Digitally Preserving the Word of God — Daniel B. Wallace
My sabbatical from teaching duties at Dallas Seminary began officially on July 1, 2008, but it actually got started on May 23. I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the globe in search of Greek New Testament manuscripts. And I’ve been digitally photographing them as well.
Under the auspices of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM), an institute I founded in 2002, we have been digitally preserving ancient handwritten copies of the New Testament. To date, we have photographed more than 100,000 unique pages. In 2008, we went to Tirana, Albania; Patmos, Kozani, Athens, and Mytilene, Greece; Muenster, Germany; Cambridge, Leicester, Arundel, and Oxford, England; Glasgow, St Andrews, and Edinburgh, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Orlando, Florida.
In January 2009, we sent a team to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand. We are right now gearing up for the rest of 2009. On the docket are Athens, Andros, Kozani, and Meteora, Greece; Muenster and Munich, Germany; Bucharest, Romania; Milan, Italy; Patmos, Greece; and Tbilisi, Georgia. We are also hoping to go to Cairo and St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt.
We are extremely grateful to these monasteries and museums, universities and public libraries, for allowing us to shoot their manuscripts and preserve them digitally for generations to come. In 2008 alone, we discovered more than a dozen manuscripts—about equal to what the rest of the world has discovered in the last six years. Among the manuscripts photographed are two papyri, both from the third century, a purple codex from the sixth century, and scores of later manuscripts, some of which are far more significant than their medieval date would suggest.
It’s imperative that scholars examine these manuscripts in detail to help determine the exact wording of the original New Testament. This is why CSNTM exists: to give scholars access to these images so that they can continue their work of establishing, word by word, the text of the New Testament.
We covet your prayers as we continue in this exciting (and exhausting!) field. And we would appreciate your support, since CSNTM is funded entirely by donation. You can see tens of thousands of images of manuscripts at www.csntm.org.
Daniel B. Wallace (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a noted textual critic, serving as head of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, and is author of Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, Basics of New Testament Syntax, and (with Grant Edwards) of A Workbook for New Testament Syntax. Read more of Daniel Wallace at www.bible.org and www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/
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