Wednesday, January 09, 2019

A Greek Witness to the Lord’s Prayer, Written in Latin Letters, without the Doxology

Yesterday, I wrote that I would devote a full post to what was one of my favourite items in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition at the British Library.

The catalogue entry gives it the title “The earliest Durham gospel-book”, not to be confused with the Durham Gospels (also on display, by the way).

The manuscript, of which only thirteen folios survive, contains bits of Matthew and Mark in Latin written in the mid-seventh century. Folios are spread across three volumes in the Durham Cathedral Library, but the one on display is MS A.II.10. The text is mostly Vulgate, but Mark 2:12–6:5 are Old Latin (VL 19A). Hugh Houghton writes that its text there corresponds “to the text of the Gallo-Irish subgroup seen in VL 14” (Latin New Testament, p. 221).

Source: Wikipedia
What makes this manuscript so interesting to me, however, is that it contains the Lord’s Prayer written in Greek but in Latin characters. It is difficult to see, but it’s there in the two lower D-shaped panels.

Now this raises the question to me: should the INTF give it a GA number?

It’s clearly not an amulet or an ostracon, and it’s not written on wood, wax or anything like that. Although it is not strictly a continuous-text manuscript, it does occur between Matthew and Mark in a continuous-text manuscript. It isn’t really analogous to a liturgical manuscript because this bit of text is not located within the context of its place in the liturgy; it’s just there.

If P42 can be P42 though it is a Greek-Coptic book of the Odes, then why can’t this manuscript have its own GA number? It is a Greek-Latin continuous-text manuscript of the Gospels, even if the Greek bit lacks an accompanying Latin parallel, is limited to this one selection and is written in Latin characters rather than in Greek.

Perhaps of greater interest to readers is that, unless I’m mistaken (the text is admittedly difficult to see and my complete inexperience reading Greek in 7th-century Latin transliteration), it appears to lack the doxology of Matt. 6:13. In the second-to-last line, I see puniro (πονηροῦ) followed by what look like a couple of nomina sacra. I also see curion (κύριον) in that last line. Thus, not only is there not room for the doxology, the text that is there seems to be a different kind of ending to the prayer than the traditional doxology (I will happily let any readers spend more time than I did trying to decipher the full text).

What can we make of this? It is a Greek witness to the Lord’s Prayer without the doxology from either Iona or Northumbria in the mid-seventh century. Should it have a GA number? Should it be considered among textual witnesses for that variant?


  1. See for the fragments at Durham:
    *View* A.II.10, ff. 2-5, 338-339; C.III.13, ff. 192-195 ; C.III.20, ff. 1-2

    Directly to the Paternoster:

  2. Thanks for the link, Teunis!

    If you zoom in on the images, you can see the Latin transliteration rewritten in small, black script above the faded illuminated text. My best attempt at a transcription follows:

    Panel 1 (Latin incipit)

    aeuangelium sec-
    undum matheum
    in nomine domine
    ihu xri nunc inci-
    pit aeuangelium
    secundum mar-
    cum in nomine
    altissimi amen

    Panel 2 (Latin transliteration of Greek)

    pater immon (πατερ ημων)
    o in tus oranis (ο εν τοις ουρανοις)
    aiuitito tonom (αγιασθητω το ονομ-)
    assu al[t]ato i b[a]s (α σου ελθετω η βασ-)
    ilua s[u] genesito to (ιλεια σου γενεθητο το)
    silimasso os in ora- (θελημα σου ως εν ουρα-)
    nus e[b]i tis gis to- (νοις επι της γης το-)
    n aton immon (ν αρτον ημων)
    ton epeusion (τον επουσιον)

    Panel 3 (Latin transliteration of Greek)

    dos imin sim- (δος ημιν σημ-)
    e[r]on ce apis im- (ερον και αφες η-)
    min ta opilim- (μιν τα οφειλη-)
    mata immon (ματα ημων)
    [his?] pirasmon ([εις?] πειρασμον)
    curie ala rus- (κυριε αλλα ρυ-)
    sa imas apo to (σαι ημας απο του)
    puniro [apo] ihu (πονηρου - [απο] ιηυ)
    [tu] curion immon ([του] κυριον ημων)

    If anyone can make out the letters better than I could, corrections are welcome!

    Indeed, the doxology is definitely not in here. What's more, parts of Matt 6:12-13 are also missing.

    1. Thanks for this great transcription, Joe.

      Of interest is the addition of *curie* in line 6 of panel 3.
      In the Canon Missae of the Missale Romanum after the Pater noster, this embolism is said: Libera nos, quaesumus, *Domine*, ab omnibus malus … .
      In the Canon the embolism is followed by: Per eundum *Dominum nostrum Jesum* Christum Filium tuum.

      Jungmann, Missarum sollemnia, 1952, vol. 2, p. 354: "Den Abschluss bildet die gewöhnliche Formel Per Dominum nostrum. Sie beschliesst nicht nur den Embolismus, sondern auch das im Embolismus wietergeführte Pater noster. Sie steht also in genauer Parallele zur Doxologie, die in den meisten orientalischen Liturgien an gleicher Stelle auf das Vaterunser, bzw. auf dessën Nachsatz folgt."

      Is it to bold to suggest that the last lines in panel 3 are liturgical?

      Elijah asked: Should it [= the Durham ms VL 19A] have a GA number?
      The question of the addition of the Odes and of liturgical books (not lectionaries!) in the Liste is earlier discussed on ETC:

    2. While I was looking at Greenlee's study on the gospels text of Cyril of Jerusalem for a different project, I happened to notice that Cyril of Jerusalem is an early (fourth-century) witness to the addition of κυριε after εις πειρασμον in Matt 6:13. Perhaps the addition was more common earlier on, and the scribe of this manuscript was deriving the transliteration from an earlier Greek source.

    3. In the to Cyril of Jersualem attributed "Mystagogical catechesis V: On the eucharistic rite", the Paternoster is commented in a liturgical context.
      The addition "O Lord" is added to: "And lead us not into tempatation." (Myst Cat V, 17.) "But deliver us from the evil" is followed by "Amen". "Then, after completing the prayer, Thou sayest, Amen; by this Amen, which means 'So be it', setting thy seal to the pettions of this divinely taught prayer". (Myst Cat V, 18; translation from: St. Cyril of Jerusalem's lectures on the Christian sacraments : the Procatechesis and the five Mystagogical Catecheses / ed. by F. L. Cross. - London : S.P.C.K., 1951. Texts for students ; no. 51.)
      Just the exhibition on the Paternoster in Myst Cat is subject in the discussion of the authenticity of the Catecheses (Introduction, xxxvii.)

  3. Well, it's not a continuous-text Greek New Testament manuscript nor a Greek lectionary, so it's hard to see which category it would come in for the Liste. One could argue that it serves a similar function to a writing exercise or amulet, and could be included on such a list.

    The Vetus Latina register does allocate numbers to such material (e.g. the marginal annotation which is VL 49, or the chapter titles which are VL 46), but I feel this is not ideal (especially when numbers are in short supply!)

  4. The converse, I think, is the Book of Armagh (VL 61), which includes Latin written in Greek letters!