Re: codices from the beginning
- Jack Kilmon wrote -
>An early codex, or caudex, was essentially two wax tablets bound
>together like a book, or two ivory or wooden slates with wax. I
>am interested in the what ms fragment is the earliest extant
>exemplar of a vellum codex and the earliest exemplar of a papyrus
>codex (which apparently came later)...not necessarily biblical in nature.
It is vitally important to distinguish codices used for notes,
accounts, documentary records and the like, from codices used for books.
The interesting question is not how or when the codex format was first
used. We know that it was used several centuries BCE. For instance we
have surviving wooden codices with wages accounts from mid third century
BCE of expenses incurred on a journey in Lower Egypt. The tablets, still
with writing on the wax, are held in the Petrie Museum, University
College, London, UK.
Some wooden codices had as many as ten wooden tablets bound together.
The earliest extant vellum codex is P. Oxy. 30 and is of a book which is
usually given the title "de Bellis Macedonicis". It was written about
100 CE. It is in Latin, and thought to have been written in Rome.
The earliest extant fragment of a papyrus codex book is P52, the Rylands
Papyrus of part of the Gospel of John. This was written between 100 and
125 CE, according to current opinions amongst papyrologists (they used
to say it was written about 125 CE, so they have adjusted their mean
estimate by about 12 years in recent research on this.)
The material of which a codex book was made may not be terribly relevant
to when and where the codex book originated, however. The most
significant piece of information is that virtually all Christian books
in Greek were written on codices, whereas virtually all non-Christian
books were written on rolls, for the first two and a half centuries CE.
Something very major must have happened early in the origins of
Christianity to bring about such widespread use of the codex for early
Christian books written in Greek.
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- In my understanding, after the wax tablets, the term was applied to books of
this format made of papyrus, vellum, or
parchment. Although papyrus usually appeared in the form of a scroll, and
parchment and vellum in the form of the codex, there was a brief intermediate
stage, the papyrus codex. This came at a time when parchment was not yet fully
accepted, partly because it was thought to be a somewhat vulgar material, and
partly because, when the codex was new, it was not realized that papyrus was not
really suitable to that format.
Jeremy Duff wrote:
> Papyrus codices came first, on the whole, not vellum.
> I wouldn't be surprised if some of the earliest extant codices are the
> biblical ones from the second century (papyrus), though I may well be wrong.
> If you want to know try Turner, The Typology of the Early Codex (1977).
> At 13:27 01/02/99 -0800, you wrote:
> >An early codex, or caudex, was essentially two wax tablets bound
> >together like a book, or two ivory or wooden slates with wax. I
> >am interested in the what ms fragment is the earliest extant
> >exemplar of a vellum codex and the earliest exemplar of a papyrus
> >codex (which apparently came later)...not necessarily biblical in nature.
> >Jeremy Duff wrote:
> >> At 12:44 01/02/99 EST, you wrote:
> >> >Can anyone comment on the use of codex in the civilian world? I believe
> >> >Caesar began to prefer them, and introduced them to Roman use.
> >> >
> >> >Regards,
> >> >Tony Prost
> >> >All Nonnos All DAy
> >> First reference to literature in codices is Martial Epigrams 14.184-192
> >> (mid-late first century AD). Beforehand (Caesar etc.) they were used for
> >> jottings.
> >> Jeremy
> >> =========================================
> >> Jeremy Duff
> >> Junior Research Fellow, St Cross College, Oxford
> >> Tutor, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
> >> EMail: Jeremy.Duff@...
> >> Phone: 01865-274218
- Mark Goodacre wrote:
> I wonder if Brian was referring specifically to the idea of the last pagein a
> codex being lost? Certainly the idea of a lost ending is old. Streeter,for
> example, thinks that the earliest copy was accidentally mutilated orlost, but
> he seems to be imagining a scroll, _Four Gospels_, p. 338: "the two endsof a
> roll would always be the most exposed to damage; the beginning ran thegreater
> risk, but, in a book rolled from both ends, the conclusion was not safe".Does
> anyone know how much earlier than Streeter the idea goes? Surely it mustbe
> much older than him? And is Roberts the first to propose that it was thelast
> leaf of a codex that got lost? It would be interesting to know theanswers to
> these questions -- can anyone oblige?C S C Williams wrote "If the Christians already used the codex or book
form for their gospels during the first century, as Mr C H Roberts believes
(JTS, XL, 1939, 253ff) then the last page could easily have been torn
away." (Alterations to the Text of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts, Oxford,
1951, page 44). This looks like Williams (either consciously or
unconsciously) may have been the source of Roberts' suggestion in his book
on the codex.