Resource: Apparatus for the Greek NT SBL Edition

Key Features

  • Recent new version of the GNT by Logos and SBL
  • Apparatus is high-level, comparing Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Robinson and Pierpont, those responsible for the Greek text behind the NIV, and those responsible for the NA27/UBS4 text
  • It’s free!

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Sample page from this book

Forum Threads That Include Significant Discussion on this Resource

Wiki & Key Forum Comments

Michael W. Holmes (forum on creation of apparatus)
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 ?p??? rather than ??p???; 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.

Rick Brannan (forum on building the apparatus)
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 ?p??? 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.

Rick Brannan (forum on GNT-SBL’s use of the NIV)
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).

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