Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Minuscule 750: The Byzantine Text with Pictures

          Minuscule 750 is a Greek copy of the four Gospels, written in a neat minuscule script, in dark ink, assigned to the 1100s.  The text is on 319 pages, written in one column per page, with 20 lines per page.  The text of 750 has been categorized as M27, an old form of the Byzantine Text.

          Matthew has a rectangular headpiece, with red, blue, and green pigment.  Later cursive notes are written in the outer margin in black and red.  The title appears to be written in gold.

        Small illustrations (sometimes slightly covering the text), appear in the outer margins of Matthew and Mark.  Matthew has about 35 margin-illustrations; Mark has about 10.  Very often the illustrations appear to have been scraped off the page.  Sometimes the shapes of scenes in damaged or non-extant pictures appear on the opposite page, allowing a view of the contours of the depicted scene.  Some of the illustrations feature writing describing the depicted scene.

          Only one illustration is extant in Luke:  on p. 322, opposite Luke 1:13.  Other pictures once occupied some pages after this; traces of pigment remain on p. 323.  On several other pages, rectangles are hued more lightly than the rest of the page; these are apparently the remains of places where a picture was once intended but never executed.  Occasionally a thinly drawn rectangle appears to signify where an illustration was once intended; such a frame appears on p. 518 (next to John 1:43).

        Eusebian Section-numbers begin to appear in the outer margin at Mt. 8:28, on p. 48, with #70 (although usually one would expect #70 to appear at Mt. 9:1).  Perhaps the section-numbers were not included before this point because the margin-illustrations made their inclusion difficult.

          Obeli in red often appear in the text at the beginning of a section.  It is not unusual to see a red cross (+) and a gap, blank, before the obelus, as if the addition of liturgical notices (αρχη and τελος) had been intended but never carried out except in an incomplete way (such as on p. 326).  A series of three crosses (+++) usually indicates the end of a chapter. Chapter-titles, written in gold, usually appear at the top of the page where the chapter begins, but titloi occasional appear in the lower margin.

          A later hand has occasionally added some liturgical annotations, featuring circles, which seem to be connected with an Eastertime rite (?):  Stasis #2 at Matthew 9:9, #3 at Matthew 14:1, #5 at Matthew 25:1, #2 at Mark 6:30, #2 at Luke 5:1, #3 at Luke 9:7, #4 at Luke 13:31, #5 at Luke 20:27, #2 at John 5:24, #3 at John 9:1, τελος at John 13:31.

 Here is a selective index to the manuscript:

 Mt. 1:1 – p. 7

Mt. 4:14-15a is written in the lower margin of p. 21, which was omitted in the main text due to parablepsis (Νεφθαλείμ, Νεφθαλείμ).

Mt. 5:1 – p. 24 (ε in margin)

Mt. 7:1 – p. 38

Mt. 8:2 – p. 43

Mt. 8:16 – p. 46

Mt. 9:2 – p. 49 (ιγ in margin)

Mt. 10:1 – p. 56

Mt. 11:1 – p. 63 (κ in the margin)

Mt. 12:22 – p. 71 (κβ in the margin)  

Mt. 14:1 – p. 87 (κε in the margin)

Mt. 17:1 – p. 104 (λδ in the margin)

Mt. 20:1 – p. 122 (μβ in the margin)

Mt. 22:2 – p. 137 (να in the margin)

Mt. 25:1 – p. 157 (νθ in the margin)

Mt. 27:1 – p. 177 (τιζ in the margin)

Mt. 27:58 – p. 186 (ξη in the margin)


Chapter-list for Mark begins on p. 192

Full-page picture of Mark, with red footstool – p. 196

Mk. 1:1 – p. 197, with blue and gold headpiece, red and blue initial

Mk. 2:1 – p. 204 (κ in the margin)

Mk. 4:3 – p. 213 (θ in the margin)

Mk. 5:1 – p. 221 (ια in the margin)

Mk. 7:1 – p. 238 (ιη in the margin)

Mk. 9:2 – p. 251 (κε in the margin)

Jesus greeting Mary Magdalene in Mark 16:9,
with imprint on the opposite page.

Mk. 10:2 – p. 260 (κη in the margin)

Mk. 12:1 – p. 274 (λϛ in the margin)

Mk. 14:3 – p. 289 (μδ in the margin)

Mk. 15:48 – p. 306 (μη in the margin)

Mk 16:9 – p. 309


Chapter-list for Luke begins on p. 312

Full-page picture of Luke, with red footstool – p. 319.  Luke has written the first word of his Gospel.

Lk. 1:1 – p. 320, with red, blue and green rectngular headpiece.  Title in gold.

Lk. 2:1 – p. 331 (α in the margin)

Lk. 4:1 – p. 345 (ζ in the margin)

Lk. 6:6 – p. 361/362  (ιε in the margin)

Lk. 8:16 – p. 382 (In Luke 8:16, the words αλλ’ επι λυχνίας επιτιθησιν are not in the text.  In the outer margin, the words αλ επι λοιχνηας επι τηθησει are provided – perhaps recollected from memory – and there is a mark in the text showing where they belong.)

Full-page picture of Luke.

Lk. 9:1 – p. 390 (κζ in the margin)

Lk. 11:1 – p. 409 (λη in the margin)

Lk. 12:1 – p. 419 (μδ in the margin)

Lk. 15:3 – p. 441 (νϛ in the margin)

Lk. 18:1 – p. 456 (ξα in the margin)

Lk 20:1 – p. 470 (ξθ in the margin)

Lk. 22:24 – p. 485 (οζ in the margin, +++ in the text)

Lk. 23:27 – p. 496 (π in the margin)

Lk. 24:18 – p. 503 (πγ in the margin)


Chapter-list for John begins on p. 510

(No portrait of John)

Jn. 1:1 – p. 512.  Rectangular blue headpiece is topped with two birds.  Red and blue initial with hand-stem.

John 2:1 – p. 519 (α in the margin)

5:1 – p. 536

Jn. 6:5 – p. 544 (μη in the margin and +++ in the text)

Jn. 7:37 – p. 559

Jn. 7:53 – p. 561 (The pericope adulterae is included in the text.)

Jn. 11:1 – p. 582 (ια in the margin)

Jn. 12:3 – p. 591

Jn. 13:5 – p. 598 (+++ in the text)

Jn. 13:31 – p. 602 (+++ in the text)

Jn. 15:26 – p. 611 (last line of text)

Jn. 18:1 – p. 621

(beginning on p. 624, the parchment has been affected by mildew, which obscures some of the text on p. 629)

Jn. 19:38 – p. 633 (faint ιη in the margin and +++ in the text)

Jn. 20:11 – p. 636 (αρχ. on first line in the text)

Jn. 21:1 – p. 639 (αρχ.)

The text of John 21 ends on p. 644.  After the subscription and a squiggly horizontal line, there is the word “Ερμενια” followed by a few lines written in faint red ink; some of this text is obscured by mildew.

         A cross-like symbol appears occasionally, apparently written in pencil, in the margin of MS 750.

          Some idea of the quality of the text of 750 may be gained by a comparison of its text of John 18:1-11 and the same passage in Codex Sinaiticus.  In this comparison, I will compare the text of the main scribe of א (pre-correction), and the standard of comparison will be the text of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.  Abbreviations such as kai-compendia and sacred name contractions will not be counted as variants.  Transpositions will be noted but not counted if no change is made to the amount of letters.

Sinaiticus:  John 18:1-11

1 – א has αυτοις instead of τοις (+2)

1 – א has του instead of των (+2, -2)

1 – א has Κεδρου instead of Κεδρων (+2, -2)

2 – א has χιμαρρου instead of χειμαρρου (-1)

3 – א does not have εκει (εκι added in margin) (-4)

4 – א has δε instead of ουν (+2, -3)

4 – א has εξελθων instead of εξηλθεν (+1, -1)

4 – א has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – א has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+2)

5 – א has ιστηκει instead of ειστηκει (-1)

6 – א does not have αυτοις after ειπεν (added above the line) (-6)

6 – א has επεσαν instead of επεσον (+1, -1)

7 – א transposes to αυτους επηρωτησεν

8 – no variations

9 – no variations

10 – א has επεσεν instead of επαισεν (+1, -2)

10 – א transposes to δουλον του αρχιερεως

11 – no variations

Taking the text of א “as is,” pre-correction, it has 17 non-original letters, and is missing 27 original letters, for a total of 44 letters’ worth of corruption. 

Removing orthographic readings and transpositions:

1 – א has αυτοις instead of τοις (+2)

1 – א has του instead of των (+2, -2)

1 – א has Κεδρου instead of Κεδρων (+2, -2)

3 – א does not have εκει (εκι added in margin) (-4)

4 – א has δε instead of ουν (+2, -3)

4 – א has εξελθων instead of εξηλθεν (+1, -1)

4 – א has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – א has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+2)

6 – א does not have αυτοις after ειπεν (added above the line) (-6)

6 – א has επεσαν instead of επεσον (+1, -1)

11 – no variations

Removing orthographic variants from the picture yields a total of 16 non-original letters present, and 23 original letters absent, for a total of 39 letters’ worth of corruption. 

Now, let’s look at the text of John 18:1-11 in 750.  Comparing 750’s text to the text of the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform (2005), I found very few disagreements in John 18:1-11:

  v. 2:  750 has και after συνηχθη.  (This και is noted in the Byz margin, and this και is included in the Hodges-Farstad Majority Text (1982).)

 v. 7:  750’s scribe initially seems to have written αυτοις instead of αυτους, but upon close examination, this appears to have been a glitch involving the ink on the pen; the final stroke of the υ is visible.  I think.)

 v. 11:  750 does not have σου.

 Comparing the text of John 18:1-11 in RP2005 to the text of NA27, we see the following differences (based on the footnotes in RP2005): 

1 – Byz has before ΙΣ (+1)

1 – Byz has των instead of του (+2, -2)

2 – Byz has before ΙΣ (+1)

3 – Byz has εκ των before Φαρισαίων (+5)

4 – Byz does not have και after εξηλθεν (-3)

4 – Byz has ειπεν instead of λεγει (+4, -4)

5 – Byz has ΙΣ after αυτοις (+3)

6 – Byz has οτι after αυτοις (+3)

6 – Byz has επεσον instead of επεσαν (+1, -1)

7 – Byz transposes to αυτους επηρωτησεν

7 – Byz has ειπον instead of ειπαν (+1, -1)

10 – Byz has ωτιον instead of ωτάριον (-2)

11 – Byz has σου (+3)

          Thus, the difference between John 18:1-11 in the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece is 24 non-original letters that appear in RP2005 but not in NA27, and 13 letters that appear in NA27 but not in RP2005 – for a total difference of 37 letters.

          The difference between NA27 and the text in minuscule 750 must be slightly increased by three due to the και in v. 2, but it must also be decreased by three due to 750’s non-inclusion of σου in verse 11.  So, the text of John 18:1-11 written by the copyist of 750 is slightly more accurate than the text written by the copyist of א before correction.

          Minuscule 750 can be viewed page by page at CSNTM and via the Gallica website.


Maurice A. Robinson said...

From my PA collation notes: "GA 750 (xii) apparently served as the basis for the insertion of the PA into the margin of GA 2894 (xiii). Not only do the two MSS share the same relatively rare pattern of readings, but the text of the PA as found in the two MSS reflects some individual peculiarities, most significantly a transposition quite unique only to themselves (8.10 πλην της γυναικός θεασαμενος). Rarely can the specific exemplar of a portion of text be so specifically identified, so such a discovery is striking."

Daniel Buck said...

This portion of Luke 8 has an unstable text. ινα οι εισπορευομενοι βλεπωσιν το φωσ is left out of p75 and B 03. Despite its absence in the manuscript everywhere lauded as one of the oldest and best, Westcott and Hort inculded it anyway. And even when it turned up missing in p75, that still wasn't enough for Nestle-Aland to leave it out. Codex Sinaiticus has it, but reads την λυχνιασ for λυχιαν (as does Bezae), putting 'lampstand' in the accusative. Thus NA does not follow any of the five old uncials OR the papyrus for this verse. I suspect this is another case of the NA "reconstruction" of this verse not being found in ANY manuscript.

stewalch said...

@Daniel: Luke 8:16 as per NA28:

Οὐδεὶς δὲ λύχνον ἅψας καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει ἢ ὑποκάτω κλίνης τίθησιν, ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ λυχνίας τίθησιν, ἵνα οἱ εἰσπορευόμενοι βλέπωσιν τὸ φῶς.

Luke 8:16 as per minuscule 892 (, lines 7-11)
οὐδεὶς δὲ λύχνον ἅψας καλύπτει αὐτὸν σκεύει, ἢ ὑποκάτω κλίνης τίθησιν· ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ λυχνίας τίθησιν, ἵνα οἱ εἰσπορευόμενοι βλέπωσι τὸ φῶς

Think we can safely assuage your suspicions here :)