Friday, June 11, 2010

Recent Discoveries by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

In a recent special edition E-Newsletter, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts announced the discovery of a number of New Testament manuscripts:
A team from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) just returned from a month-long trip to Greece and Romania. They were in Athens, Meteora, and Kozani for the first two weeks (all in Greece); for the last two weeks, they were in Craiova, Iasi, and Bucharest (all in Romania). Remarkably, during this expedition they discovered at least ten New Testament manuscripts! Every time a new manuscript is discovered it becomes one more piece in the puzzle of the genealogical tree that all manuscripts are connected to. Each tells its own story, and every handwritten manuscript is a unique document—a witness to the original text.

Among the manuscripts CSNTM discovered on this expedition is a seventh-century majuscule codex. There are a little more than 300 majuscule manuscripts of the New Testament, so this codex is in rare company. And manuscripts from the seventh century (600s) are very few in number. About 15–20% of all the New Testament manuscripts are from the first millennium. So, any manuscript from before AD 1000 is a real treat!

Another manuscript unknown to New Testament scholars was a very large lectionary from the eleventh century (see photo). Housed at the Museum of Art in Iasi, Romania, it is a magnificent volume. Weighing in at over 20 lbs., with exactly 800 pages of text, it’s no lightweight! In fact, this manuscript is the fourth longest and third largest lectionary from the eleventh century that exists today. The team from CSNTM photographed it using their new Graz Travelers Conservation Copy Stand.
If you have an interest in New Testament textual criticism or just like to hear news about recent discoveries and issues, you may want to check out the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts website.

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