Monday, January 20, 2020

Collation of NA28 and THGNT

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The introduction at the back of the THGNT teases us by noting a collation done with NA28, but gives little more detail. That’s why it’s very helpful that Hefin Jones has shared a computer collation of NA28 with THGNT on Facebook. He says, “Caveat emptor: It’s automatically generated. There will be some curious items in there.” From there, Nelson Hsieh, a doctoral student at Southern Seminary, expands:
Thanks for producing this. I’m using Accordance for my own collation as well, but adding a lot more. Some problems with the Accordance collation vs. what I’m producing:
  1. Accordance can mark accentuation and punctuation differences, but you turned those features off since it would produce thousands of more differences. I’m not sure what font size you used, but when I created a collation that includes punctuation and accentuation, the collation came out to 522 pages vs. the 94 pages you collated. I can’t get mine to look just like yours, so it might be less than 522 pages, but it will still be much longer if you add accents and punctuation. I’ve looked at the accentuation differences and it does become significant, for example, with liquid verbs, where the difference between the present and future tense is just accentuation, an acute vs. a circumflex accent (see Rom 2:16; 8:34; 1 Cor 3:14). And punctuation differences become significant, for example, with questions (see Matt 6:31; Mark 7:18-19; 8:18; Rom 11:24; 1 Thess 2:19; Heb 2:2-3; 9:13-14; 2 Pet 3:11-12; 1 John 4:20). Or check out John 1:3b-4 as well on the placement of a period.
  2. The Accordance collation does not do a good job handling word order differences. Take a look at what the collation produces at, for example, Matt 14:4; 15:30; 22:43; Eph 6:8; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 3:13 vs. the textual differences themselves. Writing out the variant in context allows you to see that it is a word order difference. It’s hard to identify and compare word order differences in the Accordance collation.
  3. The Accordance collation cannot compare paragraphing/macro-structural differences. See, for example, John 1:1-18, the so-called “Prologue” of John. Peter Williams, co-editor of the THGNT, wrote an article, “Not the Prologue of John,” JSNT 33, no. 4 (2011): 375-86, where he argues that 1:1-18 is not really a prologue based on how ancient MSS structured the text, which informed paragraphing choices for the THGNT in John 1:1-18. THGNT has a paragraph beginning at v. 18 (not v. 19 like in NA28) and that paragraph continues until v. 20.
  4. The Accordance collation cannot compare certainty levels, esp. important in the Catholic letters with the 43 diamond readings from the ECM. My collation will compare certainty levels and include UBS ratings.
  5. The Accordance collation cannot compare the apparatuses of the THGNT vs. NA28 and their use of vid. in the citation of MSS. This is one area where the THGNT apparatus is better than the NA28 apparatus. THGNT is more transparent and will use vid. and transcribe the variant in MSS where the NA28 does not use vid., which gives the impression that the reading in the MSS is clear (compare apparatuses in Matt 5:22; 10:2; 13:40; James 4:9; 1 Pet 3:1).
  6. Somehow the Accordance collation completely misses the significant variant in John 1:18. It just notes that THGNT has the article and NA28 lacks it. But the real variant is: ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός (THGNT) vs. μονογενὴς θεός (NA28). Although Dirk Jongkind told me at SBL that he regrets the textual decision here and would like to change it. But this example shows that Accordance can make mistakes and not display important variants in a meaningful way. I’ve linked to a PDF below to compare and contrast what kind of collation I am producing vs. what Accordance produces. Not every variant will be that detailed in my collation, but I will be listing witnesses (so you can evaluate quickly, for example, where 01, 03, and Majority Text stand) and I will describe the issues, so that you can search for every instance of differences in word order, verbal aspect, verbal voice, verbal mood, liquid verbs, adding the article, particle, conjunction, etc.
  7. Overall, the Accordance collation can give you a big picture sense of differences, but you still need a human to categorize the differences, pick out the more significant differences, provide some context for each difference, and summarize the results. I’m presenting my paper comparing the THGNT vs. NA28 at SBL Midwest regional on Feb 7-9, so I’ll post a draft around that time. I’ve also attached a PDF of my collation for Hebrews to give you an example of what I’m working on. Bold Scripture references mean I think they are significant differences. 
On another post, Nelson says this:
I’m working on a full collation of textual differences, differences in certainty levels (esp. for the Catholic Letters), and differences in orthography for the SBL Midwest regional meeting. I’ve collated most of Paul, Hebrews, about 1/3 of the gospels, all the catholic letters. I’ve got 16 pages so far and expect the textual differences to reach maybe 35+ pages. I think the total number of textual differences (excluding orthography) could reach up to 500 differences or more. For example, I found 50 textual differences just in Matthew. But most differences will be minor. Here are 11 bullet points to summarize the differences between the THGNT and the NA28: (1) the most significant textual differences (from my perspective) are Matt 19:9; 27:16; John 1:18 (although Jongkind told me he regrets the textual decision here); Rom 5:1; Eph 5:22; 1 Pet 4:16; 2 Pet 3:10; Jude 22. Less significant (but still grammatically or theologically interesting) are Matt 17:9; 27:24; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 2:1; Gal 5:21; Col 4:8; 1 Thess 2:7; 2 Thess 2:13; Heb 9:11; 11:11, 37; 1 John 2:20. (2) On different accentuation of liquid verbs (creating the present vs. the future tense), see Rom 2:16; 8:34; 1 Cor 3:14. (3) On different punctuation of questions, see Matt 6:31; Mark 7:18-19; 8:18; Rom 11:24; 1 Thess 2:19; Heb 2:2-3; 9:13-14; 2 Pet 3:11-12. 
And he continues with more detail from there.

Thanks to both for sharing these. They are both very helpful.

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