Nestle-Aland’s Novum Testamentum Graece — Review

Τὴν Καινὴν Διαθήκην ἀναγιγνωσκώμεθα!

Let us read the New Testament! The Gospel of John in its original language

The New Testament was orginally written in Ancient Greek (or, more specifically, Koine Greek) and is written in a mostly rather easy to understand manner; this is due to the fact that it written using simpler grammar and repeats things frequently. I therefore find it to be a great text to read as an intermediate student of the language — especially if you are Christian or interested in Christianity.

In the beginning was the Word

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. These are the opening words of the Gospel of John or, as it is known in the original Greek, Κατὰ Ἰωάννην (Ευαγγέλιον). And whilst I am aware that it is not literally referring to a word per se, I find it to be a fitting quote to display here. As briefly mentioned above, the New Testament's original language is Ancient Greek, and although it hadn't actually been written by a native speaker of the language, I would still consider it an invaluable resource for learning the language.

This is mostly due to the aforesaid fact that the New Testament — and the entire Bible, for that matter — are written in a somewhat simple-to-grasp manner with lots of repetitions. I am by no means saying that one will be able to read the Bible fully without any issues whatsoever after only a minor amount of time spent stuying, but it is, I would argue, amongst the easier texts that can be read. This is undoubtedly because of the type of Greek it has been written in — namely Koine — which utilises a much simplified grammar when compared to Attic.

The book's cover

Though I must give credit where credit is due and proclaim that the idea of getting the New Testament in Greek was not my own idea; rather, I had written a small letter to my English teacher — who knows Ancient Greek — who replied to my question regarding reading resources by telling me to get a Bible. He had initially recommended that I get a bilingual version — which I still might — but I decided to, instead, buy a regular, mono-lingual version. This is mostly due to my not wanting to spend over €50 for a new copy of the bilingual version and my not being able to find any second-hand editions. I was, however, able to find this pocket edition containing only the Greek text for roughly €10 on eBay.

Novum Testamentum Graece — The Greek New Testament

Though I must admit that this pocket edition of the Novum Testamtum Graece is not my favourite way of reading the Greek New Testament. It is a lovely and small book that you can take anywhere, but lacks in practicality for a lower intermediate student of the language; there is no dictionary, no notes. Instead, the pages are filled with cryptic symbols representing textual differences, something you most likely do not need unless you are a theology student.

It is, however, a handy book to have if you want to reinforce what you have read previously; a part of the book you know well enough to comprehend without a dictionary. Nevertheless, for actually reading new parts of the New Testament that I haven't read before, I generally prefer using The Greek New Testament. A Reader's Edition and I recommend you take a look at that page if you want further information regarding that book.