Olive Tree Learning Center
Greek New Testaments
Olive Tree currently offers several different Greek New Testaments. You may be wondering what the differences between these are. The key differences between most of these go back to two main features:
Critical/Eclectic vs. Byzantine/Majority
Critical or Eclectic texts are compiled, usually by a committee, by examining all of the ancient manuscripts available and selecting whatever text is believed to be closest to the original. The process of editing these Greek texts is long and difficult. However, the advantage of this is that the resulting text is very close to the oldest manuscripts that we possess of the Bible. The primary examples of critical texts are the Nestle-Aland, 27th Edition, and the Greek New Testament, 4th Edition.
Byzantine or Majority texts are derived from a number of sources. For instance, the Textus Receptus refers to any early printed Greek New Testament. Since the only manuscripts available in late medieval Europe were from the Western and Byzantine textual traditions, these are also sometimes referred to as Byzantine texts. The number of manuscripts in this group far outnumbers those in the other groups (Caesarean and Alexandrian), so they are also sometimes called the Majority Text.
These texts are not generally used for scholarly purposes, but are still very popular since they are the Greek text underlying the King James Version, and nearly all other classic translations from before the twentieth century. Since they are older and in the public domain, most of these texts are offered for free. Examples of Byzantine texts are the Textus Receptus, the Majority Text, and the Scrivener Text.
Olive Tree offers the following Greek New Testament texts:
Parsed vs. Unparsed
The second major difference between the Greek New Testament products that Olive Tree offers has to do with whether a text includes parsings or not. Even though the two parsing systems that Olive Tree offers are each bundled with a Greek New Testament, they deserve a separate discussion.
Parsing a word means to give its grammatical features. For example, we might say that a word is a noun, that it is masculine in gender, singular in number, and in the accusative case. If you are familiar with Greek grammar, this information can be very valuable. In BibleReader, these can be accessed by tapping or clicking on a word. Most of our parsing systems are also linked to a dictionary, making them an ideal tool for students. This means that when you purchase a parsed text, you are actually buying three resources, not just one. You receive the Greek text, parsings for all of the words in the Greek New Testament, and a dictionary or lexicon.
Since a parsing is simply grammatical information about the text, you may wonder why there are different systems. The different parsing systems are actually very similar in how they deal with many types of words, but certain categories of words are very difficult to classify. Even experts cannot agree with how to parse them, which is why we have different systems of parsing. For example, when a word of Hebrew origin such as "hosanna" occurs in the Greek New Testament, should it be considered a verb, or do we simply classify it as a foreign word and leave it at that? This is only one example of the types of issues that scholars have to deal with when parsing texts. In order to be consistent, each parsing system attempts to reflect a particular philosophy of language. The result is that even though each of the parsing systems contains much of the same information as the others, they are all unique and may provide more or less information about certain grammatical features.
Here is a break-down of the parsed Greek New Testaments that we currently offer:
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