Using the NA28 Apparatus as a Part of a Bible Study

Posted by on 05/29/2014 in: , , ,

NA28inabiblestudy

By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas

I teach a weekly Bible study, and recently we were reading through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  This has always been one of my favorite passages in the Scriptures and I was especially excited to get to the section on prayer and specifically to discuss the Lord’s Prayer.  I began by reading over the text of the passage itself.  I generally prepare my notes working from the Greek and Hebrew, but I then read from a number of different English translations in the study itself.  For this particular passage, I was reading from the ESV.  As soon as I had finished reading, someone pointed out that there was a line “missing” from the ESV at the end of the Lord’s Prayer.  She was using the NKJV, which adds the line “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen” at the end of verse 13.  This question led to a discussion about why that line is in some translations but not others.

Since I started working for Olive Tree, I’ve transitioned to using almost entirely electronic texts of the Bible.  I had my notes and my Bibles there on my tablet, so I was able to quickly look up this addition in the NA28 critical apparatus.

The first thing that I noticed was a T-shaped symbol at the end of verse 13 in the main text.  If you consult section three in the introduction (“THE CRITICAL APPARATUS”), it is explained that this symbol means that one or more words is inserted by the manuscripts listed.  If you are unfamiliar with the apparatus, I would recommend that you simply memorize the list of symbols used.  I believe that there are only eight of them, and they indicate what is going on.  For example, a T-shaped symbol is used to indicate an addition, an O-shaped symbol is used to indicate an omission, an S-shaped symbol with a dot in it is used to indicate a transposition, and so on.  It should be kept in mind as well that “additions” and “omissions” are relative to the main text of the NA28.  An addition is material that the editors of the NA28 chose not to include in the main text, but that some manuscripts contain.  An omission is material that the editors of the NA28 included, but that some manuscripts do not contain.

Clicking on the symbol in the text will open a popup.  If you wish to open this in the split window, tap on the “tear out” icon in the top corner.  The first addition listed is simply the word αμην, which is found only in a few manuscripts.  As far as the abbreviations for manuscripts go, a Fraktur letter P followed by a superscript number is used to indicate papyri, uppercase Latin and Greek letters (and the Hebrew Alef) are used to indicate the different uncial manuscripts, and numbers are used for the miniscules.  There are also additional special abbreviations for medieval cursive manuscripts, lectionaries, the different versions (e.g. the Vulgate, the Peshitta, etc.), and citations in the Church Fathers.  These abbreviations are explained in the introduction, and more complete information about each of the manuscripts is given in Appendix I in the end matter.  The star next to 288 indicates an original reading that was subsequently corrected.   “Vg” stands for Vulgate and the abbreviation “cl” indicates that this reading is found specific in the Clementine Vulgate.  The take away here is that there is not much manuscript evidence for adding just the word αμην to the end verse 13.

The broken line that comes next indicates a variant of the same reading.  An unbroken line would indicate the start of an entirely different reading.  In this case, it is the addition of the phrase οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμις και δοξα εις τους αιωνας αμην.  This is the familiar ending of the Lord’s Prayer found in the KJV and a few other English translations.  The reference to 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 is an indication by the editor that this variant may be based on this passage.  If you were to look this up, you would find that while there is not an exact verbal parallel, that the structure of the prayer in the cited passage is the same as this clause.  The manuscripts that have this reading are listed after it.  The first set of symbols (uppercase Latin and Greek letters) represents uncial manuscripts.   Once again, if you want specific information about each of these, it can be found in Appendix I.   The cursive f with the number 13 superscripted after it is the symbol for the Ferrar Group.  (I realize Wikipedia is not a scholarly source, but if you are completely unfamiliar with the Ferrar Group, you might read over the summary here).  As I mentioned before, the numbers that follow represent minuscules.  The only thing different here is the letter c next to 288, which means that this reading was a correction to the manuscript in question.  The cursive L followed by 844 is a lectionary.  The Fraktur letter M is used to indicate the Majority text tradition.  This symbol can be a little deceiving.  It is only one letter, but it represents thousands of manuscripts.  However, since most of these manuscripts are later in date and obviously copied from one another, they are thought of as a single witness.  The “a” and “q” that come next are individual Old Latin manuscripts.  The last set of abbreviations is for the different versions that have this same reading.  The meaning of each of these can also be found in the introduction.

This reading is followed by another broken line and yet another variant.  This one is the same as the last one but omits η βασιλεια και and the word αμην at the end.  This reading is only found in the Didache.

The next variant contains an interesting Trinitarian formula: οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια του πατρος και του υιου και του αγιου πνευματος εις τους αιωνας αμην.  This reading is only found in a single miniscule manuscript.

The italic txt at the beginning of the last variant means that the manuscripts that follow support the reading given in the main text of the NA28.  If you are familiar with the meanings of the symbols and the history of some of the manuscripts, you’ll recognize right away that the first few listed are some of the oldest and best uncial manuscripts that we have.   There is also a family of minuscules that contain this reading, known sometimes as the Lake Family.  If you’re unfamiliar with this family, you may want to read this summary.

So what does this all mean?  If you are already familiar with some of the manuscripts, you may have noticed that the reading chosen in the main text is supported by several early manuscripts coming from both the Alexandrian and Western manuscript traditions.  The familiar line from the KJV, on the other hand, has at least three different variant forms.  (Actually, if you look up this passage in Metzger’s “Textual Commentary”, he mentions a couple more additional slight variations).  This sort of variation indicates that it was probably a later addition.  The process that I outlined above is not something that I would share in a typical Bible study, but the conclusion that I just gave is, and since I had my NA28 with me on my tablet, I was able to look this up on the spot.

A couple of things are necessary to be able to use the apparatus well:

1. You need to be familiar with the symbols used in the main text.  As I mentioned before, there are only eight of them, so memorizing them is not a huge task.

2.  It pays to become familiar with the different manuscripts.  There is a lot of information given in Appendix I, but it is in tabular form and very hard to take in.  When I was first starting to delve into the critical apparatus, I found it helpful to learn a little bit about the manuscripts that I saw mentioned frequently.  I would read up on how they when and where they were originally copied, how they were discovered, and where they resided currently.  I would try to find out about any unusual features or readings.  This gave me something to associate the number of symbol with.  If you haven’t yet, you should read through a book or two on this subject.  If you are a poor student or just an armchair scholar and don’t want to spend any additional money, there are some good online resources.  Even Wikipedia has articles on nearly all of the Greek New Testament manuscripts.

3.  Get Metzger’s “Textual Commentary”!  It explains why the editor’s chose the readings that they did and is EXTREMELY helpful in understanding the readings.  It’s available here in the Olive Tree store.

5 Comments

  • DieLewe says:

    Your conclusion that there are not really early support for the Textus Receptus/KJV type of ending is unfortunately based on the insufficiency of this apparatus, and it might mislead people. Along with the assumption that the miniscules all represents one witness. A major question to ask is why did the scribes of the 9th century forward, when abandoning uncial script, side with the Textus Receptus text as the one they would henceforth spend all their effort and time on reproducing?

    From the below there are at least the following early witnesses supporting ‘For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’

    The following excerpt from: http://www.laparola.net/greco/index.php
    Matthew 6:13 (Manuscript Comparator)

    Bear in mind also that the Syriac Peshitto has been proven to be actually from around A.D. 200 and not the 5th century as the modern critics like to portray.

    6:13 (Münster)
    πονηροῦ. ὅτι σοῦ ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλλεὶα καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰώνας. ἀμήν] (see 1Chronicles 29:11-13) Diatessaronarm {Date=II} copbo(pt) {Date=III/IV; Text type=A} goth {Date=IV; Text type=B in the Gospels, Paul} Apostolic Constitutions {Date=c. 380; Text type=B} Chrysostom {Date=407; Text type=B} W {Date=V; Text type=B (Mt; Lu 8:13-end), W (Mk 1-5:30), C? (Mk 5:31-16), A (Lu 1:1-8:12; Jn)} (syrp {Date=V; Text type=B in the Gospels, A in Acts}) arm {Date=V; Text type=C in the Gospels, A in Rom-Rev} geo {Date=V; Text type=C in the Gospels, A in Rev} Σ {Date=VI; Text type=B} itf {Date=VI; Text type=W} syrpal {Date=VI; Text type=C in Mt-Lu, B in John} eth {Date=VI; Text type=A in Rev and a bit in Paul} (itq {Date=VI/VII; Text type=W}) syrh {Date=616; Text type=B in the Gospels; mg is C in the Gospels and W in Acts,James-Rev} E {Date=VIII; Text type=B} L {Date=VIII; Text type=A (like B); B in Mt 1-18} 0233 {Date=VIII; Text type=mostly B} (itg1 {Date=VIII/IX; Text type=W}) G {Date=IX; Text type=B} K {Date=IX; Text type=B} Δ {Date=IX; Text type=A (Mark), B (rest)} Θ {Date=IX; Text type=C in Mc, B? in the rest} Π {Date=IX; Text type=B} 33 {Date=IX; Text type=Letters (except Romans) text A; Gospels and Acts mostly A; Romans B (like 2344)} 565 {Date=IX; Text type=C – like Θ in Mark f1 in John} 892 {Date=IX; Text type=A, a bit B} Lect {Date=IX; Text type=B} slav {Date=IX; Text type=B} 1424 {Date=IX/X; Text type=f1424 in the Gospels (a bit C)} 1079 {Date=X; Text type=B} 28 {Date=XI (sup XV); Text type=In Mark, like W, f1, f13, 565, 700} 700 {Date=XI; Text type=C – like Θ, 565; Mt 1-13; Lu 11-24 B} 1006 {Date=XI; Text type=A} 1216 {Date=XI; Text type=f1216} 1243 {Date=XI; Text type=f1739 in the Catholics} 1195 {Date=1123; Text type=B} 1230 {Date=1124; Text type=B} (157 {Date=c. 1125; Text type=a bit A}) 22 {Date=XII; Text type=f1 in Matthew} 180 {Date=XII; Text type=B} 1010 {Date=XII; Text type=B} 1071 {Date=XII; Text type=C} 1241 {Date=XII; Text type=A in Luke, less in John 1-15; a bit in Mat and Mark; Acts B; a bit A in Paul; in the Catholics like f1739} 1365 {Date=XII; Text type=B} 1505 {Date=XII; Text type=f2138 in Acts and the letters} (l1016 {Date=XII; Text type=B}) 1646 {Date=1172; Text type=W in Atti} (225 {Date=1192; Text type=B}) 579 {Date=XIII; Text type=Mixed A/B} 597 {Date=XIII; Text type=B} 1009 {Date=XIII; Text type=B} 1242 {Date=XIII; Text type=B} 1292 {Date=XIII; Text type=f2138 in the Catholics} 1546 {Date=1263?; Text type=B} (2148 {Date=1337; Text type=B}) 2174 {Date=XIV; Text type=B} (418 {Date=XV; Text type=B}) ς {Date=1550; Text type=B} Dio {Date=1641; Text type=B} Rivmg {Date=1925; Text type=A} ND {Date=1991; Text type=B} [NR {Date=1994; Text type=A}] f13 {Text type=C} Byz {Text type=B}

    Allusions in the fathers:
    Didache: (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever.[84]

    The “Trinitarian formula” is also found in at least 4 manuscripts…
    πονηροῦ. ὅτι σοῦ ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλλεὶα καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος εἰς τοὺς αἰώνας. ἀμήν] 157 {Date=c. 1125; Text type=a bit A} 225 {Date=1192; Text type=B} 418 {Date=XV; Text type=B} (1253 {Date=XV; Text type=B})

  • Anthony Hebert says:

    Matthew, thank you for your article, “Using the NA28 Apparatus as a Part of a Bible Study.” I really enjoyed it. I experienced a couple of problems, however, and I was wondering if you could clear help me clear them up.
    In the paragraph that begins with “The broken line…” you mention lectionary 844, which should look something like l 844, in the photo-diagram of your tablet, there was actually no L before the 844. I know it’s not an error in the actual NA28 apparatus because I double-checked my hard copy, so perhaps it’s an error in the ebook. Two sentences later, you mention the “a” and “q” which represent old Latin. Well, again, it’s not a problem with the apparatus, but there is no “a” in the apparatus. There is an “f” and “q” there. When we’re talking apparatuses, we have to be picky about these things.
    Another point I’d like to comment on is your courage in providing the Wikipedia resources. Yes, I remember when I was studying for my M.A. in Biblical Languages, the professors would absolutely freak if someone would reference Wikipedia! But I checked out some of the pages in your reference bundle, and for the most part, I saw some good articles. Sure I understand why it isn’t acceptable in graduate school, but as general information, Wikipedia is okay.
    Finally, regarding the controversy surrounding οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και ν δυναμις και η δοξα εις τους αιωνας αυην, I do agree that it was probably a later addition even though it has vast support among the MSS. I tend to agree with the NET Bible notes as to the reason why it is there: “The phrase was probably composed for the liturgy of the early church and most likely was based on 1 Chr. 29:11-13; a scribe probably added the phrase at this point in the text for use in public scripture reading (see TCGNT 13-14)” and after it was copied several times, it became an unquestioned part of the manuscripts.

    • Anthony Hebert says:

      I beg your pardon everyone, but I included another Greek phrase (with spelling errors) instead of the one I was writing about! So please, give me another chance!

      The actual Greek phrase in question here is: οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμισ και η δοξα εισ τουσ αιωνασ, αμεν.

      As I mentioned in my earlier post, there exists a significant amount of controversy concerning this phrase. Obviously, it’s an important argument because of it’s location in the Lord’s Prayer and because we are talking about a phrase which really sounds cool and certainly sounds like it belongs there, but has been excised by the two leading Greek texts of the modern day.

      I am not a Greek scholar by any stretch, but I do know something about the language. In this particular case, I do think this phrase was a later addition by a scribe. Now the big question is, can we figure out the reason why it was added? In my research on this phrase, I tend to agree with the NET Bible translators because they gave me a reason for the excision which made sense to me.

      Now, I have problems with thinking about any scribe adding or subtracting from the original autographs. But, back in the day, it appears that this was a common occurrence. This particular scribe, however, probably made this addition for liturgical reasons only. In other words, since these MSS were heavily used during early Christian church services, the church was beginning to develop a liturgy to go along with Scripture readings. And this particular scribe decided to add a phrase that was almost certainly already part of the liturgy into the actual MS itself in order to have the liturgy and Scripture all in one document.

      To make it easier for you to see what the NET Bible translators said, I’m going to attempt to include their comments here:

      tc Most mss (L W Θ 0233 Ë13 33 Ï sy sa Didache) read (though some with slight variation) ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν (“for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen”) here. The reading without this sentence, though, is attested by generally better witnesses (א B D Z 0170 Ë1 pc lat mae Or). The phrase was probably composed for the liturgy of the early church and most likely was based on 1 Chr 29:11-13; a scribe probably added the phrase at this point in the text for use in public scripture reading (see TCGNT 13-14). Both external and internal evidence argue for the shorter reading. (Please refer to the NET Bible for more information and more excellent translator’s notes).

      • Thanks for the comments, Anthony! You’re quite right about the typos in the apparatus. This is an artifact of our conversion process and I’ve logged a bug for it. I can’t give an exact timeline, but we will try to fix it as soon as we can.

    • Anthony Hebert says:

      I beg your pardon everyone, but I included another Greek phrase (with spelling errors) instead of the one I was writing about! So please, give me another chance!

      The actual Greek phrase in question here is: οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμις και η δοξα εις τους αιωνας, αμιν.

      As I mentioned in my earlier post, there exists a significant amount of controversy concerning this phrase. Obviously, it’s an important argument because of it’s location in the Lord’s Prayer and because we are talking about a phrase which really sounds cool and certainly sounds like it belongs there, but has been excised by the two leading Greek texts of the modern day.

      I am not a Greek scholar by any stretch, but I do know something about the language. In this particular case, I do think this phrase was a later addition by a scribe. Now the big question is, can we figure out the reason why it was added? In my research on this phrase, I tend to agree with the NET Bible translators because they gave me a reason for the excision which made sense to me.

      Now, I have problems with thinking about any scribe adding or subtracting from the original autographs. But, back in the day, it appears that this was a common occurrence. This particular scribe, however, probably made this addition for liturgical reasons only. In other words, since these MSS were heavily used during early Christian church services, the church was beginning to develop a liturgy to go along with Scripture readings. And this particular scribe decided to add a phrase that was almost certainly already part of the liturgy into the actual MS itself in order to have the liturgy and Scripture all in one document.

      To make it easier for you to see what the NET Bible translators said, I’m going to attempt to include their comments here:

      tc Most mss (L W Θ 0233 Ë13 33 Ï sy sa Didache) read (though some with slight variation) ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν (“for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen”) here. The reading without this sentence, though, is attested by generally better witnesses (א B D Z 0170 Ë1 pc lat mae Or). The phrase was probably composed for the liturgy of the early church and most likely was based on 1 Chr 29:11-13; a scribe probably added the phrase at this point in the text for use in public scripture reading (see TCGNT 13-14). Both external and internal evidence argue for the shorter reading. (Please refer to the NET Bible for more information and more excellent translator’s notes).

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