In Greece, they would wish us, “Χρόνια Πολλά!” (Happy Birthday!)
CSNTM was born on September 13, 2002. That same month, we visited St. Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai, Egypt to examine newly-discovered Greek manuscripts. Since then, we have been on four dozen expeditions and digitally preserved hundreds of thousands of pages of these unique, handwritten codices. CSNTM has matured a lot in 19 years, but perhaps no more so than this past year and a half.
The last year and a half—when the pandemic shut down the world?! Yes. Besides uploading more manuscript images (CSNTM now has images of over 2000 manuscripts online!), and turning our website into a thing of beauty and efficiency, we painstakingly scrutinized and significantly improved our infrastructure and processes. We carefully examined our equipment and training with respect to meeting the quality standards established by the International Organization for Standardization. And we set out to raise the bar on quality to the highest level.
When I first began digitizing manuscripts in 2002, I used state-of-the-art equipment and procedures: a 5-megapixel DSLR camera mounted on a tripod. Since that time, a burgeoning discipline of digital conservation grew to maturity with CSNTM remaining at the forefront. Throughout our 19-year existence, our equipment and procedures kept pace with—and usually led—the evolution of international standards.
Thanks to you and your sustaining help through the pandemic, we’re ready to resume expeditions with industry-leading quality.
Our high-resolution digitization now utilizes a Phase One iXH, 150 MP, digital camera to capture images that far exceed international digitization standards. Two diffused LED light sources provide preservation-grade illumination for incredibly accurate color capture while operating at a cool 92 degrees (33 C), cooler to the touch than human skin!
Moreover, the new equipment allows us to work 3 to 5 times faster than before. This translates into huge cost savings for expeditions. With fewer technicians spending less time in remote locations, we save money on travel and living costs, which enables us to spend those precious dollars on more expeditions.
We estimate that the equipment will pay for itself within 20 weeks of onsite shooting.
Your partnership with us over the last 19 years has forever changed the way scholars and researchers utilize ancient copies of the Bible. They no longer have to rely on secondhand descriptions or make arduous trips to view one or two manuscripts. Now scholars can view and compare dozens of ancient pages, side by side, for the first time in history and gain insights never before possible! We stand on the shoulders of anonymous scribes who copied and protected Scripture for their generation. Now, it’s our turn.
We have several expeditions ready to launch. They are not cheap, but the New Testament is worth it. With your continued, faithful partnership, we will continue preserving the words of the apostles for today and for future generations.
Thank you for the amazing, sacrificial commitment you have made to take this journey with us. Together, we are connecting to the past in ways never before conceived.
With profound gratitude,
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts