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The Freer Biblical Manuscripts: Fresh Studies of an American Treasure Trove
Larry W. Hurtado, editor
Publication Date
October 2006


The six biblical manuscripts that reside in the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., are historically significant artifacts for tracing the early history of the transmission of the writings that make up the New Testament and the Septuagint. The manuscripts, all purchased in Egypt at the beginning of the twentieth century by Charles Freer, date to the third through fifth centuries and include codices of the four Gospels, Deuteronomy and Joshua, the Psalms, and the Pauline Epistles, as well as a Coptic codex of the Psalms and a papyrus codex of the Minor Prophets, which, until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was the earliest Greek manuscript of the Minor Prophets known. The ten essays in this volume are a notable collection of fresh scholarship with long-term value for the study of what is a small but highly valuable treasure trove of biblical manuscripts.

Larry W. Hurtado is Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh. His publications include The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Eerdmans, 2006) and How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God? Historical Questions about Earliest Devotion to Jesus (Eerdmans, 2005).

“In 1906 Charles Lang Freer bought some biblical manuscripts in Egypt to take home to the USA, the best known among which is codex W(ashington) of the Gospels. To commemorate this event Larry Hurtado, who did his PhD on the text of Mark in W, edited the present collection of specialist studies. Although the Freer manuscripts were overshadowed by the discoveries of the Chester Beatty and Bodmer papyri and by Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea Scrolls, he attempts to revive interest in them. … The essays are accessible and well written; the book as a whole is very attractive for specialists in the field.”
— Pieter J. Lalleman, Journal for the Study of the New Testament


—Larry W. Hurtado

Paleography and Philanthropy: Charles Lang Freer and His Acquisition of the “Freer Biblical Manuscripts”
—Kent D. Clarke

The Freer Twelve Minor Prophets Codex—A Case Study: The Old Greek Text of Jonah, Its Revisions, and Its Corrections
—Kristin De Troyer

The Unidentified Text in the Freer Minor Prophets Codex
—Malcolm Choat

The Text of Matthew in the Freer Gospels: A Quantitative and Qualitative Appraisal
—Jean-François Racine

The Use and Nonuse of Nomina Sacra in the Freer Gospel of Matthew
—J. Bruce Prior

Was Codex Washingtonianus a Copy or a New Text?
—Dennis Haugh

The Corrections in the Freer Gospels Codex
—James R. Royse

Reassessing the Palaeography and Codicology of the Freer Gospel Manuscript
—Ulrich Schmid

The Scribal Characteristics of the Freer Pauline Codex
—Thomas A. Wayment

Manuscript Markup
—Timothy J. Finney