Manuscripts, et al used in translations Part 3

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Leningrad Codex – The oldest complete Hebrew Bible still in existence, the Leningrad Codex dates from 1008 or 1009 A. D. It is also considered to be an excellent example of the Masoretic Text. The Aleppo Codex was copied by the scribe Shlomo ben Buya’a and verified, vocalized, and notated by Rabbi Aaron Ben Asher around 920 A.D., with the Leningrad Codex corrected against it. It is slightly different than the traditional Torah in that notations were made to indicate pronunciation, as there was a concern that the Hebrew language was dying out. The Leningrad Codex and the Aleppo Codex are the oldest examples of what is referred to as the Masoretic Text, with the notations indicating pronunciation called Tiberian Vocalization. Abraham Firkovich took the Codex to Odessa in 1838, and it was transferred to the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg in 1863. Originally called the Codex Peterburgensis, Codex Petropolensis, or St. Petersburg Codex, after the Soviet Revolution and the renaming of St. Petersburg to Leningrad the Codex came to be called the Leningrad Codex. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the return of the name of St. Petersburg, for historical purposes and to reduce confusion the Codex has retained the name Leningrad Codex. For more information you can go here.

LXX – See Septuagint.

Magdalen Papyrus – Bought by Charles B. Huleatt in 1901 in Luxor, Egypt and presented to the Magdalen College Library in Oxford, England, this Greek text contains a small part of Matthew originally believed to have been penned around 200 A.D., although recent discussion has led some to believe that it may have been written as early as 60 A.D. This would make it the original letter written by Matthew, or a very near to it copy if that’s the case. Other pieces of papyri containing more portions of Matthew and a portion from the Gospel of Luke have since been found that are believed to be from the same manuscript. Which date is correct is still a matter of debate. For more information you can go here:

Majority Text – Not really a manuscript in and of itself, the Majority Text is simply a compilation of all known texts, with the parts that are similar in the "Majority" versions of each section used.

Masoretic Text – The Masoretic Text is the Hebrew, or Jewish, Bible. One prominent example of this is the text by Jacob ben Chayyim that was used in the translation of the King James Bible. The other two, the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, include the pronunciation of the words and are also known as the Ben Asher texts (by Aaron ben Asher). Hebrew was becoming extinct as a spoken language (it has since recovered somewhat), and Ben Asher in particular was concerned that the text would eventually become unreadable. The Ben Chayyim text was used in the Biblia Hebraica editions of 1906 and 1912-13, but in a 1937 revision the Ben Asher text was used, as well as in subsequent versions.

Miniscules – Letters in a Biblical manuscript written in small letters, other than capitalizing certain words, generally from the 10th century forward.

Novum Testamentum Graece – The Greek version of the New Testament and currently in its 27th printing, the Novum Testamentum Graece summarizes the available New Testament manuscripts.

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri - The Oxyrhynchus Papyri is named for a city in Northern Egypt, and refers to thousands of ancient documents in Greek, Latin, and Arabic that have been recovered there, a great many of them from an ancient garbage dump. Discovered by Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt, some of the earliest papyri date back to within a century of the New Testament originals. Other manuscripts include the Apocrypha and many of the Gnostic Gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas. While the Gnostic Gospels are not scriptural (for example the Gospel of Thomas was written 200-300 years after his death, making it unlikely he was the author), they are important from a historical point of view.

Peshitta – The Bible of the Syriac tradition, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew in the 2nd century, and the New Testament in the 5th century. It is somewhat controversial.

Samaritan Pentateuch – The Samaritan Pentateuch consists of the Books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy. After the Samaritans separated themselves from the Hebrews in the 4th century A.D., the Pentateuch was translated into the Samaritan language and it became the Samaritan “Bible.”

Septuagint – Also known as the LXX (both meaning 70) the Septuagint is a Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible and was translated between 300-200 B.C., with the Pentateuch, first 5 Books of the Old Testament, commissioned by the Greek King Ptolemy II Philadelphus. As the Jewish people spread throughout the Mediterranean they began to lose touch with the Hebrew language. Translating the Old Testament into Greek allowed these Jewish people to read and study it. It is referred to in the New Testament, and is included in the Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus codices, where it includes the Apocrypha. For more in information you can go here:

Sinaitic Palimpsest – Written in approximately 400 A.D., the Sinaitic Palimpsest is a translation of the Gospels into the Syriac language, and is the oldest known copy of the Gospels into Syriac.

St. Petersburg Codex– See Leningrad Codex.

Textus Receptus – Latin for “Received Text” and a New Testament translation from Greek to Latin by Desiderius Erasmus published in 1516 with revisions in 1519 and 1522, it is also known as the Traditional Received Text and the Received Text. The Textus Receptus was used in the translation of the Luther Bible and the King James translation of the Bible, among many others. The term Textus Receptus comes from a 1633 edition of the work.

Uncials – Letters in a Biblical manuscript that are all capitalized. Generally found in the older manuscripts. Also known as Majuscules.

Vulgate – The Vulgate, also known as the Latin Vulgate, is a translation of the Bible into Latin by Jerome, a scholar, using the best Greek and Hebrew manuscripts available to him at the time. First produced in about 400 A.D. and, used by the Catholic Church for 1,500 years, it contains the Apocrypha. Attempts to translate the Vulgate into English, French, and German before and during the Reformation were met with strong, often violent, resistance by the Catholic Church.

Westcott & Hort Text – First published in 1881 and also known as The New Testament in the Original Greek, Westcott & Hort took the available manuscripts (which were mostly only fragments) and put them together to come up with a complete New Testament in the original Greek. Edited by Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. For more information you can go here:

Western text-type – One of the types of text used to describe and group Biblical texts, the Western text-type is found in the older Latin translations from Greek, and in quotes from some early Christian writers.

.....There have been many thousands of documents and manuscripts found with God's Word that have been used in the translation process. Here we've listed many of them and their associated terminology, and a little bit about them.
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