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Bible manuscripts available for all

March 23, 2012

BibleWorks9: Note that the left window provides a view of both mss and edited texts. Sinaiticus is even morphologically tagged. The center window shows the work of the CNTTS Apparatus. It is even more complexly annotated than NA27, but at least every abbreviation is a click away from an explanation. The right window shows the work of the BibleWorks Manuscript Project that allows for collation of texts and images of a number of the actual mss.

As a long time student of the Greek New Testament, a long time user of the king of Bible software, and a professional with four decades of software architecture and implementation experience, I am always happy to find an experienced scholar in the realm of textual criticism coming to the following realizations.

Biblical Studies and Technological Tools: “Recent Trends in the Textual Criticism of the New Testament” | “He seems fairly confident that most of the textual decisions can be made on internal grounds: which text can explain subsequent ones and which one is most consistent with the rest of the author’s composition.

I’m actually a bit relieved about these developments. Elliott broadly refers to the tremendous possibilities technology offers to the field, especially software for collation of manuscripts and online sharing and updating of work. Most of my students have found the NA27 apparatus hopelessly confusing, and I have hated to require them to spend time on mastering its complexities. And now that we have something like BibleWorks9 which can display something like this, I’m not sure whether I want to bother with it at all.”

Some thoughts:

One. The complex sort of grammar (forty or more parts of speech) used by scholars of both English and Spanish to document in detail the variations in dialect in those widespread languages, might be useful in more detailed computer analysis of biblical languages, both within and without scripture.

Two. Was just inspired to review my old standby on Amazon. (Now worth $140 unused, $35 used).

This review is from: The NKJV Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (Hardcover)

Marvelous tool for New Testament study by non-specialists whether in ministry or not. The simple marginal presentation of manuscript variation in terms of traditional, modern, and majority provides a convenient depth for the non-specialist. The interlinear english often provides a learned translation that committee produced versions may avoid for organisational reasons. The maintenance of Greek word order is important. It provides an important interpretive tool to those who know little or no Greek. Would be overjoyed to see this sort of presentation in today’s marvelous BibleWorks 9.
Three. I am a crusader for recognition of how church history effects translation. Particualarly what I am pleased to call the trinitarianist heresy. This includes the awkward and mistranslation-based teachings of eternal generation and eternal progression. And the capitalization and article insertion at every point where “spirit” might possibly refer to the Holy Spirit and might possibly refer to Him as a Person and not as a force or influence.

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