Purpose:

The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Sep 13, 2018

Introducing the Solid Rock Greek new Testament (ed. McCollum and Brown)

I am excited to draw your attention to a new type of Greek New Testament, The Solid Rock Greek New Testament (see here for purchase on Amazon, and here for Logos pre-pub). The editors are James J. McCollum (who introduced this at the recent Bible Faculty Summit) and Stephen L. Brown.

The basic premise of this edition of the Greek New Testament is, in a nutshell, a Byzantine-based Greek Bible (close to, but not identical with Robinson/Pierpont 2005) that compares the readings to other critical Greek editions. In other words, the Solid Rock Greek New Testament (which we'll call the SRGNT) is to the Byzantine text what the new SBL GNT is to the eclectic text. In McCollum's own words (from his presentation at the BFS), the SRGNT
"Was developed with the purpose of offering a comparative overview of prominent NT editions . . . . Because it does not collate the readings of individual manuscripts directly, it is not a critical edition in the strict sense. Rather, it is a digest of other critical editions intended to give pastors, translators, and researchers a compact and accessible snapshot of trends in scholarly opinion over the last few centuries."

In other words, the SRGNT gives you the Byzantine text, but then notes where other Greek New Testament editions differ, specifically:
1. Robinson-Pierpont's Byzantine
2. Pickering's f35
3. Stephanus' 1550 edition of Erasmus' Textus Receptus (to be clear, the TR is, in a sense, a "critical text" because it was not based on one manuscript but multiple manuscripts and Erasmus had to make choices between them when they disagreed)
4. Tyndale House's corrected edition of Tregelles's Greek NT
5. Westcott and Hort's Greek NT
6-8. Nestle-Aland 25th, 27th, and 28th edition.
9-10. The Greek text behind the 1973 and 2011 versions of the NIV (which is not technically identical to any one Greek NT, though similar to the Nestle-Aland)
11. The SBL Greek New Testament
12. For (some) Pauline epistles only, the Greek text assumed by John Eadie's commentaries.
13. For Galatians only, the Greek text assumed by Stephen C. Carlson.
14. For Philemon only, the Greek text argued for by Matthew Solomon in his recent dissertation at NOBTS.
15. For Jude only, the work by Tommy Wasserman in The Epistle of Jude: Its Text and Transmission. [Though fairly recent, I get the impression that this is now considered the definitive work on textual criticism in Jude, and Wasserman has definitely established himself as a tier-1 textual critic].
So, in regards to those 15 different Greek texts, the SRGNT includes the variants where any of them might disagree with the base text of the SRGNT itself.

The only significant omission here is the Hodges-Farstad The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text. Besides Hodges-Farstad, I cannot think of any other edition of the Greek New Testament that really matters at this point for actually figuring out what the Apostles originally wrote, so McCollum and Brown have almost covered all the bases! (And Hodges-Farstad would probably not have too many variants that were not reflected somewhere in the other editions McCollum and Brown compare with their text).

As a Byzantine priority guy myself, I'm excited to see an edition of the Byzantine Greek New Testament that nonetheless provides the differences between it and [almost] all the other major Greek texts out there, including the TR. Furthermore, if the reader will permit some theological speculation on the nature of preservation, because of the scope of material it covers as a result of being a "comparative-critical edition of critical editions," so to speak, based on the Byzantine text, I will tentatively suggest that (at least from my perspective) the SRGNT has a higher probability of having preserved all the original words of the apostles somewhere in its text than any other version/edition in existence (let alone any single ancient mss)! If a variant reading does not occur somewhere in the text or apparatus of the SRGNT, then it probably isn't worth considering as legit, no matter what your views on preservation.

I ordered my copy of the SRGNT today, and I'm excited about the possibilities of utilizing this text in my seminary "Introduction to Greek Exegesis" course. I already have my students read my Doktorvater David Alan Black's New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide, and the SRGNT would potentially add to their understanding of the practical ramifications of textual criticism along with that.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks! I've just ordered a copy.

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  2. Hi Paul. When it comes to your view of preservation do you believe it's possible to know definitively which of the words are God's Preserved words, with respect to all the words?

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    1. A fair question, in so far as it goes. Let's answer that with a practical illustration, Acts 4:25
      The KJV reads, "Who by the mouth of thy servant David"
      The ESV reads, "Who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit."
      There are two textual variants there (1. Holy Spirit, and 2. father); let's just focus on the inclusion or omission of the Holy Spirit.
      For the sake of argument:
      "Scribe A", 1800 years ago, wrote "Holy Spirit" while
      "Scribe B,'" 1800 years ago, omitted "Holy Spirit."
      One of them was right and one of them was wrong.
      The KJV omits the Holy Spirit. Personally, I agree with the KJV that "Holy Spirit" should be omitted in that particular verse. So personally I think "Scribe B" is correct.
      However, if I definitely, 100% declare that the King James is correct, on a matter of omitting the Holy Spirit, against other copies of Scripture, then I am putting my faith in the work of scribes (not to mention a Roman Catholic priest, Erasmus). I am very uncomfortable with that. There is absolutely no way I can in good conscience put the omitting of the Holy Spirit (as the KJV and many scribes did) in Acts 4:25 at the same level as my faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
      Conversely, what I will declare beyond a shadow of a doubt is that one of those readings is correct, because of the hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts God has preserved, all of them have one of those readings (and if any manuscript doesn't, it's so fringe that nobody takes it seriously). Thereby I am putting my faith in the preservation of God of the overwhelming number of manuscripts, rather than the specific choice of scribes or Erasmus. I know that the correct reading is one of those two, even if I lack the knowledge to figure out which one and be 100% certain.
      In conclusion, we can be 100% confident that God has preserved His word in the thousands of manuscripts we have; not one word has been lost! Yet the minute we say "Only Erasmus [or a specific group of scribes] perfectly preserved God's word, we are putting too much stock in man. The only way we could be sure Erasmus got it all right was if he were supernaturally inspired by the Holy Spirit, and I am definitely unwilling to go there (since Scripture itself never says Erasmus was inspired by the Holy Spirit).
      As an analogy: is any one preacher going to perfectly preach and teach God's word throughout the course of his life? To say "yes" would be dangerously close to idolatry. Yet my faith is not shaken if my favorite preacher makes a mistake. God's Word is still out there, perfectly preserved. In the same way, if my favorite scribe or editor (be that Erasmus or whoever) makes a mistake, this does not alter the fact that God's word is still 100% preserved. But we need to be wary of putting our faith in one particular scribe and editor (be that TR, Byzantine, or critical text).
      My faith is in the fact that 100% of the original words of the Apostles are all out there, perfectly preserved, regardless of whether or not I hold them in my hand at any particular moment.
      Also, I have faith in the fact, 100% certainty, that none of the textual variants about which I might have doubts will in any way impact my faith. For example, even if the Holy Spirit is omitted in Acts 4:25, clearly the rest of the Bible teaches about Him elsewhere, no matter what manuscripts or translations I consult.

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  3. Paul,

    Thanks so much for sharing our work on your blog! I don't feel like there's much I can add here, as you've covered everything in excellent detail. The only thing I would clarify is item #4 in the list of cited editions: the TNT2 siglum in our apparatus represents Tyndale House's corrected edition of Tregelles's Greek NT, and not the recently-published Tyndale House Greek New Testament (THGNT). Sadly, the THGNT was published very shortly before our edition was, so we weren't able to incorporate it into our collation. In future editions, we fully intend to include it, as it represents another important development in NT textual criticism.

    As you mention, Hodges-Farstad would be a good representative of the majority-text approach (as most other Byzantine texts in our apparatus are based on Byzantine-priority, copy-text, or eclectic approaches), so it would make a fine addition, as well; the main obstacle in this direction so far is that we haven't been able to find a good electronic transcription of its text.

    Thanks again for your review of the SRGNT! If you end up using it in your seminary course, I'd love to hear how it goes! It was a pleasure meeting you at the Bible Faculty Summit, and I hope to see you again there or on another occasion.

    James "Joey" McCollum

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    1. Thanks for that clarification, I made the correction

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    2. What about the Logos version of the FH text?

      https://www.logos.com/product/2390/the-greek-new-testament-according-to-the-majority-text-with-apparatus

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