The Greek New Testament by Westcott & Hort

9781619702639oIn 1885, the Revised Version of the Bible was published and in 1901 its American counterpart was published. This caused quite a stir as many saw this an attack on the King James Version, the true words of God. At the foundation of this debate was the Greek New Testament by B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort.

These two British professors sought to compile the best Greek New Testament from the best available manuscripts and to modernize the English Bible for the English-speaking peoples. This had not been done for almost 300 years as the King James Version was the predominate version in use. Thus, they set out to produce a Greek New Testament for use in the translation of a new Bible.

Hendrickson Publishers has produced a copy of this Greek New Testament for those studying Greek and who want to see the Greek Text that is the basis for almost every major English, Bible translation in the world today. Reading this Greek New Testament is not only reading a scholarly work it is also reading history.

One can read the Greek text and then notice the variants in the footnotes. Seeing the decisions by Westcott and Hort as to what enters the main text and what is brought down to the footnotes is an excellent resource for those studying textual criticism. It is also interesting to see what Westcott and Hort determined prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Another feature of this book is the condensed lexicon by Mark A. House. This allows the reader to see the uses of a greek word and see how it has been translated. It also lists the location of the use so the reader can see the word contextually allowing for a better grasp of the Greek usage.

One surprise for me was the article by Westcott and Hort titled The Principals of Textual Criticism. This article lays the groundwork for those interested in how scholars determine what words enter the main text of work and the variants that are placed in the footnotes. It is also a nice primer for those who may desire to enter the field of textual criticism and potentially become Bible translator or defenders of the Bible against attacks.

One thing to note about this book is that it is not an updated work of Westcott and Hort’s New Testament adding the information with recent manuscript discoveries. Those having the UBS5 or NA28 will notice the differences and should be cautious using this text assuming it has the most current resources available.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition by Bruce Metzger

9781598561647oIn the past few months I have been fascinated by the study of textual criticism. To see how men are actively reviewing the manuscripts of the Bible to determine what was originally written has opened up to me a new appreciation for the Word of God. It has also shown me why there are some differences in various translations of the English Bible.

In his book, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (UBS4): 2nd Revised Edition, Dr. Bruce Metzger gives detail into verses of the New Testament and why the committee of the Greek New Testament (United Bible Society, 4th edition) chose the readings that they did. Dr. Metzger gives historical background on certain manuscripts and also the methodology of the translators to show how they arrived at the conclusions they did.

In some cases the choice was easy. A verse or verses did not follow the flow of the writer so it was apparent that someone changed the text. In other cases, many manuscripts agreed with each other and only a few dissented. However, there are some where the decision was not so easy and the reasoning was given by Dr. Metzger on why the reading was chosen over another reading.

As an example, there is a famous passage of Scripture, the woman caught in adultery, that is not in some of the best manuscripts. Also, some have it in a different gospel. Dr. Metzger goes into the history of this passage citing church fathers, current research, and textual evidences to show the reader that this passage may not be authentic. Thus, when the reader sees in a modern translation notes about this story not being in the original, Dr. Metzgerā€™s book gives reasons why it is treated as such.

I also appreciate the introduction which gave history into the field of textual criticism. Dr. Metzger points out that certain documents seem to originate from a common source and there are several common sources for many of the manuscripts discovered to this date. These common sources share characteristics which let the translator know how a passage was written.

Some of the characteristics are: paraphrasing over verbatim copying, explanation of the texts versus leaving the words as is, changing of words for better flow of grammatical structuring, and questioning certain words or phrases altogether.

This book has really opened my eyes into Bible translation and the painstaking way in which the translators are carefully regarding each word they hold to be authentic.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.