- Codex Usserianus Primus
Codex Usserianus Primus (Dublin, Trinity College Library, 55) is an early 7th century Old Latin Gospel Book. It is dated palaeographically to the 6th or 7th century. It is designated by r (traditional system).
The manuscript is damaged, with the leaves being fragmentary and discoloured. The remains of the approximately 180 vellum folios have been remounted on paper. It contains the text of the Pericope Adulterae as do many Old Latin manuscripts of the Italian branch. It contains some lacunae (Matthew 1:1-15:16; 15:31-16:13; 21:4-21; 28:16-20; John 1:1-15; Mark 14:58-15:8; 15:29-16:20). Interestingly, it names the two thieves crucified with Jesus as, Ioathas and Capnatas (Luke 23:32).
The manuscript has a single remaining decoration, a cross outlined in black dots at the end of the Luke (fol. 149v). The cross is between the Greek letters alpha and omega. It is also flanked by the explicit (an ending phrase) for Luke and the incipit (first few words) for Mark. The entire assemblage is contained within a triple square frame of dots and small "s" marks with crescent shaped corner motifs. The cross has been compared to similar crosses found in the Bologna Lactantius, the Paris St. John, and the Valerianus Gospels. Initials on folios 94, 101 and 107 have been set off by small red dots. This represents the first appearance of decoration by "dotting" around text, a motif which would be important in later Insular manuscripts.
There are some paleographic similarities with early manuscripts produced at the monastery at Bobbio, such as the Ambrosiana Jerome and the Ambrosiana Orosius. However, it is now thought to have been produced in Ireland. It may therefore be the earliest surviving Irish codex.
The manuscript's traditional name can be translated as "the First Book of Uss(h)er" and refers to James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh. Despite the name, it is doubtful that Ussher ever actually owned the manuscript.
- ^ a b c Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 300
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