University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Ms. 972, New Testament. Gospels. Mark (Archaic Mark). Greg. 2427. Greece? 19th or 20th century


Gospel of Mark in Greek. Formerly Goodspeed Ms. Grk. 38.

The manuscript is commonly known as the Archaic Mark because of characteristics evident in its text.

  1. fols. 2r-5v Mark 1.
  2. fols. 5v-7r Mark 2.
  3. fols. 7r-8v Mark 3.
  4. fols. 8v-11r Mark 4.
  5. fols. 11r-11v fols. 13r-13v Mark 5.
    Note: Bifolium 12 r-v and 13 r-v folded in reverse and bound in. For correct sequence of text, read: 11r-v, 13r-v, 12r-v, 14r.
  6. fols. 12r-12v fols. 14r-16v Mark 6.
    Note: Bifolium 12 r-v and 13 r-v folded in reverse and bound in. For correct sequence of text, read: 11r-v, 13r-v, 12r-v, 14r.
  7. fols. 16v-18r Mark 7.
  8. fols. 18r-20v Mark 8.
  9. fols. 20v-24r Mark 9.
  10. fols. 24r-26v Mark 10.
  11. fols. 26v-29r Mark 11.
  12. fols. 29r-31v Mark 12.
  13. fols. 31v-33r Mark 13.
  14. fols. 33r-37v Mark 14.
  15. fols. 37v-41v Mark 15.
  16. fols. 41v-43v Mark 16.


17 miniatures consist of a portrait of the Evangelist Mark, and depictions of events drawn primarily from the cycles of Christ's miracles and Passion.


  1. fol. 1vEvangelist, Mark: Portrait. Mark writes, seated in high-backed chair before writing table; buildings in background.
  2. fol. 4vChrist: Miracle of healing Peter's wife's mother. Christ stands at right, holds arm of the mother of Peter's wife who is seated in bed; Peter and other disciples wait behind Christ.
  3. fol. 5vChrist: Miracle of healing paralytic. Christ stands at left, right hand raised in blessing; paralytic man lies on pallet at center, lowered from roof of building by two men; crowd, left background.
  4. fol. 12rChrist: Miracle of raising daughter of Jairus. Christ stands at right, touches arm of Jairus' daughter who lies in bed, foreground; her mother and father wait, left background.
  5. fol. 15vChrist: Miracle of loaves. Christ stands at center, looks down at two boys, seated at right, with baskets of fish and bread; mountains, in background.
  6. fol. 19vChrist: Miracle of healing blind man. A blind man stands at left, holds cane, eyes closed. Christ, at center, touches the blind man's eyes.
  7. fol. 21rChrist: Transfiguration. Christ, at center, on mountain; the prophets Elijah at left, and Moses to the right.
  8. fol. 27vChrist: Entry into Jerusalem. Christ seated on donkey, at center; disciples and crowd in background; boy lays robe in road; man stands at right, arm raised.
  9. fol. 34vChrist: Last Supper. Christ seated at center, a sleeping disciple to his left; other disciples sit on either side; wine cups, a compote, and plates of bread on table; buildings, in background.
  10. fol. 37vChrist: Before Pilate. Pilate seated at left on throne behind cloth-covered table; Christ waits at right, eyes downcast, hands bound with rope held by soldier.
  11. fol. 38rChrist: Barabbas released. Pilate, left hand raised, stands between prisoners Barabbas and Christ; men gesture, at right.
  12. fol. 38vChrist: Mocked. Christ, kneels at center, crown of thorns on head; gesturing soldiers stand on either side, and in left background.
  13. fol. 39rSimon of Cyrene: Bearing cross. Soldier leads Christ whose hands are bound with rope; Simon of Cyrene follows at left, carries cross on shoulder.
  14. fol. 39vChrist: Crucifixion. Christ and two thieves crucified on crosses; Virgin Mary an apostle John stand at foot of cross, left; at center, soldier pierces Christ's side with spear; second soldier gazes upward, gestures; sun and moon above central cross-arm.
  15. fol. 40rChrist: Casting of Lots for garments. Soldiers, either kneeling or standing, cast lots on top of Christ's robe and tunic.
  16. fol. 41vJoseph of Arimathea: Before Pilate. Gesturing Pilate stands at left in front of throne; Joseph of Arimathea, hands crossed on chest, waits at right.
  17. fol. 42rHoly Women: At sepulchre. Three women stand at left, hands raised; angel seated at right on stone from Christ's tomb.


Headpiece composed of floral, foliate, and geometric designs in rose, blue, and gold (fol. 2r).


Initial A (10 mm) in rose outlined in blue, red, and gold with gold pen-flourishing. Minor initials in gold (traces of red) set off from the text.

Physical Description


Parchment. 119 x 84 mm.

Number of Leaves

44 leaves, of which 1 is a flyleaf.


43 + 1 (foliated parchment flyleaf). Modern foliation in Arabic numerals in pencil 1-44.


6 quires of 8 leaves, with the exception of quire 6, which contains 4 leaves. The bifolium fol. 12 r-v and fol. 13 r-v was folded in reverse and bound in.


Written space 91 x 60 mm (fol. 9r). Variation in column length, 91 to 100 mm, and in column width, 55 to 60 mm.


1 column, 24-25 lines (fols. 3-16) and 20-22 lines (fols. 17-43). Ruling on both recto and verso with hard point. Lines previously ruled on the outer bifolium quire 3 (fols. 17, 24) stand at right angles to the lines of the later ruling pattern.


Written in minuscule script in medium brown ink. Minor initials duplicate letters in the text or replace letters erased.


Text abraded (fol. 18r). Some miniatures have paint losses. Quire 2 (fols. 9-16) detached from binding.

Binding Description

Bound in blind stamped goatskin (reused), over thin wooden boards. Doublures of dark brown leather.



The manuscript is dated to the late 19th or early 20th century based on the results of codicological and text critical assessments, and the scientific testing of its pigment, ink, and parchment support. Place of origin possibly Greece.


Belonged to John Askitopoulos (died ca. 1918), an Athenian collector and dealer in antiquities. University of Chicago Libraries bookplate (front doublure).


Acquired by the University of Chicago from the family of John Askitopoulos, August 1938.


  1. Kenneth W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), p. 271.
  2. Harold Rideout Willoughby, "Archaic crucifixion iconography," in Munera studiosa, edited by Massey Hamilton Shepherd Jr. and Sherman Elbridge Johnson (Cambridge, Mass.: The Episcopal Theological School, 1946), pp. [123]-144.
  3. Robert P. Casey, "Review of Munera studiosa," Journal of Religion 27 (April 1947), pp. 148-149.
  4. Robert W. Allison, Report on the study of the Archaic Mark (Ms. 972) under the Stereomicroscope and Polarizing microscope. Written in the early 1970s, this unpublished report contains the notes of Marigene H. Butler, Associate conservator of the Art Institute of Chicago who conducted an examination of the manuscript, 1971-1972. Her samples are archived at the Art Institute.
  5. Mary Virginia Orna, Patricia L. Lang, J. E. Katon, Thomas F. Matthews, and Robert S. Nelson, "Applications of Infrared Microspectroscopy to Art Historical questions about medieval manuscripts," Archaeological Chemistry IV, edited by Ralph O. Allen. (Washington, D. C.: American Chemical Society, 1989), pp. [265]-288.
  6. Margaret M. Mitchell and Patricia A. Duncan, "Chicago’s 'Archaic Mark' (Ms. 2427): A reintroduction to its enigmas and a fresh collation of its readings," Novum Testamentum 48 (2006), pp. 1-35.
  7. Stephen C. Carlson, "Archaic Mark" (MS 2427) and the finding of a manuscript fake (paper presented at the Society of Biblical Literature Forum, August, 2006).
  8. Abigail B. Quandt, Preliminary Observations on the Archaic Mark (Report, November 13, 2007).
  9. Margaret M. Mitchell, Joseph G. Barabe, and Abigail B. Quandt, "Chicago’s 'Archaic Mark' (Ms. 2427) II: Microscopic, chemical and codicological analyses confirm modern production," Novum Testamentum 52 (2010), pp. 101-133.
  10. McCrone Associates, Inc., Analysis of the Archaic Mark Codex (Final report, 2008).
  11. Mary Virginia Orna, "Artists’ Pigments in Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts: Tracing Artistic Influences and Connections - A Review," Archaeological Chemistry VIII, edited by R. A. Armitage and J. Burton. (Washington, D. C.: American Chemical Society, 2014), pp. [3]-18.