National Library of Greece

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) completed one of our largest digitization projects at the National Library of Greece (NLG). Beginning in 2015 and continuing into 2016, we spent months working at the National Library digitizing their entire collection of Greek New Testament manuscripts. This collection is one of the largest in the world and has a multitude of priceless treasures, which are now digitally preserved for generations to come.

Digitizing at the National Library of Greece

In total, almost 45 people fulfilled the Center’s mission in Athens. Over 150,000 pages of manuscripts were digitized (more than 300 manuscripts), and about 200,000 pages were examined. The difference is due to the fact that several of these were deemed not to be New Testament manuscripts or were too fragile to digitize. Some were not owned by the NLG but have been housed there for decades. The NLG is still seeking permission for CSNTM to digitize these remaining manuscripts.

They were professional, handled the library's manuscripts with special care, and used state-of-the-art equipment...It was a joy and a privilege to work with them. They were as concerned as our own staff about the treatment of these artifacts.

-Dr. Filippos Tsimpoglou
Director General, National Library of Greece

At the same time, 21 manuscripts unknown to the Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) in Muenster, Germany were digitized. Though only a small number, some of them are quite substantial. This will increase our fund of knowledge about the transmission of the NT text and add some important ‘discoveries’ especially of manuscripts with patristic commentary. Remarkably, even with 21 more manuscripts the proportion of new ‘discoveries’ to known manuscripts was significantly lower at the NLG than we are accustomed to. This is no doubt due to the diligence and careful sifting of the data for the past 125 years by various librarians and curators at the NLG. These new ‘discoveries’ will all be compiled and submitted for publication in the coming months. They are available in our online library.

Team at the National Library of Greece

We want to thank the National Library’s director, Dr. Tsimboglou, and staff for their tireless dedication to this project and for partnering with the Center in future endeavors. Also, we thank all of you who invested in this monumental project. Without you, this could have never been accomplished, and because of you, hundreds of manuscripts have been digitally preserved. We are thrilled we can continue our mission of making these manuscripts free for all and free for all time!

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