Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Maurice Robinson: The source of the Pericope Adulterae insertion in GA 1333

PA in GA 1333. View in NT.VMR
Maurice Robinson sends the following email which he has asked me to post here.
James Snapp happened to ask me about MS 1333, where a later scribe inserted the PA on a blank page between Luke and John (the only MS known to do so).

Since obviously the insertion was lectionary-based (the PA begins at 8.3 with the heading εκ του κατα ιω (below the designation for Pelagia, 8 Oct), this provoked a search between my continuous-text database and my lectionary PA database to see whether a source lectionary MS for the 1333 insertion might be determined.

As it turns out, the mystery of the source lectionary for the insertion into continuous-text MS 1333 appears to be solved! Although MS 1333 (11th century) is now at Saba in Jerusalem, the later PA insertion apparently was copied directly from the 12th century lectionary L-1755, now at St Catherine’s in Sinai.

This identification is established not only by their otherwise common text (which generally follows a typical lectionary line of transmission, with only minor orthographic issues), but primarily from one glaring (and problematic) reading in 8:9 — και υπο της οικειας συνειδησεως— which otherwise appears in only one other continuous-text MS (GA 1082), and that one with an extremely different text from what otherwise is shared by MS 1333 and L-1755.

Closely related to L-1755, however, is L-1804 (now at Athens, Natl. Lib., 14th century). I suspect that L-1804 either may have been copied from L-1755 or from some common lectionary archetype.

I like solving mysteries, especially when the solution was far simpler than might have been imagined!
Given that 1333 is dated 11th century and lectionary 1755 is from the 12th, Tommy Wasserman asked how this can be. Maurice’s response:
The PA insertion in 1333 was added on a totally blank page, so this was ex post facto from the original copying.
In other words, the insertion must be later than the 11th century.

For more on 1333 and the PA, see Snapp’s recent post.


  1. That now leaves a second question: What is the date of the PA insertion? Clearly 12th century or later. Was the addition dated already, or does it need to be reexamined based on this new information?


    1. Given that L-1755 is the immediate source of the insertion (virtually certain), and if the K.Liste date for that MS (XII) is correct, the insertion would have been placed into the 11th century GA 1333's blank page no earlier than sometime in the 1100s.

      However, for all we know -- and I shall let some palaeographic expert declare on that -- the insertion could have been made a century or more later.

    2. Knowing that Pericope was removed approximately from texts starting from the 3rd century, of course, later by the 10th century, the process of restoring Pericope and correcting it through insertions began, and this is one of the proofs of what we have, I assume that there were early such insertions

  2. Interesting how it fits so nicely onto one page. So does the lectionary text-type differ from all seven mu-types identified by von Soden?

    1. Although too complex to detail here, the lectionary text has basically two main lines for the PA (note that von Soden did not classify the lectionary text-lines).

      The majority line found in most lectionaries has some key readings otherwise found only among a minority of continuous-text MSS. Typical are 8.4 κατειληπται; 8.5 και εν; 8.6 ειπον εκπειραζοντες; σχωσι; 8.7 ανεκυψε και; βαλ. λιθ. επ αυτην; 8.9 ο ις solus;. Each of these although majority among the lectionaries has between 30-200 MSS support among the ca.1500 continuous-text MSS that have the PA present.

      So yes, I would say the lectionary text (either form) of the PA is distinct from von Soden's groupings, even while many of the readings in either lectionary line also agree with majority readings among the continuous-text MSS.

  3. The insertion of the PA as a lesson in GA 1333 is an example of the modernisation of a Byzantine manuscript for liturgical reasons.

  4. I am writing a text-critical evaluation of the PA. After reading Rev Snapp's blog and this one, my first thought was that it seems a bit misleading (at least to me, a graduate student) to list 1333s as an apparent variant in NA28. Perhaps it would be better simply to parenthesize it in the evidence for addit. hic.

    Has anything more been published by Prof Robinson or others, along the lines stated above?

  5. Also -- I couldn't help but notice (late in the night whilst writing this paper) that the title of the blog could be read as a startling discovery / humorous apposition!