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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Gospel lectionary (Saturdays, Sundays and weekdays)

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The upper, more recent writing, is a copy of the New Testament written out in the sequence of the Byzantine lectionary. The lectionary (containing all books of the New Testament except Revelation) gives readings for every day of the church’s year, with another sequence giving readings by the day of the civil calendar. Like many lectionaries, this copy is heavily abbreviated, and to avoid repetition contains many cross-references where passages were used more than once. The instructions are written in red ink. A list of all the readings in the lectionary, following the sequence of this manuscript, is available <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>here</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was copied by a scribe called Neilos, who worked on the island of Rhodes at the end of the twelfth century.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>To make the manuscript, Neilos used the parchment of the older manuscript. The old writing was carefully scraped off. Then the sheets were cut in half at the gutter and turned through ninety degrees, so that the new manuscript is half the size of the old one. The new sheets were folded in half in sets of four to make quires with sixteen pages.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>We do not know whether Neilos prepared the manuscript himself, or whether someone else scraped off the old writing. Nor do we know how long this was done before he reused the pages. We do know that parchment was valuable and sometimes in short supply, and that old manuscripts in large scripts no longer used were often recycled like this. The minuscule script used by Neilos is far more economical of space than the script of the original manuscript.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Each of the pages of the upper text makes up one half of a page of the original document. Links are provided for each page on the <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>concordance of the overtext and undertext</a> to enable users to compare the overtext image with the corresponding rotated and enhanced image of the undertext. In addition, the XML transcription files of the Lectionary are available on <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>the University of Birmingham eData repository</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Professor David Parker<br /> Professor of Digital Philology<br /> Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing<br /> University of Birmingham<br /></p>

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