The following is from Dan Wallace on his preparation work in Athens for CSNTM‘s largest expedition yet.
I have just wrapped up my third of six trips to Athens this year (starting in September, when the medieval scribes began the year). This was the first of four ‘front trips’ I’m taking to prepare biblical manuscripts for digitization. The staff at the National Library of Greece has been quite accommodating, even keeping the Manuscript Room open an extra two hours each day so that I could prepare more manuscripts. It takes about two hours to prepare one manuscript—which includes counting leaves, measuring the codex, labeling the material (papyrus, parchment, or paper), determining where each book of the New Testament begins, and noting any special features. It is demanding work, but also quite fascinating!
Among the NT manuscripts I have prepared so far are five that have not yet been catalogued by the official NT manuscript registry in Münster, Germany. I am confident that many more will be discovered in subsequent trips.I have prepared five [manuscripts] that have not yet been catalogued by the official NT manuscript registry…”
I learn something new every time I examine another manuscript. One of the great joys of this work is to see some astounding things—images that CSNTM will be making available to the whole world in due time. To digitally preserve these treasures is a vital task that everyone should be concerned about. Each manuscript is unique—a gift to us by a nameless scribe who, centuries ago, toiled away in a scriptorium in abysmal working conditions. I am deeply impressed with the devotion and workmanship of these ancient and medieval scribes.
One of the great delights of this trip was to see a manuscript of the Gospels with commentary in the margins. On most pages, the commentary was in the shape of an elaborate cross. The care and forethought that went into this work is mind-boggling! Most of these commentaries have never been translated, and even the biblical text on most of these manuscripts has never been examined in detail. To finally make these images available to the world is a great privilege. Thank you all for your generous support of the mission of CSNTM. We couldn’t do this without you!
Daniel B. Wallace, PhD
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts