Thursday, 24 September 2015

Details in the margin – not marginal details: A liturgical annotation in the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus


I have been interested for a while in the importance of marginal annotations for the study of manuscripts and the texts they contain. In the same period I have also been working on the attestation of the so-called First Epistle of Baruch in Syriac manuscripts. In this blog post I combine these two interests, discussing a marginal note in the 6th or 7th century Codex Ambrosianus, also known as the important ms 7a1 of the Leiden List of Old Testament Peshiṭta Manuscripts.

This blog post deals with an annotation in the margin of folio 177v, situated close to the first column containing the end of chapter 7 and the beginning of chapter 8 of the First Epistle of Baruch. The note reads q (with a superlinear stroke) dzdyq’. The note is written vertically, in red ink, by a second hand, and according to Antonio M. Ceriani, in “charachtere maronitico” (Monumenta V,2, 177n83). I read this annotation as a liturgical note and I would translate it as “Lection for [the commemoration of] the just”, suggesting that the passage in the column next to it was intended by someone, who at a certain point engaged with the codex, to be read at an occasion of commemoration of the just (pl.), alternatively at a commemoration of a particular just person (sg.).