Codex Bezae     symbol:  D 

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A bi-lingual ms. composed in the 5th or 6th c. CE, containing the gospels & the book of Acts in both Greek & Latin. The Greek is the prime example of the recension that textual critics call the "Western" text. It is valued as important evidence of the earliest state of the gospel text since its readings are eclectic & independent. That is to say, it does not follow a single archetype. Sometimes it supports the reading in an Egyptian type ms. (either Sinaiticus or Vaticanus or both); at other times it supports variant readings found in early translations of the gospels into Latin or Syriac. Modern critical editions of the Greek text often favor readings supported by this codex.

The historical value of the Greek text is limited only by the fact that the western scribes who compiled it often tried to bring it in line with the Latin version on the facing page. The gospels are arranged in order typical of early western codices: with John second & Mark fourth.

The codex is named for the leading French ecclesiastical reformer & successor of Calvin at Geneva, Theodore Beza, who donated it to Cambridge University in 1581. Before this it was the property of the monastery of St. Irenaeus (Lyons, France). Its origins & prior history are unknown.

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last revised 01 April 2018


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