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Altes Testament


Rahlfs, Alfred


Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments. Bd. I,1: Die Überlieferung bis zum VIII. Jahrhundert. Bearb. v. D. Fraenkel.


Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2004. XXXIV, 566 S. gr. 8° = Septuaginta Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Supplementum I,1. Lw. € 139,00. ISBN 3-525-53447-7.


Robert J. V. Hiebert

It has been more than 90 years since Alfred Rahlfs published the first edition of this Verzeichnis (1914), now revised and greatly expanded by Detlef Fraenkel of the Septuaginta-Unternehmen of Göttingen. As the title of the present edition indicates, this is the first volume of a register of Greek Old Testament manuscripts that were produced up to the eighth century. The forthcoming second volume will focus on the textual witnesses that date from that point until the end of the sixteenth century, which was the terminus ad quem of R.s original Verzeichnis. The need for a new edition has long been apparent, not least because of the many Septuagint texts that have come to light in the past nine decades, including some 300 papyri alone. Fewer than 140 of the manuscripts that R. lists were written prior to the ninth century, while Fraenkel’s volume catalogues more than three times that many from the same time period, when the great bulk of these new materials first made their appearance. In order to facilitate comparative usage of both editions of the Verzeichnis, Fraenkel resolves to follow R.s layout as much as possible.
In his introduction, Fraenkel provides his rationale for dividing the Verzeichnis into two volumes, describes the range of textual witnesses that are treated, outlines the plan for the arrangement of the data, acknowledges the sources from which information is drawn, specifies the kinds of data that are included in the descriptions of the manuscripts, explains the basis of the system developed by R. for the assignment of sigla to the various types of textual sources, and lists the various signs and abbreviations that are used in the present edition.
The bulk of this volume (449 pages) is devoted to the Hauptverzeichnis, in which Greek Old Testament manuscripts are described in the alphabetical order of the names of their present locations and libraries. Each such description includes, when it is available, information regarding the library/collection designation, date, type of manuscript material, number of sheets/ fragments, dimensions per side, number of columns, state of preservation, codicology, script, orthography, treatment of the nomina sacra, provenance and/or current location, content, published editions and/or facsimiles, collation, and text-critically relevant reference works.
The Numerisches Verzeichnis lists all the witnesses described in the Hauptverzeichnis in the ascending order of their sigla – uncials alphabetically and others numerically. The data provided in this list includes the siglum, location and library name, technical designation, general indication of content, and date.
In the Biblisches Verzeichnis, the focus is on the content of the textual witnesses. First, distinctions are made between biblical manuscripts – subdivided into groupings of the whole Bible and various configurations of Bible portions – and manuscripts that contain biblical quotations. Second, there is a comprehensive, book-by-book list of witnesses, including those mentioned in the preceding groupings. The manuscripts in the Biblisches Verzeichnis appear in chronological order, and those of the same age are arranged in the alphabetical and numerical order of their current location, library and technical designation. Other information provided includes the manuscript type, an abbreviated description of content, and the siglum.

The concluding 67 page Register or index consists of seven main components. The first section of ten Sigelkonkordanzen provides lists of various manuscript designation systems (i. e., those of Holmes-Parsons, Swete, Lagarde, Brooke-McLean, Aland, van Haelst, and Turner) arranged in parallel with the now universally-recognized Göttingen system devised by R. This is followed by registers of witnesses according to types of manuscript materials (papyrus, leather, parchment, paper, ostraca, tablets, lead, and stone) arranged within those sub-groupings by age. Then come lists of bi- or tri-lingual manuscripts; a Stellenverzeichnis of passages attested in the »fragmentarische Überlieferung« of manuscripts presented in the »canonical« order of the Octateuch, Reigns, Paralipomenon, Esdras, Esther, Judith, To bit, Maccabees, Books of Wisdom, Prophets, and Psalms and Odes; a Kurzübersicht based on the Hauptverzeichnis and focusing on the current locations, libraries, and technical designations of manuscripts; lists of locations and regions in which textual witnesses have been found; and finally a register of Ortsverweise that links manuscripts, papyri and ostraca that are commonly referred to in the literature by name or collection designation with their current location.

Needless to say, this volume is an indispensable resource for all involved in biblical textual criticism and research concerning the textual history of the Old Greek version of the Jewish Scriptures. It is a gold mine of detailed textual information – clearly laid out and exhaustively indexed – and is a tribute to the industry and persistence of its editor. It supersedes R.s edition in every respect except for the narrower temporal range of the textual witnesses that are profiled. That will, of course, be remedied in second volume that is currently being prepared. Yet for all the comprehensiveness of this new edition, the cataloguing of manuscripts will, as Fraenkel himself quite candidly acknowledges, continue to be a work in progress as more texts come to light and/or are subjected to scholarly analysis. Thus the concluding sentence of his Vorwort, penned originally by R. in the first edition, remains applicable: »Ich erwarte daher zahlreiche Verbesserungen und Ergänzungen und bitte dringend um sie« (X).