Biblical Manuscripts in the Freer Collection
The Biblical Manuscripts in the Freer Collection, is a collection of six biblical manuscripts, dating from the 3rd to 6th centuries. Most manuscripts are written in Greek, one in Coptic. They are important witnesses of the history of the text of New Testament and Septuagint. It was established by Charles Freer (1854–1919), industrialist from Detroit, Michigan. The collection is located at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington. It is a noted collection of biblical manuscripts outside Europe.
All these manuscripts were purchased at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt by Charles Freer. Four manuscripts were bought on 19 December 1906 from an Arab dealer named Ali in Giza, not afar from Cairo. Freer paid £1,600. Upon the next expedition to Egypt, Freer met with Ali and acquired a Coptic codex of the Psalms and the earliest papyrus codex of the Minor Prophets.
Formerly these manuscripts were held in Detroit, Michigan, in the private collection of Freer. He gave to the United States his art collections and funds for a building to house them. The building cost $1,000,000, all of which was paid by Freer. The Freer Gallery of Art was opened in 1923.
- Codex Washingtonianus, contains the four Gospels from the 5th century (some material from 6th century)
- Greek parchment codex, containing Deuteronomy and Joshua, from the early 5th century
- Incomplete Greek parchment codex of the Psalms from 5th century
- Fragmentary Codex Freerianus, contains Pauline epistles from the 5th century
- Coptic manuscript of Psalms from the 5th century
- Twelve Prophets on papyri - before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this was the oldest Greek manuscript of Twelve Prophets, of the 3rd century A.D.
Gallery of Biblical Manuscripts
- The finding aid for this collection from The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Includes biographical information, relevant name and subject terms, and descriptions of the series.
- Henry A. Sanders, The Old Testament Manuscripts in the Freer Collection, New York, 1917.
- Henry A. Sanders, The New Testament Manuscripts in the Freer Collection, The Macmillan Company, New York – London 1918.
- Larry W. Hurtado, The Freer Biblical Manuscripts. Fresh Studies of an American Treasure Trove, Brill 2007.
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