Re: UBS4 vs NA27 vs UBS3

Date: Fri Feb 19 1999 - 11:35:15 EST

Colleagues, especially David McKay who asks about NA27/UBS3/UBS4.

Though I've written my mind on this several times, it is worth
going over again.

First, on fonts:

The UBS4 is about as bad a font as could have been chosen. It is not only
italic and thin-lined, it shows through the paper, and becomes a battle for
my eyes. I own it (two copies--my original leather-bound, plus a second
printing which Clay Bartholomew suggested might be slightly better [I
decided it's just as bad]); but I never use it exept to explainto students
how it is different from UBS3.

The font used for UBS1, UBS2, UBS3, and UBS3c is beautiful, eminently
readable. It was set in real type, not even linotype--some printings show
characters slipping down or up a line, at the end. (Take a look at the end
of Matt. 5 [top of p. 17] in the first printing of UBS3 for example:
the final sigma of the third line, TELEIOS, has moved up to the end of the
second line, replacing the final epsilon of ESESQE, which has moved up to
the top line, following POI so that POI- EITE becomes POIE- EITE,)

I also prefer UBS3 or UBS3c, since the evaluations have not undergone the
"grade-inflation" of UBS4. (Slightly different method used to describe the
A,B,C,D grades, but the committee membership changed over the years to a
more traditional-in-some-ways and more-clones-of Aland-in-other-ways

BUT---- UBS3 and UBS3c is no longer available. What to do?

I give my students a choice, letting them look at both UBS4 and NA27 before
deciding what to buy.

I rather like NA27, despite its smaller type-size; the type is slightly
(VERY slightly) larger than previous Nestle editions, and it is freshly set
(by computer), so the damaged letters of Nestles through 25th edition is
done with. (Remember how they used to explain that they couldn't change
what was on a page overmuch, since the "type is serviceable for years to
come"?) There is also a real expansion of the extent of the apparatus.

BUT-- the price of these two changes is a bigger book, and it no longer
fits into my breast-pocket. Is it still a "Handausgabe"? Except for this,
however, it is a very attractive volume.

The texts of NA27 and UBS4 are (virtually) identical.

Now, the apparatus:

For someone who has taken the trouble to learn something about MSS and
versions and about textual criticism, Nestle is far superior. Without
that background, however, it is probably as David says: "I can't make
head or tail of the apparatus."

For a beginner, the UBS apparatus is probably more useful, since
(a) only variants (supposedly) affecting translation are included,
(b) the variants are evaluated (by committee vote!), and
(c) the citations are more extensive for those many-fewer variants
which are included (but how does a beginner know how to evaluate any
of them?).


(1) Hang on to your UBS3 copies!

(2) Beginners probably should look at the two, and decide which one they
can read best.

        (If a beginner goes on long enough to be able to use the apparatus
with intelligence, he/she will be in need of a new copy anyway, and will
be able to choose the other one if need be.)

Edward Hobbs

----------------------David wrote------>>>>>>>>>

If you were buying a Greek NT today, which would you buy? What would you
recommend for a beginner?

I have a UBS3 and am perfectly happy with it. My first one fell apart at
college, but my wife's one has lasted 20 years. Both were free, because the
Australian Bible Society used to give a copy to theological students doing
Greek [got a Tenach free too in First Year Hebrew]. Wonder if they still do?

I don't like the UBS4 italic font, and I haven't yet met anyone who does. Is
an NA27 viable for a beginner? I can't make head or tail of the apparatus,
though I guess I could work slowly through the introduction and take my dear
dad's advice [If all else fails, read the directions].

>From looking at one last night, it would not seem to give any evaluation in
the apparatus. Am I right or just myopic? [Actually I am biopic, and I still
hate bifocals!]

David McKay

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