Re: old new mss

From: Jim West (
Date: Thu Oct 07 1999 - 22:44:54 EDT

At 07:11 PM 10/7/99 +0000, you wrote:

>I understand KJV and NIV, and so many others are translations of Greek into
>English. I am looking for the source for the differences, not in
>translations, but in Greek texts, "MSS."

There are variations in Greek manuscripts because every copy of Matthew, for
instance, made before the invention of the printing press is different in
some slight (and usually insignificant way) from every other one. So, when
translators choose a text, they inevitably have to decide which one they
think is nearer to "the original text" (a phrase absolutely fraught with
difficulties... the study of which is better addressed in textual criticism).
Thus, these different manuscripts lie behind various versions. The KJV is
based on one set of manuscripts while the NIV is based on another... etc.
(though this statement too is fraught with problems- but we are at the
beginning arent we and thus we must be fairly general... time for specifics

> When comparing my Greek text used
>to translate KJV and NIV. In Matt 5:44, and elsewhere, there is such a
>difference in the number of words in the Greek text, how can I know which
>is reliable?

"reliable" is another difficult term. What you probably mean by reliable is
"how can I know which text is closest to the autograph (the words written by
the author himself)" The answer- you cant know! you must use the tools of
the text critic to try to find out which text you deem the closest to that
putative original.

>I understand there is a difference between earlier and later Greek MMS and
>that the earlier the better, but
>could someone tell me where I can acquire copies of these MSSs that were
>used in translations,
>so I may see for myself why translations varied so much.

You would have to see if the preface to your various translations list the
manuscripts they use. Most dont (I cant think of any that do). The
translations vary because translators say things differently. Sometimes
there is no textual difference between two translations at all. For
instance, Carl and I frequently translate the exact same text in completely
different ways. The Greek text doesnt solve ambiguity most of the time.

>I will look into, Nestle-Aland's "Novum Testamentum Graece" (27th edition)
>and the NA27, which I have neither copy.

Its the same thing. NA 27 is Nestle/Aland 27.

>Please explain: Textus Receptus and the Majority Text.

hmmm.. another text critical question. Put simply, the Textus Receptus is
the "received text". It is the basis of the KJV and is composed primarily
of Majority (Byzantine) manuscripts. Thus, the TR (textus receptus) is
based on the majority text (with 1000 qualifications lurking in the wings).

>I hope my question is more appropriately stated, and not too far off the
>purpose of B-Greek.

ask away.



Jim West, ThD
web page-

'Mythology is what never was but always is.' Stephen of Byzantium

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