Sunday, January 12, 2020

Minuscule 490: Remarkably Unremarkable!

            One of the most ordinary Gospels-manuscripts you will ever see is minuscule 490, housed at the British Library (catalogued as B.L. Additional MS 7141 – formerly listed as minuscule 574).  It has some decoration – all in red pigment – and headpieces before the beginning of each Gospel, but there are no Evangelists’ portraits; no multi-color initials – nothing particularly eye-catching.  Let’s take a closer look, though, to see if there is GA 490 has anything interesting textually.
            Like a lot of other medieval Gospels manuscripts, 490 does not begin immediately with the Gospels’ text:  first there is Eusebius’ letter Ad Carpianus, explaining how to make use of the Eusebian Canon-tables and Sections.  (in 490, the letter is framed within a quatrefoil frame, on four pages, sort of like the format in GA 114.  The quatrefoil is barbed on the first and last page of Ad Carpianus (written in red).  On the second and third pages of Ad Carpianus, the quatrefoil is accompanied by drawings of four birds.  The next eight pages contain the Canon-tables themselves.  Next comes the list of 68 kephalaia (chapters) for the Gospel of Matthew. 
The first headpiece in 490.
On fol. 8, the text of Matthew begins, written in two columns (27 lines per column), below a leafy headpiece that fills about half the page.  There is a sketch of an antelope in the margin alongside the headpiece.  Except for the initial “B,” which is drawn in red, resembling a stylized vine, the changed when the Scriptural text begins; everything up to this point is red; the text after this point (except initials) is brown.  (Section-numbers and Canon-numbers, titloi, chapter-numbers, and the lectionary apparatus (dividing the text into lections for the Synaxarion) are in the margins in red.) 
On 10r, Matthew 2:11 reads εἰδον (“saw”), like most manuscripts, disagreeing with Stephanus’ ευρον (“found”). 
On 10v we see that sacred names are not contracted with 100% consistency; in Matthew 3:2, ουρανων (“of heaven”) is spelled in full.  On 58r, κυριε (“Lord”) is written in full in Matthew 27:63, where the Pharisees address Pilate.
On 11r, “and fire” is not included at the end of Matthew 3:11.  
On 14r, an incipit-phrase, ειπεν ο Κς (“The Lord said”) is written in the margin alongside the beginning of Matthew 5:31.
On 15v, Matthew 6:13 includes the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer.
On 21v, a small cross has been drawn in the margin alongside Matthew 9:36.
On 26r and 26v, the copyist worked around a hole in the parchment.  (Similarly, the copyist avoided writing on a small tear in the parchment later in Matthew 12:45 and 12:50, and on folio 36.)  More small holes and tears appear further along in the manuscript.
On 40v, Matthew 20:16b is included in the text, at the end of a lection.
On 47v, alongside Matthew 24:1, the small cross (with dots, arranged ⁜) appears again.
On 53v, the lectionary apparatus (written in this instance in different ink) includes, after Matthew 27:39, instructions for the lector to jump to Luke.
On 57r, Matthew 27:35b is not in the text.
On 59v, the text of Matthew ends in the first column; the closing title is written in red.

After Mark’s kephalaia-list, the text of Mark begins on 61r; a red headpiece fills part of the first column.  Mark 1:2 reads “in the prophets.”
On 61v, Mark 1:16 reads αμφίβληστρα 
On 64r, Mark 2:17 ends with “to repentance,” at the end of a lection.
On 73v, Mark 7:16 is in the text, at the end of a lection.
On 78r, Mark 9:29 includes “and fasting.”
On 83r, a cross is sketched in the margin alongside Mark 11:27.
On 92r, Mark 15:28 is not included.  On 92v, a note in the lower margin introduces the tenth of the 12 Passion-lections.
On 93v, Mark 16:9 includes ο Ις (“Jesus”) after Αναστας (“Rising”).
The text of Mark ends on 94r; the kephalaia-list for Luke begins in the second column of the page.

The text of Luke begins on 95r. 
On 106r, a cross is sketched in the margin alongside Luke 5:27. 
On 106v, Luke 6:1 includes δευτεροπρώτω.
On 111r, Luke 7:31 does not include “And the Lord said.”
On 116v, Luke 9:23 includes “daily” (καθ’ ἡμέραν)
On 118v, ως καὶ Ἡλίας ἐποίησε (“as Elijah also did”) is included in Luke 9:54, filling exactly one line.  In Luke 9:55-56, the last part of verse 55 and all of verse 56 are present.
On 124r, Luke 11:54 includes ζητουντες and ινα κατηγορήσωσιν αυτου.
On 128r, Luke 13:19 includes μέγα (agreeing with P45 Byz A W Pesh).
On 134r, Luke 17:9 includes ου δοκω.
On 136v, in Luke 18:24, περίλυπον γενόμενον is included.
On 140v, in Luke 20:23, τί με πειράζετε is included.
On 144v, in Luke 22:31, ειπε δε ο Κς is included.
On 145r, Luke 22:43-44 is included.  A lectionary note in 22:45, after μαθητας, in different writing, mentions the jump to Matthew (cf. 53v).
On 147r, Luke 22:17 is included.
On 147v, Luke 23:34b is included.  In the lower margin, there is a note to introduce the eighth Passion-lection (Lk. 23:32-49).  
On 148v, in Luke 24:1, καί τινες συν αυταις is included.
On 150r, before Luke 24:36, ⁜ appears in the text.
The text of Luke concludes on 151r in the first column.  The chapter-list for John, in red, occupies the second column.

The text of John begins on 152r.  A three-sided frame surrounds the book’s title in the headpiece in the first column.
On 153r, John 1:29 has ὁ Ιωάννης after βλεπει.
On 158v, John 4:42 includes ὁ Χς.
On 159v, John 5:3b-4 is included.  Verse 4 begins αγγελος γαρ κυ, agreeing with A K L Δ.
On 162v, in John 6:22, εκεινο εις ὁ ενέβησαν οι μαθηται αυτου is included.
On 166v, in John 7:46, ως ουτος ὁ ανος is included, occupying a single line.
On 167r, John 8:12 follows 7:52 without interruption on the same line.  The pericope adulterae is completely absent.
On 169r, in John 8:59, διελθων δια μέσου αυτων και παρηγεν ουτως is included.
On 175r, John 12:1 includes ὁ τεθνηκώς.
On 182v, in John 16:16, οτι υπάγω προς τον πρα is included.
On 188v, before John 19:25, ⁜ appears in the text. 
On 192v, the text of John ends in the first column.  In John 21:23, τι πρός σε is included. The line-length slightly decreases, vortex-style, for 12 lines.  There is a simple decoration to indicate the end of the book but there is no closing book-title or subscription. 

            The text of GA 490 is an exceptionally pure – that is, unmixed – Byzantine Text.  It was skillfully written.  (Perhaps it was made “in house” at a monastery; there are no stichoi-notes.)  Except for the non-inclusion of the pericope adulterae, it is very similar to the Gospels-text in the 1982 Hodges-Farstad Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text.  Movable-nu is very often dropped.  At random, I picked page 270 of the Hodges-Farstad text (containing Luke 21:7-18) to compare to 490.  In Luke 21:7-18, I found exactly one difference between Hodges-Farstad and 490:  in verse 7, 490 has μέλλει instead of μέλλη. 
            Incipit-phrases are not present in the main lectionary apparatus, but some have been added in secondary, scrawled margin-notes for the 12 Passion-time lections.

            Because 490’s text is so similar to the standard Byzantine text, the most unusual thing about it may be the titles of the four Gospels:  the headpiece to Matthew introduces all four Gospels in its central quatrefoil:  ΣΥΝ ΘΩ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΤΩΝ ΤΕΣΣΑΡΩΝ  ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΤΩΝ.  Four circles, within the four corners of the headpiece, contain four segments of the title for the Gospel of Matthew:  ΕΚ ΤΟΥ + ΚΑΤΑ + ΜΑΤ + ΘΑΙΟΝ.
            Mark’s title:  ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΡΚΟΝ
            Luke’s title:  ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΤΑ ΛΟΥΚΑΝ
Claudius James Rich
            It is unusual to see ΕΚ ΤΟΥ in the titles in a continuous-text manuscript.  It is not uniqueCodex L also has “ΕΚ ΤΟΥ” in its title for Matthew, and 1241’s title for Matthew includes ΣΥΝ ΘΕΩ.  Chief members of family 13 (and 1071) also have εκ του in at least one Gospel-title.  It is not easy to intuit the reason for these unusual titles.  Perhaps the person who added the titles in the headpieces was used to putting titles in lectionaries.
            Another thing about 490 worth noticing is that it came to light back in the 1820’s as part of the collection of antiquities left by Claudius James Rich (1787-1821), a notable British scholar who traveled widely in the Middle East.


Maurice A. Robinson said...

Correction:Jn _5_:3b-4.

Given that the MS is very typically Byzantine, agreeing in most passages listed with both HF and RP, perhaps it would be more informative to list translatable readings that _differ_ from the Byzantine or majority text rather than those that agree with it?

hefin said...

It's BL 7141 (not 7171).

Thanks for the post!