The Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis, designated by siglumDea or 05 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), δ 5 (von Soden), is a codex of the New Testament dating from the 5th century written in an uncial hand on vellum. It contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts, with a small fragment of 3 John. Written one column per page, the codex contains 406 extant parchment leaves (from perhaps an original 534) measuring 26 x 21.5 cm, with the Greek text on the left face and the Latin text on the right. A digital facsimile of the codex is available from Cambridge University Library, which holds the manuscript.
The first three lines of each book are in red letters, and black and red ink alternate the title of books. As many as eleven people (G, A, C, B, D, E, H, F, J1, L, K) have corrected the manuscript between the sixth and twelfth centuries. The text is written colometrically and is full of hiatus. The Greek text of the codex has some copying errors, e.g., errors of metathesis: in John 1:3, ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ was changed into ΕΝΕΓΕΤΟ; in Acts 1:9, ΥΠΕΛΑΒΕΝ into ΥΠΕΒΑΛΕΝ.
Some from the nomina sacra are written in an abbreviated form: ΙΗΣ (Ιησους), ΧΡΣ (Χριστος), ΠΑΡ (πατηρ), ΣΤΗ (σταυρωθη), but not for μητερ, υιος, σωτηρ, ανθρωπος, ουρανος, δαυιδ, Ισραηλ, Ιηρουσαλημ, which are written fully.
The place of origin of the codex is still disputed.
The manuscript is believed to have been repaired at Lyon in the ninth century as revealed by a distinctive ink used for supplementary pages. It was closely guarded for many centuries in the monastic library of St Irenaeus at Lyon. The manuscript was consulted, perhaps in Italy, for disputed readings at the Council of Trent, and was at about the same time collated for Stephanus's edition of the Greek New Testament. During the upheavals of the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, when textual analysis had a new urgency among the Reformation's Protestants, the manuscript was taken from Lyon in 1562 and delivered to the Protestant scholar Theodore Beza, the friend and successor of Calvin, who gave it to the University of Cambridge, in the comparative security of England, in 1581, which accounts for its double name. It remains in the Cambridge University Library (Nn. II 41).
John Mill collated and Wettstein transcribed (1716) the text of the codex. Both did their editions of the Greek Testament, but they both did their work carelessly. A much better collation was made about 1732 by John Dickinson.
The importance of the Codex Bezae is such that a colloquium held at Lunel, Herault, in 27–30 June 1994 was entirely devoted to it. Papers discussed the many questions it poses to our understanding of the use of the Gospels and Acts in early Christianity, and of the text of the New Testament.
The Greek text is unique, with many interpolations found nowhere else, with a few remarkable omissions, and a capricious tendency to rephrase sentences. Aside from this one Greek manuscript it is found in Old Latin (pre-Vulgate) versions — as seen in the Latin here — and in Syriac, and Armenian versions. Bezae is the principle Greek representative of the Western text-type. The manuscript demonstrates the latitude in the manuscript tradition that could still be found in the 5th and 6th centuries, the date of this codex.
There is no consensus on the many problems the Greek text presents. Since the Latin, however, occasionally agrees with Codices Codex Bobiensis and Codex Veronensis, it is a witness to a text current no later than 250 CE and "preserves an ancient form of the Old Latin text." Issues of conformity have dogged the usage of the Codex Bezae in biblical scholarship. In general the Greek text is treated as an unreliable witness and treated as "an important corroborating witness wherever it agrees with other early manuscripts" as one of the links below freely admits.
Some of the outstanding features: Matthew 16:2b–3 is present and not marked as doubtful or spurious. One of the longer endings of Mark is given. Luke 22:43f and Pericope de adultera are present and not marked as spurious or doubtful. John 5:4 is omitted, and the text of Acts is nearly one-tenth longer than the generally received text.
Matthew 5:11 reads ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης (for the sake of righteousness) with itmss
Matthew 5:19 omits text ὃς δʼ ἂν ποιήσῃ καὶ διδάξῃ, οὗτος μέγας κληθήσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν (but whoever will do [them] and should teach [them], the same will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens) with א* W copboms
Matthew 10:18 reads ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων σταθήσεσθε (before governors ye shall be caused to stand) with 0171 itmss syrs
Matthew 10:19 omits text δοθήσεται γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ τί λαλήσητε (for it will be given [to] youpl in that hour what youpl should speak) with L itmss vgmssEpiphanius
Matthew 10:37b (καὶ ὁ φιλῶν υἱὸν ἢ θυγατέρα ὑπὲρ ἐμὲ οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος = and the person loving their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me) is omitted, as in 19 B* 983 syrh Codex Schøyen and the HebrewShem Tov Matthew manuscript.
Matthew 10:41b (καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται = and the one who receives a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward) is omitted.
ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ ἀκούσωσιν καὶ μὴ συνῶσιν, μήποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν (so that while seeing, they should not see; and while hearing, they should not hear; and they should not perceive, lest they should turn back) D Θ f1f13 22 it syrs,c (Eusebius)
ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν (that while seeing, they should not see; and while hearing, they should not hear, nor are they perceiving) Byz rell
ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ ἀκούσωσιν μηδὲ συνῶσιν (so that while seeing, they should not see; and while hearing, they should not hear, nor should they perceive) 1424 itff1 cosa mae-1
text omitted by Codex Schøyen
Matthew 13:14 adds text (begins passage) Πορεύθητι, καὶ εἰπὲ τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ (Go, and tell the people this) with itmss mae-1 Eusebius
λευκὰ ὡς χιών (white as snow) D latmss syrc cobomss
λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς (white as the light) rell
Matthew 17:12b (οὕτως καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπʼ αὐτῶν = So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands) is transposed to follow Matthew 17:13, as in ita,b,c,d,e,ff1,ff2,g1,n,r1
τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεὸς (Why are you calling me good? There is no one good, not one except God) C K W (Δ) f13 28 33 118 565 1071 1241 1582c Byz itf,q syrp,h cosa,boms Chrysostom Basil
τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός (Why are you asking me about the good? One there is that is good) א B D L Θ f1 22 700 892 1192* 1424mg ita,d syrs,hmg mae-1 arm geo aeth Origen
τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός ὁ θεὸς (Why are you asking me about the good? One there is that is good: God) lat syrc cobo mae
τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεὸς (Why are you asking me about the good? No one is good, not one except God) Eusebius
τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; εἷς ἐστιν ἀγαθός, ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Why are you calling me good? One there is good: the Father in the heavens) DiatessaronmssJustin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus
τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; εἷς ἐστιν ἀγαθός, ὁ πατὴρ (Why are you calling me good? One there is good: the Father) Marcion it(e) (Clement)
Matthew 19:25 reads ἐξεπλήσσοντο καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα (they were astonished and they were afraid exceedingly) with itmss vgmss syrc
Matthew 19:29 omits text ἢ πατέρα (or their father) and text ἢ γυναῖκα (or their wife)
But seek to increase from that which is small, and to become less from that which is greater. When you enter into a house and are summoned to dine, do not sit down at the prominent places, lest perchance a man more honorable than you come in afterwards, and he who invited you come and say to you, "Go down lower"; and you shall be ashamed. But if you sit down in the inferior place, and one inferior to you come in, then he that invited you will say to you, "Go up higher"; and this will be advantageous for you.
In syrc the passage reads slightly different, perhaps making more intelligible sense. The Syriac reflects the following Greek text. Literal translation:
But seek ye to increase from the least, and not from the greater to become the lesser. Also, when ye enter and are invited to dine, do not recline in one of the distinguished places, lest one more honorable than you might come and, upon approaching the dinner host, you should be told, "Move further down," and you will be humiliated. But if you recline in the inferior place, and one lesser than you should come, the dinner host will tell you, "Come, be joined in yet higher," and this will be of benefit to you.
Matthew 20:30 omits text Κύριε (Lord) with א Θ f13 118 157 209 346 565 700 ita,b,c,d,e,ff1,ff2,h,n syrc,palms mae-1 Codex Schøyen
Ἄρατε αὐτόν ποδῶν καὶ χειρῶν καὶ Βάλετε αὐτόν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον (Takepl him [by] his feet and his hands and castpl him into the outer darkness) D ita,b,c,d,e,ff1,ff2,h,q,r1 syrs,c Irenaeuslat Lucifer
Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον (After bindingpl him [by] his feet and his hands, dispelpl him into the outer darkness) א B L Θ 085 f1 22 700 892 itaur,f,g1,l vg syrp co Codex Schøyen Didymus
Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἄρατε αὐτόν καὶ ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον (After bindingpl him [by] his feet and his hands, takepl and dispelpl him into the outer darkness) C (M) W Δ (Φ) 0102 33 (565) (579) (1241) (1424) Byz itf syr(h)
Βάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον (castpl [him] into the outer darkness) f13
Matthew 22:17 omits text Εἰπέ οὖν ἡμῖν (Therefore, tell us) with ita,b,d,e,ff1,ff2,q,r1 syrs coboms Codex Schøyen
καθηγητὴς ὁ χριστός (your teacher, the Christ) א*,2 D K Π L (W) Δ Θ 0102 0107 f1,13 Byz Basil
διδάσκαλος (your teacher) א1 B 33 517 565 892* co Clement
διδάσκαλος ὁ χριστός (your teacher, the Christ) 892c
ῥαββί (Rabbi) syrp
ῥαββί ὁ χριστός (Rabbi, the Christ) syrc
Matthew 23:14 is omitted, as in א B D L Z Θ f1 33 892* ita,aur,d,e,ff1,g1 vg syrs,palms cosa,bomss mae-1 Codex Schøyen arm geo Origen Eusebius
Matthew 23:26 omits text καὶ τῆς παροψίδος (and the plate) with Θ f1 2* 700 ita,d,e,ff2,r1 syrs Irenaeuslat Clement
Matthew 23:34 omits text καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν (and of them, ye will scourge in your synagogues) with itaLucifer
Matthew 24:31 adds text ἀρχομένων δὲ τούτων γίνεσθαι ἀναβλέψατε καὶ ἐπάρατε τὰς κεφαλὰς ὑμῶν διότι ἐγγίζει ἡ ἀπολύτρωσις ὑμῶν (But when these things begin happening, look up and lift up your heads, because that your redemption is approaching) with 1093 itb,c,d,h,q,r1
Matthew 24:41 adds text δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης μιᾶς εἷς παραλαμβάνεται καὶ εἷς ἀφίεται (two upon one bed; one taken, and one left) with f13 itmss vgmss Origenmss
και μετα τριων ημερων αλλος αναστησεται ανευ χειρων (and within three days another will arise without hands) D W ita,b,c,d,(e),ff2,i,(k),n,r1 Cyprian
text omitted — rell
In Mark 15:34 (see Psalms 22:2) it has ὠνείδισάς με (insult me), supported by Old Latin itc, (i), k and by syrh. The ordinary reading here is ἐγκατέλιπές με (forsaken me) supported by Alexandrian mss, or με ἐγκατέλιπες (see Matthew 27:46) supported by Byzantine mss.
Gospel of Luke
In Luke 4:17 the codex contains unique textual variant ἁπτύξας (touched), corrected by a later hand into ἀναπτύξας (unrolled). The other manuscripts have in this place:
ἀνοίξας (opened) — B, A, L, W, Ξ, 33, 892, 1195, 1241, ℓ547, syrs, h, pal, copsa, bo
"On that same day, seeing someone working on the Sabbath, he (Jesus) said to him, 'Man, if you know what you do, blessed are you; but if you do not know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law.'"
In Luke 7:1 επειδη επληρωσεν παντα τα ρηματα αυτου εις τας ακοας του λαου εισηλθεν ] και εγενετο οτε ετελεσεν ταυτα τα ρηματα λαλων ηλθεν
Luke 23:34 omits text ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς, οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν (Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing") with 75 אaBWΘ0124 31* 38 435 597* 1241 1808* ita,bc,d syrs copsa,bo.
Luke 24:1 omits text ἀρώματα with (aromatics) itmss syrs,c cosa
Luke 24:2 omits text ἐλθοῦσαι δὲ εὗρον (Then, upon arriving, they found) with 070 itc cosa
Luke 24:6 omits text τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ (the Lord Jesus) with ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1
Luke 24:6 omits text οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε, ἀλλὰ ἠγέρθη with ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1 armmss geomss
Luke 24:7 omits text ἁμαρτωλῶν (sinful) with ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1
Luke 24:9 omits text ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου (from the tomb) with ita,b,d,e,ff2,l,r1 arm geo
Luke 24:10 omits text ἦσαν δὲ (Now they were) with A W Γ 788 1241 ℓmss itd,e syrs,c
^L. Neville Birdsall, The Geographical and Cultural Origin of Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis: A Survey of the Status Qyaestionnis, Mainly from Palaeographical Standpoint, in: Studien zum Text zur Ethik des Neuen Testaments: Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstag von Heinrich Greeven, ed. Wolfgang Schrage, Beihelfe zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 47 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 186), 102-114.
^D. C. Parker, Codex Bezae: An Early Christian Manuscript and Its Text (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992
^F. H. A. Scrivener, Bezae Codex Cantabrigiensis: being an exact Copy, in ordinary Type, of the celebrated Uncial Graeco-Latin Manuscript of the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, written early in the Sixth Century, and presented to the University of Cambridge by Theodore Beza A.D. 1581. Edited, with a critical Introduction, Annotations, and Facsimiles, 1864.
^The story of the colloquium has been chronicled by one of the participants: J.-M. Auwers, "Le colloque international sur le Codex Bezae", Revue Théologique de Louvain 26 (1995), 405-412. See also: Codex Bezae, Studies from the Lunel Colloquium, ed. D.C. Parker & C.-B. Amphoux
^Bruce Metzger The Text of the New Testament 4th ed. p. 73.