Biblical Philology in Byzantine Manuscripts


Holy Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers were fundamental in Byzantium to the development and elaboration of Christian thought. As such, these writings were sanctioned as the sole basis for any future theology by the Quinisext Council (end of the 7th century). Nevertheless, some extant texts, scholia, and manuscripts bear witness to a peculiar attention to the biblical text itself, as well as to some efforts in understanding the often obscure Greek translation of the Septuagint (LXX) by approaching where possible the underlying Hebrew. This philological activity reveals a critical and discerning attitude on the part of Byzantine scholars, which is worth exploring in greater depth than so far attempted. This research can be carried out by concentrating on the normal tools of this discipline, such as catena commentaries and marginal notes in biblical manuscripts. These understudied witnesses hold unexpected results for modern research, often calling for comparison with extant material from other traditions, particularly the Jewish one as far as the Hebrew text is concerned.

This workshop aims to collect fresh investigations on Byzantine manuscript sources, with a focus on the relationship between the Septuagint translation and alternative renderings of the Hebrew. This approach is bound to shed light on the so far neglected philological activity and critical skills of Byzantine theologians, which imbued their approach to the main sources of speculation.


Mariachiara Fincati, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano.

Reinhart Ceulemans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Barbara Crostini, Stockholms Universitet


Cordoba 2015

Call for papers

We invite researchers to present papers dealing with the study of medieval marginal annotations to the biblical text within the Greek Christian tradition. Particularly welcome are papers highlighting possible acquaintance with Hebrew culture and exegesis on the part of Byzantine scholars.

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.