BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 237 Byzantium, s. XII/XIII [?]
Joannes Climacus, Scala Paradisi (in Greek)
1. f. 1r //[Greek].
Letter of Joannes Raithunus to Joannes, of which only last line
remains; PG 88. 624-25.
2. ff. 1r-2v [Greek]. [Greek].
Letter of Joannes to Joannes Raithunus; PG 88. 625-28.
3. f. 2v-215v [Greek]... [Greek].
Joannes Climacus, Scala paradisi; PG 88. 632-1161. This codex does
not contain scholia given in PG: 1161-1164.
4. ff. 216r-217r [Labels on diagrams of ladders, all in red:]
Parchment, ff. ii (paper) + 218. 130 x 98 (104 x 69) mm. Written
in 20 long lines, ruled in hard point; double vertical, bounding lines,
full across; pricking at outer edges.
I-II^^8, III^^8 (-6), IV-VIII^^8, IX^^8 (4, folio between 66 and 67,
not numbered), X-XIII^^8, XIV^^10 (-2, 8), XV-XX^^8, XXI^^4 (-1, 2),
XXII^^8, XXIII^^6, XXIV^^10, XXV-XXVIII^^8, XXIX^^2. Quires marked by later
hand in arabic numerals, upper right corner of first folio recto (below
Greek minuscule, regular and well formed, written so that the tops
of the letters hang from the ruled lines.
On f. 216r, a ladder drawn in blue and red, with explanations of
each step in red; similar ladders and explanations on ff. 216v and
217r, entirely in red. Initials before each step in red, with small
linear designs sprouting from them. Rubrics for incipits and explicits
of the steps.
F. 1 cut at the edges. Many folios patched with modern paper,
sometimes covering a portion of the text.
Binding: s. xv-xvi. Two chain-stitched supports, the thread laced
into flush wooden boards without a visible edge groove. The endband
cores are tied with three groups of thread which straddle the boards,
the endbands embroidered in a beaded herringbone pattern. There are
loops of thread around the edges of the quires at head and tail. The
spine is smooth and round with a lining extending over about one
quarter of the board. Covered in very dark brown goatskin, blind-tooled
with two concentric line borders joined at the corners. The fore-edge
turn-ins are cut in a notched pattern. Two pin holes in the edge of the
upper board, two leather straps with two ends each laced through the
lower. Straps wanting except ends inside boards.
Written in Byzantium probably at the end of the 12th or beginning
of the 13th century; early provenance unknown. Acquired from Thorpe by
Sir Thomas Phillipps (no. 4289 in his collection). Purchased from
Laurence Witten with funds from the Jacob Ziskind Charitable Trust in
1957 (MS 59).
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 44, no. 237.
Ziskind Catalogue, p. 53.
Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 199-200, no. 26.
C. E. Lutz, "Johannes Climacus' Ladder of Divine Ascent,"
47 (1973) pp. 224-27.
Barbara A. Shailor