Tuesday, August 11, 2009

[TC-Alternate-list] Vaticanus 1968 Replica NT and Numbers in Its Lower Right Margins

Over at the textualcriticism group a link was posted which provided a huge download of the 1968 color facsimile of the NT portion of Codex Vaticanus:
The file is huge, but the space is well-used; these images are very nice. I have no idea how the 1968 pictures of Vaticanus can be legally distributed online, though.
Anyway, after sorting through the images, I noticed some unusual numerals that occur in the lower right-hand corners of pages 1245, 1265, 1305, 1325, 1345, 1365, 1383 (/not/ 1385), 1405, and 1425. (And the numerals keep on going, every 20 pages.)
It looks like someone wanted to place a numeral in the lower right hand corner of the page, on every 20th page. The numeral is repeated: first it is expressed in Greek letters, and then it is expressed in Roman numerals, except the Roman numerals are more like tallies than what we think of nowadays as proper Roman numerals; instead of using "L" to represent "50" there are 5 X's.
On p. 1245, 64 is expressed by Xi-Delta and by XXXXXXIIII, with the "IIII" written as a wavy scribble. (The page ends at Mt. 9:28.)
On p. 1265, 65 is expressed by Xi-Epsilon and by XXXXXX with what looks like the English letter "b" but which must be intended to represent "5." (Page ends at Mt. 22:36.)
On p. 1285, 66 is expressed by Xi-Stau and by XXXXXX with what looks like "//" (but which should be understood, it would seem, as blurred symbols for 5 and 1). (Page ends at Mk. 6:26)
On p. 1305, 67 is expressed by Xi-Zeta and by XXXXXX with what looks like "///" (but which should be understood, it would seem, as the symbols for 5, 1, and 1, totaling 7). (Page ends at Luke 1:55.)
On p. 1325, 68 is expressed by Xi-Eta and by XXXXXX with a scribble which must be VIII. (Page ends at Luke 11:11.)
On p. 1345, 69 is expressed by Xi-Theta and by XXXXXX with a scribble which looks like I and IIIII with the last four I's overdotted (which was supposed to mean "repeat this," I figure). (Page ends at Luke 23:5)
On p. 1365, 70 is expressed by Omicron and by XXXXXXX. (Page ends at John 10:27.)
On p. 1383, 71 is expressed by Omicron-Alpha and by XXXXXXXI. (The alpha looks like a cursive "X" at first because the arc on the left is faint, and the character has a tail.) (Page ends at Acts 2:14)
On p. 1405, 72 is expressed by Omicron-Beta and by XXXXXXXII. (Page ends at Acts 16:12.)
On p. 1425, 73 is expressed by Omicron-Gamma and by XXXXXXXIII. (Page ends at the end of Acts.)
I wonder if it was ever typical to write Roman numerals in this way, without using "L" for 50, and using "I" so much. It looks unusual to me. If it was indeed unusual, and other MSS have this sort of numeral-representat ion, this could be a clue about where the codex might have been at the time when numerals were written in this way.
(1245, divided by 20, is 62.25. So it would seem that on every 20th page, from the very beginning of the codex, these numbers were written down, but some counting-mistakes occurred. Or maybe the mistake was in the Arabic numerals.)
(I asked the same question at textualcriticism, but no one has replied yet; I may try again since I posted in the middle of a flurry-filled discussion about something not nearly as interesting as this is.)
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
P.S. In the color images of Vaticanus, you can clearly see umlauts in the first /cursive/ page in Hebrews.

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