Tools for studying Biblical Manuscripts

This page is divided into collections and specialist sites. Collections comprise sites where a range (sometimes quite considerable) of manuscripts can be found. Specialist sites are devoted to one particular manuscript and offer a far greater range of information and background literature on it.

Collections Sites

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Early Bible – Pictures of New Testament Papyri – More accurately it should be ‘Early New Testament! Nevertheless this is a nice clear site that offers some good images of some of the important New Testament papyri witnesses. Although the images are not high definition and come without any commentary, they are very usable and are a good way for a beginner to have their first taste of the wonderful world of papyri!

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Centre for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts – Under the auspices of  the Centre for the Research of Early Christian Documents (CRED) the CSNTM is undertaking to digitise and make accessible all existing Greek NT manuscripts. It is a beautifully produced site offering some incredibly detailed images – not only of the text, but of the bindings and other metatextual data. Please note that this is an ongoing project and not all manuscripts listed have been digitised. *Recommended*

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Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) – This is the premier Textual research site developed by scholars for scholars and has become the main resource and work-centre for specialists in this area. Although many of its features may be a little advanced for beginners and undergraduates, it is well worth investigating and using. *Recommended*

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Collaborative Database of Dateable Greek Bookhands (CDDGB) – A really helpful database with clear manuscript images that are listed in chronological order. This is particularly useful for those wanting more information (and examples) of the development of Greek bookhands. The Baylor introduction states:

“This is a catalogue of Greek manuscripts written in a literary script which, apart from a few exceptions, can be dated on the basis of some objective criterion, such as the presence of a document on the reverse side which contains a date, or a dateable archaeological context associated with the manuscript. These manuscripts are important because they provide papyrologists and paleographers with an evidential base for tracing the evolution of Greek handwriting and for dating other manuscripts which lack objective criteria. Presently the database includes manuscripts from the first nine centuries of the Common Era (0–899 CE). It will ultimately be expanded to include manuscripts dated to earlier centuries. Manuscripts written in minuscule script are excluded.”

Complete description can be read here: CDDGB Overview *Recommended*

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Dead Sea Scrolls – Leon Levy DSS Digital Library. An excellent archive containing some extremely good digital imaging (including some infra red). Highly searchable and comprising Hebrew, Greek, Nabatean and unknown fragments and a wide range of biblical and non-biblical manuscripts. Includes documents from Qumran, Wadi Murabba’at, Nahal Hever, Wadi Daliyeh, Cave of Abu Shinjeh and Masada. *Recommended*

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Oxyrhynchus Online – An online database and list of the papyri collected at the Oxyrhynchus excavations. Many of the links contain photographs of the manuscripts together with transcriptions and other data. The database is searchable for: author, title, genre, date and by papyrus number.

Among this collection are biblical texts and also some fascinating Christian writings that give a glimpse into life in this Egyptian city at the time the Church was beginning to form.

The site also contains a brief introductory article about the city and the excavation.

Bibles-online banner – If you are interested in more recent manuscripts (earliest being 1390) you will find here 22 digital editions of, historically, some of the most important Bibles produced including, Erasmus’ 1520 NT Greek, the 1535 Coverdale Bible, Stephanus’ 1550 Greek NT  and the 1709 First English American.

Specialist sites

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Codex Sinaiticus – A fantastic site featuring high definition images with the option of raking light. It also contains a wealth of extra information (in the ‘About Codex Sinaiticus‘ section) covering codicology and its production. *Recommended*

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