CATENA project identifies new manuscripts of the Greek New Testament

Professor Hugh Houghton and Dr Mina Monier in the Patriarchal Library in Alexandria

The CATENA project has identified four new manuscripts of the Greek New Testament!

Funded by the European Research Council, under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 770816), the CATENA project at ITSEE in the University of Birmingham is examining commentary manuscripts in the history of the Greek New Testament.

On an expedition to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria with Dr Mina Monier, Professor Hugh Houghton recently discovered four unregistered manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. One of them is a catena manuscript of the four gospels, with a complete biblical text. Given that there are few surviving catena manuscripts copied before the ninth century, the tenth-century date of this witness makes it among the earliest, especially for those in 'frame catena' format. Even though the biblical text is in majuscule script, the manuscript has now been allocated the number GA 2937 in the official register of Greek New Testament manuscripts (the Kurzgefasste Liste). The others are three lectionaries (one in majuscule script), copied between the tenth and sixteenth century, which have been added to the Kurzgefasste Liste as L2477, L2478 and L2479. News of the discovery has been released on the NT.VMR blog.

In addition to discovering these manuscripts, Professor Houghton and Dr Monier also visited the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, where they examined the Akhmim Fragment of the Gospel of Peter, which was previously thought to have been lost. There are also several New Testament papyri also now held in the museum of the library: the location information for these witnesses will be updated in the next version of the Kurzgefasste Liste.

A full description of the manuscripts, with illustrations, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Theological Studies. It has also been uploaded to the University of Birmingham Institutional Research Archive, where the full abstract can be read.