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The Center for Study and Preservation of the Majority Text

The Center for Study and Preservation of the Majority Text (CSPMT) is an organization dedicated to scholarly study, research and preservation of Byzantine Greek New Testament manuscripts. This textual tradition is found in various printed editions in the West and is also preserved in the Greek New Testament and lectionary text of the Orthodox church.

Our board members at CSPMT are leading ecclesiastical officials, pastors and textual scholars from various traditions which uphold the Byzantine text of the Greek New Testament. At CSPMT we are dedicated in sharing this rich legacy with scholars, clergy and other interested parties.

May God bless you.

News & Website Updates

April 21st, 2015

CSPMT & Mt. Athos

We are pleased to announce that CSPMT has a planned visit to Mt. Athos scheduled for October of this year immediately following our meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul.

Recently, CSPMT has been examining copies of several new New Testament manuscripts obtained from the Iveron and Vatopedi monastery's sacristy (treasury) collections on Mt. Athos by director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering. We are continuing to pursue our goal at CSPMT of preserving and researching these precious New Testament manuscripts, many which are found on Mt. Athos. These holy and sacred manuscripts are some of the finest examples of New Testament manuscripts preserved from the time of the Byzantine Empire.

We will continue to update our viewers on our planned mission to Mt. Athos and on new manuscript discoveries from our upcoming trip to Mt. Athos. In addition, our viewers around the world may contribute to our mission to Mt. Athos through donations made via PayPal or by check or money order sent to our mailing address found on our donations page.

Paul Anderson
CSPMT

April 14th, 2015

CSPMT Sec. Deacon John Cavin & the Byzantine text-type from a Russian Orthodox Perspective

Recently, Fr. John Cavin, Secretary of CSPMT presented a paper to a Russian Orthodox audience in Yekaterinburg, Russia. In the paper presented by Fr. Cavin, he describes the mission and role of CSPMT and it's research on Byzantine Greek manuscripts in relation to the Russian Orthodox textual tradition of the New Testament. Fr. Cavin continues to research the development of the early Slavonic and Russian New Testament and their relationship to Byzantine Greek New Testament manuscripts. In addition, the textual connection of the Slavonic authorized liturgical texts to the Textus Receptus as found in the Moscow Bible (1663) and the authorized Elizabeth Bible (1751) is briefly described.

This paper presented by Fr. Cavin in Yekaterinburg may download this paper in either English or Russian translation below:

Byzantine text paper (English) : English

Byzantine text paper (Russian trans.) Перевод Нины Усовой : Russian

March 29th, 2015

Update on Vatopedi/Mt. Athos Monastery MSS

Digital color images of the following 9 continuous text MSS have now been obtained by CSPMT director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering. This listing completes the continuous text MSS located in the Vatopedi Monastery sacristy (skevophylakion) collection. Images of these NT MSS are not available at INTF (Institute for New Testament Textual Research).

These new Byzantine NT manuscripts are being more closely examined at CSPMT. More information will be available on these MSS in the near future.

GA 2869 - A commentated Gospel. 11th century. Family Π text-form.

GA 2870 Gospels. Dated 1090. Kx (m6 PA).

GA 2871 Gospels. XII cent. Πb (m5 PA)

GA 2872 Gospels. XI/XII cent. Kx (m6 PA).

GA 2873 Gospels. Dated 1280/81. Kx (m6 PA).

GA 2874 Gospels, Acts, Epistles. Dated 1305/06. Kx (m6 PA) K Acts, Epistles.

GA 2875 Gospels. Dated 1314/15. Kr/f35 (m7 PA).

GA 2876 Gospels. XIV cent. Kr/f35 (m7 PA).

GA 2877 Gospels. XIV cent. Kr/f35 (m7 PA).

CSPMT

March 23rd, 2015

Vatopedi Monastery Treasury MSS

CSPMT director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering has obtained digitized copies of several new Byzantine manuscripts from Mt. Athos/Vatopedi Monastery treasury. These New Testament manuscripts have been registered at INTF (Institute for New Testament Textual Research) in Münster, Germany for the past few years now without available images. Among these manuscripts include:

- GA 2870 (Kx-m6 PA)
- GA 2871 (Πb-m5 PA)
- GA 2874 (Kx-m6 PA)
- GA 2876 (Kr/f35-m7 PA)

We will be obtaining digital copies of other mss. from the Vatopedi/Mt. Athos treasury in the near future. We would like
to thank the librarians and fathers at Mt. Athos for their continued generosity and assistance in obtaining copies of these valuable manuscripts.

In other news, the Bnf (National Library of France) has added the Byzantine uncial manuscript Codex Campianus (M 021) to their online manuscripts collection. Codex M or Campnianus is one of the most important Byzantine uncial manuscripts and is a slightly textually divergent member of Byzantine (Group M) of which it is the leading representative manuscript. It was brought from the East in the early 1700s and now is in the collections of the National Library of France in Paris.

Our viewers may see and download this important Byzantine uncial manuscript at the Bnf from the link provided below:

Codex Campianus (M 021) Bnf link:
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10507213z/f1.image.r=.langEN

CSPMT

March 6th, 2015

F35 Byzantine Greek NT

CSPMT director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering's completed (f35) Byzantine Greek New Testament has been added to our website. Dr. Pickering in completing this new Byzantine text edition has devoted years to collation of dozens of mss. from the Kr (f35) Byzantine text-form. The f35 GNT text is very similar to the BGNT text differing in only one significant variation - Acts 12:25 with "into Antioch" versus "into Jerusalem" as found in the BGNT text. The f35 Byzantine type
also exemplifies unique scribal control and precision in NT manuscript copying.

Our viewers may freely download the f35 Byzantine GNT from the link provided below:

F35 Byzantine Greek New Testament

February 17th, 2015

More Byzantine Mss. Online

We are pleased to announce the digital imaging of more Byzantine Greek New Testament manuscripts online. You may find these and other digitized Byzantine mss. at the links provided below.

National Library of France BnF (Gregory-Aland) - GA 15 Identification: (Cluster 15 or Ak, no PA)
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105157462.r=.langEN

National Library of France BnF (Gregory-Aland) - GA 268 Identification: (Cluster Π268, μ5 PΑ)
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10501703c.r=.langEN

Vatican Library, Vat., Pal. gr. 189 (Gregory-Aland) - GA 150 Identification: (Mixed Kappa, μ5 PA)
http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Pal.gr.189

CSPMT

February 11th, 2015

New Traditional Text Versions

We are informing our viewers of the recent release of two significant new versions based upon the Textus Receptus and the King James Version.

The new Modern English Version (MEV) ediited by a team of 50 translators from various denominations led by Rev. James F. Linzey. It is published by Passio (Charisma House) and was begun in 2005 and completed and released late 2014. It is a formal equivalency based version and has some textual changes in the New Testament apart from the KJV and NKJV. Especially notable is the change at Jn 1:18. CSPMT will review this new version possibly at a later date. The version website is:

www.modernenglishversion.com

The other new version is the internet based CKJV (Chinese King James Version). It appears to be revision of the Chinese Union Version (CUV) critical text based version towards the King james Version. It is very close to the King James Version and is the 1st Chinese version close to the Textus Receptus and KJV in over 100 years. It was completed by a teams of primarily Chinese translators. The website of this new Chinese version is user friendly and is found at:

www.ckjv,asia

CSPMT will announce any further developments on these or other new Traditional Text based versions.

February 4th, 2015

CSPMT Byzantine Greek NT update

CSPMT is continuing collation of mss. for our critical apparatus to be included in the BGNT (Byzantine Greek New Testament) edition. Representing the Byzantine text will be “core” group members of 10-12 Byzantine text groups
all with specific readings and variations apart from one another. These main Byzantine text group groups which will be represented in the BGNT apparatus are:

Byzantine (Kappa) groups:

1. K1 or Ω – Von Soden theorized the K1 group to be the oldest text form of the of the Kappa Byzantine texttype. It contains between 40-50 minuscules clustered around two unical Byzantine mss. S(028) and Ω(045) which mostly contain the μ2 PA form.

2. Ki or E-text – These Byzantine Kappa mss. were limited in Von Soden’s study to uncials but CSPMT has found nearly 80-100 minuscule mss. which cluster around uncials E(07) F(09) G(011) and H(013). Minuscule GA 2 which Erasmus utilized extensively and notated for his TR editions is a member of this group. Von Soden did not locate minuscules members of this Kappa grouping and wrongly included them as part of the larger Kx grouping. It contains minuscules with the μ5 form as found in the RP Byzantine text edition.

3. Kx – The large majority of Kappa Byzantine minuscule mss. are found in this large Byzantine group. Its textual boundaries are rather undefined due to containing a large mass of readings in mss. forming the majority of the Kappa Byzantine type. This group was discovered and termed as Κx by Von Soden and contains all mss. which textually stand between K1 and the Kr Byzantine groups. This majority Kappa type was often copied between the 10th to 13th centuries at Studite Monastery scriptorium by scribes prior to 1261. Most often they contain the μ6 PA profile form as described by Von Soden and as contained in the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text.

4. Kr or fam. 35 – Most Kr manuscripts have easily recognized red lectionary rubrics in the marginalia and do not contain the Eusebian Canon tables common in the beginning of most other Greek NT mss. Several Kr/fam. 35 group members are complete NT mss. containing usually the Complutensian text-form of Revelation. This group discovered by Von Soden is frequently found at Mt. Athos and Constantinople and copied extensively by scribes at the Holy Hodegon Monastery Scriptorium in Constantinople up until 1453. He also theorized it as the latest most developed recensional form of the Byzantine Kappa text type. Most all group members having the M7 PA form except for fringe group members such as GA 47.

5. K or Mixed K – Many Byzantine mss. have a mixed Kappa form especially clustered around the main Kx majority group. Often these have the commentated text and or a mixed Kx text form and usually have the μ6 PA form shared with the main Kx Kappa group.

Byzantine (Non-Kappa) groups:

6. Group Λ – This group is headed by an uncial located by Tischendorf and called Codex Tischendorfianus IV or Λ(039) in Gregory-Aland classification. Approx. 20-20 mss. comprise this group which textually stands close to the much larger Kx Kappa group. Manuscripts in this group often contain the Jerusalem Colophon and have the μ4 form of the PA shared with non-Byzantine group f13.

7. Family Π – Centered around uncial mss. K(017) and Π(041) and loosely including Α(02) and Y(034). The third largest minuscule group of mss. containing nearly 100 mss. Originally, part of Von Soden’s I or Western text groups. Later, studied intensively by the Lakes and identified as a historically significant Byzantine text group. It also stands in close proximity textually to both the (Harklean) Syriac version and the Ethiopic type-A. This group’s minuscules mostly contain with a unique form of the μ5 form of the PA.

8. Group M – Clustered but not dependent around its uncial relative M(021). Nearly 50 minuscules are contained around GA 27 and GA 188. This group was a textual transition group and forming the boundary between the non-Kappa and Kappa Byzantine text groups in the early minuscule period later to be dominated by Kx Kappa form. Most of the mss. in group M with the exception of divergent uncial M(021) and subgroup 188 contain the μ5 PA form and are further subdivided into subgroups Ma and Mb.

9. Group 1216 – A textually distinct Byzantine non-Kappa group was known as group β in Von Soden. It contains some Caesarean readings but not as frequently as f1424. It also contains the rare μ3 PA form. It is divided into subgroups 1216a and b clustered around GA 1216 and 348 respectively.

10. Group 22 – Centered around the distinct Byzantine minuscule GA 22. It contains subgroups a and b. Earlier these minuscule mss. were thought by Von Soden to belong to the f1 grouping, it is recognized now though to contain overall a Byzantine text form in the majority of its group members. The 22a subgroup has the Kx like μ6 PA form while several members of the 22b main subgroup do not contain the PA.

11. Group 1424 or f1424 – Textually, the most distinct among Byzantine text type groups. It is clustered around the complete NT minuscule GA 1424. Von Soden earlier divided f1424 into two subgroups, φa and φb. Subgroup φb being the common or majority lectionary form found in most Greek lectionary mss. The two φ subgroups may be represented a critical apparatus by GA 1424(φa) and GA 7(φb). The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchal NT or Antoniades NT replicates this Byzantine text form due to the utilization of the majority of lectionary readings found common in the majority of Greek lectionary mss.

In future updates, we will discuss the lectionary, Church Father and edition witnesses to be included in the future BGNT apparatus.

CSPMT

Jan. 14th, 2015

CSPMT & the Balamand University Arabic Lectionary Project

CSPMT and the Balamand University (El-Khoura, Lebanon) are uniting efforts in a joint project to categorize, collate and to make available all Arabic language lectionary mss. and editions. There are more Arabic lectionary mss. that exist than all Arabic continuous text mss. of the New Testament. In recent communications between CSPMT and the Balamand Lectionary Project, we have found that there is a very close textual linkage between Arabic lectionary mss. and current editions of the Arabic lectionary and the various Byzantine/Majority text mss. and various related editions including the Textus Receptus.

CSPMT is now in the process of increasing our cooperation in this joint effort by sharing collations with the Balamand University Lectionary Project. In the future, a joint symposium is planned between CSPMT and the Arabic lectionary project. CSPMT is continuing to expanded in other related projects and for continued research, preservation and promotion of the Byzantine text of the New Testament.

Dec 24th, 2014

Update on new Byzantine MSS from Mt. Athos

CSPMT would like to provide this information on the following new MSS from the Iveron Monastery sacristy on Mt. Athos which have been submitted to INTF for review and registration. CSPMT will be posting more information on these new MSS as CSPMT continues as we continue to review them.

1. Iveron sacristy no. 2106 - (le) 17th cent. lectionary, Kr/f35-TR type.
2. Iveron sacristy no. 2107 - (e) 13th cent. Kx-M6
3. Iveron sacristy no. 2108 - (e) 14th cent. Kx-M6/M7 mix
4. Iveron sacristy no. 2109 - (e) 11th cent. Ki-M5
5. Iveron sacristy no. 2110 - (e) 1322 Kr/f35-M7
6. Iveron sacristy no. 2111 - (lsel) 11th cent. (Maj. type)
7. Iveron sacristy no. 2113 - (e) 13th cent. f1424-M2
8. Iveron sacristy no. 2114 - (e) 12th cent. Kx-M6
9. Iverson sacristy no. 1404 - (le) 11th-12th cent., cruciform (Maj. type)
10. Iveron sacristy no. 1405 - (e) 14th cent., Kx-M6

CSPMT also wishes our viewers around the world a Merry Christmas and blessed Nativity Season and a Happy New Year. We thank you for all your prayers and continued support. In addition, we encourage our website viewers to continue to pray for and to help spread the news on the work and ministry of CSPMT.

God Bless.

From the Directors and Associates at CSPMT

November 28th, 2014

New Byzantine Manuscripts - Iveron Monastery Sacristy Mss.

CSPMT has now transferred 10 new Byzantine biblical mss. to INTF (Institute for New Testament Textual Research) for review and registration. These highly illustrated and illuminated mss. were among those recently obtained by Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering and CSPMT from Iveron Monastery on Mt. Athos.

As soon as INTF official authenticates these new biblical mss., CSPMT will be posting more information on some of the individual manuscripts from this new collection.

November 10th, 2014

The Byzantine Majority text: Its Ancient Origins Examined

The Byzantine Majority text was often claimed in the past by critical text advocates of the New Testament to have originated in a later Lucianic recension which occurred during the 4th century. However, the theological and textual problems in this theory on the origins of the Byzantine text contains serious problems for this often repeated claim making this theory now highly suspect within the field of NT textual criticism today.

Another problem in both past and current critical text theories for the origin of the Byzantine Majority text lie in the very nature of exactly what actually constitutes the Byzantine Majority text. Some critics of the Byzantine text-form even in recent times have even claimed the “Byzantine or Majority text was not even found as a “texttype” in the Church Fathers. These same critical-text critics will claim that that Byzantine Majority text readings are found in the Church Fathers but, as a “texttype”, no such form existed in the 4th century. We ask at here at CSPMT, which Byzantine-text are these same critical text proponents claiming did not exist in the Church Fathers and how do they qualify the Byzantine texttype? The issue is not as simple as may sound. Most textual scholars recognize that the ancient Syriac Peshitta and Harklean Peshitta is closely related to the Byzantine Majority text. Also, it is generally recognized that St. John Chrysostom utilized some form of the Byzantine Majority text-form in his writings. Secondly, Victor of Antioch’s claim that viable textual variants such as Mark 16:9-20 was found in “older and better” exemplars found in Jerusalem warrants notice. However, even with this evidence, the ancientness of the Byzantine Majority text remains in question even until today. Critical text proponents still claim the Egyptian text-form or B-text type best represented by B(03) or Codex Vaticanus, Aleph (01) or Codex Sinaiticus and the papyri best represents the earliest form of the Greek New Testament text. However, once again there is the textual disunity issue between Aleph and B and locational limitation issues involving the papyri ancient though they are. This further leads to questioning if there really is a “Egyptian” or Alexandrian text form that existed which was copied in successive transmissional scribal activity.

Clarification from all sides as to exactly what is meant by the Byzantine-text form is required when addressing this important topic. It is clear that some form of the Byzantine texttype did in fact exist contemporaneously with the oldest mss. representing the Egyptian or so-called Alexandrian text-form. Textual discoveries made by CSPMT at Mt. Athos evidence the dominance of the Byzantine Majority text down through time. Without proper definition of the textual nature of the Byzantine Majority text repeated erroneous statements on true nature of the early Byzantine text-form will persist in NT textual criticism. This important question and other issues regarding the ancientness of the Byzantine Majority text are currently under further investigation and research through the work and research of CSPMT.

November 4th, 2014

New Byzantine Text Manuscripts from Mt. Athos

The recent CSPMT expedition to Mt. Athos in Greece resulted in the location of several new unregistered New Testament manuscripts. Most of these have not been seen or catalogued in the West.

Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering director of CSPMT was able to obtain copies of 10 new manuscripts from Iveron Monastery. Of these 7 contin. text (Gospel) and 3 lectionary manuscripts (including a rare cruciform lectionary manuscript) were copied and sent to CSPMT. Most of these were copied in color digital format. Also, from the IPAMIET (Bank of Greece Project) repository in Athens, three more new unregistered New Testament manuscripts were brought back. Many more new manuscripts were identified in their holdings that are not found in the current K-Liste (INTF) of New Testament manuscripts.

The texttype of these new manuscripts varies somewhat from one another, but all are Byzantine text manuscripts. Among the Iveron, manuscripts, a beautiful Kr/fam. 35 parchment Gospel manuscript with a μ7 PA was found. It was written by scribe Chariton in 1322 at the Hodegon Monastery in Constantinople. Also, a highly illuminated (μ6 PA) Kx text Byzantine manuscript from the 12th century and a Ki (μ5 PA) manuscript of the Gospels were obtained. All three copies of new lectionary manuscripts from Iveron are also highly illuminated with one being one of only four cruciform type lectionary manuscripts known.

More information on these new Byzantine manuscripts of the Greek New Testament will be forthcoming as CSPMT is continuing to work on obtaining other new manuscripts from Mt. Athos for research and digital conservation.

October 23rd, 2014

Greek Lectionary Editions and the Textus Receptus

Recent collations conducted by CSPMT on various editions of the Greek lectionary of both Gospel and Acts/Epistle lectionary editions have resulted in a important textual discovery. We have found that all printed Greek lectionary editions are textually dependent upon the TR (textus receptus) in their origins.

The Erasmus 1st and 2nd editions and Aldine Greek New Testaments both had a prominent role in the development of the printed lectionary liturgical text and all subsequent printed Greek lectionary editions. This was made possible by Erasmus’ time spent in Venice under the tutelage of the Greek scholar-printer Aldus Manutius. After Manutius’ death, family relatives printed his Greek NT being a strict copy of Erasmus’ 1st edition (Novum Instrumentum omni, 1516). The editio princeps of both Gospel (Euaggelion) and Acts/Epistles (Apostolos) were printed in Venice by Steffano da Sabbio in 1525 and 1539 respectively. The da Sabbio lectionary editions were based upon the the editorial work of Demetrios Zeros a Greek scholar at that time. Other later Greek Renaissance liturgical text printers such as Emmanuel Glouzianou and Nikolaos Saros utilized the earlier da Sabbio-Zeros editions slightly modifying their earlier texts over time. These liturgical text printing houses continued printing Greek lectionary texts in Venice through the late 1700s. Later in Athens, the well known printing firm of Saliberou continued the printing of the Textus Receptus lectionary text-form in their own editions based upon Glouzianou’s earlier edited lectionary text. The Glouzianou-Saliberou lectionary editions based upon the Textus Receptus remain in common use in the Greek Orthodox Church until present day.

After the foundation of the Apostoliki Diakonia Press (AD Press) in Athens in 1937, some slight textual changes were introduced into the lectionary texts. The Ecumenical Patriarchate desired to conform the Greek lectionary text more closely to the Antoniades or (Ecumenical Patriarchal) Greek NT. These first lectionary revisions were produced in the 1940s. A more thorough textual revision toward the Antoniades GNT was carried out for both the Gospel and Apostolos lectionaries mainly through the efforts of the late Fr. Demetrios Tzerpos completed in 1986. Despite Tzerpos' extensive textual revision, remnants of the Textus Receptus influence upon the lectionary textual tradition remains in all current Greek lectionary editions.

The role the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament has had in the textual transmission in all Greek lectionary editions demonstrates the broad position taken by the Orthodox Church regarding various textual traditions as acceptable and representing the traditional text of the Greek New Testament within the Church. Other non-Byzantine manuscript types like f13 (family 13) apparently were rejected earlier for textual transmission and use by the Church. Additionally, various manuscript texttypes of the Byzantine text have been utilized within the lectionary text tradition. The Textus Receptus has been much maligned and criticized throughout the modern era especially the West. However, it has had an important part in the transmissional history of the Byzantine Majority text and continues to in present day.

October 20th, 2014

CSPMT & PayPal

Tax free contributions and donations may now be made to CSPMT through PayPal which has been added to our donations area on our website.

Also, director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering and CSPMT associate Horacio Vieira of Brazil are now in Athens visiting several Greek New Testament manuscript repositories for research. We will have more on the CSPMT trip to Mt. Athos and Greece in the coming days.

October 15th, 2014

The first visit to Mt. Athos in Greece by CSPMT has now been completed. We would like to especially thank those at each monastery visited for their cooperation and hospitality. Director Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering and CSPMT associate Horacio Vieira of Brazil, visited five monasteries on Mt. Athos during this trip. The two team members examined several new Greek New Testament manuscripts not registered or known at INTF (Institute for New Testament Textual Research).

We will have more information on several of these new manuscripts of the Greek New Testament upon Dr. Pickering and Horacio Vieira's return from Greece.

September 29th, 2014

CSPMT has added the Complutensian Polyglot New Testament along with the 1633 Elzevir "textus receptus" edition to our edition resources page. Our viewers may download these editions through the links provided below.

September 27th, 2014

The Aldine Greek New Testament has been added to our editions resources page. The Aldine New Testament was published posthumously by the family press in Venice, Italy in 1518. It was accompanied by by the 1st printed
Septuagint Old Testament. The Aldine Greek New Testament had a prominent role in the transmissional history of the Venetian Greek lectionary editions of both the Euaggelion (Gospel) and Apostolos (Acts & Epistles) lectionary editions.

You may download the New Testament part of the Aldine Bible through the download link provided below:

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