Codex Marchalianus

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Page of the codex with text of Ezek 5:12–17
Folio 283 of the codex with text of Ezek 1:28–2:6
Daniel 1–9 in Tischendorf's facsimile edition (1869)

Codex Marchalianus designated by siglum Q is a 6th-century Greek manuscript copy of the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh or Old Testament) known as the Septuagint. The text was written on vellum in uncial letters. Palaeographically it has been assigned to the 6th century.[1] Marginal annotations were later added to the copy of the Scripture text, the early ones being of importance for a study of the history of the Septuagint.

Its name was derived from a former owner, René Marchal.[2]


The manuscript is an in quarto volume, arranged in quires of five sheets or ten leaves each, like Codex Vaticanus or Codex Rossanensis. It contains text of the Twelve Prophets, Book of Isaiah, Book of Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah, Book of Ezekiel, Book of Daniel, with Susanna and Bel. The order of the 12 Prophets is unusual: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The order of books is the same as in Codex Vaticanus.[3][4] The Book of Daniel represents the Theodotion version.[3]

In its present state, the manuscript consists of 416 parchment leaves, but the first twelve contain patristic matter, and did not form a part of the original manuscript. The leaves measure 11 x 7 inches (29 x 18 cm). The writing is in one column per page, 29 lines per column, and 24-30 letters in line.[4][5] It is written in bold uncial of the so-called Coptic style.[2]

In the first half of the 19th century it was thought to be one of the oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint. It is generally agreed that Codex Marchalianus belongs to a well-defined textual family with Hesychian characteristics, a representative of the Hesychian recension (along with the manuscripts A, 26, 86, 106, 198, 233).[6][7]

Marginal notes[edit]

Some notes were added in the margins of the manuscript's Septuagint text in 6th-century uncial letters, some of them added quite soon by the same scribe who wrote the patristic material now placed at the beginning of the manuscript,[8] but many are in a minuscule script, perhaps as late as the 13 century,[9] which led Swete to classify the manuscript as of the 12th century.[8] Images of pages with early notes in uncials of smaller size and of the much more abundant medieval notes in minuscules can in seen in an article by Marieke Dhont.[10]

The marginal notes indicate Hexaplaric corrections of the Hesychian text[11]

In the margins of Ezekiel and Lamentations they add about seventy items of an onomasticon.[2] In their comment on the two verses Ezekiel 1:2 and 11:1, they use Ιαω, a phonetic transliteration into Greek letters of Hebrew יהוה, as an indirect[12] reference to the Tetragrammaton.[13][14][15] Several other marginal notes, not the text itself, give ΠΙΠΙ in the same way.[16]

In Isaiah 45:18 Codex Marchalianus has Ἐγώ εἰμι, ("I am"), as does the Greek Septuagint in general.[17] In the margin, this text was "corrected" to "I am the Lord", adding Κύριος ("the Lord") and making it conform to the Masoretic Text אני יהוה.[18]

History of the codex[edit]

The manuscript was written in Egypt not later than the 6th century. It seems to have remained there till the ninth, since the uncial corrections and annotations as well as text exhibit letters of characteristically Egyptian form. From Egypt it was carried before the 12th century to South Italy, and thence into France, where it became the property of the Abbey of St. Denys near Paris.[3] René Marchal (hence name of the codex) obtained the manuscript from the Abbey of St. Denys. From the library of Marchal it passed into the hands of Cardinal La Rochefoucauld, who in turn presented it to the College de Clermont, the celebrated Jesuit house in Paris.[2] Finally, in 1785, it was purchased for the Vatican Library, where it is now housed.[3][19]

The codex was known by Bernard de Montfaucon and Giuseppe Bianchini. The text of the codex was used by J. Morius, Wettstein, an Montfaucon. It was collated for James Parsons, and edited by Tischendorf in the fourth volume of his Nova Collectio 4 (1869), pp. 225–296,[20] and in the ninth volume of his Nova Collectio 9 (1870), pp. 227–248.[3] Giuseppe Cozza-Luzi edited its text in 1890.[21]

Ceriani classified the text in 1890 as a Hesychian recension, but Hexaplaric signs have been freely added, and the margins supply copious extracts from Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Septuaginta of the Hexapla.[4]

The codex is housed in the Vatican Library (Vat. gr. 2125).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Würthwein Ernst (1988). Der Text des Alten Testaments. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. p. 85.
  2. ^ a b c d Bruce M. Metzger (1981). Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 94. ISBN 9780195365320.
  3. ^ a b c d e Swete, Henry Barclay (1902). An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Cambridge. pp. 120.
  4. ^ a b c Alfred Rahlfs, Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments, für das Septuaginta-Unternehmen, Göttingen 1914, pp. 273-274.
  5. ^ Swete, Henry Barclay (1902). An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Cambridge. pp. 121.
  6. ^ The Cambridge History of the Bible (Vol. 2 - The West From the Fathers to the Reformation), ed. by G. W. H. Lampe, Cambridge University Press 2006, p. 19
  7. ^ Natalio Fernández Marcos, Wilfred G. E. Watson, The Septuagint in context: introduction to the Greek version of the Bible (Brill: Leiden 2000), p. 242
  8. ^ a b Henry Barclay Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek (Cambridge University Press 1902), pp. 144–145
  9. ^ Vellum Uncial Q
  10. ^ Marieke Dhont, "How the Vatican Library celebrates LXX Day"
  11. ^ Ernst Wurthwein (27 November 2014). The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802866806.
  12. ^ Emanuel Tov observes: "The concordance of Hatch-Redpath misleadingly quotes in the list of the personal names a marginal reading ΙΑΩ from codex Marchalianus (Q) in Ezek 1:2 and 11:1. These readings, not mentioned in Ziegler's Göttingen edition, refer to Ιωακειµ in 1:2 and to בניהו in 11:1 represented in this note as οικος ιαω." See Emmanuel Tov, "P. Vindob. G 39777 (Symmachus) and the Use of the Divine Names in Greek Scripture Texts". note 27,
  13. ^ Bruce Manning Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (Oxford University Press 1981), p. 35
  14. ^ Rösel, Martin (2018). Tradition and Innovation: English and German Studies on the Septuagint. SBL Press. p. 296. ISBN 9780884143246.
  15. ^ Robert J. Wilkinson. Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. BRILL; 5 February 2015. ISBN 978-90-04-28817-1. p. 58.
  16. ^ Rösel 2018, p. 304, footnote 54
  17. ^ Is 45:18 on The Scholarly Bible Portal of the German Bible Society
  18. ^ John T. Townsend, "The Gospel of John and the Jews: The Story of a Religious Divorce", in: Alan T. Davies, ed., Antisemitism and the Foundations of Christianity (Paulist Press, 1979): p. 77, footnote 15
  19. ^ C. v. Tischendorf, Nova Collectio 4 (1869), p. XIX
  20. ^ C. v. Tischendorf, Nova Collectio 4 (1869), pp. 225-296
  21. ^ Giuseppe Cozza-Luzi, Prophetarum codex Graecus Vaticanus 2125 (Romae, 1890)

Further reading[edit]