The NA28 Greek New Testament is now available for purchase in Accordance Bible Software. The text itself is free here. The Accordance version includes the apparatus, marginalia, and other nice enhancements. Here’s a screencast that shows how you can use the NA28 in Accordance:
$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.
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:
- The introduction (“Einleitung”)
- The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
- The Source List (“Kopfleiste”) (not every Göttingen volume has this)
- The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)
- 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):
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):
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:
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.
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.
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:
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,
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:
There are four main parts to the page, marked in the image above by the numbers 1 through 4.
- The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
- The Source List (“Kopfleiste”) (note: not every Göttingen volume has this)
- The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)
- 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 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 1° Arab Sa17 | αγαπησης 30; αγαπη σε 527 | κύριον τόν] bis scr 120* | om σου 1° 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 (1°) use of καί
- 30 has αγαπησης; 527 has αγαπη σε
- 120* has κύριον τόν written (scr) twice (bis)
- Tht Dtap omits (om) the first (1°) use of σου
- From the first use (1°) 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:
So I’ll write about the Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”) in a future post. Until then….
The Göttingen Septuagint is the Cadillac of Septuagint editions. It’s the largest scholarly edition of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Its full name is Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum, published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, Germany. The Göttingen Septuagint has published more than 20 volumes spanning some 40 biblical books (counting the minor prophets as 12), and publication of additional volumes is in progress.
But the Göttingen Septuagint is not for the faint of heart, or for the reader who is unwilling to put some serious work in to understanding the layout and import of the edition and its critical apparatuses. A challenge to using Göttingen is the paucity of material available about the project, even in books about the Septuagint. An additional challenge is that the critical apparatuses contain Greek, abbreviated Greek, and abbreviated Latin. The introductions to each volume are in German, though below I cite from English translations of the introductions to the volumes of the Pentateuch.
It is my intention with this post, and a second to follow, to give a short primer or user’s guide to the Göttingen edition. Here I offer suggestions on how to read and understand the text, the apparatuses, the sigla/abbreviations, the introductions, and point to additional resources that will be of benefit to the Göttingen user.
I recently put together a basic orientation to the scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek translation of the same. That is here. It is worth nothing again that the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) has a good, succinct article on the various editions of the Septuagint. Below, “OG” stands for “Old Greek.” They write:
The creation and propagation of a critical text of the LXX/OG has been a basic concern in modern scholarship. The two great text editions begun in the early 20th century are the Cambridge Septuagint and the Göttingen Septuagint, each with a “minor edition” (editio minor) and a “major edition” (editio maior). For Cambridge this means respectively H. B. Swete, The Old Testament in Greek (1909-1922) and the so-called “Larger Cambridge Septuagint” by A. E. Brooke, N. McLean, (and H. St. John Thackeray) (1906-). For Göttingen it denotes respectively Alfred Rahlfs’s Handausgabe (1935) and the “Larger Göttingen Septuagint” (1931-). Though Rahlfs (editio minor) can be called a semi-critical edition, the Göttingen Septuaginta (editio maior) presents a fully critical text….
In other words, rather than using a text based on an actual manuscript (as BHS, based on the Leningrad Codex, does), Göttingen utilizes a reconstructed text informed by a thorough examination of manuscript evidence. Göttingen has two critical apparatuses at the bottom of the page of most volumes. Because it is an editio maior and not an editio minor like Rahlfs, a given print page can have just a few lines of actual biblical text, with the rest being taken up by the apparatuses. Here’s a sample page from Genesis 1. Note the #s 1-4 that I’ve added to highlight the different parts of a page. Below I explain #1 and #2; the rest comes in a follow up post.
1. The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
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. In the page from Genesis 1 above, you’ll notice that the text includes punctuation, accents, and breathing marks.
Like the NA27 (and now NA28) and UBS4 versions of the Greek New Testament, Göttingen is a critical or “eclectic” edition, which “may be described as a collection of the oldest recoverable texts, carefully restored book by book (or section by section), aiming at achieving the closest approximation to the original translations (from Hebrew or Aramaic) or compositions (in Greek), systematically reconstructed from the widest array of relevant textual data (including controlled conjecture)” (IOSCS, “Critical Editions”).
Of the critical text, John William Wevers, in his introduction to Genesis in Göttingen, writes:
Since it must be presupposed that this text will be standard for a long time, the stance taken by the editor over against the critical text was intentionally conservative. In general conjectures were avoided, even though it might be expected that future recognition would possibly confirm such conjectures.
It must be clearly evident that the critical text here offered labored under certain limitations. The mss, versions and patristic witnesses which are available to us bring us with few and small exceptions no further back than the second century of our era. Although we do know on the basis of second and third century B.C.E. papyri something about the character of every day Greek used, our knowledge of contemporary literary Greek is very limited indeed. In other words, the critical text here offered is an approximation of the original LXX text, hopefully the best which could be reconstructed on the basis of the present level of our knowledge. The editor entertains no illusion that he has restored throughout the original text of the LXX.
One cannot simply say, “The LXX says…,” because then inevitably an appropriate response is, “Which LXX? Which manuscript? Which or whose best attempt at reconstruction?” So “approximation of the original” and “hopefully the best which could be reconstructed” are key phrases here.
All the same, especially in the newer Göttingen editions, the volume 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.) And although scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament also present an eclectic text, neither the NA27 nor UBS 4 is an editio maior, as Göttingen is. (The Editio Critica Maior is just recently begun for the GNT.) Serious works in Septuagint studies, then, most often use the Göttingen text, where available, as a base.
2. The Source List (“Kopfleiste”)
Not every volume has this feature, but the five Pentateuch volumes, Ruth, Esther, and others do. 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.
In the above Kopfleiste, the parentheses around 912 mean that papyrus 912 is fragmentary. The “-” preceding it, Wevers notes, means that its text ends on the page in question. So although this particular Göttingen page has Genesis 1:4-9 reconstructed in the critical text (“Der kritische Text”), “(-912)” in the Kopfleiste indicates that the fragmentary papyrus 912 does not actually contain text for all the verses on the page. Looking up papyrus 912 in Wevers’s introduction to Genesis, in fact, confirms that this third to fourth century papyrus contains only Genesis 1:1-5.
By contrast, the “(D-)” here
indicates that the uncial manuscript D has its text beginning on the page in which it appears in Göttingen. The above shot is from the Göttingen page containing Genesis 1:9-13. The first time D has anything to offer (since it is fragmentary, indicated by its enclosure in parentheses) is at 1:13. This alerts the reader that D has no witness to Genesis 1:1-12. Wevers’s introduction then gives more information about the contents of that manuscript. So, too, with the minuscule manuscript 128 above–the introduction says of 128, “Init [=Latin initium=the beginning] – 1,10 is absent.”
Should a piece of text be lacking due to some external circumstance in a particular ms, this is noted in the Source-List. For example if ms 17 lacks the text this is shown as O-17. What this means is that the entire O except 17 (which belongs to O) has the text in question. The abbreviation al (for alia manuscripta) refers to the mss which belong to no particular group, i.e. the so-called codices mixti as well as mss which are too fragmentary to allow classification. The expression verss designates all the versions which have the complete text of Genesis. Versions such as Syh to (31,53) and Pal, whose texts are not complete, are listed at the end of the Source-List (Kopfleiste).
In terms of the order of citing Greek textual witnesses:
In the apparatus the citation of Greek sources appears in the following order: First place is occupied by the uncial texts in alphabetical order, and characterized by a capital letter. Then the papyri are cited in the order of 801 to 999. Then the hexaplaric group [AKJ: “O” above] is given as well as the Catena groups [AKJ: C‘’], with the mss groups following in order as: b d f n s t y z; then the codd mixti, followed by the mss without a Rahlfs number. Next come the NT citations, and finally, the rest of the patristic witnesses in alphabetic order.
In the next part of this Göttingen Septuagint primer, I’ll explore #3 and #4 above, the First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”) and the Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”), as well as take a closer look at the contents of the Introductions in the Göttingen editions (“Die Einleitung”).
UPDATE: Part 2 of the primer is here, with still more to follow.
Thanks to Brian Davidson of LXXI for his helpful suggestions on an earlier draft of this post.
The next generation of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) is the Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ). I’ve written more generally about scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible, and have reviewed the BHS module in Accordance already. In this post I review BHQ in Accordance.
Some excellent scholarly treatments of the BHQ have already appeared. Anyone serious about learning how to use this resource discerningly (as all text critics must be discerning) will do well to avail themselves to these, probably in this order:
- Emanuel Tov: “The Biblia Hebraica Quinta–An Important Step Forward” (PDF). Tov says the BHQ is “much richer in data, more mature, judicious and cautious than its predecessors. It heralds a very important step forward in the BH series.” Yet at the same time, “This advancement implies more complex notations which almost necessarily render this edition less user-friendly for the non-expert.” That said, anyone who reads Tov’s 11-page introduction will be well-equipped to begin making use of BHQ.
- Richard D. Weis: “Biblia Hebraica Quinta and the Making of Critical Editions of the Hebrew Bible.” Weis has served as a member of BHQ’s editorial committee, so he is able to offer some good detail on “philosophical and pragmatic choices” made in publishing the editions. His article includes full sample pages of the print edition, too.
- Blogger John F. Hobbins: “Taking Stock of Biblia Hebraica Quinta” (PDF). As I will note below, the oft-appearing, seldom-explained “prp=propositum=it has been proposed” of the BHS is replaced in BHQ with more conservatism in suggesting emendations. But Hobbins calls this “the chief drawback of BHQ” and writes “in defense of conjectural emendation” as it would appear in the apparatus. Not all text critics will agree–and many will appreciate BHQ’s approach–but his argument is compelling all the same.
Taking the BHQ for a spin alongside the BHS is perhaps the most helpful way to see how the two compare. It’s easy to have both side-by-side in Accordance. Here’s my workspace for reading the Hebrew Bible with BHS, BHQ, the apparatus for each, and the BHQ commentary. You can click or open in a new tab to enlarge.
You can see that the text of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 above is unchanged in the BHQ. Consonants, vowels, and cantillation marks are all the same. As the BHQ is based on the Leningrad Codex, just as the BHS is, the text itself is largely unchanged. (The BHQ, however, corrects the BHS to the Leningrad Codex based on new color photographs.)
Note that abbreviations in the BHQ apparatus are now abbreviations of English, not Latin. Those who have learned how to make use of the abbreviated Latin in the BHS apparatus may be somewhat disappointed to not be able to put that knowledge to use (and to have to learn a new system), but in the end this makes for a more widely accessible apparatus, in my view.
A comparison between the BHS apparatus and the BHQ apparatus at the same point is instructive. For Deuteronomy 6:4 BHS has a superscript “a” in the text after שְׁמַ֖ע, directing to footnote a, which reads: “𝔊 pr nonn vb.” I write here about the use of Accordance to quickly decipher the abbreviated Latin in the BHS critical apparatus. “𝔊 pr nonn vb” means something like, “The Old Greek/Septuagint puts before [שְׁמַ֖ע] several words.”
It’s easy enough, especially in the workspace how I have it set up above, to find out what these Greek words in question are: Καὶ ταῦτα τὰ δικαιώματα καὶ τὰ κρίματα, ὅσα ἐνετείλατο κύριος τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου. But the BHS alone does not give the reader much more guidance than that.
The BHQ apparatus, however, reads: “שְׁמַ֖ע Smr V S T | prec 4:45 Nash G ✝ •” Note that instead of a superscript letter in the text with the same letter as a footnote in the apparatus, the text of the BHQ is unmarked, and the apparatus note simply preceded by the word (שְׁמַ֖ע) under consideration. Some will find this gives the text an uncluttered feel; others may find it takes extra time to match text to apparatus. Hovering over the (all in English!) abbreviations in the BHQ in Accordance shows that the note says something like, “The Samaritan Pentateuch, Vulgate, Syriac, and Targumim all begin with just שְׁמַ֖ע. In the Nash Papyrus and Old Greek שְׁמַ֖ע is preceded by the text from Deut. 4:45.” Then the ✝ notes that the BHQ commentary gives the matter more discussion. For text criticism, I have been thrilled about the addition of an included-in-the-book commentary on the text and apparatus.
The BHQ commentary at this verse reads:
The Shemaʿ in both the Nash Papyrus and G is prefaced by an introduction taken from 4:45 with the following differences: both attest a cj. before אלה; both omit העדות and the cj. attached to the following word; both read צוה for דבר, but with “the Lord” as subject in G, whereas the Nash Pappyrus and some G Mss follow M in reading “Moses”; finally, both insert במדבר after “Israel.” For further background to the combination of certain biblical passages for liturgical reading, with particular reference to this addition in G and the Nash Papyrus, see Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy, 193. The six extant phylacteries follow M.
Thumbs up here for the additional detail provided in the BHQ apparatus and commentary and for Accordance’s presentation of it. In the print edition the commentary is in a section of the fascicle that is separate from the apparatus. In Accordance you can easily lay it all out together and see it at once.
Just as BHS was, BHQ is being published in fascicles, so a bit at a time. The following six already exist in print:
- Fascicle 5: Deuteronomy
- Fascicle 7: Judges
- Fascicle 13: The Twelve Minor Prophets
- Fascicle 17: Proverbs
- Fascicle 18: General Introduction and Megilloth (i.e., Ruth, Canticles, Qoheleth, Lamentations, Esther)
- Fascicle 20: Ezra and Nehemiah
The BHQ module in Accordance has fascicles 5 (Deuteronomy), 18 (General Introduction and Megilloth), and 20 (Ezra and Nehemiah) so far. 13 (The Twelve Minor Prophets) and 17 (Proverbs) will be added free of charge to those who have the BHQ package. They exist in print but have not yet come from the German Bible Society to Accordance for digitization. When Judges comes to Accordance, it and future fascicles will be available as paid upgrades.
Accordance has produced a short video that shows a couple ways to use the BHQ, including a comparison with the print edition. It’s worth watching, since it explores not only the text, apparatus, and commentary that I cite above, but also the Masorah Magna (below the text in the print edition) and the Masorah Parva (at the margins of the print edition). Note especially (early in the video) how Accordance merges the Notes on the Masorah to eliminate the user’s need to go back and forth between references:
The place for the BHQ user to start is probably with the three articles at the beginning of this post. Then, the General Introduction contained in Fascicle 18 should be consulted. As with its other commentaries and books, Accordance has it presented beautifully. The English introduction tells what BHQ is, gives advice on how to use it (including full explanations of sigla and abbreviations), and tells a bit of background on the editorial processes leading to the BHQ as it is now. Click on the below for a larger image of the general introduction:
BHQ in Accordance is not morphologically tagged; Accordance does not currently have plans to tag it. But this is because the text is so similar to that of BHS already. Because I am so used to BHS and BHQ is still so new on the scene, I always have both open anyway, so I can easily get morphological tagging information from BHS. A tagged BHQ would be ideal, but it’s not a huge loss.
BHQ has less conjectural emendation than BHS. Case in point, “prp” (=”propositum”=”it has been proposed”) occurs 2,146 times in the BHS apparatus (a search that is exceedingly easy to do in Accordance). In BHQ what goes into “prp” is teased out a bit more. From the introduction to BHQ:
In cases where the editor proposes that a reading other than that of the base text is to be preferred, this is presented in the concluding portion of the entry following a double vertical stroke and the abbreviation “pref” (for “preferred reading”). The evidence supporting the preferred reading is recapitulated. If the preferred reading is not directly attested by any of the extant witnesses, but is only implied by their evidence, it is marked by the signal “(origin)”, i.e., that it is the indirectly attested origin of the extant readings. If the grammatical form of the preferred reading is not found otherwise in Hebrew of the biblical period, it is marked either as “unattest” (= “unattested”) or as “conjec-phil” (= “philological conjecture”), depending on the kind of external support for the reading. Where the proposed reading is a conjecture, it is not introduced by the abbreviation “pref” (= “preferred reading”), but by the abbreviation “conjec” (= “conjecture”). In line with the focus of the apparatus on the evidence of the text’s transmission, proposals for preferred readings will not seek to reconstruct the literary history of a text. Readings that are judged to derive from another literary tradition for a book will be characterized as “lit” (see the definitions of characterizations below).
Since the apparatus is devoted to the presentation and evaluation of the concrete evidence for the text’s transmission, a hypothetical reading (i.e., a conjecture) will have place in the apparatus of BHQ only when it is the only explanation of the extant readings in a case.
“Pref” occurs 201 times in the apparatus in the three fascicles so far published in Accordance. A primary difference in BHQ, though, is the level of textual or manuscript-based explanation given for why a certain reading is to be preferred. As someone who tries to be a cautious textual critic, I appreciate this.
Here are some additional resources for using BHQ:
- A review of Fascicle 18 in Review of Biblical Literature (PDF)
- A sample set of pages (print edition) of BHQ (PDF)… and note here that a .pdf of BHQ is not part of Accordance’s module
- Accordance’s press release for BHQ
- The product page for BHQ in Accordance
At least three things make it worth seriously considering adding BHQ in Accordance to your library. First, BHQ is a significant advance over BHS. Second, Accordance’s presentation of BHQ makes using it easier than it is in print. Third, the print editions would cost you just as much as or more than buying BHQ in Accordance. And, of course, an Accordance module is word-searchable, lighter to carry around, and so on.
All in all, BHQ in Accordance is well-produced, easy to use, and a great aid in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.
Thank you to Accordance for providing me with a copy of the BHS and BHQ modules for review. At the time of this writing, the sale price for that package was $149.99, an excellent deal. See all the parts of my Accordance 10 review (including the Beale/Carson commentary module) here. I reviewed BHQ’s predecessor, BHS, here.
Great stuff from N.T. Wright on how he starts his days (reading Greek and Hebrew), how he responded when an adviser told him to choose between the Church and the Academy (he chose both), and more:
Oddly enough, the biggest challenge for me in my Hebrew exegesis classes was not to do with the Hebrew language itself. Instead, learning how to decipher the abbreviations and sigla in the “critical apparatus” of a scholarly Hebrew Bible stretched me most.
I recently wrote a brief introduction to the available scholarly editions of the Hebrew Jewish Scriptures (“Old Testament”), the Greek Jewish Scriptures (“Septuagint”), and the Greek New Testament, with most of the emphasis on that post falling on the Hebrew Bible:
Most students of the Hebrew Bible who read Hebrew know of the premier scholarly edition, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS, here on Amazon). The BHS is now being updated by the BHQ (Q=Quinta), about which you can read more here. Both the BHS and BHQ are “diplomatic” editions of the text, which means that they reproduce a single “best” manuscript, the Leningrad Codex, in their cases. The footer in each page contains a critical apparatus, which lists variant readings from other manuscripts and versions that the editors have deemed to be of importance for getting even closer to the “original” (now often being called the “earliest attainable text”). In some cases, the editors may wish to show where another manuscript or version differs from the Leningrad Codex; the critical apparatus is where they do it.
However, the BHS editors show manuscript and version differences in their critical apparatus through the use of abbreviated Latin. Even those who know Latin will have to learn the abbreviations, and those who don’t know Latin will have an even harder time trying to decipher the apparatus.
The Original Languages base package in Accordance comes with HMT-W4, which gives the user access to the Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.16. This text reflects additional and ongoing corrections to the Leningrad Codex. Accordance says HMT-W4 is “almost identical” to the BHS text.
But for the user who wants not just the text but the apparatus, an add-on module is needed. If you already have HMT-W4 or BHS-W4 for your Hebrew Bible in Accordance, you can save money and buy the apparatus by itself. It’s just $50, which is a good deal. (Note: there are no Masora–Masoretic marginalia–included in the module; it’s just the apparatus at the bottom of the page.) If you have Accordance and don’t already have a Hebrew text, you could buy this package, where BHS-T is the “complete text of the Hebrew Bible, following the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, with the Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology 4.14. This module includes vowel pointing, cantillation marks, and lemma and grammatical tagging information for each word in the text.”
In any of these Hebrew texts in Accordance, there is instant parsing easily available as you go through the text.
BHS with apparatus in Accordance significantly streamlines study and use of the critical apparatus. Accordance makes it easy to do textual criticism without carrying the heavy BHS around. I really appreciate being able to access the BHS critical apparatus on my laptop, and in a way that is integrated well into the Accordance program. The layout is good, the feel is intuitive, and the windows are easy to set up. Here’s how I have Accordance set up to use the critical apparatus with the Hebrew text and Old Greek in view (click to enlarge):
There’s the BHS critical apparatus, right under the text. Anything in blue in that window is hyperlinked and will display something in the Instant Details window. If I want to know what “pc Mss” means in the apparatus, I see it unabbreviated in the Instant Details just by mousing over the blue text. (If you don’t need the abbreviations expanded, you can also hover over the superscript letters in the BHS-T text, and the corresponding content from the apparatus pops up.)
Using the layout above you can quickly see what an abbreviation in the apparatus stands for in Latin, but this is not translated into English. In the above example, it’s obvious that “manuscripti” for “Mss” means manuscripts–no Latin knowledge is needed to understand that Latin word. But what is “pauci”? Those with good vocabulary may be able to recall that a paucity of something is a small number, a lack, so “pauci” here means few.
But not all Latin in the apparatus is that easy. I would like to have seen this module provide a translation from Latin into English. This is probably my only complaint about this module. I believe this is not unique to Accordance and has more to do with how the German Bible Society may have offered the licensing for the apparatus. All the same, getting from abbreviated Latin to unabbreviated Latin, while nice, may not be enough for the beginning text critic.
Some good news, though. There are two workarounds to be able to translate the apparatus contents from Latin to English. First, there is Google Translate, which I understand has improved its accuracy over the last few years. Here is the link for Google Translate from Latin to English. Simply copy Latin from Accordance into the query box in Google translate, and you’ll have your English. “prb l c” in the apparatus becomes, “probabiliter lege(ndum) cum” in Instant Details, which Google gives me as, “probably read with.”
A yet easier way to get to English is possible within Accordance itself, and it’s quite smooth, thanks to the good programming and easy layout of the software. Dr. Hans Peter Rüger’s well-known “English Key to the Latin Words, Abbreviations, and the Symbols of BIBLIA HEBRAICA STUTTGARTENSIA” is available in Accordance.
Note that in the bottom right zone, my far right tab (behind the open one) is this “BHS Latin Key.” I can easy look up an abbreviation in that tab’s search bar. It’s also simple to just right click the abbreviated word in the apparatus and “Look up” in “Dictionary” to quickly access the English/Latin key.
As far as the BHS apparatus itself, BHS remains the scholarly standard. BHQ is beginning to update/replace it, and there are other scholarly projects underway. The BHS apparatus is not exhaustive, nor could it be. But it does offer a good representation of variant readings from different versions (e.g., the Latin Vulgate, the Greek LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targums, etc.) and different manuscripts (whether a specific Old Greek manuscript or just the general “Mss” for “manuscripts”).
There are different editors for different portions of the BHS, and some are less cautious than others in suggesting textual emendations. In the Minor Prophets, for example, editor Karl Elliger seems to have no trouble writing “prp”=”propositum”=”it has been proposed” when he wants to suggest an alternate reading. Sometimes this means that someone else has proposed what Elliger is footnoting; other times it’s just his suggestion, and not always with textual/manuscript evidence accompanying the suggestion. So the user of BHS should not use the critical apparatus, well… uncritically.
An especially neat feature that wowed me is that I can open up the apparatus and search by content to study all 2,146 times the Latin abbreviation “prp” occurs in the BHS apparatus. You can even search the apparatus for its Hebrew and Greek contents. Curious how often ποῦ finds its way into the apparatus? A simple search shows its four occurrences.
And you can search the apparatus by manuscripts mentioned. Change the search bar to “manuscripts,” then right click in the bar and select “Enter Word…” and you get this:
It’s a great way to be able to interact with the apparatus, much of which simply isn’t possible in print.
Bonus: Accordance offers an excellent, succinct explanation of critical editions here, with emphasis on the critical editions available in Accordance. If you’re interested in BHS in Accordance, you’ll want to read it.
If you do text criticism in the Hebrew Bible and have the money to spare, Accordance’s BHS apparatus is well worth getting, though most users will want to make sure they also have the “BHS Latin Key,” too. All in all, it’s a well-executed and seamlessly-integrated module.
Thank you to Accordance for providing me with a copy of the BHS and BHQ modules for review. See all the parts of my Accordance 10 review (including the Beale/Carson commentary module) here. I will review the BHQ separately in the future.
Why such an emphasis on wanting to get as close to the “original text” of the Bible as possible? Or, as some scholars call it, the “earliest attainable text”?
Earlier this week I wrote a bit about scholarly editions of the Jewish Scriptures, both the Greek and the Hebrew.
But I began asking myself today, why am I so interested in a rigorous scholarly pursuit of the text of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek?
One reason is that I love to learn. On the Strengthsfinder assessment I came out with “Learner” as my top strength both times I took the test. “Achiever” was not far behind. (See here for the descriptions of the 34 strengths themes in that assessment.) Here’s an excerpt from the description of the “Learner” strength that applies to me:
You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence.
All true, except that when it comes especially to my pursuit of biblical studies, the process, the content, and the result are “especially exciting” for me.
The late Arthur Holmes articulates beautifully:
Christ the Truth becomes the dominant motivation in intellectual inquiry. No dichotomy of sacred and secular tasks can be allowed, and no subject is exempt.
The student will therefore welcome truth and submit to it wherever it is found, out of obedience to Christ. Academic work becomes an opportunity to extend the Lordship of Christ over the mind; thought merges into worship.
“Thought merges into worship.” I love this. And I think this is why–more than just being a “Learner”–I so love to delve into the depths of Scripture, in the most “original” form that I possibly can.
I’m not overly fastidious about Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic–as if God really spoke through those languages and then anything else is just mediated and somehow a dilution of God’s actual words. (Isn’t all language already mediation anyway?) If the word of God is “living and active,” it can be living and active in its faithful translations into other languages.
But one reason I geek out so much about the Septuagint and the Hebrew Bible is that in my study I feel myself getting closer to that amazing time when God gave his word to humanity to be transmitted to future generations: first orally, then in written form. And I love seeing how the translators of the Hebrew Bible wrestled with putting the Hebrew into Greek. I love seeing how the New Testament writers grappled with, contextualized, and recontextualized the Old Testament.
Because for me, as of late, my thoughts and my studies of Scripture–even at a scholarly level–have begun to “[merge] into worship.” How can I not praise the God behind these amazing words? Though we may never know what the autograph of any part of Scripture actually said, I believe we can get close.
And somehow the closer I get to the text of the Bible–in a scholarly setting–the closer I feel to God.
Not always, of course–sometimes I’m just confused. (Dash the heads of infants against rocks? And we pray these Psalms in liturgical settings???) But there’s been a real richness for me lately in delving into the Bible in its original languages, comparing variant readings across manuscripts and versions, trying to figure out why one Synoptic Gospel said it this way, why this one said it another way…. Even in seeking to answer those questions, I know that I am seeking more of God and God’s revelation.
This is not a taken-for-granted view of things in the field of biblical studies. Take this, for instance, from Michael V. Fox:
In my view, faith-based study has no place in academic scholarship, whether the object of study is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or Homer. Faith-based study is a different realm of intellectual activity that can dip into Bible scholarship for its own purposes, but cannot contribute to it.
I haven’t contacted Michael V. Fox to confirm this, but I’d wager that what I’m describing above constitutes some sort of “faith-based study,” or at least, study that is informed by and that enriches faith.
But a bit more context from Fox:
The claim of faith-based Bible study to a place at the academic table takes a toll on the entire field of Bible scholarship. The reader or student of Bible scholarship is likely to suspect (or hope) that the author or teacher is moving toward a predetermined conclusion. Those who choose a faith-based approach should realize that they cannot expect the attention of those who don’t share their postulates. The reverse is not true. Scholars who are personally religious constantly draw on work by scholars who do not share their postulates. One of the great achievements of modern Bible scholarship is that it communicates across religious borders so easily that we usually do not know the beliefs of its practitioners.
I’m okay with trying to set aside a “predetermined conclusion,” though skeptical of that possibility. (Does Fox believe in the modernist project?)
Fox goes on, “The best thing for Bible appreciation is secular, academic, religiously-neutral hermeneutic.”
Taking the Psalms as an example, one cannot appreciate the Psalms who does not pray the Psalms. And wouldn’t good scholarship (religiously motivated or not) call for us to engage the text on the author’s terms? How can one do good scholarship on David, for example, if one is not willing to engage the text in the way that David intended for it to be engaged? If he wrote a Psalm for corporate singing or reciting, is the individual in her or his library carrel who seeks to bracket out faith commitments going to get anywhere near to uncovering the meaning and import of that Psalm until she or he sings it with others?
Fox’s whole article is here.
Parker Palmer has a good rejoinder:
Objectivism—which is a complete myth with respect to how real people have ever known anything real—has great political persuasiveness because it gives us the illusion that we are in charge.
But gospel truth, transformational truth, says that we are not masters but are subject to powers larger than ourselves—and that we are blessed with the chance to be co-creators of something good if we are willing to work in harmony with those larger powers.
If we embrace a gospel way of knowing, we can create a different kind of education and perhaps a different world: a world where all of us are called to embody whatever truth we know; where we gather together with others to check, correct, confirm, and deepen whatever insights we may have; where we understand that, even as we seek truth, truth is seeking us; and where there can be those vital transformations, personal and social, that might take us a step closer to the beloved community.
So when it comes to biblical studies, I say: less hypermodernist objectivism, more affect! Let’s allow our thoughts–as Dr. Holmes suggested–to merge into worship; our studies into praise; our reading into praying.
My quest for the earliest attainable text of the Bible, I am realizing, is driven by scholarly interest and a general drive to learn, yes. But more than that, I want to know God more fully through this academic pursuit. My insatiable desire to master Greek noun declensions, Hebrew verb parsings, and intertextual allusions is in the end a desire to be mastered by the God who stands behind the words of Scripture.
But that kind of a posture doesn’t compromise scholarship, in my view. It makes it richer, deeper, and directed toward its most proper end.