On Facebook, I recently made reference to a new textual-critical edition of the New Testament put out by the Society for Biblical Literature (the SBLGNT). What appealed to me is that it is made freely available, with a generous end-user license. It’s the closest I’ve seen to a Creative Commons License with the work still under a copyright.
I should have checked it out more carefully. James White pans this edition on a recent Dividing Line podcast. White uses two examples, Mark 1:41 and Hebrews 2:9, where the SBLGNT uses minority readings that literally have no manuscript support.
A leper approaches Jesus and tells Jesus that Jesus could heal him if Jesus so chose. In the ESV, Mark 1:41 reads “Moved with pity, he [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.'”
However, the SBLGNT uses a variant reading that originates in Codex D, which is dated to 1500s. Only MSS that bear relation to Codex D actually have that reading. No scholar gives Codex D any weight. It has too many readings unique to it, even whole passages and stories that are found nowhere else.
The variant reading that the SBLGNT uses for Mark 1:41 is: “Moved with anger, he [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.'”
Hebrews 2:9 is rendered “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” in the ESV.
The SBLGNT renders it “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that apart from God he might taste death for everyone.”
There’s more support for that reading than for the Mark 1:41 variant, but it still isn’t widely supported. It is more of a theological curiosity, and may have been changed because many believe that Jesus became wholly separated from God upon his death.