The Eusebian Canon Tables: Ordering textual knowledge in Late Antiquity

Book


Crawford, Matthew R. 2019. The Eusebian Canon Tables: Ordering textual knowledge in Late Antiquity. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
AuthorsCrawford, Matthew R.
Abstract

A central book in late antique religious life was the four-gospel codex—a manuscript containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—and one of the most common features of such manuscripts is a marginal cross-referencing system known as the Canon Tables. This reading aid, invented in the early fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea, represented a milestone achievement both in the history of the book and in the scholarly study of the fourfold gospel. The present monograph is the first ever book-length treatment of the origins and use of the Canon Tables apparatus in any language. Part one begins by defining the Canon Tables as a paratextual device that orders the textual content of the fourfold gospel; then considers the relation of the system to the prior work of Ammonius of Alexandria and the hermeneutical implications of its use. Part two examines the paratext’s reception in subsequent centuries by highlighting four case studies from different cultural and theological traditions, from Augustine of Hippo to a Syriac translator in the fifth century, to later monastic scholars in Ireland. Finally, from the eighth century onwards, Armenian scholars used the artistic adornment of the Canon Tables as a basis for contemplative meditation. These case studies represent four different modes of using the Canon Tables as a paratext and so illustrate the potential inherent in the Eusebian apparatus for engaging with the fourfold gospel in a variety of ways, from the literary to the theological to the visual.

Keywordsfourfold gospel; codex; gospel parallel; gospel synopsis; Eusebius of Caesarea; Canon Tables; paratext; information visualization; ancient philology
ISBN9780198802600
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198802600.001.0001
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
Year2019
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford, United Kingdom
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