We seem to have established that all mss. officially
classed by text critics as lectionaries are
distinguished by the ordering of the text they
contain. That ordering follows the dictates of an
annual liturgical reading schedule. One is likely to
find in a lectionary ms. the text of any given NT work
in an order that differs from that in which the work
was originally composed.
What we have, then, so far as textual ordering is
concerned, is essentially 2 classes of mss.: 1)
continuous-text mss., i.e., mss. that have the text of
NT works in the order in which the works were
originally composed; and 2) lectionary mss., i.e.,
mss. that contain NT works but with the text of those
works rearranged (to greater or lesser degrees) to
suit the needs of a liturgical cycle in which the
texts were to be read at public worship throughout the
course of a year.
I have little direct exposure to any NT mss., having
looked only at a few photo facsimiles such as those of
S and A and some of the miniscules at the CSNTM site.
I have no experience whatever working or communicating
with the scholars who actually examine and catalog
mss. I therefore consider provisional the conclusion
that only mss. with their text arranged to suit the
needs of a liturgical reading cycle are included among
those mss. classified by text critics as lectionaries.
This seems the best course of action absent the
possibility of inspecting the mss. (or faithful
reproductions of them) or having some form of direct
interaction with those doing the classification. It
also should be stressed that the broad division of
mss. into the two classes (1. continuous-text and 2.
lectionary mss.) seems to be the assumption on which
various authorities in the field proceed.
So, given that this twofold division is being
provisionally accepted, a further question arises. Of
those mss. in the first class, i.e., continuous-text
mss., what percentage contain indications that they
were used as lectionaries? E.g., how many, rather than
having the text of the works they contain rearranged
according to a liturgical reading cycle, have markings
in them of a liturgical nature? How many have ARXH and
TELOS or incipit/excipits in the margins, or even
written into the text itself? I'm not really even
asking for precise figures for now. Something like
"50/50" or "the majority" or "just a few" would
Can anyone on-list speak to this query? Can anyone
recommend some resource where I might read about this?
Any opinions on whether it will be possible to go
beyond vague generalizations about it?
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