Today marks the retirement of Professor David Parker after twenty-seven years of service in the Department of Theology and Religion. David was the founding director of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) back in 2005, and has been the Executive Editor of the Gospel according to John for the International Greek New Testament Project since the 1990s. In 2015, he was awarded an OBE for services to Higher Education. After serving as Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology in the department from 2005–17, he held a chair in Digital Philology.

Last Monday, an event was held in the foyer of 3 Elms Road, where ITSEE is currently based, to celebrate David and his contribution to ITSEE. Academic colleagues old and new, several of David's former doctoral students (and members of their family), and even one of David's students from when he taught at the Queen's Theological Foundation came to enjoy tea and cake. David was also presented with a book of photographs recalling some of the highlights of his time at the University, including the Codex Sinaiticus project, the launches of ITSEE and Birmingham's Virtual Manuscript Room, work on the Editio Critica Maior of John, presentations at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meetings in the USA and the biennial Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament which he co-founded with David Taylor back in 1997.

David in conversation at the reception last week


ITSEE colleagues enjoying tea and cake


Professor Hugh Houghton, David's successor as Director of ITSEE, said after the event:

We are delighted that David will still be associated with ITSEE after his retirement as an honorary fellow and continue to direct the Editio Critica Maior of the Gospel of John. This Institute, and the research projects which David has led within it, have been an inspiration to people across the world, as have the books on the text and manuscripts of the New Testament which he has published during his time at Birmingham. It has been a pleasure to work closely with him, first as one of his doctoral students and since then as a colleague. I hope that ITSEE will continue to build on David's remarkable legacy of major externally-funded research projects, cordial and productive international collaborations, and the pursuit of the highest standards of digital scholarly editing.

Today also marks the final day of the AHRC Codex Zacynthius project, which has been led by David Parker and Hugh Houghton since February 2018. A full transcription and English translation of this manuscript have been prepared for release in the Cambridge Digital Library, along with a printed edition and a volume of studies on this important palimpsest manuscript which will be be published later this year.