Having recently returned from ten demanding but fantastic days of ECM meetings in Thessaloniki and Volos, I would like to use this opportunity to comment on the scope and content of current ECM projects.
Apart from my team’s work on the Pastoral Epistles, we have been supporting at new team based in Thessaloniki (Aristotle University) and Athens (University of Athens) and led by Ekatarini Tsalampouni and Christos Karakolis to work on the two Thessalonian letters. Their interest is in producing not only an ECM edition of these letters, but also to produce a critical edition of the Byzantine text for use in the Greek Orthodox Church. At the University of Birmingham (UK), David Parker is working on the Gospel of John and Hugh Houghton heads the team that is responsible for the Pauline Epistles as a whole, with a current focus on Galatians and Ephesians. Martin Karrer leads the Apokalypse team at the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel. Specialists in the early translations of the Greek New Testament (Old Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Gothic, Ethiopic, Arabic) contribute their unique skills across all the projects.1
As each of the teams is at a different stage of editorial work—from beginning to near-completion—it is an invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss the use of electronic tools, share best practices, solve philosophical or technical problems, learn of new research opportunities, and be encouraged by the progress of each team. The general workflow of the ECM is as follows:
Create transcriptions of the Greek manuscripts;Collate the Greek evidence: this involves regularization of the Greek manuscripts data, determining the variants of the Greek text and then ordering them;
Creating a variant apparatus;
Two processes are then initiated in parallel: (a) the versional and patristic evidence is mapped against the Greek variant apparatus by the specialists; and (b) the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method is applied to the Greek evidence (more on this in a future post);
The variant apparatus is revised (as the previous step may give rise to new variants or a new base text);
Publication in both print and digital editions.
As we move forward with this work, the tools and methods involved are constantly developing and improving the process—something that necessitates meetings like this, to keep everyone up to date and working efficiently. Textual data needs to be processed and packaged to move from one stage of the editorial process to the next. This involves working with TEI XML documents, database imports/exports, and each of the editing tools. Across the teams there is expertise in a variety of skills from textual criticism and Greek linguistics to Java and perl programming. Some of the work can be tedious (anyone with even a tangential interest in textual criticism will know this), but the end product is well worth the effort.
1As an aside, American and Greek involvement in the editing of the ECM is new and represents a historic expansion of the collaborative effort. At the end of the meetings there was a presentation made to faculty of Aristotle University in which Professor Johannes Karavidopoulos—the last surviving member of the editorial committee that disbanded after the publication of the Nestle-Aland 27th edition—addressed the members of the ECM teams and their use of lectionary and Byzantine material.