Greek New Testament Editions and their Canonicity in the Orthodox Church

The present paper considers problems with different editions of the Greek New Testament, including their reception and status in the Orthodox Church. Since its publication in 1904, the so-called Antoniades’ edition has been considered as the official Orthodox Edition of the GNT. It, however, could not meet the needs of modern Orthodox Scholarship nor could it meet the needs of the users of the GNT texts, in the Orthodox liturgy. For these reasons, the liturgical text still read is Textus Receptus, as it was adopted in the earliest Venetian editions. Additionally, the Critical Text is in usage in Orthodox theological institutions. Yet, there has not been made any proposal or suggestion for the adaptation of the Critical Text as the official text of the Orthodox Church. Western controversy Critical vs. Byzantine Text has been transferred also in the Orthodox context. For that reason, Orthodox scholars relatively often state that the Byzantine Text is the Orthodox traditional and historically attested text, which has for centuries been in liturgical usage, while the Critical Text is actually an artificial construction which, as such, cannot be found in any particular manuscript and, therefore, did not exist in history. For that reason, one might say that the Byzantine Text has been considered, in the Orthodox Church, to be more canonical that the Critical Text. The present paper argues that both critical and traditional texts are necessary and supplementary to one another. None of them is more or less historical. Their relative value depends on the purpose and the way an edition is intended to be used. For that reason, two types of the editions should not be opposing but rather complementing each other, since both reflect each textual tradition. Finally, the paper proposes a new critical edition, which would take into consideration the different needs of Orthodox users, but would also enable adaptation of the results of the modern textual scholarship through the Critical Text, as a significant contribution to the Orthodox tradition.