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]

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


The manuscript is 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]

Actually 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 had the reputation of being one of the oldest manuscript of Septuagint. It is generally agreed that Codex Marchalianus belongs, to a well-defined textual family with Hesychian characteristics, and its text is a result of the Hesychian recension (along with the manuscripts A, 26, 86, 106, 198, 233).[6][7]

Notes on margins[edit]

About seventy items of an onomasticon stand in the margins of Ezekiel and Lamentations.[2]. Also Hexaplaric readings are added in the margin.[8]

Relation to Tetragrammaton[edit]

In Book of Isaiah 45:18 the Greek Septuagint has Ἐγώ εἰμι,[9] ("I am"), a later hand added Κύριος ("the Lord") to the Codex Marchalianus text, making it conform to the Masoretic Text אני יהוה.[10]

In marginal notes it uses Ιαω, a phonetic transliteration into Greek letters of Hebrew יהוה, to accompany the text of Ezekiel 1:2 and 11:1.[11][12] In several marginal notes it gives ΠΙΠΙ in the same way.[13]

For this reason it is mentioned in some discussions about the Tetragrammaton.[14][15][16][2]

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 exhibits 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][17]

The codex was known for 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,[18] and in the ninth volume of his Nova Collectio 9 (1870), pp. 227–248.[3] Giuseppe Cozza-Luzi edited its text in 1890.[19]

It was suggested by Ceriani in 1890 that the text of the codex represents 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 e Bruce M. Metzger (1981). Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 94.
  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. ^ Ernst Wurthwein. The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
  9. ^ Is 45:18 on The Scholarly Bible Portal of the German Bible Society
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Bruce Manning Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (Oxford University Press 1981), p. 35
  12. ^ Martin Rösel, Tradition and Innovation: English and German Studies on the Septuagint (SBL Press 2018), p. 296, footnote 32
  13. ^ Rösel 2018, p. 304, footnote 54
  14. ^ Norman L. Geisler; William E. Nix (2012). From God To Us Revised and Expanded: How We Got Our Bible. Moody Publishers. ISBN 0802483925.
  15. ^ David Edward Aune (2006). Apocalypticism, Prophecy and Magic in Early Christianity: Collected Essays. Mohr Siebeck. p. 363. ISBN 3-16-149020-7.
  16. ^ Vasileiadis, Pavlos; Gordon, Nehemia (2019). "Transmission of the Tetragrammaton in Judeo-Greek and Christian Sources («Η Μεταβίβαση του Τετραγράμματου στις Ιουδαιο-Ελληνικές και Χριστιανικές Πηγές»)". Vol. 18. Accademia: Revue de la Société Marsile Ficin: 6. ISSN 1296-7645. OCLC 875842213. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ C. v. Tischendorf, Nova Collectio 4 (1869), p. XIX
  18. ^ C. v. Tischendorf, Nova Collectio 4 (1869), pp. 225-296
  19. ^ Giuseppe Cozza-Luzi, Prophetarum codex Graecus Vaticanus 2125 (Romae, 1890)

Further reading[edit]