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Greek New Testament Manuscripts at the Bible Museum Münster

Since its founding in 1979, the Bible Museum in Münster has collected a multitude of artefacts that illuminate the living history of the Biblefrom its inception as a written text to the modern day. Many of these objects highlight the development and transmission of the New Testament text. In addition to Coptic, Syriac and Latin manuscripts, the Greek manuscripts in the collection[1] are of particular importance as carriers of the original language of the New Testament.



Altogether the Bible Museum houses 23 Greek NT textual witnesses: 2 majuscules, 11 minuscules, and 10 lectionaries, making it the third largest collection of Greek NT manuscripts in Germany.[2]


In addition, 6 New Testament papyri from the 3/4th century are currently on loan at the Museum from Cologne (Institut für Altertumskunde) and Berlin (Staatliche Museen). Visitors have the unique opportunity to view P8, P25, P66, P86, P87, P118 until Sept. 29, 2024.


This blogpost briefly introduces the manuscripts in the collection based on information from my new catalogue, published on the occasion of the Bible Museum's 45th anniversary. (Many thanks to Katie Leggett for summarizing and translating the catalogue for this blogpost.)



For much more detailed information see here.



GA 0233 Bibelmuseum Ms. 1

8th century Gospel manuscript, written in majuscule with 93 parchment folios that were removed in the 13th century, trimmed, and rewritten to create GA L1684 (see below). The manuscript measures 270x210 mm with 2 columns and 23-27 lines per folio.


On fol. 128v of GA 0233 the undertext, John 2:12-15, is visible


GA 0301 Bibelmuseum Ms. HKS 677

The museum's oldest Greek NT witness, this single fragment is from a miniature 5th century manuscript (68x70 mm).[3] It has only 14 lines per side and contains John 17:1-4, the beginning of the High Priestly Prayer. It's not possible to decide definitively if this text originated from a Gospel codex or was part of a commentary manuscript. It is also possible—due to its small size—that the text was created for everyday use and perhaps worn as an amulet.


GA 0301 with John 17:1-2 on the recto side




GA 676 Bibelmuseum Ms. 2

13th century on parchment, 344 leaves with the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Pauline Epistles and Catholic Letters (196x150 mm), 1 column with 28 lines


A critical eye will notice that this codex was written by two different scribes: the first penned the Gospels and the second the rest. In the 14th century, beautiful illuminations of the evangelists on gold leaf in vivid colors were added to the Gospels (fol. 9, 57, 140). They were painted over (palimpsest) an 11th century theological text. The illustration of Luke is unfortunately missing.


Illustration of John the Evangelist in GA 676 (fol. 140v)


GA 798 Bibelmuseum Ms. 7

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment containing 148 of 260 total leaves (170x115 mm), 1 column with 20 lines (occasionally 21 or 22)


The 148 leaves at the Bible Museum contain Luke and John. They belong together with the 112 folios held at the National Library in Athens EBE 137 containing the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.


Fol. 89r with the beginning of Mark (left) held in Athens and fol. 96r. with John (right) held in Münster (GA 798)



GA 1432 Bibelmuseum Ms. 3

12th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 225 folios, 1 column with 28 lines. At 147x115 mm, it's the smallest bound codex in the collection.


This manuscript was formerly in the possession of the Skete of St. Andrew on Mount Athos, whose western wing and library were partially destroyed by fire in July 1958. The Gospel text is complete, only the Kephalaia before the Gospels of Matthew and Mark seem to be missing. The manuscript boasts colorful canon tables and intricate frames of the Gospels decorated in gold, blue, green and red.


Ornate canon tables of GA1432 (fol. 5r) and the elegant beginning of the Gospel of Mark (fol. 68r)


GA 2444 Bibelmuseum Ms. 4

This 13th century Gospel manuscript measures 220x150 mm with 308 leaves, 1 column and 22 lines. It is the only minuscule on paper in our collection.


The geometric and floral ornamentations as well as the opulent, oversized initials in black and red at the beginning of each Gospel are particularly noticeable.


Folio 2r of GA 2444 showing the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew



GA 2445 Bibelmuseum Ms. 5

12th century Gospel manuscript on parchment, 116 leaves (163x130 mm), 1 column with 20-22 lines


Numerous leaves are missing at the beginning (all of Matthew and Mark 1:1-7:9) and the end (from John 7:33 to the end) as well as other individual leaves throughout the codex. The text was written by two different hands: the first part with 20 lines per folio and the Gospel of John from with 22 lines per folio.


GA 2445 left image showing the hand of Luke (fol. 38r) and right (fol. 110r) showing John

GA 2446 Bibelmuseum Ms. 6

12th century Gospel manuscript with 320 leaves on parchment (168x128 mm), 1 column with 20 lines


Curiously, numerous folios of this manuscript have been replaced at about the same time it was written or shortly thereafter. It appears that the original leaves were carefully cut out and replacement folios were adapted to them, but with a different ruling (e.g. fol. 36, 38, 44, 50).


Folio 50v of GA 2446 shows on the right where the new folio was bound in the codex.


GA 2460 Bibelmuseum Ms. 19

8 leaves of a 13th/14th century Gospel manuscript with Matthew 18:32-22:9 on parchment (240x170 mm), 1 column with 26 lines


The bulk of this Gospel manuscript (195 leaves) resides in Ioannina, Greece (Zosimaia School, 2), and two leaves are at Columbia University (Plimpton Ms.12).


Fol. 24v. of GA 2460 with text of Matthew 22:1-9

GA 2754 Bibelmuseum Ms. 8

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 256 leaves (193x143 mm), 1 column with 25-26 lines per folio


Various marginal notes (fol. 77v; 138v; 151v; 199r; 228v) refer to the church της περιβλεπτου Βερροιας (Veria) in northern Greece from which the manuscript originally came. An interesting feature is the Kephalaia for Matthew, which was added by a later hand on fol. 75r-76v using pages that were blank. The later scribe drew 12 simple circles with the names, origin, places of activity, and martyrdoms of the 12 apostles.


Fol. 75v of GA 2754 showing 8 of the 12 circles referring the Apostles and below the continuation of the Kephalaia for Matthew


GA 2755 Bibelmuseum Ms. 9

11th century Gospel manuscript on parchment, with commentary on Matthew and Mark (322x232 mm), 1 column with 29 lines


With 370 folios this is our most voluminous codex and our sole commentary manuscript. There are two additional leaves in Cambridge (Ms. Add. 4490), and some leaves of the original codex are still missing, especially at the end. The commentaries are very extensive e.g., just the first two words of the Matthew's Gospel, βιβλος γενεσεως, comprises 3.5 pages.


Fol. 7r of GA 2755 showing βιβλος γενεσεως (five lines from the bottom) written in semiuncial


GA 2756 Bibelmuseum Ms. 10

13th century Gospel manuscript on parchment with 195 leaves (187x145 mm), 1 column with 25 lines per folio


The text is complete, except the final page of John. It has elegant illuminations of all four evangelists that originate from another manuscript and were inserted later as enhancements (fol. 6, 63, 99, 156).


GA 2756, illumination of Luke (fol. 99v)



GA 2793 Bibelmuseum Ms. 11

13th/14th century single leaf on parchment from a Gospel manuscript with Matthew 22:7-22 (139x103 mm), 1 column with 20 lines


The leaf was sold in 1853/54 by Konstantinos Simonides, an infamous forger of ancient Greek texts, to Sir Thomas Philipps (1792-1872) who was an English collector of antiquities. Hermann Kunst acquired the sheet in 1973 from Bernard Quaritch Ltd.


Frontside of GA 2793 showing Matt 22:7-14




GA L1681 Bibelmuseum Ms. 12

15th century Gospel lectionary with 187 leaves on paper (215x150 mm), 1 column with 26-28 lines per folio


This lectionary along with L1682, L1684, L2208, and L2276 in our collection contain Gospel readings for every day of the week from Easter to Pentecost as well as readings for Saturdays and Sundays.


At the end of the lectionary, the scribe concludes his work with a colophon:


δόξα σοι ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν δόξα σοι ̇ ἀμήν.

σωθῆ ὁ ἔχων ̇ ἐλεηθῆ ὁ γράψας.


Honor be to you, our God, glory be to you. Amen.

May the owner be saved, may the writer find mercy.


Fol. 186r of GA L1681 containing a scribal colophon to conclude the work



GA L1682 Bibelmuseum Ms. 14

Gospel lectionary on paper with 131 leaves (270x145 mm), 1 column with 24 lines per folio


Dated to the 16th century, L1682 along with L1686 are the two youngest Greek New Testament witnesses in our collection. The leaves were heavily trimmed at the outer edge, so that sometimes parts of letters at the beginning or end of lines are lost. The middle part of the manuscript is well preserved but the front and back parts are quite badly damaged, and in some places the text of parts of the pages has been restored.


Fol. 123r of GA L1682 showing trimming and where sections have been patched


GA L1683 Bibelmuseum Ms. 15

13th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 241 leaves (295x220 mm), 2 columns with 26 lines per folio


This lectionary, containing Gospel readings for every day of the year is embellished with oversized initials at the start of lections. One headpiece seems to have been left unfinished.



Fol. 81 of GA L1683



GA L1684 Bibelmuseum Ms. 1

13th century Gospel lectionary, parchment palimpsest with 166 leaves (270x210), 2 columns and 23-26 lines per folio


The undertext of this artefact is majuscule 0233. Interestingly, the upper text is also written in two columns of the same width as the under text. Some of the parchment leaves were later (16th century?) replaced by paper (fol. 1-38, 68, and 129-164). On the supplemental paper folios, it seems the copyist attempted to imitate the original scribe's handwriting but opted to use red for initials and decorations.


Fol. 60r and 68r of GA L1684 showing how the later scribe (right) tried to imitate the work of the former (left)



GA L1685 Bibelmuseum Ms. 16

15th century lectionary on paper with 264 leaves (275x190 mm), 2 columns with 31 lines per folio. This is the only lectionary in the collection with both Gospel and Apostolos readings for every day of the year.


The initials at the beginning of each lesson are decorated and extend over several lines. Before larger sections, such as between the Synaxarion and the Menologion, there are smaller ornamentations colored in red, yellow and green. The text has evidently been copied very hastily; there are numerous omissions resulting from eye leaps that a later scribe had to remedy. On several pages in the margins there are various notes and scribbles.


Marginal notes and corrections on fol. 36 and fol. 37 in GA L1685

GA L1686 Bibelmuseum Ms. 13

16th century lectionary on paper, 184 leaves with the Gospels and Apostolos (205x150 mm), 1 column with 17 lines


This is not a lectionary proper, but another liturgical book that has extensive readings from the New Testament. The manuscript provides various clues about its owners. On fol. 1r, next to a curse against potential thieves, a sakelarios, who probably belonged to a priesthood, is named, and on fol. 2r a priest named Athanasios is referenced. On the last page (fol. 184r) there is a dedication note dated 1624 by a certain Sterianos to the church of Taxiarches (παμμεγίστων ταξιαρχῶν) in memory of his parents.


Fol. 2 of GA L1686, opening page of the codex


GA L2005 Bibelmuseum Ms. 20

10th century majuscule lectionary on parchment, 1 leaf (320x235 mm), 2 columns with 19 lines per folio


This is the only majuscule lectionary, and also the oldest lectionary in the collection. All but three leaves have gone missing. Two leaves are at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens (σπ. 42). Our leaf contains readings from John 16:24-17:3, part of the passion narratives.


Recto of the single folio of GA L2005 located in the Bible Museum


GA L2137 Bibelmuseum Ms. 17

12th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 213 leaves (320x245 mm), 2 columns with 24-27 lines per folio


Like L1683 and L1685, this lectionary contains Gospel readings for every day of the year.


Fol. 38r of GA L2137 shows the ecphonetic notation and the red braided bands that separate the different sections of the lectionary.


GA L2208 Bibelmuseum Ms. 18

11th/12th century Gospel lectionary with 207 leaves on parchment (223x170 mm), 2 columns with 25 lines


This colorful lectionary has decoration dividing the reading units in carmine red and green.  The headings indicating the book and the day are often highlighted in yellow—sometimes with red and green initial letters, as are the cross-shaped dots in the text to mark reading breaks, and capital letters to mark paragraphs.


Fol. 44r of GA L2208 showing the beginning of the Matthean period of readings


GA L2276 Bibelmuseum Münster Ms. 21

13th/14th century Gospel lectionary on parchment with 55 leaves (292x230 mm), 2 columns with 28 lines


The manuscript contains many large gaps; of the original 140-150 leaves only about a third are preserved. The sections of the lectionary are separated by small, braided bands or decorative strips in red. The day information in the upper margin, the subheadings, the bookmarks and the ornate, oversized initials at the beginnings of the lessons are also written in red.


Fol. 15r of GA L2276 shows the beginning of the Lukan section


We hope you enjoyed these brief descriptions of the manuscripts in our collection. For those whose interest has been piqued, you can go here to the NTVMR to see full images.


Or better yet, come visit us in person at the Bible Museum in Münster!


[1] Many of the original manuscripts in the collection came from Bishop Hermann Kunst who donated his private collection to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), stipulating they should be kept by the Hermann Kunst-Stiftung and displayed in the Bible Museum. Others came from the collection of the Loverdos Museum in Athens and a few from private auction houses and antiquarian bookshops.

[2] The largest collection is the Bavarian State Library in Munich with 30 Greek NT witnesses followed by the State Museum in Berlin with 25.

[3] Martin Schøyen loaned 0301 to the Bible Museum over 20 years ago and graciously donated the piece to the Hermann Kunst-Stiftung in 2023.

Amulets and Ostraca

Image: T2


In an attempt to put the magic back in the Kurzgefaßte Liste, the INTF will be resurrecting the talisman and ostracon numbers.

In the latest issue of JBL (142 no. 4 [2023]: 633–655), Brice Jones and I explore the usefulness of amulets and magical ostraca for New Testament textual criticism. We briefly define these objects and describe how New Testament text is recorded on them. We then survey which amulets and magical ostraca were used in 20th critical editions of the Greek New Testament and why these categories were added and then subsequently removed from the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Although the essential research is based on Jones’ book, New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity, it was fun to dig further into the history of Kurzgefaßte Liste publications to see exactly what happened to these witnesses. Years ago, I saw an unknown symbol in NestleNovum Testamentum Graece. It was not until I read Jones’ book that I finally made the connection that it was an amulet, T3.

Image: Citations of T3 (highlighted) in the Nestle 13th edition (1927) at Matt 6:12–13


Our article, “Resurrecting Amulets and Ostraca in New Testament Textual Criticism,” seeks to explain why the “talisman” and “ostracon” categories have now been continued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste. It highlights the shift in New Testament textual criticism toward an increased appreciation of the social milieu of those who used the biblical text and how this new perspective on the value of amulets and magical ostraca justifies their inclusion in the ECM, CBGM, and the Kurzgefaßte Liste.

Amulets up to T39 and magical ostraca up to Os30 will be catalogued in the Kurzgefaßte Liste as an appendix and will not be included in the tally of Greek New Testament witnesses for now.[1] Readers can see how their inclusion affects already cataloged witnesses and how images and transcriptions of these new additions are already accessible in the NTVMR.

To find which amulets and magical ostraca have been added to the Liste, in the NTVMR, just type in “t” or “os” in the search field under “name” (or use the six-digit Doc IDs beginning with 51 and 52 for “ID” in the search field). Or, you can click here for amulets and here for magical ostraca.

The article explains how these witnesses will appear in the apparatus of ECM Matthew when it is published, as well as in the CBGM. Their inclusion in the CBGM is probably unexpected since they are non-continuous witnesses. From the article,

Amulets have two major disadvantages in the context of the CBGM: (1) they contain a small amount of text, and (2) their text is often an indirect witness; that is, they were not initially created with the primary intention of accurately transmitting the New Testament text. Their limited text poses the same problem as other fragmented texts (like the early papyri), and, on this basis alone, their inclusion in the CBGM would produce cautionary results at best. As indirect witnesses, they would be inappropriately taken as representing the same tradition as continuous text manuscripts or lectionaries that are in the CBGM. (p. 647)

Nevertheless, the Greek text of amulets can be assigned to Greek variants in the apparatus, unlike versions that would have to rely on a retro-translation. In the CBGM, amulets and ostraca, with only a small amount of text available, qualify as “fragmented” witnesses and their inclusion in the Coherence at Variant Passages diagrams can be turned on or off with the button labeled “Frag.” This way, users will have the option to see them or not. Their inclusion is largely exploratory, and a study is planned to appear on the results in the forthcoming edition of ECM Matthew.

Below is the full list of amulets and magical ostraca now recorded in the Liste. If there are any more we should be aware of, please let us know!




Mt 6:11-13



Athens, National Historical Museum, 12227


Mt 4:23-24



Allentown, PA, Muhlenberg College, Pap. 1077 (theol. 2)


Mt 6:9-13



Location unknown, Zuletzt: Germany, (früher: Berlin, Staatliche Museen P. 954)


Mt 6:9; Jn 1:23; Gospel incipits



Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 13926


Mt 6:9-13



Heidelberg, Ägyptologisches Institut , 761


Mt 6:9-13; Lk 9:37(?); 11:1b-2



Giessen, Universitätsbibliothek, P. Iand. 14


Mt 6:9; Mk 1:1-8; Lk 1:1-7; Jn 1:1-17



Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Library, Ms. 125 (Goodspeed)


Jn 2:1a-2; Rom 12:1-2



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 2312


Jn 1:1, 3



Glasgow, University Library, Ms. Gen. 1026/12


Mt 28:19; Mt 4:23; Gospel incipits; Jn 1:1



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 6096


Mt 4:23; 9:35; 8:15; Mk 1:31



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 21230


Mt 6:9-11



Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Libraries, AM 8963


Mt 6:9-13



Durham, NC, Duke University, David M. Rubenstein Library, P. Duk. Inv. 778


= 0324



Mt 6:9-13



New Haven, CT, Yale University Library, P. CtYBR 4600


Mt 6:9-13; 2 Cor 13:13(?)



Oslo, University of Oslo Library , P. 1644, fol.;

Oslo/London, The Schøyen Collection, MS 244/4, fol.


Mt 6:10-12



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Ant. 54


Mt 6:11-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3559 (recto), fol.; Inv. Nr. 3583 (recto), fol.


Mt 6:12-13



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 3302


Mt 27,62-64; 28,2-5



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4406


Mk 1:1-2



Oxford, Sackler Library, 25 3B 58/E(c)


Jn 1:1-11



Köln, Institut für Altertumskunde, Inv. Nr. 649, fol.; Inv. Nr. 689, fol.


Jn 1:5-6



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29831


Jn 1:29, 49



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 11710


2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thess 5:8; Eph 6:16



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 26034, fol.; G 30453, fol.


1 Tim 1:15-16



Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, P. 13977





Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 2684


Col 3:9-10



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 32070


Act 9:1



Birmingham, University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library, P.Harr. inv. 486


Mt 1:20



Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Library, P. Mich. inv. 4944b


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum, BAAM 0505


Jn 1:1



Heidelberg, Institut für Papyrologie, P. Lat. 5


Mt 1:1; Mk 1:1; Lk 1:1; Jn 1:1



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 348


Mt 6:9-13



Oxford, Sackler Library, P. Oxy. 4010


Ps 21:19/Mt 27:35/Jn 19:24



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, G 29418


Mt 6:11-12



Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, L 91


Mt 6:9



Paris, Musée du Louvre, D 552B


James 1:14-17

E V?


Genova, Biblioteca Universitaria, 1160 Vo




Matt 27:31–32; Mark 5:40–41; 9:17, 18, 22; 15:21; Luke 12:13–15, 15– 16; 22:40–45, 45–49, 49–53, 53–54, 55–59, 59–60, 61, 61–64, 65–69, 70–71; John 1:1–9, 14–17; 18:19–25; 19:15–17



Location unknown


Lk 1:42, 28



London, British Museum, EA 33101


John 2:1



London, British Museum, EA 55805


Act 2:22-24 (UC 62598), 2:25-29, 32-36; 3:1-2 (UC 62568); 15:38-16:1, 7-9 (UC 62540+62547); 16:18; 19:1, 8-9 (UC 62567); Rom 13:3-6, 7-11 (UC 62600); Gal 1:8-11 (UC 62732), 15-18; 2:3-8 (UC 62583); James 2:2-3, 8-9 (UC 62719); 4:11-13 (UC 62592); 1Jn 2:12-14, 19-22 (UC 31897); 3:17-22; 4:1-3 (UC 62566), 19-14, 18-21 (UC 62584); Jude 1-3, 4 (UC 62573).



London, University College, Petrie Museum, UC 31897, fol.; UC 62598, fol.; UC 62568, fol.; UC 62540, fol.; UC 62547, fol.; UC 62567, fol.; UC 62600, fol.; UC 62732, fol.; UC 62583, fol.; UC 62719, fol.; UC 62592, fol.; UC 62573, fol.; UC 62566, fol.; UC 62584, fol.


Rom 8:31



Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Ostraka inv. 129


Lk 1:28



London, British Museum, EA 32966


Mt 1:19-20



Turin, Museo Egizio, Cat. Fab. 2136


Mt 7:18-20, 29-8:4



Cairo, Coptic Museum, Naqlun 53/88, fol.; Naqlun 64/86, fol.


Mt 16:18-19; Heb 5:6



New York, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Acc. no. 14.1.202


Jn 9:1-12; Act 3:11



London, British Museum, Eg. Dept. (?)


Heb 2



Anonymous owner, Anonymous owner, Milan Private Owner


We are still in the process of acquiring images, but many images are already included in the NTVMR, especially ones with text from Matthew, such as T34:


Some ostraca also have images in the NTVMR, for example Os25:


I end with a quote from the article:

While there is little doubt that amulets and magical ostraca provide an important window into early Christian faith and practices, as many have convincingly argued, the precise textual worth of each of these witnesses remains to be determined. Magical ostraca in particular warrant further research, and scholars now have new resources at their fingertips to gain insights into and to research the rich textual history of the New Testament. It is hoped that recording these witnesses in the Liste (and their images in the NTVMR whenever possible), and including them in the ECM and CBGM, will make way for more productive and nuanced research on their worth for textual criticism and the role they play in the exploration of the social history of early Christianity. (p. 655)

[1] Peter Head’s essay, “Additional Greek Witnesses,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research, ed. Ehrman and Holmes, 2nd ed (2013), was especially helpful for bringing the list of ostraca up to date. Correspondence with Theodore De Bruyn was very helpful when I first began to research amulets. I have Joseph Sanzo to thank for bringing to my attention, among other things, that the term “ostraca” really should be “magical ostraca” since we are talking about apotropaic artifacts, not mere citations from the Bible.

How Many Greek New Testament Manuscripts Are There REALLY? The Latest Numbers

By Katie Leggett and Greg Paulson


In this post we'll tackle the question of how many Greek New Testament manuscripts there are using the latest information in the NTVMR. We'll explain how Greek New Testament witnesses are currently registered in the Liste and some of the complexities of counting manuscripts.

The work of cataloguing all known Greek New Testament manuscripts worldwide is a massive endeavor that has been going on for many years. The Kurzgefasste Liste (for more on the history of the Liste, see here) was designed to offer a systematic list of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts and to make them available as potential witnesses for use in critical editions and more widely for scholarly research. Greek New Testament manuscripts are designated with a Gregory-Aland (GA) number and their codicological and paleographical features like date, contents, writing material, script, lines, columns, and dimensions are catalogued.

Just since 2019, an additional 167 Gregory-Aland numbers have been added (2 papyri, 3 majuscules, 81 minuscules, and 81 lectionaries.[1] These numbers would be even higher if we also included the dozens of additions to the Liste which were not given a new GA number but were identified as parts of manuscripts already entered therein. While the Liste aims to offer a census of available witnesses of the Greek New Testament, it is far from exhaustive. It's important to keep in mind there are still more manuscripts we aren't yet aware of. The Liste is constantly in flux. We are very grateful for the support of scholars, librarians, and curators who continue to collaborate and inform us of unregistered manuscripts.[2]

We have also been in the process of cleaning up the Liste by identifying manuscripts that were unknowingly entered twice, combining folios that belong together, and removing manuscripts that never should have been entered in the first place because, for example, they have no New Testament content or were entered without enough information to identify them.

While some might find it disconcerting that so many entries have been stricken from the Liste, this purging process has actually been going on for many years. In the first edition of the Liste (1963), Kurt Aland described this "Bereinigung" and its importance in detail; he continued this reduction process into the second edition in 1994 as well.[3] The desideratum has never been to simply add as many manuscripts as possible but rather to offer the most accurate representation of the available manuscript evidence. We recognize there have been many inconsistencies over the years about what qualifies for inclusion (e.g. Psalms and Odes, prayer books, ostraca, supplements, manuscripts with virtually no information to identify them again, etc.). We are in process of creating more sensible and transparent criteria for what manuscripts should be removed and what will be included in the future.


Counting Complexities

Some of the factors that make tallying manuscripts difficult have been discussed elsewhere but we'll briefly address a few of these issues here.[4]

First, throughout its history, the Liste (or its predecessor inaugurated by Gregory) has included diverse New Testament witnesses such as lectionaries and other liturgical books, amulets, ostraca, and even patristic works; these have been divided between the four main Liste categories of: papyri, majuscules, minuscules, and lectionaries. (But of course, the distinctions between categories are not always clearcut.) Under minuscules one also finds catenae, but not lectionaries even though they are written in minuscule script. Under lectionaries were Psalms and Odes (which will no longer be added) as well as other liturgical books like euchologia.[5] Even if we compare two "complete" New Testaments, a full continuous text of Mark will contain all 16 of its chapters, but a complete lectionary might only contain four or five chapters of Mark (none of which are even a complete chapter). Yet a lectionary will still be considered "complete" for what it was intended for (in this case, liturgy on Sundays). This means when we speak of "manuscripts" we mean a wide range of witnesses with Greek text of the NT, and these of course have varying worth for critical editions, dating from the late second century to the eighteenth century.

Second, numerous manuscripts have gone missing over the years or have been destroyed. We're still working out the best practice for how to deal with these. Should they be counted, especially if there are no images? For the moment if we have good reason to believe a manuscript no longer physically exists (but have not yet confirmed), we have decided to tag it in the NTVMR with the feature called "Manuscript Destroyed." There are currently 56 manuscripts in the Liste tagged as “Manuscript Destroyed”. The majority of these were held at Mega Spileon Monastery in Kalavryta and the Skete of Saint Andrews on Mt. Athos. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised to rediscover a manuscript presumed destroyed. This was the case, for example, with 0229 formerly housed at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. While the 1963 Liste noted it was destroyed, it was, in fact only badly damaged and is now housed at the Papriological Institute in Florence.[6] Another example is the four leaves of 0106 held at the University Library in Leipzig that were listed as "Kriegsverlust" and long assumed to have been destroyed in WW2. However, they were recently rediscovered in the Moscow State University Library.[7]

Another concern is what to do with manuscripts that have long been missing. When we don't know the current location of a manuscript, we list it under "location unknown" (formerly called "Besitzer unbekannt"). There are currently 105 manuscripts in this category, but these are certainly not all the same! Some are here because they were recently auctioned or sold. Numerous manuscripts have landed in private collections, which makes them tricky to keep track of. This was the case for 2805 which was held in a private collection in Athens until it was sold on Christies in 2013. Through a gracious tip[8] we found out it had been purchased by a private collector in New York.

Unfortunately, this proves the exception as private buyers often do not want to be identified, especially if their manuscript has a problematic provenance.

Other manuscripts in "location unknown" like those in Damascus have been missing for over 100 years. Despite our best efforts, we've not be able to verify where these are.[9] But manuscripts that have been missing for decades do occasionally turn up again. Many of the manuscripts held at the Kosinitza Monastery near Drama, Greece were looted during WWI and have been missing since then. Several of these have been located again in recent years including 1424 and 1429 which have been returned to Drama.[10] Just last month we discovered another Kosinitza New Testament manuscript: L2378 that has ended up in Sydney. (Here is a presentation about this lectionary. At timestamp 6:24 the origin of the manuscript and its theft from Monastery Kosinitza is narrated.)

In 2021, GA 2853 was removed from "location unknown" when it was discovered to be the same as 2892 owned by the Van Kampen Foundation and housed in Orlando.[11] Likewise we discovered 2343, whose location has been unknown since at least the 1963 Liste, was at the Walters Art Museum under GA 2375. These few examples illustrate why we never give up hope of a manuscript turning up again after we've lost track of it. 

Adding to the complexity of counting manuscripts is the fact that one entry, that is one GA number, can represent a single fragment with just a few verses like 0317 (pictured below).


Or one GA number can represent a rather voluminous codex, such as L351, with over 300 leaves (pictured below).


While this fragmentary nature is well known for papyri (and perhaps majuscules), this is often overlooked when it comes to minuscules and lectionaries. In fact, approximately 27% of lectionaries have 50 folios or less and 10% of minuscules have 50 folios or less.

Another matter that can make understanding data in the Liste confusing is that there isn't always a one-to-one correlation between an entry in the Liste and a single artefact. That is, one GA number doesn't necessarily correspond to one physical manuscript or a single shelf number at a holding institution. It is possible for multiple artefacts scattered throughout the globe to share a single GA number. This is the case with L2434, which has a current total of 48 leaves dispersed throughout 26 locations.[12] Here is the list of locations of L2434 in the NTVMR.

Or it often happens that a single artefact will be assigned multiple GA numbers, such as Panteleimon Monastery 97, which has been given 17 Gregory-Aland numbers! (See its entry in Pinakes below.) 


Each part of the artefact was given a separate entry because it had unique features which could not be subsumed under a single GA number.

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana Gr. Z. 10  has two GA numbers, 209 and 2920, because fol. 1-381 were originally Gospels, Acts, Catholic Letters, and Paul, and later a manuscript of Revelation was combined with it, becoming fol. 382-421 in the same codex. These two portions of Gr. Z. 10 are from different centuries, have a different line count, and the script is different (with 2920 resembling 205 according to Gregory). These were clearly originally two separate artifacts and were not intentionally made to be bound together.

Thus, one artefact can be given multiple GA numbers if the physical features (e.g. date, columns, writing material) deviate so greatly from the other parts that it must be catalogued in the Liste as a separate entry to record these distinctions. Here is an example from Barb. Gr. 521, where GA 054 and 392 are bound in the same codex (see below).


And depending on the purpose of an artifact, a shelf mark could represent a collection of material, such as Paris, Suppl. Gr. 1155, which has 11 GA numbers. As you can see in these images, folio 4v Suppl. Gr. 1155 (GA 063) is distinct from the following folio 5r (GA L352) (see below).


Then there are supplemental portions of manuscripts.[13] If the supplement was originally part of another manuscript and was later torn out and bound together with another manuscript, in the past the rule of thumb was that it was assigned a new GA number.[14] Some supplements were created specifically with the intention to replace the missing text in a manuscript, and these are not normally given a separate GA number (e.g., fol. 89-96 in GA 2542).[15] However, this isn't always possible to know for certain, and doesn't change the fact that part of a manuscript may have distinct paleographical and codicological features that cannot simply be subsumed under one GA number. For new entries when a manuscript contains features that varies substantially from the rest of the manuscript,[16] we will consider on a case-by-case basis whether to give that portion a new GA number. We must be careful about assigning GA numbers ad absurdum and inflating the Liste beyond what is manageable or useful.

So, a manuscript scattered across various holding institutes may share a single GA number or portions of a single artefact may be assigned multiple GA numbers. Palimpsests add yet another layer of complexity since the same pages of a single artifact can be assigned two GA numbers. This is the case with Cambridge University Library, Ms. Add. 10062. The undertext is 040 (Codex Zacynthius) containing portions of the Gospel of Luke, and the overtext is L299 with daily readings from the four Gospels. 

Thus, one GA number does not always correspond to a single manuscript or artefact but rather designates a distinct paleographical and codicological witness of the New Testament text. This distinction is useful at times for understanding the data in the Liste and working with manuscripts in the real world. For example, if someone wanted to view Greek New Testament manuscripts at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, Germany they would look in the Liste and see eight entries. But if they asked the librarian for eight New Testament manuscripts there might be some confusion since the library has only five artefacts with text of the NT with five different shelf numbers (or six if you count their manuscript of Psalms with Odes!). In other words, how the INTF catalogues manuscript witnesses in the Liste (that is, based on text critical features) may be different than how holding institutions themselves catalogue their manuscripts. In the case of Wolfenbüttel, one of their artifacts was given a second GA number for the book of Revelation, and two of their manuscripts contain palimpsests with New Testament text.

With so many factors that complicate the task of counting manuscripts, it's no wonder that obtaining an accurate tally of Greek New Testament manuscripts is often seen as a fool's errand and the desideratum is round numbers or a gross estimate that may be much higher or lower than the actual number. We fully recognize that the data in the Liste is a work in progress and there are still inconsistencies and errors to be resolved. There are still far too many manuscripts registered which we know very little about. It is likely there are still dozens of duplicate entries and fragmented/separated manuscripts that belong together that need to be identified.[17] Nevertheless, we believe the Liste offers the best data available about the current Greek New Testament manuscript evidence and we strive continually to make it more accurate.

In light of the complexities mentioned above, we are convinced that rather than trying to ascertain how many New Testament manuscripts we have, a more useful question—and one which we can answer by utilizing the NTVMR—is how many New Testament witnesses have been catalogued in the Liste to date. By utilizing the NTVMR, this is relatively easy to find out.

Without further ado, here are the current tallies:


Customizing the Results


The NTVMR also offers users the ability to sort through the data and generate lists which eliminate certain kinds of manuscripts. Providing customized parameters can refine search results. It is possible, for example, to eliminate all manuscripts tagged as "Manuscript Destroyed," or "Presumed Missing," or other liturgical books or commentary manuscripts (including catenae).

For example, if you wanted to know how many minuscules there are that do not have a commentary, you can do the following search in the NTVMR:

Enter "3" as the ID in the "Manuscript Num." field

Select the feature "Commentary"

Check the box "Does not have"

Select the feature "Removed"

Select "Display"

Check the box "Does not have"

(Or click here to perform this search—you can see the search parameters in the URL.)

And you’ll discover there are 2,236 minuscules in the Liste that do not have a commentary.

Another example: if you want a tally of all lectionaries, but do not want to include ones tagged as "Other liturgical books," this can be easily done as well.

Or you can add together all destroyed manuscripts with ones presumed missing, and subtract this number from the total number of manuscripts, which results in 5,541 manuscripts.

Therefore, user can generate a more sparse or refined list of New Testament witnesses depending on their interests or research purposes.


In closing, the current number of entries in the Kurzgefasste Liste, 5,700, is only a snapshot in time; it will surely be outdated soon—probably even before you’ve finished reading this. There are certainly still more duplicate entries to be found, more manuscripts waiting to be assessed, and more discoveries to be made. While we continue to hope for new discoveries, particularly as exciting digitization efforts are underway in places like Sinai and Athos, it's also possible the current numbers will decrease as more entries are combined and we continue to prune results so we can offer the most accurate and reliable inventory of the Greek New Testament manuscript evidence.


[1] Some of these lectionaries were inserted in the free numbers L1581–L1598 and L1596 (see here).

[2] Here a special word of thanks is due to the tireless efforts of Georgi Parpulov who has informed us of dozens of new additions, many of which result from Birmingham’s Catena project.

[3] See Aland, "Einführung," in the Liste (1st ed., 1963), 12ff.

[4] See J. Raasted, Review of the 1963 Liste, Libri 16 (1966): 75–76; J.K. Elliott, Review of the 1994 Liste, NovT 39 (1997): 85–87; D.C. Parker, An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 38–46.

[5] We are waiting for a full-scale analysis of the liturgical books catalogued in the Liste before we undertake any efforts to sort through which manuscripts in the lectionary category should be removed.

[6] This error seems to stem from translating the Italian "distrutto" as "destroyed" instead of "badly damaged." See Iginio Crisci “La collezione dei papiri di Firenze” in Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology, ed. Deborah H. Samuel, ASP 7 (Toronto: Hakkert, 1970), 93

[7] R. Ast, A. Lifshits, and J. Lougovaya, "Codex Tischendorfianus 1, Rediscovered and Revisited," ZPE (2016): 141-160.

[8] Thanks to Brent Niedergall for this information.

[9] For some background on these missing fragments see here.

[10] L1240 and 2856 both stolen from Kosinitza are now in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is also highly likely that this manuscript, sold in 2004 through Sotheby’s, is Kosinitza's L1244.

[11] Thanks to Hugh Houghton for his assistance in this discovery. Unfortunately, the whole Van Kampen collection seems to have now gone underground with the closing of the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL.

[12] Some of these leaves were in the Liste under four different GA numbers. After Andrew Patton identified them as originally belonging to one lectionary, dismembered by Otto Ege, they were consolidated under the GA number L2434. Since then numerous leaves have been added. For more watch the video here.

[13] Dealing with supplements has admittedly been handled in different ways throughout the years and there are many inconsistencies in the Liste concerning which supplements get their own GA number and why. Hundreds of manuscripts have anomalies, e.g. in contents, line count, different hands etc. and recording these goes beyond the scope of a "kurzgefasste" list.

[14] This is generally observable when the contents of the biblical text overlap (e.g., 278 and 2898), although this is rare—more often a lectionary and a minuscule will share the same codex; or Revelation (which often circulated by itself) will be added to the end of an existing codex.

[15]The most famous exception to this rule is Vatican gr. 1209 (i.e. GA 03 and 1957).

[16] How much divergent material a manuscript should contain and how many features must be different from the main part of the manuscript depends on several factors. As a rule of thumb, if only one or two features vary, we will insert a brief footnote to explain which features are different. If we are dealing with three or more divergent features, we consider assigning a new number. For example, a manuscript contains 50 pages written three centuries later with a different line count and a different number of columns than the main manuscript, then the case could be made that these folios represent a unique instantiation of the New Testament text which merit a new GA number. This is our criteria going forward. The INTF does not currently have the time and resources to review all previously entered manuscripts for supplements that may meet these criteria.

[17] This is especially true for the lectionaries. We are currently in the process of uploading microfilm images for lectionaries in the NTVMR which will make it much easier to identify duplicate entries or folios that belong together.

Liste (Greek) and Manuscript Catalogue (all)

The NTVMR began as a digital environment to carry out editorial work on the Greek New Testament. As the NTVMR has continued to expand and evolve, we have hosted a variety of research projects there; although most of these projects are related to the Greek New Testament, some have to do with languages other than Greek (e.g. the Mark16 project) or even deal with non-canonical texts (e.g. 1 Clement).


To support these projects, we have been allocating new Doc IDs in the NTVMR to a variety of relevant primary resources which do not belong in the Kurzgefaßte Liste. For example, Got1; syH3; sa 1; VL 1; arm 252.


This has recently created some confusion about which materials searchable on the NTVMR actually belong in the Liste since non-Greek New Testament resources were included in the same database.  


Therefore, we have taken steps to make this distinction clearer by changing the “Liste” link so that only what belongs in the Kurzgefaßte Liste, i.e., manuscripts designated with a Gregory-Aland number, are located under this link. This should correspond to what will be included in the forthcoming printed Liste.


For those who benefit from other research projects in the NTVMR beyond the parameters of Greek New Testament manuscripts, we have created a new link labeled “Manuscript Catalog,” which has all available documents (including all Greek New Testament witnesses included in the Liste).


All documents in the NTVMR are now available under the new link in the sidebar on the homepage:


Manuscript Catalog (All)


The link for the Liste is now restricted to only items in the Kurzgefaßte Liste:


Liste (Greek)


By providing separate search tools we hope to offer the user an experience that is tailored to their specific research purposes. Researchers who want to work strictly with Greek New Testament manuscripts will now have a more efficient platform to do so. Likewise, those who want to incorporate other traditions into their research will continue to see all results available under “Manuscript Catalog (all).”

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): http://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/liste


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.


Greek Lectionary Leaves for Sale in Cologne

In our work updating the Kurzgefasste Liste, we discovered these Greek lectionary leaves for sale at a private antiquities dealer in Cologne, Germany. The four 13th century parchment leaves have not been entered in the Liste yet but seem to be part of L2144, divided between Duke University and Yale. 


Image from Antiquariat Jürgen Dinter


The dealer in Cologne offers no information about provenance, but gives the following description:

4 leaves (225 x 145 mm) of a mid 13th century lectionary on vellum.

leaf 1


Lucas 22, 32 – 39: περὶ σὺ ἵνα μὴ … καὶ ὁι μαθηταί

Mt 26, 2: οἰ δατε ὅτι λετὰ … εἰς τὸ σταυρο[θῆναι]


Mt 26, 3-13: [σταυρο]θῆναι … ἐποιησεν αὕτη εἰς  [μνημόσυνον αὐτῆσ

leaf 2


Mt 14, 15-22: [… καὶ ἡ ὤρα ἤδη παρῆλδεν] ἀπόλυσον τοὺς ὄχλους … πολύσῃ τοὺς ὄχλους

Mt 15, 32: προσκαλεσάμενος ὁ ισ. τοῖς ματηθαίς … οὐ θέλω μή[ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν …]


Mt 15, 32, 33: [… μή]ποτε ἐκλυθῶσιν – 39:  εἰς τὰ ὅρια Μαγαδάn

Mt 14, 22-25: ἠνάγκασεν … τετάρτῃ δὲ φυλακῇ τῆς νυκτός [ἤλθεν πρὸς …]

leaf 3


Mt 26, 20: […ἐσθι]όντων εἶπεν ἀμὴν λέγω …  σκανδαλισθησεσθε ἐν ἐμοὶ [εν τῇ νυκτι ταύτῃ …]


Mt 26, 31-39: ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταυτῇ, γέγραπται γὰρ πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα, καὶ διασκορπισθήσονται τὰ πρό βατα τῆς ποίμνης … πλήν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλει ἀλλ‘ ὡς σύ.

Lukas, 22, 43-: ὤφτη δὲ αὐτῷ  ἄγγελος … ἀπὸ τῃσ προσευχῆς ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς

leaf 4


Joh. 19, 7-13: [ἀπηκρίθησαν ἀυτῷ] ἰδαίοι ἡμεῖς νόμον ἔχομεν … Τότε οὖν παρέδοκεν αὐτον ἵνα σταυρωθή.


Mt 27, 3-14: ἰδῶν ιοῦδασ … θαυμάζειν τὸν [ἡγεμόνα λίαν …]


Here’s the link to the dealer:



We hope these leaves find a good home!

We’d also be very happy if the new owner would let us know where they have landed so we can keep track of them for the Liste.

Gospel Lectionary for Sale

Update July 16, 2020: L1996 is no longer a private sale, but is now being auctioned: https://www.lotsearch.net/lot/anonymous-scribe-and-illuminator-50082880


One of the most challenging parts of keeping the Kurzgefasste Liste up to date is keeping track of the current locations of manuscripts. While many manuscripts remain at the same location for centuries, others have the tendency to be more elusive and have proven tricky to keep tabs on. Take, for example, the manuscripts in the Schøyen collection. In the last few years, we’ve discovered that a number of these have been auctioned:

  • 0220
  • 64
  • 1361 / L2383
  • L1995
  • L2404

These are now housed at the Museum of the Bible. Schøyen also had a lectionary, L1996 (MS 800), in his possession until it was sold it in 2010. Formerly part of the Sir Thomas Phillipps collection, L1996 is a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary with 247 leaves. We didn’t have any information about its new location since 2010.


Pinakes noted that the Robert McCarthy Collection in London had a leaf of L1996, a miniature of the evangelist John.


As far as we were aware, the McCarthy Collection only had single pages of artwork (miniatures) from manuscripts rather than full manuscripts with text of the Greek New Testament. However, after inquiring with Georgi Parpulov, who contributed to The McCarthy Collection, vol. 1 Byzantine Miniatures (2018) catalogue, we learned that actually the whole L1996 manuscript was in the McCarthy collection (BM 2326), and Parpulov had personally examined it. He explained that a miniature was bound to the binding of L1996 but did not originally belong to it; in 2018, this miniature leaf was removed from L1996.


Microfilm of miniature from L1996 on NT.VMR

We updated the Liste with this new information and were happy to have found the new location for L1996 after having lost track of it for over 10 years.


Literally one hour later, we came across the sale of a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary through Christie’s. After requesting more information about the private sale, we discovered this lectionary was, in fact, L1996! See here for the Christie’s private sale, although it takes a little scrolling to find it.


Screenshot of Christie's sale


At the time of writing, this manuscript is still available for purchase. We are hopeful we’ll receive a notification from the new owner when it is sold so we don’t lose track of it again. We are also lucky to have images of L1996 on the NT.VMR to help identify it in the future.


Keeping track of auctioned manuscripts is not an easy task. We are very grateful to the many scholars and researchers out there who continue to assist us with this endeavor.

To that end, we are still trying to trace down the location of these three Greek NT manuscripts, auctioned in the last few years (also mentioned here).


GA 2346: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2016, 11th century Gospels with commentary sold as part of the Charles Caldwell Ryrie collection.


GA 2805: Sold on Christie’s in 2013, 11th century, Acts and Letters of the Apostles, formerly in Athens.


GA 851: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2009, Gospels, illuminated Gospel manuscript on vellum, owner unknown for many years.


The INTF is still offering a small prize for anyone who can help us pin down the new location of these manuscripts!


New Testament manuscripts from Mount Athos. Part I: Manuscripts on parchment


Mount Athos is digitizing their manuscripts. Their website reads,


“The Holy Community of Mount Athos, with commitment and respect to the millenary spiritual and cultural tradition of the Athonite Fathers, has decided to undertake new forms of action with the view to preserve and disseminate its cultural heritage. The main purpose of this effort is to exploit modern information and communication technologies by digitalizing, documenting and disseminating its cultural heritage.”


For the following Greek New Testament manuscripts on parchment, which have already been assigned a GA number, you can see new digital images on the recently published Mount Athos online repository:















l 688

l 689

l 691

l 709

l 710

l 729

l 731

l 735

l 744

l 745

l 746

l 2207

l 2462

Links to the Athos repository are already being added in the NT.VMR.


In addition, I've already found four "new" Greek New Testament manuscripts from Athos that will soon be added to the Liste:





New Testament manuscripts from Mount Athos. Part II: Manuscripts on paper

Image: GA1591 ff. 3v-4r, from Mount Athos online repository


This is a follow up to my pervious post on parchment manuscripts from the Holy Community of Mount Athos online repository. The following is a list of Greek New Testament manuscripts on paper that have a Gregory-Aland number (clicking on them will redirect you to the Mount Athos website):










l 626

l 661

l 738

l 741

l 747

l 872

l 873

l 1054

l 1203

l 1689

l 2357

Links to the Athos repository are already being added in the NT.VMR for these manuscripts as well.

Here I also add to the previous list of “new” Greek New Testament manuscripts from the repository that are to be assigned Gregory-Aland numbers:




“Frei” Numbers: 10 Newly Added Lectionaries

If you’ve ever looked through the Liste, you might have noticed that some numbers have the remark that they are “frei”, or free. There are various reasons for this designation depending on the manuscript, but the “frei” indication for lectionaries L1581-L1589 and L1596 was due to a simple oversight in the published installments of the (precursor) to the Kurzgefasste Liste.


After Gregory inaugurated the modern list of Greek New Testament manuscripts, von Dobschütz took over responsibility and made several publications with updates and additions of new manuscripts. In his 1924 publication, von Dobschütz recorded lectionaries up to L1580. In his subsequent publication of 1926, von Dobschütz picked up with L1590, accidentally skipping nine numbers (a sort of homoeoteleuton). But this was not the only accidental jump. In his 1926 publication he ended with L1595, and in 1933 he began with L1597, skipping one number. Therefore, these numbers, L1581-L1589 and L1596 were never assigned to manuscripts. In the 1963 Liste, Aland says the numbers L1581-L1589 “were (mistakenly?) not used by E. v. Dobschütz,” but nevertheless the numbers remained free in the 1994 Liste, pictured below.

As we have been preparing the Liste for publication, we discussed what to do with these numbers. Since we could see no reason not to use them, we have now assigned ten “new” manuscripts to them. They are as follows, with links to the NT.VMR:

L1581 (XVI, Duke University) (images on the NT.VMR)

L1582 (XII, British Library)

L1583 (XVI, last known Sothebys)

L1584 (XV, University of Kansas) (images on the NT.VMR)

L1585 (XIII, Yale University)

L1586 (XII, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale) (images on the NT.VMR)

L1587 (XII/XIII, New York Public Library)

L1588 (XVI, Cyprus, Paphos)

L1589 (XI, University of Pennsylvania)

L1596 (X-XI, Bucharest National Library) (images on the NT.VMR)

A New Printing of the Kurzgefasste Liste is in the Works

Update April 10, 2019: We've been notified that 0313 and 2813 are part of the Museum of the Bible collection in Washington, D.C.

The INTF is in the process of thoroughly updating the Kurzgefasste Liste in preparation for publication. We hope to have a new edition ready next year.

For nearly a decade, we have had a digital version of the Liste available on the Virtual Manuscript Room, which has been continually updated based on new information and manuscript discoveries. However, the last printed edition of the Liste was in 1994. Since then, the Liste has undergone extensive changes including the addition of a number of new manuscripts.

There have been 207 new numbers assigned to manuscripts since 1994:

Papyri: 40

Majuscules: 15

Minuscules: 72

Lectionaries: 80


Many of these have been highlighted throughout the years in our online supplements (e.g here) and blog posts (e.g. here and here).

We will also be adding some categories of manuscripts as new appendices in the printed edition and modifying some existing categories. We’ll share more about these exciting developments in the coming weeks and months.

The Hermann Kunst-Stiftung has generously funded a short-term position at the INTF solely focused on preparing the Liste for publication. This has enabled a new concerted effort to verify the data in the VMR and update incorrect or outdated information in preparation for publication. The Liste will always be a work in progress. While it may not be possible to double-check every detail about every manuscript that is already in the Liste, our goal is to carefully and thoroughly verify as much information as possible based on the resources available to us.

These resources include printed catalogues, recent scholarship, and notifications from individuals. Through the VMR Forum we have been alerted to a number of location changes and new digital images available. We’ve also been making many direct inquiries to holding institutions to stay up to date with manuscript location changes, inquire about manuscript details, and request images to help us check our information in the VMR.

While the INTF has been the so-called keeper of the Liste since it was founded in 1959, the Liste has always been the product of a communal endeavour; it is the result of hundreds of valuable contributions from scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts of Greek New Testament manuscripts around the world.

With that said, we would like to publically appeal for your help in putting together the most accurate draft possible of the next printed edtion. Many individuals have already been offering their help, and for this we are very grateful. If you come across any information in the VMR about a manuscript that you believe is incorrect or outdated, please let us know so we can look into it. It is often the case that manuscripts change locations or are given a new shelf number as institutions merge or are reorganized. If anyone has any first-hand knowledge of new manuscript locations/shelf numbers, this information would also be much appreciated. If you are aware of any new manuscripts that should be under consideration for inclusion in the Liste, we would be very grateful for a notification. Information can be shared through the VMR Forum under a newly created category called “The Liste” (click here) or if you prefer, email me (Greg Paulson): paulson at uni-muenster.de

One particular challenge is keeping up with manuscripts that have changed locations. Currently there are 137 manuscripts in the Liste where the owner/institution is unknown (listed as “besitzer unbekannt”). In addition, a number of manuscripts have been auctioned on Sotheby’s, Christies, Heritage Auctions, etc. While we have been able to ascertain the new locations of many of these auctioned manuscripts, we are asking for your help in tracking down the current location of five manuscripts in particular. Each of the following is hyperlinked to its auction:


1. GA 2813 UPDATE: This is now part of the collection at the Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C.

13th Gospel of Luke and John, sold on Sotheby’s in 2016 as part of the Charles Caldwell Ryrie collection, Dallas, TX.


2. GA 2346

Sold on Sotheby’s in 2016, 11th century Gospels with commentary sold as part of the Charles Caldwell Ryrie collection.


3. GA 2805

Sold on Christie’s in 2013, 11th century, Acts and Letters of the Apostles, formerly in Athens.


4. GA 851

Sold on Sotheby’s in 2009, Gospels, illuminated Gospel manuscript on vellum, owner unknown for many years.


5. GA 0313 (fragment) UPDATE: This is now part of the collection at the Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C.

Sold on Sotheby’s in 2013, Gospel of Mark fragment, 5th century, previously in the De Hamel Collection.


If anyone has any information about the current whereabouts of these five manuscripts we would be very grateful. For those who can help us pin down the new owners, we can offer you a small surprise, compliments of the INTF! Please let us know in the Forum, by email, or simply leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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." <http://news.getty.edu/byzantine-manu-to-greece.htm>.

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