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Codex Vaticanus (B)

See also Codex Vaticanus

CODEX VATICANUS (B), a MS of the whole Bible, already in the Vatican library by 1475. The first forty-five chapters of Genesis are missing, a part of 2 Kingdoms (2 Samuel), some psalms, the end of Hebrews, and all of Revelation. It is datable in the 4th cent. Its place of origin is unknown; many scholars have remarked its close congruence with the ideas of Athanasius about the canon of Scripture, with which it agrees both in content and order. Textually the codex generally agrees closely with Egyp. fathers and versions, and these two facts lead many to suggest Egyp. origin for it. In the view of competent palaeographers, however, one of the scribes of Aleph also wrote part of B. Caesarea then may be a more likely place of origin. Its textual value is high. In the OT it is sometimes a witness to the Hexaplaric text, sometimes to the pre-Hexaplaric. In the NT, it has perhaps been overrated in the past; it represents the product of very good editorial activity rather than an uncontaminated “original Greek.” Recent papyrus discoveries have shown its textual type to be perhaps as much as two centuries older. It is also noteworthy for two systems of chapter division later superseded by others. The chapter divisions in the gospels, the Vatican Sections, known in one other MS only, are topical. In the Acts and epistles, an ancient system important for the history of the Canon is attested: in it 2 Peter had no place and Hebrews followed Galatians.


Bibliorum SS. Graecorum Codex Vaticanus 1209 (Cod. B) (phototypice expressus) 4 vols. (1889-1904); M. J. Lagrange, Critique Textuelle. II. La Critique Rationelle (1935), 83-90 et al.; The Beginnings of Christianity. Part I. The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. III. The Text of Acts by J. H. Ropes (1926).