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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Four CSNTM Discoveries Added to the INTF Liste

Studying in MS Room

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

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

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

 

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

NLG 118 Images

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

 

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

NLG 2676 Images

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

 

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

NLG 2771 Image

Beginning of the Gospel of Mark in GA 2935

 

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

NLG 3139 Image

Beginning of Galatians in GA 2936

 

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

Friday, December 09, 2016

From the Library: GA 774

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

 

The Christmas Story in GA 774

Matthew 1:18 in GA 774

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

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

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

 

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

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

Here is how GA 774 would read in English:

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

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

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

 

Fragile Binding

The spine and front cover of GA 774 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

From the Library: GA 760

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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

CSNTM Search Helps: Jump to Book

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!

Friday, November 04, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Friday, September 02, 2016

From the Library: GA 777

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.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Mission Accomplished

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflections on My Time in Athens

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

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Vaticanus Facsimile: Highlight of a New Acquisition

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!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

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.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lecture in Athens!

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.

Friday, May 13, 2016

New Manuscripts Added to Our Searchable Library

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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dr. Wallace to Give Lecture at University of Athens

 

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.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Update from Athens 2016, Part 2: Digitization Progress

 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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Update from Athens 2016, Part 1:

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.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Images of Six Uncatalogued Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Monday, February 15, 2016

171 Manuscripts Added to Our Digital Library

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. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

 

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Monday, February 01, 2016

What About White Gloves?

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Manuscript Discoveries in Athens!

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.

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

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

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. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

Friday, January 08, 2016

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

New manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) have just been added to our searchable collection. These include 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.

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