On September 21, CSNTM hosted its annual Houston banquet at the Houston Racquet Club. This banquet is our biggest fundraiser of the year in Houston and an incredible opportunity to reconnect with our friends and supporters while also meeting new people who share our passion for New Testament manuscripts.
These are always special evenings, and this year was no exception. During the reception our guests viewed facsimiles of New Testament manuscripts, an incunabula leaf of Romans from 1492, and a copy of John Mill’s 1707 edition of the Greek New Testament; we also had a display featuring CSNTM’s digitization equipment to demonstrate how our teams capture the images on our website.
A highlight of the evening was a personal reflection from Tori Andrew. Tori is a master’s student studying New Testament textual criticism and a volunteer with CSNTM. In her spare time, if you can imagine a grad student with free time, she tags manuscripts in our digital library so that they are searchable for all of our users. Her reflection artfully connected her interest in textual criticism with the history of Christianity and the transmission of the text: “Being able to study the manuscript connects me to the history of our church, to the people who came before us and on whose shoulders we now stand.” One of our favorite lines in her speech was, “The manuscripts stretch us and connect us, like thread binding parchment, all the way back to the original authors.”
Later in the evening, our Executive Director, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, gave his keynote remarks on the topic, “A New Renaissance: The Age of Rediscovery.” In his presentation, Dr. Wallace recounted how the Renaissance was given a boost by the influx of Greek manuscripts into Western Europe after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Along with the invention of the printing press and a few other watershed events, the recovery of these ancient documents had a transformative impact on Europe and the world. He went on to explain that multispectral imaging is introducing the possibility of seeing invisible material in old manuscripts in order to fully study the biblical text they contain. With this technology and a team dedicated to studying the New Testament text, CSNTM is making a valuable contribution to both the academy and the world.
The evening concluded with an invitation to support CSNTM’s work by Barney Giesen, a longtime friend of CSNTM in Houston. This year’s event raised over $16,000. What is especially remarkable is that nearly every person who attended made a commitment to support CSNTM’s work to preserve Greek New Testament manuscripts! Our mission simply could not carry on without the generosity of many people, so we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from our friends in Houston. It is our hope that your joy was increased as you gave!
Special events like this are only possible with the support of numerous people. We’d like to thank our steadfast members of the Houston Advisory Board. You played such a valuable role in making the evening a success, in addition to your generous service throughout the year. Tori Andrew also deserves special recognition for giving a passionate and personal reflection. You conveyed your experience, our mission, and why it all matters with unique clarity. Finally, we want to specially thank everyone who attended the event. It was wonderful to meet new friends and see many familiar faces again.