Welcome to the Center for New Testament Restoration (CNTR): “Bringing scientific textual criticism to the masses.” One of the purposes of the CNTR is to apply a purely scientific approach to the age-old question, “What was the original text of the New Testament?” This short video provides an introduction to some of the goals of the CNTR, and more detailed information about scientific textual criticism can be found in the CNTR Project Overview. The CNTR has now completed three major milestones, all firsts in an effort to advance the field of textual criticism:
1. The CNTR has released electronic transcriptions of every known extant Greek manuscript containing portions of the New Testament up to the year 400 AD, many of which still cannot be found anywhere else. The CNTR database now contains over 1.8 million words featuring over 200 of the earliest witnesses from extant manuscripts. These have been aligned into the highly-acclaimed computer-generated collation which has already been used in the creation of two new critical texts – the Tyndale House Greek New Testament (THGNT) and the Bunning Heuristic Prototype (BHP) which serves as the basis for the unfoldingWord Greek New Testament (UGNT).
2. The CNTR has provided an English interlinear view of the collation so that for the first time in history, the average person who does not know Greek is now able to see where the variant readings are and can get an idea of what they mean. All of the manuscripts and critical texts have been morphologically parsed to the same scheme and displayed with Enhanced Strongs Numbers. NEW The collation has now been color coded to display some of the different variant types and whether their boundaries are dependent or independent on each other.
NEW 3. The CNTR has created the first computer-generated Greek New Testament called the “Statistical Restoration” which has been added to the collation. The creation of the SR text represents a fundamental paradigm shift in the field of textual criticism, replacing the subjectivity and theological bias of human editors with the use of objective statistical and computational methods. All the earliest manuscript evidence is fed directly to a computer program as raw data which generates a Greek New Testament to reflect the most probable text based on statistical analysis and algorithms designed to mimic the processes of textual criticism, weighing both internal and external evidence. A number of breakthroughs had to occur to make this possible and the details are explained in six different papers which are planned to be submitted for publication, three of which have already been presented at the Society of Biblical Literature conferences. In the meantime, more information can be found in this brief video describing the rationale behind it.
The CNTR project is a continual work in progress and various aspects of the CNTR database are at different stages of development. Most of the work should be considered to be in a beta stage of development unless otherwise indicated. Work that is still in a beta stage of development will remain under copyright to prevent errors from being distributed, and then will be released under a Creative Commons license in the Resource area when it is ready for distribution. So far, the individual manuscript transcriptions have been made available for download in the Manuscript Encoding Specification (MES) format released under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. Please contact the CNTR to report any errors or discrepancies that you may find.
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Alan Bunning, D.Litt.
Center for New Testament Restoration
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