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Conversion Table for the Eusebian Canons

For several years now, the staff at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (www.csntm.org) have utilized the Eusebian Canons to quickly find their place in Gospel manuscripts. These Canons are found in the inner margin of the Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition (as well as earlier editions). They are written in Arabic numbers over Roman numerals. As helpful as this is for those working in the printed text of the Gospels, it is difficult to use when examining manuscripts precisely because one has to convert on the fly numbers to letters if he or she needs to locate where they are in the text efficiently. Of course, determining what passage one is reading is usually fairly easy by simply keying in a few Greek words in sequence and checking what the manuscript says against a printed text in a Bible software program. But at times this can be tricky. For example, if the text is difficult to read or has variant spellings, finding one’s place may require several attempts on the computer. Codex 0322, a two-leaf palimpsest that CSNTM discovered in 2004, yields only a few letters on each page to the eye. But the Eusebian Canons are still completely intact and guided us to recognize the text as Mark 3.17–4.1; and 6.10–22. With that to guide us we were able to discern two or three ‘Western’ readings in this majuscule.

For others who are interested in the Eusebian Canons, I am attaching the document (Eusebian Canons conversion table) that we use when examining Gospel manuscripts. There are three columns for each canon: arabic number, Greek letter, and scriptural reference. I am sure a few errata have made their way into this conversion table, and would invite corrections so that we can improve on it.

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8 comments on “Conversion Table for the Eusebian Canons

  1. This is a great resource, thanks. Here’s a bit of trivia, there was also a medieval dice game adapted around the Eusebian Canons called the Alea evangelii. Apparently it was designed to help students master navigation of the Eusebian Canons. A 12th cent. Irish MS (CCC MS 122) preserves a picture of the playing board but (alas) no clear instructions on how to play. (see Dáibhí O’Cróinín, Early Medieval Ireland, 229).

  2. There are some other perspectives on the Corpus Christi manuscript, as it’s of obvious interest to board game historians. It’s been described in “A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess” by H. J. R. Murray (1952, 61-62), and in “The Times of St. Dunstan” by J. Armitage Robinson (1923, with facsimile diagram). On my site I have a Latin transcription and Robinson’s English translation (if interested, search there for alea evangelii for the relevant pages).

  3. A few related resources:
    Mark DelCogliano’s English translation of Ad Carpian, at http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_letter_to_carpianus.htm .
    Swanson’s comparisons of different forms of the Eusebian Canon-tables, presented as appendices in his Gospels-volumes, and
    my video-lecture on the subject, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38X0snHT8XY

  4. […] manuscripts, since the Eusebian Canons are found in manuscripts entirely by Greek letters (see https://danielbwallace.com/2014/04/13/conversion-table-for-the-eusebian-canons to download the PDF of a conversion table). This chapter takes the student through the NA28 […]

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