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THE CODEX CORBEIENSIS A BRIEF description of the Codex, together with an imperfect collation (in St. John, St. Luke, and St. Mark only), is given by Bianchini in his Evangeliarium Quadruplex, which appeared in 1749. The select readings given by Bianchini are, however, far from accurate.
Sabatier also gave variant readings (rather less accurately than Bianchini) in the third volume of his great work Bibliorum Sacr. Latinae Versiones Antiquae seu Vetus Italica, completed in 1749. How inaccurate the quotations of Bianchini and Sabatier are may be gathered from the fact that Tischendorf's citations in his Ed. viii maior, which are taken from their work, contain in St. John's Gospel alone not fewer than 153 false readings.
In more recent times the Norwegian scholar Belsheim has published an edition of the text (without the Capitula or the Prologue to St. Luke), Christiania, 1887. In Belsheim's work there is no attempt to render the Codex line for line and page for page. The editor tells us that he noted in a copy of the Vulgate the variant readings he saw in the MS., and printed his edition from this annotated copy. The result has been to give the Codex the appearance of having a Vulgate base in many passages where no such Vulgate base exists.
Finally, the learned English editors of the Vulgate give a very full collation of the MSS. in St. Luke and St. John. (In St. Matthew and St. Mark they seem to rely solely on Tischendorf's citations, which are not always accurate.) This collation is the outcome of the critical sagacity of the late Samuel Berger, whose work in deciphering old Latin MSS. (notably Le Palimpseste de Fleury) entitles him to the gratitude of all students of the Latin text of the New Testament.
The early history of the MS. is involved in utter obscurity. The copyist left no record of his name or environment. His work shows him unacquainted with the Latin language.
The MS. belonged anciently to the Benedictine Monastery of Corbey near Amiens-once the home of many precious records of the early Christian ages?. It entered in comparatively recent times into the Bibliothèque Royale, whose red stamp it bears on its last page. It has now found a home in the Bibliothèque Nationale, where it is numbered Lat. 17,225.
The Codex has lost three out of eight quires in St. Matthew. The first three quires have perished down to xi. 16 (not xi. 6 as Belsheim says). The first leaves of ancient MSS. seem most exposed to loss : e has lost its first five quires. Two leaves are missing from St. John containing xvii. 15-xviii. 9 and xx. 23-xxi. 8 respectively. Three leaves are wanting in St. Luke; two of these were consecutive and contained ix. 45-X. 20; the third contained xi. 45-xii. 6. Happily St. Mark is complete except that three leaves—the last two and the third of Quire xxvi—are mutilated. The first two extant leaves of St. Matthew are also slightly mutilated ?.
The Codex originally consisted of twenty-seven gatherings of eight, and a gathering now
1 Some account of this ancient Benedictine House may be found in Delisle, Cab. des MSS., ii. p. 104.
The verses lost through this mutilation are St. Matt. xi. 20; xii. 3 ; St. Mark ix. 19, 23, 24, 28, and in part 19, 20, 29, 31, 33; xvi. 17 (except three letters), and in part 16, 18, 20.
consisting of five separate leaves, but which may have once been a ternion. The quires of the MS. were as follows: i-iii (lost), iv-xiii, xiv ( 1 and 8 lost), xv-xviii, xix (4, 5, and 7 lost), xx-xxviii.
About two centuries ago (so it appears) the extant leaves were numbered throughout, but carelessly enough, inasmuch as two consecutive leaves are both numbered 55 and two other consecutive leaves are marked 88. The last leaf is numbered 190, and the Codex therefore, in its present form, contains neither 190 nor 191, as has been previously stated, but 192 leaves.
Twenty-three signatures are found at the foot of the inner margin of the verso side of leaves numbered 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 55 bis, 63, 71, 79, 92, 100, 108, 116, 121, 129, 137, 145, 153, 161, 169, 177, and 185. The leaf that followed 85 and was signed xiiii is lost.
In addition to the mode of numbering by quaternions signed at the foot of the page there survives a trace of another method of counting by binions. On fol. 48 verso under the title is written the letter R by the same hand that wrote the signature uiiii below. Now this R stood originally on the seventy-second leaf of the MS., and 4 x 18 = 72.
The vellum is exceedingly fine, so much so that when photographed the letters on the other side appear through the vellum. Looking at a photo of fol. 48 verso one might easily read adcepit in St. John iii. 32 for adcipit owing to part of the letter m of homo being visible through the vellum.
Some pages of the MS.—notably fol. 49 verso-are as clear to-day as when they left the hand of the copyist fifteen centuries ago; but others are faded and only fully decipherable by observant study of the MS. as a whole.
There are two columns of twenty-four lines on each page. Every page before being written on has been accurately ruled with twenty-four horizontal lines and four vertical lines. To guide the horizontal ruling a vertical line of twenty-four prickings was first made, extending down the page and about three inches from the right-hand edge of the vellum.
Each vellum leaf measures 28.5 cm. by 24.5 cm., or 114 in. by 95 in. (approximately the measurement of e); but originally was somewhat larger, having been clipped in the process of binding.
The leaves are now bound in a binding not more than 200 years old, and uniform with that of other manuscript books in the Library.
The compendia are only those found in the most ancient MSS., and some are peculiar to ff:
as, đm, đi, đo (the full form diï is used in the nom. plur. ; deus in full is found once). dns, dms, dūms (once), dom (dominus in full is found twice; dñm is not found). iħs, iħm, iħu, iño (the voc. is iħs 4/7); xps, xõm, xpi, xpo, xpe. søs, som, spui, spo, spu (the full form is found fairly often in the sing., and is usual in the plural). sēs, sñc (once), sēm, sīi, são (but as often as not the form is written in full, viz. spu sancio). The following ligatures occur, but only at the end (or near the end) of a line:—with u: ua, uc, ue, ul, um, un (in unt and unc), up, ur, us, ut, uu (ui is not found). With n: nc, ne, ns, nt. With o: os (frequent in 2). With e (as second letter): ae, ne, ue, re. The ligatures unt and unc are also found. At the end of a line the letters m and n, and the combination nt, are frequently expressed by a little line above the preceding letter.
Punctuation by the scribe himself is exceedingly rare. In the whole of St. Mark's Gospel (if we except the pointing of numerals) there are only five stops.
With reference to the Capitula, found in our MS., but wanting in most old Latin MSS., there is good reason to believe that they did not form part of the archetype from which the text of ff was copied, but were gathered from another MS. which had affinities with the parent of the DPGQ aur c group, whose Capitula are given by Wordsworth and White in their edition of the Vulgate Gospels?.
As regards the paragraphs in ff, they exhibit a curious correspondence with those in e. It may be roughly stated that five out of every six breaks in the narrative in e are also found in ff. The paragraphs in 6 and ff in St. John are almost identical.
The result of the comparison of the palaeography of ff with that of other ancient Latin MSS. has convinced the present writer that ff must rank with a in point of antiquity. It is earlier than hacts or n, and also earlier than b. Many of the letters in ff resemble the uncial letters current in the fourth century. The M in ff is a replica of the M of the fourth century Cicero Palimpsest at Rome, Pal. Soc. ii. Pl. 160.
One cannot tabulate all the palaeographical impressions that are received from a MS. and that lead to the belief that it is earlier or later than another. The great simplicity of the letters in ff, the absence of all knobs or ornamental points, the smallness and plainness of the capitals, the straightness and thinness of lines marking abbreviations, the extreme rarity of punctuation -all these contribute to the conviction that ff belongs to a remote antiquity, and that it surpasses in age all other Old Latin MSS. with the exception of a.
Character of the Codex. The study of a MS. involves a twofold mental process—the ascertaining of the character of the scribe's exemplar and at the same time the ascertaining of the character of the scribe himself.
The licence of Western scribes is almost proverbial, and has been used by Hort as a strong argument for dismissing as summarily as he has done the evidence of Western MSS. When a MS, such as e writes, for example, capharnaum for naim, and capharnaum also for corozain, confounds Cleophas and Cephas and alters the context accordingly, the student may well hesitate about accepting any singular readings of such a codex. A witness who distorts even a few facts impairs the value of his evidence as a whole.
The striking character of ff is the absence of any such errors as those just named. There are unconscious errors of transcription such as are found in all MSS. ; but of wilful alteration of the text from supposed fitness for immediate and obvious edification' there is, to the best of the present writer's belief, not a single instance.
The singular readings of ff are quite different in character from most of the singular readings of e, or even of b or k.
Another source of obliteration of ancient readings is the Harmonistic proclivity of many scribes—the result of such compilations as Ephrem's Diatessaron. Again, ff can be shown to be more free from this influence than any extant Latin or Greek MS.
The subscriptions after St. Matthew and St. John bear out this conclusion. The subscription after St. Luke
(a) The unfixedness of the spelling to a degree unparalleled in any other MS. Of this almost every page of the MS. furnishes proof.
(B) The exceeding rarity of punctuation.
() The absence of all observance of the rules of grammar; and the persistence of vulgarisms in both grammar and spelling.
(8) The shape and form of the letters, especially of E, T, M and 0.
(e) The large amount of verbal variation from the Vulgate, especially in such well-known and often quoted verses as St. Matt. xi. 28, St. Luke ii. 14, St. Mark xiv. 24.
(5) The comparative freedom of ff from the harmonizings which are found in other texts. The earliest texts would be the least harmonized. [Cf. St. Matt. xxiv. 35, xxvii. 34; St. Luke iii. 21, vi. 31 ; St. Mark iv. 39, xiv. 24.]
(0) The agreement of ff with the Old Syriac Version; and with Irenaeus and Origen in ancient readings lost in all other MSS.
The cumulative force of the evidence from these sources cannot be negatived by imputing to ff the textual timidity of the fifth century'. That the text of ff keeps on the whole nearer to the Text. Recept. than do the other ancient Old Latin MSS. (with the exception of a) is a fact which must be recognized, but it determines nothing either for or against the antiquity of our MS. or of its text. In this case, as in others, theories must be subserviated to ascertained facts. The large measure of support given by the two oldest Latin MSS. a and f to the Text. Recept, is a fact which can no longer be neglected, especially when it is remembered that the text has been preserved with less alteration in the versions than in the MSS.'
The reader is referred for a full discussion of this evidence to the writer's articles in the Journal of Theological Studies for October, 1905, and January, 1906.
The text that follows is an exact print, line for line and column for column, of the whole MS. Where italic type occurs, it always, except in the headings of the pages, denotes rubricated letters in the original. All corrections in the MS. earlier than the twelfth century have been faithfully given either in the text or in the Appendix at the end of the volume. The copious later Vulgate corrections have (for the most part) been omitted.
Postscript. My warmest thanks are due to the Rev. H. J. White, who, among other services, has revised the printed sheets of ff with the MS. itself, and has thus conferred on the present edition a high degree of accuracy.
I have also to thank my learned friends, Mr. A. Souter and the Rev. J. F. Bethune-Baker, and my obligations to Professor Burkitt, of Cambridge, and Dr. Sanday, of Oxford, are too many to be here set out in detail. From M. Henri Omont and the other authorities at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris I have received nothing but courtesy during the past eight years in which I have been a frequent visitor at their magnificent Library of MSS.
Postscript from London,
Feast of the Epiphany, 1907.
Fol. 1. Est pueris sedentib. Iudicii quam uobis in foro et adclama XXX111125 In illo tempore tibus ad inuicem "7 et pondens iħs dixit [res dicentibus · canta confiteor tibi pater uimus uobis . et no dñe caeli et terrae saltastis lamenta quia abscondisti haec uimus uobis et non a sapientibus et pru planxistis 18 uenit dentibus et reuelas iohannis neque ma ti ea paruolis 26 ita pa ducans neque bibens ter quoniam sic fu et dicunt demonium it beneplacitum an habet 19 uenit filius te te
27 Omnia mihi tradita hlominis manducas
sunt a patre meo et et bibens et dicunt
nemo nouit filium ecce) homo uorax et nisi pater et patrem potator ujini amicus quis nouit nisi filius publicanorjum et pec et cui uoluerit fili catorum et iustdifica us reuelare
28 Uenite omnes qui
Fol. 2. In domum di et panes Consilium facie propositionis man bant . aduersus euducauit quod non li ut eum perderent cebat ei manducare 15Ihs autem secessit neque his qui cum illo i]nde et sequeban erant nisi solis sacer tu]r eum multi et dotibus
cu]rauit eos 18 omnes 5 Aut non legistis in lege au tem quos cura quia sabbatis sacerdo uit praecepit eis ne tes in templo sabbatu- per uulgarent euuiolant et sine crimi ut adi npleretur ne sunt dico autem quod] dictum est uobis quia sabbato per ese]iam profe maior est hic
tam dicentem ? Si enim sciretis quid 18 ecce puer meus est misericordiam
quem elegi dilec uolo et non sacri
tus meus in quo ficium numquam
bene conplacuit condemnassetis
anima mea · po innocentes & dms est nam spiri tum enim sabbati filius meum super euTM hominis
et iudicium ge XXXuI' Et inde transies tibus adnuntia uenit in synagoga bit 1' non conten
Egerunt penitentia 21 Uae tibi corozain et bedsaida quia si in tyro et sidonae fac tae sunt in uobis olim in cilicio penitentia egissent 22 Uerum tamen dico uobis tyro et sidoni remissius erit in die iudicii quam uobis 23 Et tunc capharna um numquid usq. caelum exaltaberis usquae in infernu discendis quia in so domis factae fuisse uirtutes quae factae sunt in te forte masissent usque in ho diernum 24 tame di co uobis quia ter rae so]domorum Remissiuls erit in die
Uos et discite a me quia mitis sunt et hu milis corde et inue nietis requiem ani mis uestris 30 iugum e nim meum suaue et onus meum leuae est XXXU 12' In illo tempore abiit iħs per segetes sabbatis discipuli au tem eius seruientes coeperunt uellere spicas et manduca[re 2 Pharisaei autem uisde tes illos et dixersunt illi ecce discipuli tui faciunt (quod non licet (eis facere sab bastis
Ad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Eorum 10 et ecce ho det neque clama mo erat ibi manum bit neque audiet habens aridam
aliquis in plateis Et interrogabant
uocem eius . 20 harum dicentes si licet sa[b dinem quassata batis curare ut ac non confringet cusarent eum
et linum fumiga 11 Ipse autem dixit sillis tem non extinguet qui ex uobis qui habet donec eiciat in ouem et ceciderit uictoria iudiciu in foueam sabbatis 21 et in nomine eius
gentes sperabunt nonne ene[bit eam 22 Tunc oblatus est ei et leuauit 19[quan homo daemoniu to magis melior habens caecus et mu est homo (oue itaq. tus et curauit eum licet sab batis bene
ita ut loqueretur facere
et uideret 13 Tunc ait [homini ex 23 Et stupebant omnes tende manum tu uturbe et dicebant am [et extendit numquid hic est filius man um suam et dauid 24 parisaei auterestituta est sicut audientes dixerunt et asltera
hic non eicit demonia 14 Et . . . . .