Monday, January 12, 2009

Touching the Codex Vaticanus

Yesterday, my wife and I had the privilege of sharing lunch with friends, Dale and Kathy Bruner, at their home. We have had the honor of listening to Dale teach each Sunday, almost nine months out of the year here. His thoughts and translations of Scripture have had a profound affect on me over the years.

After lunch we sat and caught up on our lives, along with another couple we have shared friendship with for the past 20 years. New marriages getting started, children being born, changing and growing, laughter and tears, many years of memories. Dale told stories of his cross country car trips to Princeton seminary, the struggles of raising kids, and their time together as Dale served as a missionary seminary professor in the Philippines, and the joys of grandchildren.

As the conversation continued, Dale mentioned that, more than 30 years ago, he was given the opportunity, by the University Librarian of Gonzaga University in Spokane, to examine, and actually turn the pages of the Codex Vaticanus, one of the oldest and most valuable extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible. The idea of touching a document more than 1,600 years old fascinated me. Imagine, holding a form of Divine history in your hands.

Dale (an accomplished Greek scholar, as well) explained that while looking through the Codex, he thought he should write something down, as he would likely never see this document again. He turned to the section for Matthew 28:6, the proclamation of the empty tomb, and made careful notes. He has committed the Greek from the Codex to memory, and so, I asked Dale to write down for me the direct Greek to English translation of this verse:

"Not is here, raised you see"

And then Dale looked at us and said, "You know, I think these words are the most important that have been uttered, and written, in all of history".

I agree.
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