Sunday, March 31, 2013

Birmingham Colloquium Report: The Leicester Codex (GA 69)

The 5th of March, 2013, the participants of the Eighth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament visited the Leicester Record Office in order to take a look at the famous Leicester Codex, minuscule 69.
David Parker lecturing on the Leicester Codex

The manuscript is very interesting. As a member of family 13 (the so-called Ferrar group, or φ), it links Britain to Southern Italy in mysterious ways. The manuscript was studied by Erasmus during his stay in Cambridge (1510-1515), in the years that Erasmus’ New Testament project still consisted of hardly more than critically collating and annotating the text of the Latin Vulgate with whatever Greek sources he could find. Some of the particular readings of min. 69 subsequently found their way into Erasmus’ Annotationes.

During our visit, we were drawn into yet another interesting aspect of the manuscript’s history, namely a set of marginal notes to the word Ἀντιπᾶς in Revelation 2:13 (f. 203r).
First, an unknown annotator, in the decades before 1844, wrote the following (in ink!):
Originally written Αντειπας and the erasure and alteration of τιπ in blacker ink is obvious.
Tregelles, who studied the manuscript while preparing his own edition of the text of Revelation (published in 1844), reacted sharply:
There is no erasure or alteration. S.P. Tregelles.
One easily senses some irritation in the double underlining of “no”. In any case, O. T. Dobbin (did we already know that he studied this manuscript?) found the case important enough to add his own two cents:
Dr. Tregelles is certainly correct – O. T. Dobbin.
Scholarship in the margins?

After careful study of the passage, we (Tommy Wasserman and Jan Krans) could not but fully agree with Tregelles’ and Dobbin’s judgment. In fact, it is amazing to see with what ease people then and now cover the margins of manuscripts with such trifles. This post is published on both the Amsterdam New Testament Weblog and Evangelical Textual Criticism.


  1. OUTRAGEOUS!! Does this mean that Tommy Wasserman and Jan Krans added a remark in the margin? That used to be done in the 19th century, but I had hoped those days were over. You should be fined for this!!!!!

  2. Why such fuss? We used a simple pencil, so it is easy to erase. On the other hand, such fingerprints from the history of scholarship generally increase the value of manuscripts in several ways, intellectually and financially.

  3. That reminds me of a note at the end of Mark 16:8 in the George Grey Gospels (1273), stating that some manuscripts don't contain verses 9-20. The note is written in pencil, in English.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.