Editio Critica Maior: Acts coming out soon!

As usual, when the middle of the Summer hits, I find myself eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Fall season. Fall marks the beginning of a new academic year, which also marks the arrival of new academic publications. Several exciting new books are coming out later this year, but one publication that I have been anticipating for some time now is the latest addition to the Editio Critica Maior series published by the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (‘Institute for New Testament Textual Research’) in Münster, Germany. The INT is responsible for the production of the various editions of the Greek New Testament that lie behind most contemporary translations of the Bible. The Editio Critica Maior series represents a significant step forward for New Testament textual criticism, providing a more complete critical apparatus for scholars to compare textual variants within the Greek manuscripts, early versions, and patristic quotations. The fourth volume of the series on the Catholic Epistles (James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude) was the first to be published, and now, at long last, we can look forward to seeing the newest volume on the Acts of the Apostles.

I first saw the publication announced back in May of this year, on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog in a post by Dr. Peter Head. As Professor Head notes in his post, the publication is due for August of this year (next month!), and all involved in the production of these massive volumes deserve congratulations. It is unfortunate that no names are given for the scholars involved in the project yet, but they will undoubtedly be listed in the volumes themselves.

Based on my quick read through the ad (below) it looks like we can expect 52 changes to the NA28 Greek text of Acts on the basis of this work. The third volume, which includes commentary on specific textual variants, will undoubtedly cover most/all of these 52 changes.

Below is the ad and my translation of it. Note the language the publishers use to describe the text being presented, particularly as it relates to recent debates on the status of the ‘original’ text, e.g. “it offers…the oldest attainable text.”

ECM Acts


A Milestone in the Study of the New Testament Text

The Editio Critica Maior documents the entire textual history of the Greek New Testament text in the first millennium. It is the basis for the academic study of the New Testament text worldwide. Now the volume for the Acts of the Apostles is here.

The Book

The Editio Critica Maior documents the textual history of the Greek NT through the first millennium on the basis of the most important Greek manuscripts, old translations, and New Testament citations in ancient Christian literature. It not only offers the oldest attainable text of the New Testament, but it also serves to answer further questions: How does a text change over the course of its history, and why? How was a text received in the early Christian era? Volume 4: The Catholic Epistles is already available, and now after some years the volume for Acts of the Apostles is following.  For this volume, the original biblical text was reconstructed with the help of a newly developed method, which has lead to 52 textual changes. The Acts volume appears in three parts. The first part contains the text, complete with a clearly structured, extensive text-critical apparatus. In the second part, one finds additional materials, which unburden the text-critical apparatus. Finally, the third part provides a commentary on select variants along with studies on early translations and the transmission of the text in Patristic sources. This project is sponsored by the Union of German Academies of Science.

The Publisher

The Institute for New Testament Textual Research is a university institute in Münster, which explores the history of the New Testament in its original Greek language. For the German Bible Society, in addition to the Editio Critica Maior (ECM) there is also the Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) and the Greek New Testament (UBS5).

Especially suitable for…

  • Biblical scholars
  • Students of Theology
  • Anyone interested in the development and transmission of the Greek biblical text.


At a Glance

  • An indispensable, foundational work for New Testament textual criticism
  • The entire Acts of the Apostles
  • Three Parts: Text, Accompanying Materials, and Studies
  • The basis for the relevant editions of the Greek New Testament
  • High quality features

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