The final stretch is nearly here! Having digitized 69% of the manuscripts at the National Library of Greece (NLG), the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) is poised to complete the final portion of this ambitious expedition. There are approximately 44,000 pages remaining to be shot. Throughout the summer, CSNTM will have 7-8 people working diligently at the National Library to preserve these precious manuscripts.CSNTM is poised to complete the final portion of this ambitious expedition. There are approximately 44,000 pages remaining to be shot.”
A critical component of their work will be using advanced digitization techniques to produce images of many manuscripts that have water damage or, in a few cases, palimpsested text. A palimpsest is a leaf (or more) in which the original text was “erased” by being scraped off with some other text written over it. These techniques may reveal the damaged or original text allowing people to use the Center’s images to transcribe text that has not been seen for centuries!
One of the most remarkable visual feasts in these manuscripts has been the colors in the paintings and enlarged lettering. Even after a millennium most of them are still as vivid and brilliant as the day they were penned—in particular, the use of blue. This came from the lapis lazuli rock, and was more expensive than gold; the process to make it was costly, and the materials were rare. Not until 1787 was a synthetic blue created to replace the lapis lazuli. What may seem common to us today was often rare and extremely precious when these manuscripts were penned.
Once this project is complete, one of the world’s five largest collections of Greek New Testament manuscripts will be fully viewable in CSNTM’s library. The Center is grateful to have collaborated with the NLG on this very important project so that their treasures can be digitally preserved and accessed worldwide.
The Center will continue to regularly update its blog as it releases images from the NLG and other collections at www.CSNTM.org. You can subscribe to their blog so that you never miss an update! If you would like to partner with the Center as they finish the job, you can make an online gift at www.CSNTM.org/donate.