Thursday, February 27, 2014

Scriptural references in the Rohonc Codex

In my last post, I briefly mentioned a formula used to introduce chapters or episodes. In this post, I will explore the idea that part of that formula contains a scriptural reference to the source of the episode.

The following image shows the basic layout of the episodic formula:

the episodic formula

The text in red is boilerplate, generally found in most instances of the episodic formula. The text in blue represents a small set (three?) of possible non-numeric values, and the text in green is a number.

I propose that these formulae contain a scriptural reference, with the text in blue being the name of a book (usually one of the gospels) and the numbers in green being a specific chapter of the book.

Delia Huegel identifies the following as a depiction of Doubting Thomas:

The episodic formula that accompanies this picture contains the number 22. Interestingly, it looks like it is meant to be read "two and twenty", since the lower-order 2 comes before the higher-order 20. However, there are a number of strange things that happen with the numbers in these formulae, so they will definitely bear further examination.

The three main (or perhaps only) "books" mentioned in the episodic formulae are these:

Note that each of these begins with a crossed character, like the character for "nine" in reverse. Following my theory that the crossed line indicates a ligature with t, I suggest that this character represents some cognate of the word saint, which is common (I think) to all of the candidate languages.

If these are the names of three of the gospels, one possibility would be that the last two are Luke and Mark (in some order) because they both end with the same triangle character, and the first is John, because it does not share an initial with Mark (and so therefore is not Matthew).

If so, then I might need to scrap the theory I put forward in my last post suggesting that the triangle and circle represented the word for "day".


  1. Hi Brian!
    You have done a remarkable job of transcription of the manuscript.
    However, when you offer your ideas, why do not you quote your predecessors?
    I wish you a good continuation

  2. I wonder if you have a specific predecessor in mind? I am happy to read whatever you may suggest, if I can access it.

    I have occasionally mentioned other work on the RC, but only work that is freely available online. The main reason for this is that I don't have the resources to hunt down copies of Élet és Tudomány and Theologiai Szemle and read Tokai and Király, so I am ignorant of whatever they have to say (unfortunately).

    There is other work on the RC that is available online, but I disagree with much of it. Yet it seems like bad sportsmanship for me to disparage the hard work of others when my own accomplishments are so meager.

  3. I will certainly read your blog! I had not come across it until now!

    1. Thank you Brian!
      I was not talking about my blog in particular. I became interested in Rohonc Codex text and I saw some things, the most obvious, surely, have already been written by bloggers. I only use the free sources, like you. I started to use your transcript currently no avail. I am more inspired by looking at the manuscript text.
      On your website I can not find the last comments, it is not easy.
      good luck