Critical Editions of the New Testament

Contents: Introduction * Aland: Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum * Bover * Hodges & Farstad * Huck * Merk * The "Nestle" text: Nestle editions 1-25 | Nestle-Aland editions 26, 27 * Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus * Souter * Swanson * Tasker * Tischendorf * United Bible Societies Edition * Vogels * Westcott & Hort
Summary: A Comparison of the Various Editions
Appendix: Latin Editions


Karl Lachmann (1793-1851) broke with the Textus Receptus in 1831. This, then, was the first "critical edition" of the New Testament -- an edition compiled using specific rules based on the readings of a significant selection of important manuscripts. Since then, many others have appeared. Some of these (Lachmann's own, and that of his younger contemporary Tregelles) are now almost completely obscure. Others -- notably those of Westcott and Hort and the United Bible Societies -- have exercised great influence.

Ideally, a critical edition will include an apparatus supplying information about how the readings were decided upon. There are, however, critical editions (e.g. that of Westcott & Hort) which do not include such information. The list below describes most of the major editions since Tischendorf's vital eighth edition.

Aland: Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum

Editor. Text and apparatus edited by Kurt Aland.

Date of Publication. The first edition appeared in 1963. A revised edition, listed as the fourth, appeared in 1967; another revised edition, the ninth, came out in 1976. The final major revision, the thirteenth, was published in 1985. The first three major editions (officially listed as the first through twelfth) use the same basic arrangement of the text; the revisions took place primarily in the apparatus. The thirteenth edition entirely recast the work; a new text was adopted and a new apparatus created. The structure of the synopsis was unchanged, but otherwise it was an entirely new publication.

The Text. The text of the first twelve editions is essentially that of the early Nestle-Aland editions. With the thirteenth edition, the text was adjusted to match that of the Nestle-Aland editions 26th edition.
The Aland Synopsis is one of the more substantial now available. All four gospels are presented in full, and there is a complete text of the Gospel of Thomas (in Latin, English, and German; neither Coptic nor Greek texts are offered!). The critical apparatus is also more than usually complete; an apparatus is usually supplied wherever a passage is cited, not just at its "main" appearance. In addition, the apparatus gives a fairly full list of variants -- many more than are found in the equivalent editions of the Nestle-Aland text, and not limited simply to harmonization variants. While SQE will not allow the student to completely reconstruct the cited manuscripts (especially the minuscules), it includes enough data to allow a valid comparison of the various text-types. (This cannot be said of NA27!)
For compactness, SQE uses the same set of critical symbols as the Nestle text (for details, see the picture in that article).
Unfortunately, the apparatus does have its drawbacks. (We are now referring specifically to the recent editions, from the thirteenth on.) For one thing, it has a high number of errors (most of them seemingly errors of the press; these are slowly being corrected). The selection of witnesses is also questionable. The Byzantine text of the uncial era, for instance, is represented by four manuscripts, E F G H. All of these, it should be noted, belong to the Kx recension. Thus, although there are more Byzantine witnesses than in the Nestle-Aland edition (which offers only K and G), they offer less diversity (of the witnesses in Nestle-Aland, K is a member of Family P, while G is Kx). The new minuscules are also an odd lot. Why would anyone make 1006 (purely Byzantine) an explicitly cited witness, while omitting 1241 (arguably the most Alexandrian minuscule of Luke)? As a final note, we should observe that while SQE cites many member of Family 1 (1 and 209, as well as 205, 1582, 2542 not cited explicitly as members of the family) and Family 13 (13, 69, 346, 543, 788, 983; note that the best family witness, 826, is omitted), it cites them in such a way that the readings of the individual manuscripts can only be determined when the manuscript is cited explicitly (that is, if -- say -- 346 is not cited explicitly on either side of a reading, it may agree either with f13 or M).
To sum up, SQE is a good synopsis with a useful critical apparatus, but one should take care not to rely upon it too heavily (due both to its inaccuracies and its slightly biased presentation of the evidence).


Editor. Text and apparatus edited by José Maria Bover, S.J.

Date of Publication. The first edition, Novi Testamenti Biblia Graeca et Latina appeared in 1943. The first four editions (1943-1959) are essentially identical; the fifth edition of 1977 and following (revised by José O'Callaghan Martínez) is slightly different, but primarily in the area of the parallel texts.

The Text. The Latin text of Bover, until the fifth edition, is simply the Clementine Vulgate (in the fifth edition the Neo-Vulgate was substituted and a Spanish version added). Thus the Latin text has no critical value.
The Greek text is somewhat more reputable. It is a fairly typical Twentieth Century product, compiled eclectically but with a clear preference for Alexandrian readings (though not as strong a preference as is found in the Westcott & Hort and United Bible Societies Edition editions). It has been esteemed by some for its balanced critical attitudes; others might view it as having no clear guiding principle.

The Apparatus. Bover's Latin text has no apparatus at all (from the critic's standpoint, there is really no reason for it to be there), and the Greek apparatus is limited. Bover's manuscript data, like that of Merk, comes almost entirely from von Soden. Like Merk, Bover cites a few manuscripts discovered since von Soden's time (papyri up to P52, including the Beatty papyri; uncials up to 0207; a few of the minuscules up to 2430, plus a modest handful of lectionaries).
In construction Bover's apparatus strongly resembles Merk's, using essentially the same manuscript groupings and much the same set of symbols. (For an example, see the entry on Merk). The most significant difference between the two in their presentation of the data is that Bover also lists the readings of the various editions -- T=Tischendorf, S=von Soden, V=Vogels, L=Lagrange (Gospels, Romans, Galatians only), M=Merk, H=Westcott & Hort (h=Hort's margin; (H)=Hort's text against the margin); W=Weiss; J=Jacquier (Acts only), C=Clark (Acts only), A=Allo (1 Cor., Rev. only).
These critical editions also define the apparatus; Bover only offers manuscript information at points where the critical editions disagree. His apparatus is thus much more limited than that of Merk or even Nestle. It also shares the defects one would expect from a work based on von Soden: Many of the collations are inaccurate or imperfectly reported (for details, see the entry on Merk). Bover's transcription of von Soden is somewhat more careful (and often more explicit) than Merk's, and is therefore perhaps slightly more reliable. It is, however, less full even for the readings it contains -- citing, e.g., fewer fathers (the introduction does not even list the fathers cited!) and fewer versions. And Bover has recast Von Soden's groupings a bit -- instead of having five sets of witnesses (for Gospels, Acts, Paul, Catholics, Apocalypse), he uses the same groupings for Acts, Paul, and Catholics. This is reasonable in one sense -- the groupings for the three are fairly similar -- but it makes it harder to use the apparatus, as one is always having to look up exceptions (e.g. 1739 files with H in Paul, but I in the other two). Also, a warning for those with older eyes: The typeface (at least in some editions) is rather unsuitable for the purpose; the symbols | and ] -- keys to understanding the apparatus -- are almost indistinguishable.

Hodges & Farstad

Editors. Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad

Date of Publication. The first edition, The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, appeared in 1982. A slightly revised second edition appeared in 1985.

The Text. Unlike most critical editions, that of Hodges and Farstad does not attempt to reconstruct the original text on the basis primarily of the earliest manuscripts. Rather, it assumes that the Byzantine Majority text is the original text, and reconstructs this text. For the most part, this is done by "counting noses" -- looking for the reading which has the highest number of supporters (which in the gospels often becomes a matter of printing the reading of Kx). In the Apocalypse and the story of the Adulteress, however, H & F resort in a limited way to stemmatics, meaning that they print a few readings which, although well-supported, are not the majority reading.
It should be noted that Hodges and Farstad did not assemble their text based on manuscript collations; rather, for the most part they simply followed Von Soden's K text and its subgroups (which, in their edition, is denoted M when entirely unified and M when a portion of the type defects). Thus the edition may not always represent the actual majority text. Even so, H & F is the only edition of the Byzantine text-form to have an apparatus of any sort. This makes it useful to anyone who wishes to examine the strength and depth of the Byzantine tradition. (The critic does not have to subscribe to the editors' theories to find the edition useful.) The edition also serves as a useful demonstration that the Byzantine text-type, although more united than any other known type, is not the monolithic entity its opponents sometimes make it out to be.

The Apparatus. The H & F text has two apparatus. The first, and more important for the editors' purposes, is the apparatus of variants within the Byzantine tradition. Here the editors list places where the Byzantine tradition divides, even noting some of the strands identified by Von Soden (e.g. H & F's Mr is von Soden's Kr; their Mc is von Soden's Kc, etc.) They also note the variant readings of the Textus Receptus (demonstrating, incidentally, that the TR is a poor representative of the Byzantine type). This first apparatus, which contains relatively few readings, has its variants marked in the text with numbers and has lemmata in the margin.
The second apparatus lists variants between the H & F text and the United Bible Societies edition. A quick sample indicates that these are roughly three times as common as variations within the Byzantine tradition. For these variants the editors use the same symbols as the recent editions of the Nestle-Aland text.
A handful of witnesses -- Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, and certain papyri -- are noted in both apparatus, but their readings are noted only for variants included for other reasons. The H & F apparatus gives far less information about these manuscripts than even the Nestle apparatus, and cannot be used for textual classification of any specific witness.
Although the apparatus of H & F is very limited, it serves a useful purpose even to those who do not believe in Byzantine priority. It is the only available tool (other than von Soden's cryptic edition) for determining if a reading is the Byzantine reading, a Byzantine reading in cases where that text divides, or entirely non-Byzantine. This can be important when dealing with mixed manuscripts. Also, H & F includes some variants not covered in NA27.


The name "Huck," like the name Nestle, is actually a term for a constellation of editions (in this case, of a gospel synopsis rather than a critical edition), with various editors over the years. The two, in fact, are almost of an age. Albert Huck published his first synopsis in 1892, but this was designed for a particular class and synoptic theory; the third edition of 1906 was the first for general use. With the ninth edition of 1936, the book passed from the hands of Albert Huck to H. Lietzmann and H. G. Opitz. At this time the text was revised (Huck's own editions were based on Tischendorf's text; Lietzmann used a text approximating that of Nestle). The 1981 edition was taken over by H. Greeven, and the arrangement of pericopes significantly altered. Greeven also altered the text, using his own reconstruction rathr than any previous edition.

Editors. Albert Huck; later taken over by H. Lietzmann, H. G. Opitz, H. Greeven

Date of Publication. The first edition was published in 1892; a revised third edition came out in 1906, another revision constituted the fourth edition of 1910. The revised ninth edition of Lietzmann-Opitz was published in 1936. Greeven's thirteenth edition appeared in 1981.

The Text Prior to the appearance of Greeven's edition, Huck could not really be considered in any way a critical edition. Huck used Tischendorf's text, Lietzmann a modification of Nestle's. Neither editor provided a full-fledged critical apparatus. (Lietzmann admitted to having a "limited" apparatus. Not only was the number of variants limited, but fewer than a dozen Greek witnesses were cited, and the data on the versions was much simplified.) The value of Huck, at that time, lay in the arrangement of the parallel gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke; John was not included). This, obviously, was sufficient to keep the book in print for nearly a century, but the editions have little value to the textual critic. For this reason, the remainder of this discussion will be devoted to Huck-Greeven, which simultaneously provided a new text (edited by Greeven), a much fuller apparatus (also by Greeven), and a modification of the synopsis itself, including more parallels as well as some portions of the gospel of John.
The text of the Greeven revision is somewhat problematic. Greeven claims that it averages about nine variations per chapter from the UBS/Nestle text. This would be about typical for a modern edition -- if anything, it's at the low end of the scale. The problem is, Greeven gives not a hint of his critical principles. Nor does Greeven give us a list of differences from UBS. Thus it is almost impossible to reconstruct his method. This makes it difficult to know how far to rely upon his text. Ny impression, in compiling its readings for the list of Most Uncertain Readings, is that, in those readings at least, it inclines very strongly toward the Byzantine text; the result is probably about like con Soden in its "feel," though the rate of actual agreements may not be excessively high.
The apparatus is as peculiar as the text. In no sense is it complete; the focus in upon parallels, almost to the exclusion of other variants. It is at first glance an easy apparatus to read; each reading begins with the lemma, followed by its supporters if they are relatively few, then a square bracket ] followed by the alternate readings and their support; different variation units are separated by large spaces and bold vertical lines. Deciphering the list of witnesses is a much different matter. Witnesses are grouped by type (though Greeven denies that his groups have any actual meaning), and cited by group symbols (e.g. l f are the Lake and Ferrar groups), and are cited in group order. However, Greeven does not list the order of the witnesses outside the four groups (Alexandrian, Lake, Ferrar, Soden). Nor are the contents of the various fragments listed explicitly. Thus it is almost impossible to be certain which manuscripts are actually cited within the notation Rpl (referring to all uncited uncials and the large majority of minuscules). It is best to trust the apparatus only where it cites a witness explicitly. And even there, it appears that many of the citations are from von Soden.
The citation of the versions, as opposed to the citing of the Greek witnesses, is excellent. All Old Latin witnesses are cited by name, with lacunae indicated. Where the Harklean Syriac attests to multiple readings, Greeven shows the nature of each variant. Where the manuscripts of the various Coptic versions do not show a consensus, Greeven indicates the number on each side of the reading. Unfortunately, the Armenian and Georgian versions are not handled with anything like the same precision, but this is no reason to condemn the edition; most others treat these versions with equal disdain.
The list of Fathers cited is quite full and unusully detailed, listing both the language and the date of the author, and including at least a handful of Syriac, Coptic, and even Arabic texts as well as the Greek and Latin Fathers. A wide variety of Harmonies are also cited (under a symbol which implies they are versions of the Diatessaron, though this is not stated). The introduction gives a good concise description of these harmonies.
Great care must be taken to understand Greeven's apparatus, which is strongly dependent not only on the order of the witnesses, but on the typographic form in which they are presented (e.g. Or does not mean the same thing as Or, even though both refer to Origen).
To sum up, the apparatus of Greeven is very difficult, though it offers a wide variety of useful information, and does not list all the variants one would "expect" to find. Students are therefore advised not to rely solely upon it, but to use at least one other source -- both to get a full list of variants in a particular gospel and to check one's interpretation of the apparatus for the variants it does contain. Greeven can give a sense of the support for a reading. It cannot and does not give specifics capable of being transferred to another apparatus.


Editor. Text and apparatus edited by Augustinus Merk, S.J.

Date of Publication. The first edition, Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine, appeared in 1933. The tenth edition, issued nearly four decades after the editor's death, was published in 1984. Overall, however, the changes in the edition, in both text and apparatus, have been minimal.

The Text. Merk's Greek text is a fairly typical mid-Twentieth-Century production, an eclectic edition which however leans strongly toward the Alexandrian text. The Latin text, as one would expect of a Jesuit, is the Clementine Vulgate.

The Apparatus. The significance of Merk lies not in its text but in its apparatus -- by far the fullest of the hand editions, and accompanied by a serviceable critical apparatus of the Vulgate (a noteworthy improvement, in this regard, over the otherwise fairly similar edition of Bover).
Merk's apparatus is largely that of von Soden, translated into Gregory numbers and slightly updated. Merk includes nearly all the variants in von Soden's first two apparatus, and a significant number of those in the third. In addition to the manuscripts cited by von Soden, Merk cites several manuscripts discovered since von Soden's time (papyri up to P52, including the Beatty papyri; uncials up to 0207; minuscules up to 2430, although all but four minuscules and three lectionaries are taken from von Soden). Merk also cites certain versions and fathers, particularly from the east, not cited in von Soden.
But this strength is also a weakness. Merk's apparatus incorporates all the errors of von Soden (inaccurate collations and unclear citations), and adds errors of its own: inaccurate translation of von Soden's apparatus, plus a very high number of errors of the press and the like. Merk does not even provide an accurate list of fathers cited in the edition -- e.g. the Beatus of Liébana is cited under the symbol "Be," but the list of Fathers implies that he would be cited as "Beatus." The Venerable Bede, although cited relatively often (as Beda), is not even included in the list of Fathers! The list of such errors could easily be extended (a somewhat more accurate list of fathers cited in Merk is found in the article on the Fathers).
Thus the student is advised to take great care with the Merk. As a list of variants, no portable edition even comes close. Every student should have it. But knowing how far to trust it is another question. The following table shows a test of the Merk apparatus, based on the readings found in the apparatus of UBS4 in three books (Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians). The first column lists the manuscript, the second the number of readings for which it can be cited, the third the number of places where Merk's apparatus disagrees with the UBS apparatus, and the fourth the percentage of readings where they disagree.
ManuscriptReadingsDisagreementsPercent Disagreement
11755148% (but see below)

(Note: Data for 330 and 462 taken from the collations by Davies.)

We should add one caveat, however: Merk does not list where manuscripts such as P46, C, and 1175 have lacunae -- in the case of 1175, he cites the manuscript explicitly for certain readings where it does not exist! In addition, it is often impossible to tell the readings of the manuscripts in the bottom parts of his apparatus, as they are cited as part of al or rel pl. Thus the table cites 256 for 59 readings instead of the 63 citations for the Old Uncials because there are four readings where it is simply impossible to know which reading Merk thinks 256 supports.
Still, we see that overall the Merk apparatus is almost absolutely accurate for the Old Uncials (though it sometimes fails to note the distinction between first and later hands). Minuscules vary in reliability, though there are only three -- 263, 330, and 436 (all members of Ia3, which seems to have been a very problematic group) -- where Merk's apparatus is so bad as to be of no use at all. The conclusion is that students should test the apparatus for any given minuscule before trusting it.
The Merk apparatus, adapted as it is from Von Soden, takes getting used to. The apparatus always cites the reading of the text as a lemma, then cites variant(s) from it. Normally witnesses will be cited for only one of the two readings; all uncited witnesses are assumed to support the other reading. To know which witnesses are cited for a particular reading, however, requires constant reference to Merk's list of groups (given in the introduction), as witnesses are cited by position within the groups, and often in a shorthand notation -- e.g. 1s means "1 and the witness immediately following" -- which in the Gospels is 1582; 1ss would mean "1 and the two witnesses immediately following" (1582 and 2193).
Note that "1s" is not the same as "1s." 1s means "1 and all manuscripts which follow to the end of the group." So where 1s means 1 1582, 1s means 1 1582 2193 (keep in mind, however, that if the subgroup is large, not all manuscripts of the group may be intended). 1r has yet another meaning: from 1 to the end of the major group -- in this case, from 1 to 131.
All this is not as bad as it sounds, but the student is probably well-advised to practice it a few times!
Other symbols in Merk's apparatus include >, indicating an omission; |, indicating a part of a versional tradition (or the Greek side of a diglot where the Latin disagrees); "rel" for "all remaining witnesses," etc. Many of the remaining symbols are obvious (e.g. ~ for a change in word order), but the student should be sure to check Merk's introduction in detail, and never assume a symbol means what you think it means!
The example below may make things a little clearer. We begin with the table of witnesess -- in this case for Paul.

HP46 BSCA 1739 424c 1908 33 PY 104 326 1175 81 1852(R) HIM(1 2CHb) 048 062(G) 081(2 C) 082(E) 088(1C) 0142 P10·13·15·16·40  |
Ca1D(E)G(F) 917 1836 1898 181 88 915 1912  |
Ca2623 5 1827 1838 467 1873 927 489 2143  |
Ca3920 1835 1845 919 226 547 241 1 460 337 177 1738 321 319 69 462 794 330 999 1319 2127 256 263 38 1311 436 1837 255 642 218  |
Cb1206 429 1831 1758 242 1891 522 2 635 941 1099  |
Cb2440 216 323 2298 1872 1149 491 823 35 336 43  |
Cc11518 1611 1108 2138 1245 2005  |
Cc2257 383 913 378 1610 506 203 221 639 1867 876 385 2147  |
KKL  |

Let us take Romans 2:14 as an example. Merk's text (without accents) reads:
(14)otan gar eqnh ta mh nomon econta fusei ta tou nomou poiwsin, outoi nomon mh econtes eautois eisin nomos
In the apparatus we have
14 gar] de G| ar Wr| -- i.e. for gar, the reading of Merk's text, the Greek side of G (but not the Latin), the Armenian, and part of Origen read de. All other witnesses support Merk's text.
poiwsin B SA-1908 104-1852 Ds 467 1319-38 436 43 Cl Wr ] poih rel -- i.e. poiwsin is supported by B, S (=Aleph), the witnesses from A to 1908 (=A, 1739, 6, possibly 424**, and 1908), the witnesses from 104 to 1852 (=104, 326, 1175, 81, 1852), by D and all other witnesses to the end of its group (=D G 917 1836 1898 181 88 915 1912, with perhaps one or two omitted), by 467, by the witnesses from 1319 to 38 (=1319 2127 256 263 38), by 436, by 43, by Clement, and by Origen. The alternative reading poih is supported by all other witnesses -- i.e. by the uncited witnesses in the H group (in this case, P Y), by the entire Ca2 group except 467, by the uncited witnesses of Ca3 (=920, 1835, etc.), by all witnesses of the Cb groups except 43, and by all remaining witnesses from 1518 on down to L at the end.
outoi] oi toioutoi G d t vg Wr| -- i.e. for outoi G (and its Latin side g), the old latins d t, the vulgate, and part of Origen read oi toioutoi. Again, all other witnesses support Merk's text.

The Nestle Text

The history of the "Nestle" text is complex; the text has undergone one major and assorted minor revisions, while the apparatus has been upgraded repeatedly. The sections below outline the history of the early versions of the edition, then proceeds to describe the modern form (Nestle-Aland 27 and its predecessor Nestle-Aland 26).

Nestle Editions 1-25

The first edition of "Nestle" was prepared in 1898 by Eberhard Nestle (1851-1913). It was not really a critical text; Nestle simply compared the current editions of Westcott & Hort, Tischendorf, and Weymouth. The reading found in the majority of these editions became the reading of the text (if the three disagreed, Nestle adopted the middle reading). The apparatus consisted variant readings from the three texts (plus a few variants from Codex Bezae).

The text was slightly revised with the third edition, when the text of Bernhard Weiss was substituted for that of Weymouth. With some further slight revisions, this remained the "Nestle" text through the twenty-fifth edition.

The nature of "Nestle" changed radically with the thirteenth edition of 1927. This edition, under the supervision of Eberhard Nestle's son Erwin Nestle (1883-1972), for the first time fully conformed the text to the majority reading of WH/Tischendorf/Weiss. It also added in the margin the readings of von Soden's text. But most importantly, it included for the first time a true critical apparatus.

Over the following decades the critical apparatus was gradually increased, and was checked against actual manuscripts to a greater extent (much of this was the work of Kurt Aland, whose contributions first began to appear in the twenty-first edition of 1952). More manuscripts were gradually added, and more variants noted. It should be observed, however, that the "Nestle" apparatus remained limited; often no more than five or six manuscripts were noted for each variant (it was exceedingly rare to find more than twelve, and those usually comprehended under a group symbol); most manuscripts were cited only sporadically; the Byzantine text was represented by the Textus Receptus (K); the Egyptian text (H) was cited under an inadequate group symbol. Also, the apparatus included fewer variants than might be hoped -- not only fewer variants than von Soden and Tischendorf (which was to be expected), but also fewer variants than Merk. Even the readings of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, the papyri, and the Textus Receptus were inadequately noted.

In addition, some regard the form of the apparatus as a difficulty. Instead of noting the text of variants in the margin, a series of symbols are inserted in the text. The advantages of this system are brevity (the apparatus is smaller) and also, to an extent, clarity; the scope of variants can be seen in the text. (Though the reason appears to have been rather different: the Nestle apparatus was as it was because the editors continued to use the original plates of the text, meaning that any apparatus had to fit in a fairly small space.)

The illustration below illustrates several of the major features of the Nestle apparatus, along with some explanations. The form of the apparatus resembles that of the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh editions, but the same symbols are used in all editions. (symbols)

Many of the aforementioned problems were removed in the completely redone Twenty-sixth edition:

Nestle-Aland Editions 26-27

The twenty-sixth edition of Nestle-Aland, published in 1979, was the first to be produced entirely under the supervision of Kurt Aland. The result was very nearly a new book.

The Text. The text of NA26 is, in all major respects, the same as that of the United Bible Societies Edition, of which Aland was an editor. The only differences lie in matters not directly associated with textual criticism, such as accents, punctuation, and arrangement of paragraphs. The characteristics of the text are described under the section on the UBS edition.

The Apparatus. The apparatus of NA26 is equally radically revised. Instead of the haphazard citation of witnesses found in the earlier editions, a select list of witnesses is cited for all readings. The witnesses cited include all papyri, all early uncials, and a selection of late uncials and minuscules -- usually about twenty witnesses for each reading. The most important of these witnesses, the papyri and the early uncials, are cited explicitly. (In the twenty-seventh edition, certain important minuscules -- 33, 1739, 1881, 2427 -- are elevated to the ranks of the explicitly cited witnesses.) The remaining witnesses, mostly Byzantine or mixed, are cited explicitly only when they differ from the Byzantine text; otherwise they are contained within the Majority Text symbol M. An example of the use of the Majority Text symbol is shown in the example above.
This apparatus offers distinct advantages. It cites many important manuscripts in a minimum of space, and is quite convenient to use once one becomes accustomed to it. In addition, the Nestle-Aland apparatus is probably the most accurate since Tischendorf. The several appendices offer additional useful information, e.g. about the differences between the major twentieth century editions. The margin has a much fuller set of cross-references than most comparable editions, and includes several ancient systems of enumeration.
There are still a few drawbacks. Some witnesses have lacunae which are not noted in the appendix. The reader may therefore assume, falsely, that a witness agrees with the majority text when in fact it is defective. (This was a particular problem in the twenty-sixth edition with 33, which is often illegible. This was solved in the twenty-seventh edition by citing 33 explicitly. However, the even more problematic 1506 is still not cited explicitly. In addition, the Nestle text does not list lacunae precisely; when it says, e.g., that 81 lacks Acts 4:8-7:17, 17:28-23:9, it means that it lacks those verses in their entirety. The verses on the edge of these lacunae -- Acts 4:7, 7:18, 17:27, 23:10 -- will almost certainly be fragmentary, so one cannot trust citations from silence in those verses.)
The set of variants in NA26 is still relatively limited; with minor exceptions, only those variants found in NA25 are cited in NA26. The thorough critic will therefore need to use a fuller edition -- Tischendorf, Von Soden, or Merk -- to examine the full extent of variation in the tradition.
Students are also advised to remember that Nestle-Aland cites only Greek and Latin fathers. The eastern tradition is entirely ignored. Those wishing to know the text of Ephraem, say, will have to turn to another source.

Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus

Editor. Volume 1 (Catholic Epistles) edited by K. Junack and W. Grunewald; Volume 2 (Romans, Corinthians) edited by K. Junack, E. Güting, U. Nimtz, K. Witte; additional volimes forthcoming.

Date of Publication. Ongoing. First volume published 1986.

The Text. This is not truly a critical text; in one sense it is not a text at all. A continuous text (that of the United Bible Societies Edition) is printed, but this is followed by continuous texts of the various papyri extant for the particular passage.
The significance of this edition, therefore, is not for its text but for its apparatus, which is the fullest collection of the texts of the papyri and uncials now known. It is also esteemed as highly accurate.
The apparatus in general falls into three parts: The text (as found in UBS and any extant papyri), the commentary on the papyri (describing their readings as well as information on early editions), and the full apparatus, noting readings of all papyri and uncials extant for this passage.
It should be noted that the edition is not a true collation of the uncials, though it is a full transcription of the papyri. While every significant variant in the uncials is noted, spelling and orthographic variants are not noted, nor peculiar forms used in the manuscripts (e.g. the text does not note places where D/06 confuses the endings -qe and -qai).
The apparatus of the Auf Papyrus edition is unusually simple and straightforward. The three basic sections of the apparatus are shown in the sample below (adapted, obviously, from the apparatus for Philippians 1:1. This is the actual apparatus, save that it has been reset for on-screen clarity and omits all sections not relevant to Philippians 1:1).

The Basic Text:
The UBS reading, with the readings of P46 below (in smaller type).

The Commentary, describing the details of what the papyri read, including comments on previous editions. Note that, had other papyri contained this passage, their readings would also have been discussed under separate heads.
The Apparatus, showing the major readings of both papyri and uncials. The section for Philippians 1:1 is exceptional in that it has a part both for the book title and the text itself. Most pages will show only one part.

The first section, at the top of the page, shows the readings of P46 in detail, setting them off against the UBS text. Note that the apparatus shows even the page layout (e.g. the line PROS FILIPPHSIOUS is page 168, line 21. This is noted with the notation "|168,21"). Where the text of the papyrus agrees exactly with the UBS text for a given word, this is noted with the ditto mark (,,). If there is any difference, or if some of the letters in the papyrus are uncertain or illegible, the word is spelled out, with (as is normal) dots below letters indicating uncertainty and letters in brackets [ ] indicating lacunae. Observe that P46 is totally defective for the final words of verse 1, and so there is no text cited below the UBS text for that line.
Below the actual text is the discussion, describing the actual readings and the differences between editions. Notice, first, the discussion of order, followed by the discussion of individual lines. So, e.g, we learn that the Kenyon edition (Ed. pr.2) omitted the terminal sigma of FILIPPHSIOUS in the title, as well as the two uncertain vowels of douloi in line 22 and all letters in line 23.
Below the discussion of the papyri we see the actual apparatus. This is exceptionally clear and easy to understand. To begin with, it lists all papyri and uncials which contain the passage (though lacunae in the uncials are not noted with the fullness of the papyri). The apparatus is straightforward: Every variant starts with a lemma (the UBS text of the variant in question), along with a list of supporters if appropriate. This is followed by the variant reading(s) with their supporters.
Again, we should note what this edition is not. It is not, despite the very full apparatus (which genuinely invites comparison to Tischendorf, save that it is restricted to readings found in papyri and uncials), a collation. Since the orthographic variants of the uncials are not noted, you cannot use it to reconstruct the actual text of an uncial. And if you wish a collation of a papyrus, you will have to do it yourself. Finally, if you wish to know which corrector of an uncial gave rise to a correction, you may have to refer to another edition.
Despite these drawbacks, Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus is one of the most useful tools available -- the first real step in many years toward a full critical apparatus of the Epistles. It's most unfortunate that it is priced so high; this volume should be on every textual critic's desk, not confined to seminary libraries.


Editor. Critical apparatus by Alexander Souter; the text itself is considered to be that underlying the English Revised Version of 1881.

Date of Publication. The first edition, Novvm Testamentvm Graece, appeared in 1910. A revised edition (offering, e.g., the evidence of the Beatty papyri) was released in 1947.

The Text. The text of Souter is that of Archdeacon Edwin Palmer, and is considered to be the Greek text underlying the English Revised Version. This produced a rather curious edition. To begin with, the scholars responsible for the RV were mandated to make the fewest possible changes in the text of the King James Version. It was decided that changes in the text could only be made by a two-thirds majority of the committee.
What is more, the committee had a rather haphazard method for determining the original text, allowing Hort (who generally favoured the Alexandrian text) and Scrivener (who preferred a more Byzantine text) to state their cases, then choosing between the two. The result is a text which frequently follows Hort, but sporadically adopts Byzantine readings as well.
Palmer's method exacerbated this problem. Since he wished to keep the text as close as possible to the KJV and the Textus Receptus, he made only the minimal number of revisions to the Greek text. Thus the text of Souter always follows the TR at points of variation which cannot be rendered in English, while more often than not following the text of Westcott & Hort at points where the variation affects the sense of the passage.
At least, this is what commentaries on the edition say. Interestingly, Souter's introduction does not mention Palmer. Even more interesting, a check reveals that the text of the Apocalypse was not prepared by this method; it regularly goes against the TR in variants which have no significance in English. I do not know the source of Souter's text of that book. Mark's text also has many agreements with Westcott and Hort where a TR reading would be expected, though here it is less consistent. One suspects that Palmer was not very careful in this book.
Still, that leaves perhaps 25 books largely based on the Textus Receptus. For this reason, critical editors rarely pay much attention to the text of Souter. The apparatus is another matter.

The Apparatus. Souter's apparatus lists only a limited number of variants (perhaps a third the number found in Nestle-Aland). The apparatus is, however, exceptionally clear and easy to use (which is fortunate, since the introduction consists of a mere two and a half pages, in Latin). The reading of the text is given, usually followed by its support (in the order papyri, uncials, minuscules, version, fathers; Souter does not classify witnesses). The variant readings and their support follow (in some readings where the variant is thinly supported, the evidence for the text is not listed).
A noteworthy feature of Souter's apparatus is the degree of detail it gives about the Fathers. These are cited in careful and specific detail. This is one of the best features of Souter's edition.
The revised edition of Souter cites papyri through P48, uncials through 0170, minuscules through 2322, a full list of versions (including Armenian, Gothic, Georgian, and Ethiopic), and nearly two hundred fathers of all eras. The Byzantine text is cited under the symbol w.


Editor. Critical apparatus and parallels compiled by Reuben J. Swanson. The text is that of the United Bible Societies edition.

Date of Publication. Published in several volumes, and ongoing. The first volume, The Horizontal Line Synopsis of the Gospels, Greek Edition; Volume I. The Gospel of Matthew, was published in 1982 (and has since been republished with the text of Codex Vaticanus replacing the original text). At present, the four gospels and the Acts have been published (in separate volumes), and Paul is underway.

The Text. The Greek text of Swanson, as noted, is that of the UBS edition (now being replaced by Vaticanus), and has no independent interest. The value of Swanson lies in its bulky but extremely clear apparatus.

The Apparatus. Swanson's apparatus, in the gospels, consists of three parts: Texts with parallels, critical apparatus, and list of Old Testament allusions (the later simply a list of the Gospel verses and the Old Testament passages they cite).
The apparatus of parallels is perhaps the simplest of any now available. The first line of the text is that of the Gospel under consideration. (This text can readily be recognized by the typeface; in Matthew, e.g.,it is underlined.) Below it are the texts of the other gospels. This arrangement in parallel lines has the advantage of allowing much easier comparison with the other gospels. The parallels are pointed up by the type, since places where the other gospels match the chosen edition are printed in the same style. The example below illustrates the point for the opening words of Matthew 9:1 and its parallels in Mark 5:18, Luke 8:37b.

M  9. 1
Mk 5.81
L  8.37b

Kai embas
kai embainontos autou
de  embas

parekalei auton o daimonisqeis

The apparatus is equally straightforward (and equally bulky). The apparatus for the above line of text, for instance, appears as follows, showing the full text of all the witnesses Swanson cites, including variations in spelling:

M 9. 1  embas

o Ihsous

o Ihsous
o Ihsous


o Ihsous
AlephBL 1.565.1582 

This strength of Swanson is also a weakness, as it results in absolutely massive volumes. Swanson's volume of Matthew, for instance, requires 362 pages of text and apparatus. Taking page size into account, this is 15.4 square metres of paper surface. By comparison, the Aland synopsis of all four gospels takes only 29.1 square metres, and manages to include more material (more manuscripts in the apparatus, if perhaps a poorer selection; citations from non-canonical gospels and other sources; a fuller set of cross-references, etc.)
The list of witnesses cited in Swanson is, in many ways, superior to the various Aland editions. It is a relatively short list, omitting fragmentary manuscripts and (for obvious reasons, given the nature of the apparatus) versions and fathers, but the witnesses are generally balanced (as opposed to the Aland apparatus, which is biased toward the Alexandrian text and heavily biased against the Byzantine). Again taking Matthew as an example, it includes the earliest Alexandrian witnesses (Aleph B C L), the one and only "Western" witness (D), several leading "Cæsarean" witnesses (Q 1 13 28 565 1582), two important mixed witnesses (P45 W), and (most unusually) an adequate set of Byzantine witnesses (A E F G K Y P). While the apparatus contains some errors (inevitable in a project of such scope), it is generally accurate, and contains details not found in any other critical edition. It is also interesting to examine a passage such as Matthew 15:22, where the Nestle text seems to indicate a fairly stable tradition (no variant with more than four readings), but Swanson reveals no fewer than thirteen variants in this passage, despite only fifteen of his witnesses being extant.


Editors. Text and apparatus compiled by R. V. G. Tasker based on the version translated in the New English Bible.

Date of Publication. The New English Bible itself appeared in 1961; Tasker's retroversion into Greek, The Greek New Testament, Being the Text Translated in The New English Bible, appeared in 1964. (As noted, Tasker's text is a retroversion; for the most part the NEB committee did not actually prepare a text.)

The Text. As has often been the case when a text is compiled by a translation committee, Tasker's text is rather uneven. It has been admitted that the reading adopted is often simply that preferred by the person who first attempted a translation. The result is a text largely Alexandrian (normally following the pre-UBS Nestle text on which it is largely based), but with odd mixtures of "Western" and Byzantine readings depending on the opinions of the translators. This text, since it does not adhere to any textual theory or display much coherence, has not met with widespread approval.

The Apparatus. Tasker's apparatus is very limited; it discusses only the few hundred variants noted in the NEB margin. Only a handful of manuscripts (including 11 papyri up to P51, 27 uncials up to 0171, and 44 minuscules up to 2059) are cited, and those sporadically. It is a rare note that cites more than ten manuscripts. On the other hand, the notes do describe why the committee adopted the reading it did -- a useful practice since adopted by the UBS committee in its supplementary volume.


Editors. Text and apparatus edited by Constantin von Tischendorf.

Date of Publication. Tischendorf published no fewer than eight major editions in his life, as well as abridged editions and various collations and facsimiles. His magnum opus, however, was the Editio octava critica maior (1869-1872), which remains unsurpassed as a complete edition of the New Testament text.

The Text. Tischendorf's text is eclectic, though Tischendorf did not have a detailed textual theory. In practice he had a strong preference for the readings of his discovery Aleph, especially where it agreed with D. His text thus has something of a "Western" tinge, although it is generally Alexandrian (insofar as that text was known in the mid-Nineteenth century, before B was made widely known). The resulting text, therefore, is not held in particularly high regard; the value of Tischendorf lies in...

The Apparatus. Tischendorf's apparatus was, in its time, comprehensive, and it remains the most complete available. It cited all major readings of all major manuscripts, offering the evidence of almost all known uncials, plus noteworthy readings of many minuscules, the versions, and the Fathers.
Tischendorf's apparatus is generally easy to read, particularly if one knows Latin. A lemma is cited for all variants. If each variant has significant support, the evidence for the text is listed following the lemma, followed by the variant reading(s) and their support. If the variant is supported by only a few witnesses, the variant reading is cited immediately after the lemma. So, for example, in Gal 1:4 the apparatus reads:

peri cum Aleph*ADEFGKLP al50 fere syrp Or1,238 etc ... s (= Gb Sz) uper cum AlephcB 17. 67** al sat mu Ignintpol314 al

This translates as peri, the reading of Tischendorf's text (read also by the uncited editions, i.e. Lachmann and Tischendorf7) is supported by the uncials Aleph* A D E(=Dabs) F G K L P and about fifty other witnesses plus the Harklean Syriac (syrp) and the cited text of Origen. The variant uper is supported by the Textus Receptus (s) and the editions of Griesbach and Scholz; by Alephc, B, 17 (=33), 67** (=424c), by many other Greek witnesses, and by the cited text of Ignatius.
The greatest single difficulty with Tischendorf's apparatus is the nomenclature. Tischendorf died before he could finish his introduction, so many of the witnesses cited were difficult to identify (this is particularly true of the Fathers, cited by a complex system of abbreviations). Another complication is attributions; Tischendorf lived in the nineteenth century, and even he did not have the time or the resources to verify everything he cited (nor could he always identify the manuscripts cited in prior editions). So one often encounters a notation such as "6 ap Scri" (i.e. 6 according to Scrivener) or "copms ap Mill et Wtst" (i.e. a manuscript of the [Bohairic] Coptic according to Mill and Wettstein). An introduction supplying much of the needed background was supplied by Caspar Rene Gregory in 1894, but it is worth remembering that Tischendorf wrote before Gregory revised the manuscript numbering system. Thus almost all minuscules (except in the Gospels), and even some of the uncials, have the wrong numbers. In Paul, for instance, the minuscules most often cited include 17, 31, 37, 39, 46, 47, 67, 71, 73, 80, and 115; in modern notation, these are 33, 104, 69, 326, 181, 1908, 424, 1912, 441+442, 436, and 103. In addition, the names used for the versions have sometimes changed (e.g. syrp is the Harklean version, not the Peshitta!). To make matters worse, Tischendorf often did not even use numbers for manuscripts; the sigla for more recently-discovered documents often consists of a letter and a superscript indicating a collator, e.g. ascr means the "a" manuscript collated by scr=Scrivener. This is the manuscript we know as 206. Most of the manuscripts cited under these symbols are relatively unimportant, but it is worth noting that loti=pscr is the important minuscule 81.
To save space, in the Gospels Tischendorf cites a group of uncials as unc9; these represent a block of Byzantine uncials.
In addition to manuscripts, Tischendorf cites the readings of earlier editions: the Stephanus and Elzevir editions of the Textus Receptus, Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, and Tischendorf's own previous edition). (In fact, Tischendorf's editio minor includes only those variants where these editions disagree.) Tischendorf also gives more explicit Latin evidence than most editions; see the notes on Tischendorf under the Latin Editions.

United Bible Societies Edition

Editors. Original edition compiled by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren; Carlo M. Martini joined the committee for the second and third editions; the fourth edition was prepared by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Martini, and Metzger.

Date of Publication. The first edition, The Greek New Testament, appeared in 1966. The second edition, slightly revised, appeared in 1968. The third edition (1975) contained a significantly revised text (now generally cited as UBS or GNT) and a slightly revised apparatus. The fourth edition (1993) has the same text as the third, but a significantly revised apparatus.

The Text. The UBS3 text, which is also shared by the 26th and 27th editions of Nestle-Aland, was prepared by a committee. As a result, it has few of the erratic readings which might be found in the text of a single editor (a fact which has been in large measure responsible for its widespread adoption). On the other hand, it is a strongly eclectic text, with no clear textual theory behind it. In general it follows the Alexandrian witnesses, and is closer to the Westcott & Hort text than most of the other modern editions, but it is not as radically Alexandrian as Westcott and Hort.
The supplementary volume to the edition describes how the committee decided its text -- but only by example. The volume gives details on how the committee chose many readings -- but makes no attempt to describe the theories followed by the five editors. Nor do we know how the individual editors voted on the various readings (except for the handful of readings where they have filed signed "minority opinions"). We have very little real sense how the text came about.

The Apparatus. The apparatus of UBS is extremely limited; it is concerned only with variants "meaningful for translators." In any given chapter of a book, one can expect to find only a half dozen or so variants. Thus the apparatus can in no sense be considered complete.
On the other hand, the apparatus is easy to use and very full. For each reading, all papyri, all early uncials, and a handful of late uncials are cited, as are several dozen minuscules, an assortment of lectionaries, a number of versions, and a wide selection of fathers. All witnesses are explicitly cited for all variants, usually in the order papyri, uncials, minuscules, lectionaries, versions, fathers. (There are a few minor exceptions to this; lectionaries are generally grouped under the symbol Lect, and in the fourth edition certain uncials are listed following the symbol Byz, denoting the Byzantine text.)
Care must be taken with the list of witnesses, however. UBS1-UBS3 contain lists of uncials and minuscules cited; however, many of the uncials (e.g. E F G H of the gospels) are cited only exceptionally (this even though the list implies they are cited fully), and many of the minuscules are cited for only part of their content. The correct list of minuscules cited for each section of UBS3 is as follows:

This problem has been reversed in UBS4, which explicitly lists which minuscules are cited for which sections -- but no longer lists the actual contents of the manuscripts. This information must now be gathered from other sources.


Editors. Heinrich Joseph Vogels.

Date of Publication. Original Greek text published 1920; Latin parallel added 1922; final edition published 1955.

The Text. It's hard to imagine a critic who would rate this text highly. The editing principle, if there is one, seems to have been "choose the Alexandrian reading unless the Byzantine is easier." This is especially true in the gospels, where the Byzantine element is very strong (almost strong enough that we could call it a Byzantine edition for those books), but has some truth elswhere also. The text has many major agreements with the Byzantine text (e.g. Colossians 2:2, where Vogels chooses the Byzantine reading against the united opinions of every modern editor), but also curious agreements with the Alexandrians. It is thus the most Byzantine of the major editions, with some influence from Von Soden, but not Byzantine enough to be considered even faintly a Majority Text edition.

The Latin side, as one would expect of a Roman Catholic scholar, is the Clementine Vulgate.

The Apparatus. The apparatus is as frustrating as the text. The number of variants cited is at the low end of adequate, the number of witnesses cited is small -- and the minuscules are cited by Tischendorf numbers!

It's not hard to read the apparatus; it uses the fairly standard system of citing the lemma, then a bracket ], then the variant readings, then their support. Vertical bars | separate the variants. The real question is, why would anyone want to use the apparatus? If you're going to have to deal with Tischendorf numbers anyway, why not use Tischendorf (since it's now available online)?

The Latin apparatus records a handful of variants, but without indication of the manuscript tradition behind them (it could be Amiatinus or it could be most of the tradition); it's even less use than the Greek apparatus.

Westcott & Hort

Editors. Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892)

Date of Publication. The text was published in 1881 (under the title The New Testament in the Original Greek; an Introduction [and] Appendix, authored by Hort, appeared in 1882 (revised edition by F. C. Burkitt in 1892).

The Text. The WH text is a very strongly Alexandrian text -- so much so that Hort has been accused of constructing his text simply by looking for the reading of Codex Vaticanus. The situation is not that simple; a better statement would be to say that the edition used B as a proof text. Hort (who was the chief architect of the textual theory of the book) would follow other witnesses if the internal evidence was sufficiently strong. The most noticeable instance of this is the famous Western Non-Interpolations. Still, it is fair to say that Hort's text falls closer to B than that of any other critical edition. It is, in fact, the one New Testament edition which approaches the method, used in some forms of non-Biblical criticism, of editing from a proof text.

The Apparatus. The WH edition has no true critical apparatus; not one manuscript is cited in the main body of the edition. There are a few variant readings in the margin; these are readings where the editors disagreed on the text or were very uncertain of the original readings. They also have a list of "interesting" variants. In neither apparatus do they supply a list of witnesses. The only textual evidence they give is in the discussion of readings in their Introduction [and] Appendix, and even these are difficult to use as manuscripts are (inevitably) cited using Tischendorf numbers.

The lack of an apparatus in WH has been criticised by some. This is rather unfair in context. They worked very shortly after Tischendorf published his eighth edition; they had nothing to add to it. (As both men were caught up in academic and pastoral duties, they did not have the leisure to go and examine manuscripts in odd places. In any case, all manuscripts known to be valuable, save B itself, had been studied by Tischendorf.) The problem with the WH edition is not its lack of an apparatus, but the fact that the coordinated apparatus (Tischendorf's) is now hard to find and hard to read.

The WH edition has another interesting feature: Some dozens of readings are obelized as "primitive errors" -- i.e. passages where the original reading is no longer preserved in the extant manuscripts. Westcott and Hort did not see fit, in these cases, to print conjectural emendations (they printed what they regarded as the oldest surviving reading), but the presentation of their data makes it clear that they felt it to be needed in these passages.

Summary: A Comparison of the Various Editions

This section offers various comparisons of the materials in the sundry editions, to show the qualities of each edition. (Note: Some editions, such as Swanson, are not included in certain of the comparisons, because they count variants in different ways.)

For a truly detailed comparison of the major editions for the book of Colossians, see the Sample Apparatus of Colossians.

Statistic 1: Variants Per Chapter

Let's take a few selected chapters, and count how many variants are cited in each chapter by the various editions (note: variants are usually but not quite always counted based on the way the editor divides them; the fact that SQE13 and Huck/Greeven both show 76 variants in Matthew 10, for instance, does not mean that they have the same variants or even include similar classes of variants, just that they have about as many separate citations in the apparatus):

Sample 1: Matthew 10

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Aland: SQE ed. 1376 (as shown on pp. 138-149)
Bover21 showing ms. support; 2 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad10 MT variants; 19 MT vs. UBS variants
Huck/Greeven76 (as shown on pp. 57-60)*
Merk55 (+27 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1343
Nestle-Aland ed. 2550
Nestle-Aland ed. 2758
UBS Ed. 35
UBS Ed. 42
Westcott & Hort4 with marginal variants, 3 "noteworthy rejected"

* For comparison, the equivalent sections in Huck/Lietzmann show 5 variants

Sample 2: Mark 2

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Aland: SQE ed. 13109 (as shown on pp. 60-66)
Bover36 showing ms. support; 3 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad11 MT variants; 46 MT vs. UBS variants
Huck/Greeven102 (as shown on pp. 49-66)*
Merk70 (+27 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1347
Nestle-Aland ed. 2550
Nestle-Aland ed. 2748
UBS Ed. 310
UBS Ed. 48
Westcott & Hort13 with marginal variants, 1 "noteworthy rejected"

* For comparison, the equivalent sections in Huck/Lietzmann show 12 variants

Sample 3: John 18

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Aland: SQE ed. 1396 (as shown on pp. 455-475)
Bover36 showing MS support; 1 more where only editors listed
Hodges & Farstad13 MT variants; 40 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk65 (+32 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1342
Nestle-Aland ed. 2549
Nestle-Aland ed. 2772
UBS Ed. 34
UBS Ed. 43
Westcott & Hort7 with marginal variants, 1 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 4: Acts 6

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Hodges & Farstad3 MT variants; 5 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk37 (+11 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1324
Nestle-Aland ed. 2527
Nestle-Aland ed. 2726
UBS Ed. 33
UBS Ed. 42
Westcott & Hort3 with marginal variants; 0 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 5: Acts 18

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover15 showing MS support; 1 more where only editors listed
Hodges & Farstad8 MT variants; 26 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk53 (+22 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1356
Nestle-Aland ed. 2560
Nestle-Aland ed. 2759
UBS Ed. 311
UBS Ed. 410
Westcott & Hort4 with marginal variants; 2 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 6: 1 Corinthians 13

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover8 showing MS support; 6 more where only editors listed
Hodges & Farstad2 MT variants; 10 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk26 (+11 variants in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1316
Nestle-Aland ed. 2517
Nestle-Aland ed. 2713
UBS Ed. 31
UBS Ed. 43
Westcott & Hort2 with marginal variants; 1 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 7: Colossians 2

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover14 showing MS support; 2 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad8 MT variants; 14 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk37 (+36 in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1331
Nestle-Aland ed. 2531
Nestle-Aland ed. 2731
UBS Ed. 36
UBS Ed. 47
Westcott & Hort9 with marginal variants (3 being primitive errors), 0 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 8: James 2

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover10 showing MS support; 2 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad5 MT variants; 19 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk41 (+24 in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1336
Nestle-Aland ed. 2539
Nestle-Aland ed. 2749
UBS Ed. 33
UBS Ed. 44
Westcott & Hort6 with marginal variants (one being a punctuation variant), 0 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 9: 1 John 4

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover7 showing MS support; 1 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad4 MT variants; 7 MT vs. UBS variants
Merk39 (+24 in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1328
Nestle-Aland ed. 2529
Nestle-Aland ed. 2735
UBS Ed. 34
UBS Ed. 45
Westcott & Hort5 with marginal variants, 1 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 10: Revelation 8

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover7 showing MS support; 1 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad17
Merk29 (+30 in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1319
Nestle-Aland ed. 2519
Nestle-Aland ed. 2729
UBS Ed. 31
UBS Ed. 4None
Westcott & Hort4 with marginal variants, 1 "noteworthy rejected"

Sample 11: Revelation 15

EditionVariants in Apparatus
Bover4 showing MS support; 2 more where only editors cited
Hodges & Farstad20
Merk19 (+23 in the Latin parallel)
Nestle ed. 1313
Nestle-Aland ed. 2514
Nestle-Aland ed. 2724
UBS Ed. 33
UBS Ed. 42
Westcott & Hort2 with marginal variants, 0 "noteworthy rejected"

Appendix: Latin Editions

In addition to a full set of Greek editions, a thorough student of the New Testament text should have access to a variety of Latin editions. We will not dwell at length on the various Latin editions, but the following section supplies brief notes.

Observe that only editions with an apparatus are listed. So, for example, the Latin text of Bover, which is the Vulgate without apparatus, is ignored

Merk. (For publication data, see the entry on Greek Merk). This is in many ways the handiest of the Latin editions, as it combines Greek and Latin editions side by side, with a critical apparatus of each. The Latin text is the Clementine Vulgate, but the apparatus (quite full for a manual edition) makes it easy to ascertain which variants are older. More than three dozen Vulgate witnesses are cited in total, with usually several dozen in each book; in addition, the Old Latin codices are cited heavily.

Unfortunately, the result is not as accurate as might be hoped. Tests against Tischendorf and the smaller WW edition seem to indicate a high rate of errors, at least for am and ful. If exact knowledge of the readings of these manuscripts is for some reason essential, the student is advised to rely on other sources if possible.

Nestle. This exists both as a standalone edition and as a Greek/Latin diglot; I've used the diglot. The scope of the edition is extremely limited: The text is the Clementine Vulgate, and the only variants noted are those in amiatinus (A), Fuldensis (F), and editions such as the Sixtine and Wordsworth-White editions. In addition, the presentation is such that it is often nearly impossible to determine which just which manuscripts support which readings. As a parallel to Greek Nestle, Latin Nestle has some slight value (mostly because the parallels line up nicely). It is not, in itself, a particularly useful edition, either in text or apparatus.

Tischendorf. Tischendorf published Latin editions (what didn't he publish?), but this is a reference to the eighth edition of his Greek New Testament. This, of course, lacks a Latin text, but if you are using the Latin solely for purposes of examining the Greek, Tischendorf's edition is more useful than several of the other editions here. Tischendorf cites the Clementine Vulgate (vgcle) and four manuscripts consistently: am(iatinus), demid(ovianus), fu(ldensis) and tol(etanus), with their consensus being noted simply as vg. He also cites others, such as harl(eianus), occasionally. It's only a handful of manuscripts, but at least you know exactly what you are getting.

Weber (the Stuttgart Vulgate). The vgst of the Nestle editions. In some ways, the best of the hand editions; it is the only edition other than Wordsworth-White (on which it is significantly dependent) to have a critical text, and the only one other than Merk to have a real apparatus with a significant selection of witnesses. Plus, it notes the exact extent of all the manuscripts is noted. And, unlike Merk, the apparatus is generally regarded as accurate. Sadly, it has two drawbacks: Not enough variants, and not enough range of witnesses. To demonstrate the point about variants, we look at 1 Thessalonians. The Stuttgart edition has, by my casual count, 88 variants, often of very slight scope. This is twice the count of the lesser Wordsworth-White -- but Merk has 104 variants, often covering more text, in this book. Thus, as with the Greek, one really should have two hand editions. For the Greek, it's Nestle for accuracy and Merk for a full list of variants; on the Latin side, one should have vgst for accuracy and Merk for range.

Wordsworth-White Editio Minor. This is probably the sort of edition that should have been used in the Nestle diglot. It is a critical text (identical in some parts to the larger Wordsworth-White edition, though distinct in certain books where the larger edition was unfinished at that time). The critical apparatus cites also enough good manuscripts to be useful, as well as the readings of the Sixtine and Clementine editions. That's the good news. The bad news is, the manuscripts are not cited with any regularity. All variants in the editions are noted, but readings of the manuscripts only rarely. Taking as a random example the book of 1 Thessalonians, the edition cites a total of 45 variants. Only five of these cite the manuscripts; the rest cite only editions. Thus the apparatus, while generally accurate, is quite limited.