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New Version - Latin transcription of Codex Bezae

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Pasquale Amicarelli, a BibleWorks power user, has just put the finishing touches on a new version for BibleWorks. Like many of his offerings this combines his interests in textual criticism and Latin texts. This time he put the transcription of the Latin text of Codex Bezae into BibleWorks format.

In BibleWorks 9 there are already images and a transcription of the Greek text of Codex Bezae, but for whatever reason the Latin text was never offered (although the images of the Latin pages are available in the BibleWorks images of Codex Bezae). With this version, BibleWorks users will have access to transcriptions of both the Latin and the Greek of Bezae as well as access to the images of both!
Many thanks to Pasquale for his work!!


Unzip the files to the \databases\ subfolder in your BibleWorks folder and restart BibleWorks. The new version will use the version ID VLBZ.

[File updated 11/18/13 with correct verse mapping file]

NA28 Text vs. NA27 Text

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

NA28 has been available in Europe for a month or so, but so far it hasn’t been available yet in the USA. Fortunately the web is working faster than the printing presses. There are a few useful sites to learn about the NA28. First and foremost, is Wieland Willker’s website which includes a list of differences between NA27 and the Editio Critica Maior (ECM) of the Catholic Epistles. For a long time this was the best source of information about NA28, but it is not the same thing as the NA28 text. The NA28 text is supposed to be the same as the second edition of the ECM, which will be published after the NA28 is out. In other words, sometimes in the first edition of the ECM a reading that the editors preferred was rejected in the end for the NA28, or one that was not chosen in the ECM first edition did make the cut to the NA28. Thanks to Wieland for collating this information.

So far then, the only way to learn what the NA28 text was to a) wait for it to arrive in America or b) compare Wieland’s website with abbreviated list of verses changed on the official Nestle-Aland website. Fortunately a better solution has arrived in the form of a) Larry Hurtado’s brief preview of the NA28 in which he lists all the verses that are different in the NA28 and b) the official online version of the NA28 text.

Putting the two of those together, I took Larry Hurtado’s list of differences and compared the online version of NA28 with the NA27 and BYZ texts in a Word doc so that people would have not merely the list of verses changed, but the actual content of those verses. Obviously what will really interest people is the reason decisions were made, including the list of manuscripts in support of each reading. I have not provided that kind of information here. But I think what you will have should give you a good idea of what’s happened in the text of the NA28.

Remember, the only textual differences between the NA27 and NA28 occur in the Catholic Epistles. In all other places the text is the same. Obviously there are other changes in the NA28 that may make it worth owning, but now you know the differences in the base text between the two versions.

DOWNLOAD - NA28 vs. NA27 (and BYZ) text comparison.

If you find that I have missed any of the textual changes (or copied them incorrectly), please let me know and I will update the comparison.

Samaritan Pentateuch / Aleksandr Sigalov (Heb/Eng)

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I’m pleased to release the Samaritan Pentateuch as digitized by Aleksandr Sigalov, who blogs at http://thedeserttabernacle.blogspot.com.

I’ve included three different “Version” databases in this release. The SAMH (the Hebrew text), the SAME (Mr. Sigalov’s adaptation of the KJV to reflect differences in the Samaritan Pentateuch) and the UWTT (a modification of BibleWorks WTT file that ‘ambiguates’ the sin (שׂ) and šin (שׁ) with ש and removes the ‘paragraph markers,’ the Petuhah (פ) and the Setuma (ס). This allows the Text Comparison tool in BibleWorks to compare the UWTT with the SAMH to give a pretty good representation of the differences).

The Hebrew text is based on Kennicott (1780) and von Gall (1918). Full information about the source texts is found at Mr. Sigalov’s Interlinear Pentateuch site.

According to Mr. Sigalov, the SAMH

Text is based on “Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum cum variis lectionibus”, (Parallel Samaritan Pentateuch - Hebrew Samaritan), by Benjaminus Kennicott, 1780 [main page here]. Text was manually compared to “Der Hebraische Pentateuch der Samaritaner”, (critical edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch) August Freiherrn von Gall,Verlag von Alfred Topelmann, Giessen, 1918 here.

He states about the SAME:

Notes on the Samaritan Pentateuch Translation in English

  • Based on KJV Bible.
  • Samaritan Pentateuch Translation is in plain text.
  • In square brackets [] shown translated variant readings/additions from Septuagint.

In the BW version of Mr. Sigalov’s adaptation of the KJV, the bracketed text corresponds to italicized text in the BibleWorks KJV version, thus for the sake of consistency, the database compiles the bracketed text as italicized text.

As mentioned above, the UWTT is an adaptation of the WTT text, it is connected to the WTM (just like the WTT), so if you right-click a word you can search on lemma.

All three versions (SAMH, SAME, and UWTT) are included in a single ZIP archive, and are available for download:

Samaritan Pentateuch Files (2.2MB)

NOTE: These versions may need the latest version of BW (with updates) to display correctly.

ANOTHER NOTE: To install the files, shut down BibleWorks. Unzip the archive and copy all the files found therein to your C:/…/BibleWorks 9/databases/ folder. Restart BibleWorks.

YET ANOTHER NOTE: For what it’s worth, I did some quick checking of the text against Accordance’s Samaritan Pentateuch. There ARE differences - mainly orthographic (with the Accordance version having the plene spelling). For instance, in Genesis 1:12, Sigalov’s version has ותוצא, but the Accordance version by Tal has ותוציא. Sigalov’s version reflects the text in von Gall. As with any digitized text, check against the critical printed editions, and learn what the source files are based upon before using the text to reach conclusions in your research.

Tregelles texts [update]

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I have re-uploaded the Tregelles versions because of one small correction that has been made in them. Although the official Tregelles Project texts have not been updated, I confirmed the correction with project director Dirk Jongkind. The correction comes at Matthew 24:32. The printed Tregelles text should read:

Matthew 24:32 Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλός, καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφυῇ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος·

But the Tregelles project had initially written this as:

Matthew 24:32 Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλός, καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος·

Do you see this difference between the two texts? I’ll give you a hint, the difference is only a matter of the accent of one word. But changing the accent of the word changes the parsing of it from a subjunctive active to a subjunctive passive. Most of us miss this change in text, but Tregelles didn’t and apparently neither has BDAG, as it says:

The accentuation ἐκφυῇ (B-D-F. §76, 2; W-S. §13, 11; Mlt-H. 264), which is freq. preferred (but rejected by Jülicher, Gleichnisreden, II 4) would make the form a 2 aor. pass. subj., used intr., and make τὰ φύλλα the subj.: the leaves sprout (cp. Jos., Ant. 2, 83).

Maybe that small difference will never bother you, but it’s still the reading Tregelles had in his text and so it was a change worth making.

Special thanks to Pasquale for his eagle-eyes in finding this mistake.


Unzip files to your \databases\ subfolder and copy over any old files, if you have them.

NOTE: If you have BibleWorks 9, there is no need to download these files, since BW9 already incorporates Tregelles’ texts in the main package under the version IDs TRG1 and TRG2.

Henry Alford’s Greek New Testament [Updated 2-14-12]

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Pasquale Amicarelli recently finished compiling a new Greek New Testament version for use in BibleWorks. This version is by Henry Alford and based on the 7th edition (1874) of his work. Alford’s New Testament is quite similar to Tregelles’ version, but still maintains its own unique characteristics. You can read a bit about it here (scroll down to Alford).

DOWNLOAD! (Instructions: Unzip all files to your BibleWorks DATABASE folder, then restart BibleWorks. The new database has the version id ALF. Note: the files work in older versions of BibleWorks as well as BibleWorks 9)

BibleWorks 9 - Is Textual Criticism for the specialist only?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

[See more here.]

If you want to save yourself a lot of time. My answer to that question is no. But, if you want to learn something, keep reading.

First of all, realize that 99% of the readers of this blog are already familiar with textual criticism and engage in it on one level or another (whether they know it or not) whenever they read the Bible. This range of familiarity can be seen when one

  • chooses an English Bible version because it conforms to a certain preference of fidelity (some people will never move out of the KJV camp not necessarily because they love its English, but rather because they think that it translates the manuscripts that are the ones most faithful to the original autographs.)
  • reads footnotes in their Bible that say “Some Greek manuscripts say …” or “The Septuagint reads…”) (for instance the NET Bible goes farther than almost any other English edition when it comes to referring to textual critical issues)
  • picks up a Greek text and makes judgments based on its text
  • decides that she’s more of a Westcott-Hort person than a Textus Receptus one.
  • looks at the critical apparatus of a Greek text and adopts a reading from it rather than the adopted portion of the text
  • reads a commentary which discusses various other readings for a given text

But textual criticism doesn’t end there. In fact that is only the tip of the iceberg. But the nice thing about BibleWorks is that it has tools for everyone, no matter what your level of skill is.

  • BibleWorks 9 ships with the NET Bible, which as I said, is one of the English Bibles that probably has the best discussion of textual critical issues. The NET Bible has been updated in BW 9 so that you can easily read the textual notes in the new Verse Tab alongside the Biblical text!
  • Study bibles can also provide helpful resources, whether it be the ESV Study Bible that BibleWorks offers or the Holman Christian Study Bible that is offered by WORDsearch, but works in BibleWorks too!
  • BibleWorks 9 ships with the CNTTS New Testament textual apparatus which gives an exhaustive list of variants and manuscripts that support them. In addition BibleWorks contains Tischendorf’s critical apparatus. While it is not exhaustive as far as Greek manuscripts or variants are concerned, it cites the Church Fathers and other early non-Greek Bible versions. We also host a module in which you can download von Soden’s critical apparatus for free as well!
  • For the first time ever, the BibleWorks Manuscripts Project, which is part of BibleWorks 9, allows you to see images of the manuscripts themselves along with transcriptions of them. Now if you want to adopt Codex Sinaiticus as your Bible, you can do just that!
  • Because a lot of other scholars have already weighed in on the issue of textual criticism, you can see some of the decisions they’ve made by comparing their critical Greek New Testaments to another as well as with the CNTTS apparatus and Greek manuscripts. BibleWorks 9 includes more Greek New Testament versions than ever before including the NA27, newly proofed versions of Westcott-Hort and Scriveners, and Greek New Testaments by Stephanus (Textus Receptus), Tischendorf, von Soden, Tregelles, Robinson-Pierpont (Byzantine)!
  • If you want to study some of the early translations of the Bible into English you can do that too and there are even more resources available here which include John Wycliffe’s English translation of the Vulgate (1388), the Miles Coverdale version (1535), Bishops’ Bible (1568) and the King James (1611) to name a few.
  • Or maybe your Latin is better than your Greek. In addition to … you can download transcriptions of early Latin versions: Codex Vercellensis, Codex Veronensis and Codex Bobbiensis here.
  • For an extra $20 you can unlock for Bruce Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition, which discusses in prose a select number of variants in the Greek New Testament. If you are upgrading to BibleWorks 9 from BibleWorks 7, you receive a complimentary unlock to this resource.
  • For an extra $30 you can unlock Philip Comfort and David Barrett’s The Text Of The Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. This resource provides 50 photographs of different Greek New Testament papyri and transcribes the texts of 69 of the earliest Greek papyrus manuscripts.
  • There are resources for the Aramaic Peshitta to supplement those that come free in BibleWorks.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls resources can also be added to BibleWorks, if the user wants to do more work with the Qumran evidence.
  • In Hebrew land, the Septuagint and the Targums also come standard with BibleWorks with Etheridge’s translations and the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL).
  • Can you believe I’ve even left things out of this list??

As you can see there is so much to textual criticism that you will never find a true “expert.” Someone might know more about one area than another, but the field is so large, that even the scholars are always learning new things. In other words, you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to be a part of textual criticism. You’re probably already doing it, even if it is at a very rudimentary level. BibleWorks 9 provides you the flexibility to use as little or as many of the tools as you want.

BibleWorks 9 - Manuscripts Project VII

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

[See more here.]

BibleWorks is not an open source program, but it is a program that allows for much more free adaptation than any of the other major Bible software programs. Since I’ve been using BibleWorks (I think that goes back to BibleWorks 5 or 6), I first fell in love with the Version Database Compiler which allows users to make their own Bible translations and import them into BibleWorks. While initially designed for Bible translators, I’ve made ample use of it, adding classical Greek and Latin texts to BibleWorks.

Later when HTML modules linked to BibleWorks were added to the program, BibleWorks allowed users to add their own custom HTML modules to the main program.

In that same vein, BibleWorks has not simply given users access to the manuscripts, BibleWorks 9 actually provides users with the very tools that scholars have been using to make transcriptions from manuscript images! While BibleWorks is continuing on its own to work at transcribing manuscripts, users could actually transcribe the manuscripts all by themselves and then compile and import them into BibleWorks and use them alongside any of the other manuscripts! The tools also make it possible to mark the images with the verse labels that are found in the BibleWorks manuscript images. Admittedly, the number of people who would want to do this is probably rather small, but it’s extraordinary that BibleWorks is sharing the power tools from their arsenal so freely.

Here’s a small glimpse of it in action.

Another companion tool is the Tagging Tool which allows you to morphologically tag your own Greek New Testament. There is no possible way to cover how this tool works in this post, but let’s just say you don’t have to manually enter in every tag. It’s made to help match your text against other morphological texts and fill out the text as completely as possible before letting you check out words that still are problematic. Again, this may not appeal to the common user, but now if you make your own Greek New Testament, it is easier than ever to make a morphology companion to it! The long-range goal here is to make it easy for people to develop public domain texts so that more people can share the Greek texts (but do be careful at first and read the Help files so that you are using public domain morphological databases rather than copyright protected and proprietary ones).

This picture doesn’t quite explain how it all works, but it lets you see how it’s laid out. In the top portion is the text that you wish to tag and in the bottom you can have other Greek morphological versions to compare with as you go.

Both of these tools are extremely powerful. They do take a bit of reading and trial and error to figure out. Most users probably won’t even want to use them, but BibleWorks is releasing them in BibleWorks 9 because they believe that the manuscripts project is not just giving people the final results, but giving them the tools as well so that anyone can become more familiar with the task of textual criticism and the creation of Greek critical texts.

BibleWorks 9 - Manuscripts Project VI

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

[See more here.]

Anyone have any idea what I just did here, specifically, what kind of search?


Well as Nick correctly identified in the comments section, this was indeed an example of searching Codex Siniaiticus for all examples of nomina sacra. For those who do not know this term, nomina sacra are the words that have the bars above the letters. Nomina sacra is Latin and means “sacred names” and it is the term given to these words which are abbreviated in the manuscripts. The exact significance of the nomina sacra still is a somewhat open question in scholarship and is still a topic treated today (see here, here or here for recent discussions).

In BibleWorks 9, Sinaiticus is morphologically tagged, but it also includes extra tagging data so that you can search on the command line for all instances of nomina sacra in one quick and easy search. Currently it’s not as straightforward to search the nomina sacra for the other manuscripts because their morphological tagging is not yet added, but from Sinaiticus you can quickly get an idea of what it will be like when it is.

And for those who read this post after BibleWorks 9 comes out and want to know how to do this search, here’s how.

  • In the command line type “m-01a-m” (no quotation marks) to active the Siniaticus morphology version as the search version
  • Then type the following search into the command line, “.*@*+sxxc” and presto!

BibleWorks 9 - Manuscripts Project V

Friday, July 1st, 2011

[See more here.]

In this part of the preview of the BibleWorks Manuscripts Project I wanted to try to demonstrate what it can look like to see the transcribed manuscripts really working in the Browse Window in BibleWorks 9. Unfortunately there is so much to show, I found it impossible to get it in one picture, so you’ll have to bear with me.

The first image is heavily annotated, the others less so. What I’m trying to show, however, is that because these Greek manuscripts have been transcribed, you can see and use them in the Browse Window just like you can with other Bible versions. Right now only Codex Sinaiticus (M-01) is completely morphologically tagged. The other versions still work in the Browse Window, they just don’t have morphology capabilities. Those will be updated (free of charge) as they are ready.

This is the same scene as above, but I’ve cut out versions and applied automatic difference highlighting. I also show you M-01 is morphologically tagged.

A closer view of the collation window, with the handy abbreviation pop up. Notice I’ve added a few versions to the collation window (you can add or remove as many Greek manuscripts as you want).

From the collation window you can also export the collation if you want it for a paper or something, but the table can get a bit unwieldy if you’re working with a really long verse because it is laid out horizontally. The collation window has buttons to advance or go backwards by verse, but for easy use the entire MSS tab also automatically updates as you change verses in the Browse Window.

As you can see, beside the work that it took to transcribe the texts in the first place, BibleWorks’ programmers have made sure there is plenty that you can do with the manuscripts once they’re in BibleWorks 9!

BibleWorks 9 - The CNTTS New Testament Apparatus

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

[See more here.]

I feel like I’m kind of in a jam when it comes to talking about the CNTTS New Testament Apparatus because as much as I could tell you about it, your time is better spent viewing the video BibleWorks made showing some of its features, so I will direct you to it first.

The CNTTS (Center for New Testament Textual Studies) is an organization whose goal is to aid New Testament textual criticism by collating New Testament manuscripts and develop aids for that same end (their goals are more thoroughly laid out on their website). Their apparatus is currently only available in BibleWorks and Accordance. What’s important about them for your purposes is that they’ve been hard at work producing a new critical apparatus that is one of the most thorough apparatus to date. Unlike the most commonly known apparatus that is found in the bottom of the page of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, an apparatus which is by no means comprehensive (it doesn’t try to be), the CNTTS has attempted to produce an apparatus that *is* comprehensive, that is one that notes every variant that exists in the manuscripts. Obviously since it exists in a digital form, this kind of comprehensive nature is possible, whereas it would simply not be feasible in book form; it would take multiple books — the CNTTS says their database is approaching 20,000 pages in length already!

The implementation of it contains not simply a listing of all variants, but editorial remarks about them as well. Thus variants are marked as significant, insignificant, singular or lacunae. These are all explained in much greater detail in the apparatus than I will share now, but the point is that you’re given not simply variants, but you’re given certain kinds of information about them, which can help in searching for significant variants or certain manuscripts, etc. In other words, it’s not just that the digital nature of the project makes it easier to be comprehensive, it also includes powerful search possibilities that infinitely increase the value of the apparatus.

Compare for instance what Tischendorf’s textual apparatus (on the left) looks like as opposed to the CNTTS apparatus (on the right). They both look a bit unwieldy, but be aware that clicking on symbols will tell you what they mean):

The biggest thing to notice is how much information the CNTTS contains. On the first variant marked in Tischendorf he says that δε is added in manuscript 13, 69, 124 and a Coptic manuscript. While that’s well and good CNTTS notes that this reading is found not just in 13, 69, and 124, but also in 1186, 1220 and f13 (a certain group of manuscripts referred to as family-13). While this in itself may be a relatively minor observation, the point is that because the CNTTS includes more manuscript evidence, you are better able to make textual critical decisions because you have better evidence at your fingertips. Chances are the CNTTS will show variants where Tischendorf won’t because its coverage is that much greater.

So should we just throw away all other textual apparatuses? No, not quite yet anyway. Tischendorf and Nestle-Aland still do have some value because they not only cite Greek manuscript witnesses, but they also note witnesses from other languages and quotations from the early Church Fathers. But when it comes to evidence drawn from Greek New Testament manuscripts, CNTTS is the top dog.