History of the INTF


The Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) was founded in Münster in 1959 by Prof. D. Kurt Aland, D.D. Litt. (1915-1994). Aland had taught at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and simultaneously at the Humboldt-University Berlin until 1958. After his teaching authorisation had been withdrawn and a disciplinary procedure been opened because he was regarded as “enemy of the state,” he left what was then the German Democratic Republic and received a post as a research assistant at Münster. It was only after the Institute had been founded that in 1960, he was appointed Professor of History of the Ancient Church and New Testament Textual Studies at the University of Münster. Since the 1950s Aland had been working on Eberhard and Erwin Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece. At the INTF the concise scholarly edition saw further revisions and publications, until it became the trade-mark of the institute under the name of Nestle-Aland. In 1966, a second concise edition intended for translators, the Greek New Testament, was published. The great papyri discoveries of the 20th century were of special relevance for a new reconstruction of the text published in both the 26th edition of Nestle-Aland and the third edition of the Greek New Testament. Both editions contain the identical text while differing in their apparatus.

However, the main objective of the Institute was the so-called Editio Critica Maior based on the entire tradition of the New Testament in Greek manuscripts, old translations and New Testament quotations in ancient Christian literature. The pre-requisite for the realisation of this task was the sifting and examination of the entire manuscript tradition of the Greek New Testament. Under the supervision of Kurt Aland the INTF first of all collected almost the entire material (partly on extensive manuscript travels), followed by analyses in single editions and specific studies in preparation of the Editio critia Maior.

Kurt Aland found a friend and patron in Bishop Hermann Kunst. In 1964 the latter established the Hermann Kunst Foundation for the Promotion of New Testament Textual Research that has granted crucial financial support to the Institute ever since.

In 1979, Kurt Aland founded the Bible Museum that presents the work of the Institute to the general public.

In 1983, Prof. Lic. Dr. Barbara Aland succeeded her husband as director of the Institute. Under her supervision, the analysis of the material that had been started under Kurt Aland continued and was made accessible for research in numerous publications. The first supplement of the Editio Critica Maior with the Epistle of James was finally published in 1997. Barbara Aland led the Institute until 2004. Since October 2004 Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf has been in office as director of the Institute and the Bible Museum.