Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
March 23rd, 2018 by Joel Watts

Review, @AccordanceBible’s Greek New Testament from Tyndale House

You can find the module here. From the description:

The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge has been created under the oversight of editors Dr. Dirk Jongkind (St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge) and Dr. Peter Williams (Tyndale House, Cambridge). Together with their team, they have taken a rigorously philological approach to reevaluating the standard text—reexamining spelling and paragraph decisions as well as allowing more recent discoveries related to scribal habits to inform editorial decisions.

Like most students of the New Testament, I used the NA or UBS Greek New Testament. However, breaking into this one has been a rather enjoyable exercise, especially via Accordance.

A few of the highpoints:

  • The Greek is scientifically reconstructed, even from within the same manuscripts. From the preface, “To do this it uses careful analysis of the scribal habits and typical transmission errors of individual manuscripts to establish which readings are likely to be prior.”
  • There is little added to the Greek, such as capitalizations and punctuation, except as needed. When I read things like this, I keep thinking of St. Paul’s introduction to Romans (and Romans as a whole) and how often punctuation obscures the connection of thought.
  • Of particular, and peculiar, note is their attention to spelling. “For spelling we have particularly relied on manuscripts from the fifth century and earlier, finding that such manuscripts frequently display different arrays of spelling from the later ones. These manuscripts contain much spelling variation that may appear random, but within the variation some patterns are detectable and at times manuscript testimony has led us to accept spellings that have not usually been adopted in printed editions.” (From the Appendix).
  • The goal of the text is not the original autographs (if such a thing exists), but an original canon. “(W)e have not felt it our job as editors to go back behind the witnesses that survive. Rather, in this edition we seek to constrain editorial choice to what is found in Greek manuscripts, not only in these matters, but also in other ones such as paragraph divisions, spelling, breathings, and accents.”

To this later point, I want to issue a congratulations to the editors. In working through the Gospel of Mark, it has become important for me to discover two things: one, what might have been said by the author and secondly, what might have been transmitted to Mark’s audience. I firmly believe Matthew had Mark’s Gospel in hand while writing his work (Luke and John as well). Further, the Church Fathers would have had copies of copies as well. What copies did they possess? This is a canonical discussion, of course, but I think it is very important as we dig into what was said and what was heard (passed down), even to the letters in the words (for instance, John 2.24, see below).

Now, on to the Accordance version. The electronic version somes tagged to the Greek tools included in various packages of the software. Further, it allows notes, highlights, and some really in-depth searching. I’ve included some images below showcasing of the features.

One of the neat things about this module is tagging to a deeper thread on the various manuscripts. Maybe it is just me, but I like to read about the various manuscripts, even if it is merely where they are now. The apparatus section also includes such things as what the manuscript is missing.

Accordance, again, makes a text immediately usable (notably, because it takes all of a few seconds to download, install, and start to search). Further, with Accordance, there is added value due to the instant tagging and searching.

I mean… even the spelling differences!

 

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. 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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