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CSPMT and the Two Greek Lectionary Text Types

There are essentially two predominant text types found in manuscripts of the Greek Gospel lectionary (Euaggelion). This fact had previously been discovered by Prof. Basil Antoniades in his preparation for publication for his Ecumenical Patriarchal Greek New Testament of 1904. One type of lectionary manuscript was described textually as being strongly standard Byzantine or β as he called it which was similar to Von Soden's Kappa or K text while the other type contained many remarkable and noticeable variants apart from the Kappa or β text type. Prof. Antoniades had considered the divergent type as containing older readings therefore, many of its readings were adopted into his the published Ecumenical Patriarchal edition of the New Testament of 1904.

Prior to this time, the Greek Orthodox Church had only the Greek Euaggelion and Apostolos lectionaries as used in worship. Investigations into the such questions as the textual nature of the text of the New Testament were seen as unnecessary. With the advent of textual criticisms popularity in the early 20th century and general rise in interest into such questions, Prof. Antoniades and his associates deemed producing a standard Greek New Testament as beneficial to the Orthodox Church. Most of the readings in the Antoniades edition had been obtained from various Greek lectionary manuscripts available to them from many well known manuscript repositories in the East.

Research and study of the textual variations within Greek lectionary manuscripts had remaining fairly limited until CSPMT's recent groundbreaking research between main text types of Greek lectionary manuscripts and editions. There previously had been the Chicago Lectionary Project under the direction of Prof. Ernest C. Colwell and his associates at the University of Chicago from the 1930s-60s but other later studies involved brief summaries or cursory thesis papers. CSPMT collated the entire corpus of internal pericope readings in various lectionary manuscripts as well as comparing them with printed editions from including various printings of the official lectionary of the Orthodox Church (Apostoliki Diakonia Press) found in Athens, Greece in 1936. What CSPMT found in this in-depth study was simply astounding. There remained two main types of lectionary manuscripts and printed editions. Both editions and manuscripts matched textually very closely There was the standard Byzantine or β type earlier named by Prof. Antoniades and the divergent type CSPMT has recently termed φ due to close textual affinities with the continuous text grouping Gr. 7 and somewhat less so with Gr. 1424 which both originally were part of Von Soden's φb and φa textual groupings. CSPMT further found both the β type manuscripts and printed editions from (1539-1968) matched textually very closely with each other and the same held true also for the φ type manuscripts and editions with one another.

Regarding the recent Greek lectionary printed editions, CSPMT has also determined prior to publication of the mega-sized edition published by the AD Press in Athens, 1968, the editions of the Gospel lectionary had remained textually quite similar to the β type or standard Byzantine text type. All editions subsequent to 1968 textually were more similar to Ecumenical Patriarchal (1904) NT edition of the Greek New Testament. However, some readings in the editions printed after 1968 remained from the earlier standard β or Byzantine type variant readings until the next revision was conducted. This was completed in 1982 by the AD Press with the assistance of Prof. Dimitrios Tzerpos of Athens University. Prof. Tzerpos completed his revision making the additional minor changes thus textually assimilating the Greek Gospel and Apostolos lectionaries more closely yet with the text of the Ecumenical Patriarchal (EP) New Testament edition.

The research and findings of CSPMT are highly significant for the furtherance of textual studies of Greek lectionary manuscripts and printed editions. CSPMT is continuing to research more recent changes in the printed editions of the Greek lectionary published by the official AD Press in Greece. We will keep our readers notified of this further research through our regular website news updates.

Paul Anderson
Washington, D.C.

Lectionary Variant Study

Evangelion - Synaxarion of the Orthodox Church

Jordan on Lectionaries

Introduction to Greek Lectionaries

Introduction to Greek Lectionaries pt. 2

Introduction to Greek Lectionaries pt. 3