Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The USB/NA27 is the "Greek" behind most of the major bibles on the market today. Maybe I'm being too hopeful but it looks like we may have the basis for the NA28. In addition to some of the remaining issues since the 1990s, we also have extensive work on gnosticism which is becoming more mainstream. The UBS produces the Novum Testamentum Graece, currently the Nestle-Aland version (NA) though likely to pick a different name next time.

But a new manuscript of Paul's work (in coptic) showed up with the Gospel of Judas. Now all the followers of this blog know the Copts are the cool Christians in the Ancient world:

"Item 3 is fragments of a papyrus codex from the 5th (possibly 4th) century AD containing at least some of the letters of St. Paul. The leaves are approximately 24 cm tall and 16 cm broad. The scribe outlined his writing area with pink chalk. His handwriting is cursive in style, as though somewhat quickly written. The pages are numbered above the center of a single column of writing, the highest page number observed being 115. There are some nearly complete leaves of the codex preserved, and many smaller fragments, which might be reassembled into at least a sizeable portion of the codex. There is also part of a leather binding (either the front or the back cover, including the spine, lined with scrap papyrus) which probably, though not certainly, belongs to this codex. The contents identified with certainty are Hebrews, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians. The texts are in a non-standard form of the Sahidic dialect."

I have admit this is a bit over my head. But... I would love to see work start on an NA28. About 60 years ago Brauer's proposed the idea that early Christianity was a diverse group of sects which gradually coalesced to orthodoxy, rather than Orthodoxy existed from the beginning and alternate sects split off from it. This proposal far better explains the evidence that existed then and the last 60 years has only seen more confirmation. A Novum Testamentum Graece created with that presupposition (or at the very least not the presupposition of orthodoxy) will be a major step forward. I'm hoping the coptic above throws us over the line to get cracking on a new version.

Anyone want to comment?


Addendum: I got a comment on another blog about this. Appears work on the NA28 is underway as part of the Editio Critica Maior. You can see a list of differences here.

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