Jim West jwest at Highland.Net
Sat Nov 6 11:11:51 EST 1999

At 09:29 AM 11/6/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Can someone tell me in broad-brush terms why there are 3 eclectic (I think
>I know what that means...) texts in current use, and who uses which?  I've
>gotten impressions from the discussions here and elsewhere, but decided to
>finally just ask the question that it seems everyone else already knows the
>answer to.

The UBS text is mainly intended for translators in the field and students
beginning their study of the New Testament in Greek.  Nestle/Aland is the
text preferred by professional NT scholars, text critics, and the like.  And
the TR is simply, in my view, a relic.

>This is a matter of practical importance, in that my main work is
>facilitating Bible study groups, and we often use interlinear Bibles.  The
>ones I have handy are

Well I realize some folk will disagree, but interlinears are not really good
for the person interested in learning Greek.  In fact, my perception is that
they are used by folk who cant read Greek, have no intention of learning
greek, but still want to say "the greek text says...."

If you want to learn greek- throw the interlinear away and just do the hard
work it takes--- it will be worth it.  But if you just want to say "the
greek says..." then I suppose an interlinear will do just fine.

>        QUESTION:   Would the UBS/NA text be what this author is calling
>the Critical Text, or the "more eclectic" text?  What's the other one?

Both UBS and NA are eclectic texts.  Both are critical as well.

>3) Also we often use Strong's Concordance numbers, which I suppose are
>based on the TR.

Use instead a lexicon.  Strongs is wrong on too many words.

>4) Then I have my handy UBS Bible from seminary Greek class, and my
>BibleWindows program, which both use the same text as the Nestle-Aland.


>I've come to believe that this is mainly a political matter.  It seems like
>"regular old people" who patronize Bible bookstores in small towns mainly
>use the KJV and NIV as their English translations, and these bookstores,
>when they carry anything in Greek at all, have interlinear Bibles based on
>either the TR or the MT.  And Strong's Concordance, of course.

Of course- because folk are interested in "appearing" to know rather than
really "knowing".

>Then in academic bookstores and university/(liberal) seminary classes, they
>seem to use the NRSV or other recent non-NIV critical editions for the
>English, and UBS/NA for the Greek, with nary an interlinear or Strong's in
>sight.  Learn it all, learn it right, or forget it.


>Based on this limited data the basic division between the masses and the
>elite seems pretty clear.  I guess the masses (or their publishers and
>teachers) think the elite is going off into la-la land, leaving the Truth
>of Scripture far behind.  And I guess the elite think the masses are, well,

Pretty much you have hit the nail on the head.

>Does the above seem accurate?  Also, can anyone help me distinguish between
>groups (denominations, seminaries, scholars ... ?) who favor the MT vs the
>TR and vice versa?  

Conservative schools (like most Baptist colleges and seminaries these days)
will prefer the TR whilst other schools which are not so conservative will not.
That is a gross overgeneralization, but thats what you wanted, right?

>I'm sorry for being flippant, but hardly anybody ever talks about these
>differences openly, and most people seem only to know their own group's
>point of view.  I feel frankly bewildered by the diversity of texts, and
>want to be a bridge among people from the different groups.  This subject
>comes up almost every week, when the Living Bible guy has a clause that's
>not in the RSV guy's Bible, and the Greek texts we've brought along for
>reference don't agree either.  We understand that "ancient manuscripts
>differ,"  but we're trying to understand the pattern of the differences and
>why the different scholarly groups behind our various Bible editions chose
>as they did, in social and political terms.  We understand why there's an
>NIV as opposed to an RSV, we're trying to go beyond that.

The differences arise for one simple reason- every translation is an
interpretation!  To know what the text says, one must read the text written
and not interpreted.





Jim West, ThD
jwest at

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