Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Help to Identify Manuscript Fragments

With the introduction of the Virtual Manuscript Room, new possibilities open up for collaboration with scholars and interested public worldwide. About three weeks ago, the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) uploaded several MSS from Biblioteca Nazionale, University of Turin: 333, 334, 335, 339, 2350, 2594, L1942 which can now be examined in the VMR.

In addition, numerous fragments of minuscule manuscripts were uploaded. These fragments have previously undergone a restoration and were subsequently placed in boxes in the library registered under three shelf marks: B.V.19, B.VI.43, and B.VII.33, but these unfortunately do not correspond to three MSS, because fragments of GA 338 have been found in two boxes (B.VI.43 + B.VII.33) and fragments of GA 612 have also been found in two of the boxes (B.V.19 + B.VI.43) - talk about contamination and block mixture!!!

Moreover, the fragments contain not only New Testament text but other texts and other MSS. The INTF staff says the process of identification will require some time and effort. And this is where the VMR users come in! The fragments have already been photographed and included in the VMR where anyone can look at them and contribute to their identification and subsequent registration. In the meantime the items are registered under temporary object id. numbers:

Turin B.V.19 ==> ObjID 90001
Turin B.VI.43 ==> ObjID 90002
Turin B.VII.33 ==> ObjID 90003

It is important to read the background and further description of these boxes and fragments in Martin Fassnacht's report here (click on "zeigen" to see the whole report). As you can see, we can expect more fragments to turn up in the future. Read also my earlier report here.

If you want to help with identification, go to the VMR (Münster) and click on VMR. Browse or read the MSS by choosing these ObjID numbers in the menu and go ahead.

Postscript: The majuscule MS GA015, the extant parts of which are divided between eight institutions (– how could this happen!), has also been registered in the VMR under a temporary number, ObjID 90004 (contrary to other items in this category, 90004 is found in the top of the menu). Two folios are in Turin (shelfmark A.1), and there are photos of these.


  1. Identification of the fragments really requires little more than a good computer search program and ability to read minuscule script. The primary issue is finding sufficient free time for making the respective identifications.

    For example, in about an hour, I was easily able to identify the following fragments:

    90002-10-0 = Ac 7:40-42 (mislabeled as coming from John)

    90002-20-0 = Ac 7:43-45
    90002-30-0 = Ac 6:8-11
    90002-40-0 = Ac6:13-15
    90002-50-0 = 2Th 3:7-11
    90002-60-0 = 2Th 3:2-6

  2. And I assume they were all from the same MS? (I haven't looked at them).

  3. Probably the ones I listed above were from the same MS, since the handwriting is similar. Of course the same scribe could have prepared more than one MS, but this seems unlikely.

    Other fragments within that same 90002 gathering definitely come from different MSS, as is obvious by their script and parchment/paper quality.

  4. Here's a few more:

    90002-70-0 = Ac 20:9-14
    90002-80-0 = Ac 20:6-9
    90002-90-0 = 2Ti 2:15-19
    90002-100-0 = 2Ti 2:9-14
    90002-110-0 = 2Ti 2:23-3:1
    90002-120-0 = 2Tm 2:19-22
    90002-130-0 = Ac 20:38-21:4(vid)
    90002-140-0 = Ac 20:32-37
    90002-150-0 = Eph 5:22-27
    90002-160-0 = Eph 5:15-20
    90002-170-0 = Eph 5:33-6:5
    90002-180-0 = Eph 5:27-31

  5. Fabulous Maurice! I hope you take note if you index a different MS in the 90002 gathering.

  6. The second listing I supplied appears to be from a different MS than that of the first listing.

    However, my concern is only the identification of the fragments (as time permits); I leave it to the experts in Münster to specify and identify the particular MS to which any fragment might pertain.

  7. MS 90003 in VMR

    This is Eusebian Canon X - IN QUO MATTH. PROPRIE and IN QUO MARC. PROPRIE.

    The first three columns are for Matthew col. 1 begins with 2 (B), col. 2 begins with 126 (RKS), and col. 3 begins with 245 (CME).

    Mark begins at the top of the fourth column with 19 (IQ) and contains all 19 listings. The 18th and 19th references for Mark are present in that the R (100) and C (200) are faintly visible.

    There is some text after the Mark list ends, but it does not fit with the beginning of the Luke list.

  8. Bruce Morrill4/23/2010 12:04 am

    Sorry, the mislabeling of 90002-10 0 as John rather than Acts was my error, typing a 4 for book instead of 5. I've corrected it.

  9. Martin Faßnacht4/30/2010 7:58 am

    The object-IDs beginning with 9xxxx are not temporary but steady. After the identification we will rebuild the fragments which belong to the same ms under the GA-number. But you can find the fragments furthermore in the context of the library shelf number.