Greek, New Testament

UBS4 or NA27

It seems that most, if not all, my profs use the NA27 over the UBS4. Personally, I much prefer the UBS4 over the NA27. It has nothing to do with my dislike of working through text-critical issues; rather, I like the typeface of the UBS text (easier to read). What? You thought I’d offer in-depth arguments why I like one better than the other? Nope–it’s all aesthetics!

Which do you prefer?

Αυτω η δοξα


15 thoughts on “UBS4 or NA27”

  1. Stephen: That’s unusual, at least to me. The typeface in my NA27 is noticeably smaller and different altogether. I wonder how significant the difference is between NA27 and earlier editions and if maybe that’s part of it.

    1. The typeface of UBS4 is taller, but the width of the strokes is smaller, leading to a lower contrast between the ink and the paper, making it harder for some to read. I don’t particularly like serif Greek fonts (such as in NA27) but even so I find the NA27 easier to make out the letter.

      Also, there is a slant to the UBS4 letters because the Greek was actually typeset in an italics font. (I heard this by some kind of mistake.) You can see this because the OT quotations in UBS4 are in a non-italics bold. If the UBS4 had been typeset in a regular, rather than italics, font, I think it would have been easier to read.

  2. Aesthetically I prefer the UBS4 because the font is a bit bigger (I don’t mind that it’s italicized) and it has a burgundy cover (I’m a sucker for burgundy Bibles). But I like that the NA27 has the marginal notes. They’re especially nice in the NA27-NET Diglot because everything is so big (and that Bible has a near burgundy cover!).

  3. Carl: Just goes to show that sometimes mistakes result in a blessing, doughnuts being a good example!

    Nick: I will say that I LOVE my NA27/NET diglot (especially considering what I paid for it)! My diglot cover is black. Is yours genuine leather? Mine says so, but it doesn’t quite feel leathery. I guess I haven’t broken it in yet.

  4. Personally, I use the NA 27 Large print—old eyes need large print. That being said, I’ve always preferred the NA 27 because of the apparatus. The font is not as nice as UBS, but I’d sure miss the apparatus.


  5. Jason: I love mine too (all the more since it was a gift from another blogger!). Mine is a “tan” (it doesn’t look tan to me) hardcover although the site calls it bonded leather (I’ve never felt such stiff leather in all my life!). It’s the one pictured on the right here.

    James: The beautiful thing about the NA27-NET Diglot is that it uses the large print NA27 text and apparatus! For text critical stuff there’s no question that the NA27 apparatus is superior, but for translation work the UBS4 is probably better, or at least that what the experts tell me. I like that the UBS lists more patristic witnesses in general. And getting back to font, I was a little disappointed that the UBS Reader’s Edition went with the NA27 font; that italicized UBS font would look great if it were a little bit bigger.

  6. Nick, the thought of a diglot…shudder! : )

    Your point about the patristic witnesses is true, and I had a UBS3 for years–until I gave it to my daughter. Now I have 4 or so NA 27, 1 NA 26, a WH and I might even have a Majority Text edition—unless I gave it away, which I think I did…a wealth of Greek texts…


  7. Nick: Mine is one on the left in that picture.

    James: Yes, the apparatus is much better in the NA27. But I only drag out NA when I am working through a T-C issue; otherwise, it’s UBS4!

  8. James: For us mere mortals diglots are a godsend! BTW, the real appeal of the NA27-NET Diglot is all the textual notes. You have the best of both (Greek & English) worlds.

    And thanks for reminding me that I need to get the Robinson-Pierpont GNT (and the reader’s edition as well). 🙂

    Jason: Cool. Does it stand up on the shelf? It looks just as much like a hardcover as mine.

  9. Nick: Yes, it stands, but I always keep it in its protective cardboard sleeve so that shelf-wear is reduced. My other Greek and Hebrew texts I just stand or lay down like any other book.

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