Entries with tag nt.vmr .

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.

Updates to P129 and P131

There’s been a lot of discussion and speculation in the past few months about two new 2nd/3rd century papyrus fragments, first mentioned by Brent Nongbri as papyri being displayed by Scott Carroll in 2018. We were contacted earlier this year by Andrew Stimer, a private collector in California, who wanted to obtain G-A numbers for two papyrus fragments that he acquired in 2015. The fragments are of 1 Corinthians and Romans. Stimer provided us with unpublished scholar’s reports, which he received in 2016 and 2017: the report for 1 Corinthians was done by Dirk Obbink (who dates the fragment to mid-2nd cent.) and the report on Romans was done by Jeffery Fish (who dates the fragment to the first half of the 3rd cent.).


Through Nongbri’s blog, the INTF was already alerted to the possibility that the papyri in Stimer’s possession were parts of other papyri already registered in the Liste, P129 (1 Cor) and P131 (Romans), which are currently at the Museum of the Bible (MOTB). These numbers, P129 and P131, were assigned to the papyri at MOTB in 2015 so they could include this information in a planned publication with Brill, although this has not been published.


Over the past few months, we’ve been working to (a) verify the authenticity of Stimer's fragments and (b) decide whether they belong to P129 and P131. The MOTB kindly provided us with images of P129 and P131 so we could make comparisons. We shared images of Stimer's two fragments with Michael Holmes, and scholars at the Museum of the Bible Scholar’s Initiative were of the opinion that the fragments did indeed belong together. The pieces were analyzed by a number of INTF staff but we still had some lingering questions. We requested expert advice from papyrologist Panagiota Sarischouli at the University of Thessaloniki so we could get an external opinion.


A few weeks ago, Sarischouli graciously provided us with an extensive report confirming the authenticity of the fragments. She noted, “I can say that I have no reason to believe that Stimer’s fragments are fakes; if they are forgeries, they are masterly done!!!” Sarischouli stated, "There can be little doubt that the two fragments (Stimer’s 1 Cor. + P129) belong to the same codex page. Although there are some slight differences between the two handwritings, the hand is identical." She also agreed with the dates proposed by Obbink and Fish. We are very grateful to her for providing such extensive information about these fragments.


We have now assigned Stimer’s 1 Corinthians fragment to the already registered P129, and have assigned his Romans fragment to the already registered P131 fragment. We can now update the contents of these papyri:


Stimer's portion of P129 is: 1 Cor 7:32-37; 9:10-16

MOTB's portion of P129 is: 1 Cor 8:10-9:3, 27-10:6

Stimer's portion of P131 is: Rom 9:21-23; 10:3-4

MOTB's portion of P131 is: Rom 9:18-21, 33-10:2


With regard to provenance, Stimer provided us with the following report for his pieces:

I acquired both of the manuscripts in the summer of 2015 from Mr. M. Elder of Dearborn, Michigan. He bought them the previous year, in April 2014, via a private treaty sale executed by Christie’s London. The fragments were part of a collection of texts that had been in the Pruitt family since the 1950s. Dr. Rodman Pruitt was an industrialist and inventor in southern Indiana who was known as a collector of manuscripts, books and artifacts of various kinds. He acquired his papyri from Harold Maker, a well-known dealer in manuscripts who was based in Irvington, New Jersey. I am told that the Trismegistos database lists numerous published papyri originally sold by Harold Maker. [Coincidentally, I have another manuscript in my collection that also came through Harold Maker, and with it are copies of sales materials he issued in the early 1950s.] I contacted Christie’s London to confirm that they had indeed conducted the private treaty sale of manuscripts that had passed by descent through the Pruitt family. I communicated with Dr. Eugenio Donadoni, Director of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. He confirmed that the consignor of the collection that was sold in April 2014 was a relative of Dr. Rodman Pruitt, though he was of course restricted in the amount of information he was at liberty to provide to me. The sale included various papyri, in Coptic, Greek and Syriac. I was satisfied that the information I had been given at the time of the acquisition was correct.


We recently learned, however, that the two fragments belonging to the MOTB previously belonged to the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), see here and were sold without their permission. While many questions still remain regarding Stimer’s papyri, it seems highly probable that his pieces were also once part of the EES collection and were sold without their permission (see here). We have notified Stimer of this and updated the Liste entries in the NT.VMR (P129 and P131) to reflect this. We hope to upload images of Stimer’s papyri and the MOTB papyri on the NT.VMR for public viewing after the issue of provenance has been resolved.


In light of this problematic provenance and so many open questions, we have debated whether to register these two papyri. We are aware that the designation of a G-A number may have the unfortunate side effect of inflating the value of a manuscript on the antiquities market. However, our primary focus when deciding whether to include a new manuscript in the Kurzgefasste Liste has been verifying its authenticity and collecting key data so these manuscripts can be made known to the wider scholarly community. Our hope is that registering these manuscripts in the Liste, where all information is made publically available on the NT.VMR, will enable any unprovenanced manuscripts to be located (or re-located) as effectively as possible.


Update: 21 Oct. 2019 from EES, Stimer to return 5 missing manuscripts: https://www.ees.ac.uk/news/missing-papyri-two-updates


Update: 5 May 2020: The portions of these manuscripts held by MOTB and Stimer have now been returned and are located in Sackler Library.

Änderung der Transkripte: ΤΓ > ΤΤ


Änderung der Transkripte des Markusevangeliums für die Editio Critica Maior (ECM) aufgrund paläographischer Untersuchungen zu dem Wort κραβαττος.


Eines der schwierigsten Wörter sowohl für die frühen Kopisten als auch für die heutigen Transkribenten ist das Wort κραβαττος ("das Bett"), das in den neutestamentlichen Berichten von der Heilung gelähmter Menschen mehrfach verwendet wird (insgesamt 12x: Mk 2:4. 9. 11. 12; 6:55; Joh 5:8-11. 12v.l.; Act 5:15; 9:33).

Κραβαττος, so die lexikalischen Form, erscheint in den Handschriften (des Markusevangeliums) auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise und weist in den Transkripten eine ungewöhnlich hohe Fehlerquote auf; es findet sich kaum ein Transkript, dass den Text der Vorlage korrekt kopiert - auch nicht bei Transkribenten mit langjähriger Erfahrung. Dies liegt sicherlich nicht zuletzt in der Lesegewohnheit begründet, bei der das Auge hauptsächlich die ersten und die letzen Buchstaben eines Wortes erfasst, die dazwischen liegenden Buchstaben nur oberflächlich aufnimmt und aus der Erinnerung ergänzt bzw. beim Kollationieren dem vorgegebenen Basistext anpasst.

Zu den Orthographica gehören die Vertauschung der doppelt bzw. einfach gesetzten Konsonanten β und τ:

a. κραββατος 

b. κραβατος

c. κραββαττος

sowie die Lesart

d. κραβακτος (und das Neutrum το κραβακτον).

Als Fehlerlesarten sind zu werten:

a. κραμβατος

b. γραβαττος

c. κραβαντος

d. κραββαντος

e. κραβανττος

f. κρεβαττος

g. κρεβαντος

h. κραβαγτος

die sich jedoch z.T. erklären lassen: 

a. verschreibt das erste β durch μ, verursacht durch das vergleichbare Erscheinungsbild in der Minuskelschrift (wobei allerdings das Beta nicht nach links verbunden wird). Dies begegnet z.B. auch bei dem Wort ραββι/ραμβι (vgl. V. Gardthausen, Griechische Palaeographie, 2. Aufl., Leipzig 1978, II 213 f). (Link zu 1. Aufl.).

b. ähnelt der lateinischen Form grabatus. 

c.-e. verschreiben ττ durch ντ, vielleicht aus lautmalerischen Gründen.      

f.-g. Vokalvertauschung α/ε. Hierfür gibt es allerdings lediglich zwei Zeugen (GA 032 und 13; vgl. auch 872*), die allerdings nur in 6:55 κρεβαττος bzw. κρεβαντος schreiben, in der Geschichte der Heilung des Gelähmten in Kapharnaum (2:4. 9. 11. 12) jedoch übereinstimmend die korrekte Form κραβαττος bezeugen. Dies deutet auf ein Versehen hin.

h. Mit dieser Lesart begegnet eine Wortform, die - wenn sie nicht ähnlich wie c.-e. auf lautmalerische Gründe zurückgeht - eine Fehlerlesart ist, die ihren Urspung in einer paläographischen Besonderheit hat, die offenbar vom Schreiber nicht (mehr) erkannt wurde: Die Schreibung des Doppelkonsonanten ττ in der Minuskelschrift (s.u.).

Am weitesten verbreitet waren die Lesarten κραβαττος und κραββατος. Auffällig ist, dass die Schreibweise auch innerhalb einer Handschrift variieren kann, die Schreiber also an den verschiedenen Stellen unterschiedliche Wortformen genutzt haben, wie beispielsweise:

GA Mk 2:4 Mk 2:9 Mk 2:11 Mk 2:12 Mk 6:55
1216 κραββατον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραββατον
1579 κραβατον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραβαττον κραββατον


Insgesamt kann aber beobachtet werden, dass häufig bei textlicher Nähe (2:4-12) die gleiche Schreibweise verwendet wurde, an der späteren Stelle dagegen (6:55) eine andere.

Eine Besonderheit stellt in diesem Zusammenhang die Schreibweise des doppelten Tau (ττ) dar, die in den Handschiften oftmals wie eine Verbindung von Tau und Gamma  (τγ) erscheint und daher in den Transkripten - fälschlicherweise - bisher auch als solche transkribiert wurde (z.B. κραβατγον).

Hinter dieser Ligatur steht das Bestreben der Minuskelschrift, Buchstaben ohne Aufheben des Stiftes in einer Linie zu schreiben und die waagerechten und senkrechten Striche miteinander zu verbinden. Dies führte sowohl für das Gamma als auch für das Tau zu ähnlich erscheinenden offenen Formen: ⋎. Beide Buchstaben konnten nach rechts mit dem folgenden Buchstaben verbunden werden, so dass es zu einem nicht mehr unterscheidbaren Erscheingungsbild kam:

1243, Mk 6,55, Z.15   (κραβατ-τοις)

und ebd. 7,4, Z.27   (αγο-ρας).

Diese offene Form des Tau war vor allem in der frühen Kursive gebräuchlich. In den Handschriften wird sie jedoch nicht mehr für ein allein stehendes Tau verwendet; sie findet sich nur noch in den Ligaturen für das doppelte Tau (ττ = τγ) (vgl. Gardthausen [s.o.] ΙΙ 202. 215).

Ein Vergleich aller Schreibweisen dieses Wortes an den fünf Stellen im Markusevangelium zeigt, dass die Majuskelform ττ sowie die kursive Schreibweise in der Ligatur τγ unterschiedslos verwendet wurden:

GA 2,4 2,9 2,11 2,12 6,55


ττ τγ ττ ττ ττ
351 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
788 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
826 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
863 ττ ττ τγ ττ ττ
1029 ττ ττ τγ τγ ττ
1216 ττ τγ τγ τγ ττ
1243 τ τ τγ τγ τγ
1579 τ τγ τγ τγ τ
1675 τγ τγ τγ τ / ττ τ
2193 τγ τγ τγ τγ ττ
2411 ττ ττ ττ τγ τ


Dass die Schreibung τγ die offene Darstellungsform des ττ ist und nicht als Tau-Gamma gelesen werden darf, zeigt sich vor allem bei Worttrennungen zwischen diesen beiden Buchstaben, wie sie z.B. GA 261 bei Mk 2:4; GA 495. 543. 826 bei Mk 6:55 und GA 892 bei Mk 2:11 vorkommen: An (fast) allen genannten Stellen im Markusevangelium verwendet der jeweilige Schreiber die Ligatur in Form von τγ, nur an der Stelle der Worttrennung schreibt er: κραβατ-τον. Er versteht also die Ligatur korrekt, wohingegen in GA 124 an der ersten Selle Tau - Gamma getrennt und im weiteren Verlauf der Schrift einheitlich τγ verwendet wird; hier scheint der Schreiber das Wort κραβατγον gelesen zu haben, wohl in Unkenntnis dieses paläographischen Phänomens.

Die Verwendung der Ligatur für das doppelte Tau kommt neben κραβαττον auch in anderen Worten des Markusevangeliums vor:

GA 472: 7:37 εκπληττοντο

GA 863: 7:36 εκηρυττον

GA 1542: 1:22 εκπληττοντο

GA 2738: 1:27 επιταττω; 1:30 πυρεττουσα

Wir haben uns entschieden, die Ligatur des doppelten Tau in den Minuskeln - die ja vergleichbar ist mit der offenen Form des doppelten Sigma - auch als ττ zu transkribieren und nicht mehr - wie bisher - als Fehlerlesart τγ.

Die entsprechenden Korrekturen der im NT.VMR publizierten Transkripte des Markusevangeliums für die ECM wurden bereits abgeschlossen, für die übrigen Transkripte - besonders der Apostelgeschichte (ECM Bd. III) - wird sie folgen. 


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:




New Digital Humanities Position at INTF

(English summary—see below for the original post in German):


Job Vacancy


Beginning November 1st, 2019, a position is available as a researcher (salary class 13 TV-L) at the Institute for New Testament Textual Criticism (INTF). The post is part of the Excellence Cluster “Religion and Politics: Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation” at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.


The position is full-time and for a period of 6 years and 3 months. Regular work hours are 39 hours and 50 minutes per week. It would also be possible to fill the post with two people at 50% of the work hours.


Areas of Responsibility:

  • Participation in the project "Theory of Variant Development" (under project leader Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf)
  • Further development of the open digital edition platform, the NT.VMR



  • Doctoral degree (Dr. phil. or Dr. theol.)
  • Extensive experience in New Testament textual criticism
  • Experience with Digital Humanities, including digital philology and philological study of editions
  • Experience in the development and administration of portal platforms with content management systems, preferably Liferay
  • Good knowledge of biblical Greek


The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Female applicants are encouraged to apply and those with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. Applications from candidates with severe disabilities are also welcome. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.


Please send applications via email including relevant documents (curriculum vitae, certificates etc.) no later than 12 August 2019 to Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf (email: strutw@uni-muenster.de)




Im Exzellenzcluster „Religion und Politik. Dynamiken von Tradition und Innovation“ an der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster ist im Teilprojekt C3-21 unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf ab dem 01.11.2019 eine Stelle als


wissenschaftliche*r Mitarbeiter*in

Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L


mit 100% der regelmäßigen Arbeitszeit zu besetzen. Die Stelle ist für die Dauer von sechs Jahren und drei Monaten befristet. Die regelmäßige Arbeitszeit beträgt zurzeit 39 Stunden und 50 Minuten wöchentlich. Es ist grundsätzlich möglich, die Stelle mit zwei Personen mit je 50% der regelmäßigen Arbeitszeit zu besetzen.


Am Exzellenzcluster „Religion und Politik“ sind die Fächer Geschichte, Politikwissenschaft, Soziologie, Katholische und Evangelische Theologie und die Rechtswissenschaften beteiligt; Vertreter der Islamwissenschaft, der Islamischen Theologie, der Judaistik, der Ägyptologie, der Archäologie, der Philosophie, der Philologien, der Kunstgeschichte sowie der Ethnologie ergänzen das interdisziplinäre Spektrum. Nähere Informationen zu den beteiligten Fachbereichen und allgemein zum Forschungsprofil des Exzellenzclusters finden Sie unter www.uni-muenster.de/Religion-und-Politik/.


Der Aufgabenbereich umfasst:

  • Mitarbeit im Teilprojekt "Theorie der Variantenentstehung" (Projektleitung Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf)
  • Weiterentwicklung des NTVMR zu einer offenen, digitalen Editionsplattform



  • Promotion (Dr. phil. oder Dr. theol.)
  • weitreichende Erfahrungen in der Textkritik des Neuen Testaments
  • Erfahrungen mit virtuellen Forschungsumgebungen (Digital Humanities)
  • Sicherer Umgang in digitaler Philologie und Editionsphilologie
  • Erfahrung in der Entwicklung und Administration einer Portal-Plattform mit Content Management System, vorzugsweise Liferay
  • Gute Griechischkenntnisse


Die WWU Münster tritt für die Geschlechtergerechtigkeit ein und strebt eine Erhöhung des Anteils von Frauen in Forschung und Lehre an. Bewerbungen von Frauen sind daher ausdrücklich erwünscht; Frauen werden bei gleicher Eignung, Befähigung und fachlicher Leistung bevorzugt berücksichtigt, sofern nicht in der Person eines Mitbewerbers liegende Gründe überwiegen. Schwerbehinderte werden bei gleicher Qualifikation bevorzugt eingestellt.


Bewerbungen richten Sie bitte möglichst per E-Mail mit den üblichen Unterlagen (Lebenslauf, Zeugnisse) bis zum 12. August 2019 an die Projektleitung:


Prof. Dr. Holger Strutwolf

Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung

Pferdegasse 1

48143 Münster



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

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