New Lectionary in Athens
- The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts announces that
it has photographed a previously uncatalogued lectionary held at the
Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens. The 12th13th century
lectionary containing 448 leaves was digitally photographed in May
2010; by agreement with the Museum, the images are not posted online.
The full text of the announcement is posted in the "Latest News"
section of the home page of the Center, www.csntm.org.
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
That lectionary might be a bit more important than the typical lectionary. In the announcement at CSNTM it was noted that the inks used were rather opulent and a few features were mentioned that suggested that its scribe "may have been reproducing an earlier lectionary, cannibalizing its icons of John and Matthew since they were still largely intact."
I agree. If there were some way to date the pasted-on illustrations, you might have the date of the exemplar. And perhaps the scribes regarded that exemplar as the oldest and best exemplar around, and declined to correct the copy of it because either (a) it was copied very carefully -- an idea which should be confirmed or rebuffed when its whole text has been studied -- or (b) the scribes figured that the exemplar was the best copy around, and using some other copy for cross-checking could only add mistakes.
This lectionary may provide a clue that could contribute to solving Lake's mysterious Case of the Orphan Manuscripts. If parent-manuscripts contained miniatures, illuminations, or similar features that were clipped out for insertion in newer copies, this would tend to make the parent-manuscripts less than perfectly useable, and thus less and less likely to be preserved.
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
- JS: "If parent-manuscripts contained miniatures, illuminations, or similar features that were clipped out for insertion in newer copies, this would tend to make the parent-manuscripts less than perfectly useable, and thus less and less likely to be preserved."
One needs to take into account the history of illuminations here. It seems that illuminations in the uncials were rather rare. Among extant MSS I can think of the Wiener Genesis, the codices Rossanensis and Sinopensis (which else do we have). The format and lay-out of the illuminations have changed through time. At first they were smaller with a different lay-out on the pages. Kurt Weitzmann thinks they were laid out in a comic strip-fashion (there are two extant minuscules with such illuminations, in Paris and Florence, abundant in number, which in turn probably derive from much earlier exemplars). Later on, the cycles of illuminations became smaller in number, the most signifcant motives were selected from the earlier cycles, mainly, I assume, according to their liturgical significance.
Illuminations have definitely been cut off out of many MSS, but I think this has happened many times for commercial or "religious" reasons.