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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

Greek Manuscripts and Papyri

The most important witnesses for the recovery of the earliest accessible form of the Greek text are the four major uncial codices: Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Sinaiticus (S (ℵ in Swete, see below)), Codex Alexandrinus (A), and Codex Venetus (V). (Descriptions of these are given in Swete 1914: 122–32; Jellicoe 1968: 175–88, 197–9.) Within these codices there is some variation in the position of individual historical, poetic, and prophetic books, and in the relative order of the groups of poetic and prophetic books (see the lists in Swete 1914: 201–2); but Tobit and Judith are placed after Esther or Daniel; Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus are grouped with the Wisdom books; Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah follow Jeremiah; 1–4 Maccabees, which were not included in B, are grouped with Esdras a–b, Esther, Tobit, and Judith, or (in V) with Daniel, Tobit, Judith; 1 Esdras (Esdras a) normally follows Paraleipomena; the Prayer of Manasseh is included in the Odes and in A is grouped with the Psalms and the wisdom books (the Odes are not present in B or S or in the surviving portions of V); and Psalm 151 follows Psalm 150.

It was primarily the four uncials B, S (ℵ), A, and V, and in particular the first three of these, that were used by Swete (1887–94) and Rahlfs (1935) for their editions of the Septuagint. But whereas the former for the most part used B for his text and gave the variants of the other manuscripts in the textual apparatus, Rahlfs provided a critical text, and it is this edition that is the more useful. For serious study of the Greek text of the books of the Apocrypha, the individual volumes of the Göttingen Septuagint, where available, are indispensable.

The relatively small number of other uncials (which are normally identified by capital letters) tend to be of lesser importance, and the same is also true of the much larger number of miniscules (identified by numbers). However, while many of the latter support one or other of the three major uncials (B, S, and A), others are important because they are representative of the Origenic (Hexaplaric) recension or of the Lucianic recension (also known as the Antiochene or Antiochian recension). The former is represented, for example, by 88 (the Chigi manuscript), which contains Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, and 253, which contains the wisdom books; the latter is represented, for example, by 248, which contains the wisdom books plus Esdras a and b, Esther, Tobit, and Judith, and 637, which contains the wisdom books.

The papyri are of importance for the recovery of the earliest accessible form of the Greek text, but for the most part only quite small fragments of the books of the Apocrypha have survived.

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