Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance MSS in the US, pt. 1

Recently, I came across "Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America" edited by Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, four installments of which have been published thus far in the journal Manuscripta (Brepols).

Part I
Vol. 49,2 (2005):165-245

Part II
Vol. 50,1 (2006): 21-76

Part III
Vol. 51,1 (2007): 61-130

Part IV.1
Vol. 52,1 (2008): 65-174

Part IV.2
Vol. 52,2 (2008): 207-324

This is a wonderful resource that updates a lot of material in Kenneth W. Clark's catalogue of GNT MSS in the US. In the following series of blogpost I will briefly list and comment on the GNT MSS that appear in the installments. First however, I would like to cite from the introduction (in part I):

The need for cataloguing Greek medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the collections of the United States of America has long been felt. There exists no comprehensive survey for these materials apart from Kenneth W. Clark’s specialized catalogue of Greek New Testament manuscripts, in which Clark observed then, even for this subset, that “America’s acquisitions [had] outrun her cataloguing.” The same state of affairs still obtains. Although Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Faye and Bond’s later Supplement record a greater number and broader range of Greek manuscripts, regardless of their genre, they did not encompass them all and their information was brief and is now much out of date. Very few libraries today, even the major ones, have complete and reasonably up-to-date published catalogues of their holdings based on original research, and even fewer libraries provide descriptions of the Greek manuscripts in their collections (165-166).


The catalogue will be issued serially in parts and arranged in geographical order. This first part of the catalogue begins in New York City with the Greek manuscripts of Columbia University, containing nineteen manuscripts and fragments. The next issue will contain the manuscripts of the New York Public Library. The collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Union Theological Seminary of New York City will follow. Subsequent installments appearing in geographical progression will include manuscripts from collections in Boston and Cambridge, Madison (N.J.), Philadelphia, Washington (D.C.), Chicago, Maywood (Ill.), Ann Arbor, and Durham (N.C.). The final installment will include miscellaneous smaller collections dispersed throughout the country (171).

Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Med/Ren Frag. 49

"The Gospel of Matthew, fragment (not in Aland) Greece, Mt. Athos (?), s.xiii–xiv"

In 2006 I noted the existence of this fragment with Matt 3:16-4:21 and after correspondence with the INTF we could identify it as a leaf from Gr.-Al. 2491. This means that the MS is located in four different places (Berlin, Bern, Durham and New York). In light of this identification the entry in the catalogue needs some minor revision as does Aland's Kurzgefasste Liste.

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. 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."

Well, 36 folios are still in Berlin, another 24 folios are in Bern, whereas two folios are in the US, in Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library and in Duke University Library. I suspect that "the other leaf presented to Dr. Chickering" is the one in Duke that contains Matt 22:31-23:10.

The liste dates 2491 to the 12th cent. whereas Kavrus-Hoffmann dates it to the late 13th or early 14th cent.

Plimpton MS 2
= Gr.-Al. L1562 (lesk); 11th cent. (Liste); mid-12th cent. (Kavrus-Hoffmann)

Plimpton MS 11
= Gr.-Al. L1120 (lesk; former L1636); 13th cent. (Liste); second half of 13th or early 14th cent.

Plimpton MS 12
= Gr.-Al. 2460; 12th cent. (Liste); second half of 13th or early 14th cent. These are two leaves with Matt 12:36-50 and 14:3-21 from a Gospel MS divided between three locations. Apart from Columbia Univ. Library, the Zosimaia School Library, Ioannina (Greece), holds 195 fols., and the Bibelmuseum in Münster holds eight fols. with Matt 18:32-22:9.

Regarding the script and dating Kavrus-Hoffmann says:

The script is medium-sized, somewhat rigid, slightly leaning to the right archaizing minuscule, typical for the second half of the thirteenth to the beginning of the fourteenth century. The archaizing features are the following: some letters (majuscule epsilon and lambda, tall tau, closed form of theta, and a ligature majuscule epsilon-phi) are slightly enlarged; there is a high percentage of majuscule and semi-majuscule forms (alpha, epsilon, eta, kappa, lambda, pi, and sigma) reintroduced into the minuscule; majuscule lambda descends below the line; and majuscule kappa has a form similar to that of Theodore Hagiopetrites. Use of hyphens also indicates a later than twelfth-century date, although Murphy refers to this fragment as an early example of hyphenation.

Plimpton MS 14 (cover folio)
Lectionary, fragments (not in Liste), 11th cent.

According to Kavrus-Hoffmann the fragment found in the cover of another book contains a lection from Luke 24:47-49, but when I transcribed it I identifed the text as ranging from Luke 24:43-50. I will discuss this MS further in a coming blogpost.


  1. Thanks Tommy,
    This is very helpful. Are there any pictures in the catalogue articles?

  2. Peter, there are no images whatsoever in this first installment, but I have noted some in other installments. I will indicate if there are images of GNT MSS. However, images of all these particular MSS in Columbia are available elsewhere. I will get back to that in my next post.

  3. Dear Mr. Wasserman,

    I am the author of the "Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance MSS in the US." I am happy that my catalogue is useful for scholars like you. Thank you for your comments and corrections -- I will acknowledge them in my future "Addenda et Corrigenda." I'd like to inform you that parts V.1 and V.2 (the Houghton Library at Harvard University) will appear in Manuscripta 54.1 and 54.2 (2010).
    Starting with Part III I provide images for each MS. And images for Columbia University and NYPL can be found on the website of Digital Scriptorium:
    Also, a small addition to Med/Ren Frag. 49: 8 folios from this MS are at Princeton: Princeton MS. 63 (Matthew 4:21-5:17 and 11:17-14:15). A new catalogue of Princeton Greek MSS was prepared by Sofia Kotzabassi and Nancy Sevcenko and will be published very soon by Princeton Univ. Press.

    Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. My e-mail:


    Dr. Kavrus-Hoffmann