Review of Novum Testamentum Graece: Greek-English New Testament, 28th Edition (NRSV-REB Edition)

Hendrickson brings to us a delightful gift. Included for the first time in a Greek-English interlinear is the Revised English Bible. This less-travelled road makes all the difference in deciding which NA-28 to purchase, in my opinion.

The NA-28 is the most recent update to the Nestle-Aland production of a critical Greek New Testament, but it includes only changes made to the Catholic, or General, Epistles (James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1–3 John, and Jude). The NA-28’s website reads, “the Catholic Letters were revised according to a fundamentally new concept which in the long run will be adopted for the entire edition.” The focus on changes, then, should occur on the Catholic letters and have been discussed by various scholars in a myriad of publications. One may be hesitant to purchase the NA-28 based only on a few changes although one of those changes includes the adoption of the Editio Critica Maior, a particularly nice evolution in the NA series. Other revisions or changes include the marginal apparatus of references, a revision of non-Greek version citations, as well as a revision of patristic citations.

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The various endings of Mark (English)

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The various endings of Mark (Greek)

However, what I consider quite special about this version of the NA-28 is the inclusion of the Revised English Bible alongside that of the NRSV (which replaces the now outdated Revised Standard Version found in earlier NA editions). Unfortunately, the REB has not found it’s place in the American audience just yet. The REB, published in 1989, is the descendent of the 1960’s New English Bible and is itself based on the NA-27. It clears up some of the poor readings in the New English Bible as well as providing a nice, almost conservative, counterweight to the NRSV when it comes to certain translation issues like inclusive language (notably, Psalm 1). The literary quality of the REB is, in my opinion, a vastly superior one compared to many recent translations. While some of the Britishisms of the REB may slow the American reader,  the lack of Evangelicalism (such as what is found in the NIV) presents a doctrinal neutral text. Finally, as with the NRSV which is endorsed by the National Council of Churches, a U.S.-based organization, the REB is endorsed by the Joint Committee of the Churches, a U.K.-based ecumenical organization including many Protestant churches as we well as the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Very portable

I was concerned with size and the layout. After all, other Greek-English diglots are bulky with just one English translation. To add a second one is to tempt the scales. However, the size is no larger than what you might hope for in a hand-held bible. The layout places the Greek on one side of the page with the English translations on the other, all synced together. The NRSV is in plain font while the REB is in italics. Section headings and section parsing are taken from the NRSV. Missing from the English part is the critical apparatus detailing how other versions translated certain phrases and words (when compared to the RSV).

The NA-28 is step in redesigning the entire NA Greek New Testament. Not only does it adopt the Editio Critica Maior with changes to the Catholic Epistles, but it includes two English translations to showcase various methods of translation. It is profitable for the scholar and the autodidact alike and finally gives due consideration to the REB. 

Below is a brief vlog review as well:

Post By Joel Watts (10,113 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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3 thoughts on “Review of Novum Testamentum Graece: Greek-English New Testament, 28th Edition (NRSV-REB Edition)

  1. Strictly speaking it isn’t an interlinear. It is a diglot. Interlinears have a line of Greek and under it a line of English. The languages are inter-lined. But a nice review nonetheless.

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