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The Significance of Bilingual Manuscripts for Detecting Cross-Language Interaction in the New Testament Tradition


BICROSS is an interdisciplinary project linking Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian and Arabic philology, New Testament textual criticism, manuscript studies, ancient history and digital humanities.
Little is known about the bilingual New Testament manuscripts, although translations occur remarkably early. Their physical and textual characteristics, relations, tendencies and impact remain understudied despite their centrality to the understanding of the transmission of the New Testament and its reception in different cultures. For centuries New Testament manuscripts have been studied from a monolingual perspective which has obscured the fact that the textual transmission did not take place solely within the boundaries of a single-language tradition but also across languages. Uncovering and establishing the mutual exchange and cross-language interaction require a new multilingual approach to the New Testament tradition.
BICROSS breaks through the current monolingual limitation by shifting the discipline’s focus to the overall New Testament tradition. Accepting the possibility that each variant reading could have had its potential source in a reading from a different language tradition and may likewise have caused a dependent reading in any of the other language traditions breaks new ground. The project’s bold and pioneering cross-language approach brings a fresh perspective to the discipline’s current search for new paradigmatic concepts to explain the relations of New Testament readings and manuscripts at large.
BICROSS develops specific digital tools to process the vast and linguistically complicated manuscript data in order to pioneer an examination of the entire New Testament bilingual tradition on a larger scale than has ever been possible. The results will provide new insights into the formation and transmission of New Testament texts and will influence the understanding of historical, cultural and linguistic exchange in the East and West.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 000 000,00
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00