Editio Critica Maior

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Editio Critica Maior (ECM) is a critical edition of the Greek New Testament being produced by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (Eng. "Institute for New Testament Textual Research") -which is famous for Kurt Alands Nestle-Aland - Novum Testament Graece e.g.- in collaboration with other international institutes. The 'ECM' documents the history of the Greek text through the first millennium on the basis of Greek manuscripts, old translations, and New Testament citations in ancient Christian literature that are of significance to the history of transmission. On the basis of genealogical investigations of the material, first prepared with this completeness, the original text of the Greek New Testament is reconstructed. The project Editio Critica Maior is supported by the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. It is to be completed by the year 2030.

The beginnings[edit]

Since the founding of the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) in 1959 by Kurt Aland, manuscripts – some of which had previously been unknown or lost, were traced and photographed, and all known manuscripts were photographed and cataloged. The INTF thus acquired over 90% of the known material on microfilm or photo.

First evaluation[edit]

In the mid-1980s, a text program was developed. Uniform texts, which, as is well known, constituted the main part in the transmission of the high-middle age – have been dropped out. After the elimination of these texts, the material that is relevant to the textual history of the first millennium is now available: in addition to the manuscripts of this period, the numerous among later manuscripts, which reflect the older textual history. The (still) very high number of relevant manuscripts is gradually transcribed and subjected to a complete text comparison (Vollkollation). The results are recorded in databases. For the first time this allows a computer-assisted exploration of the entire material. Above all, the acquisition of genealogical data is important, which illuminates the textual history and especially its beginnings.

The digitization[edit]

The institute uses digital methods at all levels of its philological work: handwriting is captured in the highest possible quality as digital photos. These photos are the basis for the transcriptions to be made on the computer. Additionally digitized material from other institutes is taken into consideration. The software Collate is then used to prepare the critical edition.

The result[edit]

In 1997 the first installment of this edition was published by Barbara Aland. In the meantime the Catholic Letters are available. Currently, the Apostelgeschichte and, in cooperation with the International Greek New Testament Project, the Johannesevangelium are in preparation. In addition an edition, that has been published in printed form, a digital platform is developed which allows online access to all data collected during the work on the ECM. This includes above all the diplomatic transcripts of all the manuscripts used in the ECM and the databases on which the ECM is based on. The recent editions of Nestle-Aland in the 28th edition and the 5th edition of the Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies are in the text after the ECM, as far as it has been published so far.

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