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NT.VMR Doc ID 703001

Add. MS 14451

5th century CE

Classical Syriac

David Taylor

Mina Monier



Codex Curetonianus (BL Add. 14451) is a 5th century manuscript, one of three surviving manuscript witnesses to the Old Syriac version of the Gospels, and it was named for its first editor (1848), William Cureton. There is no surviving colophon, and so it is dated by palaeography. It was acquired by the British Museum (now Library) in 1843 from Deir al-Surian, the Monastery of the Syrians (a Coptic monastery, formerly Syrian Orthodox), in the Wadi Natrun in Egypt. When it was rebound in 1222 CE the manuscript had fallen into disrepair, with only 80 folios of Old Syriac text still preserved as a unit. The gaps were filled by 61 folios taken from damaged Peshitta Gospel manuscripts, and 5 new folios were copied for it from the Peshitta. In London these additions were all removed and preserved separately. Cureton added 2.5 additional Old Syriac folios from the original manuscript reused in bindings of other manuscripts, and later 3 further folios were found in Berlin (Berlin Syr. 8) and 1 folio in Deir al-Surian (Deir al-Surian Syr. frag. 9). In total, 86.5 folios survive out of an original 180. The Gospels were copied in the order Mt, Mk, Jn, Lk, which appears to be unique among extant Gospel manuscripts, although attested in other sources. The Curetonian text differs in many places from the other two Old Syriac manuscripts, and contains many textual plusses, including the surviving fragment of the ending of Mark (16.17b-20), which is all that survives of Mark in this manuscript. The standard edition is by F.C. Burkitt, Evangelion da Mepharreshe: The Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels (Cambridge, 1904). David Taylor, SNSF MARK16 project; © CC-BY 4.0