Responding to questions about Minuscule 2050.

Several people have asked me about Minuscule 2050. It is a 12th Century manuscript that does, in fact, omit “ὁ θεός” at Revelation 1:8. However, we must be very careful here. It is not accurate to say that it omits “ὁ θεός”. It omits an entire phrase. “λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός” is gone. That’s major. It completely omits “says the Lord God”.

Here is the text of Revelation 1:8 in Minuscule 2050:
“εγω ειμι το ἄλφα και το ὦ· αρχη και τελος· ο ων και ο ην. και ο ερχομενος ο παντοκρατορ”

2050 is not a viable reading and does not support Erasmus’ 1516 reading of Revelation 1:8. When you hear people use 2050 to support Erasmus’ 1516 reading, they are not giving you the full story. If Erasmus had used this manuscript, he would have likely removed the entire phrase. But, he did not use it. History tells us that Erasmus only had access to a single Greek manuscript containing Revelation for his first edition — Minuscule 2814. That reading has “ὁ θεός”.

I have heard people argue that Erasmus had access to four Greek manuscripts in England before moving to Basel, Switzerland. Someone suggested that 2050 may have been one of those manuscripts that he had access to. First, if he had this reading, his first edition would very likely have read differently than it does due to the entire phrase being left out of Minuscule 2050. Secondly, I argue that he did not have nor know about Minuscule 2050. Anyone arguing that Erasmus had access to this manuscript needs to show evidence to support such a claim. Why do I say that? Because Minuscule 2050 is housed in Spain at the Monasterio del Escorial. That monetary was not built until 1563, but someone would need to show that Minuscule 2050 was housed in a place where Erasmus had access to it. I suggest that this is a bridge too far.

Minuscule 2050 had no impact on Erasmus’ 1516 edition. Minuscule 2814 is the only Greek manuscript of Revelation that he used for his first edition and that reading contains “ὁ θεός”. Therefore, I stand by my assertion that Erasmus made an error of omission in Revelation 1:8 that never got fixed in any of his editions.


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