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The Story of Codex Alexandrinus

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Codex Alexandrinus is another one of these manuscripts that was originally a whole bible.

We have four manuscripts—and only four manuscripts—from the first millennium that were originally whole Bibles: Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus.

Codex Alexandrinus was originally from the city of Alexandria in modern-day Egypt before it was brought to Constantinople. From there, Alexandrinus was given to the King of England in 1627 by Cyril Lucaris, the patriarch of Constantinople. Cyril gave it to the king because he was Reformed, and he sympathized with the Calvinist movement in England. In fact, this happened 16 years after the King James Bible had been published.

Codex Alexandrinus is a very interesting manuscript in that in the Gospels, it's a Byzantine text largely, which means it agrees with the majority of manuscripts most of the time, while as in the rest of the New Testament it is largely Alexandrian.

Codex Alexandrinus is important for a number of reasons. In the Gospels, it’s a largely Byzantine text, which means it agrees with the majority of manuscripts most of the time. But outside of the Gospels, Alexandrinus diverges and becomes very important. And when you get to the book of Revelation, it is probably our most important manuscript for reconstructing the text of the original.

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