Friday, February 15, 2013

Editio Critica Maior: changes between the 1st and 2nd editions

The 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland text presents, for the Catholic Epistles, the text of the 2nd edition of the Editio Critica Maior (not yet published). A comparison of the text of ECM1 with the text of NA28 (= ECM2) indicates that there are 13 differences between the first and second editions, as follows:

NA28 (ECM2)
Jas 1:20
οὐ κατεργάζεται
•οὐκ ἐργάζεται•
Jas 1:22
μόνον ἀκροατὶ
ἀκροατὶ μόνον 
Jas 2:4
καὶ οὐ διεκρίθητε
οὐ διεκρίθητε
Jas 2:15
λειπόμενοι ὦσιν
Jas 4:10
τοῦ κυρίου
1 P 2:5
•τῷ• θεῷ
1 Pet 5:1
2 P 2:18
2 P 2:20
•κυρίου ἡμῶν•
1 J 3:7
2 J 5
γράφων σοι καινὴν
καινὴν γράφων σοι
2 J 12
ᾖ πεπληρωμένη
πεπληρωμένη ᾖ
3 J 4
ἐν ἀληθείᾳ
ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ

It is striking that 8 of the 13 differences between the two editions are not marked by either a diamond ()—which “indicates passages where the guiding line is split in the second edition of the ECM, because there are two variants which in the editors’ judgement could equally well be adopted in the reconstructed initial text” (NA28, “Introduction,” 55*)—or  bold dot(s), which sometimes signal alternative readings of equal value to the text and sometimes simply mark passages calling for “special critical consideration” (ECM, 24*). Furthermore, of the 5 readings that are marked by bold dots or the diamond, none are marked by both dots and a diamond.

A comparison of bold dotted and diamond readings throughout the Catholic Epistles produces the following results (all numbers subject to confirmation):

Total # of readings with diamond, dot(s), or both:           107
# of diamond readings with no corresponding dot(s):       19
# of readings with both diamond and dot(s):                      22
# of dotted readings with no corresponding diamond:       66

That is, of the 107 marked variants, only 22 (20.5%) share the diamond and dot(s), while 85 (79.5%) have either one or the other, but not both.

These numbers indicate that the means of signaling uncertainty in the text—dotted readings in ECM1, and “split guiding line” readings in ECM2 (= the diamond readings in NA28) overlap in only about 1 in 5 instances. Of the 88 “dotted” readings marked in ECM1, only 22 of them (25%) are marked in ECM2—a noticeable reduction. But at the same time, of the 41 diamond readings marked in ECM2, nearly half,  19 (= 46%), are new to that edition—a substantial proportion of the whole. Finally, one must keep in view the fact that of the 13 differences between ECM1 and ECM2, 8 (61%) are not marked (with a diamond or dots) in either edition of ECM.

Mike Holmes


  1. Thanks Mike, the first implication of this would seem to be that re-running everything through the process with the full data from the CEs has lead to a significant increase in confidence in some cases/places, but has caused questions in other places.
    Are we still expecting a textual commentary with the ECM?

  2. Some notes:

    ECM2 has returned to NA27 in Jas 1,22 with μόνον ἀκροατὶ.
    ECM2 follows Byz at Jas 2,15 with λειπόμενοι ὦσιν.
    ECM2 moves away from P72 Byz at 1Pt 2,5 with θεῷ.
    ECM2 follows Byz at 2Pt 2,18 with ὄντως.
    ECM2 follows Byz at 3J 4 with ἐν ἀληθείᾳ

    One wonders what happens when they do ECM3 :)

  3. By my tabulation, NA28 reflects Byz over ECM1 in all but two instances (1Pe 2:5; 1Jn 3:7).

  4. Does this mean that the data in the online CBGM have been adjusted? A change in assessment in the direction in which readings are thought to be related affects the way CBGM reconstructs 'manuscript' dependencies. Is the web version working with ECM1 or ECM2? If the first, then we are now in a (temporary) position where no one can really check what has happened.

  5. Dirk, yes, CBGM online is still working on the basis of ECM1. CBGM2 will be released as soon as ECM2 is out. We did not make it in 2012 (as announced in NA28), but it will definitely appear this year.

  6. Klaus, how much does ECM2 change over ECM1 in other terms besides those changes in the text? Any new information in the apparatus?

  7. Just for the record, I counted 43 diamonds in the ECM2/NA28 not 41. I'm not sure which two they are, but, by my reckoning, they both have dots in ECM1. So there are 24 diamonds with previous dots (not 22) and 64 dots without diamonds (not 66).

  8. Here is what they wont tell you about the ECM