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Prof. J. N. Birdsall in 2005


In 2017 we announced that the papers of J. Neville Birdsall had been archived in the Cadbury Research Library. Neville Birdsall was a lecturer in New Testament studies at the University of Birmingham from 1963-1981 and then Emeritus Professor until his death in 2005. Some additional papers have now been scanned by Birmingham Theology student Brett Twist, on behalf of Birdsall's Literary Executors, Professor David Parker and Professor Jeff Childers, and uploaded to the Birmingham epapers Repository.

The Birdsall papers collection comprises twenty-one items, including handwritten notes, correspondence with colleagues, texts for lectures and presentations, and drafts of unpublished articles. These include studies of New Testament manuscripts including GA 88, GA 330, GA 370, GA 1273 and GA L1748, analyses of the biblical text of Photius and Arethas of Caesarea, surveys of Diatessaronic research, and examinations of the Jerusalem Colophon, 1 Cor. 14:34–35, John 1:3–4 and 1 John 4:3. 

Several papers are autobiographical in nature, as Birdsall reflects on his own research and his contribution to the IGNTP editions of the Gospel according to Luke. These include the full text of the lecture he gave at the Fourth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament in April 2005. The insight into his working methods shown in these papers will provide useful primary evidence for research into twentieth-century text-critical scholarship, while it is hoped that the hitherto unpublished work will stimulate further research on these topics, as he would have wished.

Alongside the deposit of these papers, a set of images of the Cheltenham Gospels (GA 717) taken by the IGNTP in July 2010, has now been deposited on the University of Birmingham's eData platform.