Re: MS numbers

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Tue Jun 08 1999 - 20:26:47 EDT

In Maurice Robinson's inquiry sent to the list by Edgar;

>>>Now, for my question: as long as mss were in majuscule there was no need
>>>for a 'final sigma' form -- but once minuscule and cursive scripts
>>>because [became]
>>>common, with the 'final sigma' form appearing, how did they manage to
>>>maintain 'stigma' = 7 "until now"?
The final sigma used in printed editions of the GNT is a convention of
printing and is not used by any scribes of minuscule mss as far as I know.
The possible exception to this is that occasionally an uncial sigma will be
used at the end of a line in some of the minuscule mss, especially those
from the 14th & 15th centuries, but the mixing of uncial letters with
minuscule letters can occur not only at the end of the line but internally
as well. In my years of collating minuscules, I have not found any
instances where the scribe used even an uncial sigma regularly to end a
word. This is the primary phenomena that led G.D. Kilpatrick to quit using
the final sigma. He claimed that it was invented only for the printed GNT.

It appears to me that the continued use of the stigma (made much like the
uncial sigma except with a tail on it) for the number six would have been
no problem for the minuscule scribes.

An interesting aside is that some scribes like the one of GA1877 use
something very much like what we think of as a final sigma as an
abreviation for KAI. He puts a slash mark over it very much like he does
for numbers.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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