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Membra disjecta sinaitica III

Two (Palimpsest) Fragments of Sin. geo. 49 and Their Four Syriac Undertexts

In: The Vatican Library Review
Author:
Grigory Kessel Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Abteilung Byzanzforschung, Institut für Mittelalterforschung Austria Vienna

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Abstract

The tenth-century, Georgian manuscript geo. 49 preserved at the monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai is not a regular codex. What distinguishes this manuscript is that the Georgian scribe Iovane Zosime made use of a large number of reused parchment material that originally belonged to other manuscripts copied in a variety of languages. Some of these manuscripts, in turn, were made from the folios of other manuscripts that had been similarly reused before. As it is often the case with Sinai manuscripts, the codex Sin. geo. 49 is not complete and many of its leaves are missing. This article examines four Syriac undertexts in two previously unexplored membra disjectaVat. iber. 4 and HMML Ms. Frag. 32—and demonstrates that the recycled manuscript copies are rare and unique witnesses for the texts they originally contained.

The Georgian manuscript Mount Sinai (Egypt), St. Catherine’s Monastery, geo. 49 (hereafter Sin. geo. 49) is known to specialists of Georgian manuscripts and literature, if not through the images produced in the mid-20th century by the joint Egyptian-American expedition to the monastery of St. Catherine,1 then at least by means of the available catalogue descriptions as an ancient witness to Georgian liturgy.

The manuscript became known to modern scholars in 1888, when Alexander Tzagareli published the first description of the collection of Georgian manuscripts kept at the monastery of St. Catherine.2 Subsequent catalogues provided a much more detailed description of the manuscript. Thus it was established that the first twenty quires were altogether missing, as well as some folios at the end of the codex, including the colophon. It was observed that the parchment manuscript was made up of parts of several originally independent manuscripts with underwritings in Greek and Syriac. Most importantly, it was determined on the basis of an analysis of the manuscript’s handwriting that it was copied by a prolific Georgian scribe and writer, Iovane Zosime, who was active during the second half of the tenth century, first at the monastery of St. Sabas in Palestine and later at the monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai.3

As is well known, a large number of manuscripts, and parts of manuscripts, originating from Sinai ended up in various libraries and collections around the world. A recent study of the Syriac membra disjecta by Paul Géhin clearly demonstrates just how successful a systematic quest for the scattered Sinai manuscripts can be.4 No comparable study of Georgian fragments has been undertaken so far.5 Nevertheless, in the course of examining other manuscripts, three fragments that originally belonged to this Georgian codex have been identified.

  1. A fragment consisting of eight folios—Sin. geo. N 97—was identified during the cataloguing of Georgian manuscripts among the so-called New Finds—that is, the extensive cache of defective manuscripts discovered in 1975 in the course of repairs to damage caused by fire.6

  2. Another fragment of the manuscript—held at the Bibliothèque national de France (BnF) with the shelfmark géorgien 30—was identified by Bernard Outtier, who published in 1984 a brief study containing the identification of the Syriac undertext.7 According to Outtier, the four folios of the fragment preserve a significant part of the life of the monk Eusebius, which itself forms a part of the Historia religiosa, a work composed by the fifth-century theologian and ecclesiastical writer Theodoret of Cyrrhus. The latter is a collection of thirty lives of ascetics living in the region of Antioch from the early fourth to mid-fifth century, with many of whom Theodoret had personal contact and interaction. The significance of this finding lies in the fact that until Outtier’s identification, the Syriac version of only three lives from the Historia religiosa had been known.8

  3. Besides identifying the Syriac undertext, Outtier also proposed that a fragment acquired by the Vatican Library—and known uniquely through a brief note published by M. Tarchnišvili in 1953 in Georgian—might have originally belonged to Sin. geo. 49. This fragment had been thought to be lost until recently.

Before proceeding to the presentation of the Syriac undertexts in two newly identified fragments (Vat. iber. 4 and Collegeville, MN, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Special Collections [= HMML], Ms. Frag. 32),9 it is worth mentioning that Sin. geo. 49 was included as part of the Sinai Palimpsests Project, and turned out to be one of the most interesting (though at the same time challenging) palimpsests. Even a brief glance at the description prepared by the participating scholars suffices for an appreciation of the truly complex history behind this codex.10 In brief, it contains multiple undertexts in five languages—Syriac, Greek, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Coptic and Georgian—and there are many double palimpsests. I was entrusted with the cataloguing of the Syriac undertexts and, although many texts remained unidentified, it was possible to distinguish twenty-six different texts (some of which belonged to the same original Syriac manuscripts). The identified texts include Exodus (ff. 40 and 47), Amos (f. 36), Matthew (two different manuscripts: ff. 41, 45 and ff. 43, 48), Mark (ff. 21, 23, 33), Luke (f. 34), and a life of Pelagia (ff. 43, 44, 48). The manuscripts that were reused range in date between the fifth/sixth and tenth centuries.

In what follows, I offer a description and identification of the Syriac undertexts in two membra disjecta of Sin. geo. 49, namely Vat. iber. 4 and HMML Ms. Frag. 32. As mentioned earlier, the Vatican fragment was considered lost after the publication of a brief note by M. Tarchnišvili in the early fifties.11 Bernard Outtier mentions with regret in his 1984 article that Paul Canart was unable to trace it in the holdings of the Vatican Library.12 Fortunately, the fragment was re-discovered by Dr. Delio Vanio Proverbio in 201013 and later on it was photographed under natural and UV light and the images were added to the digital library of the Vatican Library. This made it possible to study both the fragment and its underwritings.

Vat. iber. 4 consists of ten leaves that are arranged in random order.14 The modern foliation reflects the current order of the leaves. All folios are palimpsests, and ff. 1, 5, 6–8 and 10 are double palimpsests. Thanks to the UV images, it is possible to distinguish folios of three originally independent manuscript that were reused: two Syriac (A1, B) and one Greek.15 In turn, one of the recycled Syriac manuscripts (A1) as well as the Greek one were produced from the folios deriving from two older Syriac codices (A2 and C, respectively).

The second membrum disjectum of Sin. geo. 49 is kept today at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (Collegeville, Minnesota). Regrettably, nothing is known relating to the whereabouts of the HMML fragment before it reached Collegeville sometime between 1970 and 1999, in all probability as a private donation.16 The fragment was discovered in 2017 in the HMML’s holdings by Matthew Z. Heintzelman, HMML Curator of Western Collections and Rare Books. Somewhat later, Stig R. Frøyshov recognized that the fragment belonged to Sin. geo. 49. The presence of underwriting in Syriac prompted HMML partner Mike B. Toth to produce in 2018 the multispectral images that helped to reveal that the fragment contains not one but two layers of underwriting, both Syriac. To facilitate a study of the two layers, but especially the earliest one, the fragment was sent in January 2020 to Stanford University’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for x-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging using the Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. The advanced imaging data are now hosted in the OPenn repository of the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies (SIMS),17 while natural-light images and four processed images of the palimpsest are available for viewing in the HMML Reading Room.18

The HMML fragment is a bifolium with two layers of underwriting. The earlier one relates to the re-used codex A1 of Vat. iber. 4, whereas the older one belonged to the same Syriac manuscript as C.

The two membra disjecta contain a total of four different texts that can be associated with four independent Syriac codices (A1, A2, B, C).

1 Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Historia religiosa (A1)

Four folios (ff. 6–8, 10) of Vat. iber. 4 and a bifolum HMML Ms. Frag. 32 contain different sections belonging to four lives or chapters from the Historia religiosa by Theodoret of Cyrrhus: ch. 4 (life of Eusebius of Teleda), ch. 13 (life of Macedonius), ch. 16 (life of Maron) and ch. 20 (life of Maris).19 None of these lives is attested in Syriac elsewhere.

Two folios of the original Syriac manuscript are preserved within Vat. iber. 4. Each was cut out of a bifolium and then turned into a bifolium for a Georgian manuscript. It is not clear whether the two reused folios originally belonged to one and the same bifolium.

The HMML fragment presents the upper half of a bifolium of the original Syriac manuscript, whereas ff. 4–5 of the BnF géorgien 30 yield the matching lower part.

It is likely that the original Syriac manuscript did not contain the complete text of the Historia religiosa, but rather a selection of several chapters. One of the reused folios contains on its recto side (ff. 10v+6r) a brief ch. 16 and on its verso (ff. 10r+6v) beginning of ch. 20. There is another text between these chapters that I was unable to identify, yet—despite its hagiographic character—it does not seem to come from the Historia religiosa. Hence, as far as the actual content of the original Syriac manuscript is concerned, in all likelihood it did not contain a complete text of the Historia religiosa, but rather a selection of lives joined with other hagiographic writings.

Although the Greek text of the Historia religiosa is extant, one should not dismiss the value of the Syriac version for at least one very important reason. According to the editors of the Greek text, Pierre Canivet and Alice Leroy-Molinghen, there are forty-two manuscript witnesses, the oldest of which comes from the 10th century.20 Hence the Syriac version must have been produced using a much older Greek exemplar.21

2 Old Syriac Version of the Gospels? (A2)

For the production of this Syriac hagiographic miscellany its scribe reused a sixth-century Syriac Gospel manuscript. Even though not much of its text can be deciphered both in Vat. iber. 4 and HMML Ms. Frag. 32, it is probable that its text represents the Old Syriac Gospels.22 The lowest layer of two fragments contains sections pertaining to chs. 8, 9, 13 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew. Further evidence for this important Gospel manuscript is preserved in the relevant part of BnF géorgien 30.23

3 Jacob of Serugh, On the Nativity of our Lord (B)

Another four folios (ff. 2–4, 9) of Vat. iber. 4 contain a homily On the Nativity of our Lord by a Syriac writer Jacob of Serugh (d. 521).24 Two bifolia of the original Syriac manuscript were reused as bifolia in the Georgian codex. One of these is still intact (ff. 4+2). The second one is disjoined today (ff. 3+9). The Syriac text was edited by Paul Bedjan on the basis of four manuscripts, all at the British Library (Add. 14515, Add. 17183, Add. 17155 and Add. 17218).25 The oldest of them—Add. 17155—is defective and was dated by William Wright to the sixth–seventh century.26 The writing—especially the homilies—of Jacob of Serugh enjoyed a great popularity, as attested by their numerous manuscript copies.27 In this respect the re-use of the manuscript containing his works deserves a special attention.

4 Old Syriac Version of the Gospels (C)

Finally, the Vatican fragment includes two folios (ff. 1 and 5) containing the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 11:30–12:26) at the lowest layer of a double palimpsest: a folio from a Syriac Gospel book was reused for the Greek Apophthegmata Patrum;28 the latter was then employed as bifolium for the Georgian manuscript. The Gospel text represents the Old Syriac version of the Gospels. As I have shown elsewhere, the extant portion agrees throughout with the Curetonianus (British Library, Add. 14451) without exception.29 After the recent discovery of a third (fragmentary) witness to the Old Syriac version (Sin. syr. NF M37N and M39N), this folio is so far all that remains of the fourth manuscript copy of the Old Syriac Gospels.30 It should be emphasized that the Gospel manuscript from which the folio derives is different—on both palaeographical and textual grounds—from the Gospel manuscript that was reused for the Historia religiosa (A2).

5 Description of Syriac Undertexts in Vat. iber. 4 and HMML, Ms. Frag. 32

The description follows the reconstructed sequence of folios of reused codices. Illegible words are enclosed in round brackets. Square brackets indicate the text that is lost due to trimming of a folio or a physical damage.

5.1 The Undertexts of Vat. iber. 4

5.1.1 Scriptio inferior of Vat. iber. 4, ff. 6–8, 10 (A1) [see Fig. 3]

2nd half of the eighth century, 260 × 156 mm

other parts of the same re-used codex: scriptio inferior of HMML, Ms. Frag. 32 and BnF géorgien 30, ff. 2–5

Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Historia religiosa (CPG 6221), chs. 13 (Life of Macedonius), 16 (Life of Maron), and 20 (Life of Maris)

f. 7v (upper half of the recto), col. A, line 2

ܘܒܠܐܘܬܐ ܢܟܢܫ ܥܘܬܪܐ ܪܘܚܢܝܐ‬‎

(καὶ ταλαιπωρούμενον καὶ τὸν ἐντεῦθεν συναγείροντα πλοῦτον = Historia religiosa 13.3; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 478.3.17–18).

f. 7v, col. B, bottom

ܐܡܪ ܒܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ [] ܕܝܢ [] ܗܘܘ ܗܠܝܢ ܡܢ ܡܦܫܩܢܐ ܝܘܢܝܐ‬‎

(Ταῦτα τῇ σύρᾳ κεχρημένος ἔλεγε γλώττῃ· οἱ δὲ τοῦ ἑρμηνέως εἰς τὴν ἑλλάδα φωνὴν = Historia religiosa 13.7; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 488.7.17–490.7.19).

f. 8r (the lower half of the recto), col. A, top

ܕܐܬܡܠܝ ܚܘܕܪܐ ܕܝܘܡ̈ܬܗ ܘܩܪܒ ܝܘܡܐ ܕܥܐܕܐ ܕܩܝܡܬܗ‬‎

(ὁ τῆς ἑβδομάδος συνεπεράνθη κύκλος καὶ ἧκε πάλιν τῆς δεσποτικῆς ἑορτῆς ἡ ἡμέρα = Historia religiosa 13.4; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 482.4.17–19).

f. 8r, col. B, top

ܐܢܐ ܕܝܢ ܣܒܪܢܐ [] () ܒܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܕܪܘܚܐ‬‎

(Ἐγὼ δὲ νομίζω πάντας ἂν ὁμολογῆσαι τῆς τοῦ θείου πνεύματος εἶναι ταῦτα τὰ ῥήματα χάριτος. = Historia religiosa 13.8; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 490.8.1–2).

f. 7r (upper half of the verso), col. A, bottom

ܣܗܕܘܬܐ ܡ‍ܢ ܫܐܕܐ [] () ܕܠܐ ܦܐܝܐ ܘܐܦ ܠܐ [] () ܕܒܥܘܡܪܐ ܕܕܝܪ̈ܝܐ ܢܫܬܠܡ [] ( ) ܐܫܬܘܕܝ ܐܒܘܗܝ ܕܛܠܝܬܐ‬‎

(τὴν τοῦ δαίμονος δέξασθαι μαρτυρίαν. Τοῦ δὲ λέγοντος οὐκ ἔννομον εἶναι οὐδὲ μὴν ὅσιον ἐν ἀσκητικῷ χωρίῳ γενέσθαι τὴν βάσανον, ἄξειν εἰς τὸ δικαστήριον ὁ τῆς κόρης πατὴρ τὸν θεῖον ὑπέσχετο = Historia religiosa 13.11; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 494.11.9–12).

f. 8v (lower half of the verso), col. A, top

ܓܝܪ ܛܘܒܢܐ ܡܩܕܢ‍()ܣ [] ܟܕ ܡܬܚܫܚ ܗܘܐ ܒܚܝܠܐ ܐܠܗܝܐ‬‎

(γὰρ ὁ μέγας Μακεδόνιος ἔδρα, τῇ ἐνοικούσῃ δυνάμει χρώμενος = Historia religiosa 13.11; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 494.11.15–16).

f. 8v, col. B, top

ܘܟܕ ܡܛܝ ܠܕܘܟܬܐ ܗ() [ ] ܗܘܐ ܓܒܪܐ ܗܘ ܐܠܗܝܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗ(ܘܐ) [] ܠܠܝܐ ܥܡܝܩܐ ܘܡܛܪܐ ܣܓܝܐ‬‎

(εἰς ἐκεῖνο τὸ χωρίον ἀφίκετο ἔνθα ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος ἦν. Νὺξ δὲ ἦν βαθεῖα καὶ νιφετὸς κατῄει πολὺς = Historia religiosa 13.14; ed. Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 498.14.2–4).

f. 10v (upper half of the recto), col. A

unidentified hagiographic text (followed by ch. 16)

f. 10v, col. B

unidentified hagiographic text (preceded by ch. 16), continues on f. 6r, col. B

f. 6r (lower half of the recto), col. A, top

ܣܡܐ ܕܚܫܚ ܠܗ ܡܩܪܒܝܢ ܨܠܘܬܐ ܕܝܢ ܕܩܕܝ̈ܫܐ‬‎

(τὸ κατάλληλον προσφέρουσι φάρμακον, ἡ δὲ τῶν ἁγίων προσευχὴ = Historia religiosa 16.2; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 2: 30.2.9–10).

f. 6r, col. B

unidentified hagiographic text, continues on f. 10r, col. A

f. 10r (upper half of the verso), col. A

unidentified hagiographic text, continues on f. 6v, col. A

f. 10r, col. B

unidentified hagiographic text, followed by ch. 20

f. 6v (lower half of the verso), col. A

unidentified hagiographic text, continues on f. 10r, col. B

f. 6v, col. B, top

ܘܠܐ ܚܘܠܛܢܗ ܕܥܡ ܣܓܝ̈ܐܐ‬‎

(οὐχ ἡ τῶν πολλῶν ἐπιμιξία = Historia religiosa 20.2; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 2: 66.2.10).

f. 6v, col. B, bottom

ܐܦ ܡܢ ܒܬܪ ܥܘܢܕܢܗ ܠܐ‬‎

(εἰ μὴ καὶ τελευτήσαντα = Historia religiosa 20.4; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 2: 68.4.12).

Script: neat small Estrangela, second half of the eighth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate clxiii = British Library, Add. 7157, dated 767/8 CE).

Layout: 2 cols. (column width 75–78 mm)31–c. 55 lines.

Orientation:32 ← →

Pattern of reuse: trimmed folio used as bifolium.

Reconstructed sequence: ff. 7v+8r (= folio A, recto), ff. 7r+8v (= folio A, verso), ff. 10v+6r (= folio B, recto), ff. 10r+6v (= folio B, verso); visible sewing station on ff. 6r and 6v.

5.1.2 Scriptio ima of Vat. iber, 4, ff. 6–8, 10 (A2) [see Fig. 3]

2nd half of the sixth century

other parts of the same re-used codex: scriptio ima of HMML, Ms. Frag. 32 and BnF géorgien 30, ff. 2–5

Gospel of Matthew, chs. 8, 9 (? Old Syriac version)

The undertext is nearly completely illegible, nevertheless it is possible to identify the presence of ch. 8 on ff. 6r and 10v, ch. 9 on f. 6v, ch. 27 on ff. 7r and 8v.

Legible passage on f. 10v, col. A:

Mt. 8:24–25

ܗܘ ܕܝܢ ܕܡܟ ܗ(ܘܐ) ܠܗ25ܘܩܪܒ‍(‍ܘ) ܬܠܡܝܕ(ܘܗܝ)‬‎
‮‭Sܗܘ ܕܝܢ ܕܡܝܟ ܗܘܐ25ܘܩܪܒܘ ܬܠܡܝܕܘ̈ܗܝ‬‎
‮‭—C‬‬‎
‮‭Pܗܘ ܕܝܢ ܝܫܘܥ ܕܡܝܟ ܗܘܐ25ܘܩܪܒܘ ܬܠܡܝܕܘ̈ܗܝ‬‎

Script: Estrangela, second half of the sixth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate xxvii = Vat. sir. 104, dated 564 CE).

Layout: 2 cols. (column width 75 mm)–c. 26 lines.

Orientation: ← →

Pattern of reuse: bifolium reused as bifolium.

Reconstructed sequence: ff. 7v+8r (= folio A, recto), ff. 7r+8v (= folio A, verso), ff. 10v+6r (= folio B, recto), ff. 10r+6v (= folio B, verso); visible sewing station on ff. 6r and 6v.

Comments: neither the Peshitta (P) nor the Sinaiticus (S) attests to the addition of lēh as dativus ethicus and none of them seem to render Greek ἐκάθευδεν using the construction of the perfect tense + hwā in Mt. 8:24. However, P adds ‘Jesus’, against the S and the Vatican fragment (the Curetonianus is not preserved for this passage).33 The presence of the Syriac lowest underwriting on every folio is confirmed.

5.1.3 Scriptio inferior of Vat. iber, 4, ff. 2–4, 9 (B) [see Fig. 2]

2nd half of the sixth century

Jacob of Serugh, Homily on the Nativity34

f. 4v, col. A, top:

ܥܠ ܗܝ ܕܐܬܝܬ ܒܥܐ ܐܢܐ ܡܪܝ ܠܡܡܠܠܘ‬‎

= Bedjan 1902 [= Bedjan & Brock 2006], 791.2.

f. 4v, col. B, bottom:

ܬܗܪܐ ܙܥ ܘܐܫܬ(ܬܩ ܡܢ) ܬܫܥܝܬܟ ܐܝܬ‬‎

= ibid. 792.15–16.

f. 4r, col. A, top:

ܕܗܡܣ ܒܟ ܐܝܬ ܗܕܝܘܛܐ‬‎

= ibid. 792.19–20.

f. 4r, col. B, bottom:

ܓܠܘ ܥܠ ܐܕܡ (ܢܦܢ‍)‍ܐܠܥܕܝܢ ܗ̇ܝ‬‎

= ibid. 794.15.

f. 3v, col. A, top:

ܒܐܝ̈ܕܝܐ ܕܗܘܝܘ ܡܪܢ ܕܐܬܐ ܠܝܠܕܐ ܕܠܐ ܙܘܘܓܐ‬‎

= ibid. 794.20–21.

f. 3v, col. B, bottom:

ܘܡܛܠܗܢܐ ܥܠܝܗ̇ ܩܐ(ܡ) ܗܘܐ ܫܡܗ̇ ܕܐܦܪ(ܬܐ)‬‎

= ibid. 796.13–14.

f. 3r, col. A, top:

ܕܛܥܘ ܐܝܟ ܚܝ̈ܘܬܐ ܩܘܪܝܬ‬‎

= ibid. 796.17–18.

f. 3r, col. B, bottom:

ܡ̈ܠܐ ܕܢܒܝܘܬܐ ܗܘܝ ܒܥܒܕܐ ܐܘ ܕܡܬܢܒܐ‬‎

= ibid. 798.10–11.

f. 9v, col. A, top:

ܕܒܥܐ ܕܢܬܢܒܐ ܬܘܒ‬‎

= ibid. 798.15.

f. 9v, col. B, bottom

illegible

f. 9r, col. A, top:

ܘܚܠܒܐ ܠܡܠܝܬ ܬܗܪܐ ܒܬܘܠܬܐ ܗܝ ܐܡܗ‬‎

= ibid. 800.8–9.

f. 9r, col. B, bottom:

ܐܝܟ ܐܫܥܝܐ ܩܪܝܘܗܝ ܕܘܡܪܐ [ܘܬܘܒ ܠܐ] ܬܡܪܚ‬‎

= ibid. 801.21.

f. 2v, col. A, top:

ܠܐ ܩܕܡ ܐܫܥܝܐ ܩܪܝܗܝ‬‎

= ibid. 802.3.

f. 2v, col. B, bottom:

ܐܕܡ ܗܘ ܘܒܬ(ܪ) (ܡܪܝܡ) ܝܚܝܕܝܐ ܠܗܠ‬‎

= ibid. 803.11–12.

f. 2r, col. A, top:

ܫܡܗ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܘܡܪܝܐ ܐܡܪ ܠܝ ܕܐܢܐ‬‎

= ibid. 803.15–16.

f. 2r, col. B, bottom:

ܡܪܝܡ ܐܝܟ (ܓܝܪܬܐ ܟܕ) ܠܐ ܓܪܬ‬‎

= ibid. 805.7.

Script: Estrangela, second half of the sixth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate xxvi = Vat. sir. 137, dated 564 CE).

Layout: 2 cols. (column width 50 mm)–c. 35 lines.

Pattern of reuse: trimmed bifolium used as bifolium.

Orientation: ↓

Reconstructed sequence: ff. 4v, 4r, 3v, 3r, 9v, 9r, 2v, 2r that correspond to two bifolia of the original codex, ff. 4–3 and ff. 9–2.

5.1.4 Scriptio ima of Vat. iber. 4, ff. 1, 5 (C) [see Fig. 1]

1st half of the sixth century

Mt. 11:30–12:26 (Old Syriac version)

f. 5r (upper half of the recto), col. A, lines 1–2:

‮‭)‬ ܒܣܝ‍)‍ܡ ܗܘ ( )‍ܠܝ ܩܠܝܠܐ‬‎

= Mt. 11:30

f. 1v (lower part of the recto), col. B, lines 14–15:

ܡܟܝܠ ܫ‍[‍ܠܝܛ‭[‬ ܒܫܒܬܐ []‬‎

= Mt. 12:12

f. 5v (upper half of the verso), col. A, lines 1–2:

‮‭]‬ܗܝ‍]‍ܕܝܢ ܐܡܪ ‭[]‬ ܗܘ ܦܫܘܛ‬‎

= Mt. 12:13

f. 1r (lower half of the recto), col. B, lines 14–15:

ܥܠܢܦܫ‍‭)‍‬ܗ‭(‬ ܡܬܦܠܓ ܐܝܟܢܐ ܗܟܝܠ‬‎

= Mt. 12:26

Script: Estrangela, first half of the sixth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate xiv = British Library, Add. 14455, dated 532 CE, Plate xix = British Library, Add. 17107, dated 540/1 CE, Plate xx = Vat. sir. 12, dated 548 CE).

Layout: 2 cols. (column width 75 mm)—28–30 lines.

Orientation: ← →

Pattern of reuse: trimmed folio used as bifolium.

Reconstructed sequence: ff. 5v+1r (= recto), 5r+1v (= verso)

Comments: for the identification of the middle underwriting in Greek, see Németh 2022. For a transcription of the legible text, see Kessel forthcoming b‮.‬‎ Remarkably, the Gospel text is identical to the Curetonianus (C) and supports all the instances in which the Curetonianus disagrees either with the Sinaiticus (S) or Peshitta (P).

Specimen (f. 1v, col. A):

Mt. 12.4

‮‭Vܐܝܟܢܐ ܥܠ ܠܒܝܬܗ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܘܐܟܠ ܡܢ ܠܚܡ ܐܦܐ ܕܠܐ ܠܗ ܫܠܝܛ ܗܘܐ ܠ‍(‍ܡܐܟܠ) ܐ(ܦܠܐ) ܠܐ(ܝܠܝܢ) ܕܥܡܗ ܐܠܐ () ܠܟܗܢܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ‬‎
‮‭Cܐܝܟܢܐ ܥܠ ܠܒܝܬܗ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܘܐܟܠ ܡܢ ܠܚܡ ܐܦ̈ܐ ܕܠܐ ܠܗ ܫܠܝܛ ܗܘܐ ܠܡܐܟܠ ܐܦܠܐ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܥܡܗ ܐܠܐ ܐܢ ܠܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ‬‎
‮‭Sܘܥܠ ܠܒܝܬܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܘܐܟܠ ܠܚܡ ܐܦܐ ܕܠܐ ܠܗ ܫܠܝܛ ܗܘܐ ܠܡܐܟܠ ܘܠܐ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܥܡܗ ܐܠܐ ܐܢ ܠܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ35‬‬‎
‮‭Pܐܝܟܢܐ ܥܠ ܠܒܝܬܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܘܠܚ̈ܡܐ ܕܦܬܘܪܗ ܕܡܪܝܐ ܐܟܠ ܗܘ ܕܠܐ ܫܠܝܛ ܗܘܐ ܠܗ ܠܡܐܟܠ ܘܠܐ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܥܡܗ ܐܠܐ ܐܢ ܠܟܗ̈ܢܐ ܒܠܚܘܕ‬‎

5.2 The Undertexts of HMML, Ms. Frag. 32

5.2.1 Scriptio inferior of HMML, Ms. Frag. 32 (bifolium) (A2) [see Fig. 4]

2nd half of the eighth century

other parts of the same re-used codex: scriptio inferior of Vat. iber. 4, ff. 6–8, 10 and BnF géorgien 30, ff. 3–5

Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Historia religiosa (CPG 6221) ch. 4 (life of Eusebius of Teleda)

recto, col. A, top:

ܕܝܢ ܟܠܚܕ ܚܕ ܡܢܗܘܢ ܠܗܕܡܐ ܕܓܘܫܡܗ ܒܡܝܬܪܘܬܐ‬‎

(δὲ τῶν τοῦ σώματος μορίων ἕκαστον τὴν ἀρετὴν = Historia religiosa 4.5; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 302.5.22).

recto, col. B, bottom:

ܬܢܐ ܗܘܐ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܪܓܝܓܝܢ ( ) ܕܢܐܠܦܘ() ܗܕܐ ܕܝܢ ܬܫܒܘܚܬܐ ܕܛܘܒܢܐ ܐܘܣܒܝܣ‬‎

(τοῖς τὰ τοιάδε μανθάνειν ἐφιεμένοις καὶ τόδε προσέφερε τὸ διήγημα. Τοῦτο τὸ κλέος αὐτοῦ = Historia religiosa 4.7–8; Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977–1979, 1: 308.7.28-29-8.1).

(The continuation of the text is to be found in BnF géorgien 30, f. 5r)

verso:

Separate words are legible, particularly pertaining to Historia religiosa 4.3.

Script: neat small Estrangela, second half of the eighth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate clxiii = British Library, Add. 7157, dated 767/8 CE).

Layout: 2 cols., a total number of lines per column is impossible to ascertain.

Orientation: ↓

Pattern of reuse: trimmed upper half of bifolium used as bifolium. The lower part of the same trimmed bifolium is today BnF géorgien 30, ff. 4–5.

5.2.2 Scriptio ima of HMML, Ms. Frag. 32 (A2) [see Fig. 4]

2nd half of the sixth century

other parts of the same re-used codex: scriptio ima of Vat. iber. 4, ff. 6–8, 10 and BnF géorgien 30, ff. 2–5

Gospel of Matthew, ch. 13 (? Old Syriac version)

The undertext is nearly completely illegible. Legible passage in the middle of the verso:

Mt. 13:49–50

‮(ܢܦ‍)‍ܩܘܢ ܡܠܐܟ‍(‍ܐ) (ܘܢܦ‍)‍ܪܫܘܢ ܠܒܝܫܐ ܡܢ (ܒܝ‍)‍ܢܬ (ܙܕܝܩ‍)‍ܐ50‬ (ܘܢ‍)‍ܪܡܘܢ ܐܢܘ(‍ܢ) (ܒ‍)‍ܐܬܘܢܐ ܕܢܘܪܐ‬‎

Script: Estrangela, second half of the sixth century (cf. Hatch 2012, Plate xxvii = Vat. sir. 104, dated 564 CE).

Layout: 2 cols., a total number of lines per column is impossible to ascertain.

Orientation: ↓

Pattern of reuse: bifolium reused as bifolium.

Comments: the text agrees with the Sinaiticus and the Curetonianus (S=C: ‮ܠܒܝ̈ܫܐ ܡܢ ܒܝܢܬ ܙܕܝ̈ܩܐ‬‎) against the Peshitta (P: ‮ܒܝ̈ܫܐ ܡܢ ܒܝܢܝ ܙܕܝ̈ܩܐ‬‎); visible fold and sewing stations.

6 Conclusion

A total of twelve folios deriving from Sin. geo. 49—and preserved as Vat. iber. 4 and HMML Ms. Frag. 32—attest to the reuse of four Syriac manuscripts, each of which is a rare or unique witness for the text it originally contained. A sixth-century copy of the Old Syriac Gospels was later reused to copy the Apophthegmata Patrum in Greek. The palimpsest fragment can now be considered as the fourth known witness to the early Syriac translation of the Gospels. Another sixth-century Gospel book was reused in the eighth century to produce a hagiographic miscellany that comprised many lives from the Syriac version of the Historia religiosa of Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Only individual texts of the Historia religiosa have survived until today, and the reused folios will contribute significantly to the study of its reception in the Syriac tradition. Yet another sixth-century codex contains the homilies of a Syriac writer Jacob of Serugh. Notwithstanding the availability of other (quite often old) copies of Jacob’s homily On the Nativity of our Lord, the newly identified palimpsest witness is undoubtedly one of the oldest ones (if not the oldest).

There can be no doubt that while producing a Georgian manuscript Iovane Zosime had at his disposal a significant stockpile of parchment already prepared for reuse; some of these had been reused before. This suggests that the scribe was in need of writing materials, and that, consequently, he was ready to reuse any kind of material available to him. A similar tendency towards largescale reuse can be observed not only in other manuscripts produced by Iovane Zosime36 but also by other contemporary scribes such as Thomas of Fusṭaṭ, who, for example, reused parts of nineteen different manuscript for the production of Sin. ar. 514, also known as the Codex Arabicus.37 The affinity between these complex palimpsests highlights the need for a more global examination of manuscript production during the ninth and tenth centuries both in Palestine and Sinai.38

Acknowledgments

The author is indebted to Dr. András Németh (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) for facilitating access to the enhanced images of Vat. iber. 4 as well as for helpful suggestions. The open access publication of the article has been generously supported by the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Figures

d1214371e2219

Figure 1

BAV, Vat. iber. 4, ff. 5v+1r (scriptio ima: trimmed verso side of a folio from the copy of the Old Syriac Gospels, here Mt. 12:13–12:26)

Citation: The Vatican Library Review 1, 2 (2022) ; 10.1163/27728641-00102003

© BAV; multispectral imaging by BAV; post-processing by Keith Knox
d1214371e2250

Figure 2

BAV, Vat. iber. 4, f. 9r (scriptio inferior: a slightly trimmed page from a copy of Jacob of Serug’s Homily on the Nativity, text here corresponds to p. 800, line 8–p. 801, line 21 of the Bedjan’s edition)

Citation: The Vatican Library Review 1, 2 (2022) ; 10.1163/27728641-00102003

© BAV; multispectral imaging by BAV; post-processing by András Németh
d1214371e2282

Figure 3

BAV, Vat. iber. 4, ff. 7r+8v (scriptio inferior: trimmed verso side of a folio from the codex containing a selection from the Historia religiosa by Theodoret of Cyrrhus, here the Life of Macedonius; scriptio ima: a trimmed page from the Syriac Gospel Book, here col. A contains Mt. 27:38–42)

Citation: The Vatican Library Review 1, 2 (2022) ; 10.1163/27728641-00102003

© BAV; multispectral imaging by BAV; post-processing by András Németh
d1214371e2320

Figure 4

HMML, Ms. Frag. 32, verso (scriptio inferior: trimmed upper half of bifolium from the codex containing a selection from the Historia religiosa by Theodoret of Cyrrhus, here the Life of Eusebius of Teleda; scriptio ima: trimmed upper half of a page from the Syriac Gospels Book, here Mt. 13:49–50 is legible in the middle)

Citation: The Vatican Library Review 1, 2 (2022) ; 10.1163/27728641-00102003

multispectral imaging by R.B. Toth Associates and Equipoise Imaging; post-processing by András Németh; published with the permission of HMML
1

A digitized black and white microfilm is available at https://www.loc.gov/item/00279387107-ms/ (accessed November 8, 2021).

2

Tsagareli 1888, 217 (no. 51).

3

Meṭreveli & Čanḳievi & Xevsuriani & Ǯġamaia 1978, 156–162, here 156–157. On Iovane Zosime, see, for example, Tarchnišvili & Assfalg 1955, 109–114. For the connections between the monasteries of St. Sabas and St. Catherine, see Rapp 2020 and Pataridze 2020.

4

Géhin 2017.

5

For some examples (involving the manuscripts produced by Iovane Zosime), see Brock 2012a, 8–11 and Brock 2012b, 488–493.

6

Aleksidze & Shanidze & Khevsuriani & Kavtaria 2005, 158, 310, 437. For the significance of the New Finds, particularly for Syriac studies, see Brock 2011.

7

Outtier 1984, 73–75, see also Outtier 1972.

8

Ch. 1 (Jacob of Nisibis), ch. 2 (Julian Saba) and ch. 17 (Abraham of Harran), cf. Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977, 1: 60–62.

9

See Vat. iber. 4 at https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.iber.4 and HMML, Ms Frag. 32 at https://www.vhmml.org/readingRoom/view/512195, both accessed on 9/5/2022.

10

https://sinai.library.ucla.edu (accessed November 8, 2021).

11

The fragment remains uncatalogued and is not mentioned in Chkhikvadze & Karanadze & Kekelia & Shatirishvili 2018. Nothing is known about the acquisition of the manuscript and no record has been found so far in the archives of the Vatican Library. Nevertheless, given the fact that all the Syriac manuscripts of Sinaitic provenance held at the Vatican Library were previously in the private collection of Friedrich Grote, it is highly likely that Vat. iber. 4 belonged to the same collection (Géhin 2017, 8–9, 224–225). The same apparently holds true for BnF géorgien 30: these Syriac manuscript fragments of Sinaitic provenance at the BnF likewise come from the collection of Grote (Géhin 2017, 219–220). For Grote, see also Tarras 2020. Reportedly, Grote’s collection included several Georgian manuscripts (cf., for instance, Simon 1934, 100) and after his death Grote’s widow was planning to sell them (Peradze 1999, 209 n. 30).

12

Outtier 1984, 74.

13

Personal communication by Dr. Delio Vanio Proverbio (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana).

14

For the reconstruction of the correct sequence, see Outtier 2022.

15

Németh 2022.

16

Private communication of Columba Stewart, OSB (HMML), October 18, 2020. It is worth noting that the fragment does not seem to feature in the sales catalogues of the Leipzig book dealer K.W. Hiersemann, through whom several manuscript and fragments of Sinaitic provenance reached the US collections. The fragment is not mentioned in Chkhikvadze et al. 2018.

17

https://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0048/SJUMSFrag32/ (accessed November 8, 2021).

18

https://w3id.org/vhmml/readingRoom/view/512195 (accessed November 8, 2021). For additional details about the study of the palimpsest fragment and the advanced imaging technology that was employed, see https://hmml.org/research/palimpsest/ (accessed November 8, 2021), and also Toth et al. 2020.

19

Another part of the same reused codex is BnF géorgien 30, ff. 2–5 (the text was identified in Outtier 1984).

20

Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977, 1: 57–60.

21

The editors of the Greek text refrained from using the Syriac version for establishment of the critical edition by reason of insignificant variations (Canivet & Leroy-Molinghen 1977, 1: 60), for which they, unfortunately, do not provide any example.

22

Decipherment of additional text will facilitate determining whether this witness indeed represents the Old Syriac version; there remains, however, a possibility that it could be a copy of the Peshitta version that has preserved some elements of the Old Syriac version (for the phenomenon of Pre-Peshitta, see Black 1972 and Juckel 2009).

23

Outtier 1984, 73–74. I plan to study the Gospel text in a separate publication.

24

Two other homilies by Jacob of Serugh have been recently identified in palimpsests: Müller-Kessler 2020, Kessel forthcoming a.

25

The English translation can be found in Kollamparampil 2010, 186–226.

26

Wright 1871, 507.

27

They have been inventoried in Vööbus 1973, 1980.

28

Németh 2022.

29

Kessel forthcoming b.

30

An up-do-date survey of extant manuscript evidence can be found in Haelewyck 2017 and Haelewyck 2019 [English translation of the former contribution].

31

According to Outtier, the original manuscript was arranged in three columns (Outtier 1984, 74), but I do not find any confirmation for that.

32

Orientation of the reading direction of re-used folios in relationship to the upper text.

33

Kiraz 1996, 105.

34

Akhrass 2015, 120, no. 203.

35

The text of the Sinaiticus is reproduced here following a new edition by D.G.K. Taylor who most kindly shared it with me ahead of publication.

36

For some examples, see Brock 2012a, 8–11, Brock 2012b, 488–493.

37

Kessel forthcoming a.

38

M. Kohlbacher suggests that the large-scale recycling, particularly on Sinai, was was the consequence of intense scribal activity (Kohlbacher 2009, 309–310). For the reuse of Syriac manuscripts during the period under consideration, see also Brock 2015, 161–162, for Syriac palimpsests more broadly, see Schmidt 2009.

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