions, in many different languages, over the years. In several cases it also provides the major text-critical options for a given unit/passage, even if it does not give MSS evidence. This is where the NA apparatus is complementary, it can be used to further examine textual evidence as reported by the NA edition.

Hope it helps.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

Posts 140
Gary Shogren | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 29 2010 6:00 AM

Dear Michael, Thanks so much for your kind answer to what was an off-handed observation. Your taking the time to comment has disabused me of the impression I got from the other website.

In fact, I've read through your commentary and enjoyed it very much. But I must say, it's your bilingual text of the Apostolic Fathers that brings me (almost daily) benefit. I think I asked Logos for several years, "since Bauer is the lexicon for the 'Early Christian Literature', why not add in the Ap Fathers and key it to the lexicon?"

The νηπιοι reading of 1 Thess 2:7 strikes me, an amateur, as correct due to the MSS and how it fits into the context, esp. the "orphan" reference further along; also because it is the lectio dificilior but not, I don't think, absurdly difficult. But you're right, it's not a clear case.

Many blessings, Gary

Posts 847
Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Nov 29 2010 7:08 AM

When Zondervan's A Reader's Greek New Testament came out in 2003, there were questions at B-Greek re: why didn't Zondervan use the UBS4/NA-27 Greek text instead of their own reconstructed NIV Greek text. As I recall, it was mentioned that Zondervan had tried (repeatedly?) to get permission to use the UBS/NA text, but they never got a response from the owners (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft?).

As the time to go to press with the Reader's GNT was approaching, they apparently found themselves in a predicament, and as they couldn't wait any longer, they used the Greek text they owned, the Goodrick-Kohlenberger reconstructed NIV Greek text.

I'm curious if this decision by Zondervan to use the NIV Greek text for the Reader's GNT helped give it a prominence and usage it otherwise might not have had? They've used it for both editions of the Reader's GNT, as well as for William Mounce's Reverse Interlinear for the Rest of Us.

I.e., would the NIV Greek text be featured in the SBLGNT if it hadn't been for Zondervan's actions back in 2003?

And... Did Zondervan revisit and reuse its G-K Greek text when making the 2010/2011 revision of the NIV, updating or amending it where necessary, or did they start from scratch?

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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LogosEmployee
Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Nov 30 2010 11:42 AM

Hi Eric

I think your questions are more geared toward Zondervan than anyone else; I can't really answer most of them.

Some reasons the Readers GNT text (the text behind the NIV) was used for comparisons in the SBLGNT project:

1. It was published and available so others could refer to it. If Zondervan had never published it, then we would not have been able to use it in comparisons.

2. It represents the Greek text behind what is one of the most popular modern English translations available, which means that by including its variations, those who use the NIV can track where it differs with the SBLGNT using the SBLGNT apparatus.

FWIW, the 2nd edition of the Readers GNT actually represents the text behind the TNIV; the necessary changes were made by Gordon Fee, as I understand it (see note 5 in the SBLGNT introduction).

On your last question, you'll have to ask that of the NIV2011 NT translation committee (http://www.niv-cbt.org/)

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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