Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Codex S (028) - The Other Codex Vaticanus

In this replica of the last page of Matthew
in Codex S, several features are seen:
the text of Matthew 28:17b-20, a sticho-
metric note, a note about when and where
Matthew wrote his account, a decorative
line with a simple bird-flourish,
and a brief prayer by the copyist.
Codex S (028) is an exceptional manuscript in several respects:

 It is the only uncial Greek manuscript of the Gospels that contains a colophon which mentions precisely when it was made.   
 In the decorations that accompany the Eusebian Canon-tables in Codex S, there are not only birds, but also rabbits, lions, elephants and what appears to be an abstractly drawn dragon.
 The chapter-titles for Matthew in Codex S are given in a slightly longer-than-usual form.
 For chapter-titles and section-numbers in the page-margins, the copyist used not only red ink (as expected) but also, frequently, blue ink.

          Textually, Codex S is a representative of the Byzantine text.  Although Codex S was used for public reading in church-services (lection-titles and date-assignments appear in the margins throughout the manuscript), deviations from the normal Byzantine text that have an impact on translation are fairly rare.  

          Two significant omissions occur in Matthew 9:17 (where Codex S does not have the words, “but they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved”) and in Matthew 19:9 (where Codex S does not have the words, “and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery”).  Both of these omissions are the result of parablepsis; that is, the copyist’s line of sight drifted from a series of letters in one line to the same series of letters further along in the text.  In this case, the copyist’s line of sight jumped from –ουνται to –ουνται in 9:17, and from μοιχαται to μοιχαται in 19:9.
          A reading in Matthew 28:2 suggests that even though Codex S was produced before most minuscules, its text contains a few embellishments which are not found in the majority of manuscripts.  In this verse, the phrase “of the tomb” has been added after the phrase “of the door.”  (In the Alexandrian text, reflected in the ESV and NIV, the phrase “of the door” is absent, which would imply, if this short variant is original, that the reading in Codex S is the equivalent of a barnacle on a barnacle.)     
          Codex S also contains a few – but not many – small benign expansions, such as the insertion of the name “Jesus” in Matthew 21:18.  The 2011 edition of the NIV, unlike the 1984 edition of the NIV, gives the appearance of having been translated from a Greek base-text that resembled Codex S in this verse, since it has the name “Jesus” in Matthew 21:18 – even though its preface states that it was translated from the Nestle-Aland compilation, which does not have Jesus’ name in Matthew 21:18.

Here is a guide to some of the most interesting pages of this manuscript.  The embedded links will take you to page-views at the website of the Vatican Library, digitized as part of the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project:  

1r-5r – Ad Carpianus , a guide to the Eusebian Canons, written in hollow red uncials.  (The opening words are missing; probably they were on an illustrated page that has been lost or removed.) 
17r – Matthew 1:1, with a circular headpiece and a zoomorphic initial. 
74r – A marginal note alongside Mt. 27, extracted from Origen’s commentary on Matthew, about the name of Barabbas. 
79r – Mark 1:1
114v – Mark 16:9 begins section #234 on this page.
115v A scribal note about when the Gospel of Mark was written, and a prayer, with a pavilion-framework.
117v – Luke 1:1
172r – Each line of Luke 22:42-44 is accompanied by an asterisk in the left side-margin, except the last line, where the Eusebian canon-number and section-number occupy the margin. 
180r – John 1:1
197r – Each line of the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) is accompanied by an obelus (÷) in the left side-margin of each column.  Yet, a rubric for the passage clearly identifies it in the upper margin; the title “Πε[ρι] της Μοιχαλιδος” appears, accompanied by an asterisk, which is meant to show that the pericope begins at the beginning of 8:3, where another large asterisk appears in the left margin.  Instructional notes tell the lector how to treat the passage on Pentecost, by jumping from the end of 7:52 to resume at the beginning of 8:12.
225r  After the end of the Gospel of John, Codex S features a series of lections for four annual holy days:  
           For Holy Thursday:  Mt. 26:1b-20 + Jn. 16:3-17 + Mt. 26:21-39 
          + Lk. 22:43-45a + Mt. 26:45-27:2
           For Good Friday (Vespers):  Mt. 27:1-38 + Lk. 23:39-43 + Mt. 27:39-54 
          + Jn. 19:30-37 + Mt. 27:55-61
           For the Dormition of the God-bearer:  Lk. 10:38-42 + 11:27-28
           For the Exaltation of the Cross:  selections from Jn. 19:6-35
234v - The lections are followed by a colophon which gives the name of the copyist (Michael, the monk and sinner) and the date and year that the manuscript was produced March 5, in the year six-thousand and 400 and 57.  This is an “Anno Mundi” year, calculated from the creation of the world, which Byzantine monks believed to have taken place in 5509 B.C. (a belief based on consultation of the Septuagint; deductions based on the Hebrew text yield a different date).  Adjusted to the modern Gregorian calendar, the production-date of Codex S is 949.   

          Codex S, while not as important as Codex B, is among the most significant New Testament manuscripts housed at the Vatican Library.  It is an important witness to the Byzantine Text of the Gospels. 


Wayne Steury said...

James, thanks for the analyses and comments.

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