[sword-devel] Fwd: display greek accents in LXX and NT

Keith Ralston sword-devel@crosswire.org
Mon, 17 Nov 2003 12:16:05 -0600

In the discussion below, several groups of text are actually identified.
There are two main groups:  Textus Receptus and Critical Text.  The Textus
Receptus (TR) is a Greek text based on the original work of Erasmus and was
the Greek text of the Reformation period.  It is actually based on the
critical work of Erasmus and a few other scholar.  Several editions were
released by Erasmus and his collaborators in the early 1600s.  They utilized
the manuscript evidence they had at the time in their work.  Erasmus'
original goal was to provide the Greek text that served as a basis for the
Latin Vulgate.  TR was used in the original translation commission by King
James in 1611.  A more in depth description can be found at

The critical text represents a tradition started by Wescott-Hort (WH) in
1881 in which additional manuscript evidence was used in an attempt to
improve the TR.  This proved to be extremely controversial because of some
of the variations between the TR and the WH text.  This tradition has since
continued.  The critical text is based on using a set methodology to
evaluate variations found in the thousands of texts now available to
biblical scholars.  The critical methodology has changed significantly since
1881.  Anyone using a WH text for translation or interpretation work would
be using a significantly outdated text due to the changes in methodology and
the addition of texts in the last 120 years.

Three main schools or forms of critical text exist: Nestle-Aland (NA),
United Bible Society (UBS), and the Majority Text.  NA and UBS texts
represent two versions of the critical text that follow a similar
methodology.  They only differ in how they value some of the variations.
The last several years have seen a concerted effort to bring the two version
into some form of unity.  The result being that the latest releases of both
texts are extremely close.  This methodology generally places an emphasis on
the oldest version of a particular variation.  However, this is an extreme
simplification of the methodology and many other factors come to bear.  This
explains how two groups using the same method can produce texts that still
vary from one another.

The other critical text represents a different methodology altogether.  The
Majority Text (MAJ) uses a methodology that gives more value to the variant
supported by the greatest number of texts.  This differs from the other
approach in that the greatest number of texts occur later in history.  Most
are after the 8th century.  Some have assumed that the TR and MAJ would be
very close (http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/sbs777/vital/kjv/part1-3.html).
The hypothesis was tested recently when a Majority Text was actually
prepared by Hodges and Farstad in 1982 and another by Pierpoint and Robinson
in 1991.  The MAJ is also referred to as the Byzantine text because
geographical area in which most of these texts were found.  A good
discussion of this text can be found at
http://www.bible-researcher.com/majority.html and

Tischendorf's text can refer to two things.  Most important is a copy of the
Bible in Greek found by Count von Tischendorf at the monastery at the
supposed location of Mount Sinai.  This is the oldest copy containing most
of the New Testament.  It is called Codex Sinaiticus and denoted in critical
notes with the Hebrew letter Aleph.
In addition to publishing this and many other manuscripts, Tischendorf also
published a critical copy of the Greek New Testament with comments on
critical methods.  His version deviated even more radically from the TR than
WH.  A bibliography with some of his work can be found at
http://www.bible-researcher.com/bib-t.html.  I believe that a reference to
the Tischendorf text is actually a reference to his critical version of the
NT and not Codex Sinaiticus.  While historically interesting, this would not
be a good text for translating or interpreting.

In order to managed and organize the huge number of documents (over 5,000)
that support the NT, the have been organized into families based more or
less on geographical distribution.  These families are Alexandrian,
Byzantine/Majority Text, Caesarian, and Western text.  One criticism of the
UBS and NA texts by supporters of MAJ is that they give preference to
Western texts.  This is due the earlier dating of the Western texts.

http://faculty.bbc.edu/RDecker/rd_rsrc.htm#TextualCriticism and
http://www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/soaptoc.htm contain several good articles
on textual criticism.

Regarding the last question about NA and the texts available in Sword, I'm
not sure how the WHNU - Wescott-Hort with NA27/UBS4 variants was compiled.
UBS and NA are not directly available because they are controlled by
copyright.  I believe a working copy of the latest text does exist and can
be had by obtaining a paid for key to unlock the text.  If you are wanting
to use Sword, I would go this route.  The other texts are included because
they are part of the public domain.

I believe the Wescott-Hort with NA27/UBS4 variants contain the freely
available WH text with the variants that exist between it and the NA27/UBS4.
I'm not sure how you can get from this copy to what you want.  I believe
that if you enable variants on this text you essentially have a public
domain copy of a mix of NA27/UBS4.  I am not sure.

This may have been overkill, but I hope it helps.


P.S.  If I am not mistaken this is the type of issue for which the forums
were intended?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: sword-devel-admin@crosswire.org
> [mailto:sword-devel-admin@crosswire.org]On Behalf Of Simon
> Sent: Mon, November 17, 2003 11:08 AM
> To: sword-devel@crosswire.org
> Subject: Re: [sword-devel] Fwd: display greek accents in LXX and NT
> Hi,
> I'm not an experd on greek texts, so maybe someone else could better
> explain this, but this is what I know about it.
> Nowadays there are 2 groups of text-families that are often used by
> students; the Critical Text (Nestle-Aland) and the Majority Text
> (Byzantine). Most students favor the Critical Text, which is based on
> some few very old documents, above the Majority Text, which is based on
> around 5000 manucripts, which are of later date.
> As Sword modules the following texts are available:
> Byzantine, Textus Receptus (Majority Texts)
> Westcott-Hort (Critical Text)
> In which of the 2 groups the Tischendorf text fitts, I don't know, but I
> think it's a Critical Text.
> But, if you're looking for a Nestle-Aland text, the best you can take is
> the Westcott-Hort, which has also the variants of the NA27/UBS4 text (I
> haven't checked this, but it's what the module-info says)...
> In Christ,
> Simon
> Will Thimbleby wrote:
> > Hi guys,
> >
> > No idea how to answer the second question, can I leave it in your hands.
> >
> > Cheers -Will
> >
> > Begin forwarded message:
> >
> >> From: macsword@macsword.com
> >> Date: Fri Nov 14, 2003  4:57:22  pm Europe/London
> >> To: william@macsword.com
> >> Subject: display greek accents in LXX and NT
> >> Reply-To: zwoerg@gmx.ch
> >>
> >>
> >> Dear Mr. Thimbleby
> >>
> >> First, I really like your bible programm, as the only osx-based
> >> programm that can display the Biblia Hebraica with vowel points!
> >>
> >> But I still have some problems with the greek texts:
> >>
> >> 1) But yet I do not know how to make the greek accents work in the
> >> LXX and NT texts?
> >>
> >> 2) How far away from the Nestle-aland (which is commonly used at my
> >> theological seminary) are the Greek-Versions of Tischendorf or the
> >> Byzantinus-Text? Are they reliable? Is there a Possibility to
> >> purchase the Nestle-Aland-Edition?
> >>
> >> I hope you can answer my questions.
> >>
> >> Yours sincerely
> >>
> >> Christian Walti, Stud. Theol., Zürich
> >>
> >> Christian Walti
> >> zwoerg@gmx.ch
> >>
> >> Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; de-de) AppleWebKit/85
> >> (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85
> >>
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > sword-devel@crosswire.org
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> >
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