Examining the above KNOWN (and or suspected) sources for numerous manuscripts

can assist with examining manuscripts of unknown origins,

which is the subject of the following section.


The following discussions illuminate several factors in determining the provenance

of a Greek New Testament minuscule manuscript. As is well known, hundreds of

monasteries existed during the Byzantine era (A.D. 500—1450). Some monasteries

left no manuscript remains. Some left many copies. We shall focus upon some of the principle

locales, and discuss features which will assist the student in indentifying

the possible provenance of the manuscript in question. The following areas are

the focus of this page:



Constantinople (Stoudion, et al)

Nicaea (A.D. 1206—1261), Bithynia—Cappadocia

Palaeologian Era (A.D. 1261—1331)


Mt. Sinai

Mt. Athos and other Monasteries in Greece

(Insular manuscripts are discussed on the Latin Versions page)

Most minuscule manuscripts produced during the Byzantine era are of the Byzantine text-type. Notable exceptions occur, but the majority were reproductions of the standard Byzantine text-type. It is assumed that in the Stoudion in Constantinople, was kept master copies of official texts. These served as exemplars for the numerous monasteries in that area. Certainly they possessed early manuscripts from Caesarea, Alexandria, Rome and numerous other areas of the former Greek/Roman empire.


It is obvious that they preferred the text as exhibited in Antioch/Edessa, as this is the proto or early form of their standard text-type. In the outlying areas, it appears that a variety of variants enter into the pool of manuscripts. Probably contaminations from manuscripts in their possession which came from provincial areas, or which were poor or unofficial copies. We see this as evidenced in the remains. These remains we shall examine, not so much as to determine their textual affinities, but rather so as to ascertain their creation/copying source, their provenance.


Future research may determine if Byzantine manuscripts produced in certain locales represented differing text-types (that is displayed a text-type other than the standard Byzantine text-type). Currently we know that several groups do exist which display just such behavior, groups such as FAMILY 13 and FAMILY 1. These families are distinct to certain locales and illustrate a slightly divergent text-type, this text-type is a sub-set of the Byzantine text-type. These families came into existence due to the above mentioned reasons as well as probable doctrinal biases. Other minor divisions occur within the Byzantine text-type (as noted especially in Von Soden's works), and again these variations are usually the result of contaminations. It is probably true (as insisted upon by Dr. Maurice Robinson) that:

"...the Byzantine Textform rests primarily among the late minuscules and uncials of the ninth century and later, the antiquity of that text reaches at least as far back as its predecessor exemplars of the late fourth and early fifth century, as reflected in MSS A/02 and W/032."


In the above quote, Robinson is referring to the MSS of the Gospel texts, I would like to add that these manuscripts are probably descendents from that text which survived in ancient Antioch/Edessa. I refer to this early Antioch/Edessa text as the "proto-Byzantine" text. The earliest remnants of this "proto-Byzantine" text are the Old Syriac version, the Gothic texts some Latin and parts of various papyri and early uncials. But we are moving away from the focus of this page.

We shall begin with Greek minuscule manuscripts produced in Italy/Sicily. Which forms a rather large group of manuscripts! These discussions will be based upon manuscript films and photos in my possesssion, hence forwarding original research. Since the material is based upon my resources and independent research, it may appear somewhat limited or restricted. Yet, this is probably a good thing!




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