Sunday, January 16, 2011

More on Codex X

Here are the relevant pages of "Codex X" containing two portions of John's Gospel, along with commentary.

Codex X is a commentary manuscript, which also includes the text of the four Gospels interspersed or rather in sections alternately  between sections of the commentary.

The first two pages include the portion of John from about 7:39-52, embedded in the commentary text (which is written in minuscule characters, a form of connected handwriting).  The Gospel text is written in a different style, namely a kind of "pseudo-Uncial" style, although many letters are written the same in both areas of the document.

click to enlarge: backbutton to return

click to enlarge

Pages containing John 7:39-52:

Page 49: Click to EnlargePage 50: Click to Enlarge

Pages containing John 8:12-18:

Page 51: Click to Enlarge Page 52: Click to Enlarge

The commentary text seems to have been taken from one written originally by Chrysostom (5th cent), but extensively modified, probably relatively recently (e.g. 8th or 9th century).

The Gospel text seems to have been taken from a "continuous-text" manuscript of the Gospels, likely containing all four, but not particularly old.

The 10th or 11th century copyist that made this document probably chose a copy of the Gospels approved or in use at that time, namely a 9th century contemporary text.  This was done to combine text and commentary into one single document.

In order to do this, the scribe 'cleverly' used a different style of alphabet (a 'mini-uncial'-like font) to distinguish it from the commentary easily.   There was no attempt at deception here, it was just a stylism.

The layout (Gospel sections randomly located between commentary, falling where they may), and the line-scoring show that both texts were written at the same time by the same hand, as does the similarity in letters and size between the two types of text.

One can see from the photos that Codex X is not an ancient Uncial (4th-6th century copy written in Capital-letters), but just a Minuscule Manuscript from the 10th century, some 6 centuries after the original dispute concerning the inclusion of the Pericope de Adultera (John 7:53-8:11).

There have been two basic myths about this manuscript perpetuated in textual critical literature:
(1)  That the manuscript is an ancient Uncial, when in fact it is nothing more than a late Minuscule manuscript.

(2)  That the manuscript itself is a "continuous-text" copy of the Gospels, when it is really a commentary that has copied in sections a continuous-text manuscript which is actually now lost.
Both of these myths are just falsehoods, as a simple inspection of the photos clearly shows.


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