Archive for the ‘Greek manuscripts’ Tag

Posts on the digitized BL Greek manuscripts   Leave a comment

For some time now it has been exciting to watch the progress of digitizing and sharing manuscripts in major collections (BL, BAV, BnF, &c.). Staff at the British Library have provided a lasting service to readers not only by photographing and freely sharing their Greek manuscripts, but also by writing regular blog posts on specific digitized manuscripts at the Medieval manuscripts blog. (See also the Asian and African studies blog for other manuscript highlights.) These posts give a quick survey of what’s available, along with a few example images. Of course, if you’re looking for a specific manuscript, you can search for it, but these posts are a great way to stumble upon new things. So for those who might want to peruse any or all of these several posts on digitized Greek manuscripts by the BL staff, here are links for them all in one place, arranged by date from most to least recent. A hearty thanks to the BL and the sponsors of this project!

A lone Georgian word in a Greek manuscript   2 comments

It doesn’t take long studying manuscripts before you learn that straightforward categories like genre, language, and even script are not always uniform across an individual manuscript’s contents. And when we include in those contents the evidence of use, such as notes, by its handlers and readers, a manuscript may appear even more motley.

BL Add. 39602 is a late tenth-century Gospel lectionary (Gregory-Aland l 181) written in Cappadocia. (See Scrivener, Contributions to the Criticism of the Greek New Testament, pp. 50-52.) Here is the colophon:

BL Add. 39602, f. 220v

BL Add. 39602, f. 220v

Ἐγράφη τὸ τίμιον καὶ ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον ἐπὶ Στεφάνου τοῦ θεοφίλου ἐπισκόπου Κισκίσσης· μηνὶ ιουνίῳ ἰνδικτιῶνος ηʹ ἔτους ϛυπη γραφὲν διὰ χειρὸς νικ. ϗ τ. (?)

This honored and holy Gospel-book was written for Stephanos the god-loving bishop of Kiskissa, in the month of June, in the 8th [year of the] indiction, in the year 6488 [anno mundi], by the hand of Nik. and …

This comes to the year 980. It was renewed in the next century, as a note on the following folio tells us. The original scribe named in the colophon could be Nikon, Nikolaos, or Nikētas. The manuscript eventually made its way to Mount Athos, the Monastery of Caracalla, whence Robert Curzon acquired it in 1837. (On this monastery and Curzon’s visit there, see his Visits to Monasteries in the Levant (1849), ch. 25, beg. p. 377.). It is probably there that some Georgian monk had written the word discussed below. (See the bibliography at the end of the post for just a few sources on Georgian connections to Mount Athos.)

On f. 1r (see the full page here), below the left column, which ends with John 1:7 in Greek, stands an abbreviated Georgian word.

BL Add. 39602, f. 1r

BL Add. 39602, f. 1r

The word is written small in nusxuri script ⴑⴞⴐⴁⴢ, with an abbreviation mark; in full it would be ⴑ(ⴀ)ⴞ(ⴀ)ⴐ(ⴄ)ⴁ(ⴀ)ⴢ, in mxredruli სახარებაჲ. It’s the common word for Gospel, derived from ხარება, “to rejoice, hear good news; tell, announce”. If there are other Georgian notes recorded in this manuscript, I’ve not found them yet. Who knows why we have the word written here? Anyone with even a smattering of Greek would be able to tell that this is a Gospel-book, so it is likely not just a mere identifying label for those more familiar with Georgian than Greek. It may be that a Georgian reader simply appreciated the connection made between himself and this book and realized that connection by penning the word “Gospel” in his own language onto the manuscript’s first page of text, where John’s Gospel begins. Whatever the reason the word appears, we have it as a reminder of the sometimes miscellaneous quality of what a manuscript may present to us as we study it, and a reminder of the various readers, like ourselves, that may have come across it.


(See also a few more sources listed here from the Library of Congress.)

Blake, R. P. (1929a). The Athos Codex of the Georgian Old Testament. The Harvard Theological Review, 22: 33–56.

Blake, R. P. (1929b). The Georgian Version of Fourth Esdras from the Athos Manuscript. The Harvard Theological Review, 22: 57–105.

Blake, R. P. (1931). Catalogue des manuscrits géorgiens de la bibliothèque de la Laure d’Iviron au Mont Athos. Revue de l’Orient Chrétien, 28: 289–361.

Blake, R. P. (1933). Catalogue des manuscrits géorgiens de la bibliothèque de la Laure d’Iviron au Mont Athos. Revue de l’Orient Chrétien, 29: 114–159, 225–271.

Brosset, M.-F. (1862). Explication de quelques inscriptions, photographiées par Sévastianof, au mont Athos. Bulletin de l’Académie Impériale Des Sciences de St. Pétersbourg, 4: 1–16. Available here.

Ebanoidze, M., & Wilkinson, J. (2001). Timothy Gabashvili. Pilgrimage to Mount Athos, Constantinople and Jerusalem, 1755-1759. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon.

Marr, N. Y. (1901). Агіографическіе матеріалы по грузинскимъ рукописямъ Ивера (Hagiographical Material from Georgian Mss on Mt. Athos, Iveron). St. Petersburg.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 31   Leave a comment

Today’s text comes from Gregory of Nyssa’s De opificio hominis (CPG 3154), ch. 22; for this specific part, the Greek is in PG 44, col. 204, and the Georgian version in Ilia Abuladze, უძველესი რედაკციები ბასილი კესარიელის «ექუსთა დღეთაჲსა» და გრიგოლ ნოსელის თარგმანებისა «კაცისა აგებულებისათჳს» (Tbilisi, 1964), 195.13-20. Of manuscripts available online, the Greek will be found in BL Harley 5576 (images online here), this passage at f. 67r, beginning about halfway down in line 18. Note, too, that part of this passage from Gregory is quoted (without attribution) in Pseudo-Zonaras, Lexicon (cf. Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship, § 3.2.19), s.v. Γήϊνον, following the definition Ἀδὰμ ἑρμηνεύεται.

Below I’ll give the Greek and Georgian version together, but first let’s look at 1 Cor 15:47 in Greek and Georgian, since this verse is the background to Gregory’s discussion. The Greek in Nestle-Aland reads ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. (NB χοϊκός derived from ὁ χοῦς soil, dust.) There are two notable readings:

  • ἄνθρωπος πνευματικός in the famous P46, this part (f. 59r) in the Chester Beatty papyrus collection in Dublin: image here, line 7 from bottom)
  • ἄνθρωπος ὁ κύριος, the nomen sacrum marked to be read in the margin in Sinaiticus, f. 273v, col. b., line 8; image here (there are a number of other witnesses, too)

Now for the Georgian. The Epistles of Paul are known in two recensions, referred to as AB and CD, and for this verse each reflects one of the above Greek variants. (Vocabulary: მიწაჲ earth, ground; ზეცაჲ heaven)

AB პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორჱ იგი კაცი ზეცით გამო სულიერი. (სულიერი reflects πνευματικός)

CD პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორე იგი კაცი უფალი ზეცით. (უფალი reflects κύριος)

Now we turn to Gregory’s text. I mentioned the Harley Greek manuscript above, and I urge you to have a look at the handwriting there, especially those who are less experienced reading Greek manuscripts: you can compare it to the text that Migne gives, in comparison with which there are just two differences, namely Ἀδὰμ λέγεται (PG transp.) and ἐκ χοϊκῆς (PG ἐκ γῆς), with θεός and ἄνθρωπος (including derivatives) abbreviated.

BL Harley 5576, f. 67r: οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες

BL Harley 5576, f. 67r: οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες

Here are three sentences from Gregory’s work, given separately in Greek and in Georgian, with a few notes for Georgian vocabulary and grammar. In addition to the apparent omission in the second sentence, I would especially point out with regard to the translation, “they say” in Greek is “we heard” in the Georgian version, and the former’s “those who know the language of the Hebrews” is rather “the Pharisees, the Jews” in the latter. The verse from 1 Cor 15 is explicitly quoted in the Georgian version. More might be said, of course!

Ἡ μὲν οὖν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει θεωρουμένη, τὸ τέλος ἔσχεν.

ხოლო ხატებაჲ იგი ღმრთისაჲ, ხილული ყოველსა შინა ბუნებასა კაცობრივსა, განსრულებულ არს,

  • ხატებაჲ similarity, likeness (cf. ხატი image)
  • ხილული seen, visible (for this word, S-F 1569b has “geöffnet (Augen), sehend”, but the mng. here [and elsewhere] is clearly like that of ხილვული “gesehen”, S-F 1569a)
  • ბუნებაჲ nature
  • კაცობრივი human (adj.)
  • განსრულებული completed, ended

Ὁ δὲ Ἀδὰμ οὔπω ἐγένετο· τὸ γὰρ γήϊνον πλάσμα κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται Ἀδάμ, καθώς φασιν οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες.

არამედ ადამი ჯერეთ არღა არს, რამეთუ ადამ გამოითარგმნების ქუეყანიერი, ვითარ-იგი გუესმა ფარისეველთა მათგან ჰურიათა,

[Geo. has nothing for τὸ … γήϊνον πλάσμα]

  • ჯერეთ still, yet
  • გამო-ი-თარგმნ-ებ-ი-ს 3sg pres. pass. გამოთარგმანება to translate (here seemingly for all of κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται)
  • ქუეყანიერი earthy, from the earth (< ქუეყანაჲ earth, ground)
  • გუ-ე-სმ-ა 1pl aor სმენა to hear (conj. IV verb; see OGPS 13) (cf. Adishi Lk 4:23, 22:71; Jn 12:34 for ἠκούσαμεν)
  • ფარისეველი Pharisee
  • ჰურიაჲ Jew

Διὸ καὶ ὁ Ἀπόστολος διαφερόντως τὴν πάτριον τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν πεπαιδευμένος φωνήν, τὸν ἐκ γῆς ἄνθρωπον χοϊκὸν ὀνομάζει, οἱονεὶ μεταβαλὼν τὴν τοῦ Ἀδὰμ κλῆσιν εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα φωνήν.

და მოციქული, რამეთუ წურთილ იყო მოძღურებასა მას ჰურიაებრსა და მიწევნულ სიტყუასა მათსა ფრიად, ამისთჳს სახელ-სდვა კაცსა მას და თქუა: პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწაჲ.

  • მოციქული apostle
  • წურთილი taught, instructed, experienced (participle adj. < წურთა to teach)
  • მოძღურებაჲ doctrine, teaching
  • ჰურიაებრი Jewish
  • მიწევნული knowing
  • სახელ-ს-დვ-ა 3s aor სახელის-დება to name (სახელი name + დება to lay, put). Cf. ხოლო მოგუნი ფედ სახელ სდებენ but the Magi call it “Ped” (Cave of Treasures § 27.20 [Kourcikidzé, La caverne des trésors. Version géorgienne (CSCO 527)]); სახელ-სდვა თჳსად he named them with his own name (Garitte, Narratio de rebus Armeniae (CSCO 132), p. 270).
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