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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

200 New Manuscripts Added to Our Library

 We have just added 200 new manuscripts to our digital library from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. All of these manuscripts were taken on microfilm in 1950 by the Library of Congress, assisted by dozens of scholars from various institutions. This was a vast and important project, and you can read more about it here. These images are publicly available on the Library of Congress website. You can search within the collection, which also contains writings by church fathers and liturgical documents, by going here.

The St. Catherine’s manuscripts will now show up in manuscript queries using our website’s search functionality. We have also posted links to each manuscript below, organized by date. We hope you enjoy exploring this collection further through our website. This is part of fulfilling our mission to make the best available images of Greek New Testament manuscripts accessible to everyone.

 

10th Century or Earlier

GA 1203, GA 1220, GA 1223, GA 1225, GA 1880, GA Lect 844, GA Lect 845, GA Lect 846, GA Lect 847, GA Lect 848, GA Lect 849, GA Lect 907, GA Lect 909, GA Lect 1269, GA Lect 1270, GA Lect 1272, GA Lect 2211

11th Century 

GA 1187, GA 1188 (11th-12th), GA 1191 (11th-12th), GA 1192, GA 1194, GA 1195, GA 1207, GA 1209, GA 1210, GA 1211, GA 1212, GA 1214, GA 1216, GA 1219, GA 1221, GA 1222, GA 1243, GA 1244, GA 1878, GA 1879, GA Lect 300, GA Lect 851, GA Lect 853, GA Lect 859, GA Lect 863, GA Lect 864, GA Lect 865, GA Lect 870, GA Lect 875, GA Lect 877, GA Lect 1267, GA Lect 1268, GA Lect 1356, GA Lect 1401, GA Lect 1442, GA Lect 1443, GA Lect 1750

12th Century

GA 1186, GA 1190, GA 1193, GA 1197, GA 1198, GA 1199, GA 1200, GA 1204, GA 1217, GA 1218, GA 1224, GA 1227 (12th-14th), GA 1228, GA 1230, GA 1231, GA 1240, GA 1241, GA 1245, GA Lect 809, GA Lect 850, GA Lect 852, GA Lect 854, GA Lect 855, GA Lect 856, GA Lect 858, GA Lect 860, GA Lect 861, GA Lect 866, GA Lect 867, GA Lect 869, GA Lect 871, GA Lect 876, GA Lect 878, GA Lect 891, GA Lect 901, GA Lect 911, GA Lect 912, GA Lect 916, GA Lect 1364, GA Lect 1365, GA Lect 1405, GA Lect 1439, GA Lect 1753, GA Lect 1754, GA Lect 1755, GA Lect 1771

13th Century

GA 1201, GA 1205, GA 1206, GA 1208, GA 1213, GA 1215, GA 1226, GA 1229, GA 1238, GA 1242, GA 1251, GA 1255, GA 1256, GA 2499 (13th-14th), GA 2502, GA Lect 862, GA Lect 880, GA Lect 896, GA Lect 902, GA Lect 903, GA Lect 904, GA Lect 910, GA Lect 1440, GA Lect 1441, GA Lect 1590, GA Lect 1752, GA Lect 1773, GA Lect 1774

14th Century

GA 1185, GA 1189, GA 1196, GA 1234, GA 1235, GA 1236, GA 1248, GA 1249, GA 1252, GA 1254, GA 1877, GA 1881, GA 2085, GA 2086, GA 2355, GA 2356, GA 2492, GA 2493, GA 2494, GA 2503, GA Lect 887, GA Lect 888, GA Lect 889, GA Lect 1470, GA Lect 1593, GA Lect 1594, GA Lect 1756, GA Lect 1757, GA Lect 1763, GA Lect 1764, GA Lect 1765, GA Lect 1770

15th Century or Later

GA 1202, GA 1232, GA 1233, GA 1237, GA 1239, GA 1247, GA 1250, GA 1253, GA 1876, GA 2495, GA 2496, GA 2497, GA 2501, GA Lect 610, GA Lect 874, GA Lect 885, GA Lect 886, GA Lect 890, GA Lect 892, GA Lect 893, GA Lect 894, GA Lect 897, GA Lect 914, GA Lect 1281, GA Lect 1282, GA Lect 1283, GA Lect 1284, GA Lect 1436, GA Lect 1471, GA Lect 1591, GA Lect 1592, GA Lect 1595, GA Lect 1749, GA Lect 1758, GA Lect 1759, GA Lect 1761, GA Lect 1762, GA Lect 1766, GA Lect 1767, GA Lect 1768, GA Lect 1769, GA Lect 1772

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Helps for Readers: A Page from GA 773

This blog features a tenth-century manuscript of the Gospels known to scholars as Gregory-Aland 773 (GA 773). The manuscript is held at the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015–16 digitization project. GA 773 is a remarkable manuscript in many respects. First of all, though it is over 1000 years old, it is nearly in mint condition. Each of the ornate icons of the Evangelists is entirely intact, along with the headpieces and other features of the manuscript. GA 773 also has extensive commentary surrounding the biblical text in the margins and a brief introduction to each Gospel. You might characterize GA 773 as a medieval study Bible.

It is easy for us, as inheritors of a tradition, to take for granted the many helpful features that have grown up around the bare text of scripture. Nearly all of our Bibles include basic things like page numbers, topical headings, chapters, verses, and intertextual cross-references; and study Bibles also include explanatory notes from trusted scholars on the historical, literary, and theological features of the text. These do not claim to be essential nor original (besides book titles and page numbers, none of these features can be found in the earliest manuscripts of the NT). Instead, features like these are the products of centuries of study and reflection. Over time, certain innovations and helps became standard in the medieval church. 

These features are referred to by scholars as ‘paratext.’ That is, they are features which frame and guide the reading of the scriptural text. In this blog, we will examine a single page from the beginning of Mark in GA 773. This single page can serve as a window into the many interesting paratextual features that became prominent after the first 1000 years of the text’s development.

 

Helps for Readers: Mark

 

Headpiece: In nearly all medieval manuscripts, each book begins with a headpiece. It is often rather ornate, with gold and blue ink used to beautify the beginning of the Gospel. The headpiece signals to the reader that a new book starts here.

Headpiece

 

Inscriptio (Book Title): From the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels in the second century and throughout the entire tradition, each Gospel has had a title. It is either “The Gospel According to Mark” or simply “According to Mark.” GA 773 has the longer title, “The Gospel According to Mark,” written in gold ink with majuscule letters (similar to ‘all caps’ in modern English).

Inscriptio

 

Ornamented Letter: It is very common throughout manuscripts to have enlarged letters at the beginning of books and throughout each book in order to mark the beginning of new sections. In some cases it could even be intended help readers recall verses for memorization by causing the first letter to stick out in their minds. The first Greek letter in the Gospel of Mark is alpha, identical to a capital “A.” It begins the word arche, ‘the beginning.’

Ornamented Letter

 

Biblical Text: As you can see on this page, the biblical text is written in a block in the top left quadrant of the page. The reader can easily see that the biblical text is the primary focus of the page, since it is much larger and more prominent than the commentary text surrounding its three sides.

 

Eusebian Canon: If you spend any amount of time looking at medieval Gospels manuscripts, you will no doubt notice small notations in the margin of the text. These combinations of letters are an ancient system devised in the fourth century by Eusebius, the church historian and scholar. Though the system is a bit too complicated to explain here, these notations assisted readers in quickly finding stories that occur in multiple Gospels.

Eusebian Canon

 

Nomina Sacra (‘Sacred Names’): One feature unique to Christian manuscripts is the presence of nomina sacra, or ‘sacred names.’ Scribes would abbreviate names referring to God, the Spirit, many titles referring to Jesus (such as ‘Christ,’ ‘Son,’ ‘Lord,’ ‘Savior,’ ‘God,’ and others). In the first verse of Mark, the words “Jesus Christ” have been written as nomina sacra. In Greek, these words would be spelled ιησου χριστου, but as nomina sacra they are shortened to only the first and last letters ιυ χυ (with a line over each one to alert readers these are shortened words). This communicated to readers the uniqueness of Christ and the worshipful reverence due to him.

Nomina Sacra

 

Introduction: As the medieval era dawned and progressed, certain historical information became standard introductory material in Greek NT manuscripts. It would often include information about the Gospel’s author and when it was written. In GA 773, this information is provided briefly on the first page of each Gospel, in (now somewhat faded) red ink before the commentary begins. This introduction provided readers with helpful information about the Gospel writer’s connection to Christ and the apostles, which reinforced the authority that the canonical Gospels held for Christian readers as a reliable witness to Christ’s person and work.

Introduction

 

Commentary: In medieval manuscripts of the New Testament, it is relatively common for there to be commentary accompanying the biblical text. After the first 500 years or so of Christianity, certain particularly reliable teachers emerged. Their teaching was deemed to be so helpful for so many Christians over such a long period of time that scribes wanted to make these comments on the biblical text readily available to future readers. In GA 773 specifically, it seems that the commentary provided in the margins is a combination of writings from numerous church fathers, especially from the fourth and fifth centuries.

Markers in text and commentary: Though it may be hard to see in the image above, there are small Greek letters written in red ink which are interspersed throughout the text and commentary. These were devised to help readers find the section of commentary that corresponded to each phrase in the biblical text they were reading. Similar systems are used in modern study Bibles with cross references or textual notes.

Commentary Markers

 

If you would like to see the rest of GA 773 for yourself, please go here. If you would like to explore our manuscript library, go here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

 Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

GA 2528

A reconstructed image of GA 2528 as an open codex. On the left there is a paper replacement leaf which ends with Matthew 20:19. On the right, the facing page contains the original parchment leaf, which begins at Matthew 20:15. The early leaves in the manuscript, containing the first 20 chapters of Matthew, seem to have suffered some significant wear and damage over time (to see some examples, original leaves from Matthew 9-10 were retained as a buffer at the front and back of the codex). The replacement leaves in Matthew were written in the 16th century, about 2-3 centuries after the original manuscript was produced. As you continue through the codex, you will notice that there are two additional paper replacement leaves (ff. 154, 161) in the Gospel of John. These are from yet another scribe writing sometime prior to 16th century. The codex as it stands truly represents a group effort across the centuries!

  • GA 2089: 15th century minuscule of Paul.
  • GA 2524: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 2527: 12-13th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA 2528: 13-14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1308: 15th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1315: 12th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul. The manuscript consists of 5 leaves found at the front and back of the codex.
  • GA Lect 1510: 17th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1519: 16th century lectionary of the Gospels and Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1525: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1526: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of GreeceĀ 

 Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

GA 1832

A leaf from Romans in GA 1832. Large portions of the manuscript, including a few leaves in Romans, most of 1 Corinthians, and all of 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians, have been restored. It appears that the original ink had faded enough that it became difficult to read the text, so a later scribe very carefully traced over the original in a darker ink. 

  • GA 1699: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1762: 14th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. Several quires are missing from the manuscript, including the first few chapters of Acts and all of 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, and James.
  • GA 1832: 12th-13th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. 
  • GA 1875: 10th century minuscule of the Apostolos and Paul. Contains an icon of Peter and two icons of Paul.
  • GA Lect 1226: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1227: 12th century lectionary of the Apostolos.
  • GA Lect 1228: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1229: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1230: 14th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 1232: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Manuscripts from the National Library of Greece

Additional manuscripts digitized by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts have just been added to our collection. These include 10 manuscripts from the National Library of Greece in Athens, the site of our 2015-16 digitization project.

Beginning of Acts

Above is the beginning of Acts in GA 1611. This manuscript has had quite a life! The first 30-35 leaves have been charred by fire and one-third of every leaf is missing (with some original leaves missing entirely). However, the manuscript was not discarded. Later scribes did the painstaking work to restore the bottom part of each leaf, even writing in missing lines of text covered over by the repair paper. 

  • GA 1360: 11th or 12th century minuscule of Apostolos and Paul with commentary in the margins.
  • GA 1410: 14th century minuscule of the Gospels.
  • GA 1611: 10th century minuscule of the Apostolos, Paul, and Revelation.
  • GA 1694: 13th century minuscule of the Gospels
  • GA Lect 448: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 587: 12th or 13th century lectionary of the Apostolos and Paul.
  • GA Lect 1215: 15th century lectionary (dated to 1405) of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1223: 13th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1224: 12th century lectionary of the Gospels.
  • GA Lect 1225: 14th century lectionary of the Gospels.

These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.

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