Latest News

Logos 2021 in Washington, DC

1/20/2021

The Logos 2021 Workshop will be held this year, May 31–June 11, at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.

Logos is a workshop dedicated to equipping graduate students with the tools and knowledge needed to further Biblical studies, ancient texts and manuscripts research, museum studies, education programmes and other similar disciplines. The 2021 workshop is hosted by Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) and will be held at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, from 31st May to 11th June. For more information, please visit the SCIO website at https://www.scio-uk.org/research/logos/.

The application deadline is February 14th.

October 2020 Digital Library Additions

10/27/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since September, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

GA 1689—Digital images of the minuscule from the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague.

GA Lect 2434—Digital images of the lectionary leaf from the Ohio University Library, Athens, Ohio. Digital images of the lectionary leaf from The Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas. Digital images of the 16 lectionary leaves from Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge.

Additionally, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, Italy has digitized much of their collection since 2011 and are in the progress of making their images available to us via IIIF. In the meantime, we have included links to these images on BML’s digital repository. These manusctipts are: GA 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 363, 364, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459, 832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1976, 1977, 1978, 2007, 2035, 2052, Lect 113, Lect 114, Lect 115, and Lect 116.

September 2020 Digital Library Additions

9/30/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since August, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

GA 2374—Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA Lect 2139—Digital images of the lectionary from Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Museum Repository (Wahshington, D.C.).

GA Lect 2434—Digital images of the lectionary from the Rare & Special Books Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo.

CSNTM Welcomes Another Scholar in Training

9/11/2020

On August 24th, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts welcomed Johnathan Watkins to our team as an intern for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Johnathan hails from Tyler, TX and currently studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, on track to finish his ThM in May 2021. He aspires to pursue a PhD, studying the theology of Karl Barth. 

Johnathan says he looks forward to “seeing the research methods of the genuinely world-class scholars at the CSNTM. Dr. Wallace and his team model the careful and nuanced type of scholarship that I hope becomes a trademark of my own work.” 

Interns play a valuable role in the mission of CSNTM to preserve, share, and study the Greek New Testament. Johnathan will, as the many interns before him, participate in the unique opportunity to work with our collection of digital images and gain valuable insight into the study of New Testament manuscripts. 

Welcome to the team, Johnathan!

August 2020 Digital Library Additions

8/19/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since July, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

P23—Digital images of the papyrus from the Suprlock Museum of World Cultures, University of Illinois.

GA 022—Digital images of the majuscule from The Morgan Library & Museum (New York).

GA 076—Digital images of the majuscule from The Morgan Library & Museum (New York).

GA 678—Digital images of the minuscule from Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Museum Repository (Wahshington, D.C.).

GA 705—Digital images of the minuscule from Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Museum Repository (Wahshington, D.C.).

GA Lect 1788—Digital images of the minuscule from The Cleveland Museum of Art.

GA Lect 1962—Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

Welcome, Mark Gaither

7/27/2020

By: Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director

We’re excited to announce that Mark Gaither has joined the CSNTM team! Mark’s blend of academic training (as both an engineer and an exegete) and creative writing skill (as an accomplished author)—combined with his experience in marketing, communications, and fundraising—uniquely equips him to serve as our new Development Manager. We’re eager to see the ways that Mark’s nearly two decades of leadership in nonprofit organizations will expand our vision and energize our mission!

Here’s more from Mark himself:


After a 15-year career as a mechanical engineer and project manager, I attended Dallas Theological Seminary, where I earned a Th.M. degree in Academic Ministries with a concentration in systematic theology. In 2001, during one of my first courses in New Testament Greek, Dr. Wallace described several issues that hamper the important work of textual criticism. He also shared an obvious solution: digital preservation.

 

I am thrilled to join the CSNTM team and do my part to preserve these ancient treasures for future generations.

When I’m not working, I enjoy reading books, watching movies (especially on the big screen), dining with friends, and tracing my family roots.

July 2020 Digital Library Additions

7/24/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since June, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

P1—Digital images of the papyrus from the Penn Museum, the University of Pennsylvania

P136—Digital images of the papyrus from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 1521, Digital images of the minuscule from Harvard University's Dumbarton Oaks Museum Repository (Wahshington, D.C.) and The Cleveland Museum of Art

GA 2322, Digital images of the minuscule from the Harry Ransom Humanities Center, The University of Texas at Austin

GA Lect 302—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 345—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 451—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2434—Digital images of the portion of the lectionary housed at the Brooklyn Musuem Libraries’ Special Collections

CSNTM and Hendrickson Publishers to Publish Third-Century New Testament Papyri Facsimiles

7/22/2020

In a historic collaboration, Hendrickson Publishers—in partnership with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscriptswill publish a deluxe facsimile edition of New Testament papyrus codices written in the third century. The facsimiles and a separate transcription volume are scheduled to be released to the public in November 2020.

This collection—created by the groundbreaking digitization work of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, under the direction of Dr. Daniel B. Wallace—updates the previously published edition, which was produced from 1933 to 1937.

This New Testament Papyri facsimile collection brings three of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible to a modern audience. The partially preserved papyrus codices P45, P46, and P47 are dated from the third century and contain passages from all four Gospels, the book of Acts, the Pauline Epistles, the book of Hebrews, and the book of Revelation, making them some of the most significant witnesses to early Christian Scripture that exist today. This collection bears heavily on our current understanding of the origins of the biblical text. 

The culmination of the project is the production of a museum-quality print facsimile that allows the Scriptures to come alive like never before. It captures the ancient beauty of the text: its scars and handwritten scripts; its age and timeless significance. 

Printed in duplicate against white and black backgrounds, the high-resolution images in this facsimile edition reproduce the fragmented papyri in stunning clarity at their actual size, offering scholars and students of New Testament manuscripts an unparalleled encounter with these crucial witnesses to the Bible’s textual history.

Coming November 2020 / 9 x 12 inches / ISBN 978-1-61970-844-0 / Retail $399.00.

June 2020 Digital Library Additions

6/29/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since May, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

GA 0162—Digital images of the majuscule from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

GA 0169—Digital images of the majuscule from Princeton Theological Seminary

GA 0170—Digital images of the majuscule from Princeton Theological Seminary

GA 1423—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 1780—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 1813—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 1885—Digital images of the minuscule from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

GA 2268—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2386—Digital images of the minuscule from The Princeton University Art Museum

GA 2491—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2613—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2614—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2615—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2616—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2757—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2766—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2794—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA 2861—Digital images of the minuscule from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1029—Digital images of the lectionary from The Walters Art Museum

GA Lect 1222—Digital images of the lectionary from The Walters Art Museum

GA Lect 1563—Digital images of the lectionary from Amherst College

GA Lect 1581—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1619—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1623—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1629—Digital images of the lectionary from The Walters Art Museum

GA Lect 1965—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1966—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 1967—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2138—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2144—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2145—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2411—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

GA Lect 2412—Digital images of the lectionary from David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscripts Library, Duke University

Images Added to the CSNTM Digital Library

5/27/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. Since April, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

GA 0206 –Digital images of the majuscule from Museum of the Bible.

GA 677 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 1022 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 1356 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 1474 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 1498 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 1531 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2191 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2368 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2369 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2370 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2372 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2373 – Digital images of the minuscule from The Walters Art Museum.

GA 2412 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2474 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2608 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2610 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2751 – Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1555 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1584 – Digital images of the lecitonary—located at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas—made available by Digital Scriptorium at the University of California, Berkeley.

GA Lect 1598 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1599 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1600 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1642 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1663 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1959 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1960 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1961 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1963 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA Lect 1964 – Digital images of the lectionary from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

New Images in the CSNTM Digital Library

4/20/2020

The CSNTM Library grows each month as new digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts housed in institutions all over the world are added to our website.  As we attempt to make our manuscript library more convenient, comprehensive, and accessible, we provide access to manuscripts digitized by others who permit access to their images in CSNTM’s library or by providing links to the holding institution’s digital images if we cannot post them ourselves. So far in 2020, we have added the following manuscripts to our digital library:

 

GA 035 -Digital images of the majuscule from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. 

GA 069 - Digital images of the majuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 0163 - Digital images of the majuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 1152 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 1290 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2222 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2266 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2406 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2407 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2409 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2411 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2425 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2396 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2397 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2398 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2399 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2400 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2401 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2402 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2404 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2405 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, University of Chicago Library.

GA 2622 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Austrian National Library.

GA 2752 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Gordon College Library in Wenham, MA.

GA 2753 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Gordon College Library in Wenham, MA.

GA 2821 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Cambridge University Library.

GA 2838 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Austrian National Library.

GA 2847 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

GA 2861 - Microfilm images of the minuscule from the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

GA 2898 - Microfilm images of the minuscule form the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

GA 2931 - Digital images of the minuscule from the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Announcing CSNTM’s Virtual Banquet

3/27/2020

We can’t begin to comprehend the extent of the impact the COVID-19 epidemic has had on each of your lives collectively. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as many of you navigate especially difficult times. As an organization, we too are feeling our own effects from this crisis. Currently, our staff is working remotely as local restrictions are in place, and travel restrictions and wise precautions have put all digitization projects on an indefinite hold.

One particularly difficult consequence is that we canceled our annual Dallas banquet. The evening is our largest event of the year, and the gifts received from this banquet each year are crucial for our summer expeditions, regular operations, and future plans.

In light of this, CSNTM is holding our first ever virtual banquet next week. This week-long online event will be an exciting time to spread awareness about our important work and give people an opportunity to partner with us financially. We’ll begin Monday, March 30 and conclude the day of the original banquet, Saturday, April 4.

Understanding that the recent events may have made it simply impossible for you to partner with us right now, I want to humbly invite you to participate. Below are some ways you can get involved.

1) Stay in the loop
Each day we will share short videos and other content related to aspects of CSNTM’s mission. You’ll hear from Dan Wallace, as well as many others connected to the Center. Even if you are unable to contribute financially, this will be a fun way to learn more about our organization and the impact we’re having in the world.

2) Make a donation
Every dollar counts. The funds CSNTM receives from our banquet each year are critical for sustaining our work. Will you help us reach our goal of $80,000 and see our work move onward? Give online at csntmbanquet.org any time through April 4th.

3) Spread the word
Share with your friends and loved ones about the Center and our online campaign. We will have plenty of email and social content for you to pass along to others. You can even forward this very email! If you’re posting on social media, don’t forget to tag @csntm. A simple share or post encouraging friends and family to give can make a huge difference.

Thank you for your support of CSNTM. It truly means the world to us! We hope you’ll join us for our first ever virtual banquet.


Thank you,


Andy Patton
Development Manager

CSNTM’s 2020 Banquet Has Been Canceled

3/17/2020

By: Daniel B. Wallace

In the interest of maintaining public health, we have decided to cancel CSNTM’s Dallas banquet scheduled for April 4.

While we made a decision without reservation, it was a difficult one to make. We were very excited about this Dallas banquet. The evening is our largest event of the year and plays a pivotal role in our spring fundraising. Last year, we received just over $80,000 from the banquet and were planning for a similar result this year. The funds CSNTM receives are crucial for our summer expeditions, regular operations, and future plans.

Now, I would like to invite you to CSNTM’s first ever virtual banquet. Starting on Monday, March 30 and concluding the day of the original banquet, Saturday, April 4, we will post short videos and provide access to additional information related to various parts of CSNTM’s mission. You’ll hear from Dan Wallace and many others connected to CSNTM. We hope this will be a fun way to share about our mission and upcoming work, keep everyone engaged, and give you the opportunity to partner with CSNTM.

We will share additional details later this week.

May you and your family remain healthy and at peace in these uncertain times.

CSNTM's Houston Banquet 2019

9/30/2019

On September 21, CSNTM hosted its annual Houston banquet at the Houston Racquet Club. This banquet is our biggest fundraiser of the year in Houston and an incredible opportunity to reconnect with our friends and supporters while also meeting new people who share our passion for New Testament manuscripts.

These are always special evenings, and this year was no exception. During the reception our guests viewed facsimiles of New Testament manuscripts, an incunabula leaf of Romans from 1492, and a copy of John Mill’s 1707 edition of the Greek New Testament; we also had a display featuring CSNTM’s digitization equipment to demonstrate how our teams capture the images on our website.

A highlight of the evening was a personal reflection from Tori Andrew. Tori is a master’s student studying New Testament textual criticism and a volunteer with CSNTM. In her spare time, if you can imagine a grad student with free time, she tags manuscripts in our digital library so that they are searchable for all of our users. Her reflection artfully connected her interest in textual criticism with the history of Christianity and the transmission of the text: “Being able to study the manuscript connects me to the history of our church, to the people who came before us and on whose shoulders we now stand.” One of our favorite lines in her speech was, “The manuscripts stretch us and connect us, like thread binding parchment, all the way back to the original authors.”

Later in the evening, our Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, gave his keynote remarks on the topic, “A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery.” In his presentation, Dr. Wallace recounted how the Renaissance was given a boost by the influx of Greek manuscripts into Western Europe after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Along with the invention of the printing press and a few other watershed events, the recovery of these ancient documents had a transformative impact on Europe and the world. He went on to explain that multispectral imaging is introducing the possibility of seeing invisible material in old manuscripts in order to fully study the biblical text they contain. With this technology and a team dedicated to studying the New Testament text, CSNTM is making a valuable contribution to both the academy and the world.

The evening concluded with an invitation to support CSNTM’s work by Barney Giesen, a longtime friend of CSNTM in Houston. This year’s event raised over $16,000. What is especially remarkable is that nearly every person who attended made a commitment to support CSNTM’s work to preserve Greek New Testament manuscripts! Our mission simply could not carry on without the generosity of many people, so we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from our friends in Houston. It is our hope that your joy was increased as you gave!

Special events like this are only possible with the support of numerous people. We’d like to thank our steadfast members of the Houston Advisory Board. You played such a valuable role in making the evening a success, in addition to your generous service throughout the year. Tori Andrew also deserves special recognition for giving a passionate and personal reflection. You conveyed your experience, our mission, and why it all matters with unique clarity. Finally, we want to specially thank everyone who attended the event. It was wonderful to meet new friends and see many familiar faces again.

Happy Birthday, CSNTM

9/13/2019

Happy Birthday! Χρονια Πολλα! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! 

September 13, 2002. It seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? CSNTM’s birthday leads me to reflect on what we set out to do 17 years ago. I founded the Center with a few goals in mind:

  • Capturing high-resolution, color images of every Greek New Testament manuscript in the world;
  • Making sure that these manuscripts could be studied online;
  • Developing computer-based tools to increase the efficiency and accuracy of studies on the text of the New Testament.

After personally visiting Greece more than 30 times—I stopped counting after 30—and scores of trips to other countries around the world, we’ve come a long way.

  • CSNTM has digitized more Greek New Testament manuscripts than any other institute in the world. Our digitizers have preserved nearly 700 manuscripts and captured over 300,000 pictures—one page at a time.
  • Among that number are 75 discoveries previously unknown to scholars, adding to the “embarrassment of riches” that is the plethora of New Testament manuscripts around the world.
  • Our website hosts all the manuscript images we’ve captured and hundreds more that were digitized or microfilmed by others. Right now, there are 1,766 manuscript entries at csntm.org!
  • The robust search features on our website make research easier than at any time before. And we are working behind the scenes to develop the advanced tools of tomorrow.

The last 17 years have seen tremendous changes in the way we interact with and examine the ancient copies of the Bible. They are digital. They are accessible. And they are being studied anew.

We can’t predict exactly what remarkable things will take place in the next 17 years. But I can tell you that CSNTM will be a part of it and that the images we have already captured will continue to bear fruit.

Will you make a gift today to help us continue our work this year? Right now all gifts count toward our $100,000 giving challenge. So far, you’ve given more than $68,000! That’s much more than half of the goal in 43 days! We can finish this challenge in the next few weeks with your help!

Give on CSNTM's Birthday 

Another way you can help us with this challenge and ensure that our 18th year starts off strong is by initiating a monthly donation. Our monthly donors—the Circle of Friends—are the faithful people who sustain the Center and support everything we do. Scheduled monthly contributions helps you budget your giving, and they help us budget our projects throughout the year.

Join the Circle of Friends

Thanks for partnering with CSNTM to preserve ancient New Testament manuscripts for the modern world.

CSNTM’s staff: Kelsey Hart, Leigh Ann Thompson, Andrew Patton, Robert Marcello, 

Jacob Peterson, Stephen Clardy, Daniel B. Wallace, Stratton Ladewig

 

Three cheers to another year!

Image

Dan Wallace
Executive Director
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts 

CSNTM's Houston Banquet: September 21

8/14/2019

Join Executive Director Dan Wallace and many others committed to preserving and studying the ancient Scriptures for CSNTM's annual Houston banquet. This year’s banquet will be held at the Houston Racquet Club on Saturday, September 21st from 6:30–9:00 p.m. A reception will begin at 6:30, and dinner will be served at 7:00.

The theme of this year’s banquet is "A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery." Dr. Wallace will deliver a lively presentation about how our recently acquired digitization technology—multispectral imaging—is helping the Center rediscover words that were lost long ago in New Testament manuscripts. You won't want to miss this insider's look at the future of the digitization and study of New Testament manuscripts. The evening will conclude with the special opportunity to partner with the Center to preserve and rediscover ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts for the modern world.

Details

Where: Houston Racquet Club

10709 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77024

When: Saturday, September 21, 2019 | 6:30pm–9:00pm

Reception at 6:30pm

Dinner at 7:00pm

RSVP: September 9, 2019

 

Tickets and Information

Welcome, Leigh Ann

6/10/2019

In May, Leigh Ann Thompson joined the staff at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. The exceptional quality of her work, her industrious work ethic, and her team-oriented outlook as a Research Assistant in our internship program last year demonstrated the value she would bring to the team. We’re thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to the contribution she will make toward our mission.

We’d like to give you the opportunity to meet Leigh Ann.


After spending a year as an intern at CSNTM, I will be joining the staff as Research Coordinator. Along with overseeing the internship program and the interns' work, I also will cultivate CSNTM’s digital collection and connect people—scholars and students utilizing our digital library, institutes and interested non-specialists—to CSNTM’s work.

 

Before coming to CSNTM, I worked in non-profit ministries that served young adults and families. I’m in my third year of the Masters of Theology program at Dallas Theological Seminary, pursuing an emphasis in New Testament Studies. When I am not at the Center or studying, I enjoy spending time outdoors, playing just about any game, going on a trail run, sipping a good cup of coffee, listening to live music, and playing competitive board games with friends. This opportunity to join the team at CSNTM brings together my experience and love of investing in people with my passion for the Scriptures and their digital preservation. I look forward to equipping others through cultivating our collection of manuscripts and connecting them with our research projects.

On the Bookshelf: An Introduction to the Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge

6/7/2019

By: Andrew J. Patton

2017 marked an important year for New Testament scholars with the publication of The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (THGNT). Now, Dirk Jongkind, one of the editors of the THGNT and Senior Research Fellow in New Testament Text and Language, Tyndale House has produced a new volume: An Introduction to the Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge. This brief book offers a primer on the distinctive features of the Tyndale House Edition and the method the editors used for making textual decisions.

One of the best things about Jongkind’s new book is that while the focus is centered on the production of the THGNT, it functions as a concise introduction to the field of New Testament textual criticism. He provides background on the making of the New Testament—answering the question of the relationship between New Testament manuscripts, scholarly editions, and then modern translations (chapter 1). Only then does he proceed to describe the manuscript witnesses to the Greek New Testament with brief introductions to some of the most significant manuscripts (chapter 3).

Of special interest to text critics is the chapter “How Decisions are Made” (chapter 4). Here, Jongkind describes the method used to create the THGNT. For a beginner student, the chapter is a useful summary of the various aspects of textual criticism. For the experienced text critic, he offers greater insight into how he and the editors of the Tyndale House Edition made textual decisions. Overall, this provides more detail into their thinking than is conveyed in the THGNT (pp. 505–523). The starting point for considering a variant reading is, “How is the evidence distributed over the various alternative readings?” (p. 68). They favor readings found throughout the earliest manuscripts and argue that those places where later manuscripts preserve the original reading against the early ones are, in fact, exceptions. The editors considered a variety of factors in both external and internal evidence, placing them solidly in the camp of reasoned eclecticism with a priority toward (early) external evidence. Jongkind also addresses their rationale for not following the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text (chapters 5 and 6). 

The final chapter offers a biblical theology on variation and the transmission of the text. Jongkind argues that the starting point for this discussion begins not with the abstract reflection on what Christians believe God should have done but acknowledging the reality of what God has done. Then he examines biblical passages related to the transmission of the Scriptures. Ultimately, he maintains that the reality of textual variation in the copies of the Scriptures reflects the incomplete knowledge God has given to finite people and the wide geographic spread of early Christianity. 

Aside from the theory and methodology presented above, the book also includes information specific to the Tyndale House Edition, including a chapter that describes its unusual features and a guide to using its apparatus (chapter 2). The so-called unusual features are especially related to the editorial decision to follow the early manuscript tradition by placing the Catholic Epistles before Paul and in display features like ekthesis (dividing paragraphs by placing the first letter in the inside margin) and following archaic spelling.

Jongkind’s work is a helpful introduction to the Tyndale House Edition and to New Testament textual criticism in general. It will be especially valuable for beginning seminary students and anyone looking to better understand the Greek texts standing behind the translations they read everyday. For the expert in textual criticism, the volume offers additional insight into the method and perspectives undergirding the Tyndale House Edition. Their focus on early external evidence in particular should inspire further conversation about how we make decisions about variant units. At less than 100 pages of text and $12 on Amazon, this is a great value addition to your library. 

N.B.: Our Executive Director, Dan Wallace, wrote one of the cover endorsements for this book. He concludes: “Jongkind introduces the reader to manuscripts, textual theory, praxis, major textual problems, and even brief theological reflections on the reality of textual variants. It is no easy task to render this field of study within the grasp of any interested reader, and Jongkind has done so in a remarkably disarming manner.” 

You can purchase An Introduction to the Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge on Amazon.

Digitization of 0197

6/5/2019

By: Stratton L. Ladewig, PhD

Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Germany is the Erzabtei St. Martin zu Beuron, where a wonderful ninth-century palimpsest manuscript is housed. A palimpsest manuscript is one that has been erased and reused to record another text. The undertext—the text that was erased—in the manuscript is essentially unreadable to the naked eye. However, the archabbey was gracious to permit digitization of the manuscript with multispectral imaging (MSI) equipment, which has the potential to reveal the undertext of portions of the Gospel of Matthew hidden under the text of a Typikon.

The timing of this expedition to Beuron could not have been more opportune. The week prior, several of the Center’s staff attended an archiving conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The conference was rich with information on things like digital imaging standards, technicalities of color, usage of metadata, and management of digital imaging workflows. Alongside those topics, we participated in workshops on post-processing of MSI data.

At 3:00 a.m. the Sunday after the conference, Jacob Peterson and I arrived at the airport to make the short trip from Lisbon to Frankfurt. Once there, we grabbed our rental car and drove the few hours south to Beuron. The trip was short–only one day of digitization–but very enjoyable. Jacob Peterson was a tremendous asset because all conversation with the monk had to take place in German. We extend a special sense of gratitude to Br. Petrus Dischler, the librarian at the archabbey, for his warm hospitality and collaboration. We invite you to visit CSNTM’s Manuscripts Library to view the images when they become available.

Digitization of Codex Robertsonianus

5/6/2019

By: Stratton L. Ladewig

Codex Robertsonianus standing on CSNTM's digitization copy stand

CSNTM digitized another manuscript in March 2019: the renowned Codex Robertsonianus. Catalogued by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research as 2358, it is located in the James P. Boyce Centennial Library on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). This Gospels manuscript, which contains portions of each Gospel (see below), is dated by the seminary to the eleventh century.

This manuscript has an interesting story. It was named after the New Testament Greek grammarian, A. T. Robertson, by his student John W. Bowman. Robertson had acquired 2358 in 1927 on behalf of SBTS from Adolf Deissmann. It was claimed to be “the second-most important Greek New Testament manuscript” in the United States of America. Upon receipt of the manuscript after its purchase, Robertson tasked Bowman to photograph it. Preservation via photography was a cutting-edge technique at the time. This was to be the sixth complete Greek manuscript ever photographed! The process took an incredible three months to complete.

Interestingly, the result of Bowman’s efforts produced a product that improved the readability of 2358. He claimed that the images “proved to be more legible than the original itself!” By contrast, CSNTM's digitization of the same manuscript took just ¾ of one day, and the 50-megapixel digital images permit the examination of the manuscript in great detail by anyone who might be anywhere in the world.

Left: Bowman’s image, 1927 / Right: CSNTM's image, 2019

We want to express our gratitude to the Centennial Library’s staff. We would like to especially thank Dr. Daniel M. Gurtner for proposing the collaboration and Dr. Adam Winters, Charles Loder, and Dr. C. Berry Driver, Jr. for hosting us and arranging for our work. They were a joy to work with. We are appreciative that they rightly value this New Testament treasure.

Contents:    Matthew 9.33b–11.14a; 15.8–26.71; 27.32–28.20; Mark 1.34–4.3; 4.37–5.12; 5.30–6.16a; 6.30–16.20; Luke 1.1–3.8; 3.25–24.53; and John 1.1–7.23; 7.41–12.30

Reference: The Robertson Gospel Codex

Farewell, Andrew Bobo

5/3/2019

By Daniel B. Wallace 

One of the best things about working with a highly motivated and talented staff is that they also have ambitious plans and tremendous opportunities for the future. And so it is for Andrew Bobo, who is leaving the Center to pursue a PhD in Politics at the University of Dallas.

Andrew Bobo (left) at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament

Andrew has played an integral role at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts for the past 5 years, primarily in the role of Research Coordinator. His work touched many areas of the organization.

Andrew managed the internship program, overseeing the work flows for each graduate student and mentoring them individually. He also worked tirelessly to improve the internship experience. Among his creative and insightful suggestions were his proposal and implementation of a revision and refocusing of the program to better prepare students for future doctoral studies and careers in the academy.

Andrew also took primary responsibility for managing our growing archive of manuscript images and also coordinating with the scholars and publishers who needed assistance using the collection. As our collection expanded under his watch, our archiving system needed to be revamped. Andrew explored options for CSNTM, and then overhauled the entire system which created greater security for the data and made backup more efficient for the whole team.

Andrew Bobo (second from left) with the 2018–2019 interns and Andrew Patton

Andrew also played a part in multiple digitization expeditions. He was a part of the team that digitized at the National Library of Greece (2015–2016) and then at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament (2018). He developed a skill for capturing images quickly and accurately, which contributed to the success of both expeditions.

Finally, where you might know Andrew is as an author of the “From the Library” posts on our blog. Andrew helped create, with Andy Patton, this series of blog posts that describes interesting and unique features in Greek New Testament manuscripts digitized by CSNTM. These short articles bring manuscripts to life with interesting information for everyday readers and also for experts in New Testament textual criticism. Since the series started in 2016, I have been delighted to read these posts and learn from Andrew.

Suffice it to say, Andrew has had an industrious and impactful five years at the Center. But what we will miss most is the depth of kindness, thinking, and patience that he brought to the team. We wish him all the best in his doctoral program and look forward to the impact he will have as a researcher and teacher.

A Memorable Evening at A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery

5/1/2019

Last month, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts hosted its annual Dallas banquet. This year’s theme was A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery.

Dr. Wallace recounted how the Renaissance was given a boost by the influx of Greek manuscripts into Western Europe after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Along with the invention of the printing press and a few other watershed events, the recovery of these ancient documents had a transformative impact on Europe and the world. Dan went on to explain that multispectral imaging is introducing the possibility of seeing invisible material in old manuscripts in order to fully study the biblical text they contain. With this technology and a team dedicated to studying the New Testament text, CSNTM is making a valuable contribution to both the academy and the world. We are truly entering a new Renaissance.

The Center’s banquet is not only a moment to showcase the work of CSNTM, but also our largest fundraising event of the year. This year’s event raised more than $75,000! These donations will equip our team to complete the post-production of multispectral images, ensure that Greek New Testament manuscripts are preserved for future generations, and encourage a new cohort of interns to become excellent scholars and leaders. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the more than 50 individuals and families who chose to partner with the Center.

Such a memorable evening could not be possible without the support of many people. We’d like to thank the steadfast members of CSNTM’s Dallas Advisory Board for their involvement in both planning the event and inviting their friends, colleagues, and family. We’d also like to recognize the event’s sponsors whose tremendous support made the dinner possible. Finally, we would like to thank everyone who attended the event.

Every Greek New Testament Manuscript in Texas Digitized: Houston Baptist University Digitization

4/10/2019

By: Stratton L. Ladewig 

In February, CSNTM traveled south 250 miles to Houston Baptist University’s Dunham Bible Museum (Houston, TX) in order to digitally preserve their three Greek New Testament manuscripts.

Gregory Aland (GA) 2878 is a one-leaf twelfth century minuscule manuscript written on parchment and contains Luke 23:7–25. GA Lectionary 2434 (14th–15th century) contains portions of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John within its four leaves. It, like GA 2878, was written on parchment.

The newest treasure of Dunham Bible Museum’s collection is an uncatalogued Greek New Testament manuscript—currently under official review by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster. Preliminarily dated by CSNTM’s Jacob W. Peterson to be from approximately the twelfth century, its seven leaves contain portions of the Gospel of John. A portion of the pages look to have possibly suffered from a little water damage at some point in the manuscript’s history. Thus, we also photographed this manuscript under ultraviolet light to bring out some of the more difficult-to-read text. Might this be a manuscript that could benefit from the Center’s recently acquired MSI equipment? Further research will provide insight into that question. Nonetheless, it was a great privilege to be able to preserve this manuscript with high resolution digital images. The Center's images from this expedition will be available online soon in the manuscripts library.

CSNTM would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Dunham Bible Museum and Houston Baptist University. Their staff was professional and accommodating, making our task effortless. We especially want to thank Dr. Diana Severance for her availability during the project. And thanks to Dr. Phillip Marshal, Assistant Professor of Theology, School of Christian Thought, Department of Classics and Biblical Languages, for stopping in to extend a welcome.

It is with great pride that CSNTM has preserved this fine collection. Now, every Greek New Testament Manuscript in Texas has been digitized.

From the Library: Lectionary 1807

3/4/2019

By Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton

Every year, thousands of tourists travel across the globe to view great works of art and architecture from history. Though they may not, at first glance, be as grand as towering buildings or impressive sculptures, manuscripts have also become must-see attractions. Travelers to Dublin stop to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College Library, tourists to London visit the British Library to see Codex Sinaiticus, and sightseers to Jerusalem make their way to the Israel Museum in order to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Although these high profile manuscripts enjoy most of the attention, one of the joys of digitizing manuscripts is that we often come across exquisite items that are hardly known to the world. One of these treasures is a 15th century manuscript known to scholars as Gregory-Aland Lectionary 1807 (GA Lect 1807). This manuscript resides at the National Library of Greece in Athens, where the Center digitized in 2015 and 2016. The manuscript is particularly noteworthy as an artifact because of its ornate silver covers, carefully crafted in the high middle ages. As we approach the seasons of Lent and Easter, we thought it would be worth examining the scenes on the covers, since they depict the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Front Cover

The front cover shows the crucifixion of Jesus surrounded by panes of angels and symbols of the four evangelists. Church tradition developed a specific symbol for each of the four Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—who are known as the Evangelists. Most commonly, Matthew is associated with a man, Mark with a lion, Luke an ox, and John with an eagle. These four creatures derive from the four creatures in Ezekiel’s vision recorded in chapter 1 of his book. In the corners of our manuscript, you find each of these creatures holding a book, indicating that they represent the Evangelists.

Between the four corners are angels. When you look closely, you will observe that each of the angels is in a different posture and facial expression. Some appear to be in a reverential position and others appear to be downcast or even weeping. Their expressions reflect the horror and divine glory at the crucifixion of the Son of God.

 

The center panel portrays a scene of the crucifixion. Christ on the cross is the focus of the scene. The cross itself is planted into a small hill of Golgotha. Jesus is surrounded by many grieving people, including John the Apostle who is indicated by the nomina sacra ιω to the left of his head. Angels flank Christ. The two on the left are holding up a bowl, and the two on the right are shown with a scroll. Below the cross, a skull represents death. And above him are the nomina sacra ιϲ and χϲ meaning Ἰησούς (Jesus) and Χριστός (Christ).

Back Cover

The back cover features the triumphant resurrection of Christ. The dynamic scene that unfolds shows Jesus in the middle of his resurrection work. Now that he has himself been resurrected, he is resurrecting those who had previously died. So on the left side there is a group of people wearing crowns to show their victory over death and their reign with Christ. John the Baptist appears most prominently in the foreground: his feet planted in a grave, still wearing his camel hair clothes and leather belt but now with a halo showing his sainthood. On the right side, Jesus is pulling saints with sullen faces out of the grave. These saints are Adam and Eve—a demonstration of the resurrection reversing the curse of death. Below Christ’s feet are a cross and two figures who appear to be in the midst of judgment. Above his head are two angels. The entire event is shown in such a way that not only the reality of the resurrection is displayed, but its implications and meaning as a theological event are communicated visually.

Surrounding the whole scene are those whose task it was to be the witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. At the very top of the frame are Peter (left) and Paul (right). They are flanked on either side by the four Evangelists. To Peter’s left are John and then Luke, whereas to Paul’s right are Mark and Matthew. All six figures are holding codices, probably the bound corpus of their own writings, which testify to the death and resurrection. Another six figures—Simon, Bartholomew, and Phillip on the left; Matthias, James, and Thomas on the right—are holding scrolls and some seem to be speaking or ready to begin speaking. The two figures at the bottom are two Christian martyrs from the first decade of the fourth century, Saint George and Saint Demetrios. The entire cover works together to show the historical reality of Christ’s work, the richness of its meaning, and those who were affected by it. The edges of both sides show the individuals tasked with witnessing to these events, which is appropriate since every manuscript itself is the physical testimony to the continuation of that witnessing work.

Conclusion

Lectionaries were manuscripts intended to be read in Christian worship. They were built around the church calendar. So rather than having the New Testament books in their entirety, like we find in our Bibles today, they instead divided the biblical text into particular readings for the daily worship services of the church. The schedule of the readings developed gradually in the church’s early centuries and later became standardized to form a regular rhythm around the life of Christ. The lectionary covers of this manuscript added another element of grandeur and special reverence to the liturgy, reminding both hearers and readers of the sacred importance of the message contained within.

We are grateful for our partnership with the National Library of Greece whose archival staff cares for this manuscript. We would like to especially thank Director ‎Fillipos Tsimpoglou who granted permission and provided oversight for the Center’s historic two-year digitization project, and to Andreas Vyridis for continuing to collaborate with us to ensure the digital preservation of Greek New Testament manuscripts throughout Greece.

CSNTM's Dallas Banquet 2019

3/1/2019

Dallas Banquet 2019 — A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery 

Join Executive Director Dan Wallace and many others committed to preserving and studying the ancient Scriptures for CSNTM’s annual Dallas banquet. This year’s banquet will be held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU on Saturday, April 13th from 6:30–9:00 p.m. A reception will begin at 6:30, and dinner will be served at 7:00.

The theme of this year’s banquet is “A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery.” Dr. Wallace will deliver a lively presentation about how our recently acquired digitization technology — multispectral imaging — is helping the Center rediscover words that were lost long ago in New Testament manuscripts. You won’t want to miss this insider’s look at the future of the digitization and study of New Testament manuscripts. The evening will conclude with the special opportunity to partner with the Center to preserve and rediscover ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts for the modern world.

To purchase tickets or find out more information, visit the banquet page on our website. If you have any questions, reach out to us at (972) 941-4521. We hope to see you in April!

Manuscripts Digitized at Southern Methodist University

2/28/2019

By: Jacob W. Peterson

CSNTM rarely revisits a location where it has already digitized, but sometimes previously unforeseen factors make it an easy decision. Back in 2010, CSNTM traveled the whole fifteen miles down highway 75 in Dallas to the Bridwell Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University to digitize one of its manuscripts—Papyrus 26 from the early 7th century. This fragmentary manuscript contains portions of Romans 1.1–16. In fact, it is one of only three papyri with this text. Back in 2010, we imaged the manuscript using our typical high-resolution color images and also used handheld black lights to try and illuminate some of the difficult-to-read portions of the text. This worked pretty well, but you can see in the images that more could probably be done.

P26 under handheld black lights

Well, as you have all read by now, CSNTM acquired multispectral imaging (MSI) last year, so it seemed appropriate to reach out to SMU about re-digitizing the papyrus. Multispectral imaging is especially useful for recovering difficult-to-read, covered, erased, or damaged text that is so common to antiquities. Without having completed any post-processing yet, we have already seen positive results in the initial images.

In addition, SMU has officially gained possession of another manuscript, GA Lect 1547, which had been on loan to them for many years. This lectionary dates to the 13th century and has not been previously microfilmed or digitized. This manuscript has a fascinating modern ownership history, beginning with the biblical scholar J. Rendel Harris in the UK, before going through a Chicago bookstore, being bequeathed to Baylor University Medical Center, and finally acquired by SMU. You can still see traces of several of these owners in the beginning flyleaves, which are full of ownership stamps, purchasers’ codes, notes between text-critics, and more.

Owners notes in GA Lect 1547

The proximity of CSNTM and SMU, the potential to see new things in the papyrus, and the opportunity to digitize a new manuscript made this an obvious project for our team. Thankfully, the staff at Bridwell Library Special Collections kindly agreed to allow us to visit them again to digitize their lectionary and utilize MSI on the papyrus. We would especially like to thank Daniel Slive and Rebecca Howdeshell, who worked with us in both the planning and execution of this project.

The images from this expedition will be available in our library soon, and the MSI images of P26 will be available after post-production is complete. We can now say that every manuscript in Dallas-Fort Worth has been digitized, and as a glimpse of the future, every manuscript in Texas will soon be digitized and made available online.

The Value of a Monthly Donation

1/21/2019

By: Stephen Clardy

In June of 2015, our digitization team at the National Library of Greece in Athens found something in a twelfth-century lectionary of the Gospels that immediately grabbed their attention. Pasted to the inside of the document’s front and back covers were additional leaves of Greek text. The text was from 1 John and Acts, not the Gospels, and the script seemed to indicate these were taken from slightly later manuscripts, dating to the thirteenth or fourteenth century. We had discovered a previously unknown manuscript!

Front and back covers of GA 2934

Images from the front and back covers of the new discovery

Over the past 17 years, CSNTM has found over 70 previously uncatalogued manuscripts, more than any other institute or individual in the world. Discoveries like these, however great or small, are tremendously meaningful for New Testament text critics and all of us who are excited to have so many ancient and medieval copies of the scriptures to see and enjoy. Each digitally preserved manuscript and every new find adds another piece to the puzzle, setting up the next generation for even better scholarship and greater discovery.

Just as new discoveries are vital for textual critics, monthly donors are vital to the work of CSNTM. A lot goes on between expeditions. Throughout the year our team studies manuscripts, works on important publications using the images we captured, and plans for new expeditions to preserve additional manuscripts. These endeavors are only possible with a steady flow of recurring financial support. In a very literal sense, regular donations—however great or small—from faithful partners provide us the stability we need to follow through on our work to preserve, study, and share Greek New Testament manuscripts with excellence, and to plan for the future. These donations truly sustain CSNTM and move our mission further.

All this being said, if you are already giving regularly to the Center or have in the past, I want to thank you. It is with the sincerest gratitude that I say your contribution is making a real impact toward the preservation and study of New Testament manuscripts. Thank you!

If you are not already supporting CSNTM regularly, would you consider becoming a monthly partner with us? Any gift helps, and you have the option to give at whatever level your budget allows. Many of our partners give in the amounts of $25, $50, or $100. If you decide to join in our mission by becoming a monthly partner, it only takes a few minutes to start your donation on our website at www.csntm.org/donate.

The Benefits of a Digital Manuscript Library

1/16/2019

By: Jacob W. Peterson

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has an international reputation for taking exceptional high-resolution images of Greek New Testament manuscripts. While producing good images is a worthwhile goal in itself, the production of images serves a much larger goal within our organizational mission. The first stated objective of CSNTM in our mission statement is:

To make digital photographs of extant Greek New Testament manuscripts so that such images can be preserved, duplicated without deterioration, and accessed by scholars doing textual research.

In other words, CSNTM does not just travel to remote corners of the world in order to take a bunch of pictures of old manuscripts. The goal of this work is threefold:

  1. the digital preservation of the manuscript

  2. the ability to share the manuscript without need to access the original

  3. the availability of the images to textual scholars

At the end of the day, the result of CSNTM’s labors is a website, and the central feature of that website is our manuscript library. At the time of writing this, we currently have images of or links to more than 1500 manuscripts in our library. About half of these were produced by CSNTM since our founding in 2002. Before proceeding, I first want to note that we recognize that our online library is useful to far more people than just textual scholars. A natural goal of CSNTM is to benefit those in our direct line of work, which is contributing to future editions of the Greek New Testament. However, we know and are glad that our website is useful for art historians, codicologists, paleographers, professors, students, pastors, and just those interested in the historical documents of Christianity.

The most recognizable benefit of a digital library is access to the manuscripts. It was not that long ago that if you were interested in seeing what a manuscript contained, you had to travel to that library or monastery to see it. Naturally, this was prohibitively expensive for almost everyone and does not account for all of the issues involved in contacting the holding institutions and being granted access to see the manuscript. With an online library of images, anyone anywhere in the world can quickly access the images of any manuscript they want to see. Additionally, a fully-tagged library of images (which is what CSNTM is working towards) allows users to find every instance of certain features, such as icons of Mark, or to consult every instance of Romans 1.1 in the manuscript tradition. 

This latter point relates to a second benefit of an online library, which is the ability to consult the actual manuscripts versus the abstract presentation of the data in a critical apparatus.

Apparatus

The critical apparatus from a printed Greek New Testament.

Seeing the actual manuscripts allows scholars to confirm the data in the apparatus, which can be incorrect at times, and serves a pedagogical purpose for professors wanting to make textual criticism more tangible and exciting for their students. It is beneficial any time instructors can shift their students from thinking of manuscripts as numerical data to thinking of them as historical artifacts. Images help make that shift in ways the critical apparatus, transcriptions, and collations cannot. 

Continuing with the benefit of being able to confirm details in an apparatus, an online library of high-resolution images offers one the ability to clarify details in the manuscripts that might have been obscured by lower-resolution images. It’s just a small example, but the fuzziness and darkened ink in the following microfilm led one scholar to assume there was a correction present.

GA 69 version 1

GA69 version 2

A microfilm image (top) and CSNTM's digital image (bottom) of GA 69

However, the sharpness of CSNTM’s high-resolution images makes it clear that there is no correction present and that the darkness of the ink is just the result of the scribe re-inking his pen. These kinds of fine details are only accessible when we have excellent images to consult.

When CSNTM was founded, the primary goal was to preserve and make manuscripts available to anyone who wanted access anywhere in the world. We have been around for 16 years now, and the reach of the organization is greater than I think anyone could have initially conceived. We are glad that so many thousands of users each year find our website helpful for their research, studies, or to satisfy their own personal curiosity. As we look to the future, we are excited about continually adding to our online library and, perhaps most importantly, making all of these resources available for free.

From the Library: Luke's Genealogy in NT Manuscripts

12/17/2018

By: Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts' (CSNTM) digital library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

If we’re honest, the genealogy is often considered the most boring part of the birth narratives in Luke. When was the last time you heard a message about that part of the Christmas story? But throughout the centuries, the Christian tradition developed unique ways of presenting this part of the biblical story—often setting it apart to make it more readable and more identifiable. In this blog we’re going to show you how some scribes copied Luke 3.23–38 and explain one example where it went terribly wrong.

Copying the Genealogy of Jesus

Of course, some manuscripts do not differentiate the genealogy from the rest of the biblical text. A manuscript we digitized at the National Library of Greece, referred to by scholars as Gregory-Aland (or GA) 780, is one example of this pattern. As you can see, there is no break in the text where the genealogy begins, and it is written in the same single column style.

GA 780

The text of Codex Vaticanus (GA 03, or “B”) was written in three columns, but the scribe clearly differentiated Jesus’ genealogy by listing the names in a new format. The first word, ΤΟΥ (tou) is set on the left margin, and then there is a noticeable space before each name is written.

GA 03

Other manuscripts break their normal pattern of copying the text by arranging Jesus’ lineage into separate columns. GA 773, also from the National Library of Greece, organizes the names into two columns. The scribe also included commentary in the margins. 

GA 773

The scribe who copied CSNTM’s manuscript (GA 2882) wrote the Scriptures in a single column with very neat handwriting. At Luke 3.23, the scribe broke the flow of the text to copy the list of names in three columns. The names proceed from left to right with the article ΤΟΥ (tou) written with a large red tau before the name.

GA 2882

 

A Scribal Error in the Genealogy

When scribes copied Jesus’ genealogy in columns, it was perhaps intended to make the passage more prominent and easier to read. But one scribe who copied GA 109, a fourteenth century Gospels manuscript in the British Library’s collection, made an infamous mistake. The scribe completely rearranged Jesus’ genealogy. As you probably know, Luke traces Jesus’ ancestry from Joseph all the way back to Adam, concluding with “Son of Adam, Son of God.” In GA 109, the scribe wrote, “Son of Adam, Son of Aminadab, Son of God, Son of Aram”! Apparently, God was born from Aram! How did the scribe make such a serious mistake?

It seems the scribe’s exemplar—the manuscript from which GA 109 was copied—had Luke’s genealogy written in two columns. These should have been read going down each column completely before going back to the top of the next column. But this scribe read the columns from left to right, putting Jesus’ descendants all out of order. At one point, there are two names in the proper order: “Son of Melki, Son of Addi.” We conjecture that at this point the exemplar proceeded to a new page, so the scribe happened to get two correct in a row, but then continued to make the same mistake. Regardless of how absentmindedly the text was copied, we have to wonder whether the scribe knew Greek because “son of God” is written with a nomina sacra, which should have given enough pause to catch the mistake. Whatever the scribe’s Greek proficiency, leaving Jesus’ genealogy out of order is a serious error which was only possible because of the varied ways Luke 3.23–38 was copied in columns in some manuscripts.

GA 109 Exemplar Comparison

Conclusion

Though it is easy for us to gloss over the list of Jesus’ ancestors when studying the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, the ancient and medieval scribes deliberately copied the story in ways that set it apart and drew attention to it. The various ways the Lukan genealogy was copied caused us to wonder why they took the time to write the names like this. There could be a few practical reasons. The scribes may have done this because it was easier to write the names (some of which are duplicated in the text, like Joseph in 3.23 and 3.30) without error in column form. Or it could be that they found it easier to read the names for public recitation when they were listed in columns rather than written in paragraph form. But we speculate that in their era of kings and heroes they found greater significance in the genealogy of Christ—a significance that is often missed by modern readers. Whatever the reason may be, the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3.23–38 has a fascinating and infamous place in the textual history of the New Testament. So this year if you read the story of Christ’s birth, don’t skip over the long list of names Luke gave us. Take a moment to reflect on what a long lineage like Jesus’ would have meant to the early readers of Luke’s Gospel.

* If you’re interested in looking at additional examples of how scribes copied Luke’s genealogy, there are a few easy ways to do this in our manuscript library. You could use the “Jump to Book” feature to navigate easily to the beginning of Luke in all the manuscripts we have tagged on our site. The other way would be to search “Luke 3” or “Luke 3.23-38” in the search bar of our website. This guide will explain how to use these features if you need extra help.

We suggest taking a look at some of the most famous manuscripts like Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Bezae (05). You also could look at GA 800, which has commentary from church fathers surrounding the text.

A Letter from Dan Wallace

12/12/2018

By: Daniel B. Wallace

I feel like a student in the class of a proverbially unreasonable professor. The prof gave a final exam, with one question: “Define the universe. Use three examples.” So much has happened in the last year at the Center! Where to begin? I think I’ll just give three examples.

First, CSNTM is growing! Three new staff members have joined our team. Kelsey Hart is now our office manager. Stephen Clardy is our Development Coordinator, working closely with Andy Patton, our Development Manager. And Jacob Peterson is CSNTM’s Research Fellow. (You might recognize Jacob’s name; he worked for the Center before heading off to the University of Edinburgh for his PhD in New Testament textual criticism.) We are excited to see how Kelsey, Stephen, and Jacob will complement the team, enabling us to continue our mission of preserving ancient Scripture for a modern world.

Second, through a generous grant and magnificent gifts from you, our partners in preservation, we were able to purchase a multispectral imaging (MSI) camera. This camera, which came with a $100,000 price-tag, uses 15 points on the light spectra, including invisible bands on both ends. With it we can now see texts that disappeared over the centuries, were washed out in floods, became burnt in fires, or were scraped off by scribes who then penned something different over the erased text. And these ancient texts have been lost to the ages—until now. What natural disasters and man-made destruction did, with this equipment we can undo. With MSI, the age of rediscovery is born.

In May, four members of the CSNTM staff took an intensive course on using this new camera. We are now one of a handful of organizations in the world using a portable MSI camera. And this means that more doors are opening for us across the globe.

And third, while the staff was learning the ropes with this game-changing camera, I was in Tbilisi (Republic of Georgia) with two former interns, Brit Burnette and Laura Peisker. We were on a ‘front trip’ to make contact with two libraries in Tbilisi and one in Mestia. A native of Georgia, Nino Fincher, translated for us as we built relationships, examined manuscripts, and wrote up our findings for the digitizing team that would follow. Then, as we were flying back home, Rob Marcello, CSNTM’s Assistant Executive Director, and Jacob Peterson flew to Tbilisi with the new camera.

I met up with Rob and Jacob in Greece where we did more photography. Finally, we traversed northern Europe, landing in Heidelberg. In these locales, words on ancient papyrus and parchment—words that time forgot—have come to life again!

So, where do we go from here? We are working out contracts for next year’s expeditions with institutes in Greece, Germany, and the U.S. Libraries, museums, and monasteries are seeking CSNTM’s help to digitally preserve these ancient artifacts, these irreplaceable treasures of the Church.

We have the opportunities. We have the staff. We have the equipment. But we don’t have all the funds needed to do this work. We are making aggressive plans for upcoming expeditions. This Christmas season, we hope to raise the first $150,000 needed to begin our work on these critical expeditions.

It is CSNTM’s mission both to protect the past and to ensure the future of these sacred Scriptures. As you ponder your end-of-the-year giving, please consider making a generous investment in this work. Our equipment and staff are opening doors across the globe, but it takes a team to make these expeditions possible.

Will you make an investment that ensures the handwritten text of the New Testament is preserved for the next generation? Together, we can accomplish our mission by having:   

• 2 people who give $25,000

• 2 people who give $15,000

• 2 people who give $10,000

• 4 people who give $5,000

• 15 people who give $1,000

• 15 people who give $500

• 15 people who give $250

• 25 people who give $100

• 10 people who give $50

• 30 people who give $25

25 Days of Christmas

11/26/2018

Multispectral imaging is a gift that keeps on giving. After using our new equipment this summer in Tbilisi and Heidelberg, even more institutes have expressed interest in CSNTM digitally preserving their Greek New Testament manuscripts. There are so many of these potential partners that we simply could not digitize all their treasures in a single year or even three years!

At this season, many of you are thinking about your year-end giving and the impact you want to have in the world. Your donations could unlock the partnership between CSNTM and a library or monastery. You could preserve a unique manuscript before it experiences further deterioration. And you could give a text critic access to the best images of the New Testament manuscripts she or he uses to study the original text of the Christian Scriptures.

We are inviting 25 of you to give $25 monthly by December 25th. This new campaign is called the 25 days of Christmas initiative. Together, your partnership will give $7,500 in year-round support for CSNTM’s mission to preserve, study, and share Greek New Testament manuscripts. Monthly donations are a critical part of CSNTM’s planning for future expeditions and special projects. 

Will you join our team of 25 and make a monthly gift of $25? 

 

Thank You from Dan Wallace

11/20/2018

As the holidays approach, we want to wish you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your invaluable support this year. 2018 has been another successful year for CSNTM. Over the course of the year, we completed four significant expeditions. The year began with an expedition to the Library of Hellenic Parliament in Athens. Then in the summer we worked at the National Centre of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, the Byzantine Museum in Ioannina, and the University of Heidelberg. Altogether, we digitized seventeen of the most significant and fragile manuscripts we have ever handled, adding up to 9,159 total images. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Our work this year was enhanced by our new access to multispectral imaging technology. This technology allows us to view and preserve text otherwise invisible to the naked eye. In 2018, we were able to purchase this equipment, train our staff, and use it for the first time, leading to the discovery of two manuscripts by our team this summer. All this work allows anyone to examine Greek New Testament manuscripts from anywhere in the world. So far this year, over 45,000 people have visited our website to study manuscripts or learn about digital preservation.

Your faithful and generous support – shown by your involvement, gifts, and encouragement – made all of this possible. Because of your enduring partnership with us in our mission the task of preserving these important documents continues to move forward. For that we are immensely grateful. Thank you.

 

Daniel B. Wallace

Executive Director

Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

From the Library: Codex Koridethi

11/20/2018

By: Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton 

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) digital library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

CSNTM’s staff digitized arguably the most significant parchment manuscript we have ever handled at the National Centre of Manuscripts in the Republic of Georgia. Scholars call this famous manuscript Codex Koridethi (Gregory-Aland 038, also known as Θ [theta]). Koridethi, copied in the 9th century, contains all four Gospels written in majuscule script, which means it was written in capital letters. However, we believe the scribe may not have known Greek well because of many unnatural syllable breaks, odd letter formations, and corrections to the text. Koridethi is also an important witness for several major textual variants, such as the omission of “Son of God” in Mark 1.1 and the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7.53–8.11). This unique manuscript raises interesting questions about our understanding of the relationships between Greek New Testament manuscripts and contains curious oddities in its physical production.

Koridethi OT Markings 

What Text?

Since J. A. Bengal in the 1700s first discussed “families, tribes and nations” of manuscripts, text critics have often divided New Testament manuscripts into categories called text types based on similarities in their texts. The predominant text types that came to the fore were the Alexandrian, Western, Byzantine, and (sometimes) Caesarean types. The past several decades, however, have seen scholars move away from this system because more comprehensive analysis of manuscripts has not only become more possible but also shown that the divisions are not so distinct or definable. (However, Byzantine manuscripts continue to be recognized as a text type because they do have a remarkable degree of uniformity.)

Codex Koridethi is one manuscript that exemplifies the challenge and inherent problems with classifying manuscripts into text types. Studies of the Gospels in Koridethi have shown a partial alignment with different textual traditions—some parts appear to be “Alexandrian,” others “Byzantine,” and still others an idiosyncratic blend. Koridethi exposes the difficulty of fitting some manuscripts into particular categories and further highlights how much work remains to understand the transmission history of our New Testament manuscripts. Accordingly, this manuscript has consistently been identified as a significant witness to the original wording of the Gospels, and scholars producing editions of the Greek New Testament consult its readings whenever they are evaluating a textual problem in a passage it contains. 

Imperfect Parchment

Something you will notice as you scroll through the images of Codex Koridethi are a number of holes in the parchment. It is not unusual that in the daily use of a manuscript there would be damage, tears, burns, or other events that could cause parchment to go missing. But if you look closely, it is clear that the vast majority of the holes in Koridethi’s leaves are original to the parchment’s production. The scribe chose to work the text around them. In a quick search, we found 22 leaves containing various types of production defects. Below are a few examples:

Leaf 128

From Leaf 128.

Leaf 180

From Leaf 180. Notice that the text is not only written around a pre-existing hole in the leaf, but a tear in the parchment has also been sewn back together, with the text written around it.

Koridethi collage

From Leaf 151 (top left), Leaf 154 (top right), Leaf 165 (bottom left), and Leaf 212 (bottom right).

In the production of parchment, as the animal skin was scraped and stretched repeatedly, it was easy to scrape a section too thin, which could result in larger and larger holes developing as the skin was stretched to its final size. It is unclear why parchment with such significant defects would have been allowed for use in a Bible, but we can make a decent guess. Parchment, because it is made from animal skins, was highly valuable in the medieval world, and the bill for an order the size of Koridethi would have been steep. So it is possible that whoever produced Koridethi got a bit creative here and was willing to have a few imperfections present in their codex if it meant it could contain all four Gospels. This would certainly have been preferable to undertaking again the laborious and expensive process of producing parchment. Whatever the case may be, the scribe made it work, and this small feature provides us yet another window into the world of ancient book production.

Conclusion

Every manuscript has a story to tell. We are grateful for the privilege to digitize Codex Koridethi and share images of it freely in our digital library. The exceptional staff at the National Centre of Manuscripts are also to be thanked for conserving this codex and collaborating with CSNTM. You can see all the images of this Greek New Testament here in our digital library.

New Research Fellow for CSNTM

10/11/2018

By: Jacob W. Peterson

In August, CSNTM appointed Jacob W. Peterson to the newly-created position of Research Fellow. Jacob began working with us as a graduate student intern in 2011. Afterward, he joined the staff as Intern Coordinator until he left to pursue a PhD in New Testament Language, Literature, and Theology at the University of Edinburgh. While away, Jacob continued to play an integral role in the Center’s mission by participating in every digitization expedition over the last three years. Now that he is wrapping up his dissertation at Edinburgh, we are thrilled to have him back on our team where he will not only lead worldwide digitizing expeditions, but also will enhance our research agenda. Now, hear from Jacob about what he will initially do in his new role.


One of CSNTM’s missional aims is “to publish on various facets of New Testament textual criticism.” Unfortunately, aside from the occasional conference presentation or journal article, we have been unable to dedicate much time or resources toward this aim. As the Center has continued to grow, both in terms of its size and reach, the time has come to highlight the impact of the work being done on the discovery and digitization side of operations.

CSNTM has historically focused its efforts and resources on the discovery and digitization of manuscripts, and it has been very successful at this task. Since its founding in 2002, CSNTM has digitally preserved almost seven hundred manuscripts at locations around the world. Among these are nearly one hundred manuscripts that were previously unknown to Western scholarship. Approximately seventy of these manuscripts have been officially catalogued with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster, Germany, yet almost all of them have gone unstudied.

The desire to fulfill the Center's missional aim combined with the growing number of discoveries the organization has made presented the perfect opportunity for someone to step in and begin doing in-house research. My primary responsibility over the next few years will be examining the manuscripts CSNTM has discovered for the purpose of producing several academic volumes focused on their contents. The aim of the volumes is to provide scholarly treatment of all of CSNTM's discoveries and, in this way, complete the act of manuscript discovery, digitization, and scholarly presentation. A secondary aim is the publication of volume(s) on images in CSNTM's manuscript library. These would focus on new research on and editions of known manuscripts resulting from advanced digitization techniques (i.e., multispectral imaging) or in-depth text-critical studies of particular manuscripts. Ultimately, the hope is to increase CSNTM’s research profile, and also to collaborate with up-and-coming students and recent PhDs to give them opportunities to do original research.

We at CSNTM, and I especially, are thankful for your continued support of everything we are doing and are grateful for the opportunity to expand the scope of our operations, which will hopefully only increase our reputation and impact.

CSNTM Welcomes Intern Class of 2018

10/9/2018

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is excited to welcome its newest class of interns! This cohort of talented graduate students has the opportunity to study the field of New Testament textual criticism, work directly with the Center’s collection of digital images, and gain valuable professional skills while working in a non-profit organization. They play a vital role in CSNTM’s mission to preserve, share, and study Greek New Testament manuscripts, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor, inspire, and work alongside each of these students. Take a moment to meet this year’s cohort:

Ben Min

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Academic Inspiration: Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director at CSNTM

Favorite Snack: Roasted Cashews

Last Book ReadThe Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

What are you excited to learn or do in your internship this year? I’m excited to learn the ways of research and what life in the academy is like.

Zack Skarka

Hometown: Eastport, New York

Academic Inspiration: Mark O’Connor, Director of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program at Boston College

Favorite Snack: Apples

Last Book Read for FunJudas and the Gospel of Jesus by N. T. Wright

What are you excited to learn or do in your internship this year? I am excited to do original research and to learn from Dr. Wallace.

Leigh Ann Thompson

Hometown: Crandall, Texas

Academic Inspiration: Nika Spaulding, Resident Theologian at Saint Jude Oak Cliff

Favorite Snack: Peanut butter M&Ms

Last Book ReadThe Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi

What are you excited to learn or do in your internship this year? Aside from getting practice, coaching, and exposure on how to research and think critically, I’m excited to grow in my own beliefs and in how to communicate those to others. I’m looking forward to deepening an understanding of worshipping with our minds.

From the Library: GA 804

8/3/2018

By Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton

GA 804

Gregory-Aland 804 (a.k.a. Parliament Library 2) at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament in Athens, Greece

 

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

The manuscript featured in this article is Gregory-Aland 804, a Gospels manuscript from the 11th century. The manuscript originally contained all four Gospels, but it is now missing the last third of the Gospel of John. We digitized GA 804 at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament during our expedition in January. As we study a manuscript, its physical features offer clues about the people who produced and used this particular copy of the New Testament. GA 804’s unique physical features help us draw conclusions about how it may have been used.

Travelers Edition

Modern publishers design Bibles in a variety of formats and features to accommodate the people who will read a particular copy of the Scriptures. Some have extra room for note-taking, others are pocket-sized, and others include comments and symbols to guide interpretation. Each is produced for a particular kind of reader. This is not new. Throughout the history of the Bible, scribes and copyists devised a variety of different formats depending upon the intended use.

Let’s consider the size. GA 804 is noticeably small—hardly larger than an average iPhone—and only 5.4cm deep. The scribe copied the text of all four Gospels in minute script so that it would fit the tiny proportions of this codex. You get a sense of how small this manuscript is when it’s compared to others. Below is a to-scale comparison of GA804 and the largest lectionary in the Hellenic Parliament’s collection.

HPL MS Comparison

The scribe’s handwriting is another clue. GA 804 was copied with petite handwriting indicating it was probably a personal New Testament that was read privately rather than for public services like the lectionary in the above example. A codex this small designed for personal use would have been ideal for travel.

804 Handwriting

Taken together, these traits indicate GA 804 is a 1,000 year-old traveler’s Bible. The liturgical and public reading of Scripture was vital in the ancient and medieval church; but, as GA 804 indicates, so was personal and reflective reading. We can scarcely imagine just how arduous and unpredictable journeys were back then. Travelers wanted to have the Gospels ready at hand as they encountered challenges and difficulties on their path to new places and cultures. The words of Christ provided guidance along the way. 

Every manuscript has a story to tell. We are grateful for the privilege to digitize GA 804 and share part of its story with you. The exceptional staff at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament are also to be thanked for conserving this codex and collaborating with CSNTM. You can see all the images of this Greek New Testament here in our digital library.

More Than $100,000 Raised

8/2/2018

We would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to more than 200 of our friends who made a donation since we announced our $100,000 matching grant. You went above and beyond in your response. Together, you gave $198,752, nearly doubling what was needed to complete the matching grant challenge.

You provided crucial support so that CSNTM could digitize manuscripts in Tbilisi, Georgia; Ioannina, Greece; and Heidelberg, Germany this summer. The manuscripts preserved include the most significant parchment manuscript CSNTM has ever digitized and one of the oldest manuscripts of Romans known to exist. And we used multispectral imaging technology that will reveal text never before seen in modern times. Soon these manuscripts will be shared online for the world to see in breathtaking high-resolution images. 

Your generosity will have an ongoing impact. Beyond these expeditions, we will continue to build relationships with new partners who want to see their manuscript collections preserved. We also will continue to study manuscripts in our collection so that their texts and features can impact the latest research on the New Testament.

Thank you, again, for preserving ancient New Testament manuscripts for the modern world!

Matching Thank You

Manuscripts Digitized in Georgia, Greece, and Germany

7/31/2018

By: Robert D. Marcello

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) travels every summer to visit key locations throughout the world and digitize their collections of manuscripts. This summer we digitized some of the most significant manuscripts that we have ever preserved on a whirlwind expedition to three countries! The trip began at the end of May, when Dr. Daniel B. Wallace and a team of researchers traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia to evaluate and prepare the manuscripts housed at the National Centre of Manuscripts (NCM). Working with their staff they were able to view Codex Koridethi (Θ), which is a 9th century majuscule or capital-letter copy of the Gospels. The digitization team, composed of Robert D. Marcello and Jacob W. Peterson, arrived in June and now this manuscript, which has been an extremely important witness to the text of the Gospels, will be made available for all to see in high-resolution images.

Tblisi Researchers

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace and research assistants Laura Peisker and Brittany Burnette examining manuscripts at the NCM

The team also digitized the rest of the collection at the NCM, including Gregory-Aland 0240, which is an early palimpsest—a manuscript that had its original text scraped off and a new text written over it—containing portions of 1 Timothy and Titus. This manuscript was digitized with CSNTM's new multispectral imaging equipment, and it has allowed the under-text—which has hardly been visible for centuries—to now be easily seen. While digitizing this manuscript the team also identified a new Georgian palimpsest in the same volume! The team loved working with Director Zaza Abashidze and the staff of the National Centre of Manuscripts and greatly appreciated their willingness to have these cultural-heritage artifacts preserved for future generations.

Tblisi MSI

Traveling from Tbilisi, the team went to Greece to meet with some of our partners and International Advisory Board members about future projects, and to digitize a collection in the city of Ioannina, Greece. We digitized a 12th–13th century minuscule of the Gospels at the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina. This manuscript was given to the museum by a monastery and is enclosed in a stunning silver binding. We want to specifically thank Konstantinos Soueref and the Byzantine Museum’s staff for their hospitality and allowing this treasure to be preserved.

Byzantine Museum

For the final leg of our summer expeditions, the CSNTM team traveled to Heidelberg, Germany to digitize the New Testament papyri found at the University. These manuscripts, which are some of the earliest witnesses to the text of the New Testament, were in need of special digitization, since some of the text has been difficult to decipher. Dr. Wallace prepared the manuscripts noting their key features, and Jacob and Rob digitized them with our new multispectral imaging equipment. After image processing is complete, these manuscripts will be made freely available to all on our website. We must also thank Professor Dr. Andrea Jördens and the staff at the University of Heidelberg’s library for their generous hospitality and willingness to allow us to preserve these manuscripts with multispectral imaging.

P40 Heidelberg

This summer we completed expeditions in three countries. We digitized some of the earliest and most significant witnesses to the text of the New Testament. In so doing, we are continuing to fulfill our mission of making these manuscripts free for all and free for all time.

128 New Manuscripts from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

7/18/2018

GA 1312GA 1313GA 1314GA 1315GA 1316GA 1317GA 1318GA 1319GA 1320GA 1321GA 1322GA 1323GA 1324GA 1325GA 1326GA 1327GA 1328GA 1329GA 1330GA 1331GA 1332GA 1333GA 1334GA 1335GA 1336GA 1337GA 1338GA 1339GA 1340GA 1341GA 1342GA 1343GA 1345GA 1346GA 1347GA 1348GA 1349GA 1350GA 1351GA 1352GA 1353GA 1354GA 1355GA 1364GA 1365GA 1888GA 1889GA 1890GA 1891GA 1892GA 1893GA 1894GA 1895GA 1896GA 1897GA 2012GA 2248GA 2302GA 2303GA 2824GA 2926

 

GA Lect 159GA Lect 991GA Lect 992GA Lect 993GA Lect 994GA Lect 995GA Lect 996GA Lect 997GA Lect 998GA Lect 1000GA Lect 1001GA Lect 1002GA Lect 1003GA Lect 1004GA Lect 1007GA Lect 1009GA Lect 1010GA Lect 1012GA Lect 1013GA Lect 1014GA Lect 1015GA Lect 1019GA Lect 1020GA Lect 1021GA Lect 1022GA Lect 1023GA Lect 1024GA Lect 1025GA Lect 1026GA Lect 1027GA Lect 1028GA Lect 1030GA Lect 1031GA Lect 1032GA Lect 1033GA Lect 1034GA Lect 1035GA Lect 1038GA Lect 1039GA Lect 1040GA Lect 1048GA Lect 1291GA Lect 1292GA Lect 1293GA Lect 1294GA Lect 1295GA Lect 1296GA Lect 1297GA Lect 1298GA Lect 1299GA Lect 1300GA Lect 1326GA Lect 1327GA Lect 1408GA Lect 1410GA Lect 1412GA Lect 1419GA Lect 1424GA Lect 1437GA Lect 1438GA Lect 1467GA Lect 1468GA Lect 1722GA Lect 2278GA Lect 2324GA Lect 2325GA Lect 2326

CSNTM Acquires Multispectral Imaging

6/24/2018

Recently, CSNTM acquired multispectral imaging equipment (MSI) in order to digitize manuscripts whose text cannot be read with the naked eye. MSI is an advanced camera technology, originally developed by NASA for satellites. The equipment we purchased digitizes manuscripts at 15 points across the light spectrum—from ultraviolet to infrared—in order to produce better, more revealing images of manuscripts and the texts they contain.

MSI images are superior for two reasons. First, they are more scientifically precise in how they represent color than a traditional RGB camera, thereby providing better color data to archivists and art historians than was previously possible. Second, and more important for textual scholars, the images can be processed to reveal details that have not been seen for centuries! This is especially important for manuscripts that are illegible because they deteriorated over time or are palimpsests—a codex that had its original text scraped off and then was rewritten with a different text.

CSNTM is already using MSI to digitally preserve manuscripts on its summer 2018 expeditions. After a period of intense training, we sent our team to image manuscripts in multiple countries. The manuscripts being digitized include one of the most important parchment manuscripts we have ever digitized along with one papyrus and four other majuscules. Of course, the images captured with MSI equipment will be made available free for all, and free for all time at www.CSNTM.org. We can’t wait to share with you what this amazing technology reveals!

The Center purchased this state-of-the-art equipment after raising $125,000 over the last two years. This funding was provided by a generous grant from the Hillcrest Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee, and dozens of other generous donors. Thank you for your partnership with us to preserve ancient manuscripts for the modern world!

From the Library: GA 2907

5/14/2018

By: Andrew K. Bobo

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone. 

The manuscript now known to New Testament scholars as Gregory-Aland 2907 was ‘discovered’ by CSNTM almost a decade ago. The Center became aware of this manuscript through a route full of intrigue. A friend of the Center—whom we have never met—was on the lookout in his country for uncatalogued New Testament manuscripts. After some super-sleuthing, he was able to locate the owner, a private collector, and he put them in contact with the Center. CSNTM then partnered with the owner to digitize the manuscript and make the images available online. This was highly significant, since GA 2907 is a first-millennium witness to the text of the Gospels, and its witness is only now being taken into account by scholars.

From the work of Darrell Post, who did a collation of the entire codex, we have learned that the text of GA 2907 very closely resembles the Majority Text. According to Post, the original scribe was careful and “committed very few unforced errors in the copying of this manuscript.” The original scribe wrote “very neatly” and was even neat in correcting the text, leaving little or no trace of the mistakes in places where the text has been scrubbed and rewritten.

In contrast to the scrupulous work done by the original scribe, the extensive repairs and ‘corrections’ of a later scribe appear clumsy and at times even bizarre. As Post notes, the later corrector’s attempts to retrace over the original scribe’s writing often did “more harm than good.” The corrector “sometimes left alone faded brown letters, and at other times traced over perfectly legible letters.” This is reminiscent of what a later copyist did to the text of Codex Vaticanus, although 2907’s ‘corrector’ was not in the same league as Vaticanus’s corrector.

A good example of such corrections comes towards the very beginning of the manuscript in Matthew 1.

Matthew 1 in GA2907

You can see the original scribe’s writing in the top half of the page. Then the later scribe’s retracing begins in dark black ink on the bottom half. The retracing skips some letters and does not trace well over others, ignoring the form of the letters in some cases.

Here is another example from a few leaves later at the end of Matthew 2 and beginning of chapter 3.

 

In the fourth line from the bottom, you can even see an instance where the corrector’s re-written line completely departs from the original scribe’s. The reasons for the corrector’s sloppy work are unknown, but they illustrate the fascinating and complicated histories that manuscripts can have. GA 2907 was obviously well worn from centuries of use, with someone even going through the trouble of trying to make the manuscript usable again after the original work had become damaged and faded.

 Gospel Titles in GA 2907

An idiosyncratic feature of GA 2907 is the title given to each Gospel. In the three extant titles by the original hand, shown above, the scribe includes an extra preposition within the traditional formulation. Typically, the title is written: “The Gospel According to Mark.” But in 2907, the scribe wrote “The Gospel From the According to Mark,” adding the Greek preposition ek, or “from,” to the title.  This way of writing the title would have been typical of a lectionary, where the manuscript contains selections from a Gospel rather than the entire text of a Gospel. It seems likely that this scribe inadvertently used lectionary titles here out of habit, perhaps because the scribe usually copied lectionaries rather than minuscules.

 Missing Pericope Adulterae in the Gospel of John

Another idiosyncrasy of GA 2907 is how the manuscript deals with the pericope adulterae, the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7.53–8.11). The text of GA 2907 follows a well-known group of manuscripts, referred to as “family 13.” This family of closely related manuscripts places the pericope adulterae in an odd place—towards the end of Luke rather than in John’s Gospel. GA 2907, however, appears to differ from its close relatives in some interesting ways. Instead of inserting the material from John after Luke 21.38, GA 2907 inserts the material just after Luke 23.33. The material inserted is from John 7–8, but curiously the pericope adulterae itself is not included. Instead, the manuscript’s original hand moves directly from John 7.52 to 8.12 without any break. There is writing in red ink just between these two verses that could indicate that something is missing, but it is unclear. So although the manuscript has a type of text which we would expect to contain the story, instead it is missing entirely.

 Missing the Pericope Adulterae in John

A close-up of the transition between John 7.52 and 8.12.

GA 2907 illustrates how CSNTM is contributing to scholarly work on the Greek NT. During the last 15 years, we have discovered scores of manuscripts which were previously unknown and uncatalogued. This came about through our collaborations with manuscript owners to make their collections available freely on our website, which then allows the manuscripts to be consulted by the editors of critical editions of the Greek NT. GA 2907, now less than a decade after CSNTM discovered it, was cited as one of the manuscripts consulted in a recently published critical edition, The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge(THGNT). THGNTand critical editions like it are the base texts used for Bible translators, whose work will soon be in the hands of readers worldwide.

It is important to remember that even today, there are still manuscripts that lie undiscovered and their treasures unexplored. We want to find them. We hope that you will partner with us to discover the undiscovered in order to make it available for all.

Manuscript Release: Images for Nine MSS from the Hellenic Parliament Library

3/2/2018

Today we are releasing images of the nine New Testament manuscripts held by the Hellenic Parliament Library in Athens, Greece. CSNTM partnered with HPL’s excellent library staff to complete this project earlier in 2018. You can read about it here.

As mentioned in our initial blog about the expedition, one feature of the HPL collection that we found most interesting was the wide variation in size among the manuscripts. GA Lect 450 was one of the largest manuscripts CSNTM has ever digitized, whereas GA 804 was nearly the smallest. To put it in perspective, a leaf of GA Lect 450 has nearly eight times the surface area of GA 804 (GA 804 is roughly the height and width of an iPhone). 

 HPL Image Comparison

These variations among NT manuscripts occur due to the different purposes for which they were intended. GA Lect 450 was obviously intended to be read out loud to a church gathering as part of the liturgy, and therefore its large writing made for easy reading. On the other hand, it seems GA 804 was intended to be a hand edition of the Gospels, perfect for personal use and constant access.

We hope you will enjoy exploring this collection. You can find links to each of the manuscripts below.

GA 804: Eleventh century minuscule of the Gospels

GA 805: Twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels

GA 806: Fourteenth century minuscule of the Gospels

GA 807: Twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels with commentary

GA 2049: Sixteenth century minuscule of Revelation

GA 2096: Twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels

GA 2097: Eleventh century minuscule of the Gospels with commentary

GA 2313: Eleventh century minuscule of the Gospels

GA Lect 450: Tweflth 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.

Nine New Testament Manuscripts Digitized

2/16/2018

By: Andrew J. Patton

In January, nine Greek New Testament manuscripts owned by the Library of the Hellenic Parliament in Athens, Greece were digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. The Library of the Hellenic Parliament is prominently located in the center of Athens at the Old Royal Palace which is now Greece’s Parliament building. It is a historic and beautiful site.

Travelling to Athens feels like taking a long journey home. Yet, even after spending months working at museums and libraries in Athens, it is still a joyous experience to examine and digitize Greek New Testament manuscripts in such a historic city.

Rob and Jacob examining Lectionary 450

Robert D. Marcello and Jacob W. Peterson examing Lectionary 450

The concept for our digitization project at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament was developed during the summer of 2017 when Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, CSNTM’s Executive Director, met Dr. Eleni Droulia, the head of the library’s collection, and examined their manuscripts with Dr. Samuel Lamerson, president of Knox Seminary. This visit was instrumental for our agreement to partner with one another to digitize their nine Greek New Testament manuscripts. In December, Dr. Wallace returned to prepare the manuscripts for digitization. In only three days he combed through more than 4,000 leaves and recorded essential information for the digitization team and metadata that will be useful for future studies on the manuscripts.

Robert D. Marcello, Andrew J. Patton, Jacob W. Peterson, and Andrew K. Bobo

At the beginning of January, our digitization team traveled to Athens, led by CSNTM’s Director of Operations and Research, Robert D. Marcello. The other team members were Jacob W. Peterson, Andrew K. Bobo, and Andrew J. Patton. The team worked with precision and efficiency, completing the digitization work ahead of schedule. One of the most interesting features about Parliament’s collection was the wide range of sizes for their manuscripts. Lectionary 450 is an enormous manuscript: 35 cm by 28 cm, written in gigantic script on 478 leaves! On the other hand, codex 804 was especially small; its height was that of an iPhone with petite handwriting on 262 leaves.

GA 804

We greatly enjoyed working with the staff at the Library of the Hellenic Parliament, including Dr. Eleni Droulia and Mrs. Angela Karapanou. They were gracious hosts for us. Their leadership expedited our digitization project and has contributed to the excellent condition of the library’s special collections. We were honored to collaborate with their staff and look forward to continued partnership.

Two other groups of people deserve special thanks for their invaluable support. First, we are grateful for our partners at the National Library of Greece who introduced CSNTM to the staff at the Parliamentary Library and collaborated on the project with us. Second, CSNTM could not have completed this project apart from the generosity of you, our donors, who believe as we do that it is critical to preserve handwritten copies of the Greek New Testament and share the images freely online. Thank you for contributing to this digitization project!

We would also ask you to show your support for the Parliament Library by liking them on Facebook here.

The following manuscripts were digitized and will be available to study online in the coming months.

GA 804

GA 805

GA 806

GA 807

GA 2049

GA 2096

GA 2097

GA 2313

GA l450

Why Digitize Manuscripts?

1/26/2018

By: Daniel B. Wallace, PhD

In the beginning there was microfilm. And it was not good. The finer points of the text could not be read, the colors were rendered in various shades of gray, and marginal notes and commentaries were seen as lines and bumps. Erased text and corrections were undetectable, and dating the manuscripts was made more difficult because certain paleographical clues were invisible. A large percentage of the microfilm images were completely illegible. But this was all that NT scholars had to work with. And hundreds of manuscripts have never been microfilmed at all, quite a few of which were completely unknown to biblical scholars. Of these, CSNTM has already digitized nearly 100 previously unknown manuscripts.

Microfilm Image from GA 2813

Microfilm Image of Codex 2813

Then came digital photography. And it was very good. The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts was founded in 2002. Our first digitization project was in Münster, Germany, at the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF). We shot the NT manuscripts owned by the institute. These were the first NT manuscripts to be digitized, and it was appropriate that INTF was the place to launch our work. Our four and five megapixel cameras (state of the art at the time)—produced significantly better images than the microfilm. The shutter click to computer upload took 90 seconds. The whole job took several weeks.

Comparing microfilm and digital images of GA 1175

Microfilm and Digital, side by side

In the following years, digital cameras continued to improve. Today, we use 50 MP cameras that produce 300 MB images in TIFF. From shutter to camera is virtually instantaneous. The finest details on any given page can be blown up many times. The colors, marginal notes, even much erased text, can now be seen with ease. And posting these images on www.csntm.org, making them free for all and free for all time, gives scholars accessibility to these manuscripts at the click of a button.

The beginning of John in Codex 800

Codex 800 at the National Library of Greece, Athens

One of the most significant values of digitizing these manuscripts is that an exquisite image of every page is preserved for ages to come. Every library where we digitize these documents gets a complete archival copy of each handwritten treasure. And the images can be enlarged multiple times without any pixilation. Even the finer hues—which often have interpretive significance—are clearly visible. The tiniest detail no longer hides from the scholar’s sight; the former blurs are now conspicuous letters.

A leaf from P46 from the University of Michigan

Page from P46, the oldest manuscript of Paul’s letters

So, why do we do what we do? CSNTM digitizes manuscripts for preservation, accessibility, clarity, recovery, and discovery. Ultimately, these images help scholars to produce Greek New Testaments that, in turn, are translated into modern languages. These priceless, one-of-a-kind codices, long obscured by microfilm, are coming to brilliant light, bringing glory to the libraries that own them and informing the New Testament text that you read today.

CSNTM in 2017: In Case You Missed It

12/30/2017

2017 was an exciting and busy year for CSNTM. We digitized manuscripts in both Greece and Scotland, and visited others for future work. We finished releasing the images from the National Library of Greece expedition. We also celebrated our fifteenth anniversary. We hope you enjoy reading (or re-reading!) these five posts that encapsulate our year.

Digitizing

1. From Scribe to Screen: How Technology is Changing Textual Criticism

Jacob W. Peterson discusses some recent technological innovations that are revolutionizing the field of textual criticism.

 

GA 1424

2. From the Library: GA 1424

In March, an important manuscript digitized by CSNTM in 2010 made headline news.

 

Monastery

3. Manuscripts Digitized at Greek Monasteries

A team from CSNTM digitized three manuscripts at two remote monasteries in central Greece.

 

Helps for Readers   

4. Helps for Readers: A Page from GA 773

A guided tour through one page of a “medieval study Bible.”

 

Dublin

5. 15th Anniversary of CSNTM

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace reflects on CSNTM’s 15 years of work and the continuing relevance and importance of its mission.

11x12 Christmas Eve Announcement

12/24/2017

Thank you to the many people who participated in the 11x12 campaign. Over the last two weeks 17 people were honored with at least an $11 monthly contribution to the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

Let us tell you about the difference your commitment will make. There are thousands of Greek New Testament manuscripts scattered among hundreds of libraries, museums, and monasteries. Many are decaying because of their great age and are inaccessible for study. Yet, it is these handwritten documents that are the basis for the translation and study of the New Testament. Through digitization, CSNTM is able to preserve these manuscripts and then share the images online so that they are available to the entire world—free for all and free for all time.

Digitizing ancient and medieval manuscripts is a high-tech and precise project. On our upcoming expeditions, it will cost $11 to digitize a single page. Each donation made in honor of these loved ones will allow CSNTM to digitize 12 such pages this year!

We are grateful that this Christmas season many people chose to partner with CSNTM to preserve ancient New Testament manuscripts for the modern world. And we appreciate the legacy of these honorees that have been recognized. Thank you and merry Christmas!

Honorees

Dale Beaver

Doris DaCosta

Erica Janzen

Ron and Linda Jenkins

Charles Johnson

Rusty Kennedy

Michael Krueger

Jamie McLaughlin

Mark Patton

Rod Routen

Beecher and Nayda Wallace

Betty White

Edward and Virginia Wright, Sr.

Elizabeth Z.

Zacharias Zachariassen

From the Library: Preserving the Christmas Story in Matthew

12/14/2017

A Bifolio of the Beginning of Matthew in GA 776

As Christmas approaches each year, Christians around the world turn once again to the account of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1–2. This beloved passage occupies a privileged position at the beginning of the NT. However, because of its prominent place at the front of each Gospels codex, it was also the portion of the Scriptures most likely to be damaged or destroyed. Nearly every codex has at least some deterioration on the first few and last few leaves, since these are the most exposed to the elements. 

In our own collection of medieval minuscules, a quick review shows that the Christmas story in Matthew has often experienced significant fading, water or other damage, and sometimes it was even completely destroyed and lost. For instance, GA 790, GA 764, and GA 898 are missing the first leaf of Matthew. GA 798 is missing the first two leaves. GA 768, GA 771, GA 784, GA 897, GA 1417, and GA 2526—though they once contained the entire Gospel of Matthew—are now missing the Christmas story entirely!

 GA 898 begins at Matthew 1:17.

GA 768 begins at Matthew 3:6.

GA 784 begins at Matthew 5:3.

 

Damage to the Christmas story in Matthew occurred in a variety of ways. Sometimes it was from water (GA 758, GA 782), dirt (GA 785, GA 791, GA 792, GA 793, GA 796, GA 799, GA 2524), wax drippings when readers read by candlelight (GA 763, GA 781, GA 783), fire (GA 786, GA 800, GA 1416), or some other kind of trauma (GA 798).

Water Damage

Water damage to the first leaf of Matthew in GA 782.

Dirt Damage 

Dirt damage to the beginning of GA 2524.

Wax Damage

Damage from wax drippings on the third leaf of Matthew in GA 781.

Fire Damage

Significant fire damage to the edges of the first leaf of Matthew in GA 1416.

Other Damage

An unknown event caused the first few leaves to be torn away completely from GA 798.

 

With the variety of ways that the Christmas story could be lost or damaged, it was essential that scribes who cared for these damaged manuscripts devise a number of ways to save the Christmas story from disappearing altogether from the codex. Sometimes scribes would trace back over faded or damaged ink, such as in GA 758 and GA 787. In GA 757, GA 772, GA 789, GA 1686, and GA 2528, a later scribe has remade lost leaves and placed them back where they go.

Retracing 1

A scribe retraced over a water-damaged leaf near the beginning of GA 758.

Retracing 2

A scribe retraced over the faded first verse of Matthew in GA 787.

Replacement 1

The beginning of Matthew was recreated and placed back into GA 789 (left) to replace a damaged or unreadable page. An original leaf from later in the Gospel is shown on the right.

Replacement 2

The first leaf of GA 1686 was remade and replaced (left). The next leaf, continuing the Christmas story, is on the right.

The Christmas story in Matthew 1–2 is an ancient narrative that has been handed down for generations in New Testament manuscripts. We are thankful for the work that nameless scribes throughout history did to ensure that this portion of the Christian Scriptures survived intact. This Christmas season, as you turn to read about Jesus’ birth in Matthew, remember the care and creativity required to preserve this story so that we could read it today.

 

 

11x12 Campaign

12/11/2017

11x12 Feature Image

We are launching a brand new campaign called 11x12 for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. 11x12 is an invitation for you to give $11 a month for the next year in honor of someone. Why $11? We chose $11 because that is what it costs CSNTM to preserve one unique, handwritten page of a New Testament manuscript on our upcoming expeditions. Your monthly donation to CSNTM will see 12 pages preserved!

The exciting aspect of this campaign is the opportunity to honor someone else. This time of year is perfect for recognizing and remembering the important people in your life. They could be one of your family members, they could be someone who inspired your interest in the New Testament, or they could even be someone for whom it’s difficult to buy a present.

On Christmas Eve we will post a list of the honorees on our website so that you can share with them the commitment you made on their behalf. The New Testament Scriptures would not be available to us today apart from the work of numerous scribes whose legacy we carry on by preserving ancient New Testament manuscripts for the modern world. Now it’s your turn to become part of a mission that has been going on for almost two thousand years.

Let’s preserve New Testament manuscripts together, one page at a time. 

Donate Now

 

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

10/27/2017

Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our collection. These include 28 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project

0161 Last Leaf

UV image from GA 0161, an eighth century manuscript leaf containing verses from Matthew 22. GA 0161 is a palimpsest, meaning that the under-text was written in the eighth century but this bi-folio leaf was reused in the process of binding a later manuscript (GA 1419, a 15th century Gospels MS). As you can see, this leaf was reused twice before it came to be bound this way! There is faint writing vertically (GA 0161), as well as upside-down horizontal writing (bottom 3/4 of the page) and right-side-up writing (top 2 lines). This single piece of parchment was repurposed in multiple ways over the course of more than 7 centuries.

  • GA 050Ninth century majuscule of the Gospels with commentary. 2 leaves.
  • GA 094Sixth century palimpsest majuscule of the Gospels. 1 leaf.
  • GA 0161Eighth century palimpsest majuscule of the Gospels. 1 leaf.
  • GA 766Thirteenth century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 768Twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 2652: Fifteenth century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 2653Fifteenth century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul.
  • GA 2654Eleventh century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 2655: Eleventh century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 2656Seventeenth century minuscule of the Gospels and Revelation.
  • GA Lect 397Tenth century palimpsest lectionary.
  • GA Lect 398Fourteenth century lectionary.
  • GA Lect 399Thirteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 400Fourteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1529Thirteenth century lectionary of the Gospels. Dated to 1288.
  • GA Lect 1649Thirteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1807Fifteenth century lectionary of the Gospels. Dated to 1454.
  • GA Lect 1809Twelfth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1812Fifteenth century lectionary of the Gospels. Dated 1452–53.
  • GA Lect 1817Fifteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1819Seventeenth century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1820Fourteenth century lectionary of the Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1821Fourteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1824: Twelfth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1885Ninth century lectionary palimpsest.
  • GA Lect 2009Twelfth century lectionary of Paul.
  • GA Lect 2011Thirteenth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 2013Thirteenth century lectionary of the 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.

15th Anniversary of CSNTM

10/20/2017

The concept for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts began long before it became an official non-profit organization. In my sabbatical at Cambridge University in 1995 I logged many happy weeks at the University Library examining New Testament manuscripts. Peter Head of Tyndale House, Cambridge, and I even spent a day poring over Codex Cantabrigiensis, a fifth-century codex that had been donated to the University in 1581 by Theodore Beza. Digital photography was starting to have an impact in the late 90s. Dr. Hall Harris (CSNTM board member) urged me to start my own institute for examining and photographing NT manuscripts. The need was great: only microfilms were available for most NT manuscripts, and the quality was abysmal. Frequently, the text was illegible on these microfilms, and virtually all marginal notes by the scribes were way too blurry to read. Our knowledge, therefore, of the NT manuscripts was, in each instance, almost always incomplete. Once 4 megapixel digital cameras were produced, the time was right to found a new institute. Digital photography ushered in a new era of textual study: for the first time, these manuscripts would be easily accessible and read with great clarity. 

Microfilm Image of NT Manuscript

CSNTM was granted 501(c)3 status on September 13, 2002 by the IRS.

Our inaugural expedition was to St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt in September 2002. In our week there, we examined some of the ‘New Finds’ manuscripts that had been discovered in 1975. In the process of examination, we discovered two more previously unknown manuscripts: an ancient Greek Old Testament palimpsest (a manuscript that had been scraped over and reused) of the major prophets, in majuscule script; and the Protevangelium of James, an apocryphal book of which very few copies still exist (this was one of the earliest ones).

Later in the same month, my wife and I moved to Münster, Germany where we spent a sabbatical year. Because CSNTM was a brand new institute with virtually no funding, we needed a major gift for the sabbatical year to be as effective as possible. Our prayers were answered: Just such a gift from a small church in Minnesota arrived that summer, allowing me to travel throughout Europe in search of manuscripts. Several more discoveries were made in 2002–03. And our first digitizing project was at the Institute for New Testament Research (INTF) in Münster. With one 4 MP and one 5 MP camera (the cost for each of these state-of-the-art cameras was in the four digits!), an assistant and I spent several weeks digitizing the 22 manuscripts in Münster’s collection. It took 90 seconds to process a single picture! The quality was not very good compared to today’s standards, but it was far better than microfilm. 

In the early years, CSNTM was essentially a summer project. We usually raised enough funds for a two- or three-week expedition each summer. The physical location of the Center was my study, closet, garage—and sometimes living room! As word of our mission spread, the funds began to pour in. In 2004 we digitized 30 manuscripts at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, including an early majuscule palimpsest of Mark’s Gospel that we discovered.

The Center grew, our expedition season expanded, and the quality of the cameras improved. We procured subleased office space in 2008, and the staff increased to two full-timers and one part-time employee.

Codex 800 (National Library of Greece) 

During these years, we continued to discover more manuscripts and improve our photographic protocols. In 2007 our visit to the National Archive in Tirana, Albania revealed dozens of NT manuscripts that the scholarly world was unaware of. The news of these discoveries was reported in over 100 international newspapers.

2008–09 was another sabbatical year for me. I spent it digitizing manuscripts on three continents. The CSNTM team photographed manuscripts in Albania, Romania, Cambridge University, Arundel Castle, Glasgow University, St. Andrews University, University of Michigan, Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), New Zealand (Auckland), the Bavarian State Library in Munich, several sites in Greece, and many other locations.

Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Patmos

By this time, CSNTM had earned an international reputation. The quality of our images, the free access to these images, and the many discoveries were helping biblical scholars all over the globe in the task of reconstructing the exact wording of the original text—all at the click of a mouse.

In 2013, through the advocacy of Dr. Larry Hurtado of Edinburgh University, CSNTM was granted permission to photograph some of the oldest and most important papyri of the NT, housed at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Portions of one of these manuscripts, which we digitized the following year, were at the University of Michigan. Eighty years ago, photographs of these unspeakably significant papyri were published. Technology has improved a bit since then; the crisp clarity of CSNTM’s images has revealed many more details. Two PhD dissertations on these papyri have been done/are being done based on our images. All this will help scholars discern the early transmission of the NT text and assist them in recovering the wording of the originals. 

A Page from P46 (University of Michigan)

Speaking of doctoral students, every year CSNTM staff train interns for scholarly work in the New Testament. Many of our interns have gone on to prestigious universities to earn advanced degrees—Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Yale, Brown, Princeton Seminary, St. Andrews, Wheaton College, Dallas Seminary, University of Dallas, Baylor University, and many other schools. And several of them are now teaching, bringing solid, biblical scholarship to the classroom. Like CSNTM’s digital images, these scholars will have an impact for generations to come. 

The next year was no less momentous. CSNTM received a contract to digitize the entire collection of Greek NT manuscripts at the National Library of Greece in Athens. We labored for the next two years on the project. Forty-four people were rigorously trained for precision digitizing. During this time we purchased the long-anticipated Canon 50 MP cameras—ten times better than our original cameras. Over 300 manuscripts were photographed producing 45 terabytes of images (150,000 images). Thanks especially must go to Rob Marcello, who is in charge of our expeditions and who planned this two-year enterprise down to the smallest details. The post-production work is still ongoing.

Our tiny institute—with only seven employees—has a reputation that belies its size. The staff includes:

Rob Marcello, Director of Operations and Research

Christina Nations, Development Manager

Stratton Ladewig, Project Manager

Andrew Bobo, Research Coordinator

Mark Arvé, Finance Coordinator

Andy Patton, Development Coordinator

Dan Wallace, Executive Director.

Rob Marcello in Dublin

As of last month, CSNTM now has its own leased office—more than 2000 square feet including offices, a dedicated digitizing room, equipment room, library, and conference room.

In CSNTM’s first 15 years, we have worked at more than forty locations throughout the world, digitizing more than half a million pages of the Greek NT and discovering upwards of 90 manuscripts. As we look to the future, our sights are set on libraries in Greece, Italy, Eastern Europe, former Soviet bloc countries, and the Middle East. We will soon add Multi-Spectral Imaging to our digitizing equipment, enabling us to read erased manuscripts—manuscripts whose text has not been seen for centuries. Donations are both welcome and necessary for this work. Not only are CSNTM’s images helping biblical researchers, art historians, and Greek scholars, but they are also digitally preserving these amazing artifacts, freezing them in time before the decay of the ages has its full sway. And, as always, our commitment is to make our images free for all, free for all time.

 

Daniel B. Wallace

Executive Director

CSNTM

 

200 New Manuscripts Added to Our Library

9/12/2017

We have just added 200 new manuscripts to our digital library from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. All of these manuscripts were taken on microfilm in 1950 by the Library of Congress, assisted by dozens of scholars from various institutions. This was a vast and important project, and you can read more about it here. These images are publicly available on the Library of Congress website. You can search within the collection, which also contains writings by church fathers and liturgical documents, by going here.

The St. Catherine’s manuscripts will now show up in manuscript queries using our website’s search functionality. We have also posted links to each manuscript below, organized by date. We hope you enjoy exploring this collection further through our website. This is part of fulfilling our mission to make the best available images of Greek New Testament manuscripts accessible to everyone.

 

10th Century or Earlier

GA 1203GA 1220GA 1223GA 1225GA 1880GA Lect 844GA Lect 845GA Lect 846GA Lect 847GA Lect 848GA Lect 849GA Lect 907GA Lect 909GA Lect 1269GA Lect 1270GA Lect 1272GA Lect 2211

11th Century 

GA 1187GA 1188 (11th-12th)GA 1191 (11th-12th)GA 1192GA 1194GA 1195GA 1207GA 1209GA 1210GA 1211GA 1212GA 1214GA 1216GA 1219GA 1221GA 1222GA 1243GA 1244GA 1878GA 1879GA Lect 300GA Lect 851GA Lect 853GA Lect 859GA Lect 863GA Lect 864GA Lect 865GA Lect 870GA Lect 875GA Lect 877GA Lect 1267GA Lect 1268GA Lect 1356GA Lect 1401GA Lect 1442GA Lect 1443GA Lect 1750

12th Century

GA 1186GA 1190GA 1193GA 1197GA 1198GA 1199GA 1200GA 1204GA 1217GA 1218GA 1224GA 1227 (12th-14th)GA 1228GA 1230GA 1231GA 1240GA 1241GA 1245GA Lect 809GA Lect 850GA Lect 852GA Lect 854GA Lect 855GA Lect 856GA Lect 858GA Lect 860GA Lect 861GA Lect 866GA Lect 867GA Lect 869GA Lect 871GA Lect 876GA Lect 878GA Lect 891GA Lect 901GA Lect 911GA Lect 912GA Lect 916GA Lect 1364GA Lect 1365GA Lect 1405GA Lect 1439GA Lect 1753GA Lect 1754GA Lect 1755GA Lect 1771

13th Century

GA 1201GA 1205GA 1206GA 1208GA 1213GA 1215GA 1226GA 1229GA 1238GA 1242GA 1251GA 1255GA 1256GA 2499 (13th-14th)GA 2502GA Lect 862GA Lect 880GA Lect 896GA Lect 902GA Lect 903GA Lect 904GA Lect 910GA Lect 1440GA Lect 1441GA Lect 1590GA Lect 1752GA Lect 1773GA Lect 1774

14th Century

GA 1185GA 1189GA 1196GA 1234GA 1235GA 1236GA 1248GA 1249GA 1252GA 1254GA 1877GA 1881GA 2085GA 2086GA 2355GA 2356GA 2492GA 2493GA 2494GA 2503GA Lect 887GA Lect 888GA Lect 889GA Lect 1470GA Lect 1593GA Lect 1594GA Lect 1756GA Lect 1757GA Lect 1763GA Lect 1764GA Lect 1765GA Lect 1770

15th Century or Later

GA 1202GA 1232GA 1233GA 1237GA 1239GA 1247GA 1250GA 1253GA 1876GA 2495GA 2496GA 2497GA 2501GA Lect 610GA Lect 874GA Lect 885GA Lect 886GA Lect 890GA Lect 892GA Lect 893GA Lect 894GA Lect 897GA Lect 914GA Lect 1281GA Lect 1282GA Lect 1283GA Lect 1284GA Lect 1436GA Lect 1471GA Lect 1591GA Lect 1592GA Lect 1595GA Lect 1749GA Lect 1758GA Lect 1759GA Lect 1761GA Lect 1762GA Lect 1766GA Lect 1767GA Lect 1768GA Lect 1769GA Lect 1772

Helps for Readers: A Page from GA 773

9/6/2017

By: Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton

This blog features a tenth-century manuscript of the Gospels known to scholars as Gregory-Aland 773 (GA 773). The manuscript is held at the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015–16 digitization project. GA 773 is a remarkable manuscript in many respects. First of all, though it is over 1000 years old, it is nearly in mint condition. Each of the ornate icons of the Evangelists is entirely intact, along with the headpieces and other features of the manuscript. GA 773 also has extensive commentary surrounding the biblical text in the margins and a brief introduction to each Gospel. You might characterize GA 773 as a medieval study Bible.

It is easy for us, as inheritors of a tradition, to take for granted the many helpful features that have grown up around the bare text of scripture. Nearly all of our Bibles include basic things like page numbers, topical headings, chapters, verses, and intertextual cross-references; and study Bibles also include explanatory notes from trusted scholars on the historical, literary, and theological features of the text. These do not claim to be essential nor original (besides book titles and page numbers, none of these features can be found in the earliest manuscripts of the NT). Instead, features like these are the products of centuries of study and reflection. Over time, certain innovations and helps became standard in the medieval church. 

These features are referred to by scholars as ‘paratext.’ That is, they are features which frame and guide the reading of the scriptural text. In this blog, we will examine a single page from the beginning of Mark in GA 773. This single page can serve as a window into the many interesting paratextual features that became prominent after the first 1000 years of the text’s development.

 

Helps for Readers: Mark

 

Headpiece: In nearly all medieval manuscripts, each book begins with a headpiece. It is often rather ornate, with gold and blue ink used to beautify the beginning of the Gospel. The headpiece signals to the reader that a new book starts here.

Headpiece

 

Inscriptio (Book Title): From the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels in the second century and throughout the entire tradition, each Gospel has had a title. It is either “The Gospel According to Mark” or simply “According to Mark.” GA 773 has the longer title, “The Gospel According to Mark,” written in gold ink with majuscule letters (similar to ‘all caps’ in modern English).

Inscriptio

 

Ornamented Letter: It is very common throughout manuscripts to have enlarged letters at the beginning of books and throughout each book in order to mark the beginning of new sections. In some cases it could even be intended help readers recall verses for memorization by causing the first letter to stick out in their minds. The first Greek letter in the Gospel of Mark is alpha, identical to a capital “A.” It begins the word arche, ‘the beginning.’

Ornamented Letter

 

Biblical Text: As you can see on this page, the biblical text is written in a block in the top left quadrant of the page. The reader can easily see that the biblical text is the primary focus of the page, since it is much larger and more prominent than the commentary text surrounding its three sides.

 

Eusebian Canon: If you spend any amount of time looking at medieval Gospels manuscripts, you will no doubt notice small notations in the margin of the text. These combinations of letters are an ancient system devised in the fourth century by Eusebius, the church historian and scholar. Though the system is a bit too complicated to explain here, these notations assisted readers in quickly finding stories that occur in multiple Gospels.

Eusebian Canon

 

Nomina Sacra (‘Sacred Names’): One feature unique to Christian manuscripts is the presence of nomina sacra, or ‘sacred names.’ Scribes would abbreviate names referring to God, the Spirit, many titles referring to Jesus (such as ‘Christ,’ ‘Son,’ ‘Lord,’ ‘Savior,’ ‘God,’ and others). In the first verse of Mark, the words “Jesus Christ” have been written as nomina sacra. In Greek, these words would be spelled ιησου χριστου, but as nomina sacra they are shortened to only the first and last letters ιυ χυ (with a line over each one to alert readers these are shortened words). This communicated to readers the uniqueness of Christ and the worshipful reverence due to him.

Nomina Sacra

 

Introduction: As the medieval era dawned and progressed, certain historical information became standard introductory material in Greek NT manuscripts. It would often include information about the Gospel’s author and when it was written. In GA 773, this information is provided briefly on the first page of each Gospel, in (now somewhat faded) red ink before the commentary begins. This introduction provided readers with helpful information about the Gospel writer’s connection to Christ and the apostles, which reinforced the authority that the canonical Gospels held for Christian readers as a reliable witness to Christ’s person and work.

Introduction

 

Commentary: In medieval manuscripts of the New Testament, it is relatively common for there to be commentary accompanying the biblical text. After the first 500 years or so of Christianity, certain particularly reliable teachers emerged. Their teaching was deemed to be so helpful for so many Christians over such a long period of time that scribes wanted to make these comments on the biblical text readily available to future readers. In GA 773 specifically, it seems that the commentary provided in the margins is a combination of writings from numerous church fathers, especially from the fourth and fifth centuries.

Markers in text and commentary: Though it may be hard to see in the image above, there are small Greek letters written in red ink which are interspersed throughout the text and commentary. These were devised to help readers find the section of commentary that corresponded to each phrase in the biblical text they were reading. Similar systems are used in modern study Bibles with cross references or textual notes.

Commentary Markers

 

If you would like to see the rest of GA 773 for yourself, please go here. If you would like to explore our manuscript library, go here.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

8/23/2017

 Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

GA 2528

A reconstructed image of GA 2528 as an open codex. On the left there is a paper replacement leaf which ends with Matthew 20:19. On the right, the facing page contains the original parchment leaf, which begins at Matthew 20:15. The early leaves in the manuscript, containing the first 20 chapters of Matthew, seem to have suffered some significant wear and damage over time (to see some examples, original leaves from Matthew 9-10 were retained as a buffer at the front and back of the codex). The replacement leaves in Matthew were written in the 16th century, about 2-3 centuries after the original manuscript was produced. As you continue through the codex, you will notice that there are two additional paper replacement leaves (ff. 154, 161) in the Gospel of John. These are from yet another scribe writing sometime prior to 16th century. The codex as it stands truly represents a group effort across the centuries!

  • GA 208915th century minuscule of Paul.
  • GA 252414th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 252712-13th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 252813-14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 130815th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 131512th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul. The manuscript consists of 5 leaves found at the front and back of the codex.
  • GA Lect 151017th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 151916th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 152512th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 152613th 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece 

8/17/2017

 Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

GA 1832

A leaf from Romans in GA 1832. Large portions of the manuscript, including a few leaves in Romans, most of 1 Corinthians, and all of 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians, have been restored. It appears that the original ink had faded enough that it became difficult to read the text, so a later scribe very carefully traced over the original in a darker ink. 

  • GA 169914th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 176214th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. Several quires are missing from the manuscript, including the first few chapters of Acts and all of 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, and James.
  • GA 183212th-13th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. 
  • GA 187510th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. Contains an icon of Peter and two icons of Paul.
  • GA Lect 122614th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 122712th century lectionary of the Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 122812th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 122912th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 123014th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 123214th 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

8/10/2017

Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

Beginning of Acts

Above is the beginning of Acts in GA 1611. This manuscript has had quite a life! The first 30-35 leaves have been charred by fire and one-third of every leaf is missing (with some original leaves missing entirely). However, the manuscript was not discarded. Later scribes did the painstaking work to restore the bottom part of each leaf, even writing in missing lines of text covered over by the repair paper. 

  • GA 136011th or 12th century minuscule of Apostolos and Paul with commentary in the margins.
  • GA 141014th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 161110th century minuscule of the Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation.
  • GA 169413th century minuscule of the Gospels
  • GA Lect 44813th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 58712th or 13th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 121515th century lectionary (dated to 1405) of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 122313th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 122412th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 122514th 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

8/7/2017

Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

UV Comparison

Above is a leaf from GA Lect 444, a majuscule lectionary from the 10th century. As you can see, this manuscript is a palimpsest, so the original text (GA Lect 444) was scraped away and a different text (a liturgical book) was written over it by a later scribe. CSNTM digitized this manuscript using ultraviolet lighting in order to help scholars decipher the text more easily. Images of the entire manuscript, both with and without UV, have now been posted.

  • GA 781: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels. Lots of wax and dirt--signs of a well-used manuscript!
  • GA 809: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels. Extensive commentary in the margins surrounding the biblical text. Ornate canon tables and headpieces.
  • GA 811: 14th century (dated to 1321) minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1405: 15th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 432: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 437: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 438: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 442: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 444: 10th century majuscule lectionary. 
  • GA Lect 447: 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.

CSNTM's Newest Board Member: Dr. Greg Bledsoe

8/2/2017

Please welcome CSNTM’s newest board member, Dr. Greg Bledsoe!

Dr. Greg Bledsoe has accepted an invitation to be on the CSNTM Board of Directors, joining John Brandon (Vice President International, Apple, retired), Dr. W. Hall Harris (Senior Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary), Dr. Michael W. Holmes (Director of the Bible Scholars Initiative), Susan Hutchison (Executive Director, Simonyi Fund for the Arts and Sciences, Seattle), Dr. Daniel B. Wallace (Executive Director, CSNTM), and Dr. Tommy Wasserman (Academic Dean and Lecturer in New Testament, Örebro School of School of Theology). Dr. Bledsoe is the Surgeon General of Arkansas and an expert in both wilderness and emergency medicine. You can learn more about Dr. Bledsoe at his website

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts is thrilled to have Dr. Bledsoe on its Board of Directors!

10 New Gospels Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

8/1/2017

Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 Gospels manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

GA 773 Evangelists

Icons of the Evangelists in GA 773 (Matthew, top left; Mark, top right; Luke, bottom left; John, bottom right)

  • GA 761: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 762: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 764: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 773: 10th century minuscule of the Gospels with extensive commentary in the margins from various church fathers.
  • GA Lect 389: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 390: 10th or 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 404: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 405: 13th century lectionary (dated to 1274) of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 413: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 430: 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.

Manuscripts Digitized at Greek Monasteries

7/28/2017

By: Jacob Peterson

At the end of May, Robert Marcello and I returned to Greece for what may just be the most remote expedition I’ve been on to date in order to digitize manuscripts at two monasteries in central Greece. From our centrally-located hotel, we travelled up to an hour and a half one-way every day to the monasteries. On the open road in Texas with that much time you can travel well over 100 miles depending on just how heavy your foot is. As an indicator of both just how remote we were operating and how mountainous the terrain was, our longest drive was 36 miles. Thankfully, in Greece, the more remote a location is the more beautiful it’s probably going to be. That proved to be true yet again.

A view of Panagias Monastery (the building with a red roof), one location where CSNTM digitized in 2017

The first monastery we worked at was Panagias in Proussos. They had one manuscript, a Gospels lectionary from the 16th century (GA Lect 2083). Judging by the amount of candle wax drippings on its pages, it was a well-read and cherished treasure of the monks. While the manuscript has already survived roughly 500 years of use, it’s always great to ensure that both the monastery and researchers will have access to the manuscript through our images for many more years.

The second place we traveled to was the Tatarnis Monastery. They have two New Testament manuscripts that we were able to digitize (GA 2810 and GA Lect 2176). One of these, GA 2810, partially chronicled some of the hardships the monastery has experienced over the years. A note on one of the opening pages mentions several different episodes involving frozen rivers, lack of food, and no rain. Not surprisingly given these events, it also records that one of the monks left for Athens! In addition to these two New Testament manuscripts, we also digitized an early copy of a biblical commentary written by Gregory of Nazianzus that was gifted to the monastery from the patriarchate in Constantinople.

Despite great weather, ample food, and warm hospitality from the bishop and at both monasteries we, too, had to return to Athens at the end of the week. In addition to our gratefulness to these monasteries, we remain thankful for our partnership with the National Library of Greece, whose staff continues to make connections on our behalf to enable us to preserve and make available even more New Testament manuscripts.

Follow these links to examine these manuscripts in our library:

GA Lect 2083: 16th century Gospels lectionary

GA 2810: a Gospels minuscule copied in 1514

GA Lect 2176: 16th century Gospels lectionary

Manuscripts Digitized at the University of Edinburgh

6/23/2017

By: Jacob Peterson

I left my role as Intern Coordinator at CSNTM in the fall of 2015 to begin my PhD in New Testament at the University of Edinburgh. Over the course of the next year, it became obvious that, if possible, I should try and digitize the New Testament manuscripts held in the university’s library. Thankfully, the university agreed to this, and so Jim Leavenworth, a former CSNTM intern and fellow Edinburgh postgrad, and I were able to complete this project in December of last year.

In total, the university owns five Greek New Testament manuscripts listed in the official catalog produced by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Germany. The manuscripts are:

GA 563 – 11th century manuscript of the Gospels

GA 897 – 13th century manuscript of the Gospels

GA 898 – 13th century manuscript of the Gospels

GA Lect 578 – 11th century manuscript with lectionary readings from the Gospels

GA Lect 1747 – 11th century manuscript with lectionary readings from John

While preparing the manuscripts for digitization, I discovered what seemed to be two new manuscripts in the form of replacement leaves. Sometimes individual leaves or whole quires would have to be replaced because the original had fallen out or was badly damaged. One of the new discoveries appears to be a simple case of an entire quire being replaced for possibly these reasons. However, the other new discovery is much more interesting. It is a single leaf that has been replaced in GA Lect 578.

The normal lectionary reading for Pentecost includes John 7:37–52 and then 8:12. This notably skips over the story of the woman caught in adultery, which was read separately on a feast day. Yet, in GA Lect 578 the evidence points to the lectionary originally containing the whole range of 7:37–8:12. The replacement leaf provided the first clue of this in that it only has writing on the front of the leaf that contained John 7:45–52 and 8:12. The natural question then is whether or not the original leaf would have held those verses plus the 7:53–8:11. The page prior to the replacement leaf ends at John 7:45, and the one after begins with the next day’s lection from Matthew 18:10. Each leaf in the manuscript contains about 1,400–1,800 letters, and John 7:45–8:12 has 1,389 letters according to the standard Greek text. This works out perfectly given that the scribe often left some blank space at the end of a column if it would mean that a new lection could start on a new leaf. It appears then that the original scribe incorrectly copied the story of the woman caught in adultery into the readings for Pentecost and then, at a later date, someone noticed this problem and took the effort to replace the entire leaf rather than just write in the manuscript that the section should be skipped.

What might seem like a rather mundane point about an otherwise obscure Byzantine lectionary raises a couple of interesting points. The first is that the Church is loyal to the proper lectionary cycle and was astutely aware of the proper readings for each day. Reading the story of the woman caught in adultery on Pentecost is certainly not harmful, but its rightful place in church liturgy is with the feasts. This was enough reason for someone to take considerable time and effort to fix the error. The second is that it presents difficult questions for the copying history of the manuscript. By analyzing other telltale places in the manuscript, it does not appear that it was copied from a continuous text manuscript where it would have been easy to include the story of the woman caught in adultery on accident. So when and how did this story get inserted? Perhaps we’ll never know. But we do know that some monk included it, whether accidentally or because of liking the story and knowing it belonged after John 7:52. We also know that a later monk knew it did not belong, so he fixed it to stay in line with the proper worship of the church.

This manuscript also shows that there are many, many more manuscripts to discover and countless more interesting things we have to learn from them. Something as ordinary as a replacement leaf invites us back into the history of the Church and into the real world and lives that surrounded the creation of these treasures.

A special thank you is extended to Dr. Joseph Marshall, Norman Rodger, and Susan Pettigrew, as well as the rest of the Centre for Research Collections staff, who made this project possible in the midst of the library’s incredibly busy schedule.

From the Library: GA Lect 2468

5/1/2017

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

A New Discovery

The next feature in our From the Library Series is GA Lect 2468, which is one of the manuscripts CSNTM “discovered” while on expedition at the National Library of Greece (NLG). This manuscript was considered a discovery because it had not been officially catalogued by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Münster, Germany. INTF maintains a list of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. The National Library of Greece knew of its existence and had catalogued it as NLG 1910, but most biblical scholars were unaware of it until CSNTM digitized it and made it publicly available. This manuscript is a lectionary, which means that it contains a collection of scripture readings and comments to be used in Christian services on particular days of the year. Lectionaries like this one played a vital role in the Church’s worship throughout history.

Cover

GA Lect 2468 is an example of the urgent need for digitization. This medieval codex has had a tumultuous existence, and it shows. The first thing you will notice is the broken back cover. The manuscript’s cover is a wooden board wrapped in leather. More than half of the wooden board on the back was broken at some point, leaving the pages exposed to the elements.

As a result, the final pages of the manuscript are tattered and torn. 

GA Lect 2468 Back Cover

The broken back cover of GA Lect 2468

Water Damage

The manuscript has also been severely damaged by water. Water is one of the most significant threats to manuscripts because it damages both the parchment and the text. GA Lect 2468 has major portions at the beginning and end of the manuscript that have been washed out by water. In those spots, the text is faint or totally erased.

The first two pictures in the set below demonstrate how water damage affects the leaves in a manuscript. The one on the far left shows how the water receded across the page as it dried, but fortunately most of the text is clear. In the second image, we can see how the water receded, but here the text has become faint or totally erased.

Finally, water can also cause the ink to rust quickly because manuscripts were often written with iron-based ink. The third image shows a leaf where the water pooled, causing the ink to rust in certain spots and then spread across multiple lines. The text is smudged and distorted where there is rust.

GA Lect 2468 Damaged Leaves

Damaged leaves in GA Lect 2468 showing water damage (left and center) and rust (right)

Digitization to Preserve and Recover

It is remarkable that any manuscript has survived through the centuries and come down to us. Every manuscript is subject to an ever-changing environment and the eccentricities of history. Manuscripts were made to be used, and they were read and used for generations before they were intentionally preserved. Students of the New Testament are fortunate because the Greek New Testament suffers from an “embarrassment of riches” in manuscript attestation. Nearly 6,000 copies, in varying states of decay, are known to scholars today. There are even more manuscripts, like GA Lect 2468, that scholars have not yet identified. 

Digitization is a critical component in the preservation of these important and fragile documents. First, digitization captures the manuscript at a particular point in time. Then if it further deteriorates or is destroyed, we can still examine the document and its text through the archival images. Second, digitization extends the physical life of the manuscript because it can be examined closely—often more closely than looking at the codex in person—without being handled. This greatly reduces the risk of further deterioration. Finally, digitization using multi-spectral imaging or ultraviolet light can, in a sense, turn back the hands of time by revealing text that was erased by environmental damage or intentional erasure.

 UV Comparison

An example of the difference UV can make, from another manuscript

Manuscripts like this one invigorate our efforts to continue our work. GA Lect 2468 was damaged and deteriorating, and may soon become too fragile for researchers to handle. Because of the NLG expedition, however, not only has this manuscript become known to NT scholars, it is now preserved for all time through digitization and is available for everyone to study on our website. It is a great privilege to partner with libraries like the NLG in preserving the wealth of manuscripts that have come down to us, and ensuring that the next generation can enjoy them as well. You can view the complete manuscript in CSNTM’s Digital Library.

Five More CSNTM Discoveries Added to INTF’s Kurzgefasste Liste

4/26/2017

Dr Wallace in MS Room

When we go on an expedition, we intend to preserve known manuscripts. In the process, however, we often have the exciting privilege of uncovering new ones as well. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), and his team of experts inspect each manuscript that will be digitized. During this intensive first-hand study and in consultation with library staff, Dr. Wallace has found numerous New Testament manuscripts that were previously unknown to the broader scholarly community. Sometimes these are tucked away inside a codex along with another manuscript. At other times, an entire codex had not previously been recognized as a NT manuscript.

After making a potential discovery, CSNTM partners with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) to add the new manuscript to the INTF Kurzgefasste 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 five additional CSNTM discoveries to the Liste. These are now added to the four new minuscules that we announced last December. All nine of 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 contents.

NLG 158 (pp. 1–4) – GA Lect 2466

Fourteenth-century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul; the first two leaves of NLG 158/GA 765 

GA L2466 Leaf

Lection from the beginning of 1 John in GA Lect 2466

NLG 158 (pp. 405–461) – GA Lect 2467

Twelfth-century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul; 27 leaves at the end of NLG 158/GA 765

GA L2467 Leaf

Lection from the beginning of Acts 2 in GA Lect 2467

NLG 1910 – GA Lect 2468

Fifteenth-century lectionary; 264 leaves

NLG 3534 – GA Lect 2469

Fifteenth-century lectionary of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul; 64 leaves

NLG 4002 – GA Lect 2470

Eighteenth-century lectionary of the Gospels; 172 leaves

Holy Week in a Twelfth Century Manuscript

4/16/2017

Happy Easter to everyone who is celebrating Christianity’s most holy day! We have been sharing images from the Passion narratives on our social media accounts. All the images are from manuscript GA 777 from the National Library of Greece, a special twelfth century minuscule decorated with miniature icons of the life of Christ. In this post you can see how this manuscript depicted Holy Week in stunning detail.

Triumphal Entry (Luke 19.28–44)

Last Supper (Luke 22.7–38)

Trial (Mark 15.1–15) / Luke (23.8–15)

Simon the Cyrene (Mark 15.21)

Crucifixion (John 19.16–37)

 

If you want to dig deeper into this amazing manuscript, check out our From the Library article.

From the Library: GA 1424

3/31/2017

The Digital Library of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

GA 1424 Cover

The front cover of GA 1424

Recently, Codex 1424, a ninth-century New Testament manuscript, made major news because the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago returned the historic manuscript to the Greek Orthodox Church in a ceremony attended by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America. CSNTM had the privilege of digitizing GA 1424 in 2010, preserving this important manuscript and making it available online.

The beginning of Matthew in GA 1424 

Earliest Complete NT Minuscule

This manuscript holds a singular importance in the textual history of the New Testament for several reasons. First, GA 1424 is a complete Greek New Testament. Of the nearly 6,000 extant Greek NT manuscripts, only about 60 contain the entire New Testament. In addition, GA 1424 is regarded as the first complete Greek NT in minuscule text. Minuscule is a form of cursive writing that came into common use during the medieval era, beginning at about the ninth century. So this manuscript stands at the beginning of a new era and new method of copying the biblical text, a trend that would dominate until the advent of the printing press six centuries later. Finally, the Nestle-Aland critical edition of the Greek NT (the edition used by nearly all modern English translations of the NT) considers GA 1424 a “frequently cited witness” in the Gospels, meaning its readings of the Gospels were considered highly important for determining the original text of the NT. 

Unique Order

Along with its importance, GA 1424 is also notable for its uniqueness. The order of the books within the codex follows an unusual pattern: Gospels, Acts, General Epistles, Revelation, and then Paul. It is highly unconventional for Paul’s letters to follow Revelation, and it is unknown why such an ordering would have been chosen. 

The beginning of Romans in GA 1424, which immediately follows Revelation. Marginal commentary surrounds the text. 

Commentary

In the margins surrounding the New Testament text, scribes have included commentary by ancient Christian commentators. The Gruber Collection’s description of the manuscript notes that the original scribe included commentary on Revelation by Oecumenios (sixth century), and then scribes in the twelfth century added commentary from important church fathers from the fourth and fifth centuries: Chrysostom for the Gospels, and Theodore, Severian, and Theodoret for Paul’s letters. The marginal commentary not only shows how the church’s reading was guided by earlier exegetical traditions, but the commentary also implicitly speaks of the longevity of the codex itself. We must remember that the scribes who added these commentaries were working on a document that was already 300 years old at the time. This is a testament to the craftsmanship used in making manuscripts, as well as the useful life that they had. The work that Sabas (the ninth century scribe who wrote out the NT text in GA 1424) did went well beyond his own lifetime, not only to those still using the codex in the twelfth century, but even to all of us today.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to digitize such a unique and important manuscript. There are other interesting textual features in this manuscript including the later addition of the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7.53–8.11) in the margin. We hope that you will enjoy viewing the rest of the codex in our Digital Library.

From Scribe to Screen: How Technology is Changing Textual Criticism

3/3/2017

By: Jacob W. Peterson, PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh

I had just turned eight when the first edition of The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research was published in 1995, but my first interaction with the book didn’t come until more than a decade and a half later in grad school. One of the final chapters of that book dealt with the use of computers in textual criticism and the promise that the digital revolution had for the field. Reading that chapter in late 2011 caused more gratefulness that I skipped that era than hope for some Jetsons-like future. To say that technology had changed in the interim between publication and my reading would be a severe understatement. When the second edition landed on the shelves in late 2012, the editors made the decision not to update that chapter because as soon as the volume was printed it would be outdated. With an eye to the fact that the pace of technological innovation has still not slowed, I will now offer some current and future tech that brings promise to the study of ancient documents, particularly of the New Testament.

The first technological advance showing great promise is multi-spectral imaging (MSI). Specialists working with MSI are just beginning to understand the range of its applications. I was recently at a presentation by representatives of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL) who were working on items in the David Livingstone collection. They had used MSI to create a topographical analysis of a diary page that revealed a wet cup had once rested on the page. This was all but invisible to the naked eye but perfectly explained why certain parts of the text had smudges. While this is now only marginally exciting, it points to a bright future for the technology. There are so many important manuscripts that are difficult to read or are illegible for any number of reasons that MSI enables us to finally analyze. Beyond providing scholars with accurate pictures of the text contained in the ancient sources, MSI seems to have great potential for informing us about secondary details, too. Text critics should be excited that more and more libraries are utilizing MSI because it finally provides clear access to our most inaccessible texts.

The next piece of technology holds, I think, the most potential to change the way that text criticism is done. Only a few years ago the idea of a successful application of optical character recognition (OCR) to handwritten texts was labeled impossible. By “OCR” I mean having a computer scan an image of a text and convert that into a digital text than can be searched and edited in a computer program. I’ve now seen prototypes that not only demonstrate that Greek manuscript OCR is possible, but that it is realizable in the not-too-distant future. The traditional way of analyzing manuscripts involves a human comparing a manuscript to a known text and recording the differences or actually transcribing each letter. You can imagine the feasibility of doing this for 5800 manuscripts, which is why text critics have created methods for sampling a manuscript’s readings rather than looking through the entire text. When provided with high quality digital images like those from CSNTM, OCR promises to automate this laborious process. Lifetimes’ worth of work will be compressed into mere months. OCR is not a magic wand that will eliminate the need to confirm readings in the manuscripts, but it will provide unprecedented amounts of raw data. That data can then be fed into tools like the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method to provide an even better picture of textual transmission, which ultimately impacts our understanding of the earliest form of the New Testament text. OCR, when achieved, will drastically transform what text critics have available to them and will open new avenues of research that will shed more light on the transmission of the New Testament.

A final and probably overlooked element of the increased incorporation of technology into textual criticism that I want to mention is its social impact. In the 19th century, text critics were predominantly Western European and, if not independently wealthy, funded by a benefactor. By the 20th century, the practice expanded to America but remained a discipline of Western culture. In the 21st century, organizations like CSNTM and its European counterparts, along with individual libraries, have opened up many resources to the rest of the world. For instance, students and scholars in South America, where the only known manuscript is in Brazil, now have free online access to thousands of manuscripts that previously were inaccessible because of distance and financial resources. In this way, technology has allowed textual criticism to soon become a global enterprise. New perspectives and new voices will make welcomed contributions to the field.

These are but a few examples of the ways I see technology changing textual criticism. The forecast may change tomorrow so that what I’ve written today becomes obsolete, but what will not change is the ever-increasing role of technology in the discipline. The good news is that these new developments, whatever they may be, move us in the direction of a better and more complete understanding of the history of the New Testament text.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

3/1/2017

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.

GA Lect 1805, John 1

Headpiece from the beginning of Johannine lections in GA Lect 1805

  • GA 1830: 15th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 1831: 14th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 2013: 12th century minuscule of Paul with commentary. This manuscript is a consistently cited witness in the NA27. The text is marked off from the commentary by carats. Somes leaves are missing, and the quires were accidentally reshuffled during the modern rebinding process.
  • GA Lect 1233: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1651: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1804: 14th century lectionary (dated to 1356) of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1805: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels. In the image above, you can see an example of the ornate headpieces found throughout the manuscript. There is also a rather creative ekthesis letter here. The middle of the epsilon is an arm offering an apple to a bird, which forms the top curve of the letter. 

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.

From the Library: GA 2934

2/21/2017

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

 

An Unusual Discovery

Our next feature is an unusual manuscript that CSNTM discovered inside the binding of another manuscript at the National Library of Greece (NLG). One of the Greek New Testament manuscripts in the National Library’s collection is a 12th century lectionary, known to scholars as GA Lect 1813. When CSNTM’s Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, was examining it for digitization he discovered that leaves from a different manuscript had been glued to the inside cover of the manuscript. Once he took a closer look he discovered that they contained portions from 1 John and Acts.

GA 2934

Side-by-side images of the front and back covers of GA 2934

 

Although a finding like this is somewhat unusual, it is certainly not unprecedented. Those who rebound medieval manuscripts sometimes used other manuscripts, perhaps those that were damaged or for some reason no longer in use, to help preserve and fortify the manuscript at hand. Such a finding may not necessarily revolutionize our knowledge of the New Testament text, but it adds further hard evidence to the sheer number of manuscripts that have existed in history. Our embarrassment of riches just got a little bit richer.

After the manuscript was digitized, experts at the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) examined the images and determined that it was a bona fide New Testament manuscript, which was previously unknown. Now, these leaves have been officially catalogued and added to the list of Greek New Testament manuscripts as Gregory-Aland 2934. This is one of four manuscripts CSNTM digitized at the NLG that have been recently catalogued. To learn about all four, you can go here.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/16/2017

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.

GA 778 Cover

The Front Cover of GA 778

  • GA 778: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels. The first quire has been accidentally reshuffled with the leaves appearing out of order. The icon of Matthew is a smaller leaf, probably from another manuscript.
  • GA 1695: 14th century minuscule dated to 1311 of the Gospels. Two front cover parchment leaves are GA Lect 2013.
  • GA 1763: 15th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 1650: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1800: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1801: 13th century lectionary dated to 1265 of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1803: 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/9/2017

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.

John Icon

Icon from the beginning of John's Gospel in GA 1686

  • GA 1272: 15th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1686: 15th century minuscule (dated to 1418) of the Gospels. The pericope adulterae has been marked as dubious by the original scribe, though it is still included in the text.
  • GA 1690: 13th-14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 836: 14th century lectionary (dated to 1340) of the Gospels. This lectionary contains only Sunday lections.
  • GA Lect 1062: 15th century lectionary with selected New Testament readings from the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1280: 15th century lectionary (dated to 1474) of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1549: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels. This lectionary contains Sunday lections with accompanying commentary.

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.

CSNTM's International Advisory Board

2/2/2017

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is excited to announce the creation of an International Advisory Board of experts in New Testament manuscript studies, library sciences, and digital preservation from leading international institutions. This board will facilitate the Center’s digitization efforts around the world. Greek New Testament manuscripts are in more than 250 sites worldwide and this global team will help to see them digitized and made available for all to study.

The members of the International Advisory Board are:                                                                                                                     

  • Athanasios Antonopoulos - Faculty of Social Theology, School of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Emanuel Contac - Faculty Member, Pentecostal Theological Institute, Bucharest 
  • Simon Crisp - Coordinator for Scholarly Editions and Translation Standards, United Bible Societies
  • Fionnula Croke - Director, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
  • J. Keith Elliott - Emeritus Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism, University of Leeds
  • Brendan Haug - Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Archivist of the Papyrology Collection, University of Michigan 
  • Larry Hurtado - Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology, School of Divinity (New College), University of Edinburgh
  • Christos Karakolis - Associate Professor at Faculty of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • David C. Parker - Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing, University of Birmingham
  • Ekaterini Tsalompuni - Assistant Professor of the New Testament at the School of Social and Pastoral Theology at the Faculty of Theology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Peter Williams - Warden, Tyndale House, Cambridge; Affiliated Lecturer, University of Cambridge
  • Stavros Zouboulakis - President of the Board of Directors, National Library of Greece and Chairman, Artos Zois

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/31/2017

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.

Matthew Icon

  • GA 787: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 795: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 802: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 421: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 443: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1516: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1517: 16th 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/24/2017

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 8 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

GA 780 John Headpiece

Icons in the headpiece for John's Gospel in GA 780

  • GA 780: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels. This manuscript has particularly interesting and unique headpieces to begin each Gospel, which appear to have been added later. They each have three small icons of various figures ranging from the Gospel authors themselves to Jesus Christ, Peter, Paul, and even John Chrysostom. The feature image above from the beginning of the Gospel of John has (from left to right) John the Evangelist, Jesus Christ, and John the Baptist. This codex also contains a leaf from an uncatalogued manuscript with the text of Phil 2.7–11.
  • GA 782: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 783: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 410: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 413: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 414: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels. This manuscript is a palimpsest. The upper-text is GA Lect 414, but the under-text is from various majuscule and minuscule manuscripts.
  • GA Lect 419: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • NLG 1910: 15th century lectionary. This manuscript was identified by CSNTM and it has not yet been officially catalogued or assigned a Gregory-Aland number.

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/17/2017

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/10/2017

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/6/2017

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.

Four CSNTM Discoveries Added to the INTF Liste

12/21/2016

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.

From the Library: GA 774

12/9/2016

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.

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

12/6/2016

Ten additional manuscripts from our archives have just been uploaded and tagged.

Turning Parchment Page

All of these new uploads are medieval manuscripts of the Gospels, most of them from the 11th-12th centuries. These include:

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

11/15/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 8 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

Codex in MS Room

  • GA 1610: 14th/15th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.

  • GA 1692: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels.

  • GA 2091: 15th century minuscule of Revelation with commentary from patristic writers such as Gregory the Theologian, Cyril of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyons, Hyppolytus of Rome, and others.

  • GA 2243: 17th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.

  • GA Lect 433: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.

  • GA Lect 589: 15th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul plus Psalms and Odes.

  • GA Lect 1522: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.

  • GA Lect 1523: 13th 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.

From the Library: GA 760

11/11/2016

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

A recent addition to our collection is GA 760 from the National Library of Greece in Athens. This is a twelfth century manuscript containing all four Gospels. It is classified as a minuscule manuscript because it is written in the cursive handwriting typical of the late medieval era. The scribe who copied this manuscript had a very steady hand which can be seen in his consistent, legible handwriting.

 

Eusebian Canon Tables

The decorative work on the Eusebian Canon Tables in this manuscript is beautiful and ornate. A Eusebian Canon Table is a series of charts, usually found immediately before the Gospels, that note parallel passages between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then, the references located in the tables were placed in the margin next to the passage listed in the table. The canon tables played an important role in an era before the New Testament was divided into chapters and verses. These tables are usually decorated in an architectural structure, which you can see in the images from GA 760.

Eusebian Canon Tables in GA 760

 

Book Headpieces

Another example of the artistic work in GA 760 are the headpieces at the beginning of each gospel. The first page features a large, colorful square with a detailed pattern inside of it. This square is surrounded by decorative floral illustrations and birds, in the case of Matthew and Mark. Beneath the headpiece, the title of the book is written in large gold letters and the first line of text begins with ornate ekthesis (when the first letter is written into the left margin).

The use of gold leaf along with red, blue, and green paints, was very costly. The choice to devote significant resources to create a beautiful manuscript reflects the importance of the New Testament to the people who made and used the manuscript. Headpieces like this one are a common feature in Greek Gospels manuscripts, but the ones in GA 760 leave a particularly stunning impression on the viewer.

The first page of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in GA 760

 

Scribal Mishaps and Corrections

While GA 760 is an excellent example of human artistry, it is at the same time an example of human limitation and imperfection. There are several instances within the manuscript where the scribe has left out important portions of text. Another scribe then added it back in the margins when he realized the mistake! Here are a few examples of this.

Manuscript page containing corrections on Matthew 12:31–32

Manuscript page containing correction on Mark 6:37–38

Manuscript page containing correction on John 1:1–3

 

All of these accidental omissions resulted from situations in the biblical text where two lines end with the same word or series of words. Scribes had to look back and forth frequently between their manuscript and the exemplar (the manuscript from which they were copying the text). When they did this many times over the course of a long day, it was rather easy to skip portions of text without noticing.

For instance, the scribe accidentally skipped text twice in a row in Matthew 12:31–32. The text should read: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven people. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

However, what the scribe wrote is: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, [skipped text: but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven people.] And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven him, [skipped text: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven him,] either in this age or in the age to come.”

Even in English, you can see how similar the lines are. When the scribe saw the word “people” in Greek, he thought that he had finished verse 31, so he started writing verse 32. Likewise, when he saw “him” in Greek, he went on to the last part of verse 32 and continued writing. Then a corrector, writing about a century or two later, came in and added the missing (and very important!) information in the margin. The same problem occurs again in Mark 6:37–38.

Finally, perhaps the most illustrative example of the beauty and imperfection inherent within all manuscripts is the first page of John’s Gospel. The page is outstanding for its color and design, using gold ink for the beginning of the text. However, even amidst such splendor, the scribe has accidentally omitted verse 2!

 

The purpose of this is not to describe the scribe as sloppy or unskilled; he is not. Rather, the point is that scribes are human, just like us. Every manuscript is a human production—beautiful and broken. There is no perfect manuscript, just like there is no perfect person!

This manuscript has many other interesting features that are worth seeing, including a partially remaining icon and cruciform text (text written in the shape of a cross). To see these and the rest of the manuscript, please visit CSNTM’s Digital Library.

CSNTM Search Helps: Jump to Book

11/8/2016

At CSNTM, we are constantly working to improve our website. Making manuscripts available for everyone begins with digitization, but merely having beautiful images is not enough. We want people to be able to find what they need quickly and easily. That is why we have integrated robust search features into our website.

One of our website’s best search helps is the “Jump to Book” feature.

“Jump to Book” allows you to navigate a manuscript’s text by jumping quickly to the beginning of a biblical book within the codex. When you are looking for a manuscript’s reading in a specific verse, this can be an excellent way to cut down on time spent searching through the manuscript.

Here’s an example of how to use the feature. Imagine that you wanted to find a reading from 2 Timothy within GA 794. This is what you would do:

Step 1: Navigate to the Manuscripts Page

Navigation 1

Step 2: Find GA 794 Using the Search Bar

Navigation 2

Step 3: Enter the Manuscript Viewer

Navigation 3

Step 4: Scroll to 2 Timothy (“2Tim”) in Jump to Book

Navigation 4

Step 5: Begin Reading!

Navigation 5

 

Now that you are at the beginning of 2 Timothy, you can begin looking through the text for the specific verse you want to find. Within manuscripts that have not yet been fully indexed (i.e., not yet having every verse on every page tagged), this is a nice way to find what you need. It is available on all of the new manuscripts from the National Library of Greece, all papyri, many of the majuscules, and almost all manuscripts digitized since 2011.

If you ever have questions about how to find what you need on our website, please email manuscripts@csntm.org. We’re glad to help!

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

11/4/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 8 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our recently completed digitization project.

Manuscript and Magnifying Glass

  • GA 1414: Fourteenth century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1417: Tenth century minuscule of the Gospels. This is a particularly small ‘pocket’ version of the Gospels that is over 1,000 years old!
  • GA 1827: Thirteenth century minuscule dated to 1295 of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 2114: Seventeenth century minuscule dated to 1676 of Revelation with commentary. This manuscript is written in Modern Greek.
  • GA Lect 428: Twelfth century lectionary of the Gospels. Contains ornate headpieces with lapis lazuli and gold ink.
  • GA Lect 429: Twelfth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 449: Twelfth century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1374: Twelfth century lectionary dated to 1181 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.

From the Library: GA 777

9/2/2016

By: Andrew K. Bobo and Andrew J. Patton

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) Digital Library contains hundreds of Greek NT manuscripts, each with its own story to tell. In our “From the Library” series, we will feature individual manuscripts from our collection in order to showcase their unique beauty and importance. This is part of CSNTM’s mission to make NT manuscripts accessible for everyone.

Throughout our recent expedition to the National Library of Greece in Athens, we encountered an incredible variety of NT manuscripts. One of the most beautiful among these was an illuminated Gospels manuscript catalogued by NT scholars under the designation GA 777. Scholars have classified this as a minuscule manuscript because it is written in the cursive handwriting typical of the late medieval era. The manuscript is a complete Tetraevangelion, a manuscript containing all four Gospels.

Evangelist Icons

Evangelist icons of Mark, Luke, and John in GA 777

This manuscript boasts wonderful artistry, with almost two-dozen icons of scenes from the Gospels. It is common for Greek NT manuscripts to include full-page icons of the four evangelists—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—before the beginning of his Gospel. This manuscript does not disappoint. It contains stunning gilded icons of Mark, Luke, and John. (Thieves may have cut out the icon of Matthew or that leaf came apart from the codex, being at the front of the book.) As you can see, the gold leaf applied to these works of art has been remarkably well preserved, even as the paint chipped away on Mark’s image. The icon of John is particularly interesting: John is seen dictating his Gospel to Prochoros, his scribe, as instructed by the Holy Spirit, from a cave on the island of Patmos. 

Narrative Icons

While the evangelists’ icons are common, narrative icons that illustrate events in the text are rare. This manuscript is notable because it contains so many of them! In breathtaking detail, they depict famous scenes including Jesus healing the blind, his encounter with the Samaritan woman, and his crucifixion. Here, we will showcase four, but you can visit the manuscript’s page on CSNTM’s website to see the whole collection.

 

Jesus Heals the Lame Man

This beautiful icon depicts one of the most memorable stories in the Gospels when Jesus healed the paralytic who was lowered through the roof of a house while he was teaching (Luke 5:17–26).  

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead 

This icon depicts Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44). Mary and Martha—Lazarus’s sisters—are shown mourning at the feet of Jesus, while Lazarus is wrapped in burial linens. This icon is especially unique because it includes a title.

The Triumphal Entry

This icon from the Gospel of Luke shows Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28–44). Visual details from the text are illustrated, including Jesus riding on a donkey and the crowd laying coats across the path.

 

The Last Supper

This magnificent icon illustrates the Last Supper in Luke (Luke 22:7–38). Jesus is shown reclining at the table with his twelve disciples. It is interesting that this artist chose to place the disciples at a round table unlike da Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper; it comes closer to the truth of the real shape of the table. This image is much older than da Vinci’s masterpiece, which was painted in 1498.

Superior Preservation

GA 777 dates from the twelfth century. For a book more than 800 years old, she is still in excellent shape! The scriptures are written on thin vellum, which is actually more fragile than ordinary parchment. Yet, it has not been damaged like other manuscripts even from the same time period.

As a comparison, here is the introduction to John in three manuscripts. On the left is GA 777. In the middle is another manuscript from the same century, also on parchment, but with some browning along the edges (perhaps due to being near a fire at some point in its history). On the right, this manuscript is about two hundred years younger. However, it is written on paper, and has some damage from silverfish and worms which ate through the edges of the page. These other manuscripts are still very well preserved! GA 777, though, stands apart as a magnificent specimen of a Byzantine biblical manuscript. 

This Gospels manuscript is a unique treasure in the collection of the National Library of Greece, a collection that CSNTM digitized over the last two years. While there are many common patterns in every manuscript, each one contains distinctive features that make them fascinating to examine. We are delighted to have had the privilege of studying and digitizing this treasure so that it can be shared with you. If you would like to view the manuscript in its entirety, visit its page in CSNTM’s Digital Library.

Mission Accomplished

8/3/2016

by Robert D. Marcello, Research Manager

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.

 

Digitizing

Digitizing at the National Library of Greece

preparing manuscripts for digitization

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace and Kyle Fischer Preparing Manuscripts for Digitization

 

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.

 

Trip Supervisor, Jacob W. Peterson and Research Manager, Robert D. Marcello Digitizing

Trip Supervisor, Jacob W. Peterson and Research Manager, Robert D. Marcello Digitizing

Team at the National Library of Greece

Digitization Team at Work

 

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!

Dr. Stratton L. Ladewig Digitizing

CSNTM's Dr. Stratton L. Ladewig Reviewing Images with Robert D. Marcello

Dr. Wallace Preparing a Beautiful Manuscript

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace Preparing a Beautiful Manuscript

 

Click to view the CSNTM Library

Reflections on My Time in Athens

6/15/2016

 

In the last two years I have made more trips to Athens than I can count. (Well, I could count them if I took off my shoes!) It has been a joy working at the National Library of Greece since January 2015. The staff have been extremely helpful, even eager to provide assistance. And the director of the NLG, Philippos Tsimboglou is remarkable. I only wish that every expedition would involve folks like the ones we worked with here.

My task was a bit different from the shooting teams. I had the duty of preparing each manuscript for digitization. The teams did not photograph any manuscript until it was prepared and they received my notes. My job included looking at the in-house catalog and the Kurzgefasste Liste description provided by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Muenster, Germany. Then, I would spend an average of one to two hours on each manuscript. Counting the leaves is the most important aspect of this. The shooters rely on this information when they digitize the MSS. It is imperative to get it right: if they have 251 images from the right side (recto) of the MS, they had better have 251 on the left side (verso). We digitally archive everything—including blank pages, all six external sides, even fragmentary leaves if there is at least half a letter showing. 

Besides the leaf count, I measure the dimensions in centimeters—height, width, and depth. The last is not typically done. MSS are almost always a bit smaller on the bottom depth than the top, but a few MSS at the NLG were the reverse. If the difference is at great as half a centimeter it usually means that the MS was shelved upside down for most of its life! Since these MSS had covers without labels for most of their existence, this was easy to do, but it required long dormant periods in which the MS was not at all consulted.

Some of the other aspects of the examination include counting the lines per page, identifying the material (papyrus, parchment, or paper), determining the date, providing a table of contents for each continuous-text MS, and counting the quires or folds. Ancient and medieval MSS were typically created with eight leaves per quire (see diagram below).

Counting the quires is the easiest way to determine if some leaves are missing in the MS. Here is a discussion of one such MS (which originally had the Gospels but no longer does.

In addition to the above, I also look for palimpsested leaves (those that have been erased then written over by a later hand) and leaves of other MSS, typically glued to the front or back inside covers. This kind of examination has resulted in a discovery of several MSS at the NLG. Combined with what the librarians were able to locate, CSNTM has discovered twenty-one New Testament MSS at the National Library of Greece that are not yet known to Muenster (the official catalogers of NT MSS). Stay tuned for more!

All in all, over 180,000 pages of MSS were handled and documented for the shooting teams. The work has been both exciting and tedious. Approximately 300 MSS are being digitized; all are being uploaded to CSNTM’s website. Our work will be done by the end of the summer; all MSS will be posted on our site within a few months. We are grateful to the National Library and Director Philippos for this tremendous opportunity to make available their invaluable collection.

Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director

Vaticanus Facsimile: Highlight of a New Acquisition

6/1/2016

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), along with its Board of Directors, is pleased to announce that it has received a fabulous facsimile of the fourth century majuscule, Vaticanus: Bibliorum Sacrorum Graecorum: Codex Vaticanus B. This facsimile, which was published by the Vatican in 1999, is a remarkably faithful reproduction of the actual manuscript. It is in fact one of the finest facsimiles of any document ever produced. The publisher ensured that the colors were accurately captured. And if there are holes in the original manuscript, these have been precisely replicated in the facsimile!

A leaf of Codex Vaticanus showing the end of 2 Thessalonians and the beginning of Hebrews

Vaticanus is esteemed by many textual critics, including CSNTM’s Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, as one of the most valuable witness to the text of the New Testament extant today. Its faithful testimony to the Gospels along with its alignment with P75 make it extremely important. Codex Vaticanus contains the Septuagint and the New Testament, although it is missing parts of the Old Testament and Hebrews 9.14–13.25, 1 Timothy to Philemon, and Revelation. It is housed at the Vatican.

The Vatican only authorized 450 copies to be published—each numbered and each signed by Pope John Paul II on Christmas Day, 1999. CSNTM is grateful to the anonymous donor who gave such a remarkable gift to the Center!

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

5/26/2016

New manuscripts have been added to our growing searchable library, as we continue working to make the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts's (CSNTM) website more comprehensive and user-friendly.

Included in this week’s release is a recently digitized manuscript from the National Library of Greece (NLG), the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–2016. GA 758 is a medieval minuscule of the Gospels on parchment, dating from the fourteenth century.

Disputed Texts

As many New Testament students know, one of the two longest textual problems in NT textual criticism is the pericope adulterae (John 7.53–8.11). Throughout his first-hand investigations of the NLG manuscripts, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has often noted how each manuscript has dealt with this passage. Sometimes, the original scribe has omitted it, whereas a later scribe has added it. Other times, the text was originally included and then noted as doubtful by a later hand. In some manuscripts, the text stands alone with no notations at all.

Notice the horizontal dashes in the margin on these two pages.

John Athetized 1

John Athetized 2

Some scribe (either the original one or a later scribe), upon seeing that this passage was included in John’s Gospel, put markings in the margins to denote its disputed status. However, the markings only cover John 8.3–11, leaving 7.53–8.2 unmarked. 

Accidental Omissions

As you scroll through the images of GA 758, you may notice some extensive text out in the margins on a few leaves. Below you will see two instances of this from the Gospel of Matthew.

Omitted Text 1

Omitted Text 2

These marginal writings are instances where the scribe accidentally omitted text, and it was later added in the margins. As careful as medieval scribes were, they were still human and made mistakes! This is why it was a vital part of the process to check each scribe’s work for accuracy.

Gospel Authors & Co.

Another interesting feature of GA 758 is its icons. It was common in the medieval tradition to include icons of the Gospel authors at the beginning of their respective Gospel account. However, in this manuscript, each Gospel author has some company!

Four Gospels Icons

Mark (top right) is with Peter, and Luke (bottom left) is sitting in front of Paul. These pairings date back to ancient Christian tradition, which identifies Peter as the primary source for Mark and Paul as the apostle most associated with Luke. It’s almost as if the apostles are whispering in their ears. Matthew (top left) is depicted, not with a human companion, but with the Angel of the Lord behind him as he writes. Finally, John’s icon (bottom right) shows him dictating his text to an amanuensis (a professional scribe) named Prochoros. This last icon with these two people in view is the only one that was common in the manuscripts.

 

In addition to this manuscript from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.

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.

Lecture in Athens!

5/14/2016

U Athens Logo

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, at Texas, USA, will give a lecture at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Theology, Department of Social Theology, on Thursday, 19 May 2016, at the invitation of the President of the Department of Social Theology, Professor Sotirios Despotis, and Lecturer Dr. Athanasios Antonopoulos.

The Lecture: The Digitization of New Testament Manuscripts’ Project at the National Library of Athens.

The meeting has now been moved off-campus. It will be held at the Pastoral Training Foundation’s Multimedia Room, Archdiocese of Athens Headquarters.

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

5/13/2016

New manuscripts have been added to our growing searchable library, as we continue working to make the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) website more comprehensive and user-friendly.

Today’s release includes GA 2932, the newest manuscript discovery added to the Gregory-Aland catalogue at INTF. This manuscript is a single leaf from a 10th century minuscule of the Gospels, containing John 10:18–31. The manuscript is housed at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and further information about it can be found here

Beinecke MS Leaves

This update also includes several previously released manuscripts, which have now been fully tagged. This means that any verse present in the manuscript can be found instantly. The fully tagged manuscripts are all from the National Library of Greece (NLG), the site of CSNTM’s ongoing digitization project. These include:

  • NLG 204: 9th-10th century; beginning of Mark; new discovery, single leaf palimpsest
  • GA 771: 10th century; Gospels with commentary; 153 leaves
  • GA 779: 12th-13th century; Gospels; 171 leaves
  • GA 788: 11th century; Gospels; 219 leaves
  • GA 798: 11th century; Gospels; 116 leaves
  • GA 1415: 12th century; Gospels; 189 leaves
  • GA 1418: 12th century; Gospels; 150 leaves
  • GA 1829: 10th century; Apostolos; 86 leaves

Today, we are also releasing several manuscripts from our archives into our digital library. The beginning of each biblical book and the major features have been tagged. Please note that most of these images are from microfilm. These manuscripts include:

One particularly beautiful MS is GA 11, a twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Shown below is an ornate and colorful headpiece for the Gospel of Luke, which exemplifies the beautiful artistry in this manuscript.

BNF MS Headpiece

More information about the manuscript can be found here.

All of 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.

Dr. Wallace to Give Lecture at University of Athens

4/13/2016

 

U Athens Logo

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), will be giving a lecture in Athens regarding the Center's ongoing digitization project at the National Library of Greece. The lecture will be held at the University of Athens' School of Theology in May 2016. For further information, please see below:

Host: The President of the Department of Social Theology at the University of Athens/School of Theology, Professor Sotirios Despotis, and the Lecturer Dr. Athanasios Antonopoulos. 

Lecture Topic: The Digitization of New Testament Manuscripts Project at the National Library of Athens

Date and Time: Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 11:00am.

Place: Multimedia Room, 2nd Floor, School of Theology, University Campus, Ano Ilisia, Athens.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Athanasios Antonopoulos by email.

Update from Athens 2016, Part 2: Digitization Progress

4/8/2016

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is excited to announce that during a brief trip to Athens in March they were able to digitize an astounding 16,000 images of pages in 29 manuscripts! CSNTM’s Research Manager, Robert Marcello, led the seven-person team, including David and Marcy Long, Jacob Peterson, Stratton Ladewig, Andrew Patton, and David Smith. Under his leadership, they made significant headway on the project at the National Library of Greece. Every team member worked hard to digitally preserve these manuscripts with precision while caring for the codices themselves.

While the teams were working, CSNTM’s Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, and current intern, Kyle Fischer, discovered three New Testament manuscripts that were unknown to western scholars. Dr. Wallace wrote about these unique discoveries in Athens Update (Part 1). They also prepared scores of manuscripts for digitization. These discoveries were digitized and will be added to CSNTM’s library in the coming months. 

Altogether, the Center’s teams have digitized 69% of the New Testament manuscripts in the National Library’s collection. They look forward to finishing the project later in 2016. It will take many committed people to fully fund the digitization of this important collection. If you would like to partner with CSNTM to complete this project at the National Library of Greece, visit http://www.csntm.org/donate.

Update from Athens 2016, Part 1:

3/23/2016

Lectionary 1315 Rediscovered

Since January 2015 I (Dr. Daniel B. Wallace) have been examining New Testament manuscripts at the National Library of Greece in Athens so that teams from CSNTM can then digitize these manuscripts. Ten of us were in Athens for two weeks in March. I had a superb assistant working with me, Kyle Fischer, one of CSNTM’s current interns. Rob Marcello, CSNTM’s Research Manager, led a team of stellar digitizers: Jacob Peterson, Stratton Ladewig, David and Marcy Long, Andy Patton, and David Smith. Christina Nations, CSNTM’s Development Manager, was there for a week documenting everything all of us did with thousands of photographs!

National Library

This was our second trip to Athens this year. The last one was at the beginning of January. We are gearing up for the conclusion to our two-year expedition this coming summer when we will finish digitizing all of the New Testament manuscripts at the NLG.

My task is almost complete. I have looked at over 300 manuscripts (150,000 pages), writing up brief descriptions on each one for the digitization teams. We came armed with information from the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung’s Kurzgefasste Liste and the NLG’s own research on their collection. The lists did not entirely match: there were some MSS on INTF’s list that were not found on NLG’s, and vice versa. The excitement of examining and digitizing MSS that are not a part of INTF’s official registry was palpable. We were able to examine most of the MSS on INTF’s list that were not found on NLG’s. Three MSS, however, were notable exceptions: Lectionaries 1303, 1315, and 1321.

What was peculiar about these three MSS was that no NLG shelf number was mentioned in the Kurzgefasste Liste. They were originally examined by Caspar René Gregory back at the turn of the 20th century. We already knew that at least two of the lectionaries were partial MSS (l 1315 and l 1321). And we had the data on the leaf count, dimensions, date, material, and other features on these two. I passed on the information from the K-Liste to the library staff last year, but they were unable to locate any of these lectionaries without the key item—the shelf number.

On this latest trip, I wrote to the INTF and asked if they had any other data on these codices. Klaus Wachtel wrote back and informed me about Kurt Treu’s follow-up research on Caspar René Gregory’s initial description. Treu felt NLG Sakkelion 294 may well be one of the MSS that Gregory had identified as a lectionary. I passed on this shelf number to the Manuscript Room librarian and she produced a handsome, thick medieval codex with embossed leather over wood boards. It was the text of John Climacus (a.k.a. Scholasticus), 684 pages in all.

The 1994 Kurzgefasste Liste has a question mark for the shelf number while the online K-Liste simply says “Vor- und Nachsatzbll.” (i.e., leaves at the front and back of the codex), without giving a shelf number. What was at the front and back of this codex was indeed the remains of an Apostolos lectionary—lections from Colossians, Acts, and 1 John. The leaves were sewn in perpendicularly to the rest of the codex. They were from a much smaller book, the height of which was about the same as the width of the Climacus text. And these leaves were actually double leaves or bifolia—one at the front and one at the back, with a small fragment of a leaf also in the front.

Our examination of the lectionary came close to INTF’s description. But instead of 9 x 12.5 cm for each leaf, we have 10.7 x 13.2–13.3 cm. And the width is actually just what is present, not the original size of the leaves since the bifolia have been trimmed to fit in as buffer leaves for the codex. Furthermore, we counted 25–27 lines per page, while Münster has 25–28. Nevertheless, this is most likely the MS that the K-Liste describes. Our measurements are almost always a bit different from INTF’s. Normally, this is due to two reasons: First, they seem to be basing their measurements on very old catalogs (or, in this case, Gregory’s Textkritik). Over time, parchment MSS tend to shrink in size. What seems inexplicable in this instance, however, is that INTF’s measurements are actually smaller than CSNTM’s. But we have found this to be the case on many occasions too, though it is less common than the reverse. Second, CSNTM gives a range for the size while INTF gives just one measurement for each dimension. For these two reasons almost 100% of the CSNTM dimensions differ from INTF’s.

But is it the same as what Gregory saw? His data agree with INTF’s except that he lists the line count as 25–26. That’s a trivial matter, since line counts tend to differ a bit from researcher to researcher. He also says that this is in a MS of Climacus with an unknown number of leaves, written in the fourteenth century (Textkritik 1.470, where he gives the lectionary number as 97; it has since been changed to l 1315). Gregory dates this note to 1886, six years before the NLG’s catalog was published. The main body of the codex has been foliated, presumably since Gregory looked at it (though before he published his Textkritik).

iPhone picture of NLG 294—buffer leaf at front of codex

At bottom, it is our assessment that NLG 294 is l 1315. CSNTM has ‘discovered’ twenty NT MSS at the NLG in the last two years that are not yet catalogued by Münster. Most of these were known to the library, but some were entirely new finds. NLG 294 is not counted among these; the twenty we have discovered all have different shelf numbers. In our final trip to Athens this summer we will digitize this MS with professional cameras and thus, we hope, erase the question mark on one of Gregory’s lost MSS at the National Library of Greece.

Images of Six Uncatalogued Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

3/3/2016

New manuscripts digitized by theCenter for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 6 newly discovered manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16. The discoveries were made by Dr. Daniel B. Wallace during his preparation of each manuscript for digitization. They are listed according to their NLG shelf number, as they have not yet been assigned a Gregory-Aland number. They cannot be confirmed as new discoveries without further investigation (i.e. they could be missing sections from extant New Testament manuscripts).


Computer screen during digitization

  • NLG 122: 14th century minuscule of the book of Hebrews. This manuscript was previously considered part of GA 794; however, it actually constitutes a separate manuscript. It came about when a second scribe took over a previous scribe’s work as he was copying the Pauline corpus. The scribe did not realize that his predecessor had already copied Hebrews—so he copied it again!
  • NLG 2064: 16th century lectionary and euchologion.
  • NLG 2065: 15th century lectionary and euchologion.
  • NLG 2771: 16th century minuscule of the Gospel of Mark, with other patristic and liturgical text. The codex appears to be a patchwork: the paper is of varying qualities, there are several different dates given for its provenance, and there were between 12 and 20 scribes who worked on the manuscript. One of the scribes appears to be the famous monk Pachomios Rousanos.
  • NLG 2791: 17th century lectionary dated to 1638 of the Gospels and Paul. The lections are embedded in a liturgical text.
  • NLG 3139: 13th century minuscule dated to 1227/1228 of Paul. The text is accompanied by commentary by Theophylact (d. 1107). The first three quires of the manuscript are now missing, so the text begins at Romans 7.15.

In addition to the manuscripts from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives. 

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/25/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 4 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

Manuscripts at the National Library of Greece

  • GA 77012th century minuscule containing the Gospels of Matthew and John with extensive commentary. Throughout the manuscript, technical terms are used to differentiate between sections of “text” (keimonon) and “interpretation” (hermeneia).
  • GA 794: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul. For some unknown reason, an artist painted an icon of Luke over the last four verses of Mark’s Gospel as they were originally written in the manuscript. A second scribe then came and rewrote these verses at the bottom of the previous page.
  • GA 808: 14th century minuscule of the entire New Testament: Gospels, Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation. This manuscript contains many beautiful icons, including Luke surrounded by the twelve apostles (beginning of Acts) and Paul with two others and numerous men behind each of them (beginning of Romans).
  • GA 1367: 15th century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul. Written in a beautiful, petite hand.

In addition to the manuscripts from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/18/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

Dr. Wallace Studying

  • GA 779: 12th or 13th century minuscule of the Gospels on parchment. The leaves towards the end of the manuscript, in the Gospel of John, have been significantly reshuffled during the rebinding process.
  • GA 784: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels on paper. In this manuscript, the scribe accidentally copied text from John 14 twice, and apparently crossed it out when he realized his mistake!
  • GA 786: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels on parchment.
  • GA 789: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels on parchment, with paper supplements at the end of the manuscript. The last page in the codex appears to be from a different manuscript. It includes a Christian prayer with possible patristic citations included.
  • GA 790: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels on paper.
  • GA 791: 12th or 13th century minuscule of the Gospels on parchment. Luke’s genealogy is not written out in columns, as it is in most manuscripts.
  • GA 793: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels on parchment. Icons for all four of the evangelists are extant in this manuscript.
  • GA 797: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels on paper. The pericope adulterae in the Gospel of John appears to have been athetized (marked as spurious) by the scribe, though its text is included.
  • GA 801: 15th century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul on paper. This manuscript has the unusual order: Acts, Catholic epistles, Paul, and then Gospels last.
  • GA 803: 16th century minuscule of the Gospels with commentary on paper.

In addition to the manuscripts from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.

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.

171 Manuscripts Added to Our Digital Library

2/15/2016

Digitizing

In mid-November, CSNTM announced that we were launching a completely renovated website, new manuscripts, and a new viewer. Since that time we have continued to add to our website. Our old website prior to the launch had only 608 Greek New Testament Manuscripts. Now, while most of these were excellent quality, we knew we could do better.

Since the launch three months ago, we have released an additional 171 manuscripts. All of them allow users to search major features of a manuscript and search for the beginning of every book of the New Testament with our "jump to book" feature. However, we are not done. As promised we have hundreds more to go, and we look forward to watching our library grow over the year.

Also, we are in the process of gearing up for another packed summer of digitizing manuscripts at the National Library of Greece. If you have ever thought of partnering with CSNTM, please consider joining our matching-gift campaign currently underway, which will enable us to continue to preserve ancient New Testament Manuscripts for a modern world. 

P46 Availability

2/15/2016

We wanted to let everyone know that P46 on our site is currently only available by login. We are very sorry for the inconvience.

The reason for this change is because a company has informed us that they intend to take images from the papyri and publish them for profit without the Chester Beatty Library's permission. Obviously, this violates the Terms and Conditions of our website. It also breaks the terms of the CBL. CSNTM wants to ensure that our images do not contiribute to this misuse, so we are are making our images available for private viewing only for the time being.

Libraries around the world, like the CBL, care for and preserve these ancient treasures, and the least we can do is honor their wishes.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/11/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

MS Headpiece

  • GA Lect 1512: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. Replacement leaves are from the 16th century.
  • GA Lect 1515: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1813: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.

In addition to the manuscripts from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

2/4/2016

 

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

Icon of John

  • GA 075: 10th century majuscule of Paul with commentary. The text is in a petite majuscule hand, whereas the commentary is written in minuscule script. The manuscript has three segments of replacement leaves (62–66, 154–158, 367–370), which all come from the same secondary hand.
  • GA 1828: 11th century minuscule of the Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation. This manuscript has some of the most extensive and comprehensive headings and hypotheses of any NT manuscript extant. It is also an important witness to the Euthalian apparatus.
  • GA Lect 426: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul. The first half of this codex contains non-NT ecclesiastical texts, including material from Chrysostom.
  • GA Lect 439: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 445: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 446: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1507: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos, with patristic and litrugical text interspersed throughout the manuscript.
  • GA Lect 1509: 17th century lectionary of the Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1511: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1513: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.

In addition to the manuscripts from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.

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.

What About White Gloves?

2/1/2016

By: Andrew J. Patton

As the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts shares images and videos of its digitization teams working with manuscripts, we consistently receive questions about the use of white gloves. These are excellent questions because it is imperative to properly care for and handle valuable objects like manuscripts. We share a commitment to preserve NT manuscripts with the organizations that own them. Thus, the staff at CSNTM follow the protocols established by the institution whose manuscripts we are digitizing. In some cases, that requires Center staff to wear white cotton gloves, and in other cases it does not.

Since the popular perception of a museum or library conservator is a person wearing white gloves, let us explain why some archivists prefer to handle them with bare hands. In an article for International Preservation News, Cathleen A. Baker and Randy Silverman concluded that using gloves to handle manuscripts and other books is a recent phenomenon—possibly developing in the last twenty years. Many archival organizations have recognized that there are some disadvantages to wearing gloves while handling books. These include that gloves limit tactile perception, do not eliminate the chance of transferring dirt, ointment, and other chemicals to the pages, and make turning fragile or fragmentary pages more difficult.

Rather than wearing gloves, the American Institute for Conservation of Historical and Artistic Works instructs conservators to “handle books only with freshly washed hands.” Then they recognize that “wearing white cotton gloves for handling rare bindings is a good preventive measure, but turning fragile or brittle pages with gloves may cause damage and is not advised.” Thoroughly washing hands with lotion-free soap will remove most of the dirt, grease, and oils that may be left on pages. When CSNTM’s digitizers handle any manuscript—whether or not they are wearing gloves—they wash their hands and then periodically wash again as needed.

Links to Other Resources:

Misperceptions About White Gloves” by Cathleen A. Baker and Randy Silverman in International Preservation News, No. 37 (Dec. 2005).

The Use of White Cotton Gloves for Handling Collection Items” by Jane Pimlott, Preservation Coordinator at the British Library.

Caring for Your Treasures,” American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/28/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

Studying a NLG MS

  • GA 776: 11th or 12th century minuscule of the Gospels. Has the pericope adulterae written in a smaller font on the outside margins surrounding the main text, seemingly by a later hand.
  • GA 788: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 431: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 434: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels, with magnificent headpieces and icons.
  • GA Lect 436: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 441: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels, which seems to have been used rather infrequently.
  • GA Lect 1514: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. The manuscript’s text appears to have been hardly touched, perhaps indicating that this was a privately owned liturgical text.
  • GA Lect 1521: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels. This codex also contains GA Lect 2006.
  • GA Lect 1533: 9th century majuscule lectionary. The manuscript is written with very large letters, indicating that it was intended to be read in the divine services.
  • GA Lect 2006: 14th century lectionary, consisting of four leaves at the front and back of the same codex as GA Lect 1521. 

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.

New Manuscript Discoveries in Athens!

1/26/2016

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscript's (CSNTM) staff have discovered as many as seventeen New Testament manuscripts at the National Library of Greece in the past 12 months. By ‘discovery’ we mean that, in the least, they have not been officially catalogued yet by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany. The INTF is the official cataloging house of all Greek New Testament manuscripts. Generally speaking, if INTF doesn’t know about a manuscript, New Testament scholars don’t know about it either.

 

Ten of these manuscripts have been internally catalogued by the National Library of Greece. Thus, they know about them and have properly described their contents. But the INTF has no record of them yet. One of CSNTM’s major objectives is to search for uncatalogued manuscripts wherever they go, so that they can digitize them and get the data to Muenster. INTF then goes through a laborious process of checking each manuscript against known manuscripts. Occasionally, they determine that what has been ‘discovered’ is a formerly lost portion of a known manuscript. CSNTM has virtually reunited different portions of manuscripts by working in collaboration with INTF. It is always exciting to discover lost portions of a known manuscript, making it fuller than was previously known. 

Many of CSNTM’s discoveries, however, are of manuscripts completely unknown to Muenster and the world of New Testament scholarship. Several of these, as noted, are known to the library that houses the manuscripts, but not to the outside world. But several are discoveries that CSNTM has made—discoveries of manuscripts unknown even to the library in possession of them. 

Most of these latter kinds of discoveries fall into one of three groups: (1) Inside-cover leaves used to bind the covers to the manuscript. These consist of one leaf, usually with one side glued to the inside cover and thus unrecoverable. But what can be seen is often older than the known manuscript between the covers. (2) Small reinforcement strips, cut out from other, worn-out manuscripts, that are glued in the margins of pages. (3) Palimpsested leaves—that is, parchment leaves that were reused centuries later by a scribe erasing the text then writing on top of it. The oldest manuscript discovered by CSNTM (from c. the seventh century) is one of these—two leaves at the back of a late medieval manuscript, whose text had been scraped off so that the medieval scribe could reuse them for his own purposes. Five of the New Testament manuscripts discovered this year in Athens fit one of these three categories.

Altogether, the manuscripts discovered this year alone amount to hundreds of pages of text—unique, handwritten copies of the Christian scriptures. Since its inception in 2002, CSNTM staff have discovered more than 90 New Testament manuscripts with more than 20,000 pages of text.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece and Website Updates!

1/22/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

Prepping

  • GA 774: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels on a high-quality vellum, with beautiful icons and gold lettering for ekthesis and special notations. The library’s 1892 catalogue describes this manuscript as “the most precious manuscript of the National Library, given by Georgios Ant. Geronta of Kastoria.”
  • GA 2525: 13th century minuscule of the Gospels. Interestingly, only the first three verses (i.e. 7:53–8:2) of the periocope adulterae are included in this manuscript.
  • GA Lect 425: 9th or 10th century majuscule lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1530: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1816: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels. Contains binding strips with text from another manuscript.
  • GA Lect 1818: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1823: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1825: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. The first seventy-one leaves of this manuscript are non-NT liturgical materials, written in a different hand than the lectionary which follows.
  • GA Lect 1826: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 2015: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels. This manuscript is complete with no missing leaves.

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.

Website Updates

Along with the release of these new manuscripts, we want to make everyone aware of some new updates to the site.

  • We now have a direct link at the top and bottom of each page to Amazon for those who want to shop on Amazon and support CSNTM at the same time!
  • Also, we have added a feature to the bottom of our viewer, which allows someone to easily click between pages without having to navigate the thumbnails. 
  • Finally, for those of you who enjoy reading our blog, we have added a RSS feed, which can be found on the right hand side. This will enable you to easily follow updates from CSNTM.

As always, we are striving to provide more content and make your experience easier. 

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/14/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 799: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels. The scribe included a triple dot at the end of Mark 16.8, the same pattern that ends the Gospel of Luke. However, he still includes 16.9–20 and ends the book with a cross, the same indicator placed at the end of John.
  • GA 1691: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1697: 13th century minuscule of the Gospels written in a hand of “understated elegance,” with prickings visible on the outer edges. The hand and prickings are very uniform.
  • GA Lect 1518: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. Apparently a well-used, private manuscript.
  • GA Lect 1808: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels. This manuscript contains particularly beautiful headpieces and icons, which are still in good condition. There is an excellent full-size, gilded icon of Jesus Christ prior to the beginning of the Menologion.
  • GA Lect 1810: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels, with “ekthesis enlarged initials in beautiful, pastel colors.”
  • GA Lect 1814: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels. This manuscript appears to have been hardly used.
  • GA Lect 1815: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 2012: 10th century majuscule lectionary, a bifolio glued to the back inside cover. Portions from Matthew 27 and John 19 are visible.
  • GA Lect 2014: 15th century lectionary of Paul 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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

1/8/2016

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 771: 10th century minuscule of the Gospels with extensive commentary. The commentary surrounding the text often appears in the shape of an elaborate cross, with the scribe changing the size of the cross as needed to fit all of the text while maintaining twenty lines per page. This is a mind-boggling achievement for the calculation and planning it must have required.
  • GA 1183: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels with commentary by Theophylact.
  • GA 1700: 17th century minuscule of the Gospels dated to 1623.
  • GA Lect 588: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 832: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1214: 10th century palimpsested majuscule lectionary. This manuscript is the under-text for GA Lect 1235.
  • GA Lect 1222: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1235: 13th or 14th century lectionary of the Gospels with majuscule under-text (GA Lect 1214).
  • GA Lect 1802: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels dated to 1602.
  • GA Lect 1806: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos dated to 1460.

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

12/23/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS
  • GA 760: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels. The Eusebian canons and headpieces in this manuscript are particularly ornate and colorful.
  • GA 765: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels. This codex contains two uncatalogued manuscripts, bound in front of and behind GA 765.
  • GA 796: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels, Apostolos, and Paul. The scribe’s handwriting is rather petite and “exquisite,” according to the National Library’s 1892 catalogue.
  • GA Lect 417: 16th century lectionary (dated to 1537) of the Gospels. It is complete and was for some reason rarely used.
  • GA Lect 418: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels. There is evidence that as many as five or six different scribes worked to produce this manuscript. The text even switches between single and double columns towards the beginning and end of the manuscript.
  • GA Lect 420: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 422: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. Shows minimal signs of wear, indicating this manuscript may have been for private rather than public use.
  • GA Lect 423: 18th century lectionary (dated to 1732) of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 837: 15th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 2010: 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.

Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

12/18/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 757: 13th century minuscule with Gospels, Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation; this is very rare in the manuscript tradition.
  • GA 759: 13th century minuscule of the Gospels. A leaf from another manuscript has been inserted between Luke and John, a magnificently ornate rendering of the Eusebian canons for Matthew and Luke.
  • GA 1419: 15th century minuscule of the Gospels with extensive commentary. Scripture is indicated by double carats in the margin.
  • GA Lect 406: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels
  • GA Lect 411: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels, which ends with the dominical aphorism, “many [who are] first shall be last, and the last first” (from Matt 19.30).
  • GA Lect 412: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels, featuring ekthetic letters at the beginning of lections in the shape of Jesus, Mary, the Evangelists, and others.
  • GA Lect 415: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels, with a significant number of paper replacement leaves.
  • GA Lect 416: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels dated to 1452. This manuscript is elegantly written with many vivid colors. Its lack of wear suggests that it was privately owned.
  • GA Lect 1528: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels dated to 1464. The manuscript has many ornate ekthesis enlarged initials including faces, birds, hands, flowers, fish, foxes, snakes, etc.
  • GA Lect 2008: 14th century lectionary in the same codex as GA Lect 415, with an unidentified palimpsest undertext which appears to be a majuscule lectionary.

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.

Additional New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

12/10/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 1415: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels, featuring an unusual icon of Luke (dating from the 9th century) probably inserted into the manuscript by the 12th century scribe.
  • GA 1416: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1418: 12th century minuscule of the Gospels, with two leaves of unidentified extra-biblical Christian text at the beginning of the codex.
  • GA Lect 387: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 388: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels with ornate ekthesis initials throughout. There is evidence that at least five different scribes worked to produce this manuscript.
  • GA Lect 391: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 395: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels. Most of the manuscript is on parchment, but the last 18 leaves are paper replacement leaves.
  • GA Lect 396: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 401: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels with an interesting colophon at the end in which the scribe, Leontos, prays for his monastery to acquire a writing table so that he can copy manuscripts more accurately.
  • GA Lect 402: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels with an inspiring colophon at the end which reads: “The hand that wrote [this] is rotting in the grave. But the letters remain until the fullness of time.”

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.

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

12/3/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 785: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1413: 11th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1829: 10th century minuscule of the Apostolos, with over 400 pages of Chrysostom’s homilies in the latter two-thirds of the codex.
  • GA Lect 383: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels. A large, well-used manuscript featuring beautiful gilded icons and ornate headpieces.
  • GA Lect 384: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 385: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 590: 11th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 592: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos dated to 1576.
  • GA Lect 593: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos. Apparently a complete manuscript.
  • GA Lect 1527: 10th century lectionary primarily consisting of the Psalms accompanied by interpretation from 18 different church fathers. This manuscript only has three pages of New Testament text!

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.

Support CSNTM with Your Christmas Shopping

11/30/2015

Support CSNTM

If you are planning on doing Christmas shopping this year on Amazon, please consider using the link above. By clicking on the Amazon logo, CSNTM will get a portion of your purchase at no additional cost to you!

The link will take you to Amazon, you can shop as normal, and Amazon will give a portion of anything purchased during that shopping session to CSNTM.

Images of Ten Uncatalogued Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

11/26/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 newly-discovered manuscripts from the National Library of Greece (NLG) in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace made the discoveries during his preparation of each manuscript for digitization. They are listed according to their NLG shelf number, as they have not yet been assigned a Gregory-Aland number. They cannot be confirmed as new discoveries without further investigation (i.e. they could be missing sections from extant New Testament manuscripts). The contents of these discoveries were recently presented at an annual scholarly meeting by CSNTM's Research Manager, Robert D. Marcello.

New NLG MSS

  • NLG 118: 11th century minuscule; one leaf, bound together with GA 765. Has a beautiful icon of Luke and the text of Luke 1.1–6.
  • NLG 204: 9th or 10th century palimpsested minuscule; one leaf, part of the upper-text manuscript GA 771. The under-text has a distinct hand, though both the under- and upper-text is from Mark 1 on this leaf.
  • NLG 2676: 13th or 14th century minuscule; two bifolio leaves at the front and back of GA Lect 1813. Contains a portion of 1 John, which is relatively rare in Apostolos manuscripts from this time period.
  • NLG 158 (front): 14th century lectionary; two leaves, bound together with GA 765 at the beginning of the codex.
  • NLG 158 (back): 12th century lectionary; twenty-seven leaves, bound together with GA 765 at the end of the codex. Possibly from the same scribe as GA 765, and combined into a single codex later.
  • NLG 2711: 12th or 13th century manuscript (could be a minuscule or lectionary); found in the reinforcement strips of GA Lect 1816. Contains text from Luke 1.
  • NLG 3534: 15th century lectionary; 64 leaves, containing the Gospels, Acts, and Paul.
  • NLG 4002: 18th century lectionary dated to 1701; 172 leaves, containing several beautiful (yet unfinished!) icons.
  • NLG 4074: 13th or 14th century lectionary; 196 leaves, containing the Gospels.
  • NLG 4080: 13th or 14th century lectionary; 154 leaves, containing the Gospels.

We have also added images for 9 manuscripts that are now in our digital library. Many of these are older images from microfilm. However, we want to make sure to make as many available as possible, even if high-resolution digital images are not currently available.

  • GA 040
  • GA 045
  • GA 055
  • GA 056
  • GA 059
  • GA 060
  • GA 063
  • GA 069
  • GA 070

These images have now been added to our growing searchable collection, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

New Images From the National Library of Greece

11/16/2015

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 10 new manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–16.

New NLG MSS

  • GA 777: From the 12th century, this manuscript (MS) contains the complete Tetraevangelion. The manuscript features 22 beautiful icons, many of which are from the life of Jesus.
  • GA 792: From the 13th century, this is a rare MS in that its New Testament contents include only the Gospels and Revelation. Also included are selected passages from the Old Greek.
  • GA 798: From the 11th century, this MS of the Gospels contains Matthew and Mark. CSNTM had previously digitized the other portion (containing Luke and John) housed at the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF), so digital images are now available for the entire MS.
  • GA 800: From the 12th or 13th century, this MS of the Gospels has extensive commentary wrapping around the text on three sides, and some unique textual features.
  • GA 1411: From the 10th or 11th century, this MS of the Gospels contains extensive commentary on John and Luke by Chrysostom and Titus of Bostra.
  • GA 1412: From the 10th or 11th century, this MS of the Gospels interweaves the biblical text with commentary by Chrysostom and Titus of Bostra, using a variety of different methods to distinguish the text from the commentary.
  • GA 1973: From the 13th century, this MS of Paul’s letters contains commentary from Theophylact of Bulgaria.
  • GA Lect 440: Paper lectionary dated to 1504, which was damaged and then repaired with other paper texts with script at some later point in its history.
  • GA Lect 1524: Paper lectionary dated to 1522, a well-used manuscript.
  • GA Lect 2007: Paper lectionary from the 15th century.

We have also added images for 12 manuscripts that are now in our digital library. Many of these are older images from microfilm.

  • GA 08
  • GA 010
  • GA 014
  • GA 015
  • GA 017
  • GA 018
  • GA 019
  • GA 020
  • GA 034
  • GA 035
  • GA 038
  • GA 044

These images have now been added to our growing searchable collection, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of Greek New Testament manuscripts.

All images are available at the CSNTM Library

The New CSNTM.org

11/14/2015

Since we began our work in 2002, a core part of our mission has been to make it possible to view and study New Testament manuscripts from anywhere in the world. We have worked toward this by traveling around the globe and capturing beautiful digital images of some of the most important extant manuscripts. Today, we are taking another step forward by making it easier than ever for you to access manuscripts. We’re launching the new CSNTM.org.

NewCSNTM

Here are some of the features that you can expect to find now and in the coming weeks:

  • New Manuscripts – We will be adding 10-20 new manuscripts to our website weekly for the next few months. These will be from the National Library of Greece in Athens (our ongoing project for 2015–16), as well as previously unposted images from hundreds of manuscripts and rare books in our collection.
  • New Look – We have revamped our entire website to make it both simpler and richer in content. We have new content, which narrates how we go about digitizing and archiving manuscripts. We also explain what goes into our extensive training program that enables our teams to work quickly while capturing high-quality images.
  • New Viewing Environment – The website is equipped with a new viewer, which makes it easier than ever to navigate manuscripts and view our stunning new images.
  • New Usability – Our new site is also designed to work perfectly with mobile devices and tablets, enabling you to view manuscripts or to access other resources quickly, whenever you need them.
  • New Search Features – The website is now outfitted with an extensive search functionality. Searches can be performed at the manuscript level, allowing you to find manuscripts that meet certain criteria (e.g., date, contents, material, location). They can also be performed at the image level, which allows you to find specific features within a manuscript. For instance, we now have a Jump to Book option that allows you to find the beginning of each book that a manuscript contains. Also, one can search tagged manuscripts for verse references. Every place, for example, in which John 1.1 is tagged will automatically populate when the verse is searched.
  • New Search Database – The search database holds tags for each manuscript and individual image. As our team continues tagging our growing collection, the search function will become more comprehensive each week. But the task is daunting. We want your help for the tagging! If interested, you can reach us via our contact page.

Please share our new site with colleagues and friends, so more and more people can continue to utilize CSNTM’s library, which is free for all and free for all time. We sincerely hope that you enjoy using the site. It represents a giant leap forward in accomplishing our mission to bring ancient New Testament manuscripts to a modern world.

Behind the Scenes: What Happens after We Capture an Image

10/29/2015

29 October 2015

Andrew K. Bobo and Robert D. Marcello

Many visitors to the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts' (CSNTM) website are familiar with the front end of the digitization process. We travel across the world—this past summer we were in Athens, Greece for three months—taking our equipment with us to photograph manuscripts page by page. What most people do not realize is the amount of work that continues after an image is taken, the part of the process we refer to as “post-production.”

CSNTM's server room;

Above is an image of the server room where CSNTM stores its archive.

The post-production process of safely storing our data has developed rapidly over the past decade with the advent of newer and better technologies for every stage of the digitization process. The quality of digital cameras has increased exponentially, and so has the size of each image file. As we planned to switch to 50 megapixel cameras last summer, we knew we would significantly increase our storage needs as we increased the quality of every image. We archive files in RAW, JPEG, and TIFF formats. So a single manuscript page digitized with the newest cameras requires more than 425 MB of storage space. Because we have recently committed to capture 150,000 images in 15 months, this demanded a more robust way to manage our data.

The Center purchased and installed a professional-grade server system, which tripled the capacity of our previous server. The system can be scaled to hold over 600 TB of data, ensuring that CSNTM has room to grow for the next decade of expeditions. The new server runs a RAID6 backup protocol. This process is designed to automatically rewrite all data to multiple locations within the system, and would allow for two individual drives to fail without any data loss. The new server also gives us remote access to our holdings, allowing us to run maintenance processes and gain access to our data from anywhere in the world.

The entire process of finding, installing, and maintaining a new server would not have been possible without bringing in some outside help. CSNTM was fortunate to be connected with The Core Technology Group, an IT consultancy based in the Dallas area. They quickly understood our organization’s mission and data storage needs, helping us find a server setup that would be cost-effective, reliable, and scalable in the long-term. They have also answered dozens of emails and phone calls from us along the way.

Finally, CSNTM has found new ways to archive our images in additional locations and formats. Aside from our new server, we also purchased an LTO tape drive and several LTO tape cartridges. In the past, CSNTM used gold-plated DVDs for the purpose of additional backups, but with the rapid expansion of the size of our images, this backup method has become unwieldy and inefficient. It would take thousands of DVDs to store the massive number of images we plan to take during the next few years. LTO tapes, on the other hand, each hold more than 2 TB of data, only cost about $30 each, and last up to 30 years. We are creating multiple LTO tape backups for every image in our collection, in both RAW and TIFF formats, in order to conform with archival best practices.

Preservation begins with capturing beautiful images, but it doesn’t end there. With our new backup protocols, we will be processing over 60,000 images during the next few months. Each image will be converted and stored in three different formats, on two different media, and in three different locations. Though we aren’t in the field digitizing, the work continues as we safely archive our data for generations to come.

National Library of Greece Summer Recap

9/28/2015

Robert D. Marcello

28 September 2015

After months of hard work and planning, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) recently completed phase 1 of the National Library of Greece (NLG) expedition. The NLG is one of the top five locations for New Testament manuscripts in the world. During this trip, the Center was able to digitize 135 Greek New Testament manuscripts. Almost 30 people were sent over to Athens, rotating out over the course of three months. Throughout the time there, the Greek financial crisis hit hard. Banks closed, individuals could only withdraw 60 Euros a day from ATMs, and tensions soared. However, the teams continued their work. In fact, during some of the hottest months of the year, they continued to work without any air conditioning. In spite of all of this, each member of the team knew that they were a part of something much bigger than themselves, and as a result, they had to press on.

Digitizing at the National Library of Greece

Pressing on is exactly what happened. In spite of all of the obstacles, CSNTM digitized over 62,000 images. These images are in the process of post-production where they will all be evaluated, added to CSNTM’s archives and website, and made available to you! This undertaking is intense, and CSNTM ensures that each image remains backed up and preserved for future generations. In fact, some of the manuscripts that have been digitized are new discoveries, and some others include significant finds! The Center will be making announcements when these new manuscripts are made available online.

Team at the National Library of Greece

CSNTM wants to thank the Director of the library, Dr. Tsimboglou, and his staff for their partnership in this important collaboration to preserve a fraction of the National Library’s treasures. We also want to thank everyone who partnered with CSNTM to make this amazing opportunity a reality. Without you, it could have never happened, and because of you, irreplaceable New Testament manuscripts have now been digitally preserved for years to come! We look forward to completing this project and thank you for your continued support to complete this massive project.

Update from the NLG

6/9/2015

National Library of Greece

CSNTM's Executive Director has posted an exciting new blog providing an update of the expedition to the National Library of Greece and a newly discovered manuscript. Also, CSNTM has been featured in some leading Greek newspapers for our work at the National Library.

Click here to read all about Dr. Wallace's update!

Background on the National Library of Greece

3/16/2015

Matthew Wilson

16 March 2015

The National Library of Greece (NLG) holds one of the five largest repositories of Greek New Testament manuscripts in the world. Ancient Greece dates back thousands of years, and most consider it the birthplace of Western culture. In fact, the rise of Greek culture resulted in its language becoming the lingua franca of the first century, and it was this language in which the books of the New Testament were originally written. As a result, the most important witnesses to the text of the New Testament are ancient Greek manuscripts and it is the mission of CSNTM to digitize them.

National Library of Greece;



Though Greek culture is very ancient, modern Greece is a relatively young nation. In fact, it wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1829 the first governor of the independent Greek State, Ioannis Kapodistrias, established a library, museum, and orphanage in the first capital of Greece, Aegina. The library was established as an independent institution in 1832. That same year it was moved to the new capital Nafplio and moved again in 1834 to Athens, which became the new (and current) capital. In Athens, the library was first housed at the Roman Forum. Later it was moved to the church of St. Eleftherios. In 1842, the then Public Library was joined with the University Library, and the two were fully merged into the NLG in 1866. Both were housed at Othonos University.


On March 16, 1888, the cornerstone for a new marble neoclassical building was laid. In 1903, Greece relocated the NLG into the new location. The new structure was a part of three neoclassical buildings. The other two were the National University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. The three were named the “Athenian Trilogy.” Today, a new building is currently under construction as part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which will house the National Library and the National Opera. The NLG considers itself the guardian of the written intellectual legacy of the Greeks. It seeks to preserve this legacy and to make it available to the public.

When the NLG was first made an independent institution in 1832 it had 1,018 volumes. In 1842 with the merger of the University Library, the collection increased to 50,000 volumes. Today the National Library holds one of the largest collections of Greek manuscripts—4,500 total. Of those, approximately 300 manuscripts are of the Greek New Testament, one of the largest collections of Greek New Testament manuscripts in the world.

On January 12, 2015, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) announced that it has entered into an agreement with the NLG to digitize all of these 300+ manuscripts of the Greek New Testament and make them freely available on CSNTM’s website. This is an amazing opportunity and a huge undertaking. There are approximately 5,800 Greek New Testament manuscripts that are currently known, and the NLG has 300 of them! This collection represents a significant witness to the text of the New Testament, and its digitization by CSNTM will not only ensure that these witnesses are available for generations to come but are freely available to anyone who would like to see them.

For more information about the NLG, click here or here

If you would like to support this expedition, please click here.

Additional Extra-Biblical Chester Beatty Papyrus Images Now Available

3/2/2015

Press Release

2 March 2015

In the summer of 2013, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) digitized the Greek biblical papyri housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL) in Dublin, Ireland. The Chester Beatty collection includes some of the earliest and most important Greek biblical manuscripts in the world. In addition to these biblical manuscripts, CSNTM also digitized several extra-biblical Greek papyri that are part of the CBL collection.

For the first time, images of two of these extra-biblical Chester Beatty manuscripts have now been made available:

1) The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the Magicians

Jannes and Jambres is an apocryphal work. Its text is fragmentary and dated from the 3rd-4th century.

2) Enoch and Melito

Enoch is an extra-biblical work. Melito is an early Christian homily. The text is from the 4th century.

These texts are uniquely significant, as they contain an early witness to rare works for which only a handful of copies have survived, and in the case of Jannes and Jambres, this is the only Greek manuscript known to exist.

Visit the manuscript page to view these new images from Dublin.

Also, if you would like to make more resources like this available, please consider donating to CSNTM!

Biblical Manuscripts and their Commentaries

2/26/2015

Daniel B. Wallace

26 February 2015

I don’t know how many handwritten Greek New Testament manuscripts (MSS) I’ve had the privilege of looking at in the last two or three decades. It’s at least in the hundreds and probably more than a thousand by now. And presently, I am looking at quite a few more at the National Library of Greece in Athens. CSNTM will be shooting all the NT manuscripts here in 2015 and 2016. That’s about 300 manuscripts with almost 150,000 pages of text. It’s a daunting task! And all of these images will be available at CSNTM. They will be free for all, and free for all time.

I’ve been pondering an aspect about NT manuscripts that I thought would be good to share with others. It has to do with commentaries. You see, many of our biblical manuscripts have commentaries written by church fathers included within the codex. Scholars are aware of about one dozen such manuscripts in which the NT text is written in majuscules or capital letters. Majuscules are what all of our oldest NT manuscripts are written in. Beginning in the ninth century, scribes began to write in minuscule, or cursive, letters. Minuscule manuscripts could be written much more rapidly and in a more compact space than their capital letter counterparts. By the twelfth century, virtually all the Greek NT manuscripts were minuscules. Quite a few of these later MSS included commentaries.

Over the years, I’ve examined such commentary MSS to prepare them for digitization. And here’s what I have discovered.

These MSS come in a variety of formats. Probably the most common one is for the text to be in larger script and centered on the page, with commentary wrapping around it on three sides (top, bottom, and outside of the leaf). Another format is to have the biblical text in one color of ink with the commentary in a different color. The color of ink for the biblical text is almost always a more expensive ink; one or two MSS even use gold ink for the scriptures. A third format is to have the NT written in capital letters and the commentary in minuscule. And finally, some MSS have an introductory symbol to the biblical text such as an asterisk or simple cross to set it off from the commentary.

Below are images of some examples of these varieties:

Biblical text centered and in larger script with wrap-around commentary

Biblical text centered and in larger script with wrap-around commentary

Gold letters for scripture, red letters for commentary

Gold letters for scripture, red letters for commentary

Capital letters for scripture, cursive for commentary

Capital letters for scripture, cursive for commentary

There is a common theme through all of these varieties: the biblical text is prominent, considered of greater importance than the commentary. These ancient and medieval scribes understood the significance of scripture and made sure to highlight it over comments about it. I am reminded of a quip one of my professors used to make: “It’s amazing how much light the text sheds on the commentaries!” Indeed, the refrain of focusing on the text, of constantly putting before the reader what is of the greatest importance, is a hallmark of these manuscripts!

This is not to say that these commentaries were unimportant. No, they were vital for the communities of faith. Christians then, as now, wanted to know how to understand the Bible, and the scribes did well to reproduce the reflections on scripture of the great thinkers in the history of the Church. But on balance, we would do well to remember that the scriptures were front and center and the scriptures were the main focus of these scribes. To these anonymous workers, who labored in adverse conditions, we owe a large debt of gratitude.

If you want to help preserve manuscripts please make a donation.

CSNTM to Digitize Manuscripts at the National Library of Greece

1/12/2015

Press Release

12 January 2015

On January 7, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts’ Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, and Research Manager, Robert D. Marcello, traveled to Athens to meet with the Director of the National Library, Filippos Tsimboglou. After meeting with the Director last September to begin discussions of a collaboration, they worked out final negotiations and signed a contract for CSNTM to digitize all the New Testament manuscripts of the National Library. This is a historic collaboration between one of the five largest repositories of Greek New Testament manuscripts and the world’s leading institute in digitizing Greek New Testament manuscripts. Approximately 300 manuscripts with 150,000+ pages of text will be digitized over the next two years. CSNTM is excited to be working with Dr. Tsimboglou and his staff on this strategic undertaking.

The National Library of Greece

The National Library of Greece in Athens

The project will begin in January 2015 with Dr. Wallace spending a significant amount of time in Athens, preparing the manuscripts for digitization. Then a team of 7–8 people from CSNTM will arrive in Athens to digitize the manuscripts. After the digitization work, the project will conclude with several months of post-production image processing. CSNTM, a Plano, Texas non-profit institute, has been digitizing manuscripts throughout the world since 2002.

CSNTM at the National Library of Greece

Rob Marcello, Filippos Tsimboglou, and Dan Wallace at the NL Athens

This is the first expedition for CSNTM in which they are announcing ahead of time where and when they are going. The cost for the expedition, including equipment and follow-through, will be approximately $835,000. When the project is completed, all the images will be posted at www.csntm.org and will be accessible to everyone free of charge. If you would like to donate, please click here.

P46 Is Now Complete

1/6/2015

Robert D. Marcello

6 January 2015

In July of 2014 the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) traveled to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to digitize their New Testament Papyrus of Paul’s letters (P46). The CSNTM team consisted of Daniel B. Wallace, Robert D. Marcello, and Jacob W. Peterson. This was part of a combined project which will virtually reunite P46 since it is housed in two separate locations. The University was gracious to allow CSNTM to digitize their portion of the manuscript, and our staff was able to work with the University’s preservation department, which is known around the world for their work in papyrological preservation. A special thanks goes to Dr. Brendan Haug, the archivist of the Papyrology Collection and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical Studies, for his willingness to participate in this project and for his hospitality.

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace at the Chester Beatty Library

P46 or Papyrus 46 in the Gregory-Aland system is the earliest Papyrus (c. AD 200) of the letters of Paul and Hebrews. It is housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL) in Dublin, Ireland and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. CSNTM digitized the CBL portion in the summer of 2013 producing stunning high-resolution digital images that are already being used in theses and research around the globe. This manuscript is vitally important for understanding the transmission and earliest stages of the text of Paul’s writings, and we are excited to add the University of Michigan’s images to our Library.

P46—both the CBL and Michigan images—may now be found in the CSNTM library.

More Papyrus Images Online!

12/12/2013

Robert D. Marcello

12 December 2013

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is continuing to grow its online resources. Today we are proud to announce that we now have images of 128 papyri manuscripts in our archives, 111 digital papyri manuscripts online, and 80 of these available publicly (the remaining are available for private viewing only due to contractual arrangements). This includes the new high resolution images of the Chester Beatty Papryi!

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace at the Chester Beatty Library

As always, we strive to continually make as many images available publically as possible. We will continue to grow our collections in the months to come; please be on the lookout for more exciting additions to the CSNTM site.

Debut of Chester Beatty Papyri and New User Tools at CSNTM!

11/8/2013

Press Release (8 Nov 2013):

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (www.csntm.org) is well known for digitizing ancient biblical manuscripts. But the Center is not well known for having a user-friendly website. Because of a generous donation, the Center is giving a much-needed face-lift to its site. Phase I includes the following new features:

- A basic search function now allows users to look at manuscripts by date, material, content, etc. You will notice a new search bar at the top of the manuscripts page. Simply enter in the data you’re looking for, and only those manuscripts that meet the criteria will be displayed.

- Viewing technology has been added, allowing users to see thumbnail images instead of just a link. Simply click on the thumbnail and the high-resolution image is displayed in the viewer below. Users can now zoom in and examine manuscripts without having to open individual pages. This feature is currently available only for manuscripts digitized on the last five expeditions Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence; Gennadius Library in Athens; University of Athens Historical Museum; City Historical Library of Zagora, Greece; and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin). More to come!

- The website also provides links to the images of 29 (and growing!) significant manuscripts in various libraries throughout the world.

- CSNTM currently has over 450 manuscripts listed in its manuscript page, with more than 1100 manuscripts in our archives. We are working on getting all 1100+ manuscripts listed on the site. As always, when the Center gets permission, the images of manuscripts become accessible to all.

The most exciting new additions to the CSNTM website are the Chester Beatty biblical manuscripts (which we digitized in the summer of 2013). These include all Old and New Testament Greek papyri, apocryphal texts, and all Greek New Testament manuscripts housed at the CBL in Dublin. Best of all, these can now be viewed on the manuscripts page. Using state-of-the-art digital equipment, the Center photographed each manuscript against white and black backgrounds. The result was stunning. The photographs reveal some text that has not been seen before.

CSNTM is grateful to the CBL for the privilege of digitizing these priceless treasures. The staff were extremely competent and a joy to work with. We are grateful to Fionnuala Croke, Director of CBL, for the opportunity to digitize their biblical texts. And we wish to thank Dr. Larry Hurtado, Edinburgh University, and the late Dr. Sean Freyne, Trinity College, Dublin, for recommending CSNTM for this important undertaking.

Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of CSNTM

Robert D. Marcello, Research Manager of CSNTM

CHESTER BEATTY PAPYRI AT CSNTM!

9/17/2013

Press Release

17 September 2013

The Chester Beatty papyri, published in the 1930s and 1950s, are some of the oldest and most important biblical manuscripts known to exist. Housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL) in Dublin, they have attracted countless visitors every year. It is safe to say that the only Greek biblical manuscripts that might receive more visitors are Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, both on display at the British Library.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is pleased to announce that a six-person team, in a four-week expedition during July–August 2013, digitized all the Greek biblical papyri at the Chester Beatty Library. The CBL has granted permission to CSNTM to post the images on their website (www.csntm.org), which will happen before the end of the year.

Main Entrance to the Chester Beatty Library

The New Testament papyri at the CBL include the oldest manuscript of Paul’s letters (dated c. AD 200), the oldest manuscript of Mark’s Gospel and portions of the other Gospels and Acts (third century), and the oldest manuscript of Revelation (third century). One or two of the Old Testament papyri are as old as the second century AD.

Using state-of-the-art digital equipment, CSNTM photographed each manuscript against white and black backgrounds. The result was stunning. Each image is over 120 megabytes. The photographs reveal some text that has not been seen before.

Besides the papyri, CSNTM also digitized all of the Greek New Testament manuscripts at the CBL as well as several others, including some early apocryphal texts. The total number of images came to more than 5100.

CSNTM is grateful to the CBL for the privilege of digitizing these priceless treasures. Their staff were extremely competent and a joy to work with. Kudos to Dr. Fionnuala Croke, Director of CBL, for such a superb staff! This kind of collaboration is needed both for the preservation of biblical manuscripts and their accessibility by scholars.

New Manuscripts Online

7/9/2013

In the summer of 2012 the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) traveled to the Gennadius Library at the American School of Classical Studies and the University of Athens in Athens, Greece. These are two exceptional libraries. The Gennadius’ own description demonstrates their amazing collection: “Opened in 1926 with 26,000 volumes from diplomat and bibliophile, Joannes Gennadius, the Gennadius Library now holds a richly diverse collection of over 120,000 books and rare bindings, archives, manuscripts, and works of art illuminating the Hellenic tradition and neighboring cultures.” Here, a team from CSNTM was able to digitize six manuscripts in their collection including three manuscripts not yet catalogued with GA numbers! The team also visited the University of Athens Historical Museum and was able to locate two manuscripts.

The following manuscripts may now be found at www.csntm.org/manuscript:

Gennadius:

GA 1797, GA 2651, and GA 1873

No Gregory-Aland number yet: Gennadius Shelf Numbers: 259, 266, and K20

University of Athens Historical Museum:

GA 2121 and GA 2123

New Manuscripts Available for Viewing

3/19/2013

19 March 2013

Robert D. Marcello

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.

P35

P36

P48

P89

P95

GA 0171

GA 0172

GA 0173

GA 0175

GA 0176

GA 0207

GA 198

GA 199

GA 200

GA 362

GA 365

GA 366

GA 367

GA 619

GA 620

GA 1979

GA Lect 112

GA Lect 117

GA Lect 118

GA Lect 291

GA Lect 510

GA Lect 604

GA Lect 2210

DVD Sale!

1/17/2013

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 $15.00 plus shipping and handling. It is available in both U.S. (NTSC) and international (PAL) versions.

Purchase U.S. DVDs or international DVDs

The DVD is copyrighted by CSNTM; please do not replicate or distribute it.

CSNTM at the New York Public Library

12/17/2012

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.

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace examining a manuscript

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.

CSNTM at the New York Public Library

12/16/2012

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.

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace examining a manuscript

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.

The Demise of Codex 1799

8/18/2012

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!

The Demise of Codex 1799

8/18/2012

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!

New Testament Resources Store

3/20/2012

20 March 2012

Daniel B. Wallace

The CSNTM staff has been working very hard to select some of the very best books for studying the New Testament. The initial listing is now posted at our brand new “New Testament Resources Store” under the resources tab. These books belong to fifteen categories, which cover the basics. These include Textual Criticism (of course!), Historical and Literary Backgrounds, Hermeneutics, NT Greek, Commentaries, and many more. We have not listed any junk here. All these books are worth owning, though some are advanced treatments and may not be suitable for you. If you have doubts about the appropriateness of certain books for your own library, just email us, and one of us will get back to you.

We are making it very easy for you to purchase these books. When you visit the NT Resources Store, click on a category and find the book that interest you. This will take you to a description page and offer a button to make a purchase at the Amazon store. You get the same terrific prices as you normally would at Amazon (they will know who you are if you’re a returning customer), including the free shipping for Amazon Prime members. And your purchase helps CSNTM as well since Amazon gives the Center a portion of all sales through our website. The more books you buy, the more expeditions we can go on to photograph manuscripts. We’ve already been told that some folks plan to use the CSNTM gateway to Amazon from now on for everything they buy there.

CSNTM is grateful for your support.

Happy hunting!

Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?

2/10/2012

10 February 2012

Daniel B. Wallace

On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.

These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, about 33% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.

Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. 200–250 CE). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts. As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word “the Lord” in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word “Jesus.” New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts. But if an early papyrus had in another place “Simon” instead of “Peter,” and “Simon” was also found in other early and reliable manuscripts, it might persuade scholars that “Simon” is the authentic reading. In other words, the papyri have confirmed various readings as authentic in the past 116 years, but have not introduced new authentic readings. The original New Testament text is found somewhere in the manuscripts that have been known for quite some time.

These new papyri will no doubt continue that trend. But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the original followers of Jesus! Not only this, but this manuscript would have been written before the New Testament was completed.

Purchase U.S. DVDs of the second debate or international DVDs

Review of Debate between Daniel B. Wallace and Bart D. Ehrman

10/19/2011

19 October 2011

Nika Spaulding and Robert D. Marcello

Saturday, October 1, 2011, at the McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus, stately columns reminiscent of the Grecian architecture of old greeted the nearly 1500 guests eager to watch the debate. The sheer numbers guaranteed that this debate would be the largest such event in history. Both the building and attendees—scholars, Christians, seekers, skeptics, atheists, Muslims, Mormons—suggested the magnitude of the subject matter: the reliability of the text of the New Testament. Expectations soared for the two scholars debating—our own Dr. Daniel B. Wallace and Dr. Bart D. Ehrman—and neither would disappoint.

The moderator, Dr. Mark Chancey, a former student of Ehrman’s and chairman of the Religious Studies Department at SMU, did an outstanding job introducing the speakers, fielding the questions, and keeping the audience on track. He was quite neutral, as his reputation had suggested he would be. Dr. Ehrman throughout the evening posited that the text of the New Testament was corrupted beyond repair. His main argument stems from the absence of New Testament manuscripts from the first 200 years after the writing of the New Testament. This “silence” he argued could have resulted in chaos from the scribes; thus, it follows that the text is no longer trustworthy. Conversely, Dr. Wallace asserted that much evidence exists which affirms the reliability of the text—including from the first 200 years: nearly 80 Greek MSS from that period! He compared the New Testament manuscripts to that of even the best Greco-Roman authors. To say the New Testament exceeds this literature in quality and quantity of manuscripts would be a gross understatement. Thus it follows, on the grounds of textual reliability, the New Testament far exceeds other literature of its kind.

Ehrman demanded absolute proof that the New Testament had not been corrupted, as though such proof was to be applied in all areas of life. But he was making unrealistic demands on the text, and demanding absolute certainty for historical materials. Wallace pointed out that skepticism of this sort would mean that we would need to be a thousand times more skeptical about the average Greco-Roman author, and that our knowledge of the ancient world would have to be surrendered, putting us right back in the Dark Ages.

Wallace took a more moderating position, arguing that we can have relative certainty that we can get back to the wording of the autographs.

In Wallace’s final point he argued that every one of Ehrman’s books on the New Testament presupposed that he knew what the autographic text said—even his latest book, Forged , written earlier this year. Wallace mentioned that Ehrman’s belief that Paul did not write the Pastorals depended on a vocabulary argument in which Ehrman knew what the “authentic” Pauline letters said and what the Pastorals said—in virtually every place. Ehrman never could have written that book unless he knew, almost in every detail, what the original text of Paul’s letters said.

Between the scholarly dialogue and lively, even humorous rhetoric of the two men, attendees enjoyed an evening that focused on a significant subject matter. DVDs of the historic debate will be on sale soon. More information about the upcoming DVD can be found on www.CSNTM.org in the coming weeks. An interesting sidenote: When Dr. Ehrman asked the audience how many were Bible-believing Christians, only about 60% of the hands went up. There was a healthy number of atheists, skeptics, Muslims, and Mormons—all fans of Ehrman—at the debate. The professional film crew interviewed several attendees after the debate. They sought out those with “ATHEIST” emblazoned in white on their black T-shirts, and others who were evidently not Christians. But no one who thought that Ehrman had won the debate was willing to be filmed.

Announced at the debate was Dr. Wallace’s brand new book (released on the day of the debate!): Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence (Text and Canon of the New Testament) (Kregel), a book he edited and contributed to, along with five former interns of his. This is an outstanding work that offers a significant critique on Ehrman’s The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. Autographed copies of Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament are available at www.CSNTM.org for $30. In the first three weeks, the book has already sold more than 1000 copies!

SMU Debate

8/15/2011

Robert D. Marcello

August 15, 2011

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is proud to announce the SMU Debate between two noted New Testament scholars, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman and Dr. Daniel B. Wallace. The debate will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 7 PM in the McFarlin Memorial Auditorium at Southern Methodist University. This debate will feature a dialogue on the reliability of the text of the New Testament. Though Ehrman and Wallace have held public debates in the past, this one will focus on providing a general audience with insider information regarding one of the most significant pieces of literature ever written. Dr. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, is a New York Times bestselling author who has published over 20 books. His book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, questioned the reliability of the New Testament text, arguing that Christian scribes have corrupted it beyond repair. Dr. Wallace, director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and New Testament Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, has spent his life studying and digitizing ancient copies of the New Testament. He has authored and edited numerous books; most recently he has edited and contributed to Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence. He asserts that we have good reason to believe that the New Testament text is reliable. If you are interested in the New Testament or in its reliability, this is sure to be an event you will not want to miss. For more information on the debate and to purchase tickets, please visit www.SMUDebate.com

Free Audio and Video Now Available around the World on iTunes U

7/1/2011

Robert D. Marcello

July 1, 2011

Today the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) announces that it is now available on iTunes U, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) that offers free audio and video content from leading educational institutions.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) has always been committed to helping others understand the reliability of our New Testaments, the history of translations, the study of the text, and significant figures who have made this possible.

Beginning today, CSNTM is making a series of videos concerning New Testament manuscripts, textual criticism, history of the New Testament, and expert commentary on key verses available as a free download on iTunes U.

Featured in the videos are interviews and footage shot around the world of important people involved in the work of the Center. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace will also be featured as he explains important aspects in the study of the text of the New Testament.

CSNTM is on Facebook!

6/2/2011

Robert D. Marcello

June 2, 2011

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) now has its own Facebook page and group. Feel free to "like" us in order to receive updates on expeditions, noteworthy news, and answers to your questions.

Test Post

2/27/2011

This is a test post. Indeed, it is the text.

Accordance Releases New Module Featuring CSNTM Images

1/10/2011

Jeff Hargis

January 10, 2011

The biblical software company Accordance has announced the release of a new module featuring images from CSNTM. The module was unveiled at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2010. The module includes images of four manuscript facsimiles and one actual manuscript held by the Center: Sinaiticus (01), Alexandrinus (02), Vaticanus (03, pseudo-facsimile), Washingtonianus (032), and GA 2882, the last owned by CSNTM.

These images can be added straight into Accordance software, and they are already fully indexed. They can also be compared side by side within a workspace; using this module, the user can view the more than 1,300 images alongside additional resources including an electronic text, the apparatus generated by the Center for New Testament Textual Studies, and Philip W. Comfort’s New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. Since the modules are stored locally on your own computer, there is no need to wait for the images to download from the Internet.

The New Testament Manuscripts Image Collection module retails for $179. For more information on this new module, see the informative blog post by Rick Bennett.

New Fragmentary Lectionary in Bucharest

7/20/2010

Jeff Hargis

July 20, 2010

Last week, the Center announced the discovery of a "manuscript within a manuscript," a two-leaf minuscule fragment of Luke's Gospel at the end of a complete New Testament (GA 2554) at the National Museum of Art in Bucharest.

Yet another discovery of this nature was made two days later at another institution in Bucharest, the Library of the Romanian Academy. In this case, the fragmentary manuscript consists of three leaves of a lectionary bound within another lectionary. The "host" lectionary is GA lect 1738, a 14th century two-column lectionary of 87 leaves (MS Gr. 936).

Within this codex are three leaves that were apparently not a part of the original manuscript. Leaves 64 and 66 are from a single-column lectionary, in contrast to the two-column lectionary in which they are located; in addition, the text of the leaves consist of 27 lines of text, while the "host" manuscript contains 28–31 lines of text. Leaf 65 is so fragmentary that it cannot be determined for certain whether it shares the same characteristics as the leaves that surround it (64 and 66), but the appearance of the parchment seems to indicate that it belongs with the two other leaves. Since the text of 64 and 66 are not contiguous, it seems possible that this fragmentary leaf is the intervening leaf (or one of several).

The leaves measure 21.5–22 x 16.5–17 cm, the same dimensions as the manuscript in which they are bound. The hand is estimated as 14th century.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts is grateful to the Library of the Romanian Academy for the opportunity to examine this manuscript.

New Fragmentary Minuscule in Bucharest

7/12/2010

Jeff Hargis

July 12, 2010

It sometimes happens that the Center finds a “manuscript within a manuscript,” and this is exactly what happened in Bucharest, Romania a few weeks ago. The National Museum of Art of Romania possesses five exquisite manuscripts, which we were allowed to examine on 31 May 2010.

One of the manuscripts, GA 2554, is a complete New Testament dated to the year 1434 (shelf number 3, previously INV 691). It is one of only about 60 complete New Testament manuscripts known to exist. The books of the manuscript are in a common ancient order: Gospels, Acts, General Epistles (1 Peter through Jude), Paul (Romans through Philemon), and Revelation. Interestingly, the book of Revelation is written in a different hand with more lines per page (30) than the rest of the codex (27), indicating that this copy of Revelation might not originally have been part of the manuscript.

The "manuscript within a manuscript" occurs after Revelation, at the very end of the codex. Between the end of Revelation and the back cover are two parchment leaves containing the text of Luke 10:31–13:29. The text is written in a hand similar to that of the rest of the codex and contains the same number of lines per page; a check of the appropriate section of the Gospels confirmed that the leaves were not displaced from the earlier portion of the manuscript. The text begins with συγκυριαν in Luke 10:31 and ends with νοτου in Luke 13:29. It is not clear why these two leaves were inserted into the codex, other than as flyleaves for the end of the manuscript.

The leaves measure 23.5 x 17.5 cm, only slightly smaller in height than the manuscript in which they are bound (the leaves of the codex measure on average 24.0 x 17.5 cm). Like most of the rest of the codex, the text is in a single column with 27 lines per column. The hand is estimated as 15th century and is similar to the handwriting in the rest of the manuscript.

Because the catalogue of the National Museum of Art of Romania already mentions the existence of these two leaves of text, the material is not a “new discovery” since that they were previously known to the Museum. To New Testament scholars, however, the leaves constitute a “new” fragmentary manuscript of Luke’s Gospel.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts is grateful to the National Museum of Art of Romania for the opportunity to examine this manuscript.

New TC Notes

7/11/2010

We have recently posted three new TC Notes:

Uncatalogued MSS at Stephanou, Meteora
Meteora is one of the most stunningly beautiful and other-worldly places on earth. Over a millennium ago, monks traveled throughout Greece in search of a place where they could get away from it all. Ultimately, six monasteries were established there, all but one perched atop stone pillars rising hundreds of feet above the plain below.

The Comma Johanneum in an Overlooked Manuscript
I am in Munich currently, examining Greek New Testament manuscripts at one of the world’s great libraries, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library). Among other things, this library boasts the largest collection of incunabula (books printed before the year 1500) in Europe—a whopping 18,000 of the total 30,000 titles that belong to this early period of printing.

Manuscript Discoveries in Greece and Romania May–June 2010
Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a little blog-posting about manuscript discoveries in Greece and Romania by CSNTM. These include manuscripts that are known to the libraries but were not hitherto known to New Testament scholars because they had not yet received a Gregory-Aland number by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, Germany. Some of the manuscripts that CSNTM ‘discovered’ will still not receive such a number for some time because we did not photograph these documents. But this summary is meant to give virtually all the details as we have them to date. It is easiest to put it the data in tabular form.

Uncatalogued Gospels Minuscule at the Museum of Oltenia in Craiova, Romania

7/7/2010

Jeff Hargis

July 7, 2010

On May 25, 2010, a team from CSNTM examined an uncatalogued Gospels minsucule manuscript at the Museum of Oltenia in Craiova, Romania. We are grateful to the Director, Prof. Dr. Mihai Fifor, for permission to examine the manuscript.

Since the manuscript (shelf number 535, formerly 00022) was in the process of conservation, it could not be photographed at the time of the visit. However, the situation presented a rare opportunity for Center staff to examine a manuscript that was completely disbound. Each quire had been removed from the binding, and then the leaves of the quires separated for conservation. We were able to examine the details of quire construction and the ordering of leaves, as well as see areas of the manuscript that are usually concealed by the binding.

The manuscript is a twelfth century Gospels manuscript written on parchment with several supplementary paper leaves. The manuscript measures 25.5 x 20.5 cm and consists of 293 leaves with 19–22 lines per column, one column per page (the supplementary leaves contain 30–32 lines per column with two columns per page). The manuscript contains extensive commentary in the margins.

Nearly the whole of the four Gospels are contained in the codex. A few leaves appear to be missing—a leaf from Matthew and several leaves from John. The manuscript ends at John 21:10 and seems to be missing the last two leaves. The long ending of Mark follows Mark 16:8 on 127 verso to 128 recto. A marginal note beside Mark 16:19 references Irenaeus’ work Against Heresies, where the second-century father quotes the verse. The pericope adulterae is found on 251r–252r in its traditional location.

New Lectionary Discovery?

7/3/2010

Daniel B. Wallace

July 3, 2010

A team of four people (Jeff Hargis, Peter Gurry, Noah Wallace, and I) went to the National Library of Athens to examine some New Testament manuscripts, as is our custom when we are in this city. The library boasts about 200 Greek NT MSS, almost all of which are known to Muenster and listed in the second edition of Kurt Aland’s Kurzgefasste Liste (1994). But this day we came across a previously uncatalogued lectionary.

We learned a year ago that another museum in Athens possessed several NT MSS that have not been given a Gregory-Aland number by INTF in Muenster. Some of these were now in the possession of the National Library. So, today we trotted off to the NL to see these MSS.

For the most part, we struck out. Apparently the MSS we thought were now in the possession of the NL were not. They may still be at the other museum, though we won’t know this for a few days. We asked for various MSS that we had a tip on: a couple of these turned out to be Greek Psalters; the rest were not biblical at all. But one of the NT MSS previously owned by the other museum is now apparently the property of the NL.

Shelf number 13. Not listed in the Kurzgefasste Liste. This could be a lectionary that was overlooked by Muenster previously when they cast their net over most of the civilized world, trying to catch NT MSS. Or it could be a new number 13, retaining its old shelf number from its previous owners (as we had been told would be the case).

The MS is a thirteenth century lectionary that includes lections from the Gospels and Apostolos, thus deserving the Nestle-Aland27 l +a. However, all is not what it seems. The lectionary has standard readings that begin with Mark 1.9, Luke 10.25, Luke 19.2, 2 Cor 6.16, Matt 10.1, 2 Cor 6.16, Gal 2.16, Matt 15.21, Gal 5.22, etc. These are interwoven with each other. But so are certain non-biblical prayers whose incipit mentions “prayer” (ευχη). I do not know what to make of these.

The MS is written on paper, 1 column, with about 15 lines per page. It measures 20.5 cm x 15.5 cm x 5.25 cm. There are 365 numbered leaves in the MS, but with three distinct hands filling (very) approximately one third of the MS in succession each. The NT text is found on leaves 126–285.

Is this a previously uncatalogued lectionary that deserves a Gregory-Aland number? This is up to Muenster to decide, but I am especially curious about the non-biblical prayers interwoven within the lectionary proper.

A Large, Uncatalogued Lectionary in Iasi, Romania

7/3/2010

Daniel B. Wallace

July 3, 2010

A team of two people from CSNTM, Noah Wallace and Dan Wallace, traveled to Iasi, Romania, to examine two uncatalogued manuscripts there. One is at the University Library (Biblioteca Centrala Universitara), another at the Museum of Literature.

We met with the curator of the University Library, Mrs. Luminiţa Chihaia, and discussed the possibility of examining the Gospels lectionary housed there. Known as the Lecţionarul evanghelic de la Iaşi in Romanian, it bears the shelf number Ms. 160/IV-139. Professor Emanuel Contac of Bucharest was our liaison for all of our work in Romania. He worked for nearly two years, searching for manuscripts in the country, contacting institutes and curators, opening doors. We are exceedingly grateful to Emanuel for all his labors to get the NT manuscripts in Romania examined and digitally photographed.

Unfortunately, the manuscript at the university was being restored. We were not allowed to examine it in its present state.

Our fortunes were better at the Museum of Literature. Dr. Dan Jumara, the director of the museum, gave us a brief tour of the museum, then showed us the NT manuscript in its possession. MS 7030 is a sumptuous, large Gospels lectionary, which dates mostly from the 11th century. Leaves 1–122 and 322–392 are parchment folios from the 11th century; leaves 123–321 are parchment replacement folios from the 14th century; leaves 393–400 are paper replacement folios from the 19th century.

The manuscript is in two columns, as is typical for lectionaries (designed for public reading), with 23 to 24 lines per column. It measures 34.2–34.4 cm x 25.2–25.7 cm x 9.2–9.8 cm. The codex is heavy, weighing easily 20 pounds. The text is on 400 leaves (800 page), foliated correctly in pencil. There are 52 quires, with several leaves missing.

The original parchment leaves are nicely adorned with lapis lazuli, gold, and extensive rubrication. The manuscript was at one time (c. 14th century) owned by “the sinner Nikοlaos of Βισυης”—a note mentioned on 1 recto and 320 recto.

The reader apparently licked his fingers and pulled the pages across the MS from the upper-middle part of the page as he was reading. Normally, lectionary pages are pulled from the lower edge.

Among lectionaries, this one stands out as the fourth longest and the third largest from the 11th century. There are only 44 extant lectionaries that are longer.

Dr. Jumara has graciously permitted CSNTM to post images of this lectionary on our website. We are grateful for his assistance in making known one more piece in the puzzle of the transmission of the NT text.

Announcing the CSNTM Digital Library

6/22/2010

Jeff Hargis

22 June 2010

Since its inception in 2002, CSNTM has digitally photographed more than 250 Greek New Testament manuscripts. The objective of the Center's photographic work has always been to make high-quality digital images as accessible as possible, both to the academic community and to the public at large.

To this end, the Center has already posted images of more than 200 manuscripts on its website, almost all of which were photographed by CSNTM. A few additional postings include photographs of manuscript facsimiles that are in the public domain. Other images, however, are not posted because of contractual limitations put in place by some of the manuscript custodians. Out of respect for the wishes of those custodians, the Center has archived these images and has not posted them on its website.

Today, the Center announces that it is making available a comprehensive list of its manuscript image holdings, including those images that are not posted. This listing includes manuscripts that the Center has photographed; it also includes images acquired through other means, such as digital images taken from microfilm. The total as of 22 June 2010 is 331 manuscripts. While contractual obligations and copyright restrictions keep the Center from posting the images of these manuscripts, we are pleased to publicize a list of our archived holdings, including brief descriptions of the manuscripts.

The list of manuscript images can be found on the "Manuscripts" page of the Center's website, www.csntm.org. Both the public and non-public manuscripts are listed together by their Gregory-Aland number; those whose images are not available for viewing on the website are so indicated in the "Description" column for each manuscript.

The Center's contractual obligations do allow for private viewing of manuscript images at the Center's facility in Plano, Texas. Anyone wishing to use manuscript images for publication must receive permission in writing both from CSNTM and from the custodian of the manuscript. For an appointment to view manuscript images at the Center's Plano facility, please contact CSNTM's Field Director, Jeff Hargis, at jhargis@csntm.org.

A Previously Uncatalogued Gospels Manuscript

6/18/2010

Daniel B. Wallace

June 18, 2010

A team of four people (Jeff Hargis, Peter Gurry, Noah Wallace, and I) visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens on May 13, 2010, to begin preparing manuscripts for photography. Among the manuscripts that we were to photograph are a few that are not yet catalogued by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster.

We began by preparing two uncatalogued manuscripts for photography. The first one, which is the topic of this essay, is MS 227 or BXM 19561. It is dated 1154, written on parchment, and originally contained all four Gospels. At the back of the codex is a filler leaf, upside down, with Greek text from an unknown source, followed by another upside down leaf from the same manuscript that is glued to the back of the book.

The codex typically has the standard eight-leaf quires, though one quire is comprised of ten leaves. The manuscript was donated to the museum on 14 October 1957 by a private donor. We do not know when it showed up in the library catalogs, but the INTF data through the second edition of the Kurzgefasste Liste (1994) must have been based on previous catalogs.

The manuscript seems to be a typical example of the late Byzantine text. The Gospel of Matthew is complete, while Mark is lacking two leaves at the very beginning of the book, Luke is missing one leaf (around leaf 37 out of 57; missing text has yet to be determined), and John is missing one leaf about a third of the way into the Gospel.

The long ending of Mark is included (though there is an indecipherable marginal note in red at 16.8, on leaf [86b]), as is the story of the woman caught in adultery.

The manuscript has only two leaves left of the Eusebian Canons, no icons, and minimal decorations. It is a single column codex on leaves measuring 22.5–23.5 cm (H) by 16–17 cm (W) by 6.5 cm (D). Each page has between 26 and 27 lines of text. Detailed analysis of the manuscript remains to be done.

Dated manuscripts are relatively rare among our NT manuscripts. To have yet another one is always a treat for paleographers and textual critics because it gives a fixed year in which certain letter-forms and ligatures were used. This helps scholars to date other manuscripts by comparison of the handwriting, which changed from century to century.

CSNTM is grateful to the Byzantine Museum for the opportunity to digitally photograph their Greek New Testament manuscripts.

Uncatalogued Gospels Minuscule at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens

6/11/2010

Daniel B. Wallace

June 11, 2010

A team from CSNTM photographed several New Testament manuscripts at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens in May, 2010. We are grateful to Dr. Anastasia Lazaridou for permission to digitally photograph a portion of this important collection.

Although the New Testament manuscripts housed at the Byzantine Museum are well known to the curators and librarians of this institute, some of them are not yet known to NT scholars because they have not received a Gregory-Aland number by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster. Consequently, we have been giving reports about these ‘new finds’ in reports of our recent expedition to Greece and Romania.

One of these manuscripts bears the shelf number MS 10 [BXM 3529]. It is a 12th or 13th century Gospels manuscript, written on paper. The manuscript measures 21.2–21.4 cm (L) x 15.2–15.5 cm (W) x 5 cm (D). The text spreads over 353 leaves (706 pages), with 17 lines per page. It is thus a larger than average minuscule.

The manuscript has wide margins, possibly suggesting that it was meant to be read in public. However, it has almost no wax drippings, suggesting that it was rarely used.

Almost the entirety of the four Gospels are to be found within its covers. It includes both hypotheses and kephalaia for them, as well as a few adornments. An indecipherable note occurs at the bottom of 162 verso, marking Mark 16.8. : “θν” — over what looks like “‘εω Γ [with horizontal bar over it] :”. The long ending of Mark follows 16.8. The pericope adulterae is found on 303 verso with no markings.

Another Lectionary to be Catalogued

6/7/2010

Daniel B. Wallace

May 15, 2010

Today the librarians at the Byzantine Museum in Athens brought out a splendid treat: a large folio Gospels lectionary. It was written in two columns, as is typical of lectionaries, allowing them to be read publicly more easily. It was written on parchment in brown ink, except for a few replacement leaves at the front and back (black ink on paper). The manuscript is from the 12th or 13th century, and is a very handsome production. With large leaves (32.3-7 cm high x 24.8 cm wide), and nearly 450 pages of text (448 to be exact, though some leaves are blank), the codex is an imposing volume!

The shelf number is BXM 19513. It also has previous shelf numbers of 139 and κ.πρ. 2i3 written on glued-in stickers on the first leaf of virtually every quire. There is also a shelf number 1133 listed at the beginning of the codex. The manuscript has not been catalogued by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster.

The codex has wood covers wrapped in red cloth. The shadows of a crucifix and the four evangelists are still on the cloth, but they have long since departed. The manuscript is somewhat ornate, with icons and head pieces adorning a few pages. The first partial quire includes three paper leaves, with black ink and an impressive head piece and icon (on 3 recto, there is a fairly rare icon in that it is surrounded by text). The scribe of this replacement quire did not go cheap on the ink either: gold, lapis lazuli, and many other elements were used to make the colors burst.

The manuscript is not complete; a few leaves are missing throughout the document. It is both foliated in purple ink and paginated in pencil. The quires typically consist of eight leaves each, though quires 1, 2, 27, and 29 are shorter; quire 8 has ten leaves (with an icon leaf apparently added later), and quire 21 has 9 leaves (only one leaf was added later for an icon that was never done).

An icon of John appears on the verso (where evangelists’ icons normally appear) of leaf 53, and an icon of Matthew appears on 58 recto (thus, a bit unusual because it is on the recto side). Each seems to be taken from an older parchment manuscript: the one for John is much smaller than the leaf and is, in fact, a leaf glued onto leaf 53. The icon of Matthew, however, is painted on a leaf that looks significantly more worn than the rest of the manuscript, and the leaf is smaller than the other leaves in both height and width, too. One can speculate that the scribe of BXM 19513 may have been reproducing an earlier lectionary, cannibalizing its icons of John and Matthew since they were still largely intact.

Evaluation of the text is still to be done. What is noticed already, however, is that there are almost no corrections, yet this lectionary was obviously used. (Many, if not most, lectionaries were both used in public worship services and show evidence of the monk licking his fingers and turning the page by grabbing it from the lower right edge as he turned the page.) Thus, if this manuscript was often used yet had almost no corrections, it suggests either that there were few mistakes in the manuscript or that mistakes were not corrected. The latter is almost surely the case, as most of our later manuscripts have very few corrections yet are marred with scribal blunders.

Although probably not significant for reconstructing the text of the autographs, this codex tells us a great deal about the transmission of the text. And as such, it becomes one more piece in the puzzle that helps scholars put together the genealogical relations of NT manuscripts.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts is grateful to the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens for the opportunity to photograph this lectionary.

CSNTM on CNN

5/4/2010

For the month of May, 2010, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts will be featured on CNN closed-circuit TVs at American Airlines gates in major hubs throughout North America. American Airlines contacted CSNTM three months ago because they had seen the Wall Street Journal article (May 8, 2009) that mentioned the work of CSNTM. AA put together a one-minute video about the work of the Center. You can see it here.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are also including in their in-flight radio broadcasts under “Innovative Technologies” a three-minute interview with Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of CSNTM. This will be in flights for both May and June, 2010. You can listen to the audio with the player below. CSNTM is pleased that these airlines have taken the initiative to feature the Center’s work during these two busy months. The audio and video will give CSNTM exposure before more than 10 million people on 65,000 flights.

CSNTM Posts Manuscripts from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

3/30/2010

CSNTM is pleased to announce the posting of fourteen Greek New Testament manuscripts from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, as well as a single leaf held by a private owner in Chicago. The manuscripts were photographed in March 2010 by a team from the Center and include GA 1424, an important late 9th or early 10th century manuscript that includes the entire New Testament. The manuscripts are posted on the “Manuscripts” section of the website. CSNTM is grateful to Dr. Ralph Klein, curator of the Rare Books Collection of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and to Dr. Edgar Krentz, for permission to post these images.

Several Munich Manuscripts Posted

3/4/2010

CSNTM announces the posting of four Greek New Testament manuscripts from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Germany. These manuscripts, photographed in 2009 by the Center, include GA 0208 (a majuscule palimpsest photographed under ultraviolet light), GA 427, GA 1929, and GA 2889 (an Abschrift of GA 1929). The manuscripts are posted on the “Manuscripts” section of the website. CSNTM is grateful to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek for permission to post these images.

Photographing a Forgery?

1/2/2010

One warm October day last year, I got an unusual email from Ed Bianchi, the chairman of the board of Christ for the Nations. This school, located in south Dallas, has been preparing young people for the mission field for many decades. About ten years ago, the school was bequeathed an unusual gift from a donor. It was seven leaves of excellent quality vellum, with very faint writing on one side only. The unbound leaves came with a typed cover letter that looked to have been produced in the 1960s or 1970s on an electric typewriter. The letter told an amazing, though rather improbable story of a man named Louis Meccia who was given a 31-leaf Greek manuscript by a stranger because of a simple act of kindness on Mr. Meccia’s part. This event took place in 1919, the letter stated. The manuscript was allegedly written by Joseph of Jerusalem, a disciple of Jesus. It was wrapped in a Latin cover sheet, allegedly written by Constantine’s mother. Whether the documents now in Mr. Meccia’s possession were supposed to be the autographs of Joseph’s narrative or Constantine’s mother’s notes is unclear by the letter that Meccia wrote. Read more...

Glasgow Manuscript Images Posted

12/10/2009

CSNTM announces the posting of eight New Testament manuscripts from the University Library of the University of Glasgow, Scotland. These manuscripts include P22, a third century fragment of John’s gospel. Others include GA 560, GA 561, GA 562, GA lect 162, GA lect 239, GA lect 240, and GA lect 241. The manuscripts are posted on the “Manuscripts” section of the website. CSNTM is grateful to the University of Glasgow for permission to post these images.

CSNTM Posts Two Uncatalogued Manuscripts from the UK

8/18/2009

During the 2008–2009 expedition season, CSNTM photographed two previously uncatalogued manuscripts in the United Kingdom. The first, Fragment B at Christ’s College in Cambridge, is an eleventh century, two-leaf minuscule from John’s gospel. The second is a tenth century, 284-leaf gospels minscule manuscript held in a private collection. Both of these manuscripts are now posted in the “Manuscripts” portion of the website.

Eight Newly Discovered Manuscripts from the Benaki Museum, Athens

8/6/2009

In its Spring 2009 expedition to the Benaki Museum in Athens, CSNTM initially expected to photograph thirty catalogued Greek New Testament manuscripts. In addition to these, however, the Museum yielded eight additional, previously uncatalogued manuscripts (two minuscules, six lectionaries). CSNTM is pleased to post the images of these finds in the “Manuscripts” portion of the website.

More Albania Manuscript Images Posted

7/31/2009

In 2007, CSNTM photographed the New Testament manuscripts in the collection of the Albanian National Archives in Tirana, Albania. The Archives have allowed the Center to upload ten percent of the total images; these have now been posted in the “Manuscripts” section of the website. In addition to the manuscripts that were previously known and catalogued, the Center photographed 28 additional manuscripts; while the identification of several of these manuscripts is still being considered, most of them are uncatalogued. CSNTM is grateful to the Albanian National Archives for their permission to post these sample images, many of them now available to the public for the first time.

New Images of INTF Manuscripts

7/15/2009

In the spring of 2009, a team from CSNTM photographed several manuscripts located at the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) in Münster, Germany. Although these manuscripts had been digitized previously, the earlier photgraphs were two leaves per page, while the recent photographs are higher-quality single-page images. The newly photographed manuscripts are: GA 1432, GA 2445, GA 2446, GA 2756, GA lect 2005, GA lect 2008, and GA lect 2137.

Six More Manuscripts Have Been Posted

7/4/2009

Christ's College, Cambridge, England: GA lect 185, GA lect 1984, GA lect 2359, GA lect 2360.

Auckland City Libraries, Auckland, New Zealand: GA 1273, GA lect 474

Newly Catalogued Scriptorium Manuscripts Now Online

6/29/2009

Ulrich Schmid of INTF has informed CSNTM that three more manuscripts now have Gregory-Aland numbers. These are manuscripts that we photographed at the Scriptorium in Orlando, Florida in the summer of 2008. They are as follows: VK 272 is GA 2895; VK 862 is GA 2896; VK 906 is GA 2897. The images of these manuscripts are now posted.

CSNTM mentioned in Wall Street Journal

5/8/2009

An article in the May 8, 2009 issue of the Wall Street Journal, by Alexandra Alter, discusses digital preservation of ancient manuscripts. CSNTM gets mentioned. Go here to see the article.

Manuscripts at Scriptorium Now On-Line

4/10/2009

In the summer of 2008, a team from CSNTM went to Orlando, Florida, to photograph the Greek New Testament manuscripts at the Scriptorium. We have been granted permission to post the images of these manuscripts. See the new images under “Manuscripts.”

Eight Uncatalogued NT Manuscripts at the Benaki Museum

4/8/2009

On February 23, 2009, a team of four people from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts embarked on a trip to Greece. The primary mission was to take digital photographs of the Greek NT MSS at the Benaki Museum in Athens.

Read more...

Cataloging a New Discovery: GA 2892 and GA 2893

3/31/2009

In December 2008, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts posted a description of codex VK 908, a manuscript at the Scriptorium in Orlando, FL. The article discussed the contents and organization of this previously uncatalogued New Testament manuscript, which actually consists of two separate manuscripts bound together into a single codex.

Read more...

Two New Manuscripts in One: VK 908

12/27/2008

In July 2008, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) photographed several manuscripts in the Van Kampen collection in Orlando, Florida. VK 908 is an uncatalogued minuscule manuscript containing the Apostolos (Acts and the Catholic Epistles) and the Pauline Epistles. The manuscript consists of 185 leaves and dates from the tenth or eleventh century. Its dimensions are 24.5 x 17 centimeters.

Read more...

Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin

11/30/2008

I wanted to take this opportunity to announce the release of a new monograph that deals especially with the deity of Christ, and especially from a grammatical perspective. Based on my doctoral dissertation but with significantly more material and thoroughly updated, Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance was published last week by Peter Lang. If you’re familiar with Sharp’s Rule, which was articulated especially in relation to Christ’s deity, you will understand the need for Sharp’s name in the title. (This announcement is timely, too, since it’s Sharp’s birthday! He’s 274 years old.) The monograph represents about 25 years of research, off and on, and touches on some key passages such as Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. It’s available at Amazon. But since it is an academic book, it’s pricey: $69.95.

Besides affirming the deity of Christ in both of these passages, the book deals with constructions that do not fit Sharp’s rule and thus have a different force. “Pastors and teachers” in Eph 4:11 and “apostles and prophets” in Eph 2:20 are discussed at length, for example. The fact that the book came out after Gordon Fee’s Pauline Christology has afforded me the opportunity to interact with Fee’s arguments that “our great God and Savior” refer to the Father rather than the Son. I disagree with him on this, and argue that the epithet speaks of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, the book had several typos in the Greek due to some font issues at the printer’s. But a corrigenda sheet will accompany each hard copy so that you can spot the errors and make the corrections. If you write to me (dbw@csntm.org), I can send you the corrigenda sheet (in case you buy a copy that was already dispatched to the reseller before the typos were detected).

Obviously, textual variants that can affect the construction in question will be dealt with in some detail. The monograph will be on sale at the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual meeting coming up in Boston later this month.

TC Notes

11/28/2008

CSNTM has added a new feature—a page called “TC Notes.” The page will give brief updates on the work of CSNTM in terms of specific data on manuscripts. It is intended for textual scholars and students who need concrete data rather than general descriptions of our work.

NT Fragments in Ann Arbor Photographed

9/30/2008

In July, CSNTM sent two teams to photograph all the parchment and paper Greek New Testament manuscripts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. UM boasts the largest collection of GNT MSS in North America. One out of six such MSS are housed at the university. UM allowed CSNTM to photograph all these MSS and post them on our site. It took a month of work, with more than 19,000 images shot. (Most of the manuscripts had not even been microfilmed.) As of August 6, 2008, CSNTM's high-resolution digital images are now posted. We also took UV photographs of the palimpsests and illegible leaves. We are grateful to Dr. Peggy Daub, director of the Special Collections Library of the University of Michigan, for the permission to photograph and post these images.