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IT is not the purpose
of these pages to supply a general Introduction to the Septuagint.
To repeat here the history of that Version, the legend of its birth, the destinies it fulfilled and the handling it received in the centuries that followed; to state the problems which it still offers for solution, and to furnish descriptive lists of its MSS. and printed editions, would be either to exceed the limits of a portable volume, or uselessly to epitomize the work of previous writers.
At a future time the subject will claim the full consideration and careful treatment which a larger experience may render possible
[Since this paragraph was written an attempt has been made to supply the immediate wants of students in An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek -(Cambridge, 1900).].
For the present it may suffice to recall only so many of the facts as are necessary to illustrate the relation which this edition bears towards those which have preceded it, and to describe the method pursued and the materials employed in its preparation.
Greek text of the OT in the Complutensian Polyglott (1514-1517)
[The title begins: "Vetus testamentu multiplici lingua nuc | prime impressum."
The OT is contained in four volumes: and the colophon to vol. iv. states that the book was printed "Anno Domini milles l imo qngetesimo decimo se | ptimo. Mesis l ulii die | decimo."]
claims to be drawn partly from MSS. collected by Cardinal Ximenez himself, partly from others borrowed from the Vatican.
"Testari possumus (so the Cardinal writes in the dedication of his work to Leo X.)... maximam laboris nostri partem in eo praecipue fuisse versatam ut… castigatissima omni ex parte vetustissimaque exemplaria pro archetypis haberemus; quorum quidem tam Hebraeorum quam Graecorum... multiplicem copiam variis ex locis non sine summo labore conquisivimus. Atque ex ipsis quidem Graeca Sanctitati tuae debemus, qui ex ista apostolica bibliotheca antiquissimos tum V. tum N. Testamenti codices perquam humane ad nos misisti, qui nobis in hoc negocio maximo fuerunt adiumento." Documentary evidence has been produced by Vercellone
[V. et N. T. ed. Mai (Rom. 1857), t. i. p. v, n.
He adds: " Horum [codicum] prior condnet ipsum fere complutensem textum, neque valde abludit alter."
Holmes had previously noticed the agreement.
Comp. also Vercellone, varr. lectiones ii. 436 (Rom. 1864).]
that the Vatican MSS. 330, 346 (= Holmes 108, 248) were lent to Ximenez, and a comparison of the Complutensian text with these MSS. shews an extensive and in places almost absolute agreement which suggests that they were largely used.
Both MSS. are comparatively late.
It is uncertain to what extent the Cardinal availed himself of other materials;
[His MSS. at Madrid include only-two Greek MSS. of portions of the OT. (Judges—Mace., Psalter);
cf. Tregelles, Printed Text of the G. N. T., p. 6 f;
Catalogo de los MSS. existences en la Bibl. del Noviciado de la Univ. Central (Madrid, 1878).]
but there is no ground for supposing that he had access to the great Vatican MS. or to any of our uncial codices.
[Gr. Cod. Vat. t. vi. prolegg. p. ix:
"constat profecto inter Vaticanos libros mss. ad principem illam Complutensem polyglottam a Leone X concessos...fuisse solummodo codd. insignitos numeris 3966, 330, 346, non autem, nostrum maximo in pretio habitum et maiori forte cautela ser-vandum."]
Greek Bible which came from the Aldine Press a year and eight months after the
completion of the Complutensian Polyglot!
[Title: πάντα τὰ κατ’ἐξπχὴν καλούμενα | βιβλία θείας δηλαδὴ | γραφῆς παλαιᾶς τε, | καὶ νέας. | sacrae scripturae veretis novaeque omnia. The colophon is: Venetiis in aedib. | Aldi et Andreae | soceri. mdxviii | mense Februa|rio. The dedication by Andreas professes: "ego multis vetustissimis exemplaribus collalis, adhibita etiam quorundam eruditissimorum hominum cura, Biblia (ut vulgo appellant) Graece cuncta descripsii atque in unum volumen reponenda curavi.'']
sets up a similar claim to MS. authority, without affording any clue to the MSS. employed.
But it is probably safe to hazard the conjecture that they came from the immediate neighbourhood. Holmes found a remarkable agreement amongst all the Venice MSS. of the Pentateuch which were examined for his work;
and one of these when reexamined by Lagarde for Genesis proved to be so far in the closest harmony with the Aldine text. [Holmes i. praef. ad Pentateuch, c. iii. Lagarde, Genesis graece, p. 6.]
Moreover the language of the Aldine editor is consistent with the belief that he was content to use the MS. treasures which were close at hand;
there is not a word of any labour or cost incurred in the collection of the documents.
Roman Edition of 1587 is the first which professes to be directly based upon a
single uncial codex.
[The volume bears the title: η παλαια διαθηκη | κατα τους εβδομηκοντα | δι αυθεντιας | Συστου ε. Ακπου αρχιερεως | εκδοθεισα || Vetvs Testamentvm | ivxta SeptVaginta | ex avctoritate | Sixti V. Pont. Max. | editvmii || Romae, | ex Typographia Francisci Zannetti. m.d. Ixxxvii. At the end of 3 Mace. we have: τελος της παλαιας διαθηκης κατα τους εβδομηκοντα.
The dedication is: "Sixto Qvinto | Pontif. Max. Antonivs Carafa Cardinalis | sanctae sedis apostolicae | Bibliothecarivs."]
The words of Petrus Morinus in the Praefatio ad lectorem are explicit: “liber ipse ad litteram, quoad fieri potuit per antiquam orthographiam, aut per librarii lapsus, est expressus. nam vetus illa et iam obsoleta eius aetatis scriptura, aliquibus locis repraesentata non est; cum tamen in aliis omnibus, nisi ubi manifestus apparebat librarii lapsus, ne latum quidem unguem, ut aiunt, ab huius libri auctoritate discessum sit, ne in iis quidem, quae si minus mendo, certe suspicione mendi videbantur non carere."
These assurances, supported by the authority of the Pope and the names of responsible editors, chief among whom was Cardinal A. Carafa, Librarian of the Vatican, seem to promise a satisfactory edition of the Vatican text;
and it would be thankless to disparage labours which have yielded excellent fruit for three centuries.
But it is not now contended that the Sixtine edition supplies a critical or even a wholly trustworthy representation of the great Vatican MS.
[Thus the Editors of the recent facsimile admit (prolegg. p. x): "non ita pressim Vaticano libro institisse praeclarissimos editores dicendum, ut aliorum codicum nulla penitus ratio haberetur, saltem in locis in Vaticano libro superstitious, non potuit enim tantos viros fugere, aut ipsum Pontificem, non posse unum aliquem ex amanuensibus etsi doctum atque satis attentum virum ita scribere, ut nullatenus correctione indigeret et arte critica, cuius omnes alii codices et plura diversorum generum. monumenta appellandi sunt fontes."]
The considerable lacunae of B in Genesis and in the Psalter and the whole of the first three books of the Maccabees are supplied from sources which the Sixtine Editors do not sTop to identify, merely remarking: "haec ex aliorum codicum collatione emendata sunt."
[Other MSS. are mentioned in the Sixtine preface ("Venetus ex bibliotheca Bessarionis...alter qui ex Magna Graecia advectus nunc est Carafae Cardinalis... etiam usui fuerunt libri ex Medicea bibliotheca Florentiae collati"), but only as having served to confirm the testimony of the Vatican Codex.]
In the remainder of their work, where B supplies the text, there are few chapters in which they have not departed from the MS. upon points which cannot be referred to the correction of the scribe's orthography, or of his obvious blunders.
A cursory comparison of the Roman Edition of 1587 with the Roman facsimile of 1869-81, or a glance at Dr E. Nestle's excellent collation, will enable the student to judge for himself.
[Nestle, Septuagintastudien (in a School Programme "Ulm, 1886, kindly forwarded by the writer), p. 8: "wie wenig dies der Fall war (the professedly close adherence of the Sixtine text to B) zeigt jetzt am deutlichsten meine Kollation." He rightly adds: "Ihnen daraus einen Vorwurf zu machen, ware eine vollstandige Verkennung ihrer Aufgabe, und des damaligen Standes philologischer Wissenschaft."]
The corrections which were made by the Sixtine Editors with the pen before publication scarcely touch the fringe of this widespread and continual divergence from their archetype.
the Sixtine Edition had endeavoured to do for the Codex Vaticanus the Oxford
Press accomplished with better success for its great rival the Alexandrine MS.
The four magnificent volumes which issued from the Sheldonian between 1707 and 1720 did not indeed profess to adhere exclusively to the text of Codex A.
The title of the first volume sufficiently tells its tale:
"Septuaginta interpretum tomus I. Continens Octateuchum; quem ex antiquissimo MS. Codice Alexandrino accurate descriptum, et ope aliorum Exemplarium, ac priscorum Scriptorum, praesertim vero Hexaplaris Editionis Origenianae, emendatum atque suppletum, additis saepe asteriscorum et obelorum signis, summa cura edidit Joannes Ernestus Grabe S.T.P."
For the accuracy of his collation of A the name of the Editor might have been considered a sufficient safeguard;
but his work was to some extent verified by Humphrey Wanley, who attests its general excellence.
With the Roman Editors Grabe regarded himself at liberty to depart freely from the orthography of the scribe, and to correct his blunders;
but he has carefully noted the more important of these departures either in his prolegomena or in the margin of his pages.
A comparison of his text with the recent autotype of the MS. yields but a small proportion of substantial readings which had altogether escaped the vigilance of Grabe.
He makes no attempt however to distinguish the hands of the various correctors from each other or from the original scribe; nor does he notice the numerous erasures or the occasional lacunae.
But the great blemish of his work, if it be considered as an edition of Codex A, lies in the endeavour to supply from external sources the deficiencies of the Alexandrine text.
This is done in perfectly good faith, and every change of the kind is indicated by the use of the Origenic signs, or of a different type;
yet the result remains that the Oxford Edition of the eighteenth century does not, as it stands, convey to the reader's eye a true representation of the MS. on which it is based.
To obtain from it the testimony of Codex A, he must not only change much of the orthography, distinguish the hands of correctors, and occasionally revise the text; but he must strike out words verses and here and there whole paragraphs entirely foreign to his MS. and which in some cases have displaced its genuine reading.
[The matter is fairly stated by Holmes, praef. ad Pentat. c. iv:
"de hac Editione dicam tantum, eam in libris Pentateuchi aliquando ex ipso textu Vaticano, saepius vero e Complutensi, suppletam fuisse, atque adeo Editorem cum textu familiae unius, textum duarum recensionum aliarum im-miscuisse videri; sed quidem sine iniuria, quoniam nulla supplementa nisi in charactere minore induxit." Grabs's edition was recast by Dr Field in 1859.]
It is no
part of our plan to notice the numerous secondary editions which are founded more or less entirely upon
one or other of these four primary printed texts.
[For bibliographical information of this kind the student will turn to Fabricius, ed. Harles, iii. p. 673 f.; Le Long, ed. Masch (Halae 1781), II. a p. 262 f.; the Bible Dictionaries and Introductions; or the summaries in Frankel, Vorstudien, p. 242 f.; Van Ess, Epilegomena.; Nestle, Urtext, p. 62 ff.; Introduction, to the OT. in Greek, p. 171 ff.]
An exception however must be made in favour of two descendants of the Roman Edition, one of which supplies our fullest apparatus crificus, and the other the most carefully emended text.
great work of R. Holmes and his continuator J. Parsons (Oxford, 1798-1827)
offers in its text merely a reprint of the Sixtine edition in which even the
obvious errors of the latter are not always corrected.
[Holmes indeed professes to have corrected these (praef. Ad Genesin § I):
"Imprimitur per hunc librum, et per alios omnes imprimetur, Textus Graecus secundum Ed. Vaticanam in fol. 1587, absque ulla consulto facta sive vocis sive literae mutatione, nisi in manifestis typothetarum erroribus, quorum plerosque et ipsi Editores Vaticani calamo suocorrexerunt."
Tischendorf however challenges the statement (prolegg. § xxi: ''Holmesius passim manifestos editionis Romanae errores repetiit").]
But the vast stores which are accumulated in the textual notes promise materials upon which a critical revision of the text may ultimately be based.
Unhappily this part of the work has proved to be of uncertain value.
The use and arrangement of the materials leave something to be desired, and the materials themselves are far from being in all cases worthy of trust.
[Ceriani (Mon. sacr. et prof. t. iii., p. vii): “deprehensa brevi usu collationum Holmesiani operis magna earum imperfectione, coepi investigare, si ita esset etiam de codicibus Ambrosianis ibi collatis. Quod timebam inveni… Holmesianum enim opus tanta negligentia curatum fuit, ut parum adiumenti inde sperandum sit in curiosam textus LXX investigationem... evidenter mihi apparuit errasse saepe Holmes eiusque continuatorem, errasse saepe collatores assumptos, et tot tantaque esse sphalmata, plura interdum in uno versu, ut licet varietatem LXX fere totam summatim inde desumere liceat, exigua tamen sit fides singulorum testium, et ex malo habitu totius collationis dubii et incerti ex illo opere semper procedere debeamus in critica textus eiusque recensionum tractatione."]
It is not surprising that among so large a body of collators some should have been found careless or incompetent, whilst the printed texts of fathers and versions were at the beginning of the century (as indeed many of them are now) in a very unsatisfactory state.
Still this vast undertaking will always remain not only a monument of scholarship and enterprise, but a storehouse of suggestive facts.
No other edition affords or possibly will ever afford the student of the Greek Old Testament so wide an outlook over the whole field of documentary and patristic evidence.
The verdict of Lagarde upon Holmes and Parsons is substantially just [Libr. V. T. canon, t. i., praef, p. xv.]:
"qui indicium neque in seligendis laboris sodalibus neque in disponenda scripturarum sibi traditarum farragine probaverunt... satis multa in publicam lucem protulerunt, quibus adiutus verum inveniret qui venun sedulo quaereret."
editions of Tischendorf proceed upon less ambitious lines, with results more
Nearly fifty years have passed since the great editor of the N. T. turned his thoughts to an edition of the Septuagint.
[Prolegg. § viii. (ed. 1875): "quidfaciundum erat anno 1847 novam editionem cogitanti?"
For later plans, cf. the pref. to his fourth edition.]
It was plain to him that the time had not come for the construction of a critical text; and he resolved upon a revision of the Sixtine text in which the obvious faults of the Roman work might be corrected, and its evidence balanced by variants from the three oldest MSS. which had then been edited (Codd. Alex., Friderico-Aug., Ephraemi).
His first issue appeared in 1850;
the second, with the full prolegomena and an appendix containing the Chigi Daniel, in 1856;
other and enriched editions followed in 1860, 1869;
a fifth edition was published in 1875, after Tischendorf's death.
The work was subsequently entrusted to Dr E. Nestle, under whose care it reappeared in 1880, and again at the beginning of 1887.
Dr Nestle added a Supplementum editionum quae Sixtinam sequuntur omnium in primis Tischendorfianarum—
a nearly full and remarkably accurate collation of the Sixtine text with the facsimiles of SB, to which he subjoins the readings of AC, as collected from the British Museum autotype of the former and from Tischendorf's edition of the latter, wherever they support B or א or both against the Sixtine text.
The second edition of this Supplement (1887) turns to good account the information supplied by the concluding volume of the Roman facsimile.
Thus the tercentenary year of the great Edition of 1587 witnessed the collection of the materials available for its revision.
[Nestle, Septuagintastudien. (1886), p. i; "am kommenden 8. Oktober werden es 300 Jahre, dass Papst Sixtus v....die jetzt nach ihm benannte editio Sixtina des griechischen Alten Testaments sanktionierte." Ib, p. 4: "im Jahre 1586, oder richtiger gesagt 1587, erschien die vom romischen Stuhl veranstaltete editio Romana oder Sixtina."
It has been observed that the last stroke of mdlxxxvii on the title-page of all copies bearing that date is added with the pen. The publication was probably delayed by the discovery of errors which called for correction (ib. p. 16, note 12).]
other edition of the Septuagint remains to be mentioned, distinct in kind from
any of the preceding.
In an often cited passage of his preface to the Books of Chronicles
[Migne, xxviii. 1324 f.:
"Alexandria et Aegyptus in Septuaginta suis Hesychium laudat auctorem, Constantinopolis usque Antiochiam Luciani martyris exemplaria probat, mediae inter has provinciae Palaestinae codices legunt quos ab Origene elaborates Eusebius et Pamphiius vulga-verunt: totusque orbis hac inter se trifaria varietate compugnat."]
Jerome reckons three recensions of the Septuagint which at the end of the fourth century divided the Christian world—
the recension of Hesychius which prevailed at Alexandria and in Egypt;
the recension of Lucian, accepted at Antioch and at Constantinople;
the recension of Pamphilus and Eusebius of Caesarea, grounded on the work of Origen and followed in Palestine.
Dr Paul de Lagarde saw that a comparative view of these recensions would be of the first importance to the critical reconstruction of the text.
His Librortim V. T. canonicorum pars prior Graece (Gottingae, 1883) was the first instalment of an attempt to restore the Lucianic recension.
His scheme included the recovery of the text of Hesychius and the printing of the two recensions on opposite pages with a collation of the fragments of the Hexaplaric Septuagint.
The untimely death of this great scholar and indefatigable worker has for the time suspended the progress of the work, but every one will hope for the fulfilment of the triumphant prediction which concludes his preface to the text of Lucian:
"verum vincet causa mea, et quae ego volui perficere, procul dubio perficientur aliquando."
[The first two principles upon which Lagarde desired the reconstruction of the text to proceed may be noticed in passing: (1) "editionem veteris testamenti Graeci Curari non posse ad unius alicuius codicis auctoritatem sed conlatis integris codicum fanilliis esse curandam; (2) unius alicuius familiae editionem nihil esse nisi procedendi ulterius adminiculum."]
foregoing succinct account of the existing editions of the Septuagint which
claim to be based more or less directly upon the testimony of its MSS. may
suffice to justify the appearance of an accession to their ranks.
There was still room for an edition which should endeavour to exhibit the text of one of the great uncial codices with a precision corresponding to our present knowledge, together with a full apparatus of the variants of the other MSS., or at least of those which have been critically edited.
The need was still felt of a text which might serve as a satisfactory standard of comparison, accompanied by textual notes which would enable the student at a glance to compare with his text the results to be gleaned from sources of information already securely within our reach.
back as 1875 the necessity for such a work was represented to the Syndics of
the Cambridge University Press by Dr Scrivener, who at the same time submitted
a scheme for its accomplishment.
Until the beginning of 1883 it was still hoped that the author of the scheme might have been able to devote to the work his ripe experience and unwearied energy.
Increasing years and preoccupations compelled him at length to decline the editorship; and in the spring of the same year the present Editor was appointed to carry out Dr Scrivener's proposals in a slightly modified form, with the cooperation of a Committee nominated by the Syndics of the Press.
[The Committee nominated in 1883 consisted of the Regius Professor of Divinity (Dr Westcott), the Hulsean Professor of Divinity (Dr Hort), the Regius Professor of Hebrew (Dr Kirkpatrick), and the Lord Almoner's Reader in Arabic (Professor Bensly).]
The Committee continued to exercise a general superintendence during the progress of the work;
and the Editor, while personally responsible for the execution of his task, desires heartily to acknowledge not only the value of its formal directions, but yet more the unfailing kindness with which his requests for counsel and assistance were met from time to time by individual members of that body.
Without such sympathetic help, he is free to confess, he might at times have been tempted to abandon a work which, especially in its earlier stages, was beset by difficulties of no ordinary kind.
ultimately adopted by the Syndics included the preparation of two editions with
a common text.
The text of the Vatican MS. was selected as that "which on the whole presents the version of the Septuagint in its relatively oldest form."
Where the Vatican MS. is defective, its defects are supplied from the Alexandrine MS., or in the very few instances where both these MSS. fail us, from the uncial MS. which occupies the next place in point of age or importance.
The editions will differ in the extent of the apparatus criticus.
In the larger edition, which must necessarily be the labour of many years and of a variety of hands, "it is proposed to give the variations of all the Greek uncial MSS., of select Greek cursive MSS., of the more important versions, and of the quotations made by Philo and the earlier and more important ecclesiastical writers."
[For further particulars see Introduction to the O.T. in Greek, p. 188 ff.]
The smaller or manual edition, of which the first volume is in the reader's hands, confines itself to the variations of a few of the most important uncial codices already edited in letterpress, facsimile, or photograph.
Since the first step was to ascertain the common text and the next to compare with it the texts of these earliest and most accessible witnesses, it was possible to begin with the portable edition; and the urgent need of a revised text for ordinary use recommended this as the more convenient order.
the whole the orthography of the MS. upon which the text is based has been
Hence in Genesis i.1—xlvi.28 the spellings are mainly those of A;
throughout the remainder of the volume B is responsible.
A few inconsistencies result from this system;
thus in Gen. xli.51, xlvi.20 the text gives Μαννασσή, according to the almost invariable spelling of A;
but in Gen. xlviii.1, where B has taken the lead, Μανασσή.
But serious divergences are rare;
and since there must be more than one witness employed, it has seemed better to leave each MS. to tell its own tale in the way which it prefers.
it been thought desirable in all cases to reduce to an uniform orthography the
text supplied by the same MS.
It is premature to enter upon a detailed examination of the principles which direct the judgement in the acceptance or rejection of particular forms;
and it is possible that not a few of the results to which the Editor has been led may be modified by further consideration.
For the present it is enough to premise that the MS. or first hand of the MS. upon which the text is based has been followed in the spellings of all proper names and transliterations of Hebrew words, unless there was an obvious clerical error; in the assimilation or non-assimilation of consonants in compounded verbs and nouns;
and for the most part also in the choice of a particular mode of spelling where two or more spellings are found in good MSS. or other ancient authorities.
On the other hand the orthography of the MS. has not been represented in the printed text when it appeared to rest upon itacistic error or upon some habit inveterate in the scribe (as the ascertained tendency of the scribe or scribes of B to write ει for ι), or when its adoption would have involved repeated changes of a revolutionary kind unsuitable to the character of a manual edition (such as the continual use of γείνεσθαι and γεινώσκειν).
The moveable ν final and the ς in οϋτως are printed or withheld in strict obedience to the MS. or its first hand.
2. Accentuation presents grave difficulties in the
case of proper names transliterated from Hebrew forms or Intended to represent
Our oldest MSS. fail us here altogether; the testimony of the later MSS. is at once uncertain, and appears, except in isolated cases, to be of little value as a guide to any tradition but that by which grammarians strove to regulate the accents of 'barbarous' words.
Under these circumstances Tischendorf contented himself with correcting the inconsistencies of the Sixtine Editors; [Prolegg. § xv.: "nec nihil in eo positum est studii ut nomina propria eodem Constanter et accentu et spiritu ederentur... in his vero omnibus dici non potest quanta sit Romanae ceterarumque inconstantia."]
whilst Lagarde, in his Lucianic text, has abandoned the accentuation of the proper names altogether, except in the case of a Greek termination.
In the present edition, which is designed for ordinary use, some accentuation appeared desirable;
on the other hand it was felt that the editor of an unaccentuated MS. was under no obligation to follow in these words the unsatisfactory method which has become conventional.
It has therefore been decided to fall back upon the accentuation of the Massoretic text, which, whatever its age, may at least be taken to represent a real and to a great extent trustworthy tradition.
The result will doubtless be startling at first sight, at all events in some familiar names; the eye will not immediately accustom itself to Βηθλέεμ, Ἐφράιμ, Γέσεμ, Κόρε, Χανάαν.
But it is hoped that the change, which has been made at the cost of considerable labour, will not be unwelcome to those who use the Septuagint in connexion with the Hebrew Bible, nor altogether fruitless in calling attention to important distinctions which occasionally lurk under the use of an identical Greek form.
It must not be concealed, however, that the application of this principle is difficult or even impracticable where the Septuagint version or the text of B is widely at issue with the Massoretic text, as often happens in the lists of names, or where an imaginary transliteration has grown out of a misreading of the Hebrew.
In such cases it has sometimes become necessary to resort to the general rule which makes 'barbarous' words oxytone [Chandler, Greek Accentuation (Oxf., 1881), p. 207.], or to retain the conventional accentuation.
The results are therefore not entirely satisfactory; it must suffice if the step which has been taken is on the whole an approach to a sounder method of dealing with these anomalies.
breathings of proper names, whether transliterated or made to assume a Greek
form, have been brought into conformity with the system adopted by Dr Westcott
and Dr Hort in their edition of the Greek New Testament.
Initial א and ע are represented by the lenis, ה and ח by the aspirate;
words beginning with ' uniformly receive the smooth breathing.
The first hand of B has not been followed in the very frequent use of ΟΥΧ ΙΔΟΥ, nor on the other hand in the almost equally common employment of οὐκ before certain words which begin with an aspirated vowel.
Roman Editors of 1587 applied to their text the mediaeval system of
chapter-divisions, which, first employed in Latin Bibles of the thirteenth
century, had been pressed into the service of the Hebrew Bible in the
Concordance of R. Isaac Nathan about the middle of the fifteenth.
On the other hand they declined to follow the example of R. Nathan in adding a verse-numeration, although his system had been accepted by Pagninus in the Latin Bible of 1528 and imitated by Robert Stephen in the Greek New Testament of 1551
[Cf. C. R. Gregory, Prolegg, p. 164 f., and Dr W. Wright's article 'Verse' in Kitto's Cyclopaedia, cited by Dr Gregory (P.167).].
present edition the Sixtlne chapters are retained with a few exceptions which
are noted in the margin of the text.
The verse-numeration which became traditional in later editions is added;
or where there is more than one tradition, that is preferred which agrees with the verse-divisions of the Massoretic text.
Where the chapters or verses of the Hebrew Bible differ from those which are accepted in the Greek, the numbers of the Hebrew verses are placed in the margin within brackets, outside the numbers of the Greek, the text being usually in such cases indented to leave space for the double numeration.
Finally, where the verse begins in the Hebrew at a different word from that at which it begins in the Greek, the beginning of the Hebrew verse is denoted by a bracketed numeral inserted in the Greek.
Additional matter which is peculiar to the Greek text, unless already traditionally divided, has been provisionally broken up into verses by means of the letters of the Latin alphabet attached to the arable numeral which marks the last preceding verse of the original.
Omissions, when coextensive with a Hebrew verse, are marked by the dropping of a number in the verse-numeration of the Greek.
the conventional division of the text into chapters and verses, retained for
the convenience of reference, it has been thrown into paragraphs,
subparagraphs and groups of paragraphs, with reference to the sense, the order
of the narrative or the plan of the book.
The commencement of a group of paragraphs, marking the beginning of a large or distinct section of a book, is denoted by the omission of an entire line of type;
the commencement of a subparagraph, by a short break in the course of a line, and by the use of a capital letter to begin the first word.
In these arrangements the Editor has been largely aided by the precedent of the Revised English Bible;
and a further acknowledgement is due to the Old Testament Company for the indulgence by which he was permitted to obtain access to their method of paragraphing the first two or three Books at a time when the text of the revision was not yet out of the Revisers' hands.
Their example has been also followed in the metrical form which has been given to poetical passages;
although it has often been impossible to adhere to their arrangement of particular lines, the parallelisms having either disappeared in the Greek or having been replaced by others.
text it is time to turn to the textual notes.
These will be found in this manual edition to contain
the more important clerical errors of the MS. on which the text is based, and the rejected readings of its various hands; and
the variants of other uncial MSS. selected for comparison with the text.
This selection includes the other three great uncial Bibles;
and thus at every opening the reader is presented with the entire evidence of BאAC, so far as it is now accessible.
In view of the lamentably defective condition of אC and the serious lacunae of B it has been thought well to add the testimony of such other uncial MSS. as could be reached at once through photographs, facsimiles or trustworthy editions, excepting those which are merely fragmentary, and those which offer a Hexaplaric text.
In Genesis, where for the greater part of the book B is wanting as well as א and C, we are fortunate in having three other important MSS. (DEF) which fulfil these conditions, one of which (F) goes on with us through the rest of the Pentateuch and to the middle of Joshua.
From that point to the end of the volume only A is left to be compared with B;
but its variants are here so numerous and important that the absence of other witnesses is less to be regretted than if it had occurred in the earlier Books.
Appendix at the end of each volume is intended to receive such unsubstantial
variants as seemed unworthy of a place at the foot of the text—
errors of the scribe, frequently recurring itacisms, rejected spellings of an ordinary type, minute discrepancies between the MSS. and the printed text.
But departures from the accepted orthography which appeared to possess any special interest or in words which are of rare occurrence in the Septuagint, and itacisms or apparent errors of the scribe under which a true variant may possibly lurk, or which are characteristic of the MS. or of its palaeography, have been allowed to retain their place among the textual notes.
Moreover, a rejected spelling has usually been exhibited at the foot of the page when it affects a word which for some other reason had found a place there, or when it occurs in the course of a substantial variant.
In permitting these exceptions it has been difficult to be consistent, but care has been taken to secure that all the substantial variations are included in the textual notes, while on the other hand unimportant variations which have been given in the notes are not repeated in the Appendix.
The use of the textual notes alone will enable the reader to judge of all questions which affect the text, so far as they are touched by the MSS. employed:
the Appendix - will, if he chooses to refer to it, complete the testimony of the MSS. by adding their minuter disagreements with the standard of the printed text.
The letter exterior to the first line of text on each page is the symbol of the MS. upon which the text of that page is based. In the rare instances where the text of a single page is supplied partly by one MS. partly by another, the symbols of both MSS. are placed in this position side by side but enclosed in separate pairs of brackets.
Similarly, the letter or letters exterior to the first line of textual notes on each page must be taken to represent the MS. or MSS. from which variants have been collected for that page or for some part of it.
point in the text at which any MS. begins or breaks off is marked by the sign §
or ¶, which is repeated in the margin together with the symbol of the
When the beginning or the break occurs in the middle of a word, the first or last letter which the MS. exhibits is to be gathered from the textual notes.
All the lacunae are noted in this way, as well as the starting point of each MS. and the place at which its testimony ceases altogether.
distinguishing the 'hands', a 'superior' 1 has been used to denote corrections
of the original scribe (*) by himself or by a contemporary whose writing is not
distinguishable from his own; a, b, c, are the
second, third and fourth hands respectively; ab represents the
testimony of the secondhand confirmed by the third, whilst a? b? must be taken to mean that it is doubtful to which of the two the correction is
to be assigned, and a?b implies that the correction is made
certainly by the third hand, possibly also by the second.
Of the two expressions a(vid), a vid, the former is the symbol of a reading probably attributable to the second hand, the latter of one to which some uncertainty attaches, but which is due to the second hand if it be a bona fide correction at all.
remains to add a brief description of the MSS. used for the text and notes of
this volume, together with some account of the editions through which their
contents have been reached.
in an uncial hand of the fourth century on leaves of the finest vellum made up
in quires of five;
the lines, which are of 16 to 18 letters, being arranged in three columns containing 42—44 lines each, excepting the poetical Books, where the lines being stichometrical the columns are only two.
There are no initial letters, although the first letter of a section occasionally projects into the margin;
no breathings or accents occur prima manu, the punctuation if by the first hand is rare and simple.
Of the 759 leaves which compose the present quarto volume, 617 belong to the OT. The first 31 leaves of the text of the original Codex have been torn away [Cf. Nestle, Th. L. Z.., 16 Mar. 1895.], and there are lacunae also at f. 178 (part of a leaf) and at f. 348 (10 leaves of the original missing); these gaps involve the loss of Gen. i.1—xlvi.28, 2 Kings ii.5—7, 10—13, Ps.cv.27—cxxxvii.6;
the missing passages in Gen. and Pss. have been supplied by a recent hand.
The Prayer of Manasses and the Books of the Maccabees were never included in this Codex.
The other Books are in the following order: Genesis to 2 Chron., Esdras i, 2, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of the son of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Hosea and the other Minor Prophets to Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, and Ep. of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel (the version ascribed to Theodotion).
great importance of this MS., now the chief glory of the Vatican Library, was
recognized almost from the first;
a description of the Codex was communicated to Erasmus in 1533, in which his attention was drawn both to its age and to the value of its text;
the appreciative language in which it is described by the Sixtine Editors is all that can be desired.
Yet no effort was made by its custodians to publish the actual text of the MS. before the present century.
Within the last seventy years the work has been attempted thrice.
The edition of Ang. Mai, printed between 1828 and 1838, appears to have been so little satisfactory to that great scholar himself that it did not see the light till after his death.
Mai died in 1854;
his five volumes appeared in 1857, introduced to the reader by the pen of C. Vercellone.
But even under such auspices the work failed from the first to satisfy the requirements of Biblical criticism.
"Forma editi longe apparet remota ab ea codicis pressissima forma, quam sequi A. Maium aliqui forte critici... concupivissent."
Such is the candid admission of Mai's successors, who in 1881 brought to a completion the first endeavour to represent the MS. in facsimile type.
Their work is entitled, Bibliorum Sacrorum Graeciis Codex Vaticaniis, and occupies six volumes of the same size and magnificence as Tischendorfs Codex Sinaiticus.
This facsimile edition was undertaken by C. Vercellone and J. Cozza, but on the death of the former in 1869 before the publication of any part of the OT., his place was filled by his pupil C. Sergio, who was in turn succeeded by H. Fabiani assisted by two coadjutors U. Ubaldi and A. Rocchi; to the last three it appears we owe in great part the prolegomena and commentary which fill the concluding volume.
[Prolegg. p. xv.
The prolegomena are brief (pp. xxxvi) and touch but lightly oil the many questions of history and palaography upon which information was desired.
They are followed by 170 pages of Commentary, of which 142 belong to the OT.;
at the end of the volume are four admirable photographs representing Ps.i.—iv. inc., Jer.xvi.17—xvii.21, Ezek.xlvii.32—Dan.(Sus.)15, Dan.ix.16—x.]
this splendid effort left much to be desired.
[ See two articles by Dr E. Nestle (Literarisches Centralblatt, 21 Jan. 1882; Theol. Literaturzeitung;, 25 Mar. 1882).
On the other hand the Roman tract De Editione Romana had the courage to assert (p. 24): “codex typis ita repraesen. tatur ut fere haud amplius archetype studia biblica indigere videantur."]
But it is unnecessary and would be invidious to recount its imperfections here, because since 1890 the facsimile has been superseded by a photographic representation worthy of the Vatican Press and of the enlightened Pontiff under whose auspices it has been executed.
[H παλαια διαθηκη | vetus testamentum I iuxta lxx. interpretum uersloneni ] e codice omnium antiquissimo | graeco vaticano 1209 [ phototypice repraesentatum | auspice | Leone i. pont. max. | curante | Josepho Cozza-Luzi Abate Basiliano | S. Rom. ecclesiae vicebibliothecario | Romae | e bibliotheca vaticana [ agente photographo Danesi | mdccclxxxx. A description of the work and estimate of its merits by Dr Nestle may be seen in Th.L. Z., 16Mar. 1895.]
preparing the first edition of this volume, during the years 1883-7, the Editor
was dependent on the facsimile, and the reader was warned in the Preface that
the results could not be regarded as final.
The completion of the photograph rendered it possible satisfactorily to revise the text, and also the notes and Appendix, so far as they represented the evidence of Cod. B.
This labour was generously undertaken by Dr Nestle, whose well-known accuracy is a guarantee of the soundness of his work.
Dr Nestle's corrections of the text appeared in the corrigenda appended to Vol. III.;
the whole of his results will be found embodied in the present edition.
believed himself able to distinguish the hands of three original scribes in the
and Dr E. Abbot found internal evidence that the first terminated his labours at f. 167 (ending with I Kings xix.11), the second at f. 312 (the end of 2 Esdras) [Gregory, Prolegg. i. p. 359, note 3.].
The Editors of the facsimile refuse to decide whether the text is due to one scribe or to many, contenting themselves with the statement that the writing is so uniform as to convince them that it proceeded from a single school if not from a single hand.
To the original scribe or scribes they assign a certain number of changes made inter scribendum, which they denote as B1.
Under the second hand (B2=Ba in this edition) they Include a series of corrections, beginning with a possible diorthota who may have been nearly coaeval with the scribe, and reaching in their judgement to the fourteenth century.
Their third hand (B3=Bb) is an instaurator who has corrected the whole text, retracing every letter which he wished to retain.
He is identified by the Editors with the monk Clement who has scrawled his name in characters of the fourteenth or fifteenth century at the end of the Pentateuch and of 2 Esdras (pp. 238, 624).
Lastly, a few corrections are ascribed to a fourth hand (B4=Bc), later than the fifteenth century.
impossible to escape from provisionally accepting this grouping of the hands of
B, and equally impossible to accept it without mistrust.
The identification of Clement the monk with the instaurator seems to rest on very slender grounds;
and the judgement of Tischendorf, who placed the latter in the tenth or eleventh century, is scarcely to be set aside by the discovery on which Fabiani and his colleagues so warmly congratulate themselves.
Again, it does not appear that the Codex was touched, in the NT. at all events, by any corrector between the diorthota and the instaurator. [Cf. Westcott and Hort, NT., ii. p. 270.]
If this conclusion is well founded and may be extended to the OT. portion of the MS., the second hand will be little later than the first, whilst the third follows after a lapse of six centuries.
But according to our Roman guides B2=a covers the corrections of a thousand years, and is often barely distinguishable from B3=b, in their judgement a hand of the fourteenth or fifteenth century.
The whole question demands a fresh investigation, which can only be successful if conducted by experts with free access to the MS. itself.
Editors of the Codex do not profess to have always noted the orthographical
variations of their third hand.
[3 Prolegg. pp. xviii, xix:
"Nihil fere igitur curavimus, utrum adderet, omitteretve ν literam paragogicam… solet B3…inpluribus locis, quae per ει scripta sunt ε expungere. hac ratione in commentariis omittimus singulos locos, ubi hoc recidit," The list which they add includes κλίνομαι, γίνομαι, γινώσκω, κρίνω, θλίβω, τρίβω, ῥίπτω, οἰκτείπω [rather its derivatives], ϊλεως, κριός, Σιών, Γαλιλαία, Ἰεριχώ, χόλιος and its derivatives.
Further, they profess to neglect the change of τέσσερες into τέσσαρες and of ὀλεθρεύω into ὀλοθρεύω.
These corrections are nevertheless repeatedly specified in the commentary, and not always ascribed to the same hand.]
These however have been carefully indicated in Dr Nestle's revision from the photograph, and now appear in the Appendix, the plates of which have been recast in order to admit the new evidence under this head.
in all uncial hand
["Characterized by a squareness of formation" (Palaeographical Society's facsimiles, I. 105).]
ascribed to the middle of the fourth century, and in lines which when complete contain from 12 to 14 letters and which are arranged in four columns on unusually large leaves of a very fine vellum, made from the skin of the ass or of the antelope.
The leaves are gathered into quires of four, excepting two which contain five.
There are no breathings or accents;
a simple point is occasionally used.
In the NT. the MS. is complete;
of the OT. the following portions remain:
fragments of Gen. xi. xxiv. and of Numbers v. vi. vii.; I Chron.ix.27—xix.17, 2 Esdras ix.9 to end, Esther, Tobit, Judith, I Mace., 4 Mace., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lam. i. 1—ii.20, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of the son of Sirach, Job.
recent history of this MS. is too well known to need repetition.
The fragments of the OT. have been edited by Tischendorf in the following books;
(1) Codex Friderico-Augustanus (Lips. 1846)—
a lithographed facsimile of the 43 leaves which Tischendorf rescued during his visit to S. Catharine's in 1844.
These leaves contain i Chronicles xi.22—xix.17, 2 Esdras ix.9 to end, Esther, Tobit i.1—ii.2, Jeremiah x.25 to end, Lam. i.1—ii.20.
(2) Montumenta sacra ined. nov, coll. vol. I. (Lips. 1855), pp. xxxx. 213—216—
a facsimile of Isaiah Ixvi.12—Jer.i.7, a page copied from the MS. during the same visit;
afterwards edited again with the rest of the MS. (infra, 4).
(3) Monumenta, &c., vol. ii. (Lips. 1857), pp. xxxxvi. 321—
a facsimile of Gen.xxiv.9—10, 41—43, from a scrap discovered by Tischendorf at S. Catharine's in 1853 [Now at S. Petersburg (App. Codd. p. v).];
reedited in the Appendix Codd. (infra, 5).
(4) Bibliorum Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus (Petrop. 1862), vol. I. (prolegg., comment., pp. i—xxx)ii., iii.—
a facsimile of the S. Petersburg portion of the Codex, containing all that survives of א except the fragments of Genesis and Numbers and the leaves previously edited under the name of the Cod. Friderico-Augustanus.
(5) Appendix codicum celeberr. Sinaitici Valicani Alexandrini (Lips. 1867).
The Sinaitic fragments consist of the scraps of Gen. xi—xxiv, Numb.v—vii, which, with the exception of Gen. xxiv.9—10, 41—43, already accounted for, were discovered by the Archimandrite (afterwards Bishop) Porphyry in the bindings of other Sinaitic MSS. and brought by him to Europe in 1845, but first communicated to Tischendorf in 1862, after the publication of the Cod. Sinaiticus Petropolitanus.
The condition of these fragments is very unsatisfactory.
The Porphyrian fragments of Genesis form the major part of a single leaf, but so torn that the exterior column of each page yields only 23 or 24 letters, whilst from 14 to 19 of the lines at the lower end of each column are lost;
the remainder is injured by damp and difficult to decipher.
Those of Numbers were coated with dirt where the margin had been sewn into the back of the book which the leaf was used to bind, and the writing is in places nearly illegible.
[Since the MSS. which these leaves had been used to bind were themselves of some antiquity, Porphyry's discovery shews that the disintegration of the Codex began centuries ago (App. Codd., p. xvi).
On the present condition of the Mount Sinai MSS. see the remarks of Gardthausen, Catalog. Codd. Sinait. (Oxon. 1886), p. vii.]
In the text of א Tischendorf distinguishes the hands of four original scribes.
["Mea quidem sententia quattuor potissimum librarii textum scripserunt" (Cod. Sin. Pelrop. prolegg., p. 8).
In the Appendix Codicum he regards this opinion as a certainty (p. viiii).]
To one (A), who wrote nearly the whole of the NT., he assigns the fragments of Genesis and of i Chronicles, i Maccabees, and the last 4½ leaves of 4 Maccabees;
to a second (B), the fragments of Numbers and the Prophets ;
to a third (C), the poetical Books;
whilst to the fourth (D) are adjudged the Books of Tobit and Judith, and the rest of 4 Maccabees and of the NT.
More important to us is his judgement with regard to the hands of correctors.
In the text of the LXX. he finds five such, who are designated א a, א c.a, אc.b, אc.c, אd.
The first symbol (א a ) includes such nearly contemporary hands as differ but slightly from the hand of the original scribe.
The second and third ( א c.a, אc.b) are correctors of the seventh century, and throughout the MS., more especially in the OT., are the prevailing hands;
the former stands alone in the poetical Books, the latter predominates in the Prophets.
אc.c, also of the seventh century, has made a special study of Job, often correcting א c.a in that Book;
the MS. appears to have been in his custody for a considerable time, and he has enriched it with frequent marginal notes such as the exclamation ὡραῖον, and the sectional letters in Isaiah.
אd (viii.? ix.?) has retraced many pages in the Prophets and here and there attempted an emendation of the text.
To this corrector are also assigned certain marginal notes in Arabic.
in an uncial hand of the middle of the fifth century on vellum of fine texture
originally arranged in quires of eight leaves, occasionally (but chiefly at the
end of a Book) of less than eight;
three or four and twenty letters go to a line, 50 or 51 lines usually compose a column, and there are two columns on a page.
Large initial letters, standing in the margin, announce the commencement of a paragraph or section, excepting in vol. in., which appears to be the work of another scribe.
There are no breathings or accents added by the first hand;
the punctuation, more frequent than in B, is still confined to a single point.
The three vols. which contain the OT now consist of 630 leaves.
Of these vols. only nine leaves are lest and five mutilated.
The portions of the Septuagint which are thus deficient in A contained Gen.xiv.14—17, xv.1—5, 16—19, xvi.6—9;
i Kings .19—xiv.9; Ps.xlix.19—Ixxix.10.
The Codex opens (l,, f. 3) with a Table of the Books written in uncial letters somewhat later than the body of the MS.
The first volume contains the Octateuch with Kings and Chronicles (ομον βιβλια ς).
The Books of Chronicles are followed (vol, ii.) by the Prophets (προφηται ις) Minor and Major, Jeremiah including Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle;
Daniel [Theodotion's version) is succeeded by Esther, Tobit, Judith, Esdras 1, 2, and the four Books of Maccabees.
The third volume contains the Psalter, with cli. and the canticles, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of the son of Sirach.
The Table shews that the Psalms of Solomon once occupied a place at the end of the fourth volume which contains the NT.
MS., the treasured possession of the Patriarchs of Alexandria from at least the
end of the thirteenth century, and since the beginning of the seventeenth the
pride of its English custodians, is the most perfect of the great codices which
contain the Septuagint.
Moreover it has fared better than the earlier Vatican Codex in regard to the attention it has received from its editors.
Early in the eighteenth century the volumes which contain the OT. were already accessible, as we have seen, in the scholarly edition of Grabe.
Early in the nineteenth, they were published at the cost of the nation in facsimile with a copious commentary by H. H. Baber, Librarian of the British Museum.
Lastly, a magnificent edition in autotype has been completed within the last four years under the superintendence of Mr E. Maunde Thompson.
Yet the MS. still needs a critical editor to do for it what Tischendorf has done for the Codex Sinaiticus.
The autotype edition is without a critical commentary, and the plates do not distinctly reveal the erasures in every case, or enable the student clearly to discriminate the hands—
an imperfection of photographic representation which the utmost care and skill cannot altogether surmount.
On the other hand the copious commentary which fills Baber's last volume is unhappily to a great extent inadequate.
In fact no satisfactory attempt has yet been made to distinguish accurately the various correctors, who have changed so large a portion of the face of the Codex.
Baber indeed discriminates between the first and second hands, and a third hand which he calls recent; but in a large number of cases he falls back upon some such ambiguous designation as manus vetista, vetustissima, pervetusta, antique.
A cursory examination of the MS. has served to shew that in the places opened his second hand was usually (not quite uniformly) but a little later than the scribe himself;
whilst his ancient' or 'very ancient' hand has the appearance of belonging to the following century, the writing being thin and fine, and the characters long.
It is evident that there is room for an entirely new handling of this subject, and there is reason to hope that this will have been accomplished by a competent scholar before the larger edition of the Cambridge Septuagint has passed through the press.
In the present edition, which has been constructed on the principle of using the best editions already accessible, it has been necessary to be content with the autotype text and Baber's commentary.
Baber's second hand has been represented by Aa;
his 'ancient' or 'very ancient' hand, when not identified with the second as occasionally it is, by Aa?;
his third hand is our Ab.
[It seems probable that A, which as far back as the furthest period to which we can trace its history was preserved in Egypt, had been originally written there;
and as Sir E. M. Thompson has pointed out, the occurrence of Egyptian forms of the Greek letters in the superscriptions and colophons of the Books proves that "the MS. if not absolutely written in Egypt must have been immediately afterwards removed thither."
The editors of the Roman facsimile find a slender argument for the Egyptian origin of the Vatican MS. in the occasional patching of its leaves with papyrus.
On the other hand Dr Hort in 1881 was "induced to surmise that B and א were both written in the West, probably at Rome."
More recently Mr J. Rendel Harris has been led to conjecture that both these MSS. came from the library of Pamphilus at Caesarea.
For some investigations as to the relation which these great Codices bear to the recensions of the Septuagint see Dr Ceriani in Rendiconti of the Reale Istit. Lombard. ii. xix, p. 206 f., xxi. p. 547;
Dr C. H. Cornill, das Buck des Propheten, Ezeckiel (Leipzig, 1886), pp. 63—95;
Dr Hort's letter in the Academy, Dec. 24, 1887;
Dr Silberstein, uber den Ursprung, &c. (Gies-sen, 1893);
Dr J. Rendel Harris, Stichometry, p. 71 ff. :
Dr J. Armitage Robinson, Euthaliana, p. 42 ff.]
remains of this MS. of the fifth or sixth century now consist of 150 fragments
inlaid in 147 leaves of 10¾ x 8¾ inches, in size nearly corresponding to the leaves
of the original Codex.
The vellum is moderately fine, the characters are uncials, round or square after the type of good uncial MSS.;
23 to 30 letters made a line, and a single column of 26 to 28 lines filled a page, excepting where the writing was partly displaced by an illustration.
The MS. is said to have possessed 250 miniatures; traces of a few remain.
Unlike B אA it has large initial letters;
and the position of the single point used in punctuation is threefold, sometimes at the foot of the letters, sometimes at their head, and sometimes half-way up.
There are neither accents nor breathings.
Before the fire which wrecked this exquisite book it consisted of 165 (others say 166) leaves;
but the Codex was even then far from perfect.
The beginning and end of Genesis (i.1 —13, 1.26) were wanting, and leaves had disappeared in several places.
These lacunae are noted in the margin of our text.
has a singular history.
Presented to Henry VIII. by two Greek Bishops who are said to have brought it from Philippi, it was given by Elizabeth to Sir John Fortescue, by whom it was subsequently placed in the collection of Sir R. Cotton.
Lent by Sir Richard to Lord Arundel in 1630, it fell into other hands, but was ultimately secured again for the Cotton Library by Sir John Cotton.
In 1700 the Library became national property, and the safety of the MS. might have seemed thenceforth secured,
Unhappily it was removed with the rest of the collection to Ashburnham House, and reduced to charred fragments by the fire which attacked the treasures of that establishment Oct. 23, 1731.
Dr H. Owen writing in 1778 speaks of the fragments as hopelessly lost;
but the Cottonian catalogue of 1802 mentions 18 of them as still preserved at the British Museum, to which the Cotton library had meanwhile been transferred;
and further search has largely added to this number.
The scraps were collected with scrupulous care in 1847-8.
[A photograph of one of the British Museum fragments will be found in the Catalogue of Ancient MSS., i, Greek, published by the Trustees (London, 1881), where the palaeography and history of this MS. are treated exhaustively.]
Three or four other fragments have been discovered at the Bristol Baptist College, to which they were bequeathed by Dr A. Gifford, a London Baptist minister who had been officially connected with the department of MSS. at the British Museum.
our knowledge of this Codex is not confined to what may be gathered from the
relics of the Ashburnham fire. The following sources of information have been
used for this edition:
(1) Collatio cod. Cotton. Geneseos cum Editions Romana, a v. cl. J. E. Grabs iam olim facto.; nunc licmum summa ctim Ctira edita ah H. Owen, M.D; S.R.S., eccl. S. Olai Rectore (Londini, 1778).
Grabe's MS. is still in the Bodleian, and upon being compared with Owen's tract seems to justify the claim which the latter makes to careful editing;
whilst it is no surprise to find that a recent examination of Grabe's own work in the light of the surviving fragments has led Dr Gotch to pronounce it extremely accurate.
This collation places within our reach the entire MS. as it existed before the fire; but a great part of the evidence is of course merely e silentio, and much of that which is direct can no longer be verified.
Its testimony has therefore been distinguished from that of the surviving fragments by the use of an italic capital (D, .Dsil).
[Grabe had been preceded by other labourers in the same field;
a collation of a considerable part of D by the hand of Patrick Young (P. Junius) is to be seen at the British Museum, while the Bodleian has preserved another in the writing of Archbp. Ussher.
These collations have not been used for the present edition, Grabe's careful and complete work appearing to need no further verification than that which the surviving fragments, now critically edited, supply.]
(2) Vetusta monitmenta quae...Soc. Antiq, Lond. sumptu suo edenda curavit, vol. I. (Lond. 1747), p. Ixvii f.
This book contains two plates representing certain of the fragments of D, reproduced for the sake of the miniatures, but carrying with them portions of the text.
[More recently Mr Westwood has endeavoured to reproduce one of these miniatures in colours (palaeogr. sacra pict., 3).
The Vienna Genesis (Holmes vi), which is also illustrated, is "of later date and inferior execution" (Ancient Gk. MSS. p. 21); cf. the PaIaeographical Society’s plate facsimiles, plate 178.]
The verses delineated are Gen.V.35—29, viii.10, 11, ix.15—23, xi.9, 12, 13, 13—17, 29—32, .1—6, xlv.13—I6, xv.1—l2, 13—17, 18—xvi.5, xvi.5—15, xviii.15, xix.4—11, xl.19—20, xliii.12—13, 29—30.
The transcription has been executed with singularly little skill;
but in the few places where the fragments have since disappeared (indicated above by the use of thicker numerals) the help which is thus given suffices for the recovery of the missing text.
(3) Monumentia sacra ined. nov. coll. vol. ll. (Lips. 1857) pp. x—xxxvi. 95—176.
Under the title of reliquiae ex incendio ereptae this volume offers Tischendorf's reading of the British Museum fragments of D, with full prolegomena and with a commentary into which he works Grabe's collation, comparing it with the existing scraps.
No one who has examined the brown and shrivelled relics on many of which at first sight scarcely a letter is distinguishable can fail to wonder at the relative success attained by Tischendorf's patience and skill.
But he was compelled to leave some of the smaller fragments unidentified, and here and there a further examination has revealed a flaw in his transcription.
These defects are now supplied in
(4) F. W. Gotch's Supplement to Tischendorf's Reliquiae (London, 1881). Dr Gotch, who at the time when his book was published held the office of President of the Baptist College, Bristol, adds the Bristol fragments (Gen.xiv.13—t0; xv.1—12, xvi.5—15, xix.4—11); the last two are given in photograph.
Lastly, M. Omont has published in the Memoires de la Societe Nationale des Antiquaires de France (liii. pp. 163 ff.) a few fragments discovered in the Bibliotheque Nationale (Gen.i.13, 14, xviii.24— 26, xliii.16).
We are thus at length in possession of probably all that can now be recovered of the Cotton Genesis;
and the results, which go far to repair the damage of the fire, are a signal testimony to the sagacity and persevering toil of many labourers.
discrimination of the ' hands' of D is necessarily beset with difficulty.
Grabe found that the MS. had been collated and corrected throughout by either the scribe or a contemporary diorthota (D1), to whom he attributes occasional marginal additions which have now disappeared.
More frequently the corrections belong in his judgement to a later hand, which Tischendorf attributes to the eighth century (Da).
To Da seems to be due the retracing of the letters which had been faded by age.
Lastly, Grabe mentions a manus recentissima, which has been distinguished as Db.
collation of D and D has been made for this edition by Mr C. I. Beard,
M.B., who has expended much time and labour in the effort to attain to perfect
His results, so far as they lie within the scope of a manual edition, have been worked into the plates and appear in the notes.
probably towards the end of the ninth or the beginning of the tenth century in
oblong sloping uncial characters upon 29 leaves of stout vellum, two columns
occupying each page.
Breathings and accents are frequent, abbreviations numerous;
the punctuation includes the double point, the comma and the mark of interrogation.
On the other hand, the orthography of the more ancient MSS. is maintained, and forms known as Alexandrian abound.
There are lacunae, and the following passages are missing:
Gen.xiv.7—xviii.24, xx.14—xxiv.54, and the last 7½ chapters (from xliii.14 to the end).
Bodleian Genesis was brought 'from the East' in 1853 by Tischendorf, who is
reticent as to the exact locality where it was discovered; subsequently it was
acquired by the Bodleian Library.
It has been edited with prolegomena in Monumenta, sacra ined, vol. II. (pp. xxxvi—xxx, 179—308).
The lateness of the MS. is counterbalanced in Tischendorf's judgement by the excellence of the text, which appears to represent a good and early archetype.
Its value is enhanced by the scarcity of uncial MSS. of Genesis, and their generally defective condition; of the eight which survive, two only [I.e. Cod. A and the great Coislin MS., the latter Hexaplaric.] (as Tischendorf points out) have preserved more of the text than E.
Besides corrections by the original scribe, which are occasionally discriminated and are denoted E1, Tischendorf notices others which are nearly coaeval (Ea, and a third group proceeding from a later hand (Eb).
Another leaf of this MS. was discovered
in 1891 among some fragments purchased from Tischendorf's representatives by
the Syndics of the Cambridge University Library (Academy, June 6, 1891).
This leaf carries the text down to Gen.xliii.13.
The verso is written in a cursive hand, but Mr Rendel Harris regards the cursive page as contemporary with the other, and possibly the work of the same scribe.
Variants from the cursive portion of this fragment (Gen.xlii.31—xliii.13) are distinguished by the use of an italic (E )
[It is now known that the St Petersburg Cod. I and the British Museum Additional MS. 20002 belong to the same Codex. See Introduction to the OT. in Greek, p. 134 f.].
A fresh collation of Tischendorf's
facsimile of E has been made by Dr Beard for the present edition.
His corrections and additions have been embodied in the notes and Appendix.
in broad and laterally thick characters, of the type usual in MSS. assigned to
the fourth and fifth centuries, on the thinnest whitest and smoothest vellum,
the leaves of which are gathered in quires of four and numbered on the first
and last page of each quire; there are three columns on each page, with 35 lines
in each column.
Initial letters are used, projecting slightly into the margin.
The MS. has not only a frequent and varied punctuation, but stands alone amongst early uncial codices in exhibiting breathings and accents prima manu.
The margins, both lateral and intercolumnar, are unusually broad, suggesting that the scribe contemplated the addition of marginal readings, some of which are in fact written by the first hand.
The Codex now begins at Gen.xxxi.15 and ends with Joshua .12;
there are numerous lacunae, the Book of Numbers being alone complete.
The lacunae from Exod.xxx.29 are almost invariably supplied by later hands.
An unknown hand on a blank page bound up
with the MS. is responsible for the statement that this remarkable Codex
originally came from Macedonia, and was bought in Corcyra by Card. F. Borromeo
(1561-1631), the founder of the Ambrosian Library.
It was cursorily examined by Montfaucon, who noticed the presence of accents prima manu; and it was collated, but with lamentable want of care, for Holmes, by whom it is briefly described.
A discovery of the defects of Holmes's collation has led Dr A. Ceriani to publish the MS. in extenso in the third volume of his Monumenta sacra et profana (Mediol., 1864).
His edition is not in facsimile, and the exigencies of his type have compelled him to print in full the compendia scripturae; complete prolegomena and all corrections later than the first hand are moreover postponed to a fourth volume of the Monnmenta which is still a desideratum.
But the provisional preface, a considerable introduction of fifteen closely packed pages, supplies nearly everything which is necessary for present use.
The character of the text is but lightly touched; but the Editor remarks its frequent agreement with A as against B.
[This agreement will be found to be particularly striking in the Book of Exodus.
In Leviticus on the other hand F is frequently opposed to A and in agreement with the Sixtine text.]
Ceriani supports the relative antiquity of the Codex, notwithstanding the presence of breathings and accents, and is disposed to place it not later than the first half of the fifth century.
He supposes two scribes, to one of whom he assigns the Pentateuch, to the other the fragment of Joshua.
A change in the colour of the ink, which is yellow in the earlier books, but green in Joshua, marks the transition.
On the other hand the continuous numeration of the quires, in the hand of the penman of the Pentateuch, suggests that the scribes were not only contemporary, but associated in their work.
All the corrections which Dr Ceriani has
printed are of the first hand (A=F1), as he has kindly informed the
These have all been worked into the notes or the Appendix, excepting fragments of the other Greek versions, which are foreign to the purpose of a manual edition of the Septuagint, and may be found in Dr Field's Hexapla.
A large number of corrections additions and scholia in later hands had been communicated to Dr Field by Ceriani (Hexapla, I. p. 5), and permission was liberally given to use these for the present edition.
Dr Field's lamented death intervened, and it was impossible to trace the papers which contained these variants.
A portion of them however had been incorporated in the Hexapla, and any of these which were available have been copied into the notes, where they appear under the symbol Fa.
In preparing a second edition the Editor had the advantage of consulting a list of corrections and additions which were kindly communicated to him by Dr Ceriani in 1888;
in the present edition he has derived further assistance from a fresh collation of the MS. made by Mr N. McLean for the Larger Cambridge Septuagint.
In conclusion the Editor desires to offer his sincere thanks to all
who have cooperated with him in the endeavour to render this reissue of Vol. I.
more accurate and serviceable than the first edition.
His acknowledgements are especially due to Mr Redpath, the Editor of the Oxford Concordance to the Septuagint, whose vigilance will, as he trusts, have left few superficial errors for future correction.
To the officers and workmen of the Press he owes a not less hearty recognition of the care and assiduity with which they have accomplished the difficult task of correcting the plates.
fourth edition the punctuation of the text as far as the end of Leviticus has
been made to correspond in all important particulars with that of the larger
Cambridge Septuagint, and the notes have been corrected from the same source.
For these improvements the thanks of the reader are due to the Editors of the larger work, and to Mr E. J. Thomas, who has made the necessary changes.
Codex Sinaiticus ( = S, Lagarde, Nestle).
Codex Alexandrinus ( = III, Holmes).
Codex Vaticanus ( = II, Holmes).
D (D )
Codex Cottonianus Geneseos ( = I, Holmes).
E (E )
Codex Bodleianus Geneseos.
Codex Ambrosianus ( = VII, Holmes).