University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 137, New Testament. Gospels (Isaac Gospels). Greg. 2399. Trabzon, Turkey (Trebizond)? 14th century.


Four gospels in Greek. Lectionary headings and dates with incipits in upper and lower margins. Ammonian section numbers in the outer margins, and independently numbered text divisions for each gospel meant to be used with lectionary tables (now lost). Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Grk. 13.

  1. fols. 1r-44v Matthew (begins at 13:18 with [Υμε]ις). Subscription and stichoi (2,600).
    Colophon: Church of St. John Exoteicho: ανηκει τω ιερω εκκλησια εξοτειχων (fol. 2r).
  2. fols. 45r-82v Mark (begins at 1:13 with [δι]ηκονουν and ends at 16:1 with ϊνα).
  3. fols. 83r-153v Luke (begins at 1:15 with μητρος and ends at 23:48 with ταυ [την]).
  4. fols. 154r-185v fols. 193r-193v fols. 186r-192v fols. 194r-203v John (begins at 1:18 with εκεινος). Subscription and stichoi (2,300). Pericope: The Woman taken in Adultery (fols. 174v-175r).
  5. fol. 203v
    Colophon: The scribe Isaac (undated).
  6. Pastedown (back)
    Colophon: Church of St. John Exoteicho: τοδε θεορειται της εκκλησιας τον Αγιου Ιωαννου Εξοτειχων.

Physical Description


Paper. 221 x 145 mm.


Watermarks in the form of hearts (fols. 13, 76) and of circles (fols. 36, 45, 51, 78-79).

Number of Leaves

204 leaves, of which 1 leaf attached to fol. 187 was separated and the 2 leaves renumbered 187a and 187b.


187 + 1 (187b) + 16. Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-203.


Portions of 31 quires extant. Estimate of content lost: 31 leaves (beginning, Matthew 1:1-13:18); 1 leaf (after fol. 15, Matthew 19:6-21); 2 leaves (Mark 1:1-13); 2 leaves (after fol. 62, Mark 7:27-8:22); 2 leaves (after fol. 76, Mark 13:2-33); 2 leaves (after fol. 80, Mark 14:56-15:16); 5 leaves (Mark 16:1-end, Luke 1:1-15); 2 leaves (after fol. 117, Luke 11:2-31); 6 leaves (after fol. 153, Luke 23:48-end, subscription, stichoi, John 1:1-18); 3 leaves (after fol. 175, John 8:23-9:9); 3 leaves (after fol. 181, John 11:24-12:13); 1 leaf (after fol. 186, John 14:15-29); 1 leaf (after fol. 192, John 17:26-18:15); lectionary tables. The leaf presently numbered fol. 193 (begins at John 13:21 with [εξυ]μων) is bound out of order and should follow fol. 185.

To correct omitted text, John 15:9-12 (ends with ηγαπησα, and begins with υμας), the scribe glued a sheet of paper to the verso of fol. 187. A whole column was rewritten starting at John 15:6 (begins with εξω) on the side serving as the new verso. A pious inscription was recorded on the glued-down side. Later separated, the leaves are now fols. 187a and 187b.

Quire numbers in minuscule on the recto of each quire's first leaf in the lower margin, 25-54 (κε-υδ). The number 18 in uncial script on fol. 98v (lower inner margin) is thought to be a remnant of an older quire number set.


Written space 165 x 95 mm (fol. 93r).


1 column, 22 lines. Ruling with hard point.


Written in minuscule script in dark brown ink.

Punctuation includes high and low points, comma, marks of interrogation and elision. Double point (:) is used after lection headings and before incipits.

Methods of correcting text includes erasure, glued and inked-in revisions, and insertion (fol. 38).

Text Divisions

Lections denoted by the indicators αρχε (beginning) and τελος (end).


Edges worn; some tears. Overwriting of faded text with black or red ink. Several leaves loose from binding. Water stains and worm holes.

Binding Description

Bound in dark brown leather over boards. Linen lining exposed owing to the loss of part of the cover.



The manuscript was written by the scribe Isaac (his undated colophon, fol. 203v), possibly at or near Trebizond, the present-day Trabzon, Turkey. It is dated to the 14th century.


Late medieval to late 19th century provenance unknown. In 1884, the manuscript was part of the library of the Church of St. John Exoteicho (undated colophons, fol. 2r and back pastedown). It was seen there by A. I. Papadopoulos-Kerameus (1856-1912), who included a description of it in his catalogue of Trebizond's Greek codices (no. 60). Under the same catalogue number, Papadopoulos-Kerameus described a banner embroidered with the image of St. George dated 1714, which belonged to a near-by monastic foundation. Thus, it has been suggested, the present manuscript may have been part of the same foundation's library at one time, the Monastery of Saint George Peristereota.

University of Chicago Libraries bookplate (inside front cover). Inscriptions illegible in part (fols. 39v, 40v, 87v, 92v, [187b]r, and back pastedown).


Acquired by the University of Chicago from Rudolf M. Riefstahl (New York), November 1929.


  1. A. I. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, "Ελληνικοι κωδικες Τραπεζουντος," Vizantijskij Vremennik 19 (1912 [1915]), no. 60, p. 250.
  2. David O. Voss, "A study of the Isaac, Hyacinthus, and Exoteicho Gospels" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1932).
  3. Kenneth W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 249-251.
  4. Merrill Mead Parvis, The Story of the Goodspeed Collection ([Chicago]: s.n., 1952), p. 13.
  5. New Testament manuscript traditions. An exhibition based on the Edgar J. Goodspeed Collection of the University of Chicago Library, the Joseph Regenstein Library, January-March, 1973. University of Chicago. Library. Dept. of Special Collections. Exhibition catalogs ([Chicago: s.n., 1973]), 36, no. 15.