Codex Hierosolymitanus Canon List

I recently picked up a copy of Huub van de Sandt’s and David Flusser’s The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity (volume 5 of Section III, Jewish Traditions in Early Christian Literature, in the series Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum, published by Royal Van Gorcum and Fortress Press, 2002). Part of the Introduction (pp 16-21) provides details on the manuscript in which the only known (nearly) complete copy of the Greek Didache appears, Codex Hierosolymitanus. This codex also contains the sole complete Greek copy of 2 Clement. The codex, completed 11 June 1056 by “Leon, the scribe and sinner” contains the following works:
a.) Pseudo-Chrysostom’s Synopsis Veteris et Novi Testamenti: fol. 1r—38v
b.) Epistle of Barnabas: fol. 39r—51v
c.) First Epistle of Clement: fol. 51v—70r
d.) Second Epistle of Clement: fol. 70r—76r
e.) A list of the “names of (biblical) books used by the Hebrews,” with the titles transliterated from the Hebrew and the Greek titles both written in red ink: fol 76r
f.) Didache: fol. 76r—80v
g.) The letter by Maria Cassoboloi to Ignatius of Antioch: fol. 81r—82r
h.) The Twelve Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (the longer edition): fol. 82r—120r
i.) The colophon is followed by a short treatise on the genealogy of Jesus: fol. 120r—120v

Flusser and van de Sandt reasonably suggest that the central works (b through f, above), as they follow immediately upon one another, were copied from an earlier manuscript containing the same works, an early edition of what we now call The Apostolic Fathers collection, perhaps related to widespread antiquarian interest at this point in Byzantine history. Thus the space at the end of the Didache does not have anything to do with the scribe Leon leaving an assumed space for the completion of the book. Rather, his copy ended there, so he ended there, continuing with copying the next manuscript on the following full page. This is entirely plausible. It also makes item “e,” the list of Biblical books in use among the Hebrews, potentially more important than has formerly been realized, as it thereby certainly dates to an earlier period than the date of H. Indeed, in comparison with other such lists presented by Melito, Origen (pace Eusebius), and Epiphanius, they suggest that this list and the Epiphanian list are dependent upon a common source dated to the first half of the second century AD.

Here is the list, as presented p. 19, n. 31, with the transliteration of the Hebrew on the left, and the Greek title on the right, separated by a dot:
1. βρισιθ • γενεσις
2. ελσιμοθ • εξοδος
3. οδοικρα • λευιτικον
4. διιησου • ιησου υιου ναυη
5. ελεδεββαρι • δευτερονομιον
6. ουιδαβιρ • αριθμοι
7. δαρουθ • της ρουθ
8. διωβ • του ιωβ
9. δασοφτιμ • των κριτων
10. σφερτελιμ • ψαλτηριον
11. διεμμουηλ • βασιλειων α
12. διαδδουδεμουηλ • βασιλεων β
13. δαμαλαχημ • βασιλεων γ
14. αμαλαχημ • βασιλεων δ
15. δεβριιαμιν • παραλειπομενων α
16. δεριιαμιν • παραλειπομενων β
17. δαμαλεωθ • παροιμιων
18. δακοελεθ • εκκλησιαστης
19. σιρα σιριμ • ασμα ασματων
20. διερεμ • ιερεμιας
21. δααθαρσιαρ • δωδεκαπροφητον
22. δησαιου • ησαιου
23. διεεζεκιηλ • ιεζεκιηλ
24. δαδανιηλ • δανιηλ
25. δεσδρα • εσδρα α
26. δαδεσδρα • εσδρα β
27. δεσθης • εσθηρ

The somewhat garbled, but still recognizable Hebrew (the list is not Aramaic, contra alia, except for the name for the Twelve Prophets, תרי עשרא, as it is still traditionally so in Jewish circles) is prefixed with the Aramaic genitive particle d- , “of”, throughout nearly all the titles but for those of the five Pentateuchal books. One curious aspect of the list, unnoted by van de Sandt and Flusser, is the apparent elision of sibilants in the transliterations of numbers 11, 12, and 17, the two books of Samuel and Proverbs, respectively. For the latter (p. 19, n. 35) they suggest an original מתלות and the loss of a theta during transmission, whereas I would suggest an original משלות and the loss of a sigma, as is clearly the case in numbers 11 and 12, in regard to the name Samuel. I’m not sure what to make of the second of a pair of books bearing a second -d-; perhaps it represents שני or תני even though the placement there is odd. The order of the books is also extremely irregular, with several transpositions in comparison with the Epiphanian list: Numbers and Joshua are transposed, Ruth is moved from after Judges to before Job, Chronicles is moved from before Samuel to after Kings, and Jeremiah is moved from after the Twelve to before.

For comparison with the Codex H list, here is the transliterated Hebrew and Aramaic list from Epiphanius, De mensuris et ponderibus, lines 680—691, from the TLG text:

The H list and the list from Epiphanius are so similar that it is hard to deny relation either through dependence upon a common source, as suggested by van de Sandt and Flusser, or through chronological proximity in origin. If following van de Sandt and Flusser with the former option, a date for the original source in the first half of the second century AD is possible. If, however, the lists are similar because they date to approximately the same time, then a date in the second half of the fourth century is likely, as Epiphanius’ De mensuris et ponderibus is dated to 392. I think the latter is more likely than the former, primarily because the two lists are very similar, including the Aramaic d- prefixes, but are very different from the lists of Origen and Melito as preserved in Eusebius, and which we know to be late second century lists. A further indication, which I haven’t seen noted elsewhere, involved the vocalization involved in the transliterated Hebrew, which appears to postdate the beginning of segholization in Palestinian Hebrew and the shortening of vowels represented in the Masoretic Text, though this is by no means certain with the transliteration being so sloppy.

Still, it’s an interesting list, and one that should be added to discussions of the Biblical canon, whether one dates it to the second or fourth centuries.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I was unaware of its existence! Thanks also for posting my book here. I am grateful! Your suggestions for improving it are very helpful.

    Lee McDonald

  2. You’re very welcome, Lee! That’s a neat list, isn’t it? I hadn’t heard of it before reading the van de Saandt and Flusser book either. I’m sure you can squeeze it into some later edition of The Biblical Canon!

  3. If you are interested in this issue, probably, it is worth to read the paper of Jepsen in ZAW 71 (1959), pp. 114-136.

  4. I am currently reading “Manetho”, translated by W. G. Waddell (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1940) and he appears to cite in his “Introduction” fn. 20 — on the web — that an “Armenian MS. G (Codex Hierosolymitanus) printed by Aucher (1818)” has a translation of Eusebius’ Chronography,
    a Greek work (quoting Manetho), which is now otherwise lost. Can his statement have any basis in reality, in view of the fact that Hierosolymitanus, as you point out, contains only Greek texts relating to the New Testament?

    1. Yes, James, it’s apparently the case that the Greek text as a whole, continuous text was lost. The Armenian version is the fullest (and only full text?–I’m not sure about that) of the preserved versions, though Eusebius was often quoted by others in Greek, so there are excerpts. The work as a continuous whole in Greek, though, no longer exists. I don’t see a collection of Greek excerpts in TLG, but I would think there would be such a collection published. It would be a remarkable oversight if there weren’t. To your question! Aucher’s Codex Hierosolymitanus is just one of several manuscripts to bear that epithet. There’s no universal system of manuscript naming or numbering for patristic manuscripts as there is for New Testament manuscripts (numbering by Aland number). You can find in a copy of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (any edition) the list of manuscripts and a number of various ones there bearing the name Hierosolymitanus. In the end it only means “a manuscript in/from Jerusalem,” whether stored there, found there, or written there (usually the former two). It’s a pretty inexact naming convention. In hope that clears things up!

  5. Thank you for clearing up the confusion. I note that there were 3 Latin translations of the Armenian version of Eusebius by the time Waddell put together his collection of fragments of Manetho (1940). One was by Zohab-Mai in Muller’s F.H.G.. , another by Aucher (1818), and one by H. Petermann in I. A. Schone, Eusebii Chronica (1875). I have a German translation in Karst, Josef. Eusebius Werke. 5 Band : Die Chronik aus dem Armenischen übersetzt. Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der Ersten Jahrhunderte 20 (1911). Waddell mostly based his English translation of the Armenian version on the Latin although he took some of it from French (of Aubel?). I still have not found a recent translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle apart from the extracts in other Greek authors, chiefly Syncellus. Thanks again for your help. Jim.

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