Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Latin Manuscript and its Greek Roots

A number of years ago, I managed to obtain a single parchment leaf of a 13th century Latin manuscript of 2nd Corinthians. There are many interesting features of this parchment leaf that could be discussed. However, one interesting feature are the uniquely Christian Nomina Sacra (hearafter NS), that is, abbreviated names for God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, etc. The unique feature of these NS, specifically the abbreviation for Christ, is that it is not a contracted Latin word (i.e. Christus), but rather it is the Greek word for Christ (i.e. χριστος) that is abbreviated. Of course, it comes as no surprise that the New Testament was originally written in Greek and that the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament exhibit NS of the Greek word for Christ. However, it does come as a little bit of surprise when one considers the larger Ecclesiastical circumstances that this manuscript would have found itself in. At this time, the Latin translation of the Bible (i.e. the Vulgate) would have been considered the official authoritative translation in the medieval west. Coupled with this was the disconnect between the the western and eastern (Byzantine) churches.

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