Discovering texts: Codex Zacynthius

Codex Zacynthius
Place of origin unknown, sixth or seventh century CE

Codex Zacynthius is a ‘palimpsest’, an early manuscript washed or scraped, then written over at a later date. The ‘under text’ is a commentary in Greek on the New Testament book of Luke, dating from the sixth or seventh century. It is a remarkably error-free copy, a rarity among New Testament texts, and as a consequence of major scholarly interest. Subsequently, texts of this type went out of fashion in Christian circles, and the parchment was washed and rewritten with selections from the Gospels. The manuscript has recently been examined in the Library’s Digital Content Unit, using modern imaging techniques which allow the under text to be deciphered.

MS Add. 10062, ff. 143v–144r