Novum Testamentum Graece: Editio Critica Maior

The Editio Critica Maior documents the Greek textual history of the first millennium based on Greek manuscripts of special relevance for the textual tradition, on older translations and on quotations of the New Testament in ancient Christian literature. Based on genealogical studies of the material prepared for the first time with this completeness the text is being newly reconstructed.

The selection of manuscripts rests on an analysis of the entire primary tradition. The ECM is one of the research projects accepted by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts as part of their programme. It was established as “Arbeitsstelle Novum Testamentum Graecum - Editio Critica Maior” at Münster University in 2008.

Further information

Publication and presentation / reviews

Scholarly concise editions of the Greek New Testament

The INTF supervises and edits the scholarly concise editions of the Greek New Testament (Nestle-Aland and GNT), synopses, multilingual editions, special editions and revisions of these editions that are used worldwide. The concise editions are intended to offer a text of the New Testament that is in accordance with the current state of research as well as a critical apparatus representative of the entire traditions.

Currently the 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland is being prepared. Its traditional publication in print will be complemented by a digital part.

Digital edition of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament important for the textual history with critical apparatus on a Web site

In the course of this research project which could established thanks to start-up funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) those manuscripts of the Greek New Testament that are important for the textual history are being transcribed and their variants made accessible in a complete critical apparatus. The transcripts and the apparatus will be published on the Internet and on CD-ROM. Search functions will provide a concordance-like access to the transcripts, thus enabling the comparison of variants of selected manuscripts. Furthermore, the Web site NT Transcripts that is being developed during the process of working serves as the centre that links the growing number of photographs of manuscripts put on the Web by museums and libraries and other relevant electronic publications.

At the same time, the Nestle-Aland (28th edition) is being digitised and prepared for publication on CD-ROM. It is planned to link the text and apparatus of the digitised Nestle-Aland on the CD to the additional transcripts and their apparatus published on the Internet. The project is realised in close co-operation with the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society)

While the web site ‘NT Transcripts’ is being built in the course of this work, the stock of transcripts is constantly growing and complemented by links to the Virtual Manuscript Room.

NT Transcripts Prototype

Digital Nestle-Aland Prototype

Stemmatology—the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method

The tradition of the books of the New Testament is highly contaminated. This characteristically leads to a situation where a comparison between any two textual witnesses will yield, in each of the witnesses, variants that are older as well as ones that are younger than in the other witness. The resulting conflict of data represents a stemmatological challenge. Yet another problem arises from the fact that variants with the same wording may repeatedly emerge by coincidence so that they give no hint for a genealogical connection.

A genealogical hypothesis (stemma) has to be extracted by a method that allows for contamination (with its typical results) and the coincidental multiple emergence of variants. First of all, however, a suitable method has to answer the question of how relevant genealogical data can be obtained at all.

The Coherence-Based Genealogical Method was developed to do justice to the problems typical of contamination, and to arrive at an overall picture of the genealogical relationships in spite of the high degree of contamination. The application of this method and its further development are the object of this project.

Short introduction

Introductory Presentation

Recording and cataloguing of the Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament

The Institute for New Testament Textual Research operates the international recording list for Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. All manuscripts found anew anywhere in the world are being recorded, examined and provided with a short description at the Institute. The INTF assigns the manuscript numbers that are valid worldwide. The manuscript descriptions published so far in the “Kurzgefaßte Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments” are subject to continuous reassessment and updating. For the current status see "News" Continuation of the Manuscript List.
The nominal number of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament (as at August, 2009):

  • 124 papyri
  • 280 uncials
  • 2808 minuscules
  • 2343 lectionaries.
Virtual Manuscript Room

The Virtual Manuscript Room complements the traditional “Kurzgefaßte Liste der griechischen Handschriften” by all information available about the manuscripts. Above all, images are made accessible on a web site, provided that the possessing institutions agree. For this purpose the stock of microfilms at INTF are being scanned. The contents are recorded in a way that enables linking with the transcripts published in NT Transcripts. Other photos and information that is available on the internet already are referred to by links. The development of the Virtual Manuscript Room is promoted by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Website: NT.VMR

Classification and analysis of the textual history of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament

The value for the textual history of all manuscripts available at the INTF (as micro films or in other form) was determined by test sample collations. The collations were published together with a computer-based analysis in the series “Text und Textwert der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments”. The final volume, which still awaits publication, refers to the Gospel of John. The collecting and evaluation of the material for this volume takes place in co-operation with the editing project Principio, run by D. C. Parker (University of Birmingham).

The early tradition of the synoptic Gospels

Based on complete collations of more than 150 manuscripts of importance for the textual history in 41 parallel pericopes, the results of the test sample collations (“Text und Textwert”) will be examined and supplemented. Spectra of variants of single manuscripts and groups are examined in detail. Special observation is given to the relevance of textual harmonisation for the emergence of variants in the Synoptic Gospels.

The Syriac tradition of the New Testament

A synoptic edition of the Acts of the Apostels is being prepared, and different early Syriac translations with the inclusion of quotationsby the Syrian ecclesiastical writers are being examined. The synoptic presentation makes the context of revisions of the Syriac translations as well as their Greek background accessible.

Furthermore, a critical edition of the New Testament Peshitta (Epistles of Paul) is being worked at. This project makes use of the already completed synoptic edition of the Epistles of Paul.

All manuscripts (Peshitta, Harklensis) of the Syriac New Testament are registered in a descriptive list.

The Coptic tradition of the New Testament

At present the transmission of the Acts of the Apostles is being examined and prepared for the Coptic section of the Editio Critica Maior. First the extensive manuscript material, scattered and mostly fragmentary in collections all over the world, has to be registered and subjected to a difficult process of collection and examination for an affiliation to already known manuscript parts, before a list of Coptic manuscripts for the Acts of the Apostles can finally be compiled.

For the Acts of the Apostles with its Sahidic, Bohairic, Fayyumic and Mesokemic manuscripts will be examined. Initially the internal development of these translations have to be studied. Then their relationship with their Greek exemplars will be explored, thus preparing the citation of the Coptic evidence in the ECM apparatus.

Bible Museum

In affiliation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, the Bible Museum documents the tradition of the Bible from its beginnings to today by means of original material. In the Bible Museum the Institute gives an account of its work to the public. The holdings of the Bible Museum encompass manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments, incunabula and early printed editions as well as contemporary editions of the Bible and various works of reference.