Monday, November 29, 2010

Review of SBL GNT in the Gospels by Wieland Willker

Wieland Willker (WW), who is active on the BibleWorks forum, has published an 8-page PDF "Analysis of the SBL GNT in the Gospels." (I, along with many others, reported on the recently announced and released SBL GNT edited by Michael Holmes here.) 

You will want to read Willker's full analysis, but here are some highlights:

  • "It is good to see this new critical text by Mike Holmes. There are too few today. My opinion is that creating a critical text is the crowning achievement of a textual critic's career."
  • He applauds the lack of single bracketed readings. Decisions are made!
  • With regard to the apparatus, WW states that it "is a stopgap, to produce something better than nothing. It is noting many minutiae, but is omitting many important variants. So the student is not informed on all important textual variants, but only on those that are covered by the base texts."
  • WW notes that Holmes has "some fondness" for the Western text, but there are numerous non-Western readings chosen.
  • Noting that most people are interested in comparing this SBL GNT with the NA27, WW claims that (after disregarding some insignificant variations) "there are 232 differences between SBL and NA in the Gospels. Of these, SBL follows WH about 48% of the time and the Byzantine text about 44%."
  • "What one immediately recognizes is that Holmes is a lectio brevior man... This is the shortest GNT ever!"
  • In my opinion, WW has carefully studied and analyzed the Greek NT, so I respect his evaluation when he says, "Overall I agree more often than not with Holmes' textual choices."
  • "For the future I hope for another version to come out with a "real" apparatus, showing the manuscripts... I also hope that Mike Holmes is writing a commentary on his text."
  • WW includes an Appendix indicating "Agreements between Holmes and Willker against NA."
Thanks to Wieland Willker for posting this analysis and sharing it online.

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