After more than a year of preparation, last month my family and I moved to Münster so that I could begin a year-long sabbatical working at the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (the Institute for New Testament Textual Research or INTF). For the past few years I have been supervising the Museum of the Bible Greek Paul Project, in which students at roughly two dozen universities, colleges, and seminaries have been producing transcriptions of Greek minuscule manuscripts of the Pastoral Epistles (PE). When this project began in 2015, it was intended to support the work of the International Greek New Testament Project (IGNTP) in the production of the Editio Critica Maior (ECM). As the project grew, however, I was elected to the IGNTP committee and appointed editor of the Pastoral Epistles (PE). As the editor, my deliverable at the end of the project will be a printed ECM volume with the most complete critical apparatus of the PE to date, with text-critical decisions informed using the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) which was developed at the INTF by Gerd Mink. The ECM volumes are upstream of the pocket editions of the Greek New Testament that are ubiquitous among students, scholars, and pastors: the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece editions. Thus, the decisions made in this text-critical work will eventually appear in the Nestle-Aland editions (in a more compact form) used by most people reading a Greek New Testament. This sabbatical is possible due to a generous grant from the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative (MOTB-SI) and the agreement of the Shepherds Theological Seminary board, to whom I am most grateful.
In this initial phase of editing I will be analyzing the data for 1 Timothy; when I return to the US I will finish any remaining work on 1 Timothy and then repeat the process with transcription data from 2 Timothy and Titus. Students and volunteers have produced nearly 600 transcriptions using the transcription editor hosted by the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NTVMR) in Münster. This number is quite large because every manuscript has two independently produced transcriptions which are then compared and reconciled by a member of the project staff. That reconciled transcription is then checked by another staff member against images. In October of 2017 the project was able to publish 110 verified transcriptions on the NTVMR and has continued to publish them as the work is completed.
This editorial work would not be possible without the very talented team behind it. The project team includes:
Dr. W. Andrew Smith, Shepherds Theological Seminary, project supervisor
Megan Burnett, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, doctoral fellow
Brandon Jenkins, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, doctoral fellow
Greg Barnhill, Baylor University, doctoral fellow
Dr. Amy Myshrall, University of Birmingham, project collaborator
Dr. Troy A. Griffitts, software engineer
That is a brief overview of the project and its overall purpose. Next month I will provide some information on the editorial work itself.