Estimated number of physical scrolls (46) needed to cover the
traditional Greek Christian Bible canon
05 Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses)
02 Joshua, Judges+Ruth
06 Samuel-Kings, Chronicles
04 Ezra+Nehemiah, Esther, Tobit, Judith
04 1-2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees
09 Job, Psalms+Odes, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
02 Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach
05 Isaiah, Jeremiah+Lamentations+Baruch+Letter, Ezekiel, Daniel, "the
03 Epistles of Paul, Hebrews, General Epistles
01 Revelation (Apocalypse)
Epigrams 14, on bookish gifts:
|Tablets/notebooks of citrus wood
|Esse puta ceras, licet haed
|Suppose it to be wax, though it
is called parchment
|delebis, quotiens scripta novare
|You will erase whatever you want
to write anew.
|Vitellian tablets [for love
|The same [requesting money]
|Large sheets of papyrus
|Papyrus sheets for letters
|Homer's "Battle of Frogs and Mice"
|Homerus in pugillaribus
||Homer in hand-held parchments
|Ilias et Priami regnis inimicus Ulixes
||The Iliad and Ulysses, enemy of Priam's
pariter condita pelle latent.
||are there together, preserved in many
folds of skin
||Vergilius in membranis.
||Vergil on parchment
|Quam brevis inmensum cepit membrana Maronem!
||How small a quantity of
parchment has comprised vast Maro!
|Ipsius vultus prima tabella gerit.
first leaf bears his own countenance
|Menandrou Qais [Greek]
||Cicero in membranis.
||Cicero on parchment
|Si comes ista tibi fuerit membrana, putato
||If this parchment will be
your companion, suppose
|Carpere te longas cum Cicerone vias.
||yourself to be making a long journey with
|The "Monobiblos" of Propertius
||Titus Livius in membranis.
||Titus Livy on parchment.
|Pellibus exiguis artatur
|Compressed in tiny skins vast
|Quem mea non totum bibliotheca
||for whom complete my library has
Ovid on parchment
tibi, multiplici quae
structa est massa tabella,
mass that has been built up for you
with multifold tablets
Nasonis quinque decemque gerit.
the fifteen lays of Naso
|Calvi de aquae frigidae usu
|Calvus "On the Use of Cold Water"
writing between C.E.
211 and 217
is reported to have said (Digest 32.52):
the heading "books" (librorum)
all volumes (volumina) are included, whether they are
made of papyrus (in charta), of
parchment (in membrana),
or of any other material whatsoever; but even if they are written on
wood-slabs (in philyra) (as
is sometimes done), or upon any kind of prepared skins (in alio
corio), they come under
the same appellation. If, however, they are codices of
parchment (in codicibus sint membraneis), or papyrus (vel
even ivory (vel etiam eboreis), or any other material, or
composed of wax tablets (in ceratis codicillis), let us
determine whether they ought to be
Cassius writes that where books (libris)
bequeathed, the parchments (membranas) are also
included. Hence, it follows that everything relating to them will be
included if the intention of the testator was not otherwise.
after discussing the question whether
a bequest of libri [books] covers unwritten
papyrus rolls (chartae) and unwritten
parchments (membranae), Ulpian adds (Digest 32.52.5):
when books (libri) are
bequeathed, the question is not inappropriately asked whether those are
included which are not yet written upon (nondum
I do not think they are included,
any more than cloth which is not yet entirely woven is included under
the heading "clothing." But books which
have been written (perscripti libri),
but have not yet been beaten or ornamented [??], are included in such a
legacy, as well as such as are not glued together, or
also parchments (membranae) which are not sewed, are also
who succeeded Ulpian as
Prefect in 223 writes (Sententiae 3.6.87):
books (libris) are bequeathed, volumes of papyrus (chartae
volumina) , or of parchment (vel membranae) and
wood-slabs (et philyrae) are included, and codices, as
By the designagtion
"books" (librorum) not merely volumes of papyrus (volumina
chartarum), but also any kind of writing
which is contained in anything is understood.
from Ulpian (Digest 32.52.1):
hundred books (libri) are
bequeathed, we must deliver to the legatee a hundred volumes
(volumina), and not a hundred parts which anyone
select as he
each of which constitutes a written book (ad libri scripturam);
hence, when the works of Homer are all contained in a single volume (in
uno volumine), we do
not count them as forty-eight books (libros), but the
entire volume of
Homer (unum Homeri volumen)
should be understood to constitute a "book" (pro libro).
codices dated to 2nd century [from Roberts & Skeat]
- P.Ryl. 3.457. John. Van Haelst
462. Typology P52. ii.
Exodus, Deuteronomy. Van Haelst 33. Typology OT
24. (ii ed.; late ii E.G.T.).
Yale 1.1. [verso]
Haelst 12. Typology OT 7. ii/iii (E.G.T.; C.E. 90 ed.).
Beatty VI. Numbers, Deuteronomy.\109/ Van
Haelst 52. Typology OT 36. ii/iii (E.G.T., A.S.
Hunt; ii F. G. Kenyon,
Ant. 1.7. Psalms. Van Haelst 179. Typology OT 120. ii/iii
(E.G,T.; ed., ii
Lips. Inv. 170. Psalms. Van Haelst 224. Typology
OT 151 iii (ii C.H.R.)
Bodleian MS. Gr. bibl. g. 5 (P) Psalms. Van Haelst 151.
97 A. ii/iii (E.G.T.; ii ed.).
Barc. Inv. 1 + Magdalen College, Oxford,
Gr. 18 + Paris,
Bibliothèque nationale, Suppl. Gr. 1120. Matthew,
Haelst 336, 403. Typology P4, P64, P67.
iii or iii/iv
(P4), ii (P64, P67).
Ryl. 1.5. Titus. Van Haelst 534. Typology P32. iii
Oxy. 34.2683. Matthew. Van
Haelst 372. Typology P77. ii.
Oxy. 50.3523. John. ii. Not in Typology.
Y. The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning.
New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1985.
+__. Books and Readers in the Early
Church: A History of
Early Christian Texts (New Haven: Yale UP 1995)
H. The Codex. Proceedings of
the British Academy 40 (1954) 169-204 [passim]
+__. "Early Christianity in Egypt." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 40
__. Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt
(Roberts &) Skeat
BIRTH OF THE
40 label of codex fragment as Christian
Julius 56.6 describes the form of Julius
Caesar's despatches to the Senate in the following words:
Some letters of his to the senate
also extant, and he seems to
have been the first to convert such documents to pages and the format
of a memorandum book, whereas previously consuls and generals did not
send their reports except (on sheets) written against the papyrus
quoque eius ad Senatum
extant, quas primum videtur ad paginas et formam memorialis libelli
convertisse, cum antea consoles et
duces non nisi transversa charta scriptas
bibliog and sites
Contents and order of the two great 4th century Bible Codices
Genesis-Deuteronomy [fragments of all but Exodus]
Joshua-Judges-Ruth [fragments of Joshua & Judges]
Samuel-Kings 1-4 [not preserved]
Chronicles1-2 [fragments of 1 Chronicles]
1 Esdras&2 Esdras (Ezra-Nehemiah) [fragments of 2 Esdras (Ezra-Nehemiah)]
Ecclesiastes (Qohelet) Judith
Song of Songs 1 Maccabees
Job 4 Maccabees
Esther [fragments of 9 Minor Prophets]
the 12 minor prophets Qohelet
Jeremiah-Baruch-Lamentations-Epistle of Jeremiah Wisdom
Gospels & Acts =same
General Epistles, the
Pauline Epistles, and the
Epistle to the Hebrews (to Hebrews 9:14) Hebs 1-2 Tim Titus Phlm Acts James ++
[lacks 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation] Rev, Barn, Shep, +