News ID: 261423
Published: 0246 GMT November 11, 2019

Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of Bible in Vulgate

Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of Bible in Vulgate

Although we do not know much about St. Ceolfrid, we know at least a few key things: We know for sure he was the Anglo-Saxon abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery in England, we know he was French, and we know that he was the warden of Bede the Venerable.

Also, we know that the abbot commissioned three copies of the Bible somewhere in the late 7th century. One of these three copies is the ‘Codex Amiatinus’, the earliest surviving copy of St. Jerome’s 4th-century translation of both the Hebrew and the Greek Bibles (that is, both the Old and New Testaments) into Latin. This translation is what we know as the Vulgate.

The ‘Codex Amiatinus’ is considered the most accurate copy of St. Jerome’s original translation. In fact, this is the copy that was used in the revision of the Vulgate by Pope Sixtus V in the late 16th century, wrote.

It is currently preserved in the Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, and is considered one of the most valuable Christian manuscripts in the West.

What we know of Ceolfrid, in fact, we get from Bede’s own ‘Ecclesiastical History of England’. In it, he states the Benedictine monk Ceolfrid commissioned three large Bibles from the abbey’s scriptorium. Two of these copies were placed in each of the twin churches of the monastery (in Wearmouth and Jarrow), and the third of which was intended as a gift for the pope.

These Bibles were copied from another codex, the ‘Codex Grandior’, which is now lost. But of the three texts, only the copy that later came to be known as the ‘Codex Amiatinus’ survives.



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