Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : New Testament

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript, copied in 1583, is a copy of <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Cambridge, University Library, MS Nn.2.41</a>, better known as Codex Bezae, among the oldest surviving manuscripts of the New Testament and the earliest whose Greek text appears with a facing Latin translation. Having been seized from the monastery of St Ireaneus in Lyons by a Huguenot army, the ancient manuscript was presented as a gift to Cambridge University by the leading Calvinist theologian Theodore Beza (1519-1605) in 1581. Shortly afterwards this copy was produced for John Whitgift, formerly Master of Trinity and at the time Bishop of Worcester, who would within months be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>With the exception of a handful of words near its beginning (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(9);return false;'>f. 3r</a>), the manuscript does not contain the Latin translation. However, since the Greek text is written only on the verso side of each folio, as in Codex Bezae, it seems that the Latin was originally meant to be added. Although this copy is the product of a scholarly effort to represent one manuscript in particular, rather than simply to transmit the text it contains, there has been no attempt to make a diplomatic reproduction. The line and page divisions of the exemplar are not observed and, unlike in the original, in the text of the Gospels a new line is begun at the start of each Ammonian section, the system of subdivisions numbered in the margins of Codex Bezae. In only one case (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(124);return false;'>f.60v</a>) is a lacuna due to the loss of folios from the original noted in the text.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The aim of replicating the content of this unusual early manuscript is compromised by the fact that where later hands have amended the text in Codex Bezae, it is this altered text which has been copied, rather than the readings of the original scribe. The coverage of the copy also slightly exceeds that of the original, including the first twenty verses of the Gospel of Matthew, absent from Codex Bezae due to the loss of folios, and completing the verse of Acts during which the original breaks off at its end. The almost immediately abandoned copying of the Latin translation appears at the point corresponding to the beginning of the Greek text of the original, skipping the first page of the Latin, found on the first surviving recto folio of Codex Bezae and preceding the first surviving Greek text on the verso.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript is the only witness to the text of the lower part of f. 504 of Codex Bezae, which was still present when this copy was produced but has since been lost.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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