Thursday, November 01, 2012

NA28 teacher outsmarted by NA27 student

This morning I was teaching through the Greek text of James 1 and thinking about the relation of 1:8 to 1:7.

μὴ γὰρ οἰέσθω ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος ὅτι λήμψεταί τι παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου,
ἀνὴρ δίψυχος, ἀκατάστατος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτοῦ. (Jam 1:7-8, punctuation as in NA27/28)

Working from NA28, I commented that one almost would expect γάρ in the second line, ἀνὴρ γὰρ δίψυχος ... or at least, the second line expects to be read as such. My student told me immediately that this is what some manuscripts actually had done, only to confirm my impression that I had a smart student in front of me. In my NA28 the variant is not noted, but it turned out to be in her edition, which is NA27. Still, impressive reading of the apparatus.

1) I could have prepared for this eventuality by working from the ECM.

2) When teaching grammar and syntax I would like a selection of textual variants based on different criteria than when teaching textual criticism or when studying the history of the text.

3) I can see a whole new cottage industry for specialized Greek New Testaments, a little bit along lines of the targeted versions of any English translation ('The Devotional Bible', 'The Bible for Couples', 'The Bikers' Bible', 'The Teenage Bible', etc.). What about 'The GNT for Teachers', 'The GNT for Exegetes', 'The GNT for Students of the Old Testament', 'The GNT for Syriac Scholars', 'The GNT for those with Byzantine Leanings', 'The GNT for Discourse Grammarians'. The possibilities are endless: each group is served with a different selection of variants, a different introduction, different pictures in the text. We get targeted marketing, different study groups at SBL, boring text-critics bending over backwards to find new audiences to be served with the labour of their hands, increased profit, economic recovery, financial wealth. What are we waiting for?

4) I'll have to keep NA27 on my desk.


  1. Seems to me that we already have "The GNT for those with Byzantine Leanings"...but it doesn't have GAR in Jas 1:8 either.

  2. Dirk,

    Same thing happens when say looking up lectionary MSS & variants between the UBS 3rd and 4th editions. In the end, good to have a selection of editions on hand. Plus, the CNTTS apparatus helps too.

    Also, on the Byzantine side Lord willing, the BGNT will take up the slack with some more missing variants and MSS not currently noted in any electronic apparatus or edition.

    Paul Anderson

  3. Maurice, to describe yourself as 'with Byzantine leanings' would be one of the greater understatements in the field :). But serious, wouldn't you love to see a version of the NA28 that gives particular attention in the apparatus to its (non)relation with the Byzantine tradition and select its discussed variants accordingly?

  4. In relation to Dirk's comment:

    The RP 2005 edition does cite all NA27 variations (including orthographic) in its footnotes, so that provides at least a starting point for any discussion.

    To the point of your original post, however, just as with the "new" absence of the Jas 1:8 GAR variant in NA28, the NA27 and its predecessors (at least) have never attempted to cite all primary Byzantine variations -- not even those which are eminently translatable. It would be helpful to see this anomaly rectified in some future NA apparatus, even if such do not otherwise enter into the editors' determination regarding "original" or Ausgangstext readings.

  5. Interesting. The NET bible actually translates the verse as if it had a γαρ...

    'For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.'

    No tc-note, so I would presume the translator's Greek original did not have a γαρ, and the NET translator simply decided that adding the English conjunctions properly conveyed the meaning best in English. (yet another cautionary tail about how useful a version is in determining the original;).


  6. ... "The GNT with Red Letters", "The GNT with Cross References and Topical Index", "The Thompson Chain Reference LXX and GNT", "The Chronological GNT", "The Children's GNT"...

    Some of these I would actually really enjoy having :P :)