Codex Washingtonensis

Codex Washingtonensis (W, 032) 5th/7th Cent.


Note: The box around the text is not part of the original manuscript.


Codex Washingtonensis, sometimes called Codex Freerianus or most simply, the Washington Ms. of the Gospels, consists of 187 leaves made up from 26 quires. Each page is about 8.3 by 5.5 inches. The sloping uncial characters are written in a single column of 30 lines per page with 27 - 30 letters to a full line. Paragraphs are indicated by enlarged letters projecting into the margin and sometimes accompanied by a paragraph marker. There are also marks in the left margin to signal a quotation from the OT. Sometimes a middle point (almost a high point) is used as punctuation along with the colon. Instead of punctuation, the scribe frequently left a small blank space between phrases. The apostrophe is placed after proper nouns, words ending in a consonant other than a Nu (N) or Sigma (S), and also words whose final vowel is omitted.

Paleographers have deduced that the original scribe corrected some of his own errors. He was followed by another who made revisions. Finally, two later hands made a few additional changes.

With regard to the hypothetical text types, this codex is variegated in its representation. It is conjectured that the exemplar or a distant ancestor that the scribe was copying from was one that had been pieced together out of fragments of several manuscripts. Therefore, readings representative of all of the major text types can be found in this manuscript.

The first quire of John is even more baffling. The handwriting is different in this one quire than in the rest of the manuscript. There are also two different correctors in this quire than have worked elsewhere in the text. There are also features of this quire which differ slightly from the rest. We can assume that this quire was added to the codex at a later date to replace one that was lost or perhaps mutilated. Although the greater part of the codex is dated to about the Fifth Century, this supplemental part (Wsupp) is placed in the Seventh Century.

There is a clear punctuation mark with additional space on either side separating the two phrases as in the corrector of Papyrus 75 and the corrector of Codex Sinaiticus.

In the first scanned image of this page, you can see the ruled lines horizontally and vertically. The scribe makes every attempt to stop at the right margin even if it breaks a word. Notice also how the letter Upsilon (looks like a Y) descends to the line below.


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