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Testament, if any Greek manuscript were now extant, containing an exact copy of the several books as they were originally translated, such manuscript would be perfect, and consequently the most valuable. The nearer any copy comes to this perfection, the more valuable it must be, and vice versa. In its present state the Hebrew Text cannot -determine fully the value of these MSS. in their relation to one another; and yet as that text receives great assistance from both, it proves that both deserve our highest regard. It is worthy of remark, that neither of them has the asterisks of Origen, though both of them were transcribed in the fifth century; which Dr. Kennicott observes," is one proof that they were not taken either mediately or immediately from the Hexapla. The Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts differ from each other in the Old Testament chiefly in this; - that, as they contain books, which have been corrected by different persons, upon different principles; and as they differ greatly in some places in their interpolations, - so they contain many words which were either derived from different Greek versions, or else were translated by one or both of the transcribers themselves from the Hebrew text, which was consulted by them at the time of transcribing.

On the ground of its internal excellence, Michaelis preferred the Vatican manuscript (for the New Testament) to the Codex Alexandrinus. If however that manuscript be most respectable which comes the nearest to Origen's Hexaplar copy of the Septuagint, the Alexandrian manuscript seems to claim that merit in preference to its rival : but if it be thought a matter of superior honour to approach nearer the old Greek version, uncorrected by Origen, that merit seems to be due to the Vatican."

The accompanying plate exhibits a specimen of the Vatican manuscript from a fac-simile traced in the year 1704 for Dr. Grabe, editor of the celebrated edition of the Septuagint, which is noticed in a subsequent part of this work. The author has reason to believe that it is the most faithful fac-simile, ever executed of this MS. It was made by Signor Zacagni, at that time principal keeper of the Vatican library, and is now preserved among Dr. Grabe's manuscripts in the Bodleian library at Oxford. This fac-simile has been most carefully and accurately copied, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Bandinel, the keeper of that noble repository of literature, to whom the author now offers his acknowledgments for his kind assistance on this occasion. The passage represented in our engraving, contains the first three verses of the first chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, of which the following is a literal English version :


1 Diss. ii.


413—415. 2 Signor Zacagni's Letter to Dr. Grabe, dated Rome, Nov. 29, 1704, in Dr. Kennicott's Diss. pp. ü. pp. 810_820. J. L. Hug, De Antiquitate Codicis Vaticani Commentatio. Friburg in Brisgau, 1810, 4to.


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No fac-simile edition (like that of the Alexandrian New Testament by Dr. Woide and of the Old Testament now printing by the Rev. H. H. Baber) has ever been executed of the precious Vatican manuscript. During the pontificate of Pius VI. the Abate Spoletti contemplated the publication of it, for which purpose he delivered a memorial to the Pope. No public permission was ever given : and though the Pontiff's private judgment was not unfavourable to the undertaking, yet, as his indulgence would have been no security against the vengeance of the inquisition, Spoletti was obliged to abandon his design. It is, however, but just to add, that no obstacles were thrown in the way of the collation of manuscripts in the Vatican, for Dr. Holmes's critical edition of the Septuagint version, of which some account will be found in a subsequent page.

1 Michaelis, vol. ii. part i. p. 181. part ii. pp. 644, 645.

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6.1. 0:1,2,3,07 the ( Haricanus made in the year 1904 by Sig. VATICANUS Lacngui fer D.Grabe, and preservédl among

Manusenpils in the BODLEIAN LIDRARY.





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I. The Codei Cottonianus. - II. The Codex Sarravianus. - III. The

Codex Colbertinus. — IV. The Codex Cæsareus, Argenteus, or Argenteo-Purpureus. – V. The Codex Ambrosianus. — VI. The Codez Coislinianus. — VII. The Coder Basilio-Vaticanus. - VIII. The Codez Turicensis.

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It is not precisely known what number of manuscripts of the Greek version of the Old Testament are extant. The highest number of those collated by the late Rev. Dr. Holmes, for his splendid edition of this version is one hundred and thirty-five. Nine of them are described, as being written in uncial characters, and as having furnished him with the most important of the various readings, with which his first volume is enriched : besides these he has noticed sixty-three others, written in cursive or small characters, and which have likewise furnished him with various lections. Of these manuscripts the following are more particularly worthy of notice, on account of their rarity and value.?

1. The CODEX COTTONIANUS is not only the most antient but the most correct manuscript that is extant. It was originally brought from Philippi by two Greek bishops, who presented it to King Henry VIII whom they informed that tradition reported it to have been the identical copy, which had belonged to the celebrated Origen, who lived in the former half of the third century. Queen Elizabeth gave it to Sir John Fortescue, her preceptor in Greek, who, desirous of preserving it for posterity, placed it in the Cottonian Library. This precious manuscript was almost destroyed by the calamitous fire which consumed Cotton House at Westminster, in the year 1731. Eighteen fragments are all that now remain, and of these, both the leaves

, and consequently the writing in a just proportion, are contracted into a less compass ; so that what were large are now small capitals. These fragments are at present deposited in the British Museum.?

In its original state, the Codex Cottonianus contained one hundred and sixty-five leaves, in the quarto size; it is written on vellum, in uncial characters, the line running along the whole width of the page, and each line consisting, in general, of twenty-seven, rarely of thirty letters. These letters are almost every where of the same length, excepting that at the end of a line they are occasionally somewhat

Qur descriptions are chiefly abridged from Dr. Holmes's Præfatio ad Pentateuchum, cap. i. prefixed to the first volume of his critical edition of the Septuagint version, published at Oxford, in 1798, folio.

Catalogus Bibliothecæ Cottonianæ, p. 365. (folio, 1802.) Casley's Catalogue of MSS. in the King's Library, pp. viii. ix.

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