A Large, Uncatalogued Lectionary in Iasi, Romania

Daniel B. Wallace

July 3, 2010

A team of two people from CSNTM, Noah Wallace and Dan Wallace, traveled to Iasi, Romania, to examine two uncatalogued manuscripts there. One is at the University Library (Biblioteca Centrala Universitara), another at the Museum of Literature.

We met with the curator of the University Library, Mrs. Luminiţa Chihaia, and discussed the possibility of examining the Gospels lectionary housed there. Known as the Lecţionarul evanghelic de la Iaşi in Romanian, it bears the shelf number Ms. 160/IV-139. Professor Emanuel Contac of Bucharest was our liaison for all of our work in Romania. He worked for nearly two years, searching for manuscripts in the country, contacting institutes and curators, opening doors. We are exceedingly grateful to Emanuel for all his labors to get the NT manuscripts in Romania examined and digitally photographed.

Unfortunately, the manuscript at the university was being restored. We were not allowed to examine it in its present state.

Our fortunes were better at the Museum of Literature. Dr. Dan Jumara, the director of the museum, gave us a brief tour of the museum, then showed us the NT manuscript in its possession. MS 7030 is a sumptuous, large Gospels lectionary, which dates mostly from the 11th century. Leaves 1–122 and 322–392 are parchment folios from the 11th century; leaves 123–321 are parchment replacement folios from the 14th century; leaves 393–400 are paper replacement folios from the 19th century.

The manuscript is in two columns, as is typical for lectionaries (designed for public reading), with 23 to 24 lines per column. It measures 34.2–34.4 cm x 25.2–25.7 cm x 9.2–9.8 cm. The codex is heavy, weighing easily 20 pounds. The text is on 400 leaves (800 page), foliated correctly in pencil. There are 52 quires, with several leaves missing.

The original parchment leaves are nicely adorned with lapis lazuli, gold, and extensive rubrication. The manuscript was at one time (c. 14th century) owned by “the sinner Nikοlaos of Βισυης”—a note mentioned on 1 recto and 320 recto.

The reader apparently licked his fingers and pulled the pages across the MS from the upper-middle part of the page as he was reading. Normally, lectionary pages are pulled from the lower edge.

Among lectionaries, this one stands out as the fourth longest and the third largest from the 11th century. There are only 44 extant lectionaries that are longer.

Dr. Jumara has graciously permitted CSNTM to post images of this lectionary on our website. We are grateful for his assistance in making known one more piece in the puzzle of the transmission of the NT text.

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