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Wessex Gospels c.1175




1:1Note: Liber generationis iesu christi, filii dauid, filii abraham. H R. R adds- Her on-ginð matheus boc þas halga god spelleres. Soðliche wel is to understanden þæt æfter matheus ge-rechednysse her is on cneornysse boc. hælendes cristes dauiðes suna. abrahames suna.
1:2Soðlice abraham gestreonede ysääc. Ysääc gestrenode iacob. Iacob gestreonede iudam & his gebroðre.
1:3Iudas gestrenede fares & zaram of þam wife þe wæs genemned thamar. Fares gestreoned esrom. Esrom gestrenede aram.
1:4Aram gestreonode aminadab. Aminadab gestrenede nääson. Nääson gestreonede salmon.
1:5Salmon gestreonede bööz of þam wife rääb. Bööz gestreonede obëëth of þam wife ruth. Obeth gestreonede iesse.
1:6Iesse gestreonede þanne kyng dauid. Dauid kyng gestreonede salomon of þam wife þe wæs urias wif.
1:7Salomon gestreonede roboam. Roboas gestreonede abia. Abia gestrenede asa.
1:8Asa gestreonede Iosaphat. Iosophat gestreonede ioram. Ioras gestreonede oziam.
1:9Ozias gestreonede ioatham. Ioatham gestreonede achaz. Achaz. gestreonede ezechiam.
1:10Ezechias gestreonede manassen. Manasses. gestreonede amon. Amon gestreonede ioram. Ioras gestreonede iosiam.
1:11Iosias gestreonede ieconiam. & his gebroðran on babilonis leordnysse.
1:12Ænd æfter babilonis geleordnysse. ieconias gestreonede salathiel. Salathiel. gestreonede zorobabel.
1:13Zorobabel gestreonede abiud. Abiud gestreonede eliachim. Eliachim gestreonede azor.
1:14Azor gestreonede sadoc. Sadoc gestreonede achim. Achim gestrenede eliud.
1:15Eliud gestreonede eleazar. Eleazar. gestreonede mathan. Mathan gestreonede Iacob.
1:16Iacob gestreonede Ioseph marie wer. of þare wæs akenned se hælend þe is genemned crist.
1:17Gernestlice ealle cneornyssa fram abrahame oððe dauid synd feowertene cneornyssa. & fram dauiðe oððe babilonis geleorednysse feortene cneornysse. & fram babilonis leorednysse. oð crist feortene cneornysse.
1:18Note: Cum esset desponsata mater iesu maria ioseph. R. Soðlice þus wæs cristes cneores. Ða þas hælendes moder Marie wæs iosepe beweddeð. ær hyo to-somne coman hyo wæs gemet on innoðe hæbbende of þam halge gaste.
1:19Soðlice Ioseph hire wer. þa he wæs rihtwis. & nolde hyo mærsian. he wolde hye dygeliche forlæten.
1:20Him þa soðliche þas þing þenchendum. drihtnes ængel on swefnum ateowede. & hym to cwæð. Ioseph dauiðes suna. nyle þu ondræden. marian þine gemæcchen to onfonne. þæt on hyre gekenned ys. hyt is of þan halgen gaste.
1:21Witodliche hyo kenð sunu. & þu nemnest his name hælend. he soðlice his folc hal gedeð. fram heora synnen.
1:22Soðlice eall þis wæs geworðan. þæt gefylled wære þæt fram drihtne gecwæðen wæs. þurh þanne witegan.
1:23Soðlice. syo femne hæfð on innoþe. & hyo kend (sic) suna. & hyo nemneð hys name emmanuel. þæt ys gereht on ure þeode god mid üs.
1:24Þa aras ioseph of swefne. & dyde swa drihtnes ængel him bebead & he on-feng hys mæcchen.
1:25& he ne grette hye. Heo kende. hire frum-kennede sune & nemde his name hælend.
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)