Evangelical Textual Criticism

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MS 2866=2483–sold by Ferrini, registred twice

One of the recent registered MSS in the Liste is 2866 (= MS 2932 in the Schøyen collection in Oslo). The owner was kind enough to let me examine Jude in the MS. When I had entered the data in my computer I dicovered that it had the same text as another MS 2483, including marginal corrections, etc. It turned out that even the line breaks were identical. I doublechecked with Maurice Robinson who had examined the Pericope of the Adulteress in the MS, and he compared the two transcriptions and confirmed that text and line breaks are identical, i.e. this is one and the same MS, which has been registred twice in the official list.

The owner told me via his librarian that it had come from a private collection in France, sold to him by Ferrini. According to the Kurzgefasste Liste, 2483 was owned by a René Bonjean in Bulligny, Château de Tumejus. I am not surprised that the institute in Münster has not kept track of these transactions which involved the infamous bookdealer Bruce Ferrini, who was also involved in the transactions with the recently published Gospel of Jude (which he also offered to Schøyen in 2000).

Anyhow, the MS is now registered twice in the Liste, and there are some discrepancies between these entries in terms of dating, numbers of pages and format. My own examination of the manuscript indicates that the data in the old entry of 2483 concerning numbers of pages (348) and format (21,7x15,4) is correct. Therefore I have chosen in my file to retain also this dating (13th century rather than c. 1300). The MS is presented online at:

(I have notified the INTF in Münster.)

UPDATE: The INTF has now confirmed to me that they will delete entry 2866 and register: 2866 = 2483.

UPDATE: The librarian of the Schøyen collection has now counted the number of folios, and indeed there are only 340 left, which means that 8 folios have gone missing. Peter Heas was correct in his suspicion (see in comments below).

There are some notes about the MS in Kurt Aland, "Zur Liste der neutestamentlichen Handschfriften. V." in ZNW 45 (1954):201. According to Aland there was on fol. 347 verso an owner's note (Athos, Lavra) and a buyer's note (the MS was sold in Istanbul, 1925). Further, fol. 348 was empty – I do not know what was on fols. 341-346, but probably no portion of NT text since the current owner has not even noticed that the folios were missing until I told him so. Perhaps someone could not resist the temptation to remove the folios and sell them separately or use them for other purposes ... The only person we know of who has been in possession of the MS between the time that photos were taken and Schøyen bought the MS is Bruce Ferrini.


  1. Nice catch, Tommy. I was impressed by your earlier discovery of a new manuscript, but even more impressed by your 'undiscovery' of this one.

  2. Thanks Pete,

    maybe that is something for a title, "Major Manuscript Undiscoveries ..."

  3. Great. Just a question about pages. THe Schoyen page you linked to gives 340 pages (which is presumably followed by Munster for the 2866 entry). But you are saying that this is incorrect and that the Schoyen codex still contains 348 pages. [The other alternative would be that Ferrini 'lost' some pages.]

  4. Peter,

    Thank you for the comment. Here is some clarification:

    The owner sent me copies of Jude only (which I asked for). Hence, I was able to measure the horisontal/vertical relationship of the pages and concluded that 21,7x15,4 cm (from entry 2483 in Liste) were exact figures (rather than "21x14 cm" for 2866). The INTF did not have a microfilm copy (I don't know if they have one by now), but they apparently followed the data given by the owner (cf. the webpage).

    In my impression this data is inexact. The page number indicated on the webpage is actually "340ff" which, thus, could mean 348. This is the reason I trust the exact data for 2483, presumably verified by the INTF on their microfilm copies, more.

    So, I don't think Ferrini keeps some pages of 2483/2866 in his bankvault :-).

  5. I took ff in this context as an abbreviation for 'folios' (i.e. pages), rather than signalling some sort of ongoing numerical sequence (which would really make sense in this context).

    I would think it is relatively plausible in general (and even more so with Ferrini in particular) to think of a dealer removing (or losing) some pages of a book. Isn't this what has happened with PsGJud?

    Anyway, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over the issue. Schoyen says that codex is 'complete' anyway. Perhaps there was a blank quire that has gone missing (only to re-emerge later with a mysterious forgery on it).

  6. Pete,

    Yes you are right, "340ff" here means 340 folios. In any case, the figure may be inexact as is evidently the format.

    The INTF has now confirmed to me that they will delete number 2866 respectively to register: 2866 = 2483.

    I guess this means that they will retain the data in the old entry 2483 for the time being.

  7. "Therefore I have chosen in my file to retain also this dating (13th century rather than c. 1300)."

    What do you use to log all this info?

  8. Louis, some of this information was published in an article in Novum Testamentum. The Institute for New Testament Textual Research holds teh official registry of GNT MSS and they have files on all registered MSS.

  9. Thank you. What does "GNT" mean in this context?

  10. Sorry, it means Greek New Testament.