THE ACTS AND LETTERS OF THE APOSTLES, in Greek, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Greece, mid-11th century]
227 x 174mm. 155 leaves, modern foliation in pencil followed here, 27 lines in two columns written in Greek minuscule in black ink, each column between two verticals (with two further verticals to the left and right) and 29 horizontals ruled in blind, versal initials alternately in blue and red, scholia in contemporary and later hands throughout, headings for the Euthalian prologues, rubrics and colophons in red, ONE INTERLACE HEADPIECE of blue, gold and red opening the Acts of the Apostles, the Catholic Epistles and the Epistles of Paul headed by interlace ribbons of blue (lacking a leaf between ff.45 and 46, the text ending with the final Pauline epistle to Philemon, but lacking perhaps a gathering at the end, heavy staining and some worming and cockling to opening and closing gatherings in particular, occasional holes and tears affecting a few words of text, f.115 loose, some leaves cropped and repaired, affecting original text on ff.1, 64, 111, and 131, the missing letters restored in a later hand). Alla Greca binding of blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, c.1500 (the leather entirely detached from the upper board and in a fragmentary state, both boards heavily wormed, with only half of the lower board surviving).
(a) The Greek minuscule is associable with the conservative liturgical script of the so-called codices vetustissimi and codices vetusti of the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries: the lettering is well formed and exact. At the same time, there is a tendency in the present manuscript to slope the writing, and the letters are more spaced than in earlier centuries. The introduction of enlarged letters and uncial forms among the minuscules is a habit that is also evident in a book of Canons of 1042, now Bodleian Library, Barocci MS 196 (see Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Paleography, Oxford, 1912, no 65), and it is probable that both manuscripts were written at around the same time. (b) Occasional restoration of text and scholia in later hands: the heading to the Epistles of Paul on f.70v, for example, has been restored in a late 15th-century Greek cursive; it is likely that the manuscript remained in Greece for several centuries after its production: the binding is alla Greca, c.1500, with tooling reminiscent of Italian bindings of the period. (c) Given to a 19th-century owner by someone from Epirus '?p? ?pe???t??', ownership note dated October 1891 pasted on the inner upper cover.
Acts of the Apostles ff. 1-47v; Catholic Epistles (with Euthalian prologues) ff. 48-70: Epistle of James ff. 48-53, First Epistle of Peter ff. 53-58, Second Epistle of Peter ff. 58-62, First Epistle of John ff. 62-67, Second Epistle of John ff. 67-68, Third Epistle of John ff.68-69, Epistle of Jude ff.69-70; Pauline Epistles (with Euthalian prologues) ff. 70v-155v.
A HANDSOME, EARLY AND UNRECORDED MANUSCRIPT OF THE ACTS AND LETTERS OF THE APOSTLES. The text displays the characteristics of the Byzantine text-type, the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts of the New Testament. But where the Pauline epistles are usually placed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic Epistles, here they appear at the end of the manuscript -- a relatively uncommon feature found only in a handful of other manuscripts (see Gregory-Aland minuscules 175, 325, 336, and 1424). It lacks the Gospels, but by all accounts this seems to have been a deliberate choice. The manuscript is not recorded in the official list of New Testament manuscripts held by the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster.