The Codex Alexandrinus – Score One for Shepherds Seminary

I’m excited to share that Dr. Andrew Smith, one of my professors here at Shepherds Theological Seminary, recently had a book published that will likely be a definitive work on one of the earliest surviving complete Greek Bibles.

Dr. Smith has an M.A. in Biblical Literature and an M.A. in Biblical Languages from Shepherds Seminary, as well as a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (New Testament and Christian Origins) from the University of Edinburgh. He came back to Shepherds Seminary in 2011, where he is now Assistant Professor of New Testament. His research and teaching interests revolve around the transmission and interpretation of the texts of the New Testament. Specifically, Dr. Smith specializes in Textual Criticism, Hellenistic Greek, Greek Palaeography, and Discourse Analysis. At Shepherds, he continues his work with Greek exegesis and the study of manuscripts.

Dr. Smith’s extensive work on the codicology, palaeography, and scribal hands of the fifth-century complete Greek Bible known as Codex Alexandrinus was recently published in Brill’s New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents series in 2014. There has been no major work on the Codex Alexandrinus in over a century, and according to several professors, Dr. Smith’s is the most exhaustive and precise study of the Codex that has ever been performed, or possibly ever will be. It will most likely become the definitive work on the Codex Alexandrinus.

Leafing through the book, I can tell that it is some highly scholarly work, and way above most of our heads; but it’s a significant work, and one worth being aware of. And at $163 on Brill’s website (or $140 on Amazon), I doubt I’ll be purchasing it any time soon! I am pleased that it is available in the seminary library, though, so I might have to look into it further (not that I’ll be able to understand much of it)!

The description on the back of the book reads:

81xHFcKt+gL“Codex Alexandrinus is one of the three earliest surviving entire Greek Bibles, and is an important fifth-century witness to the Christian Scriptures, yet no major analysis of the codex has been performed in over a century. In A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus W. Andrew Smith delivers a fresh and highly-detailed examination of the codex and its rich variety of features using codicology, palaeography, and statistical analysis. Among the highlights of this study, W. Andrew Smith’s work overturns the view that a single scribe was responsible for copying the canonical books of the New Testament and demonstrates that the orthographic patterns in the Gospels can no longer be used to argue for Egyptian provenance of the codex.”


Overview of the Following Chapters
Manuscript Page Notation
A Note on the Manuscript Images

Chapter 1. Codex History
Codicology and the History of Codex Alexandrinus
1627 to Present
Codex History Prior to 1627

Chapter 2. Codicology
The Codex
Composition and Binding
Dimensions and Formatting
Ordering of the New Testament Books
Closing Remarks on the Codicology of Alexandrinus

Chapter 3. Palaeography and Paratextual Features of the Gospels
The Hands
Use of Color
Superscriptions, Subscriptions, and Tailpiece Designs
Eusebian Apparatus
Kephalaia and Titloi

Chapter 4. Scribes
Overview of the Scribal Hands
Unit Delimitation
Nomina Sacra
Other Abbreviations and Ligatures

Creation of the Codex
The Eusebian Apparatus and Use of Numbers
Palaeography and Statistical Analysis
Updating the Alexandrinus Knowledge Base
Final Words

Appendix A. Tables of Concordance
Appendix B. Orthographic Data
Appendix C. Statistical Analysis
Appendix D. Eusebian Apparatus Data
Appendix E. Unit Delimitation Data
Works Cited


About Topher

I'm a pastor, husband, and bookworm in northwestern PA. I started this site as a platform for creating and curating solid resources that make for solid men and women of wisdom, virtue, discipline, and faith. Become a patron and support my work at
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