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Wessex Gospels c.1175




16:1& þa saternes daig wæs agan sye magdalenisce Marie & Iacobes Marie & salomëë bohten wert-ge-mang þt hyo comen & hine smereden.
16:2Ænd swiðe ær anen reste-daige comen to þare byregenne up asprungenne sunna.
16:3& cwæðen heom be-tweonen. hwa awylt us þysne stan of þare byregene dure.
16:4Þa hyo hy be-seagen. hyo ge-seagen þane stan aweig aweldne. soðlice he wæs swiðe mycel.
16:5Ænd þa hyo eoden on þa byregenne hyo ge-seagen ænne geongne on þam swiðren healfe sittende hwiten gerlen ofer-wrogene. & hyo þa forhteden.
16:6Þa quoth he to heom ne fortige ge na. ge seceð þane nazarenisca hælend ahangene. he aras. nis he her. her is syo stowe þær hy hine leigden.
16:7ac fareð & seggeð his leorning-cnihten. & petre. þt he gæd to-foren eow on galilee. Þær ge hine ge-seoð swa he eow sæde.
16:8& hyo ut eoden & flugen fram þare byrigene. & wæren aferde. for þare sihðe þe hyo ge-seagen. & hyo nane men naht ne saigden. soðlice hyo heom an-dredden.
16:9Þa he aras on ærne morgen on reste-daige; ærest he atewde þare magdalenisca marie of þare þe he ut adraf seofen deofel-seocnysse.
16:10& hy þa ut eode & hit þam cydde þe mid him wæren heofende & weopende.
16:11þa hyo ge-hyrden þt he leofede & hyo hine ge-seagen. þa ne lyfden hyo him.
16:12Æfter þam heom twam he wæs atewed on oðren heowe. heom on þane tun farende.
16:13& hyo þa foran. & þt odren cydden. & hye heom ne ge-lyfden.
16:14Ða æt þan ytemesten hyo ænd-lefene æt mete sæten. heom atewede se hælend & here unbelefen & heora heorten ge-tremede. for-þan þt hye hine ge-seagen arise hi hit ne ge-lyfden.
16:15& he saide heom. Gað swa wid swa midden-eard bodiende þt godspel ealle ge-scefte.
16:16þt se þe ge-lyfd & is ge-funted he is hal. & ge se þe ne ge-lyfd he is for-demd.
16:17Þa tacnen þe hæbbed þa þe ge-lyfeð þis folgeð. On mine name deofle gad ut. tungen spreced neowe.
16:18& naddren be-nemed. & gyf he deadlice drenc drinced ne mag he heom derigen. & gyf hye uppen seocen here hande asetteð þe bet heom scel wurðe.
16:19& ure hlaford hælend crist seððen he wið heom ge-sprecen hæfde; he astah in to heofene & sitt on godes swiðre.
16:20Hyo þa fulfelde bodeden swa wid swa al. þas hlafordes weorces & his bispelles fulfellende mid felgenden tacnen. AMen.
Wessex Gospels c.1175

Wessex Gospels c.1175

The Wessex Gospels (also known as the West-Saxon Gospels) are a full translation of the four gospels of the Christian Bible into a West Saxon dialect of Old English. Designated Royal MS 1 A XIV, it is historically important.

  • The Wessex Gospels are the oldest translations into English without the Latin.
  • The gospels are written in the Old English West Anglo-Saxon dialect of Northumbria.
  • Royal MS 1 A XIV is written on parchment and is also known as the Codex Evangeliorum Anglice.
  • The title written at the top of the page, ‘Text[us] iv evangelior[um] anglice’, is reproduced in the 14th-century catalogue of the Benedictine Christ Church library, but at the Reformation this book was one of many acquired from religious houses by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1532 to 1534, whose name is written at the top of the page.
  • Seven extant copies exist today. The earliest version dates from 990AD.
  • Royal MS 1 A XIV was copied directly from MS 441 in the Bodleian library at Oxford. We know this as the same passages have been omitted from both. It has a transmission jump of 185 years.
  • MS 441 (990AD) is extant and still resides in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, England. It was given to the library by Baron Hatton in 1671. Paleographical evidence suggests a Canterbury origin. The earliest extant evidence of ownership is through Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-75).
  • MS Corp. Ch Coll Camb 140 (1000AD) is in Corpus Christi College Cambridge.
  • Royal MS 1 A XIV (1175AD) is in the British Library and was presented to the British Museum by King George II in 1757 from the Old Royal Library.
  • Royal MS 1 A XIV once belonged to the Prince of Wales: Henry Frederick, (1594-1612), eldest child of King James the First.

Why is this important?

  • Desiderius Erasmus had access to these MSS before starting his translation of the Textus Receptus. In the five years prior to starting his translation work Erasmus was Professor of Divinity at Cambridge at a time when the university's benefactors owned these manuscripts.
  • The King James Bible translators had access to these manuscripts. All the six KJV translation companies where housed at Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster and all had access to the Wessex Gospels.
  • The codex contains the long ending in Mark chapter 16.
  • The codex contains the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11)