Re: N-A text

From: Vincent Broman (
Date: Mon Sep 11 1995 - 13:52:06 EDT asked:
> Does anyone have an opinion on Comfort's suggested changes [to NA26]?

The general tenor of Comfort's argument was to say that the text
attested by the earliest greek MSS is almost always best, i.e.
just go with the Egyptian papyri or Vaticanus. Since the Nestle-Aland
committee doesn't seem to agree with that theory, they probably
won't follow his suggestions directly. Some who prefer NA25 to NA26
might think well of his suggestions.

> Are there any well-argued
> critiques--other than by defenders of the Textus Receptus--of the N-A text,
> or, conversely, good supporting arguments?

Metzger's Textual Commentary on the GNT is the supporting argument
for the NA-26/27-UBS-3/4. It reveals, unfortunately, that the edition
is not the product of one cohesive theory, which could be criticised
as a whole, but of a series of votes. The Alands' book, The Text of the
New Testament, tries to present a historical theory justifying
the collection of methods they use in text criticism, with very mixed success.

Beyond the occasional articles one sees arguing about this or that individual
variant, fundamental criticisms have come from eclectics like Elliott
and Kilpatrick, who think that nearly all the variants seen in the fourth
century existed in the second century and therefore internal evidences
are the only tool available to choose between such early variants.
They have tried to demonstrate by examples that the original text should
be sought from among all the text types.

Bover edited a GNT on principles not radically different from the NA26
committee, but with substantially less emphasis on Vaticanus. He
generally published in Spanish, but Metzger wrote a summary article
on Bover's contributions to text criticism.

Harry Sturz's (nonreactionary) book "The Byzantine Text in NTTC"
presents some cogent criticisms of the consensus views undergirding
the NA26 text, along with a not-entirely-convincing listing of papyrus
evidence for the early existence of some "Byzantine" readings.

Royce wrote a good article criticizing the treatment of scribal leaps
(parablepsis or hom) by the editors of NA26. His complaints of
inconsistency seem well-founded to me.

Someone (not too many years ago, but I'd have to dig deep to refind it)
wrote an interesting critique of the mistakes he sees made in detecting
synoptic harmonizations between the Gospels. The biggest example
he analyzed was with the divorce logia, but that wasn't the only one.

Zane Hodges et al (not TR supporters exactly, but close enough to get tarred
by the same brush) edited a GNT presenting (overall) a Majority Text.
They have published critical arguments supporting their approach
against that used in NA26, but... the really interesting stuff in their
explanatory introduction was the stemmatic reconstructions of the text
of the Pericope Adulterae and of the Apocalypse. The results from this
stemmatic theory differ significantly from the NA26 Apocalypse.

This is off the top of my head. If you need references, you'll have
to ask me to find them at home.

Vincent Broman, code 786 Bayside Email:
Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Div.
San Diego, CA 92152-6147, USA Phone: +1 619 553 1641

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