3 John translation project (1): Selecting Source Material

As part of my New Testament translation project, I am also looking into the translation of the 3rd Epistle of John. This blog series will document my translation progress. This post is being continuously edited as changes or updates to my translation project occur.

Though an introduction is somewhat warranted, I wanted to jump straight to the content (keeping this text here in order to remember to go back and write an introduction at some point).

The first step in preparation for this project (other than prayer and study) is to select source material. For this particular book, I selected several published Greek texts, mostly because those were the ones available at my disposal, rather than because of any preference or critique I may have toward them. The texts I will be using as the Greek base are:

  • Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 28 (NA28)
  • 1894 Scrivener New Testament (TR1894)
  • Complutensian Polyglot (CP)
  • 1550 Stephanus New Testament (TR1550)
  • 1881 Wescott-Hort New Testament (WHNU)

In addition, I will also use the following published editions for reference, as they obtain extensive footnotes that compare texts to many other manuscripts and editions:

  • SBL Greek New Testament
  • Apostolic Bible Polyglot

For the Nestle-Aland text, I was originally using a version of the Greek text which I extracted from Francisco Lacueva’s interlinear New Testament (published in 1984). That is the version I’ve used in other translation projects. I reviewed the Greek text of the book against the new Nestle-Aland version (28), and found no differences between two texts, so for the purposes of this translation, I will be using version 28 (NA28).

I am using two published editions of the Textus Receptus: the 1894 Scrivener NT (TR1894) and the 1550 Stephanus NT (TR1550), again, due to accessibility. I wanted to use Beza’s text as well, and I’m currently in search of a good quality reprint that I can use for reference.

The Complutensian Polyglot (CP) was the hardest to obtain in physical copy, therefore I am only using a digital copy at the moment (retrieved from the World Digital Library). I noticed that the polyglot is different from many previous sources I used. Conveniently, I own a copy of the Apostolic Bible Polyglot (ABP), which is based in part on the Complutensian Polyglot, among other manuscripts. The ABP has an extensive footnote section showing differences between the manuscripts used in its versions. Aside from the Complutensian Polyglot, the ABP uses the Aldine Bible, Codex Alexandrinus, and the Vaticanus-Sixtine family of codices. If I can obtain copies of those manuscripts, then I will be able to better compare them to the CP, but for now, the ABP’s footnotes will do.

The final version I am using for comparison is the Wescott-Hort New Testament, published in 1881, and based primarily on the Codex Caticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus, which will provide a good comparison against the Textus Receptus-based texts. In addition to the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, I am also using the SBL Greek New Testament, which is based on four different manuscripts and published versions of the NT, for more comparison.

The most I can do today is to compare my different source materials. Expect a follow-up post with examples of the texts I am using as well as a comparison showing differences between the manuscripts.


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