Real Hebrew Bathtub Letters This Time

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my five-year-old son is learning Hebrew, using the materials from Sarah and David. Part of his learning process was to re-shape his English bathtub letters into Hebrew ones, as noted and pictured here. Now (thanks, Diana!) he has real ones:


And he’s pretty happy about them, too:

Son with Letters

More updates on our Hebrew learning adventures soon!

Books for Sale: Hermeneia 38 vol. CD-ROM (Logos), $149, OBO


I’m looking to sell the Hermeneia CD-ROM set (38 vols., 2006). It’s compatible with Logos/Libronix. $149 (and willing to consider offers). See here and here for details on the set.

If you want to contact me about a possible purchase, feel free to use this form, and we’ll talk. I generally do things through PayPal.

2014 UPDATE: I’ve still got the 38-volume set available to sell (unopened), if you’re interested.

UPDATE 2: It’s now sold.

My five-year-old son reviews: The Hebrew Language

Okay, so he’s not really reviewing the Hebrew language, but he is learning it. Wanting to spend more time with my kids this summer, and seeing a voracious appetite for learning in my five-year-old son, I offered to help him learn a language. I told him I could offer Hebrew (of the biblical variety), Greek (koine/New Testament), and Spanish.

He opted for Hebrew. Thinking about demographic trends in the U.S. these next few decades, I gently pushed back: How about Spanish? No. Hebrew. He wanted to learn Hebrew. So we’ve begun.

We’ve been using materials from Sarah and David, a publishing company that specializes in Hebrew language materials for children. The materials are organized in stages, with learning the letters first, then a focus on reading, then finally speaking Hebrew. Here’s a curriculum overview in their own words:

Aleph Bet Story setThe Sarah and David curriculum was built backwards from Bar/Bat Mitzvah with the goal of addressing reading difficulties students continue to have with accuracy and fluency in the upper grades.  Beginning with The Aleph Bet Story and through to The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Book, both teachers and students have a consistent approach to use from year to year to reinforce letters, vowels and reading skills. 

Using the curriculum, schools have found that they can introduce the reading process early, teachers learn instructional cues to guide the learning and students practice skills that can be applied to any reading exercise or text. Used in religious schools across the county, the reading program has also proven to be helpful to resource room teachers, special needs and late-start students, and adult learners.

The very friendly folks at Sarah and David sent us most of the Part One materials for review (and set us up with a Web account, which you can purchase here). My five-year-old and I have had just over two weeks so far with The Aleph Bet StoryThe Aleph Bet Story Activity Book, The Aleph Bet Story WorkbookThe Sarah and David Read Hebrew Primer (from Part Two of the curriculum), and The Aleph Bet Story Audio CD.

We’ll offer a multi-part review as we continue to work our way through the materials. For now, I offer praise for the effectiveness of the learning system. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Or in the bathtub letters, in this case. After less than a week with the materials, my five-year-old son had used bath time to make this:

shin and sin

From right to left (how you read Hebrew), that’s shin and sin, which look like this:

shin and sin print

Cool, huh? I never would have thought to do that.

My five-year-old loves these materials. Nearly every morning on his drive with me to pre-K, we listen to the CD. Nearly every night when I ask him to pick a book to read, he picks one of the Sarah and David books. And he often reads them on his own, or practices the writing and other exercises in the activity book and workbook. I don’t want to be *that dad* who makes his kids learn biblical languages before they can even read Captain Underpants, so I haven’t pushed much at all. He’s really enjoyed learning Hebrew with very little prodding from me.

This has all been really fun for us lately, and Sarah and David has made the learning process smooth and enjoyable.

Thanks to Sarah and David for the books and Web account for the purposes of review. I promised them only honesty, so they have not expected anything of our review. Expect more this summer as we continue to review the materials and learn Hebrew together.

Books for Sale (Word Biblical Commentary, 9 vols., others)

wbcI’m looking to sell 9 volumes of the Word Biblical Commentary set. I’ve listed them (with full condition details) here. If you want to contact me directly about a possible purchase (i.e., not through ebay), feel free to use this form, and we’ll talk. (UPDATE: Books are now sold.)


A few more books for sale:

IVP Bible Background

IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
Like New
ISBN: 978-0830814053
Used just a few times. No markings. In great shape.
$22 (SOLD)


Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG)
for BibleWorks Software
Compatible with BibleWorks 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. I’ve been in touch with BibleWorks to confirm that on completion of sale, one user license transfers to the buyer with no fee, so that you can use BDAG in your BibleWorks. (Must have purchased and own BibleWorks to be able to use this.)
Significant discount from buying new (where it’s $150).
$99 (SOLD)

Ezra Nehemiah BHQ

Ezra and Nehemiah: Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ)
Like New
Taken out of shrink wrap and used just once or twice.
Excellent condition.

$40 (SOLD)

Greek Grammar Wallace

Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
Very Good/Like New
Just some edge and cover wear. Light blue cover as pictured, but same contents as dark blue cover.

Free shipping on all orders. If you’re interested in buying–or just have questions–you can reach me using this form, and we’ll go from there. (I use PayPal; shipping is free only domestically.)

What is Translation? (Karen Jobes)

Professor Jobes (now at Wheaton) writes:

Bible translators stand at the intersection of the biblical world and their own, with the task of communicating an ancient text in a contemporary language. The Greek translator of Isaiah provides interesting examples of the issues and problems this task presents. For instance, he sometimes substituted the more familiar names of local Greek deities in place of the long-forgotten names of pagan Semitic deities being denounced. Is it “right” to substitute contemporary terms that would clearly communicate the message to the readers in place of ancient terms and idioms that would be accurate but meaningless? Where do accuracy and clarity meet in “getting it right”?

The whole article is here and worth reading.

Review of Basics of Biblical Hebrew: Video Lectures

Miles Van Pelt keeps turning out the hits. Through Zondervan he has published resources that fill a gap in original language learning in biblical studies. I’ve reviewed (with approval) his Biblical Hebrew: A Compact Guide, his Basics of Biblical Aramaic, and have been grateful in my Göttingen Septuagint primer to link to a short two-page abbreviations sheet he produced for that critical edition of the Septuagint.

This fall Zondervan released Basics of Biblical Hebrew: Video Lectures.

The DVDs work “chapter by chapter, section by section” through Pratico and Van Pelt’s Basics of Biblical Hebrew grammar textbook. The videos are “the basic content in lecture form for the grammar.” Here’s how Van Pelt recommends using the DVDs:

  1. Read the chapter of Basics for Biblical Hebrew “for simple content overview.”
  2. Watch the lectures.
  3. Go back to the printed chapter and memorize the relevant information (vocabulary, paradigms, charts, grammar).
  4. Complete the workbook exercises.
  5. Check your answers.

Each DVD chapter corresponds to a chapter in the textbook. The DVDs come with a pdf file that includes summary charts. Throughout the lectures Van Pelt refers to these charts and the screen moves to them as he is speaking.

There is nothing particularly novel or revolutionary in the videos that is not already covered to some degree in the textbook. But especially for a student who is making her or his way through the book alone, the video lectures serve to reinforce the material in a new medium. Even a student taking a course with a live lecturer could benefit from watching these alongside the class.

Van Pelt is a solid lecturer. If not overly exciting, he communicates concepts clearly. For just about anyone making their way through the grammar, it will be easy to follow these lectures.

He offers good study tips in the introduction, and continues to encourage learners throughout the 36 lectures. My favorite tip: “Begin reading your Hebrew Bible as soon as possible,” and, “Take that Bible with you everywhere.” I remember that often in my first year of Hebrew (I used the Van Pelt and Pratico text), I wanted to just be able to read the Hebrew Bible. There are examples throughout the grammar from the Bible, but learning charts and paradigms first can be tedious. This is perhaps a necessary tedium.

Or is it? Some people disagree that paradigm memorization outside the context of a text or conversation is ideal pedagogy for language learning. (Look at how babies acquire language, after all, the argument goes–by hearing, talking, etc., not by memorizing grammatical rules.) Even dead or ancient languages should be taught as “living languages,” proponents say. So some Hebrew textbooks encourage instead a text-based inductive approach.

Van Pelt at one point in the lectures says, “Languages are meant to be accessed and decoded in your mind,” though “decoding” is something a language learner ought to try to move away from as quickly as possible, as she or he seeks fluency. And an early strong verb paradigm has Van Pelt saying, “You must memorize this paradigm, like a ROBOT!”

Hebrew and other languages have been taught this way for a long time, and some language learners may not mind it. I, for example, find paradigm memorization tedious, but not overly difficult. If I have an end goal firmly in mind–reading the Hebrew Bible–I have motivation to repeatedly go over verb conjugations.

But I don’t think this approach will work for everyone, and the potential viewer of these videos should understand that Van Pelt takes a paradigm-memorizing approach to learning Hebrew, with not much inductive learning or interaction with the biblical text. (I think of my high school Spanish teacher, who would not answer classroom questions asked in English, but would simply say, “¡En Español, por favor!”)

Van Pelt and Pratico’s materials use verbal diagnostics. Paradigm charts show in red what the unique prefixes and suffixes and vowels are for each verbal stem, so that it is not just rote memorization of multiple verbs. The diagnostics are a time-saving feature in this sense. As here:


For those interested in verbal theory, Van Pelt uses perfect (“completed action”) and imperfect (“incomplete action”) nomenclature to describe verbs.

The lectures are well-produced and alternate between views of charts like the one above, real-time writing (like a dry-erase board), and Van Pelt speaking. The clarity of the lectures is a strong point, as they reinforce the material in the textbook well.

If a student is already assigned the Pratico and Van Pelt text, he or she should seriously consider using the lectures as an additional study aid, if one is needed. If a student or professor has a choice as to which text to use for learning Hebrew, though, it is worth considering (either in addition or instead) other “living language”/inductive approaches. Randall Buth’s Living Biblical Hebrew or John H. Dobson’s Learn Biblical Hebrew are two possible texts.

Chapter 1 of the lectures is here, if you want to get a flavor of the lectures (it’s just over an hour):

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy. You can find the Basics of Biblical Hebrew Video Lectures here at Amazon. The Zondervan product page is here.

Göttingen in Logos is On Sale Friday

Photo by Logos
Photo by Logos

$369.95 for the Göttingen Septuagint in Logos Bible Software. It’s on sale for International Septuagint Day, all day Friday (midnight to midnight). If you click here, it adds to your cart, and you can purchase from there–whether you already have the academic discount or not. Marked down from $700.

I reviewed the Göttingen Septuagint in Logos here. Its product page is here.

The Göttingen Septuagint in Logos Bible software

Photo by Logos
Photo by Logos

Göttingen. Not just a city in Germany, but a word that instills awe and fear in the hearts of every student of the Septuagint who must eventually consult the set of Old Greek editions by that name.

Okay, that’s maybe a bit dramatic. I do suspect, however, that if one finds it challenging to learn how to read the leading critical edition of the Hebrew Bible–the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia or BHS–the Göttingen Septuagint will prove even more difficult to decipher.

Not impossible, though.

In celebration of International Septuagint Day Friday, here I review the Göttingen Septuagint in Logos Bible Software. The full name is Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum. It’s published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, Germany. The Göttingen Septuagint has published over 20 volumes covering some 40 biblical books (counting the minor prophets as 12). Publication of additional volumes, while slow-going, is in progress.

The typical contents of a volume include:

  1. The introduction (“Einleitung”)
  2. The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
  3. The Source List (“Kopfleiste”) (not every Göttingen volume has this)
  4. The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)
  5. The Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”)

In two previous posts I wrote a primer on how to read and understand the Göttingen Septuagint. In part 1 I wrote about the reconstructed Greek critical text and the source list (full post is here). In part 2 I explained how to understand the first critical apparatus, here. Each of those posts contains additional explication of Göttingen, so the one who is new to it may want to pause here to read more there. Having written at length about numbers 2-4 above, a future post will cover 1 (the introduction) and 5 (the second critical apparatus).

Logos is the only Bible software that has available all of the published volumes of the Göttingen Septuagint. Though Logos offers the set in 67 volumes, that corresponds to the 24 existing print volumes. This includes the 2004 Supplementum, which offers a “list of Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament,” sorted by date, region, writing material, and more, and which also cross-references various editors’ classifications of manuscripts against each other, so that differing systems can easily be compared.

There is, of course, the question of which Bible software to use in general. I’ve written about issues like layout, functionality, cost, and so on here, which includes both praises and critiques of Logos, Accordance, and BibleWorks. So what about Göttingen in Logos?

From what I’ve seen, the text of Göttingen in Logos is the most accurate digital text available. I am aware of others who have found typos in Göttingen for Logos, but based on a verse-by-verse read of Isaiah 1-11, I found just one error in Logos compared to the print text. The Accordance text of Göttingen for Isaiah, by contrast, had 14 spelling mistakes, misplaced words, or wrong inflections in that same span. This was a surprise to me, since Accordance aims to produce “research-grade” texts, a goal which sometimes means their texts take longer to complete than other software companies. (Accordance currently has some, but not all, of the Göttingen volumes that exist in print.) As of right now, as far as the actual critical text of Göttingen, Logos seems to be the best bet for consistent correspondence to the print text.

It’s easy to set up the critical text and both apparatuses in three separate areas in Logos, syncing them to scroll together. One can also easily add a tab with an English translation, Hebrew Masoretic text, and more, so as to use Göttingen in conjunction with other resources. Here’s how I use Göttingen in Logos (click for larger):

Göttingen Isaiah layout

Assuming you have other versions of the Septuagint available in Logos (Rahlfs, Swete, etc.) you can use the Text Comparison feature (top right in the shot above) to see where the critical text of Göttingen differs from another Septuagint text. I’ve found this to be a useful and time-saving feature. (One can do the same with the Compare tool in Accordance, though there’s an unresolved issue with that tool that impacts use of Göttingen. [UPDATE: It’s now resolved.] Accordance’s comparison tool is, however, a bit more versatile with its “List Text Differences” feature.)

You can use the critical text as any other text in Logos–double-click on a word to look it up in a lexicon (I have LEH open at bottom center above), right-click to do a variety of other searches, word study, etc. It doesn’t take long to see how many times the Göttingen text uses a given word.

As to the critical apparatuses, you can mouse over blue hyperlinked abbreviations to find out what they stand for. Or you can have an Information window open, as here (click to enlarge):

Abbreviations spelled out

The apparatus abbreviates Latin and German, which is what the Information tab shows. (The Göttingen introductions are in German.) Miles Van Pelt’s short chart (in English) is helpful with the Latin (pdf here). And there is an English translation of the Pentateuch introductions available here (with Exodus being the most complete one). But there is no mechanism in Logos to translate the German or to decipher the apparatus. Accordance is the same here, and neither Logos nor Accordance offer a German-English dictionary, so one couldn’t even link to that. The general academic assumption, of course, is that by the time someone is using Göttingen in their study of the Septuagint, they are already learning (or have learned) German. (Ah, but academic assumptions….) I’m not sure it’s fair to fault Logos (or Accordance) for this lack, but a German-English dictionary as a future module would help a lot of users.

Speaking of the introduction, the introductions to each volume are nicely laid out with plenty of hyperlinks for easy reference:

Introduction to Isaiah

You’ll have to know German to get very far in the introduction, but note the link above to English translations for some of the introductions. Also, though one ought not to rely too much on it, Google Translate takes the user surprisingly far if she or he simply copies from Logos and pastes here.

One thing lacking in the Logos Göttingen is the Kopfleiste (Source List). Not every print volume has it, but the five Pentateuch volumes, Ruth, Esther, and others do. Accordance, by contrast, includes this feature for the Göttingen volumes that have it. The Kopfleiste makes the most sense in a print edition (since it is a list of manuscripts cited on a given page), but someone doing serious textual research using Göttingen in Logos would still feel its lack. No word yet from Logos on if/when that will come available.

What about searching the apparatuses? Less than ideal here, though not unmanageable. If I want to see every time the First Critical Apparatus in Isaiah cites the Minuscule manuscript 301, I right click to “Search this resource,” but the results are grouped as follows (click to enlarge):


To my knowledge it is not possible to expand these results in this screen (pane) to see every use of MS 301, which is what I really want to be able to do. (If I am mistaken and find a way, I’ll post here again.) The shortcut command+F (in Mac) or control+F (in Windows) is an alternate way to search a text in Logos. The apparatuses are searchable using this keyboard shortcut; in this case all the instances of MS 301 are highlighted as you scroll through the apparatus, so you can still see all its occurrences.

Accordance, by contrast, offers multiple ways of searching an apparatus: by references, titles, manuscripts (most helpful), Hebrew, Greek, or Latin content, and more. This makes Accordance’s apparatuses really usable and easy to navigate in multiple ways.

accordance search fields

The price for the Logos Göttingen is a bargain. I mean, $700 is not cheap, but considering that the same sum would get you just a few volumes of the print edition, it’s a great deal. The academic program gives you a significant discount in this case, too.

By the way, a tip for using Göttingen efficiently in Logos: Brian Davidson of LXXI has a neat way to set up a Logos layout to include multiple Göttingen books. (They list in the Logos library all as separate volumes, not as one Septuagint.) His suggestion (here) is a good way to go.

All in all, the Logos Göttingen is a worthwhile investment, especially if you primarily want Göttingen for the critical text itself, and for the chance to compare it with other Septuagint editions. The lack of a Kopfleiste is not an immense loss, but the inability to search apparatuses by multiple search fields (and with expandable results) is a drawback. So the potential purchaser will just have to consider what his or her needs are. Accordance nails it in apparatus searching, but their critical text in Isaiah had more mistakes than one who needs an accurate text would like.

Logos has a fully digitized Göttingen Septuagint, so if you need access to everything that exists in print, know that this is the only Bible software where you can get it. Accordance continues production on their volumes and, as far as I know, will see the project through to completion. (Though see here and here, a project of Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint Studies.)

In Logos it’s convenient to be able to scroll through all of the Göttingen Septuagint with additional resources open and a click away. The electronic availability (and affordability) of Göttingen is a significant step forward in text criticism and Septuagint studies.

Many thanks to Logos Bible Software for the review copy of the Göttingen Septuagint, given to me for the purposes of review, but with no expectation as to the content of my review. Accordance provided me with their Göttingen Isaiah for purposes of comparison.

More Books For Sale

I’ve got a few more books to offer for sale–largely an effort to make a bit more space on the shelf.

Here are some books and reference works (including a little bit of Bible software) that I’m offering for sale at a discounted rate. All prices include free shipping to U.S. addresses. Interested in anything? Contact me using this form, and we’ll talk.

IVP Bible Background

IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
Like New
ISBN: 978-0830814053
Used just a few times. No markings. In great shape.
$22 (SOLD)


Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG)
for BibleWorks Software
Compatible with BibleWorks 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. I’ve been in touch with BibleWorks to confirm that on completion of sale, one user license transfers to the buyer with no fee, so that you can use BDAG in your BibleWorks. (Must have purchased and own BibleWorks to be able to use this.)
Significant discount from buying new (where it’s $150).
$99 (SOLD)

Paradigms and Principal Parts

Paradigms and Principal Parts of the New Testament
Very Good
Inside clean, no marking. Sticker on back and ink/scuff mark on the front, other slight markings on cover, but nothing that obscures text
$22 SOLD

WBC Mark vol 1

Word Biblical Commetary: Mark 1-8:26 (Guelich)
Very Good
Clean inside. Strong binding. Barely used. Some wear to dust cover (small tear, small fold).
$20 SOLD

Ezra Nehemiah BHQ

Ezra and Nehemiah: Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ)
Like New
Taken out of shrink wrap and used just once or twice.
Excellent condition.

$45 (SOLD)

Greek Grammar Wallace

Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
Very Good/Like New
Just some edge and cover wear. Light blue cover as pictured, but same contents as dark blue cover.

UBS Handbook

A Handbook on the Books of Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah
(UBS Handbook)
Like New condition
Barely used at all. Pulled off shelf just a couple of times.
$29 SOLD


The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament,
2 volume set (HALOT)
Very Good condition
ISBN: 978-9004124455
In great shape. Just some wear and tear (rubbing on page edges, e.g.).
No internal markings. 2 volume study edition (same full contents as 5 vol. edition).

$179 SOLD
Note: I also have HALOT in BibleWorks (see BDAG note above). Would possibly consider an offer.

Readers Hebrew English Lexicon

A Reader’s Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament
Very Good condition
ISBN: 978-0310369806
Former owner’s name on inside, no other markings. Small rip on top left corner of dustjacket, which has some other wear. Small crease on back cover of book, but does not affect integrity of book. Book itself in great shape. 720 pages.
All words that occur less than 50x in OT are listed in canonical order, verse-by-verse.
$39 SOLD

Free shipping on all orders. If you’re interested in buying–or just have questions–you can reach me using this form, and we’ll go from there.

How to Read and Understand the Göttingen Septuagint: A Short Primer, part 2 (Apparatus)

The one who is serious about getting at the earliest attainable text of the Hebrew Bible will eventually find herself or himself face-to-face with a page like this:

Genesis 1 in Göttingen LXX
Genesis 1 in the Göttingen Septuagint

The Göttingen Septuagint is the largest scholarly edition of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Its full title is Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, 1

Germany publishes the series, which includes more than 20 volumes covering some 40 biblical books (counting the minor prophets as 12). Various editors are working toward the publication of additional volumes.

But if good coffee, fine wine, or well-aged cheese requires work on the part of the one taking it in, the Göttingen LXX makes its own demands of the reader who would use it. The critical apparatuses on each page have Greek, abbreviated Greek, abbreviated Latin, and other potentially unfamiliar sigla. The introductions in each volume are in German.

How to read and understand the Göttingen Septuagint, then? To begin, here is the sample page from above:

Genesis 1 in Göttingen LXX_key
Genesis 1:4-9, reprinted with publisher’s permission

There are four main parts to the page, marked in the image above by the numbers 1 through 4.

  1. The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
  2. The Source List (“Kopfleiste”) (note: not every Göttingen volume has this)
  3. The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)
  4. The Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”)

In part 1 of my primer, I covered numbers 1 and 2 above. To summarize a bit:

1. With verse references in both the margin and in the body of the text, the top portion of each page of the Göttingen Septuagint is the editorially reconstructed text of each biblical book.

2. The Kopfleiste comes just below the text and above the apparatuses. Wevers notes it as a list of all manuscripts and versions used, listed in the order that they appear in the apparatus on that page. A fragmentary textual witness is enclosed in parenthesis.

Next are the two critical apparatuses. In his introduction to Genesis (conveniently translated into English here, from which I quote), editor John William Wevers speaks of the critically reconstructed text as an “approximation of the original” and “hopefully the best which could be reconstructed.” I previously noted:

[Göttingen] editors have viewed and listed the readings of many manuscripts and versions. The critical apparatuses are where they list those readings, so the user of Göttingen can see other readings as they compare with the critically reconstructed text. (Because the Göttingen editions are critical/eclectic texts, no single manuscript will match the text of the Göttingen Septuagint.)

The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) notes (from here):

The Göttingen Septuagint features two apparatuses (as does the Larger Cambridge Septuagint), the first for LXX/OG textual evidence proper and the second for so-called hexaplaric evidence, i.e. “rival” translations/revisions of the translated LXX/OG (such as circulated under the labels “Theodotion,” “Aquila,” and “Symmachus”), preserved largely through the influence of Origen’s Hexapla. For LXX/OG research the importance of both apparatuses is second only to the critical text itself.

The challenge, of course, is that to make sense of the apparatuses and their abbreviations.

3. The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)

The “textual evidence proper” consists of any readings that the editor deems as variant to the reconstructed text. The editors follow a consistent order in the witnesses they cite. (There is minor variation, volume to volume.) In Genesis Wevers writes:

The witnesses for a variant are always arranged in a set order: a) the uncial texts in alphabetic order; b) the papyri in numerical order; c) the witnesses of the O‘ mss [AKJ: the “hexaplaric group”]; d) the witnesses of the C‘’ mss [AKJ: the “Catena group”]; e) the remaining text families (comp Section B I above) in alphabetical order; f) the rest of the Greek evidence in the following order: N.T. witnesses, Ios [AKJ: Josephus], Phil [AKJ: Philo], followed by the rest of the Greek writers in alpha­betic order; g) La (or the sub-groups, for ex. LaI Las, etc.) [AKJ: Old Latin versions], followed by the other versions in alphabetic order; h) citations of the Latin Fathers, introduced by the sign Lat (these witnesses always stand in opposition to La or a sub-group of La); i) other witnesses or commentaries.

To look at an example of the first critical apparatus, Deuteronomy 6:5 in the Göttingen edition reads:

καὶ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς δυνάμεώς σου.

(And you shall love the Lord your God with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength.)

The apparatus for that verse, in part, has:

om καί  Arab Sa17 | αγαπησης 30; αγαπη σε 527 | κύριον τόν] bis scr 120* | om σου  Tht Dtap | ἐξ 1°—διανοίας] εν ολη τη καρδια Matth 22:37 |

With each unit broken up by line here, the apparatus gives this information about its manuscripts:

  • Arab and Sa17 omit (om) the first () use of καί
  • 30 has αγαπησης; 527 has αγαπη σε
  • 120* has κύριον τόν written (scr) twice (bis)
  • Tht Dtap omits (om) the first () use of σου
  • From the first use () of ἐξ through () the word διανοίας, Matthew 22:37 has rather (]) εν ολη τη καρδια

One has to go to the introduction for information about the manuscripts “Arab” (Arabic version), ” Sa17” (from the Sahidic version), “30” and “527” (minuscule manuscripts), “120*” (also a minuscule manuscript, where the asterisk * refers to “the original reading of a ms,” as opposed to a “correction”), and “Tht Dtap” (Tht=Theodoretus (“Cyrensis=Cyrrhensis”); Dt=his Quaestiones in Deuteronomium; ap refers, Wevers notes, “to readings (variants) in the apparatus of editions”).

Miles Van Pelt has produced a concise two-page summary of sigla and abbreviations. I offer appreciation and gratitude to Miles that I can link to that pdf here. That offers further instruction as to deciphering the apparatuses (both the first and second) in the Göttingen volumes. The introductions to given volumes contain the signs/symbols and abbreviations (“Zeichen und Abkürzungen”), as well.

Boromir had it right:

One Does Not Simply One Does not SimplyOne Does Not Simply

So I’ll write about the Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”) in a future post. Until then….

Thanks to Brian Davidson of LXXI for his helpful suggestions on an earlier draft of this post and the part 1 that preceded it. He is not to be blamed for the inclusion of Boromir in this post.