Re: Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus

From: Cal Redmond (
Date: Fri Mar 29 1996 - 14:07:25 EST

brent justin anduaga-arias wrote:
> I have heard, from time to time, about a supposed "order" by
> Constantine to have fifty copies of the scriptures made. These copies
> supposedly were made in Alexandria and were shipped (to Rome?). The
> story goes that two of these fifty are known today as our good old
> friends Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.
> Does anyone know if this is a myth or does it have substance. If it is
> a myth, does anyone know what the true origins of these manuscripts may be?
> Brent Arias
> University of New Mexico

The tale of the 50 manuscripts ordered by Constantine derives from
Eusebius, in _Life of Constantive_ iv.36. Is this an accurate
historical statement? Who knows?

The significant question for textual criticism is whether either
Sinaiticus or Vaticanus were among the 50. It is really impossible to
answer that question. Bruce Metzger wrote in _The Text of the New
Testament_ (pp. 7-8) that there are some indications that Egypt may have
been the place of origin for Vaticanus, and that "the type of text found
in both codices is unlike that used by Eusebius." Metzger concludes,
"The most that can be said with certainty is that codices Vaticanus and
Sinaiticus are doubtless like those which Constantine ordered Eusebius
to have copied."

Hope this helps some.

Cal Redmond
A.B.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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