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Codex Ephraemi

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Title: Codex Ephraemi  
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Subject: Book of Revelation, Constantin von Tischendorf, Pierre Allix, Third Epistle of John, Byzantine text-type, Alexandrian text-type, Textus Receptus, Mark 16, Codex Alexandrinus, Crescens
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Codex Ephraemi

Template:New Testament manuscript infobox

Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (Paris, National Library of France, Greek 9; Gregory-Aland no. C or 04, von Soden δ 3) is an early 5th century Greek manuscript of the Bible,[1] the last in the group of the four great uncial manuscripts (see Codex Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus and Vaticanus). The manuscript has not survived in a complete condition, although is believed that the original codex contained the whole Bible.

The manuscript received its name as a codex in which Greek translations of Ephraem the Syrian's treatises were written over ("rescriptus") a former text that had been washed off its vellum pages, thus forming a palimpsest.[1] The later text was produced in the 12th century. The effacement of the original text was incomplete, for beneath the text of Ephraem are the remains of what was once a complete Bible, containing both the Old Testament and the New. It forms one of the codices for textual criticism on which the Higher criticism is based.

The lower text of the palimpsest was deciphered by biblical scholar and palaeographer Tischendorf in 1840–1843, and was edited by him in 1843–1845. Currently it is housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Grec 9) in Paris.[1][2]


There are only 209 leaves of the codex surviving, of which 145 belong to the New Testament and 64 to the Old Testament. The codex measures 12¼ in/31.4-32.5 cm by 9 in/25.6-26.4 cm.[1] The text is written in a single column per page, 40–46 lines per page, on parchment leaves. The letters are medium-sized uncials.[3]

The uncial writing is continuous, with the punctuation consisting only of a single point, as in codices Alexandrinus and Vaticanus. The capitals at the beginning sections stand out in the margin as in codices Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Basilensis. Iota and ypsilon, which in Alexandrinus and many other manuscripts have two dots over them (diaeresis) when they commence a syllable – sometimes only one dot – have in the Codex Ephraemi a small straight line in their place.[4] The breathings and accents were added by a later hand.[5] The nomina sacra are abbreviated in an unusual way: Template:Nomen sacrum for Ἰησοῦς (Jesus), Template:Nomen sacrum for Ἰησοῦ (of Jesus), Template:Nomen sacrum for Χριστὸς (Christ), Template:Nomen sacrum for Χριστοῦ (of Christ), ΠΑP for Πατήρ (Father), and ΣTH for Σταυρωθῇ (crucify).[6][n 1]

The text of the Gospels is divided according to κεφαλαια (chapters), but their τιτλοι (titles of chapters) are not placed in the upper margin of the page as in Codex Alexandrinus. A list of their τιτλοι (tables of contents) preceded each Gospel.[4] The text of the Gospels is divided into small Ammonian Sections, whose numbers are given at the margin, with references to the Eusebian Canons (written below Ammonian Section numbers). There is no division in the other books.[3]

The Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53–8:11) is omitted; though the pericope is located on the lost two leaves (John 7:3–8:34), by counting the lines it can be proved that it was not in the book – there is not room for it (as in Codex Alexandrinus).[7] The text of Mark 16:9–20 was included to the codex, though it was located on the lost leaves; by counting the lines it can be proved that it was in the work.[8] The texts of Luke 22:43–44 were also located on the lost leaves, but there is no indication whether it was included in the original codex or not.[9] The text of Mark 15:28 is omitted.[10]


In the Old Testament, parts of Book of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and Sirach survived.[12]



The Greek text of the codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type, with the Byzantine readings in the Gospels, but with numerous Alexandrian readings. It is a weak Byzantine witness in Matthew, a weak Alexandrian in Mark, and a strong Alexandrian in John. In Luke its textual character is unclear.[13] Westcott-Hort and Hermann von Soden classified it as in the Alexandrian text-type.[14]

According to Kurt Aland it agrees with the Byzantine text-type 87 times in the Gospels, 13 times in the Acts, 29 times in Paul, and 16 times in the Catholic epistles. It agrees with the Nestle-Aland text 66 times (Gospels), 38 (Acts), 104 (Paul), and 41 (Cath.). It has 50 independent or distinctive readings in the Gospels, 11 in Acts, 17 in Paul, and 14 in the Catholic epistles. Aland placed the text of the codex in Category II.[1] According to the Claremont Profile Method its text is mixed in Luke 1, Luke 10, and Luke 20.[14]

In Apocalypse Codex Ephraemi is a witness of the same form of the text as Codex Alexandrinus.[15]


In Matthew 8:13 it has additional text (see Luke 7:10): και υποστρεψας ο εκατονταρχος εις τον οικον αυτου εν αυτη τη ωρα ευρεν τον παιδα υγιαινοντα (and when the centurion returned to the house in that hour, he found the slave well) as well as codices (Sinaiticus, N), Θ, f1, 545, g1, syrh.[16]

In Matthew 27:49 codex contains added text: ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἒνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὖδορ καὶ αἳμα (the other took a spear and pierced His side, and immediately came out water and blood). This reading was derived from John 19:34 and occurs in other manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type (א, B, L, Γ, 1010, 1293, pc, vgmss).[17][18][19]

In Acts 14:19 it has additional text και διαλεγομενων αυτων παρρησια επεισαν τους οχλους αποστηναι απ' αυτων λεγοντες, οτι ουδεν αληθες λεγουσιν αλλα παντα ψευδονται for και πεισαντης τους οχλους;[20] similar readings appear in codices: 6, 36, 81, 104, 326, 452, 945, 1175, 1739.[21]

Some corrections

In Matthew 11:2 its original text has the reading δια (by) as well as codices א, B, D, P, W, Z, Δ, Θ, 0233, f13, 33, but the third corrector C3 changed it into δυο (two) — as in codices L, f1, Byz[22]

In Acts 20:28 it reads του κυριου (of the Lord) along with the manuscripts \mathfrak{P}74 D E Ψ 33 36 453 945 1739 1891, but the corrector added και του Θεου (and God) as have P 049 326 1241 2492 and the Byzantine manuscripts.[23][n 2]

In 1 Corinthians 12:9 the original scribe omits phrase εν τω αυτω πνευματι (in His spirit), but it was added by the third corrector (C3).[24]

In 1 Timothy 3:16 it reads ὅς ἐφανερώθη (He was manifested), but the second corrector (C2) changed it into θεός ἐφανερώθη (God was manifested);[25][n 3]

In James 1:22 it reads λογου (of the word) as majority of manuscripts, but the second corrector (C2) corrected into νομου (of the law), as have manuscripts: 88, 621, 1067, 1852.[26]

Selected textual variants

Acts 15:23

It has the unique reading γραψαντης δια χειρος αυτων επιστολην περιεχουσαν ταδε (they wrote by their hands the letter containing this), which is not supported by any other Greek manuscripts, though it is supported by versions: ar, c, gig, w, geo. The majority of the Greek manuscripts read γραψαντης δια χειρος αυτων ταδε (they wrote this by their hands), the Alexandrian manuscripts read γραψαντης δια χειρος αυτων (wrote by their hands).[27]

Romans 16:24

Verse is omitted along with Codex Sinaiticus A B 5 81 263 623 1739 1838 1962 2127 itz vgww copsa,bo ethro Origenlat)

Revelation 13:18

"The number of the beast" it reads hexakosiai deka hex (lit. six hundred sixteen);[28] it is one of the most famous readings of the codex, it is also attested by Papyrus 115.[29]

Some other textual variants

The words before the bracket are the reading of the majority manuscripts, the reading after the bracket are the readings of the codex.

Matthew 22:10 – γαμος ] αγαμος; some manuscripts read νυμφων (codices א, B, L, 0138, 892, 1010);[30]

Mark 10:35 – οι υιοι Ζεβεδαιου (the sons of Zebedee) ] οι δυο υιοι Ζεβεδαιου (the two sons of Zebedee); the reading is supported by Codex Vaticanus and Coptic version;[31]

Romans 16:15 – Ιουλιαν, Νηρεα ] Ιουνιαν, Νηρεα; the reading is supported only by Codex Boernerianus (Greek text).[32]

1 Corinthians 2:1 – μαρτυριον (testimony) ] μυστηριον (secret); the reading is supported by \mathfrak{P}46, א, Α, 88, 436, ita,r, syrp, copbo; other manuscripts read σωτηριον (savior).[33]

1 Corinthians 7:5 – τη νηστεια και τη προσευχη (fasting and prayer) ] τη προσευχη (prayer); the reading is supported by \mathfrak{P}11, \mathfrak{P}46, א*, A, B, C, D, G, P, Ψ, 33, 81, 104, 181, 629, 630, 1739, 1877, 1881, 1962, it vg, cop, arm, eth. Other manuscripts read or τη προσευχη και νηστεια (prayer and fasting).[34]

James 1:12 – ο κυριος (the Lord) ] κυριος (Lord); some manuscripts have ο θεος (God) (4, 33, 2816vid, 323, 945, 1739, vg, syrp), others omit this word (א, A, B, Ψ, 81, ff, co).[26]

2 Timothy 4:10 – Γαλατιαν ] Γαλλιαν – the reading is supported by Sinaiticus, 81, 104, 326, 436.[35]

Revelation 1:5 – λουσαντι ημας εκ (washed us from) ] λυσαντι ημας εκ (freed us from) — as have manuscripts: P18, אc, A, 2814, 2020, 2081.[36]


The manuscript was probably written in Egypt (or Palestine)[5] before the middle of the fifth century. It was written by at least two scribes; according to Tischendorf, there were three scribes (A, B, C). Its text had been corrected by three correctors, designated by C1, C2, and C3 (Tischendorf designated them by C*, C**, and C***). Sometimes they are designated by Ca, Cb, and Cc.[1] The first corrector (C1) worked in scriptorium, while the second corrector (C2) worked in Palestine in the sixth century. The latter's corrections are not numerous except in the Book of Sirach.[37] At that time, the manuscript was probably housed in the Caesarea library, a famous theological library in ancient times.[38]

The third and last corrector (C3) wrote in the ninth century, possibly in Constantinople. He revised readings of the codex to ecclesiastical use, inserting many accents, breathings, and vocal notes. He also added liturgical directions in the margin, and worked extensively on the codex.[4] It was re-written in the twelfth century.[39][40]

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the codex was brought to Florence by an émigré scholar.[41] It belonged to Niccolo Ridolpho († 1550) Cardinal of Florence. After his death it was probably bought by Piero Strozzi, an Italian military leader, for Catherine de' Medici. Catherine brought it to France as part of her dowry, and from the Bourbon royal library it came to rest in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. The manuscript was bound in 1602.[42]

The older writing was first noticed by Pierre Allix, a Protestant pastor. Jean Boivin, a French scholar, made the first extracts of various readings of the codex (under the notation of Paris 9) to Ludolph Küster, who published Mill's New Testament in 1710. In 1834–1835 potassium ferricyanide was used to bring out faded or eradicated ink. The vellum defaced from green and blue to black and brown.[43]

The first collation of the New Testament was made in 1716 by Johann Jakob Wettstein for Richard Bentley, who intended to prepare a new edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece. According to Bentley's correspondence, it took two hours to read one page, and Bentley paid Wettstein £50. This collation was used by Wettstein in his own Greek New Testament of 1751–1752.[44] Wettstein also made the first description of the codex.[45] Wettstein only occasionally examined the text of the Old Testament but he did not published them.[37] Various editors made occasional extracts from the manuscript but Tischendorf was the first who read it completely (Old and New Testament).[13] Tischendorf gained an international reputation when he published the Greek New Testament text in 1843 and the Old Testament in 1845. Because Tischendorf worked by eye alone, his deciphering of the palimpsest's text was less than perfect.[13] The torn condition of many folios, and the ghostly traces of the text overlaid by the later one, made the decipherment an extremely difficult task. Even with modern aids like ultra-violet photography, not all the text is securely legible. Robert W. Lyon published a list of corrections of Tischendorf's edition in 1959.[46] This was also an imperfect work.[13]

According to Edward Miller (1886) codices "B and probably א were procured under the dark gloom of Asian ascendency; A and C in the light of the most intellectual period of the early Church" (B – Vaticanus, א – Sinaiticus, A – Alexandrinus, C – Ephraemi Rescriptus).[47]

According to Frederic Kenyon "the original manuscript contained the whole Greek Bible, but only scattered leaves of it were used by the scribe of St. Ephraem's works, and the rest was probably destroyed".[3]

Swete examined only the text of the Old Testament. According to him the original order of the Old Testament cannot be reconstructed; the scribe who converted the manuscript into a palimpsest used the leaves for his new text without regard to their original arrangement. The original manuscript was not a single volume.[37]

The manuscript is cited in all critical editions of the Greek New Testament (UBS3,[48] UBS4,[49] NA26,[50] NA27). In NA27 it belongs to the witnesses consistently cited of the first order.[51] Even readings of correctors (C1, C2, and C3) are regularly cited in critical editions (as in Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Bezae, and Claromontanus).[52]

See also




Text of the codex
  • Lyon, R. W. , New Testament Studies (1959), 5, pp. 260–272.
Description of the codex

External links

  • Codex Ephraemi Syri Rescriptus (in Gallica digital library)
  • : Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus
  • Michael D. Marlowe, Bible Research

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