VELLUM UNCIAL A


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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 first full row of the sentence.

The page illustrated here, number 328 is of the Book of the prophet Isaiah. Is.60.21-22 continues over from the previous page. (Incidentally, Is.60 begins with those well-known verses from Handel's MESSIAH: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (AV-KJV))

In column 1 there is a capital Π with no.61 inside. This is the first verse of Is.61:

ΠΝΑ ΚΥ ΕΠ ΕΜΕ ΟΥ ΕΙΝΕΚΕΝ ΕΧΡΙ|ΣΕΝ ΜΕ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΑΣΘΑΙ ΠΤΩΧΟΙΣ | ΑΠΕΣΤΑΛΚΕΝ ΜΕ ΙΑΣΑΣΘΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ | ΣΥΝΤΕΤΡΙΜΜΕΝΟΥΣ ΤΗ ΚΑΡΔΙΑ | ΚΗΡΥΞΑΙ ΑΙΚΜΑΛΩΤΟΙΣ ΑΦΕΣΙΝ | ΚΑΙ ΤΥΦΛΟΙΣ ΑΝΑΒΛΕΨΙΝ ΚΑΛΕ|ΣΑΙ ΕΝΙΑΥΤΟΝ ΚΥ ΔΕΚΤΟΝ ΚΑΙ | ΗΜΕΡΑΝ ΑΝΤΑΠΟΛΩΣΕΩΣ ΠΑΡΑ|ΚΑΛΕΣΑΙ ΠΑΝΤΑΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΠΕΝΘΟΥΝ|ΤΑΣ ΔΟΘΗΝΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΠΕΝΘΟΥΣΙΝ | ΣΙΩΝ ΔΟΞΑΝ ΑΝΤΙ ΣΠΟΔΟΥ ΑΛΕΙΜ|ΜΑ ΕΥΘΡΟΣΥΝΗΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΠΕΝΘΟΥΟΙ | ΚΑΤΑΣΤΟΛΗΝ ΔΟΞΗΣ ΑΝΤΙ ΠΝΕΥ|ΜΑΤΟΣΑΚΗΔΙΑΣ

[Is.61.1-3. (following Brenton)] 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 declare the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn; that there should be given to them that mourn in Sion glory instead of ashes the oil of joy to the mourners the garment of glory for the spirit of heaviness.

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

Read the whole passage from Isaiah in its original context HERE, and compare Luke 4.18-19 HERE.
Read more about codex Alexandrinus HERE. And read also (for Greek numerals) HERE.
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This page © Paul Ingram 2015.