A scribal mistake and a confession   Leave a comment

In SMMJ 161, a collection of Syriac mēmrē, the scribe accidentally copied one page upside down:

SMMJ 161, ff. 94v-95r

SMMJ 161, ff. 94v-95r

He penned a note in red for his readers, admitting his fault, and noting its cause:

SMMJ 161, f. 94v

SMMJ 161, f. 94v

The Garšūnī note reads as follows transliterated into Arabic letters:  يا أخي القارئ الآن العجلة تغشى (/تغشّي) البسار (! البصر) ولا تؤاخذني بالغلطة. That is, “O brother, reader, haste covers up [my] sight, so don’t blame me for the error!”

In colophons, scribes often ask their readers to overlook the faults of their work, sometimes giving an excuse or two (e.g. distractions, cold weather, old age), but the scribe here apparently felt so bad about the upside down page, he was compelled to acknowledge the mistake on the spot and ask his reader’s indulgence.

*Thanks to Ephrem Ishac for a brief communication about this note with me.

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