VELLUM UNCIAL A


HOME | Uncial A | Story-OT | Story-NT | image: British Library | index page | Wiki |



| Codex A: hover over the image to enlarge the papyrus text | download HERE |


Codex Alexandrinus - 5th century

This has been one of the chief treasures of the British Museum since its foundation, and a volume of it may be seen, side by side with the Sinaiticus, by every visitor in one of the showcases in the Department of Manuscripts. Its history, at least in later years, is much less obscure than that of the Sinaiticus. In 1624 it was offered by Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople, to Sir Thomas Roe, our ambassador in Turkey, for presentation to King James I. King James died before the manuscript started for England, and the offer was transferred to Charles I. In 1627 the gift was actually accomplished, and the MS. remained in the possession of our sovereigns until the Royal Library was presented to the nation by George II, when it entered its present home.

The scriptures for the evangelists and the early Christians was the Old Testament in it's Greek translation, dating from the 2nd century BCE.

Text in uncial MSS were written without word spacing. In Alexandrinus, sentences are spaced, with a capital letter at the beginning of the next full row of the sentence. Note the Greek passage number references in the left margin of each column, starting, for instance with Luke's gospel in codex Alexandrinus HERE. (The British Library publishes NT images of Codex Alexandrinus NT on their website! The viewer opens on the default page f1r. Select f20r in the drop-down selector. This is the first page of Luke's gospel, page 44.)
The first passage reference Α was on the missing corner of the page. The next passage begins at Β, closely followed by Γ in the left margin of column 2. The passages run as follows: Α (1) Lk.1.1-18, Β (2) Lk.1.19, Γ (3) Lk.1.20-2.46 (Page 45, f22r).

The page illustrated here, number 47, folio 23r, of Luke's gospel, begins with Jesus in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil (Lk.4.3).

Moving down in column 1 to the ΙΖ in the left margin (passage 17 - Lk.4.14), after his preparation in the wilderness, Jesus came back to Galilee:

ΚΑΙ ΥΠΕΣΤΡΕΨΕΝ | Ο ΙΣ ΕΝ ΤΗ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΙ ΤΟΥ ΠΝΣ ΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΓΑΛΙΛΑΙΑΝ
And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the spirit

(Notice the use of Nomina sacra (usually overlined) where it occurs on this folio.)

Moving to the next passage, ΙΗ in the margin (passage 18 - Lk.4.16), is the beginning of the Galilean ministry:

ΚΑΙ ΗΛΘΕΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΗΝ ΝΑΖΑΡΑ ΤΟΥ ΗΝ | ΤΕΘΠΑΜΜΕΝΟΣ
And he came to Nazareth to where he | had-been-brought-up.

On the sabbath Jesus went to the synagogue. He stood up to read, and was handed the scroll (ΒΙΒΛΙΟΝ - biblion) of Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the passage where it is written (the passage from Isaiah is indicated on the folio with right chevron > in the margin, beginning at the top of column 2),


Alexandrinus ... in sense lines English (following Brenton)

> ΠΝΑ ΚΥ ΕΠ ΕΜΕ ΟΥ ΕΙΝΕΚΕΝ ΕΧΡΙ
> ΣΕΝ ΜΕ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΑΣΘΑΙ ΠΡΩ
> ΧΟΙΣ ΑΠΕΣΤΑΛΚΕΝ ΜΕ ΙΑΣΑΣ
> ΘΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΣΥΝΤΕΤΡΙΜΜΕΝΟΥΣ
> ΤΗΝ ΚΑΡΔΙΑΝ ΚΗΡΥΞΑΙ ΑΙΚΜΑ
> ΛΩΤΟΙΣ ΑΦΕΣΙΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΥΦΛΟΙΣ
> ΑΝΑΒΛΕΨΙΝ ΑΠΟΣΤΕΙΛΑΙ ΤΕ
> ΘΠΑΥΣΜΕΝΟΥΣ ΕΝ ΑΦΕΣΕΙ ΚΗΡΥ
> ΞΑΙ ΕΝΙΑΥΤΟΝ ΚΥ ΔΕΚΤΟΝ
ΠΝΑ ΚΥ ΕΠ ΕΜΕ ΟΥ ΕΙΝΕΚΕΝ ΕΧΡΙΣΕΝ ΜΕ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΑΣΘΑΙ ΠΤΩΧΟΙΣ
ΑΠΕΣΤΑΛΚΕΝ ΜΕ ΙΑΣΑΣΘΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΣΥΝΤΕΤΡΙΜΜΕΝΟΥΣ ΤΗΝ ΚΑΡΔΙΑΝ ΚΗΡΥΞΑΙ ΑΙΚΜΑΛΩΤΟΙΣ ΑΦΕΣΙΝ
ΚΑΙ ΤΥΦΛΟΙΣ ΑΝΑΒΛΕΨΙΝ
ΑΠΟΣΤΕΙΛΑΙ ΤΕΘΠΑΥΣΜΕΝΟΥΣ ΕΝ ΑΦΕΣΕΙ
ΚΗΡΥΞΑΙ ΕΝΙΑΥΤΟΝ ΚΥ ΔΕΚΤΟΝ
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me;
he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor
to heal the broken in heart
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind;
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.

In this passage from Codex Alexandrinus, Luke's quotation from the book of the prophet Isaiah is word-for-word that of chapter 61 verses 1 and 2 of the Septuagint - the passage that Jesus read.

Jesus rolled up the scroll, handed it back, sat down and as they listened expectantly he said to them:

ΣΗΜΕΡΟΝ ΠΕΠΛΗΡΩΤΑΙ Η ΓΡΑΦΗ ΑΥΤΗ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΩΣΙΝ ΗΜΩΝ
Today this-scripture has-been-fulfilled in your ears.

Read the whole passage from Isaiah in its original context HERE, and on codex Alexandrinus page 328 HERE.
Read more about codex Alexandrinus HERE. And read also (for Greek numerals) HERE.
top


This page © Paul Ingram 2015.