Archive for the ‘tenth century manuscripts’ Tag

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 40 (Acts 18:18, Paul’s haircut)   Leave a comment

The book of Acts in Old Georgian was published in two editions in the mid-twentieth century, one in Georgia and one in Belgium:

  • Ilia Abuladze, საქმე მოციქულთა: ძველი ხელნაწერების მიხედვით / Деяния Апостолов по древним рукописям (Tbilisi, 1950)
  • Gérard Garitte, L’ancienne version géorgienne des Actes des Apôtres d’après deux manuscrits du Sinaï, Bibliothèque du Muséon, 38 (Louvain, 1955)

For Garitte’s edition, the manuscripts are Sinai Geo. 31 (= cod. A; dated 977; Garitte, Cat., 191-193) and Sinai Geo. 39 (= cod. B; dated 974; Garitte, Cat., 152-156). Since these manuscripts are available (in microfilm scans) at E-corpus, we have an opportunity for studying asomtavruli script. For now, we’re looking at Acts 18:18. In cod. A, this verse begins on f. 1r of quire 25 (image 140 of the scanned microfilm) and continues to the next side.




In cod. B, the verse is on f. 53v (image 55 of the scanned microfilm).

sin_geo_39_f53v_acts_18_18Here is the Greek and the Georgian in mxedruli, as in Garitte’s text (also at TITUS, but there with minor orthographic and punctuation variation).

Ὁ δὲ Παῦλος ἔτι προσμείνας ἡμέρας ἱκανὰς τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἀποταξάμενος ἐξέπλει εἰς τὴν Συρίαν, καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ Πρίσκιλλα καὶ Ἀκύλας, κειράμενος ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς τὴν κεφαλήν, εἶχεν γὰρ εὐχήν.

ხოლო პავლე დაადგრა მოჳნ მრავალ დღე, და ძმათაგან იჯმნა, და განვიდა ნავითა ასოჳრეთა [!], და მის თანა პრისკილა და აკჳლა; იკოჳეცა მან თმაჲ კენქრეს, რაჲმეთოჳ აღთქოჳმაჲ აღეთქოჳა.

Vocabulary and notes

  • და-ა-დგრ-ა aor 3sg დადგრომა to stay, remain
  • ი-ჯმნ-ა aor 3sg ჯმნა to part, depart
  • გან-ვიდ-ა aor 3sg განსლვა to leave, go away
  • ასოჳრეთა thus in both mss, with no abbreviation mark, but we should presumably read ასოჳრეთად
  • ი-კოჳეც-ა aor 3sg კუეცა to cut (off)
  • თმაჲ hair
  • აღთქოჳმაჲ (in B აღოჳთქოჳმაჲ) promise (also testament, covenant, as in Mt 26:28)
  • აღ-ე-თქოჳ-ა აღთქუმა to promise, pledge

Garitte’s LT of the Georgian runs as follows:

Paulus autem permansit ibi multum diem (= multos dies), et e fratribus decessit, et exivit nave ad-Syriam (asuret‘i), et cum illo Priscilla et Aquila; rasit ille capillum in-Cenchris (kenk‘re), quia pollicationem pollicitus-erat (= votum fecerat).

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