What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? NA Edition

Matthew 1:7-8, NA27 - Asaph or Asa
This entry is part 28 of 36 in the series What is Textual Criticism?

Last week I wrote about the sigla used in the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, Third Edition (UBS3) (The latest is UBS5)1. Today I want to do a similar exercise for the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th Edition (NA27) (The latest is NA28). The apparatus presented by UBS is much shorter than NA, and is a bit easier to understand. One big benefit of UBS is the rating system, which helps the reader determine how confident the editors were in selecting the reading; NA doesn’t offer a similar feature.

One difference between the apparatuses in UBS and NA is the UBS apparatus lists the selected reading first and the alternate readings afterwards. NA lists the alternate readings first and the selected reading last. A few of the symbols are different, but most (if not all) modern critical editions use the Gregory-Aland number system2 to identify the witnesses, except for some of the majuscule manuscripts, where capital Roman, Greek or Hebrew letters are used. 

I’ll use Matthew 1:7-8 in my example, again. Much of what I will show today will be the same as last week, because much of it is the same information.

7 …and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah…. (Matthew 1:7-8 ESV)

The variant unit is the name Asaph at the end of verse 7 and repeated at the beginning of verse 8. The four lines of text at the bottom of the picture, the apparatus, show there are two different readings for the name. Some Greek New Testaments use Ἀσάφ (Asaph), while some other editions use Ἀσά (Asa).

Matthew 1:7-8, NA27 - Asaph or Asa

Matthew 1:7-8, NA27 – Asaph or Asa

  • • – Start of variant unit3
  • 7/8 – The variant unit is in verses 7 and 8
  • There is a section for a variant I’m not reviewing at this time
  • | – Start of the variant I am reviewing
  • ⸁ – The following is the second variant in the variant unit
  • bis – The following variant occurs twice in the variant unit
  • Ἀσά – Alternate reading.  Ἀσά (Asa) was a King of Judah (1 Kings 15:8-9)
  • The next section is a list of witnesses (manuscripts) that support the reading
    • L – Codex Regius or GA19 (A.D. 700-799; Alexandrian)
    • W – Codex Washingtonianus or GA032 (A.D. 400-499; Eclectic)
    • 33 – Miniscule manuscripts (A.D. 800-899; Alexandrian)
    • 𝔐 – Majority Text; most manuscripts of the Byzantine text type
    • (a) – Most manuscripts, but some have slight variations
    • f ff1 – Old Latin (Italia) manuscripts Codex Vercellensis Codex Brixianus, Codex Corbeiensis I  (before Latin Vulgate in A.D. 380.)
    • vg – Latin Vulgate (A.D. 380)
    • sy – Syriac versions Curetonianus, Sinaiticus, Peshitta, Harclean, Palestinian (A.D. 300-699)
Matthew 1:7-8, NA27 - Asaph or Asa
Matthew 1:7-8, NA27 – Asaph or Asa
  • ¦ – Selected reading
    • txt – Reading selected for the critical text. Ἀσάφ (Asaph) was a musician (1 Chronicles 25:1)
    • \mathfrak {P}^{1vid} – Possibly in Papyrus 1 or GA P1, but the manuscript is damaged at this location (A.D. 250; Alexandrian)
    • (Dluc) – Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis or GA05, a diglot written in both Greek and Latin. 4 (A.D. 400-499; Western). The page which should contain Matthew 1:1-20 is missing. Based on comparisons of the genealogies in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:21-38, D would likely have used Ἀσάφ.
    • f1,13Miniscule5 family 1 contains miniscule manuscripts 1, 118, 131, 205, 209, 872 (in Mark only), 884 (in part), 1582, 2193, and 2542 (A.D. 900-1499; Eclectic). family 13 contains miniscule manuscripts 13, 69, 124, 346, 543, 788, 826, 828, 983, and 1689 (A.D. 1000-1499; Eclectic)
    • 700 – Miniscule manuscripts (A.D. 1000-1199; Caesarean)
    • 𝑙844 – Lectionary
    • 𝑙2211 – Lectionary
    • pc – Paucity, a few manuscripts
    • it – Old Latin (Italia)
    • (syhmg) – Syriac Harclean, marginal note, with a slight variation (A.D. 616)
    • cop – Copic manuscripts6
  • ¦ – Next variant unit

Much of the information in this article and last week’s is similar, but I’ve been trying to figure out how to decode these, so I decided to write an article about both the United Bible Society apparatus and the Nestle-Aland apparatus. In the last article, I mentioned that this variant in Matthew 1:7-8 was the first one in the UBS New Testament. You may have noticed that in the NA New Testament this isn’t the first one. In the picture above, there are just a few witnesses from an earlier variant unit before 7-8 starts, and there’s a variant earlier in 7-8 that I skipped. In the NA, the apparatus show variant units for verses 3, 5 and 6, and none of those appear in UBS. NA lists more variants than UBS, as it is intended to be used by scholars.



Series Navigation<< What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? UBS EditionWhat do the Sigla in a New Testament Mean? Swanson Edition >>


  1. What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? UBS Edition
  2. What is the Gregory-Aland Numbering System?
  3. What are Variant Units?
  4. There are two codices named D. Dea, named Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis or GA05, contains the Gospels and Acts. Dp, named Codex Claromontanus, or GA06, contains the Pauline epistles.
  5. All words are written in the Greek equivalent of lower case.
  6. Copic was the last spoken and written version of the Egyptian language, and has been nearly extinct since the 1600’s. Arabic is now the most common language in Egypt.

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