Corrections to Uncatalogued Lectionary Fragment (ULF)

As I said just the other day, there is a new manuscript posted on the CSNTM website. This manuscript is uncatalogued, so we don’t have a nice Gregory-Aland number to refer to. So, I’m going to call it ULF for "Uncatalogued Lectionary Fragment".

A manuscript is always interesting to some degree, but if you throw in a corrector, then things get even more so. Unfortunately, sometimes correctors obscure the original text, which makes it difficult if not impossible to always ascertain the reading of the original scribe. That is the case for ULF.

So how do we know there is a corrector? When the text is overwritten by something else, how do we know it wasn’t just the original scribe? In the case of this manuscript, there are at least three good reasons for seeing the corrector as someone different. First, and of least significance, the corrector used a different color of ink. Second, the corrector changed the manuscript in areas that do not look like accidental mistakes, so the corrector was likely correcting against something other than the original Vorlage. Third, and of most significance, the corrector used ligatures that the original scribe did not use. So how about some examples? Two for tonight.

Example 1:


απο του μνημει ου ειχε δε αυτασ
ταβη και ιαση τε αυτου τον υν

The text on the left is from Mark 16:8, from the previous reading. The text on the right is from John 4:47. The correction is at the end of the first line of the second column. In this example the corrector attempted to erase what appears to be the original scribe’s standard ligature for -ει- to replace it with an -η-. The left column was included because the end of the first line has an example of the typical -ει- for this scribe. If you look closely at the top right and bottom right of the scraped area of the correction, you will see ink that was not notally removed. This appears to me to be the bottom and top tails of the -ει- ligature.

Also note the color of the corrector’s ink. It is noticeably darker than the surrounding ink.

If I am correct, the corrector is correcting an itacism in the text toward what we would consider the correct spelling. Interestingly, the last syllable of the word retains an itacism that was not corrected.

Example 2:



The problem with the corrector erasing the previous scribe’s text is that it is sometimes difficult to tell what was originally there. Take this example. There are two corrections. It appears that an -η- was once again substituted for an original -ει-. But what about the last letter? What is erased after the final ? Was it a another letter, or was it just the tail that the final alpha letters in this manuscript tend to have? The latter is my current theory. If this is the case, note how the scribe did this last correction. First he erased the tail (note the darker background) and then wrote over the top of the alpha one vertical (though slightly slanting) line and one horizontal line. Epsilons that are followed by another letter in this manuscript tend to take this form (like the εαν two lines previous in the original image).

What’s Next?

That’s it for the evening. More tomorrow. I’ve got an even more interesting one waiting for you... And, by the way, I decided I just don’t like this corrector. It’s too hard to tell what the original scribe wrote! I’m already frustrated with the guy and I haven’t even made it to the third leaf yet in my analysis.

Feel free to dive right into this manuscript with me. I don’t have any more information on this one than you do. There are a number of trouble spots caused by the corrector that somebody else might be able to figure out better than I.