The next of the biennial Birmingham Colloquia on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament would normally take place in Spring 2021. Given the continuing uncertainty caused by the pandemic, as well as current restrictions on scheduling events on campus with external participants, it has been decided to host the event entirely online. In so doing, we plan to follow the paradigm of the Text-Critical Thursdays seminar held earlier this year. Accordingly, we have provisionally allocated ten sessions on Thursdays from 21 January to 25 March 2021 at 1600 GMT, when papers may be delivered live online using the Zoom platform.

Although we very much regret not being able to welcome you to Birmingham in person, the earlier iteration of the online seminar has established a worldwide community of textual critics from a variety of backgrounds and enabled us to continue to share and benefit from ongoing research. What is more, the IGNTP YouTube channel which it inspired means that many of those presentations can be watched regardless of time zone and continue to be available for use in teaching. It is also worth remembering that there is a precedent for online presentations at the Birmingham Colloquium: at the Seventh Colloquium, back in March 2011, Dr Amy Donaldson delivered her paper by video link.

 Amy Donaldson presenting to the Birmingham Colloquium in 2011


The theme for the Twelfth Colloquium is, perhaps appropriately, “Fragments”. This may be broadly interpreted, from damaged documents and partial witnesses to investigations of the text of Mark 6:43 (and parallels). In addition, we are considering running one or more sessions of fragmentary papers when multiple participants present a brief ‘lightning talk’ on an aspect of their research. Proposals for papers should be sent to Professor Hugh Houghton by Friday 27 November 2020.

Details of the schedule will be disseminated on the NTTC mailing list set up for Text-Critical Thursdays. Anyone wishing to participate in the colloquium who is not already on this list is invited  to subscribe using the interface at As the seminar will be hosted on the University of Birmingham’s Zoom platform, there will be no fees for participation.

In addition to the academic presentations, much of the value of the colloquium is in the formal and informal opportunities for discussion, which are hard to replicate online. At the end of each weekly session, we will allow up to thirty minutes for those who are able to stay online to ask questions of the presenters. If anyone has other suggestions for ways in which the atmosphere of the colloquium may be recreated online, please do let us know!