Extraordinary Manuscripts

On this page we look at some extraordinary or interesting manuscripts.

#4 Gigas (the Giant) ±1225.

Bible Manuscripts

"The Giant" ready to be digitally recorded at the Royal Library in Stockholm. Photo from Flickr.

This is probably the largest manuscript in the world. It measures 20 inches wide and 36 inches tall! It contains the whole Bible in Latin as well as the Etymologiae (an encyclopedia in twenty books), of Isidore of Seville.

Bible Differences

Detail of Decorations in the "Gigas". Photo at Flickr.

Codex Gigas has numerous decorations including the artist’s idea of Heaven. Many first letters of the paragrahps are also decorated.

ManuscriptsExtraordinary this manuscript really is. It is also known as the “Djävulsbibeln” after an image of “the Devil”.


Do treat yourself and view the real thing online at:



#3 Tirana ±1250

Tirana Manuscript (Center for study of New Testament Manuscripts.)

This beautiful manuscript is adorned with some enlarged golden letters. The script is done in the minuscule type, in use since the ninth century. This manuscript had only recently been discovered and is not yet catalogued. Any variations it might contain has not yet been included in the text of the United Bible Societies, but will be done in due course. Do visit the centre for the study of New Testament Manuscripts where beautiful images of some of the pages are available online at http://www.csntm.org

 #2 Manuscript Ms.157 Twelveth century

Manuscript 157 is in the minuscule type, containing the four Gospels.

Ms 157 by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. (www.csntm.org )

It had been written for Emperor John11 Comnenus (1118-1143). This is a beautiful example of the minuscule type. Each Gospel has a colophon at the end stating that it was copied and corrected “from the ancient manuscripts atJerusalem”. This same colophon is also found in a dozen other manuscripts. The text type is Caesarean, following in substance the Alexandrian, but containing also many Western readings. It is kept in theVatican.

#1. Codex Rosanensis, sixth century.

It contains Matthew and Mark.

It is one of the most beautiful manuscripts, written on fine purple vellum. The first three lines are written in gold, the rest in silver.

Detail. Note how carefully and neat every letter had been written.







This codex is the earliest known to contain miniature paintings in water color. This painting depicts Jesus and Barrabas before Pilate. The court stenographer is standing at the table.


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