Saturday, December 11, 2010

Report Card: The New SBL Greek New Testament

The latest entry in the Critical Greek New Testament competition is the SBL GNT edition (2010). The author/editor of this text (Michael Holmes) admits its flavor and provides the statistical agreement himself.

Holmes gives the following stats:
out of 6,928 significant variant-units (VUs), there are . . .

SBL—WH: agrees 6,049 times, disagrees 879  (= 87% with WH)

SBL-NA27: agrees 6386, disagrees 542 (= 92% with NA)

SBL—RP:  agrees 969, disagrees 5,959 (= 14% Agrees with RP)

SBL Alone: goes against all 56 times* (* = WH margin 30x)

Thus if "agreement" is weighed by VU count, it appears Holmes has closely followed the viewpoint of other modern Eclecticists such as the Alands (NA27), and generally, is reproducing the W/H Text (i.e., the Alexandrian text-type based on Aleph/B),  with a few reversals and modern preferences.

Thus in spite of supposed 'advances', we still stand with two basic competing texts, the Traditional text (Byzantine, TR, HF, RP, =KJV NT etc.), and the Critical Text ('Alexandrian', WH, NA, SBL etc.).

 If we just consider significant omissions (ignoring spelling and single-word differences) the agreement between the new SBL GNT and W/H shoots up to 96% !! (e.g., Matthew's Gospel):

versewhole/half-verses omittedWHSBL
5:27τοις αρχαιοιςOmOm ·
5:44 (a)
ευλογειτε τους καταρωμενους υμας καλως ποιειτε τους μισουντας υμας
OmOm ⸀
5:44 (b)επηρεαζοντων υμας καιOmOm ⸀
6:13οτι σου εστιν η βασιλεια και η δυναμις
και η δοξα εις τους αιωνας αμην
OmOm ⸀
12:47(whole verse)OmIn ⸢ ⸣
13:51 λεγει αυτοις ο ιησους OmOm ⸀
15:5-6η την μητερα αυτου (h.t.)OmOm ·
15:8τω στοματι αυτων καιOmOm ⸢ ⸣
19:9καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσας μοιχᾶταιOmIn ⸢ ⸣
19:20-μην εκ νεοτητος μουOmOm ·
20:7και ο εαν η δικαιον ληψεσθεOmOm ⸢
20:16πολλοι γαρ εισιν κλητοι ολιγοι δε εκλεκτοιOmOm ⸢
20:22και το βαπτισμα ο εγω βαπτιζομαι βαπτισθηναι OmOm ⸢
20:23και το βαπτισμα ο εγω βαπτιζομαι βαπτισθησεσθεOmOm ⸢
22:13αρατε αυτον και εκβαλετε / εκβαλετε αυτον OmOm ⸢ ⸣
23:4και δυσβαστακτα OmOm ⸢ ⸣
23:5των ιματιων αυτωνOmOm ⸀
25:13εν η ο υιος του ανθρωπου ερχεταιOmOm ⸀
26:3και οι γραμματεις OmOm ⸀
26:60προσελθοντων ουχ ευρονOmOm ⸀
27:35bινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο του προφητου διεμερισαντο τα ιματια μου εαυτοις και επι τον ιματισμον μου εβαλον κληρονOmOm *
28:2απο της θυραςOmOm ⸀
28:9ως δε επορευοντο απαγγειλαι τοις μαθηταις αυτουOmOm ⸀
23 VUsSBL - W/H = 96% agreement in Matthew2322/23

So we see that all the talk of distancing the modern critical text from the "errors" of Westcott & Hort is still just a bunch of hand-waving and hot air.

The Critical Greek text has not been altered to any significant degree, since 1882.


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