I've had a copy of Zondervan's Reader's Greek New Testament (amazon.com) [the first edition with the italic font; there is a second edition (amazon.com) with a non-sloping font] for a few years (a gift from one of the editors) and have enjoyed it despite the italic font. I've actually become used to the font (it is slightly better than the horrible UBS4 italic font). I think the concept is great -- gloss words that occur 30x or less at the foot of the page to help those working on their vocabulary and reading skills.
And the book is well crafted -- made for folks who will actually use it. The cover is a soft leather, it is not heavy at all. One of the perennial complaints with the reader, apart from the italic font, is that it uses Zondervan's Greek text instead of the UBS4/NA27 text.
Recently, the German Bible Society has released their own reader's edition: The UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader's Edition (amazon.com). This glosses words that occur 30x or less at the foot of the page, and it uses the UBS4 (and it doesn't have an italic font!) as the Greek text. I've also got access to a copy of this (it was a gift to Logos from the GBS) so I thought I'd write a quick post comparing the two.
- Cost: The RGNT is less expensively priced, as you can see from the Amazon links above.
- Form Factor: Again, I think Zondervan wins. The RGNT is half the thickness of the UBSGNT:RE, same basic shape.
- Cover: RGNT wins hands-down on the cover. The Italian duo-tone leather is a joy to hold. The UBS cover is the standard red cover, though it is the size of a large print edition (also the size of Omanson's Textual Guide to the GNT (amazon.com)). UBS has a ribbon; Zondervan does not.
- Paper: UBS wins here, their paper is better -- not the thin onion-skin paper of the RGNT.
- Text: UBS wins here because they use the text everyone refers to. I realize there are scant differences between UBS and the Zondervan text, but the UBS is still better for it.
- Layout: UBS wins here as well. If you've used the RGNT, you know it is hard to find a gloss at the bottom of the page because the notes are in one paragraph. The UBS text, however, has two columns of notes at the foot of each page; this makes it relatively easy to find the gloss of the word you want.
- Notes: UBS wins here too because they don't just provide definitions, they also provide some parsing/declension info.
- XRefs: RGNT wins here because they actually note the source of OT quotes in the text. UBS does not provide such info.
- Appendix: UBS wins here because they have a dictionary in the back for words that occur more than 30x -- which means you can look up any word in the text if you don't know it and it occurs more than 30x. RGNT has no such dictionary.
I think that's it. And I think there are two ways to slice the data.
I think that if cost and form are important (is it reasonably priced, and does it feel good in the hand, and is it easy to carry around) then you should check out the Reader's Greek New Testament (amazon.com).
But if you're more concerned about the text (UBS/NA is a priority) and about ease of use -- it really is easier to find the notes in the UBS edition, and it's nice to have a full dictionary to access for other words -- then you probably want to spend a little more and get the UBS Greek NT: Reader's Edition (amazon.com).
Update (2007-12-17): In the comments, Mike Aubrey (who blogs at εν εφεσω) points us to Rick Mansfield's similar review. Check his post out because, unlike me, he took time to add images of the text of the two books, so you can see the differences yourself.