The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is proud to announce the completion of our digitization project at the National Library of Greece (NLG)! Beginning in 2015 and continuing into 2016, we have spent months working at the National Library digitizing their entire collection of Greek New Testament manuscripts. This collection is one of the largest in the world and has a multitude of priceless treasures, which are now digitally preserved for generations to come.
In total, almost 45 people fulfilled the Center’s mission in Athens over the past two years. Over 150,000 pages of manuscripts were digitized (more than 300 manuscripts), and about 200,000 pages were examined. The difference is due to the fact that several of these were deemed not to be New Testament manuscripts or were too fragile to digitize. Some were not owned by the NLG but have been housed there for decades. The NLG is still seeking permission for CSNTM to digitize these remaining manuscripts.
At the same time, 21 manuscripts unknown to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany were digitized. Though only a small number, some of them are quite substantial. This will increase our fund of knowledge about the transmission of the NT text and add some important ‘discoveries’ especially of manuscripts with patristic commentary. Remarkably, even with 21 more manuscripts the proportion of new ‘discoveries’ to known manuscripts was significantly lower at the NLG than we are accustomed to. This is no doubt due to the diligence and careful sifting of the data for the past 125 years by various librarians and curators at the NLG. These new ‘discoveries’ will all be compiled and submitted for publication in the coming months. Many of them are also already available in our online library.
Now the final stage in our work is currently under way: postproduction. This includes converting all images, uploading the images onto our website, tagging them for basic search functions, backing up the images for long-term storage, and countless other tasks. We want to thank the National Library’s director, Dr. Tsimboglou, and staff for their tireless dedication to this project and for partnering with the Center in future endeavors. Also, we thank all of you who invested in this monumental project. Without you, this could have never been accomplished, and because of you, hundreds of manuscripts have been digitally preserved. Over the next few months, we will be announcing when these new images become available, and we are thrilled we can continue our mission of making these manuscripts free for all and free for all time!