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Codex Vaticanus
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Codex Vaticanus

The Codex Vaticanus (Vatican City, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; Gregory-Aland no. B or 03) is one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Bible. It is slightly older than Codex Sinaiticus, both of which were probably transcribed in the 4th century. It is written in Greek, on vellum, with uncial letters.

Codex Vaticanus originally contained a complete copy of the Septuagint and the New Testament, but pages 1519-1536 containing Hebrews 9:14 through Revelation were lost and replaced by a 15th century minuscule supplement (no. 1957).

The manuscript has been housed in the Vatican Library (founded by Pope Nicholas V in 1448) for as long as it has been known, appearing in its earliest catalog of 1475.

Its previous history is unknown, but there has been speculation that it had previously been in the possession of Cardinal Bessarion because the minuscule supplement has a text similar to one of Bessarion's manuscripts. T.C. Skeat, a paleographer at the British Museum, has argued that Codex Vaticanus was among the 50 Bibles that the Emperor Constantine I ordered Eusebius of Caesarea to produce. However, others have argued that Constantine's manuscripts were Byzantine, which would rule out that possibility.

Codex Vaticanus is one of the most important manuscripts for Textual criticism and is a leading member of the Alexandrian text-type. It was heavily used by Westcott and Hort in their edition of the Greek New Testament (1881).

The manuscript contains mysterious ("umlauts") in the margin of the new testament, which seem to indicate positions of textual variants. The date of these is disputed among scholars. Have a look at: http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vaticanus/index.html for details.