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Plate 5. Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana Plut. I, Syr. 56, Folios 158v-159r


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The opening illustrated contains Luke 5.14-19 (it begins in the final clause of v 14) and 20-26. Known as the Codex Rabbulae, this copy is in the Estrangela script (see 1.5). Unlike contemporary Greek manuscripts, words are not broken between lines. In spite of this, the scribe maintains a very neat left margin by adjusting the spacing between words, of which there are typically two to a line. The Eusebian apparatus (see 10.3.1) is written in red, with the parallel sections at the bottom of the page. Comparison with the Greek system in the Nestle-Aland edition shows significant differences in the Syriac version. Thus the first section in column 2 on the verso is 46, and the corresponding Greek section is 37.

Red ink is also used for punctuation, seen here as circles as line fillers and dots in the shape of a cross at the end of a section.

The book does not have particularly generous margins. The smaller top margin shows that codex-makers have always known that a page is more attractive if the text block is set closer to the top than the bottom edge.

Reproduced by permission of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence

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