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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 7 Gospels manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

Open Lectionary on Copystand

  • GA 769: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 775: 13th century minuscule of the Gospels. This codex is a miniature, pocket version of the Gospels.
  • GA 1698: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels. The quires and bifolia were reshuffled completely out of order when the manuscript was rebound! Our informational document can offer a guide through the text.
  • GA Lect 393: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 394: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 407: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 408: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 7 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

Icon Headpieces

Headpiece icons in GA 772

  • GA 254: 14th century minuscule of the Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation with commentary by Theophylact. The biblical text is rubricated (i.e., in red ink) whereas the accompanying commentary is written in black ink.
  • GA 763: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels. The codex actually contains the beginning of Matthew twice! Leaves 14-16 are from another manuscript and contain Matthew 1.1-2.7, and then GA 763 begins with Matthew 1.1 at leaf 17 and continues the rest of the Gospel.
  • GA 772: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels with commentary by Theophylact. Biblical text is indicated by double arrows in the margins. The Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John each have a beautiful headpiece containing an icon of the Evangelist (a collage of all three headpieces is pictured above).
  • GA Lect 386: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 392: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 409: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 435: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

Friday, January 06, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 7 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

MS Room Icon

  • GA 1761: 14th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. Based on the quire count, it seems that at least 23 quires (184 leaves) are missing from the front of this manuscript. Thus, it appears highly likely that the manuscript originally contained the four Gospels as well.
  • GA 2523: 15th century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul.
  • GA 2526: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 427: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. The text begins with a rather interesting headpiece featuring Jesus in the center with Mary on his left, John the Baptist on his right, and two angels below them.
  • GA Lect 591: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 594: 15th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 1307: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Four CSNTM Discoveries Added to the INTF Liste

Studying in MS Room

One of the most exciting aspects of each expedition is discovering new manuscripts. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, the executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), personally inspects each manuscript that will be digitized. During this intensive first-hand study of each manuscript, Dr. Wallace has found numerous New Testament manuscripts that were previously unknown to the broader scholarly community. Sometimes these are tucked away inside of a codex along with another manuscript. At other times, an entire codex had not previously been recognized as a NT manuscript.

After making a discovery, CSNTM partners with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) to add the new manuscript to the INTF Liste—the official catalogue of all Greek NT manuscripts. This involves assigning the discovery a Gregory-Aland (GA) number, which is the way that scholars commonly refer to each manuscript.

We are glad to announce that INTF has just added four of our discoveries to the Liste. These manuscripts were discovered during our expedition at the National Library of Greece (NLG) in 2015–16. Below is a list of the manuscripts, with both their NLG shelf number and new GA number, along with a brief description of the manuscript.

 

NLG 118 – GA 2933: One leaf from an eleventh-century minuscule of the Gospels containing an icon of Luke and Luke 1:1–6. It is found in the middle of the codex for GA 785.

NLG 118 Images

Front and back of GA 2933: An Icon of Luke and Luke 1:1-6

 

NLG 2676 – GA 2934: Two leaves from a thirteenth- or fourteenth-century minuscule of the Apostolos containing parts of 1 John and Acts. It is found inside the covers of the same codex as GA Lect 1813.

NLG 2676 Images

Leaves from GA 2934 at the front and back of the GA Lect 1813 codex

 

NLG 2771 – GA 2935: Sixteenth-century minuscule of the Gospel of Mark embedded within a codex of other patristic and liturgical writings. The codex is a patchwork and has several different dates cited inside of it. It appears that more than a dozen different scribes may have contributed to making it.

NLG 2771 Image

Beginning of the Gospel of Mark in GA 2935

 

NLG 3139 – GA 2936: Thirteenth century minuscule dated to 1227/1228 of Paul with commentary by Theophylact.

NLG 3139 Image

Beginning of Galatians in GA 2936

 

We hope that you will enjoy viewing these newly catalogued manuscripts in our Digital Library. If you would like to read more about them, please see the INTF Virtual Manuscript Room blog here.

Friday, December 09, 2016

From the Library: GA 774

The latest feature in CSNTM’s “From the Library” series is Gregory-Aland 774, a manuscript we digitized in 2015 at the National Library of Greece. This 11th century Gospels manuscript is dubbed “the most precious manuscript of the National Library” in the NLG’s 1892 catalog. It is worthy of this distinction because of the astounding icons and headpieces at the beginning of each Gospel, which remain in pristine condition.

 

The Christmas Story in GA 774

Matthew 1:18 in GA 774

In this Christmas season, we thought it would be appropriate to see how a beautiful medieval manuscript such as GA 774 has preserved the story of Jesus’ birth. So we compared the text of Matthew 1:18-23 in GA 774 with the most recent critical text of the New Testament, the Nestle-Aland 28th edition (NA28). The Nestle-Aland text represents what many scholars believe is the earliest text of the New Testament, and it is the base text used for most modern English translations.

When we compared the two, we found that they were in exact agreement more than 95% of the time, down to the letter. There are only five differences between the NA28 and GA 774 in this passage. Three of these differences merely involved different ways of spelling the same word. This includes the Greek spelling of “birth” (v.18), the verb “to disgrace” (v.19), and the name “Mary” (v.20). The other two differences involve adding a word to make what is implicit in the Greek more explicit. In one instance, GA 774 has the Greek article (in English: “the”) before the word “Lord” in 1:22, whereas the NA28 does not. It may have been added for extra emphasis: “the Lord” (NA28) has become “the Lord” (GA 774), making a closer connection with the mention of the “Lord” in v. 20.

The other instance is in Matthew 1:18 (pictured above), where GA 774 contains the Greek word gar. The word means “for” in English and signals a logical connection with the previous sentence. This word is not present in the NA28 text.

 

So here is how the NA28 text of v. 18 would read in English:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” 

Here is how GA 774 would read in English:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. For when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”

It is clear in the NA28 text that the first sentence is an introductory statement to the topic of the paragraph, whereas the second sentence begins to tell the story. The word “for” in GA 774 makes this a bit clearer, but for the reader this connection is already obvious. Again, what is added may make connections more explicit, but it does not materially affect the meaning.

This example shows how remarkably stable the New Testament text has been for centuries. The few differences that do exist here are minor and do not affect the text’s meaning. Remember that GA 774 is nearly 1,000 years old, and GA 774 itself was made more than 1,000 years after Mary gave birth to Jesus. Yet throughout all this time, the Christmas story remains intact for us to read and celebrate today.

 

Fragile Binding

The spine and front cover of GA 774 

For all of its fine internal quality, GA 774 has very fragile binding. Its 370 leaves are fastened between two modern wooden boards by four exposed strings. That means that this manuscript must be opened carefully so that undue stress is not put on the spine, which could cause the leaves to detach from the binding.

 

A virtual reproduction of the beginning of Matthew, combining two individual images into one bifolio

 

CSNTM’s images play a critical role in the preservation of this treasure. Our Conservation Copy Stand cradles the manuscript so that it cannot be opened at greater than a 105º angle, which prevents significant damage to the binding of manuscripts. Furthermore, CSNTM’s digitizers use the strategic placement of foam and other tools to reinforce the spine and pages so that the manuscript is undamaged during the process of digitization. After digitization, the images allow anyone to digitally open the manuscript and read it without putting the codex at further risk—from anywhere in the world!

It was a privilege to digitize this beautiful medieval manuscript that is a treasure in the Greek National Library's large collection. You can view the complete manuscript, including ornate Eusebian Canon Tables and gilded icons of all four evangelists, in our digital library.

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