Book Review: Biblia Graeca

Biblia Graeca

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Many thanks to the kind folks at Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft for this review copy!

It is a privilege for us moderns to have access to the troves of literary treasure of the ancients. Access now comes by way of not only the printed page, but digital resources as well—a fine time to be a scholar for sure! One of the premier publishers of ancient texts is the German Bible Society, or Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, and this recent offering is indeed a fine work.

The long-awaited Biblia Graeca is comprised of Rahlf’s Septuagint and the Nestle-Aland 28th edition of the Greek New Testament. Any student of the Bible who has had any experience dealing with the LXX knows that Rahlf’s is not the go-to edition for serious text-critical work—for that one needs the Göttingen volumes, which for most are cost-prohibitive to own. One could, in a roundabout way, parallel Rahlf’s edition with the UBS5 text and the Göttingen with the NA28 in terms of its critical apparatus. Nevertheless, Biblia Graeca remains a handy volume.

The quality of its construction is also a plus. It’s a hardcover and has sewn binding, thus suiting it for regular and prolonged use. The pages are printed on paper that as far as I can tell is standard DBG’s original language texts. Expectedly, the paper is somewhat thin so there is a measure of ghosting, which is a tad more distracting in the NT portion due to the amount of marginal references and TC apparatus. On the matter of aesthetics, I have one primary complaint—I have always disliked the font used in Rahlf’s LXX. Presumably the choice was made due to space considerations, given that the text is just over 2,000 pages and that even a slightly larger font would make the work considerably longer. Though I don’t particularly like the font in the NA28 either, it’s more legible than that of the LXX and thus causes less eye strain for me. As an aside, one of the primary reasons I have preferred the UBS text over the years is because of the font.

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LXX

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GNT

Biblia Graeca is strictly utilitarian—its design forgoes any hopes of leisurely reading or other use. Obviously combining two works of this sort makes for a hefty volume. Clocking in at over 3,000 pages, this volume is not exactly what I would call portable. While the overall dimensions are the same as the individual volumes (which means it looks great on the shelf next to others), its sheer mass makes it more suited to being a stationary reference rather than one you might toss in a messenger bag and carry to the library or office. As such, I keep this volume at work and have my separated volumes at home. Plus, if ever you’re in need, it also serves as a great paperweight or doorstop! I have both of these works as separate volumes and having them as individual volumes is great, especially for the portability factor; however, I do enjoy the privilege of having these two works bound together. It makes for ease of access to the texts—a pure convenience if nothing else. While this is a somewhat costly volume, its convenience factor will be worth it for some while for others it will prove too costly. It will nevertheless serve well those who invest in this splendid work.

Αυτω η δοξα

Read a sample here.

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