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THE CODEX CORBEIENSIS
Two FACSIMILES OF CODEX CORBEIENSIS
Introduction (abridged from the Journal of Theological Studies for October, 1905, and
January, 1906) . . . . .
Monitum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
xvi. 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
42-viii. 2; ix. 4-23 ; xiv. 5-23 ; xvii. 34-xviii. 19; xxiii. 8–24 ; xxvi. 20-
xxvii. 13 · · · · · · · · ·
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. 45-8. 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.
2 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 sol. 48 verso under the title is written the letter R by the same hand that wrote the signature uiiïi 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 ni in. by gå 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, dñs, döms (once), dom (dominus in full is found twice; dñm is not found). iħs, itim, iħu, iño (the voc. is iħs 4/7); xps, xpm, xpi, xpo, xpe. sps, som, spui, spo, spu (the full form is found fairly often in the sing., and is usual in the plural). sēs, síc (once), sēm, sči, 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: ne, ne, ns, nt. With o: os (frequent in 1). 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 11, 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.