Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sinaiticus & Mark's Ending (Pt 10): replacement sheet 1

We will be better equipped to discern the borders and purpose of the "cancel sheets" in Aleph if we examine first the more obvious of the two.   I refer here to the sheet making up folios 2 and 7 in Quire 75, replaced by Scribe D and covering pages 3 & 4 (Matthew 16:9-18:12) and pages 13 & 14 (Matt. 24:35-26:6) of the Quire.  Recall again the layout of a quire below:
In our case for Quire 75, the replacement sheet replaces folios #2 and #7 (second sheet from bottom: these were misnumbered by Myshrall as 74-2, 74-7, but are in fact 75-2 and 75-7).

Since the replacement sheet was apparently done in the scriptorium by the original scribes, there is nothing obvious about the vellum itself to distinguish it from the vellum used elsewhere.   However, the borders between scribes are well-defined in this case, by several signs:

Click to Enlarge: backbutton to return

(1) The red Eusebian marginal numberings are missing completely from all four pages.  This indicates the sheet was replaced after they had already been added to the manuscript, and after this quire was completed by Scribe A.  

This does not necessarily prove either they or the replacement sheet were done before the MS left the scriptorium.  On the contrary, all it shows is that the Eusebian numberings are contemporary with and prior to the replacement sheet.  Although it is near-certain that Scribe D (who wrote other sections) wrote the sheet, this doesn't mean the MS never left the scriptorium.  It is quite possible that it went out, a complaint was made, and it was sent back for repair, at which time the sheet was replaced.   But it seems clear that both the Eusebian marks and the replacement sheet were done very close to the time of manufacture.

(2) The replacement pages have Scribe D's trademark 'fill-characters' (">") at the ends of lines in every column of the replacement pages.  And with only one exception (a single ">" on page 9, column 4), these appear only on the replacement pages.

This flourish is not merely decorative (giving the right-margin sharper definition), but also appears to make the replacement pages easy to find and indicate the completion of the the repair beyond any doubt.  As this was a very expensive and time-consuming operation, this was probably done for billing purposes, or to provide proof the repair-work was done as ordered.

There was no attempt to hide the replacement job in any sinister sense.  Instead, it appears that the repair was done essentially to restore the text, but also carefully preserve the look and style of the manuscript throughout.  This is why the Scribes are careful to write so similarly.

(3) The problem-area was on Folio 2.  This becomes obvious when we compare the material originally done by Scribe A on the surrounding pages.  Scribe D crams an extra 120 - 350 letters on his replacement pages 3 and 4.  This is a large discrepancy, amounting to from 2 - 12 verses!   The material on the other end of the sheet, pages 13-14, although slightly higher than average, is about the same as that on the surrounding pages in the last half of the Quire.

Click to Enlarge

(4) Scribe A had omitted a large portion of text, requiring the extreme solution of replacing the pages.  In other places Scribe D (the overseer/corrector) is content to insert up to 72 characters in the margin of the manuscript, without replacing pages.

More to follow...


No comments: