New entries to the "Liste"

Since June 2018, when the most recent supplement to the Liste was circulated, we have added 11 new manuscripts to the Liste. They are as follows:

Gospels with commentary
10th century
263 leaves
1 column, 35 lines
Size: 24 x 20
Location: Alexandria, Greek Patriarchate, 122

John 2:14-24
10th/11th century
1 folio
1 column, 19 lines
Size: 20.9 x 15.9
Location: Waltham, MA, Tufts University, Welch Collection, AC.40.17

Gospels (incomplete)
11th century
Parchment and paper
199 leaves
1 column, 23-24 lines
Size: 17.5 x 14.5
Location: Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Q 743

Mt 28:1-20
11th/12th century
2 folios
1 column, 18 lines
Size: 22.9/23.3 x 15.1/9
Location: Athens, National Library, 4189, fol. 184-185

Greek-Arabic Gospel lectionary
277 leaves
Column and lines are unknown
Size: 27 x 18
Location: Alexandria, Greek Patriarchate, 290

John 6:42-44, 48-54; 15:17-16:2, from a majuscule lectionary
10th century
2 leaves, used as flyleaves for l797
2 columns, 17 lines
Size: 27.9 x 20.7
Location: Alexandria, Greek Patriarchate, 56 (flyleaves of l797)

Gospel lectionary
13th century
271 leaves
2 columns, 25-27 lines
Size: 30 x 21.8
Location: Alexandria, Greek Patriarchate, 108

Majuscule Gospel lectionary (esk) (incomplete)
10th century
48 leaves
2 columns, 25-26 lines
Size: 25.5/8 x 19/19.3
Location: Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Fol. 531

Gospel lectionary
11th/12th century
1 leaf
2 columns, 17(?) lines
Size: 18 x 24.5
Location: Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Q 738

Gospel lectionary (e)
11th/12th century
220 leaves
2 columns, 21 lines
Size: 27.5 x 21/22
Location: Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Fol. 532

Gospels and Apostolos lectionary (select readings)
16th/17th century
60 leaves
1 column, 24-25 lines
Size: 20.2/3 x 14.5/6
Location: Athens, National Library, 4174, fol. 104-163

Thanks to Hugh Houghton for pointing out GA numbers 2937, L2477, L2478, and L2479. These new manuscripts were discovered through the European Research Council-funded CATENA project. New shelf numbers for 904, 1302, 2206, and L1310 have also been updated, thanks to Hugh. These will be further described in his forthcoming article with Mina Monier “Greek Manuscripts in Alexandria.”

Thanks to Dan Wallace and CSNTM for pointing out GA numbers 2940 and L2483. They also identified portions of other manuscripts that are supplements. Accordingly, notes in the Liste have been added for 763, 897, and 2528.

How to Index Manuscripts on the VMR


This post will briefly explain indexing in the Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR) and why it is important. Simply put, indexing is recording the biblical contents of each page of a manuscript in the VMR. After a manuscript has been indexed, it is possible to scroll through its pages and see what the contents of each page are; thus indexing is an essential first step in being able to transcribe a manuscript and provides an important service for users of the VMR around the world.


The gadget on the VMR homepage displays the progress of indexing, as well as image uploading and transcribing.

According to this gadget, the percentages of manuscript pages already indexed are:

Papyri: 95.15%

Majuscules: 79.31%

Minuscules: 17.70%

Lectionaries: 1.30%

Total: 12.42%

A total of 265,711 pages of manuscripts have been indexed, but this is only 12.42% of the total number of pages (this is an approximation of the total number of pages of Greek New Testament manuscripts). As you can see, much more work remains to be done! Indexing is open to everyone. Before you can start you must sign up for a VMR account. Signing up is free and will enable your work to be saved.


How to Index

Let’s say, for example, a manuscript begins with the Gospel of Matthew. The first page of this manuscript could start with Matthew chapter one, verse one, and the first page may end with verse seven. We would then index this page as “Matt 1:1-7.”


The next page of this manuscript would continue either with the rest of verse seven or begin with verse eight and it might also contain, say, seven verses. If so, we would index this page as either “Matt 1:7-13” or “Matt 1:8-14.”


Now, let’s move on to a real example!


To begin indexing, go to the VMR homepage and then click on “Indexing.”


Here you are prompted to enter the Document ID of the manuscript you want to work on. (See here for an explanation of “Document ID” and how to view manuscripts in the VMR).



If you don’t know the Document ID, you can type in the GA number, wait for a drop down list of manuscripts that match the number, and then click on the manuscript you want.


If you type in 20001, for example, and click on it, it brings you to the indexing page of Codex Sinaiticus. If you look at PageID 40 (which is folio 200r of the manuscript), you can see in the Index Coverage field that the contents have already been recorded, which is the inscriptio for Matthew as well as the entire first chapter and the first five verses of chapter two.


The next page picks up where the previous one left off, with Matthew 2:6.


Standard abbreviations for biblical books should be used here (e.g. Rom, Gal, Eph, Phil), and books with a number in the name like 1 Corinthians have no space in their abbreviation: 1Cor. Here is a list of books with their abbreviations:



Book Name

Abbreviation in VMR













1 Corinthians


2 Corinthians










1 Thessalonians


2 Thessalonians


1 Timothy


2 Timothy










1 Peter


2 Peter


1 John


2 John


3 John







After the book name comes a space, then chapter number, colon, and the verse spread with a hyphen, e.g. Rom 1:20-25. Each new image must always have the book name and chapter; you cannot just add the next set of verses. If the image contains text from two chapters, you will need to repeat the book name, for example, you can see here that the next chapter of Matthew has repeated information after a semi-colon, Matt 2:6-23; Matt 3:1-7. If a verse spans two pages, index it on both images.


To save the information you have added, click on the Save button . Then move onto the next image, and so on.


Now let’s view a manuscript that has not yet been completely indexed, for example, GA 2884. Go to the indexing page of 2884 and then click on an image. After clicking on an image, your web browser should have opened a new window with the image. If no new window opened, check your browser’s settings so that it allows pop-ups (at least for the VMR site).


To index the page that popped-up, look at the first several words to see where it begins and the last several words to see where it ends. For example, with GA 2884, PageID 40, the first words are αραμ αραμ δε εγεννησε.

The first instance of αραμ here is the last word of Matt 1:3, and the second αραμ is the first word of Matt 1:4. So, we know the indexing of this page begins with Matt 1:3. Now we need to determine what verse the page ends with. The last few words are οζιας δε εγε. This is the beginning of Matt 1:9 (the rest of the final word “εγεννησε” continues on to the next page). Therefore, we can index this page as Matt 1:3-9.


While indexing, the next page automatically picks up where the previous one left off. Check carefully whether the next page continues with the rest of the verse (e.g. verse 9) or begins with the next one (e.g. verse 10) and change the indexing accordingly.


If a page has inscription (e.g. "The Gospel according to Matthew") or subscription, index it as "Matt inscriptio" or "Matt subscriptio." Make sure that the inscriptio stands before the first verse 1:1, and the subcriptio after the last verse of the text.


If there are text of several wrintings of the New Testament on one page, e.g. John then Mark, index them in the order that they appear on the page.


Searching for Text

Admittedly, it is not always easy to determine the contents of a page. For example, manuscripts that are incomplete may begin with the middle of a book. So how can you index a page if you don’t (yet) have the entire Greek New Testament memorized?


The tool “Bible Viewer” on the right-hand column of the Indexing page can assist with this. There are two options here: (1) “Chapter” where you can type in any verse (e.g. Rom 10:3) and see the Greek text of the NA28; and (2) “Search” where you can type in words to try and find a verse that matches.


Using “Search,” you can type (in Unicode Greek) a word (or more) from the page you want to index and see what the results are. Using the above example, if you type αραμ δε εγεννησε, the results are Matt 1:3 and Matt 1:4.


If you type just δε, for example, you will get too many results to find the right verse, and the “Search” feature will not display more than 100 results. This can be especially tricky when you are trying to index a manuscript that is difficult to read and perhaps only such common words are easily visible.


Try to select less frequently used words, if possible, but also keep in mind that you might be typing in an orthographic spelling or a variant that is not in the main text of the NA28. In this case, you might not get any results at all and you will need to find other words to use as a marking place.


If you are indexing a commentary manuscript, first make sure to ascertain what part is the biblical text. Searching for words of the commentary will not give you the correct results.


If you are proceeding page by page in a continuous text manuscript, there will be no need to keep using the “Chapter” or “Search” tool. You will already know at the end of one page where the next begins.


Correcting Indexing

If you make a mistake and need to correct a page that you’ve indexed, simply enter in the correct information on the Indexing page. If you come across an indexed page of a manuscript that you didn’t index yourself (see image below), you cannot change this.



If you notice incorrect indexing, please write a message in the forum (see image below) and provide the correct indexing in your comment. Someone will correct it.



Adding Folio Numbers

While indexing the biblical contents for each page, you should also enter the corresponding folio numbers. After the folio number, add an "r" (for recto, on the right) or a "v" (for verso, on the left, the reverse of the page). Occasionally manuscripts are numbered sequentially with a page number for each side. In this case, these should be numbered sequentially to match. It can often be helpful to browse through the manuscript to look at any other pages that have already been indexed to see how these page numbers have been indexed and try to match them. Some manuscripts have two sets of numbering, so again, check what has already been indexed and try to follow the numbering already being used. If you are still unsure how to count folios with recto and verso, just leave the field blank.


Identifying Features

You also have the option to mark certain features found on the page, for example, if a manuscript is illuminated, has a colophon or a commentary text. These are found by clicking on the black triangle in the image below. You can hover your curser over each box to see what the abbreviations stand for. In the example below, folio 105r of GA 1253 has been marked as having a headpiece (i.e. illustration at the beginning of the book) and a commentary text.


Any blank pages and pages that have no biblical content to index should be marked as "NoIdx" even if the page also has another feature, such as "CaTa" (canon tables) or "KeLi" (kephalaia list). It may be necessary to tick more than one feature for some pages.


If you checkmark "ComTx" (i.e. a commentary text marker for commentary manuscripts), this will also automatically tick the "NoIdx" box, which will then need to be unticked if any entry is made in the Index Coverage box. Here is an indexed paged of a commentary manuscript, GA 1253, as an example of what the indexing could look like when viewed in Manuscript Workspace when a commentary page has no biblical content (i.e. folio 104r) and when it has both biblical content and commentary (i.e. 105r):


You may come across an animated dancing cow when you are on the Indexing page. This means there is no content to index, as seen here for the Latin pages of Codex Bezae (GA 05).


Which Manuscripts Need to Be Indexed?

If you are working on one of the ECM projects, you should be given a list of manuscripts to work on for your project. If you are working on your own project, however, the choice of manuscripts is up to you! Whatever you index will be available for everyone to see, and what others have indexed is available for you to see.


In Indexing Status, you can find a list of all manuscripts that have not been completely indexed yet. You may claim responsibility for indexing a manuscript if you want.


We hope you enjoy contributing to indexing and that you also benefit from the work others have done. Have fun and don’t hesitate to ask questions in the VMR forum if you get stuck!


Thank you to Amy Myshrall (ITSEE Birmingham) and the staff at the INTF for their helpful suggestions and additions to this post!

How to View Greek New Testament Manuscripts in the VMR

For those who are new to the VMR or just getting started, there are several ways to find a Greek New Testament manuscript in the VMR.

Option 1: Liste


A first option would be to click on the VMR Homepage. From the Homepage, click on “Liste” in the left-hand column.



The first field here is called “Manuscript Num.”



There are two options: search by “Name” or by “ID”.



If you are familiar with the Gregory-Aland (GA) numbers and know the GA number of the manuscript you are looking for, simply type that number under “Name” and then hit enter (or scroll down to the “Search” button).


The label is called “Name” instead of “Gregory-Aland number” because many manuscripts in the VMR, such as Coptic or Latin manuscripts, do not have a GA number but instead have their own unique identification system. We intend for the label “Name” to be generic enough to include all manuscripts, no matter the cataloguing system.


Lists of GA numbers can be found in the Kurzgefasste Liste, the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, and the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, among other places.


If you want to look at images of Codex Sinaiticus, for example, type “01” as the “Name” (typing “Sinaiticus” as the name will not pull up the manuscript).


Each manuscript is given a unique ID number in the VMR. Codex Sinaiticus, for example, has the ID 20001. The ID number is primarily for use within the VMR program, and we do not advocate using it to identify these manuscripts outside of the VMR. That said, if you wanted to locate a manuscript by its ID number in the VMR, you would enter a 5-digit number, entering 1 for a papyrus, 2 for a majuscule, 3 for a minuscule, or 4 for a lectionary, and then zeros if space allows, then its Gregory-Aland number. So, papyrus P52 would be entered as 10052. Minuscule 2926 would be entered as 32926. Lectionary L844 would be entered as 40844.


After you’ve entered a number and hit enter (or scrolled down and clicked “Search”), the left-hand column displays the ID, then its corresponding Name—or GA number if available. The origin date and number of pages are also shown. Clicking on any one manuscript will display further information about it in the right-hand column.


Finally, to view images, click on the Document ID at the top of the right-hand column.



This will open a new tab where you can scroll through images.


If you don’t see any images, don’t worry—unfortunately, not every manuscript has images on the VMR yet, but we are working on uploading more. Some manuscripts are even indexed and transcribed (blog posts on these features will follow).


Option 2: Location


If you are not familiar with GA numbers, you can alternatively find a manuscript by its current (or last known) location.



Let’s start by clicking on the Liste page again. You make your search by selecting the “Current Country”, and/or “Place”, and/or “Institute.” After an institute is selected, you can browse its Greek New Testament manuscripts in the field “Shelf Num.”


For example, select Germany, Münster, and Bibelmuseum. The fields will look like this.



After you scroll down and click on “Search”, the results will look like this.



You can see there were 22 results. You can scroll through the selection and find the manuscript you are interested in. Click on a manuscript, and then click on the Document ID at the top of the right-hand column to view images (if there are images), as explained above.


You can also limit your search results to only manuscripts that have images available online by checking the box for “Images”.



You can also select all manuscripts that have “Transcriptions”.


Option 3: Manuscript Workspace


There is another option for finding images of manuscripts on the VMR. Instead of starting on the “Liste” page, start on the “Manuscript Workspace” page.



This will bring you to a new window where you are given the option to find manuscripts by their “Name” or “ID,” as described above. Type in the manuscript you want, then either hit enter or click the round search icon.



Option 4: Browse


One last way to find a manuscript is simply to browse through the different categories of manuscripts. From “Manuscript Workspace there is an option that says “Browse. Clicking on “Browse will reveal a menu with further options to click on. As you can see, you are given options for other manuscripts besides just Greek.



That’s all there is to it.


Further Information and Expert Access


As mentioned above, not only are images of manuscripts available through the VMR but also basic information about them such as the date, holding institute, physical size, material of the manuscript, and what the contents are. The VMR offers many other ways to do specialized searches, such as finding all manuscripts of the Gospel of John or all manuscripts from the 4th century. We are also compiling bibliographies for each manuscript to assist researchers with the latest information.


We are privileged to have been given permission to host images from many universities and libraries around the world. However, due to agreements with certain holding institutions, we may not be allowed to display images of manuscripts from certain collections, or we may only be given restricted access. Some images will prompt you to send an email to make a request for Expert Access. This request system is not automated for us, and several staff members receive these emails and must review them before permission can be granted. Sometimes this can be done on the same day but sometimes not. If we haven’t answered your request within a few days, please feel free to follow up.


Our goal with the VMR is to provide access to images of New Testament manuscripts in one convenient location to researchers around the world. We hope you will play around with the VMR to see what else it can do! There will be more introductory posts in the future about working with manuscripts on the VMR.

How to Index Lectionaries on the NT.VMR

There are many useful features on the VMR that some users may not know about. One feature, which was added about a year ago, is lectionary indexing. While the complex structure of lectionaries makes them inherently difficult to index, this new feature hopes to facilitate this process.

In the VMR, manuscripts are indexed page by page, which makes sense for continuous text manuscripts. Because lectionaries are organized by lections, this can make indexing less than straightforward. Ideally, it would be feasible to index the contents of the page as well as the lection(s) on each page—even when they fall on more than one page.

Let’s take L547 as an example. In the NT.VMR, f. 9v suppl. (Page Id 210) of L547 contains Mark 16:5-8 and John 4:46-52, which encompass the end of one lection and the beginning of another. The middle of the page contains information that signals the beginning of a new lection.



In the image above, the reading that begins in the middle of the page is for the 2nd day (τη Β) of the 3rd week (της Γ) and is from John (Ιω). The reading begins with a typical incipit (which often replaces words), τω καιρω εκεινω, and then continues with Jn 4:46: ην τις βασιλικος. This lection falls in what is called synaxarion period 1, which contains readings from Easter to Pentacost. (For more on the calendar system in lectionaries, see the works listed below.)

The lection continues to the next page of the manuscript and ends with verse 54. Therefore, we have identified the lection for synaxarion period 1 (S1), week 3 (W3), the 2nd day of the week (WD2), as John 4:46-54. After this information is entered in the VMR (explained below), it is displayed in red on the page where the lection begins.


How to record lection headings

The lection details are recorded as a manuscript feature in the VMR. To do this, hover your curser at the bottom of the window and a tab will pop up with the option to “Add Feature”.

Here, select “Lection Identifier” under the heading “Liturgical”.

In general, Greek New Testament lectionaries are comprised of two sections: the synaxarion (the moveable church calendar) and the menologion (the fixed annual calendar beginning with September). Whereas the synaxarion is organized by periods, weeks, and days of the week, the menologion is organized by months and days of the month.

After clicking on "Liturgical Identifier", the VMR offers two main options for lectionary indexing under “Lection Type”. The default is “Synaxarion” but changing it to “Menologion” will offer a different set of fields.

The most important information to enter for the synaxarion is the period (S), week (W), and day (WD), as well as the “Biblical Content” for the lection. Taking the example above from L547, you can see that there is no explicit indication on that folio for which synaxarion period this lection is. But we do know what the biblical contents are and that the day is “2” and the week is “3”. In light of this information, we can check a lection guide (more on this below) and easily ascertain that this is period “1”. In the “Biblical Content” field, we simply type “Jn 4:46-54”.

The most crucial information to enter for indexing the menologion is the month (M) and day (D), as well as the “Biblical Content” for the lection. (There is no synaxarion period in the menologion.)

Remember, you must refresh the page in order for the lection identifier to appear!

That's it. These are the basics of lectionary indexing on the VMR.

For those wishing to delve deeper, it is possible to record even more information than what we’ve discussed so far. Concerning the use of lectionaries in church, you can select which service a lection was read in (e.g. vespers, liturgy, hours), which reading of the day (reading: 1st, 2nd, etc.), the reading type (Gospels, Apostolos, prokeimenon, alleluia), and which tone it was sung in (e.g. tone 1, tone 1 plagal). The Menologia in particular are often read in remembrance of a saint, for festivals, dedications, or other special occasions. If this information can be gathered from the manuscript, it can be typed in the “Commemoration” field.

There is also the option to record the pericope number, but this may be more commonly found in continuous text manuscripts that have liturgical headings. For example, in GA 35 f. 26v (Page Id 640) you can see the numbers λ (30) and λα (31) in the margin.

While pericopes are numbered sequentially in continuous text manuscripts, the two lections on the image above are designed to be read weeks apart. (Not to mention that pericope 31 is read prior to 30!) When the same type of information appears more than once on a single page, such as with two lections, you can select the same feature again after you have entered the information in the first time. After this is recorded for this page of GA 35, the lection identifiers are displayed in the indexing column, as described above.

As you can see here, the pericope numbers are not displayed but are found rather with the full indexing information in the pop up menu at the bottom of the page.

The VMR is versatile and is capable of capturing practically any information from manuscripts so long as the parameters of the information can be provided. If you have not looked into “Add Features” yet, you might be surprised at the options there.

You can also get search results for manuscripts that have information recorded for certain features. When you are in the online Liste, simply select a feature from the “Has Feature” field and see what you find. For example, select “Purple Parchment” under “Physical Attributes” and then click search. The results will display all manuscripts in the Liste that are written on purple parchment. Keep in mind, though, that not all manuscripts have had all of their features recorded. We are only in the infancy stages of capturing this information.

In closing, lectionaries are an oft neglected witness to the Greek New Testament with great potential to shine new light on the New Testament text and its transmission. We hope to offer a promising platform on the NT.VMR for recording and organizing basic information about lectionaries so we can obtain a better understanding of these important books used by Christians throughout the centuries.


For More Information

If you are new to lectionaries and want to learn more, a great place to begin is:

Carroll Osburn, “The Greek Lectionaries of the New Testament,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, ed. Bart D. Ehrman and Michael Holmes (2nd edn; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 93–113.


For more detail about the lection system see:

Sergei Ovsiannikov, “The paschal spiral and different types of Byzantine and Slavonic lectionaries,” in A Catalogue of Byzantine Manuscripts in Their Liturgical Context: Challenges and Perspectives: Collected Papers Resulting from the Expert Meeting of the Catalogue of Byzantine Manuscripts Programme Held at the PThU in Kampen, the Netherlands on 6th-7th November 2009, ed. Klaas Spronk, Gerard Rouwhorst, and Stefan Royé (Brepols: Turnhout, Belgium, 2013), 117–152.


For a more in-depth discussion of the importance of researching the synaxarion and menologion systems, see:

Gregory S. Paulson, “A Proposal for a Critical Edition of the Greek New Testament Lectionary,” in Liturgy and the Living Text of the New Testament: Papers from the Tenth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, ed. Hugh Houghton (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2018), 121–150.


Guides for Lectionary Indexing

Lists of Gospel and Apostolos lections from both the synaxarion and menologion can be found on pages 343–386 in the first volume of:

Caspar René Gregory, Textkritik des Neuen Testamentes (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1900–1909).


For easy-to-use charts of Gospel lections from the synaxarion and menologion, see:

Pinakes of the Byzantine Synaxarion & Menologion Anagnosmata. Liturgical substrata of Biblical and Patristic anagnosmata as found in Evangelion, Apostolos, Prophetologion, Panegyrikon and other Byzantine codices, Part I: Evangelion Anagnosmata, by the Editors of the Catalogue of Byzantine Manuscripts Programme (Kampen: Brepols, 2009).


There is also the IGNTP guide that has synaxarion and menologion readings for the Gospels:

Full Lectionary Index

See here for other IGNTP documents.


For Apostolos readings in the synaxarion, see:

Samuel Gibson, The Apostolos: The Acts And Epistles In Byzantine Liturgical Manuscripts, TS 18 (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2018)

Gibson’s lection charts can be downloaded here.


The official lectionaries from the Greek Orthodox Church (published by Apostoliki Diakonia) are also helpful to use as guides:

Evangelion lectionary

Apostolos lectionary

Keeping Track of Manuscripts

An update to this article has been added in italics on 18 Dec. 2018.


It was reported this year that the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) is returning one of their manuscripts to a previous owner in Athens. This is, of course, welcome news and is reminiscent of other similar situations.

GA 1424 (formerly Chicago Gruber 152), a 9th/10th century manuscript that is regarded as the earliest complete Greek New Testament in minuscule text, was recently voluntarily returned to Greece. Its recorded history can be traced back to at least 1885, when it was included by Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus in his catalogue of the manuscripts at the Holy Monastery of Panagia Eikosifoinissa. This monastery is located in the mountains of the Serres region, of which Drama is the capital (the closest city to the monastery is called Kosinitza in Turkish, or Kormista in Greek). What the Liste refers to as 1424, was numbered 124 in the 1885 catalogue of the monastery. This manuscript was, however, looted from the monastery in March 1917, and subsequently remained in the US for nearly a century.

In 2010, Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann explained how the manuscript ended up in the Gruber collection in Chicago:

"In 1917 all manuscripts were taken from the Kosinitza monastery by Bulgarians and transported to Sofia. Many manuscripts were eventually returned to Greece and are now in the National Library of Greece in Athens. But nearly three hundred manuscripts are still in Sofia, in the Ivan Dujcev Center for Slavo-Byzantine Studies. And an unknown number of Greek manuscripts and fragments found their way to European book dealers and are now dispersed throughout the world."

Kavrus-Hoffmann continues,

"Some of the former Kosinitza manuscripts were acquired by American collectors. A complete New Testament, Kosinitza 124 [i.e. GA 1424], came into the possession of Levi Franklin Gruber, who acquired the manuscript from Jacques Rosenthal, a Munich book dealer, in 1920. After Gruber’s death, his collection of rare books and manuscripts, including fourteen Greek manuscripts, was sold by his widow to the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maywood, Illinois, where Gruber was president from 1926 to 1941. The Seminary joined three other Lutheran theological seminaries in 1962 and formed the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, which in 1967 moved to Hyde Park near the University of Chicago. The Gruber collection is now housed in a special room of the School’s Jesuit-Krauss-McCormick Library."[1]

In correspondence with the INTF, President of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), James Nieman, explains that 1424 may never have resided at the Maywood campus. It spent most of its time in Gruber’s private vault in a downtown Chicago bank and only came into the seminary’s possession via Gruber’s widow, likely in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

At the end of 2016, in a ceremony of homecoming, it was voluntarily returned to Greece by LSTC and now resides again in the collection of the Holy Monastery of Panagia Eikosifoinissa.


Examining 1424. From left to right: Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod Bishop Wayne Miller, President of LSTC James Nieman, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Archbishop Demetrios of America, and Rev. Donald McCoid. Image courtesy of LSTC.

Although some of the story about 1424 can be found online here, one important detail was still missing that the INTF needed for the Liste: the shelf number at its current location. LSTC has been very helpful in this regard. Earlier this year, we contacted them to inquire about the shelf number. They forwarded our request to a liaison for the monastery, who then contacted the monastery and was able to ascertain this information for us. Thus, we are now able to record the current location and shelf number of 1424 as Kormista, Panagia Eikosifoinissa, Icosifinissis nr. 3 (3P).

Similarly, in 2014, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, CA willingly returned one of their manuscripts to Greece, known in the Liste as GA 927. A 1960 report from Dionysiou Monastery, which was not made public at that time, recorded that manuscript number 8 was illegally removed from their premises. This manuscript was later acquired by the Getty Museum in 1983 "as part of a large, well-documented collection" and was subsequently given shelf identification Ludwig II 4. After the missing manuscript from Dionysiou Monastery was discovered, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports worked with the museum to help return it. Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum, said that returning the manuscript was "the right course of action." The Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Panos Panagiotopoulos, noted: "The decision [to return the manuscript] also clearly demonstrates the respect the Getty Museum has for Greek cultural heritage and encourages us to continue to build and strengthen our collaborative relationship for the future."[2] The manuscript has returned home to Dionysiou Monastery and has taken its old shelf number 8 again.

Although the purchase of a manuscript may be legal, if a manuscript is discovered to have been taken illegally at some point, returning it to its rightful place is not always straightforward. As we strive to keep the ever-changing Liste up to date, it is important to check holding institutions and online databases (such as Pinakes and Trismegistos) for the latest information. The best case scenario for completing this work is when holding institutions have digitized their manuscripts online and provided their own detailed information about their manuscripts. Normally when an institution already has images for public viewing online, we are granted permission for the NT.VMR to deep-link to them under a Creative Commons License. In updating the Liste, the fact that some monasteries or other holding institutions have no email or even phone number (let alone their own images of manuscripts) can often prove challenging. In some cases, we are lucky to even find a mailing address to request information about an institution’s manuscripts. We also rely on other researchers to inform us of new information and are very grateful to have been notified in many instances via the NT.VMR forum about location changes or even newly discovered manuscripts.

I mention the return of manuscripts to offer a quick behind the scenes look at the ongoing work of the INTF in its effort to update the Liste and to offer a centralized venue where these valuable artifacts can been seen and studied online.


Update 18 Dec. 2018 (HT: Dora Panella on facebook): The New York Times writes that a law suit has been filed against Princeton University for return of manuscripts in their possession that were allegedly stolen from the Holy Monastery of Panagia Eikosifoinissa. A university spokesperson denies any wrong doing on behalf of Princeton in their acquisition of these manuscripts


[1] "A New Testament Manuscript Produced in the Stoudios Scriptorium: Codex 152 in the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago," Thirty-Sixth Annual Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, October 8-10, 2010.

[2] "The J. Paul Getty Museum Announces the Return of a Byzantine Illuminated New Testament to Greece." <>.

An Interactive Textual Commentary on Acts

The critical apparatus as a gateway to the sources

Shortly after the ECM of Acts appeared in print in 2017, the INTF made the text and apparatus available online in the NT Transcripts section of the NTVMR <>. If you enter a verse from Acts under “Quick Lookup,” you will see the ECM apparatus for this verse in the frame below. Let's take Acts 3:13 as an example.

(Click on this image to access the live page)


If you click on the number of any of the cited Greek manuscripts, the transcription of the relevant verse will appear in the frame to the right. If you want to see a photograph of the page containing this verse, click on the “Manuscript Workspace” link above the verse transcription and the photograph will appear in a separate window together with a full transcription of the page.

Three links above the apparatus offer more materials. “Cit” will take you to the patristic citations for the selected verse, “VL” to line-by-line transcriptions of the Latin manuscripts selected for the Acts Vetus Latina project, and “Conjectures” to the conjectures for the verse as stored in the Amsterdam database.

These features demonstrate the passways we are cultivating to transform the critical apparatus from a meager list of variants and witnesses into a gateway to the sources. Later this year, we will integrate line-by-line transcriptions of the Sahidic manuscripts, and sooner or later the Syriac and the Ethiopic will follow.

In addition, the transcriptions of all Greek manuscripts included in the ECM of Acts, which comprises the main portion of the textual apparatus, are made available to the user.


The textual commentary as a documentation of work on the text

In the left margin of the online apparatus there are two symbols: a blue balloon and a circle with an arrow. Clicking on the balloon will take you to the Textual Commentary section of the NTVMR Forum. Each commentary printed in the Studies volume of ECM Acts was reproduced here. The arrow symbol is linked to the coherence diagrams for the relevant passage in the Genealogical Queries interface.

A primary objective of the ECM is a reconstruction of the initial text of the manuscript tradition, which is not preserved as such in any of the extant copies. We apply the methodology of reasoned eclecticism to reconstruct the initial text. The textual commentary published in the Studies volume of ECM Acts documents this work. It discusses each passage where the reconstruction of the initial text differs from NA28/UBS5, and, secondly, where the decision was left open and the guiding line of the edition is split. Moreover, comments are given if the editors’ assessment needs additional explanation to supplement the guidelines laid down in the commentary introduction. 

Reasoned eclecticism is based on pondering internal and external criteria. Ideally, the objective is to identify the variant that best explains the other(s) and, if applicable, that also accounts for relationships between secondary variants. In effect, the discussion will always be about reasons why one form of text is or is not likely to have been changed into another form. That means that the application of internal criteria is successful if transcriptional probability emerges for a textual flow—to use the CBGM term—from one to another variant. Therefore, the discussion of internal criteria is indicated by TP, if that part of the discussion is clearly separated from the other part, GC or genealogical coherence. What TP is for the internal criteria, GC is for the external criteria. Where there are variants, the genealogy of their witnesses will reflect the direction of textual flow, whether we are able to explain the relationships or not. The latter is often due to contamination and/or missing links. (Most of the manuscript tradition from the first millennium is lost.)

The commentary on Acts 3:13/8 is brief. A mouse click on the blue balloon to the left of the apparatus will open the commentary in a separate window. There is just one sentence summarizing a complex picture offered by the Genealogical Queries site for the passage in question:

GC suggests multiple emergence of c from a, while the attestation of a is perfectly coherent and includes a sufficiently broad range of A-related witnesses. 

A click on the blue arrow icon beside the apparatus takes us to the relevant lists and diagrams in Genealogical Queries.

Apparatus: One entry for each included witness. Exception: if the evidence is ambiguous, the witness is listed with a question mark for the respective alternatives (cf. 2344 b/c).


Local Stemmaa derives immediately from the initial text (*), c and d from a. A share of the a attestation (a2) does not fit this picture. For this share and for b, the source appears questionable.

Coherence at Variant Passages shows interrelations between witnesses in different attestations. To understand what it displays we have to turn to the next frame.



Coherence in Attestations shows the textual flow diagram for a selected variant. By default this is a. If you go to c, you see a diagram showing poor genealogical coherence. Many witnesses not connected to each other have their closest relatives in the a attestation. Note how all the nodes in the c attestation with close relatives in a are connected to these relatives in Coherence at Variant Passages by arrows pointing from a to c.

The point I want to make here is that the commentary notes on GC require the reader to consult the Genealogical Queries site to get the full picture. It is now easier to do this because Genealogical Queries is an integrated part of the online ECM.

The commentary notes focus on the essential and are often very brief, in many cases reduced to the token “R1” or “R2.” This is possible because the guidelines and rules for assessing variants and their attestations are explained in the Online Commentary Introduction (and related publications cited there). The introduction is accessible via a link that appears above each online commentary.


The textual commentary as a platform for scholarly discourse on the text

Any expert user of the NTVMR may reply briefly (there are “Like” and “Dislike” icons) or at length to an existing commentary. If someone publishes a reply, subscribers of the commentary section of the NTVMR forum will be notified. 

Any registered expert user of the NTVMR may additionally register as a commentator, obtaining the right to open a new commentary thread on any passage of the online apparatus where there is no comment so far. To register as a commentator, send an email to <>

What is the Kurzgefasste Liste?



One of the on-going projects the INTF is responsible for is the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des neuen Testaments, commonly called the Liste.


The Liste is a brief catalogue of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. Although J.J. Wettstein was the first to create a systematic list of Greek manuscripts in 1751–52, the current system is credited to Caspar René Gregory. In his 1908 work, Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, Gregory separated manuscripts into four categories: papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. He also resolved other problems from older lists such as registering one number multiple times to refer to more than one manuscript.


Following Gregory, the primary individuals who have kept the Liste up to date are: Ernst von Dobschütz, Georg Maldfeld, Bruce M. Metzger, and Kurt Aland, who then passed the Liste on to the INTF. Until Aland began working on the Liste in the 1950s, most of the publications after Gregory were updates and new additions to the Liste. In 1963, Aland published a comprehensive catalogue of Greek New Testament manuscripts, which was revised and published in 1994.


Image: Klaus Junack's personal copy of the 1963 Liste, in which he wrote changes to contribute to the 1994 edition.  

For each manuscript in the Liste, a very basic profile is offered including information such as:

  • a Gregory-Aland number
  • the New Testament contents
  • the manuscript’s date
  • the material the manuscript is written on
  • the number of pages
  • the number of columns per page
  • the number of lines of text per page
  • the physical dimensions of the manuscript
  • its current location along with an identification number at its current location


At the INTF, Aland amassed the world’s largest collection of Greek New Testament manuscripts on microfilm. This collection not only enabled manuscript details to be verified for the Liste but also provided the basis for other research projects at the INTF as well as for visiting researchers.


Since Aland, care of the Liste has remained a priority for the INTF. Currently, Holger Strutwolf and the staff at the INTF have kept the Liste in an up-to-date format online in the New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room (NT.VMR):


An effort has been underway for years to digitize the INTF microfilms and upload them online on the NT.VMR so anyone can access them. Since these microfilms are black and white, one of the INTF’s current goals is to completely update the NT.VMR by uploading as many new digital images as possible online as well as to provide transcriptions. For example, images and a transcription of what is probably the world’s best known biblical manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, can be seen here.


Presently, we are working intensively to update the Liste, a project supported by the Hermann Kunst Foundation and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). It is hoped that this endeavor will greatly benefit researchers around the world by providing access to state-of-the-art images and encouraging further scholarly collaboration.


Basic Criteria for Adding a Manuscript to the Liste


How does a manuscript get added to the Liste? Although there are some exceptions, there are a few basic criteria when deciding if a manuscript should be added to the Liste: it must contain a portion of the New Testament and it must be written in Greek. Although a variety of ancient manuscripts could fit these two fundamental criteria, certain types of manuscripts are not normally included in the Liste, such as patristic writings or documentary papyri.


Within the Liste, a few types of manuscripts are identified such as commentary manuscripts (e.g. 186). In addition, some categories of manuscripts are no longer included. For example, after Aland began working on the Liste, he discontinued adding amulets and ostraca to the Liste. Recently, there has been discussion about including them once again (see especially Brice C. Jones, New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity [Bloomsbury: London, 2016]).


Further, a manuscript can have either a continuous text (that is, a sequential text such as Matthew chapter 1, chapter 2, and so on) or a non-continuous text (that is, a text that does not proceed in a literary sequence, but could have a passage of Mark, followed by a passage from Matthew, followed by a passage from John). The latter is commonly found in lectionaries, which are liturgical manuscripts that have daily readings for the church. In addition, other liturgical manuscripts like prayer books are included.


Assigning Numbers to Manuscripts


In an attempt to standardize and classify the manuscripts, each manuscript is assigned a unique number—a Gregory-Aland number—so it can be easily identified. These numbers fall into one of four categories.


The first category has to do with the material the manuscript is written on. If written on papyrus, the manuscript is identified by “P” followed by a number (for example, P52).


The next two categories are based on the script of the manuscript: manuscripts written in majuscule are assigned numbers beginning with “0” (for example, 032) and minuscule manuscripts are just assigned a regular number (for example, 1).


The fourth category has to do with the function of the manuscript, namely liturgical; these manuscripts are catalogued beginning with “l” followed by a number (for example, l358).


This system is, however, not perfect. It is not always clear-cut how a manuscript should be classified—or if it should be included in the Liste at all. For example, 056—listed as a majuscule with a commentary text—has a majuscule biblical text but the commentary is in minuscule. There are also ongoing debates about the dates of certain manuscripts, and these are sometimes changed in the Liste based on current research. Codex Bezae (D 05), for example, was dated to the 6th century in Aland’s 1963 Liste but changed to 5th century in the 1994 edition of the Liste.


Here is a flow chart highlighting the basic principles of the Liste, but keep in mind there are exceptions as to which manuscripts are included and how they are numbered.



In another post, we will explore the number of manuscripts recorded in the Liste.


A New INTF Blog Begins

The INTF has set up a new blog! Although we have featured blogs on our site before (as "Personal Blogs"), our newly implemented Liferay portlet called "Blog" aims to create a centralized portal for offering regular updates on the happenings of the institute and its projects as well as other things that are related (at least tangentially) to New Testament textual criticism.


Just to offer one tidbit before our next post, in case you were unaware, there is a paleography database (compiled by Marie-Luise Lakmann) that may be useful for those of you who are transcribing Greek manuscripts: To get started, click on "Suche" on the left-hand column.

— 20 Items per Page
Showing 21 - 28 of 28 results.

Recent Bloggers Recent Bloggers

Greg Paulson
Posts: 18
Stars: 43
Date: 24/06/21
marie-luise lakmann
Posts: 2
Stars: 8
Date: 23/04/20
Darius Mueller
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 19/03/20
Theodora Panella
Posts: 2
Stars: 4
Date: 09/03/20
Jan Graefe
Posts: 2
Stars: 0
Date: 18/09/19
Siegfried G. Richter
Posts: 1
Stars: 3
Date: 01/07/19
Nikolai Kiel
Posts: 1
Stars: 4
Date: 06/06/19
Klaus Wachtel
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 14/09/18