A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus

Codicology, Palaeography, and Scribal Hands


Codex Alexandrinus is one of the three earliest surviving entire Greek Bibles and is an important fifth-century witness to the Christian Scriptures, yet no major analysis of the codex has been performed in over a century. In A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus W. Andrew Smith delivers a fresh and highly-detailed examination of the codex and its rich variety of features using codicology, palaeography, and statistical analysis. Among the highlights of this study, W. Andrew Smith’s work overturns the view that a single scribe was responsible for copying the canonical books of the New Testament and demonstrates that the orthographic patterns in the Gospels can no longer be used to argue for Egyptian provenance of the codex.
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Biographical Note

W. Andrew Smith, Ph.D. (2013), University of Edinburgh, is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Shepherds Theological Seminary.

Review Quote

'It is rare to find in a published university PhD thesis a mature work of scholarship. But this is my judgement of Smith's book. [...] Not surprisingly, footnoting, bibliography and indexing are of the highest order [...] With Smith as a trusty guide, any further studies of Alexandrinus are well served.'

J. K. Elliott, University of Leeds, Novum Testamentum 58, 2016.

' Smith’s judicious study not only stands up well among other seminal works dealing with Codex Alexandrinus, [...] it further serves to thoughtfully advance their insights, and in so doing will both encourage a renewed interest in, and establish itself as indispensable to, the further study of this remarkable manuscript.'

Kent D. Clarke,Trinity Western University, Religious Studies Review · VOLUME 42 · NUMBER 2 · JUNE 2016

'This is an extremely well-executed study, accompanied by illustrations and rich in data. [...] it is likely to be consulted as a standard reference work for those who engage in further study of Codex Alexandrinus. This volume will be welcomed by New Testament text critics and those who study the Gospels more widely.'

Paul Foster, University of Edinburgh, Expository Times 126(12), 2015

'This book is not only valuable due to its originality as the first detailed study of Codex Alexandrinus available. It can also serve as a role model for studies of other manuscripts because its method are sound, its analyses are meticulous, and it deals with physical features of a manuscript, so that the manuscript is assessed for what it is: a physical (and in most cases archaeological) object.'

Thomas J. Kraus, University of Zurich, TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism 20, 2015.

'W. Andrew Smith is to be commended for his excellent and meticulous study [...] This book is to be recommended to anyone who studies New Testament manuscripts. Those who study Codex Alexandrinus will find this work to be essential.'

Elijah Hixson, University of Edinburgh, Fides et Humilitas 2, 2015.

'Now, at long last, we finally have the first fruits of meticulous and well-documented research into A's codicology and palaeography. It is to be hoped that Smith's splendid and inaugural work, examining the codex qua codex, will encourage others to undertake comparable studies on the rest of this manuscript. Smith's published thesis sets a gold standard that others may model their research on.'

J. K. Elliott, University of Leeds, Theologische Literaturzeitung 141, 2016.

Table of contents

Overview of the Following Chapters
Manuscript Page Notation
A Note on the Manuscript Images

Chapter 1. Codex History
Codicology and the History of Codex Alexandrinus
1627 to Present
Codex History Prior to 1627

Chapter 2. Codicology
The Codex
Composition and Binding
Dimensions and Formatting
Ordering of the New Testament Books
Closing Remarks on the Codicology of Alexandrinus

Chapter 3. Palaeography and Paratextual Features of the Gospels
The Hands
Use of Color
Superscriptions, Subscriptions, and Tailpiece Designs
Eusebian Apparatus
Kephalaia and Titloi

Chapter 4. Scribes
Overview of the Scribal Hands
Unit Delimitation
Nomina Sacra
Other Abbreviations and Ligatures

Creation of the Codex
The Eusebian Apparatus and Use of Numbers
Palaeography and Statistical Analysis
Updating the Alexandrinus Knowledge Base
Final Words

Appendix A. Tables of Concordance
Appendix B. Orthographic Data
Appendix C. Statistical Analysis
Appendix D. Eusebian Apparatus Data
Appendix E. Unit Delimitation Data
Works Cited


Academics and students in the fields of biblical studies, textual criticism, palaeography, and codicology.