The Editio Critica Maior (ECM)

Together with the Greek New Testament, the Novum Testamentum Graece has attained an undisputed position of preeminence among New Testament scholars over the past few decades. With the exception of some details, the principal text of these editions has no longer been modified for around thirty years. However, this does not mean that New Testament textual research has reached its conclusion or could do so in future. Quite the opposite is the case.

The Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster, for example, is currently working on an entirely new edition of the Greek-language New Testament, the so-called Editio Critica Maior, which will document 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. This edition therefore also provides information for answering further questions: How does a text change over the course of history, and why? How was a text received in the early Christian era? The original biblical text was also reconstructed once more in this connection with a newly developed method; in this process it became evident that the existing text required extensive modification.

The first installment of this edition appeared in 1997. Meanwhile the Gospel of Mark, the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic Epistles (the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude) have been published. At present, the Gospel of John and the Letters of Paul are in preparation (in cooperation with the “Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing” – ITSEE – in Birmingham), as well as Revelation (in co-operation with the „Institut für Septuaginta- und biblische Textforschung“ – ISBTF – in Wuppertal). The entire Editio Critica Maior is to be completed by around 2030. This project is supported by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities.