Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sinai Gr. 212: The Most Important Manuscript You Never Heard Of

Mark 16:9-20 in Sinai Gr. 212.
            Among the manuscripts in the Sinai Palimpsests Project’s collection of newly photographed manuscripts, Greek 212 stands out as one which has New Testament texts as its primary upper writing.  This early Greek lectionary manuscript was made from recycled parchment pages which had previously contained a Greek Psalter.  This manuscript deserves much more attention than it has received.
            Let’s take a closer look at the excerpts from the New Testament that this manuscript contains.  There are 30 excerpts in all, all but one of which are preceded by a rubric (a note written in red) that identifies the purpose or occasion for each lection, and/or the book from which the lection is taken.  I have given extra details here for only a few of the rubrics.   
            The first eight lections form an eight-part series of lections about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances:  (1)  Matthew 28:1-9.  (2)  Mark 16:1-8.  (3)  Luke 24:1-12.  (4)  John 20:1-18.  (5)  Matthew 28:9b-20.  (6)  Mark 16:9-20.  [27v-32v]  (7)  Luke 24:13-35.  (8)  John 21:1-14. [44v].  (This eight-part series, which resembles the 11-part Heothina series in the Byzantine Lectionary, represents a feature in an ancient lection-cycle used at Jerusalem.)
           The rest of the excerpts are:
 Luke 10:38-42.
      Matthew 16:13-20
      Matthew 5:17-24 (without εικη in 5:22)
      Matthew 10:1-15 (For the Apostles) [62v]
      Matthew 10:16-22
      Matthew 10:24-33
      John 12:24-26 (For Saint Stephen) [78r]
      Matthew 5:13-16
      Matthew 25:1-13
      Matthew 5:1-12a
      John 10:11-16
      Matthew 16:24b-27 (For the Archangels) [92v]
      John 5:19b-24 (For the Sleepers)
      Matthew 11:25-30
      Hebrews 13:10-16
      Hebrews 1:13-2:4
      First Corinthians 4:9-15 (For the Apostles)
      First Corinthians 12:27-13:3 (reading καυθήσωμαι in 13:3)
      Romans 5:1-5.  [105v]  (reading εχομεν in 5:1)
      Second Corinthians 4:7-12.
      Hebrews 4:14-5:6.
      First Thessalonians 4:13-18.  (The rubric for this lection is missing, an unartistic secondary hand has added From Thessalonians in black ink.)

            Additional information about the rubrics and marginalia in Sin. Gr. 212 can be found in Daniel Galadza’s informative article Two Greek, Ninth-century Sources of the Jerusalem Lectionary:  Sinai Gr. 212 and Sinai Gr. N.E. ΜΓ 11, in Bollettino Della Badia Greca De Grottaferrata (2014). 

            When microfilm-pictures were taken of Sinai Gr. 212 in 1950, the manuscript was assigned a production-date in the 600s.  However, considering the breathing-marks and accents that accompany the text, the main upper Greek writing’s production-date should probably be assigned to the late 700s or early 800s.  The text of a Greek Psalter that was sacrificed to provide writing-material for the lectionary-text (which is particularly apparent in the new photographs at the Sinai Palimpsests Project website) may date to the 500s.    
            This is just one manuscript – and yet, its discovery is like discovering fragments from nine New Testament books, all older than 90% of our extant New Testament manuscripts.  (Actually, ten New Testament books, inasmuch as what appears to be a sort of tightly written heading on the first page is the contents of Acts 5:38b-39.)

What type of text does this witness display?  Although one should not extrapolate too much from one scoop out of the ice-cream bucket, the following comparison in Matthew 28 is instructive:

2 – σισμος, agreeing with À.
2 – και before προσελθων, agreeing with B À.
2 – απο της θύρας but not του μνημείου, agreeing with A C K M Δ Π W Y.  A supplemental hand has supplied του μνημείου.
3 – ως instead of ωσει, agreeing with B À* D K Π.
4 – ως instead of ωσει, agreeing with B À D A L W.
6 – does not have ὁ Κς at the end of the verse, agreeing with B À Θ 33.
8 – απελθουσαι instead of εξελθουσαι, agreeing with B À C L Θ. 
9 – does not have the first part of the verse (up to αυτου), agreeing with B À D W Θ.
9 – before Ις, agreeing with D L W Y Θ.
9 – υπηντησεν instead of απηντησεν, agreeing with B À* C Π Υ Θ.
10 – μαθηταις instead of αδελφοις, agreeing with 157.
10 – κακει instead of και εκει, agreeing with B D L M.
14 – does not have αυτον after πείσομεν, agreeing with Β À Θ 33.
17 – does not have αυτω after προσεκύνησαν, agreeing with Β À D 33.
19 – ουν after Πορευθέντες, agreeing with B W Δ Θ Π.
20 – does not have Αμην at the end of the verse, agreeing with B À A* D W.

Thus, in Matthew 28, Sin. Gr. 212 is a strong Alexandrian witness.  It should be a consistently cited witness of the first order.

[Readers are encouraged to explore the embedded links in this post to find additional study-materials.]


Daniel Buck said...

What! Mark 16:1-8 was a lection that ended with a telos-symbol?

ok media man said...

So why is it important? Because it is older than most Byzantine MSS? Anything found in Egypt is not important in my book, the home of Gnosticism and doctored MSS.

James Snapp Jr said...

Dear Ok media man,

That is an attitude known as "prejudiced."