Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifty Manuscripts at the Vatican Library

          The Vatican Library – officially known as the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, or BAV – contains a lot of manuscripts, including some New Testament manuscripts.  The Polonsky Foundation Digitalization Project aims to digitalize page-views of manuscripts in the Vatican Library and the Bodleian Library – with a priority on Bibles and Biblical commentaries. 
          Here are some of the Biblical manuscripts which can presently be viewed online, along with brief descriptions and notes.  You can use the embedded links to go directly to the page-views.  (This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many Biblical manuscripts in Latin not mentioned here.)

Papyrus 75:  Extant in Luke 3-24 and John 1-15, the text of this early (c. 225) manuscript closely resembles the text of Codex Vaticanus. 

Papyrus 72:   includes the text of First Peter, Second Peter, and Jude, from the late 200s or early 300s. 

Codex Vaticanus (B, 03), produced around 325, is regarded by many textual critics as the most important of all New Testament manuscripts. 

Codex S (028), also called Codex Guelpherbytanus B, is an uncial manuscript of the Gospels, made in 949.  Elephants are among the animals accompanying the hollow-uncial text of Ad Carpianus near the beginning of the manuscript.  The pericope adulterae begins on 197r.  It is given its own title in the upper margin.  After John 7:53 the lector is instructed to skip to 8:12 and resume reading there.  A large red asterisk is in the side-margin beside the beginning of John 8:3.  The entire pericope adulterae is accompanied by asterisks.  The Gospels are followed by Gospel-lections for Easter-week.

Codex Basilianus (046) (Vat. Gr. 2066), is an uncial manuscript of Revelation, produced probably in the 800s.  It also contains some patristic compositions.  The book of Revelation begins on 259r.   

GA 137 (Vat. Gr. 756) is a minuscule manuscript of the Gospels, produced probably in the 1100s.  The text of Mark is accompanied by the Catena Marcum attributed to Victor of Antioch.  The claim that “asterisks follow v. 8 in 137” is refuted by consulting 150v, where a red “+” appears at the beginning of 16:9, intended to draw the reader’s attention to the note (a normal part of the Catena Marcum) at the foot of 151v, which is also accompanied by a red “+”.  Matthew 1:1 is on 14r.

GA 150 (Pal. Gr. 189) is a Gospels-manuscript from the 1000s.

GA 151 (Pal. Gr. 220) is a manuscript of the Gospels with commentary-material in outer margins, produced probably in the 900s.  A composition by Eusebius, Answers to Questions about the Gospels asked by Stephanus & Marinus begins on 61r.  A transcription of the text of this composition is on the even-numbered pages in Roger Pearse’s Eusebius of Caesarea – Gospel Problems & Solutions, pages 6-128.  This is followed by the chapter-list for Mark and a miniature of Mark; the text of Mark begins on 100r.  Notably, “Isaiah the prophet” is read in Mark 1:2.  Luke begins on 133r.  John begins on 186r.  

GA 157 (Urb. Gr. 2) is one of the most important of all minuscule copies of the Gospels, produced in 1122 for the family of the Byzantine emperor.  It has the Jerusalem Colophon after each Gospel.  

GA 162 (Barb. Gr. 449) is a manuscript of the Gospels, written in strong black ink with red initials at the beginnings of sections.  Luke 11:2, on 151v, features a notable textual variant.

GA 389 (Ott. Gr. 297) is a Gospels-manuscript from the 1000s.  Matthew 1:1 is on 7r; Mark 1:1 is on 56r; Lk. 1:1 is on 88r; Jn. 1:1 is on 142r.  The pericope adulterae begins on 157r.

GA 390 (Ott. Gr. 381) is a manuscript of the New Testament, except Revelation, made in 1281 or 1282.  The Acts and the Epistles appear before the Gospels:  Acts (9r), Romans (51r), First Cor (66v), Second Cor (81b), etc., Hebrews (131r), James (143v), First Peter (148r), Second Peter (152v), First John (156r), Jude ends on 163r.  Matthew begins on 190r; Mark begins on 232r; Luke begins on 261r; John begins on 304r.  

GA 629 (Ottobianus Gr. 298) is a Latin-Greek manuscript from the 1300s or 1400’s known for the presence of the Comma Johanneum (without its final phrase) in Latin and in Greek, on 105v.

GA 850 (Barb. Gr. 504) is mostly a commentary by Cyril of Alexandria, but it includes text from John 7:25-10:18

GA 880 (Ott. Gr. 208) is a manuscript of the Gospels from the 1400s.  Mark 1:1 is on 103r, Luke 1:1 is on 170r, and John 1:1 is on 281r.

GA 2195 (Ross. Gr. 135-138) is in four volumes:  GA 2195 – MatthewGA 2195 – MarkGA 2195 – Luke, and GA 2195 – John.  The pericope adulterae begins on 32v.

Lectionary 35 (Vat. Gr. 351), an uncial lectionary from the 900’s, containing only 25 lections, is a model of elegant penmanship.  

Lectionary 37 (Borg. Gr. 6) begins with the Heothina lections (from Mt. 28, Mk. 16, Lk. 24, and Jn. 20-21),

Lectionary 120 (Vat. Gr. 1156) features lots of gold, plus the Evangelists’ icon-miniatures.  This is truly a deluxe manuscript.  Notice the little ascension-scene on 52r, and the passion-scenes on 194v, and the intricate headpiece on 242r.

Lectionary 123 (Vat. Gr. 1522) was produced in the 900s.  It is written in large uncials, with titles written in gold; simple framework is also gold.  It features full-page miniatures of John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark.  Mark 16:9ff. begins on 177r.

Lectionary 130, part 1 (Ott. Gr. 2) is an uncial Gospels lectionary.  Lectionary 130, part 2 contains more of the same Gospels lectionary.  The Heothina begin on 330v; Mk. 16:9ff. is on 332r.

Lectionary 131 (Ott. Gr. 175) is a minuscule Gospels lectionary.

Lectionary 132 (Ott. Gr. 326) contains readings for the twelve major feasts.  It is written in white (and gold, especially for initials) on a black-dyed background.  

Lectionary 135 (lower writing) and lectionary 136 (upper writing) are two layers of a palimpsest; lectionary 135 (Barb. Gr. 472) consists of text from Matthew 24-25 and John 19, from the 700’s.

Lectionary 379 (Vat. Gr. 357) is an uncial Gospels-lectionary from the 800’s.

Lectionary 549 (Vat. Gr. 1523), produced around 1300, is a neatly written Gospels-lectionary with ornate headpieces. 2627 includes pages from an uncial lectionary (15r-16v).

OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS (with some New Testament extracts)

The Barberini Psalter:   Most pages of this Psalter have illustrations, with a generous use of gold.  This manuscript, like Gospels-manuscript 157, was prepared for the family of Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus.  Ernest DeWald has written about this manuscript’s background.   Among the Odes at the end of the Psalter, Luke 1:46ff. begins on 266r; Luke 2:68ff. begins on 266v, and Luke 2:29ff. is on 271v.  On fol. 3, written in a much later hand than the main text, is John 1:1-17; this part of the manuscript has its own Gregory-Aland number; it is 2359. 

The Leo Bible, a volume of the Old Testament in Greek (Genesis-Psalms, with Odes at the end of Psalms), written in minuscule but with uncial Table of Contents.  On 564r, the Magnificat is given as Ode #9, extracted from Luke 1:46-55.  On 564r-564v, the prayer of Zechariah is given as Ode #10, extracted from the Gospel of Luke 1:68-80. 

Psalms with commentary, with gold-grounded pictures all the way through.

Psalms with commentary, continued.  An imperial manuscript.  It also has the Odes with extracts from Luke; see 485r & ff.

 An illustrated copy of the books of Kings (beginning with First Samuel).

Greek Old Testament, Part 1 and Part 2, with pictures and commentary. 


VL 12 (Codex Claromontanus) (Vat. Lat. 7223) is a manuscript of the Old Latin Gospels (Matthew from the 400’s; Mark, Luke, and John from the 600’s.  

The Ripoll (or, Farfa) Bible (Vat. Lat. 5729) is a Latin Bible with unusual illustrations.  Matthew begins on 371r.

Vat. Lat. 41 is a Latin manuscript of the Gospels. 

Barb. Lat. 637 is a Latin Gospels manuscript which features a very early capitula system.

Pal. Lat. 502 is a Latin lectionary.

Arch. Cap. S. Pietro D 154 is a manuscript of the Vulgate Gospels.

The Manfred Bible, a medieval Vulgate Bible with sumptuous historiated initials at the beginnings of books. On 399v, in Mark 1:1, “filii dei” is in the margin rather than in the text.  Extra books and an index of names follow Revelation.

The Wigbald Gospels (Barb. Lat. 570), an artistically executed Vulgate Gospels manuscript from the late 700’s, is comparable in some ways to the Book of Kells.

A Coptic manuscript of Acts (with text from chapters 16, 17, and 27). 

A Syriac copy of the Gospels (Vat. Sir. 12) produced in 548.

 A Syriac copy of the Gospels (Vat. Sir. 13) produced in 736.

The book of Psalms in five languages (Barb. Or. 2):  Ethiopic (Ge’ez), Syriac, Bohairic, Arabic, and Armenian. 

An Arabic manuscript (Vat. Ar. 18) of the Gospel of Luke. 

A Bohairic/Arabic manuscript of the Gospels (complete with Ad Carpianus and Eusebian Canon-tables at the beginning, plus book-introductions and icons before each Gospel) made in 1205.  Cross on 20v.  Mt. 1:1 on 23r.  Mk. 1:1 on 147r.  (Mark 16:9-20 is included after 16:8.)  Lk. 1:1 on 237r.  Jn 1:1 on 389v.  PA on 431r.  433r repeats part of 7:52 (at the same point where the text begins on 431r) before continuing with 8:12.

A liturgical scroll made of dyed parchment, from around the year 1100. 

A Greek bestiary from the 1500’s.  A manticore is on 27r; a unicorn is on 27v; a chameleon is on 35v; a dragon is on 39r; a squid is on 54v. 

          Page-views of each manuscript can be selected by using the slider at the bottom of the page; a vertical slider on the right of the page provides magnification.  If greater detail is needed, one can press + and Control simultaneously.
          There are many more manuscripts yet to be digitized!  Thanks are expressed to the Polonsky Foundation, the BAV, and other institutions which assisted in the task of making these page-views available to the public.

(All digitized images at the BAV are under copyright and may not be reproduced without permission from the BAV.)


Daniel Buck said...

Bar. Or. 2 has six columns--apparently the paratext is Syriac.

Unknown said...

In case you will edit the post, the date for Vat. Sir. 13 looks like a copy & paste. According to Hatch, it's dated to 736 (year of the Greeks 1047).
And Pal. Gr. 230 is listed twice.

James Snapp Jr said...

Basti Weidemyr,
Thanks! The post has been corrected accordingly.