This article delves into the fascinating world of the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, two monumental biblical manuscripts from the 4th century C.E. Learn about their discovery, unique textual characteristics, and their invaluable contribution to New Testament textual criticism. Uncover how these ancient documents provide a window into the early Christian Church's scriptural tradition.
Uncial 0189 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering) is the oldest parchment manuscript of the New Testament. It consists of a single vellum leaf of a middle second-century Greek codex.
Codex Basilensis, designated by Ee, 07 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering) or ε 55 (von Soden), is a Greek uncial manuscript of the four Gospels, dated paleographically to the 8th century.
The manuscripts typically classified as “uncial” are so designated to differentiate them from papyrus manuscripts. In a sense, this is a misnomer because the real difference has to do with the material they are written on—vellum (treated animal hide) as compared to papyrus—not the kind of letters used. Indeed, the papyri are also written in uncials (capital letters), but the term “uncial” typically describes the majuscule lettering that was prominent in fourth-century biblical texts, such as in א, A, B, C.
Biblical manuscripts that were written in Greek (whether translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, or copies of the Greek New Testament, or both) can be divided or organized by the writing style, which also helps the paleographer in dating them. The older (earlier) style (especially from the fourth to the ninth century C.E.) is the uncial manuscript, written in large, separated capital letters. Uncial is a majuscule script (written entirely in capital letters) commonly used by Latin and Greek scribes.
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus is a fifth-century Greek manuscript of the Bible, sometimes referred to as one of the four great uncials.
The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, Royal MS 1. D. V-VIII; Gregory-Aland no. A or 02, Soden δ 4) is a fifth-century Christian manuscript of a Greek Bible, containing the majority of the Greek Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. It is one of the four Great uncial codices.
When we think of Majuscule codex manuscripts, immediately we think of Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex, Alexandrinus, Codex Bezae, and Codex Ephraemi. Seldom does the Washington Codex of the Gospels come to our minds.
Theodore Beza was a French Reformed Protestant theologian, a scholar of the Greek New Testament. He was a close associate and successor of the Protestant reformer John Calvin. In the year 1562, Beza, as he is more commonly known, made known this unusual ancient manuscript.
Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, two of the great uncial codices, representatives of the Alexandrian text-type, are considered excellent manuscript witnesses of the text of the New Testament. Most critical editions of the Greek New Testament give precedence to these two chief uncial manuscripts, and the majority of translations are based on their text.