Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Charles Hill: The Capitulatio Vaticana. The Earliest Biblical Chapter System, with Some New Tradents

The first known, large-scale effort to order the text of Scripture by means of numbered chapters is found in Codex Vaticanus 1209, the famous fourth-century codex that once contained the entire Bible. Tregelles referred to the result as the capitulatio Vaticana. In the Gospels, this capitulation almost certainly predates the better known Kephalaia or Old Greek Divisions first evidenced in the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus. But the capitulatio Vaticana exists not only in the Gospels but throughout the NT and in most of the OT books in the codex. By any measure, this is an impressive achievement. Yet in terms of generating a significant paradosis, this early attempt to facilitate reading, reference, and interpretation of Scripture by means of numbered chapters is generally believed to have failed. To my knowledge, only two witnesses to its chapter divisions in any single book have so far been documented. This paper will summarize my research into both the prehistory of the capitulatio, as well as into some previously unrecognized successors of this system of textual structuring. For instance, the capitulatio for some OT books is known to Theodoret and Olympiodorus, as their work is catenized in Vat. Barb. 549 (Rahlfs 86), a ninth- or tenth-century manuscript containing text, commentary, and catenae on the Prophets. This paper will offer evidence that the capitulatio Vaticana was more widely diffused than previously known, and will suggest that further witnesses may lie overlooked in other commentary and catena manuscripts.

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