What is the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments?

P52 - Manuscript Workspace

In my last article, Where are Manuscripts Found?, I briefly mentioned scholars use published lists to keep track of the New Testament manuscripts which have been cataloged. The list used by most New Testament manuscript scholars is Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments (Short List of Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament), produced by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, University of Munster, Germany. Fortunately for those people who don’t speak German, it’s also known as the K-Liste or just Liste. Since this is a list of Greek New Testament manuscripts, I’m a bit surprised the whole book isn’t Greek.

Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, entry for Papyrus P52
Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, entry for Papyrus P52 (Oldest known New Testament Fragment, A.D. 125-175.) (© Walter de Gruyter)

For each manuscript in the K-Liste, a basic profile is offered including information such as1:

  • a Gregory-Aland number
  • the New Testament contents
  • the manuscript’s date
  • the material the manuscript is written on
  • the number of pages
  • the number of columns per page
  • the number of lines of text per page
  • the physical dimensions of the manuscript
  • its current location along with an identification number at its current location

The first known attempt to create a comprehensive list of Greek New Testament manuscripts occurred in 1751-1752 by Protestant theologian J.J. Wettstein, and other attempts at lists followed. The K-Liste is considered the direct descendent of the book Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, published by Caspar René Gregory in 1908; the modern K-Liste was first published in 1963 by Kurt Aland.

The last printed edition of the K-Lists was published in 1994, so it’s currently 25 years out-of-date. It’s not surprising the K-Liste is available online, at the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NT.VMR), where it’s easy to make updates. A revised edition of the K-Liste is expected to be printed in 2020, with 207 additions since the 1994 edition.2 The K-Liste now includes a few manuscripts in other languages, and currently has 6174 manuscripts total3.

P52 - K-Liste Online
NTVMR, Papyrus P52 entry on the K-Liste (Oldest known New Testament Fragment, A.D. 125-175.)

The online K-List has a shorter description than the printed book,   but for some manuscripts there are photos and a transcription available. The online version has been a great benefit for researchers, as many manuscripts have been made available to people who would not have been able to view them previously. Even amateurs can view these manuscripts and marvel how God has preserved His word through the millennia.

P52 - Manuscript Workspace
NTVMR, Papyrus P52 entry on the Manuscript Workspace (Oldest known New Testament Fragment, A.D. 125-175.)

Try finding a manuscript on the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room web site. (This may not work well from a smart phone or tablet)

  • Go to http://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/liste
  • In Manuscript Name, enter P52; leave Name selected
  • Click the Search button in the box (The button may be hidden until you scroll down inside the box with the search criteria)
  • In the results, click 10052 in the Doc ID column
  • In the Manuscript Details section (right side of screen), click 10052 next to Document ID
  • You may need to hover your mouse over the tab “Catalogue – Browse and…” on the left side of the screen to see the images
  • Click on one of the images to see a manuscript that’s nearly 1,900 years old

Search for manuscripts with images. Unfortunately, many images are restricted to authorized researchers, so finding something interesting (to a non-Greek speaker) can be a matter of trial-and-error. (This may not work well from a smart phone or tablet)

  • Go to http://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/liste
  • Move the Dated To sliders to select 200-399
  • Select Has Images
  • Select Has Transcriptions (optional; transcriptions are in Greek)
  • Click Search
  • Select a manuscript in the search results
  • Click on the number next to Document ID

A challenge (This may not work well from a smart phone or tablet):

  • Name 01 (Doc ID 20001) contains the oldest complete New Testament, and parts of the Old Testament (and some other writings)
  • Make a comment below, or on the BibleQuestions.info Facebook page (more people will likely see it on Facebook), with the Origin Year Early and Origin Year Late of manuscript 01
  • Bonus: Include the Alternative Manuscript Names
  • Extra Bonus: Your answer should contain a Hebrew letter (use copy-and-paste) as one of the Alternative Manuscript Names
  • If someone else has already posted this information, make a comment on some other manuscript you find. Try finding a manuscript close to you using the Current Country and Place search.

Resources

Footnotes

  1. What is the Kurzgefasste Liste? (University of Munster, Germany; 8/18/18)
  2. Paulson, Greg. A New Printing of the Kurzgefasste Liste is in the Works (INTF, 4/10/19)
  3. New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room accessed on 26-Oct-2019

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