Friday, May 09, 2014

Something odd in ms 2892

Darrell, to distract us from other matters, asked a question about an odd feature in 2892 (from the comments to the previous post).
The second to last line ends Colossians 2:12. But then the next line begins with Colossians 3:4, meaning 14 verses were omitted. I am trying to determine what went wrong. The only thing I thought possible here is perhaps a missing leaf from the exemplar. The missing content amounts to about 90% of the content found on a regular page of 2892, meaning the exemplar would have been a little smaller, if this theory is true. However, what are the chances that such a missing leaf would happen to start and end at the beginning and end of a verse?


  1. At the position where the hiatus occurred lectionary reading signs of the scribe indicate that s/he perceived the transcribed text as intended for liturgical reading. The marginal references likely also point to reading practices (feast days?).

    If properly understood ( I don't have the time to go into that right now) this might be taken to unravel the pre-history of the manuscript as transcribed. E.g., its exemplar might have been a book (lectionary) in which lections were ordered differently or omitted or...

  2. It looks like 2892 has a strange order for Paul's letters:
    Rom, 1-2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Php, Col, 1 Thess, Titus, Phm, Heb, 2 Thess, 1 Tim [no 2 Tim]
    This might indicate something was amiss with the exemplar.

    But more importantly, the end of Col 2:12 and the beginning of 3:4 are both transitions in the Apostolos of the Greek lectionaries. The τελ is telling at the end of line 2b (after Col 2:12).

    In his essay on the Greek Lectionaries in The Text of the NT in Contemporary Research, 2nd ed (2013, Ehrman & Holmes, eds), Carroll Osburn mentions in his conclusion (#5 on p. 109), "Greater attention needs to be given to locating instances in which lectionaries have influenced nonlectionary MSS, including variants created by incipits, words substituted for public reading, and transposition of text." This might be such an instance. Just my two cents.

  3. [Should have hit refresh after I had finished typing. Yes, what Ulrich indicates.]

  4. Thank you for your help. I hadn't considered possible lectionary influence, though markers like τελ are through this manuscript. I have already collated Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Pauline letters through Colossians, and this is the first major omission.

  5. "However, what are the chances that such a missing leaf would happen to start and end at the beginning and end of a verse?"

    In itself, they are probably small. Nevertheless, the chance that such a leaf would go missing unnoticed is higher than for one that ends or begins mid-sentence. In other words, assuming the transcriber knew the language, it would be less immediately obvious to him that he was missing a leaf.

    So the chance of a transcription error due to a missing leaf is probably somewhat higher in this kind of case. That is to say, an accidental omission is much more likely to happen in this case than in the "mid-sentence" case, if the transcriber knows the language.


  6. Were the exemplar missing a leaf (as Peter tentatively mentioned), the scribe may have attempted restoration of the missing portion from a lectionary MS that only contained Sat-Sun lessons.

    The missing portion (Col 2:13-20 and 2:20-3:3) would be weekday readings, whereas the point of textual continuation (Col 3:4-11) is a Sunday reading, followed in turn by another Sunday reading (Col 3:12-16).

    So perhaps the scribe may not have been able to locate and restore the missing weekday-reading portions from whatever lectionary he might have consulted for repair and restoration purposes. (I note also that the preceding leaf has no lectionary markings, even though there should have been such in relation to Col 2:1 -- might this also be a clue?)

  7. Not forgery, but a somewhat related question on Coptic papyri. The proposed identification of a Coptic version of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch from Qasr Ibrim has been questioned:
    "The Angel of Tartarus and the Supposed Coptic Fragments of 2 Enoch," Böttrich, Christfried, Early Christianity, Volume 4, Number 4, December 2013, pp. 509-521(13).
    In the course of questioning Joost L. Hagen's proposed identification, Qumran Cave 4 fragmentary texts are mentioned. I would be interested, for comparison, whether the author accepts some proposed identifications of small Greek fragments from Qumran Cave 7 as from 1 Enoch.