Manuscript Research

We cooperate with different archives and researchers around the world to make historical manuscripts accessible. One main focus is palimpsest research.

Palimpseste are manuscripts that were washed off and later rewritten. Our multi-spectral 3D capture and digital post-processing techniques allow us to non-invasively make legacy fonts, that are barely or no longer visible to the human eye, readable again.

Codex Ephraemi Syri rescriptus (Paris, BnF, gr. 9; siglum “C”)


Codex Ephraemi Syri rescriptus is one of the four most important Bible codices, which contain the Greek Old Testament (the so-called Septuagint) as well as the Greek New Testament.

The Codex originates from the first half of the 5th century.  It is a single-column, 40–46 line parchment manuscript measuring 33 × 27 cm in layers of 8 leaves (so-called quaternions). Old and New Testament parts were written by different scribes.

In the 12th/13th century, parts of the original manuscript were palimpsested and bound together into a new codex containing 209 leaves (OT 64, NT 145), through which the original leaf order was destroyed. The new codex was overwritten with 38 treatises in Greek by Ephraem the Syrian (the overlying scripture, called scriptura superior).

The old Bible codex (the underlying scripture, called sciptura inferior) contains fragments of the biblical Wisdom Books (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach), the four Gospels, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline Letters, and Revelation. Altogether, 44 quaternions (OT 15, NT 29) and six individual leaves of the original manuscript can be reconstructed. For codicological reasons, it is probable that further parts of the Old Testament were contained therein and it is also conceivable that an apocryphal annex followed Revelation. Presently, the manuscript contains 208 leaves, since leaf number 138 disappeared in the 19th century.

(© Felix Albrecht 2018; for further information cf. Felix Albrecht: Article “Ephraemi Rescriptus, Codex”, in: The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception 7, Berlin et al. 2013, cols. 1025-1026).