New manuscripts have been added to our growing searchable library, as we continue working to make the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts’s (CSNTM)website more comprehensive and user-friendly.
Included in this week’s release is a recently digitized manuscript from the National Library of Greece (NLG), the site of our ongoing digitization project for 2015–2016. GA 758 is a medieval minuscule of the Gospels on parchment, dating from the fourteenth century.
As many New Testament students know, one of the two longest textual problems in NT textual criticism is the pericope adulterae (John 7.53–8.11). Throughout his first-hand investigations of the NLG manuscripts, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has often noted how each manuscript has dealt with this passage. Sometimes, the original scribe has omitted it, whereas a later scribe has added it. Other times, the text was originally included and then noted as doubtful by a later hand. In some manuscripts, the text stands alone with no notations at all.
Notice the horizontal dashes in the margin on these two pages.
Some scribe (either the original one or a later scribe), upon seeing that this passage was included in John’s Gospel, put markings in the margins to denote its disputed status. However, the markings only cover John 8.3–11, leaving 7.53–8.2 unmarked.
As you scroll through the images of GA 758, you may notice some extensive text out in the margins on a few leaves. Below you will see two instances of this from the Gospel of Matthew.
These marginal writings are instances where the scribe accidentally omitted text, and it was later added in the margins. As careful as medieval scribes were, they were still human and made mistakes! This is why it was a vital part of the process to check each scribe’s work for accuracy.
Gospel Authors & Co.
Another interesting feature of GA 758 is its icons. It was common in the medieval tradition to include icons of the Gospel authors at the beginning of their respective Gospel account. However, in this manuscript, each Gospel author has some company!
Mark (top right) is with Peter, and Luke (bottom left) is sitting in front of Paul. These pairings date back to ancient Christian tradition, which identifies Peter as the primary source for Mark and Paul as the apostle most associated with Luke. It’s almost as if the apostles are whispering in their ears. Matthew (top left) is depicted, not with a human companion, but with the Angel of the Lord behind him as he writes. Finally, John’s icon (bottom right) shows him dictating his text to an amanuensis (a professional scribe) named Prochoros. This last icon with these two people in view is the only one that was common in the manuscripts.
In addition to this manuscript from the NLG, we have also uploaded and tagged additional manuscripts from our archives.
These images have now become part of our growing searchable library, which gives everyone free access to the best available digital images of New Testament manuscripts.