Attempts to divide the books of the Bible into sections to assist the reader can be found early in the history of Greek Bible transmission. There was no standard way of doing this, however, and systems of division in the Septuagint differed from manuscript to manuscript. The oldest system for New Testament manuscripts appears in the fourth-century Codex Vaticanus. Adopting a system of dividing the text of the Gospels into numbered sections (a system attributed to the second-century philosopher Ammonius of Alexandria), Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 265-ca. 339) developed the so-called Eusebian canons. These canons or tables of scriptural passages not only provided a harmony of the Gospels but went beyond that by linking passages that expressed a common concept, much like marginal cross-references in Bibles today. It was not until the fifth century, in the Codex Alexandrinus, that kephalaia (chapter divisions) and titloi (summary headings) were used to mark sections of the Bible.
In this manuscript, there is a short prologue and epilogue to Luke, perhaps of a later date. The epilogue closely follows one in the Lambeth Codex of 1178 ascribed to Cosmas Indicopleustes, an Alexandrian merchant and traveler of the sixth century after Christ. The commentary on Mark is that of Victor of Antioch. He was a fifth century presbyter of Antioch who compiled a Greek commentary on Mark drawn from earlier writers such as Origen, Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria. The commentary became very popular in the East and survives in more than fifty codices of the Gospels. Victor of Antioch also wrote a commentary on Jeremiah.
The text represents the Syrian, now known as the Byzantine, text though it often differs from this type and agrees with older uncials (the style of Greek writing used from the fourth to the eighth or ninth century). Consequently it has readings that appear in the modern critical text (based on more recent discoveries) instead of those in the textus receptus (the text used by the King James translators and based on Estiennes third edition of the Greek New Testament in 1550). The long ending of Mark is present (through verse 19), but the commentary ends with verse 8, even though it is wrapped around the longer text. The account of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) is not in either the text or the commentary, and there is no indication that the scribe knew of its existence. It is possible that it was placed at the end of John, but that section is missing in this manuscript.
The manuscript dates from the tenth or eleventh century (Edmunds and Hatch 1918, 34-49). Its age can be determined based on several observations: the commentary is marginal, not the interlinear format which came later [3.1]; breathing marks are square; and the iota subscript is never used. The Greek letter gamma is wide open at the top and occasionally has the uncial form like the Latin F without the small crossbar and extending far above the line. Nu has both uncial and minuscule shape. Omega always appears in the closed form, like an 8 laid on its side. Marginalia include chapter divisions (kephalaia), of which there are twenty-two for Mark and four for Luke and Ammonian section numbers (divisions of the text into shorter sections than the kephalaia). Summary headings (titloi) briefly describe the contents and the manuscript contains Eusebian sections or canons (but not tables). Enlarged initials in red introduce prologues preceding Mark and Luke, and later lectionary notes, but the more elaborate initials have been removed. The manuscript begins with Matthew 17:10 and ends with John 19:6, though several leaves are missing.
Joseph Martini, a New York book dealer, purchased the manuscript in 1913 from two Greeks who claimed it had come from a monastery of the Eastern Church on Mt. Athos. It was then acquired by the Society for Promoting Religion and Learning and later presented to the General Theological Seminary as a gift of friends and the society. The seminary sold this treasure on October 1, 1980, at Christies auction house.
Literature: Edmunds and Hatch 1918, 34-49; Metzger 1981.