Thanks again to Hendrickson Publishers for providing a review copy.
There are so many places one could start with a review like this. I plan on starting at the beginning — with the front matter. This is where the edition itself lays out what it is, what it plans to do, and how it does it. I spent some time in the front matter again today, and wanted to run down some of the things mentioned in both the Foreword and the Introduction.
Revisions (not to the upper-text)
Of course we all know the upper-text of the Catholic Epistles is updated in accordance with the ECM (Edito Critica Maior); the apparatus for that material is significantly revised as well. But what else has been revised?
First, the marginal apparatus (cross references) have been revised and checked throughout. You would do well to pay attention to the introduction on these. Do you realize they mark quotations, allusions, and other items? To NT material, OT material, LXX material, and even pseudepigraphic material? There is a wealth in the cross-reference apparatus alone. If you use a print edition of NA28, then pay attention to the references in the outer edition of the page margin.
Second, the citations in the apparatus for Latin, Coptic and Syriac have all been checked.
Third, the patristic citations have all been checked as well, though the intro notes this “particularly” in the Catholic Epistles.
One strange note: There is a paragraph about how great the “digital Nestle-Aland” is going to be, but absolutely no information about it otherwise. No URL, no nothing. The facing page to this paragraph mentions the NTTranscripts web site (http://nttranscripts.uni-muenster.de/) but that is not the ‘digital Nestle Aland’; and according to the referenced page itself, it is only a prototype.
Moving on …
If you are one of the handful of people who ever read the NA27 Introduction, then you are at least familiar with the idea of Consistently Cited Witnesses of “the first order” and of “the second order.” Whether you understood it or not is a different question.
The good news is that you no longer need to understand (or wonder about understanding) the difference between the two. The difference is gone; with NA28, there are only “Consistently Cited Witnesses”. This is a good thing, it makes reading the apparatus a little easier, and makes things less ambiguous for a subset of manuscripts.
Further, thanks to the good work of the Free University in Amsterdam, conjectures are no longer cited in the apparatus! (yay!). There is a project at the Free University that is immensely interesting, focused on building a database of conjectures regarding the text of the NT. The team working on it there are top-notch, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it progresses and integrates into the NA.
In material that has its basis in the ECM, inscriptions and subscriptions will no longer be listed in the apparatus. There are (as the ECM points out) often too many variations of these things to track; in a hand-edition like the NA28, it just doesn’t make sense any more. So NA28 has no apparatus data for inscriptions and subscriptions of books.
Pages 50*–51* list the changes to the Catholic epistles. There are 34. One of them, 1Pt 2.25, is orthographic (NA27 αλλα to NA28 αλλʼ). I will talk about orthography in another post.
Page 55* introduces the ♦ sigla to the apparatus markers. This marks in the uppertext a spot where the editors consider there to be two equally likely options in the text; with the other option listed in the apparatus. This effectively replaces the [brackets] most folks didn’t like. Brackets only allow additions or positive options, they cannot represent an omission. The ♦, which is always used in concert with one of the standard apparatus markers, does this. At present, it is only used in the Catholic Epistles.
As well, in only the Catholic Epistles, the apparatus uses “Byz” instead of the script/gothic ‘M’.
The introduction spends some time interacting with how early versions are handled in the NA28. Citing an early version as evidence for or against a reading is tricky, so it is worth understanding the NA28’s philosophy. My takeaway is that for anything but the most simple/straightforward stuff with early versions, it is probably best to head to the ECM for the full details it provides.
Manuscripts, Manuscripts …
Has anything changed in the apparatus outside of the Catholic Epistles? Yes, but it is pretty subtle. I hope to find a good spot and do a worked example/comparison between NA27 and NA28 in a future post. Until then, here’s what I know.
1. Thanks to Stephen C. Carlson, MS 2427 is no longer cited in the apparatus of NA28. MS2427 used to also be referred to as “Archaic Mark” and it was thought to be a surprisingly good medieval edition of the gospel of Mark. Carlson proved that 2427 was actually a forgery, and the text used was that of Buttmann’s 1860 edition of the Greek NT.
2. Thanks to removing the difference between “first order” and “second order” consistently-cited witnesses, this means that variation listings will be rendered more fully than before. That is, some contexts would not list second-order witnesses because their presence/absence from the list was assumed by virtue of them being second-order witnesses. However, this could be ambiguous in some contexts; the reader was left to guess why particular manuscripts weren’t listed. So some listings will be larger because this ambiguity has been done away with.
Outside of all of this (and the Catholic Epistles), the “language” of the apparatus is largely the same. The same symbols are used, same types of differences/variations represented. If you were comfortable with the NA27 apparatus, you will be comfortable with the NA28.
Is Anything Missing?
From p. 50* of the Introduction, this sad news:
Appendix III in NA27, Editionum Differentiae, is not included in the 28th edition, because the effort of revising it would not have been in reasonable proportion to its prospective usefulness. Today an index of variants based on a comparison of modern editions should be linked to the texts themselves. It is planned that such a tool will become a component of the digital Nestle-Aland, as soon as the necessary funding is available.
My guess is that we will never see this. As long as the ECM remains to be completed, my guess is funding should (rightly, I’d say) be routed to the primary task. But the comparison of modern versions is, I’d argue, important. Not because you use it as primary evidence in making textual decisions, but because you can see the rough spots in the text much easier when you see where modern text-critics disagree, and what readings they take. This is the primary reason I like the apparatus in the SBLGNT (which is an apparatus of select editions), it tells you when text-critics of the past 150 years or so disagree, and what they thought. This, in turn, points out the rough spots that you should probably then hop to an NA or ECM to figure out. Editionum Differentiae, you will be missed.
Above, I’ve hinted about at least two more posts I’d like to write. One has to do with orthographic variation between NA27 and NA28; the other has to do with a worked example or two, comparing apparatus entries in NA28 to NA27 to see what sorts of things are different. After that, who knows.