Daniel B. Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary started the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts in 2002 because he saw an opportunity to record, duplicate, and transmit New Testament manuscripts with greater ease and fidelity as digital photo technologies improved. The Center's ambitious goal is to photograph and transfer into print all 1.3 million pages of Greek New Testament manuscripts, early translations of the New Testament, and patristic commentaries on the New Testament.
This past June a four-member CSNTM team of graduate students and technicians traveled to Tirana, Albania, to photograph the manuscripts stored in the National Archive, the first group of Western scholars to be granted access to the collection in several decades. Working long hours in 100-degree heat, the crew discovered there was far more in the National Archive than any Western scholar realized and more than they had time to photograph. Early review of their manuscript 'finds' have cast further doubt on the authenticity of a much loved passage from the Gospel of John.
Wallace spoke with CT about the Albanian manuscripts and the significance of the center's work.
You've said you were stunned by the number of manuscripts in Tirana.
We were informed by the National Archive that there were 13 manuscripts to shoot. But by the end of the first day, the news shot back across the Atlantic: there were more than thirteen Greek New Testament manuscripts in Tiranafar more. Altogether, there were 47 manuscripts! And only two of these had been photographed before. This was shaping up into one of the largest caches of New Testament manuscripts discovered in a long time.
The library staff was immensely helpful and patient with the team, hauling ...