I was getting together a handout for a seminar on Monday on the topic of Greek Lectionary manuscripts of the New Testament. But it is an area in which I readily confess my ignorance (and usually don’t even get to in courses I have taught), so I thought I would offer it here for correction and suggestions. Most of the material is from Osburn (2012), with a bit of Jordan (2009). Suggestions of helpful reading (and an ideal online manuscript) would be especially welcome.
Greek Lectionaries: an introduction
Around 40% of all NT manuscripts (over 2,400 listed) (mostly minuscule, with a few earlier majuscule manuscripts of a lectionary type). Relatively neglected – e.g. no critical edition (often commented on, from Westcott & Hort through to Osburn & Karavidopoulos). Generally close to Byzantine text: ‘lectionaries have text-critical value primarily for the later history of the NT textual tradition’ (Osburn, 108).
Different types of lectionary (eklogadion):
Mostly (over two-thirds): euaggelion or euaggelistarion (separate gospel manuscripts become known as tetraeuaggelion)
Others (a quarter): apostolos or praxapostolos (lessons from Acts and epistles: la)
Others: apostoloeuangelion (readings from Gospels, Acts and Epistles; #75: l+a)
Complete Lectionary system has two parts: synaxarion – follows ecclesiastical calendar, from Easter Sunday to Holy Saturday (moving with the date of Easter); and the menologion – follows the civil calendar, from Sept 1 to Aug 31. See Scrivener, Introduction, 80-89 for a plan (or Gregory, Textkritik, 344-386). [Plans can be added to cont. text mss, e.g. 892, BL Add 33277]
Easter to Pentecost – readings from John and Acts
Pentecost to Holy Cross day – 16 weeks – readings from Matthew supplemented from Mark; Romans, 1 & 2 Cor, texts from Eph and Hebrews.
Holy Cross day to Lent – readings from Luke (and some Mark)
Lent – Sat & Sun readings from Mark, John, Hebrews; weekday readings OT
Holy Week – numerous longer readings (Gospels, Romans, 1 Corinthians)
After Holy Week – eleven resurrection readings from Sunday morning.
developed in the tenth century by Symeon Metaphrastes (Høgel)
Includes readings for special occasions and celebrations of lives of saints etc., incorporating hagiographical, homiletical and biblical material (with differences for local practice).
On date of origin of system and lectionary text:
Metzger: ‘the lectionary system current today in the Orthodox church had its origin sometime during the fourth century’ (1972, 495-6) [evidence from Chrysostom that he comments on the lesson for the day, e.g. Hom. 7 ad Antioch; Hom. 63.47 in Act)
Aland: none of the pre-eighth century lectionary manuscripts have the later system (e.g. l1604 (IV), l1043 (V), l1276 (VI), l1347 (VI), l1354 (VI) etc.); reading notes added to continuous text manuscripts (arche, telos) only from the eighth century onwards. Junack: general lectionary system comes from late seventh or early eighth century (same time as Byzantine calendar; hence also Byzantine text)
For earlier systems (e.g. Jerusalem based readings) need to compare Syriac, CPA, Armenian and other versional evidence. And the earlier majuscule lectionary manuscripts (mentioned earlier), as well as patristic practice.
History of Study (Jordan, Osburn, Karavidopoulos)
Mill (1707) used 8 gospel lectionaries and 1 apostolos
Wettstein (1751f) – 24 euaggelion, 4 apostolos
Matthaei (1782-1788) – 57 euaggelion, 20 apostolos
Scholz (1830-1836) – 178 euaggelion, 58 apostolos
Not much role/use in Tischendorf, Westcott & Hort, von Soden (deliberately not)
Gregory (1900-1909): counts and describes 1,599 lectionaries
1904/1912: V./B. Antoniades, h9 kainh\ diaqh/kh e0gkri/sei th=j Mega/lhj tou= Xristou= 0Ekklhsi/aj (Constantinople: Ek tou Patriarchikou Typographeiou [Patriarchal Press], 1904, 1912 [corrected]; Athens: Apostoliki Diakonia, 1993 reprint): first continuous comprehensive Greek text of NT in Orthodox world; continuous text based on text of 116 lectionaries (Contantinople, Mount Athos, Athens, Jerusalem); aimed for ‘the best reconstruction of the most ancient text of ecclesiastical tradition and, more specifically, of the Church of Constantinople’. (Karavidopoulos)
Chicago Lectionary Project under Ernest C. Colwell - 1930s-60s (Wikgren)
NA/UBS: Generally cited together: Byz. Lect. or singly by the letter l in italics and their number. But: ‘Nothing approaching a systematic presentation of lectionary readings occurs in any currently printed Greek Testament.’ (Osburn, 100).
Approaching a Lectionary Manuscript
Euaggelion - organized into separate readings, with the day set for each passage written at the start of the periscope or in the upper margin. Sometimes with an indication of which liturgical service is meant.
l339 = British Library, Egerton 2163: good example of complete lectionary (syn. & men.), Byz text (http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Egerton_MS_2163)
Liste – le = e9bdoma/dej – contains readings for each day of the week (except in Lent, when there are only Sat/Sun readings)
lesk = e9bdoma/dej/sabbatokuriakai/ - contains readings for each day between Easter Sunday and Pentecost, Sat/Sun readings to Palm Sunday and daily readings in Holy Week until Holy Saturday.
lsk = sabbatokuriakai/ - contains readings for Sat/Sundays only
lsel = contains readings for selected days
lK = kuriakai/ - contains readings for Sundays
C.R. Gregory, Textkritik des Neuen Testamentes (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1900-09).
C. Höeg & G. Zuntz, ‘Remarks on the Prophetologion’ in Quantulacumque: Studies Presented to Kirsopp Lake (ed R.P. Casey, S. Lake & A.K. Lake; London: Christophers, 1937), 189-226.
C. Høgel, Symeon Metaphrastes. Rewriting and Canonization (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, 2002).
C.R.D. Jordan, ‘The Textual Tradition of the Gospel of John in Greek Gospel Lectionaries from the Middle Byzantine Period (8th-11th Century)’ (PhD; Birmingham, 2009).
K. Junack, ‘Zu den griechischen Lektionaren und ihrer Überlieferung der katholischen Briefe’ Die alten Übersetzungen des Neuen Testaments, die Kirchenväterzitate und Lektionaire (ed. K. Aland; ANTF 5; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1972), 498-591.
I.D. Karavidopoulos, ‘The Ecumenical Patriarchate’s 1904 New Testament Edition and Future Perspectives’ Sacra Scriptura X (2012), 7-14.
B.M. Metzger, ‘Greek Lectionaries and a Critical Edition of the Greek New Testament’ in Die alten Übersetzungen des Neuen Testaments, die Kirchenväterzitate und Lektionaire (ed. K. Aland; ANTF 5; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1972), 479-497.
C. Osburn, ‘The Greek Lectionaries of the New Testament’ in Ehrman, B.D. & Holmes, M.W. (edd.), The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. Second Edition (NTTSD 42; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2012), 93-113.
D. Patras, ‘The Gospel Lectionary in the Byzantine Church’ StVladThQ 41 (1997), 113-140.
D. W. Riddle, ‘The Use of Lectionaries in Critical Editions and Studies of the New Testament Text’ in Prolegomena to the Study of the Lectionary text of the Gospels. Studies in the Lectionary Text of the Greek New Testament, vol. 1, ed. E. C. Colwell and D. W. Riddle (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1933), 67-77.
F.H.A. Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament for the use of Biblical Students (London: George Bell & Sons, 1894; 4th edition ed. E. Miller)
B. F. Westcott and F. J. Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek. Introduction and Appendix (London: MacMillan and Co., 1881).
A. P. Wikgren, ‘Chicago Studies in the Greek Lectionary of the New Testament’ in Biblical and Patristic Studies in Memory of Robert Pierce Casey (ed J.N. Birdsall & R.W. Thomson; Freiburg: Herder, 1963), 96-121.
 Westcott & Hort, Introduction, 76-77: ‘an almost unexplored region of textual history...’; Osburn, 93: ‘seriously neglected in the search for the earliest forms of the NT text’.