By Charles Fremont Sitterly
Plate I. Frontispiece. Codex W
The United States now has in her National Library (the Smithsonian) at the Capital one of the foremost uncial manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. From its permanent location it is known as the Washington Manuscript, and with its companion volumes of the Old Testament comprises the proudest possession in the line of biblical manuscripts to be found in all America. It contains a complete Codex of the Gospels, written in a slightly sloping but ancient hand, upon good vellum, in one column of thirty lines to the page, six by nine inches in size. By all the tests ordinarily given it belongs to the period of the earliest codices, possibly of the fourth century. Like Codex D, it has the order of the Gospels, Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, and contains an Apocryphal interpolation, of great interest, within the longer ending of Mark, for which no other Greek authority is known, though it is probably referred to by Saint Jerome. It has been published in Facsimile by Mr. C. L. Freer, of Detroit, who obtained it in Egypt in 1906, and is edited by Professor H. A. Sanders and printed by the University of Michigan, 1911. The page here reproduced, by the kind permission of the publisher, contains the text of Mark i, 1-7.
Plate II. Papyrus Oxyrhynchus I
This is a fragment of the oldest known manuscript of any part of the New Testament. It was found at the same time and place as the Logia described under Plate IV. Only part of a sheet, forming two leaves, was recovered, but it is done in an archaic hand only second in quality to the Logia, possessing the same kind of contractions and diacritical marks, and doubtless belongs to the period just succeeding, that is, the late third or early fourth century. The verso which is here given contains Matthew i, 1-9, 12. This, too, is now in the United States, and may be seen at the Library of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
Plate III. St. Luke
This is a full-page illumination, reduced about one third, taken from a Manuscript Lectionary of the Gospels, No. IX of the Drew Collection of New Testament Minuscules. It portrays St. Luke, the author of the third Gospel, and faces the beginning of the lections from that evangelist in the manuscript. The original is done in pigments of blue, brown, pink, red, and gold, and represents the apostle in the attitude of profound meditation while turning the leaves of a book. For a description of the Lectionary, see under Plate XVI
Plate IV. Papyrus Oxyrhyxches
This plate is a slightly enlarged reproduction of the verso side of the notable papyrus fragment recovered, but a few years since, from the rubbish heaps near the Egyptian town of Behnesa, 120 miles south of Cairo, in the edge of the Libyan Desert. Oxyrlrynchus was the ancient name of the city as well as of the Nome of which it was the nourishing capital in Roman and early Christian times.
The Papyrus was called by its discoverers, Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt, ΛΟΓΙΑ ΙΗΟΟϒ from the fact that it is made up of what purport to be sayings of Jesus. There are upon both sides of the leaf what appear to be eight separate utterances of our Saviour, either in part or entire, three of which, perhaps as suggestive as any, may be read from this plate without difficulty. In so far as these sayings coincide at all with the spirit and letter of the teachings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, they undoubtedly reflect a tradition of those teachings belonging to the times immediately following the apostolic age. At the upper right-hand corner of the page will be seen the number IA, or eleven, which, both from the difference in the character of the hand and of the ink employed, is clearly a later addition.
Papyri are as yet comparatively rare in America. Outside of the valuable beginnings toward collections at the Universities of Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins, perhaps the most noteworthy is found in the Abbott Collection of Egyptian Antiquities, at the rooms of the New York Historical Society. Here may be seen three considerable fragments from Thebes written in Greek characters, and six from Saķķāra in the Demotic; besides these there are three remarkable scrolls worthy of serious study: one is a Ritual of the Dead, twenty-three feet long, written in hieratic characters and illustrated freely with figures in outline; a second, also in the ancient hieratic, is thirty-six feet long, and in such perfect preservation that it does not require to be stretched upon paper, as nearly all long papyrus rolls .are now mounted; while a third is another Ritual of the Dead, perfect both at its commencement and at the end, twenty-two feet long, and most beautifully written and illuminated.
Plate V. Codex Sixaiticus, א
A facsimile of folio vi, one fourth actual size, taken from the Drew Seminary copy of Bibliorum Codex Sinaiticus, vol. i, Novum Testament um, St. Petersburg, 1862.
א is the most complete and one of the most ancient uncials of the entire New Testament, dating as early as the fourth century. It is also one of the very few manuscripts written with four columns to the page, the open book presenting eight columns of writing to the eye, which makes a "papyrus-like arrangement" suggesting the roll (see page 73) . It is written in large uncial hand on antelope skins of singular fineness, the pages being 13½ x 14⁷/₈ inches in size and containing forty-eight lines to the column. The text of the facsimile is that of Matt, x, 17 to xi, 5. On the margin will be seen the so-called Ammonian Sections and Eusebian Canons, evidently not in the hand of the original scribe, though Teschendorf thought them by a contemporary, as also the note on Matt, x, 39, written below the third column.
Plate VI. Codex Vatic anus, B
This plate, about one quarter of the original page, is copied from the phototype facsimile of Codex Vaticanus, No. 1209, vol. iv, Novum Testamentum, folio 1352, Rome, 1889. Codex B is written with somewhat greater accuracy than א, and by many is considered a little earlier in date. It is done on very fine, thin vellum and in small but clear and neat uncials, with three columns of forty-two lines to the page, which is nearly square, being 10x10½ inches in size. It is incomplete from Heb. ix, 14, on, lacking Philemon, the Pastoral epistles, and Revelation. The folio in the illustration contains John ii, 16 to iii, 17.
Plate VII. Codex Alexandrinus, A
This copy is made from the autotype facsimile of Codex Alexandrinus issued by the British Museum in 1880. It is reduced a trifle more than one half the actual size, which is in quarto, 10½ x 12¾ inches, with two columns of fifty lines each to the page.
Codex A was the first of the great uncials to come into the hands of English scholars, being a gift of Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople, to Charles I, of England, in 1628. As this was seventeen years after the publication of the Authorized Version of the English Bible, it is important to note that none of the great English versions have been influenced directly by the readings of the most ancient uncials save that of the Revision of 1881-1884.
The vellum of this codex is not quite as fine or well preserved as B, but the writing is done in a somewhat larger and more elegant hand, and although the text is devoid of accents or breathings, the presence of capital letters at first hand and the canons of Eusebius date it at least as late as the fifth century. Our facsimile presents folio 49, verso, from vol. iv, and contains the text of Luke vi, 42b , to vii, 16b.
Plate VIII. Codex Ephraemi, C
We have in Plate VI a reproduction of a folio, reduced one half, taken from the article on St. Ephraem in the Dictionnaire de la Bible of F. Vigouroux. The Scripture passage is Matt, xi, 17 to xii, 3.
This is an average specimen page of the celebrated Codex Ephraem Syri rescriptus, which may be seen by any visitor at the National Library in Paris. Its name rises from the fact that a Greek translation of some of the works of St. Ephraem, a Syrian Church Father, were written over the original Greek text of a very ancient and valuable copy of the Scriptures. The original belongs to the fifth century, and ranks in purity and antiquity with Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. It was not erased by the unknown hand of an ardent admirer of Ephraem until some seven centuries after it was first written, nor really restored to the Christian world until seven centuries later still by the energy and patience of Tischendorf in 1841. Although this codex when first written probably contained the entire Bible, it has been so mutilated by the various hands through which it has passed that not more than two thirds of its original contents still remain.
Plate IX. Codex Bezae, D
This is reproduced at about one half the original size from a plate in Dictionnaire de la Bible, Vigouroux, F., Fascicule vi, page 1768. Codex D is a Greek-Latin manuscript, the Greek of the left-hand page being offset on the opposite page by a Latin translation done by the same hand. It is a large quarto, 10x8 inches in dimensions, containing most of the four Gospels and the Acts. The text is in square archaic uncials with one column of thirty-three lines to the page. It is without spacings, accents, or breathings, and dates at least from the early part of the sixth century. Our specimen folio contains the text of Luke vi, 1-10.
Plate X. Drew Minuscule, I
This is reproduced from Manuscript I of the Drew Seminary Collection of New Testament Minuscules. It is classified in Dr. Gregory's Prolegomena, p. 669, as No. 371 in his Minuscule Codices of the Pauline Epistles. It is written on well-sized parchment 7⁷/₈ x 11⅛ inches, in single column of twenty-three lines to the page, and consists of one hundred and three leaves. The last folio bears the signature of the scribe Joasaph and is dated 1366 and 1369. From the numbering of the quires, the first of which in the present state of the codex is signed ις=16, it is probable that the copy originally contained the Acts of the Apostles preceding Paul's epistles. It is also noteworthy that Hebrews follows the Pastoral epistles. The codex contains prologues, ὑπόθεσεις, and has the ἁναγνώσιιατα or lection marks, ὑπογραφαί or subscriptions, and στίχοι. The facsimile contains the text of 2 Cor. i, 6-12, photographed from folio 26, recto.
Plate XI. Drew Minuscule II
This is a facsimile of folio 162, recto, of Manuscript II of the Drew Seminary Collection. It is a minuscule Lectionary of the Gospels, and stands as No. 301 in the Prolegomena, p. 728, of Dr. Gregory, who also dates it as of the twelfth century. It is written on 334 leaves of strong white parchment, 12⅝ x 8⅝ inches, with two columns of nineteen lines to the page, and is furnished with musical accents in red. The first several leaves are badly mutilated, and not a few are lacking. Our specimen folio contains the text of Matt, xxiii, 11-15.
Plate XII. Drew Minuscule III
This is a minuscule of the four Gospels, Manuscript III of the Drew Seminary Collection, No. 667 in Dr. Gregory's Prolegomena, p. 565, and No. 900 in Scrivener's Introduction, vol. i, p. 276. It is assigned to the eleventh or twelfth century, is written on fine vellum 3½ x 4 inches, of 178 leaves, with one column of twenty-five to twenty-eight lines to the page; is done in a very fine, neat hand, "with chapter-tables, chapters, titles, and metrical verses." Two leaves are evidently by a later hand, possibly of the sixteenth century, namely, ff. 163 and 170. The binding is very ancient and is in good preservation, being finely tooled and embellished in gold leaf. The titles and illuminations at the beginning of each Gospel are in elaborate Byzantine designs of blue and gold. That of St. Luke, which is given in the facsimile, contains the text of the first seven verses of that Gospel enlarged about one half.
Plate XIII. Drew Minuscule IV
This is a minuscule of the Gospels, Manuscript IV of the Drew Seminary Collection and No. 1275 in Gregory, Prolegomena, p. 1309. Dr. Gregory classes it in the eleventh century. It is done on very fine, thin vellum, with exceeding care and neatness. Besides chapter headings and titles it contains the Ammonian Sections and Eusebian Canons. There are thirty-nine leaves, 8¼ x 6⅛ inches in dimensions, with one column of nineteen lines to the page. It is only a fragment of the original document, containing portions of Luke xxi, xxii, xxiii, and xxiv, and John ii-viii. The facsimile contains John iv, 5-9, from folio 17, recto.
Plate XIV. Drew Minuscule V
Another minuscule fragment of the Gospels, Manuscript V of the Drew Collection, and No. 1276 in Gregory, Prolegomena, p. 1309. Of the same century as the preceding, it is done in similar style and on the same fine quality of vellum of the same-sized page, with single column of twenty-four lines. The ornamentation and use of silver in the lettering, together with the extreme elegance of the workmanship and character of its readings, make this codex exceptionally interesting. Though incomplete, it contains most of the Gospel of Mark and nearly twenty-one chapters of Luke. We have, in the plate, the heading and first seven verses of Luke.
Plate XV. Drew Minuscule VI
Drew Manuscript VI is another large Lectionary of the Gospels, cited as No. 951 by Dr. Gregory, Prolegomena, p. 1313, and classed as from the twelfth or possibly the eleventh century. It contains 247 leaves of parchment, 12⅛ x 9¾ inches, with two columns of twenty-seven lines to the page. Though it has had severe usage, its original rank must have been high, judging from the character and quality of the workmanship. Like Manuscript II, it is furnished with musical notation in red. The specimen page is the beginning of the lection for Whitmonday beginning the series of lessons from Matthew following Pentecost, and is taken in accordance with the Synaxarion of the Greek Church from Matt, xviii, 10-17.
Plate XVI. Drew Minuscule VII
This is Manuscript VII of the Drew Collection, and No. 952 in Dr. Gregory's list of Gospel Lectionaries or Evangelisteria; see Prolegomena, p. 1313. It consists of 175 large nearly square leaves on medium quality parchment, 8¼ x 9¾ inches in dimensions, with two columns of twenty-six lines to the page. One entire quire, A, is lost, but the last quire remains and gives the date as 1148. The musical notation is neatly inserted, as are also the headings for the reading lessons, but in the page given in the plate the scribe inserted the name of the wrong Gospel, that of Mark, for his lection for the third day of Holy Week, the passage actually copied being from Matt, xxiv, 36-46, as it should be for the liturgy of that day.
Plate XVII. Drew Minuscule IX
Manuscript IX of the Drew Lectionaries is in some respect the most complete in the collection. It consists of 334 leaves of beautiful vellum, 9 x 11¾ inches in size, and, with the exception of two initial and highly illuminated folios of a single broad column of text, is written in two columns of nineteen lines to the page. It is done in brilliant inks, with red musical notes, while the words of our Lord and the initial folios mentioned above are done in gold, making nearly one half of the work in gold script.
There are two full-page illustrations, one of St. John and the other of St. Luke (see page 57); while the portraits of the other two evangelists have been clumsily cut out, together with three leaves of the text. It is strongly bound, in very ancient if not the original form, with green velvet on thick wooden boards, a remnant only remaining of the rich fastenings which formerly held it on its three open sides. The page of text in the plate is folio 45, verso, and contains John ix, 23-29.