Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Inscriptions for Catholic Epistles in Sinaiticus (errors in ECM2)

Here are an interesting series of pictures from the header space above the start of the relevant columns of text in Codex Sinaiticus (from the Sinaiticus Project Website):

These raise a couple of interesting issues. Firstly, given the general consistency I'm sure that most of us would agree that these are probably best understood to be connected products of the same scribal activity. Secondly, given that both 1 Peter and 1 John are introduced as 'the first epistle of Peter' and 'the first epistle of John' respectively, it seems likely that the meaning of the others is thought to be consistent, i.e. 'the second [epistle] of Peter', 'the second [epistle] of John', 'the third [epistle] of John'.

So now to the ECM2. Firstly it attributes the inscriptions for 1 Peter (p. 103), 1 John (p. 263), 2 John (p. 369), 3 John (p. 387) and Jude (p. 403) to 01C2 (in each case 01* is given for "om.", i.e. originally lacking any inscription); but the inscription for 2 Peter is attributed directly to 01 (p. 203). From this we would deduce that Sinaiticus originally had an inscription for 2 Peter, but nothing for the other Catholic Epistles until the seventh century. But this is clearly wrong, both because it is inconsistent, and because there does not appear to be a clear link with the C2 corrector. Probably within the parameters available in the ECM2 they should all have been attributed to 01C1 [covering corrections from the fourth to the sixth century]. But in any case the Sinaiticus Project attributes all these titles to S1 - a scriptorium corrector, and this seems right to me. This means that they could be regarded as an aspect of the original production of the manuscript as a whole.

For these I would suggest that we regard them as an aspect of the original production of the manuscript as a whole, and hence simply 01. Or perhaps if we were being pedantic we could attribute them to 01Z(S1) - an addition (Zusatz) by a different but contemporary hand (and not to give any 01*).


  1. Looking at the title to 1st John, why is the ink so much more faded than the horizontal lines bordering the title and the large "Alpha"? At first I thought the Alpha and lines were added later. But the Alpha in "John" and the large Alpha look to be written by the same scribe. I guess it could be by the same scribe written at different times, with different batches of ink (?).

  2. Klaus Wachtel1/29/2014 4:02 pm

    Thank you Peter, we stand corrected. However, we will not quote just 01 in ECM3 for the inscription at the beginning of a writing but 01C1, because the original inscription appears at the end of a writing in Sinaiticus (and also in Vaticanus). This is an atavism: rolls used to have the inscription at the end.

  3. Thanks Klaus, I agree that 01C1 would be good. It was great to see you on Monday as well!

  4. I seem to remember that Milne and Skeat already pointed out that we have two phases in these inscriptions. First there was just the simple letter by the scribe of the main text, while the same hand also added the author's name to the inscription but not at the same time. Hence the slightly disjointed look of the inscriptions that have a number.

  5. Thank you for your response Dr. Jongkind, I need to try and get a copy of Milne and Skeat's work!
    I had been looking at the hand of the titles a few weeks ago and had noticed how the handwriting style of the titles was so much different than the main text; the smaller, raised omicrons, and the curious omegas with the long center stroke extending above the side arms.