Early Christianity And The Book: HMML Special Collections

Early Christianity and the Book

The Special Collections at HMML provide numerous opportunities to study the early history of Christianity through the books it produced. Facsimiles of unique items like the Chester Beatty Biblical papyri, the Codex Sinaiticus or Codex Vaticanus B give a glimpse of the earliest days of Christian book production. HMML also has numerous fragments of very early manuscript production in Georgian, Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Armenian. The print collection supports the use of early Christian texts through works by Assemani, Jerome, John Cassian, and others.




  • The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, London, 1933-1958.
  • Codex Sinaiticus,Peabody, MA, 2010. Mid-4th-century Bible manuscript in Greek, one of the best sources for the linguistic tradition of the Bible for accuracy, correct readings, etc.
  • Bibliorum sacrorum Graecorum Codex Vaticanus B, Rome, 1999. Both this and the Sinaiticus represent the transitional period, when Christianity is starting to take hold, but classical models are still common.
  • Codex Purpureus Rossanensis Roma, Graz, Austria, 1985. The luxurious 6th-century “Purple Book of Rossano,” with its dyed-purple leaves and silver/gold letters, is a fragment of a larger collection of the four Gospels in Greek (only Gospels of Matthew and Mark remain).
  • Wiener Dioskurides, Codex Med. gr. 1, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna), Graz, Austria, 1966-1970. An important herbal throughout the Middle Ages. This copy was prepared for a member of the royal family in Constantinople in the early 6th century.
  • Codex argenteus upsaliensis, Uppsala, Sweden, 1927. A 6th-century copy of part of the Bible in a 4th-century Gothic translation often attributed to Ulfilas; earliest writing in a Germanic language.
  • Evangeliarii Syriaci, vulgo Rabbulae, in Bibliotheca Medicea-Laurentiana, Oltun, 1959. Partial facsimile of a very early Syriac Gospel Book.
  • Evangeliorum quattuor Codex Lindisfarnensis (Lindisfarne Gospels), Oltun/Lausanna, Switzerland, 1956-1960
  • Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow also available in facsimile
  • Vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat der Handschrift 32, Utrecht-Psalter, aus dem Besitz der Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, Graz, Austria, 1982. Carolingian.
  • Carolingian liturgical manuscripts in printed facsimiles.
  • Joshua-Rolle (Joshua Scroll), Codex Vaticanus Palatinus Graecus 431, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, Graz, Austria, 1984. Events of Book of Joshua in a large 10th-century pictorial scroll.
  • Ostromirovo evangelie, Leningrad, Russia, 1988. Liturgical lectionary, copied in the mid 11th century, in Church Slavonic.

Printed works

  • Assemani, Giuseppe Luigi. Codex liturgicus Ecclesiae universae in XV. libros distributus, Rome, 1749.
  • Bibliotheca orientalis Clementino-vaticana, Rome, 1719.
  • Psalterium, Hebraeum, Graecum. Arabicum, & Chaldaecum: cum tribus Latinis interpretationibus & glossis, Genoa, Italy, 1516.
  • John Cassian. Collationes patrum XXIV, Brussels: 1476-1478?

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