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Manuscripts in relation to liturgy

For CBM the Bible and the directly related homiletic and liturgical manuscripts are interesting primarily because they express the theology – a ‘biblical-liturgical theology’ – of the early and Byzantine churches. The manuscripts themselves are the immediate handwritten witnesses of an empirical tradition. CBMs point of departure is therefore not primarily codicological (where the accent lies on the external form and material composition of manuscripts), but is content-oriented and functional, in close connection to external and material form. CBM aims to approach the manuscripts with a view as to how they were handed down to us as liturgical documents over the ages. We place the complete content and complete codex form central stage. For example, four gospels were selected in an early phase of the Church and collected in one codex for liturgical use – the Tetraevangelion. Gradually reading orders, as applied in the different local churches and monasteries, were added, beside the text in the margins, or in tables at the beginning or end of the codex. Thus the book of Acts, the seven Catholic Letters and 14 letters of Paul were collected together to form the Praxapostolos, for similar liturgical ends. Here also separate reading orders gradually emerged and were added in the manuscripts. These old reading orders are still employed today in Eastern Orthodox churches and monasteries. The separate delivery of individual books was not the norm. Corpus-formation was directed by liturgical needs and practice, which explains why a book such as the Apocalypse was adopted in different codex formations.