Exploring the Manuscript Codex Parisinus gr. 39

Alessandra Palla
April 26, 2024

Codex Parisinus gr. 39 (olim Reg. 3441)[1], henceforth referred to as P, is a small-sized written artefact, in which two different almost coeval manuscripts both measuring ca. 195 x 127 mm are bound together. Indeed, the first (ff. 1–177; 234–250) dates back to the thirteenth century and the second (ff. 178–233) to the beginning of the following century, as Claire Guillamont affirms based on handwriting style and on the use of oriental paper.[2]

P currently has a binding (Louis XV), whose spine shows the misleading indication “Nonnulla vet. Test. loca”. Despite this, P cannot be identified as a biblical manuscript and instead is a non-homogeneous collection of profane and religious texts.[3] Among these, however, one might note (f. 84rv, figg. 1–2) a previously overlooked excerpt from Genesis (49:1–27) in the Septuagint version.

A comparison between Wevers’ edition[4] and the text of Gen 49:1–27 transmitted in P highlights certain differences that deserve careful consideration. In fact, this involves not only widely attested readings but also a noticeable consonance between P and Cyril of Alexandria’s quotations of Gen 49:1–27 in the Glaphyra in Pentateuchum. Firstly, this evidence derives from a comparison with Glaphyra’s edition, which, though at our disposal, is unfortunately not completely reliable, as is the case with other patristic works.[5] More specifically, the editio princeps of the Glaphyra was published in 1618 by André Schott.[6] Twenty years later, Jean Aubert[7] issued a new edition within his compilation of Cyril’s opera omnia, which is still commonly used. According to his words, it is reasonable to assume that Aubert based his edition on that of Schott. Furthermore, he listed separately variant readings from another manuscript from the Harleian collection, which has been identified as the Par. Supplément grec 150 (saec. XIV in.).[8] Just the quotations of Gen 49:1–27 transmitted by this manuscript show stronger consonances with the text of P.

Furthermore, extending the analysis to the Laurentianus pl. 5. 15 (saec. XII)[9], an older manuscript of the Glaphyra than the Par. Supplément grec 150, strengthens the original hypothesis of a consonance between Gen 49:1–27 in P and its quotations in Cyril of Alexandria’s Glaphyra in Pentateuchum. This not only proves but also reinforces the hypothesis.

More details about this research, which I recently finished, will be soon published in my article “La versione dei Settanta di Gen. 49,1-27 nel Parisinus gr. 39” for the journal “Rhesis. An International Journal of Linguistics, Philology and Literature”.


Fig. 1: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, gr. 39, f. 84r (© BnF, Source


Fig. 2: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, gr. 39, f. 84v (© BnF, Source


I warmly thank Livia Graf for the careful revision of my English.

[1] See Gallica (accessed on 26nd April 2024). Diktyon N° 49600.

[2] Cfr. Évagre le Pontique, Traité pratique ou Le moine, I, Introduction par A. Guillamont et Cl. Guillaumont (Sources Chrétiennes 170), Paris 1971, p. 202 n. 2. Previously, H. Omont, Inventaire sommaire des manuscripts grecs de la Bibliothèque Nationale, I, Paris, p. 7, dated the manuscript to the 13th century, and M. Spanneut, La tradition manuscrite d’un commentaire chrétien d’Épictète, Philologus 108 (1964), 128-137, here p. 129 n. 1, traced back (the autoptic exam did for him Ch. Astruc) ff. 178-233 to the 14th century, even if with some uncertainty.

[3] Thus Cl. Guillaumont, Évagre le Pontique (s. above, n. 2), 201-202, followed by other scholars.

[4] J.W. Wevers (ed.), Septuaginta. Vetus Testamentum Graecum auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum. Vol. I. Genesis, Göttingen 1974.

[5] See, for instance, the case of Theodoret of Cyrrhus’ Interpretatio in Psalmos and relative overview given in our website s.v. Theodoret.

[6] Sancti Patris Nostri Cyrilli Alexandr. Archiepiscopi Γλαφυρὰ εἰς Πεντάτευχον… Nunc primum Graece et Latine παραλλήλως edita studio R.P. Andreae Schotti…, 1618 Antverpiae (liber septimus in Genesim: pp. 171-200).

[7] S.P.N. Cyrilli Alexandriae Archiepiscopi Opera in VI. Tomos Tributa. Cura et studio Joannis Auberti…, Tomus Primus, 1638 Lutetiae (= PG 69, coll. 13-678).

[8] See Gallica (accessed on 26 April 2024). Diktyon N° 52920.

[9] See Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (accessed on 26 April 2024). Diktyon N° 15963.