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I have two simple questions about the Khabouris manuscript. Maybe someone could help me.

1/ On page 11 of Khabouris there is an additional string of letters in the bottom left hand corner of the page. It runs perpendicular to the Gospel text (and it doesn't look Aramaic to me).

My question is: Is it a part of the original manuscript, later addition or some sort of a library or owner's labeling?

For scanned image of that page of Khabouris see for example <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... atthew.pdf</a><!-- m --> or <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

2/ In the text there is a lot of red dotted symbols looking like braids or infinity symbols. What are they used for? One of them can be seen in the last line of page 11.

If this and similar facts about manuscript's content are explained in some book a pointer to that would be appreciated.


P.S. I'm posting this question in the General section of the forum because couldn't find a better place for it. Maybe forum admins could create a separate section for questions about Aramaic language, manuscripts, dictionaries, grammars, learning aids etc.? There seems to be more and more threads about those subjects in General.
Shlama Kathi Jerzy,

The web site <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... atthew.pdf</a><!-- m --> explains the infinity symbols as paragraph-verse breaks. Actually they appear to parallel section breaks and there are about 55 of them in the entire ms.. The vertical writing in the margin of page 11 is a section number, the letter "Dalet" ="4", reading downward facing toward the left side of the page. Each section averages about 10 pages in length and is numbered using the Aramaic letter-numbering system. Some pages don't show the numbers, as the margins are cut off in the photo.



Thank you. So, would the margin section numbers be written by the original scribe?

One more question about those paragraph breaks (I have counted over 80 in Matthew alone) - who and when would have introduced them into Peshitta mss? Also, there seems to be two kinds of them - short and double length, again - what is the difference?


P.S. Akhi, I'm a he.
Shlama Akhi Jerzy,

I am sorry for the gender confusion.I don't know why I did that.

There are many more paragraph breaks than section breaks. The margins do not mark all the paragraph breaks.

Apparently the short number markings are what we would refer to as chapter breaks for each book or section of scripture, only they are not quite the same divisions as we are familiar with in our Bibles. Matthew has 22 (on page 70 the Aramaic Kap-Bet is found in the right margin with the infinity symbol;Mark has 14. Alongside some of the short markings is a running total of the sections, which is the longer symbol with the Aramaic number for the total number of sections from the beginning.At Mark 1:1 there is an Alap in the right margin for section 1 of Mark and next to it there is a Kap-Gamal (23) for the total from the beginning of Matthew.The last one I can read in Hebrews is number 164 (page 502); alongside & closer to the body of text is 54 -Nun-Dalet for the total number in the last section of Paul's epistles.
These markings in the text would have been written by the original scribe, and as they are marked in the text apparently with the same symbol, ink color and handwriting in the margin as that of the symbol in the text breaks, the same scribe probably wrote the marginal note numbers. The printed Peshitta (1986 Scripture Research Society) edition I have has some of the numbers in the margins for books and sections, but not the running total.

Paul Younan has read the end notes at Hebrews, which are very difficult to make out, and says it has the date of the ms. from which Khabouris is was copied is between AD 340 & 360. I accept his word on this. He is a very reliable authority on Aramaic, the Peshitta and Assyrian history.My guess is that all the markings in Khabouris were probably copied from the original 4th century ms. I also feel confident that the 4th century ms. was copied from a first century ms., many of which should have survived for 3 or 4 centuries and were copied very precisely in the 4th through 5th centuries. There is still a good number of 5th and 6th century Peshitta mss. today. If a 12th century scribe had a 4th century ms. from which to copy, what must those 5th and 6th century scribes have had at their disposal from which to copy? The fact that a 12th century ms. like the Khabouris is practically identical to 6th century Eastern mss., which in turn were most likely copied from mss. from the first century, testifies to the fidelity and accuracy of The Peshitta scribes and the text they left us, no matter what the date of the ms. we possess today.