What do the Sigla in a New Testament Mean? CNTR Edition

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

If you've been following along in my blog, you're probably hoping I'll move onto a different subject. I'll present one more type of critical apparatus, this one comparing some ancient Greek manuscripts with modern critical editions. The apparatuses I've shown in previous articles are from United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, Third Edition (USB3), Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th Edition (NA27) and Reuben Swanson's New...

Continue Reading

What do the Sigla in a New Testament Mean? Swanson Edition

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

My last two articles were about decoding the critical apparatus in the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament and the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Both of those use some cryptic symbols, called sigla, to indicate where witnesses (manuscripts) have different readings. I was also able to find an editor who arranged the texts in horizontal lines, making it much easier (for me)  to see how the witnesses are different (and similar). Reuben Swanson...

Continue Reading

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

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

Last week I wrote about the sigla used in the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, Third Edition (UBS3) (The latest is UBS5). 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...

Continue Reading

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

Matthew 1:7-8, UBS 3

Last week I wrote about critical editions of the Greek New Testament, and showed some pictures of Matthew 1 from several editions. Some of those pictures also had the critical apparatuses in them, which seem very cryptic. Actually, they are codes, and anyone who knows the non-secret code can decode an apparatus (with some practice). The symbols are technically called sigla (plural) or siglum (singular).

In addition to having...

Continue Reading

What is a Critical Edition of the New Testament?

Spelling of "David" in Greek Matthew 1:1

As I've written before, different scholars have different opinions about which Greek manuscripts most closely resemble the original texts written by the New Testament authors, and they use different sets of rules to determine the most appropriate readings. When scholars put their beliefs into practice, a new critical text of the New Testament is created. The text may be published many times in different editions, just as the text of the King James...

Continue Reading

What are the Most Important New Testament Manuscripts?

The New Testament was written in the first century, but the  date each book was written is highly debated. Conservative Christians usually date most of the books of the New Testament before A.D. 70, since there is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army, which occurred that year. Other people claim much of the New Testament was written after A.D. 70, and that any apparent prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was written after...

Continue Reading

What Text Types are the Variants in Colossians 2:2?

In the article How Are Textual Variants and Variation Units Related? I had a chart showing the reading that textual critics think is most likely to be original for the last variation unit in Colossians 2:2, along with 14 textual variants. The standard text reads:

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the...

Continue Reading

How Are Textual Variants and Variation Units Related?

Textual variants are words or phrases in a manuscript that are different from the standard text. There may be several textual variants for a verse in the Bible, such as the last verse of the Lord's Prayer. Variation units are places in the standard text where the original wording is uncertain, and scholars try to determine which textual variant most likely reflects the original wording.

Textual Variants in Colossians 2:2

A single...

Continue Reading

What are Variant Units?

In my article two weeks ago, I wrote there are an estimated 200,000-500,000 textual variants in the Greek New Testament manuscripts. Last week I showed spelling errors are counted, but most aren't significant.

Variant Types

The types of textual variants that exist in New Testament manuscripts are split into two  broad categories:

  • Insignificant Variants are errors that are usually found in only a few manuscripts and that can...

Continue Reading