An Evaluation Of The Bible Societies’ Text Of The Greek New Testament -- By: Wilber B. Wallis

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 10:2 (Spring 1967)
Article: An Evaluation Of The Bible Societies’ Text Of The Greek New Testament
Author: Wilber B. Wallis


An Evaluation Of The Bible Societies’
Text Of The Greek New Testament

Wilber B. Wallis

The Greek Testament edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allan Wikgren for the Bible Societies presents itself as especially adapted to the needs of translators. Accordingly, we learn that the project was “initiated, organized and administered by Eugene A. Nida” (preface, p. vi). Dr. Nida is a veteran of linguistic analysis and consultation in language reduction and translation work.

This edition of the Greek Testament does not supersede the Nestle series, which will continue.

The critical apparatus to the text is as promised “a full citation of representative evidence for each variant selected.” The entire text is not treated with equal thoroughness, but only readings “necessary for the establishing of the text” or “significant for translators” are treated. For example, the evidence cited for the omission of the Pericope adulterae exceeds that cited in Nestle’s 25th edition by listing four additional uncials (X, Y, 053, 0141); six additional cursives; the lectionaries; the Coptic, the Gothic, Armenian, Georgian versions; the Diatessaron; and Cyprian, Chrystostom, Cyril, Comos and Theophylact are added to, the Patristic testimony.

Citation of evidence as well as the legibility and explanatory material will make the volume a valuable teaching tool. The full display of evidence for disputed readings demands a more extended consideration of less well known manuscripts, versions and patristic sources.

The editors have devised a four-point scale for expressing the degree of certainty for each variant adopted. A signifies “virtually certain”; B, some “degree of doubt”; C, considerable degree of doubt; D, high degree of doubt. In the case of pericope adulterae mentioned above, omission is “A” in the scale—virtually certain.

A third feature of this edition is the treatment of about six hundred places where punctuation is significant for interpretation. Various alternatives are suggested, as to whether there should be a major break, a minor one, or none at all; whether a question, statement or command; etc. The opinions of modern editors and translators are then cited. In the case of Romans 9.5, the editors decide for a major break after χατὰ σάρχα printing their text with the Greek colon.

In each of these distinctive features here reported—fuller citation of witnesses, evaluation of degrees of certainty, and treatment of punctuation—there is valuable teaching material. Further, problem passages are highlighted and the student is warned that a decision is needed. It is probable t...

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