the Complutensian Polyglot utilized the Codex Vaticanus?

Steven Avery

Johann David Michaelis (1717-1791) said no:

Introduction to the New Testament, Volume 2, Part 2 (1823 - translated from German edition c. 1780)
By Johann David Michaelis

347. I have collated in several chapters of St. Matthew all the extrafts which Birch has given from this manuscript alone, with the text of the Complutensian edition, and have found the difference to be such as to warrant the conclusion, that it was not used by the editors of that edition.

(techie stuff)

The preceding comparison affords an absolute demonstration that the Codex Vaticanus 1209. was not once consulted in this part of the Greek Testament by the Complutensian editors, for I have omitted not a single reading that is peculiar to this manuscript, yet not one of them is found in the Complutensian edition. Now as this manuscript is of the highest antiquity, and of the greatest authority, it is incredible, if the Complutensian editors had it really in their hands, that they should have totally neglected it in three whole chapters immediately following each other ; and we have reason to conclude, that if Vatican manuscripts were sent to them, this was not in the number. To obviate the objection which might be made on the supposition that the Codex Vaticanus 1209. might have arrived after a part of the Greek Testament was already printed, I have collated the last chapter of St. John ; but there the difference is still greater than at the beginning, for in that chapter alone Birch has quoted not less than twenty-eight readings from this manuscript, yet not one of them is to be discovered in the Complutensian edition.
Despite his error of opposing the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses, Michaelis is often superb in his scholarship.


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Complutensian Polyglot and Vaticanus
Steven Avery - Dec. 1, 2015
Complutensian Polyglot and Vaticanus


Titan, A Monthly Magazine (1859)
The Vatican Manuscript

Whether the Vatican Codex was employed by the Complutensian editors is far from certain, although they boast of having had the use of some manuscripts from the Apostolic Library at Rome, and those no common ones, but vetustissima simul et emendatissima. Vercellone gives good ground for believing that it was in the Papal Library so far back as x.v. 1475 ... It is curious, however, and worthy of consideration, that the Codex catalogued in 1475,1484, and 1533, as present in the library, does not appear in the catalogue of 1518. Where was it at this date? It is quite certain that the Complutensian editors did not follow its readings ; their silent supercession of its suggestions, if it came into their hands, being so far condemnatory of its text,

Steven Avery

the Erasmus editions and the Complutensian Polyglot are independent and corroborative for the pure Bible text

A fine point:

Titan: The Vatican Manuscript (1859)

"That the text of that most splendid monument of sixteenth century typography— the Spanish Polyglott—should, in its general character, so closely correspond with that of Erasmus, both parties working independently, is, to our mind, a strong collateral proof that the Greek text of the New Testament current in the Christian world is, in the main, a correct one, and that manuscripts which very widely diverge from it are to be distrusted in proportion to their divergence. This distrust becomes a righteous principle, when the manuscripts exhibit tokens of ignorance, carelessness, and other incompetence of the writers, as does the Vatican MS. to an extreme degree ..."

This is an important point that I have often made, the corroborative nature of the independent Complutensian "Received Text" edition with the Erasmus labours.


The article that really gives the history of the Complutensian, including the rcc disbanding the scholarship unit, is:

"Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros and the Complutensian Bible."

Humanists and Protestants, 1500-1900 by Basil Hall

Worth buying here, or wherever it can be found on sale.

Around 1860, even before Burgon wrote on the topic, many scholars saw the abject corruption of Vaticanus quite clearly.

Steven Avery

A few spots do assert that the Complutensian used Vaticanus, or at least had it available.

A full inquiry into the original authority of that text, I John v. 7. There are three that bear record in Heaven ... Containing an account of Dr. Mill's evidences from antiquity (1717)
Thomas Emlyn

The same material is in this next edition, in an Appendix, I have not yet checked how it is describe.

The Evangelical History of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Containing, in Order of Time, All the Events and Discourses Recorded in the Four Evangelists. With Notes (1787)
... By Thomas. Brown

Next, he (Richard Simon) extols the famous Vatican Copy, as of very great credit, and above twelve hunched years old} by which, according to Pope Leo's order, the Complutensian Edition was to be made