Posts tagged NA28
Jude 5 in the NA28
By Olive Tree Staff: Matt Jonas
Olive Tree recently released the NA28 for the Bible Study App and some of you may be wondering “why all the fuss”? I wrote a blog post covering some of the major differences between the NA28 and the previous edition. However, there was one very specific change that I didn’t mention in that article that is of great significance to me and all other Bible-believing Christians. It is a change in Jude 5 that has great implications for the current discussion regarding the “historical Jesus” and the early church’s views on the divinity of Christ.
The Greek text of Jude 5 in the NA27 reads as follows:
“ Ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, εἰδότας [ὑμᾶς] πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν,”
Here’s how the NRSV translates this verse into English:
“Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
The NA28, however, has Ἰησοῦς (Jesus) in place of κύριος (Lord). Here’s the same passage from the NA28:
“ Ὑπομνῆσαι δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, εἰδότας [ὑμᾶς] ἅπαξ πάντα ὅτι Ἰησοῦς λαὸν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου σώσας τὸ δεύτερον τοὺς μὴ πιστεύσαντας ἀπώλεσεν,”
Interestingly, the ESV already translated the passage this way on the basis of the better manuscript evidence for the reading used by the NA28. I believe this is the only place where the ESV translators departed from the main text of the NA27 and used a “variant” reading instead. It is a little ironic, in my opinion, that the “variant” reading they chose is now in the main text of the NA28.
Here’s how the ESV translates Jude 5:
“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”
In the book of Exodus, it was the Lord (YHWH) who led the Israelites out of Egypt. If Jude is claiming that it was Jesus who led the Israelites out of captivity, then he is apparently identifying Jesus with the Lord.
It is interesting to note that this change was made because it is the” best attested reading” for this passage. Bruce Metzger even said as much in his Textual Commentary, but regardless, the editors of the NA27 still chose the reading “Lord” rather than “Jesus”.
Here are Metzger’s own words:
“Critical principles seem to require the adoption of Ἰησοῦς, which admittedly is the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses…” (Metzger, 657).
At the beginning of the same note, Metzger explained the reading used in the main text of the NA27 in this way:
“Despite the weighty attestation supporting Ἰησοῦς … a majority of the Committee was of the opinion that this reading was difficult to the point of impossibility, and explained its origin in terms of transcriptional oversight…”(Metzger, 657).
The NA28 has reversed this decision, going with the “best attested reading” even though it might be theologically objectionable to those who wish to claim that Christ’s divinity was not a belief held by the early church and was instead a later invention.
This view even became a part of our popular culture recently due to Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.” Among other things, the novel claims that Emperor Constantine I suppressed Gnosticism and promoted the deity of Christ for political reasons. Brown’s view is presented as fiction (which it clearly is due to the numerous historical inaccuracies), but there have been other more scholarly attempts to support similar claims.
Thomas Jefferson famously cut-and-pasted pieces from his collection of Bibles to create “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazereth,” better known as the Jefferson Bible. In this harmony of the gospels, he complete eliminated all references to Christ’s divinity and his miracles (including, of course, his resurrection).
More recently, the Jesus Seminar did something similar, voting on whether they believed that the words attributed to Jesus by the Gospels were authentic. Not surprisingly, passages in which Jesus claims divinity (such as John 14), didn’t make the cut.
In his recent book Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman even claims that early Christian scribes altered the text of the New Testament to support their views, such as the deity of Christ. Ironically, Jude 5 (in the NA27) may be an example of the opposite phenomenon, in which modern “scribes” altered the text in a way that deemphasized this doctrine. It’s refreshing to see that the editors of the NA28 have corrected this bias and have ruled simply in favor of the textual evidence, even though the resulting reading may be troubling to some.
Hopefully, the choice to include this reading marks the beginning of a trend against the bias that I mentioned above. In his talk on the NA28 at the 2012 SBL national conference in Chicago, Klaus Wachtel noted that the NA27 showed bias against the Byzantine tradition. He also claimed that NA28 by contrast recognizes the reliability of the mainstream tradition. This respect for the mainstream tradition is evident in how the editors of the NA28 chose to handle Jude 5. The textual evidence has always been on the side of the reading that was chosen, and yet previous editions used a less well attested variant instead because of the theological implications. How the NA28 handles Jude 5 may not “disprove” the claims of Dan Brown, or Thomas Jefferson, the Jesus Seminar, or Bart Ehrman, but it is still a step in the right direction.
By Olive Tree Staff: Matthew Jonas
Some of you may have noticed that the parsed version of the NA28 text that Olive Tree is now offering uses a different parsing database than the parsed NA27 text that we offer. The parsing database that Olive Tree offers with the NA27 is the Mounce-Koivisto parsing database. It is based on the work of both Dr. William Mounce and Dr. Rex Koivisto. The new parsing system is based entirely on the work of Dr. Mounce.
Both systems provide the sort of basic parsing information that students and pastors would typically expect: tense, voice, mood, person, and number for verbs; case, number, and gender for nouns, and so forth. The Mounce-Koivisto also includes some additional data at times that the new system does not contain, such as types for pronouns (demonstrative, personal, etc.) and syntactical information about the uses of conjunctions (coordinating vs. subordinating, temporal, causal, etc.) However, since the new Mounce system is simpler, it is also more straightforward and easier to understand in some cases.
If the basic parsing data is very similar between the two systems, you may wonder what the advantage of the new one is. The answer has to do not so much with the parsings themselves as it does with the accompanying set of glosses. The parsings that Olive Tree has made available with the NA28 contain much fuller glosses than the parsings that are offered with the NA27. The glosses are an important distinctive feature of the Mounce-Koivisto parsings as compared to AGNT, which uses an excellent parsing system, but has no glosses. The addition of fuller and more accurate glosses in the new Mounce parsings make this even more of an advantage.
For example, the difference between the older glosses and the newer glosses is very apparent when looking at a preposition such as ἐν. The Mounce-Koivisto (NA27) gloss is “(+dat) in, with, by, to.” The Mounce (NA28) gloss is “Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of; of time: during, while.” Not every gloss is as long as this, but fuller and more accurate glosses are given for certain words such as in this example.
My experience has been that once a student has learned the basic forms of nouns and verbs that the main barrier to reading the New Testament is unfamiliar vocabulary rather than unfamiliar forms. The fuller set of glosses that are part of the new Mounce parsing system will hopefully make it easier to bridge the gap between the shorter glosses that students learn when starting out and the fuller definitions found in lexicons. These coupled with Dr. Mounce’s straightforward parsing system and the text of the NA28 make this a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Greek New Testament.
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