In July of 2014 the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) traveled to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to digitize their New Testament Papyrus of Paul’s letters (P46). The CSNTM team consisted of Daniel B. Wallace, Robert D. Marcello, and Jacob W. Peterson. This was part of a combined project which will virtually reunite P46 since it is housed in two separate locations. The University was gracious to allow CSNTM to digitize their portion of the manuscript, and our staff was able to work with the University’s preservation department, which is known around the world for their work in papyrological preservation. A special thanks goes to Dr. Brendan Haug, the archivist of the Papyrology Collection and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical Studies, for his hospitality and his willingness to participate in this project.
P46 or Papyrus 46 in the Gregory-Aland system is the earliest Papyrus (c. AD 200) of the letters of Paul and Hebrews. It is housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL) in Dublin, Ireland and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. CSNTM digitized the CBL portion in the summer of 2013, producing stunning high-resolution digital images that are already being used in theses and research around the globe. This manuscript is vitally important for understanding the transmission and earliest stages of the text of Paul’s writings, and we are excited to add the University of Michigan’s images to our library.
P46—both the CBL and Michigan images—may now be found in the CSNTM library.
The work that CSNTM has been doing has been an invaluable one, as they continue their important mission as described at their website:
1.To make digital photographs of extant Greek New Testament manuscripts so that such images can be preserved, duplicated without deterioration, and accessed by scholars doing textual research.
2.To utilize developing technologies (OCR, MSI, etc.) to read these manuscripts and create exhaustive collations.
3.To analyze individual scribal habits in order to better predict scribal tendencies in any given textual problem.
4.To publish on various facets of New Testament textual criticism.
5.To develop electronic tools for the examination and analysis of New Testament manuscripts.
6.To cooperate with other institutes in the great and noble task of determining the wording of the autographa of the New Testament.
Here is a brief video describing the work of CSNTM: