Saturday, June 27, 2015

Online Database of Syriac Manuscripts

There is a fairly new online database for Syriac manuscripts called e-ktobe. The aim of the database—listing “all syriac manuscripts in the world”—is quite ambitious. From the website:
E-ktobe is a database on Syriac manuscripts which aims to collect information on texts, physical elements, colophons and notes. It will enable any researcher to make a request on texts, authors and codicological elements for all the Syriac manuscripts in the world. Thanks to this database, you can search for some material details, do multi-criterial research, and also make a request about one person connected with the making of Syriac manuscripts (copyist, restorer, sponsor, owner...). The main scientific goals of this project are to give insight into the cultural history of Syriac communities and develop Syriac codicology.
Unfortunately the database seems a bit sparse at the moment. If there are 10,000 extant Syriac manuscripts according to one recent estimate (Binggeli, p. 502), then the current database lists about 5% of all Syriac manuscripts. At the moment, a search of the largest catalogue in Europe (the British Library) only turns up five results! Given this, the 136 results filtered for Old and New Testament should be taken as a drop in the bucket.

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On the topic of Syriac, the latest issue of Novum Testamentum has an article by Christophe Guignard on one of the newest majuscules to receive a Gregory-Aland number. In the under text of the Old Syriac palimpsest Codex Sinaiticus, there are four leaves of John’s Gospel from the 4th-5th century. This text has been known for 120 years but is only now receiving its proper GA number. Sadly Guignard doesn’t give us any pictures.

The article is “0323: A Forgotten 4th or 5th Century Greek Fragment of the Gospel of John in the Syrus Sinaiticus,” NovT 57.3 (2015), 311-319.


  1. Cf. also (on 0323):

  2. Unfortunately I did not find any picture that was of sufficent quality.