More pastedowns from the same Syriac manuscript of the Gospels   1 comment

I recently posted an image of a pastedown in SMMJ 68 that came from an older Syriac Gospel lectionary. While still looking through the Jerusalem collection, I found another manuscript with pastedowns (at both front and back) from a Syriac Gospel-book.

Front pastedown of SMMJ 159

Front pastedown of SMMJ 159

Back pastedown of SMMJ 159

Back pastedown of SMMJ 159

The front pastedown has the Markan passage on the Syrophoenician woman (Συροφοινίκισσα; see Sebastiano Ricci’s painting here) from the last word of Mk 7:24 to halfway through 7:29 (again the Peshitta, as SMMJ 68), and the back has Lk 19:29 (beginning at the third word) to 19:34 (third word from the end), but this time in the Ḥarqlean. (The only difference between these texts and those in Kiraz’s Comparative Edition of the Gospels, the Peshitta of which is based on the edition of Pusey and Gwilliam, are at Mk 7:25 [w-ʾit here, but d-ʾit in the printed ed.] and 7:26 [Phoenicia spelled with final yod here, ālap in the printed ed.].) A comparison of these two extraneous pages from SMMJ 159 with the one from SMMJ 68 quickly reveals their origin in the same manuscript. Apparently this Gospel lectionary was at Saint Mark’s and no longer being used, probably too damaged to be of practical use, and apart from their original peers these three folios found new life in SMMJ 68 and 159. Like the former Jerusalem manuscript, the latter, according to a note in Arabic at the beginning, was repaired in October, 1910.

“A new critical edition of the Peshitta Gospels is needed, though the quantity of Peshita mss. renders this a formidable task.” So say R.B. ter Haar Romeny and C.E. Morrison in their entry on the Peshitta in GEDSH (p. 330). This manuscript, now much reduced and scattered, more folios of which might appear elsewhere lurking at the beginning or end of manuscripts at Saint Mark’s, adds to that quantity of Peshitta manuscripts: for Mark in the front pastedown of SMMJ 159, and for John and Matthew in the front pastedown of SMMJ 68. Not that these particular Syriac Gospel witnesses are all that unique or interesting, but they do serve as a reminder of the surprises manuscripts can offer. And, from a different angle, the script here has much to appreciate for its clarity and simplicity; it would make an easy exercise for beginning students to practice their reading skills.

One response to “More pastedowns from the same Syriac manuscript of the Gospels

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  1. I have found yet more from this same Estrangela Gospel-book at the beginning and end of SMMJ 196, a small ms prob. 16th-cent., repaired in 1910. These two pastedowns contain Lk 12:58, 12:45-46. So parts of this Estrangela ms now survive in at least three mss from SMMJ: 68, 159, and 196.

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