“Editio Critica Maior” An Introduction And Assessment -- By: Peter M. Head
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“Editio Critica Maior”
An Introduction And Assessment
A review article on: Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior Vol. IV Catholic Letters (ed. by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland†, Gerd Mink, Holger Strutwolf, and Klaus Wachtel); Instl. 1: James, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 1997; 2nd rev. impr., Stuttgart 1998); Instl. 2: The Letters of Peter, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2000); Instl. 3: The First Letter of John, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2003); Instl. 4: The Second and Third Letter of John. The Letter of Jude, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2005).
Although for some purposes the editions of the Greek NT currently available (i.e. NA27 and UBS4) are adequate, textual scholars wanting more extensive collections of variant readings with manuscript support have had to look back to the major works of Tischendorf (published in 1869) and von Soden (published in 1913).1 In 1981 Kurt and Barbara Aland wrote of these two editions:
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They are indispensable for specialized studies on the transmission of particular texts and passages because (unfortunately) they still represent the most detailed collection of variants (von Soden) and the most accurate presentation of the evidence for them (Tischendorf) available today.2
As successive directors of the Institute for NT Text Research in Münster, first Kurt and then Barbara Aland had been pursuing the production of ‘die grosse kritische Ausgabe’ or Editio Critica Maior which would make up for this unfortunate contemporary lack.3 After many years of work, reflected not least in the extensive material collected in the Text und Textwert volumes,4 the publication of the text, critical apparatus, and supplementary material for the Catholic Epistles has now been completed, beginning with James (1997), then the letters of Peter (2000), 1 John (2003), and finally 2 and 3 John and Jude (2005).5 These eight fascicles not only provide us with the most
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extensive treatment of the textual tradition of these epistles yet compiled, they also anticipate the production and publication, over the next several decades, of the rest of the NT; they thus offer ‘...
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