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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

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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