Textual Evidence

Codex Argenteus
The Gothic Version & the PA

The Silver Bible (520 A.D.), Gothic Version, Emperor Constantine, & the PA (John 8:1-11)

Page Index


Prologue: - The Gothic Version & John 8:1-11
    Gothic Version - Extant Contents
    Gothic Version - Unused in Greek NT Textual Criticism
    'Deplorable State' - Germanic scholars incompetant: B. Aland
    Unrealistic Complaints - Gothic Version still usable

Codex Argenteus: - The Silver Bible (520 A.D.)
    Plate 65: Actual Appearance
    Enhanced: black & white
    Reversed: negative image
    Gothic Alphabet: ancient styles
    Text: Jn 7:52/8:12: Transliteration
    John 7:52/8:12: Interlinear Text (+NA27)
    Mark's Ending: Interlinear Text (+NA27)

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The Gothic Version
& John 8:1-11

The Gothic Version

A Brief History of the Gothic Bible

Barbara Aland offers a succinct account of the origin of the Gothic:

"...that the Gothic version was made directly from the Greek is unquestioned.


The version was begun soon after 341 A.D. (if not earlier), when Wulfilas came to Byzantium as a member of a Gothic delegation and was consecrated "bishop of the Gothlands" by Bishop Eusebius of Nicodemia. Christianity had already spread among the Goths (brought by Roman Christians taken as prisoners of war), but it expanded vigorously in the years following.

Although the Christians under Wulfilas were expelled in 348 A.D. (crossing the Danube into Moesia, where Wulfilas completed his version), the triumphal advance of Christianity among the Goths and other Germanic tribes could not be checked.

For his translation Wulfilas devised a special alphabet of 27 letters, two thirds of which were derived from Greek, and the rest from Latin and the old German Runes. Apart from the Gospels (in the order of Matthew, John, Luke, Mark) and the Pauline letters (incomplete), which are preserved in a total of 9 manuscripts, only about fifty verses from Neh. 5-7 have survived of the Gothic Bible."

- Barbara Aland,
The Text of the NT, p. 206-208

The Gothic Version: Whats Available

The following list gives approximately what is currently extant of the Gothic Version:

Table of contents

Matthew ch. ...[ 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 25 | 26 | 27
John ch. ...[ 5 | 6 | 7 |* 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 ]...
Luke ch. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
Mark ch. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 **

Pauline epistles:
Romans chapter ...[ 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16
Corinthians I ch. 1 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16
Corinthians II ch. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Ephesians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Galatians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Philippians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Colossians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Thessalonians I chapter 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Thessalonians II chapter 1 | 2 | 3
Timothy I chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Timothy II chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Titus chapter 1 | 2
Philemon chapter 1

Minor fragments:
Nehemiah chapter 5 | 6 | 7
Skeireins leaf 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
Signatures deed 1 | 2
Calendar month 10 | 11

* John 7:53-8:11 is missing from Codex Argenteus.
** Marks Long Ending, see below for text and notes.

Principle Manuscripts for the Gothic Version

CA = Codex Argenteus
A = Codex Ambrosianus A
B = Codex Ambrosianus B
C = Codex Ambrosianus C
D = Codex Ambrosianus D
E = Codex Ambrosianus E
Car = Codex Carolinus
Giss = Codex Gissensis
Taur = Codex Taurinensis
Lat5750 = Codex Vaticanus

The Gothic Version: Ignored by Textual Critics

Aland tells us the Gothic text is rarely used by modern critics:

"...the Gothic version is not cited along with the Latin, Syriac, and other versions as a primary witness in the critical apparatuses of Greek NT editions. As a rule it is cited only casually, because the general character of its textual base is rather precisely known: for his translation Wulfilas made use of a manuscript of the early Byzantine text differing little from what we find in the Greek manuscripts."

- Barbara Aland,
ibid., p. 206

The explanation above seems hardly credible, and Aland probably feels compelled to justify why yet another important independant witness to the Greek text appears to have been deliberately avoided and downplayed in the quest to escape the Byzantine text. And so follows a remarkable apologetic regarding this seeming dereliction of duty:

The "Deplorable State" of the Gothic Version

Aland sounds quite an alarm-bell regarding any text-critical use of the Gothic text:

"... Naturally it would be of considerable significance for the history of the text to determine precisely the form of the Greek text used by Wulfilas, because this would reveal the stage of development of the Koine text about 350 A.D. in a purer form than is available elsewhere.

But unfortunately this is impossible because the Germanics specialists who have reconstructed the underlying Greek text have not followed the Gothic text as it stands, but proposed a hypothetical Greek text of their own.

The standard edition by Wilhelm Steitberg differs from the Gothic text (under the influence of von Soden's views among others) in hundreds of instances in a way that can only be described as arbitrary.

Ernst Bernhardt's reconstruction has other faults because of its assumption that Wulfilas followed an exemplar of the type of Codex Alexandrinus.

For the Gothic version to make its full contribution to NT textual criticism, what is needed from Germanics scholars is a reconstruction of the Greek exemplar based exclusively on the Gothic materials apart from any theories of its textual history.

Wulfilas's version is, after all, quite literal, attempting to render the Greek words consistently whenever possible. While admittedly an element of Latin influence may be detected in it, there is the question of whether this was already present with Wulfilas himself (certainly a possibility in Moesia), or whether it is a later element due to textual transmission in a Latin environment (Codex Argenteus is dated in the 6th century).

But this should be determined by textual criticism and not Germanic scholarship -- at least not exclusively."

- Barbara Aland,
ibid., p. 206

Clearly something is not right in the land of Western textual criticism. Aland seems deeply disturbed by the efforts of German scholars. But this crticism seems almost hysterical as well as targeted. All things being equal, German scholars ought to be the preferred experts for handling a German text like the Gothic version.

But Aland has dismissed the entire collective effort of German scholars en masse! Apparently by "textual criticism" Aland means English, or perhaps 'Western' scholars, or at least scholars aligned with the views of the Alands.

Unrealistic Complaints

But Aland's complaints are no excuse for dismissing the use of the Gothic version as a textual witness. Even if current editions of the text have some flaws, Aland can hardly maintain that we don't know what the readings of the Gothic text are, when the major manuscripts have all been photographed and published.

And Aland's proposed methodology for reconstructing the Gothic is itself unrealistic and flawed: one can hardly reconstruct the text "exclusively on Gothic materials" (when only fragments survive), and do it "apart from any theories of its textual history" as well. This is just nonsense.

Aland really has another agenda, - that of minimising another independant witness to the early (4th century) Greek text, because it would support early Byzantine readings, and push back the date of the Byzantine text-type.

But what is most disturbing, is the anti-Germanic ranting; this time however, its not because the Germans are over-skeptical, or enemies of the Bible, but apparently now they are 'too conservative', and too sensible to embrace the more extremist views of radical editors of the NT.

The last we checked, German scholars weren't hoarding the rights to study of the Gothic version. Rather, the texts and critical editions have been freely available, and scholars all over the world have freely engaged in its analysis.

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Codex Argenteus
The Silver Bible


The greatest gem among the manuscript treasures of the Uppsala University Library is the Codex Argenteus, the "Silver Bible". This world-famous manuscript is written in silver and gold letters on purple vellum in Ravenna about 520 A.D. It contains fragments of the Four Gospels in the 4th-century Gothic version of Bishop Ulfilas (Wulfila). Of the original 336 leaves there remain only 188. With the exception of one leaf, discovered in 1970 in the cathedral of Speyer in Germany, they are all preserved in Uppsala.

The manuscript was discovered in the middle of the 16th century in the library of the Benedictine monastery of Werden in the Ruhr, near Essen in Germany. Later on it became the property of the Emperor Rudolph II, and when, in July 1648, the last year of the Thirty Years' War, the Swedes occupied Prague, it fell into their hands together with the other treasures of the Imperial Castle of Hradcany. It was subsequently deposited in the library of Queen Christina in Stockholm, but on the abdication of the Queen in 1654 it was acquired by one of her librarians, the Dutch scholar Isaac Vossius. He took the manuscript with him to Holland, where, in 1662, the Swedish Count Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie bought the codex from Vossius and, in 1669, presented it to the University of Uppsala. He had previously had it bound in a chased silver binding, made in Stockholm from designs by the painter David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl.

Plate 65:

Actual Appearance

Plate 65:

Enhanced Photo

Plate 65:

Reversed Photo

Gothic Alphabet

Early Uncial Styles


St. John 7:52,8:12-17, Plate 65

7:52b praufetus us galeilaia ni ur
8:12 reisiþ· aftra du ïm is rodida
qaþuh ïk ïm liuhaþ manasedais·
saei laisteiþ mik ni gaggiþ ïn
riqiza ak habaiþ liuhaþ libai
13 nais· þanuh qeþun du ïmma
þai fareisaieis· þu bi þuk sil
ban weitwodeis· so weitwodi
þa þeina nist sunjeina·
14 Andhof is jah qaþ du ïm· jah ja
bai ïk weitwodja bi mik silban
sunja ïst so weitwodiþa meina·
unte wait hvaþro qam jah hvaþ
galeiþa· ïþ jus ni wituþ hvaþro
15 qima· aiþþau hvaþ galeiþa· jus
bi leika stojiþ ïþ ïk ni stoja
16 ainnohun· aþþan jabai sto
ja ïk· staua meina sunjeina
ïst· unte ains ni ïm ak ïk jah
17 saei sandida mik atta· jah þa

12, 14: iesus
17: þan

Interlinear Text:

St. John 7:52,8:12-17, Plate 65

John 7:52 CA andhofun jah qeþun du imma: ibai jah þu us Galeilaia is?
ussokei jah saihv þatei
praufetus us Galeilaia ni urreisiþ.

— They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee?
Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
— ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, μὴ καὶ σὺ ἐκ τῆς γαλιλαίας εἶ;
ἐραύνησον καὶ ἴδε ὅτι ἐκ τῆς γαλιλαίας προφήτης οὐκ ἐγείρεται.

John 8:12

Aftra du im Iesus rodida qaþuh: ik im liuhaþ manasedais;
saei laisteiþ mik ni gaggiþ in riqiza, ak habaiþ liuhaþ libainais.

— Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
— πάλιν οὖν αὐτοῖς ἐλάλησεν ὁ ἰησοῦς λέγων, ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου:
ὁ ἀκολουθῶν ἐμοὶ οὐ μὴ περιπατήσῃ ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ, ἀλλ' ἕξει τὸ φῶς τῆς ζωῆς.

John 8:13

þanuh qeþun du imma þai Fareisaieis:
þu bi þuk silban weitwodeis; so weitwodiþa þeina nist sunjeina.

— The Pharisees therefore said unto him,
Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
— εἶπον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ φαρισαῖοι,
σὺ περὶ σεαυτοῦ μαρτυρεῖς: ἡ μαρτυρία σου οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθής.

John 8:14

andhof Iesus jah qaþ du im: jah jabai ik weitwodja bi mik silban,
sunja ist so weitwodiþa meina, unte wait hvaþro qam jah hvaþ galeiþa,
iþ jus ni wituþ hvaþro qima, aiþþau hvaþ galeiþa.

— Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself,
yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go;
but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
— ἀπεκρίθη ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, κἂν ἐγὼ μαρτυρῶ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ,
ἀληθής ἐστιν ἡ μαρτυρία μου, ὅτι οἶδα πόθεν ἦλθον καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγω:
ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ οἴδατε πόθεν ἔρχομαι ἢ ποῦ ὑπάγω.

John 8:15

jus bi leika stojiþ, iþ ik ni stoja ainnohun.

— Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
— ὑμεῖς κατὰ τὴν σάρκα κρίνετε, ἐγὼ οὐ κρίνω οὐδένα.

John 8:16

jaþ~þan jabai stoja ik, staua meina sunjeina ist,
unte ains ni im, ak ik jah saei sandida mik atta.

— And yet if I judge, my judgment is true:
for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
— καὶ ἐὰν κρίνω δὲ ἐγώ, ἡ κρίσις ἡ ἐμὴ ἀληθινή ἐστιν,
ὅτι μόνος οὐκ εἰμί, ἀλλ' ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πέμψας με πατήρ.

John 8:17

jah þan in witoda izwaramma gameliþ
ist þatei twaddje manne weitwodiþa sunja ist.

— It is also written in your law,
that the testimony of two men is true.
— καὶ ἐν τῷ νόμῳ δὲ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ γέγραπται
ὅτι δύο ἀνθρώπων ἡ μαρτυρία ἀληθής ἐστιν.


"Please note that the interlinear Greek text presented here is not Streitberg's reconstruction of the original Greek source, but Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece (NA-26/27). This is obviously not the version used by Wulfila. It is provided for illustrative purposes only, in order to make the Gothic text more accessible. It should not be used for a close study of the translation technique." [2]

Mark's Ending in the Gothic

St. Mark 16:8-20

We are told by Mr. Snapp Jr. that:

...the last page of Codex Argenteus; the actual last page, containing the remaining portion of chapter 16, was lost for a long time, and was only rediscovered in 1970. As a result, 187v was more exposed that the other pages, and faded a bit more than they did.

Also, the lettering at the beginning of the sections is written in different ink than the rest of the text. That's why the beginning of 16:8 -- line 7 -- is difficult to discern. For the same reason, the beginning of 16:9 -- after "DUN SIS AUK" in line 11 -- is hard to see. If you download Uppstrom's transcript, you can follow along with the facsimile and see what's going on.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

Re: Codex Argenteus - Ending of Mark? Message #2889, Nov. 15 2009, TC-Alt List, Yahoo Groups

We can see below that the remainder of the text is provided by another source (Codex/text?), Speyer.

Mark 16:8
CA jah usgaggandeins af þamma hlaiwa gaþlauhun; dizuh~þan~sat ijos reiro jah usfilmei, jah ni qeþun mannhun waiht; ohtedun sis auk.
— And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
— καὶ ἐξελθοῦσαι ἔφυγον ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, εἶχεν γὰρ αὐτὰς τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις: καὶ οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπαν, ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ.

Mark 16:9
CA usstandands þan in maurgin frumin sabbato ataugida frumist Marjin þizai Magdalene, af þizaiei uswarp sibun unhulþons.
— Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
[[ ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον μαρίᾳ τῇ μαγδαληνῇ, παρ' ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια.

Mark 16:10
CA soh gaggandei gataih þaim miþ imma wisandam, qainondam jah gretandam.
— And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
— ἐκείνη πορευθεῖσα ἀπήγγειλεν τοῖς μετ' αὐτοῦ γενομένοις πενθοῦσι καὶ κλαίουσιν:

Mark 16:11
CA jah eis hausjandans þatei libaiþ jah gasaihvans warþ fram izai, ni galaubidedun.
— And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
— κἀκεῖνοι ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ζῇ καὶ ἐθεάθη ὑπ' αὐτῆς ἠπίστησαν.

Mark 16:12
CA afaruh þan þata .... Speyer .... twaim ize ataugiþs warþ in anþaramma farwa, gaggandam du wehsa:
— After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
— μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα δυσὶν ἐξ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν:

Mark 16:13
Speyer jah jainai galeiþandans gataihun þaim anþaraim; niþ~þaim galaubidedun.
— And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
— κἀκεῖνοι ἀπελθόντες ἀπήγγειλαν τοῖς λοιποῖς: οὐδὲ ἐκείνοις ἐπίστευσαν.

Mark 16:14
Speyer bi spedistin þan anakumbjandam þaim ainlibim ataugida, jah idweitida ungalaubein ize jah harduhairtein, unte þaim gasaihvandam ina urrisanana, ni galaubidedun.
— Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
— ὕστερον [δὲ] ἀνακειμένοις αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἕνδεκα ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ὠνείδισεν τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν καὶ σκληροκαρδίαν ὅτι τοῖς θεασαμένοις αὐτὸν ἐγηγερμένον οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν.

Mark 16:15
Speyer jah qaþ du im: gaggandans in þo manaseþ alakjo, merjaiþ þo aiwaggeljon allai þizai gaskaftai.
— And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
— καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, πορευθέντες εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει.

Mark 16:16
Speyer jah sa galaubjands ufdaupiþs ganisiþ; iþ saei ni galaubeiþ, afdomjada.
— He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
— ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθεὶς σωθήσεται, ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται.

Mark 16:17
Speyer aþþan taikns þaim galaubjandam þata afargaggiþ: in namin meinamma unhulþons uswairpand: razdom rodjand niujaim,
— And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
— σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει: ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν, γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς,

Mark 16:18
Speyer waurmans nimand, jah jabai ingibe hva drigkaina, ni þauh im agljai; ana unhailans handuns uslagjand, jah waila wairþiþ im.
— They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
— [καὶ ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν] ὄφεις ἀροῦσιν, κἂν θανάσιμόν τι πίωσιν οὐ μὴ αὐτοὺς βλάψῃ, ἐπὶ ἀρρώστους χεῖρας ἐπιθήσουσιν καὶ καλῶς ἕξουσιν.

Mark 16:19
Speyer þanuh þan frauja Iesus afar þatei rodida du im, usnumans warþ in himin jah gasat af taihswon gudis.
— So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
— ὁ μὲν οὖν κύριος ἰησοῦς μετὰ τὸ λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς ἀνελήμφθη εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Mark 16:20
Speyer iþ jainai usgaggandans meridedun and allata miþ fraujin gawaurstwin jah þata waurd tulgjandin þairh þos afargaggandeins taiknins. amen.
— And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
— ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ἐξελθόντες ἐκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ, τοῦ κυρίου συνεργοῦντος καὶ τὸν λόγον βεβαιοῦντος διὰ τῶν ἐπακολουθούντων σημείων.]] explicit Speyer Aiwaggeljo þairh Marku ustauh. wulþus þus weiha guþ. amen.

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