The version is not intended to replace the well-established Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, nor is it really equipped to do so; according to the announcement found on the Evangelical Textual Criticism Blog, “this text may be considered a ‘reading edition,’ with the apparatus serving to alert the reader to the most important places where there are differences between editions of the Greek NT and to indicate how the other editions have handled matters.”
The primary resources in establishing the text are:
- Westcott-Hort (1881)
- S.P. Tregelles (1857-1879)
- Goodrich-Lukaszewski (2003)
- Robinson-Pierpont (2005)
As I see it, there are several upsides to the new SBL edition. First, it is free for download in .pdf format (or will be soon, according to the website). This means that those who have a Kindle or some other sort of tablet reading device will be able to take their text with them electronically. The SBL will offer a print version of the text (which I’m looking forward to seeing in November), but those who have no need for another Greek New Testament will likely be satisfied in just having the .pdf files. Second, it will draw attention to the more major text-critical issues in the NT. As it stands, the critical apparatus of the Nestle-Aland can be somewhat exhausting. Third, did I mention that it is free?!
Considering that this edition is in no way intended to replace the critical editions already in use, my first complaint, that the apparatus is not detailed enough, is invalid. I really only have one beef with the new SBL Greek New Testament, and that is that it uses the SBL Greek Font, which I despise.