Friday, February 21, 2020

The Adventures of the Peckover Manuscripts

Algerina Peckover (1841-1927)
            In 1876, Bernard Quaritch sold two Greek New Testament manuscripts to Alexander Peckover of Wisbech, in Great Britain.  They were later entrusted to his sister, Algerina Peckover.  One of these two manuscripts is GA 713, which is somewhat more famous than the average manuscript, on account of its ambiguous relationship to the family-13 cluster of manuscripts (13, 69, 124, 346, etc. – 230, 543, 826, 828, 788, 983 and 1689 are also members).  Like the main members of family-13, GA 713 has Luke 22:43-44 inserted into the text between Matthew 26:39 and 26:40.  Unlike the main members of family-13, GA 713 does not contain the pericope adulterae at all, whereas they retain it at the close of Luke 21.
            J. Rendel Harris provided a description of GA 713 (then known as Cod. Ev. 561) in 1886 in the pages of the Journal of the Exegetical Society.  It is a nearly complete Gospels-manuscript (three sheets, i.e., six pages front-and-back, are missing in John), produced in the 1000s or 1100s.  On a page before the Gospels, part of Eusebius’ Ad Carpianus is written within a quatrefoil frame.  This page (and adjacent pages, and pages at the end of the manuscript) is a palimpsest; the lower uncial writing is part of Lectionary 586, assigned to the 900s.  Notes in the manuscript (at Mt. 5:14 and Mt. 16:15) indicate that it was used at Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.  Harris mentions several intriguing readings in GA 713, including: 
            ● In Matthew 13:35, its text names Isaiah as the prophet being quoted (although the citation is from Psalm 72) – a reading supported by the f13 text, and by Codex ℵ (Sinaiticus).
            ● In Matthew 17:27 (concluding the episode about the temple-tax), the text in 713 is somewhat tweaked so that Peter says, “Yes” after Jesus’ statement in v. 26 that the children are free, and then Jesus prefaces His instructions to Peter by saying, “Therefore, you give also, as a stranger to them.”  This little addition probably goes all the way back to the Diatessaron.
            ● In Matthew 24:45, it reads οἰκίας instead of θεραπείας – agreeing with 69 and with Codex ℵ. 
            ● In Mark 14:41, it has the reading ἀπέχει τὸ τέλος (a reading also found in the f13 text, and which Burgon (in a footnote on p. 226 of The Last Twelve Verses of Mark Defended, 1871) had already proposed is accounted for as the intrusion of a margin-note indicating the end of a lection).
            ● In Luke 14:24, it has “For many are called, but few are chosen” – again agreeing with the f13 text.
            ● In John 7:8, it reads ὁ κληρος (portion) instead of ὁ καίρος (time), which (as Harris deduced) indicated that somewhere in 713’s ancestry, the copyist of an uncial manuscript confused the letters Η and Ι (an ordinary case of itacism), and a copyist also confused the letters Α and Λ (not a hard mistake to make in uncial script, but harder in minuscule script).
            GA 713, to which Harris gave the name Codex Algerina Peckover, instructively shows that when attempting to establish relationships among manuscripts and their texts, one should keep in mind the potential influence of liturgical treatments of the text, which can independently affect the texts of manuscripts in the same way at the same point, and even do so in multiple passages, although the manuscripts themselves are not closely related.
Baron Peckover's coat-of-arms
            But although GA 713 has greater text-critical significance than GA 712, it is to GA 712 that we now turn our attention.  Scrivener, in his Plain Introduction, described GA 712 as “an exquisite specimen” from the 1000s, containing the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles – that is, a complete New Testament except for Revelation.   It features portraits of the four Evangelists.  This codex is presently extant as two items in two distant libraries:  the main portion is in the United States – specifically, in California, at UCLA at the Charles E. Young Research Library’s Special Collections, where it is catalogued as item 170/347, the “Peckover-Foot Codex.” – and a much smaller portion (in which the only New Testament text is the last part of the Epistle of Jude) that consists of five folios is at the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg.
            The story of how two different portions of the same manuscript ended up in two collections separated by 5,700 miles is told by Julia Verkholantsev in the 2017 article From Sinai to California:  The Trajectory of Greek NT Codex 712 from the UCLA Young Research Library’s Special Collections (170/347), which was published in Manuscript Studies, A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. 
            To grasp the details of the history of GA 712’s travels, Verkholantsev’s article is indispensable.  Briefly, what appears to have happened is that when Porfirii Uspenskii (sometimes spelled Uspensky – the Uspensky Gospels, GA 461, is named after him) was studying manuscripts in Cairo, at a metochion – basically, a satellite – of Saint Catherine’s monastery, in the Juvania district (or, perhaps, on a street called Juvania) and there he encountered GA 712.  He proceeded to describe it in his catalogue of Greek manuscripts, including the closing note by the scribe Iōannikios.  Uspenskii died in 1885, but eventually, his catalogue of manuscripts was edited and published in 1911 by Vladimir Beneshevich – a Russian Orthodox scholar who was eventually executed by the Soviet Union – under the title Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Graecorum.  (The description of GA 712 begins on page 90, as entry 73). 
One of the pages (from the Euthalian
Prologue to Acts
) that Uspenskii
took from GA 712.
Uspenskii also took five folios of GA 712 from the metochion of Saint Catherine’s Monastery (just as he had taken recycled fragments of Codex Sinaiticus from where he had found them in the bindings of other manuscripts in the collection – later describing, but not taking, pages from the main volume).  That is how that section of GA 712 ended up at the National Library of Russia.   
            But how did the main portion of the manuscript end up in California?  Verkholantsev’s article provides some tantalizing clues, but no conclusion.  The exact path that GA 712 took from the collection of Saint Catherine’s Monastery’s satellite-church in Cairo, in 1860, to the collection of Bernard Quaritch in 1876 remains, at this time, an unsolved mystery.
            Perhaps there are notes in other manuscripts that were once in the Peckovers’ collection (some of which were sold in 1927-1951 in a series of auctions) that can contribute to a solution to this question.  Here are a few of them:
            Morgan Library MS 737 (Latin), a Sacramentary from the mid-1100s.  
            ● Morgan Library MS 783 (Syriac), a Gospels-MS from the 500s.
            Goodspeed Collection MS 953 (Latin), Pauline and General Epistles from the 1400s.
            Gwynn’s Peshitta Codex 20 (Syriac), from the 1400s.
            The Peckover Hours (Latin), a Book of Hours from c. 1490.
            The Peckover Psalter (Latin), from 1220-1240.
            ●  A Summary of the Sacred History (Armenian), from 1693, now in Israel.

            Page-views of GA 713, including, near the beginning and the end, the palimpsest-pages with text from Romans, I Corinthians, and II Corinthians, can be accessed at the University of Birmingham’s ePapers Repository, where GA 713 is catalogued as Peckover Greek 7 in the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts.   Here is a selective index:
            Link 17 = Matthew 1:1
Uncial text from Romans 15
lurks under this picture near
the beginning of GA 713,
which depicts the inspiration of John.
            Link 29 = Matthew 3:9
            Link 37 = Matthew 5:7
            Link 60 = Matthew 8:8
            Link 99 = Matthew 13:13
            Link 133 = Matthew 17:26
            Link 200 = Luke 22:43, in Matthew 26
            Link 229 = Mark 1:1
            Link 312 = Mark 11:7
            Link 356 = Mark 16:7
            Link 365 = Luke 1:1
            Link 422 = Luke 7:8
            Link 500 = Luke 16:15
            Link 540 = Luke 22:30
            Link 567 = John 1:1
            Link 595 = John 5:1
            Link 622 = John 7:51
            Link 660 = John 14:1
            Link 704 = John 21:24
GA 712, as far as I can tell, has not yet been digitized.

Readers are invited to check the data in this post. 

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