Re: Cursive MS numbering systems

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun Mar 14 1999 - 15:20:16 EST

> Message text written by "Biblical Greek" by Clayton Stirling Bartholomew:
>>>I have a trivia question which is causing me nontrival confusion. The
> cursives seemed to be numbered according to several systems. There is a
> Lambeth system that is just enough like the system used in UBSGNT and NA
> to be confusing.
> Is there anyway to convert these numbers, a chart or whatever?
> One example is MS 1175 which appears in both systems and has the same
> date but I don't think it is the same MS.<<

Dave Wrote:
> Clayton,
> I am not aware of the Lambeth system you mention. I think the name Lambeth
> has something
> Could you be more specific about the context you found it in?

Thank you Dave,

The source is Henry Alford's Greek Testament 7th ed., 1870's. Alford
uses several different notation systems for the cursive witnesses
(minisucles). One system using small letters a-o is borrowed from
Scrivener and Alford then gives translation tables to convert
Scrivener's codes to manuscript names and numbers. In these translation
tables he refers to the "Lambeth Catalog" and proceeds to use a series
of numbers prefixed by the name Lambeth. Just to make life more fun and
to reduce confusion, Alford also uses a numbering system that looks like
the Gregory system used today. I have identified at least one positive
correspondence between this system and the Gregory system and that is
cursive number 33. The other numbers are up for grabs. I am speculating
from this that Gregory probably adopted some existing numbering system
for the cursives and cleaned up the whole mess by eliminating the other
systems. So what we see in Alford is the bits and pieces of the multiple
systems current in the third quarter of the 19th century.

The practical implications of this are minor. The information available
about the cursives is scant to say the least. I have Metzger and Aland
their information on the cursives does not look much different than what
Alford says. Alford actually has more description of the texts in this
category than the Metzger or Aland, since he took these manuscripts more
seriously than Westscott and Hort and thier disciples.

If one wants to pursue an eclectic approach to the text, the lack of any
data on the vast majority of the later manuscripts is a problem.

Thanks again for your reply.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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