Friday, April 24, 2009

New Greek Manuscript of Revelation!

Things are getting really exciting at Archaic Christianity where Eric Sowell is reporting from his photographic expedition with the CSNTM team in Athens.

On day two Eric reported:

Our next stop was a local institution that I am not at the leisure to identify at the moment, but here is a clue: they have Greek New Testament manuscripts and they are located in Athens. There you go. I've just narrowed it down to a lot. We were able to spend time with twelve New Testament manuscripts. They were all minuscule lectionaries or minuscule manuscripts of the gospels, all later than 10th century. This was a lot of fun but was just discovery and prep work for a later visit where a team would actually photograph (hopefully) all of these manuscripts and the others that the institution owned.

On day four, Eric announced that the team had received permission to photograph manuscripts at this institution:

It was either late in the day on day 3 or early day 4 (I do not recall) that we received final permission to photograph manuscripts next week at an institution. Yay! They were going to have us come in on Thursday and Friday of next week, but only for 4.5 hours a day. Unfortunately that was not enough time for us, so we requested one more day and that was approved, so Wednesday through Friday of next week we're shooting. Yay!

On day eleven the team started the photographing including a previously unknown copy of Revelation!:

Today we photographed an 18th century paper manuscript of Matthew, one copy of Revelation (already in the K-Liste) and part of the previously unknown copy of Revelation.

Here is an image showing Dan Wallace and one of the other teammembers, Garrett, working with that latter codex. Possibly the manuscript of Matthew is also uncatalogued.

So we look forward to further reports. We know this institution has at least twelve New Testament manuscripts + the three MSS that were photographed on the first day. If they can keep up this pace next week they will probably make it.

Okay, I confess I am very curious of where they are! Besides the National Library with hundreds of MSS, and the Benaki Museum where the team has been recently (locating eight uncatalogued MSS), only one other institution in Athens has that number of catalogued MSS. If that is not it, it means they have located even more new manuscripts! I hope they have and I say with Eric, Yay!


  1. I wonder how the CSNTM team are doing at producing a scholarly report on their "discoveries" over the last few years. I am still waiting for any news of the III-IV Century (as claimed) palimpsest of Mark they found in Constantinople in May 2004.

  2. I have the impression that the dating of that particular MS was a bit too optimistic, but that is only hearsay. I too look forward to the scholarly report.

  3. I told you all back on the thread for this trip that they had something big, and someone joked that it was a pastry. I wasn't joking, because it appears that this is it.

  4. You mean this is the revelation :-)

  5. I suspect that the reason you, Tommy, thought we had discovered a new Matthew MS was because you were placing us at the wrong Athens institute. Sorry, this one's catalogued. And the Revelation MS is quite young as far as Greek MSS go: 17th century. But it does have the Andreas commentary.

    The reason we have to be somewhat secretive of the names of the institutes where we are working is because we are in negotiations with them about posting the images online. Once we have a contract signed, though, then we have no problem mentioning their name. Surely other scholars can understand that! Since we just signed the contract with our most recent institute today, we can mention it: The National Historical Museum.

    Also, we cannot tell others details about uncatalogued MSS that we have not yet photographed, for the same reasons. The last thing we want is to jinx the operation because word gets out ahead of time. Believe me, CSNTM has been rejected more than once because of this sort of thing--even after it looked as though the negotiations were going fine.

    Regarding the majuscule palimpsest of Mark which we discovered in Constantinople, the scholarly report on that was written up four years ago. I was not the one to write it, but I have contacted the author to see how soon he will post it. Because we are dealing with partial data, there has been some reticence on our part to post the essay.

    But just to make sure we're clear on the date-range on this MS: Although the initial estimates were 3rd-4th century (one person incorrectly thought we said as early as 2nd century!), there is some evidence that it may be more recent. Our best estimates right now are 3rd to 7th century. I wish that we could be more specific than that, but any final estimate of the date will have to await a reexamination of the MS and photography with UV light or even Multi-Spectral Imaging. My best guess right now is that the MS is 4th or 5th century. When we can get the paper online, you'll see the whole story.

    I wish I could mention all 23 uncatalogued MSS in Athens that we examined/photographed this time in Athens, but 14 of them will have to wait till next year (because we're still in negotiations with the institute).

    Daniel B. Wallace

  6. Dan, thanks for the reply. I did say that if you were not in that other institution (Byzantine Museum), it meant that you must have located some new MSS. My Liste is at the office but I remember the National Historial Museum didn't have that many catalogued.

    Anyway, congratulations and good luck! And I think we all understand the secrecy. At the same time, that gives blogs like this something to phantasize and speculate about; hope you don't mind.

  7. I would like to know if there are any interesting variants in that Markan manuscript that we should be aware of... :) textual affinities, anyone?