Sunday, June 03, 2007

Review of Editio Critica Maior

What follows is a review of the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior, Part IV - the Catholic Letters, Installments 1-4. See a web introduction here.

1. Editio Critica Maior

According to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF), the Editio Critica Maior documents the Greek textual history of the first millennium based on Greek manuscripts of special relevance for the textual tradition, on older translations, and on quotations of the New Testament in ancient Christian literature. It utilizes the coherence based genealogical method for collating the material prepared for the first time with such completeness. The selection of manuscripts rests on an analysis of the entire primary tradition. Every selected manuscript is entered into a database with all its readings and registered in the critical apparatus. The edition thus offers information to answer continuative questions: How does the text change in the course of history and why? How was a text received in early Christianity?

The ECM is scheduled to be published in five volumes:

I. Gospels
II. Acts
III. Pauline Letters
IV. Catholic Letters
V. Revelation

2. For discussion of the ECM see:

Bart D. Ehrman, "Novum Testamentum Graece Editio Critica Maior: An Evaluation"

D. C. Parker, "A Critique of the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior"

Peter H. Davids, "Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior: A Non-Specialist's Perspective"

William L. Petersen, "Some Remarks on the First Volume (The Epistle of James) of the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior"

Klaus Wachtel, Co-Editor of the ECM, "Response to Four Reviews of the James Volume of the Editio Critica Maior"

3. ECM, Part IV - The Catholic Letters

Each installment includes two parts: text and supplement. Part 1 (text) of all installments includes a foreword, notes on the reconstruction of the text, and the actual text itself. The text includes three parts: (1) the primary line of text, (2) the overview of variant readings, and (3) the critical apparatus. Part 2 (supplement) of the installment includes (1) abbreviations and symbols, (2) Greek manuscripts, (3) Patristic quotations, (4) versions, (5) additional apparatus, and (6) supplementary material and studies.

ECM IV/1 - The Epistle of James

The ECM differs from NA27 and UBS4 in two instances on James:

a. 1.22 - akroatai monon
b. 2.3 - ē kathou ekei

Included is also evidence from P100 (= POxy 4449) from the Oxyrynchus collection which contains Jas 3.13-4.4 and 4.9-5.1 (III/IV century).

ECM IV/2 - The Letters of Peter

There are differences with UBS4 and NA27 in sixteen places, e.g. 2 Pet. 3.10 - ouk eurethēsetai

The analysis showed the remarkable agreement of P72, P81, and 623 with the A text (= Ausgangstext or hypothetical initial text).

ECM IV/3 - The First Letter of John

The editors note that due to the simple style of 1 John, there are very few passages where difficulties lead to major variants, although the repetitive style encourages a range of variants for some expressions.

ECM differences with NA27/UBS4 include:
1.7 - omits de
5.10 - en autō
5.18 - heaton

ECM IV/4 - The Second and Third Letter of John, the Letter of Jude

What I found interesting here was the ECM preference for 'Jesus' over 'Lord' in Jude 5. Otherwise, one should consult on Jude, Tommy Wasserman: The epistle of Jude: its text and transmission

4. An Evaluation

- In terms of advancing a new methodology for textual criticism (i.e. the coherence-based-genealogical method or CBGM), the ECM is highly commendable. Alas, the days of "text types" is well and truly over. However, the CBGM does not always prove as useful for 1-3 John, Jude as it does for James and 1-2 Peter.
- There is a completeness and thoroughness to the presentation of the data that is otherwise unmatched by any apparatus, and for that reason alone the ECM is necessary for commentary writing, studies in wirkungsgeschichte, and for any serious textual study.
- If teaching a course on textual criticism or advanced Greek, a lecturer should strive to get the ECM into the hands of students and have sessions where they practice using it to discover variants and learn how to read the text.
- Another useful aspect is that the bilingual nature of the volumes (i.e. German and English) which allows one to practice reading Theological German.

These volumes are available in the UK from Alban Books.

1 comment:

Jim said...

If they continue to trickle out at their current pace, your great grand-children may be able to enjoy the entire thing.