Subscribe to our feed Archives

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Understanding MSI Images

By Jacob W. Peterson and Leigh Ann Thompson

This May CSNTM had the opportunity to attend a digital archiving conference in Portugal and digitize in Germany. The images captured during the Beuron expedition are now available in our digital library. In the entry for GA 0197, we include a series of images captured by our MSI equipment that we obtained in May 2018. See the above link to our newest entry in the digital library and see below for an explanation of the different images you will see. Head over to the library page to view this new entry and the fascinating results of MSI.

What Kinds of Images Does MSI Produce?

Multispectral imaging equipment captures images at different and specific wavelengths of light. A series of images for each page we digitize reflects what each band of light captures. These different bands will bring forward different features of manuscripts based on what the materials, depth and layers reflect better or worse with the utilized wavelength and filter.

The series of images that reflect what each band of light captures taken together produce a “composite image.” This image is first in the series for each page, and is in color, displaying what the naked eye would see if viewing the manuscript in person. For example, see the image of GA 0197 below.

0197 1a composite

Basically all that you can see if the overtext of a Typikon. However, the undertext becomes especially visible under the 365 nanometer ultraviolet light with a UV-pass:

0197 undertext

The Physics of MSI

The visible light spectrum–what you and I can see with our eyes–is only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum seen in the image below.

Light wavelengths spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum records the wavelengths in nanometers (nm) of the various types of waves floating around in the air—from gamma rays to radio waves. In our multispectral setup, we are only interested in the visible spectrum and the two surrounding divisions of ultraviolet and infrared light. Our equipment is capable of producing light from 365nm in the UV spectrum, through the visible light spectrum, and up to 940nm in the infrared spectrum.

Viewing MSI Images in the CSNTM Library

When you are looking at the images produced from each of the individual bands, you will see the composite image first, followed by 25 monochrome images. After you click on a particular thumbnail, the image description will give you information such as this:

MSI filename

What you are seeing in the image name field is the GA number of the manuscript, the image sequence number, and finally the multispectral information. The following is a list of the 25 different images captured in one session:

  • MB365UV_0011 - Mains, 365nm, ultraviolet light
  • MB400UV_0012 - Mains, 400nm, ultraviolet light
  • MB420VI_0001 - Mains, 420nm, violet light
  • MB450RB_0002 - Mains, 450nm, royal blue light
  • MB470LB_0003 - Mains, 470nm, light blue light
  • MB505CN_0004 - Mains, 505nm, cyan light
  • MB530GN_0005 - Mains, 530nm, green light
  • MB560LI_0006 - Mains, 560nm, yellow light
  • MB590AM_0007 - Mains, 590nm, amber light
  • MB615RO_0008 - Mains, 615nm, red-orange light
  • MB630RD_0009 - Mains, 630nm, red light
  • MB655DR_0010 - Mains, 655nm, dark red light
  • MB735IR_0013 - Mains, 735nm, infrared light
  • MB850IR_0014 - Mains, 850nm, infrared light
  • MB940IR_0015 - Mains, 940nm, infrared light
  • W365B47_0020  - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with blue filter
  • W365G58_0018 - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with green filter
  • W365O22_0023 - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with orange filter
  • W365R25_0016 - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with red filter
  • W365UVB_0022 - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with UV-block
  • W365UVP_0025 - Wheels, 365nm, ultraviolet light with UV-pass
  • W450B47_0021 - Wheels, 450nm, ultraviolet light with blue filter
  • W450G58_0019 - Wheels, 450nm, ultraviolet light with green filter
  • W450O22_0024 - Wheels, 450nm, ultraviolet light with orange filter
  • W450R25_0017 - Wheels, 450nm, ultraviolet light with red filter

 

As might be clear, everything that begins with a “W” indicates that there is some sort of filter being applied to the shot. Our system runs through 15 “main” images first, then the “wheel” apparatus attached to the camera cycles through 10 addtional combinations of lights and filters.

As you will notice, not every image is created equally. Some of the bands of light produce little of value while others reveal all kinds of information. Some patterns between types of images will be apparent (e.g. UV light works well with water damage), but what works well on one page in a manuscript may not be successful at revealing anything on the next page. All that to say, make sure you consult all of the images in the sequence.

What’s Next?

The next step for CSNTM will be the post-processing of these images. Through this, the various bands are manipulated and various processes are applied to help reveal as much of the text as possible. Once this has been completed, these images will be added to our online library.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Welcome, Leigh Ann

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

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


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

 

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

Friday, June 07, 2019

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

By: Andrew J. Patton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Digitization of 0197

By: Stratton L. Ladewig, PhD

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

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

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

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Manuscripts Added to Our Digital Library

We are excited to give you access to images of five manuscripts digitized during our spring expeditions. This past February and March CSNTM digitized at the Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University, the James P. Boyce Centennial Library at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and  the Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University to digitize manuscripts. We’ve added four new manuscripts to our collection and new composite color images captured with our multispectral camera for P26. (The full set of multispectral images of P26 will be released at a later date).  

P26: A single papyrus fragment from the seventh century containing portions of Romans 1. This is the second time CSNTM has digitized P26. The newest images were captured with MSI equipment.

GA 2358: Twelfth century minuscule of the Gospels dubbed Codex Robertsonianus after New Testament grammarian and scholar A. T. Robertson.

GA 2878: Twelfth century parchment single leaf containing a section of Scripture from Luke 23.

GA lect 1547: Thirteenth century Gospels manuscript written on parchment. This manuscript has an interesting history of ownership, which you can read about in our expedition report.

GA Lect 2434: A lectionary from the fourteenth to fifteenth century containing readings from the Gospels copied in two columns.

< Older Posts