A solid article on one of my favorite topics
The Dallas Morning News was kind enough to run an article on Dr. Dan Wallace and the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. Here's a link to the article. I got to meet Dr. Wallace his hand when I was in Washington D.C. for a meeting in 2006. He is passionate about the word of God, founding the Center for the Study of the New Testament Manuscripts. That's him, seated at the desk, photographing manuscripts in a library in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey). (Incidentally, take special note of what brand computer he's using - you'll notice it's a MAC! :-)) He'll be on sabbatical next school year photographing manuscripts in Europe and Asia Minor. Incidentally, he's going to be in New Orleans at that lecture I spoke to you about last week.
One of the questions I get when I discuss this with people is "Darin, what do these pictures look like and what do you do with them?" Below, you'll find a couple of pictures giving you an idea of what kind of photos we're using, both taken by Dr Wallace's group. The first one is a general shot, giving conceptualization of the size of the documentation and identifying characteristics. In other words, this is a codex (Latin term we use meaning "book") not a scroll and not papyrus. Second, it appears to be paper as opposed to parchment. The drawings at the top of the page and the illustrations provided in it are occassionally interesting so it's never a bad idea to check those out. The real finds are in the text itself, obviously.
In the text close, up, we notice the text is from Paul (the large letter on the far left is a "P" followed by the "AW" which is actually "au" - you get the idea. I won't bore you with a full breakdown but let's just say this is a page from Romans 1. Dr. Wallace dates this in the 12th century, sort of mid-range date-wise. Not early, but not terribly late either. There you have it! A primer on New Testament Greek Textual Criticism!