VL 1 or Codex Bobbiensis (BNT G.VII.15)

Claire Clivaz, DH+ (SIB, Lausanne, CH),
September 2023, © CC BY 4.0

1. Description
2. Content of VL 1 (24 Datasets)
3. Selected References

1. Brief Description of VL 1

Dated between 380 and 420 CE by Elias Avery Lowe, G.VII.15 or VL 1 or Codex Bobbiensis is one of the oldest Latin manuscripts of the Gospels. It includes Mk 8:8 to Mt 15:36a on 96 folios (lac. 1 folio between 48v and 49r and 4 folios between 94v and 95r). This quite small codex has folios of 18-19cm high X 15,5-16cm large. Counted as number 465 in the fourth volume of the Codices Latini Antiquiores (CLA), G.VII.15 has “uncertain origin”, according to Lowe (1947, 18). He continues, “Africa is suggested by two considerations: the text of k is nearest to the Gospel text used by Cyprian, an African writer, and the peculiar type of uncial in k has its nearest parallels in two fifth century MSS of Cyprian (Nos. **458, 464). It was probably at Bobbio from earliest times, and the survival of so unusable a book was most likely due to its being as a relic of the founder,” San Columban, a tradition based only on an eighteenth-century catalogue note (18). This tradition explains why G.VII.15 is also named “Codex Bobbiensis.” Its designation as ‘k’ comes from Constantin Tischendorf (Stampini, 1914, 335). In the recent digital culture, it has received the number 7820 in the Leuven Database of Ancient Books, now hosted on the Trismegistos website and referenced on papyri.info with the number 66572. Its proximity to Cyprian’s Matthew and Mark quotations has been demonstrated by von Soden (1909).

Convinced of the importance of this manuscript for NT textual criticism (NTTC) digital scholarship, the MARK16 project has asked the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) to insert k in the digital reference INTF Liste and to give to it a Doc ID. It is named in this list VL 1, Vetus Latina 1, according to the collective name given to the ancient Latin versions of the Bible by Bonifatius Fischer. This naming situates VL 1 clearly in NTTC research and underlines a kind of “retour en grâce” for this codex which is often considered to be carelessly copied. Lowe is reticent about it, considering it as “an unusable book” (1947,18) whereas Bridget Gilfillan Upton states that its “language itself is impenetrable almost to the point of incomprehension” (2006, 197). But Bruce Metzger considers that “it is the most important, as regards text, of all the Old Latin copies, being undoubtedly the oldest existing representative of the African type. […] The scribe, though committing many blunders in writing, was not uneducated, for he writes with a firm and practiced hand” (1977, 315).

Thanks to a meticulous linguistic analysis, Pieter Willem Hoogterp demonstrated in 1930 that Codex Bobbiensis is a direct copy of “a very ancient archetype in cursive writing, perhaps difficult to decipher for a copyist who had only some vague notions of correct Latin” (1930, 15). This laborious copy of a third-century cursive could explain several mistakes present in VL 1 (1930, 17). Three years later, Adolophine Bakker reinforced this hypothesis by noticing that the scribe could make several mistakes in certain passages but in others will make none, as if he had difficulties reading the exemplar (1933, 14). With the opportunity to contemplate the Codex Bobbiensis online, one will from now discover as eyewitnesses all the particularities of this unique manuscript. It is notably known for having the shorter ending of Mark (Clivaz, 2021), but in a version slightly different from the Greek one (see for example GA 019, GA 044, GA 099 or the bilingual L1602). In the conclusio brevior, it notably reads qui “cum puero erant” instead of “qui cum Petro erant”, a reading maintained by the two correctors of VL 1. Other interesting variants are present in Mark 16:1 and 8b, as well as the addition of a full verse between 16,3 and 16,4.

2. Content of VL 1 (24 Datasets)

Dataset Content
VL 1 Mark 1:1-8:17 lost folios
1 VL 1 Mark 8:18-9:2a (f.1r to f.4r)
2 VL 1 Mark 9:2b-9:50a (f.4v to f.9r)
3 VL 1 Mark 9:50b-11:2a (f.9v to f.15r)
4 VL 1 Mark 11:2b-12:1c (f.15v to f.18v)
5 VL 1 Mark 12:1d-13:2a (f.19r to f.23v)
6 VL 1 Mark 13:2b-14:1 (f.24r to f.27v)
7 VL 1 Mark 14:2-15:3 (f.28r to f.35v)
8 VL 1 Mark 15:4-15:46a (f.36r to f.39v)
9 VL 1 Mark 15:46b-16:8 (f.40r to f.41v)
10 VL 1 Matthew 1:1-1:22 (f.42r to f.44r)
11 VL 1 Matthew 1:23-3:1 (f.44v to f.47v)
12 VL 1 Matthew 3:2-3:10 (f.48r to f.48v)
VL 1 Matthew 3:11-4:1 lost folio
13 VL 1 Matthew 4:2- 5:3 (f.49r to f. 51v)
14 VL 1 Matthew 5:4-5:43a (f.52r to f. 56r)
15 VL 1 Matthew 5:43b-7:4 (f.56v to f. 61r)
16 VL 1 Matthew 7:5-8:2 (f.61v to f.64r)
17 VL 1 Matthew 8:3-9:2 (f.64v to f.68r)
18 VL 1 Matthew 9:3-10:3 (f.68v to f.72v)
19 VL 1 Matthew 10:4-11:3 (f.73r to f.77r)
20 VL 1 Matthew 11:4-11:30 (f.77v to f.80r)
21 VL 1 Matthew 12:1-13:1a (f.80v to f.86r)
22 VL 1 Matthew 13:1b-14:2a (f.86v to f.93r)
23 VL 1 Matthew 14:2b-14:16 (f.93v to f.94v)
VL 1 Matthew 14:17-15:19 lost folios
24 VL 1 Matthew 15:20-36a (f.95r to f.96v)
VL 1 Matthew 15:36b–28:20 lost folios

3. Selected References

A. H. A. Bakker, A Study of Codex Evang. Bobbiensis (k), Part I, N. V, Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandische Uitgeversmaatschappij, 1933.

C. Cipolla et al., Il codice evangelico k della Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria di Torino, riprodotto in fac-simile per cura della Regia accademia delle scienze di Torino , Torino : G. Malfese, 1913.

C. Clivaz, “Mk 16 im Codex Bobbiensis. Neue Materialien zur conclusio brevior des Markusevangeliums”, Zeitschrift für Neues Testament 47/24 (2021), p. 59-85.

C. Clivaz, “Marc 15,34 dans le Codex de Bèze et le Codex Bobbiensis”, in J.-C. Haelewyck and L. Pinchard (eds.), Traditions et traductions des textes bibliques. Études en l'hommage de Christian Bernard Amphoux à l'occasion de son 80e anniversaire, Bruxelles : Safran, forthcoming.

H.A.G. Houghton, The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts, Oxford Scholarship Online 2016, p. 22-23 and 210.

P. W. Hoogterp, Etude sur le Latin du Codex Bobiensis (k) des Evangiles, Utrecht : Veenman, 1930.

M. Larsen, “A Real-and-Imagined Biography of a Gospel Manuscript”, Early Christianity 12.3 (2021), p. 103-131.

E. A. Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores. A Palaeographical Guide to Latin Manuscripts Prior to the Ninth Century, Teil IV, Perugia-Verona/Oxford 1947, n° 465, p. 18.

B. M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament: Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977; Oxford Scholarship Online, 2011.

D. C. Parker, “Unequally Yoked: The Present State of the Codex Bobbiensis”, in idem, Manuscripts, Texts, Theology, Collected Papers 1977-2007, Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung (ANTT 40), Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009, p. 25-32 (1991 reprint); https://www.jstor.org/stable/23965317.

E. Stampini, “Recensione di Il Codice Evangelico k della Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria di Torino riprodutto in fac-simile per cura della Regia Accademia delle Scienze di Torino. Torino, Casa Editrice d’Opere Tecniche lng. G. Molfese, 1913, di pp. 70 di testo e 96 tavole doppie in fotocollografia (cm. 25 X 35)”, Rivista di Filologia et di Istruzione Classica LXII (1914), p. 355-358.

H. von Soden, Das lateinische Neue Testament in Afrika zur Zeit Cyprians, Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1909, p. 106-134.

B. G. Upton, Hearing Mark’s Endings (BIS 79), Brill, 2006.

J. Wordsworth et al. (eds.), Portions of the Gospels according to St. Mark and St. Matthew from the Bobbio Ms. (k) Now Number G. VII.15 at the National Library at Turin , together with Other Fragments of the Gospels from Six Mss. At the Libraries of St. Gall, Coire, Milan and Berne (usually cited as n, o, p, a2, s and t), Oxford: Clarendon, 1886.