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
- • – 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)
- ¦ – Selected reading
- txt – Reading selected for the critical text. Ἀσάφ (Asaph) was a musician (1 Chronicles 25:1)
- – Possibly in Papyrus 1 or GA P1, but the manuscript is damaged at this location (A.D. 250; Alexandrian)
- א – Codex Sinaiticus or GA01 (A.D. 325-375; Alexandrian)
- B – Codex Vaticanus or GA03 (A.D. 300-350; Alexandrian)
- C – Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus or GA04 (A.D. 400-499; Alexandrian with Byzantine)
- (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.
- f1,13 – Miniscule5 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.
- Askeland, Christian. NT Textual Criticism Signs (EvangelicalTextualCriticism.com, December 10, 2014) Accessed 10-Oct-2020
- Explanation of the Nestle Signs (26th & 26th Editions) (LutherSem.edu) Accessed 02-Oct-2020.
- Nongbri, Brent. A Very Brief Introduction to the Critical Apparatus of the Nestle-Aland (2006) (Marquette.edu) Accessed 02-Oct-2020.
- Signs, Symbols and Latin Abbreviations of Nestle-Aland27 (ViceRegency.com) Accessed 02-Oct-2020.
- List of New Testament lectionaries (Wikipedia) Accessed 01-Oct-2020.
- Lists of New Testament minuscules (Wikipedia) Accessed 01-Oct-2020.
- List of New Testament papyri (Wikipedia) Accessed 01-Oct-2020.
- List of New Testament uncials (Wikipedia) Accessed 01-Oct-2020.
- List of New Testament Latin manuscripts (Wikipedia) Accessed 02-Oct-2020.
What is Textual Criticism? (36 articles)
- Why are there Variations in Different Translations of the New Testament? (1 of 36)
- What are Textual Variants? (2 of 36)
- How Many Textual Variants Exist in the New Testament Manuscripts? (3 of 36)
- Are Spelling Differences Meaningful in New Testament Manuscripts? (4 of 36)
- What are Variant Units? (5 of 36)
- How Are Textual Variants and Variation Units Related? (6 of 36)
- Why did God Allow Variants in the New Testament Manuscripts? (7 of 36)
- Do Textual Variants Show Christianity is False? (8 of 36)
- How Careful were Scribes when Copying the Bible? (9 of 36)
- What are Unintentional Textual Variants? (10 of 36)
- What are Intentional Textual Variants? (11 of 36)
- Is a Textual Variant Both Meaningful and Viable? (12 of 36)
- What is a Singular Reading? (13 of 36)
- Were the Church Fathers Aware of Variations in the New Testament Manuscripts? (14 of 36)
- Are Textual Variants Motivated By Theology? (15 of 36)
- What are New Testament Text Types? (16 of 36)
- How do New Testament Text Types Compare? (17 of 36)
- What Text Types are the Variants in Colossians 2:2? (18 of 36)
- What are the Most Important New Testament Manuscripts? (19 of 36)
- Do I Need a Dictionary to Study Textual Criticism? (20 of 36)
- What is New Testament Textual Criticism? (21 of 36)
- How are the Best Textual Readings Determined? (22 of 36)
- What Evidence do Textual Critics Evaluate? (23 of 36)
- Is Textual Criticism an Art or a Science? (24 of 36)
- What are the Approaches to New Testament Textual Criticism? (25 of 36)
- What is a Critical Edition of the New Testament? (26 of 36)
- What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? UBS Edition (27 of 36)
- What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? NA Edition (28 of 36)
- What do the Sigla in a New Testament Mean? Swanson Edition (29 of 36)
- What do the Sigla in a New Testament Mean? CNTR Edition (30 of 36)
- How do English Versions of the Bible Identify the Variant Reading in Matthew 1:7-8? (31 of 36)
- What is the Correct Wording In 1 John 5:7-8? (32 of 36)
- Why are Some Verses in Square Brackets? (33 of 36)
- What is the Purpose of Textual Criticism? (34 of 36)
- Do We Have What The New Testament Authors Wrote? (35 of 36)
- Is New Testament Textual Criticism Important? (36 of 36)
- What do the Sigla in a New Testament Apparatus Mean? UBS Edition
- What is the Gregory-Aland Numbering System?
- What are Variant Units?
- 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.
- All words are written in the Greek equivalent of lower case.
- 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.