Saturday, November 24, 2012

NA28 is Here

The 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece is designed to “accomplish two different tasks. First, the apparatus had to be revised thoroughly to give it more clarity and make it easier to use. Secondly, the text-critical insights and decisions resulting from work on the Editio Critica Maior [ECM] of the Greek New Testament had to be incorporated” (48).

How is the apparatus clearer?

  • There is no reference to witnesses of the first and second order. Thus, all consistently cited witnesses are included in the apparatus, which increases the number of notes (48-49)
  • Witnesses not consistently cited are included only when they “contribute variants of text-historical relevance” (49), though I’m not entirely sure how that is determined. 
  • No more conjectural citations (49).
  • No reference to “few” (pc) or “many” (al) witnesses since such terminology is too imprecise (49). 

The laudable goal of conforming the NA28 with the ECM is, unfortunately, not yet complete. The only portion of the NA28 that conforms to the ECM is the “Catholic Epistles” because it is only for this section that the ECM is complete. This means that for the first time the critical apparatus for one section of the Novum Testamentum is different than the rest of the NT.

This edition also adds variants from newly discovered papyri 117 – 127, which are fragmentary but shed light on interesting variants: 

  • Papyri 118 is a 3rd century witness to Rom 15.26-27, 32-33; 16.1, 4-7, 11-12.
  • Papyri 122 is a 4/5th century witness to Jn 21.11-14, 22-24 with some irregular nomina sacra. 
  • Papyri 126 is a 6th century witness to 2 Cor 11.1-4, 6-9.
  • Papyri 127, probably the most interesting and by far lengthiest, is a 5th century witness to Acts 10.32-35, 40-45; 11.2-5, 30; 12.1-3, 5, 7-9; 15.29-31, 34-36, 38-41; 16.1-4, 13-40; 17.1-10. 
The appendices are different as well. The NA27 appendix III "Editionum Differentiae" is not included in the NA28 "because the effort of revising it would not have been in reasonable proportion to its prospective usefulness" (50). The new appendix III "Loci Citati Vel Allegati" (formerly appendix IV in the NA27) includes more citations, including substantially more references to non-canonical texts. The new appendix IV "Signa et Abbreviationes" (formerly "Signa, Sigla, Abbreviationes" Appen. V in the NA27) is in German and English rather than Latin and is more comprehensive. These revisions seem to me to be improvements most welcome.

The most decisive difference between the NA28 and previous editions is that this one has a digital edition that will include “corrections and new notes . . . available promptly via the internet. Abbreviations, sigla and short Latin phrases in the apparatus are explained in pop-up windows. Above all, the digital apparatus becomes a portal opening up the sources of the tradition, as it provides links to full transcriptions and, as far as possible, to images of the manuscripts included” (48, emphasis added). You can learn more here. The digital edition is not yet available, but this is exciting news nonetheless. Anyone interested in textual criticism, or NT scholarship in general, should purchase the latest edition. I picked my copy up at SBL for about $32, but it’s available for pre-order at Amazon for $33.51 or for pre-order at for $46.99.

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