Saturday, March 12, 2011

Old Latin Manuscript r1 (6th cent) photos of PA

The 'Codex Usserianus Primus' (GA label: it-r1) was named after James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh (died 1656), but misleadingly so, as there is no evidence that it was in his library. It contains the four Gospels in a pre-Vulgate text ('Old Latin'), in this order: (Matthew, John, Luke, Mark).

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This Old Latin manuscript  (circa 550 A.D.) is one of many excellent witnesses which show that the Pericope de Adultera (Jn 7:53-8:11) was fully accepted as Holy Scripture and was found in the Latin translation long before the time of Jerome.   Jerome had produced the Latin Vulgate translation in 394 A.D. directly from Greek manuscripts of the 3rd century he acquired in Constantinople.  He noted at that time that there were "many manuscripts, both Greek and Latin" containing the passage.  These surviving witnesses to the older Latin translation circulating before Jerome's version confirm Jerome's observations.

Here's the blurb from Dublin:
"There are 179 folios, page size varying greatly as a result of damage caused by its enclosure in a shrine as the relic of an unidentified saint.
There are two broadly similar hands, one copying Matthew and John (fols 1r-78r), the other responsible for Luke and Mark (fols 78v-182r).

The major surviving decoration is a cross in red, outlined in black, at the close of the Gospel of Luke (fol 149v), placed within a triple frame of rope and dot patterns, with a crescent on each corner. On either side of the cross, the letters alpha and omega signify the eternity and infinitude of God. There are colophons to Luke and Mark: explicit secundum lucanum ([the Gospel] according to Luke ends); incipit secundum Marcum ([the Gospel] according to Mark begins). A leaf, now lost, between the end of Matthew and beginning of John may also have been decorated. Further decoration includes red dots on top of certain initial letters; rubricated openings to chapters; and line fillers of red 'commas'. Traditionally regarded as the earliest surviving Irish book, produced in Ireland itself or at the Irish missionary foundation of Bobbio in north Italy, the manuscript has recently, and not improbably, been assigned to the 5th century and an origin in continental Europe. If that is correct, it travelled to Ireland, or at least into Irish hands, at an early date. Dry-point glosses, added in the 7th century, include one in Old Irish: at Luke 3.14, stipendiis (rewards) is glossed with the equivalent word in Irish, focrici.

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