Friday, August 27, 2010

New Fragment of Greg.-Aland 2491

In 2006 I noted the existence of a fragment with Matt 3:16-4:21 in Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, shelfmark Med/Ren Frag. 49 (image shows fol. 1v).

According to the notes in the internal library file, the fragment was taken from a manuscript copied in a monastery at Mt. Athos. Another note attributed to Dr. Erich Junkelmann, dated 1936, reads: "the Prussian State Library, Berlin, also acquired some leaves of this set." An anonymous note in the folder reads: "The other leaf presented to Dr. Chickering, Jamaica High School, 18 October 1938."

After consultation with Michael Welte of the INTF in Münster the fragment was identified as a leaf from Greg.-Aland 2491, and I sent this information back to the curator of the holding institution. This now meant that different parts of this MS had been located in four different places – Berlin, Bern, Durham and New York (36 folios are still in Berlin, and another 24 folios are in Bern, whereas there were now two folios known in the US, in Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library and in Duke University Library, respectively). Moreover, I assumed that "the other leaf presented to Dr. Chickering" is the one in Duke that contains Matt 22:31-23:10.

I subsequently blogged about this fragment last year here as I announced the "Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America" edited by Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, of which several installments have been published in the journal Manuscripta (Brepols). Kavrus-Hoffmann had indicated in the first part of the catalogue (published 2005) that this fragment was "not in Aland" (i.e., had not been assigned a Greg.-Aland number).

As noted, however, I have reported back to Consuelo Dutschke, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Columbia University, about this and other items in 2006, and suggested that she should add the updates and some corrections to this and other items. Apparently, she did not do anything with the information I provided (for example, the Greg.-Aland number is still not indicated in the digital catalogue of the Scriptorium (founded by Dutschke and her collegaue), and neither the fragments of the same MS in other institutions). Kavrus-Hoffmann, however, has told me that she will of course add the new information to her addenda and corrigenda.

In any case, the Liste dates the MS to the 12th cent. whereas Kavrus-Hoffmann dates it to the late 13th or early 14th cent. in her catalogue.

Very recently I was contacted by Christopher Moss of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. He wrote to me:
Having seen your very interesting post identifying the fragment of Aland 2491 at Columbia University, I thought that you might be interested to know that our newly published catalogue of Greek manuscripts in Princeton (just released this month) identifies Princeton University Library, Princeton MS. 63, as another fragment of this manuscript, specifically, the eight folios that immediately followed the Columbia fragment, containing Matthew 4:21–5:17.

This interesting piece of information about the Princeton folios was already mentioned in the comment to my original blogpost last year made by Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann. She then also mentioned the new catalogue of the Princeton collection that was in preparation. Unfortunately, this fragment has been assigned a new Greg.-Aland number at some point, Greg.-Aland 2850 (dated to the 11th cent.), and so has the Duke fragment in Durham (Greg.-Aland 2617) but they are the same MS as Greg.-Aland 2491. (I note that in the VMR online Liste, the Columbia and Princeton fragments need to be added to the entry Greg.-Aland 2491. [TW: This is now updated])

The Princeton catalogue is expected to be published in just a few days – more information about it is found here. Moss has been kind enough to send me a review copy.

According to the entry for Princeton MS. 63, it was acquired in February 1940 from Dr. Junkelmann in Munich, who may have purchased it on Mount Athos. The catalogue further states with reference to the Bern catalogue edited by P. Andrist that the leaves in Bern and some of the folios in Berlin were also acquired from Junkelmann in Munich.

This made me curious about this Dr. Junkelmann, who sold fragments of this manuscript to Berlin, Bern, Columbia and Princeton and provided information in the form of notes about the provenance, etc, today kept in the various library files. Apparently, Junkelmann was an art historian and music composer who lived first in Leipzig and later in Munich.

The eight folios in Princeton include one folio that followed the Columbia fragment containing 4:21–5:17. The seven other folios contain Matthew 11:17–14:15. The editors of the new catalogue, Sofia Kotzabassi and Nancy Patterson Ševčenko, date the MS to the 12th century in accordance with the Kurzgefasste Liste, whereas Kavrus-Hoffmann, as noted, dates it to the late 13th or early 14th cent. The catalogue also includes a plate of the MS.

Update: Ulrich Schmid reports that the VMR online Liste has now been updated as far as additional items are concerned (although the dating issue is under review).


  1. The online Liste has been updated as far as the additional items are concerned. The dates have not been revised, though. That aspect is under review.

    Thanks, Tommy!

  2. Thanks Ulrich, I will add it in an update! It will be interesting to follow the dating question. Here, as in many other cases, there is a span between 11th-14th cent.