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Commentary Manuscripts in the History and Transmission of the Greek New Testament

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CATENA (Commentary Manuscripts in the History and Transmission of the Greek New Testament)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-06-01 do 2022-11-30

Manuscripts which contain commentary alongside the biblical text are some of the most significant and complicated witnesses to the Greek New Testament. First compiled in the fifth or sixth century, the commentaries consist of chains of extracts from earlier writers (catenae). These manuscripts became the main way in which users encountered both the text and the interpretation of the New Testament; revised editions produced in the eleventh and twelfth centuries continued to hold the field until the invention of printing.

Recent advances have shown that commentary manuscripts play a much more important role than previously thought in the history of the New Testament. The number of known copies has increased by 20% following a preliminary survey in 2016 which identified 100 additional manuscripts. A recent comprehensive textual analysis of the Catholic Epistles indicated that all witnesses from the third generation onwards (some 72% of the total) could stem from the biblical text of three commentary manuscripts occupying a key place in the textual tradition. Investigation of the catena on Mark has shown that the selection of extracts could offer a new approach to understanding the theology of the compilers and the transmission of the commentaries.

The CATENA Project employs digital tools to undertake a fuller examination of Greek New Testament commentary manuscripts than has ever before been possible. The project has produced the first comprehensive catalogue of Greek New Testament catenae (Parpulov 2021) and numerous studies of the catena tradition and individual manuscripts. It has led to the discovery of 35 unregistered Greek New Testament manuscripts and improved understanding of numerous others, including the identification of manuscripts copied from other surviving documents or printed editions. It has also led to the identification of twenty-four new types of catena, some attested only by individual manuscripts (codices singuli) and others present in a group of witnesses. The relationship of the major catena traditions has been re-examined, with particular reference to the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles. This, in turn, has shed new light on the composition practice of the catenae and the way in which they were transmitted. The project has also been responsible for the preparation of a full critical apparatus of two hundred Greek manuscripts of the Epistle to the Galatians, which leading to a fresh understanding of the textual significance of catena manuscripts for the text of the New Testament.
The first objective of the project was to produce a full catalogue of Greek New Testament catena manuscripts.
In month 4, the project released a full checklist of 646 New Testament catena manuscripts, available at
In month 36, a printed catalogue of Greek New Testament Catenae was published (Parpulov, 2021).
In month 36, a searchable online database with 688 Greek New Testament catena manuscripts was released at
The project has identified over 50 manuscripts not previously recognised as catenae, and added 36 manuscripts to the official register of Greek New Testament manuscripts (as well as updating entires for 10 others).

The second objective is to examine the nature and structure of Greek New Testament catenae.
The project has identified 20 catena types not currently listed in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum, and is working to publish descriptions of them and integrate them into this official catalogue using the Open Access Clavis Clavium platform. 10 catenae have so far been incorporated into the platform.
Three doctoral projects are examining the Pseudo-Oecumenian Catena on Romans, the Catenae on Acts, and the Catenae on the Gospels. An edition is also in preparation of unique catenae on Luke.

The third objective is to locate catenae within the textual tradition of the New Testament.
This will be done by examining particular books as test-cases, especially the Pauline Epistles.
In months 1-36, the project has produced double transcriptions of over 120 manuscripts of the Epistle to the Romans in Greek. After checking and proofreading, these will be released online and collated to create a critical apparatus. The project is also working on an apparatus of the Epistle to the Galatians featuring catena manuscripts.
In month 36, 68 proofread transcriptions of Romans were published at

By month 36, the project had published 3 monographs, 4 journal articles and 4 book chapters. 3 more articles have been accepted by peer-reviewed journals.
Team members have given 4 public lectures and 14 conference or workshop presentations. The project hosted a consultation of European experts in Brussels in month 20.
Work on the catalogue has identified 50 catena manuscripts not included in the checklist published in 2016.
The project has also identified 36 previously unknown manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, and 5 additional fragments from registered manuscripts.
The project has identified 20 unknown types of catena. 10 of these have now been added to the online Clavis Clavium, with the assignment of CPG reference sigla.
The others are being prepared for publication and the assignment of reference sigla.
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