Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a little blog-posting about manuscript discoveries in Greece and Romania by CSNTM. These include manuscripts that are known to the libraries but were not hitherto known to New Testament scholars because they had not yet received a Gregory-Aland number by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, Germany. Some of the manuscripts that CSNTM ‘discovered’ will still not receive such a number for some time because we did not photograph these documents. But this summary is meant to give virtually all the details as we have them to date. It is easiest to put it the data in tabular form.
I am in Munich currently, examining Greek New Testament manuscripts at one of the world’s great libraries, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library). Among other things, this library boasts the largest collection of incunabula (books printed before the year 1500) in Europe—a whopping 18,000 of the total 30,000 titles that belong to this early period of printing.
Meteora is one of the most stunningly beautiful and other-worldly places on earth. Over a millennium ago, monks traveled throughout Greece in search of a place where they could get away from it all. Ultimately, six monasteries were established there, all but one perched atop stone pillars rising hundreds of feet above the plain below.
Codex 2882 is a 10th-11th century Greek manuscript of Luke’s Gospel. The manuscript, which contains 46 leaves (92 pages), was previously owned by a man who came from Greece to America in the early decades of the twentieth century. After he died, the manuscript was purchased by a rare book and manuscript store in Pennsylvania. It was then purchased in 2005 by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. The manuscript was registered with the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung (the Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Münster, Germany in January 2008 and given the Gregory-Aland number 2882.
A team of four people (Jeff Hargis, Peter Gurry, Noah Wallace, and I) went to the National Library of Athens today to examine some New Testament manuscripts, as is our custom when we are in this city. The library boasts about 200 Greek NT MSS, almost all of which are known to Muenster and listed in the second edition of Kurt Aland’s Kurzgefasste Liste (1994). But today we came across a previously uncatalogued lectionary.
One warm October day last year, I got an unusual email from Ed Bianchi, the chairman of the board of Christ for the Nations. This school, located in south Dallas, has been preparing young people for the mission field for many decades. About ten years ago, the school was bequeathed an unusual gift from a donor. It was seven leaves of excellent quality vellum, with very faint writing on one side only. The unbound leaves came with a typed cover letter that looked to have been produced in the 1960s or 1970s on an electric typewriter. The letter told an amazing, though rather improbable story of a man named Louis Meccia who was given a 31-leaf Greek manuscript by a stranger because of a simple act of kindness on Mr. Meccia’s part. This event took place in 1919, the letter stated. The manuscript was allegedly written by Joseph of Jerusalem, a disciple of Jesus. It was wrapped in a Latin cover sheet, allegedly written by Constantine’s mother. Whether the documents now in Mr. Meccia’s possession were supposed to be the autographs of Joseph’s narrative or Constantine’s mother’s notes is unclear by the letter that Meccia wrote.
On February 23, 2009, a team of four people from the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts embarked on a trip to Greece. The primary mission was to take digital photographs of the Greek NT MSS at the Benaki Museum in Athens. Dr. Pitsa Tsakona, the director of Benaki’s extensive library, has been incredibly helpful to us as we have sought to photograph these ancient scriptures for the sake of preservation and scholarship. We have less than a week to go on the task, and although we are looking forward to finishing the work we will very much miss Dr. Tsakona and the very kind staff who work with her.
In December 2008, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts posted a description of codex VK 908,1 a manuscript at the Scriptorium in Orlando, FL. The article discussed the contents and organization of this previously uncatalogued New Testament manuscript, which actually consists of two separate manuscripts bound together into a single codex.
In July 2008, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) photographed several manuscripts in the Van Kampen collection in Orlando, Florida. VK 908 is an uncatalogued minuscule manuscript containing the Apostolos (Acts and the Catholic Epistles) and the Pauline Epistles. The manuscript consists of 185 leaves and dates from the tenth or eleventh century. Its dimensions are 24.5 x 17 centimeters.
With the kind permission of Mr David Weston, keeper of the special collections at the University of Glasgow, a team from CSNTM came to Glasgow to photograph the University’s Greek New Testament manuscripts. The collection included P22, minuscules 560, 561, 562, and lectionaries 162, 239, 240, and 241. These manuscripts were photographed between 3 October and 14 October. CSNTM has been granted permission to post the images of these manuscripts on line, and this we will do, we hope, next month. Besides these eight manuscripts another was photographed: Ms Gen 229.