The manuscript constituted approximately half of the leaves of a volume of Syriac writings that had been catalogued in 1952 in the library of the Coptic monastery of Deir es-Suriani in Wadi Natrun, Egypt.


Ephrem the Syrian wrote a commentary on it, the Syriac original of which was rediscovered only in 1957, when a manuscript acquired by Sir Chester Beatty in 1957 (now Chester Beatty Syriac MS 709, Dublin) turned out to contain the text of Ephrem's commentary.


The earliest, part of the eastern family of recensions, is preserved in 4th century theologian Ephrem the Syrian's Commentary on Tatian's work, which itself is preserved in two versions: an Armenian translation preserved in two copies, and a copy of Ephrem's original Syriac text dated to the late 5th or early 6th century, which has been edited by Louis Leloir (Paris, 1966). Many other translations have been made, sometimes including substantial revisions to the text.


(McFall, 1994). In the early Church, the gospels at first circulated independently, with Matthew the most popular.

Subsequently, the Chester Beatty library was able to track down and buy a further 42 leaves, so that now approximately eighty per cent of the Syriac commentary is available (McCarthy 1994).


3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 501–523 Jan Joosten, (2002).

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