Greek manuscript reproduction acquired by Southeastern library

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--The library at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is now one of 13 libraries in the world to own a reproduction of Codex Vaticanus, placing the seminary alongside Harvard, Princeton, Brandeis and Stanford.

Codex Vaticanus, also known by its textual apparatus symbol B, is considered one of the oldest surviving Greek manuscripts of the Bible. Scholars date the original manuscript to the fourth century.

The original, located at the Vatican, has been reproduced into 450 copies. Each is numbered and signed by Pope John Paul II.

With the acquisition of a reproduction of Codex Vaticanus, Southeastern becomes the third Southern Baptist seminary, after Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, to own a copy of the text. Southeastern is the first library in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own a copy.

The photostatic reproduction attempts to maintain the look and feel of the original text.

"I run my finger across the copy expecting to feel the text," said Shawn Madden, Southeastern's director of library services.

The copy recreates the wrinkles and folds of the manuscript. The original also contains holes in the parchment that have been reproduced in the copy as well.

Madden said the acquisition of Vaticanus completes Southeastern's effort to own reproductions of all three of the great Greek manuscripts: Codex Vaticanus; Codex Alexandrinus, represented by the symbol A; and Codex Sinaiticus, represented by the Hebrew symbol aleph.

Vaticanus is one of the few manuscripts that contain all of the Greek Bible. Missing from the original text are parts of Genesis, 2 Kings, Psalms and Hebrews, as well as the entirety of the Pastoral Epistles, Philemon and Revelation. The missing sections were replaced by cursive script centuries later.

While a few sections of the reproduction are difficult to decipher, the vast majority of the piece is extremely clear.

The reproduction came with a companion book that gives the history and significance of Codex Vaticanus in both English and French.

"Codex Vaticanus is one of the two most famous uncial manuscripts we have of the Greek New Testament," said David Alan Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern. "The manuscript remains of inestimable value to research, and it is a great blessing to have a photostatic reproduction of it here at our seminary."


Evan Lenow is a writer at Southeastern Seminary. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CODEX VATICANUS.

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