2. The critical editions of the New Testament during the 18th and 19th centuries constituted a serious evolution in the field of New Testament textual criticism, as did the well-known editions of Nestle-Aland and The Greek New Testament of the United Bible Societies (UBS) in the 20th century. In the United Bible Societies’ 4th edition of The Greek New Testament, the contribution of Byzantine lectionaries which were given close attention by a research group from the University of Thessaloniki is considerable. Regarding the promotion of the ecclesiastical text, I should mention two editions of the New Testament from the USA: the edition of Z. C.Hodges – A. L. Farstad, The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text (1982/1985) as well as the foundation of a society for the promotion of the Byzantine majority text referred to as the “Majority Text Society” in Dallas; and the edition of M. Robinson – W. Pierpoint, The New Testament in the Original Greek According to the Byzantine / Majority Text form (Atlanta, 1991). Both of these editions show that there is a revival of the interest in the Byzantine text, mainly in the USA, in late 20th century.
Let us not forget that critical editions of the Greek New Testament comprise an artificial text. These editions are the result—on the basis of scientific principles—of a large portion of manuscripts (geographically and chronologically), but such editions have never been read in the liturgical life of the church. Conversely, the so-called Byzantine text, that which we have referred to repeatedly in this paper as the “liturgical” or “ecclesiastical” text, has been read for many centuries (and is still being read) during the liturgical assemblies of the Orthodox Church primarily in Greek speaking areas, but also in many other lands (however, not in all) by translation into local languages.