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A Lost Page of Codex Bezae: Traces of the Bezan Greek Text of Acts 10.4–9

  • Elijah Hixson (a1)

Abstract

Codex Bezae lacks the Greek text of Acts 10.4–14, but the Latin text survives on fol. 455a. Damage to the manuscript has caused traces of ink from the now-lost Greek text to be transferred onto the Latin page of Acts 10.4–14. They preserve a mirror image of text from fol. 454b, the facing page at the time of the damage. By reversing high-resolution images of fol. 455a with photo-editing software, the offset ink can be deciphered. As a result, the surviving Greek text from Acts 10.4–9 in Codex Bezae is published here for the first time.

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I wish to acknowledge the generosity of the manuscripts and conservation departments of the Cambridge University Library, specifically, Jim Bloxam, James Freeman and Ngaio Vince-Dewerse, and to thank them for graciously permitting an autopsy of fols. 446b–455b, which confirmed many readings and provided a few new insights. Drafts of this article were read by Paul Foster, Peter Gurry and James Leonard, and the article is much improved by their comments. Thanks especially to the anonymous reviewer whose suggestions made for further improvement. I claim sole responsibility for any remaining errors.

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1 Tregelles, S. P., The Greek New Testament: Edited from Ancient Authorities, with their Various Readings in Full, Part vii: Prolegomena, and Addenda and Corrigenda (ed. Hort, F. J. A. and Streane, A. W.; London: S. Bagster & Sons, 1879) xxiv (emphasis original).

2 Tregelles, Greek New Testament, xxiv (emphasis original).

3 Metzger, B. M., Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981) 122–3.

4 Foster, P., The Gospel of Peter: Introduction, Critical Edition and Commentary (TENTS 4; Leiden: Brill, 2010) 284–6.

5 Pepper, T. W., ‘A Patron and a Companion: Two Animal Epitaphs for Zenon of Caunos (P.Cair.Zen. iv 59532 = SH 977)’, Proceeedings of the Twenty-Fifth International Congress of Papyrology, Ann Arbor 2007 (ed. Gagos, T.; ASP Special Edition; Ann Arbor: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, 2010) 611–14.

6 Throughout this article, the following designations are used for Codex Bezae: the Gregory–Aland number 05 indicates the Greek text, VL 5 indicates the Latin text, and the phrase ‘Codex Bezae’ denotes the whole manuscript, including both sides. The designation VL 5 is taken from Gryson, R., Altlateinische Handschriften/Manuscrits vieux latins (2 vols.; VL 1/2A; Freiburg: Herder, 1999); see also Houghton, H. A. G., The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Vetus Latina (Gryson) numbers are used throughout this article when referring to Latin manuscripts.

7 Elsewhere, offset ink adjacent to a lacuna does not necessarily preserve previously unknown text. Offset ink on fol. 510a (Acts 22.10–20 in Latin) derives not from the Greek text of the same passage on the now-lost fol. 509, but rather from the Greek text of Acts 22.3–10 on fol. 508b, which faces fol. 510a in the present condition of the manuscript. However, the traces of ink adhering to fol. 455a do not match any text on the page it currently faces, fol. 446b.

9 Rius-Camps, J. and Read-Heimerdinger, J., The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the Alexandrian Tradition, vol. i (JSNTSup 257; New York; London: T&T Clark, 2004) 15 .

10 Rius-Camps, J. and Read-Heimerdinger, J., The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the Alexandrian Tradition, vol. ii (LNTS 302; New York; London: T&T Clark, 2006) 224 .

11 This observation was verified by autopsy.

12 Josep Rius-Camps observes with regard to the Greek and Latin text of Codex Bezae in Acts, ‘Les variations entre les deux pages sont presque imperceptibles’, in Rius-Camps, J., ‘Le substrat grec de la version latine des Actes dans le Codex de Bèze’, Codex Bezae: Studies from the Lunel Colloquium, June 1994 (ed. Parker, D. C. and Amphoux, C.-B.; NTTS 22; Leiden; New York: Brill, 1996) 271–95, at 293. Rius-Camps goes on to observe that when dissonance between the Greek and Latin does occur, it is usually because the text of Acts has been harmonised to a different form of the text. The rarity of the reading in the Latin tradition suggests that the omission in Latin was not such a change.

13 Robinson, M. A. and Pierpont, W. G., The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform (Southborough, MA: Chilton, 2005). Robinson and Pierpont do, however, list αυτω as an alternative reading for Acts 10.6. The NA28 does not list a variant here, and the supporting witnesses are as Swanson, R. reports, in New Testament Greek Manuscripts. Variant Readings Arranged in Horizontal Lines against Codex Vaticanus: Acts (Pasadena, CA: William Carey International University Press, 1998) 167 .

14 Wordsworth, J. and White, H. J., eds., Nouum Testamentum Domini nostri Iesu Christi latine secundum editionem Sancti Hieronymi pars tertia: Actus Apostolorum, Epistulae Canonicae, Apocalypsis Iohannis (Oxford: Clarendon, 1954) 101 .

15 The reading is singular among Greek witnesses according to the apparatuses of von Soden, Tischendorf8, NA27, NA28, Swanson, Clark, A. C., The Acts of the Apostles: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Notes on Selected Passages (Oxford: Clarendon, 1933) 59 , Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger, Message of Acts, ii.225, and Boismard, M.-É. and Lamouille, A., Texte occidental des Actes des Apôtres: reconstitution et réhabilitation, vol. ii: Apparat critique (Paris: Éditions recherche sur les civilisations, 1984) 69 .

16 Schenke, H.-M., ed., Apostelgeschichte 1,1–15,3 im mittelägyptischen Dialekt des koptischen (Codex Glazier) (TUGAL 137; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1991) 164–5. Schenke rendered the text as ‘erzählte ihnen das Gesicht’ (emphasis original).

17 On the designations ‘D-Text’ and ‘D-Text cluster’, see Epp, E. J., ‘Textual Clusters: Their Past and Future in New Testament Textual Criticism’, The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (ed. Ehrman, B. D. and Holmes, M. W.; NTTSD 46; Leiden: Brill, 2013 2) 553–71.

18 See Gäbel, G., ‘The Text of P127 (P.Oxy. 4968) and its Relationship with the Text of Codex Bezae’, NovT 53 (2011) 107–52.

19 Ropes, J. H., The Beginnings of Christianity, Part i, vol. iii: The Text of Acts (London: Macmillan, 1926) 93 .

20 Houghton, Latin New Testament, 235.

21 D. C. Parker argues that 614 contains a Byzantine text of Acts. According to the data presented in Text und Textwert, Parker argues, 614 is not a close textual relative of Codex Bezae ( An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and their Texts (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008) 290 ). Epp argues against Parker's position, stating that Text und Textwert is insufficient to determine the relationship between 614 and Codex Bezae (Epp, ‘Textual Clusters’, 560–2). The forthcoming data from the CBGM should be able to shed some new light on the relationship between 614 and 05. It may well be the case that the two manuscripts are unrelated, but even if that is the case, it is enough for the purposes of this article to examine how 614 has been used to reconstruct the D-text of Acts 10.4–9 by those who consider it to be a related witness.

22 Schenke, Apostelgeschichte 1,1–15,3.

23 For Acts 10.4–9, see Ropes, Text of Acts, 93.

24 Clark, Acts, 58–9.

25 Boismard, M.-É. and Lamouille, A., Texte occidental des Actes des Apôtres: reconstitution et réhabilitation, vol. i: Introduction et textes (Paris: Éditions recherche sur les civilisations, 1984); Boismard and Lamouille, Apparat critique; Boismard, M.-É., Le texte occidental des Actes des Apôtres: édition nouvelle entièrement refondue (EBib Nouvelle série 40; Paris: J. Gabalda, 2000).

26 Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger, Message of Acts ii; idem, Luke's Demonstration to Theophilus: The Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles According to Codex Bezae (trans. Dunn, H. and Read-Heimerdinger, J.; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013) xii, 448.

27 Mink, G., ‘Problems of a Highly Contaminated Tradition, the New Testament: Stemmata of Variants as a Source of a Genealogy for Witnesses’, Studies in Stemmatology ii (ed. van Reenen, P., den Hollander, A. and van Mulken, M.; Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004) 78 .

28 Two examples include Williams, P., ‘“Where Two or Three Are Gathered Together”: The Witness of the Early Versions’, The Early Text of the New Testament (ed. Hill, C. E. and Kruger, M. J.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 239–58 and Gäbel, G., ‘The Import of the Versions for the History of the Greek Text: Some Observations from the ECM of Acts’, TC 21 (2016) 117 . See also C. Askeland's list of caveats when using Coptic in New Testament textual criticism, in John's Gospel: The Coptic Translations of its Greek Text (ANTF 44; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012) 254 .

29 Codex Glazier translates ἐνώπιον as ⲙⲡⲉⲙⲧⲁ ⲉⲃⲁⲗ at Acts 7.46. The only occurrence of ἔμπροσθεν for which it is extant is the disputed instance here at 10.4, but the Middle Egyptian Codex Sheide translates ἔμπροσθεν as ⲙⲡⲉⲙⲧⲁ ⲉⲃⲁⲗ at Matt 6.1 ( Leonard, J. M., Codex Schøyen 2650: A Middle Egyptian Coptic Witness to the Early Greek Text of Matthew's Gospel: A Study in Translation Theory, Indigenous Coptic, and New Testament Textual Criticism (NTTSD 46; Leiden: Brill, 2014) 74 ; Codex Schøyen is too fragmentary at Matt 6.1 to determine how it translates ἔμπροσθεν).

30 Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger, Message of Acts, ii.224.

31 See 1 Sam 18.3, 1 Esdras 1.12, Dan 1.5 and 1 John 3.19.

32 Clark, Acts, 59; Read-Heimerdinger and Rius-Camps, Luke's Demonstration to Theophilus, 448.

33 Boismard and Lamouille, Introduction et textes, 157.

34 Schenke, Apostelgeschichte 1,1–15,3, 162.

35 Askeland, John's Gospel, 52.

36 Boismard and Lamouille, Apparat critique, 69; Introduction et textes, 157.

37 Mink, G., ‘Die koptischen Versionen des Neuen Testaments: Die sprachlichen Probleme bei ihrer Bewertung für die griechische Textgeschichte’, Die alten Übersetzungen des Neuen Testaments, die Kirchenväterzitate und Lektionare (ed. Aland, K.; ANTF 5; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1972) 160299, at 231–3.

38 Boismard and Lamouille, Apparat critique, 69; Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger, Message of Acts, ii.225. Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger write, ‘The omission of the indefinite pronoun in d05 may well reflect the Greek of D05.’ Their more recent edition retains this reading (Read-Heimerdinger and Rius-Camps, Luke's Demonstration to Theophilus, 448).

39 Schenke, Apostelgeschichte 1,1–15,3, 164.

40 Leonard, Codex Schøyen 2650, 194.

41 With regard to Coptic translations, Askeland writes: ‘Particles and infixes appear and disappear for translational and linguistic reasons’ (John's Gospel, 254).

42 The three editions are correct at 10.7c, but the Greek tradition is not divided there.

43 Clark has τὸ ὅραμα αὐτοῖς (Acts, 59).

44 On ‘triangulation of witnesses’ – using two or more primary witnesses supported by secondary witnesses to establish the D-Text reading – see Epp, ‘Textual Clusters’, 567–71.

45 On the suppression of the D-text by scribal conformity to readings from other textual traditions, see Epp, E. J., ‘Early Christian Attitudes toward “Things Jewish” as Narrated by Textual Variants in Acts: A Case Study of the D-Textual Cluster’, Bridging between Sister Religions: Studies of Jewish and Christian Scriptures Offered in Honor of Prof. John T. Townsend (ed. Kalimi, I.; BRLA 51; Leiden: Brill, 2016) 141–71, at 143–6.

46 As mentioned earlier, it may indeed be the case that 05 and 614 are unrelated. Even if so, the relevance of 614 is not in the question of whether it could have enabled Boismard and Lamouille, for example, to reconstruct the D-text correctly in Acts 10.4–9. Rather, the question is whether or not they follow 614 in Acts 10.4–9 in light of their view of it as a related MS (Boismard and Lamouille, Introduction et textes, 25).

47 Though there are many examples, a recent one is Gäbel, ‘Import of the Versions’.

48 Dujardin, P., ed., Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis Quattuor Evangelia et Actus Apostolorum complectens Graece et Latine, vol. ii (Cambridge: C. J. Clay, 1899).

I wish to acknowledge the generosity of the manuscripts and conservation departments of the Cambridge University Library, specifically, Jim Bloxam, James Freeman and Ngaio Vince-Dewerse, and to thank them for graciously permitting an autopsy of fols. 446b–455b, which confirmed many readings and provided a few new insights. Drafts of this article were read by Paul Foster, Peter Gurry and James Leonard, and the article is much improved by their comments. Thanks especially to the anonymous reviewer whose suggestions made for further improvement. I claim sole responsibility for any remaining errors.

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A Lost Page of Codex Bezae: Traces of the Bezan Greek Text of Acts 10.4–9

  • Elijah Hixson (a1)

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