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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update on the UK Gospels Manuscript: No Pericope Adulterae

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts sent a team in June 2009 to a private residence in England to photograph a previously uncatalogued Greek Gospels manuscript. The manuscript turned out to be from the 10th century, containing all four Gospels (except for nine missing leaves). Some of the quires were out of order, but after making a Scripture index of each page the dislocated passages were found.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Fragmentary Lectionary in Bucharest

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.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Fragmentary Minuscule in Bucharest

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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New TC Notes

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.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

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

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.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

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.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New Lectionary Discovery?

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.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Large, Uncatalogued Lectionary in Iasi, Romania

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.

Friday, July 02, 2010

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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Announcing the CSNTM Digital Library

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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Previously Uncatalogued Gospels Manuscript

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.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Uncatalogued Gospels Minuscule at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens

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.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Another Lectionary to be Catalogued

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.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Did Codex 2882 Originally Include the Pericope Adulterae?

Codex 2882 is a 10th-11th century Greek manuscript of Luke’s Gospel. The manuscript, which contains 46 leaves (92 pages), was previously owned by a man who came from Greece to America in the early decades of the twentieth century. After he died, the manuscript was purchased by a rare book and manuscript store in Pennsylvania. It was then purchased in 2005 by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. The manuscript was registered with the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (the Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Münster, Germany in January 2008 and given the Gregory-Aland number 2882.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Lectionary Discovery?

A team of four people (Jeff Hargis, Peter Gurry, Noah Wallace, and I) went to the National Library of Athens today 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 today we came across a previously uncatalogued lectionary.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

CSNTM on CNN

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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CSNTM Posts Manuscripts from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Several Munich Manuscripts Posted

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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Five Albanian Manuscripts Catalogued by INTF

In 2007, the Center photographed the collection of New Testament manuscripts at the Albanian National Archives in Tirana, Albania. Some of these were already cataloged in the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechishen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (the “K-Liste”), while many others were previously unknown to scholars. In addition, the identities of several of the manuscripts remain uncertain as they have not been examined thoroughly for many decades, if at all.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Photographing a Forgery?

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...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Photographing a Forgery?

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.