Codex Fuldensis

The Codex Fuldensis (F) is a New Testament manuscript of the Latin Vulgate made between 541 and 546 A.D. The codex is considered the second most important witness to the Vulgate text; and is also the oldest complete manuscript witness to the order of the Diatessaron. It is one of the earliest dated manuscript of the New Testament. It was written by Victor, bishop of Capua, in Italy and it was finished being revised and corrected on 2 May 546 A.D.

Victor Capuanus reports that he found an Old Latin harmony of the Gospels, which he recognised as following Tatian’s arrangement of the Diatessaron; and substituted the Vulgate text for the Old Latin, appending the rest of the New Testament books from the standard Vulgate. Victor terms it in the preface, a single Gospel composed from the four. Victor was not certain that the harmony he used was identical with the Diatesseron of Tatian. The discovery of the text of the latter work and recent investigation have made it clear that this Latin harmony used by Victor was drawn up about A.D. 500. The anonymous author of this work simply substituted the Latin of St. Jerome’s Vulgate for the Greek of Tatian, and at times changed the order or inserted additional passages. Many of the discrepancies may be due however to subsequent changes.

St. Boniface acquired the codex and in 745 gave it to the monastic library (Abb. 61), in Fulda, where it is housed to the present day (hence the name of the codex), where it served as the source text for vernacular harmonies in Old High German, Eastern Frankish and Old Saxon. The codex, blessed with the authority of Boniface, was copied many times in the Middle Ages and served as a basis for commentaries by Zacharias Chrysopolitanus (of Bezançon), Peter Lombard, and Peter Cantor.

Codex Fuldensis contains Diatessaron and 23 canonical books of the New Testament; plus the Epistle to the Laodiceans, and a copy of Jerome’s Prologue to the Canonical Gospels. It represents Italian type of text. The order of books: Diatessaron, Pauline epistles (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians, Colosians, Laodiceans, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews), Acts of the Apostles, Catholic epistles, Apocalypse.

The four gospels are harmonised into a single continuous narrative, according to the form of Tatian’s Diatessaron. Its text is akin to that of Codex Amiatinus. The harmonised gospel text is preceded by a listing of its sections, with a summary of their contents, which was copied unchanged from the Old Latin exemplar. From this it can be determined that the Old Latin source had lacked the Genealogy of Jesus (which Victor inserted); but that the source had included the passage of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery.

The text of the codex was published by Ernestus Ranke in 1868 –  Codex Fuldensis. Novum Testamentum Latine Interprete Hieronymo (Lipsiae 1868).

Codex Fuldensis is an important witness in any discussion about the authenticity of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. The section 1 Cor 14:34-35 is added by the original scribe on the margin. This section is marked by umlaut in Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209. Several manuscripts of the Western text-type, placed section 1 Cor 14:34-35 after 1 Cor 14:40 (manuscripts: Claromontanus, Augiensis, Boernerianus, itd, g). Also codex 88, which is not representative of the Western text, placed this section after 1 Cor 14:40. One manuscript of the Vulgate does the same (Codex Reginensis). According to Bruce M. Metzger, the evidence of the codex is ambiguous. Perhaps the scribe, without actually deleting verses 34-35 from the text, intended the liturgist to omit them when reading the lesson.

Codex Sangallensis 56 was copied, in the 9th century, from the Diatessaron of the Codex Fuldensis. It contains also some extracts from the Acts of the Apostles.

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