While I have no doubt that the Vatican
holds an impressive collection of manuscripts
, I find this conclusion far-fectched. Consider this: the Codex Sinaiticus
, the most important early copy of the Bible
that we possess, is not in the hands of the Pope
, but in the British Museum
. Other important manuscripts--certainly, not all religious--are located in monasteries
around the world, and in general the various monastic orders
have been happy to let scholars
have access to them. (A great many of these were copied with new-fangled photographic
technology in the early 20th century and are thus available for public view.) Consider Bryennios's discovery of the Didache
in 1879--a massively important document not in Vatican
Without even reaching for my resources, I can say that we only have Livy's Roman histories thanks to the work of Catholic monks who were more than happy to share their manuscripts. Polybius comes to us through the Codex Vaticanus, which the Holy See has available to scholars. Arrian's history of Alexander comes to us largely through manuscripts that are now in Paris and Vienna.
As far as the idea--that this argument must contain--that there are no new finds to be found, I point to the vast collection of Gnostic papyrus material unearthed at Nag Hammadi in Egypt (the home of the largest Greek city of antiquity, Alexandria) in the 1940s, which contained, for example, a divergent translation of an important passage from Plato's "Republic". This find, though religious in nature, does help shed much light on the popular religious movements of the day, helping better illustrate the Neoplatonism that was popular among the literati of antiquity.