There are three interrelated series:
I. Series of concise catalogues
II. Series of pinakes of prescribed readings
III. Subsidia series of collected papers, monographs and dissertations
The aim of CBM is to produce a new series of catalogues of Byzantine manuscripts from the 4th century onwards, based on the insight that the liturgical function of Byzantine codices was a decisive factor in their conception and manufacture.
CBM has developed a comprehensive methodology (coined as “codico-liturgical”), which draws directly from the insights of modern Byzantine codicology, whereby the “complete codex” is studied in its given condition, both in content and form. The focus does not lie solely on the text or on a selection of texts in any given codex, but is based on relating the manuscripts to their original environment, i.e. the liturgical context and practice of the monasteries and churches in which they were produced and functioned.
The codico-liturgical approach means a sharper focus on the (three-dimensional) format of the codex, the ornaments and page design with regard to content and liturgical function. It implies also a radical shift in attention to the apparatus (helps for the reader to use the book in liturgical context) found at the beginning, in the margins and at the end of the codex, a much neglected area of research.
The way in which catalogues are organized and presented is of great, if not of key importance for the scholars who use them. CBM provides alternative catalogue entrances to the Byzantine codices on the basis of a new codico-liturgical typology, which can serve as basic tools for use by the diverse range of researchers who work with these manuscripts. Biblical, exegetical, homiletic, hagiological, ascetical, hymnological corpora were used during the liturgy (the daily services included), so it is important that expert knowledge from different disciplines helps to decipher the reading and singing structures of the codex.
The CBM Publication Plan is threefold (see overview [Link]). The main CBM series will contain concise catalogues of different CODEX TYPES classified under a variety of codex groups. These catalogues mark a new start in the catalography of manuscripts. They will record all available manuscripts of each codex type that are housed in library collections around the world. A parallel pinakes series concerns the publication of liturgical reading tables (pinakes) on the basis of well-chosen prototype codices, which demonstrate the liturgical substructure of the different “codex types” (Tetraevangelion, Praxapostolos, and so on). These publications will be supplemented by a subsidia series of collected papers of expert meetings, dissertations and monographs.
The catalogues record codices that are interconnected. Various codex types that were used together during the liturgical services were often codified in the same codex. For instance, the Tetraevangelion (four Gospels) and Praxapostolos (Acts, seven Catholic and fourteen Pauline Epistles) were used as singular codices during the Liturgy, but also existed in combined form as the Tetraevangelion-Praxapostolos.
The old translations (hermeneiai or versions) are taken into account, Syrian, Georgian, Arabic, Old Slavonic codices (and so on), since the same CBM codex typology can be applied in these related areas of research. It was often in the same monastery (for instance Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai) that different languages were used by the monks and codices in these vernaculars were brought to the monastery. These codices remained also in the library together with the huge Greek holding until the present day.
Byzantine manuscripts include Ancient Greek Classical literature (partly transmitted together in the codices). It is clear, that this important branch of manuscript cataloguing needs an own CBM series, in which the “in-corpora” transmission and “co-codification” (ecclesiastical and classical corpora together in one codex) is taken into account.
Since there are good relations with eastern monasteries and libraries CBM can contribute to a new round of discovering new codices, which are still kept in unexplored libraries.
Main characteristics of the CBM catalogues
1. Representing Byzantine manuscripts that belong to a clearly defined liturgical CODEX TYPE in a concise catalogue and on a global scale (codices housed in libraries around the world).
2. Representing interconnected codex types in main codex groups within one comprehensive (Brepols CBM) catalogue series because of their common LITURGICAL SUBSTRUCTURE, as expressed by similar Typikon systems.
3. Representing the individual codices within the LIBRARY-HOLDING CONTEXT of the codices and codex groups, to reveal their provenance and inter-connection.