Re: Getting a GNT off the Internet

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Nov 27 1996 - 21:45:03 EST

At 05:10 PM 11/27/96 -0800, KEN LITWAK wrote:
>From time to time, someone comes looking for a Greek NT essentially
>for free. I'd just like to make a comment. I don't know anything about
>these individuals and or what their intentions are. I would say,
>however, that considering the relatively low price of the UBS GNT,
>andyou can probably pick up a third edition for cheap, that if possible
>one ought to get one. Any version of the GNT you can get off the 'Net
>is probably not going to have a text-critical apparatus.


I agree and I disagree. The UBS text doesn't contain the lemmatization, which
makes it much easier for relative beginners to parse the text, check the tense
of verbs, etc. However, the CCATT lemmatization isn't completely reliable - I've
found several mistakes in it.

Still, there are lots of reasons for wanting to have a text in electronic
form. You
can print it out in different formats and color it with colored pencils, you can
manipulate it in various ways...I've gotten *lots* of mileage out of my
texts. And it really is a good starting point. Who needs a text-critical
when you are just getting started? Beginners are having a hard enough time
with the text, and never get to the variant readings.

That said, I do use the UBS 3rd edition, and keep it next to me when I use any
computerized text, and once I got an electronic Bible with the Gramcord
database and
search engine, I pretty much stopped using these other editions. But the free
databases got me started in the first place, and I think that they are a good
starting point for some people.

>Since there is
>no such thing as "The Greek NT" but approximations by scholars with
>various perspectives that lead them to take various readings as most
>probably correct (and this is not any sort of judgment about those
>reasons -- just an observation about their existence), one should not
>blithely equate any given text with a critical edition.

Of course, reading any reconstruction is reading the average of dozens of
texts, which means that you aren't really reading what *any* of the texts
says. Recently, I was able to read some passages as they appear in Codex
Vaticanus, P66, etc. I wonder how our perception and interpretation of
texts is shaped by reading reconstructions which do not correspond to
any "real" text that has ever been found?

I do look at major textual variations from time to time, but I find it
next to impossible to get any idea how a text would read in any one source
by using a critical edition.

I'm not arguing against the use of critical editions, I almost always do,
and I think this is the way to go.

>I myself have about both the UBS and Nestle-Aland critical editions

I have only UBS. I keep looking at Nestle-Aland and wondering if I should pick
it up. When would I want to use the additional textual apparatus in
What does it do that UBS doesn't?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
email:, <--- shockwave enabled!

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