Caspar René Gregory published another cataloging system in 1908 in Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, which is the system still in use today. Gregory divided the manuscripts into four groupings: papyri, uncials, minuscules, and lectionaries. This division is partially arbitrary. The first grouping is based on the physical material (papyrus) used in the manuscripts. The second two divisions are based on script: uncial and minuscule. The last grouping is based on content: lectionary. Most of the papyrus manuscripts and the lectionaries before the year 1000 are written in uncial script. There is some consistency in that the majority of the papyri are very early because parchment began to replace papyrus in the 4th century (although the latest papyri date to the 8th century). Similarly, the majority of the uncials date to before the 11th century and the majority of the minuscules to after.
Gregory assigned the papyri a prefix of P, often written in blackletter script (n), with a superscript numeral. The uncials were given a prefix of the number 0, and the established letters for the major manuscripts were retained for redundancy (e.g. Codex Claromontanus is assigned both 06 and D). The minuscules were given plain numbers, and the lectionaries were prefixed with l often written in script (ℓ). Kurt Aland continued Gregory’s cataloging work through the 1950s and beyond. Because of this, the numbering system is often referred to as “Gregory-Aland numbers”. The most recent manuscripts added to each grouping are (131, 0323, 2928, and ℓ 2463. Due to the cataloging heritage and because some manuscripts which were initially numbered separately were discovered to be from the same codex, there is some redundancy in the list (i.e. the Magdalen papyrus has both the numbers of 64 and (67).
The majority of New Testament textual criticism deals with Greek manuscripts because scholars believe the original books of the New Testament were written in Greek. The text of the New Testament is also found both translated in manuscripts of many different languages (called versions) and quoted in manuscripts of the writings of the Church Fathers. In the critical apparatus of the Novum Testamentum Graece, a series of abbreviations and prefixes designate different language versions (it for Old Latin, lowercase letters for individual Old Latin manuscripts, vg for Vulgate, lat for Latin, sys for Sinaitic Palimpsest, syc for Curetonian Gospels, syp for the Peshitta, co for Coptic, ac for Akhmimic, bo for Bohairic, sa for Sahidic, arm for Armenian, geo for Georgian, got for Gothic, aeth for Ethiopic, and slav for Old Church Slavonic).
Distribution as a Percentage of all the
Manuscripts for Each Century
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