On Dec 26, 2007, at 7:25 AM, James Miller wrote:
> Thanks for your reply, Steve. You say:
> --- Steve Puluka <steve@...> wrote:
>> Basically correct, that the format is what makes a
> But then you seem to controvert this statement by
>> Lectionaries are frequently continuous text
>> witnesses, just with a
>> sub-set of books.
> Let's get down to some particulars. Maybe then the
> statements will not seem in opposition to one another.
I'll try to be more clear. The books that are designed to be read
and used as lectionaries in Church can be seen by their format as
prepared. They will sometimes have supplemental material that the
reader would need, like the Psalms used for Antiphons, Prokeimenon
and Alleluia. They will be marked for readings.
In terms of the Biblical text itself continuous reading lectionaries
are the older format. I don't have direct experience with the
ancient examples to cite chapter and verse. But here is a printed
version of a continuous reading lectionary in Church Slavonic showing
how this continuous format works.
This page opens Acts of the Apostles. At the bottom of the page we
see the notation that this is the reading for both Easter Sunday and
Ascension Thursday both start at verse one and continues to the next
page marker in read for the end of this reading at verse nine for
Easter, by the two large words in the middle of the page (end of
Pascha (Easter)). The next red words show where the reading ends on
Ascension (End Ascension) which also starts from verse 1.
Then we skip till the middle of verse 12 where the red asterisk is
and start of Easter Monday's reading. So we keep going to the next
page verse 17 where we are told to skip verses picking up at the next
start marker in verse 21 and continuing to the end marker at the
bottom of this page.
Thus the Bright Monday reading (Monday after Easter) runs Acts
1:12-17 & 21-26 but the whole text of Acts is here.
From the combination of contents, organization and these markings
one can identify that a codex was designed to be used as a lectionary.
I learned in my liturgy classes that early Greek lectionaries
followed this same basic format of marked continuous readings. This
is where we Slavs learned how to assemble a lectionary. Slavs being
very conservative kept up this format until very recent publications
(i.e. the last 100 years, recent in Orthodox liturgical terms).
The Greeks began using the excerpted format arranged in liturgical
use order much earlier. But I don't know the timing of this
unfortunately. In this layout the section is simply headed by the
liturgical day of the reading and ends with the next heading.
Omitted verses are then not included and the books are assembled in
liturgical order, not in book order.
In the above example you see we have Acts of the Apostles from 1:1
on. But the reading for both Pascha and Ascension Thursday forty
days later are both here on the same page and simply marked not
If you look at the table of contents you can see it contains a subset
of biblical books needed and supplemental material that the reader
needs to have handy.
Here the books are listed but are not in "biblical" order. We start
with Acts of the Apostles, then all the universal epistles followed
by the letters attributed to Paul. Also note there are no Old
Testament books. This is strictly the "Apostle", the new testament
letters and Acts only.
Other material is also included, for example following the letters of
Paul are sections that contain the Psalms used as reading
introductions called Prokiemenon for the various seasons. These the
reader is responsible for chanting the verses.
Hopefully, that is a little clearer. Sorry I couldn't find on-line
examples in Greek.
> Just to be clear about my own stance on this question,
> I certainly see some sense in calling continuous-text
> witnesses that show clear indications of liturgical
> use "lectionaries." But the present inquiry does not
> aim to investigate or establish my understanding of
> lectionaries in relation to other groups of NT mss.
> Rather, I am attempting to understand how mainstream
> text criticism understands lectionaries in relation to
> other groups of NT mss.
My understanding is the they currently simply ignore lectionary
witnesses when trying to classify text types. There is a basic
assumption that lectionary witnesses are automatically late and the
copyist is not as faithful as the "normal" biblical text witnesses.
Metzger listed lectionary text type study and classification as one
of the great needs for the field.
MA, Theology Duquesne University
Cantor Holy Ghost Church
Mckees Rocks, PA