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June 25, 2010

Harris on the TR

Excerpt from: Rendel Harris, Texts and Studies, Vol. II, No.1 A Study of Codex Bezae, (Cambridge, 1891), pp. 1-5

Page Index

Codex Bezae: Its use in the Textus Receptus - of Stephen (1550) and Beza (1598).

Codex Bezae

Its use in Steven's and Beza's Greek NT

The following is excerpted to give some explanation of the use of Codex Bezae in both the editions of Stephen (1550), and Beza (1598) of the Textus Receptus or "Received Text" (i.e., the Traditional Text of the NT).

The Origin and History of Codex Bezae

"It is well known that there have been very diverse opinions as to the origin of Codex Bezae (D) itself, to say nothing as to the origin of the text. Kipling, who edited the text so excellently for his day, was of the opinion that the MS had an Egyptian origin: in this he was followed by Schulz, who emphasised the same view in a valuable dissertation.

On the other hand, the moderns usually follow Scholz and Scrivener in the opinion that the MS is of Gallican origin, the Greek text being occasionally affected by Latin forms, 1 and the Latin translation being vitiated by all sorts of decaying modes of speech, which intimate that the scribe was writing in the provinces, probably to the West of the Alps, and at a time when the Latin speech was breaking up.

So that it is generally held that the Cod. Bezae was written in the Rhone Valley, probably at Lyons where, according to Beza, it was found; and that it never was out of France (unless it be for a possible visit to the Council of Trent, whither it is said to have been carried by a French bishop) until it was presented by Beza to the U. of Cambridge (Eng.) in 1581 A.D.

And while the reasons for these conclusions are not perfectly decisive, they are cumulative and in the main convincing. Accordingly I shall not repeat in detail the arguments, which may be found in Scrivener's edition of the MS or in any good handbook: ...

I am willing to grant the hypothesis of the Gallican origin as a basis upon which to build: if the foundation be a rotten one, the edifice will soon betray the fact. It may be further admitted that the MS which Beza presented to the U.of Camb. is the same as the MS which is quoted in the margin of Robert Stephen's NT (1550 A.D.) under the sign β, and which Stephen affirms to have been collated by certain friends in Italy: and it is possible that this identification may lead to the further admission, to which allusion was made above, that the MS was carried to the C. of Trent in 1546 by William a Prato the bishop of Clermont in the Auvergne. BUt this point must be reserved for a closer examination. It is sufficient to say that such a supposition at once explains the difficulty as to how a Lyons MS could be collated in Italy.

But, while making these preliminary admissions, I do not admit that Beza ever recognized his own MS in the β of Stephen; nor again, as Gregory 2 following Scrivener 3 asserts, that Beza had access to the collations of Henry Stephen. This last idea is a misunderstanding based on the prefaces of Beza's NT, which speak of a collation by Henry Stephen of all the good editions and of 25 MSS.

But an examination of the annotations of Beza in his 1598 edition will shew that following points:

(1) That Beza quotes the 16 authorities of Stephen from the margin of the 1550 edition, and treats them as 16 MSS, although one of the authorities (α) is the Complutensian Polyglott:

(2) He numbers the authorities which he quotes as Stephen had numbered them;

(3) He quotes Codex Bezae and the β of Stephen as two different authorities:

(4) The only other authorities which he uses are Codex Claromontanus, and another MS which had recently come into his possession.

To establish these points it is only necessary to give a few instances. if we take the annotations to the 14th chapter of Matthew, we have (in Beza):

v. 2. Iste, ουτος. In secundo codice scriptum erat, μητι ουτος, id est, Num iste?

Baptista, ο βαπτιστης. Veteres duo codices additum habent, ον εγω απεκεφαλισα, id est, quem ego decollaui.

Here a reference to the margin of Stephen shews:

μητι. β

ον εγω απεκεφαλισα β. δ.

...when Beza comes to the interpolation in John 6:56, he does not notice that the passage is in his own beloved codex, but seeing it quoted on the margin of Stephen as from β, he makes a disgraceful note: [given in Latin in Beza].

Similar distinction between Stephen's β and Cod. D may be seen in the interpolations of Acts 6:10; 16:35, quoted only from Stephen,; and in 16:40, where Beza adds to Stephen's note. ...

1. Such as and the like, which might be expected from a Latin scribe writing a bilingual copy.

2. Prolegomena in Tischendorf, pp. 213-214.

3. Codex Bezae, p. ix, note 3.

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