Codex Leicester Manuscript 69

The following information on Manuscript 69 was taken from Robert Waltz’s Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism.

Manuscript 69

Location/Catalog Number

Leicester. Catalog number: Town Museum Cod. 6 D 32/1


69 contains the entire New Testament with many lacunae. Missing Matt. 1:1-18:15, Acts 10:45-14:17 (the manuscript skips from Acts 10:45 to 14:17 without break; it would appear the scribe did not realize there was a defect in his exemplar here!), Jude 7-25, Rev. 19:10-22:21; Rev. 18:7-19:10 are fragmentary. The manuscript also contains five pages of assorted information about church history and doctrine.


Dated paleographically to the fifteenth century, probably to the period 1465-1472, since it was presented to George Neville, Archbishop of York, England during those years. The scribe is known from his other writings to have been Emmanuel, a former resident of Constantinople who spent the second half of the fifteenth century in England copying Biblical and classical texts.

His writing style is absolutely peculiar; epsilons closely resemble alphas, and accents are often placed over consonants rather than vowels. Acute and grave accents are confused. Errors are also common; Scrivener counted 74 omissions of various sorts, and many words interrupted in the middle. The scribe also used the Nomina Sacra in peculiar ways; Ιησονσ is consistently spelled out until John 21:15, when contractions begin to be used sporadically.

The manuscript appears to have been written with a reed. Scrivener also remarks, "Though none of the ordinary divisions into sections, and scarcely any liturgical marks, occur throughout, there is evidently a close connection between Cod. 69 and the church service books, as well in the interpolations of proper names, particles of time, or whole passages (e.g. Luke xxii. 43, 44 placed after Matt. xxvi.39) which are common to both…."

A number of marginal notes ("too many," Scrivener acidly remarks) are written in the hand of William Chark, who owned the manuscript probably in the late sixteenth century.

69 is written on a mix of paper and parchment. The quires are usually of five sheets rather than four, with two parchment and three paper sheets per quire, the parchment leaves being on the outside of the quire. The material is very poor — so bad that one side of some of the paper leaves had to be left blank. The manuscript has one column per page. The books seem to have originally been in the order Paul (with Hebrews last), non-Biblical materials, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Apocalypse, Gospels.

Description and Text-type

The text of 69 varies significantly. In the Gospels it was identified by Ferrar with Family 13, and this has been affirmed by everyone since (Wisse classifies it as 13, and von Soden put it in Iib). However, some have thought it one of the best Family 13 manuscripts, and others count it one of the poorer. Probably the peculiar readings generated by scribal errors had something to do with this.

Within the Ferrar group, it has been placed in the "b" group (along with 174 and 788) by scholars from von Soden and Lake to Colwell. The Alands, interestingly, classify 69 as Category V (Byzantine) — despite the fact that its profile (1341 631/2 222 50s) seems to be fairly typical for the Ferrar Group (e.g. 13 is 1501 711/2 312 54s; 346 is 1721 821/2 242 53s).

In the Acts even Scrivener concedes the text to be "less valuable." Von Soden classes it as Ia3, but places it among the lower members of the group. The Alands classify it as Category V.

It is generally agreed that 69 and 462 are closely akin in the Pauline Epistles. Their combined text is, however, only slightly removed from the Byzantine. The Alands classify 69 as Category III in Paul (they do not categorize 462).

Von Soden places 69 and 462 next to each other in Ia3. Davies links 462 (and so by implication 69) with 330, 436, and 2344; her technique, however, makes these results questionable. There is as yet no clear evidence that 69 and 462 should go with any of the stronger members of the Ia3 group, such as Family 330 or 365 and Family 2127.

In the Catholics the Alands again classify 69 as Category V, and von Soden again classifies it as Ia3. Wachtel lists it as having 10-20% non-Byzantine readings. Richards classifies it as Mw, which makes it a mixed manuscript that does not seem to have any close relatives. This seems to conform with the results of Wachtel.

In the Apocalypse, the Alands classify 69 as Category V. Von Soden lists it as I’, grouping it with 61 and 046.

Other Symbols Used for this Manuscript

von Soden: δ505. Tischendorf: 31a, 37p, 14r



W. H. Ferrar and T. K Abbott, Collation of Four Important Manuscripts of the Gospels by the late William Hugh Ferrar, 1877, collates 13, 69, 124, and 346 in the Gospels.

F. H. A. Scrivener, An Exact Transcription of Codex Augienses, 1859, collates Paul and discusses the manuscript.

Sample Plates:
Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible (1 page)

Editions which cite:
Cited in SQE13 where it differs from Family 13 and the Majority Text.
Cited by von Soden, Merk, and Bover.

Other Works:Origin of the Leicester Codex of the New Testament, 1887.
M. R. James, The Scribe of the Leicester Codex, Journal of Theological Studies, v (1903/4).

The following information is from Les McFall’s PDF called Codex Leicester.


Manuscript 69 (dated XV century)

A member of Family 13 (fully collated by R. Swanson, New Testament Greek Manuscripts: Matthew (Pasadena, CA.: William Carey International University Press, 1995).)

The scan of Matthew 19:9 was obtained from Leicester Record Office.

The following is a full size sample of the scribe’s writing, showing the marginal correction on the extreme right, which was intended to replace the underlined words. The original writing was done with a reed. The correction was probable written with a metal nib, which came into common use in the early 19th century. It is very likely that this marginal correction was taken from Erasmus’s text (or a later version of the Textus Receptus) and inserted into the margin of Codex Leicester (now classified as MS 69, a 15th century manuscript).

Codex Leicester Scribe Sample

Codex Leicester Marginal Correction

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