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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

If you’ve ever wanted to go on a trip with us, now is your chance!

For the first time, we are taking an expedition specifically for our friends and supporters. This Insider’s Expedition is a one-of-a-kind trip to Greece where you will visit ancient sites and also examine Greek New Testament manuscripts with Dan Wallace and members of our staff.

We want to give you the opportunity to see many of the places mentioned in the New Testament and also to go behind-the-scenes at libraries where historic copies of the New Testament are housed. This will be unprecedented access, and ensure it is a trip unlike any other. We will likely never be able to do a trip like this again, so now is your chance.

The dates of this expedition are March 7–16, 2020. Our planned destinations include:

  • Athens
    • The Acropolis: An ancient citadel containing the remains of several significant, ancient buildings, the most famous being the Parthenon.
    • Mars Hill: The site where Paul preached his famous sermon in Acts 17.
    • The National Library of Greece: A beautiful modern library where you will have the opportunity to view New Testament Greek manuscripts. CSNTM digitized over 150,000 pages of manuscripts here in 2015 and 2016.
    • Lycabettos Hill: One of Athens’ many hills with a panoramic sunset view.
    • Benaki Museum: A museum of Greek culture located in the heart of Athens. CSNTM digitized 36 Greek New Testament manuscripts in the Benaki’s collection in 2009.
  • Meteora: A stunning rock formation hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Orthodox monasteries.
  • Islands: An all-day cruise to the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina.
  • Corinth: One of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece, Corinth was an important city in Paul’s missionary work and the recipient of the epistles 1 and 2 Corinthians.

The Insider’s Expedition is being managed by Ancient Tours. The company’s co-founders, Dr. David Hoffeditz (ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and PhD from the University of Aberdeen) and Dr. Richard Blumenstock (ThM and DMin from Dallas Theological Seminary) will lead the tour, sharing their expertise as guides of biblical sites. You can view trip information such as our destinations, costs, and travel details at this website—http://www.ancienttours.org/the-csntm-tour-march-7-16-2020/.

You can register for the trip here. We can only take twenty couples on this unique trip, and it is filling up. If you have any questions, you can reach out directly to Ancient Tours or to us at the Center.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Digitization of Codex Robertsonianus

By: Stratton L. Ladewig

Codex Robertsonianus standing on CSNTM's digitization copy stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference: The Robertson Gospel Codex

Friday, May 03, 2019

Farewell, Andrew Bobo

By Daniel B. Wallace 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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

By: Stratton L. Ladewig 

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

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

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

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

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

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