Spreading the Word

Georgian Gospelbook

Stained and worn gospelbook, open
Georgian Gospelbook
Mount Sinai, Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine
Georgian New Finds N.12, ff. 107v-108r
Inks on parchment; ff. 196; 192 x 137mm
Gospels; Georgian
Sinai, Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine; 1075

This manuscript of the four gospels was copied at Saint Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai in 1075 by “Mikael the scribbler,” whose colophons end each gospel and indicate that the text was following a “new translation,” that is, the revised text by George the Hagiorite.

The main text is written in black ink in nusxuri script, with headings in red ink in asomtavruli. At the end of the manuscript (ff. 189r-196v) there is an index of lections for Lent and Easter, the title of which notes that the beginning of each reading is marked by a kancili, a monogram in red ink in the left margin, and the end by a cross, also in red, in the right margin. The numbers referring to Eusebian canons are written on star-like signs in the left margin. Pages illuminated with a large flowering cross preface the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, but only part of the cross on the first remains (f. 1r): the beginning and end of the manuscript are badly damaged, and in some cases only fragments of pages survive.

Mikael the scribe copied and signed another manuscript in the same collection in 1074 (Georgian O.19). The two manuscripts share many common features, and some of the people whom Mikael mentions here—”Beloved [saintly fath]ers and brothers, those whom this badly scribbled holy Evangelion reaches…our magister David…, and Moses, Mikael, Cita and Simeon and Jerasime and Grigol and their parents and brothers”—are also named in the earlier volume.
ZA (author bios)

Garitte, 1956, pp. 255-6 (for Georgian O.19); Alexidze and others, 2005, pp. 382-84.

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