Wednesday, June 18, 2008. The day started at 11 am at the Greek Bible Institute in Pikermi, just outside of Athens. Late start because we thought driving to the famed monasteries of Meteora would take four hours. Four of us (Billy Todd, Tim Ricchuiti, Brian Wright, and Dan Wallace) shoehorned ourselves into a tiny car, and took off for the road north. But we were not prepared for what would await us today.
We took the E75 up the east coast of Greece’s mainland. For the most part, a very fine, modern highway. After we had traveled for about 2 & ½ hours, we got an email on Tim Ricchuiti’s cell phone from Jeff Baldwin, the director of the Greek Bible Institute and a former student of mine. Jeff grew up in Greece (his dad, Bill Baldwin, another Dallas Seminary grad, was the founder of the school decades ago) and is completely bilingual. He has many friends in low places (since he’s not Orthodox), but even low places here are sometimes high enough. As I said, we were headed for the monasteries built high up on top of rocks that ascend straight up into the heavens hundred of meters above the town below. We thought we would visit them today, and tomorrow see if we could examine some manuscripts there. The monasteries here have nearly 60 Greek New Testament manuscripts. In centuries past, the only way that people could get to the top of these rocks was to get pulled up on a rope. But once, when a rope broke, the rules changed. Now, there are steps to the heights. A veritable stairway to heaven. Led Zeppelin would be envious. We were eager with anticipation (as much as four Testoterone-laden eggheads can be). But the email from Jeff changed our plans instantly.
For the rest of the story, you’ll have to go to www.bible.org. The link to the essay is here.