|Lectionary 181, written|
in uncial script.
Lectionary 181, in the British Library, catalogued as Add. MS 39602, is one of the few Greek manuscripts of the Gospels that features a colophon, or note from the copyist, mentioning when it was made: 6,488 years from the beginning of the world. Greek scribes generally thought the world began in 5508 B.C., so this implies that Lectionary 181 was made in A.D. 980. The copyist also helpfully mentioned who he was working for: bishop Stephen of Circissa, a town in
Cappadocia, about 35
miles from Caesarea-in-Cappadocia (not the Caesarea
this Caesarea is now the city of Kayseri in the middle of Turkey.
This manuscript also features a second colophon, which also includes a date – 6557 Anno Mundo, or A.D. 1049 – and which confirms that the manuscript was at Circissa. We thus have here a very rare thing: a New Testament manuscript which contains explicit statements about when and where it was made and used.
While Lectionary 181 was being made, another manuscript – the opulently illustrated Menologion of Basil II – was being produced for the emperor of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople, about 470 miles away from Caesarea-in-Cappadocia. It provides information about saints were honored in September, October, November, and December. (The distance between the two cities is comparable to the distance between
and Cleveland, Ohio New York City.)
By sifting through the Menologion-section of Lectionary 181, we may be able to discern which particular saints were honored in
Cappadocia in the year 980, and thus we might have the basis on which to isolate a particular
class of lectionaries – those which share the same (or very similar) collection of
saints to be honored.
Here are some meta-textual features of Lectionary 181 in its Menologion for September, October, November, and December which may set it apart from other lectionaries, or which seem notable for other reasons. (The Menologion-section begins on f. 143v).
|The beginning of the lection|
for September 20, honoring
Saint Eustace and his
15 – Acacius (born in
Cappadocia) is honored as well as Nikita and
the fathers at Nicea.
16 – Symeon and the brothers of the Lord are commemorated; so is the martyr Euphemia.
18 – Instead of Ariadne of Phrygia, Theodora is honored; two lections are provided (the second is offered as a reading for Sept. 16). The first is the account of the repentant woman that begins at Luke 7:36. The second – prefaced in Lectionary 181 by αλλο της αυτ. αγιας, Εκ τ. Κατ. Ιωαννων (another for this saint, from [the Gospel] according to John) – is John 8:3-11. This lection has some unusual readings in Lectionary 181, including:
8:4 – λεγουσιν τω Ιυ διδασκαλε
8:4 – κατηληπται
8:5 – Και εν τω νομω ημων Μωσης
8:6 – λιθαζεσθαι
8:6 – αυτον is omitted but is supplied in the margin
8:6 – ινα σχωσιν
8:9 – μονος is not present
– Ανακυψας δε ο Ις ειπεν αυτη, Γυναι
– includes απο του νυν
21 – The various saints usually commemorated on this date are not mentioned; instead it is dedicated to the Theotokos (God-bearer, i.e., Mary) εν τη πετρα (in the rock). (Via this phrase a comparison is intended between the conception of Mary in the womb of her previously childless mother Anna, and the production of water from the rock in the days of Moses.) Here and elsewhere in this manuscript where Mary is referred to as the Theotokos, the word is written as a contracted nomina sacra.
25 – The lection for this date commemorates an earthquake in the Kampos, a borough of
Constantinople. (The prolonged earthquake happened in 447.)
4 – Instead of Hierotheos or the other saints usually commemorated on this date, Lect. 181 honors Peter of Capetolias (cruelly martyred by Muslims in 715).
8 – Though not unusual, it seems worth mentioning that Lectionary 181 commemorates Saint Pelagia on this date, and assigns to it the same lections as are assigned to Saint Theodora on September 18; after beginning the lection from Luke 7:36, the second lection is introduced as ετερα εις τ. αυτ. αγιας (another [lection] for this saint) and then follows the incipit-phrase and the first part of John 8:3.
17 – Lect. 181 honors Isidora and Neophytus.
19 – Instead of Amphilochius, Lectionary 181 honors Mnason (a very early bishop on
and Modestus of Jerusalem (who served in the early 600’s). (Amphilochius’feast-day is transferred to
27 – Lect. 181 honors Artemidorus and his companions, usually assigned (when included) to October 26.
28 – Lect. 181 honors the martyrs Stephen, Peter, and Andrew. (These are not the New Testament characters, but much later monks.)
29 – Lect. 181 honors
Saba and Aretha
(Aretha is also honored on Oct. 24.)
4 – Lect. 181 honors Theodotus.
9 – Lect. 181 honors Christopher.
10 – Lect. 181 honors Orestes of Cappadocia (sometimes honored Nov. 9, with others).
15 – Lect. 181 honors Thomas the Patriarch.
20 – Lect. 181 honors Maximian and Gennadius.
22 – Lect. 181 honors Cecilia.
26 – Lect. 181 honors the holy apostle Silas. (Silas of Persia may be meant, rather than Paul’s fellow missionary.)
29 – Lect. 181 honors Theodoulos of Cyprus.
3 – Lect. 181 honors
8 – Lect. 181 honors Sophronius, bishop of Constantia in
10 – Lect. 181 honors Amphilochius.
17 – Lect. 181 honors the confessor John, bishop of
21 – Lect. 181 honors Julian.
28 – Lect. 181 honors Theodore of Constantinople.
Thus, over 20% of the lection-dedications in these four months in Lectionary 181 are unusual in some way – mainly by overlooking popular saints and/or focusing on lesser-known saints. If this particular array of lection-dedications were to be found in another lectionary, or in a table of lection-dedications embedded in a manuscript, it seems safe to say that a historical connection exists between the two.
But what about its text? It would be an oversimplification to consider Lectionary 181 as merely another lectionary on the pile of medieval lectionaries. Although its text is essentially Byzantine, this lectionary has some peculiarities in its Gospels-text. In 1859, F. H. Scrivener took the effort of collating it, and he presented the result – along with collations of 49 other witnesses – in the lengthy and detailed An Exact Transcript of the Codex Augiensis to Which Is Added a Full Collation of Fifty Manuscripts. Scrivener describes Lectionary 181 on pages 50-52 of his Introduction (printed as pp. l-lii). In the collation, it is identified as witness “P.” Sifting through Scrivener’s work, beginning on page 289, here is a selection of readings from a few sample chapters of the text that was read from this Gospels-lectionary in
in the late 900’s: Matthew 2, 5, and 17,
Mark 9 and 15, Luke 6 and 16, and John 7 and 14:
2:3 – ο βασιλευς is absent in the text, and supplied in the margin.
– ϊδον (instead of ειδον or ευρον)
– Αιγυπτου (instead of Αιγυπτον)
– Ραχιηλ instead of Ραχηλ
11 – εσται (instead of εστε)
20 – περισσευη (instead of περισσευση)
22 – εργαζομενος (instead of οργιζομενος)
25 – Ισθη instead of Ισθι
29 – εκβαλε instead of βαλε
32 – πας ο απολυων (not ος αν απολυση)
33 – τοις ορκοις (instead of τους ορκους)
47 – φιλους (instead of αδελφους)
1 – αυτον (instead of αυτους)
2 – αυτον (instead of αυτους)
2 – εγενοντο (instead of εγενετο)
3 – ωφθησαν (instead of ωφθη)
4 – συ (instead of σοι)
5 – adds δε after ετι)
5 – ηυδοκησα (instead of ευδοκησα)
9 – εωσ σου (instead of εωσ ου)
19 – υμεις (instead of ημεις)
24 – διδραγμα (instead of διδραχμα) (twice)
27 – omits την
27 – αναβαινοντα (instead of αναβαντα)
1 – γευσονται (instead of γευσωνται)
18 – αυτω (instead of αυτο)
25 – πνι τω αλωλω (instead of πνα το αλαλον)
36 – omits εν μεσω αυτων (supplied in margin)
38 – omits και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει ημιν (supplied in margin) (A good example of parablepsis due to homoeoteleuton)
7 – δεδεμενων instead of δεδεμενος
9 – omits ο δε Πιλατος απεκριθη αυτοις (h.t., αυτοις/αυτοις)
10 – παρεδωκαν instead of παραδεδώκεισαν
14 – εκραζον instead of εκραζαν
16 – (after εσω) εις της αυλην του Καϊαφα instead of της αυλην
18 – ο βασιλευς
21 – Σιμονα instead of Σιμωνα
28 – this verse is omitted.
29 – καταλυον instead of καταλυων
32 – includes αυτω after πιστεύσωμεν
1 – omits δυτεροπρωτω (reads τοις σαββασιν at the beginning of the lection)
4 – μονον instead of μονους
6 – omits from εγενετο to διδασκειν
33 – χαρις υμιν εστιν (transposition)
33 – αυτω instead of αυτο
35 – χριστος instead of χρηστος
36 – omits και
15 – υψϊλον instead of υψηλον
24 – φλογη instead of φλογι
25 – omits συ after απελαβες
26 – omits προς ημας
31 – adds των before νεκρων
31 – πιστευθησεται instead of πεισθήσονται
8 – ου instead of ουπω
8 – καταβαινω instead of αναβαινω
9 – omits δε
14 – omits Ηδη δε (adjusting the beginning of a lection)
14 – omits εις το ιερον
26 – αυτον (instead of αυτω)
37 – omits δε (adjusting the beginning of a lection)
39 – ημελλον instead of εμελλον
40 – adds αυτου after λογον (later hand)
46 – adds αυτοις after Απεκριθησαν
50 – Νικοδιμος instead of Νικοδημος
2 – υμιν τοπον (transposition)
3 – ετοιμασαι
10 – υμην instead of υμιν
10 – μαινων instead of μενων
12 – omits και μειζονα τουτων ποιησει (h.t., ποιησει/ ποιησει)
14 – includes με after αιτησητε
15 – μου instead of τας εμας
17 – omits Υμεις δε γινωσκετε αυτο (h.t., αυτο/ αυτο) (supplied in margin)
21 – omits ο δε αγαπων με (h.t., αγαπων με/ αγαπων με) (supplied in margin)
21 – αυτο instead of αυτω
28 – omits εγω
To some extent, these readings – particularly the parableptic omissions – merely show how a specific copyist handled the text. Yet many of these unusual readings in Lectionary 181 (and many more minute variations not listed here) have allies in Scrivener’s collation. Just as Lectionary 181’s Menologion’s selection of saints seems somewhat localized, it may be that its text is localized too. When the singular mistakes of the scribe of Lectionary 181 are filtered out, the remainder of the variants in this lectionary’s text may constitute the Cappadocian Text. At the very least, we have historical confirmation that this text was used in
in the late 900’s.