SBLGNT Vs. NA27 (UBS4).

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Noel Fitzpatrick | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Nov 1 2014 2:29 PM

I have been offered a free SBLGNT resource.  Why should I use it rather than the NA27 (= UBS4 ??) I have been using for years?

Please advise!

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 1 2014 2:42 PM

Noel Fitzpatrick:
Why should I use it rather than the NA27 (= UBS4 ??) I have been using for years?

Maybe not rather than but alongside.  Free is good.

Here is the preface. Perhaps that can help you decide.

PREFACE

The Society of Biblical Literature, in keeping with its mission to foster biblical scholarship, is pleased to sponsor, in association with Logos Bible Software, a new, critically edited edition of the Greek New Testament. The SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT), which is freely available in electronic form (http://www.sblgnt.com), will be useful to students, teachers, translators, and scholars in a wide variety of settings and contexts.

Why a new edition? The many benefits and features of the widely used “standard text” of the Greek New Testament (i.e., the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies editions) are well known and widely appreciated, but it does not meet the needs of all users. For example, many scholars and students, especially those living in underresourced regions, do not have easy access to an up-to-date, critically edited Greek New Testament in electronic form. Thus, teachers who wish to include portions of the Greek New Testament in class assignments or use the Greek New Testament in their own scholarly research and publications often must input the Greek text letter by letter, which is both tedious and subject to error. Students writing exegetical papers face similar obstacles and challenges.

To address this need, the SBLGNT is available in electronic form so that any scholar or student may freely download all or portions of the text for personal study and research as well as for limited use in scholarly publications (see the End-User License Agreement). In addition, the text has been encoded in a Unicode-compliant font, SBL Greek, so that users can exchange their work easily without having to purchase a proprietary Greek font. In short, a contemporary, critically edited text of the Greek New Testament is now widely and freely available.

The new text may have other benefits as well. The standard text is viewed by some of those who use it as a “final” text to be passively accepted rather than a “working” text subject to verification and improvement. For example, the exegetical habits of some scholars and students seem to reflect a belief that all the important text-critical work has already been completed, that one can more or less equate the standard Greek New Testament with the “original” text. With a mindset such as this, it is not surprising that entire commentaries have been written that simply take the standard text as printed and scarcely discuss textual matters.

In circumstances such as these, the existence of an alternative critically edited text—the SBLGNT differs from the standard text in more than 540 variation units—will help to remind readers of the Greek New Testament that the text-critical task is not finished. Moreover, by reminding readers of the continuing need to pay attention to the variant readings preserved in the textual tradition, it may also serve to draw attention to a fuller understanding of the goal of New Testament textual criticism: both indentifying the earliest text and also studying all the variant readings for the light they shed on how particular individuals and faith communities adopted, used, and sometimes altered the texts that they read, studied, and transmitted.


Michael W. Holmes, The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Lexham Press, 2010).

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 1 2014 9:00 PM

Josh Hunt:
why not NA28?

Perhaps because one offered it to him for free?

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 139
Noel Fitzpatrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 2 2014 1:48 AM

Josh & John,

Thanks.

I am used to NA27, having used it for years.  But I think I will look at getting NA28, as it is a natural progression from NA27.

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 2 2014 1:07 AM

Personally, I use NA28 because it is more generally acceptable to scholars worldwide. SBLGNT is moving away from the more eclectic text of the NA 28, based on some text critical assumptions which are not so generally accepted, especially among European New Testament scholars. Why is it offered free? Because SBL want it to challenge the dominance of NA? I have both, but I personally don't find SBLGNT's text choices persuasive.

That's my tuppence worth.

Every blessing

Alan

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Noel Fitzpatrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 2 2014 1:37 PM

Alan,

you use NA28, I use NA27.  I am used to it and it is too expensive to change.  I have several versions of NA27, but I usually use two, NA27 and NA27 Int.

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 5 2014 2:03 PM

I started with NA26 in Logos 1.6

Then NA27 in Libronix.

Last month NA28.

I still have the first two in print.

If truth be told, I prefer NA26 because that was my text as an undergraduate at Glasgow University!

I need NA28 for academic work

Every blessing

Alan

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 5 2014 2:28 PM

Alan Macgregor:
SBLGNT is moving away from the more eclectic text of the NA 28, based on some text critical assumptions which are not so generally accepted, especially among European New Testament scholars.

Hi Alan.

SBLGNT and NA28 differ in ~550 places (out of 138,000 words). I wouldn't characterize it as any more or less "eclectic" than NA28, just different conclusions in some spots. On the spectrum of eclecticism, Holmes is definitely not at the J.K. Elliott end, but I'd think could be placed firmly in the camp of the reasoned eclectics, which is pretty much where the editors of NA/UBS texts have been historically. The CBGM starts in roughly the same place, it just attempts to examine all the evidence and take more into account at the local reading level, and does it computationally.

In the tougher text-critical cases, Holmes' primary focus is in isolating the variation that best explains the others. Not always possible, but a laudable goal.

All of the spots where NA28 differ from SBLGNT are noted in the edition apparatus (places where NA27 uniquely differs from NA28 are also noted). So the whole picture is given, it is just given from the perspective of Michael Holmes. Not necessarily from any more or less 'eclectic' of a position.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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