The Muratorian Fragment: The State Of Research -- By: Eckhard J. Schnabel

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 57:2 (Jun 2014)
Article: The Muratorian Fragment: The State Of Research
Author: Eckhard J. Schnabel

The Muratorian Fragment:
The State Of Research

Eckhard J. Schnabel*

* Eckhard J. Schnabel is Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of NT Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982.

The fragmentary document known as “Canon Muratori” contains the oldest list of books of the NT. This essay will present the state of research regarding the Fragment, with particular attention to its date as well as its historical and theological significance.

I. The Fragment

The Muratorian Fragment consists of 85 lines; the beginning and probably the end are missing. The Fragment was discovered by Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1750), an archivist and librarian at Modena, in the year 1700 in a manuscript in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan (Cod. Ambr. I 101 sup.), consisting of 76 leaves of coarse parchment. Muratori published the Fragment in 1740 in the third volume of his six-volume collection of essays entitled Antiquitates italicæ mediiævi, in Dissertatio XLIII (cols. 807–880) under the heading “De Literarum Statu, neglectu, & cultura in Italia post Barbaros in eam invectos usque ad Annum Christi Millesimum Centesimum.”1

The manuscript originally belonged to the monastery at Bobbio in the Trebbia River valley southwest of Piacenza in northern Italy. The manuscript contains a statement of ownership by the Bobbio monastery: liber sĉti columbani de bobbio/Iohis grisostomi.2 The manuscript contains several theological treatises of three theologians

of the 4th and 5th centuries (Ambrose of Milan, Eucherius of Lyon, and John Chrystostom), concluding with five early Christian creeds.

Later editions of the text come from Samuel Prideaux Tregelles,3 Theodor Zahn,4 Hans Lietzmann,5 Erwin Preuschen,6 and more recently by Geoffrey Hahneman.7 Photographs of the three pages have been published by Saverio Ritter.8 Facsimiles were published by Samuel P. Tregelles and Henri Leclercq.9 The standard English translation is Wilhelm Schneemelcher’s, translated by George Ogg and edited by Robert McLachlan Wilson;

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