. Introducing the SBL Greek New Testament

Introducing the SBL Greek New Testament

Logos Bible Software has partnered with the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) to produce a new, critically edited edition of the Greek New Testament called The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition, abbreviated as SBLGNT and also known as the SBL Greek New Testament.
The SBLGNT is edited by Michael W. Holmes, already well known for his edition and translation of the Apostolic Fathers. For the SBLGNT, he utilized a wide range of printed editions of the Greek New Testament, all the major critical apparatuses, in addition to consulting the latest technical resources and manuscript discoveries as he established the text. The result is a critically edited text that differs from the NA/UBS text in more than 540 variation units.
I’ve had the privilege of being involved since the get-go on this, and it has been a load of fun.
Before the details, here are the basics:
1. It’s Free From Logos
The SBLGNT is available via SBLGNT.com. You can freely unlock the SBLGNT and its apparatus (!) for Logos Bible Software. The Logos version is fully morphologically tagged, with Louw-Nida reference annotation. The license is generous, and is fairly similar to that of the Lexham English Bible. At present, you can get plain text or XML files for your own personal use.Note for Mac Users: There is an issue with Logos 4.0 for the Mac and the SBLGNT; this issue is known and we will make a service release of Logos 4 Mac available in the next few days to fix the problem. You can still use the resource, the problem is with navigation by book/chapter/verse.
2. Available in Print
The SBLGNT will be published in print by the SBL. Copies will be available at the Annual Meeting of the SBL in Atlanta this November and subsequently can be purchased from the SBL web site. Curious to how it will look? Check out this sample of John 1:1–4:15. PDF will be available for download in late November or early December.
3. Available on the iPhone, iPad, and Biblia.com
The SBLGNT and its apparatus are or will shortly be available on Biblia.com and also for the Logos iPhone, iPod and iPad app.

4. Revised LEB
Hall Harris has revised and updated the Lexham English Bible (LEB) New Testament to be a translation of the SBLGNT. If you are a Logos user, and you have the LEB (which is also freely available if you don’t have it yet), then the update will be available to you as well. If you use Logos 4, the update will come automatically if it hasn’t already. If you have a Logos 4 package that includes a reverse interlinear to the LEB, that will be updated (to reflect the SBLGNT) as well. We hope for this update to be released by the end of this week.
5. Free PDF
To make the textual relationship between the SBLGNT and the LEB as transparent as possible for even those who are not Logos users, we’ve produced a PDF version of the Lexham English Bible English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament. Using this material, you can see how different words/clauses/phrases of the SBLGNT were translated by the LEB, in context. This is available on the SBLGNT Download page and scroll down to find it.
Now, the details:
You can head to the SBLGNT web site for more detail. Read the Preface and the Introduction to learn more about why and how the SBLGNT was created. And it’s sure to be discussed on the Logos forums, so check there too.
And, if you’re a Logos user, there will be even more SBLGNT-related goodness coming in the next week.
The bottom line:
We’re really excited about this new edition of the Greek New Testament. We think it will be useful not only in the context of Logos Bible Software, but also for those studying, analyzing and working with the text of the Greek New Testament on a regular basis.

Written by
Rick Brannan
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  • This is another landmark achievement and one of the most liberal licenses I’ve read for a resource.

  • If I want to retain a copy of the original LEB and reverse interlinear to use both the original and update in Logos, will that be possible?

  • Hi Jim
    The update to the LEB is a revision to the translation, not an alternate edition. So the original LEB will be updated in place. This is actually fairly common and how many translation updates take place over time. The changes to the LEB are minimal (just over 200 changes took place, as I recall).

  • If we wish not to use the updated product and stick with the original, is that possible?

  • Hi Jim
    Since this is an update, and not a new resource, then it is not possible as Logos 4 prefers the latest version of the resource.
    Where there is significant or important textual evidence for readings different than those of translated by the LEB (so, readings from MSS represented by UBS/NA and also by other editions) there are footnotes in the LEB with the translation of the alternate reading.

  • You know, I am trying not to be the person who seems to have only negative concerns about a new product (or change in general, for that matter), but I am very hesitant to embrace a Greek text that confuses printed editions (if I understand the preface correctly) with primary textual witnesses. I would much prefer resources based on the UBS/NA text, since that is not only the defacto standard, but also represents the result of meticulous direct interaction with manuscripts. It seems to me that the SBL Greek New Testament is a step or two removed.
    Best wishes,
    Dr. Jim Lowther

  • Hi Dr. Lowther
    I appreciate your comments. Hopefully I can clarify the purpose of the apparatus prepared for the SBLGNT. It is most definitely not meant to list evidence in the editions as the primary evidence for or against a reading, or to give the sole evidence the editor (Michael W. Holmes) considered in reviewing a variation.
    Instead, the editions were used as a sort of “first pass” to determine where most areas of variation exist in the text. Dr. Holmes reviewed the entire text, both where the consulted editions agreed completely and where they disagreed in some way. He wrote a bit about the process on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog. His textual judgment for each reading is formed on the basis of primary evidence, not on the basis of the edition readings; both for areas of textual agreement and textual disagreement.
    You can be sure that we don’t intend the apparatus to the SBLGNT to be a replacement for the apparatus to the NA27, and we do not intend it to be used instead of the apparatus to the NA27.
    The SBLGNT apparatus is more about showing what the editions say at a given variation unit so that the reader is aware of possible alternate readings. It’s about showing where Holmes’ readings stand when compared to the readings that textual critics of the past (and present) have preferred. Sometimes it may convey things worth following up on in technical commentaries and/or the NA apparatus. For example, when Holmes prints a reading only found in Tregelles, or perhaps if Holmes prefers a combo of Robinson-Pierpont and WH, it may mean the reading in question should be studied further. It doesn’t mean, in the latter case, that Holmes only reviewed RP and WH and went with it. It means he did the work and his reading agrees with that printed by RP and WH (and disagrees with Tregelles and the text behind the NIV). If you’d like to follow up, I’ve written a bit more about the value of the apparatus in the Logos forums.
    Like I said, I do understand your concerns. But I also know Michael Holmes, and worked with him for 18 months supporting him on this project. He is a seasoned veteran of textual criticism and understands all of the issues. He consulted a myriad of sources (MSS witnesses, critical editions and their apparatuses, technical articles, technical commentaries, and the like) while working on the project to establish the SBLGNT text.
    Please, if you have further questions, feel free to follow up here in the comments, on the Logos forums, or drop me an email (my first name @ logos).
    Hope it helps.

Written by Rick Brannan