Monday, January 08, 2007

Gospels in the 'Western' order

I have an enquiry from a scholar wishing to find out whether there is a list of all Greek manuscripts with the Gospels in the 'Western' order. Does anyone know of such a list?


  1. P45, D & W for a start. Other witnesses in Latin and Gothic. Not sure about any minuscules.

  2. D. C. Parker, in his monograph on Codex Bezae (Codex Bezae: an early Christian manuscript and its text, CUP, 1992), pp. 116-118, has a detailed discussion of the matter, including evidence from Greek MSS (D, X, and a few minuscules), versions, and patristic testimony.
    Surprisingly he does not mention p45.

  3. Thanks Mike,

    That is really helpful.

    The lack of P45 is interesting. I suppose the fact of the matter is that the order of the gospels in P45 is not 100% secure.

    Kenyon described P45 as originally being found/purchased in two bundles: Mark & Acts; Luke & John (‘in a much better state of preservation’). This suggests that Mark came last, and suggested the possibility that P45 originally had the "Western" order: Matt, John, Luke, Mark.
    The subsequent analysis by Skeat (1993, one year after Parker's 1992) confirmed this and put the theory of the original "Western" order for P45 on a more secure footing: T.C. Skeat, "A Codicological Analysis of the Chester Beatty Papyrus Codex of the Gospels and Acts (P45)," Hermathena 155(1993), 27-43.

  4. Just found this old post, which turned out to be quite helpful. One other ms. should be added to this list. The fragments catalogued as 073 and 084 come from the 6th c. and preserve portions of Matt 14 and 15. The bottom margin of two fragments has a tabular concordance showing the Eusebian section numbers, such as is commonly found in Peshitta mss. The order of the columns in the table proceeds Mt-Jn-Lk-Mk, which I think strongly suggests that this ms. originally had the western ordering of gospels. I can't imagine why this table would have a sequence different from that of the ms. in which it appears.

    1. I can certainly imagine why. Reconfiguring a table from how it was found by the scribe is different than binding four gospels into a new arrangement.

    2. True. Though reordering the columns of a table found in one's exemplar wouldn't be that difficult. (The table is not that complicated.) And anyway even if the scribe was just copying the sequence he found in his exemplar, doesn't that just push the issue back one step further? The sequence in this table suggests that it originally belonged to a codex with the western order, whether this ms. or a prior one.