Re: tc-list In need of more lectionary help
- Maybe the best way to get acquainted with the lectionary system is to take
the time to make your own table of contents of the lectionary you are
using. If you have an evening you want to use for this, it will be
Here's what I did with one of my Arabic lectionaries: for each reading,
note the first one or two sentences, and the last ones (incipit and
explicit). With this, you will easily be able to find the biblical
references. Besides this, note the folio (the page in your manuscript). Do
this for all readings. If it's important for you, note also the rubrics,
that give you the time of the year when the text is read. You can also give
a number to each reading, beginning with reading number one. So you will
have a table of the readings in the order of the manuscript.
Be careful, in the Holy Week there are harmonized readings which you will
have to read entirely in order to find all the references. The rest of the
year, there are also some, but they are shorter and can be easily found
with the incipit and explicit (For example, I've noticed that my reading 56
has a few verses from Mt 10, then a few from Mt 19, and that my reading 96
has a few verses from Lk 8 followed by a few others from Lk 20).
When you're finished with this, put everything in the order of the biblical
references. You will have tables that allow you to quickly find the reading
you are searching (and that, later, when you are confronted with other
lectionaries, will be useful for comparisons).
You will also notice that the lectionary generally begins with John, then
follows with the other Gospels, but inside each Gospel it doesn't always
follow the exact ("biblical") order. A text that is before another text in
the biblical order can be read after it in the lectionary.
Two examples (from an Arabic lectionary influenced by the Jerusalem rite,
so don't take it for granted that you will meet exactly the same in your
(1) Reading 6 is Jn 3.22-33. Reading 7 is Jn 20.19-31. Then with reading 8,
we come back to John 2.1-11 and with reading 9, to Jn 3.16-21.
(2) Reading 34 is Jn 10.28-38, then reading 35 is Jn 9.1-38.
Reading 4 is a reading from Lk, in the middle of a whole series from Jn.
All of this is due to the necessities of having a reading appropriate for
the time of the year.
Of course, you need to take some time to do this. It might seem a bit
boring to do this job, but it probably is the best way to get a first-hand
acquaintance with the system, which is the same in all the lectionaries of
the Byzantine rite (nearly all Greek lectionaries follow it, and a good
number in other languages). When you have this, you will be able to easily
find a reference in your lectionary if you have noted the page where each
reading occurs. And when you get used to it, you can also use it with the
other lectionaries (except that the page numbers will change of course, but
not the relative position of the readings).
This is what I did as I had no introduction to the Byzantine lectionary
available. For the Jerusalem rite, we have several good works on the
subject, including the invaluable work of Tarchnishvili on the Georgian
lectionary. The edition of the Syropalestinian lectionary can be of good
help, as two manuscripts are closer to the Byzantine system, while the
third one shows influences from the Jerusalem rite.
I'm also a beginner in the use of the lectionaries, so if you or somebody
else on the list has other informations (especially bibligraphical), I'll
be glad to use them!
A suggestion for the TC web site: wouldn't it be nice to have there a
little intro to the lectionary system(s), with a table of the readings, as
this information seems difficult to find in the current introductions to
Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique
jgvalentin@... / jean.valentin@...
>A few days ago I sent a message out requesting some help on LectionaryFirst of all it is important to remember that a lectionary usually consists
>866. Thanks to everyone who responded. I now have a few more questions:
of a Synaxarion and a Menologion (please note that these terms are not
always used consistently by Byzantine bookman in liturgical books).
The Synaxarion gives the lections for the days dependent on the Easter
cycle, consisting of the following parts: (1) the period between Easter and
Pentecost: Johannean lections; (2) the period after pentecost, subdivided
in (2a) the Matthean readings (until the Exaltation of the Cross) and (2b)
the Lukan readings; (3) the period of Great Lent (mostly Mark), the start
of which depends on the following Easter date; (4) Holy Week (pericopes and
compilations from all four Gospels).
The Menologion gives the lections for the 'fixed' days of the Byzantine
calendar, which starts with the month September. Nowadays the Feast of the
Exaltation of the Cross (14 Sept) governs the start of period 2b of the
Synaxarion. However, I have the impression this is later adaptation of the
Byzantine 'Typikon': in most MSS I have examined the counting of the
'Lukan' weeks does not start anew. As a result, Tuesday of the second week
of the Lukan period, may be counted as Tuesday of the 19th week after
Easter (in the rubric something like 'G ths ITh').
>(1) Lectionary 866 begins with the Gospel of John, and the variousYes, the Gospel lectionary starts with John 1:1 (as does the Diatessaron).
>readings are fairly easy to pick out. Am I correct in assuming that the
>readings in the lectionary are arranged day-by-day? Do the readings for
>one week begin with Sunday and proceed through the course of the next
>seven days to Saturday, or are the Saturday-Sunday lections fall into a
>separate category than the weekday lections? Put simply, I'm wondering if
>I'll be able to locate my texts (Mark 1:40-45; Matt 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16)
>by counting days in the lectionary (since Lectionary 866 is complete and
>since I now know the days these three passages are read on).
Although officiallly Sunday is of course the first day of the week, it is
important to note that after Pentecost first the lections of Monday (=
Deutera = second day) thru Saturday of, for instance, week 3 are given;
they are then followed by the third Sunday lection. This can be confusing:
carefully read the rubrics.
I do not have access here to the new Kurzgefasste Liste (in the old one I
discovered a number of mistakes), because it is important to know what type
of lectionary you are dealing with. The major division is between 'long'
and 'short' lectionaries (see p. 81* of NA27, where the first group is
indicated with 'le' the second with 'lesk' and 'lsk'). Usually in short
lectionaries weekday lections are only provided for period 1. That means
that if your lectionary is of type 'lesk' or 'lsk', you will not find the
Lukan lection you are after.
If one looks at the selection of pericopes, one has the impression that the
historical development of the lectionary may have been as follows: first
the Sunday cycle, then the Saturday lections were added and only later were
lections for the weekdays appointed. This means that the textual character
of the weekday lections may be different, because they could have been
taken from continuous-text MSS at a later stage (something similar holds
for lections for more recent feasts in the Menologion).
A lectionary is a living organism. Before using one as a textual witness,
one should get acquainted with its own structure and historical
>(2) How many weeks are there between Easter and Pentecost? This shouldThat's a tough one: 7.
>help me locate the ending of John with ease.
>(3) How many weeks are there between Holy Cross Day and the start of Lent?Here the two cycles interact, so the number differs from year to year.
Dr H.P.S. Bakker
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS)
2242 PR Wassenaar
tel.: +31 70 512 2700
fax: +31 70 511 7162
University of Amsterdam
1012 VT Amsterdam
- On Wed, 4 Mar 1998, JEAN VALENTIN wrote:
> A suggestion for the TC web site: wouldn't it be nice to have there aJean,
> little intro to the lectionary system(s), with a table of the readings, as
> this information seems difficult to find in the current introductions to
> the discipline?
If you (or someone else) are willing to put together a short intro of this
nature, I'll be glad to add it to the TC Links page.
General Editor of TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism
-------------------> http://purl.org/TC <--------------------