When I worked on Jude I had access to a microfilm collection assembled by the Swedish scholar C. A. Albin in the 50-60's. There I came across a microfilm of Greg.-Aland 613 = Turin, Bibl. Naz. C. V. 1, that contained Jude 21-25 followed by a copy of the third century tract, On the Twelve Apostles traditionally ascribed to Hippolytus. According to the Kurzgefasste Liste this MS had been destroyed in a fire, referring to the severe fire of the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin in 1904 that destroyed thousands of books and MSS. I also found a letter from a librarian that was enclosed with the microfilm, saying that this fragment was the only thing left of 611, 612 and 613.
Last year at the SBL in Rome, I met Matteo Grosso for the first time. He presented a paper in our Working with Biblical Manuscript unit. Then I met him again in New Orleans where he presented an improved version of the same paper. Since Matteo is from Turin, I suggested to him that he should visit his library and examine the GNT MSS there. I told him there would probably be some suprises. He agreed. Then, not much later, Martin Fassnacht of the INTF in Münster, by chance told me he was going to Turin to examine and photograph the MSS there(!) This was of course a win win situation since Matteo could then help him out in various ways, which he did.
I was also able to report to Martin everything I knew about the MSS there, and that was probably helpful, because at first they could not locate C.V.1 at all, but I told him it should be there, because it had been extant long after the fire. And, lo and behold, they were able to locate this exciting box containing 85 fragments! So now, I suspect we are in for more than what was on the microfilm I had examined.
Photo by M. Fassnacht (Februrary 2010)
There are likely to be many other surprises — there were other boxes with many fragments of various MSS - but the material now has to be properly examined and Martin will write a full report. There will be another visit to Turin to shoot some remaining MSS, and the photos will successively be uploaded to the Virtual Manuscript Room starting soon. (Martin, by the way, is one of the developers of the VMR.)
It is very nice to be able to be assist on a distance. Some time ago I was able to tip Dan Wallace and his team about an unregistered MS on Patmos when they were there. I had come across that one in a Danish microfilm collection.
Let's do our best to support these initiatives!