Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SBL San Diego 2007 I - UBSGNT5

Already on my way back I finally find some time to write something about at least one of the sessions I attended, the first one actually. On saterday morning there was an extra session (not found in the program book) on the next edition of the UBS Greek New Testament. It will be the fifth edition.
As Tommy Wasserman already blogged on the session over at ETC, I will just add some personal points of view and some stunning announcements.
To commence with the latter, and with the most important point of all: the font will certainly be changed, and probably more towards the font of the third edition, but maybe a move towards the NA27 font (is that Hellenica?) will be considered. Please contact Florian Foss (German Bible Society) with all your brilliant ideas on the appearance of the book as a book.
I have always been puzzled about the lack of balance in the GNT editions: on the one hand, there are actually very few variant readings in the apparatus, but on the other, those that are included are treated with an amount of detail that seems way beyond the purpose of the edition. David Parker pointed out to me that there are - of course! - historical reasons for this oddness: for the first editions, the Committee could provide - at least for these variants - something far better that the Nestle-Aland editions. The point remains however that translators, for whom the editions is primarily intended, are not well served with large lists of minuscules and bracketed church fathers. And even more: the criteria for including a variant reading are (1) its importance for the meaning of the passage and (2) the variant having at least some possible claim to being original (that word should be between quotation marks nowadays); but should one then include variants that are certainly conflations or scribal corrections, or should one only mention the two or three competing variants? The issue goes deeper: should the apparatus allow competent textual critics with all the material for a complete local stemma and all the other niceties for a textcritical discussion? My take would be that the limited choice of variant readings eo ipso excludes this: one has to see what is going on in other verses with a similar problem, or what the manuscripts you are interested in do in cases that do not affect the meaning in present-day languages.
And what about the (in)famous rating system? Despite the customary reference to Griesbach, it still is in my view a non-sensical part of the edition. More interesting than my point of view, perhaps, is how it actually functions. As we were told, apparently the degrees of certainty expressed by A to D are "translated" thusly by translators in the field: A: if you diverge, be ready to split the church; B: only if a major language translation around you follows it you may choose the variant; C: there are diverging opinions: look around the major translations and do what suits you (i.e. what will probably upset the fewest number of people); D: the text is a mess, do whatever you like.
Just another point before my flight starts boarding: we were shown one of Klaus Wachtel's sheets (whose contribution was presented by Ulrich Schmid) with a time schedule of GNT, NA and ECM, and even more, on which I will hopefully blog later. Be prepared to buy your GNT5 in 2014, and GNT8 (yes, the eighth edition!) around 2031. NA and GNT will be closely following the Edition Critica Maior project, which will accelerate and be finished by then. Exciting times!

No comments: