Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Lectionary 1276

A fragment of Lect 1276,
with the Gospels-text
artificially enhanced.
           Around 5,600 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament – ranging from small fragments to full 27-book collections – are known to exist.  About 2,500 of them are lectionaries.  Yet although lectionaries constitute over 40% of our New Testament manuscripts, the study of lectionaries is perhaps the most neglected area in New Testament text-critical research.   Lectionaries are considered so unimportant in some circles that the textual apparatus of the recently published Tyndale House edition of the Greek New Testament does not ever cite a lectionary.  There is a reason for some of this neglect – or avoidance – of lectionaries:  in the case of at least eight out of ten lectionaries, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all – basically the same form of text, divided into the same segments, assigned to the same days and occasions, with only minor anomalies such as the inclusion of a special feast-day to honor a local cleric or a bishop’s patron saint.
            The lectionary we are examining today is different:  lectionary 1276 is a small fragment that was published in 1900 by Charles Taylor, as part of the immense research-project involving the materials obtained by him and Solomon Schechter from the Cairo Genizah.  Being only a small fragment, lectionary 1276 does not contain much text; only a few lines from Matthew 10:2-4 and 10:11-15, and John 20:11-15 are extant.  But what makes Lectionary 1276 special is its age:  its online profile at the website of Cambridge University states, “The upper script” – that is, the writing in the Hebrew composition for which the lectionary’s parchment was recycled – “is Hebrew with sparse Palestinian vocalisation, and has been dated to the 8th or 9th century by Allony and Diez-Macho (1958-1959: 58). The under script is a Greek biblical majuscule that has been dated to between the 6th and 9th centuries.  Tchernetska (2002: 248-249) believes that the 6th-century date is more likely.”  Natalie Tchernetska is not the only researcher to prefer a production-date in the 500s for lectionary 1276; Carroll D. Osburn also accepted this dating in his 1995 essay The Greek Lectionaries of the New Testament.  If this is the case, Lectionary 1276 is not only one of our earliest Greek lectionaries, but I reckon that it is among the 20 oldest Greek manuscripts of any kind which preserve the passages that it contains.
Another piece of Lect 1276,
with the Gospels-text
artificially enhanced.
            The identification of this manuscript as a lectionary is elicited by three features:  first, it has text from Matthew 10 and John 20, and it has the title “Gospel According to Matthew” written above the excerpt from Matthew; in addition, Taylor noted that there appears to be the remains of a sub-title which means “for the fifth day,” which is not unusual in lectionaries preceding readings assigned to Thursdays.
            Since lectionary 1276 is a palimpsest, it is not easy to discern its contents via a simple view of the fragment.  However, if one accesses the online page-views at Cambridge University's digital library, selects “Open with Mirador” from the sub-menu (accessible after pressing the three-bar button), toggles the side panel (again using the three-bar button), rotates the view, and adjusts Contrast to about 140% and Brightness to about 120%, it becomes much easier to perceive the Greek uncial letters through the Hebrew writing.                         
            What kind of text was in this lectionary?  With so little text to work with, it is not easy to make a sure assessment; nevertheless, it appears to be Byzantine, in consideration of the following readings.
The text of Lect 1276,
based on Charles Taylor's
            ● In Matthew 10:3, Lect 1276 supports Θαδδαῖος ὁ ἐπικληθεις Λεββαῖος.  This reading is not supported by Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, or Bezae; B and À read Θαδδαῖος and D reads Λεββαῖος.  Metzger asserts that the Alexandrian and Western readings have been combined to produce the longer reading, and Willker concurs, calling the Byzantine reading “an obvious conflation.”   However, a few things weigh against this:  first, no such conflation is in the Byzantine Text in Mark 3:18, where the Alexandrian text names Thaddeus and the Western text names Lebbaeus.  If the Alexandrian reading is nothing but a replacement of Λεββαῖος with Θαδδαῖος, or vice versa, then one of these readings accounts for the other as a simple name-substitution.  But the Western reading is accounted for by the Byzantine reading, if an early copyist’s line of sight skipped from the end of Λεββαῖος to the end of Θαδδαῖος, causing the loss of the phrase “who was surnamed Thaddaeus.”  The support for the Byzantine reading is very broad; it includes Σ L Δ W Θ 157 700, and the Peshitta, and it is quoted, c. 380, in the Apostolic Constitutions (VI:14) and by Chrysostom.  Its presence in Lectionary 1276 adds to the extent of its early attestation.       
            ● In Matthew 10:11, Lect 1276 supports δ’ αν πόλιν η κώμην.  Codex D has a drastically different word-order; f1 does not include η κώμην, and f13 puts η κώμην after εισέλθητε, indicating that Lect 1276’s text is neither Western nor Caesarean.  Yet, it does not strictly agree here with the Alexandrian and Byzantine form of the verse either; as Taylor observed, εισέλθητε is not in the manuscript (although he added it in his reconstruction). 
            ● In Matthew 10:13, Lect 1276 supports the usual reading ἐλθάτω, disagreeing with D which reads εστε, and with S Ω 28 which read εισελθάτω.
            ● In Matthew 10:13, Lect 1276 disagree with D again by including αξια; D replaces η αξια η with γε. 
            ● In Matthew 10:13, Lect 1276 agrees with Β À W, disagreeing with almost all other witnesses, by reading εφ instead of προς. 
            ● In Matthew 10:13, Lect 1276 reads –καμψε– which implies that when pristine, the text read ανακάμψει (as Luke 10:6 reads); Taylor observed that the minuscule 243 shares this reading, diverging from almost all other witnesses which support επιστραφήτω.
            ● In Matthew 10:14, Lect 1276 supports the inclusion of μη δέξηται, disagreeing with B*.
            ● In John 20:11, Lect 1276 supports the spelling ϊστήκει, agreeing with À L A N W Δ, and disagreeing with B Dsupp K and most manuscripts, which read ειστήκει.         
            ● In John 20:11, Lect 1276 supports the normal reading προς, disagreeing with À (which reads εν).
            ● In John 20:11, Lect 1276 supports the word-order εξω κλαιουσα, agreeing with B L N W and disagreeing with Π Μ Κ Θ Ψ and most manuscripts.
            ● In John 20:13, Lect 1276 does not support the inclusion of τινα ζητεις which is read by A D 579 1424.
            ● In John 20:13, Lect 1276 does not support τεθείκασιν (read by W) or τεθείκαν (read by D); it has a word that begins with epsilon, probably the normal reading εθηκαν.
            ● In John 20:15, there does not appear to be room for τινα ζητεις; however the manuscript is very difficult to read at this point.
            All in all, while Lect 1276 has only a limited amount of text, and tends to agree with the Alexandrian Text on some small points, and has anomalous readings in Matthew 10:11 and 10:13, it agrees with the Byzantine Text at the major variant-unit in Matthew 10:3.   It does not show any close association with the Western and f1 forms of the text.

Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.

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