What’s New in the NA28?
By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas
I have to admit that when I heard that a new edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece was being published, it wasn’t a big deal for me. I liked the NA27 just fine and while realized that the NA28 would reflect the latest advances in New Testament textual criticism, I wasn’t sure how important it was to me to be on the cutting edge of textual criticism. Before working for Olive Tree, I was an educator and taught classes mainly on Greek and Latin. I used the NA27 in my classes, and we did consult the textual apparatus from time to time. Since the main text was the focus in my classes, I might not need the most recent edition if the changes were limited to the apparatus. When I finally had a chance to look through the NA28 though, my attitude changed.
First of all, there are changes to the main text in the NA28 (unlike the NA27, which reprints the same main text used in the NA26). Most of these changes are orthographic, but there are a dozen or so changes in the Catholic Epistles that affect the meaning of the passage. These changes are limited to the Catholic Epistles currently, but my understanding is that the editors of the NA28 plan on releasing further revisions to other sections of the New Testament in the future.
While the changes to the main text are significant, the most substantial differences between the NA28 and the NA27 are in the apparatus. The entire apparatus has been revised, but the sections covering the Catholic Epistles also have some additional changes that have not yet been applied to the other sections. The overall purpose of the apparatus has changed in the NA28. In some ways it reminds me a little more of the apparatus included with the UBS4. It serves as an introduction to the sources rather than just a collection of variants. This distinction may seem a little vague, but the resulting apparatus is clearer and easier to use than the previous one.
Beyond the general shift in philosophy, here are some more specific changes that were made to the apparatus:
- The distinction between consistently cited witnesses of the first order and of the second order has been eliminated. Now there are just consistently cited witnesses.
- The use of sed and et to combine variants has been eliminated.
- “Archaic Mark” (i.e. ms 2427) is no longer cited since it has been proven to be a forgery.
- Conjectural readings have been completely eliminated.
- Citations of the various versions and the Church Fathers have all been “double-checked”
- The apparatus for the Catholic Epistles uses “Byz” instead of a Fraktur letter M to represent the Byzantine tradition.
- Readings from the newly discovered Papyri 117-121 are included.
The net result of all of these changes is a fresh and exciting new edition of the Greek New Testament. This is the first edition of the Nestle-Aland text that was not edited by Kurt Aland, and the new editor, Holger Strutwolf, made some compelling changes in this edition.
For more information on the NA28, check out the following links:
- The German Bible Society Page on the NA28
- Nestle-Aland 28: The New Standard in Critical Texts of the Greek New Testament
- NA28: What the Front Matter Says about the Edition
- Free Resource Friday
- What language was the Bible written in?
- Look Inside: NA28 Greek New Testament
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