Monday, 1 September 2008

Digging up Manuscripts without Getting Your Fingernails Dirty

It's really odd where you might find New Testament manuscripts.

Prof. Wallace told me earlier about discovering several manuscripts stashed away at a small town public library in Greece.

Today I found out about one of his manuscript discoveries at a...HIGH SCHOOL!!! Incredible.

Dr. Head told me today about an important complete New Testament (a witness to F13, i.e., family 13) housed in a county records office north of here about 100 miles.

While Gordon Fee was teaching at Gordon-Conwell near Boston, someone opened an old book in the library and found an uncatalogued Greek New Testament manuscript.

One text critic tells the story of a famous scholar in charge of one of the U.K.'s more prestigious universities. The staff were doing an annual inventory of the ancient manuscripts, but they couldn't find one important papyrus manuscript. None of them wanted to tell the head guy because he was known for his temper. So they looked, and looked again and again, searching everywhere for the papyrus.

Finally, they had to give up the search, and admit to the head guy face to face that they had lost the manuscript.

They went to his office and confessed to not being able to find it. The professor looked at them, and then a lightbulb went off in his head. He got up from his seat, went to the corner of the room, lifted up the corner of the carpet and picked the manuscript off the floor. (I guess the manuscript needed some flattening out.)

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