Codex Alexandrinus Explained

The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, MS Royal 1. D. V-VIII; Gregory-Aland no. A or 02, Soden δ 4) is a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible,[1] containing the majority of the Septuagint and the New Testament. It is one of the four Great uncial codices from Alexandria codices which many feel was influenced by Gnosticism. Along with the Codex Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus, it is one of the earliest and most complete manuscripts of the Bible. Wettstein designated it in 1751 by letter A,[2] and it was the first manuscript to receive thus a large letter as its designation.

It derives its name from Alexandria where it resided for a number of years before it brought by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Cyril Lucaris from Alexandria to Constantinople. Then it was given to Charles I of England in the 17th century. Until the later purchase of the Codex Sinaiticus, it was the best manuscript of the Greek Bible deposited in Britain.[3] Today, it rests along with Codex Sinaiticus in one of the showcases in the Ritblat Gallery of the British Library.

As the text came from several different traditions, different parts of the codex are not of equal textual value. The text has been edited several times since the 18th century.

Contents

The codex is in quarto, and now consists of 773 vellum folios (630 in the Old Testament and 143 in the New Testament), bound in four volumes (279 + 238 + 118 + 144 folios).[4] Three volumes contain the Septuagint, Greek version of the Old Testament, with the complete loss of only ten leaves. The fourth volume contains the New Testament with 31 leaves lost.[5]

The codex contains almost a complete copy of the LXX, including the deuterocanonical books 3 and 4 Maccabees, Psalm 151 and the 14 Odes. The "Epistle to Marcellinus" attributed to Saint Athanasius and the Eusebian summary of the Psalms are inserted before the Book of Psalms. It also contains all of the books of the New Testament, in addition to 1 Clement (lacking 57:7-63) and the homily known as 2 Clement (up to 12:5a). The books of the Old Testament are thus distributed: Genesis — 2 Chronicles (volume first), Hosea — 4 Maccabees (volume second), Psalms — Sirach (volume third). The New Testament (volume fourth) books follow in order: Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, General epistles, Pauline epistles (Hebrews placed between 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy), Book of Revelation. Previously, General epistles were placed before Acts of the Apostles. They changed their positions after rebinding.[6]

There is an appendix marked in the index, which lists the Psalms of Solomon and probably contained more apocryphal/pseudepigraphical books, but it has been torn off and the pages containing these books have also been lost.

Due to damage and lost folios, various passages are missing or have defects:

Verses the scribe did not include:

Notes and References

  1. The Greek Bible in this context refers to the Bible used by Greek-speaking Christians who lived in Egypt and elsewhere during the early history of Christianity. This Bible contained both the Old (translation) and New Testaments in Koine Greek.
  2. Book: Wettstein, J. J.. Johann Jakob Wettstein

    . Johann Jakob Wettstein. Novum Testamentum Graecum editionis receptae cum lectionibus variantibus codicum manuscripts. Ex Officina Dommeriana. 1751. Amsterdam. 8.

  3. Scrivener in 1875 wrote: "This celebrated manuscript, by far the best deposited in England".Book: Scrivener, Frederick Henry Ambrose. Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener

    . Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener. Six Lectures on the Text of the New Testament and the Ancient Manuscripts which contain it. Deighton, Bell & Co.. 1875. London. 51.

  4. Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 86.
  5. F. H. A. Scrivener, Six Lectures on the Text of the New Testament and the Ancient Manuscripts (Cambridge, 1875), pp. 51-52.
  6. Westcott, "Canon", Appendix D. XII.
  7. [Caspar René Gregory|C. R. Gregory]
  8. Juan Hernández, Scribal habits and theological influences in the Apocalypse, Mohr Siebeck, 2006, p. 102.
  9. E. M. Thompson, Facsimile of the Codex Alexandrinus: New Testament and Clementine Epistles (London 1879), p. 4.
  10. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart 2001), p. 99; see also: The Greek New Testament, ed. K. Aland, A. Black, C. M. Martini, B. M. Metzger, and A. Wikgren, in cooperation with INTF, United Bible Societies, 3rd edition, (Stuttgart 1983), p. 193.
  11. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart 2001), p. 151. See also: The Greek New Testament, ed. K. Aland, A. Black, C. M. Martini, B. M. Metzger, and A. Wikgren, in cooperation with INTF, United Bible Societies, 3rd edition, (Stuttgart 1983), p. 305.