We had several transcription parties during 2013. That is when I invite students and others to my house for a meal and several hours of work. I use this time to train new transcribers. That’s what Isaac is doing in this picture. He is looking at a digital image of an ancient Greek manuscript (MS) and creating an electronic version that will be useable by scholars all over the world, fully searchable and able to be compared to all other MSS in just seconds by a computer program called Collate. Isaac is one of several people whom I trained in previous years who have graduated and moved into careers, but are still working on transcriptions in their free time.
Other experiences the students will have in this course include learning to read ancient hands from the 2nd to the 14th centuries, getting to know the most important MSS so they can talk about them like old friends, finding their way around the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, a trip to the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St Johns University (http://www.hmml.org/our-collections.html), and producing a major research project that they will then present as if they were at an academic conference. In fact, I hope that several students will be accepted to present at one of two actual conferences in April. Researching, writing, and presenting will be a great experience that will prepare them for the challenges of postgraduate studies.
Fund-raising and new projects:
While my expertise is in the area of actual research and in the mentoring of students, we continue to hope for volunteer or even hired assistance in areas of fund-raising and grant-writing, as well as office management. If you have something to offer us here, please contact us!
A fund-raising project that we have just started is called Greek Manuscript Transcription. This is registered with giveMN.org. We are raising funds to pay young scholars for the transcribing of ancient Bible manuscripts into electronic form just as I described Isaac doing above. This work is invaluable to the scholarly community, and we would like it to also benefit the young scholars who have the skills to do this work. Wouldn’t it be better for my students to have a part time job transcribing ancient MSS than to spend that time parking cars or working security or bussing tables? Not only will they hone their skills, but their resumes will have this attractive listing: "Transcriber for the International Greek New Testament Project."
If you are interested in donating either to our general fund, or to Greek Manuscript Transcription, you can visit our secure donation page. Thank you!!!!
The BLP is the outreach arm of CATL. We have as our goal the education of the church and of other interested groups in areas such as Bible backgrounds and literature. We have created a web page on which we are beginning to list instructors along with their areas of expertise. If your church or group is interested in receiving college level training in OT or NT – getting historical or geographical backgrounds, understanding the first century issues surrounding a text, etc., feel free to contact any of us directly, and we would be glad to communicate with you about what type of seminar or course we could offer at various times and locations. Here is our instructor page.
The BLP is also glad for donations. In this case they will assist the instructors in teaching groups that are not able to cover our costs and honoraria. For example, many of you helped me to travel to Germany and offer a 15 hour BLP course to leaders of Students For Christ-Europe several years ago. We try to be as flexible as possible on prices so that everyone has a chance to learn. Click here to give to the BLP.
Friends have encouraged me to start a blog. It would be interesting to hear whether you would like to follow a blog that gives perhaps a few tidbits on Bible backgrounds once a week. I might have guest writers for areas I am less familiar with, etc. Let me know if that sounds like a good way for us to develop. In the mean time, a great way to stay in touch and to be able to ask questions and read great articles is my Facebook group, The Biblical Literacy Project.