Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A New Fragment of 2491

I have recently identified a new, previously uncatalogued, minuscule fragment currently held by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York, (shelfmark Med/Ren Frag. 49).

The fragment (1 folio on parchment) is probably another part of 2491 and it has now been catalogued as such by the INTF. The MS is scattered among different repositories (see the Liste for further details about the other parts):

Mt 3-4 (New York); 19-22 (Berlin); Mt 22,31-23,10 (Durham); Mc 1,14-5,33; 9,14-15,44 (Bern); Mc 15,44-L 11,46 (Berlin).

According to the library notes on the MS, the assigned date is XIII/XIV (but in the Liste XII). The thing that made me (and subsequently Dr. Welte at the INTF) hesitate about the identification is the dimensions of the MS. The current fragment is damaged and measures 230 x 196 cm. But the other catalogued parts of 2491 measure 263 x 204 according to the Liste. The main problem is the discrepancy between the width 196 and 204, respectively, whereas the difference of height is explicable because of the evident damage at the bottom of the MS. Nevertheless, the fragment has probably been cut out, and is, with a high degree of probability, another folio of 2491.

Another piece of confirmatory evidence is found in a library note from 1936, which states that "other leaves of this codex are now at Prussian State Library, Berlin" (cf. the other part of Greg.-Aland 2491 in Berlin, with folios of Matthew, Mark and Luke – the MS has possibly been taken apart in Berlin).

Further notes tell us that "the MS belonged to Dr. Chickering, Jamaica High School, 1938. Finally, it was given to the university [Columbia University] in memory of Otto Walter Fuhrmann by his wife, 1967."

I have checked those names for some background, and Edward Chickering was the first teacher in charge of the Jamaica High School (New York) from 1922. Otto Walter Fuhrmann was on the staff of Columbia University Libraries (New York). He later became director of Graphic Arts at New York University. He was deceased in 1966.

More to come ...


  1. So there must be some positive evidence presumably. And can you tell us the precise contents? And (most important) if there are any interesting readings?

  2. Peter,

    The contents: Matthew 3:16-4:21

    I have collated the text, which is typically Byzantine of character. I will post a collation in another comment, since I don't have the collation right where I am, but as I recall there were no particularly significant readings, just some minor deviations from the Majority Text.

    Unfortunately, I did not have access to those other parts of 2491, so that I could compare the hands, etc, but the INTF staff of course were able to make that comparison, and Dr. Welte told me in a letter that "Das 1 fol.- Fragment ... ist mit sehr hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit identisch mit Minuskel 2491." What made us both hesitate, as I mentioned, is the discrepancy in the format.

  3. Collation of the fragment against the Majority Text (Pierpont-Robinson):

    Mt 4:4 add οτι post γεγραπται
    Mt 4:9 omit αυτω post λεγει (ut videtur)
    Mt 4:16 σκοτει for χωρα
    Mt 4:20 add αυτων post δικτυα