Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
It appears that the books of the Bible were written originally on scrolls of papyrus, a material made from dried and flattened strips of papyrus reed (see Writing ). Papyrus did not last well, and the original writings all perished long ago. But from the beginning people had made copies of the original writings, and others continued to make copies down through the centuries. These copies are known as manuscripts (abbreviated MS in the singular, MSS in the plural).
Although the original writings were written by ordinary people in ordinary human language, they were at the same time written under the special direction of the Spirit of God. They expressed the truth as God wanted it expressed (see Inspiration ). The copies that have survived, however, have suffered some damage from people who have copied or used them.
Because methods of mechanical printing were unknown in ancient times, people who made copies of the Scriptures had to write them out by hand. Writing skills varied and copyists at times made errors. Some of the common errors were to misread the master copy, misspell words, or misplace, omit, or repeat words or lines. There were also cases where copyists deliberately changed the wording to make a sentence mean what they thought it should mean. Yet, in spite of human failings, God has preserved his Word. There are so many good manuscripts in existence that people with the necessary skills are able to determine the original wording fairly accurately.
Old Testament manuscripts
The language of the Old Testament, Hebrew, reads from right to left and was written originally with consonants only. The absence of vowels caused no problem to the readers, as they could mentally put in the vowels as they read. But with the spread of the Aramaic language and then Greek during the latter centuries BC (see Aram ; Greece ), Hebrew had become less widely known in Palestine in New Testament times. After the destruction of the Jewish state in AD 70, the use of Hebrew declined even further. This decline continued, till Hebrew ceased to be a commonly spoken language.
Over an extended period from the sixth to the eleventh centuries AD, Hebrew scholars called Massoretes introduced a system of vowel signs, or ‘points’, to ensure that the meaning of the original writing was not lost. These vowel points were dots and other symbols placed below or above the consonants to show what the word was and how it should be pronounced. The version of the Old Testament that the Massoretes established is commonly called the Massoretic Text (MT).
Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948, the oldest known manuscripts of the Old Testament were from the ninth to the eleventh centuries AD. The reason why no earlier manuscripts survived was that when manuscripts became too old or worn to use, the Hebrew scholars buried them, rather than let them fall into dishonourable use. In making fresh manuscripts, the Hebrew copyists were almost fanatical at preserving every letter exactly as it was in the former manuscripts. As a result they made few errors.
Versions and translations from the ancient past confirm the general reliability of the Hebrew manuscripts. Among the most important of these are the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Old Testament and other writings belonging to a Jewish community that lived in the region of the Dead Sea about 130 BC to AD 70.
There is added confirmation of this reliability in the copies of early translations that were based on Old Testament manuscripts older than any available today. These include translations into Greek in the second century BC, into Syriac in the first century AD, and into Latin in the fifth century AD. Further confirmation comes from the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch and from quotations from the Old Testament found in Jewish writings of the first five centuries AD. (See also Septuagint .)
New Testament manuscripts
In New Testament times Greek was the language commonly spoken throughout the lands of the Bible story. The books of the New Testament were written in Greek – not classical Greek, but the everyday language spoken by ordinary people. From the beginning, people made copies of letters that Paul and others had written, as well as copies of the Gospel records, and sent them to churches far and near. All this took time, and many years passed before all the writings were gathered together to form the complete New Testament as we know it today (see Canon ).
Greek manuscripts were of two kinds, those written entirely in uncial (or capital) letters, and those written in minuscule (or lower case) letters. Writing in uncials was more common in the earlier centuries, but it was gradually replaced by the more convenient minuscule script.
Copyists’ errors are more common in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament than in the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. But the variations in the Greek manuscripts do not seriously affect our understanding of what the New Testament writers wrote. There are in existence over five thousand manuscripts of the Greek New Testament (in part or in whole), and although these increase the number of variations, they also increase the possibility of eliminating the errors.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
MANUSCRIPTS. —The aim of the present article is to give a select list of the more ancient or interesting Manuscripts of the Gospels, with a description of the most important or interesting of these. The simplest course will be to divide them into the languages in which they are written, premising that the Gospels were originally written in Greek, and that the versions in other languages are translations, generally direct, from the Greek. The symbols employed to indicate these manuscripts, whether letters or numbers, were invented for the sake of brevity, when they are referred to in an apparatus of variant readings. The standard collection of variants contained in Gospel manuscripts is that of C. Tischendorf ( Novum Testamentum Graece : Editio Octava Critica Maior, vol. i., Lipsiae, 1869), and the standard lists of Manuscripts are those contained in the Textkritik des Neuen Testamentes (2 vols., Leipzig, 1900, 1902) of C. R. Gregory, an American scholar domiciled in Germany. The new numbers which von Soden ( Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments , Band i., Berlin, 1902) has given to the Greek Manuscripts are added for the sake of completeness, but it is very doubtful whether they will gain wide currency. Capital letters are used to indicate Manuscripts with uncial writing, which is never later than the 10th cent.; numbers, for those in minuscule writing (9th to 15th centuries and later).
I. Greek Manuscripts:
( a ) Uncials :—
א (= δ 2, von Soden), Codex Sinaiticus (of the 4th or 5th cent.), now in the Imperial Library, St. Petersburg, with the exception of a small portion, which is in the University Library, Leipzig, contains OT (with considerable losses), NT (complete), followed by Ep. Barnab. and the Shepherd . The MS, found by Tischendorf in the Convent of St. Catharine, Mt. Sinai, in 1844, consists of 346½ (NT 147½) leaves of fine parchment, measuring 48 × 37.8 cm., with four columns to the page and 48 lines to the column. The ink is now brownish; the letters are not very large, and are painfully regular, without breathings or accents, the use of which is only sporadic till the 9th century. The hands of seven revisers, dating from the 4th (5th) to the 12th centuries, can be observed in the MS. This MS shares with B the honour of being considered the purest MS of the Gospels. Tischendorf has been charged more than once with having stolen this MS, but the charges are successfully refuted by Gregory.
A (= δ 4, von S.), Codex Alexandrinus, in London, British Museum, Reg. I. D. v.–viii. (the NT is in showcases). This MS is of the 5th cent., and consists of 773 leaves (NT 143 leaves) of parchment, measuring 32 × 26.3 cm., with 2 columns to the page and 49–51 lines to the column. It contains, with some losses, the whole Greek Bible. It was probably written in Egypt, and came in 1098 into the possession of the patriarch of Alexandria, from which place it gets its name. Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, and former patriarch of Alexandria, sent it as a gift to Charles I. of England in 1628. About a century afterwards it was presented to the nation. A few lines at the beginning of each book are written in red. The following portions of the Gospels are lost: Matthew 1:1 to Matthew 25:6, John 6:50 to John 8:52. It is quite clear that John 7:53 to John 8:11 never formed a part of the manuscript. A complete facsimile was published in 1878–1880.
B (= δ 1, von S.), Codex Vaticanus, Vat. Lib. MS Gr. 1209 (in showcases). The MS is of the 4th cent., and consists of 759 (NT 142) leaves of parchment, measuring 27 cm. square, with 3 columns to the page and 42 lines to the column. The parchment is very soft and fine. The uncial letters are small, simple, and written, without breaks between the individual words; the first hand wrote no breathings or accents, and punctuation is very rare. The MS is of uncertain origin, and, when complete, contained the whole of the Greek Bible with perhaps the exception of the Books of Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasses. No gaps occur in the Gospels. It has been twice revised, once by a corrector contemporary with the original scribe (called B2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ), and again by another of the 10th or 11th cent., who worked over the letters and often added accents and breathings. WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] consider it our very best MS, and regard the combination BN as practically infallible. A splendid facsimile of the NT part was published by Hœpli of Milan in 1904 (see the notice of it by Nestle in the Theol. Literaturblatt for 6th Jan. 1905), superseding the inferior photograph issued by Cozza-Luzi at Rome in 1889.
C (= δ 3, von S.), Codex Ephraemi rescriptus, Paris Bibl. Nat., gr. 9, a palimpsest of the 5th century. Contains, in present form, 209 leaves, written in single columns. The NT portion consists of 145 leaves, and contains parts of every book except 2 John and 2 Thessalonians. Edited by Tisch. (Leipzig, 1843 and 1845).
D evv. act. (= δ 5, von S.), Codex Bezae, in Cambridge University Library, Nn. 2, 41 (in a showcase in Cockerell’s Building). This MS is of the 6th cent. (according to Burkitt, of the 4th), and is bilingual (Greek and Latin). It is on parchment, 26 cm. in height and 21.5 in breadth, and contains now 415 (406 + 9 added later) leaves, with one column to the page. When the book is open, the left side is Greek, the right side Latin. Originally it contained probably Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk. (the regular Western order of the Gospels), Apocalypse, Apocalyptic, 1, 2, 3 Jn., Acts (Dom Chapman in Expositor , 1905, ii. p. 46 ff.). Now the Gospels and Acts are almost complete, the Apocalypse and 1James , 2 nd. Jn. have disappeared, and of 3 Jn. there remain only a few verses in Latin. Many hands have been engaged in correcting the MS. It was probably written in Italy, or South France, where it was when Beza acquired it and gave it to the University of Cambridge in 1581. The MS is the only representative of the Western text in Greek, a form of text which was widespread already in the 2nd century. It contains, therefore, many original elements, which have been worked over at a very early date. In spite of this revision, it often agrees with the neutral Manuscripts, אB. Scrivener published an accurate and handy edition of the MS at Cambridge (1864), which retains its use side by side with the gorgeous facsimile published by the Cambridge University Press in 1899.
N (= ε 19, von S.), Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus, incomplete and mutilated, the parts being distributed between St. Petersburg, Rome, Patmos, London, and Vienna. It is an uncial, probably of the 6th cent., measuring 32 by 26.5 cm.; has 2 columns to the page, 16 lines to the column, and 227 leaves. The leaves are stained with purple, and the writing is silver, the Divine names being in gold. The MS is very like Σ both in text and external character. The only complete edition is that of H. S. Cronin in TS [Note: S Texts and Studies.] , vol. v. No. 4 (Cambridge, 1899). He considers N and Σ to be copies of the same lost original. The text is of a mixed character, representing a sort of transition stage between the purity of the older uncials and the corruption of the majority of cursives. While it sometimes supports the former, it also at times provides the earliest known authority for readings which are subsequently almost universal. For particulars see Cronin’s valuable introduction.
Σ (= ε 18, von S.), Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, in the charge of the Archbp. of Rossano, S. Italy. An uncial of the 6th cent., probably later than its. brother MS N, it is, like it, purple with silver writing. It measures 30.7 by 26 cm., has 2 columns, to the page, 20 lines to the column, and comprises 188 leaves. It contains Matthew and Mark (the latter without Mark 16:14–end). Edited by von Gebhardt ( Die Evangelien des Matthäus und des Marcus aus dem cod. purp. Rossan. , Leipzig, 1883). See under N. The credit of the discovery of this MS belongs to von Gebhardt and Harnack (1879), It contains eight pictures of Gospel scenes, the oldest known.
Ψ (= δ 6, von S.), Athos, Laura 172 (β 52), an uneial of the 8th or 9th cent., measuring 20.8 by 15 cm., has 31 lines to the page, and comprises 262 leaves. It contains the greater part of the NT, but lacks Mt., and Mk. down to Mark 9:3. The ending of Mk. is like that in L and T1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] . After Mark 16:8 ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ, it proceeds as follows: πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ̇ ἐξήγ γειλαν: Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα, καὶ αὐτὸς ἰησοῦς ἐφάνη ἀπὸ, ἀνατολῆς καὶ μέχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν διʼ αὐτῶν τὸ, ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας ἀμήν: ἔστιν καὶ ταῦτα φερόμενα μετὰ τὸ ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ:—Ἀναστὰς δὲ, κ.τ.λ., up to Mark 16:20, and at the end Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον. It is only in this Gospel that the text is of interest. The character of its readings, is set forth in Lake’s edition ( Studies Biblica et Ecclesiastiea , vol. v. (Oxford, 1903) pp. 94–122), [pp. 89–186 can be obtained separately].
T X (= ε 02, von S.), Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. ii. No. 208. We mention this papyrus uncial fragment of the 3rd cent. ( John 1:23-31; John 1:33-41; John 20:11-17; John 20:19-25), because it is probably the oldest fragment of Gospel MS in existence.
( b ) Minuscules :—
1 (= δ 50, von S.), Basel University Library, A.N. iv. 2 (formerly B vi. 27), of the 12th (others say 10th) century. This MS was used for Erasmus’ Gr. Test., the first published edition. It gives a good text, which is often in agreement with 118 (= ε 346, von S.), 131 (= δ 467, von S.), and 209 (= δ 457, von S.). Lake has edited the four, taking 1 as the basis, and showing the variants in the others (‘Codex 1 of the Gospels and its Allies’ in TS [Note: S Texts and Studies.] , vol. vii. No. 3, Cambridge, 1902). He has also discussed with thoroughness the relations between them. The reader will find his Introduction a valuable lesson in textual criticism. It is sufficient here to quote his conclusion with regard to the text in Mark, which escaped a good deal of the assimilating process which affected the texts of Matthew and Luke: ‘(1) fam 1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] in St. Mark seems to form part of a larger family of which the most certain members are fam 13 [Note: 3 designates the particular edition of the work referred] 22, 28, 565, 700; (2) this larger family seems to represent a local text or local texts which were current in a comparatively limited region in the East; (3) the only definite localities which there is any reason to suggest are Jerusalem and Sinai, and even for these the evidence is insufficient to justify confident assertion’ (p. liv). The most noticeable features in the other Gospels are an element akin to אB and a Western element (cf. p. lv).
13 (= ε 368, von S.), Paris, Bibl. Nat., gr. 50, of the 13th century. This MS is one of the group 13–69–124–346–543–788–826–828–983–ε 1053 (von S.)—ε 1054 (von S.), conveniently named by Lake fam 13 [Note: 3 designates the particular edition of the work referred] . The group is also called the Ferrar group, because the relation between 13, 69, 124, and 346 was discovered by Ferrar of Dublin ( A Collation of Four Important Manuscripts of the Gospels , by W. H. Ferrar and T. K. Abbott, Dublin, 1877). The studies of Rendel Harris ( On the Origin of the Ferrar Group, Cambridge, 1893; Further Researches into the History of the Ferrar Group , London, 1900), Lake ( JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] , vol. i. [1899–1900] pp. 117–120), and von Soden have shed further light upon this group. The archetype appears to have been in Calabria or Sicily in the Middle Ages. Its most remarkable characteristics are the transposition of John 7:53 to John 8:11 to Luke 21:38, and Luke 24:43 f. to Matthew 26:39 (on the first transposition see von Soden, Die Sehriften des Neuen Testaments , i. (Berlin, 1902) p. 486 ff.). The importance of the group lies in the great support which it gives to the Western text.
II. Syriac Manuscripts:—
( a ) of the Old Syriae translation ( Evangelion da-Mepharreshe , ‘Gospel of the Separated Ones’):—
1. London, British Museum, Additional Manuscripts, No. 14,451 (No. 119 in Wright’s catalogue), and Berlin, Royal Library, Orient. Quart. No. 528. This MS, Codex Nitriensis Curetonianus (Burkitt’s C ), consists of 82½ leaves in the British Museum and 3 leaves in Berlin; and came from the great Library of the Convent of St. Mary Deipara in the Nitrian Valley, west of Cairo. The greater portion of the MS reached England in 1842. In its original state it contained Mt., Mk., Jn., Lk. (in this unusual order). The portions still extant are Matthew 1:1 to Matthew 8:22; Matthew 10:32 to Matthew 23:25, Mark 16:17-20, John 1:1-42; John 3:5 to John 8:19; John 14:10-12; John 14:15-19; John 14:21-24; John 14:26-29, Luke 2:48 to Luke 3:16, Luke 7:33 to Luke 16:12; Luke 17:1 to Luke 24:44. The early part of the 5th cent. is the latest possible date for it. Each page has two columns, each with lines varying from 22 to 26. Each leaf measures 30 by 24 cm. The first edition of this MS is that of Cureton (London, 1858) supplemented by Rödiger (Berlin, 1872), but the definitive edition is that of F. C. Burkitt, who has edited this MS and the following together, the only representatives of the Old Syriac version, with an English translation, copious Introduction and Notes ( Evangelion da-Mepharreshe , etc., 2 vols., Cambridge, 1904). From this work the details here are taken. A photograph of a page of C is in vol. ii. opposite p. 7, also p. 38 two pages; also in Kenyon’s Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts , facing p. 155.
2. Sinai, Monastery of St. Catharine; Syr. [Note: Syriac.] 30, Codex Palimpsestus Sinaiticus (Burkitt’s S ). The MS was discovered by Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson, of Cambridge, in 1892, and has been since studied repeatedly by Mrs. Lewis and other scholars. The MS consists of 182 leaves of vellum (one leaf was stolen in 1902, but afterwards restored; see Exp. Times , xiii. 405; xvii. 396). The upper writing is of the 8th cent., and consists of Lives of Saints. In its original form the MS had 166 leaves, containing the four Gospels in the usual order. Its date is early 5th, perhaps 4th century. Each page contains 2 columns, with from 29 to 21 lines each, and measures 21.9 by 15.8 cm. The Gospels are nearly complete. Of the two Manuscripts this must be regarded as the better representative of the original translation. Complete photographs of it are in Cambridge University Library; Westminster College, Cambridge; Rylands’ Library, Manchester: photos of separate pages in Burkitt, vol. ii. pp. 28, 257, and elsewhere.
The Evangelion da-Mepharreshe was so called to distinguish it from Tatian’s Diatessaron or Harmony, in which form the Gospels were regularly read in the Syrian Church at first. This Church had its centre at Edessa near the Euphrates, and its language must not be identified with the Aramaic our Lord spoke. The value of the Old Syriac Version consists in the fact that it reproduces the Greek text current in Antioch at the end of the 2nd cent., with a certain amount of contamination from the use of the Diatessaron , which is in origin Italian. It is of the first authority for the constitution of the text of the Greek Gospels. For all problems connected with it the reader is referred to Burkitt’s second volume.
( b ) of the Peshitta (‘ simple ’) translation:
2. Earl of Crawford’s MS 1, now Rylands’ Library, Manchester, of the 6th cent. (Gwilliam, No. 11).
13. London, British Museum, Addit. Manuscripts 14,470, of the 5th or 6th cent. (Gwilliam, No. 17).
15. London, British Museum, Addit. Manuscripts 14,453, of the 5th or 6th cent. (Gwilliam, No. 14).
22. London, British Museum, Addit. Manuscripts 12,140, of the 6th cent. (Gwilliam, 31).
There are many other codices, complete or incomplete, of equal antiquity, in other libraries. See Gwilliam’s list of 42 Manuscripts in the Tetraeuangelium Sanctum by Pusey and Gwilliam (Oxonii, 1901), which is the best edition of the Peshitta, and is provided with a literal Latin translation. As to the date of the Peshitta itself, Burkitt’s view that it was prepared by Rabbula, bp. of Edessa from 411 to 435 a.d., has gained wide acceptance. He regards it as ‘a revision of the Evangelion da-Mepharreshe , undertaken mainly with the object of conforming the translation more closely to the Greek text as read at Antioch early in the 5th century’ ( Evangelion da-Mepharreshe , vol. ii. p. 5).
( c ) of the Palestinian or Jerusalem translation:
1. Rome, Vaticanus Syr. [Note: Syriac.] 19 (formerly 11), of the year 1030 (Codex A, Lewis-Gibson).
6. Sinai, Monastery of St. Catharine, of the year 1104 (Codex B, Lewis-Gibson).
7. Sinai, Monastery of St. Catharine, of the year 1118 (Codex C, Lewis-Gibson).
Edited by Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson in the Palestinian Syriac Lectionary of the Gospels (London, 1899). This version is perhaps more closely related to the Old Syriac than to the Peshitta, and may be a revision of the former.
( d ) of the Philoxenian-Harklean translation:
1. Belonging to the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut, but lent to the Union Theological Seminary of New York. Of the 9th cent., and somewhat defective.
22. Florence, Laur. i. 40 (Assem. 3). Of date 757.
25. Rome, Vat. Syr. [Note: Syriac.] 266. Of the 7th century.
26. Rome, Vat. Syr. [Note: Syriac.] 267. Of the 8th century.
This, the youngest of the Syrian versions, is a revision by Thomas of Harkel (Heraclea) in the first half of the 7th cent. of an earlier version made at the instance of Philoxenus, Monophysite bp. of Hierapolis (Mabog) in the early 6th century. The earlier translation was perhaps made from the Peshitta by reference to the ‘corrected’ form of the Greek text, and Thomas found in Egypt older Greek Manuscripts, which had escaped the enthusiasm of the destroyers, who favoured the ‘corrected’ text, and inserted some readings from them, adding others in the margin.
III. Egyptian (Coptic) Manuscripts:
( a ) of the Bohairic translation:
Complete manuscripts are all of late date, none being earlier apparently than the 12th century. On all questions connected with this translation and its Manuscripts, see The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Northern Dialect [ed. G. Horner]; 4 vols. (Oxford, 1898–1905).
1. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Huntington, 17,* [Note: Gregory wrongly ‘Huntingdon, 11.’] Horner’s A, printed entire by him as the basis of his edition. This MS was written in 1174, and contains the Gospels complete, both in Bohairic and Arabic. It is on paper, contains 457 (+ 5) leaves, and 2 columns to the page, with 20 lines each. It measures 34.5 by 26 cm. The MS has a number of omissions: see the valuable tables of omissions in the chief Bohairic Manuscripts in Horner’s edition, vol. i. p. cxxvi ff.
21. Paris, Bibl. Nat., copt. 16, Horner’s C. The MS was written in 1196, and contains the Gospels almost complete, both in Bohairic and Arabic. It is on paper, contains 369 (+2) leaves, and 2 columns to the page, with 26 lines each. It measures 28.5 by 21 cm. The text is perfect, with the exception of a small lacuna, John 16:6-18.
33. Paris, Institut Catholique, Horner’s H. This MS was written in 1250, and contains the Gospels complete, both in Bohairic and Arabic. It is on paper, contains 235 (+2) leaves, and 2 columns to the page, with 33 lines each. It measures 25 by 17.5 cm., and contains some beautiful pictures.
( b ) of the Sahidic translation:
Of this there exists only a considerable quantity of short fragments (Gregory gives 91). Some are as old as the 5th century. One is still older (No. 48 Rome, Propag. 65).
( c ) of the Fayyum translation:
Gregory gives fragments of 5 Gospel Manuscripts only, one (No. 2), in the possession of Flinders Petrie, of the 4th century. Of ( b ) and ( c ) there is as yet neither a comprehensive edition nor a complete study. Further fragments of both are certain to be discovered.
The Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Persian, and Arabic translations may be here passed over.
IV. Latin Manuscripts:—
( a ) of the pre-Vulgate (otherwise called ‘Old Latin,’ or ‘Itala’) translation(s):—
a : Vercelli, Cathedral. This MS is of the 4th cent., measures 25.5 by 16 cm., has 2 columns to the page, and 24 lines to the column. The order of the Gospels is Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk., the regular Old Latin order. Much is wanting in Matthew 20-27; Jn. is slightly defective; in Lk. much of chs. 1, 11 and 12 has disappeared; in Mk. chs. 1, 4, 5, 15, 16 have suffered greatly; a second but ancient hand has supplied Mark 16:7-20. The text is good, and was, according to tradition, copied by the famous bishop Eusebius of Vercelli, martyred in 371. The book has suffered greatly from neglect and bad treatment. Editions by G. A. Irico ( Sacrosanctus Evangeliorum Codex S. Eusebii Magni , Milan, 1748), J. Bianchini ( Evangeliarium Quadruplex , Rome, 1749; very accurately reprinted in Migne’s Patrologia Latina , vol. xii.), and J. Belsheim ( Codex Vercellensis , Christiania, 1894).
b : Verona, Cathedral Library (Biblioteca Capitolare). The MS is of the early part of the 5th cent. (or of the end of the 4th), and is written in silver. The following parts are wanting: Matthew 1:1-11; Matthew 15:12-23; Matthew 23:18-27, John 7:44 to John 8:12, Luke 19:26 to Luke 21:29, Mark 13:9-19; Mark 13:24 to Mark 16:20. Edited by Bianchini (see under a ) and by J. Belsheim ( Codex Veronensis Quattuor Euangelia , Prag, 1904). It was probably a MS like this which was the chief basis of Jerome’s revision known as the Vulgate. It is perhaps the best representative of the European Latin versions of the 4th century. There is a photograph of one page in Monumenta Palœographica Sacra (Turin, 1899).
c : Paris, Bibl. Nat. 254 (Colb. 4051), of the 12th century. Edited by P. Sabatier ( Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinœ Versiones Antiquœ , vol. iii., Paris, 1751; there is also an edition with ‘Reims’ on the title-page), and by J. Belsheim ( Codex Colbcrtinus Parisiensis , Christiania, 1888). The work of P. Sabatier is still unsuperseded as the most complete repertory of the readings of the Old Latin Bible.
d : This symbol indicates the Latin side of Codex Bezae (D).
e : Palatinus; all that is left is in Vienna (Kais. Lat. 1185) except one leaf, which is in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin (N. 4, 18). The MS is of the 5th cent., and is, with k (see below), representative of a form of text used in the Roman province of Africa (corresponding to modern Tunis). It is very defective, containing about half of Mt., nearly the whole of Jn. and Lk., and about half of Mark. A copy of the MS made before its present mutilation exists in the Vallicellian Library, Rome, as U. 66. The Vienna part was edited by Tischendorf ( Evangelium Palatinum , Leipzig, 1847), the Dublin leaf by T. K. Abbott ( Par Palimpsestorum Dublincnsium , etc., London, 1880); reports on the copy in the Vallicellian Library were published by H. Linke ( Sitzungsberichte der Königl. bayer. Akad. der Wissenschaften [Phil-Philolog. und Hist. Classe], Munich, 1893, Heft 2, pp. 281–287). See also Belsheim ( Evangelium Palatinum , Christiania, 1896), and Old-Latin Biblical Texts , vol. ii. (Oxford, 1886), pp. lxvii–lxxxv, by W. Sanday.
f : Brixianus; in the Capitular Library of Brescia. It is of the 6th cent., and is written in silver. It lacks the last quarter or so of Mark. It was edited by Bianchini (see under a ), and is also printed under the Vulgate in Wordsworth and White’s edition (Oxford, 1889–1898), as in the opinion of these editors and Hort the type of text which Jerome used as the basis of his revision. The other view with regard to it, namely, that of Burkitt, is that it is an Old Latin text deeply contaminated with the Vulgate (see JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] , i.  pp. 129–134). With Burkitt’s view the present writer agrees. If it be correct (see under q ), the result is the disappearance of Hort’s ‘Italian’ class altogether.
ff 1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] : St. Petersburg, Imperial Library, formerly Corbeiensis 21 (10th cent.): Matthew.
ff 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] : Paris, Bibl. Nat. 17225, formerly Corbeiensis 195. It is of the 5th cent. (C. H. Turner in JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] , vol. vi. [1904–1905] p. 257), not the 7th (Tischendorf, Gregory, and the Paris authorities). The following parts of the four Gospels are wanting: Matthew 1:1 to Matthew 11:16, Luke 9:48-62; Luke 11:45 to Luke 12:7; John 17:15 to John 18:9; John 20:22 to John 21:8. Published reports of this MS are incomplete and inexact. An exact edition is expected from Rev. E. S. Buchanan, who has made a very careful study of the MS, and has already published a translation of its text of some Gospels ( e.g. The Latin Gospels in the Second Century , Part I. ‘S. John,’ Sevenoaks ), and prolegomena ( JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] vii. 99 ff.).
g 1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] : Paris, Bibl. Nat. 11553, formerly Sangermanensis 15, of the 8th cent., edited by the Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. John Wordsworth) in Old-Latin Biblical Texts , No. I. (Oxford, 1883).
k : Turin, Nat. G. vii. 15 (formerly of the Irish monastery of Bobbio). This, perhaps the most precious of all Old Latin Manuscripts, is of the 4th (Burkitt) or 5th cent., and represents the text habitually used by St. Cyprian in the early 3rd century. The MS measures 18.7 by 16.7 cm., and consists now of 96 leaves. It contains Mark 8:8-11, Mark 8:14-16; Mark 8:19 to Mark 16:8; Matthew 1:1 to Matthew 3:10; Matthew 4:2 to Matthew 14:17; Matthew 15:20-36. The only reliable edition is that of Wordsworth, Sanday, and White ( Old-Latin Biblical Texts , No. II., Oxford, 1886), which is enriched by discussions of the greatest value for the study of all Biblical texts. Side by side with this edition should be consulted the article of Turner and Burkitt, ‘A Re-Collation of Codex k of the Old-Latin Gospels’ ( JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] , vol. v. [1903–1904] pp. 88–107).
m : Rome, Sessorianus lviii. This MS, of the 8th or 9th cent., contains the so-called Speculum , falsely attributed to St. Augustine, a series of extracts from nearly all the books of the NT. The compilation appears to be of Spanish origin, as the text closely resembles that used by the Spanish heretic Priscillian. Edited by F. Weihrich in the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum , vol. xii. (Vienna, 1887).
q : Munich, Lat. 6224, formerly of Freising. It is of the 6th cent., and contains the Gospels, except Matthew 3:15 to Matthew 4:2; Matthew 5:25 to Matthew 6:4; Matthew 6:28 to Matthew 7:8, John 10:11 to John 12:39, Luke 23:22-36; Luke 24:11-39, Mark 1:7-22; Mark 15:5-36. This, like f , belongs to Hort’s ‘Italian’ class, and stands or falls with f (see above). Edited by H. J. White as Old-Latin Biblical Texts , No. III. (Oxford, 1888).
( b ) of the Vulgate revision (made by St. Jerome in 383), the two best Manuscripts out of thousands which exist are:—
am : in the Laurentian Library, at Florence, formerly in the monastery of Monte Amiata, No. 1. This MS was written about the year 700 in the North of England, probably by an Italian scribe, and was taken by Ceolfrid, the abbot of Jarrow, to the Continent as a present to the Pope in the year 716. It measures 50 by 34 by 20 cm. (without the cover), and comprises 1029 leaves, with 2 columns to the leaf, and 43 or 44 lines to the column. It contains the whole Bible. The NT was published by Tischendorf (Leipzig, 1850, and again 1854), but not with perfect exactness. (See Nouum Testamentum Domini Nostri lesu Christi Latine , rec. Wordsworth and White, Pars Prior, Oxonii, 1889–1898, p. xi; and Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica , vol. ii., Oxford, 1890, pp. 273–324). Wordsworth and White’s A.
fuld : in the library of Fulda, Prussia. The MS was written about the year 540 at the wish of Victor, bishop of Capua. The Gospels are written in the form of a harmony. Edited by E. Ranke ( Codex Fuldensis , Marburg and Leipzig, 1868), with specimens of the handwriting. (See Nov. Test. etc. Latine , rec. Wordsworth and White, Pars Prior, p. xii). Wordsworth and White’s F.
V. Gothic Manuscripts:—
1. Upsala University, the ‘Codex Argenteus.’ The MS is of the 6th cent., and now consists of 187 leaves, which are stained with purple and bear silver writing. The contents are fragments of Mt., Jn., Lk., Mark. (The translation was made by Ulfilas (Wulfila) in the 4th cent., and all surviving fragments are collected in Gabelentz and Loebe’s Ulfilas (Altenburg and Leipzig, 1836–1843).
Literature.—Most of the important literature has already been indicated in the course of the article. Reference should also be made to The NT in the Original Greek : The Text revised by westcott and Hort, vol. ii. Introduction and Appendix (London, 1881 and 1896); Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the NT ( London, 1901); Nestle, Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek NT ( London, 1901); Hammond, Outlines of Textual Criticism applied to the NT ( Oxford, 1902).
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
MANUSCRIPTS. See Text and Writing.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
man´ū́ - skripts : In the broadest sense manuscripts include all handwritten records as distinguished from printed records. In a narrower sense they are handwritten codices, rolls and folded documents, as distinguished from printed books on the one hand and inscriptions, or engraved documents, on the other. More loosely, but commonly, the term is used as synonym of the codex.
The Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament and New Testament, respectively, form the primary sources for establishing the text or true original words of the respective authors. The subordinate sources, versions and quotations have also their text problem, and manuscripts of the versions and of the church Fathers, and other ancient writers who refer to Biblical matters, play the same part in establishing the true words of the version or the writer that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts play in establishing the original of Scripture. For discussion of the textual aspects, see the articles on Text And Manuscripts Of The New Testamen T, Text Of The Old Testament , on Versions , and especially the Septuagint . For the material, writing instruments, form of manuscripts, etc., see Book; and especially the literature under Writing .