Codex Koridethi

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Uncial 038
New Testament manuscript
A portion of the Codex Koridethi, containing Mark [–21&version=nrsv 6:19–21]
A portion of the Codex Koridethi, containing Mark 6:19–21
Date9th century
Now atGeorgian National Center of Manuscripts
Size29 x 24 cm
TypeCaesarean text-type / Byzantine text-type

Codex Koridethi, also named Codex Coridethianus, designated by siglum Θ or 038 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), ε050 (Soden numbering of New Testament manuscripts), is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, written on parchment. Using the study of comparative writing styles (palaeography), it has been assigned to the 9th century CE.[1] The manuscript has several gaps.


The manuscript is a codex (precursor to the modern book), containing an almost complete text of the four Gospels written on 249 parchment leaves (size 29 cm by 24 cm), with the following gaps: Matthew 1:1–9, 1:21–4:4, and 4:17–5:4.[2] The text is written in two columns per page, with 19-32 lines per column.[3]

The letters are written in a rough, inelegant hand in blackish-brown ink.[3] Greek accents (used to indicate voiced pitch changes) are written, but breathing marks (utilised to designate vowel emphasis) are rarely included.[3] The scribe who wrote the text is believed to have been unfamiliar with Greek.[1] The manuscript includes the Ammonian sections, but not always the Eusebian Canons (both early systems of dividing the four Gospels into different sections); lectionary (weekly church reading portions) beginning (αρχη / arche) and ending (τελος / telos) marks are also written.[3]

Quotations from the Old Testament are marked. The tables of contents (known as κεφαλαια / kephalaia) are included before the gospels of Mark, Luke, and John, and a brief subscription is written after the Gospel of John ends.[3]

Text of the codex[edit]

The Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew chapters 1-14, and the whole of the Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John is considered to be more or less a representative of the Byzantine text-type, while the text of the Gospel of Mark has been considered to be a representative of the Caesarean text-type.[1] The text-types are groups of different New Testament manuscripts which share specific or generally related readings, which then differ from each other group, and thus the conflicting readings can separate out the groups. These are then used to determine the original text as published; there are three main groups with names: Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine.[1]: 205–230  The Caesarean text-type however (initially identified by biblical scholar Burnett Hillman Streeter) has been contested by several text-critics, such as Kurt and Barbara Aland.[2]: 55–56  The text of Matthew chapters 14-28 has been considered to be a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category II of his New Testament manuscript classification system.[2] Category II manuscripts are described as being manuscripts "of a special quality, i.e., manuscripts with a considerable proportion of the early text, but which are marked by alien influences. These influences are usually of smoother, improved readings, and in later periods by infiltration by the Byzantine text."[2]: 335  It lacks the text of the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11).[4]: 273 

Caesarean text-type?

(See main article the Caesarean text-type)

Streeter based his identification of a new text-type primarily on the readings found on this codex in the Gospel of Mark, and their corresponding appearances in the biblical citations in the writings of the early church father, Origen.[5] He also grouped the manuscripts of ƒ1, ƒ13, and the minuscules 28, 565 and 700 along with Codex Koridethi, initially designating them as fam. Θ.[5]: 77, 82  [6]: 313  His reasonings were developed further by biblical scholars Kirsopp Lake, Robert Blake and Silva New, resulting in this fam. Θ being designated the Caesarean Text-type in their joint publication, The Caesarean text of the Gospel of Mark,[7] with Codex Koridethi being considered the Caesarean Text's chief representative.[6] Though further publications sought to establish the Caesarean Text as a definitive text-type, by the end of the 20th century this notion had failed to convince the majority of scholars.[8]

Witness to the Byzantine text-type?

In 2007 the German Bible Society edited The Gospel According to John in the Byzantine Tradition. Codex Koridethi is cited in the apparatus, and it says: "Manuscript 038 (Θ) represents a text on the boundary of what might reasonably be considered a manuscript of the Byzantine tradition in John".[9]

Some readings

Matthew 1:11

Ιωσιας δε εγεννησεν τον Ιωακειμ, Ιωακειμ δε εγεννησεν τον Ιεχονιαν (Josiah fathered Jehoiakim; Jehoiakim fathered Jeconiah) - Θ M ƒ1 33 258 478 661 791 54 al
Ιωσιας δε εγεννησεν τον Ιεχονιαν (Josiah fathered Jeconiah) - Majority of manuscripts[10]: 2 

Matthew 8:13

και υποστρεψας ο εκατονταρχος εις τον οικον αυτου εν αυτη τη ωρα ευρεν τον παιδα υγιαινοντα (and when the centurion returned to the house in that hour, he found the slave well) - Θ א C (N) 0250 ƒ1 g1, syh
omit - Majority of manuscripts[4]: 18 

Matthew 10:12

λεγοντες ειρηνη τω οικω τουτω (saying, 'Peace to this house.') - Θ א*,2 D L W ƒ1 1010 (1424) it vgcl
αυτην (this) - Majority of manuscripts[4]: 24 

Matthew 12:7

ἐκεῖνοι δὲ οἱ γεωργοὶ, θεασάμενοι αὐτὸν ἐρχόμενον (But those tenants, looking on as he arrived) - Θ ƒ13 28 1071

Matthew 20:23

και το βαπτισμα ο εγω βαπτιζομαι βαπτισθησεσθε (and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with)
omit - Θ א B D L Z 085 ƒ1 ƒ13 it sys, c sa
incl. - Majority of manuscripts[4]: 56 

Matthew 27:16

Ιησουν τον Βαραββαν (Jesus Barabbas) - Θ 700 ƒ1
Ιησουν (Jesus) - Majority of manuscripts

Matthew 27:35

τα ιματια μου εαυτοις, και επι τον ιματισμον μου εβαλον κληρον (my clothes for themselves, and they cast lots for my cloak) — Θ Δ 0250 ƒ1 ƒ13 537 1424

Mark 9:49

πας γαρ πυρι αναλωθησεται (for everything shall be consumed by fire) - Θ (singular reading)
πας γαρ πυρι αλισθησεται (for everything shall be seasoned with fire)- Majority of manuscripts[4]: 121 

Luke 14:5

ὄνος υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς (donkey, son, or ox) - Θ (singular reading)
υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς (son or ox) - Majority of manuscripts[10]: 273 

Luke 23:34

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν Πάτερ ἄφες αὐτοῖς· οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν (And Jesus said: Father forgive them, they know not what they do.)
omit - Θ 𝔓75 אa B D* W 0124 1241 a d sys sa bo
incl. - Majority of manuscripts[10]: 311 

John 6:1

της θαλασσης της Γαλιλαιας εις τα μερη της Τιβεριαδος (the sea of Galilee in the region of Tiberius) – Θ D 892 1009 1230 1253[10]: 342 

John 7:51

απο Καρυωτου (from Kariot) - Θ א ƒ13 syrh
Ισκαριωτου (Iscariot) - Majority of manuscripts[10]: 349 

John 18:11

παντες γαρ οι λαβοντες μαχαιραν εν μαχαιρα απολουνταιν (for everyone who takes the sword shall be destroyed by the sword) – Θ (singular reading)[4]: 307 


It is commonly believed the text gets its name from the town in which it was discovered, however this is not correct. The first publication of the entire manuscript by Beermann and Gregory[11] states:

Kala/Caucasia: In the year 1853 a certain Bartholomeé visited a long abandoned monastery in Kala, a little village in the Caucasian mountains near the Georgian/Russian border (some miles south east of the 5600m high Elbrus). There, in an old church, far off every civilisation, he discovered the MS. The MS rested there probably for several hundred years (Beermann: ca. 1300–1869).[12]

Koridethi: Before this time the MS was in a town called Koridethi. This was a village near the Black Sea, near today's Batumi in Georgia. There should still be some ruins of a monastery. Notes in the Gospel indicate dates from ca. 965 CE on. At around this time, according to a note, the book has been rebound. The book was there until around 1300 CE.

Further south, Armenia: A Greek inscription mentions the city of Tephrice or Tephrike (Τεφρική): "I, Kurines, Comes of the comandant of the city Tephrice came to the castelles and went back to the fort of the Great Martyrs(?)." Even though the content and meaning is not completely clear, the city Tephrice is clear. The town was destroyed in 873. It was on a line between today's Sivas and Malatya in Turkey/Armenia. Beermann's conclusion therefore is (p. 581) that the codex must be older than 873 CE. Beermann speculates that the "fort of the Great Martyrs" (if correctly deciphered) might have been Martyropolis, a town near the Wan Lake, near today's Batman in Turkey.

The codex is now located in Tbilisi, at the Georgian National Center of Manuscripts, Gr. 28.[2][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Metzger, Bruce Manning; Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-19-516667-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hatch, William Henry Paine (1939). The Principal Uncial Manuscripts of the New Testament. Chicago: Chicago Univervisty Press. p. 122.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Aland, Kurt; Black, Matthew; Martini, Carlo Maria; Metzger, Bruce M.; Wikgren, Allen, eds. (1981). Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (26 ed.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung. ISBN 3-438-051001. (NA26)
  5. ^ a b Streeter, Burnett Hillman (1924). The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins - The Manuscript Traditions, Sources, Authorship, & Dates (1 ed.). Oxford: The MacMillan Company. pp. 77–107.
  6. ^ a b Comfort, Philip Wesley (2005). Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism. Nashville: Broadman & Holman. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0805431454.
  7. ^ Lake, Kirsopp; New, Silva; Blake, Robert (1928). "The Caesarean text of the Gospel of Mark". Harvard Theological Review. 21 (4): 207–404. doi:10.1017/S0017816000032843. S2CID 162516003.
  8. ^ Stephen C. Carlson, The Origins of the Caesarean Text (SBL 2004), p. 1
  9. ^ Mullen, Roderic L.; Crisp, Simon; Parker, David C., eds. (2007). The Gospel According to John in the Byzantine Tradition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgeseellschaft. p. V. ISBN 978-1598563078.
  10. ^ a b c d e Aland, Kurt; Black, Matthew; Martini, Carlo Maria; Metzger, Bruce Manning; Wikgren, Allen, eds. (1983). The Greek New Testament (3rd ed.). Stuttgart: United Bible Societies. ISBN 9783438051103. (UBS3)
  11. ^ Beermann, Gustav; Gregory, Caspar René, eds. (1913). Die Koridethi-Evangelien (in German). Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs.
  12. ^ Gregory, Caspar René (1900). Textkritik des Neuen Testaments. Vol. 1. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs. p. 257. (as 1360)
  13. ^ "Liste Handschriften". Münster: Institute for New Testament Textual Research. Retrieved 16 March 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]