Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download.Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only .99...Some vellum manuscripts of the greatest importance are palimpsests (from Lat., "scraped again"), that is, they were long ago scraped a second time with pumice-stone and written upon anew.The discovery of palimpsests led to the reckless of bigoted charge of wholesale destruction of Biblical manuscripts by the monks of old.That there was some such destruction is clear enough from the decree of a Greek synod of A. 691, which forbade the use of palimpsest manuscripts either of the Bible or of the Fathers, unless they were utterly unserviceable (see Wattenbach, "Das Schriftwessen im Mittelalter", 1896, p. That such destruction was not wholesale, but had to do with only worn or damaged manuscripts, is in like manner clear enough from the significant fact that as yet no complete work of any kind has been found on a palimpsest.For instance, a codex of the Former and Latter Prophets, how in the Karaite synagogue of Cairo, is dated A. 895; Neubauer assigns it to the eleventh or thirteenth century. Broken and inverted letters, consonants that were too small or too large, dots which were out of place all these oddities were handed down as God-intended.In Genesis 2:4, he created them"; and then set themselves to find out what that meant.
A significant proof of the early loss of the autograph copies of the New Testament is the fact that Irenæus never appeals to the original writings but only to all the painstaking and ancient copies ().
The deciphering of a palimpsest may at times be accomplished merely by soaking it in clear water; generally speaking, some chemical reagent is required, in order to bring back the original writing.
Such chemical reagents are an infusion of nutgalls, Gioberti's tincture and hydrosulphuret of ammonia; all do harm to the manuscript.
This is the oldest extant Bible manuscript (see Cook, "A Pre-Massoretic Biblical Papyrus" in "Proceed. The Samaritan recension is probably pre-exilic; it has come down to us free from Massoretic influences, is written without vowels and in Samaritan characters. The text critics differ very widely in the dates they assign to certain Hebrew manuscripts. He brought the number of Massoretic manuscripts up to 1375. The critical study of this rich assortment of about 3400 Massoretic rolls and codices is not so promising of important results as it would at first thought seem to be.
The earliest Samaritan manuscript extant is that of Nablûs, which was formerly rated very much earlier than all Massoretic manuscripts, but is now assigned to the twelfth or thirteenth century A. Here mention should be made of the non-Massoretic Hebrew manuscripts of the Book of Ecclesiasticus. De Rossi is included to think that at most nine or ten Massoretic manuscripts are earlier than the twelfth century (Variæ Lectiones, I, p. Kennicott, the first critical student of the Massoretic text, either examined or had others examine 16 Samaritan manuscripts, some 40 printed texts and 638 Massoretic manuscripts (see "Dissertatio Generalis in Vetus Testam. No one has since undertaken so colossal a critical study of the Hebrew manuscripts. To the vast number of Hebrew manuscripts examined by Kennicott and De Rossi must be added some 2000 manuscripts of the Imperial Library of St. The manuscripts are all of quite recent date, if compared with Greek, Latin, and Syriac codices. Some few variants are found in copies made for private use; copies made for public service in the synagogues are so uniform as to deter the critic from comparing them.
This lack of variants in Massoretic manuscripts leaves us hopeless of reaching back to the original Hebrew text save through the versions.