Saturday, September 11, 2021

GA 34: The Manuscript with (Almost) Everything

             GA 34 doesn’t usually get much attention these days, even though in past generations it was seen by giants of the field of textual criticism such as Wettstein, Scholz, Tischendorf, and Gregory.  Its Gospels-text is generally considered normal and unremarkable.  It was produced in the 900s, possibly as one of the first manuscripts made on Mount Athos at the Stavronikita Monastery.  Currently it resides at the National Library of France, as Coislin Grec. 195.

            Its text is a very good example of the Byzantine Gospels-text that was circulated in the Middle Ages (while not being a member of f 35).  Physically, the manuscript is in good condition.  It has almost all the supplements to the Gospels-text that one could expect – there are even several pages of extra comments between Matthew and Mark, and between Mark and Luke.  There are beautiful full-page portraits of each evangelist, Eusebian canon-tables, Section-numbers alongside the text, Chapter-headings (titloi) and numbers written in crimson, and a commentary in the margins drawn from the writings of such patristic giants as Irenaeus, Origen, Apolinarius, Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Titus of Bostra (the main commentator in Luke), Theodore of Mopsuestia, Cyril of Alexandria, Hesychius of Jerusalem, and others (including, in Mark, Victor of Antioch).  A few pages from Michael Psellos’ Homilien precede the Gospels-text.

            The copyist’s script is very legible.  Toward the end of the Gospel of John, the Gospels-text has been reinforced on some pages by a copyist whose script was not so good, but this should not distract from the generally excellent condition of the manuscript.

            GA 34 includes Mark 16:9-20, but does not include John 7:53-8:11.  In Matthew 16, it has 16:2 up to αυτοις and then (on the same line) begins 16:4.  It includes Luke 22:42-44, Jesus’ prayer from the cross in Luke 23:34, and “who is in heaven” in John 3:13.

            Greek numerals and various symbols written above the line within the Gospels-text correspond to Greek numerals designating sections of text in the catena.  In at least one instance (in the text at Mt. 10:17, and in the corresponding commentary), a comet-mark is used, like the comet-mark that occasionally appears in the Zelada Gospels (GA 2812).

            On some pages, (secondary) comments are written beyond their usual area on the page; this happens especially in Matthew 13, 24-25:13, the opening verses of Luke, Luke 3:1-22, Luke 8 (one page), Luke 10, Luke 12:48-13:17, Luke 20, John 1:48-2:12, John 10:22-42, and John 20:11-23.  At Luke 24:27 the main commentary for Luke concludes; on the next page the commentary-material (from some other source?) is very full and has been crammed onto the pages to the end of Luke (and a little beyond).

            There tends to be more Gospels-text per page in Matthew, and especially in Mark and Luke, than there is in John.   

            Here are some interesting readings of GA 34, as well as some example of corrections which appear (often in the side-margin in uncial letters). 


3:7 – αυτοις is in upper margin.

5:9 – θυ is missing at a page-break.

5:19 – τη is missing at a page-break.

5:22 – supports εικη.

5:24 – does not have εκει after αφες.

7:19 – does not have ουν before δενδρον.

9:4 – has ιδων instead of ειδως.

9:13 – includes εις μετανοιαν.

9:19 – does not have γε after μη.

9:30 – has εαυτοις in the side-margin, not in the text.

9:35 – does not have εν τω λαω.

9:36 – correction with overdots – εσκυλμενοι.

10:41 – The sentence inexplicably ends on one page with δικαιου although it continues with ληψεται on the next page.

12:25 – αυτης instead of εαυτης.

12:49 – has μαθητας added in the margin.

14:22 – does not have ο Ιησους.

14:22- does not have αυτου.

15:8 – does not have και τοις χειλεσι με τιμα in the main text; a secondary hand has added it in the side-margin.

16:2-3 – has 16:2 up to αυτοις and then (on the same line) begins 16:4.

17:4 – δε is added above the line.

17:14 – ειπεν αυτοις was initially skipped; the words are added in the side-margin.  There is a break in the line between Ιωαννου and του βαπτιστου.

17:20 – γαρ is added above the line.

18:34 – εαυτω is added at the end of the verse.

18:35 – On this page the commentary is sparse; there is no commentary to the side of the text.  

19:4 – there is a space between ποιησας and απ’ αρχης; there was an erasure here.

19:7 – There is no commentary to the side of the text.  

19:13 – και προσευηται is added in the margin.

20:3 – does not have εν τη αγορα.

22:29 – δε is added above the line.

22:43 – some sort of erasure has been made, but with no loss of text.

23:23 – δε is added above the line above ταυτα.

25:13 – does not have εν η υιος του ανθρωπου ερχεται.

25:22 – has ιδε αλλα δυο εκερδησα in the text (without ταλαντα), but an abbreviation ταντ is added above the line.

26:25 – δε is added above the line.

26:53 – a gap appears between λεγεωνας and αγγελον; probably there was an erasure here.

26:62 – does not have αυτω.

27:23 – has λεγοντες added in the side-margin.

28:2 – there is a blank space (cause:  erasure) after θυρας.

28:3 – has ως instead of ωσει at the end of a page.



2:17 – does not have εις μετανοιαν.

2:21 – has ρακκους instead of ρακους.

4:34 – has μετρηθησεται instead of αντιμετρηθησεται.

5:11 – has μεγάλη added in the margin.

5:20 – has και ην παρα τὴν θάλασσαν added in the side-margin.

7:10 – has εντολην added above the line.

8:34 – has ελθειν instead of ακολουθειν.

9:42 – has τουτων instead of των.

10:25 – does not have γαρ at a page-break.

10:29 – has η αγρους written in the side-margin.

10:29 – does not have the second ενεκεν.

13:1 – has των twice at a page-break.

15:7 – has στασιατων instead of συστασιατων.

15:19 – has αυτου in the side-margin.



1:19 – has σοι in the side-margin.

1:32 – has ο ΘΣ in the side-margin.

2:15 – has εις τον ουνον in the side-margin.

2:27 – has τους γονεις in the side-margin.

4:1 – has different word-order:  ΙΣ δε ΠΝΣ αγιου πληρης.

4:4 – has γεγραπται οτι in the side-margin.

4:9 – has εντευθεν in the side-margin.

5:33 – has οι (before των Φαρισαίων) in the side-margin.

5:37 – has ρη in the text; has ΖΕΙ in the side margin, and has ΣΣΕΙ above the line.

6:10 – has ωσ η αλλη in the side-margin.

7:8 – has τασσόμενος in the side-margin.

8:40 – has ᾡ in the side-margin.

10:22 – has εστιν in the side-margin.

10:23 – has ειπε in the side-margin.

12:41 – has Κε in the side-margin.

14:9 – has σοι instead of συ.

16:8 – has εαυτ- in the margin; an erasure is in the text where apparently ταυτων had been initially written.

17:28 – has ημέραις Λωτ in the side-margin.

17:31 – has αυτου in the side-margin.

17:34 – has word-order εσονται δυο.

17:35 – does not have verse 36.

18:7 – has των εκλεκτων αυτου in the side-margin.

18:8 – has αρα in the side-margin.

19:36 – does not have αυτων.

20:28 – does not have ὁ αδελφος αυτου.

23:7 – has εν ταυταις τοις ημεραις in the side-margin.

23:50 – has a cross-shape made of dots before verse 50.



4:46 – does not have ὁ Ις.

7:40 – has ουτός εστιν αληθως ὁ προφητης αλλοι ελεγον in the side-margin; this is the result of a parableptic mistake by the copyist.

11:52 – has τα διεσκορπισμενα in the side-margin.

13:22 – has ουν after εβλεπτον at the beginning of the verse.


Page-views of GA 34 can be downloaded from the Gallica website, and the entire manuscript has been indexed at CSNTM.


Display Name said...

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Timothy Joseph said...

Wow, I don’t believe that anyone else breaks down individual manuscripts the way that you do! Thanks for all your efforts.

Phil said...

Hi James,

I love your articles. Thank you for your scholarship.

I would like to talk with you directly and hope that you can contact me via the email address that I give here to be able to make this comment.

I work as a Bible translator in Indonesia, and am now currently in the USA.

Daniel Buck said...

It occurs to me that this could well be a copy of a manuscript that was highly valued for its commentary, and to keep from breaking up the flow of the commentary some passages that lacked commentary were left out. The fact that some pages have no commentary, however, would seem to belie this.

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