In November of 2011 CSNTM traveled to the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (BML) in Florence Italy. This is a phenomenal library founded by the Medici family. Here, the old library, which was designed by none other than Michelangelo himself, can be seen in all of its glory. It now holds over 2500 papyri, 11,000 manuscripts, and 128,000 printed texts. Because of this trip, CSNTM is proud to announce the addition of new images of 28 manuscripts from the BML. This excellent collection contains papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. Among the many treasures we digitized was an eleventh-century lectionary, written entirely in gold letters (GA Lect 117). Another manuscript had Paul’s epistles after the book of Revelation—a very rare phenomenon GA 620). And we photographed a complete Greek New Testament manuscript—one of only sixty known to exist (GA 367). We thank the library and their staff for their graciousness and willingness to digitally preserve these manuscripts. The following manuscripts may now be found HERE.
GA Lect 112
GA Lect 117
GA Lect 118
GA Lect 291
GA Lect 510
GA Lect 604
GA Lect 2210
CSNTM at the New York Public Library
17 December 2012
By: Daniel B Wallace
This summer CSNTM sent a team to the East Coast to digitally preserve Greek New Testament manuscripts at four different sites. This was our first trip to the East Coast to photograph manuscripts. Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, boasts of six such manuscripts; Trinity College, Connecticut, has two; the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City has one. And the New York Public Library, perhaps the greatest city library on earth, has three. I’d like to tell you a bit about this last site.
It is a rare thing for city libraries to have Greek New Testament manuscripts. Rare, that is, in America. The Auckland City Library in New Zealand has two, which CSNTM digitized in 2009. And there are several in towns and cities in Greece—even a high school has a couple of them! But in America, I am unaware of any city libraries, except one, that have any. The New York Public Library has over 50 million items in its collection, second only to the Library of Congress for an American public library. And three of these just happen to be Greek New Testament manuscripts.
Under the supervision of curator, Thomas Lannon, we visited the library on Thursday, August 2, to prepare the three manuscripts for photography. This task involves counting leaves, lines, and columns; determining contents; documenting material (papyrus, parchment, or paper), measuring dimensions, and many other minutiae. It usually takes 2–3 hours to prepare one manuscript this way.
On Saturday, we returned to digitize all three documents. We knew it would be difficult to shoot all the manuscripts in one day, so Mr. Lannon graciously opened up the library to us long before the public was allowed in. And he stayed after hours as we completed the work. We had some glitches with our equipment early on, but we worked through them. Altogether, we photographed 600 pages of text. The manuscripts are codex 2421 (NYPL Ms. 125), a thirteenth century minuscule (two leaves) containing portions of John 17 and 18; lectionary 175 (NYPL Ms. 103), a fifteenth century manuscript of select readings from the New Testament used in the Orthodox liturgy; and lectionary 956 (NYPL Ms. 102), another fifteenth century manuscript of New Testament selections. We brought with us two Graz Travellers Conservation Copy Stands (CSNTM may be the only institute in the world with two of these; they are designed in Austria specifically to photograph ancient, rare, and fragile manuscripts), two Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III 21 megapixel cameras, several computers, light panels, hard drives, wedges to hold the manuscripts in place, and all sorts of paraphernalia needed to do the job right.
What a magnificent time we had! And what an incredible environment in which to do our work! We didn’t have to worry about air conditioning going out, electricity failing us, or any number of hindrances we typically face when we shoot old documents. Thomas Lannon was extremely helpful to us and was encouraged by our efforts and care of these ancient codices. Heartfelt gratitude is extended to Mr. Lannon and the NYPL for permitting us to digitally preserve these precious documents for generations to come. We hope, too, that our efforts will give these manuscripts wider exposure to scholars interested in researching the text of the New Testament.
On October 1, 2011 Dr. Bart D. Ehrman and CSNTM's Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, debated the reliability of the text of the New Testament at Southern Methodist University. This was the largest debate over the text of the New Testament in history. A professional film crew recorded the debate, which is now available to you. In this exciting dialogue you have the opportunity to listen to two leading scholars talk about this issue from opposing viewpoints. Can we trust the text of the New Testament? You decide.
The DVD is priced at only $15.50 plus shipping and handling. It is available in both U.S. (NTSC) and international (PAL) versions.
The DVD is copyrighted by CSNTM; please do not replicate or distribute it.
The Demise of Codex 1799
Daniel B. Wallace
18 August 2012
A graduate of Princeton University in the early nineteenth century, Robert Garrett, acquired a medieval copy of Paul’s letters, Hebrews, Acts, and the Catholic letters from Mt. Athos in 1830. His estate later donated this manuscript to Princeton University. The manuscript was produced in the twelfth or thirteenth century on parchment. It was meant as something of a pocket Bible, measuring only 13.9 x 10.3 centimeters. The leaves are very fine vellum, extraordinarily thin. Housed in the Special Collections room of the Princeton University’s Firestone Library with the shelf number Garrett 8, it had only briefly been mentioned in works dealing with New Testament manuscripts.
According to J. K. Elliott’s Bibliography of New Testament Manuscripts, 2nd edition (Cambridge, 2005), the latest published discussions of this manuscript was in Kenneth W. Clark’s Eight American Praxapostoloi in 1941.
Kurt Aland’s Kurzgefasste Liste des griechischen Handschriften der Neuen Testaments, 2nd edition (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1994), the standard tool that indicates the location, contents, date, and other pertinent information of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts, put the location in parentheses and said that the manuscript was “verbrannt” or burnt. The Internet update to the Kurzgefasste Liste claims that the manuscript is now “zerstört”—destroyed. But just as when Mark Twain presumably proclaimed, after reading his obituary in a newspaper, “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated,” so too the demise of codex 1799 is exaggerated. (Twain actually wrote, “This report of my death was an exaggeration.”)
I examined the manuscript on Thursday, 16 August 2012 for about an hour. It is true that the manuscript has been burned. It is also true that many of the leaves stick together, most likely from the heat melting the ink. But it is still completely intact. It needs to be restored, but it is not gone forever—not by a long shot. In fact, it is mentioned in some detail in Greek Manuscripts at Princeton: Sixth to Nineteenth Century, by Sofia Kotzabassi and Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, with the collaboration of Don Skemer (Princeton University Press, 2010). Mr. Skemer in fact wrote to me and said he had no idea why anyone would ever think the manuscript had been destroyed.
I am grateful to Mr. Skemer, the Curator of Manuscripts at the Firestone Library, and his assistant, Charles Greene, for granting us access to this and other manuscripts in the Special Collection. And I am thrilled that a presumably dead manuscript has come back to life!
Your Amazon purchases can help CSNTM
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Please click above to be taken to Amazon's website. A portion of every purchase you make will automatically be given to CSNTM. There are no higher fees, used and third party items count, and you may still utilize your prime account! This is an effortless way to support CSNTM's mission. Just remember to click on the above picture every time you make a purchase.
Also, remember anything and everything that can be purchased on Amazon will still qualify for this promotion including groceries, automobile products, DVDs, clothing and books!
Since the start of partnering with Amazon, CSNTM has received over $745.00! At $4 to digitize 1 page of a manuscript, your support has digitized over 185 pages to date!