Codex Alexandrinus - Textual Features

Textual Features

Textual critics have had a challenging task in classifying the Codex, the exact relationship to other known texts and families is still disputed. The Greek text of the codex is of mixed text-types. It is a representative of the Byzantine text-type in the Gospels - the oldest examples of the type - and the rest of the New Testament books are of the Alexandrian text-type, with some Western readings. Kurt Aland placed it in Category III in the Gospels, and in Category I in rest of the books of the New Testament. The Byzantine text of the Gospels has a number of Alexandrian features, it has some affinities to the textual Family Π. Soden associated the text of the gospels with Family Π, though it is not a pure member of this family. According to Streeter, it is the earliest Greek manuscript which gives us approximately the text of Lucian the Martyr, but a small proportion of the readings seem to be earlier.

Alexandrinus follows the Alexandrian readings through the rest of the New Testament, however, the text goes from closely resembling Codex Sinaiticus in the Pauline epistles, to more closely resembling the text of a number of papyri (74 for Acts, 47 for the Apocalypse). The text of Acts frequently agrees with the biblical quotations made by St. Athanasius. The gospels are cited as a "consistently cited witness of the third order" in the critical apparatus of the Novum Testamentum Graece, while the rest of the New Testament is of the "first order." In Pauline epistles it is closer to Sinaiticus than to Vaticanus. In General epistles it represents a different subtype than the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus. In the Book of Revelation it agrees with Codex Ephraemi against Sinaiticus and Papyrus 47. In the Book of Revelation and in several books of the Old Testament, it has the best text of all manuscripts. In the Old Testament its text often agrees with Codex Sinaiticus.

Old Testament


In Deuteronomy 31:15 it reads εν στυλω (in a pillar) for εν νεφελη (in a cloud);

In Joshua 11:42 it reads ελαβεν (took) for επαταξεν (struck);

In Joshua 11:1 it reads μαδων for μαρρων;

In Judges 18:30 it reads υιου Μωυση, Vaticanus reads – υιος Μανασση;

In Ezra 10:22 (9:22 LXX) it reads Ωκειδηλος (Vaticanus – Ωκαιληδος) for Jozabad;

In Psalm 9:35 it reads κοπον (work) for πονον (pain).

New Testament
Example of differences between Family Π and Codex Alexandrinus in Mark 10:50-51
Family Π Codex Alexandrinus Differences
ο δε αποβαλων το ιματιον αυτου αναστας
ηλθε προς τον ιν̅· και αποκριθεις
ο ις̅ λεγει αυτω τι σοι θελεις ποιησω;
ο δε τυφλος ειπεν αυτω· ραββουνι ινα αναβλεψω·
ο δε αποβαλων το ιματιον αυτου αναστας
ηλθεν προς τον ιν̅· και αποκριθεις
λεγει αυτω ο ις̅ τι θελεις ποιησω σοι·
ο δε τυφλος ειπεν αυτω· ραββουνι ινα αναβλεψω·

Ν εφελκυστικον
order of words

Mark 16:9–20 is preserved in its traditional form in the Codex Alexandrinus.

In Luke 4:17 Alexandrinus has textual variant ἀνοίξας (opened) together with the manuscripts B, L, W, Ξ, 33, 892, 1195, 1241, 547, syrs, syrh, syrpal, copsa, copbo, against variant ἀναπτύξας (unrolled) supported by א, Dc, K, Δ, Θ, Π, Ψ, f1, f13, 28, 565, 700, 1009, 1010 and other manuscripts.

In John 1:39, it has the unique reading ωρα ην ως εκτη (about the sixth hour), instead of ωρα ην ως δεκατη (about the tenth hour), as found in all other manuscripts.

In Acts 8:39 instead of πνεῦμα κυρίου (spirit of the Lord) it has unusual textual variant πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐπέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸν εὐνοῦχον, ἄγγελος δέ κυρίου ἥρπασεν τὸν Φίλιππον (the Holy Spirit fell on the eunuch, and an angel of the Lord caught up Philip) supported by several minuscule manuscripts: 94, 103, 307, 322, 323, 385, 453, 467, 945, 1739, 1765, 1891, 2298, 36a, itp, vg, syrh.

In Acts 11:20 the manuscript has textual variant Ἔλληνας (Greeks) together with the manuscripts 74, corrector c of Sinaiticus, and Codex Bezae, against Ἑλληνιστάς (Hellenists) supported by the rest of manuscripts except Sinaiticus (εὐαγγελιστάς — Evangelists). In Acts 15:18 it has variant γνωστῶν ἀπ᾿ αἰῶνος τῷ κυρίῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ supported only by 74.

In Acts 20:28 it reads του κυριου (of the Lord) – instead of του θεου (of the God) – along with the manuscripts 74 C* D E Ψ 33 36 453 945 1739 1891.

In Romans 2:5 it reads ανταποδοσεως (reward) for αποκαλυψεως (revelation).

In Romans 8:1 it reads Ιησου κατα σαρκα περιπατουσιν, for Ιησου (as א, B, D*, G, 1739, 1881, itd, g, copsa, bo, eth). The reading of the manuscript is supported by Db, Ψ, 81, 629, 2127, vg. The Byzantine manuscripts read Ιησου μη κατα σαρκα περιπατουσιν αλλα κατα πνευμα.

In 1 Corinthians 2:1 it reads μυστηριον along with 46, א, C, 88, 436, ita,r, syrp, copbo. Other manuscripts read μαρτυριον or σωτηριον.

In 1 Corinthians 7:5 it reads τη προσευχη (prayer) along with 11, 46, א*, A, B, C, D, G, P, Ψ, 33, 81, 104, 181, 629, 630, 1739, 1877, 1881, 1962, it vg, cop, arm, eth. Other manuscripts read τη νηστεια και τη προσευχη (fasting and prayer) or τη προσευχη και νηστεια (prayer and fasting).

In Ephesians 1,7 it reads χρηστοτητος for χαριτος along with 365 copbo.

In Ephesians 4:14 it reads του διαβολου for της πλανης.

In 1 Timothy 3:16 it has textual variant ὃς ἐφανερώθη (he was manifested) supported by Sinaiticus, Ephraemi, Boernerianus, 33, 365, 442, 2127, 599, against θεός ἐφανερώθη (God manifested) (Sinaiticuse, A², C², Dc, K, L, P, Ψ, 81, 104, 181, 326, 330, 436, 451, 614, 629, 630, 1241, 1739, 1877, 1881, 1962, 1984, 1985, 2492, 2495, Byz, Lect).

In Hebrews 13:21 it reads παντι εργω και λογω αγαθω for παντι αγαθω.

In 1 John 5:6 it has textual variant δι' ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος καὶ πνεύματος (through water and blood and spirit) together with the manuscripts: Codex Sinaiticus, 104, 424c, 614, 1739c, 2412, 2495, 598m, syrh, copsa, copbo, Origen. Bart D. Ehrman identified it as Orthodox corrupt reading.

In Revelation 1:17 it has unique reading πρωτοτοκος (firstborn) instead of πρωτος (the first).

In Revelation 5:9 it has ἠγόρασας τῷ θεῷ (redeemed to God). This textual variant is supported only by Ethiopian manuscripts, and has no other Greek manuscript with it.

Read more about this topic:  Codex Alexandrinus

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