Greek guys: handicap readability of manuscripts.

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Ivon Denosovich, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Ivon Denosovich

    Ivon Denosovich
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    For those familiar with Greek, and subsequently much smarter than me, which set of transcripts is easier to read? For instance, is the Textus Receptus more difficult (or less) than, say, United Bible Societies (UBS) fourth edition Greek New Testament? Is there a particular Greek text that you prefer to read? Also, which English translations are based on the easier to read manuscripts?
     
  2. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Textus Receptus (there ain't really no such thing, until you designate which specific edition of the Textus Receptus you are talking about) and the UBS fourth edition, are both texts, not manuscripts, in response to the thread title. :BangHead: :BangHead:

    As to which is easier to read, the real answer is neither - one is no easier to read than another, for one really familiar with the language. As I am not all that familiar (as in being able to read and comprehend fully on sight), and must fight my way through it, I find that one is little different from the other, as to any supposed difficulty.

    Ed
     
  3. Ivon Denosovich

    Ivon Denosovich
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Stupid question: what's the difference?

    How long did it take you to learn what Greek you know?
     
  4. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    ID,

    Ed is correct in his observations about the Greek MSS.

    1. I use the NA27th edition. I like its apparatus.

    2. The font is good, but I hear the USB4th ed. is better in this respect and they've improved on the apparatus.

    3. Learning Greek requires a lot of discipline. There're software out there you can use to help you with pronounciation and reading.

    4. Mounce Basics of Biblical Greek is quite good and try David Alan Black Reading NT Greek. I learned Greek in the classroom, for I both minored in Greek at the undergrad level and majored in it at the grad level. But I'm still a work in progress.
     
  5. Ivon Denosovich

    Ivon Denosovich
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the recommendations.
     
  6. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ivon, I think this is a really terrific question and due some fairly complete answers. I'll confess immediately that my knowledge of Greek is only superficial, but I believe I can confidently relate some facts.

    Ed is correct in stating that there is a difference between printed Greek texts and written Greek manuscripts (MSS). Manuscripts are ancient handwritten copies of the 1st century apostolic writings (commonly referred to as the New Testament) that have been preserved to this day. Unfortunately, few of these manuscripts were complete NTs to begin with, or due to damage some bear only a few words, some a few chapters, some entire books, etc.; additionally, few are completely free from copiest variations (mostly obvious mistakes). Manuscripts were some early Christians' cherished 'Bible'. Handwriting long documents became rarer after mechanical printing became more efficient in the mid-1400s. Printing did completely eliminate errors, but once identified the 'typos' could be corrected for following editions.

    It may take many manuscripts to obtain the complete NT text; in addition, the more manuscripts that are examined the more likely it is that the errors will become clear and the correct spelling, or proper word order, or whatever, will be recognizable. Today, anaysists that compare manuscripts for the purpose of reconstructing the most likely 'original' text are called TEXTUAL CRITICS. A printed Greek text is the result of textual critics' compilation of several Greek manuscripts, not so much as an ordinary 'Bible', but as a scholarly work for study, or to be the underlying text of future translations.

    Many of these critical Greek Texts have been published, but they are approximately 90% exactly the same. Only a small portion of the scriptures differs from one critical text to another; therefore in the literary sense, one printed text cannot be much more difficult to read than another. (This is not like English translations, where the method or style of one translation can use 'easier' vocabulary than another.) The Greek texts are exact printed copies of at least one existing manuscript (there are a few exceptions within the Textus Receptus).

    It is in those few places where the Greek manuscripts have an abundance of variants (differences) and are about evenly distributed that the printed Greek texts also differ (some chosing one variant for their text, while others chose an alternate). Manuscripts that show consistantly the same variants are considered as a group or 'family' (usually having common geographic origins). The printed critical Greek texts often attempt to indicate which manuscripts they have followed and the competing major variants in footnotes below the Greek, known as the apparatus. The Greek texts sometimes have an evaluation sacle indicating their opinion of the probability or certainty of their text reflecting the 'original'. (The autographs are lost, so absolute exact replication cannot be proved.)

    The printed Greek called the Textus Receptus (TR) is the result of a textual subset of a larger Greek manuscript family called the BYZANTINE TEXTUAL FAMILY ('Traditional' Text and Majority Text (MT) are other names that are sometimes applied). The UBS is an eclectic text, that is, it uses manuscripts from several families (including the Byzantine) reaching back into the 3rd and 4th centuries. Other families have been given names like ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY and WESTERN FAMILY (terms vary among scholars). The TR is based on a relative few manuscripts of more recent age (8th - 12th centuries). The MT compares a couple hundred manuscripts. Not all the 5000+ Greek manuscripts have been studied in detail yet.

    So, the theologial preference for a printed critical Greek text is usually based foremost upon the manuscript family and variants selected; legibility preference may lie in the graphic presentation.
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Feb 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2008
  7. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    It is almost impossible to get "hands on" access to actual Greek manuscripts. And since almost all were written in all capital letters without spaces for word divisions, paragraphs, etc, I can guarantee you that they are PAINFUL to read!!

    I took Greek all four years of college plus another year in seminary. And would freely admit to using it daily but still not "mastering" it in any sense of the word! When extra spiritual, I even have my daily reading from it.

    The easiest way to begin studying is to get a quality "text" (blend of manuscript) with honest apparatus (notes at the bottom of the page showing where major differences in words from individual manuscripts occur). And interlinear - with the Greek text and exact English under it line by line. And a good English translation in the marginal columns so you can see where you're at!!

    http://www.christianbook.com/Christ...ku=42137&actual_sku=42137&slide=1&action=Next is my favorite. It is 1555 St Stephens blended text from 6-8 Greek manuscripts (similar to that underlying the AV1611) but with apparatus to show differences from other manuscripts. It is AV in the column and even the word-by-word in English is literal. Has a lexicon (dictionary) in the back, and help to learn Greek.

    Every family should have one and take it to church, ascertaining how accurate the preacher is to proclaiming "God's" Word or just spouting his own ideas.
     
  8. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    What little bit I know has been learned over almost 40 years, although I did have it in Bible College. I would hope I knew more than I do, actually. I think the other gents, here, have also explained the difference between a 'manuscript' and a 'text' fairly well, at least IMO.

    My point is and was, that there is no such thing as any one 'text', including, but not necessarily limited to any edition of the TR, or any so-called 'critical text', that is exactly identical in every detail (as far as I have been able to ascertain, at least) to any known 'manuscript'.

    Dr. Bob is certainly correct about the readability factor of hand-written copies, from what few I have seen photos of.

    franklinmonroe is undoubtedly also correct that the manuscripts we have, were some Christian's extremely prized early Bible, for the local bookstore, where one could quickly purchase another, definitely did not exist then.

    Ed.
     
    #8 EdSutton, Feb 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2008
  9. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think, just for fun, I will take a Greek NT to church today, along with my Bible.

    It'll make a few folks think I'm a whole lot smarter than I really am! :smilewinkgrin: :applause: :laugh: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,219
    Likes Received:
    194
    Actually, Greek NTs based on the Byzantine/Majority family of manuscripts (Hodges-Farstad Majority Text, Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Text Form, any TR) are slightly easier to read than those based on the Alexandrian family (Nestles, UBS, Westcott-Hort). (There are currently no Greek NTs based on the Western text type that I know of.) They have slightly better grammar, an occasional extra word to help the text read more smoothly, etc. Just this morning I was looking at a passage where the TR had the article before Peter's name (the usual practice) but other texts did not. So it was very slightly easier to read, since that is the normal practice with a Greek name.

    The reason for this depends on who you listen to. If you listen to the Alexandrian advocates, they will say that the copyists of the Byzantine-Majority manuscripts (mss) added what are called "glosses," extra words to make their mss read better. On the other hand, Byzantine-Majority advocates (of which I am one) say that the Alexandrian copyists were careless since Greek was not their native tongue, and sometimes left out a word or phrase or even a verse due to carelessness. :type:
     
  11. AntennaFarmer

    AntennaFarmer
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob's recommendation for the interlinear Bible (above) looks great.

    There are quite a number of Greek New Testament manuscript images on the web. One such page is http://www.csntm.org/Manuscripts.aspx

    Enjoy!

    A.F.
     

Share This Page

Loading...