Comfort, Metzger, Omanson, NET and Westcott & Hort

[NB: Cross-posted from my personal blog, ricoblog. — RB]

In a post on my personal blog I threatened to do some comparisons between Comfort, Metzger, Omanson’s rewrite of Metzger and (where applicable) Westcott & Hort’s "Notes on Selected Passages". First, the list of books:

  • Comfort: $amz(141431034X New Testament Text and Translation Commentary) (Tyndale, 2008)
  • Omanson: $amz(1598562029 A Textual Guide to the New Testament) (German Bible Society, 2006) This is a "geared towards translators" edition of Metzger’s Textual Commentary.
  • Metzger: $amz(1598561642 A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition) (United Bible Societies, 1994)
  • NET: $amz(0737500611 NA27/NET Diglot) (Biblical Studies Press, 2004). I realize that the non-diglot NET has more notes and may have greater coverage, but the diglot is the only edition I have to hand at present.
  • Westcott & Hort: $amz(159244198X The New Testament in the Original Greek: Introduction and Appendix) (Vol. 2). (MacMillan & Co., 1896)

In this post, I’ll provide a list of readings covered in the book of First Timothy. I may expand upon some of the readings in subsquent posts. In this list, the following abbreviations are used: C = Comfort; O = Omanson; M = Metzger; NET = NET Bible TC notes; WH = Westcott & Hort

  • 1Ti 1.1: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 1.4a: C O M
  • 1Ti 1.4b: C O M NET WH
  • 1Ti 1.12: C
  • 1Ti 1.15: O M
  • 1Ti 1.17a: C O M
  • 1Ti 1.17b: C M NET
  • 1Ti 2.1: C O M
  • 1Ti 2.7a: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 2.7b: C
  • 1Ti 3.1 segmentation: O
  • 1Ti 3.1: C M WH
  • 1Ti 3.3: C M
  • 1Ti 3.16 segmentation: O
  • 1Ti 3.16: C O M NET WH
  • 1Ti 4.3: WH
  • 1Ti 4.10: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 4.12: C M
  • 1Ti 5.4: C
  • 1Ti 5.5: C
  • 1Ti 5.16: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 5.18: C O M
  • 1Ti 5.19: M WH
  • 1Ti 5.21: C
  • 1Ti 6.3: C M
  • 1Ti 6.5: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 6.7: C O M NET WH
  • 1Ti 6.9: C O M
  • 1Ti 6.13: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 6.17: C O M
  • 1Ti 6.19: C O M
  • 1Ti 6.21a: C O M NET
  • 1Ti 6.21b: C O M
  • 1Ti subscription: C M

Interesting standouts: First, Comfort’s coverage is most thorough in number of variations handled. Outside of the "segmentation" issues only noted by Omanson, Comfort misses 1Ti 1.15; 4.3; 5.19. These are areas that are of some text-critical interest, but not necessarily where differences arise in translation. Items that Comfort alone handles include 1Ti 1.12; 2.7b; 5.4, 5, 21.

Westcott and Hort don’t intend to be comprehensive (they only have 140 pages for the whole NT), but it is interesting that in 2 of the 5 places they show up, Comfort is silent: 1Ti 4.3; 5.19. The discussion in 1Ti 5.19 is about how a phrase in the Greek text is not found in some extant Latin witnesses. In the case of 1Ti 4.3, it is simply difficult extant text. While these are issues, it is pretty obvious that these sorts of things don’t really fit the target that Comfort (and Omanson) are trying to hit. W&H give text-critical information to text critics; Comfort and Omanson translate the text-critical information for a larger audience. Metzger sort of sits in the middle of both.

I may dig further into some of these, particularly those that have examples in every listed source (perhaps 1Ti 1.4b or 1Ti 6.7? 1Ti 3.16 is so well-known as to be over-analyzed), just to compare the level of discussion and style of notes each edition has. Let me know if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

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