Many of the Church Fathers wrote detailed exegetical studies of individual books of the Bible. These treatises were important sources for Byzantine clerics and theologians, and consequently many manuscripts containing such texts survive.
This manuscript, now in two volumes, is a good example of this. Dating to the 11th or 12th century, it contains the Commentaries of St John Chrysostom (c 347-407) on the Pauline Epistles, followed by the incomplete text of the Catholic Epistles.
The manuscript is an early example of a Greek book made using bombycine, as Arabic paper was known in Byzantium. The script is extremely neat, with red ink being used for titles and initials.
Charles Burney purchased the manuscript in the early 19th century. The British Museum acquired Burney's vast collection of manuscripts, theatrical ephemera, and newspapers in 1818 after his death.
- Full title:
- St John Chrysostom, Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles
- 11th-12th century
- St John Chrysostom (author)
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Burney MS 48
- Article by:
- James Freeman
- The makers of Greek manuscripts
The transition from parchment to paper as the preferred writing surface happened slowly in the Byzantine Empire. James Freeman outlines this process and addresses some of its key features.