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Dumbarton Oaks Museum Acquires Important Ninth-Century Byzantine Manuscript

Posted On November 27, 2018 | 14:51 pm | by Press | Permalink

Dumbarton Oaks recently acquired a Byzantine manuscript of John Chrysostom’s Homilies on St. Matthew, written very likely at the end of the ninth century in Constantinople. The new acquisition broadens the scope of Dumbarton Oaks’ collection of Byzantine manuscripts, which now spans the ninth through thirteenth centuries and offers a valuable cross section of Byzantine manuscript production.

John Chrysostom, an Early Church Father and the Archbishop of Constantinople, was a renowned orator and his homilies were recorded and circulated. This manuscript comprises the first forty-four of ninety homilies on the Gospel of Matthew delivered by this influential theologian. The condition of the well-preserved manuscript is only part of what makes this acquisition so special. The manuscript is a rare example of the early phase of Byzantine codex production after the eighth century. The first and two last parchment leaves were rewritten to replace lost pages in the thirteenth century. Added liturgical and other annotations from the fourteenth century provide a link to the Hodegon Monastery in Constantinople, where the manuscript seems to have been at that time.

Byzantium’s role in preserving and transmitting early versions of New Testament texts is a focus of ongoing research and discovery. As a center of advanced research in Byzantine studies, Dumbarton Oaks holds the premier collection of scholarly literature on the transmission of the Bible in Greek and continues to grow the collection and the resources available to scholars.