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Western Medieval Manuscripts : Pauline Epistles with catena

Photios I, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 820-c. 891)

Western Medieval Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript is the latter part of a book containing the <i>Pauline Epistles with catena</i>, a supporting sequence of extracts from commentaries in the margins, originally copied in the late 10th or early 11th century. Probably during the third quarter of the 12th century, it was expanded by the insertion of new quires with further commentary, preceding each epistle. The early part of the original manuscript, containing Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, along with prefatory hagiographic texts on St Paul, at some point became detached from this. It is now <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Oxford, Magdalen College, MS gr. 7</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The layout of the original manuscript was planned around the inclusion of the catena in its broad margins. Each book was also preceded by a prefatory hypothesis describing its context and content, and by a list of chapters (κεφάλαια). At the beginning of the original manuscript, now part of the Magdalen College volume, were prefatory texts of a more general nature. The excerpts comprising the catena are drawn largely from the commentary of Photios I, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 820-c. 891), a text which survives only through its presence in catenae.</p>When an owner in the 12th century undertook to expand this by adding portions of the commentary which had not been selected for inclusion in the original catena, the new material was copied in continuous text on quires of appropriate size. These were then inserted into the original quires, directly following the folio containing the end of the book to which each block of added commentary relates. Since the end of a book would not usually coincide exactly with the end of a folio, the original content pertaining to the next book is generally interrupted by the inserted folios. To compensate for this, the text preceding the insertions, which had been cut off from the book to which it belonged, was replicated by the new scribe, following the commentary and thus restoring the full content in a continuous run. This rendered the material which had been cut off redundant, and this was usually struck through by the scribe to prevent confusion, though in some cases this action was omitted.<p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript retains parchment endleaves from an earlier binding, presumably made after its arrival in western Europe, which include reused folios from a 13th-century Latin manuscript.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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